This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.  – Jan 27, 2023

Photo by Magda Ehlers on

I fear that the nation, which I love, is going to collapse.  I fear that the immoral brain washing,* soon to be assisted by artificial intelligence,** is going to kill the America we know.  But I do not fear for myself!

I know that my hope will survive any persecution:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.  In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls”. 

1 Peter 1:3-9  Emphasis Added

I know my hope will survive God’s wrath

For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night.  But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation.   For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” 

1 Thessalonians 5:7-9  Emphasis Added

And I know that I’m in the Father’s all powerful hand; inside the veil!

“This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

Hebrews 6:19-20

Nations have fallen before.  Pandemics have occurred in the past.  War has spanned the world twice.  Bad stuff happens to people and lands – but God’s throne was never shaken and that’s where my hope is anchored!  So be aware, but not afraid!


Pastor Scott

*I’m primarily thinking about the redefinitions of things we know to be true from God’s Word – Genesis 1:26-27; Matthew 19:4-6; but there are lots of morals and virtues that are being redefined or devalued.

**The genesis of this hopeful blog was this video sent by someone who feels a lot of fear.  It’s worth the watch.  Warning: Dr Peterson isn’t a believer, yet, and he is prone to a colorful adjective now and again.

Remember God’s Goodness – Jan 20, 2023

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (v. 17). The change in subject seems abrupt, but the flow of thought is clear. We must not blame God for our temptations because evil desire leads to sin that leads to death (vv. 13–15). Twice James warns us not to blame God for our problems. When we sin, we have only ourselves to blame.

Everything good comes from God

Verse 17 sets up a contrast. Everything good in this world ultimately comes from God. If it’s good, God made it, He gave it, or He sent it. The familiar words of the Doxology state this very plainly: “Praise God from whom all blessings flow.” I wonder if we really believe that. Not long ago I asked a friend how he was doing. He laughed and said, “I’m upright and taking nourishment.” I laughed with him. But do we realize that “in Him (that is, God) we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28)? Do we understand that we are alive right now because God wants us alive? We breathe because He gives us air to breathe and lungs to take it in. If God withdrew His hand of blessing, not one of us would take another breath. We see and hear and move and think and laugh and clap and dream and cry all because of God. I suppose we all know that, but rarely do we think of it. Rarely do we stop to give thanks for the blessing of life itself. 

Linger at the foot of the cross

If you can read my words, you must be alive. If you are alive, it is a gift from God. If God has given you the gift of life, will you not give thanks to Him? We ought to ponder Paul’s question in 1 Corinthians 4:7, “What do you have that you did not receive?” Do you boast of your wealth or your fame or your talent or your accomplishments? Do you think your good looks owe only to your DNA? Who gave you your talent, your strength, your creativity, your ingenuity? Who gave you the blessings you take for granted?

The Gentle Rain from Heaven

James emphasizes this when he says that every good gift “comes down” from the Father of lights. William Shakespeare reminds us of that

“The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven.”

These famous lines from The Merchant of Venice are true in every way. Mercy always comes down. It starts with God and moves to man.  It begins in heaven and ends on earth. You don’t bargain for mercy because to make a bargain you’ve got to have something to offer, and we have nothing to offer God. Mercy is indeed like the gentle rain that softens the hard soil of the human heart.

We are alive because God wants us to be alive

We need this because we are sinners worse than we know. Even the best Christian would have no hope of heaven without the shining mercy of God. If God did not forgive and keep on forgiving, if he did not continue to pour out his mercy like the “gentle rain from heaven,” we would be utterly and completely lost. What kind of God do we serve? He’s completely good. He’s constantly good. He’s unchangeably good.

God will never not be good

God will never not be good.God could never be less than good. Everything He does is good.

“I am a witness”

I’m sure you’ve been in churches where they do the call-and-response that goes like this: 

Preacher: God is good.

Congregation: All the time.

Preacher: And all the time.

Congregation. God is good.

When I mentioned this in a sermon, someone told me their church does that in a slightly different way. They say it in five parts, one for each finger on their right hand. It goes like this:

In every situation, no matter what

God is good. All the time. In every situation. No matter what. God is good. You should hold up your right hand and say that right now, touching each finger in turn. Once you do it, it will stick in your mind. When I mentioned the basic call-and-response in a written sermon a few years ago, someone in Nigeria wrote back and said that in their churches, after saying “God is good, all the time, and all the time, God is good,” the congregation says in unison, “I am a witness.”

“I am a witness”

That’s really good because it brings the truth home. It’s one thing to say “God is good” as an abstract statement, almost like a theological cheer for the home team. It’s even better if you think about those other statements, “In every situation” and “No matter what.” But best of all is to make it personal by adding, “I am a witness.” Sometimes it’s hard to say. Even when we think we know what will happen tomorrow, life can turn on a dime. No one knows what a day may bring forth. That’s a solemn fact. Life is not just one thing. It’s good and bad, sickness and health, weeping and rejoicing, life and death, war and peace, all mixed together. That’s why we need a God in whom there is no shadow of turning. He is the still point in our changing world. He is not good today and bad tomorrow. He does not capriciously change his mind and decide to be kind today and harsh tomorrow.We are like that. God is not. When you are tempted to give up, remember the goodness of God. When you feel like giving in to temptation, remember the goodness of God. When you want to resign from life, remember the goodness of God.

Excerpt from a longer piece written in the 90’s by R. Prichard; and missionary/pastor. I, PS, edited out some dated references

BE KIND, NOT JUST NICE – January 13, 2023

We are teaching the fruit of the Spirit on Wednesday nights at AWANA.  This Wednesday we talked about “kindness” (Strong’s 5544 below).  I contrasted it with being “nice” (pleasing; agreeable; delightful).  They are similar.  It’s not wrong to be pleasing, agreeable, and delightful; and in an English dictionary the two words are used in each other’s definition.   

So let me ask you the question I asked the Awana kids.  If one of my one-year granddaughters, pleased with her climbing ability, gets a hold of a steak knife or a lit candle, and begins running with it, is it “kind” to be agreeably delighted with her climbing and running skills or is it kind to remove the sharp knife or lit candle from her hand?  Of course it’s kinder to remove it!  But what if she doesn’t understand and dissolves into tears?  Wouldn’t it be better to be nice and give her back the knife?  Of course not! That kind of “niceness” could lead to her death or injury!

Saying “no” when someone is on a self-destructive path is much kinder than simply agreeing with (accepting?) their choices.


Pastor Scott

5544 /xrēstótēs (“useful kindness”) refers to meeting real needs, in God’s way, in His timing (fashion). Hence 5544 (xrēstótēs) is listed as a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22). With the believer, 5544 /xrēstótēs (“divine kindness“) is the Spirit-produced goodness which meets the need and avoids human harshness (cruelty). “We have no term that quite carries this notion of kind and good” (WP, 1, 92).

Copyright © 2021 by Discovery Bible.

Idolatry of Good Things – January 6, 2023

As Moses ascended Mt. Sinai, God Himself descended and enthroned Himself on it.  Meanwhile, Aaron, at the behest of the people, made a Golden Calf right in front of (before, bedside) God’s earthly throne.  Literally between YHWH and His people.

The very first commandment said – “NO, don’t do that!”  And of course the people struggled with idolatry all through their History – get out your Strong’s if you doubt.

Jesus elevates the thought applying it not just to images that we can cast into the fire, but to money, something we use every day.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal;  for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also…. No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”  – Matthew 6:19-21; 24

You have all heard gazillion sermons on correct use of wealth, but this past Sunday I mentioned other treasures; like ministry and family.  That can be a sticking point.  It’s not that we love our kids more than we love God, it’s that we don’t know how to judge whether they have become our treasure.

One clue for me is the idea of these other gods being “before” – in front of the face of  – YHWH!  In ancient times, and in cultures that recognize their idols as deities, this idea about the physical presence of the idol in God’s face.  But when we consider what I call the “idolatry of good things,” we have to ask what it means if something is in between God and me?

  1. Is my vision of God (worship, devotion) interrupted by my thoughts and worries for my “good thing?”
  2. Does my good thing distract me from doing what God wants me to do?
  3. Is God high and lifted up in my day to day life (Isaiah 6:1-6) or is my good thing?

“Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver;

I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.

“For My own sake, for My own sake, I will act;

For how can My name be profaned?

And My glory I will not give to another.

Isaiah 48:10-11

The article below is one I found earlier this week when this question “How do I know?” was first asked.  It’s written by a woman for women – our kids, after all, are often “High and Lifted Up!”  🙂

The Christian life is a journey, I’m glad we’re all on the road together,

Pastor Scott

Sermon Notes – 1/1/23

A request was made, via the text line, for the list scripture verses I covered on Sunday, January 1.

Here is the ppt outline – it’s been transposed enough that the formatting is shot, but the verses are available

Return to Cana
John 4:43-54
John’s Second Sign

  • Entering Galilee (John 4:43-45)
  • Having spent two days in Samaria, Jesus loops back to his home turf
    • Where His is not honored (cf. Matt 13:57; Mark 6:4; Luke 4:24)
    • But the Galileans in Cana received Him
  • No conflict to my mind
  • Healing Requested  (John 4:46-47)
  • A Royal Official (a Herodian?)
    • A deathly sick son
      • Likely the official’s heir
  • Begged Jesus: “Heal my son!”
  • “Unless you see signs”
    • The pleading continues
  • Jesus spoke healing
    • The official believed
  • Faith in Jesus (John 4:48-54)
  • Not in His works (4:44; 48)
  • Not in Seeing  Him (John 20:24-29)
  • In Him!
    • In His Identity (Matthew 16:33; cf. John 11:27)
    • In Him as Savior (Galatians 2:16; Titus 2:13)


This is NOT teaching us not to pray! (Philippians 4:6; Matthew 6:33)

We can too easily treat God like we treat a politician

            “What have You done for me lately?”

Jesus says believe in Me because I am God, the Son, period!

I’ve got Jesus, how could I want more?

Saving Faith in Christ is objective

Living in Faith is the challenge

The serpent is still active!

Resolved to be more “Filled” in 2023 (Ephesians 5:18-21; Colossians 3:16)

  • Turn worry in prayer
    • And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?; Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God;Casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. (Matt 6:27; Phil 4:6; 1 Peter 5:7)
  • Have a plan for Bible reading/devotions
    • In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice;
      In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch;In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there; My eyes anticipate the night watches, that I may meditate on Your word. (Psalm 5:3; Mark 1:37; Psalm 119:148)
  • Edit my entertainments
    • I will set no worthless thing before my eyes;
      I hate the work of those who fall away;
      It shall not fasten its grip on me. (Psalm 101:3; cf Ephesians 5:1-17)
  • Stop trying to be a lone wolf
    • Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.  For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.
    • Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.   Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; Hebrews 10:19-25)
  • Remove and/or avoid all idols
    • Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  Matthew 6:21

þ        Turn worry in prayer

  •      Have a plan for Bible reading/devotions

þ         Edit my entertainments

  •      Stop trying to be a lone wolf
  •      Remove and/avoid all idols

Resolved to turn my eyes upon Jesus; as often as needed