Squirrel Watching

squirrelFall is an incredibly beautiful time in ‘My Old Kentucky Home’. Changing colors of the leaves, fall flowers, and warm sunny days mark this special time of the year. On my morning walk, I could not help but notice the abundant crop of acorns and walnuts falling from the colorful trees.

I also noticed the explosion of energy and the hectic racing around of the squirrels. Their God-given instinct to prepare for the coming winter drives them. They feverishly gather a harvest of nuts and seeds and store them away for harsh days ahead. They react to the shorter days and cooling temperatures with an increasing sense of urgency.

Pausing to observe the squirrels, a scripture came to mind. We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work” (John 9:4, NLT). The squirrels’ task is to gather in before winter. Our task is to go into all the world sharing the message of salvation and gather in the lost to Christ. I sense a growing awareness among Bible-believing Christians that the days of grace are growing shorter and the spiritual climate is cooling. Increasing wickedness and rejection of Biblical principles are evident everywhere. People are running here and there with little purpose or direction. In confusion, people are mainly intent on gathering up earthly treasures.

The Gospel of Matthew says of Jesus,When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few” (Matthew 9:3, NIV).  Oh, how people need a savior and workers to teach them how to store up treasures in heaven!

As the world grows darker and darker with sin, true believers must work quickly to win family, friends, and the lost to Christ. It is the task the Lord assigned to us. The night is surely coming when we will be able to work no more. Are you gathering in?

He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.”
Matt. 12:30 NKJ)

~ Brother Roy

Woolly Worms

wooly-wormPeople in my hill country home need little provocation to hold a festival. Almost anything will serve as a reason to hold an event featuring food, friends, and of course a flea market. We have the Apple Festival, Sorghum Festival, Honey Festival, Court Days, and more. My favorite is the annual Woolly Worm Festival in Beattyville, Kentucky.

In the fall, the appearance of fuzzy caterpillars that we call ‘woolly worms’ is all that we need to have a festival. Folklore holds that you can predict coming winter weather by observing the woolly worm’s stripes. The wider the rusty stripes, the milder the coming winter will be. The more black there is, the more severe the winter. So, we celebrate the woolly worm.

There seems to be in humankind the perpetual desire to predict the future. The religious world has been especially predisposed to ‘seers’ and ‘fortune tellers’ of all sorts. The pages of scripture offer many accounts of prophets and false prophets and the impact they had on people. The words of the true prophets of God, as documented in scripture, stand alone in their inerrancy and infallibility. If we want to know what the future holds, we need to know what God’s word says.

The scriptures teach that Jesus is coming again and that He will receive believers to Himself. We know that the world as we know it will pass away. We know there will be a judgment. We know that all people will pass into eternity. The righteous will move into eternal life with Christ in heaven. The unrighteous will be cast into hell. Jesus said, “Earth and sky will be destroyed, but the words I have spoken will never be destroyed.  “Be careful not to spend your time feasting, drinking, or worrying about worldly things. If you do, that day might come on you suddenly,  like a trap on all people on earth.  So be ready all the time. Pray that you will be strong enough to escape all these things that will happen and that you will be able to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:33-36, NCT).

“Look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.” (Luke 21:28)

~ Brother Roy

Life Among the Rocks

klipspringerI believe that there is a principle of compensation in God’s dealing with His creatures. If an animal lives in a particularly harsh environment, they seem especially endowed to survive in that environment. A small antelope called a Klipspringer is such an animal. They are uniquely adapted for their life among the rocks. Each individual hair in its coat is hollow and almost quill-like, making its coat like an air mattress. This provides good insulation and, should the antelope fall, it is effective in cushioning. It is a master of balance, with hooves ingeniously adapted to provide incredible grip on the rocks. They can be seen running up rock faces that are nearly straight up and clinging to the narrowest of ledges where predators cannot follow. Since there is a scarcity of water in their rocky environment, they require little, if any, drinking water.

I have observed this principle in the lives of people. I do not presume to understand why for some of God’s choice people life is very hard and for others it is easier. I have two friends in particular that are strong men in the faith, yet both are suffering prolonged illnesses. However, God has given them extraordinary grace, victorious spirits, and amazing testimonies of His love and goodness to them.

There is an incredible example of this principle of compensation in Deuteronomy 33:25. It is the account of the blessing of the tribes of Israel before they entered the Promised Land. Moses said to the tribe of Asher, Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be”. According to the Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary, Asher’s inheritance was the rocky coast from Carmel to Sidon. Shoes of iron and brass would be suited for the sharp, flinty rocks of this area. The promise additionally gives the assurance that “and as thy days, so shall thy strength be”. Gill’s Exposition of the Bible suggests it may denote such a measure of strength given as is proportioned to the events that daily befall.

The hymn “He Giveth More Grace” beautifully expresses God’s rule of compensation:

He giveth more grace as our burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength as our labors increase;
To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials He multiplies peace.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.

All of us will likely experience ‘life among the rocks’ at some time or another. For some it will be of short duration, but for others it will prolonged. We can have the courage to face the future without fear because of God’s compensatory grace.

He Will Equip Us For Life Among The Rocks

~ Brother Roy

Day Dawns


One of the great side benefits of doing mission work in a number of different countries is experiencing a wide range of cultures. In doing so, I have encountered many wonderful proverbs used by these diverse people groups. Some of the proverbs sound strangely familiar from one culture to another. I believe these commonalities across humankind reflect our common Creator.

I am particularly fond of a Zulu Proverb, “Even when the rooster is not present, day dawns”. This proverb is used for a prideful person who thinks they are indispensable. The issue of pride, likewise, receives considerable attention in scripture. Its destructive nature ought to command our attention. The following verses provide notice of the serious nature of pride:

  • “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18, NKJV)
  • “When pride comes, then comes shame; but with the humble is wisdom” (Proverbs 1:2, NKJV)
  • “Arrogance and pride, distinguishing marks in the wicked, are just plain sin (Proverbs 21:4, MSG)
  • “For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself”  (Galatians 6:3, NKJV)
  • Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12, KJV)
  • For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith” (Romans 12:3, NKJV)

If a person wants to find favor with God, it is humility that pleases Him. Pride will often get between a person and God without the person realizing it. But, if a person would stop and think, they would realize they have nothing except what has been received from Him. Did we create ourselves? Did we create the ground upon which we walk or the air that we breath? Did we reveal ourselves to God? Was it by our own doing that the plan for our salvation came into existence? Are we able to save ourselves? Did the gift of the Holy Spirit come to us through our own agency? Pride subtly elevates a person, in his or her own eyes, to the same level as God, resulting the person rejecting the very gifts God would give them.

Hear God’s word on the issue: Thus says the Lord: “Heaven is my throne, and earth is My footstool. Where is the house that you will build Me? And where is the place of My rest? For all those things My hand has made, and all those things exist,” Says the Lord.” But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit and who trembles at My word” (Isaiah 66:1-2).

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you” (1 Peter 5:6, ESV)

~ Brother Roy

This Is My Story, This Is My Song

this is my songMy modest retirement account has taken a hit in recent days with the major stock market drop. Economic stability appears allusive at best. Worldwide financial crisis, international and domestic terrorism, global climate change, deteriorating religious and moral standards, and rising crime rates are but a few of the indicators of universal instability. It seems in almost every area, our lives are filled with uncertainty.

However, as a believer I rejoice that life in Christ Jesus can set us free from the fears of a changing world. Jesus said, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:31-32, NKJV). What a blessed freedom it is to walk through the days of our lives with the Savior!

Next to the Bible, my favorite book is the hymnal. As I was thinking about the freedom I experience in the face of uncertain circumstances, lines of favorite hymns flooded my mind. Limited space prohibits quoting the full lyrics of these songs, but feel free to review the whole hymns, if you desire. They will bless your heart.

  • Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine! Heir of salvation, purchase of God, born of His Spirit, washed in His blood. This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long;
  • Shadows around me, shadows above me, never conceal my Savior and Guide; He is the Light, in Him is no darkness; Ever I’m walking close to His side.
  • So let the storm clouds rage high, the dark clouds rise, they don’t bother me; for I’m sheltered in the arms of God. He walks with me, and naught of earth shall harm me, for I’m sheltered in the arms of God.
  • So, amid the conflict whether great or small, do not be disheartened, God is over all. Count your many blessings, angels will attend, help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.
  • Are there shadows of deep disappointment, and trusts that have proven untrue? Has the darkness of night settled round you, has your hope and your faith wavered too? Standing somewhere in the shadows you’ll find Jesus, He’s the Friend who always cares and understands.
  • Standing on the promises that cannot fail, when the howling storms of doubt and fear assail, by the living Word of God I shall prevail, standing on the promises of God.
  • When darkness seems to hide His face, I rest on His unchanging grace. In every high and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the veil. On Christ the solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.

The Next Time You Get Fretful, Try Humming Through The Hymnal. It Will Calm Your Heart.

~ Brother Roy

Here Be Dragons

here be dragons

In medieval times, areas known to be dangerous or unexplored were often labeled on maps with the warning: “Beware, Here Be Dragons.” It was a common practice among ancient mariners to put images of dragons, sea serpents, and other mythological creatures on the uncharted areas of their maps along with such warnings.

As a youth, pictures of such maps always fascinated me. Pictures of ancient maps in my school History books always captured my attention. Recently, one of those old images flashed across my mind. I was sitting on the veranda at my daughter’s house in Johannesburg, South Africa. She lives in a nice residential area. Her backyard fence borders a large field. This green space is replete with a wooded area, acacia bushes, and several thickets. Parts of the field are occasionally mowed and other areas left covered with tall grass. I was half asleep in the warm sun when I casually looked out across one of the mowed areas. I jolted to attention! I scarcely could believe my eyes. There was a large dragon moving through the grass only a few yards away. Well, it looked like a dragon to an American who was half asleep. Actually, it was a very large African Monitor Lizard. Before I could get my camera, it ambled off and disappeared and the images of the dragons from my mind faded.

There is a spiritual application to be made here about dragons and the warning, “Beware, Here Be Dragons.” Man is wonderfully and fearfully made (Psalm 139:14). We are wonderfully made, because we are created with free will. We can choose our own way. We are also fearfully made because we can choose our way. God has a wonderful plan for our lives, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV). But, we are free to reject His will and wisdom and go our own way.

If we choose to ignore God’s way and move into uncharted areas, we need to heed the post, “Beware, Here Be Dragons”. The Book of Revelation reveals who the dragon really is, He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more” (Revelation 20:2-3). The scriptures tell us of the fate of those who refuse God’s way and strike out on their own to areas where dragons are found:

  • “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12, NKJV).
  • And you shall grope at noonday, as a blind man gropes in darkness; you shall not prosper in your ways; you shall be only oppressed and plundered continually, and no one shall save you”  (Deuteronomy 28:29, NKJV).
  • “They do not know, nor do they understand; they walk about in darkness; All the foundations of the earth are unstable” (Psalm 82:5, NKJV).
  • “Therefore their way shall be to them like slippery ways; In the darkness they shall be driven on and fall in them; For I will bring disaster on them…” says the Lord(Jeremiah 23:12 NKJV).

In light of scriptures like these, it just makes good sense to exercise your free will and choose God’s way for your life.

In All Thy Ways Acknowledge Him, And He Shall Direct Thy Paths  (Proverbs 3:6)

~ Brother Roy

Where Are You Going?

where are you goingAcross my 55 years of ministry, I’ve encountered a multitude of directionless people. Usually unhappy and disillusioned, they wander, more or less aimlessly, through the days of their lives. What a tragedy! God has such a wonderful plan for each life; yet so many never seek His plan. From scripture we learn, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future(Jeremiah 29:11, NLT).

There are some humorous sayings that reflect ‘folk wisdom’ on this subject.

  • If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?
  • To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first, and call whatever you hit the target.
  • I may not know where I’m going, but I’m making good time.

When a person has no worthy goal or no laudable objective in life, materialism crowds out commendable direction. Entertainment and pleasure-seeking often become ends in themselves. The Old Testament account of Esau serves as a warning to those who hold God’s plan for their lives in light regard. Esau traded his precious birthright away to satiate his immediate appetite. Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left. So Esau despised his birthright” (Genesis 25:34, NKJ). How tragically Esau’s life seems to have ended: For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears” (Hebrews 12:17, NKJV). Like Esau, we can ignore God’s plan and forfeit our birthright. We are free to trade away that which is of eternal value for that which is temporal.

How wonderful it is to know where you’re going, to follow a God’s plan. My heart resonates with the Apostle Paul: Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14, NKJV).

Prayer: Lord Give Me The Wisdom To Follow The Plans You Have For Me, Plans That Give Me A Hope And A Future.

~ Brother Roy