Archive for July, 2020


July 22, 2020 4 comments

How much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him? —Jesus of Nazareth, Matthew 7:11

Jesus is laying down rules of conduct for those who have His Spirit. By the simple argument of these verses He urges us to keep our minds filled with the notion of God’s control behind everything, which means that the disciple must maintain an attitude of perfect trust and an eagerness to ask and to seek.

Notion your mind with the idea that God is there. If once the mind is awakened along that line, then when you are in difficulties it is as easy as breathing to remember—Why, my Father knows all about it! It is not an effort; it comes naturally when perplexities press. Before, you used to go to this person and that, but now the notion of the Divine control is forming so powerfully in you that you go to God about it. Jesus is laying down the rules of conduct for those who have His Spirit, and it works on this principle—God is my Father, He loves me, I shall never think of anything He will forget, why should I worry?

There are times, says Jesus, when God cannot lift the darkness from you, but trust Him. God will appear like an unkind friend, but He is not; He will appear like an unnatural Father, but He is not; He will appear like an unjust judge, but He is not. Keep the notion of the mind of God behind all things strong and growing. Nothing happens in any particular unless God’s will is behind it, therefore you can rest in perfect confidence in Him. Prayer is not only asking, but an attitude of mind which produces the atmosphere in which asking is perfectly natural. “Ask, and it shall be given you.”

—by Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, July 16.

I cut my teeth with devotional readings back in 1978. Dr. J. Sidlow Baxter filled my mind and heart with brilliant writing and spiritually deep teaching. I was a “brand new” follower of Jesus. I didn’t know enough to question his thoughts on anything, so I chewed fast and swallowed hard. But that is what immature believers are supposed to do. It’s part of the process to fill their spiritual containers, and I’m certainly grateful for everything thing I learned from Dr. Baxter, my beloved first spiritual mentor, Dr. H. D. McCarty and countless other men and women who sowed faithfully into my thirsty soul.

Years later, I was introduced to Oswald Chambers. That’s also been a sweet blessing—feeding my spiritual hunger for many hears. His writing, what you just read, was something I wanted to elaborate on today. Quite often I hear Jesus people say, “God is in control.” Oswald mentioned it in his opening remarks of the reading above. I can see where Oswald is going with his thought, but most of the time, I don’t really trust what I think people are saying when I hear “God is in control.” To be candid about it, I get the feeling that people are good with the notion that “God is in control” as long as they get what they want… or they can’t really explain why they didn’t get what they want. I always picture this as our way of trying to rationalize what we can’t possibly understand. The tone of how we say “God is in control” has a weirdness in it… like we’re the Lollipop kids, and God is behind the curtain pulling levers, blowing smoke, and micro-managing everything from the Emerald City headquarters. Honestly, it doesn’t sit right with me, but if it works for you… fine by me.


Yes, God is sovereign, omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. BUT we have a will. We have been given choice, and freedom, and liberty to make our choices… to a point. We decide things socially and even restrict ourselves because we feel the greater good demands healthy boundaries. To be honest, I’ve been a little surprised about how we “Jesus followers” have been in our personal anti-mask campaigns during this pandemic in our country. Sure, it’s your right to say “no” to such a small and simple thing, but wearing a mask is such a small and simple thing, and could actually be helpful in curbing a really big problem out there. (Very few things in life are really about us… unless we make it about us. Why do we make it about us? Where is our grace for everyone else’s concern?) I don’t actually remember, but I’d have to guess that people lost their minds when seat-belt laws went into effect, but it was for the greater good. Statisticians, researchers, scientist, hordes of moms who had buried their children because of auto accidents, and the medical community all agreed that it might save lives. Not every time, but it does save lives. So, we comply, and buckle up, or suffer the consequences.  I’m not sure how wearing a mask in self-governance or in consideration of others is any different?

I’m sure some of you are about to tell me.

Back to my original thoughts: God is not micro-managing all our affairs, but as Oswald went on to say, “the disciple must maintain an attitude of perfect trust, and an eagerness to ask and to seek,” which seems to align more with what I’m trying to say.

I was a fearful kid. There were a lot of good reasons for that, but another time… another tale. Fear got in the way of a lot of things for me. My dad was a super athlete and I wanted to be the same, but a lot of times I was defeated by fear before I ever got started. As a child, I played baseball. I had great eye-hand coordination, enough strength and agility, but fear is no friend while on the baseball diamond, or football field, or any other contact sport. Going to the plate with a bat in my hand was tormenting. I was afraid, and it’s almost impossible to stand at the plate and really dig-in and be ready to hit. To add pressure, my dad was my coach for a couple years. He was plenty patient with me, but when a kid is afraid it takes special tactics to help them overcome the internal terror. Eventually, I grew out of a lot of those fears, but not during Pee Wee and Little League baseball.

I specifically remember my dad trying to help me hit a curve ball. Holy-moly what a nightmare for an 11-year-old kid who is afraid of being hit by a baseball. My dad had been coaching youth baseball for a while, and he had a lot of older guys that were playing baseball as young adults. So, he brought in one of his much older guys to throw batting practice to the team. Nothing but curveballs! Help me Jesus! Dad knew I was afraid, but I still went to the plate… trembling. He got me in hitting position (without a bat) and then my dad stood right behind me… actually his belly up against my back. Billy threw curveballs right at me, but I couldn’t retreat, I couldn’t back up, I couldn’t bail out of the box… nothing. Dad didn’t move until he felt me stop flinching. “Watch it break Mike?  See the spin? Can you see it? Watch it. See it? You got it Son. That’s it.” Once he handed me a bat… I was able to respond to the challenges of trying to hit a curveball without diving for my life.

Here’s my point: My dad wasn’t in control (I still had the freedom to react, even in flinching fear)… he was PRESENT. It was his presence that helped me get over my fear and timidity in a fearful situation. I still had the full and absolute ability to jerk, move, dodge, or I could step toward the pitch and wait for the ball to break over the strike zone, but my father’s presence affirmed where the ultimate wall of security stood. I’m absolutely convinced that God is our powerful and awesome wall of ultimate security. “God is in control,” okay… that’s engrained in your vernacular, and I’ll give you that, but God isn’t controlling nor is God a micro-manager of all our little plans and schemes. Some messes you get yourself into. Some blessing come into your life because you were a blessing first and showed some love. Somethings are just the byproduct of natural and simple living in an unfathomable ocean of massive differences. Our battle is for trust. Can we believe, can we trust, can we rest in the ultimate goodness of God? That goodness is EVERYWHERE. You are free to find out for yourself.

Love you all… masked or not!




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July 11, 2020 4 comments

Howdy. I realize that I haven’t posted in a long time, but since this COVID thing hit, I’ve spent most of my words on my people in the two churches I pastor. I haven’t on purpose tried to ignore this blog. It’s just been crazy.  I don’t mind sharing the stuff with you that I share with my people… not at all.  If you want on that email list… just ask… you shall receive (  I’ll try to do better.

Here’s a thing… (yeah, just a thing) I was processing with a couple friends.  I wasn’t trying to take it anywhere, but it honestly burped out, and I’ve been told it was worth reading… so here.  Love you all—MDP

I’m writing in an effort to think through something I was reading earlier this morning in I CORINTHIANS 9.  (Sorry, I process sometimes with ink.) Fairly familiar verses for people who read the Bible:

19 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law; 21 to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law.
Evidently, Paul felt it his duty, responsibility, privilege to be a witness.  He called himself a slave.  He uses the word “win” in my NASB translation.  An unfortunate translation of the word.  “Gain for another’s benefit” is a more accurate understanding.  “Winning” is power-over verbiage that is more about “me”.  I’m so over our culture’s love of “me” AND “winning.”
Paul basically says that he’ll pimp out to be whatever is necessary to “gain” followers of Christ.  In other words, if the Jewish boys want to play Flys and Skinners… I’ll play Flys and Skinners, etc.  I get it.  For a recovering Pharisee… this is good progress for Paul.
Then he says, “but those who are without the law” (pagan/Gentiles/dirtbags/losers) he points to the key in relating to them … “I have to come with a different influence… a different kind of juice.”  Again, good progress for Paul (recovering religionist himself). He mentions the influence has to come from the Law of Christ.  There is NO LAW of Christ…. not technically or doctrinally anyway.  What we have here is something that I think the church is grossly short of… the real influence of Jesus’ personality, character, and life skills.  The best explanation that I have is that Jesus did confront the religious i.e. power establishment, but he didn’t try to topple them… he only expose their shallow impotence….”smells and bells” or “nickles and noses” religious infatuation. It wasn’t real, because God wasn’t in it.  The system in Jesus day was a business that exploited and robbed the poor of what little it had.  Some days I’m not sure that we’ve progressed much further. (I need to be drinking in order to enter that conversation any deeper).
Here’s my bottom-line: We have to be ruthlessly forceful to examine ourselves by this so called “Law of Christ”.  Can we assume that religious activity is in compliance at some level?  I think not.  We have to look at the human Jesus, and tap into his kind of compassion, mercy, forgiveness, second chances, restorative justice and long-suffering. His humanness perfectly revealed the real heart of God.  So much of who Jesus was was in direct opposition to what we’d call God worshipers.  Jews at the time, were the planet’s best… and Jesus looked NOTHING like them.
Back to Paul… the key to pushing to ball forward in our lives has to be the true character of Christ transforming us.  Not law, not doctrine, not religion… none of that.  There is only one savior in this world.  One.  We have to put all our chips on HIM.  Everything else. Everyone else…. is sinking sand. Do we look like, act like, think like Jesus?  There was nothing in the Beatitudes that was normal thinking for them. It’s an indicator of how far off track God worshipers had gotten in their modes of operation.  Quite frankly, I think the Church has lost its way too.  I know what little bit I see… makes it me feel like a salmon swimming up stream sometimes.  Jesus actually fillets the Pharisees with:  “You polish the outside of the dish and bowl… but inside you’re full of robbery and deceit… you’ve totally ignored the weightier provisions of the Law: Justice, Mercy, and Faithfulness” (Matt 23:23).  Yup… He took them to the woodshed.  Needed.  It’s still needed. How many times did Jesus say… “You’ve heard it said… [       ] BUT, I say to you… [        ].”  Quite often actually.  God with skin exposing the rampant blindness of religious activity.
For me my brother… I’ve got to measure things by Jesus.  That was/is the true divine voice. That’s our source.  He’s our head.  Period.
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