Out of the Abundance of the Heart

Friday, December 24, 2010

Building People of Substance for Works of Power

After considerable deliberation, I have given up on finding some incredibly profound thing to say about Christmas. It doesn’t get any more profound than the simple notion that a transcendent God took on the form of a man and came to redeem us from our self-induced destruction. In the process, though He was a King, He lived in the most humble of circumstances. We whom He came to help cursed and killed Him, yet He persevered in His determination to make a way for us to enter the very throne room of God, looking our vitriol in the eye and praying, “Father, forgive them.” With full consciousness of what He was doing, He bound Himself to live in a body for the rest of eternity so He could function as a Great High Priest who is touched with the very feelings of our infirmities. That’s profound.

Scripture Reading: Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could He die, and only by dying could He break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. Only in this way could He set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying. We also know that the Son did not come to help angels; He came to help the descendants of Abraham. Therefore, it was necessary for Him to be made in every respect like us, His brothers and sisters, so that He could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then He could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. Since He Himself has gone through suffering and testing, He is able to help us when we are being tested. (Hebrews 2:14-18 NLT)

Somebody Said The primary source of the appeal of Christianity was Jesus – His incarnation, His life, His crucifixion, and His resurrection. Kenneth Scott Latourette

MERRY CHRISTMAS, me and tobie !!!!!!!

Virgil And Judy Stokes

Out of the Abundance of the Heart

Friday, December 17, 2010

Building People of Substance for Works of Power

Time to get serious, me and tobie.

Looking out the window this morning I see heavy fog. I must be dreaming! This is Arizona. Fog requires moisture, and we are always short on that. After rubbing my eyes, I decided that the fog is real. Wow! One great thing about it is that it won’t last long. The sun will come up shortly and the mist will fade rapidly. It is Arizona, after all. I couldn’t help thinking of that verse in Hosea where he was talking to Ephraim and Judah about their proclamations of repentance when God corrected them for their idolatry. They made great promises when the pressure was on, but God was not impressed. He had seen their track record: “For your faithfulness is like a morning cloud, And like the early dew it goes away.” I wonder how often He says that same thing about me?

All of us have been there. We find ourselves in a tough time and we call upon the Lord. We purpose to change the way we do things: pray more, be sweeter, read our bible, lose some weight, or whatever. Then as time goes by, our resolve weakens as our pain decreases. Or maybe we are in a service where the Spirit of God speaks to us about some aspect of service or act of giving. We are convicted and compelled. Then we get in the car and leave our conviction fading at the altar, a dim glimmer in the rearview mirror. It’s not that we decide to be disobedient, or that we want to displease God, it’s just that the sun comes up and the heat burns away our faithfulness. It just sort of disappears. This Christmas and New Year, join me in taking a little stroll down memory lane. Review your year on your knees, looking in your memory banks for the vows and commitments you have let slip away. Ask the Lord to forgive you for your unfaithfulness. Ask Him to allow you to fulfill what He asked you to do. Every day until New Years Day make a fresh commitment and ask for His grace to get it done. Make it a habit. As the new year begins, join me as we celebrate the Lord’s Table and renew our commitments to Him and His callings, remembering His commitment to us in the bread and in the cup.

Scripture Reading: I praise God for what He has promised; Yes, I praise the LORD for what He has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me? I will fulfill my vows to You, O God, and will offer a sacrifice of thanks for Your help. For You have rescued me from death; You have kept my feet from slipping. So now I can walk in Your presence, O God, in Your life-giving light. (Psalms 56:10-13 NLT)

Somebody Said A person with half volition goes backwards and forwards, but makes no progress on even the smoothest of roads. –Thomas Carlyle

We will move forward together to become what God has always intended and do what He has always purposed. When the heat comes, the committed don’t evaporate. Commitment starts on our knees. Let’s go there now.


People Get Ready

Just thinking about the state of the world and wondering what we can do to be ready for a global meltdown.  Our currency is in trouble.  Supply lines for food and energy are threatened.  We have foreign insurgents living in our cities in sleeper cells.  On a personal level, I try to keep a good supply of food and ammunition.  I am keeping the trimmings from my trees to dry for wood.  Maybe a sturdy bike and an emergency light source would be a good idea.

On a broader plane, if the Lord tarries, we are going to need each other to get along.  What can we look at as communities – churches, school districts, neighborhoods? How about some ideas on printing scrip as a basis for a mini-economy?  I’m thinking willing backyard farmers can divide up the responsibility – I’ll do lettuce, you do tomatoes.  (Someone has to do chiles) One of the biggies may be how to care for our elderly and infirm, and educate our kids.  Nursing homes, schools and, hospitals without federal aid are gonna be going away.  Can we organize to share care?

Just sayin”

Out of the Abundance of the Heart

Friday, December 3, 2010

Building People of Substance for Works of Power

Merry Christmas, me and tobie!

Someone sent me a YouTube link the other day of a video called

. It is just a simple song written after a shopping experience. I am an eternal enemy of schmaltzy goop for the sake of emotion, but this one really hit me. I know it is easy to rant about the commercialization of Christmas, but it seems particularly real this year. We are in a culture where Christ is well-nigh illegal, the economy is on the abyss, loony-tunes in Iran and Korea have nuclear weapons, and the world seems very grim, indeed. It just seems important to remember that the Grinch (or the ACLU) can’t steal Christmas. It’s too late! He already came. His body is already here. If there were never another crèche, not one single shiny tree, the world would still have the opportunity to see Him in you and me. If the line were forming to see Jesus, could they see Him at my house this year?

Just a few thoughts for those of us looking to pull back from the American dream as consumer gluttony back to the American vision as liberty, love, and opportunity in a God-fearing land:

1. Be a blessing to someone else: dollar for dollar. Matching funds for Jesus.

2. Buy 2-fers on sale for the local food bank: One for Him, one for me.

3. Teach your kids to give. Sit down with them and make a Christmas list for others before you look at theirs.

4. Attach a moral to each gift you give them: they need to learn the wisdom of God. Give gifts with stories attached.

5. Give something extra to a mission, at home or abroad. The world is in line to see Jesus.

Scripture Reading: All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it. (1 Corinthians 12:27 NLT)

Somebody Said Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas. Calvin Coolidge

I am convinced the world would line up to see Jesus if we could just reflect enough of Him to be visible. The gold of the Magi paid for a family of three to move to Egypt and thus protect the infant Messiah: What will your gifts finance this year?


They’re Lame. We duck.

Another brilliant idea. With the government ready to shut down and the tax code on permanent pause, the Senate thought it was a good day to take over food production. More bureaucrats making more money controlling your diet. Mamabama and the San Francisco loons now have a foothold in your cupboard. Bye-bye beef.

A Wikikwiki

So we have a 22 y/o E2 who stole mega reams of secret stuff. He gave it all to a weasel-like aussie who has slowly, publicly, and with seeming impunity infused the content into the public domain. After only 6 months, our executive branch has expressed a limp-wristed, “Oh, stop it.” If they wanted it stopped, they could have and would have stopped it before the first document drop. There would have been outrage, criminal investigation, military and state- department head-lopping, diplomatic pressure on sanctuary regimes, and surely they could have hired a 17y/o hacker to crash the site.
The ugly truth is that our leaders are in full support of the embarrassment to the nation and the crippling of intelligence operations that will result. That is the outrage.


So it is now possible to blog by email. We’ll see if this works.

Happy Thanksgiving

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and I think it is probably the only holiday I really like.  Gratitude is a positive force in any life, and in mine it is absolutely essential.  Without gratitude I lapse into complaining and self-pity, and that is the road to destruction for me. I have so much to be thankful for it is impossible to cover it all.  Just a few come to mind:

  • God allowed me to be born in the most prosperous and remarkable nation in the history of man, and I have been privileged to live here during her most prosperous era.
  • Our cupboards are full, and we have a roof over our head.
  • My wife has loved me for 30 years, even after getting to know me.
  • I have had the privilege of working in God’s field full time for nearly 30 years.
  • Jesus Christ saved and filled and healed me by His work on my behalf.  What a wonderful and faithful Savior and Friend!
  • God has placed folks like you in my life who have made it possible, and often even pleasant, to carry out what He gave me to do. Judy and I thank God for you!

Scripture Reading:  I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace.  (Philippians 1:3-7 NKJV)

Somebody said:  I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.   Gilbert K. Chesterton

Someone told me once that pride is the perversion of gratitude.  I think that is true.  I am blessed and it is not my fault.

Thank you.


Starting a new one

I really want to keep this page unofficial.  The thoughts here are mine and not reflective of any official position or organization.  Just me and Tobie, and I’m not sure about him.