Category Archives: Ramblings

Like Ducks go to Water

Back in the day I was a enthusiast for dirt track racing.  Each Friday night I would accompany my Father-in-Law up to Chico’s dirt track and on Saturday it was Anderson.  We had worked all week to get the well bruised car running again and fix all that was broken.  Each race would start with the announcer proclaiming, “Here they come two by two just like ducks to water.” 

Wouldn’t it be great if there were no disagreements in the church?  Wouldn’t it be great if we all just marched along two by two like ducks go to water?  The other day I over heard someone say there was a scriptural mandate for getting along.  They were saying  we should all agree in the church with a quote from Amos 3:3. They were saying there is no place of disagreement in Body of Christ.

I want express my disagreement with that philosophy.  There will always be disagreements in any organization that includes people.  A former pastor of mine used to say, “To dwell up above with the saints we love, that will be glory.  But to dwell here below with the saints we know, well that is a different story.”

Amos was not saying that two people have to agree on the same thing all the time. The scripture is not even about man and man. It is about God and man.

Let me add a number of translations of Amos 3:3

  • How can two walk together, except they be agreed? (King James Version & New King James Version)
  • Do two walk together, unless they have made an appointment? (Revised Standard Version & New Revised Standard Version)
  • Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction? (New Living Translation)
  • Do two men walk together unless they have made an appointment? (New American Standard)
  • Do two people start traveling together without arranging to meet? (Good News Translation
  • Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so? (New International Version)

This is but one of many rhetorical questions in Amos. This question was asked to bring about conviction to the Israelites who were hearing the same thing from all the prophets. Amos asked them this question as a wake-up call for them to realize that all of God’s prophets were unanimous in prophesying the same thing against them because they had all received the same message from God.

The people were turning a deaf ear to ALL the prophets. Amos tried to convince them that the combined prophecy from these men were inspired by God’s Spirit. That’s why they could prophesy the truth. The two of them (Amos, the prophet) and (God, the giver of the prophecy) were indeed walking together. There is nothing wrong with two people walking together. There is nothing wrong with two people agreeing with each other. However, know that the original meaning of the scripture was about God and man; not two humans. From now on, let’s be aware that “the two” are not you and someone else. It should be you and God.
God and man cannot walk together, except they are agreed.

  • God and man must be clear about the same direction.
  • God and man must make an appointment to meet at the same place.
  • God and man cannot walk together if man is walking contrary to God.
  • You won’t feel God’s presence unless the two of you are walking in the same direction at the same time.

By the way it does help that you are going in the same direction: your spouse, your boss, your parents or your Pastor.  But remember God MUST be walking with you as well. Seek God’s glory and include Him in your walks. If one is out of step, guess which one it is?

Grace and Mercy

Ephesians 2:4-5 “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.”


I grew up in the shadow of a military training base. My Boy Scout leader was a drill instructor.  Many of the adults in the periphery of my life were in the military. My father was in the Naval Reserve and wore his Senior Chief uniform proudly. He tried to keep my brothers and sister shipshape.  Everything had its place, and everything should be in that place. To his dismay, it was seldom as he would expect. I grew up with absolute expectations of proper behavior and most often came up short of my father’s spit and polish.

I have spent years living and breathing in the world of expectations of other people. I lived in constant threat of disappointment to the socially acceptable norm.  My ingrained nature is one of trying to live up to someone else’s imposed expectation.  I failed a lot. Trying as I might, I could not be what the world expected because their expectations never included mercy.

I have found a new life. Now I live in mercy. I have experienced it.  I have cultivated it.  I have a great need for it. I cannot exist without it. And when it becomes a part of me, my life finds truth, purity, holiness, peace, wisdom, completeness, delight, joy, and victory. My years of living in this great mercy cause me to show mercy.


Lord, remind me again and again that in your mercy I need to show mercy.



Isaiah 55:6-7 Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.


Discovering and doing the will of God is the “only” way to have a consistent experience of His abundant life.  I have but one simple decision every morning as I shake the sleep from my eyes.  That decision is how I shall live my life today.  Either I will let the world affect me or I will affect the world for God.  There are thousands of alternative paths to follow if the world is my choice.  But to choose Jesus there is only one.  Today I will seek.  Today I will find.  Today I will call upon Him. Today God will have mercy. Today God will be God in my life.  Today God will freely pardon. Today I will choose to glorify Him.  Today I will be the person God has intended me to be.  I will seek Him while He may be found.  I will call upon Him while I still have breath.  It may sound trite, but I say it again: today is the first day of the rest of my life.   

Good for God and Good for me

Romans 8:28 “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”


Paul, writing to the Romans disturbs me. How do I know that God is causing the infinite and the totality of things to become good?  War, pain, pandemic, unrest, in the large, and the weakness of my life, the small, become good? I live a life of gradual delegation to inactivity and frailty, how can these things become good?  Ministry seems so far off.  I struggle to be all that God wants of me.  I must take the voice of Paul who faced terribleness and trust God to be in my imperfect world. I must love God and acknowledge his purpose. I must keep making one step at a time. I well understand the happenings of my life are to make me different. To make me better.  I already have received the greatest miracle of all, which is eternal life. I will continually keep crying out to God knowing His Word is true. All things transformed into good.  It is a miracle.


Undeserved blessedness

Micah 7:18-19 “Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.”


The Bible of the Old Testament refers to people most of the time as transgressors or sinners. Sinners condemned. Sinners in need of pardon. Sinners estranged. Sinners in need of acceptance and love. Sinners in deficit. Sinners falling short. Sinners who were deserving of a penalty. Sinners afar off. Sinners separated from God. A people who are deeply troubled, without hope, without expectations, and without vibrancy. The perfect image of God’s most treasured creation was seen as adulterated, corrupted, and broken. Conversely, we hear God responding as one who would bring pardon. Pardon at the expense of Himself. Pardon exercised in love. Forgiveness is offered, no matter how terrible my attempts at life have been. And that special pardon includes the purposeful forgetfulness of our past. Undeserved blessedness.


Forgive and forget

Colossians 3:13 “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”


The electricity was out for a while this early morning.  No coffee, no heat, no internet, and no TV. When it came back on I heard the wistful and melodious words of my wife, “Thank God.” Emotions pointed at the supplier of our power were not that good when all went black.  But the moment it returned, attitudes changed. All was forgiven.

Why does God care so much as to forgive me for all the dumb decisions, willful acts, nurtured bad habits, and purposeful neglect? Why would the personified perfection of God desire to have such a flawed, imperfect person like me be a part of His family? Why would God want to call me “beloved”, “child”, or even “heir”? We are saved to save. WE ARE FORGIVEN TO FORGIVE. It is the greatest Godly act we can do. Forgiveness is love acting out. It is not keeping records of wrongs. Forgiveness is being kind when wronged. Forgiveness does not dishonor. Forgiveness is not self-seeking. It is love.


All I needed was already there!

February 17: Psalm 51:1 “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.”


It was a family decision to take the old 4WD International Scout up the mountain to cut a fresh Christmas tree. Up with seemingly hundreds of others, we pushed through the snow-covered roads to the designated place. We cut the tree and tied it to the roof and set off home. Then the right front wheel fell off! It seems all the nuts holding it on had become loose and finally, the last one gave up and we came to an abrupt stop. I needed help, I needed abundant mercy, and I needed at least four undamaged lug nuts. I tried to solicit other travelers on that road to give up one of these valuable restraining nuts. Finally, a mechanic stopped and simply encouraged me to take one nut off each of my other tires. What a concept!

In the early church, the saved encouraged others to show compassion, to daily inspire others to love one another and to forgive one another. By the way, if you have a spare lug nut, share it with one who needs it.

Enough for today!

Matthew 6:23 “Jesus said. ‘Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself, each day has enough trouble of its own.’”


There is nothing wrong with planning for the future. Looking forward to a new experience, and planning a task list for today and for tomorrow are both good things. But there is a danger if we are worrying so much about a coming rainy day to miss the good weather. There are only two days to savor each week. Two days fill my heart with joy and expectation. The first of these days is tomorrow because it has not yet come and is filled with hope and anticipation. The second of these days is today because it is the only day we have to in. I will live in it by making every moment count and forgiving and moving on. All the rest of the days are already gone. There is nothing we can do but live in the grace and mercy of our Lord. The Lord is in my today and that is good enough.

Seeking God First

Thought for January 23– Day 23 of the new year

Hebrews 4:16 “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”


Our times seem to be becoming ever more difficult.  Cancel culture, perceived racism, homeless in the streets, and the destruction of past norms, all seem to point to a need for mercy and grace.  We hear from all sides this is the “new normal.”  Nevertheless, if this new way of seeing the world leaves out our dependence upon God, I want no part of it.  Instead in our times of need, my reach must be much further than my grasp and my vision must be more than what I perceive.  God is here and He is willing to hand out both lavishly and perfectly the love of mercy and grace.  Today I am in need, so please forgive, and pour out your mercy and grace, as I do so for you.  Renew in my heart the desire to seek God before any other solution.


Different or weird?

Revelation 21:5 “He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”


Revelation, the last book of the Bible, is difficult to understand. Visions of beasts, horses, fire, judgment, and images that are simply unimaginable. It is just weird. But then again, I am weird too. To the world my belief is weird. I am weird enough to believe that Jesus was born of a virgin, survived in the wilderness 40 days, walked on water, healed the sick, raised a man from the dead, was hung on a cross, and rose from the dead, was and is God and now sits at the right hand of the Father. If I am weird, so be it. Join me in my weirdness.  Perhaps, our stubborn defiance of the norm will make a difference in the world.