Categories
Christian Blog spiritual warfare

Just Beyond the Gate

I heard them the moment I opened the back door at 3 am. Our geriatric schnauzer scurried to his favorite spot for a potty break, but I hesitated.

It was a whole pack of coyotes, yipping and howling, seemingly just on the other side of our six foot privacy fence. Using an exposed board as a step, I peeked over–into the pre dawn mist. Nothing.

Cooper, our little dog, paid his wild cousins no mind. Yet their eerie cries were unsettling. The only thing between us and them was a few hundred yards of open ground and a wooden fence. “Hurry up, buddy!”

Safely back inside, I remembered this cool product I found online called the Coyote Roller.

It’s a long piece of pipe that rolls under the paws of athletic interlopers. Thus, any frisky varmints who try to clear the fence are quickly returned to the ground.

Back in a warm bed, listening to a now snoring schnauzer, I pondered: “Is there a spiritual equivalent to the Coyote Roller?”

I found one a few hours later, over breakfast, sans coyotes. Revelation chapter 12 tells about a war in heaven. Michael and his angels fight against the dragon, satan and his angels, and prevail. Consequently, the devil and his buddies have to relocate. A voice comes over the loud speaker: “The accuser of our brothers has been hurled down.” Verse 11 reveals the power behind it:

They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.

Revelation 12:11 (NIV)

Kind reader, the blood of Christ, the truths he taught, and our own resolve to hold onto faith, are more than enough to keep any “coyotes” out of the back yard. As a former pastor of mine liked to say, “If you’re willing to stand forever, you won’t have to stand for long.”

Thank you for reading. 🙏❤️


The first photo is by my friend, Gary Fultz. Check out his excellent nature shots here.

Categories
Christian Blog thankfulness

Thankful for Thorns

There was once a godly woman who lived in my little town. She was twice widowed and confined to a wheelchair, yet had the sweetest Christian spirit.

Most days, Mrs. Frieda never ventured outside her home, but friends lined up to see her or called her on the phone. People flocked to this dear sister because she had the “Peace that passes all understanding” ( Philippians 4:7).

Most of us can probably think of a fellow believer who stayed grateful to God despite challenging circumstances. There’s something extra special about the unshakeable faith of God’s holiest servants.

So what’s the secret?

I never asked Mrs. Freida, but she surely would have pointed me to biblical passages such as Colossians 3:1-3, about the life that is “hidden with Christ in God,” or Psalm 91:1 where David rested in the “shadow of the Almighty.”

Remain in me, and I will remain in you.

Jesus- John 15:4 (NIV)

If other followers of Christ kept faith in God–no matter what–then you and I can too! We have the same resources available to us as the Apostle Paul, who thanked God for his “thorn in the flesh.”

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

Paul- 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

Kind reader, any experience which draws us closer to God is a good thing. By His grace may we say in our frailty, “Lord, thank you for this thorn!”

🙏❤️

Portions of this post first appeared as This Thorn, on February 17, 2021.

Categories
Christian Blog Christian Living

The Oak in the Middle

As you approach an intersection, in one of my favorite neighborhoods, there’s a massive tree in the middle of the road.

I’ve driven by many times but never stopped. Until the other day. Curiosity got the best of me, so I parked my car and walked up under the expansive canopy.

A quick Google search told me the tree is a Burr Oak—a slow-growing hardwood that lives up to 400 years!

Now I realized why the powers-that-be built the road around this stately survivor. “Just how old are you?” I asked the tree. It didn’t answer, of course.😊

I decided to find out.

Another internet search yielded a formula to find the approximate age of a tree. I returned the next day to take the needed measurements. After plugging in the numbers, and doing the math, I had the answer: 260 years!

Kathlyn Tsang, at Tree of Healing Ministries wrote something recently that reminds me of the old oak tree’s endurance: “The sanctification process is a lifetime commitment.”

If God wants to grow an oak tree He’ll take a hundred years. This is the backdrop for what the Apostle Paul told the Christians at Philippi.

Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose

Philippians 2:12b-13 (NIV)

Kind reader, if God can look after a tree for two-and-a-half centuries, then He can look after you and me. Nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8:38-39).

Thank you for reading. 🙏❤️

“They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor “Isaiah 61:3b (NIV)