Monthly Archives: February 2023

Parables of His Return – Tue – 23-02-28



As a youth, I enjoyed my adventures in the Boy Scouts of America. Our motto was “Be prepared.” It’s good advice. I wonder if Jesus inspired it.

Listen to Jesus’ words in Luke 12:35-40, “Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into.  You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” (NIV 1984)

This parable introduces a couple of other themes about the second coming of Jesus. The predominate theme is judgement. This parable adds the unexpected timing of his return, like a thief in the night. Since we don’t know when he will return, we must be ready. Are you ready today? If not, get ready.


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Parables of His Return – Mon – 23-02-27



I once helped a fisherman in Alaska gather fish from his net. He staked it perpendicular to the shore and we checked it when the tide went out leaving the net atop the mud. We untangled several salmon to keep, tossing them into five-gallon buckets. But we also removed several worthless fish and left them to rot.

This reminds me of a parable Jesus told in Matthew 13:47-50, “Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (NIV 1984)

Notice the angels separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into a fire. These themes of separation and judgement are repeated in most of the passages dealing with Christ’s return. Don’t miss the big picture trying to decipher every detail in the book of Revelation or other prophecies. The basic outline of the main events is simple. The end of the age arrives. People are judged. The wicked burn. God’s people live forever with him.


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Parables of His Return – Sun – 23-02-26



Are you itching to know about the second coming of Jesus? Did you know Jesus taught his disciples about his return? This week, we’ll look at seven of those parables.

The first is a story about a farmer who plants seed in a field. An enemy planted weeds. At the harvest, the weeds are separated from the good crop and burned. Jesus explained the story describing his return in Matthew 13:37-43, ‘He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.’” (NIV 1984)

In other words, God’s people and the wicked exist together until angels gather the wicked and throw them in the fire. Christians are glorified with the father. Pretty simple, isn’t it?


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1st Peter 1 – Sat – 23-02-25



Do you like to attend plays? In high school, I enjoyed drama. I joined the school play and also volunteered for the community theater in a nearby town. I once played the Peanuts character Charlie Brown in a musical. In another play, I was cast as an old man in a wheel chair with failing health. The play revolved around the secret of who poisoned family members in the past. I remember several of my lines involved whining for the character named Constance to bring me things.

Drama is related to a word in 1 Peter 1:22, “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.” (NIV 1984)

The word translated “sincere” is the opposite of the Greek word describing an actor on the stage spouting oratory. That word became “hypocrite.” Jesus used it to describe the Pharisees. Their hypocrisy was the opposite of sincerity.

Another important word in this passage is deeply. Peter urges us to love each other deeply. The same word is used to describe the emotional intensity of Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before his death. He prayed so intensely he sweat drops of blood.

Our love for others cannot be play acting. It cannot have a whiff of hypocrisy. We must love others from the heart.


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1st Peter 1 – Fri – 23-02-24



Have you ever traveled to a foreign country? I’ve been to a few on business or church trips. Some were not that different than the United States, such as the United Kingdom. I could read the signs and talk to people. Other countries were very different, like China and India. I was much more wary if walking the streets alone in those countries. Language was a barrier. Sometimes, even going through immigration at the border could be a challenge.

In my business travels, I visited some cities more than once, usually staying in the same hotel. I relaxed more because I was familiar with the location and knew what to expect. But I never felt like I belonged. I was a stranger. The locals could always spot me as the foreigner. I always looked forward to returning home.

These experiences help me understand 1 Peter 1:17, “Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear.” (NIV 1984) As followers of Jesus, we must remember where our true home lies. We really don’t belong here, even in our hometown. Oh, we may be comfortable in the city and neighborhood where we each live, but we can’t find a deep sense of belonging here. Those in the world will always spot us as different, a foreigner to some degree. Our spiritual home is with Christ.


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1st Peter 1 – Thu – 23-02-23



As a child, I received a beautiful, white, hollow body electric guitar and a Gretsch amp. I was excited. But when I tried to wrap my fingers around the neck in weird configurations to form chords, I became discouraged. I wanted to be a guitar player, but struggled to do it.

Maybe you’ve felt the same way as a Christian. I Peter 1:15-16 says, ‘But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”’ (NIV 1984) Have you felt discouraged by this verse? Do you find it difficult to live a holy life?

Or maybe you feel apathetic. You believe holiness is next to impossible for you, so you shrug your shoulders and ignore the command. Then some of us may feel frustrated. Why would God ask us to do something so difficult? But all of these feelings are tragic.

When you hear God say “Be holy, because I am holy” you should be excited. God didn’t say you needed to be perfect. We don’t lose salvation when we fail. He charged us to be separate and special as he is. Our behavior, attitudes and values must be like his, not the world’s. And here’s the best part. He has given us his Holy Spirit to transform us. And just like my fingers eventually learned to play the guitar, we will become holy like Him.


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1st Peter 1 – Wed – 23-02-22



I recently helped in the children’s program at a church event. Years have passed since I last supervised children at play. One of the activities the children enjoyed was molding lumps of putty. They rubbed it and patted it. They squeezed it into toys or stamped a pattern into it with something like a cookie-cutter. They had a lot of fun.

People are a lot like the putty the children used. We can be molded and shaped. We often squeeze ourselves into something others want. We conform to the desires and pressures around us as if some cookie cutter stamped the pattern on our thinking. We do it all the time. We want to fit in. You see this especially with middle school youth. Whatever group they’re in, they want to dress the same, act the same and sport the same haircut. If one shoves a safety pin through an ear lobe, the others want to do it too. Or they want the tattoo, or the hair color. But adult are the same, just more sophisticated. We don’t always dress the same. But we often fit our desires or values to those of the group. That’s why 1 Peter 1:14 warns us with these words, “As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.” Today, don’t be putty. Don’t conform to the desires and values of the world. Follow Jesus.


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1st Peter 1 – Tue – 23-02-21



Where would you and I be without mothers? They teach an untold number of practical things. They teach us how to make the bed, brush our teeth and fasten our shoes. And that’s usually after we learn to walk, use the bathroom and dress ourselves. Another thing mothers teach is using care when setting down a glass of water. I’m sure you’ve seen a child plop a cup or glass down on the edge of the table, with part of it hanging off. The mother rescues the teetering glass and prompts the child to place it fully onto the table.

Peter does something similar in 1 Peter 1:13, “Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (NIV 1984)

Instead of using care in setting down a glass, Peter instructs us about where to place our hope. It must be fully on the grace we will receive when Jesus returns. Yes, we have a hope of eternal life that can never perish, spoil or fade, but only if it rests on grace. But why this reminder? Because we face a life filled with trials. If our hope teeters on the edge, then the bumps and bruises of life may send it crashing to the ground. Remember, we’ve been given grace now and we’ll have his grace at his coming.


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1st Peter 1 – Mon – 23-02-20



American-style football requires athletes to exercise self-control on many levels. One level is the discipline to appear at practice and workouts to learn the plays and develop the skills, strength and stamina needed to compete. Every athlete in the NFL has this level of self-discipline. Another level is to wait for the hike to execute the play. With just a few exceptions, every NFL athlete does this consistently. What is harder is keeping your cool in the midst of an emotional, hard-fought game. Players penalize their teams for lack of self-control. They get flagged for taunting or unnecessary roughness. Sometimes, it leads to the team’s defeat as it did for the Bengals in the AFC Championship Game. A personal foul in the closing seconds moved the Chiefs into field goal range. They scored and won.

Listen to 1 Peter 1:13, “Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (NIV 1984)  Did you hear the encouragement to be self-controlled? When we look at our lives, we may see a level of self-control. We may see habits of prayer, bible reading and involvement in church or a small group. But our self-control must go to the next level. We pour ourselves into life. We may become exhausted or frustrated or experience other intense emotions, good or bad. It is especially during these moments we must keep ourselves in bounds.


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1st Peter 1 – Sun – 23-02-19



I am thrilled with the Kansas City Chiefs for defeating the Cincinnati Bengals for the NFL AFC Championship game. As a fan, I love it when my team wins. I’m sure you also love it when your team wins.

I am even happier that the Chiefs defeated the Philadelphia Eagles in the Superbowl. In both games, my team came prepared physically and mentally. Both are important. But mental preparation may be more important. Coaches often remind players to think, to get their heads in the game. Stupid penalties and the lack of concentration are costly when the stakes are high.

The same is true in life. We have to prepare our attitudes for the spiritual battle much like athletes must prepare for the big game. The apostle Peter reminds us about this. After opening his first letter extolling God for our new birth into the living hope of a future inheritance promised and guarded by God, he urges us to do seven things. This week, we’ll examine each of them. 1 Peter 1:13 says, “Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (NIV 1984)

Peter is our spiritual coach telling us “prepare your minds for action.” We must exert ourselves as followers of Jesus. Get your head in the game. React quickly and stay on course following Jesus.


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Finding Fools – Sat – 23-02-18



How would you complete a sentence that begins, “A Florida man . . .” Would you say, “does something stupid?” A popular meme on the internet involves the words “Florida man.” According to Wikipedia, the meme started on a Twitter account that posted news headlines about male residents of the state doing bizarre things. On the day I searched the internet news for “Florida man” I found two stories only hours old.

In one, a 53 year old man set his home near Orlando on fire because he was mad at the home owners association. It exploded, damaging other units. Then the man shot himself in the neck, but not fatally. He was hauled to jail, charged with arson.1 In the other story, a drunk driver was arrested for crashing his car into a dentist’s office in Ocala. He fled from the scene, but was apprehended later with a blood alcohol level far above the legal limit. He was arrested for DUI and fleeing the scene.2

These stories illustrate a principle about fools. Fools face punishment. Proverbs 16:22 says, “Understanding is a fountain of life to those who have it, but folly brings punishment to fools.” (NIV 1984) Let’s be realistic. We all know that fools live in every state, not just Florida. We must all focus on understanding and following God’s word. It is the best way to avoid punishment in this life and in the afterlife.


  1. Louis Casiano, “Florida man angry with HOA sets apartment on fire, causing explosion, before shooting himself: police,” Fox News, January 24, 2023, https://www.foxnews.com/us/florida-man-angry-hoa-apartment-fire-explosion-shooting-himself-police
  2. Marie Edinger,”Florida man who rammed car into dentist’s office charged with DUI, police say,” Fox News, January 25, 2023, https://www.foxnews.com/video/6319226782112

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