Sun Screen and Son Screen

sunscreenIn the physical world there are often tangible things that have a counterpart in the spiritual world. There is the bread we eat, and there is the ‘Bread of Life’ (John 6:48). There is the water we drink, and there is the ‘Water of Life’ (John 7:38). Again, there is light, and there is the ‘Light of The World’ (John 8:12). In the same manner, I propose to you that there is ‘Sun’ Screen and then there is ‘Son’ Screen.

In my younger years, I spent many happy hours working, playing, and just hanging out in the bright sun. I tanned easily and seldom got a sunburn. The passing of years has brought about a major change in my time in the sun. Health problems have necessitated a regimen of medication that carries side effects. Now, I must avoid any significant exposure to bright sunlight. When I need to be out and about in the sun, I must wear a protective ‘sun screen’.

There is a spiritual corollary here. Unfortunately, there are things in life that can screen out the the Son of God, the Light of Life. His light is essential to eternal life. The great ‘Son’ blocker is sin. Sin darkens and sickens the soul. Until personal responsibility for sin is acknowledged, confessed, and forgiven, the light of Christ cannot shine into a life. Jesus said, “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:22-23).  

The sin that screens out the Light of the Lord manifests itself in many forms. The list I offer is not meant to be exhaustive, but simply illustrative: unbelief, doubt, self-centeredness, pride, bad companions, seeking the pleasures of sin, sexual immorality, covetousness, dishonesty, and the list could go on. Now, for the good news of the gospel, “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:9). With our sins forgiven, there is no longer a Son screen. We are free to spend our days working, playing, and hanging out in the ‘Light of the Son’. 

Prayer: Lord, be “my light and my salvation” (Psalm 27:1). May there be nothing in my life that screens out the Son.

~ Brother Roy

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Optional Equipment

spareI was troubled some years ago when car manufacturers quit including a spare tire as standard equipment on a new car. Instead, the true spare was replaced by the so-called ‘donut’ which is a cheap little thing you hope will get you to a service center. If I was upset by the absence of a spare tire, imagine my dismay when I accidentally discovered my newest car didn’t even have a ‘donut’!

I was made aware of my predicament when a man at an auto service center crawled out from under my nearly new car and said, “Did you know you don’t have a spare?” When I responded that I knew my car was only equipped with a donut, he said, “No. No. There is no donut in the holder where it should be.”

I called the dealer where I purchased the car and was basically told, “You should have read the fine print.” My car had been provided with little more than an aerosol can of ‘fix-a-flat’. I was told a ‘donut’ is now considered optional equipment! I asked, “What if I have a blow-out?” Answer: “Guess you are in trouble.”

There are many things in the physical world that have a counterpart in the spiritual realm. There is a term in use in the spiritual domain today called “cheap grace”. It refers to a faux religious experience that costs little, if anything, in terms of commitment, devotion, or service to the Lord and fellowman. These things – including Bible reading, prayer, involvement with a body of believers, and giving financially to help win the lost to God – are considered optional. Everything seems alright until suddenly a dreadful event happens, and you are not prepared to deal with it. It’s like having a blow out at night on a lonely highway. Only then do you discover there is no spare. All that can be said is, “I guess you are in trouble”.

May I suggest to any among us who may be living in a state of ‘cheap grace’ that we check our readiness for the unexpected. Scripture implores us to “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves” (2 Corinthians 13:5, ESV). Hear the words of Jesus: “Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.  For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.  For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?” (Luke 9:23-25, NKJV). It costs something to be a disciple.

Strong faith is not optional if we want to safely arrive in Heaven.

~ Brother Roy

What Is “Is”?

isWhen a former U.S. president was being interviewed about a sexual relationship with a staffer, the following response was given: “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is. If the—if he—if ‘is’ means is and never has been, that is not—that is one thing. If it means there is none, that was a completely true statement. … Now, if someone had asked me on that day, are you having any kind of sexual relations with Ms. Lewinsky, that is, asked me a question in the present tense, I would have said no. And it would have been completely true” (Slate, 9/13/1998).

Although the former President was evasive in his explanation of the simple word ‘is’, there is little room for misinterpretation of the word in Romans 16:23. Without the slightest equivocation, God’s word leaves no doubt about the use of the word ‘is’. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”. The result of sin is now, has always been, and will always be death and separation from God and all that is good.

The proclamation that “the wages of sin is death” must be some of the saddest words ever spoken. Were it not for the second half of the verse, “but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord,” we, of all creatures, would be most miserable. The good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ assures us that we don’t have to die in our sin. The reality of eternal life through Jesus can be ours, if we choose to receive it.

What does the word ‘is’ mean to you? Does it mean eternal life, or does it mean the dread of death? Hear God‘s clear words on the matter: “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. And this is the verdict: The Light has come into the world, but men loved the darkness rather than the Light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:17-19). If I were to ask you personally, “Is the gift of eternal life yours?” what would your response be?

“Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.” (Matthew 5:37, ESV)

~ Brother Roy

Sam and the Saw

6047e67cbbf34bd9ad6c2155d18ff899-sam-powdrill266My friend Sam Powdrill is an amazing man. I first met Sam at Tenwek Hospital in the highlands of Kenya. Sam was utilizing his many skills in ministry at this renowned World Gospel Mission hospital. Time will permit me to mention only a few of Sam’s contributions there. He was a skilled eye surgeon and established Tenwek’s Eye Clinic. In a place that exacted a toll on essential motor vehicles, he was the compound’s auto mechanic. Who would have believed there would be a skilled ‘piano tuner’ in such a remote a place – it was Sam. He assisted in developing a process so the hospital could produce its own I.V. fluid rather than bringing it from long distances away. He helped design and fabricate a vehicle to serve as a mobile eye clinic to reach into remote areas. He developed his own microscope that is critical to his surgical procedures. Believe me, I could go on!

Because of space constraints, I want to focus on one of the most unusual skills I’ve ever witnessed. Sam plays a ‘saw’. With an old hand saw and a violin bow, Sam can make beautiful music. He holds the saw handle between his knees with the blade in a vertical position. He grips the top of the blade and uses the right amount of pressure to slightly bend the blade. Drawing the violin bow across the blade, Sam is able to produce the lovely melodies of beloved hymns. With the message of these great spiritual songs, Sam shares his testimony of God’s amazing grace. It is truly a ‘soul stirring’ concert, resonating God’s glory.

Sam’s primary desire is to use his God-given abilities to restore sight. Cataracts, trachoma, and other vision maladies have yielded to Sam’s brilliant surgical skills. Using his self-designed microscope and precision surgical instruments, Sam has restored sight to thousands of people in Kenya and other mission fields around the world. Also, and perhaps even more importantly, Sam has used ‘the Carpenter’s saw’ to help restore sight to multitudes of the spiritually blind.

Sam has placed his God-given abilities, great and small, into the Lord’s hands. He serves as an inspiration to us all. Do you have a hidden talent you should place at the Lord’s disposal? I thank God for Sam’s desire to use all of his skills to restore sight to blind eyes.

P.S. – Sam now resides in Wilmore, Kentucky. He teaches at the University of Kentucky and regularly leads teams of Doctors and Medical Students to third world communities to do Eye Clinics. He is still about the Father’s business of restoring sight to the blind.

~ Brother Roy

Happy Camper

happy camperWhen people ask me how I’m doing, I usually always say, “I am a happy camper.” For me that phrase is not a just a cliché. It is my ‘state of the union’ response. I realize that I am a creature of volitional choice. I have been endowed by the Creator with enough intelligence to make choices about how I react to life’s circumstances, whatever they may be. I can be mad, sad, depressed, and etc. On the other hand, I can choose to be happy, at peace, and hopeful in the Lord.

I am ‘happy’ –  “…for I have learned in whatsoever state I am to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:11b-13). The Apostle Paul also tell young Timothy, “Now godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6). We may not be able control the vicissitudes of life that surround us, but we can with deal with those things with “the joy of the Lord” as our strength.

I am a ‘camper’ – Campers dwell in temporary shelters. We need to know that this physical body, in which our eternal spirit dwells, is like the camper’s tent. It is only temporary. It will soon be taken down and folded, and we will move to a new place. We may, by the grace of God, go to the place that Jesus has prepared for us, eternal in heaven. “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:4). We may be temporary campers here, but we will be permanent residents there. Alleluia!

The word of the Lord encourages us to, “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you or forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). 

Conclusion: Don’t worry, be happy. The Lord has things under control – now and forever. Choose to be a happy camper.

~ Brother Roy

Crabs Walk Sideways

crab walkSometimes when I first stand up, I may step a little sideways to gain my balance. Recently, as I took that small sidestep, a line from an old song popped into my mind. In 1964, the Smothers Brothers had a hit novelty song titled ‘Crabs Walk Sideways’. The song was about an ill-fated relationship between Herman, a crab, and Sally, a lobster. The course of the song notes, “Crabs walk sideways and lobsters walk straight, and you can’t take a crab for your mate.”

As is often the case, when an extraneous thought comes to my mind, a spiritual corollary may also be triggered. We live in an era when it seems we are trending toward unlikely relationships. With careless disregard, people pursue involvement with people from very diverse backgrounds and at times diametrically opposed ideologies. A person may offer an anecdotal instance in such cases of a successful and harmonious relationship developing that endures. But, in general, such relationships normally tend to friction, dissonance, and collapse. A classic example is a young lady coming from a loving Christian home who becomes involved with a young man of dubious moral character and a dysfunctional family. That is often a prescription for disaster. In fifty plus years of ministry, I have witnessed an unending chain of broken hearts, broken homes, and broken children resulting from ill-conceived relationships like that of Herman and Sally.

Our Heavenly Father has given warnings against such relationships from His early dealing with the people in the Old Testament (see Deuteronomy 7). Examples of Sampson and Solomon serve to underscore the point. The warnings continued into the New Testament. The Apostle Paul provides clear teaching on the matter in his letter to the Church at Corinth: “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness” (2 Corinthians 6:14).

I am painfully aware that the proposition advanced in this devotional is not a popular one in the social climate of today. It rubs people the wrong way.  But no matter how respectful, sweet, or loving an unbelieving partner is, if they are at odds with Christ – they are in rebellion.

Psychologists, social engineers, and those influenced by them, give considerable ‘blow-back’ about what they deem as outdated conservative religious beliefs. All of this opposition comes in the face of ever-increasing divorce rates, exploding incidents of domestic violence, dysfunctional families, child abuse, broken homes, and social disintegration. These things appear to be amplified as we pursue ‘relationships without borders’.

My response to those who challenge my faith in the teaching of God’s word is this: “For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect? Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar” (Romans 3:3-4). I choose to follow God’s word.

With the passing years, the worms will eat the yellowed pages of a multitude of the erudite social engineers of our day, but the word of God will still be true and the Bible will continue to be the world’s ‘Best Selling Book’.

~ Brother Roy

Wonderful or Wonderfaux?

FauxRecently, I was driving thru a shopping area of town when a small commercial truck turned in front of me. The signage on the side of the truck read ‘Truly Wonderfaux’. Before I could take a second look, the truck had disappeared from view. If the purpose of the marquee was to attract attention, and in my case it certainly did. I wondered if the company really wanted to advertise that its product was a fake, an imitation.

I thought of another similar personal incident.  Several years ago, I was traveling with my son-in-law, Rich, in Shanghai, China. It was my first time there, but as an international business man, he was a frequent visitor to China. While we were in Shanghai, Rich took me to a very large building called the ‘Fake Market’. Everything in the complex was a ‘knockoff’ – a fake. There were Rolex watches, Gucci purses, Nike clothing, etc. The ‘hawkers’ of merchandise acknowledged that the stuff was not genuine. Then they would try to convince you that their wares were just as good as the real name brands and were probably made by the same factories. For their low price, you could look good and no one would ever know the difference.

The situations mentioned here have their counterparts in the spiritual world. It should be of no real surprise to those who really want to see. Scripture says, And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light” (1 Corinthians 11:14, NKJV). The enemy of our soul is the father of lies, the master of deception, and the wizard of faux. There is only One who is “Truly Wonderful”, and that is Jesus Christ. “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6, NKJV). Any one or anything else that is not of Christ is simply wonderfaux.

Only Biblical truth can really be trusted. The Laws of God, which Jesus Christ came to fulfill, are the only true rules for living. We can put on faux righteousness and for a time no one will know the difference, but in the end we shall stand in the presence of the One who is “Truly Wonderful”. He alone is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6, NKJV). Faux righteousness will be as ‘filthy rags’ before Him. At Judgment all will know the difference between Wonderful and wonderfaux. 

Prayer: I want to be “Dressed in His righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne” (Edward Mote).

~ Brother Roy