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Over the past few years my blog has been visited by people from all over the world. Very few know me, or of me, they simply are looking information concerning the Bible and discover my blog. After many years of intense study and teaching, I've come to believe we are vulnerable to misguided and incorrect teaching if we don't understand for ourselves the teaching of God's Word. My 'hot buttons' are - grace, sovereignty, exhortations and sanctification. If you understand these basic principles of Scripture, and apply them to daily life, you will understand what it means to have peace, joy and absolute security in any circumstance.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018


At one time, I took comfort in church formalities and rituals. At the time, I did not have a personal relationship with Christ. I wasn't aware that I had not been re-born spiritually. I wanted to do what felt 'right'. Honoring God felt good.

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Lent season. You won't find the words Ash Wednesday or Lent in the Bible. These rituals have a long history. Lent has the longest history going back to AD 325. We can see the beginnings of Ash Wednesday in the 10th century becoming official liturgy in the 13th century. 

Both of these celebrations center around one thing; the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. The focus should be on what Jesus has done for those who believe in Him, not what we do to please God or gain favor with the 'religious' people of the day. The Catholic Church, as well as some mainline Protestant churches that follow a liturgical calendar put great emphasis on these 'holy days'. Evangelicals, not so much.

What is the significance of ashes on our face? If we look for some Biblical support we can read Ezekiel 9:4.

The Lord called to a man and said. . ."Go throughout the city of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over the detestable things that are done in it."

Apparently the mark was made with dust, refer to Genesis 3:19. God is speaking to Adam after he and wife Eve ate the forbidden fruit and became sinful human beings - as we all are.

"By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return."

These are Old Testament verses were written for the Jews who were under the law and lived religiously. They don't apply to the New Testament church who is under grace, not the law.

Way back in high school chemistry I learned that our human bodies contain the same 18 elements as a handful of dirt. Knowing that fact can bring us down a notch or two and give us a reason to show humility - we're made of dust! David wrote in Psalm 103:14 that God remembers that we are dust and Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 3:20 that all come from dust and to dust all return.

We know that Jesus had a resurrected body as we shall someday. God will gather all that dust and give us a new body that will never die and decay. Billy Graham passed into glory recently at age 99. What a humble man he was whose only desire was to share God's love. He has been called the greatest evangelist and teacher since the Apostle Paul who wrote a good deal of the New Testament. 

I remember Mr. Graham saying that one day we will hear that he had died. "Don't believe it" he said, "I'll be more alive than ever and in the presence of God." Amen! A good and faithful servant.

Eventually, the dust became the ashes of the palm branches used the prior Palm Sunday which had been dried, burned and saved for this ritual. Omar Khayyam, the 11th century Iranian thinker whose poetical works have become universally classic, spoke to us in quatrains. I wonder if this Persian man read the Bible. 

"Ah, make the most of what we yet may spend, 
Before we too into the Dust Descend;
     Dust into Dust, and under Dust, to lie, 
Sans Wine, Sans Song, sans ginger and - sans End!

If Khayyam understood who Jesus is and what He has done for those who know Him, he might have replaced the 'sans' (without) to 'avec' (with). Oh poor Omar, he couldn't picture eternal life with wine, song and ginger; only lying under the dust forever with no life, no joy. Sad.

Lent is described by the Catholic Church as a time of 40 days and nights set aside to reflect on all that Jesus has done for us. We can trace this ritual back to the Council of Nicaea AD 325. Giving up something is often used to remember what Jesus gave up for us - His life, everything! Why the number 40? In Matthew 4:1 we read where Jesus went out into the wilderness for 40 days to fast and pray and was tempted by Satan. Notice He was "led by the Spirit" to do this. We think of not eating food as fasting, but it also has something to do with Spiritual hunger.

This Spiritual hunger is what gives joy and hope to life. To seek a relationship with the God of the Universe, to know His Son Jesus, and to feel the power of the Holy Spirit in our life is what gives us hope, confidence and security. Shedding ritual can be very freeing, perhaps closer to God's heart.

Ash Wednesday and Lent are not occasions for us to display our devotion to God - so He'll like us better - or boost of our own holiness. In October we celebrated the 500th anniversary of the Reformation initiated by God who used Martin Luther, a Catholic monk, to show that the church was wrong in many ways for many reasons. Luther pointed out that "The righteous shall live by faith." Romans 1:17. "Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because "The righteous will live by faith." Galatians 3:11.

Romans 8:1 - "There is no condemnation for those who are in Jesus Christ."

Romans 8:29 - 30 "For those God foreknew he also predestined ...those he predestined, he also called, those he called, he also justified, and those he justified , he also glorified."

Romans 10:4 - "Christ is the end of the law so there may be righteousness for everyone who believes."

JESUS HAS DONE IT ALL. We can't add to what he's done, but we can be aware of how blessed we are to experience His love and grace. When Jesus was on the cross He said,"It is finished." 

This is the 'Good News' of the Gospel! Don't you want to share it with everyone?

For those who don't feel the need to have a face dirtied with ashes, or giving up something during the lent season, why not add something to your days that will give you peace and joy? Read through the four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The first three tell the story of Jesus' life, each one is a little different. John has a a unique way to tell the story of Jesus..."In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning." John is saying that Jesus is God.

Thank you Lord for doing it all! Having you in the midst of our lives on a daily basis is the most precious experience on earth.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018



In a word, everything! This darling little girl is my three year old great-granddaughter who lives in North Carolina. Her name is Braya Lynn. I love her and think of her everyday.

Today we are celebrating St. Valentines Day. There really was a 'St. Valentine'. He was born in Italy in the third century. He became a Roman Priest and defied a law by the emperor who said that those in the Roman militia could not be with women at all - they couldn't date and couldn't marry as this was a distraction for the men. Yes, women have always distracted men however, St. Valentine believed in love and romance so secretly married many couples. The priest was punished for not obeying the emperor's wishes. He was ordered to be beaten and beheaded for his crime. He died on February 14, 226 AD  😢. I wish he could know that he hasn't been forgotten.

This was a very bloody beginning to a romantic holiday. There are some parallels between Jesus and St. Valentine. They both died for love and paid with their life. We throw around phrases about love without thinking too much about what we're saying - "Love makes the world go around", or "Love is in the air." We often mix love and passion together - we love our new car, chocolate cake. . .our country! Love is defined as an intense feeling of deep affection; that seems similar to passion to me. 

When we love a person, there is a behavior attached to that love. The Bible has the perfect definition of love. 

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered and keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." I Corinthians 13:4-8

True love never fails, but we do, all the time in fact. Just as we could never keep the 10 Commandments perfectly, neither can we attain this level of 'loving' on a consistent basis. However if we don't have some standard of perfection to work toward, we're left wondering what 'perfect' is.

St. Augustine described exhortations as commands given by God, which are impossible for us to perform, but given so we know what to ask God for. When I read the I Corinthians 13 passage, I'm immediately aware that my ability to love falls way short and I'm not able to fix that on my own. This epiphany results in me coming to the Lord and trusting Him to work HIS love in me. We often don't have an intense feeling of deep affection for someone but we can always ask the Lord to allow His perfect love to overflow into our relationships. 

Scripture says that God is the source of all love - I John 4:7. Having created us, He knew we'd be incapable of 'agape' - Godly love. We are flawed humans, but the Lord will always come to our rescue; He never fails! 😊 Jesus has come to save us from ourselves. We simply need to surrender to His love, believe and trust in Him. If we can't trust God, we probably won't be able to trust others, and to have good relationships, we need to establish trust. 

Most of us have been told at one time or another that love is a choice. It's God's Holy Spirit that empowers us to make that choice. Over and over again we come to realize that we can trust our sovereign Lord. . .my Father always knows best, and always has my back!  

Thank you Lord for loving us enough to die for us. Thank you that we can call ourselves 'saints' because you've made us perfect in Your eyes. 

Friday, January 26, 2018


Have any of you noticed that as hard as we try to organize our life and get everything right; we can't. And we get frustrated and unhappy. Of course we think that we know what is right and if the Lord loves us, He'd agree! But often He has a different plan. This puts us in the position of trusting Him, or being frustrated and unhappy. 

I go both ways, from frustration to peace and joy. I know what makes the difference but so often ignore what I know to be true.

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. . ."
Ephesians 3:20

When we grasp the truth of this verse, we find the peace and joy we're looking for and ignore Satan who just loves to get us all riled up and frustrated. Remember the Scripture says Satan leads the  world astray. 

Do you find these words as incredible as I do - "immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine"!? I believe you need to experience this before it becomes true to you. Many times I've asked the Lord for some small thing only to be blessed in ways I had not asked for, or even imagined. It's like when you take a small child to the store with you and he says, "Can I have this coloring book?" And you say "Sure, and you can have a new box of crayons, a picture book and candy bar too." 

You need to have tremendous love in order to die an agonizing death for someone - Jesus did just that for those of us who believe in Him. We are his 'delight', the apple of His eye! 

Remember where your identity comes from and the difference between Satan's lie and God's Truth.

Satan's Lie  
You are a sinner                               
because you
sometimes sin.

You get your
identity from what
you have done.

Your identity is
based on what
people say about you.

You behavior tells
you what to believe 
about yourself.

God's Truth

You are a saint (one
declared righteous by
God) who sometimes sins.

You get your 
identity from what
God has done for you.

Your identity is based
on you being a much
loved child of God.

Your belief about 
yourself determines
your behavior.

As we begin this new year let's ask the Lord to open our eyes to the truth of His Word. Yes, life is full of frustration and deceit, but we can stand tall no matter what this world brings our way because we have a relationship with the King! We can trust that He "...works all things together for good for those who love Him and have been called according to His purpose."  Romans 8:28


Sunday, December 24, 2017


"From two momentous events, the birth and death of Jesus, God says to us,
Billy Graham
I attended a Christmas Eve service tonight and still feel the warm glow of honoring the birth of Jesus. You realize as you sing the words to the familiar Christmas carols that Jesus is the reason and the heart of everything we do at Christmas - even when we aren't conscious of that fact.
It always thrills me to think that over 2,000 years ago, a baby was born in Bethlehem and He continues to set much of the world ablaze every year. Jesus is 'the light', so guess it's not surprising that we happily string lights all over our homes and neighborhood.
This miraculous birth should not have been a big surprise, and yet it was to most. In Isaiah 9:6, we read
"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and he government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
Micah wrote 500 years before this prophesy came true, Micah 5:2,
"But you Bethlehem though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times."
Micah was speaking of the Messiah, Jesus who existed from the beginning as recorded by John in chapter one. Isaiah also wrote -
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel.
And it happened as Matthew said in 1:23
"The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel which means,"God with us."
Jesus is God and He is with us today, everyday in fact! He is a Living Savior who empowers us with His Holy Spirit. We who know Him are the sheep of His pasture and not one of us will ever be 'lost'. His overwhelming love for us is something we'll never be able to understand this side of heaven.
Our Pastor mentioned a profound truth tonight. The New Testament of the Bible is hidden in the Old Testament. And, the Old Testament is revealed in the New Testament. The Bible tells one cohesive story, one that permeates all of creation. God is an author outside of time, He knows the beginning and the end.
"He came not to a throne,
but to a manger.
He lived not as a king,
but as a servant.
Her chose not a kingdom,
but a cross.
He gave not just a little,
but everything.
Holly Gerth
Jesus was a different kind of King; He died for his people. Other Kings have their people die for them! I pray that you understand Who we celebrate this time of year. I wish you many blessings as you gather with friends and family and that you'll be able to share often and with certainty that Jesus is our Lord and Savior.
Thank you Lord for the beautiful story you've given us. Empower us to shout it from the roof tops and never cease praising your Holy Name.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017


"And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night."  Luke 2:8

Shepherds were certainly valued for the work they did, but they weren't considered to be among those who had much status in the community. Surely not like the religious folk of the day. And yet, God chose to announce the birth of His son to these humble shepherds.

"An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified."  Luke 2:9

Can you imagine what that might have been like? All of a sudden, in the darkness of night, an angel appears in the midst of a brilliant light; I'm sure the whole sky lite up! But the angel was quick to tell them not to be afraid.

""I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord."  Luke 2:11

Then suddenly there was a great company of the "heavenly host" appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."  Luke 2:14 

The shepherds calmed down - they were not much different from us. When presented with something new, different, or alarming, we experience fear, sometimes we panic. But when we're open to God and have been given the faith to trust Him, we feel at peace and can go about our life. The angels went back to heaven and the shepherds decided to go to Bethlehem and check out this baby who had been placed in a manager. And, sure enough, there He was!

I think it's interesting, profound even, that the Lord uses the analogy of shepherds and sheep for the relationship between the Savior and His followers. Sheep are considered to be a bit dim-witted, not very bright. They can be ten yards from food and will starve to death if they don't have someone to lead them. They will get lost, run in the wrong direction, even fall over a cliff. They need constant attention. Just like us. Guess that is why we are called sheep. 

The shepherd loves his sheep. If one drifts away, he will diligently search for that sheep and not give up until it is found. God knows His sheep, He calls them by name and His sheep know their Shepherd, they hear His voice and follow Him. They will never follow a stranger's voice. You will be blessed with new understanding if you read John 10. I call it the 'sheep chapter'.

The fact that the angel appeared to the common people of the day tells us that God isn't interested in our 'religious status'. He doesn't require and is not impressed with our religious works. He loves us just as He did the shepherds of the field - dirty, confused, afraid.  He will remove our fear, illuminate us, and clean us up so when the day comes, we will appear at the throne of God 'white as snow'.

What do we have to do? Actually not much. When He calls us by name all we need to do is say, "Yes Lord, I want to be one of Your sheep and I will follow You as my Shepherd."

Celebrate this season with great joy and thanksgiving for all that God has done for us and all that He does every day. Stay close to Him; He loves you with great passion. YOU are His joy!  

Thank you Lord for loving us enough to send Jesus to earth, fully human, fully divine, to show us how to have a relationship with You and live in heaven eternally.

 ***If you are interested, my books, How is The Day?, and The God Who Sees Me are on Amazon, hard back and inexpensive E-book, author, Roberta Van Hise.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017


"The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.
Attitude to me is more important than facts. It's more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company...a church...a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past...we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me, and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you...we are in charge of our attitudes."

        These profound words were written by Pastor Charles Swindoll many years ago. Yes, I agree; on a very practical level, life is 10% what happens to us, and 90% how you react to it.

        We all know people who are so angry, they are toxic. We avoid negative toxic people; it's better that way. There is no 'one size fits all'; there are many reasons for anger. Often the person who attacks you is more angry at themselves than you. They may be very unhappy about their circumstances or something that has happened in the past and never resolved. Many become very angry that they can't control their life or others in their life.

        In other words, they are not at peace with themselves or the world. If you are a Christian, you can find peace, even joy in knowing a sovereign God loves you; you are His child. He is always watching out for you and has a plan for your life and He will bring it to pass, even when you think it's hopeless.

"For I know the plans I have for you , declares the Lord, plans for  welfare and not calamity to give you a future and a hope."  Jeremiah 29:11 -  NAS Version

         It's easier at times to see what is wrong in our life rather than what we have to be grateful for. I had a friend a few years ago who woke up one morning and couldn't see, she was blind. Rather than become angry and bitter that she had lost her sight, she was so grateful for the many years she could see. She and her husband became active in an organization that help the blind and visually impaired. The Lord used them to witness to others with the same struggle and they became a source for hope and inspiration.

        Once we understand that whatever comes our way is from the hand of God, anger turns to acceptance and then acceptance can turn into gratitude. Instead of being mad at the world, we can praise the Lord and walk by faith. "...for we walk by faith, not by sight..." 2 Corinthians 5:7.  

        As you celebrate Thanksgiving Day ask the Lord for an 'attitude of gratitude'. Worth repeating, "Life is 10% what happens and 90% how you deal with it."

        If you have started to think about Christmas gifts, you may want to take a look at these two titles on Amazon. The God Who Sees Me is a collection of my blogs, and How is The Day? is about the experience I had as a short term missionary in Uganda, Africa with the Rafiki organization. Both of these books are available as e-books, very inexpensive, or hard copy.

Lord we are grateful for the all the good things you have given us. Help us to see them so we can replace anger with gratitude.

Monday, November 6, 2017


Oh no, not again we all thought when hearing the news that another tragic event had taken place in the U.S. This time a shooting at a church in a small town in Texas. God is no stranger to tragedy, in fact He set the stage for the biggest tragedy in the history of mankind - the fall of man into sin. 

"Now the serpent (Satan) was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?"
Genesis 3:1

The woman replied that they could eat from the trees except the tree in the middle of the garden and if they touched it, they, Adam and Eve, would die! Satan immediately begin to sow the seeds of doubt, "You will not surely die."

From the beginning God had planned a way to sift the wheat from the tares and the sheep from the goats. Those who would belong to Him were chosen from the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight.

"May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of or Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it."  I Thessalonians 5:23 - 25

Going back to the dawn of man, our Lord has taken His hands off of us and allowed Satan to enter our life. Just as God's character hasn't changed and never will, neither has Satan's who was a liar and deceiver from the beginning.

In some respect, the Bible is a record of one tragic event after another. To mention a few - man being separated from God in the Garden of Eden, Cain and Able - man kills his brother, the flood that covered the earth, the plagues of Egypt and parting of the Red Sea drowning the entire Egyptian army. 

Was the Egyptian Pharaoh in charge, no God was. I thought of Pharaoh as a very stubborn man until I read in Exodus over and over again that it was God who hardened Pharaoh's heart and God was always in control of the timing and events that occurred.

"But I will harden Pharaoh's heart and though I multiply my miraculous signs and wonders in Egypt, he will not listen to you."
Exodus 7:4

Remember what appeared to be a tragedy when Jacob's son Joseph was thrown down a well and left to die because his brother's were very jealous of him. God had a plan and Joseph later told his brothers. . .

"You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives."
Genesis 50:20

Joseph told his family that they weren't responsible for him being in Egypt, God sent him there and made him ruler of all Egypt.When tragic events take place, cry out 'Why Lord?' because ultimately He is the One in charge of everything. He doesn't always answer us.

The only way we can understand what the Lord is doing is not by trying to figure it all out, but to walk in faith trusting the One who loves us and has promised a day will come when peace and joy will reign. We need to remember these words. . .

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts neither are your ways my ways declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."  Isaiah 55: 8 - 9

"In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will."  Ephesians 1:11

Poor Job suffered so many heart wrenching loses and lived with much pain, sadness and bewilderment. He has become the poster boy of hard times! Did you know that it was God Himself who invited Satan into Job's life. . ."Have you considered my servant Job?" God asked Satan. Job 1:8 However we see in verse 12 that God set boundaries that Satan could not surpass. God was firmly in control. 

1 John 4 states that God is love. We love, but God is love - there is a difference. Our love can melt away in a heartbeat when someone attacks us. All through Scripture the Lord proclaims love for His children. As long as we live in this world we will have to deal with evil, lots of it. Sometimes it comes on you so quickly it's like being in a snow storm and not being able to get your sense of direction, feeling lost and confused - where is the right road? 

But be assured, evil will not last forever; God has promised an end to it. For those who know Jesus as their Lord and Savior, they have absolute assurance that all will end well. It was Jesus who paid the price for all the evil, believers have been washed clean, white as snow. 

The Lord knows our emotions and when our hearts are broken - can't help but think His is too - like your child having to deal with something awful in their life, you cry for them. We only see a finite picture, God sees into infinity. He knows the beginning and the end. He will work the bad for good for those He loves. Don't waiver in your trust for the Living Lord. 

Thank you Lord that even though we don't always understand your plan and purpose that we can trust you anyway. Fear doesn't have to be a part of our life.