FOLLOW-UP to Monterey Park mass murder post

In the previous post, which itself was a follow-up to the preceding “While You Can” post, I added to the list of people who passed into eternity without notice, likely without much if any recent consideration that the end of their life on earth would come to an end anytime soon.  As I noted, that’s just human nature.  That’s why I’m shouting from the proverbial rooftops with a neon trumpet, as it were, that everyone  needs to confirm his or her eternal destination NOW, TODAY – i.e., BEFORE it’s too late.

  • “behold, NOW is ‘the acceptable time,’ behold, NOW is ‘the day of salvation'” (2 Corinthians 6:2b, emphasis added)

It’s often (and wittily) said that “I’ve never seen a U-HAUL being towed by a hearse.”  Because “you can’t take it with you,” you can’t take the material things of this life into the next one, into eternity.

But here’s a saying I invented and like even better (more poignant):  “I’ve never seen a hotel room confirmation  on the dashboard of a hearse.”

Because people who leave this life and slip into eternity won’t be needing material things or travel plans or a passport.

Yet let me ask you this:  Have you spent more time in the past year or decade making/confirming reservations for hotel rooms, or a “room” in Heaven, in eternity?

The reason this matter is so crucial, so imperative, so all-important is that nobody knows exactly WHEN they’ll leave this life and (instantly) enter the one to come, eternity, i.e., Heaven or Hell.  You needn’t take my word for it, take God’s:

  • “… you do not know what a day may bring forth.” (Proverbs 27:1b)

And as I said in the previous post with the aid of a classic TV commercial, everyone will eventually (some today, others tomorrow, others many years from now, and many sometime in between) enter their eternal destination… but NOBODY will EVER “check out” of it.

Ergo, even just based on the stakes alone, this matter, this decision, this particular piece of planning is THE MOST IMPORTANT of a person’s entire life, is absolutely and utterly and infinitely crucial.

Oh and by the way, in this case to NOT make a decision is actually MAKING one, to make NO reservation is to MAKE ONE FOR HELL, humanity’s default  destination:

  • “for ALL have sinned and FALL SHORT of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23)
  • “For the wages [lit., stipend, pay, i.e., penalty, fine, default result] of SIN is DEATH…” (Romans 6:23a)

but I’ve got GREAT NEWS (er, better yet in this particular case, GOOD NEWS 🙂 ) for you:  that second verse doesn’t stop there, it keeps going!

  • “but the FREE GIFT of God is ETERNAL LIFE in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23b)

And let me add one other thing:  in my view, in my perspective, if I can be saved from my sins and go from being headed for Hell to headed for Heaven for all eternity, ANYONE CAN.  If Christ can save me from my sins, He can save YOU from yours, and frankly ANYONE from theirs.

IF – and ONLY IF – you ask Him.  If and only if you put your faith in Him and Him ALONE.  Because He and He alone is WORTHY of your trust in this matter.

Because He and He alone among humans was conceived by the Holy Spirit versus a man (see Romans 5:12 for why this is so crucial).

Because He and He alone among humans has lived a perfect, flawless, sinless life.

Therefore, since He lived the human experience but without  sinning, He, through His death on the cross and subsequent resurrection which the “whole wide world” celebrates every spring, is able to take OUR wages/fine/penalty for OUR sins ONTO HIMSELF, onto His literal body, as foreshadowed thousands of years prior in the Old Testament.

  • “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in all ways as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore draw near WITH CONFIDENCE to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15-16, emphasis added)
  • “For you have been called [i.e., spiritually saved from sin] for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously [i.e., God the Father, see 4:19]; and He HIMSELF bore OUR SINS in HIS BODY on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.  For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have retturned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.” (1 Peter 2:21-25, emphasis added; see also 1 John 5:18 on that final point)
  • “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac; and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son; it was he to whom it was said, ‘In Isaac your descendants shall be called.’  He considered that God is able to raise men even from the dead; from which he also received him back as a type.” (Hebrews 11:17-19)

But you might be thinking, “But DJ Bible, what if I’ve only committed very few  sins, do I still need to be saved through Jesus Christ?”

Even if that is the case, if that’s actually true, the answer is very clear, a resounding and unmitigated “Yes!”

  • “For whoever keeps the WHOLE law and yet stumbles in ONE point, he has become GUILTY of ALL” of them.  “For He who said, ‘Do not commit adultery,’ also said, ‘Do not commit murder.’  Now if you do NOT commit adultery, but DO commit murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.” (James 2:10-11, emphasis added)

I trust you’ll take THIS VERY MINUTE to contemplate and consider and confirm  YOUR eternal destination, i.e., to make a reservation for a “room” in Heaven!  (Not the no-checkout “roach motel” that is Hell, which, remember, is humanity’s default destination from conception.)  It’s as EASY as “A-B-C”:  Admit, Believe, Confess:

Please keep firmly in mind that I’ve also never known or even heard of anyone who has received an advance invitation  for a hearse, for death, from the “grim reaper”.  Because its exact timing is never truly known in advance – and it usually occurs without any  INKLING that such is imminent, that such is even a real possibility anytime soon.

Just ask my latest example in the news, the ten people who simply showed up at a ballroom dance hall on a Saturday night as usual.  It’s too late for them to do anything about their eternal destination (even just the thought that a number of them likely ended up in Hell – per Matthew 7:13-14‘s “many” and “few” – is heartbreaking) (and absolutely irreversible) … but it’s NOT too late for YOU!

All over the news today is the fact that night before last’s ballroom dance hall mass murderer was a 72-year-old Asian man.  What are the odds on that?!  Mass murderers have often been white or black or Hispanic, rarely Asian, just based on the stats, very unusual.  And for millennia Asians have been probably the most peaceful people, pacifists from birth by-and-large, compared to other ethnicities.  And when’s the last time a mass shooter has been SEVENTY-TWO years old?  Never?  Never ever?  Extremely rare.

Ergo, based on the “odds” those ten ballroom dancers would never, ever have even imagined that their life would come to a screeching halt at the hand of a 72-year-old Asian male long-time ballroom dance hall regular.

And yet it occurred, and yet that’s exactly what happened.

NEVER try to “time it” or “play the odds” when eternity is on the line.

Just ask this person who was driving near the Amazon HQ2 just this morning:

Thankfully, like the Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin a few weeks ago, this driver escaped death.

This time.

But what about tomorrow?  Or next month or next year?  The point is that you just never know when your time will come, when you’ll leave this life and instantly enter the one to come, eternity.

I sincerely hope and pray that you’ll “choose wisely” in this most important and most urgent  of matters and confirm YOUR reservation in Heaven today!  Or wiser still, RIGHT NOW!

  • “… behold, NOW is ‘the acceptable time,’ behold, NOW is ‘the day of salvation'” (2 Corinthians 6:2b, emphasis added)


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Quick Thought:  “While You Can” FOLLOW-UP #1

The previous post was titled “While You Can”, which listed several examples of people who thought they had much, much, much, much, much more time to live, to take care of their eternal destination, to confirm a “reservation” for Heaven or Hell forever and ever.

And just last night ten people simply went to their local ball dance hall as they do every Saturday night.  Or at least, did.  You see, while the thought or even the possibility almost certainly never crossed their mind, last night their lives on earth came to a sad, screeching halt and they entered into eternity.  Heaven or Hell.  A or B.  To put it in school terms, this matter is not “multiple choice”, it’s “true or false”.  The ultimate “binary choice” (to use a phrase we hear every election cycle, especially when a political party puts up a candidate unconducive to their constituents’, to the people’s primary preference).

In the previous post I mentioned the thousands of people who simply showed up to their office on September 11, 2001, and four college students in Idaho who simply went to sleep for the night and three in Virginia who simply boarded a bus for a class trip later that very same day, November 13, 2022, and the very near-miss of an NFL player in the middle of a Monday Night Football game a few weeks ago – and just last night it was ten people at a ball dance hall in Monterey Park, California.  But there will be many, many others in the coming months and years and probably days and even hours.  Which is why I put Follow-up “#1” in this post’s title.  Because there will absolutely be Follow-up examples “#2” and “#3” and so on.  Because just as the path of believers “shines brighter and brighter” throughout their lives on earth (Proverbs 4:18) so also unbelievers “will proceed from bad to worse” throughout theirs (2 Timothy 3:13).

As near-impossible as it is for human nature to do, I strongly encourage YOU to “brand your brain” with the firm fact that YOUR final day (yes, YOU!) and MY final day could be today or tomorrow or even ten or twenty or fifty years from now but the main thing is to realize that it could be today so as to give the urgency due to such an all-important matter, in fact the ONLY thing that truly  matters in this entire life:  where one will spend the life to come.

James 4:14 comes to a crystal-clear conclusion:  compared to eternity, this current life is literally like a single breath on a cold morning.  And 2 Peter 3:8 confirms that in eternity “one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”  The fact is that one day in eternity is equal to infinity  days on earth, but omniscient God knows everything including the fact that our finite human minds, which He created and designed, can’t truly comprehend infinity so He put it in terms we can  understand and digest easily, to make the exact same (poignant) point.

And, in the words of an old TV ad, eternity is final:  each and every person will in one split-second check in but will never, ever, ever check out.

Which is why I always say that the ONLY thing that truly matters in THIS life is that which impacts the NEXT one.

Please don’t put off for another day, even another minute, taking the time and focus to CONFIRM, to “make certain about” where you’ll be spending it.

  • “… be all the more diligent to make certain about” your salvation (2 Peter 1:10) – that you’ll be spending eternity in Heaven, not Hell.  In unquestionable freedom and pleasure, not unquenchable fire and pain.

Because like I said in the previous post, the clock is ticking.



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While You Can

It’s so common.  Because it’s just human nature to think, to presume and assume that we have a lot of time yet to live, so much so that it’s virtually impossible to even begin to imagine the world without us in it.

This deception is one of the devil’s most dangerous – and successful – weapons.

Because countless people “just keep going and going” through life without properly preparing for (or, in many cases, even considering) the life to come, eternity, i.e., without solidifying their eternal destiny… BEFORE ITS TOO LATE.

I’m sure that, just days ago, Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin thought he had “all the time in the world” before fainting and falling lifelessly to the ground in the middle of that Monday night game against the Cincinnati Bengals, as the whole world watched.  No doubt that but for the lightning-fast actions of the on-field first responders (and the prayers of countless Christians across the country and globe) he would indeed have left this world and immediately found himself in his new abode for all eternity, either Heaven or Hell, forever and ever and ever.  (It’s clear to me that God has a purpose for sparing his life – not just for Mr. Hamlin but also as one of the fairly-frequent reminders God graciously gives to the world that this current, physical life is in fact finite and will indeed end one day.)

Mr. Hamlin was spared… for now.  Meaning that he could go on to live for another 25 or 50 or 75 years.  Or he could get hit by a bus the next time he’s out and about.  That’s the whole point:  one never, ever knows exactly WHEN they’ll leave this life and begin the one to come, in and for eternity… so it’s ABSOLUTELY CRUCIAL for each of us to MAKE SURE we’re on the right track, the right route, the right path – the one that leads to Heaven, not Hell.

Mr. Hamlin was spared, was granted more time to do that…

But that wasn’t the case for four precious souls attending college in Moscow, Idaho.  They were so young and truly just beginning their lives, on the precipice of finding themselves and making their way in the world, when suddenly someone murdered all four of them reportedly in a span of just ten or fifteen minutes.

Or what about the three other  college students – football players no less, for the University of Virginia – who went on a field trip that very same day… I’d bet all the money in the world that they didn’t have an inkling that when their bus returned to the campus parking garage, one of their former fellow football teammates would pull out a gun and start shooting, killing three, injuring two, and scaring (and scarring) the rest (probably for the rest of their lives).  On just that one day alone – November 13, 2022 – it was all over the news that seven  college students, full of life and potential, slipped into eternity.  Without warning.  No advance notice.

Or what about the people who went to buy some food at their local grocery store as they had a zillion times before but on this occasion in Buffalo, NY, on May 14 a person with hatred in his heart entered and started shooting randomly, and ten precious souls slipped straight into eternity.  Without warning.  No advance notice.

Or what about the thousands of people who, as they had countless times before, merely showed up at their jobs one clear, cloudless, bright-blue-sky September morning in 2001 at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon – how many of them do you think even imagined that they’d be dead, they’d leave this life and enter the one to come in mere minutes, before the clock even hit noon?

Probably none of them.  Very likely not even a single one.

Like I said, it’s human nature.

It’s also the very reason that each person needs to consider, address, confirm  their eternal destiny RIGHT NOW, today, this minute, BEFORE it’s TOO LATE!

  • “Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to MAKE CERTAIN about” your salvation, your eternal destiny (2 Peter 1:10, emphasis added)
  • “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; EXAMINE YOURSELVES!” (2 Corinthians 13:5a, emphasis added)
  • “… behold, NOW is ‘the acceptable time,’ behold, NOW is ‘the day of salvation'” (2 Corinthians 6:2b, emphasis added)

Because as far as I know, the “Grim Reaper” doesn’t send invitations.

If any of you haven’t yet “made certain” about your eternal destiny, of exactly where you’ll go when you leave this life and spend all eternity, I strongly, strongly, strongly urge and encourage you to do so RIGHT NOW.  Simply speak to God:  tell Him that you realize that you’re a sinner, confess your sins to Him and put your faith wholly and solely in His Son, Jesus Christ – in His prophesied immaculate conception (and not-so-immaculate birth, in a lowly feeding trough for animals), perfect life, and predicted death, burial and resurrection, which He lovingly underwent for you and for me, so that we can leave behind the sins of our past and literally become righteous, even the very righteousness of God, imputed to us through Christ and Him alone.

  • “Therefore, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold new things have come.  Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.  He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:17,20,21)
  • “For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another.  BUT when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, BUT according to His mercy…” (Titus 3:3-5a, emphasis added)
  • “For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all…” (1 Timothy 2:5-6a)
  • “For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God… For the wages of sin is death, but the FREE GIFT of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 3:23; 6:23, emphasis added)
  • “… the name of Jesus Christ… there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:10b,12)
  • “Jesus said to him, ‘I am THE WAY, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.'” (John 14:6, emphasis added)
  • “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that WHOEVER believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, emphasis added)

Eternity awaits.  And for each and every one of us, the clock is ticking.


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Quick Thought:  Profound, Prolific Protection

Reading the Bible is like brushing your teeth.

Studying the Bible is like brushing and flossing.

Memorizing the Bible is like brushing, flossing, and mouthwash.


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Quick Thought:  Post-meal Pots and Pans

I’m sure we’ve all cooked a meal which afterward left a major mess in the pan.

Literally uncleanable.

So we let it soak in water overnight and when we wake up the next morning, wah-lah, it’s super EASY to clean, the prior night’s cooked-on crud just washes away without effort.

That’s EXACTLY how it is with Bible memory!

You see, each day we automatically pick up dust and dirt and filth from this world in which we live, from a sinful and sin-filled society which seems to be getting even more and more so by the day.  It’s just the nature of the beast, of being human in a corrupted world.  Because even though (thanks to spiritual salvation) our inner person is a new creature, a new being altogether (2 Corinthians 5:17), there will still remain in our bodies, in its members, the “law of sin and death” (Romans 7:14-25).  Which is why regular confession of our sins is one of the clearest signs of genuine salvation (1 John 1:9 among many other verses).  Like the Lord Jesus put it so perfectly, salvation is our spiritual shower but we still pick up some dust and dirt just by walking in this world which is why we need to wash our feet (confess our sins) regularly (John 13:1-10).

If you were to cook several meals in a row in the same pan without having cleaned it, the results would not be very good.  The same is true when we go very long at all without confessing our sins.  I find that anymore most of mine are sins of omission versus commission, but sin is sin is sin and needs to be confessed, contritely and quickly, or it will indeed “cake on” in and to your life.

Emotionally.  Relationally.  Very often even physically and financially.  And especially spiritually.

So just as we automatically soak a dirty pan overnight to let the water “break up” the crud, let’s be at least as diligent and clear-minded to do so with our hearts and minds.

And the way to do that, the “water” if you will, is – yep, you got it – the Bible in general and Bible memory in specific.

Amazing how EVERYTHING regarding this life and the one to come always comes back to the Bible!

What a gift, what a treasure…
May we drink it without measure,
Bringing God (and us!) much pleasure.


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Quick Thought:  Like Shoes or Shade

Recently I went for another one of my multi-hour, marathon walks.

I put on some shoes, which protect my feet from stray nails which appear on the roads/paths/sidewalks from time to time.

It was very hot that day, even though I started a few hours earlier than usual but the heat/humidity was already lingering in the air, inescapable… UNTIL I walked in the shade of a long row of fruit trees for fifteen minutes or so.  That shade instantly made me feel a good ten degrees cooler, whew!  What welcome relief!

And this is EXACTLY how Bible memory functions in our lives!  Like shoes protect a pedestrian’s feet from nails and glass and stray stones, and like shade protects one from the harsh heat and humidity borne of a bright summer sun, so also Bible memory protects a person’s soul and spirit and mind and even body (Proverbs 4:22 – God’s words, not mine) from all sorts of harmful things in this world:  sin, despair, lethargy and every other similar thing.

We simply need to ingest, to internalize His words and Word, the Bible, and we’ll be thankful and happy on an ongoing basis.  Even in the midst of a “crooked and perverse generation” (Philippians 2:15), even while wandering through such a weird, whacky world system.

  • “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you……” (Colossians 3:16-17)

Few of us would go for a multi-mile walk in the city without wearing shoes to protect our feet.  May we be at least that wise when it comes to our soul and spirit.  May we protect such with the “shoes” of His Holy Word, the Bible!

  • “Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against Thee.” (Psalm 119:11)


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Theme Song!

The Lord has blessed me with some personal strengths but I can assure you that a good singing voice is NOT one of them.  No how, no way, no day.  This is probably why whenever a singer has told me that they admire my love for and focus on Bible memory, I’ve usually responded by sharing how much I admire them  for having such a good singing voice… it’s actually a fantastic illustration of how the Lord designed His body, the Church, to function:  we all  have at least one great strength/gift, and in that way we “complete” one another, and thus we “complete” the body of Christ on earth.

I recall one time in particular when I was honored to spend an evening (dessert) with a really nice woman who oh by the way  just happened to be the reigning Miss America at the time (I was 19 and smittennnn) and she had a terrific singing voice (it was what she went with for the “talent” portion of that year’s pageant along with playing the piano) and someone had told her that I loved memorizing Bible verses and she said, “I’m so jealous!  I would LOVE to be able to memorize a lot of Scripture, I can’t tell you how much I admire that!” and I immediately replied, “You’re  jealous?  I’m  jealous of your amazing musical talent!”

The Lord could have blessed me with that had He so desired, but it’s clear that He didn’t… but one of the (countless) AMAZING things I’ve seen firsthand about the Bible in general and Bible memory in specific is that it not only “turbocharges” the human mind, the human brain, but it can also enable and empower a person – even one so hopelessly non-musically-inclined as I – to write a song, so without further ado I’ll end by just saying that I’m both humbled and thrilled about how it turned out and to be able to share it for the very first time with you, my audience and friends and fellow workers and servants of our magnificent Lord Jesus Christ – please feel free to SHARE IT (via YouTube, or this entire post via the Social Media buttons below) with your friends, family, fellow congregation members, and social media followers… it just might make their day!  And it’ll “plant some seeds” for Bible memory in any case.  (And you just might hear them humming it the next time you see them. =)



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Life Lessons from the Basketball Championship Series

The pro basketball championship series has ended and with it, another season.  Two main lessons/takeaways for me from this season-ending, summer-summoning series (one of the many great benefits of Bible memory especially on a regular, systematic basis is that literally EVERYTHING in life reminds one of something in the Bible, EVERY event big or small or in between brings back a Bible verse or lesson or principle or sermon previously ingested).

The first takeaway is that the Celtics had the #1 defense in the entire league for the season… and the Warriors #2.

It wouldn’t be prudent, um, wouldn’t be worth the time (Ephesians 5:16) to research the actual statistics but let’s just say it’s very, very common, in ANY sport, for the team with the #1 defense during the season to end up in the championship series.  And they’re often joined by the team with the #2 defense.

And that reminds me of something I alluded to in a recent post, that the Christian life on OUR end is ALL ABOUT de-fense, de-fense, de-fense!

  • “But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.” (1 Peter 5:9)

Note that it doesn’t say “Attack him (the devil, Satan, per verse 8)” or “Hunt him” or “Destroy him”.  But rather, to just “RESIST him.”  Clearly DE-FENSE.  Why?  Why are we to relegate ourselves to DEFENSE in the Christian life?  Because the Lord Jesus has already taken care of the offense, He has already secured VICTORY!

  • “… that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil; and might deliver those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.” (Hebrews 2:14b-15)
  • “When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.” (Colossians 2:15)
  • “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith.” (1 John 5:4)

And just as we have ALREADY been adopted by God as sons and daughters and therefore siblings of our Lord Jesus Christ…

  • “… you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, ‘Abba!  Father!’  The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ [our sibling, our brother as clearly stated in Hebrews 2:11]…” (Romans 8:15b-17a)

… but haven’t yet experienced the final and complete consummation of such…

  • “… even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.” (Romans 8:23b)

… so also Christ has ALREADY secured the victory per the verses above but the final and complete consummation of that will be delivered by God.

  • “And the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.” (Romans 16:20a)

To borrow another sports illustration, we’re currently like an Olympian has won the race but the medal ceremony hasn’t yet taken place.  The victory is a DONE DEAL, has ALREADY OCCURRED, but the final consummation of that will take place shortly (relatively speaking, in terms of eternity, as clearly explained in 2 Peter 3:8).  That’s why we needn’t “go on the offensive” at all, ever, in the Christian life but rather are commanded to simply “resist” the devil and evil and sin and temptation.  And further proving this to be true is what I mentioned in a recent post, that the “sword” of the Spirit in Ephesians 6:17 could rightly be interpreted as “knife” or “dirk” or “dagger”, a weapon not intended for offense but defense due to its short length.

Through the years I’ve heard of many people who have “gone on the offense” against the devil and that deeper dive into the demonic realm destroyed them, destroyed their minds and lives.  Because our role as Christians is NOT to “go on offense” but rather to leave THAT to our “Field Commander”, the Lord Jesus Christ, and instead to be humble, peaceful, loving, and kind when it comes to others and to just “resist” and “stand firm” when it comes to the devil and his minions and schemes.

The second takeaway from the just-ended pro basketball championship series is that, as stated a number of times in past posts but always well-worth repeating, it’s not how one STARTS the really counts but rather how one FINISHES.

That’s true of individuals and also of teams.

In this case, in this series, the Celtics had a great START, winning Game 1 on the Warriors’ home court (thus taking away from them home-court advantage in the series) and then winning Game 3 at home to go up 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.  But they didn’t have a great FINISH, losing the next three games straight and thus the series.

And that reminded me of a fellow in the Bible named Demas.

He too had a GREAT, fantastic, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious START, making it all the way to the innermost circle of the Apostle Paul himself, and Mark and Luke…

  • “as do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, my fellow workers.” (Philemon 24)
  • “Luke, the beloved physician, sends you his greetings, and also Demas.” (Colossians 4:14)

… but a horrific FINISH.

  • “for Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me [i.e., and the faith]” (2 Timothy 4:10a)

Like Daniel in the Old Testament, let’s trust God and “purpose in our hearts” not to end up, not to follow the path and model and example of Demas but rather that of Paul, who had a horrific START…

  • “… I used to persecute the church of God beyond measure, and TRIED TO DESTROY IT” (Galatians 1:13b, nuff said)

… but, humanly-speaking, no doubt the GREATEST-EVER FINISH outside of our Lord Himself.

Because what truly counts is not how you or I started but how we finish.

And that is one of my main daily motivations in life.  One day may it be said of you and me that we too “fought the good fight… finished the course… kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7), knowing that “in the future there is laid up for [us] the crown of righteousness” (verse 8).

Medal ceremony!!!


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Picking Out

Packets of taco sauce are a terrible thing to waste.

Before I sold my only vehicle in order to finish building this website, I used to visit the Taco Bell drive-thru every week or two and they’d usually give me a few packets of sauce too many so I just got into the habit of sticking them in a big plastic shopping bag in one of my kitchen cupboards.  And after I sold my car I haven’t been to Taco Bell even a single time so that bag drifted its way out of my mind for that entire time… until last week when I had occasion to delve into that cupboard for something else and, wa-la, there was the big bag of taco sauce packets right beside it… bingo!  Because I had since bought a lot of frozen burritos and chimichangas and the time had come to start working my way through those but I prefer not to eat those plain, definitely need some sauce so the timing was perfect and the bonus was warmly welcomed.

But I immediately noticed an issue:  over the several years I had accumulated those taco sauce packets, some had gone bad at least on the outside of the packet, at least in terms of appearance but that was plenty sufficient for me to toss those questionable ones into the trash and start putting the good ones to good use. 🙂

So I took that big bag from the cupboard and dumped all of those packets onto the (newly-swept) kitchen floor and starting “picking out” the good packets and pushing the bad ones out of the way to form their own pile which I proceeded to toss in the trash can when I was done with this timely task… and while I was doing this it immediately directed my mind to the passage in the Bible which says that this is exactly what the Lord is going to do when He returns:  He’ll “pick out” the “wheat” and later toss the “chaff” into the trash bin of hell.

  • “And His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather [separate, pick out!] His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” (Matthew 3:12; Luke 3:17)

I can’t think of anything which is at once so sad and so blissful a thought!  Sad for all those who will have rejected the gospel, the “love of the truth”, God’s plan of salvation…

  • “… when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.  And these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power… for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved… in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; 2:10,12)

… but beyond blissful for all those who WILL have put their faith in Christ and Christ alone for the payment of their sins, paving the path for God’s full forgiveness so we can have a relationship no longer of enmity and strife but of peace and love with Him now and spend all eternity in heaven when this mortal, finite, temporal life is over, be that through physical death or the Rapture.

  • “Therefore having been justified by faith, we have PEACE WITH GOD through our Lord Jesus Christ… because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us… But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.” (Romans 5:1,5,8,9)

It’s a simple yet excellent illustration of the most important matter in this life:  where one will spend the life to come, eternity.

So next time you find yourself “picking out” a certain flavor of Starbursts or color of M&M’s or your preferred type of snacking nut (cashews and almonds for me, though I like them all) think about the “picking out” of believers from unbelievers, sheep from wolves, wheat from chaff which the Lord will do some day (and sooner rather than later methinks, me feels it in me bones… the sky is getting pretty red and “threatening”, my friends, the sky is getting pret-ty red and “threatening” – Matthew 16:3).

And if you see someone else doing this with candy or nuts or anything else, that might be a great “doorway” for the gospel, just to mention to them that after reading this post, watching them reminds you of that coming day and perhaps simply and lovingly ask them if they KNOW which group THEY’LL be in at that time… who knows where the Holy Spirit might take that notion inside of that person’s mind and heart and soul.  May each of us do our part (the Lord through us) to share the gospel with as many  people as possible so the following lyrics can be said of as few  people as possible.

If you sense that the Lord might be leading YOU to support the historic event unfolding in real-time here at BibleMemory.ORG and thus become my fellow worker and thus share in all of the fruit and blessings (3 John 8) and literally MAKE HISTORY together, here are the best ways to do so:

1. Become a one-time or monthly partner by making a donation via PayPal’s fully-secure Bible Memory page!

2. Encourage as many people as you can to support this historic event by having them go to BibleMemory.ORG/support (please make sure they understand that it’s .org, not .com) – doing so by word-of-mouth is great, and to do so with a single click on your social media simply click here then scroll down a few inches to the green box and select your platforms, it’s that quick and easy!

3. Add your name to my Prayer List!

4. Encourage as many of our fellow Christians as you can to pray for this historic event by having them go to BibleMemory.ORG/pray (please make sure they understand that it’s .org, not .com) – doing so by word-of-mouth is great, and to do so with a single click on your social media simply click here then scroll down a few inches and select your platforms, it’s that quick and easy!

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SERIES:  These are a few of my favorite…  5-word Phrases

This is the first post of a new series called “These are a few of my favorite…”

While life and society and culture couldn’t possibly be deemed to have been perfect when that phrase was musically made famous, it was clearly a LOT CLOSER to perfect than today in many, many a way (stronger morals among the masses, God was welcomed into every facet of life and the Ten Commandments boldly and beneficially hung in every school, sin was widely and roundly frowned upon, etc.) – just watch some of the TV shows from then and now and you’ll see exactly what I mean, starkly.

In this inaugural post of this new series, I’m sharing “a few of my favorite” 5-word phrases from the Bible.

  • “we shall be like Him” (1 John 3:2 – great inspiration, motivation, and expectation)
  • “no temptation has overtaken you” (1 Corinthians 10:13 – great promise)
  • “because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19 – great enabling)
  • “in all we overwhelmingly conquer / through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37 – great TWOFER!)
  • “I can do all things / through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13 – another great TWOFER!)
  • “For My yoke is easy / and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:30)
  • “I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20 – great comfort amid the great commission)


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