Who’s in the House

Who’s in the House

Ever feel like you don’t belong? Maybe you’ve struggled to fit in with a particular group of people, or you feel like an outsider in your own community.

It’s easy to feel isolated and alone in such situations, but as the apostle Peter wrote, “you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house.” (1 Peter 2:5)

You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

What does it mean to be a living stone in God’s spiritual house?

It means that we are all part of something much bigger than ourselves. We are part of God’s family, and we form a community of believers who are built on the foundation of Jesus Christ.

Just as individual stones are carefully placed to create a strong and stable structure, so God is placing each one of us in just the right place in His Spiritual House.

Embrace your role as a living stone

Remember, you have a vital part to play in God’s plan. Each one of us has unique gifts and talents that can be used to build up the body of Christ. Use those gifts to serve one another in love and to bring glory to God. In doing so, you will discover the joy and fulfillment that comes from being part of God’s House.

Posted by onthesolidrock in Discipline, Faith, Family, Trust
Forgiveness – Not Optional

Forgiveness – Not Optional

Have you ever been wronged by someone? Of course you have!

Have you held onto anger and resentment towards them, even when they asked for forgiveness? We have a tendency to hold onto hurt feelings; however as Christians, we are called to a higher standard of forgiveness.

In Matthew 6:14, Jesus tells us that if we forgive others when they sin against us, our heavenly Father will also forgive us.

This is a powerful reminder that forgiveness is not just about letting go of our anger and hurt, but it’s also about receiving forgiveness from God.

When we hold onto bitterness and resentment towards someone who has wronged us, we are only hurting ourselves. We carry around that burden of anger and it can consume us, affecting our relationships with others and with God.

However, when we choose to forgive, we release that burden and allow God’s grace and mercy to flow into our lives.

Forgiveness is not easy, especially when we feel that the person who wronged us doesn’t deserve it. But we must remember that we too are imperfect and in need of forgiveness.

If we want to receive forgiveness from God, we must be willing to extend it to others.

As we reflect on Matthew 6:14, let us ask ourselves, “Who do I need to forgive?” It could be a family member, a friend, a coworker, or even ourselves.

Choose to release the burden of anger and resentment and allow God’s grace and mercy to flow into your lives through the act of forgiveness today!

Posted by onthesolidrock in Daily Inspiration, Family, Forgiveness


Have you ever found yourself striving for more and more possessions, thinking that they will bring you happiness and fulfillment? I know I have.

However, this verse from Luke 12:15 reminds us to be on guard against greed and the belief that life consists of an abundance of possessions.

It’s easy to get caught up in the pursuit of material possessions, especially in our culture where success is often measured by what we own.

The reality is that no matter how much we accumulate, it will never be enough. There will always be something else that we think we need in order to be happy.

Instead of chasing after material wealth and “things”, let’s focus on what truly matters. Let’s cultivate relationships with our loved ones, invest in our spiritual growth, and seek to make a positive impact in the world around us. These are the things that will truly bring us joy and fulfillment.

Furthermore, when we prioritize our relationships and spiritual growth, we begin to see that we already have everything we need. We realize that true wealth lies not in what we own, but in the love and connection we share with others, and the peace that comes from a deep sense of purpose and belonging.

So today, let’s heed the warning in Luke 12:15 and be on our guard against the seduction of material possessions. Instead, let us focus on the things that really matter, and find joy in the richness of the relationships and experiences that make life worth living.

Posted by onthesolidrock
Holiness – Can’t See God Without It! – Part 2

Holiness – Can’t See God Without It! – Part 2

Today is part 2 of our discussion regarding holiness. Let’s have a quick review of what we touched on last week.


Hebrews 12:14

Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.


These words from the Book of Hebrews seem to echo an Old Testament passage from Leviticus . . .


Leviticus 20:7-8

“‘Consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am the Lord your God. 8 Keep my decrees and follow them. I am the Lord, who makes you holy.”


Since holiness is pivotal to our faith, it becomes a primary concern for us to understand completely what this means.


The definition of holiness is this: to be pure, righteous, consecrated. When we come to faith in Christ, we become holy; purified by His blood, which He shed for us! Remember . . .


Holiness is a product of God’s Grace; none of us did anything to become holy. In and of ourselves there is nothing holy about us; but by faith through grace, we came to Christ . . . and He made us holy!



When we come to Jesus, we were, as the Bible declares . . . rescued!


Colossians 1:13

For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves . . .


We were rescued from a life of darkness and brought into a new place; the Kingdom of the Son. We are a part of a new family and the way this family operates is very different from the way we used to do things. God wants us to get to know Him and to become more like Him, and He is holy.


Last week we showed the difference between what we often call legalism vs. holiness.


Legalism: Following a set of man-made rules so that one appears to be holy before man; or as I refer to as “legislated righteousness.”


Holiness: Obeying God’s commands out of love, thereby bringing glory and honor to Him


When a person is truly living holy (used for God’s purposes only) something dramatic begins to take place in the life of that individual. That person begins to emulate the very lifestyle of Jesus!


Consider Jesus . . . we know He is holy. Do you recall some of the miracles He did; feeding thousands, healing the sick, the lame walk, the blind see, and so much more!


Jesus was, and is, wonderfully amazing! He still heals the sick, feeds the hungry, gives comfort to the suffering, and helps the weak and feeble. He is still in the business of being the Lord and Savior of all!


He does not do this alone; He uses those who truly have met Him and have chosen to follow His directives! Jesus was on a mission . . . do you recall what that mission was?


Luke 4:14-21

 Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15 He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.

16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”


Jesus read from the Book of Isaiah chapter 61; this is His mission and He has called us to continue His mission, until He returns! This is why we do what we do!


It is why we take missionary offerings; it is why we feed the hungry and give clothes to the needy. It is why we donate thousands of dollars to the poor in our community. How awesome it would be if all of us got involved, if all had the desire to serve Jesus!


I am about to say a few things that might feel a little “stingy” and as I have said many times, if I step on your toes, perhaps you shouldn’t have had them out there!


A huge problem today: many folks within the church who DO NOT TRULY KNOW JESUS are trying to represent Him to others! Instead of giving testimony to His wonderful works, they give testimony to their religion! Instead of inviting people to Jesus, they invite them to church!


Now do not get me wrong; please invite and bring people to church with you; but your responsibility is to lead them to a Savior, not a church. Remember, coming to church does not make you a Christian any more than taking your car to the garage makes you a mechanic.


We are called to bring people to Jesus, not a religion! Speaking to the Pharisees who were doing this very thing, Jesus said:


Matthew 23:15

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.


For those of you who have met Jesus; please do not be discouraged, but encouraged, to share your faith. Step up and be the ambassador that Jesus Christ has called you to be!


You must realize that your life is an open book; and people ARE watching!


2 Corinthians 3:2

You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone.


Remember, you and your life, the way you speak, the places you go, the people you surround yourself with; everything you do; even what you think you do in secret, is on display, and people are watching! Recall what Jesus said in Matthew chapter 5 . . .


Matthew 5:14-16

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.


Some of you may remember the stories of King David; the Bible calls him a man after God’s own heart. He was a powerful witness to the faithfulness of God, yet when David sinned, he became a reproach. When you have an opportunity, read Psalm 51; it is King David’s confession of that sin and his repentance; Psalm 51 reveals the way out of sin.


Make no mistake though; the credibility of your witness for Christ is lost when sin rules in your life!


The world today has heard far too many “Christians” giving testimony to a life they are not living! This is the reason that so many view Christianity in such a poor light. People know what God is like and they will examine your life to see if your life reflects His truth, power and holiness; if it does not, then you will be considered a phony.


1 Peter 3:15

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect


I encourage you to be a witness for Christ, but to be effective; you MUST live for Christ as well!


I have seen so called Christians’ act in ways that betray that designation! Far too many neglect to feed the poor, clothe the naked, and give comfort to the suffering.


I have seen Christians fly into fits of rage, go on complaining rants, and don’t even talk about how they handle politics!


I have seen Christians complain when the church is in financial need, feeling like all they have is their own and will only give a smidgen, rather than be generous.  I have seen “good Christians” engage in gossip, to the point of obsession!


Yet these same “Christians” profess to know Christ, but their deeds deny Him!


Titus 1:16

They claim to know God, but by their actions, they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.


So, how does all this fit, with the topic of holiness? It has everything to do with it! Remember, holiness is being set apart for God and His purpose only. As followers of Jesus, when we forget that, and start living for our own desires, rather than God’s, we become unholy and we sin.

One of the most profound instances of a man coming face to face with holiness is found in the Book of Isaiah, let’s read . . .


Isaiah 6:1-8

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” 4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. 5 “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”

6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” 8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”


Isaiah saw God! His first response was to declare that he was undone; literally meaning he would melt and dissolve! He confessed that he was a man who had unclean (unholy) lips and he lived among a people who were the same way and now he has seen the King of Kings!


Isaiah recognized he is a sinful man; and remember, it is what comes out of your mouth that makes you clean or unclean; that is why the first thing Isaiah knew, was that his lips were unclean; and he confessed that sin right away.


How about you . . . do you have unclean lips? What comes out of your mouth?


The first step toward holiness; is humility. The Bible declares:


Psalm 51:17 

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.”


And . . .


James 4:6    “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”


There is something very pleasing to God, when our heart is broken, over our brokenness.


When Isaiah saw his heart for what it really was, he melted before God and was quick to declare that he was a sinful man. An old friend once told me; “Come clean with God and you will be Clean with God.”


When we come to the place of humility and “get real” before God, when hot tears of repentance flow down our cheeks, an amazing thing takes place!


When Isaiah confessed and declared himself to be unholy, God sent the seraphim and they took a hot coal from the altar of God and touched Isaiah’s lips; the part of his body that he saw as unclean!


The fire of God purged the sin from Isaiah! The seraphim said that his guilt was taken away and his sin atoned for!


Total and complete restoration! AND ISAIAH DID NOTHING BUT CONFESS HIS SIN!!!


Suppose you are in Isaiah’s place today, and you see the Lord; high and lifted up, the train of His robe filling the temple and He looks at you . . . what do you say? I am a man or a woman of . . .


  • unclean lips              
  • unclean mind            
  • evil hands                 
  • lustful eyes               
  • greed
  • anger                         
  • envy                           
  • bitterness                 
  • hatred                       
  • unforgiveness


Are you ready for the fire of God to purge the sin from your heart? He will; if you would only humble yourself, and acknowledge your own sinfulness before Him!


When you have this defining moment in your life; when you come face to face with the Living God; everything changes, and your life reflects the One who rescued you!

Posted by onthesolidrock in Discipline, Faith, Family, Holiness, Humility, Thankfulness, Trust, 0 comments
Holiness – Can’t See God Without It – Part 1

Holiness – Can’t See God Without It – Part 1

There may be no other word used in the Bible that congers up more confusion and misunderstanding than the word holiness. Sometimes when we think of holiness, we see visions of a stern and stoic group of people, living under harsh rules and regulations, devoid of laughter and mirth.


Many of us grew up with a skewed view of what holiness is, and many think being holy will cause so much discomfort that they choose to avoid getting to close to churches that espouse to be a holiness church.


I am hopeful we can shed some light on what exactly it means to be holy and why it will bring joyful exuberance to your life; more than you ever could have imagined!


The Bible reveals how very important holiness is; without it, we are in trouble!


Hebrews 12:14

Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness, no one will see the Lord.


In light of this, it is important to understand what this means, so much depends on it! The word used for “holiness” is this:

Hagiasmos     hag-ee-as-mos‘   –  purification, a state of purity; to be consecrated, sanctification


When the Hebrews established a system of sacrificing to God, they built a large temple in Jerusalem. All of the temple equipment went through a ritual of cleansing and was consecrated to God; that ceremonial cleansing, made those objects, holy unto the Lord. All of that equipment was declared to be “set apart” different from other items, because they were dedicated, and consecrated to God and His use.


Remember, God is Holy and CANNOT be in the presence of sin; to be in God’s service, holiness is NOT OPTIONAL! To be Holy unto the Lord, is to be set apart for God and for His purposes ONLY.


Holiness is a product of Grace; none of us did anything to become holy. In and of ourselves there is nothing holy about us; but by faith, through grace, we came to Christ . . . and He declared us holy!


God’s greatest desire is that we would enjoy close friendship with Him. He wants us to “hang out with Him” and He wants us to share His nature too. When we come to Christ, we were, as the Bible declares . . .


Colossians 1:13

For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves . . .


We were rescued from a life of darkness and brought into a new place; the Kingdom of the Son. We are a part of a new family and the way this family operates is very different from the way we used to do things. God wants us to get to know Him and to become more like Him, and He is holy.


There is a great deal of confusion over what true holiness is and we can easily get caught up in what we often refer to as legalism. I define legalism as “legislated righteousness.”


When we lay down a bunch of rules and regulations, declaring that holiness is granted, according to our obedience to these rules, insisting they be followed; that is legalism.


Jesus alone declares us Holy by virtue of being “washed” in His Blood!


The Israelites received the Law of God through Moses; yet following it to the letter never brought salvation. The law was a continual reminder of the sinfulness of the people who were to live by it!


Even today, those attempting to live under those laws, certainly feel a sense of condemnation hanging over their head. They cannot keep to the law entirely; try as they might, they just can’t do it; they live with an overwhelming sense of guilt and shame for being unable to.


James 2:10For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.


We soon find ourselves in the predicament Paul spoke of in his letter to the church in Rome . . .


Romans 7:14-20

We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.


Does this sound familiar; perhaps is may very well describe the way you feel.


Too often, folks will want to “try to be a Christian.” It is in the trying that life often becomes so unbearable that they slip away, never feeling as though they will ever measure up to the standards that God has laid down for them to live by. Disillusioned and sad, they go away hurt and confused; some never recover from this!


When we try to be a Christian, we fall into a performance-based religion and we quickly realize that something is out of kilter here. While the mind and heart may want to change and fall in line with these new rules and regulations, something deep inside intuitively knows that this is not the “real” you.


We tend to base our Christianity on how well we perform it. Instead of “being” a Christian, we try to “do” Christianity; we put on happy Christian faces and say all the right Christian things, trying to assure folks we are certainly a Christian. We tend to wear “two hats” one when we are around church folks and another around worldly folk; the difference is glaring!


When it comes to God’s law, we know it is good. The whole purpose of God’s law was to show us what He is like. It is as if God is asking; “Would you like Me to be your God? If you do, then this is what I am like.”


The law of God, quickly reveals that we are nowhere near being like Him; those laws reveal just how far away from God we really are! Recognizing this disparity causes us great conviction and we humble ourselves and come to Jesus. The law of God helps us understand our need for salvation; it moves us toward salvation.


Jesus declares in John 6:44; “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them” Drawn to God, we come to a “flash point” and then in an amazing, God inspired act of grace, we come to faith and believe in Christ, rescued and brought into His kingdom. The law of God accomplished its mission!


Now, as we learn to live in this new kingdom, the law no longer has hold over us; or rather, it does not condemn us. Oh, it still stands, and it is still righteous, and it remains a strong reminder of what the character of God is like; but we are now on the other side of that law, and we are now safely in the kingdom.


  • Without the gift of Christ, the law stood in judgment of us and we were certainly condemned. The law stood as a reminder of our sinful nature and we lived in fear. Now, as a redeemed child of God, that fear is lifted, and we live in, and under, grace!


We can go back to that amazing passage in the Book of Romans we referred to earlier . . . the one where Paul struggled with sin. The following chapter is a celebration of life being lived differently.


Romans 8:1-11

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.

9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.


So, we can clearly see that when we come to faith in Christ, we are set free from the law; it has done its work and we are now living by the Spirit . . . this is really good news!


Remember, the purpose of holiness, is to allow us to be in right relationship with God Himself; set apart for Him and His purposes ONLY. When we believed in Christ for redemption and we transferred into His kingdom, we became holy; not by anything we did, but by what He did. His sacrifice and His Blood washed away the stains of sin and we were declared holy!


Now here is the clincher . . . listen to these three passages . . .


Hebrews 12:14

Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.


2 Corinthians 7:1

Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.


1 Peter 1:13-16

Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”


In all three of these passages, the admonishment to be holy and to keep ourselves separated to God is clear. Unlike the articles used in the temple of God, we make choices and we have free will. Now rescued from the world of darkness, we have an obligation to stay in the Kingdom of His Son.


We are part of a family, God’s family, and there ARE rules to follow and new ways to learn.


These passages; written to us so that we would be mindful of the awesome responsibility we all have as followers of Jesus and that is to keep ourselves holy.


It is here . . . right here, where the issues of legalism and rule-making and breaking come into play. We not only have a responsibility to God, but to one another. In order to keep everyone on the same page . . . so to speak, we often make additional rules and regulations to live by; markers along the way to keep any wayward folks in check.


While rules and regulations have great value, they do not save. These man-made rules and regulations may keep you from getting hurt or hurting others, but they, in and of themselves, cannot save you, nor can they keep you saved!


Once the law propelled us to Christ and we were born again into the Kingdom of the Son, the work of the law was finished; its mission accomplished!


Under the Spirit, when we sin, we are no longer condemned, but convicted and there is a huge difference! Under the Spirit, we don’t want to sin; we are getting to know God more and more; Jesus is the One who extends His hand to us and says; “Come, follow me.” It is in the following, that we grow and find our place in the Kingdom of God. It is in the following that our lives begin to take on the likeness of Jesus.


I have often been asked by anxious people; “Pastor; is my lifestyle going to send me to hell?” The real issue is not lifestyle, but life. Anyone one without Christ is lost and according to Jesus, they are condemned already.


 “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already. . . “               John 3:18


The person who is lost will spend eternity without Christ, not because of a lifestyle, but because they have not come to Christ.


I say to that questioning soul; they need Jesus, redemption is only in Him. When Jesus reaches out His hand, and you decide to follow Him; your lifestyle will begin to look remarkably like His! Oh, and by the way, His lifestyle is holy!


Walking with Jesus is not for the fainthearted. It is not an easy walk and the way can be difficult. He quickly reveals areas of your life that need attention. He will want you to learn to trust Him; with relationships, finances, children, your future, your health and much, much more!


Keep in mind that you have been transferred out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light, and it may take a while before you get everything right; just remember, as a child of the King, you are no longer under condemnation, but you have been set free!


Let’s keep pursuing the way of holiness together and see where it leads . . . this is going to be good!


Next week, Lord willing . . . Part II

Posted by onthesolidrock in Discipline, Faith, Family, Holiness, Humility, Ministries, Prayer, Thankfulness, Trust, 0 comments
30 Years Ago

30 Years Ago

30 years ago this week, I had an encounter that irrevocably altered the trajectory of my life.

In an old hot, barn type building, I reluctantly sat listening to a preacher man tell of the need for a Savior.

I wanted so bad to run out of there that night! As the preacher man started his closing comments, I began looking for my escape!

To my left sat my 2 children, David and Shelly; next to them was Rev David Archer, hands folded and praying for me!

As I turned to my right, looking for my wife, Sherri, I noticed she was gone, and was now down at the front of that old building, kneeling in prayer! My little sister Jenniferwas down there too!

I felt like I would explode, anxiety was building and I decided to leave the building . . . I needed air or I thought I would die.

When I reached the aisle, I felt a gentle touch on my shoulder; the next thing I knew, I was on my knees at the front of that old church building.

Some say weak men go to Jesus as an out; I wasn’t weak, I was broken, I did NOT want to be there, yet there I was!

Jesus came looking for me, and He gently cornered me that night, and looked into my heart. When my eyes met His, and with tears flowing, I said to Him: ” I got nothing to give you, nothing”

With compassion and grace He replied: “I’ll take it.”

30 years later I still love Him, the oddest thing . . . He still loves me!

Some of my dearest friends think Jesus is a joke, a fallacy propagated for over 2 millennia.

My earnest prayer today, is that the same Jesus that looked into my heart, would be pleased to look into yours!

Posted by onthesolidrock in Faith, Family, Holiness, Humility, Prayer, Thankfulness, Trust, 0 comments


The definition of “contagion” – noun

  • “the communication of disease by direct or indirect contact”
  • “the ready transmission or spread as of an idea or emotion from person to person”

In our prudent diligence, and warranted sensitivity, to fend off a rapidly spreading disease, we need to be extremely careful, that a secondary, even more sinister and deadly disease does not piggy-back on this virus.

It is very concerning when an invisible enemy threatens us, and menaces those we love. If not careful, we get frightened, agitated, and reactive; rather than thoughtful, caring, and compassionate. Without constraints, we panic and begin acting irrational, selfish, and petulant toward our fellow man; acting out of fear; survival mode kicks into high gear, and we begin operating dangerously!

God knows us so well, and understands our propensity to fear, so He gives us His Word to calm our hearts. He says:

‘Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. Deuteronomy 31:8

I sought the Lord, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears. Psalm 34:4

So, as we maneuver through the days ahead, avoid falling into the fear trap, it will be unfruitful, causing great harm to all. Instead, trust God, reach out to Him; be kind and patient with those who may see things a little differently; especially those who are fearful.

Be the calm one, the one who trusts in God. Be a person of prayer, look for opportunities to be helpful; the opportunities to show the power and love of God are abounding right now; don’t miss out!


Posted by onthesolidrock in Faith, Family, Prayer, Trust, 0 comments
Ask, Seek and Knock – Do It!

Ask, Seek and Knock – Do It!

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

“Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”  Matthew 7:7-11

This is a very familiar Scripture that many of us have read dozens, if not hundreds of times. We often refer to this Scripture when talking about prayer, as we should!

This section begins with the admonition to ask, seek and knock. As we read this, we get the feeling that these are not simply suggestions; perhaps the words carry just a little more weight than that!

Jesus does not frame these words with any kind of condition associated with the request; He simply says to; ask, seek and knock! Therefore, these three words come with an expectation that you will do it.

Jesus further indicates that those who ask, seek and knock, will receive, find, and gain entrance. Again, there is no hesitation in Jesus very straightforward statement here.

He says that if you ask, you will receive, if you seek, you will find, and if you knock, the door opens for you. I find this to be very exciting indeed!

In the following verses, we get a partial idea of where the answers to the asking, seeking, and knocking are coming from. Jesus begins verse 9 by asking the crowd a rhetorical question:

“Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?

I can see the crowd laughing as he makes this statement; some parents are no doubt planning a practical joke on their kids later in the day!

Jesus then contrasts the crowd; sinful humanity, against a holy and righteous Father; by saying:

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

We see that “good gifts” come from our Father in heaven. James echoes this truth in the Book he wrote:

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17

So, we see clearly that Jesus is saying if you ask, seek and knock, then God Himself will respond with good gifts.

I have heard it said by well meaning Christians that we need to be careful what we ask God for, we might just get it! I think that is an ugly statement, one in which we think that God our Father, who is incredibly good and holy, who has our best interest at heart, would somehow give us a bad gift!

I think that if I am knocking on a door that is going to lead me astray, God will not open it.

When God opens a door, gives a gift, or reveals Himself to His children, according to Jesus, it is going to be good!

Now to be sure, we can go beyond knocking, and go get a crowbar and force open a door that God is unwilling to open for us.

Remember, He knows what is best, and if the door will not open by knocking on it, it is best to leave it shut.

So go ahead; ASK, SEEK, and KNOCK . . . this is going to be good!

Posted by onthesolidrock in Discipline, Faith, Family, Holiness, Humility, Prayer, Trust, 0 comments
Joy Unspeakable

Joy Unspeakable

As Christians, we should be the most joyful, decidedly free, glad-hearted, hopeful people that the world ever met.

Your passion for life and your joy, on account of your God, should make people stop and stare at you!

“They ought to think that you are downright strange, indeed!”


Psalm 100

Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.

Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.

For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Posted by onthesolidrock in Faith, Family, Thankfulness, Trust, 0 comments
Martha, Martha

Martha, Martha

Martha’s idea to invite Jesus to her home was turning out to be a problem for her. This was supposed to be a good thing. The Son of God is in my home! We had better get the best dishes out, the choicest drink and food; prepared just right! Everyone had better be on their best behavior too!

Mary, Martha’s sister, knew what was most important, and was not about to be moved. She decided to sit at Jesus’ feet and listen to the Words of Life He would speak. She hung on every word! Martha was missing out, distracted by the busyness of preparations.

Martha was so distracted that she even complained to Jesus; “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”  She now wanted her distraction to be everyone else’s distraction too, even Jesus!

Jesus was quick to set Martha straight, showing her that what Mary was doing was the best thing. Not that dinner preparations are not important, but sitting with Jesus is even better!

When faced with a distraction that threatens to pull your focus off Jesus, do what Mary did, and just sit still, and listen to Jesus. Rest assured that you are doing the right thing; the distraction will wait.

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”  Luke 10:41-42

Posted by onthesolidrock in Discipline, Faith, Family, Holiness, Humility, Thankfulness, Trust, 0 comments


If you ever wondered about God’s love for you, consider the language the apostle Paul uses to describe the relationship between God and you; he declared we are, adopted.

Adoption –      “To take into one’s family through legal means and raise, as one’s own child”

“The adopted child is treated by law, as the natural child of the adopting parents, upon the entry of the final adoption decree. The adopted child, therefore, gains the right to inherit from the adoptive parents and adoptive parents’ relatives. . .”

(Adoption Information Clearinghouse)


For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.     Ephesians 1:4-6

Posted by onthesolidrock in Faith, Family, Thankfulness, Trust, 0 comments
Bitter or Better – You Get to Choose

Bitter or Better – You Get to Choose

Anger is an emotion we all have, and how we express it is very important. Uncontrolled anger quickly turns to rage, a form of abuse.

Anger, when properly controlled helps shape new ideas, it is a healthy mechanism used to set boundaries and keep us from over reacting to situations. You may recall Moses becoming angry many times, as he encountered difficult people, and God used those moments to help shape the man Moses, and indeed an entire nation of people.

Uncontrolled anger turns to rage, and rage is very destructive, often becoming addictive. Anger in and of itself, is not bad. When we are faced with a situation that causes us to become angry, we need to talk it out, find solutions, set boundaries.

Unresolved anger turns to bitterness

The Bible tells us;

Ephesians 4:29-32

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Did you catch that? “Get rid of all bitterness  . . .”

Let’s look at this word for a moment.

The root word used for bitterness is:

Pikros             pik-ros’          (piercing); sharp (pungent), that is, acrid – bitter.

Bitterness is a powerful explosive

I grew up in Cameron County, a rather remote area in North Central Pennsylvania, the heart of the Pa. Wilds. Residents are familiar with the term Picric.

Early in the settlement of Cameron County, there was an abundance of Hemlock; it was everywhere. The hemlock trees were debarked, and the hemlock bark processed to produce tannin, in turn used in the process of tanning hides.

Picric (bitter) acid helped pull the tannin out of the hemlock bark. Since there was an abundance of Picric acid, also used to produce the powerful explosive TNT, factories sprung up across Cameron County in the 1800’s.

So . . . “Pikros” or bitterness is a powerful explosive, and the Bible says to get rid of it . . . all of it!

Bitterness usually manifests in three ways, bitterness toward God, toward others, and toward oneself.

Bitterness towards God

Bitterness towards God can happen many different ways, and I have seen it happen many times. A precious loved one is taken away, and there are no clear answers.

Someone prays for a healing, and the object of his or her prayers is suddenly gone!

Someone is faithful to God, serving the church, generous in giving, yet end up losing their job, the house is now in foreclosure, and they are about to lose everything!

The natural question in situations like these are; “why would a loving God allow this to happen?

It is easy to fall into the trap and begin to question God’s love, His mercy, and His wisdom. Perhaps you have been there!

You begin to feel angry at God, and you begin to shrink back from Him. You see God blessing others but you feel cursed and wonder why God is passing you by. I have heard people say; “when is it my time to be blessed!”

Your anger towards God grows, and you become resentful, and question everything God does, you even begin to question the very existence of God. A prime example of this, is found in the Book of Acts.

Acts 8:9-23

Now for some time a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria. He boasted that he was someone great, and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, “This man is rightly called the Great Power of God.” They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his sorcery. But when they believed Philip as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw.

 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria. When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

 When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”

 Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.”

Simon had a bitter heart because he saw the real power of God being used in common everyday folks and he wanted it!

Bitterness towards others

The second way we become bitter is towards others. This usually begins with an offense and a hurt that is not forgiven.  Often this takes a lifetime to develop and can start at an early age. A child, abused emotionally or physically, finding no way to express the pain; become angry, and resentful to their parents or toward others.

I have seen families devastated when a cherished family member passes away. Heirlooms divided unevenly, the estate, managed improperly, and someone gets hurt, resentment sets in. As time progresses, the hurt festers, and bitterness of heart, overtake the person and they become toxic.

When a family lives with a bitter person, life can be almost unbearable! The bitter one cannot truly love, rarely if ever says the words “I love you,” unless spoken with an unhealthy dose of sarcasm.

The bitter person cannot find it within himself or herself, to express hope and encouragement to anyone, life revolves around them and their pain. The bitter heart always sees itself as the victim, the one who is always hurt, and if not hurt now, will most certainly hurt again soon.

The bitter person is almost always angry about something, works hard at producing guilt feelings in others, and when those they must live with distance themselves, more anger and guilt comes rolling out. A bitter person is full of poison and is toxic like picric, an explosion waiting to happen!

Bitterness to oneself

The last form of bitterness expresses inwardly, toward self. Some people see themselves as ugly, sinful, and disgusting. They have committed crimes against God and man, and simply cannot forgive themselves.

They feel as though God could never forgive them for the things they have done. I have encountered many a person with this affliction; when asked; they often say something like; “I hope God will forgive me.” They have not yet believed that God could, or would forgive them.

For this person, God’s forgiveness is just a bridge too far. Many times this person will do works for God, hoping somehow to earn His forgiveness and love!

Bitterness of heart settles in, and in the end, without forgiveness received, the person’s eternal life is lost; a sad end indeed.

The Bible warns us about bitterness;

Hebrews 12:15

See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

Bitterness will defile many if left unchecked and if you are reading this today, and you know you have the symptoms of bitterness; then let’s get healed of this disease today!

Get free of bitterness, once and for all

To get started, we deal with bitterness toward God. The first step is to realize that we live in a fallen world; a world full of sin and destruction. Remember, bad things happen to good people, and just because we are Christians, does not exempt us from the brokenness of this broken world.

The Bible does give us hope though:

Romans 8:28

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

While there will be pain and suffering in this world, God is working in ways we may not see clearly. In the midst of great pain and suffering, ask God to lead you, hold tight to His hand.

As we encounter painful experiences in this broken world, rather than despise God, let’s ask Him if there is anything that can be discovered from this? Not that God instigated the pain, but rather, can God help me through this and help me learn something too, perhaps something to help another.

Remember the Scriptures . . .

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

Many reading this have been through tremendous pain and suffering, yet you still love God! Could one of the blessings be that there is a way for you to comfort others who may be heading into a season of suffering?

Do not become bitter toward God, He is not your enemy, He is your salvation, trust Him, fall into His arms and love Him, let your bitterness toward Him dissolve!

Secondly, let’s deal with the bitterness toward others. Remember to make your anger temporary; recall Ephesians 4:26 “. . . do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.”

Do not allow your anger to cause you to sin; make up your mind you will not do it!

Forgive and forget! Now I know this sounds simplistic, but it works. For someone reading this today, you have kept a running list of every hurt, every offense, and you have learned to nurse them; holding them dear, not realizing that the very thing you clutch to your heart is killing you and is a contagion to those around you!

First, forgive them. That means letting go of the right to retaliate! Give the outcome to God; let Him be the Judge, and the One who has the final say. In your forgiveness, be sure to get rid of all malice, give it up!

Stop wishing harm to those who harm you, stop it!

Once you have made up your mind to forgive; then forget. By forget I mean that you will never bring up the offense again.

A man was meeting with a marriage counselor and he said; “please help me, my wife is historical, she’s absolutely historical!” The doctor said; “Don’t you mean she is hysterical?” “No,” the man replied; “she is historical and is always bringing up the past.”

We will not forget the incident, and the scar may last for a lifetime, but when we forgive, we leave it alone and determine not to bring it back up.

One more thought on this; if you are in an abusive relationship and you have within your power the freedom to leave, then do so; God calls us to live in peace. I have known people who feel it is their duty to live in an abusive relationship, to suffer great pain and humiliation, only to end up bitter, resentful and lost; this is not God’s plan.

It is one thing to suffer for Christ and quite another to suffer for man; you must discern between the two, and make a decision.

Finally, let’s deal with bitterness toward oneself. To tackle this one, you need to believe God’s Word. If you do, then there is real hope, if you do not, then you will suffer a long life of bitterness and die without Christ.

Those who suffer bitterness toward themselves often wallow in self-pity. Many, who struggle in this way, have what we often refer to as a besetting sin, the one thing that always trips them up! They tend to live in a cycle of sin and self abasement.

The Bibles says something wonderful;

1 John 1:9

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Remember that God has provided everything you need for salvation, including the gift of forgiveness. If you have sinned, then confess it to God, tell Him about it! Once you do, then forgiveness comes, it’s over, and He will remember it no more.

Avoid not forgiving yourself, this makes you become as God in your life. Are you stronger, wiser and more powerful than God? I don’t think so! Let it go!

So, let’s get rid of all bitterness today! Make this the first day of a life without bitterness.

For those of you who have experienced bitterness of soul, this is not easy; it will cause tears and great pain. Bitterness has been part of your life, and living without it will be a frightful thing at first. However, to live with it, will cost you your soul, because there will not be one bitter soul in heaven and if you do not deal with it here, you don’t get to go there!

Time to cast bitterness into the sea

For some of you, you have accumulated a mountain of hurt, so much pain and suffering! You have carried it for years and years; it is time to bring it to God.

Mark 11:22-25

“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered.  “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.  Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.  And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

It is time to cast off the mountain of bitterness; when you, by faith, release this burden to the Lord, He will cast it away into the sea, and sweet water will begin flowing into your soul!

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Give it Away

Give it Away

Our world has a growing disparity between those who have much and those who have little. The society sees this, and cries inequality and demands justice!


The answer that quickly comes to the mind of some is the “Robin Hood” answer; take from the rich and give to the poor! We romanticize the story of Robin Hood, the outcast hero outsmarting and outwitting the snobbish, wealthy overlords, gathering their hoarded riches and giving to the poor.


Yet, this tactic of pressuring the wealthy, to give to the poor, seems unfair. Many wealthy people have earned their money legally, working smart and hard to get it. Pressuring them, even extorting them, into giving it to an oft times dishonest government to spend, seems as repulsive as Robin Hood stealing it!


As Christians who champion the teachings of Jesus, why we do we relegate the care of our neighbors to the government? Here is an idea, how about just giving your own money and wealth away, and doing it on your own accord.


To highlight the joy of giving to my congregation, I hatched an idea; we would pray and take the Sunday morning offering as usual; however, whatever amount came in, we would give it ALL AWAY the next Sunday! I talked it over with the leadership team of our church and they wholeheartedly agreed!


We received the offering that morning, and for our church, it was awesome; we took in just over $1600. So the next Sunday, we took 80 envelops with $20 in each one, making sure that everyone who came received an envelope; if you were old enough to walk, you got one!


I preached a message on giving, and the Scripture lesson was from Matthew 6:1-4


“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.


I challenged the folks to; secretly get the $20 bill into the hands of someone you felt could really use it. We would find out later that some folks used the money to put together a meal for a family; another bought the fixings for a steak dinner and gave it to a family. One young boy, about 8 years old, saw an elderly woman in the grocery store and he secretly slipped the $20 bill into her purse.


The stories of that day filtered in over the next few months and it was awesome!


Additionally, it really made no sense from a practical point of view, to give away the offering; our church could have really, really used it then; however God more than compensated what we gave away!


As followers of Jesus, we have the title of ambassador, and we are to represent the Kingdom of God to the residents of this broken world; why then would we willingly give that task to a broken government; let us do what God has called us to do!


Go ahead, get generous and bless a family. If you have enough money to take your family out to eat; then wait an extra couple of weeks setting aside a tip near the amount of your dinner and bless the waiter or waitress; the expression of joy far exceeds the $75 tip!


Pray and ask God to reveal the name of a family that could use a blessing; and then follow through.


An amazing blessing is to take one or two hundred dollar bills and put them in a “Thinking of You” card and write a quick line: “I wanted you to know that you have been on my heart, and I see your need, I hope this helps” ~Jesus


Oh, and remember, your time is more valuable than money, your willingness to befriend someone and walk with them through life, is a blessing that is priceless!


Remember, you are an ambassador and have the authority to use His Name!


Go for it!


Be a blessing and be blessed!

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Let it Shine

Let it Shine

I have been watching with great interest, the ongoing vilification of proposed Supreme Court appointee, Brett Kavanaugh. It is breathtaking to watch, as these allegations of sexual misconduct seem to appear out of nowhere, just days before his confirmation; should his nomination derail; woe to the next one to be chosen!


I have also watched how many people; consumed with utter hatred toward the current president, Donald Trump and the party he represents, seem to have lost their minds. I have never seen such hatred and vile comments ever made toward anyone . . . ever, let alone a sitting president.


As I have pondered these things, I realize too, there is a growing hatred toward those of the Christian faith. We are mocked, ridiculed, vilified, silenced if possible, and are becoming nearly as despised as Mr. Trump!


I have concluded that all these things must come to pass, and what we witness playing out before our eyes, is simply confirmation of what Jesus said to expect.


None of this is new; it has happened before in every generation since Jesus was crucified, buried and rose again.


What we are seeing displayed is the very reason that Jesus went to the Cross in the first place, which was to make it possible for the very people who wanted to kill Him, to have life!


So I watch with curiosity, the brutal and vile hatred demonstrated daily, and I pray!


I pray for those unjustly considered guilty of crimes they never committed.


I pray for those with utter hatred and contempt for those who believe differently than they do.


I pray for opportunities to share the love of Jesus with those who will listen, and I pray for those who despise me because of that!


Finally, I believe this is the greatest time to be a Christian; as darkness settles across the land, those with the Light of the Gospel, which by the way, is the Glory of Christ, will find the light brilliantly showing the way to thousands who simply want to stop stumbling in the darkness!


The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them. Isaiah 9:2 


So I think I will sing the little kid’s song which is familiar to many from Sunday School . . . sing it with me!


This Little Light of Mine


This little light of mine,

I’m gonna let it shine

This little light of mine,

I’m gonna let it shine

This little light of mine,

I’m gonna let it shine

Let it shine,

Let it shine,

Let it shine.


Hide it under a bushel? No!

I’m gonna let it shine

Hide it under a bushel? No!

I’m gonna let it shine

Hide it under a bushel? No!

I’m gonna let it shine

Let it shine,

Let it shine,

Let it shine.


This little light of mine,

I’m gonna let it shine

This little light of mine,

I’m gonna let it shine

This little light of mine,

I’m gonna let it shine

Let it shine,

Let it shine,

Let it shine.


Don’t let Satan blow it out,

I’m gonna let it shine

Don’t let Satan blow it out,

I’m gonna let it shine

Don’t let Satan blow it out,

I’m gonna let it shine

Let it shine,

Let it shine,

Let it shine.


This little light of mine,

I’m gonna let it shine

This little light of mine,

I’m gonna let it shine

This little light of mine,

I’m gonna let it shine

Let it shine,

Let it shine,

Let it shine.










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Old Man at the Grave

Old Man at the Grave

I started a new job driving a tractor-trailer in the spring of 2017. It was a daily route, taking me from my depot in Dubois, down through Philipsburg, then down over Bald Eagle Mountain to Tyrone, where I hang a left and on to Huntington and then to my pick up destination at Mapleton Depot.



When I stop at Mapleton Depot, I am loaded with about 53,000 pounds of silica sand, used in the production of glass. The truck is loaded, and I head back to Tyrone, back up Bald Eagle Mountain, through Philipsburg again, and then hit I-80 at Woodland.  I take the Penfield exit, and travel to Port Allegany to make my delivery to the Ardagh Group glass factory there; after unloading, I head back to the Dubois depot and park my truck for the day; round trip, about 320 miles each day. It is a pleasant, scenic drive.



I drive past a cemetery just outside of Philipsburg every day; once on my way down to get my truck loaded, and then again on my way back through. I noticed a freshly dug grave spot as I drove by, causing me to whisper a prayer for the family that was recently grieving.



A little later in the week, as I drove by, I noticed an elderly man sitting near the grave. He had a walker, one you could sit on from time to time if need be.



The man had white hair, and a matching white beard, all neatly trimmed. He sat with his hands folded, looking attentively at the freshly dug grave. My heart ached as I sped by, and I prayed for the man as I drove down over the hill on my way to Mapleton.



I loaded my truck at Mapleton and headed to my destination, and as I crested the hill that cradled the cemetery, I could see the old man, still sitting there as a sentinel at the grave; nearly 2 hours had gone by!



As the summer drifted by, I would see the old man at the grave, two or three times each week. When I saw the old man, I would often whisper a prayer, and think about the person he loved so much. I would also think of people in my own life; people that I loved dearly. I began to appreciate the blessings of cherished loved ones, and I found myself praying for some of those who I had taken for granted.



The summer ended and fall approached, the beautiful leaves exploding in color, then dropping lifeless; taking their beauty with them as they fell to the ground, blown around by the fall winds; until they found their final resting place; returning to the ground from where they came.



Even as the cool fall breezes began to blow, the old man remained at his post. Whenever the weather would permit, I would see his white crop of hair as I crested the hill to the cemetery.



Autumn gave way to winter and the old man no longer came to sit at the cold, frosted grave. Yet, as I drove by daily, I remembered his faithful watch, his unwavering devotion to whoever rested there.



Winter passed and the spring rains began to melt the snow and I wondered if the old man made it through the winter. As I drove past each day, I thought of him.



On one particularly warm spring afternoon, as I made my way back across the mountains, I spied the familiar crop of white hair as I crested the hill; there he was, perched once again at his watchful post.



 I felt a sense of joy and sorrow, mixed together. I was glad to see the old man; like a long lost friend, a sense of joy sprang to my heart; then sorrow for him, as he continued to grieve for the one so dear to his heart!



I decided I needed to know more about this man. I wanted to find out who it was he sat by, and how they met; I wanted to know his story. The cemetery had no place to pull over an 18-wheeler, so I made several trips to the area in my car, hoping to catch him as his post. Each time I stopped by, he was not there.



On one occasion to the cemetery, I stopped in my car and gently walked to the grave and looked at the name; then I searched for the obituary and found out that this was certainly the old man’s wife, Grace, and his name was Joe!



I went home, doing a little more research, and found out where Joe was living; it was a large apartment complex with many residents.



I was preparing for an annual personal retreat; a time for me to go out into the woods, to pray and seek God for direction; something I try to do each year. I took a Friday off work so I could have an extended weekend and as I made plans, it was clear the Lord was prompting me to go and see Joe.



I drove to the apartment complex where Joe was living, and as I pulled into the parking lot, I could see the familiar golden colored Chrysler Concord he drove to the cemetery; I knew I was in the right spot, and he was in there somewhere!



The apartment complex required a code to gain access, something I did not have, but as I approached the door, a man simply let me in! I made my way to the elevator and headed to the apartment where Joe lived. I stood outside his door, and then I started having second thoughts! Would he let me in, would I frighten him, and would I be in trouble for “sneaking” in?



I went back down to the first floor and went to the office. I told the attendant that I was looking for a man named Joe. I had told her that I was a truck driver and had seen him sitting by a grave for over a year and I wanted to talk to the man; possibly writing a story. She told me that he was in the social room playing bingo and to follow her, she would show me where he was.



We walked into the room and there he was; I recognized the familiar white hair and neatly trimmed white beard. He was engrossed in a lively game of Bingo with a couple dozen elderly folks. The office attendant went over to him and told him that I was there to see him.



He looked furtively at me across the room and nodded, I nodded back, and then I took a seat to wait for the bingo game to conclude. I waited, and waited and waited some more. The Bingo marathon had just begun when I entered the room. Finally, after 45 minutes of Bingo, the games concluded; Joe called out Bingo three times!



As the room cleared, Joe began to make his way out and I carefully met him in the center of the room. I asked him if I could have a few words with him and he agreed; we headed to a comfortable corner and sat down together.



I told Joe who I was, that I was a trucker that saw him at the cemetery often, and that I admired his faithful devotion to whom, I now knew was his wife. I asked him if he could tell me their story.



He looked at me and said that he was a trucker too, many years ago! The fact we had something in common gave Joe the freedom to share openly.



Joe was born in 1938, now 80 years old, his wife Gracie was three years older than he was. Joe said he knew Gracie from high school. He recalled a school dance where he approached Gracie to dance with him; she was a senior and he was a sophomore.



He said he got the courage to ask her to dance; he said she looked at me and said; “I don’t take seconds.” He said she crushed him! “Boy did she put me down right there, which really hurt me bad!”



As I recall, Joe said that after school he joined the Navy and spend 4 years there. After serving in the Navy, Joe came back home, and began working as a truck driver. I believe he said that his father got a hold of an old Mack truck that had two long gear shift levers, and his father could not shift them right. Joe said at 14 years old he would sit in the passenger seat and shift the truck for dad; learning how to drive a big truck early on.



Not long after he returned from the Navy, he said he went to a local nightclub and a dance going on, and Gracie was there. He said he got a little courage and asked Gracie for a dance, she smiled and said she would dance with him this time.



He said; “we danced a few songs and really hit it off, then they played a slow dance and Gracie said she did not know how to slow dance.” Joe said he looked at her and said; “Just follow my lead.” Joe said they danced the night away and began dating after that.



It did not take long for the two to fall in love; but problems brewing.  Gracie had two brothers who did not care for Joe at all; actually, they despised him for some reason. Joe recalled a night when he got in a serious tussle with the two young men.



He was in a tavern after work one night and the two brothers began mocking Joe and calling him some rather ugly names. Joe said he was not going to put with that and called them out on it. He said the next thing you knew a fight broke out, Joe said; “I got in some pretty good licks, but those two boys put a serious hurtin’ on me.”



It was a few days later, after this scuffle, Joe went to Gracie’s house to see her, and Gracie’s father answered the door. Joe said Gracie’s father grabbed him by the neck, nearly lifting him off the ground! He told Joe; “If you ever come around her again, so help me I will put you in the ground.”Joe decided that he probably would never see Gracie again, and made up his mind that he would not go back to her house.



Joe said later that night, around 2:00 in the morning, he felt someone shaking him awake.


He said; “I woke up wondering what was going on and who was in my room trying to wake me up, I reached over and turned on the light to see Gracie, tears streaming down her face.” He said; “I asked her what she was doing there” and she said; “I can’t live in that house with my father anymore, and I am never ever going back.”



Gracie would begin staying with some girl friends while she figured out what to do next. If I recall Joe correctly, this turmoil was taking place in the winter and very near Christmas. Joe recalled Gracie stopping by Christmas Eve, close to midnight, and she asked Joe if he would go with her to a church that was having a midnight service; Joe said I looked at her, and said; “sure, I will go with you” . . . how could I say no!



Not long after those tumultuous days, Gracie and Joe would set their minds to get married, and on June 21, 1962, they tied the knot and began life together. They would have two sons, both of whom Joe is very proud of.



Joe and Gracie had a wonderful life together and Joe recalled the depth of Gracie’s love for him by sharing this following story with me.



One of his best friends was married to a girl from Osceola Mills. Joe’s friend found out his wife was cheating on him and he was heartbroken. Joe talked with his best friend, trying to help him through the pain.



Joe told me that one night his friend jumped in a work van and drove down the hill to Osceola as fast as he could, purposely driving the van into a large tree, taking his own life; this shocked Joe to the core!



Joe, a truck driver, started a trip to Chicago a few weeks after his close friend died, and as he began the drive, he said grief and anxiety overwhelmed him, and he pulled the truck over at a truck stop.



He called Gracie and told her that he was feeling emotional and did not think he could make the trip and he asked Gracie if she would ride along. Gracie said she would love to.



Joe said Gracie drove to the truck stop in her car and jumped in the cold truck with Joe and rode all the way to Chicago, then back to Aurora NY for the return trip. Joe looked at me with tears glistening in his eyes and said; “I sure love that girl, I never could have made that trip without her.”



Gracie died on Friday, April 7, 2017 at her home; they would have been married 55 years that June. Joe said that the last 6 years of Gracie’s life, she developed dementia, and he took care of her until her passing.



Joe told me that he goes out to the cemetery to sit, where he says he prays for friends and family; it is peaceful there. He told me that not only is Gracie in that cemetery, but many relatives and friends are there too. Joe said that when I sit there, I feel surrounded by people I loved and it makes me feel better.



I told Joe that if I see him out by Gracie’s site, I will give a toot; and he said that would be OK.



I told Joe; “you know, in a world where abandoned marriages are normal, and relationships are increasingly hard to keep, it is refreshing to know that there is true love; the kind that endures through the ages; you and Gracie represent that kind of love to me. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with me”



I told Joe that I estimate that on any given day, while he sits there next to Gracie for those two hours, nearly a thousand people whiz by that busy highway; many of them thinking and wondering about the depth of love that old white haired man must have, and feeling a sense of tenderness toward their own loved ones.



Thank you Joe for your silent testimony, it means more than you will ever know!



I will keep watching that hill on my daily run, looking for that familiar crop of white hair, sitting beside the love of his life; now I know his story, and I am sure I only touched the surface. Joe said I could stop by anytime, and I think I might; perhaps I may even play a round of Bingo!



Mark 10:2-9


 Some Pharisees came and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?”

 “What did Moses command you?” he replied.

They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.”

 “It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law,” Jesus replied. “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’

 ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”


























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Lights Out

Lights Out

It was early in my pastoral career; I was serving two small community churches about 16 miles apart. I received a call from a woman at one of the churches. The woman told me that a friend of a friend, heard of a family in the community, whose mother was in critical condition at a local hospital; and would I go see her.


New to ministry, and wanting to be a good pastor, I said that I would go. I put on my pastor suit, grabbed my Bible and headed to the hospital. I was ill prepared for what I was about to encounter.


When I arrived to the hospital, I asked for the room number of the ailing mother. I approached the room with a great deal of anxiety; not knowing what to expect.


The door was open, so I gently entered the room, standing in the doorway. I saw about 8 people in the room, and an elderly woman in the hospital bed. She was on life support; a respirator was helping her breathe; I could tell she was not long for this world.


 When the family in the room turned to see who I was, they recognized I was a preacher; two of the teenage granddaughters, burst into tears and ran out of the room past me. The rest of the family just looked at me, not saying a word.


I began to stammer a bit, as I struggled for something to say. I told them that a friend of a friend of theirs had mentioned to a friend of mine, the situation regarding their mother and I thought I should come . . . awkward silence ensued!


As I stood there, in that tongue-tied, odd moment of indecision, the Lord took action; the power went out to the entire hospital! The room went dark for about 30 seconds; which seemed like an eternity.


The magnetic doors to all the rooms slammed shut; the poor woman on the ventilator began to choke and gasp for air, alarms were going off and the family in the room began to panic!


The whole power outage was short lived, but it created quite a stir; the nurses came bursting into the room, caring for the elderly woman; resetting the alarms and making sure she stabilized.


 When the pandemonium calmed down; I whispered, “Lord, You don’t ever have to do that again . . . I know what I need to do and why I am here.”


I went to the bedside of the woman and I took her hand. I could not tell if she could hear me or not; she never once opened her eyes. I told her that I was a pastor who came to pray for her. I began to tell her how much Jesus loved her, and that she needed to trust in Him right now.


I shared a little more about Jesus, and then I asked if she was trusting in Jesus right now; at that instant, she gripped my hand hard, an indication to me that she heard everything I was saying, and that she was indeed trusting in Him.


I told her that if Jesus comes to her soon, that it is all right to go to Him. I said a prayer for her, and then quietly left the room.


The next afternoon, Jesus came to receive her and she went quietly with Him.


The family, none of whom attended any church, called me to see if I would do the funeral for their mom, since I knew her. I graciously accepted the request with honor. I began the funeral service by telling the very same story, I just told you!


God helps us in our walk with Him, going to extraordinary steps, to getting our attention. He got mine that day, and reminded me that I am on a mission to let people know, sick or not, that He is near, He loves them, and wants them to follow Him . . . It is that simple!


Isaiah 61:1-3


 “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,

Because the Lord has anointed Me

To preach good tidings to the poor;

He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,

To proclaim liberty to the captives,

And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;


To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,

And the day of vengeance of our God;

To comfort all who mourn,


To console those who mourn in Zion,

To give them beauty for ashes,

The oil of joy for mourning,

The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;

That they may be called trees of righteousness,

The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”










Posted by onthesolidrock in Faith, Family, Humility, Ministries, Trust, 0 comments
Carnival Barkers

Carnival Barkers

Every summer I recall my parents would take us kids to the Clearfield County Fair. As we wandered around, the sights and smells gave us a sensory overload!


We would start by walking through all the farm exhibits, cows, rabbits, chickens, hogs, horses; you name it, I think they had it! Mom would want to walk through all the exhibits that highlighted things like canned foods, knitting, quilts, paintings and the like.


While the animals and farm exhibits were interesting, I would catch glimpses of the Mid-Way; the rides, games, and cotton candy were beckoning me to come and see! I would tug on mom and dad’s hand, hoping they would get the hint.


Finally, we entered the Mid-Way . . . WOW what a site. Dad took me on the double Ferris-Wheel, and as we spun high above the clamor, we could see forever, or so it seemed! Getting a bird’s-eye view, we could see it all; and could even see mom; far below waving up at us.


As we began to walk through the gauntlet of games and attractions, some of the game operators began to call out to my dad, and I became a bit uneasy. They would say slightly demeaning things like; Hey you, why don’t show your boy how strong you are, take the hammer and ring the bell; make your boy proud!”


It seemed like every game we went by, some carnival worker would bark out stinging little slogans designed to get my dad to react and buy a ticket to play.


I recall stopping by a game where one of the players was having a dispute with the operator. The game looked simple; a pool ball placed in the center of a circle with a silver dollar on top of the ball.


The idea was to take a cue ball and knock the ball away, dropping the coin in the center of the circle, not touching the lines of the circle drawn on the table. One of the men who had been trying the game, declared it impossible to win; and the argument was heated.


Since we had a pool table at home, I knew I could do it! I asked dad if I could play. He was not too keen on the idea, since I had the money for the game, and he let me play.


I lined up the cue stick and put a hard spin to the left and hit the cue ball hard, it nearly missed the desired ball with the coin on top, but just nipped it, leaving the silver dollar drop perfectly in the center!


The carnival game operator made such a fuss about me accomplishing this task, that he gave me the largest stuffed animal he had; it was nearly as tall as I was! The man, who had been arguing, walked away in disgust!


The experiences at the carnival, reminds me of the current state of political unrest in our country. It’s as if the politicians have become nothing more than “Carnival Barkers” attempting to illicit emotional responses by shouting empty slogans, designed to get a quick reaction.


It seems both sides of the political spectrum are fully engaged with constant “Carnival Barking” hoping to gain the most attention in the shortest amount of time. The goal seems to be convincing those passing by, to join in the hate, and animus of the day.


How are we, as Christians, supposed to negotiate the constant clamor and confusing rhetoric coming from those elected to serve us?


First, we need to keep our “True” citizenship in perspective. Jesus reveals that we are not of this world anymore than He is! “They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.” (John 17:16)


When we decided to follow Jesus, and make our allegiance to Him, we became part of His Kingdom. The Apostle Paul declares in Colossians 1:13 “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love . . .”


Therefore, even though we love our country deeply, our first and strongest loyalty is to Christ and the advancement of His Kingdom!


So when the political “Carnival Barkers” shout demeaning slogans against people, created in the image of God, as you journey by, you can see it for what it is; an attempt to draw you out of the Kingdom of God and back into the kingdom of darkness.


Secondly, it is OK to get involved with the political system if you choose to. If you decide to jump in, be sure and do so with the prompting and leading of Jesus. Go in with a clear-eyed view of what you are doing.


Just like the little game I played and won; the training, confidence, and the backing of my dad, gave me everything I needed to do it and win; you need the same from your heavenly Father, and you will win too!


So, let the carnival barkers bark; it is what they do! Do not believe every word they shout; most of them are not true at all, it is only a ploy to get YOU off your game and into theirs. Enjoy the carnival . . . but be careful out there!


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Are You Listening To ME?

Are You Listening To ME?

There is nothing quite as annoying as sharing a life-experience story; you are verbally setting up the ending, the punch line, the grand finale, hopeful to relish in the reaction from the group, only to have a zealous over-talker jump in before you even finish your thought!


Has this ever happened to you? How did that make you feel? If you are like me, it totally turned you off; it invalidated your spoken engagement with the group. Your story just got cut off and you had the same feeling you get when you are in traffic, and some rude driver cuts you off.


I have to admit, I used to be one of those rude conversation usurpers! To be honest, I still need to guard my tongue, or I easily revert to those verbal assault tactics.


God had to do a great deal of work in me in order for me to see this glaring fault in myself; others saw it, but were kind enough to put up with it, allowing me to interrupt, cutting front of other oral traffic.


I have often pondered why I felt the need to “jump in” to a conversation before letting the person finish. God revealed the answer; I was full of myself and wanted to be important, I was self-absorbed! Ouch!


Once God began to reveal to me how disrupting this was, I found that my listening skills began to improve, and I began to notice how often this “verbal road rage” was taking place.


To illustrate this phenomenon, consider a small group of men chatting about their hunting exploits. Invariably, one man will begin sharing his best hunting story, the other men are already thinking of their own legend, one that will outdo the current narrative. 


Just like the driver who is rushing home after work is looking for that minuscule opening to dart in front, so does the verbal jouster look for his opening, a breath, a pause in a sentence; then wham, they jump in and full throttle ahead!


When this takes place, it reveals the selfishness of that person and the inherent need of an ego boost. It is rare that someone actually learns how to listen more than talk.


The one, who can master their tongue, will gain the confidence and respect they never could have, by jumping in, and jumping on, other conversations.


The Bible says . . . “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak …” (James 1:19)


Now those are words to live by. Someone once said; “God gave us two ears and one mouth, so we ought to listen twice as much as we talk.”


Are you listening?





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The Silhouette Man – A Soggy New England Story

The Silhouette Man – A Soggy New England Story

Annually our family would take a vacation from North Central Pennsylvania to Bangor Maine, where my mother had grown up. Our journey usually took place in the sweltering heat of August; just a few weeks before school started. Anticipation would build all summer long as we neared the day of departure.


The trip would take place in the old Chevy station wagon; loaded to the brim with camping supplies, snacks of all kinds, and luggage strapped precariously to the roof. Mom and dad, along with me and four sisters all packed in and ready to roll!


We would begin our yearly adventure by heading east, out across Pennsylvania; turning northward up through Schenectady, New York, and then veering eastward again, stopping in New Hampshire for the night.


Pulling into the campground, we would unpack the tent, dad making sure it was all up and secure. Once the tent was up, dad would get the fire going and mom would start getting the food ready; normally hot dogs and burgers, some beans and of course, marshmallows for dessert!


Up early, we would be off to Bangor, where we would spend a week with family; often taking a trip to Bar Harbor to see the ocean; it was a highlight of the trip. The sights and smells of the Atlantic Ocean would overload our senses.


I remember the deep throaty blast of the tugboat blowing, as it pushed big ships into the docks. The smell of the salty sea air and the crashing of waves against the craggy shoreline brought fanciful memories of stories I had read as a young child; Moby Dick, Robinson Caruso, and of course Pirate stories!


I was always fascinated by the ocean and found myself drawn to it. I recall gathering stones, seashells, even seaweed to take home, making the car smell awful; mom drew the line with my seaweed; it had to stay behind!


After a week visiting relatives, our journey home would begin. We would go home a different route, maximizing our ability to experience new sights and sounds; often visiting a lighthouse or two, as we traveled down the coast of Maine.


One particular trip home, we stayed at a small campground near the coast; Salty Acres Campgrounds, near a place called Goose Rocks Beach.


We arrived in the late afternoon, and by the time we got the tent set up, it was nearing 6:30 in the evening. I could hear the waves crashing nearby, and wanted desperately to go and see them before we went to bed. I was 14 years old at the time and felt sure I could get to the beach and back before dark.


Mom and dad reluctantly allowed me to walk around the campground to see if I could get a look at the beckoning ocean. They warned me not to be too late; I agreed, confident that I would find the beach, gather some shells and be right back; things did not go according to plan!


As I headed toward the sound of the crashing waves, I came to a forested area; undaunted, I began to look for a way through the forest; I was sure the ocean was very close. The sun was beginning to set, long shadows from the taller trees began to soften the lighting, and I knew I needed to hurry.


I saw a small trail heading into the woods; I was certain that this was the way in, so I began to hurry down the path. I took a small turn, about 50 feet into the woods and paused to look around.


As I looked to the right, something caught my eye; standing about 10 feet from me, was an old man. He reminded me of the dark silhouette man you might see standing by a tree as a decoration in someone’s yard, only this silhouette, was a real man.


He was a thin man of slight build with white hair flowing down from under the Scottish hat he wore on his head. He was smoking a curly pipe, the kind that the great detective Sherlock Holmes used to smoke. He was leaning against a tree. When I saw him, I nearly jumped out of my skin!


I stopped, my heart beating a mile a minute; he took the pipe out of his mouth and began to speak to me with a pronounced New England drawl, he said;


“Wouldn’t be going out there if I was you. Tide does be coming in soon, and fog with it; nope, I wouldn’t be going out there if I were you.”


He put the pipe back in his mouth and clicked the stem with his teeth.


I heard those words, but I was still tingling from the scare he gave me, and I said quickly; “Oh, I won’t be long” then I went quickly into the woods.


As I sped down the path, still shaking from the encounter with the old man, I quickly lost track of the twists and turns I had made. I did not notice the other trails crossing the one I was on either.


I stopped and listened for the sound of the waves and they seemed to be very close. However, the sun was now down low, and I knew it would be dark within a half hour, so I needed to get back, but I was lost!


I walked quickly in the direction I thought would take me out, but the woods got thicker and thicker. I went in another direction; more trees, and now, it was getting darker; I began to panic.


Finally, I saw what looked like field through the trees and I headed toward it. As I broke out of the trees, the field I saw was actually a salty marsh. It was about a quarter mile across; I could see a highway and a small store of some kind on the other side.


It was getting darker and becoming hard to see where I was going, but I decided my best bet, was to go across the marsh, so I started across. As I headed out into the marsh, I quickly realized that the whole swamp was full of channels of seawater. The channels were not very wide so I jumped over the first few.


After about 15 minutes, I was nearly halfway across. As I looked at the little channels, I realized the water was beginning to swirl and the channels started looking deeper and wider; then the words of the old man came rushing to my mind!


“Wouldn’t be going out there if I was you. Tide does be coming in soon, and fog with it; nope, I wouldn’t be going out there if I were you.”


The tide was coming in quickly, so I got a run for it and tried to leap across one of the channels, but it was too wide. I landed about 2 feet from the other side and went in over my head; the water was deeper than I thought and the bottom that I hit, felt like bottomless mud.


I panicked, I came up out of the channel like a wild-man, clawing and scraping to get out, then I just started running, jumping and splashing my way across the swampy marsh, until I reached the other side. I must have looked like a swamp creature coming out of there.


I recognized the little store and realized the campground was not far away and I started walking toward it. I saw a car coming down the road; it was my mom and dad, worried and looking for me.


They stopped and asked what happened, and I pointed to the marsh and told them of my harrowing ordeal. Dad just shook his head and told me to walk to the campground; I was too messy to get in the car.


When I got the campground, I took a long hot shower. I came over and sat by the fire; still shivering, not because I was cold, but because I was still somewhat traumatized by the whole ordeal.


Had I only listened to the wise old man at the edge of the woods, I would have avoided the whole thing!


I still love the ocean, and whenever I get a chance to spend time there, I cherish every moment. One thing I have never quite gotten over is a certain “feeling” I get whenever I see one of those silhouette men in somebody’s yard.


When I see one, especially in the waning hours of the day, I get a little flutter in my heart and I remember the old man at the edge of the woods.


As I remember this story of my youth, I can recall many times, words of wisdom came to me, and I refused them. The Bible give amazing direction regarding wisdom; one of my favorites from the Book of Proverbs ring loud and clear . . .


Proverbs 2:1-9

My son, if you receive my words,
And treasure my commands within you,

2 So that you incline your ear to wisdom,
And apply your heart to understanding;

3 Yes, if you cry out for discernment,
And lift up your voice for understanding,

4 If you seek her as silver,
And search for her as for hidden treasures;

5 Then you will understand the fear of the Lord,
And find the knowledge of God.

6 For the Lord gives wisdom;
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding;

7 He stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
He is a shield to those who walk uprightly;

8 He guards the paths of justice,
And preserves the way of His saints.

9 Then you will understand righteousness and justice,
Equity and every good path.


Oh that I wish I would have heeded the words of the Silhouette Man on that summer evening on the coast of Maine. I would have avoided the traumatic experience altogether!


Heed the words of wisdom given to you; even those words of wisdom coming to you by surprising people you encounter on your journey of life. Ponder those words, consider their value and avoid discarding them.


If you choose to rebuff those words of wisdom given to you, do not be surprised if you find yourself looking like a swamp monster some evening, walking aimlessly though life, smelling like seaweed!


By all means, go see the ocean, explore the world, be daring and adventurous; but do so with all the wisdom you can gather; it will make the adventure so much more enjoyable and fruitful.


I hear the waves crashing, and a tugboat horn blasting; I think a new adventure is in store for me . . . Mr. Silhouette man, where are you?















Posted by onthesolidrock in Faith, Family, Humility, Thankfulness, Trust, 0 comments
Loving those Who Hate You

Loving those Who Hate You

Matthew 5:38-48 ~ The words of Jesus; pretty radical stuff here!
“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
We are taught to “FIGHT BACK” and inflict pain when hurt by others. “You hurt me, now I am going to hurt you.” Some folks you lay awake at night thinking of ways to inflict pain on those who have hurt them!
Someone in your world absolutely despises you; the mention of his or her name causes you great angst! You will run scenarios in your mind of how that person could be taken down a notch.
Jesus does not operate that way, and those who would follow in His steps, are commanded to operate like He did! Let it go! Stop hating! Stop gossiping about those you dislike!
Instead of tearing down, build up! Be an advocate for those that God has created, especially those who hate you! If you only talk nice about those who love you, what is that!
How about sticking up for those who hate you! Those that despise you! The next time someone starts a rant on a person you don’t care too much for, instead of jumping on the trash so and so wagon, shut it down!
Our grandson came home from school one day and told his parents that a kid in school was picking on him. He said the boy threatened to “kill him” as young boys are prone to say sometimes. Our grandson said to the boy, you can’t kill me, cause you’re going to be my best friend!” Today, about three years later, they are best buddies!
Be like our grandson and say something kind; come to their defense! To do less is to indicate that you despise them too!
You have now become as they are; the only difference is that you have cloaked your “meanness” in religious sounding words, while they are simply telling the truth about how they feel!
So. . . . do you love your neighbor as yourself? Why not?
Posted by onthesolidrock in Faith, Family, Humility, Trust, 0 comments
Dance with Me

Dance with Me

The following story I wrote for my true love, Sherri for Valentine’s Day, 2018.


Falling in love is easy, and can happen instantly, staying in love and living life together can be hard. A marriage is like a dance, It requires give and take, and yielding to each another.


This true life love story, is a heart-warming journey of one couple and the dance of life they began together.


Would they make it; or would they need an intervention from the Master Dancer?



Dance with Me


I dedicate this story to Sherri, the love of my life. She captured my heart many years ago, and I am still captivated by those inviting, mysterious eyes.


I have uncovered many treasures exploring the heart of this amazing girl; perhaps there are still undiscovered treasures; I will keep searching until I have them all!




A silver thread


It is January, and getting late in the evening; it is cold outside, four below zero, according to the weatherman. The wintry wind is gusting hard, and there is a chill in the house.


I glance across the living room and I see her, sitting sideways on the couch, feet stretched out, her favorite blanket snuggly tucked in around her.


As look over at her, I smile to myself; so glad she is warm on this cold night. As I walk past her, on my way to the kitchen, I see something unusual; a small silver strand, could it be? On my way back from the kitchen I walk closer to her, looking to see if my suspicions are true, and yes, there it is, a single silver thread, peeking out from her beautiful golden blond hair.


She notices my glance and quickly asks what I am looking at; “Oh, nothing” I say, as I head back to my seat, across from her, in our living room.


I dare not tell her what I found, or she would certainly be off to the hairdresser to vanquish that silver thread from the other recently highlighted strands. As I sit there, looking in her direction, she notices and asks what I am looking at; I just smile.


The silver thread causes my mind to drift back in time, the silver tint bringing memories of our first meeting; well at least the meeting that stands out to me. She recalls meeting me much earlier, and I vaguely recall it.


I do not dance!


I had just turned sixteen years old, recently getting my driver’s license and was out cruising. I decided to check out a school dance. As I went in to see what was going on, I recall a little blond-haired girl, all bubbly and chatty, bouncing over to me with some of her little friends; asking me to dance. I do not recall having ever seen her before, but as it turned out, she was best friends with my kid sister.


I looked at her and said quickly; “I do not dance;” thinking to myself, even if I did dance, I would not be dancing with a little twelve-year-old girl. I decided I had better get out of there, and off I went, never thinking again of the little blond-haired girl I had just met.


Little did I know that after I left the dance, she would go and tell all her friends that one day she was going to marry that boy she just asked to dance!


She recalls that meeting clearly, for me, it was a vague memory. Five years later, however, I would meet her again, a meeting that would change my world, and I will never forget it!


Who is that girl?


I had been away for nearly a year, living in the Pacific Northwest. I had returned home that winter, certain I would be heading back soon. I had been home for a few weeks and on one occasion, while stopping in to see my parents, there she was; the same little blond-haired girl that asked me to dance 5 years ago; wow . . . could this be the same girl?


She was still best friends with my kid sister and was down at my parent’s house visiting when I stopped in. My sister introduced me to her; reminding me that I had seen her before. If I ever did see her before, I never took much notice, but today, she had my full attention.


She was wearing blue jeans and a super soft, tight-fitting, long-sleeved turtleneck sweater; grayish silver in color, a perfect match to the silver strand I saw just peeking out from her golden hair a few moments ago in our living room.


She was all grown up now, she had all the right parts, in all the right places, and I took notice! I often joke with her, that I fell in lust with her that day, but truth be told, there was something much more intriguing to me than her perfect looks.


She makes my heart giggle


Our conversation was not very long that day, but as we chatted, I began to study what I was seeing, and I liked it . . . a lot!


She had a cute little thing she did with her glasses that made my heart giggle. She wore glasses that would occasionally slip down on her gently upturned nose; rather than constantly push them up with her finger, she would wrinkle her nose a little, and while doing that, her eyebrows and ears would lift a wee bit too; it was the cutest thing ever!


She still does it, and it is as cute today, as it was then.

It was not the glasses or the cute way she moved them with her nose that gripped me that day, nor was it her perfectly proportioned body; it was her eyes; gentle, olive green, with brown accents; tiny specks of gold dancing behind the lens of her glasses.


It is getting hot in here!


When I moved a little closer to her and she looked at me, I was startled; I felt flushed and could feel my face beginning to redden, so I moved off to the side of the room, pretending to look out the window, hoping she would not notice my reaction.


When I regained my composure, I wandered back over to her and we spoke some more; I needed to get another look at those eyes. There they were, captivating and mysterious. I could see that there was treasure hidden inside those eyes, there was an adventure in those eyes, and those eyes were calling me.


In that brief moment, time seemed to stop, those eyes were calling me to dance; not in the sense of being on a dance floor, but more like; “do the dance of life with me.” Her eyes were not asking me to dance; they were challenging me to dance; almost like, “I dare you, to dance the dance of life with me!”


Whoa! What was happening to me! Again, I felt flushed and I knew I needed to get some air. I made some lame excuse to leave, and jumped into my car and sped away, going for a long drive.


It was still winter, but I drove with the window down, trying to cool off, trying to shake the crazy feelings going through my being!


Was I falling in love?


A few weeks went by, and I still could not shake the feeling I had; was I in love? How can that be? Torn inside, all I could see were those eyes, calling me, beckoning me, and daring me.


Well, it turned out that my kid sister had a crush on my best friend, so it seemed like a good idea, to get together for a double date. Yes! I was so excited, I would get to spend a whole evening with this girl; I could not wait.


A day before the date, we got word that she could not go; her parents refused to allow it. Not wanting to ruin the weekend for my sister, another girl would take the place of her best friend on the date.


She was a cute little blond-haired girl, bubbly and full of herself. We all went out and tried to have fun, but my mind was in another place; all I could see were those eyes, those beautiful eyes, calling me.


I tried to be attentive to this other girl, but was distracted; to be honest, I could not wait for the night to be over. I am sure the little blonde-haired girl knew I was distracted too; the night finally ended and I laid awake, thinking of how I could get close to those eyes again.


It is time to meet her father


I got courage a couple of weeks later and decided to go to her house and take her for a ride. I recall knocking on the door of her home and her father answered the door.  I stood there and I said to her father; “Hi, I am here to see your daughter.”  It only took him a millisecond to say; “no you’re not” and he promptly shut the door in my face! Well, that did not go the way I thought it would!


I found out that she was a babysitter on the weekends, so I decided to stop in and “help” her. I would go week after week; then my car broke down, and then I would walk, run, or hitchhike the 6 miles to town just to see her. I had fallen deeply in love with this girl; I was in, lock, stock, and barrel; I wanted to dance!


Later that summer, I had a job offer; it would take me to Ohio. I needed work, and was having trouble finding a job in our hometown; I made the decision I would go to Ohio and take the job. I would be leaving in a couple of days.


Arrest warrant issued for kidnapping . . .


I asked her if she wanted to go too, and those eyes looked back at me and in a flash, said yes! I would pick her up at midnight; she came sneaking out of her house, with a pillow and some clothes; jumping into the car, we sped off into the night . . . is this what it means to dance?


We ran off to Ohio, soon to realize that her family was not happy about this; since I was 21 now and she was still only 17, there were warrants put out for my arrest; the charge was kidnapping! Her father was best friends with the county sheriff!


She was able to call home and told her father if he ever wanted to see her again, to get the charges dropped, which he did, and we proceeded to dance in Ohio.



Neither of us knew how to dance the dance of life, so we just went for it; creating our own dance moves; some of those moves were wild, crazy; even dangerous.


No constraints to hold us back, no idea of what the future looked like, we were dancing out of control but did not care, we were together, and that was all that mattered!


My mind comes back to the living room, I glance back over at her, still snuggled in her favorite blanket; a new pair of pink slippers, caressing her feet; a recent Christmas gift from our daughter; our firstborn child, and the memories return once again, and my mind drifts back . . .


We are going to have a baby!


Later that fall; still living in Ohio, I came home from work one afternoon, she looked at me, her eyes full of concern; she was pregnant; we were going to have a baby!


Oh no, what are we going to do? We decided it was best for us to head back to our hometown and I would find a new job. In May, we are going to have a baby!

I will never forget the week our daughter was born. It began Sunday evening; labor pains began in earnest, but a false alarm, no baby yet. The next day the pains would come again, even stronger now, still no baby.


I remember on the 27th, the pains were unbearable and she was struggling. She motions for me to come near and I bend down close to her; as she begins to have another contraction, she reaches up, grabbing my beard, pulling me close to those eyes and she says; “I hate you, I hate you.” 


I pull back a bit, her eyes are full of fear, unsure of what is next, she grabs my hand and pulls me in closer, and says; “I love you, I love you.”


Those beautiful eyes looking into mine and they say; “Is this dancing?”


On the 28th, we became proud parents of the most beautiful baby girl; and we continued to dance the dance of life together.


Time for a wedding


Not long after our daughter was born, we decided it was time to tie the knot, so we got married. I remember the excitement of that day. It came time for the wedding dance, and she stood on my feet; eyes sparkling, and she looked at me and said; “Dance!”


I laughed as we danced around and around, her feet on top of mine.


After the wedding, we jumped on my dad’s motorcycle; I did not have a license to drive one, but it did not matter. We had a small overnight bag strapped on the back of the motorcycle and we headed off to the movies, watching The Fox and the Hound on our wedding night!


Not many years after our wedding, we began to realize that our dancing was becoming harder to do. I was working away from home each week; she was raising our daughter alone and without much support.


It seemed that we were each dancing a different dance and our lives seemed to be drifting apart.


Her eyes were on fire!


I recall one night, coming home from work, and rather than heading straight home to be with my wife and daughter, I decided to stop at a nearby pub to unwind.


I recall hearing a loud noise, it was the front door of the pub slamming hard, everyone turned to see, and there she stood, holding our little daughter in her arms; those beautiful eyes that once dared me to dance, were now on fire!


Her words were sharp; “Your wife and your daughter would like to see you this weekend if that’s not too much to ask!”


She spun around, taking our daughter home; I felt like she just threw her dance shoes at me. I wondered; are we finished dancing? Is this the end?


We tried to change our lives, but it was so hard. We would have another child soon, a son and we did our best to keep dancing.


Our dance moves became confused; I still wanted to dance to all the fast songs, she wanted to dance the slow dance. We began to step on each other’s toes, and the dance of life was getting harder and harder to bear. We were growing weary and did not know what to do.


Back in my living room, emotions are welling up, as my mind takes me on the roller coaster ride, which was our life. She is still over there, and she looks over at me and asks if I am ok, I smile and say; “I’m fine.”


I noticed a new purple Bible in her hand, another recent gift. She has become a real student of that Book, and once again, the memories come in like a flood!


The Master Dancer


One hot summer night, we found ourselves in a new dance hall; a place we had never been to before, with people we barely knew.


As the last song was being played, I found myself at one side of the dance hall, and she at the other; both of us in tears, not knowing what the future would bring; we were both out of dance moves, perhaps this was, the last dance.


As the last song began to wind down, the Master Dancer brought both of us together. He looked into our eyes, and without saying a word, His eyes said it all; “Dance with Me.” It was there, in that hot, musty old dance hall, we said yes to the Master Dancer, and we asked Him to teach us how to dance.


We learned new dance moves


Since then, we have learned some new moves, we have learned how to let the other lead, we have learned when to slow dance and when to dance fast. The Master Choreographer has given us new dance steps; dance moves we never knew existed.


Not long after we met the Master Dancer, we found out that we were going to have another baby; something we did not expect! We would have another son, and what a blessing! Is this what it means to dance?


Oh, occasionally we have stepped on each other’s toes, but we have the best Coach, He is always there to help us when we falter. We have learned to love the Master; He has taught us so much about life, about ourselves, and about Him.


Over the years, we have danced in front of hundreds of people. The Master called us to lead by example, showing others how to dance the dance of life.


The Master has allowed us to dance in many places; we have danced in Canada, Norway and we have danced all the way to the Pacific Ocean and back. We have danced in the Caribbean Ocean, in Puerto Rico, and a hundred places in between.


I am a blessed man!


Back in my living room, as I look over at that beautiful person across from me, I truly begin to understand how blessed I am. I have been dancing with this girl for nearly 40 years, and I plan to finish the dance of life with her. She is my lover, my confidant, and my best friend.


Someone once said, that falling in love is not a choice; but staying in love is; those words are true. When I walked past that 17-year-old girl in my parents’ house that winter afternoon, and I saw those eyes looking at me; calling to me; I fell in love; smitten if you will! No dating necessary, no long courtship needed, I was in love.


To stay in love required more than I was capable of giving, my own shortcomings got in the way, my own wants, my own desires, began pushing out hers, and this would become a great problem.


I am forever grateful for the intervention of the Master Dancer in our lives; He rescued us in so many ways.


To the dear blond-haired girl, with the captivating eyes, I just want you to know how very much I love you. You mean the world to me; thank you for dancing with me for all these years. I cannot wait to see what new moves the Master Dancer has in store for us; whatever they are, dancing with you, will always be a joy.


To those who have been listening in . . .


To my children, grandchildren, or anyone else, who may have a chance to read this love story, I encourage you; do not be afraid to dance.


If you choose to live your life as a single person, make sure your dance partner is the Master Dancer. Life with Him will NEVER be dull, boring, or unfulfilled, learn His steps, and do the dance with Him; your life will have meaning, substance and great joy.


A single person can live a life unfettered by the demands of raising a family and can do amazing things with the Master.


If on the other hand, you wish to fall in love, as we did, let me warn you, it is risky business. Look into those eyes if you dare, and if it is the right person, you will know. Open your heart to them, keep nothing back, and keep pressing in.


A married life is not easy, it requires that you submit to one another, it requires a yielding of your lives to each other; this can be very difficult; you will need much help.


Be sure that the Master Dancer is a part of your lives. Learn from Him, trust Him, and let Him lead. If you do this, your life together will one of tremendous joy full of many great rewards.


Life is risky, after all, none of us get out of this life alive; however, with the Master Dancer, the dancing does not stop when this life ends; it continues and with much more fervor and energy!


So . . . are going to just sit there, or are you going to dance? The music is playing, it’s time to put your dancing shoes on . . . Go!


What the Master Dancer says about Marriage


Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.


Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.


So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body.


For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great, but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.  Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.





Posted by onthesolidrock in Faith, Family, Ministries, Trust, 0 comments
The Mite Song

The Mite Song

The Mite Song
Only a drop in the bucket.
But every drop will tell,
The bucket would soon be empty;
Without the drops in the well.
“Only a poor little penny,
It was all I had to give;
But as pennies make the dollars.
It may help some cause to live.
“A few little bits of ribbon,
And some toys—they were not new,
But they made the sick child happy,
And that made me happy, too.
“Only some out-grown garments:
They were all I had to spare:
But they’ll help to clothe the needy,
And the poor are everywhere.
“A word now and then of comfort,
That cost me nothing to say:
But the poor old man died happy,
And it helped him on the way.
“God loveth the cheerful giver,
Though the gifts be poor and small:
But what must he think of his children
Who never give at all?
Posted by onthesolidrock in Faith, Family, Humility, Thankfulness, Trust, 0 comments


Years ago, we got our daughter a beautiful little green canary for Christmas and she affectionately called it Tweety. It was a happy little bird and when it was hungry, it would live up to its name, tweeting loudly until someone took care of the empty food dish.


Every couple of weeks we needed to clean the cage, and while cleaning the cage, Tweety would often escape; flying around the house tweeting gleefully. Once the cage was clean, we now had the task of getting Tweety back inside.


To get Tweety back in the cage, one particular technique worked very well. I would gently carry the cage to where Tweety was perched, lifting the cage to the tiny bird, calling its name.


Tweety would usually hop into the cage; perhaps enticed by the pristine condition of his home, not to mention clean water and food.


Our little bird flew right out the back door


One particularly beautiful afternoon, while cleaning the cage, Tweety was flitting about the house as we were cleaning his abode. Since it was such a beautiful day, we forgot the back door to the house was wide open.


Tweety saw that the door was open, and just had to go see what was out there! In a flash, Tweety was out the back door!


In a panic, we all ran outside to see where he went. We stood there in the backyard, and then we heard the unmistakable “tweeting” of Tweety. His tweeting was loud and robust; you could hear the excitement in his tone.


We looked up into the tree and there he was, his emerald colors nearly blending into the bright green leaves of the maple tree. He was perched on the second branch of the tree; perhaps I could coax him back into the cage.


I rushed into the house and came running back out holding his cage up toward the branches calling his name; “Tweety, Tweety.” When Tweety saw the cage, he decided that he was not ready to go back in and he flew up higher into the tree.


With my wife and kids looking concerned and worried, I did what any good dad would do; I started climbing the tree after that little green parakeet; taking the cage with me.


I found myself climbing a maple tree with a bird cage in my hand


I climbed about halfway up the maple tree and got really close to Tweety, once again calling his name; but he was enjoying his newfound freedom and decided to go even higher in the tree.


I finally found myself as high in the tree as I could go; the limbs were getting smaller and smaller and Tweety was chirping away, just out of my reach. I recall hanging on for dear life; one hand on the tree branches, the other extending the cage as far as I could, while calling, “Tweety, Tweety.”


I recall the elderly next-door neighbor coming out on her back porch, looking inquisitively at me in the top of the tree calling “Tweety;” she just shook her head and went back inside!


In that final precarious position, stretched out, and as close as I could get, begging Tweety to come back, the little bird decided his freedom would not be denied, and he launched out into the wild blue yonder, never to be seen again!


We were sad to see Tweety depart, but we understood his desire to be free. I think for most people, their lives resemble Tweety’s life; mine certainly did. I felt caged, trapped in a lifestyle I could not escape.


Occasionally I would try and break out of the bondage of the cage by trying drugs, alcohol, sex or some other vice, giving me an illusion of freedom, but I was still trapped, unable to be truly free.


If the Son sets you free . . .


Then Jesus, knocking on the door of my life, He beckons me to open the door to Him. I open the door and stand there; I see the amazing world that I only dreamed could exist. I can smell the fresh clean air, I can see the crystal clear river of life flowing nearby, and my senses are overwhelmed.


Jesus, standing outside of my caged existence, gently calls my name, and with a winsome smile, says; “Come, follow Me.” I step out and my journey begins . . . free at last.


Oh, the devil is never far away, always trying to tempt me back into the cage, calling my name, but the further I walk with Jesus, the less I hear him calling and that old familiar caged life is just a memory.


How about you, are you still caged? Come on outside and follow the Master; He is calling your name, and remember; If the Son sets you free, you are free indeed!


Posted by onthesolidrock in Faith, Family, Trust, 0 comments
A Sheep not a Lamb

A Sheep not a Lamb

I have to admit, I am a sucker for old poetry, Today as I was looking over my collection I ran across this one and felt compelled to share! Enjoy!


Lost Sheep


‘Twas a sheep not a lamb that strayed away

In the parable Jesus told,

A grown up sheep that had gone astray

From the ninety and nine in the fold.



Out on the hillside, out in the cold,

‘Twas a sheep the Good Shepherd sought

And back to the flock, safe into the fold

‘Twas a sheep the Good Shepherd brought.



And why for the sheep should we earnestly long

And as earnestly hope and pray?

Because there is danger if they go wrong

They will lead the lambs astray.



For the lambs will follow the sheep, you know,

Wherever the sheep may stray

When the sheep go wrong it will not be long

Til the lambs are as wrong as they.



And so with the sheep we earnestly plead

For the sake of the lambs today

If the lambs are lost, what terrible cost

Some sheep will have to pay!


Posted by onthesolidrock in Faith, Family, Ministries, Trust, 0 comments
The Sandbox

The Sandbox

I was sitting outside recently looking at the landscape of our small yard and I noticed a slight depression near the edge bordering the alleyway. My mind drifted back 4 years ago, when in that very spot, there used to be a sandbox, and I recalled how the story of the sandbox unfolded.


I had built our youngest son a sandbox, so he could enjoy the fun of building and dozing in the dirt; something every little boy loves to do. During the summer months, he and neighborhood friends, day after day would occupy the sandbox.


As the years went by and our son grew older, the sandbox received less and less attention and began to fill up with weeds, and the fancy digging toys, now rusted tight, had lost their luster.


That year our youngest son Luke, spent most of his time riding bikes with friends, playing basketball down the street, and really did not spend too much time in the sandbox. I considered pulling out the sandbox, filling it in with topsoil, and planting grass.


As I contemplated the fate of the forgotten sandbox, memories of my own childhood flashed across my mind. I could remember hours playing in the dirt, the fun I had with the neighborhood children.


I remember walking into our house, gathering scornful looks from my mother, as I left a trail of dirt on my way to the kitchen sink to clean up.


What was to become of the old sandbox.


I asked my son one day what he thought about the idea of filling in the sandbox, and he seemed a little indifferent about it; as if it was not terribly important to him either.


Over the next few weeks, I gathered up some of the older toys, sending them off to the trash heap, never to be used again. I must admit I had twinges of guilt as I did it.


School let out for summer vacation, and one day I noticed my son, and a couple of his friends, ages 10 to 14, digging in the sandbox … and I mean digging! Over the course of the next 3 weeks, we had as many as 10 neighborhood boys, coming to dig in the sandbox; they were coming with shovels!


The sandbox measured about 12’ x 10’ and they had dug a hole in the sandbox that was about 5’ in diameter and about 4’ deep.


Soon, the neighborhood moms and dads were coming to our yard to gaze at the sight; at least a half-dozen boys or more, with shovels digging away, no set purpose, just digging.


Well, I was astonished and amazed. I asked the kids what they planned to do with this incredible “hole.” It did not seem right to fill it in, but what could they do with it. They thought of all kinds of things from a swimming pool to a well.


After several weeks of intense cogitating about what to do with the hole; to my amazement when I came home from the office one day, I saw that the kids had filled in the hole, and was starting another project in the sandbox.


This time they created incredible miniature cities, with lakes, roads, parks, stores; their imaginations were running wild. Kids were coming to the sandbox with dozens and dozens of matchbox cars, boats, and all kinds of “things.”


Night after night, the kids were filling our yard, and as daylight turned to darkness, they began planning the newest addition to continue the next morning. Amazing!


Important lessons about life were being learned in the sandbox.


The kids were learning incredible lessons at the sandbox, lessons like; cooperation, sharing, vision casting, honing leadership skills, teamwork, and so much more!


After watching this incredible display of innovation and leadership coming from kids, 10 to 14 years old, I wondered; what would happen if the church could catch this determination.


You see, the kids had one objective; “dig dirt.” What it looks like, how it happens, is not important; what is important, is dirt digging!


As long as “digging dirt” is the main objective, then everyone is happy. The minute one of the boys sees his corner of the sandbox becoming more important than someone else’s corner, the whole project gets bogged down; dirt digging comes to a sudden stop.


Only when there is a resolution to the favoritism, or if the pet project is relinquished, can the real work of “digging dirt” begin again.


I wonder if the church could learn these lessons too.


How many times do we forget that our primary focus in the church is to reach lost people with the Good News of Jesus Christ? As long as we stay focused on “Knowing God, and Making Him Known” then we can get much done.


We tend to bog down when we think that our particular ministry, or service project, is the best, or the most important. Our feelings get hurt when someone else’s idea eclipses our own; we take offense and go sit down in the corner, and the work slows down, joy ceases, and very little “dirt digging” takes place!


Sometimes we simply need to come to our senses and fill in the hole and start over! Then digging dirt becomes the primary focus again.


Works for the kids; maybe it will work for the church too. I for one want to spend more time digging dirt than slinging it.


Jesus said that we should be about the Father’s business, and what is that? It is reaching God’s cherished missing with the Good News that Jesus is Lord!


Grab a shovel and let’s get digging!


Posted by onthesolidrock in Faith, Family, Ministries, Trust, 0 comments
Money, Money, Money

Money, Money, Money

There sure is a great deal of emphasis on the acquisition of money and economic gain these days. It seems to fill the hearts and minds of most folks. The recent tax adjustments made by the government, appear to have the potential to create extra income for many people.


Economic growth and financial success could be beneficial, however, we need to be very careful not to place too much trust and hope in those increases.


We have to ask; what is the reason we desire to have more and more money. Is it so we can live a more luxurious life, so we can have the biggest house, the fanciest car, or the biggest bank account?


Too often, we gauge the success of a person, based on the amount of money they can access, or on the quantity of “things” they own; neither of these is an accurate gauge of one’s worth.


He scrimped and saved to make ends meet


I knew a man who never really had a great deal of money and he always scrimped and scraped to provide for his family. He traveled the countryside to find a place he could call his own.


After several years of looking, he found a small property and decided to rent it; he did not have the money to buy.


He worked part-time jobs, even selling Fuller Brush shoe products to make ends meet. He worked day shift and night shift jobs as his family grew. His family expanded; and so did the need to provide.


In order to meet the growing need, he took what little he had saved and bought a small Farmall tractor so he could till the 2-acre patch of land in his backyard.



Red Farmall Tractor


He planted vegetables, strawberries, and even raspberries. He and his wife would can hundreds of quarts of produce to carry them through the winter months; having a little extra to sell.


He put together a small fruit and vegetable stand out by the roadside and taught his kids how to sell the vegetables for a few extra bucks.


As the years went by, he was eventually able to purchase the home he had rented for all those years. The fruit and vegetable stand would help pay the taxes on that property.


His children did not have many of the luxuries of this world, but they had food to eat and a safe home to grow up in. They learned the value of hard work, the importance of strong family relationships, and the blessings that flowed from a home full of love.


He always wished he could have done more


Many years later, as the children grew up and began leaving the nest; the father came to one of his kids and lamented; “You know, I always wished I could have given you kids more than I did; I tried my best, but this little 3 acre plot was all I could do.”


The son looked at the father and said; “But Dad, look around, you gave us all of this.” The son pointed to the beautiful mountains surrounding the little homestead, he pointed to the scenic little river behind the house and reminded his father of the countless hours of joy the kids had exploring those mountains and swimming in the creek.


He reminded the father of the safety of this little village we called home, the love and affection that mom and dad gave all the kids.


No dad, we had far more than most, even though in the eyes of the world we were poor; that is just not true; we were rich beyond measure.


That father was a success story; did he have great wealth . . . no, but he was rich in so many ways. Money could never have bought the things that really mattered.


Money cannot purchase respect or love. It cannot purchase loyalty or the satisfaction of hard work. Money cannot purchase faith in God, nor can it buy you entrance into heaven!  No, money is fleeting, and over time it disappears and all you have is an empty wallet.


Use caution when pursuing financial gain


So be careful about chasing after money and material, because you risk losing everything if you do. The Bible says:


For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.                  1 Timothy 6:10


It is okay to have money, and even lots of it; keeping it all in perspective is what counts. If your main aim is the acquisition of money for the sake of personal gain, then you are on a dangerous pathway.


Envy, greed, and selfishness are anxious to collaborate with you in your financial endeavors. Use extreme caution as you pursue economic gain.


The goal of the man referenced in my story was not financial gain, but rather a safe, caring, and healthy home for his family.


He was a stunning success in his efforts to provide such a dream. Oh, and did I mention this man was my father.


Thanks, Dad!



Posted by onthesolidrock in Faith, Family, Thankfulness, 0 comments