Month: November 2017

The Upward Way

The Upward Way

The Upward Way, Pressing onward to Christ

There seems to be an instinctive desire for human beings to go “up.” My earliest remembrance of this desire to be “up” was in the kitchen, of all places. My mother was an awesome cook. Every day she would spend several hours in the kitchen preparing meals for the day.


I can recall getting underfoot frequently, so mom came up with a marvelous solution to that problem; she would set me on the kitchen counter, where I could watch with glee as she scurried about the kitchen.


I was now “seated” in a special realm that was awesome. I now had a new perspective of what mom was up to; instead of looking at the pockets of her apron, I could now see into her eyes as she came by, grabbing ingredients from the cupboard; how very special this was for me!


As I got older, I learned how to climb trees and I would tackle every tree in the yard; going up as high as I could!


We had a big old White Pine in the backyard and dad helped me build a tree house in the branches near the top; it was amazing! Once into the tree house, I had a bird’s eye view of the whole yard!


As I got braver, I started climbing a large pine tree in the front yard; it was the tallest we had! Standing about 45 feet, I would climb all the way to the top where the tree was only about the 3 inches in diameter!


The tree would sway when the wind blew and was a little scary! However, from that perch, I could see nearly a half mile in any direction, I could see all the way to the creek behind our house; I could watch the whole neighborhood; listening to the conversations, and hearing laughter as kids played.


As I got older, I was compelled to climb the mountain behind our house; to an outcropping of rocks at the top. Once you got out on this rock ledge, you could see several miles in either direction. The whole valley was laid out down below; it was amazing!


The desire to go “up” has never left me; even recently, while driving with my wife Sherri and our grandson, I spied Sandy Ridge Fire Tower in the distance. We drove through the dirt roads for several miles and there it was! I climbed all the way “up” to the top! It was awesome!


So I have been pondering for the last few days, reminiscing about those years growing up; it dawned on me that the desire to “go up” is a desire that God Himself has placed in every human heart.


Oh I know, some of you are shaking your head NO, you have acrophobia, a fear of heights, and I understand that! Yet you have to admit, we are fascinated with going “up.”


Mankind has scaled Mount Everest, for no other reason that it is the tallest; we are now trying to head out into deep space; we are compelled to go “up, up and away!”


Why do we do this? We do it because we want to see more, learn more, reach more; we want perspective, so we expend all our energies upward!


The same desire compels us spiritually, to go higher too!


We long for new spiritual perspectives; to get closer to God, to learn more, get nearer, reaching higher and higher. We learn that it is God Himself that places this desire in our hearts.


For those who have come to faith in Jesus and brought into His family; we are told that we have been seated with Him in the heavenly realms!


“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6 NIV)


We have been placed on the counter-top of heaven if you will. We are given new perspective and can see things as they are and as they should be.


From this new position, we can see the trials and struggles on earth in a whole new light; heaven is our home and earth is our mission field; this new perspective changes everything!


An old hymn leaps into my heart . . . if you know it, sing it with me . . . if it is new to you, click this link and enjoy!


Higher Ground


I’m pressing on the upward way,

New heights I’m gaining every day;

Still praying as I onward bound,

“Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.”

Lord, lift me up and let me stand

By faith on Canaan’s tableland;

A higher plane than I have found,

Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.


My heart has no desire to stay

Where doubts arise and fears dismay;

Though some may dwell where these abound,

My prayer, my aim, is higher ground.

I want to live above the world,

Though Satan’s darts at me are hurled;

For faith has caught the joyful sound,

The song of saints on higher ground.

I want to scale the utmost height

And catch a gleam of glory bright;

But still I’ll pray till rest I’ve found,

“Lord, lead me on to higher ground.”


I’ll see you on the UP-side!

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At the Crossroads

At the Crossroads

In Western Pennsylvania, we are well into the hunting season and the white-tailed deer and black bear are on the menu! I have spent countless hours chasing down the allusive whitetail; they are amazing animals.


Having grown up in Cameron County, Pennsylvania, I can attest to the fact that we have some of the most picturesque landscapes in the state! Many of the mountains we have are amazingly steep and treacherous.


If you find yourself on the side of one these steep inclines while the ground is wet or snowy, you could be in real trouble!


However, if you look carefully, even on the steepest slopes, you will find a deer path headed out across the steep mountainside. Some of these deer paths have taken centuries of deer hoofed travel, to become so deeply worn into the steep mountain.


The truth is these paths are the best routes to take; they are time-tested to be the safest, surest and most direct route to carefully get these critters from point A to B.


The Bible seems to have a similar strategy for us to follow as well


This is what the LORD says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.  Jeremiah 6:16


There seems to be an increasing number of popular “Christian” teachings out there, which are leading many astray.


New ideas about the Scriptures, what they mean, and new prophetic voices clamouring for attention; many of these “new” teachings lead us down a path that may be rather precarious; we need to be extraordinarily careful.


Someone once said . . .


About the Bible – If it’s something new – It’s probably not true. And if it’s true, it’s probably not new!


How can we guard against being misled? There is so much teaching going on today, and much of it is fraught with error, some blatant, some subtle; but an error nonetheless.


There are some good guidelines that will help us from falling into the snare of the devil; if we will follow them.


A very influential Christian man, John Wesley, founder of Methodism, came up with a brilliant, 4-fold idea, that would keep us all on track; let’s take a glance at it today!


They are; Scripture, Tradition, Experience, and Reason




As we engage this incredible time in history, we MUST be students of the Bible. Scripture is the ONLY reliable source for determining whether a certain teaching is of God or not.


By the way, we live in a country where getting your hands on a Bible is as easy as going to Wal-Mart. There are countries today, modern countries, where owning a Bible could land you in jail . . . or worse!


The Scriptures (God’s Word) can be applied to every area of life, indeed the Bible declares . . .


All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.  2 Timothy 3:16


To be thoroughly equipped takes time and effort; consistent study of the Word of God requires a bit of discipline. Too many times we take for granted that the one speaking knows what he or she is talking about.


It is your obligation to check it out; too much hinges on whether they are telling you the truth or not, and you will give an account of what you believe to be true.


When you stand before Jesus and look into His eyes, you will not be able to use false teaching as an escape mechanism, you are responsible. I too will look into His eyes and give an account as well, but I will not be able to speak on your behalf, you are responsible for your own salvation.


You need to be like the people mentioned in the Book of Acts 17:11


Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.


Once you have thoroughly searched the Scripture for answers, we can take a look at the following three areas to further help us to understand whether the doctrine is of God or not.




We have over 2000 years of tradition behind us to look at and study.


While NOT Scripture, the men and women down through the ages have had to wrestle with the very same issues we are wrestling with today. The Bible again gives us insight into this:


What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. 10 Is there anything of which one can say, “Look! This is something new”? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time. Ecclesiastes 1:9-10  


We can look back across history and read about how others faced these issues; it helps us to clarify the Scriptures and gives light to the topics at hand.


We need to be mindful that it is the Word of God that is the bottom line, NOT tradition, but we do not throw out several thousand years of Biblical tradition because we have “found something . . .  “new . . . under the sun.”




Dr. Vic Reasoner, a noted theologian well known for his scholarship and writings says;


“We believe in heart-felt salvation, but we are not interested in seeking any experience the Scriptures do not command us to seek. We contend for the direct witness of the Holy Spirit, but we do so, on the basis that it is promised in the New Testament. I have no authority to preach my experience and you are under no obligation to seek my experience.”      


It is one thing to preach the truth of the Gospel, but another to actually experience what you preach.


If the Bible does NOT clearly teach that we should experience; “this or that” thing, then we should be cautious.


This is NOT legalism, as some are thinking, just good common sense, so as to help us from falling into error.


And lastly;




When we come to church we do not put our brain on the hat rack! We appeal to common sense and a certain amount of reasoning as we come together. We do not try and rationalize everything either. It was not by logical deduction that you found Christ, but it was by faith!


When you tried rational thinking to understand God, you came up short. God revealed Himself to you through His Word, and faith sprang up and you believed!


While we believe that we are to be a people of faith, we should not engage in “mental gymnastics” either. Common sense and reason will be valuable if we use them properly, after all, they are a gift from God.


We will never be able to rationalize everything we see, but we should not be so gullible that we toss out reason and common sense either.


There will be many things we do not understand.




We are in the “last days” and there will be much deception in and through the church, Jesus warned us! You can use these 4 principles to keep yourself from getting into trouble. Remember what the Good Book says . . .


“Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls”


Posted by onthesolidrock in Faith, 0 comments


The recent senseless destruction leveled against a gentle Christian congregation has left our nation stunned. Tremendous questions that are difficult to answer emerge?


Why would God allow this to happen?

What motivates a person to be so full of hate that they would do such a thing?


The tragic way that death comes; whether at the hands of a lone deranged lunatic, or a band of Isis fighters, causes us to recoil. The level of hatred and evil is intense today, and according to Jesus, will be on the increase.


“Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold . . .”  (Matthew 24:12 New International Version)


When these questions come to mind, we find the answers are fleeting. So, the Christian responds by doing what they have been instructed by their God to do, and that is to pray.


We call out to God asking Him those questions; we call out to God for extra grace to forgive those who would harm us. We call out to God on behalf of those who have suffered heart-wrenching loss. We call out to God!


Our public, prayerful response, often brings a swift and heartless rebuke from people who have no faith, no God, and no hope.


We are mocked on account of our faith, our prayers, and our forgiving heart. Pundits take to the stage and scoff at our backward, silly ways. They shout out


“Where is your God?” Where was He when the man came and shot up the church? Where is your God now?


Those who are faithful to Christ know exactly where God was and what He is doing. He is on a mission to redeem a broken and fallen world. We know that those who have come to Jesus by faith are redeemed, rescued and brought into the family of God.


These rescued ones have been given everlasting life and at the moment of death are immediately in the presence of God Himself.


So, what are we to do about the ugly attacks on our Christian character and our foolish praying to an unseen God? I have seen dozens of Christians take to Facebook and other social media platforms and they enter into a debate; trying to reason with those who would mock them. It is really quite unfruitful to do this.


I have witnessed some Christians become defensive and rude, even getting crude in statements to those who would condemn their faith.


Jesus reveals how we should react when we are mocked and ridiculed on account of following Him, and it is quite different than what I see taking place today.


Jesus said something amazing about this . . .


“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way, they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:11-12)


The word Greek word “agalliaō” which we translate rejoice, literally means to “jump for joy.” So when in the course of your journey with Jesus, you are being degraded by a mocker, a hater, or a persecutor, you ought not to feel awful about it; but rather you might consider jumping high and clicking your heels! Go on . . . dance a little!



Go ahead and shout “Praise the Lord” go on and celebrate, because according to Jesus your reward is outstanding!


Persecution, while not pleasant at the time, reveals to whom you truly belong!


“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”


Posted by onthesolidrock in Faith, 0 comments


Thanksgiving; pumpkin pie, apple spice, and basted turkey! Families getting together, stories retold, new ones shared, hope springs up, and we give thanks!


  • We thank God for those we love, for the new baby in the family, for the memories of those who no longer sit around the Thanksgiving table this year.
  • We thank God for the provision He has given, the direction He has led us.
  • We thank Him for our good health, and we thank Him for giving strength and hope when health fades.
  • We thank God for a free country, a place where we can express ourselves without fear.
  • We thank God for the men and women who serve to keep us free.
  • We thank God for the freedom to worship, to praise, and to pray!


These are just a few of the things that spring to mind when I think of giving thanks to God, but I am just getting started . . .


I thank God that He never leaves me, never! No matter where my journey takes me, God is there, always near, always lending a hand, giving me a good word of hope, encouraging me forward!


I thank God for His laws and precepts, His statues and His ever prevailing guidance; without these I would surely be lost. I would fall quickly and permanently without His ever present Word showing me the way.


I thank God for His correction to me. When I error, when I sin, He does not walk away but rather gets involved. He loves me enough to take me to the proverbial “woodshed.” While painful, I know without a doubt that He loves me! I am so thankful for that!


I thank God that when I pray, He listens! I am so glad that my words do not fall on deaf ears. It means so much to me that He listens to every word I speak. How wonderful!


I thank God for His power, it is limitless! Sometimes I feel so weak, so powerless, and insignificant. I thank God that I am yoked to Jesus and that I am not laboring alone.


I am glad that Jesus loves me enough to tell me that I sometimes try to pull the whole load, and that I should let Him carry it. Jesus is so kind to me, and I am very thankful for that!


I could go on and on and on! How about you? What are you thankful for?


Take a moment and reflect, and be thankful, and if you are like me, it won’t take long before your eyes are full of tears of joy, as the overwhelming reality of God hits you right in the heart!

Be thankful!

Posted by onthesolidrock in Thankfulness, 0 comments