Friday, November 27, 2015

Sarah! They'll Have To "Kill her"---And Quick!

By John Stallings


The following blog was written in September of 2008 within a few hours of first hearing the name of Sarah Palin. I thought it might be interesting.

Halfway through the Palin speech Wednesday night, the camera cut to Palin’s small daughter spitting on her hand & trying to smooth the hair of her Down syndrome brother. At that point I had to exercise every control mechanism I had to keep from jumping out of my chair. I told Juda, “This is a God thing.” Why? Because it was so real- so human.

How much more could a woman like Sarah Palin do to prove she was truly pro-life than to welcome such a special needs child into her family, when she could have easily aborted the child & few would have known. Again; Palin is real!

Let me be candid. When Barack got through with his “Rock-star-like” speech from Denver, I told Juda, “You can stick a fork in McCain, he’s done.” Why? Because Barack’s speech was so good? No! It was an eloquent speech but my assessment sprang from the fact that, as far as I could see then, there wasn’t enough fire in McCain or his campaign’s belly to counter Obama’s blow-torch like heat that seemed to be growing into a conflagration.

But when Friday morning came I awoke & settled into my chair with my coffee in front of the T.V. I heard Fox news talking about a mysterious private jet that had flown the night before from Juno Alaska to an airport outside of Dayton Ohio where McCain was going to introduce his VP pick. I got excited.

Now the whole world knows about John McCain’s’ pick of Sarah Palin, the governor of Alaska to be his running mate against Barack Obama.

I recently listened for a few moments to Rush Limbaugh & heard a caller say that during the Palin acceptance speech, he could hear people all over his community screaming in excitement while Palin was giving her speech. Another 75 year old Veteran called Rush telling him how excited he was for the first time in years about an election.

People all over the country are rejoicing about Sarah.

But something else is also happening. Sarah Palin is deeply threatening to the Liberals. She brought so many positives the Left immediately started digging for negatives.

We should make no mistake; this attempt at character assassination is just getting started & the objective is to get Palin dropped from the McCain ticket.

One disgusting hit-piece is that Palin’s special needs son is really her grandson & that she pretended to be with child to cover up her daughter’s underage pregnancy. Then we learned that Palin’s teen daughter Bristol is pregnant, debunking the awful rumor but still adding fodder to the attacks of angry liberal bloggers.

I'll stick my neck out here & predict that considering the fact that Obama has been roundly criticized because of his church affiliation, indeed he left his church because of it, & certainly that was wise move, Palin's Assembly of God affiliation will soon come under intense scrutiny. Just a little "heads up." Folks, "we ain't seen nothing yet." If you've seen the video circulating about Palin's church connection, & commitment to God, you'll have an idea of what I'm talking about.

It was reported today on Fox News that there are thirty lawyer/investigators in Alaska currently turning over rocks to find dirt on Palin.

What is it about Palin that’s so threatening to the left?

Aren’t they the ones who are on the side of women & who have so ardently promoted the concept of the working mom? Maybe, the truth is- the Women’s groups aren’t really supportive of women; they are only supportive of liberal women. In reality, they probably feel a woman with five kids should be at home applying for a handout from them. And shouldn’t her union husband be on a picket line?

The fact is, any woman today not knee-deep in liberalism will be mocked & viciously attacked. Look what they’re doing to a good, popular, promising woman & her family.

We should pray hard for John McCain during the next few days & weeks because these angry & vindictive people won’t hesitate to cut Palin off at the knees if possible. This family & this story is a living nightmare to liberals. However I believe this is all going to backfire on them because American’s have a strong sense of fairness.

What the McCain/Palin ticket needs now is moral & financial support. What I’m doing & saying now is very much a departure for me as I’ve never been much on giving to a political party. I realize that doesn’t say much for me but it’s honest.

We’ve sent a donation to the Republican party, for the McCain/Palin campaign. We feel; especially now we should do something. They don’t need large sums from a special few as much as smaller amounts from a multitude of folk showing them they have wide support.

You may have already responded & I’m the one who’s lagging behind, but if you haven’t & this strikes a chord with you, pray about it & do what you feel God would have you do. Maybe you can send a note expressing your disapproval of the way the liberal media is treating Palin.

By all means let’s pray for all the good & decent people, regardless of their political affiliation who desire to serve this country.

As a wise man said, “All it takes for evil to prosper is for good men to do nothing.”

When Old Testament Esther had the challenge to go before the king & plead for the lives of the Jewish people, Mordecai told her;

.....and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this? Esther 4:14

It's possible, just possible that in somewhat the same way in 2008, Sarah Palin has just such a mandate for America.



Thanks for reading my blog.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Do You Live On "Ain't It Awful" Avenue?

By John Stallings

A Great Realtor Has Exciting Prospects-Act Now!

I'm happy to tell you that I represent Glory Realtors Inc., an exciting investment opportunity.

Let me quickly confess that I haven’t always lived there but have visited enough to honestly be able to present it to you as a wonderful place to live.

I am trying to persuade as many people as possible to buy property on Praise Avenue. I don’t know where you live now but it would be safe to say many of you live in exclusive residential areas. Maybe you live on Complain Court, Lamentation lane, Grumble Gables, or Barely Getting by Boulevard, down at the end of the street, next to Ain’t It Awful Ally. However, I’m asking you to pack up, sell out, and move to Praise Avenue.

“Why should I do that?" You ask. Good question. When an intelligent person decides to relocate, he does it for good reasons, so let me give you several reasons to make this move.



Psalm 135:1 says, “Praise ye the Lord. Praise ye the name of the Lord; praise him O ye servants of the Lord.”

Psalm 106:1 says, “Praise ye the Lord. O give thanks to the Lord; for he is good; for his mercy endureth forever.

Psalm 103:1 says, “Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me bless his holy name.”

Psalm 100:4 says, “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving and into his courts with praise.”

Many other places in Gods Word implore us to live on Praise Avenue.

Psalm 96:1-6 tells us; “Sing unto the Lord a new song all the earth. Sing unto the Lord, bless his name; show forth his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people; for the Lord is great, and greatly to be praised. He is to be feared above all Gods. For all the gods of the world are; but the Lord made the heavens. Honor and majesty are before him: strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.”



When you love someone, you are always looking for ways to please them. You will have a keen listening ear to each and every suggestion because you know that some special day such as a birthday or Christmas is coming up and you don’t want to miss an opportunity to please the one you love. If you catch the slightest hint, you will file it away until you can fulfill that desire.

Some people are terribly hard to please, but look how easy our God has made it for us. He has plainly told us that He craves our love and praise so much that if we build him a house of praise He’ll be quick to inhabit it. To be frank, the very reason He created us was so that the creature could praise the creator. When a child climbs in his fathers lap and gives him love, the father receives great joy from it. Likewise our God receives genuine pleasure when we respond to His love for us with expressions of worship and praise.



Nothing blesses us in every way more than praise does. Note that God is always seeking to do us, His children good. A close investigation of all Gods commandments will prove that they are all designed for our benefit. If you feel that God isn’t answering your prayers, maybe you could make a change and start mingling more praise with your petitions and see what happens. When you and I start to recognize the goodness and mercies of God He will then start to consider our wants and needs more. Praise benefits us in another way, in that it will always make the devil run. Have you ever noticed that if you are talking to a person about someone they don’t have much affection for, the more you say positive about that person, the more uncomfortable the person is who doesn’t like them. If you don’t stop building that person up, you’ll soon lose your audience. That’s what praise does to Satan. He so despises God that he won’t be around long when we start to praise the Lord.



As soon as you make the move to praise avenue, you’ll get a protection policy, not that you’ll never have a problem, but that God will always go through it with you. Someone might ask; if I already have problems and a move to praise avenue won’t guarantee no problems, why should I move? The answer is simple. If we try to solve life’s problems by ourselves, we are sure to end up in trouble. But if we live on Praise Avenue, God will fight our battles for us. The bottom line is; without praise, life will sooner or later become too much for us.

Think about how faithful God has always been to wake you in the morning as well as sustain, protect and provide for you with such regularity. Think how he’s blessed you with sight, hearing, and the ability to move around and enjoy life. If you saw the movie The Passion, it reminded you of what Jesus went through to purchase our salvation.

Should we not sing with the songwriter?




Our ability to burst into praise regardless of the circumstances is truly a measure of the quality and quantity of our faith in God. If we believe that God is both willing and able to do “exceedingly abundantly above all we could ask or think,” if we believe that our lives are in his care, if we really believe that nothing comes to us except what in His providence He allows, why would we not praise him in bad times as well as good?

As the old song goes, “anyone can sing when the suns shining bright, but you need a song in your heart at night.”

When you live on praise Avenue, you may be “troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted but not forsaken; cast down but not destroyed.” 2 Corinthians 4:8-9.

You see, even in the darkest circumstances, we can praise God because we know that all things are not good, but “all things work together for good to them that love God. “Romans 8:28. When we believe Him, we turn everything over to Him and praise Him for whatever he does.

Some well known Old Testament residents of Praise Avenue are Jehoshaphat and his army, who were surrounded by three hostile armies. The story says, “Then Jehoshaphat appointed singers unto the Lord and that should praise the beauty of holiness as they went out before the army, and to say “ Praise the Lord; for his mercy endureth forever.” 2 Chronicles 20:19-21.

Notice that Jehoshaphat put his full trust in the word of the Lord, not stationing the praisers behind the army where they’d have some measure of protection. No, they were stationed before the army relying on the fact that their praises would be suitable habitation for an all-powerful God who would fight their battle for them.

Two well known New Testament occupants of Praise Avenue are Paul and Silas. They had been thrown in jail in Philippi on trumped up charges. They had been flogged and their backs were sore and swollen. Their feet were in hard, brutal stocks. Every movement added more pain. By all rights they’d have been complaining but they weren’t. Instead they decided to praise God. And God, the mighty deliverer responded to those praises. The record says that suddenly a great earthquake came and the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s hands were loosed. Hallelujah!!!

The fact that God shows up when we praise is a good reason to keep praising, isn’t it?



You can read Revelation 5:11-14 and Revelation 19 for a lifestyle of the redeemed as pictured by John the Revelator. In Revelation 5:11-13 John gets a glimpse on the inside of heaven and paints a word picture of a glorious service in heaven. He says;

“And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne, and the beasts, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing. And every creature that was in heaven, and on the earth and under the earth, and such as are in the sea and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing and honor and glory be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever and ever.” Hallelujah!!!

I don’t know how many trillions that is but let’s say that John saw more angels praising God than our minds can comprehend.

Aren’t you glad that this old world isn’t our home; we’re just pilgrims passing through? We have a lot to look forward to because according to John, we’ll join the saints of all the ages and engage in Praising God throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity.

So I’ll tell you what. In the light of all we’ve said, I have decided to move to praise Avenue and I’m inviting all of you to move with me. Regardless of our problems, let us praise the Lord.

God forbid, but if you sprain your ankle, praise him that he’s Jehovah Rophe, the mighty healer.

God forbid, but if you are dead broke, and the bills are high, and funds low, praise God he’s Jehovah Jireh, our provider.

God forbid, but if your spouse runs out on you or your children turn their backs on you, praise God He’s Jehovah Shammah and He’ll never leave you or forsake you.

God forbid, but if one day the devil, the accuser of the brethren, mounts a massive offensive against you and you feel your filthy rag of righteousness is filthier than ever, praise God that Jehovah Tsidkenu is only a prayer away and is eager to cover you with His robe of righteousness.

Have you ever noticed that the last five Psalms start with the words, “Praise ye the Lord?”
Reading these Psalms gives us the principles for improving the emotional landscape of our minds and the attitude structure of our hearts, so that we may have a blessed and happy life. The One-hundred fiftieth Psalm says;




Have a happy & blessed Thanksgiving,


Thursday, November 19, 2015

Was Jesus A Poor Man?

by John Stallings

First let’s define poverty.

  If I understand what poverty is, it’s living without the basic necessities of life.

Let’s go back to Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem’s manger. The three kings who came to see Jesus brought expensive gifts to Him. I don’t think Mary & Joseph can be categorized as thoughtless so they no doubt saved these gifts & used the money for the support of their child. They knew their Son was divine & no doubt they kept the money for Him. Perhaps it was used to help Jesus start His ministry. Maybe Joseph even used some of the money to start his carpentry business in Nazareth.

Jesus grew up working as a carpenter & though it wasn’t a rich man’s business, in Jesus’ day carpenters were fairly well paid. Jesus wasn’t a poverty stricken waif, floating around trying to eek out a living. He obviously had enough funds that a treasury was required. Even though His treasurer was steeling from Him, as far as I can see there’s no hint that His needs weren’t met.

I’m won’t go as far as some T.V evangelists & say that Jesus was dripping with wealth because I suspect they preach that to justify their opulent lifestyles. But God certainly wouldn’t have allowed His Son to the walk the earth & establish His kingdom without the basic necessities of life.

Also Jesus had the first “MasterCard.” When The Master had need of anything the “heavenly MasterCard” was used. You will remember when He needed money to pay His taxes, Jesus sent the disciples fishing & they found money in a fish’s mouth. In Luke 8:1-3 we’re told when Jesus started His ministry there were some who “ministered to Him out of their substance.”

In John 1:38 some of John’s disciples came to Jesus & asked Him where He stayed & He said “Come & see.” The narrative said they came to where Jesus stayed & stayed with Him for a day. He must have had a dwelling place that was fairly spacious.

If wealthy Joseph cared enough about Jesus to give Him his tomb for burial, he must have also been a contributor to Jesus’ ministry.

One thing is evident to me & that is Jesus didn’t consider Himself poor. In Mark 14 while He was dining in the home of Simon a woman came in with an alabaster box of expensive perfume & started to pour it on Jesus. Some who were present became indignant & remarked that the money should have been given to the poor. Jesus said,--“let her alone; why do you bother her? She has done a good deed to me. The poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.”

Jesus didn’t count Himself among the poor for the simple reason that He wasn’t. He wasn’t necessarily wealthy (earthly speaking) but Jesus wasn’t poor. Jesus didn’t shy away from wealthy people. He stayed in their homes & ate at their tables.

To this writer Jesus wasn’t poor if we use the above criteria. But in another way He was poor.

2 Corinthians 8:9 says….though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich. Though Jesus didn’t carry title deeds in His pocket, without question He owned every piece of real estate He ever walked on.

I think we can safely say that anything on earth when compared to heaven is lean pickings, & of course Jesus left heaven to come to earth. That’s what Paul is speaking of when He said Jesus was rich but became poor.

When Jesus said He had no place to lay His head He couldn’t have meant He couldn’t afford a place to live. He wasn’t commenting on His financial status or lack of a home but on the itinerant nature of His ministry that allowed Him little opportunity to sleep in His own bed. As an evangelist I’ve “been there, done that, & have a back & knees that predict the weather to show for it.”

The disciples didn’t consider themselves poor men & there’s a story that bears this out in Mark 10:23-27. Jesus said how hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God. And the disciples were amazed at His words……it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.

Did you notice the surprised response of the disciples? They said…then who can be saved? --- Would poor men respond in that way? I can’t see how they could, do you? If they were poor they’d have acted joyous over that comment but instead they were shocked by it.The narrative uses the word astonished twice, in other words if you'll pardon my expression they were "Flabbergasted" that Jesus would say such a thing.

We’ve established something about Jesus’ personal finances, so let’s look at the most important issue; what did Jesus think about money? What did He teach about giving & what were His warnings? We know that Jesus warned about the peril of riches. Of the 43 parables He told, 27 (62%) of them were about money.

One out of 10 verses in the four gospels (288) deals with money. The Bible has 500 verses on prayer, fewer than 500 on faith, but more than 2,000 on money. Money is inanimate & can light up a church or a brothel; it all depends on the way it’s used.

In Matthew 6:19-21 Jesus said, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth where moth & rust destroy & where thieves break through & steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven where neither moth nor rust destroys & where thieves do not break through & steal; for where your treasure is there will your heart be also.

In Matthew 6:24 ---No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one & love the other or else he will hold to one & despise the other. Ye cannot serve God & mammon.

In Mark 10:29-30 Jesus said….there is no man that hath left house or brethren or sister, or mother or father, or wife or children or lands, for my sake & the gospel’s, but he shall receive an hundred fold now in this time ,houses & brethren & sisters & mothers & children & lands with persecutions; & in the world to come eternal life.

In Matthew 6:33 Jesus said,--But seek ye first the kingdom of God & His righteousness; & all these things shall be added unto you.

So we see that Jesus teaches us that the problem isn’t having money but loving & trusting in money rather than God.

Exactly what is money?

Money is first & foremost a medium of exchange. No one invented money, it simply developed. In past history, many things have served as money. However, people who wanted to exchange things in a barter system found it hard to find someone with exactly what they wanted. Money became a convenience making exchanging more efficient than bartering. Now a farmer needing a truck doesn’t have to figure out how many cows he has to exchange for it.

Money soon morphed into (& here’s where it gained its psychological power) a measure of value. Now a man could know what things were worth & sadly he could think he knew what he was worth. Personally I can respect a man worth a million dollars who doesn’t have a cent, more than a man who has a million dollars who isn’t worth a cent.

Now a man could store up wealth he didn’t need immediately. It would be hard to “store up” vegetables or animals. Money also made it possible to put off payment until some later time giving the owner of the money an opportunity to charge a fee (interest) for the deferment.

Hence money’s power; money slowly & subtly gained a sinister power over peoples minds. Now money has morphed into “mammon.”

Watch this carefully; Jesus didn’t say, “You can’t serve good & evil.” He didn’t even say “you can’t serve God & evil.” What Jesus did say was….You can’t serve God & money. What does that tell you? It tells us that money has transformed itself into a God or an idol. Man is sinful by nature & prone to construct Gods. It was just a natural course of events that money would be turned into a God & this is exactly what it is in many peoples lives.

In His Luke 16 story about the rich man & Lazarus, the rich man didn’t go to hell because he was rich but rather because of his godless, self-centered lifestyle. Paul tells us that… the love of money is the root of all evil.

A few translations of the Bible have changed it to--- “the love of money is the root of many evil things,” but the Bible says, --- the love of money is the root of all evil.

 I’m going to make a few statements that might shock you but I think if you’ve read this far you’ll give me a little slack here.  In our affluent society what do people really need God for? As Christians we all know we need God in a thousand ways no matter how rich we may be, but just humor me for a moment. The way a person blinded spiritually by money would see it, why does he need God when he carries a Blue Cross Blue Shield card in his pocket that will take care of any health problems he might have? He has a wad of credit cards, plenty of money in the bank & when he gets too old to be alone he’ll go to a nice nursing home & probably die painlessly some day.

Can you see how money can deaden a man’s responsiveness to God? Money can & does foster in man feelings of self-sufficiency. That’s why Christians are warned to be on guard & beware the enticements of money & not fall victim to materialism, selfishness, greed or idolatry.

We are mandated as Christians to work hard & generate wealth if at all possible & we are also told to use our money in ways that are consistent with Christian values.

As someone aptly put it; if your treasure is on earth, you are headed away from it. If your treasure is in heaven you are always headed toward it.

Aim at heaven & you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth & you will get neither.



Tuesday, November 17, 2015


By John Stallings

James 1:19,


Some situations in life require quick action or lost opportunity. Other things require patience in order to see good results. We can all look back on things we missed because we hesitated, and we can reflect on things that we ruined because we rushed them.

Here are two realities that coexist in our lives; that hesitation can bring defeat when otherwise assured, and that patience and steadfastness are the requirements in victory in other endeavors.


At our house we use our microwave oven a lot. For years, I’ve gotten up every morning and put a cup of water in the microwave and patted my foot, waiting for the water to boil. Though this process takes only a few minutes, sometimes it seems like eternity to me. Obviously we use the microwave when we want quick results.

Life sometimes hands us microwave situations.

In Joshua 7:1-15 there’s the story of Joshua leading Israel and experiencing defeat at Ai. Joshua was on his face crying to God for help when God spoke, telling him to get up and go deal with the sin [the accursed thing] in their camp. There were actions and attitudes that were clearly hindering the forward progress of God’s people, and a rapid response was called for.

When sin is involved, we can never let it marinate, for if coddled, its roots will only grow deeper.

In 1 Corinthians 5, action against sin was urgently called for. Paul wrote the Corinthian church, telling them of the fornicators who were residing among them; telling them to move immediately and purge out that leaven.

Often doctors are faced with such dilemmas concerning people’s health status. Many times a person is brought into a hospital and wheeled to immediate surgery, if their situation is deemed critical; and other times they engage in “watchful waiting.

Where sin’s involved, God never advocates “watchful waiting.”

In 2 John 9-10 John spoke of people coming into the church with discrepancies in their doctrine about who Christ was and John told them to “not receive them, or wish them Gods speed.” Microwave action was called for when it came to the confusion about the person of Christ.

When the will of God is already clearly revealed, action is the only policy. In Acts 22:16, after Paul was converted, Ananias spoke to him and said, why do you tarry? Arise and be baptized. Paul’s clear duty was before him; he should be swift and do it.

In Acts chapter six, there arose a need within the congregation, accompanied by murmuring, involving the care of the widows. The disciples didn’t “marinate” the idea; they took immediate action to meet the need, organizing and electing the first deacons. After that wise action, the church had a great new burst of growth. That was a very “microwaveable situation.”


In Acts 8, Phillip was preaching a great revival in Samaria when God spoke to him to go down to the desert of Gaza. To the natural mind, it would make little sense for a preacher to leave a great revival and go to the desert. Nevertheless, Phillip obeyed and met an Ethiopian Eunuch, the treasurer of that Nation, who was returning from worshipping in Jerusalem. It was opportunity on wheels, and Phillip had to run to catch his chariot. The act of obedience resulted in Philip leading him to Christ, and baptizing him. It is said that the eunuch carried the Gospel back to his country and many turned to Christ because of Philips prompt obedience to God.


Once in a while when my wife cooks, she will prepare meat in a special way that requires soaking or “steeping” it for a long time in certain juices. This process is called “marinating.” When done properly, it has a delicious effect on the flavor and texture of meat. This process can’t be rushed, or its benefits will be lost.

Likewise, life will often present us with situations that require slowness, and if rushed, disaster will result.

In Ephesians 4:11-16, Paul lays out the body concept of the church. He expounds on the ministries of the spirit and the part they play in the perfecting of the body. Even the most casual reading of what he writes here will tell you that developing a mature congregation of people is a long term process to be lovingly nurtured.

In 1Timothy 5:22 the church is told to lay hands on no man suddenly, or endorse a person who hasn’t been properly tested in the faith. A minister requires plenty of “seasoning.”

In Romans 8:29, Paul tells us we are being conformed to the image of Christ. That’s not a microwave experience, but requires daily attention to our walk of Godliness.

In 11 Corinthians 3:18 Paul says, But we all, with open faces beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are being changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the spirit of the Lord.


Again, not a “microwave experience.”

In 2 Timothy 2:23-26 Paul tells Timothy,

But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strife; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth, and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive at his will.

Every minister has his special “war stories” of “hard cases” he has patiently worked and prayed with who finally turned out, after some marinating, to be a shining example of Christian maturity.

So our lives are filled with either “seizing or stewing,” “micro waving or marinating.”


A prayer we all should pray often is;


Knowing when to microwave and when to marinate is a very useful skill.



Saturday, November 14, 2015

Walk A Mile In My Shoes

By John Stallings
“Walk a mile in my shoes."

 That's a saying that became a 60s song. "Walk a mile in my shoes," the song says;
 Before you accuse, criticize and abuse, walk a mile in my shoes.”

The song was popular. The saying still is because no one knows exactly how our shoes fit, where they pinch, and how they bind. No one knows how many pebbles are in our shoes as a result of our travels and travails. I really don't know you, and you really don't know me till we've walked a mile in each others shoes.
 Of course, I want no part of your stinky, broken down muddy shoes and you want no part of mine. Actually, even if we wanted to, we couldn't really get into each others shoes. You know how it is with shoes; they conform to your feet; nobody can wear them the way you do. No one that is -except for Jesus.

Jesus has walked a mile in our shoes…In the Incarnation. He came down the starry stairway from heaven and stepped into our shoes. He put on our shoes in Mary’s womb. God the Son, who walked in the heavens on the backs of glistening angels and tread the clouds of eternity, slipped into our human shoes through the womb of the Virgin Mary. He whose feet were so holy that angels worshiped them and kissed them assumed the feet of a human embryo.

But God the Son didn't just walk a mile in our humanity; He walked a mile in our fallen humanity, in our sins. He didn't just become Man but He became a Man of sorrows and one acquainted with grief. He bore our griefs and carried our sorrows. He stepped, not into brand new shoes but into shoes caked with mud from where we ought not to have walked, scuffed and shrunken by our salty tears.

Jesus has walked in those sick shoes of ours, and He has walked in our tired, hopeless, sad, and weak ones. All of those shoes of ours that someway reflect the fallen condition of humanity, Jesus has walked in. And He walked a lot more than a mile in them. A mile is a long way to walk in tight, binding, wet, or stone-filled shoes, but Jesus went miles and miles before He slept in our grave. He wore our ugly, "holey," too small shoes all the way into hell.

Have you ever been made fun of because of your shoes? I grew up around kids many of whom wore attractive, colorful tennis shoes. I however never wore anything but those old black tennis shoes. At times I was teased unmercifully. My shoes as I remember sold for about two dollars. You get over that sort of teasing. Jesus didn't get over His.

 Because He had our shoes on, Jesus was made fun of, mocked and ridiculed. They called Him names, spit on Him and struck Him. All He had to do was kick our shoes off and the abuse would've stopped. But Jesus kept walking in our shoes even to the point of coming under the terrible wrath of God. Because He wore our shoes, Jesus went ever deeper into the pit of hell. He went so deep that the love, the grace, the mercy of God disappeared for awhile.  He went deeper and hotter into our agony till He died the death of a sinner.

Jesus died with our boots on. What's more He rose from the grave still wearing our shoes, still being clothed in our humanity. And what's even more important, Jesus walked in our shoes all the way into heaven itself. That’s why the ascension is so important to the Church along with Christmas and Easter. Multitudes have never given a thought to the fact that Jesus bodily ascended into heaven…that he had on the shoes of our humanity when He left the earth.

When Jesus walked the earth for 33 years in our shoes, whenever He went away from the disciples, He did so just like we do. He walked to Mary and Martha's, they walked toward Jerusalem. They could see Jesus walking around. They knew He was right over there eating with Mary and Martha, and would come back from there.

Once Jesus rose from the dead, that changed. For the 40 days after Easter Sunday until the ascension, Jesus didn't walk toward the disciples or away from them. One minute Jesus wasn't visible; the next He was. One minute He was standing there; the next He wasn't. Just before the ascension, Jesus met them in Jerusalem, led them out to Bethany on the Mount of Olives, and walked with them like He had during His earthly ministry- but as He had NOT done since Easter. There He was lifted up from them. Once more they bodily saw Him going higher and - away from them.

 The Holy Spirit wants us to see that Jesus ascended in our shoes. Why do we think He tells us that Jesus gave "many proofs" that He was physically alive? Jesus points out to them His flesh and bones and even asks them to give Him something to eat. The message is that this body you see before you ascending is the same one that was born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.

This fact is emphasized in Luke. For example, Jesus during His earthly life must have lifted up His hands many times, but only at the ascension are we told, "And lifting up His hands He blessed them." What was on those hands? The nails marks that He allowed the disciples to touch and invited Thomas to stick his finger into. These very visible wounds were seen by the disciples; they were proof positive that He still wore their shoes, still bore their humanity as He went up.

Went up to where? Acts tells us Jesus was lifted up until a cloud received Him. This was no ordinary cloud. This was the Cloudy Presence of the Godhead. We see it in the Old Testament leading the Israelites, hovering above the Ark of the Covenant, and filling the temple. In the New Testament you find the Cloudy Presence descending on the Mount of Transfiguration and whisking Moses and Elijah back to heaven.

Where exactly does this Cloudy Presence take Jesus and our shoes with Him? Ephesians tells us where. It takes Him to the Right Hand of God. Ephesians 4 says that Jesus "ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things." Jesus since the ascension is now everywhere all the time. He is walking the streets of earth, the craters of the Moon, and the far reaches of the universe right now. Jesus, shod in our shoes, walks and talks with angels, and all the host of heaven. I get goose-bumps just thinking about it.

When Jesus was bodily received by the cloud, the Son of Man, the Virgin's Son, the Man in our shoes was taken into the Godhead. In Christ, man, humanity, people, men, women and children sit on the Board of Heaven, have a seat on the Committee of Eternity, and are part of the Commission on Everlasting Life.

Jesus took our shoes where no man, woman, or child has gone before. Our shoes now have all things, bar none, under them. Ephesians says that. Jesus is far above all rule, authority, and power and dominion with "all things under His FEET." The Father said to His son, "Sit at My right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for Your FEET?" Well, those feet are wearing our shoes. Those feet that have angels prostrate before them kissing them; those feet that are firmly planted on the necks of demons; those feet that use death and disease as a footstool are wearing your size 3, 5, 7, 9, or 13s!

This is what the ascension is really all about. Jesus was taken up to heaven "that He might make us partakers of His divine nature-Jesus prayed-that "we may also in heart and mind ascend and continually dwell there with Him."

Nobody but Jesus will ever walk in our shoes. Nobody but our Savior will go to the depths we’ve been. But the fact that Jesus walked in our shoes into the abyss of sin, death, and the grave is only part of the story. He also walked back out on Easter, still wearing our shoes, and was taken up into heaven still having them on. Walking in our shoes where Jesus has taken them is our glorious privilege now.

 That's a glorious privilege we don't, at least I don't, take the fullest advantage of. I too often walk around in my tight, mud crusted, sin caked shoes .More than I should  I plod through my day to day life with shoes that seem nailed to this earth at the mercy of sin, disease, death and the devil when I could be striding through the realms of eternity in the shoes Jesus took to heaven. Much too often I look at every problem, every fear, every sin, every day in shoes soiled by mud, and manure when I could look at them from my heavenly shoes with my feet propped up on my problems, fears, and sins.This has to grieve the heart of God when he sees you and I living so far beneath our privileges.

Isn’t it amazing how greatly perspective affects everything? Don't things look remarkably different depending on whose shoes you're standing in?

In Christ we have a choice. We can look at life standing in the shoes we have on or in the shoes that Jesus ascended into heaven wearing. We can look at life in shoes caked with sin, mired in death, and hounded by the devil, or we can look at life in shoes planted on death's neck, in shoes unsoiled from sin.

Walk a mile in these shoes friend. Try them on like you do those in a store. Walk around in them. Look at your problems, your ailments, your sins while standing in them. Don't things look different from inside these shoes rather than outside, from inside of heaven rather than from outside of heaven? Yes, they do.

The Scripture says that when God looks from heaven at His fierce enemies all He does is laugh. Come to think of it; the picture of sin, death, and the devil all hunched over and scrunched up to form a footstool for my feet is pretty funny. Don’t you agree?




Saturday, November 7, 2015

A Divine Donkey Chase

By John Stallings

Have you ever noticed that many of the great doors of our lives swing on very small hinges?

 Another way to say it would be; the really life changing turns we make seldom manifest themselves as big events, but rather they often go almost unnoticed until we look back on them. Then in retrospect we see that had not that small thing happened or that insignificant turn been taken, our life stories would be entirely different.

In 1 Samuel chapter 9 &10 there’s a story about a young man named Saul; the Saul who would later become the King of Israel. In this story his father’s donkey’s have escaped and are lost and young Saul has the task of finding them. As he journeys, his path crosses with the Prophet Samuel. Soon it becomes obvious that Saul is being drawn by God into a divine scenario. What at first seems like a mundane donkey chase, a rather demeaning job, in reality was a meeting with his destiny, to be anointed Israel’s leader.

Many people seem to think that the fall of Saul many years later, was orchestrated by God to take Saul down and exalt David. Nothing could be further from the truth. Samuel told Saul that God would have established his house forever. God hand picked Saul for his ascendancy to the throne. David was strictly a second stringer, whom God used when his first pick failed. God always has a replacement when one of his servants fails, just as a manager of a baseball team will always have pitchers warming up in case the man on the mound gets wobbly. He wants to keep that man in the game but if for some reasons he’s failing, the manager will of necessity replace him. Any ministry would be wise to periodically hear the symbolic swoosh of the ball being thrown & caught in the bull pen to remind him or her that God will never be without witnesses in any generation & no individual is indispensable. This was the ultimate story of Saul.

But in this donkey chasing story of Saul’s beginnings, we see him playing out this providential scenario. It’s revealed to Saul later that all of his donkeys have been recovered for him and are in a corral waiting. He had been gloriously set up by God.

Many times in my life I have experienced this same thing. I thought I was chasing donkeys. What was happening in my life at the time was so boring and tedious; I felt I was just killing time preaching in some small backwater town. Later I would find that it was there that a connection would be made that would change the course of my life.

Many times, when we think we’re chasing donkey’s, heavenly satellites are humming & swinging into place as divine connections are being made on our behalf in another world. God is positioning us for great things to happen.

I remember in 1961 when we were just starting in the ministry my wife and I were in California and had just closed the last revival we had scheduled. As young aspiring evangelist’s we had gone west with just a few weeks booked knowing if nothing else opened up all we could do was go back home to Florida. Our dream however was to stay in California for an extended time.

The last service we had there a lady came up to me at the end and put a business card in my hand. She explained that it was her son’s card that pastored a small church in Northern California. He had talked to her the night before and when she mentioned us he told her to invite us to his church later that week and we could sing at a ministers meeting being held there. It wasn’t a booking that would pay but an opportunity to meet some ministers. I thanked her for the kind thought and asked her if she’d mind calling her son and telling him we wouldn’t promise to be there but would be happy to minister in song if we decided to come. That’s the way we left it.

After the service we went to our motel, knowing we’d probably be leaving for home the next day. We got out our map and searched for the little town the lady had spoken about and found it to be several hundred miles north. After much prayer, consideration and having slept on it that night, we awoke the next morning, still unsure in our spirits if we should drive all that way to be in that one small service. There was absolutely no guarantee of getting bookings out of it; it was a raw step of faith. After agonizing about it for awhile, the decision was made to go. We packed the car and headed for Northern California.

We had made it a rule to keep two hundred dollars in traveler’s checks for the trip back to Florida if nothing else opened up. We could always stay busy back  east but California was our dream. The ministers meeting was to be held on Wednesday of that week so we called friends of ours where we’d stayed in a previous meeting. They were very gracious to allow us to come by and spend Monday night with them. That meant we still had Tuesday night to spend somewhere for the completion of the trip. I’m sure had we mentioned it to the friends we stayed with that night they would have been happy to have us stay one more night. However, not wanting to impose, and also being a little proud, we left the next morning never telling them anything more.

We drove into Northern California the next day. When it began to get a little late we started discussing where we should spend the night. We still had the two hundred dollars but  didn't want to spend it, figuring we’d need it for the trip back to Florida. As the sun started to set, we looked out the car window at the rugged mountainous area we were in and felt it beginning to get cooler. You can get in the wilderness quick in Northern California.

We passed a park area where people stopped over with trailers and tents to camp for the night and decided to stop and ask if we could sleep there overnight. The owner said it would be O.K so we pulled in and parked in one of the camping spots. I don’t know what the man thought when he never saw us put up a tent but nothing was said so we proceeded to do we felt we had to do, sleep in the car.

The back seat was filled with clothes, a guitar, an accordion, a big electric amplifier, and other baggage. Did I mention we were driving a Renault? They are small French cars known for gas mileage & little else. I let my wife have the front seat which consisted of two bucket seats, because the car had a stick shift on the floor. How she slept that way I’ll never know. However, I had my own set of problems; problems which I faced outside under the stars, on the ground. We had a small quilt with us and I made a makeshift tent with a piece of tarpaulin we had brought to use on a top carrier we had left with friends in Shreveport Louisiana because the car would only go 45 miles an hour with the top carrier on it.

After one of the worst nights sleep ever recorded by man, we awoke the next morning with bodies aching from the strained sleeping conditions. We used the camps shower facilities to get cleaned up and dress. I walked to a little store nearby, bought some cereal and milk which we ate  right out of the boxes. It was delicious. It’s surprising what you can do when you have to.

When we got dressed up and left that camp, you would have thought we just stepped out of an expensive motel. We continued our slow drive north, not wanting to arrive too soon & have time on our hands. We arrived in the little town about two hours before the service was to start. We found the church without much trouble but our hearts sank when we drove up to the front of it. The church was tiny and looked quite old, though it was neat and well kept.

There were a few cars in the parking lot and we sat for a time and watched people walk in. We had covered almost half the state of California to get there. We sat in silence for a while, each of us wondering what the other was thinking. Finally I spoke up and asked, “Do you feel like going in there?” We discussed it and strangely, the truth that emerged was that neither of us wanted to go into the church. It was so odd. We had come all that way and now we didn't want to go in to the meeting.

We kept talking, considering several things: even if we did meet preachers and book meetings, odds were no one would want to start services right away and we needed something now. Finally about ten minutes before the service we made our decision to go in. We got our musical instruments out; accordion guitar and amplifier, and walked up the steps and into the church.

The Pastor met us at the door and was extremely warm and personable. He took us up to the front of the church and introduced us to a few Pastors who had arrived early. I remember sitting on the front seat as the service started still wondering if we’d done the right thing by making that journey. What if we sang and the Pastors didn't like us? What if we got through and no one came up to say we’re glad you came? What if we had to leave with a feeling of rejection and have what had so far been a wonderful California experience spoiled?

Those things had happen to us in the past. If Pastors don’t want you, that’s just reality, you need not whine about it. Finally we were introduced and got up to sing two songs. We felt an average acceptance of our singing but nothing exceptional. After we sat down, the Pastor who was in charge, not the local Pastor who had met us at the door, got up to speak. The first thing he said was “Folks we need to really welcome this young couple tonight and you Pastors who’d like to book them for services can just get in line behind me”

You could have knocked me over with a feather. We sat through the service, heard a very moving message and at the end of the service they asked us to come back and sing another song. The shock of my life came as we started to leave the platform. Every preacher in the place was lined up to shake our hands and ask about booking us for revivals. In those days, revivals went for two and three weeks so we were booked for almost a year on the spot.

The Pastor of the church we were in told us he’d like to start a meeting the very next Sunday, and then the big surprise. His church had an evangelists apartment and we could go there immediately, unpack and stay as long as we wanted to. When we left that service we were practically jumping up and down with joy. After having a nice meal that the ladies of the church had prepared for the Ministers, we unpacked our clothes in the apartment in the church that would be home for us as long as we needed it. The journey of faith had been a success.

That one service opened up the whole west coast for us and we stayed in California for nearly a year. The next year, we went back to California and stayed the whole year. Think about it, one service, a service that we almost missed, gave our ministry a jump start that set the stage for more that a decade of National Evangelistic Ministry. And to think we almost missed it because what we envisioned looked so small and insignificant. It looked as if we were “Chasing Donkey’s.” I sometimes wonder what would have happened if we’d missed that opportunity. We might have gone back home, discouraged and who knows how Satan would have used it against us?

Have you ever been on a donkey chase? Remember, God often works in the small things. God’s word warns of despising the day of small things. The feeling of chasing donkeys has happened over and over in my life. One of the big lessons of life is that because we never know which opportunity is going to blossom into a life changing experience, it behooves us to always do our best even in the seemingly small moments of life.

The chorus of “Learning to lean” only has 24 words in it; 24 very simple words. So simple in fact that for that reason it almost never saw the light of day. But those simple 24 words have blessed many millions of lives. The song has been mightily used even though a child could probably have written it.

Don’t let the seemingly insignificant things in your life slip through your fingers, for it’s the weak things that God has chosen to confound the mighty. As with young Saul, you too may think you’re chasing donkeys. Everything that’s happening to you perhaps seems so mundane. Remember God uses the foolish things to confound the wise.

But in truth God is moving you toward your destiny.



Sunday, November 1, 2015

Freud Or Paul?

By John Stallings

A missionary and his wife were returning to the United States from Mexico. As they crossed the border to come home, shots were fired at their car and the missionary’s wife was shot dead. She was a 59 year old mom and grandmother. 
A little baby is born with no brain, only a brain stem. The doctors tell the parents that she has no chance of surviving. Somehow she stays alive for sixteen months. The parents struggle to take care of her. When she gets sick, the doctors tell the parents “Don’t bring her to the hospital. There is nothing we can do for her.”

A seemingly healthy 12-year-old girl develops severe migraine headaches. On Friday she is taken to the hospital; on Saturday she dies. Her father calls her “the sunshine of my life.”

A man and a woman meet while attending Bible College, fall in love, and get married. Feeling called to the mission field, they end up serving the Lord in a remote stretch of the Amazon River in northeastern Peru. While on a routine flight back to their houseboat, the Peruvian Air Force mistakes them for drug smugglers and shoots their plane out of the sky. One bullet rips through the mother and into the head of their infant daughter who was sitting in her lap. Both are killed instantly.

A young seminary student was catching the eye of people far and wide because of his preaching ability. He was said be already on the level with Billy Graham in personality and charisma and possessed a grip of God’s Word uncommon in men three times his age. He was a straight A student, President of his graduating class, played several instruments, wrote beautiful Worship music and already had a book ready for publication. Everyone predicted an extremely bright future for this young man only in his early twenties.

On a short missions trip just a few weeks before his graduation from seminary, he caught a mysterious virus and died within hours. His casket was placed in a large Texas church for the funeral and it had to be hermetically sealed because of the highly infectious nature of the disease that killed him. After the funeral his wife ran down the church isle following her husband’s casket carrying their newborn baby and screaming why, why God, why?

These stories are all true. Why? Why? Why do these things happen? And why do they happen to good people, decent people, Christian people?

Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, wrote -

Religion is merely a dream or a figment of man’s imagination.” He based his conclusions on the idea that man looks out into the world about him and sees the ruthlessness of nature--such things as fire, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, famines, disease and death. Man becomes afraid and longs for a protective father out there somewhere who will take care of him, so he begins to create his god.

Man looks next at man’s inhumanity to man. Human beings are sometimes unjust and cruel to their fellow human beings, so man feels a need for a great judge who will set all things right and who will protect him. He takes another step toward creating his own God. Man also realizes that he is growing old and he does not like the idea of extinction, dying as a dog dies, with no future life, so he dreams of a wonderful world beyond this one.”

In these suggestions, Freud has hit a heavy blow against many of the things which you and I hold dear. He said that our belief in a heavenly Father who protects us and cares for us is simply an illusion, a dream, or, as he speaks of it, “the projection of a wish.”

When you strip it of all its extra verbiage, his argument is no more logical than for us to say that because our children have a desire for a father to provide the necessities of life for them, provide protection for them, and to play with them, their father is an illusion. Since they desire him, he cannot exist; he does not exist. It is only a figment of their imagination, a projection of their wishes. Freud gave no evidence, but simply recognized, as all of us do, that man is built with an incurable hunger toward God.

In the South Sea Islands, or in Africa, or wherever you find men, there is an inclination to look up to worship. Freud has recognized this and from this fact has drawn a conclusion that does not follow. The evidence is all on the other side. God does exist and He does provide for His people.


Paul’s revelation is quite the antithesis from Freud. He believes that God is an actual heavenly father who will take everything that happens to us and cause it to work out for our good and His glory.

Admittedly the following is a trick question. I’ve often asked people; “can you quote Romans 8:28?” Most Christians will say they can quote the verse and then proceed to quote it like this—

“All things work together for good to them that love God and are the called according to His purpose.”

Of course the verse actually says;-And we know, that all things work together for good……

It’s relatively easy after we’ve come through a time of testing to look back and smile about it when we remember how God worked everything out. Paul is underscoring the fact that we don’t have to wait until we get to heaven to understand that God always had our best interest at heart, we can know that now. We weren’t so sure about it while we were going through it but in retrospect, we realize that God always had our back.

Providence Defined

There is a doctrine that helps us understand. If it does not answer every question, at least it provides the only possible foundation for understanding. It is the doctrine of the providence of God.

Though the word providence is not found in most modern translations of the Bible, the concept is certainly biblical. It refers to “God’s gracious oversight of the universe.” Every one of those words is important. God’s providence is one aspect of his grace. Oversight means that He directs the course of affairs. The word universe tells us that God not only knows the big picture, He also concerns himself with the tiniest details. God upholds all things, He governs all events, He directs everything to its appointed end, He does this all the time and in every circumstance, and He does it always for our good and his own glory.

The doctrine of God’s providence teaches us several important truths:

First, God cares about the tiniest details of life.

Nothing escapes his notice for He is concerned about the small as well as the big. In fact, with God there is no big or small. He knows when a sparrow falls and He numbers the hairs on your head. He keeps track of the stars in the skies and the rivers that flow to the oceans. He sets the day of your birth, the day of your death, and He ordains everything that comes to pass in between.

Second, he uses everything and wastes nothing.

There are no accidents with God, only incidents. This includes events that seem to us to be senseless tragedies.


God’s ultimate purpose is to shape his children into the image of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29). He often uses difficult moments and human tragedies to accomplish that purpose.

Many verses in the Bible teach these truths, including Acts 17:28 “in Him we live and move and have our being”, Colossians 1:17 “in Him all things hold together”, Hebrews 1:3 “sustaining all things by His powerful word”, Proverbs 16:9 “in his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.”, and especially Psalm 115:3 “Our God is in heaven; He does whatever pleases him”.

The doctrine of God’s providence is really a combination of four other attributes: Sovereignty—He is in control.Predestination—He is in charge of how everything turns out.Wisdom—He makes no mistakes.Goodness—He has our best interests at heart.

God doesn’t roll dice. Nothing happens by chance. Ever.

Predestination and Free Will

As a boy I became interested in this subject because my father was raised by a “primitive
Baptist” father but departed from their strong teaching on predestination soon after being saved. I don’t mean to imply by that that primitive Baptists aren’t saved, I’m merely saying that my father never believed in predestination as they taught it. I realize that opening this theological “kettle of fish” will necessitate dealing with issues like predestination and free will. I’ll try to give that my best shot. As for now think about it like this;

God’s in charge of:

what happens

when it happens

how it happens

why it happens

And even what happens after it happens.

This is true of:

all events

in every place

from the beginning of time.

He does this for our good and his glory.

He is not the author of sin, yet evil serves his purposes. He does not violate our free will, yet free will serves his purposes. We’re not supposed to understand all this. We’re simply supposed to believe it.

I always endeavor not to get lost in the theological “misty moonlight” so I might appear to be indulging in over simplification but please just work with me here.

Providence Illustrated

Let’s consider the story of Joseph. If you’ve followed this blog long you know this to be one of my favorite stories. If you are acquainted with the Bible at all, you have heard it somewhere along the way. It goes something like this. Because Joseph was the favored son of his father Jacob, he was the object of envy by his many brothers. One day his brothers conspired to sell him into slavery to the Midianites who happened to be passing by. They did that, and then splashed his “coat of many colors” with the blood of a goat in order to make it appear that he had been killed by a wild animal. They then showed the coat to Jacob, who believed their lie and sorrowfully concluded that Joseph was dead.

Meanwhile Joseph was taken to Egypt by the Midianites. There he was sold again, this time to Potiphar, who was head of Pharaoh’s security force. Genesis 39 tells us that Joseph gained favor with Potiphar because the Lord was with Joseph to bless him. Eventually Potiphar put Joseph in charge of his entire household, which included the land, care of the property, and oversight of the other slaves. This was a signal of honor for a Hebrew slave. Because he was competent, confident, and good-looking Potiphar’s wife approached him about having a sexual affair. Joseph refused, pointing out that he could not betray Potiphar and he would not sin against God. This awful little woman persisted, to the point that one day when everyone else was gone, she attempted to pull him down on her bed. Joseph fled from the scene, leaving his cloak behind. The woman was humiliated and accused him of rape. It was a false charge, of course, but Potiphar believed his wife and had Joseph thrown in prison.

From Prison to the Palace

In prison Joseph prospered once again and gained the respect of his fellow prisoners and of the guards. This happened because the Lord was with him to bless him. Eventually the cupbearer and the baker were thrown in the same prison and Joseph befriended them. One night they both had dreams they could not interpret. But Joseph was able to interpret them with the Lord’s help. The dreams came true exactly as Joseph had predicted—the baker was hung but the cupbearer was released. Joseph asked him to remember him after he was out, but he didn’t.
Two years passed and Pharaoh had a dream that he could not interpret. That’s when the cupbearer remembered Joseph’s amazing ability and mentioned it to the Pharaoh who ordered Joseph brought before him. Joseph correctly interpreted his dream and was rewarded by Pharaoh, who made him the Prime Minister of Egypt. Not bad for a Hebrew slave who had been sold into slavery by his brothers!

Eventually a famine settled on the Near East. Jacob told his sons to go to Egypt and buy some grain. They go and in the process meet Joseph—only they don’t know it’s Joseph. This happens twice. Then Joseph reveals his true identity. They are shocked and then scared because they betrayed him and now he is in a position to get even. But Joseph doesn’t do that. In fact, he stuns them with these words:

And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will not be plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. (Genesis 45:5-8).

The Pharaoh Meets Jacob

But that’s not the end of the story. The brothers go back to Canaan and tell their aged father that Joseph is still alive. He can’t believe it but eventually they convince him to come to Egypt with them. He makes the trip and is reunited with the son he had given up for dead many years ago. Then he meets the Pharaoh who offers to let Joseph’s family settle in Egypt for as long as they like. The family settles in Egypt and lives in peace there for many years. Finally Jacob dies at the age of 147. Now it’s just Joseph and his brothers. They fear that with Jacob’s death Joseph will be free to take revenge on them. So they tell Joseph, “Oh, by the way, before Dad died he told us to tell you to treat us kindly.” It sounds like just one more deception to cover their guilt.

Listen to Joseph’s response. These are the words of a man who believes in the providence of God:

Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives (Genesis 50:19-20).


The King James Version translates verse 20 this way: “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.” Both sides of that statement are true. “You meant it for evil"—what the brothers had done was indeed evil and Joseph doesn’t sugarcoat the truth. They are 100% responsible for their sin. “God meant it for good"—this doesn’t mean that evil isn’t evil. It just means that God is able to take the evil actions of sinful men and use them to accomplish his plans.

Joseph saw the “invisible hand” of God at work in his life. He understood that behind his conniving brothers stood the Lord God who had orchestrated the entire affair in order to get him to just the right place at just the right moment in order to save his whole family.

At Just the Right Moment

Joseph is saying, “Though your motives were bad, God’s motives were good.” And though it took years and years for God’s purposes to be clear, in the end Joseph saw the hand of God behind everything that had happened to him.

Think about the implications of that statement:

At just the right moment his brothers threw him into the cistern.At just the right moment the Midianites came along.At just the right moment he was sold to Potiphar.At just the right moment Potiphar’s wife falsely accused him.At just the right moment he met the baker and the cup bearer. At just the right moment the cup bearer remembered Joseph. At just the right moment Pharaoh called for him. At just the right moment he was promoted to Prime Minister. At just the right moment Jacob sent his sons to Egypt. At just the right moment the brothers met Joseph. At just the right moment Jacob’s family moved to Egypt. At just the right moment Pharaoh offered them the land of Goshen. At just the right moment they settled there and prospered.

All of this happened at “just the right moment” and “just the right way” so that the right people would be in the right place so that in the end everything would come out the way God had ordained in the beginning. God never violated anyone’s free will, yet everything happened as he
had planned. That’s the providence of God in action.


Trusting God’s Providence frees us from bitterness.

 This is clearly the message of Genesis 50:20. If ever any man had the right to get even it was Joseph. We get bitter because we doubt God’s goodness and we don’t see his invisible hand at work in our lives. We think God isn’t involved in our situation and that’s why we get angry and try to get even and hurt the person who has hurt us. If you really believe God is at work in your situation, you can just stand back and let God do whatever he wants to do.

Trusting God’s Providence gives us a new perspective on our tragedies.

That perspective might be stated this way: God is involved with us even in the worst moments of life. I believe that in the great issues of life we will generally not have an answer to the question “Why did this happen to me?” That is, we won’t know why our mate got sick or why we lost our life savings or why God didn’t intervene when we were being sexually abused. Most of the time we are simply left puzzled as to why these things happen. Who would dare to say to a woman, “This is why your child was stillborn?” or to the grieving people of Haiti, “This is why your world fell apart?”

But it is at this point that God’s providence is so crucial. It doesn’t tell us everything we would like to know about the mysteries of life, but it does assure us that God is there and that he cares for us. He is somehow involved even in our darkest moments in a way we cannot see—and probably wouldn’t understand even if we could see it.

Because of God’s providence we can keep trusting in God even in the face of many unanswered questions. He can bear the burden of all our unanswered questions.

Trusting God’s Providence gives us courage to keep going in hard times.

A few months ago a relative of mine told me he’d been listening to a satellite radio station and a program came on highlighting the people of Haiti and the almost unbelievable problems they’ve gone through recently. All during the program the song “learning to lean’ was being sung by Haitian people in the background. It gave this writer quite a thrill to learn that one of his songs was being so greatly used to help this struggling little island nation.

Speaking of providence, any of us would be hard-pressed to explain the tragic nature of what's happened to the little island of Haiti. It seems the worst keeps happening to the people who can least afford to deal with it. But again, we have to do what we can and then put things in the hands of our benevolent heavenly father.

God’s providence doesn’t answer every question, it doesn’t make our problems go away, and it doesn’t give us an easy road. But it does tell us that there is a pattern to the seemingly random events of life and that God is designing something beautiful out of that which now seems to be only a chaos of clashing colors. Life is hard—make no mistake about that, but God is good. Both those statements are true all the time for all of God’s children.

With Full Confidence

The doctrine of Providence doesn’t answer all our questions but it does give us a place of rest. We can never fully understand why some people are called home right in the middle of a productive life but knowing our God is all wise is, as I’ve stated, a place to rest. If God is not there as we lay our loved ones into the ground, if his plan is not being worked out when our loved ones are taken from us, then there is no hope for any of us. But if he is there, then we can go on
through life “with full confidence.”

Providence forces us to make a choice by faith.
The longer I live the more I understand that faith is a choice, not a feeling. Many times we won’t feel like believing in God. But faith is a personal choice we make to believe that God is good and that he can be trusted in every situation. Faith rises above feelings to choose to believe even when our circumstances may argue against it.

Providence helps us understand why Jesus died.

Listen to the amazing words of Peter at Pentecost from Acts 2:23,

“This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.”
There you have both sides of the truth. Jesus died “by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge.” That tells us that the Cross was not an accident or some afterthought in God’s plan.

But who crucified him? Remember that Peter is preaching to the men who participated in that evil deed. “You, with the help of wicked men, put him to death.” His death was no accident. God foreordained it from the foundation of the world. Yet the men who crucified him were guilty of the most heinous crime in human history. They were morally guilty, but what happened to Jesus happened because of God’s divine plan.

God’s providence leads us to Jesus and Jesus leads us back to the Cross.

I don’t believe, and I don’t think you do either, that when an individual gets up in the morning they are simply a creature of chance and that the events that happen to them during the day are the results of blind fate.

I don’t think I could begin the day if I believed that, -if I thought that my existence was dependent simply upon the willy-nilly vagaries of nature. I doubt I could have the peace of mind to face a single day. But rather, I believe as the scriptures say, from one end of the Bible to the other, that there is an infinitely all-wise and powerful God and that He is concerned with the affairs of his children.

I’ve never seen God in bodily form, yet I believe that He hears when we pray. I believe, as the Bible says, that God is concerned about His People, and that the events of our lives are guided by His unseen but powerful hand.

When Freud wrote about religion as a figment of man’s imagination, a projection of man’s wish and described man as simply a creature of blind fate, he was denying everything that I believe.

On the basis of thousands of years of experience of
God’s people,

Freud was not right, but rather Paul was right when he wrote;

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God and are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28