The Other Side of The Wall

“Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall.” Genesis 49:22
In this passage, Jacob is prophesying a blessing to Joseph, as well as recognizing a spiritual fact about his life. He calls Joseph a bough, which means a branch, but he is not just branch, he is a fruitful branch. He has made good use of his life. He is like a branch that is near a well. It’s as though he lived near a source of water that helped him produce this fruit. There is more. He not only produced fruit on one side of the wall, but he produced fruit on the other side of the wall as well. Notice the phrase, “whose branches run over the wall.”
This reminds me of Jesus! He is called the BRANCH in Zechariah 3:8. He, too, was a fruitful branch that reached over the wall of Jewish culture and touched the Gentile. Because of Jesus, salvation is for all, Jew and Gentile! Praise God for His love that breached the wall of Judaism and made the fruit of salvation available to all!
This also reminds me of the responsibility of the Christian. We are called branches in John 15:1-5. We are called to produce fruit, spiritual fruit; Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. Galatians 5:22-23
This spiritual fruit is what sustains us in difficult times, but it is also what brings the gospel of Christ to the world, through us. We cannot manufacture this fruit; it must be produced by the Spirit of God. We will need to stay by the Well (Jesus) if we are to be fruitful branches.
These fruitful branches should extend beyond the church wall. They should go over the wall and into our neighborhood. They should go over our Jerusalem and into our Samaria. They should go over our Samaria and into our Judaea. Then, they should go over our Judaea and into all of the world. Acts 1:8
May more than your church family see Jesus in you!
Photo: Kate Gadsby/Getty Images

Removing Distractions!

… That ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction. 1 Corinthians 7:35

I don’t know about you but I can be easily distracted at times. Call it A.D.D. or whatever you want, but that’s my problem. Maybe you have the same issue. Distractions are only an issue when they keep you from doing something more important. It’s one thing to take some leisure to reboot your mind and body, but it’s another thing to allow something or someone to pull you away from a priority.

In the age of cell phones, it is amazing how often we can get derailed from a project simply because of a text message, let alone a phone call. It’s like we’ve been programed to stop everything so that we can respond to whoever has messaged us.

And then there are the multitudes of internet games a person can get caught up with. Who knows how many hours are spent trying to check mate, build a city, or shoot down an enemy while work needs to be done. The flesh is weak and the pleasure is addictive, but woe, too much time is lost that is no longer redeemable!

God has bigger plans for our lives than living in fantasy land! If your reality is that bad then you have bigger problems. You better get some counsel and work on you. Go to God and find out for certain what he wants you to do. When we get tuned in to God’s will for our lives, it is very fulfilling. I’m not saying you won’t experience tough times in the will of God, nor am I saying you won’t be tempted by distractions. Eve certainly was when she was in Eden. What I am saying is, the most fulfilling life is the one that counts for eternity. God made you for an eternal purpose. Those who find it are usually those who are willing to do the little things for God and do them well.

They put blinders on some race horses because they get distracted easily. They have great potential, but are useless without the blinders. Sometimes we need to put some blinders on while we are working. Turn the phone on silent, determine to give yourself undisturbed time when you are working. Reward yourself if you finish your project. Schedule time off just as you schedule work, but recognize it must be earned. If you don’t work when scheduled you don’t deserve the time off. Tell people you are not available during your working hours. Schedule time to meet with people and beware of time robbers, they don’t value your time the way you do. By the way, if they don’t value your time they probably won’t value your counsel.

“If we would take time to do the things we are supposed to do, when we are supposed to do them, the day will come when we can do the things we want to do, when we want to do them.”  – Zig Ziglar

One thing is needful – Daily time with Jesus. Luke 10:42

When the Day Began to Spring, They Let Her Go



It was a wicked night in Gibeah. The power of darkness seemed to rule the land. A man and his wife had found a place to lodge in what they hoped would be a safe place. The sons of Belial (wickedness) came knocking on the door. They took his wife (his concubine) and raped her until daylight came. It was a vile act that was punishable by death.

As you read Judges 19:25, it is the ending that gets my attention. “And when the day began to spring they let her go”. They could keep her no longer than when the day began to spring. When light began to shine, darkness had to let go. They only had power over her in the dark.

And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil. John 3:19

This woman would die at the doorstep of the house she was taken from. She would die, but her husband, who the wicked men wanted, would live. Her death secured his life. He would get his vengeance on the men who did this to her, but until then, he would mourn with righteous indignation.

The story, in part, illustrates the love of Jesus for us sinners. He would be taken, abused, shamed and killed so that we could live. Jesus, the light of the world, would rise again and darkness would have to let go.

We serve a risen Saviour, he’s in the world today. I know that he is living, whatever men may say. I see his hand of mercy, I hear his voice of cheer, and just the time I need him, He’s always near!

All those who want deliverance only need accept Jesus as their personal Savior! He will light up their life and give them hope.

If you want power over darkness, keep shining the light of God’s word in your heart! If you are sick of darkness having rule over your heart, fill it with Light!

Darkness seems to have a stronghold on the world, but the Day Star is coming.

We have a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto alight that shineth in a dark place, until the day star arise in your hearts. 2 Peter 1:19

“Give ’em Heaven Today Cuz’n!”

“Give ‘em Heaven Today Cuz’n!”

This was the text message I received one Sunday morning in December of 2020. My cousin Mike had a stroke a year earlier and he almost died, but God was not through with him here on earth. He recovered, but struggled with his speech and thought process. He turned his life over to Christ because of it all and is now following all of our church services through live stream. It was Mike that God used to share Christ with me some 40 years earlier. I am forever thankful for he and his family.

I was getting ready for church and around 8AM I looked at my phone and I read “Give ‘em heaven today cuzn”. I thought to myself he knows exactly what the people need. This is what God wants the preacher to dish out every time he preaches, a little bit of heaven.

The struggles with the flesh, the world and the devil can only be remedied with a little bit of heaven.

Every Christian ought to have the desire to give ‘em heaven today. Whether it is spending time with your family or friends, are we giving them heaven?

We can’t give what we don’t have! We need to fill up on heaven if we are going to dish out heaven.

“The husbandmen that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits.” – II Timothy 2:6

Every time we share the truth of God’s word with the love of God’s Spirit, we give ‘em a little bit of heaven.

The lost man needs heaven! The broken hearted needs heaven! The guilty, cast down soul needs heaven! There is enough heaven to meet the needs of all of humanity! Are you a dispenser of heaven?

When Christ was born in Bethlehem, God was giving heaven to needy man!

The Unexpected Cross Part II

The Unexpected Cross Part II

“And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus,

to bear his cross.” Mark 15:21


Simon did not have this on his schedule that day! Here he is, leaving Jerusalem, with his two boys and probably stops to watch the spectacle in the street. Jesus had already been brutally beaten and scourged. He had lost much blood and, humanly speaking, had to feel extremely weak. He was physically struggling to carry his cross, but we never see him abandon it.

Jesus must have fallen and the Roman guards realized, if he was going to make it up Golgotha, he would need help. So, they grabbed the first healthy man they saw and compelled him to help. The cross of Christ has now become Simon’s cross and he did not even volunteer.

There are some very pointed lessons for us in this narrative;

First, cross bearing is rarely a thing we schedule. Even those Christians who know living the Christian life requires a cross to bear have a tough time accepting it when it comes. If it were easy it would not be a cross. The cross means extra weight and often includes grief and sorrow, as did with the cross Simon had to carry.

An unexpected cross can come in many forms such as; Divorce, financial loss, terminal cancer, or the death of a loved one, etc.

Maybe you have experienced something like this and you are still wondering what happened? Keep reading.

Second, an unexpected cross always pulls you out of your comfort zone. It pulls you out of the crowd, so to speak, as it did Simon. It is important to note that no one grows spiritually without getting out of their comfort zone. An unexpected cross is a time for you to grow. God never places more upon us than what we can handle. Especially if we will trust Him through it.

Third, an unexpected cross is not carried alone. Simon would help Jesus carry this cross. But the reality is, when we face unexpected crosses, it is Jesus helping us. He promised to never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). Can you imagine Simon is now helping Jesus, but the day would come when he realized it was Jesus who helped him?

Fourth, it is not if will you ever carry an unexpected cross, but how you carry it that matters most. I have seen some people get bitter and others get better! As Christians, it is a time when Christ should be most manifest in our lives because of closeness to him during the trial. Simon was a father of two boys. We don’t know why God would mention that unless they happened to be watching their dad carry that old cross with Jesus. It is significant that there is another man by the name of Rufus in the Bible. He is mentioned years later in Romans 16:13. Maybe he was won to Christ because of his dad’s experience. If so, it would not be the last time that sort of thing happened.

The Story of Your Life

The Story of Your Life

“…We spend our years as a tale that is told.” Psalms 90:9

Every story is important to God. He gave you life and a free will; it’s up to you to write the story. As long as you are breathing, your story is being written. I am not sure if we will all get to read each other’s story in heaven, but the last chapter of your story is not complete. It may be that today is the day you write a new chapter, a winning chapter, a chapter with a turning point in your life.

I just finished reading “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens. It had been on my bucket list. The first one hundred pages were difficult and I read them slowly, but when I got into the story line of the main characters, it got my attention and I could hardly put it down. A man by the name of Sydney Carton was a man with bad character through the first three quarters of the book and yet he became the unlikely hero.

He switched places with a man (Charles Darnay) who was sentenced to death during the French revolution. Charles Darnay had a wife and baby and was innocent. I thought he was going to die but then Sydney Carton was reminded of a scripture, “I am the Resurrection and the Life…” This scripture kept coming back to his mind. He knew he could help Charles and was willing to take his place. Sounded a lot like what Christ did for me. I think Mr. Dickens knew his Bible.

The fact is, Sydney Carton, for most of the book was a shady character but his last chapter is what he will be remembered for. May God help us to constantly be growing for Christ. No matter how often you have failed, no matter what you think about yourself, God has not given up on you.

“For a just man falleth seven times and riseth up again.” Proverbs 24:16

I love the final chapter of Job. He has experienced such great heartache and physical pain, yet through it all, God had not forsaken him. After all his grief, he seems to start over and the scripture says,

“After this Job lived… “(Job 42:16) I know it is in reference to the years he lived after his great trial but there is something about a man who chooses to LIVE even when he must start over!

It reminds me of a line in Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If”.    

“If you can bare to hear the truth you’ve spoken,

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

If you can watch the things you gave your life to broken

And stoop and build them up with worn out tools”

Don’t give up! Make your life worth reading for Jesus! Ask his Holy Spirit to live through you, the life He wants to live and you will not regret it!

Everyone likes a good story!

God Gets Angry!

God Gets Angry!

“Thou, even thou, art to be feared: and who may stand in thy sight when once thou art angry?” Psalms 76:7

A little boy was playing with his older brother’s Lego city and destroyed it. The older brother came home and was livid, so he told his mother. Mom went in and asked little Tommy, “Why did you do it?” Little Tommy said, “Superman got angry!”

It is important for us to know that God can get angry! His word is very clear about that fact. Lamentations chapter two is very specific about what happens when He gets angry. The scriptures give a history of God getting angry. Yet God has never apologized for being angry and never has to!

If you were to ask, “Why did God allow a flood to destroy the world?” The simple answer is God got angry! Why did Sodom and Gomorrah burn to the ground? God got angry! Why did God call for the extermination of everyone in Canaan land when Israel invaded the land? God was angry! (Genesis 3:15/Leviticus 20:1-20)

Why did God allow Israel to go into captivity? God got angry! Why did He wipe out the nation of Babylon? Go got angry! Why did God allow Jezebel to be eaten by dogs? God got angry!

Why did Jesus make a whip, tip over the tables, and chase the money changers out of the temple? God got angry!

The wonder is that God has not demonstrated His anger more often! Jeremiah said it best, “It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not”. Lamentations 3:22

As Bruce Banner said when he was asked, “How do you make the green monster come out?” He said, “You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry!”

Friend, it is obvious that God wants us to know we can make him angry. Don’t confuse God’s patience with his approval!

“God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day!” Psalms 7:11

This ought to move us to a greater reverence of his presence and find out what makes him angry and avoid it!

“Kiss the Son lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little…” Psalms 2:12

It’s a wonder that our omniscient God is as patient as he is with us! If we knew what he knew and had the power he had without the restraint he has, we would have cleaned house a long time ago! He is love and it is his love that provides the restraint but when he gets angry it is always right on time!

Thou Wilt Keep Him in Perfect Peace…

Thou Wilt Keep Him in Perfect Peace…

Isaiah 26:3

In a time of civil unrest, we can find ourselves feeling a little overwhelmed. Even Christians, and it is Christians that I am writing to. I had a friend, who is a retired police officer and is also a Christian, tell me he just has not been able to experience the peace of God with all that is going on in our country. I appreciate his willingness to be candid with me. I did not want to make him feel bad about his emotions, but it prompted me to think of this passage from Isaiah.

God’s word is filled with so many wonderful promises, and he wants us to experience them, as well as believe them. I sent this verse to him, and told him I may preach on it soon.

Consider what the verse says, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace…” It is God who helps to keep us in perfect peace, not us. We do not have the ability to give ourselves peace when we naturally feel overwhelmed. God must do it, and God is able to do so. The question is, do I believe that?

What is perfect peace? It is complete peace. The Hebrew word is Shalom. It refers to tranquility. The perfect part of it refers to it keeping us, mind, body, and soul, in perfect peace. Now that is a promise! Praise the Lord for that kind of promise! It is only in times of great distress that we really appreciate that kind of peace!

My friend said he struggled with this, and I want to help him and anyone else who could use some of this perfect peace.

There is more to the promise, and I intentionally left off the last half of the verse until now. The last half of the verse gives us the condition of this peace.

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee…” This means those who rest in the Lord, like you would in an easy chair, are always mindful of its presence but always restful in its presence. It means to lean heavily on, to put your weight on. This is what we are to do with the Lord. We are to put the weight of our burden on him. We are to feel His support and rest in His ability!

It also has the idea of remaining in that position. Some people take their burdens to the Lord in prayer, then take them back when they are finished. If that is the case, don’t say amen! Stay in prayer! Continue in prayer! Philippians 4:6 is the New Testament equivalent of this verse. “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

It takes time in prayer, but you will truly feel the difference as you continue to lean on the Rock of your salvation!

When A Backslider Gets Right

When A Backslider Gets Right!

Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee. Psalms 51:13

This passage is in reference to David getting right with God. His heart wanted to see the lost get saved.

God can use you again if you turn to him. Living among the sinners as a backslider sometimes is like being bait on a fishing line. It is very uncomfortable and I wouldn’t recommend it. It often cost the bait its life or extreme discomfort yet the fishermen catches his fish.

Can you see Elimilech and Naomi backslide and go to Moab to escape a famine? Elimilech and his two boys die but Naomi when Naomi gets right with God she will bring home Ruth! Ruth was quite a catch! All because Naomi got right with God! Ruth didn’t make a decision for the Lord until Naomi got right!

I don’t recommend backsliding to win souls, nothing is guaranteed when your backslidden except chastisement. I am saying that if you are backslidden and under conviction repentance may bring others to God with you!

Can you see Jonah running from the Lord on his way to Tarshish? He pays the fare to sail away only to experience a storm that could kill the whole crew. Jonah finally confesses his sin and takes responsibility and the men on the boat turn to the Lord because he got right!

Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the Lord, and made vows. Jonah 1:16

We had a young lady in my youth group years ago who was not spiritual by any means. She came to church because of her parents and a friend or two. She would come to Sunday school with a new boy each month. She probably met him at some wild party but she brought him to church. Often the boy would make a decision for the Lord and she would dump him later and go get another one. I remember one of her boyfriends who really seemed genuine when he got saved. I could see the conviction on his face even afterward when he knew he wasn’t living right. If she had a heart for God I could see the both of them really doing well together but she eventually dumped him. Looking back it was kind of funny how the Lord could use someone’s foolishness for good. She would pay a price for her sins. It was costly for her to backslide but God made use of the fact that she kept coming back to church.

I Am Doing A Great Work

  I am doing a great work!

And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you? Nehemiah 6:3
Those who were opposed to the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem sought to lure Nehemiah out into the plain of Ono to converse. That would have been an Oh no, if he did it! We learn some things from this passage about staying motivated in the work of God.

                              The fact that Nehemiah thought the rebuilding of the wall was a great work kept him away from the wrong crowd

                              The fact that he thought he was doing a great work kept him going in the right direction.

                              The fact that he thought it was a great work kept him faithful in spite of adversity.
Pastors and people quit on the work of God oftentimes because they lose the sense of its greatness! The work that Nehemiah was doing was brick by brick stone by stone. The goal was to remove the reproach of God’s people and bring glory to God.
The temple had been restored but the walls and the city were still in shambles. The work involved removing a lot of rubble. It was dirty work it was not a glamorous job. But when the project was complete it would honour the Lord in a great way! God was with Nehemiah in this endeavor.
No matter how dirty his hands got, no matter how monotonous the work seemed at times it was still a great work! Nehemiah did not lose the sense of its greatness! Have you?
The bus ministry is great work! The nursery is a great work! The Sunday school is great work! The Junior church is great work! The nursing home ministry is a great work! The Mission is a great work! May God help us remember this as we get back to normal! Somebody has to serve in these ministries. They are ministries that glorify God and help in the furtherance of the gospel!
The Christian who is steadfast unmoveable and always abounding in the work of the Lord knows the Lords work is the greatest work! As admirable as the fireman, police officer and EMT are, their work is no greater than the Lord’s work! God’s work rescues souls from hell! God’s work has the touch of eternity on it!
It’s great because of its eternal value, its great because of who it represents, and its great because of how long it will be remembered by God!
All other achievements and worldly accolades will be forgotten in a thousand years but not the work you have done for Christ!
So when you flesh the world and the devil try to sidetrack you, just say, Leave me alone! I am doing a great work!