I’m sure many of you have noticed that the deadline for Kinship Radio’s Great Gratitude Giveaway is fast approaching. 

 

To recap: Tell us, in 250 words or less, why you are grateful to the Lord for Kinship Radio, send it to us either via the entry form on our website or the USPO, and you will be entered into a random drawing to win (drumroll please): One cabin (VH Deluxe Verandah Ocean-View Stateroom), dual occupancy on the Turning Point Ministries Caribbean Cruise Conference in December 28th, 2022 to January 4th, 2023.

 

It’s the biggest, grandest, coolest prize ever given in any Kinship event ever in the history of the known universe!

 

The entry form and the full contest rules are here: https://kinshipradio.org/home/the-great-gratitude-giveaway-entry-form/

 

Here’s some details you may not have noticed: The Grand Prize also includes $180.00 in taxes for each winner for the cruise (so you don’t have to pay them), $298.00 in Conference Fee for each winner for the Turning Point Conference, $500.00 per person to go towards airfare, and$175.00 total to go towards a hotel room on December 27th, 2022.

 

Also, second prize is a spiffy floating keychain and EVERYONE who does not win the Grand Prize wins one. (That means everybody wins something!)

 

It would be great if you sent in a donation with your entry, but it’s absolutely not required to win.

 

This is a random drawing from all eligible entries, so you absolutely will NOT be graded/judged on spelling, grammar, punctuation, or hermeneutics. Just be yourself and tell us why you are grateful for what the LORD does through Kinship Radio!

 

You may not enter on behalf of another person, entries are limited to one per household, and employees of Kinship Radio, Kinship Radio volunteers, and persons involved with providing the prize or award, or the immediate families of such employees, volunteers and persons, are not eligible to participate or win.

 

That last rule means I can’t win, (I couldn’t keep it to less than 250 words if they beat me with a stick anyway) but it doesn’t mean I can’t tell you why I am grateful for what the Lord has done through Kinship Radio because:

 

  1. If there is anything this world needs, it is more Jesus. Kinship Radio proclaims Jesus as LORD 365 days per year, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. 
  2. Every time I hear the word “Hallelujah” on Kinship Radio it blesses my soul.
  3. Every word in the Bible is God-breathed and inspired by the Holy Spirit, so whenever Scripture goes out over the airwaves, the Holy Spirit is moving in power to anyone with a radio or internet. Millions and millions of people can potentially be listening at any given moment and God specifically says when His Word goes out it does not return to Him void. That’s amazing and powerful and glorious!
  4. Likewise, I believe the Holy Spirit inspires the artists who produce the music that is broadcast on Kinship Radio. Much of the Bible is music (Psalms) and the LORD specifically says we should sing to Him a new song. (Psalm 96:1) I myself have been ministered to, uplifted, inspired, helped, and healed by those songs and I know others have too.
  5. The solid, Bible-based teaching and preaching we hear on Kinship Radio also uplifts, encourages, grows, inspires, guides, directs, heals, helps, and ministers to my soul and the souls of many others through the power of the Holy Spirit, the cross, and the empty tomb.
  6. Broadcasting on Kinship Radio is part of the fulfillment of the Great Commission because it brings the Good News all over the world.
  7. I am eternally grateful for what Kinship Radio does for my brothers and sisters in Christ. We have heard, over and over again, testimonies from listeners who have been blessed and healed and encouraged by this ministry. There has been no end to the signs and miracles of Jesus present in the lives of the listeners –and that equips them to make the world a better place through the power of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
  8. Kinship Radio is continual evidence that Jesus is still changing the world. There truly is no end to the increase of His kingdom. We do not grow weary in doing good because Kinship Radio and all the churches and ministries  and believers we hear about on Kinship Radio who are doing the good works God put in place for us to do since the beginning of time convince and encourage us that we are a people of hope –that the darkness of this present world has not and cannot and never will extinguish the light that is Jesus Christ.
  9. That a ministry like this is listener-supported greatly encourages me because it means there are people out there (and a lot more than most people think) ready and willing to follow where Jesus leads them, to listen to the Holy Spirit, to do the will of the Father, and to have the faith it takes to know all God’s promises are true.

 

So, for those of you procrastinating, send in your entry now because the deadline is this Friday! I promise you will not regret it and I’m willing to back that up with a spiffy floaty keychain at the very minimum. 

 

Today’s Praise 

Hebrews 12:8

Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, (ESV)

 

 

There is a story near the end of Luke, Chapter 10, where a woman named Martha opens her home to the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

In the story, Martha is remembered as the one who was so busy preparing her home and a meal for the Lord that she more or less scolded Jesus for not commanding her sister to help her with all the preparations. Then, in verses 41 & 42:

 

“But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”

 

As I’m almost certain you know, there’s been a lot of “Marth-ing” going on at Kinship Radio’s new office and studios in Mankato for over a year now. The amount of preparation, planning, construction, installation, coordinating, and plain-old work involved to move the radio station’s base of operation (where it had been in Blue Earth for almost 40 years) has been phenomenal. 

 

Last Friday, September 16, all of those preparations came to their conclusion as Kinship Radio opened its new home to you, the listeners and supporters of this ministry. 

 

And unlike Martha, the Lord Jesus was not invited in at the last minute. No, there had been much time and prayer at the Lord’s feet prior to this moment. Kinship’s Board of Directors became involved in the possibility of this move four or five years ago.

 

Also unlike Martha, this was not simply a meal (Although the snacks and refreshments were indeed delicious.) nor was it like you or I moving our place of residence. The equipment and technology required to outfit the new site is mind-boggling.  And, that kind of technology is a lot more complicated than installing a new washer and dryer combo.

 

So there was no scrambling about or panic or insistence that we needed more help last Friday. We were ready for you. The Lord had provided all.

 

The parallel to the Martha and Mary story, though, is that all of this was done to better make you able to sit at the Lord’s feet and hear his preaching and teaching and worship. What was in use in Blue Earth had occasionally been upgraded since the station’s inception, but 21st century radio is light-years apart from the technology of vinyl records back in 1983. (No, we were not still playing vinyl records at the Blue Earth site, but the turntables are still there. So, technically we could have.) 

 

The Open House was a chance to invite you in, to let you see what we have done to declare the Gospel of Jesus Christ 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.

 

And the response we got from you was heart-warming. Over a hundred of you showed up. (Exact counts are unknown because we weren’t counting heads, but we know we served over 150 cups of coffee.) And what you told our staff is that you are grateful* for a Christian radio station because it helps you, it encourages you, and it blesses you. 

 

And many of you said you were grateful because if there is anything this world needs more of right now, it is more Jesus.

 

We couldn’t agree more.

 

Today’s Praise

Joshua 24:15b

“But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

 

 

*Oh look, there’s that “gratitude” word again.  Don’t forget about letting us know about your gratitude for the ministry of Kinship Radio and have the chance to win a FREE Caribbean Cruise with Dr. David Jeremiah from Kinship Radio! The entry form and details are here: https://kinshipradio.org/home/the-great-gratitude-giveaway-entry-form/

 

 

I have just returned from a wonderful vacation in the big piney woods of northern Minnesota.

 

The weather was excellent. The fishing was excellent. The scenery was so beautiful as to minister to one’s soul. Our itinerary (Sleep, fish, eat, nap, fish, eat, fish, play snozzle, sleep, repeat.) was perfect as always.

 

No one got injured, no one got their feelings hurt, nothing broke down, and nobody went to the Emergency Room. 

 

My daughter even caught her first muskellunge and, early one morning, I had an encounter with a four-foot muskie that stared at me for maybe a full second, then leisurely finned away in the direction from which she had come. In the early morning stillness, I could see every dot on her side– and the unmistakable fishy body language that clearly told me she was unconcerned by my presence and absolutely not interested in any lure I could throw her way.

 

Fish can and do have attitude, folks.

 

An hour later, I was casting on a different part of the lake and I heard a sound very near to me that sounded absolutely just like that sound you hear on the nature shows when a giant crocodile attacks a gazelle down at the watering hole on the Serengeti. WHOOOOSH!!!  I looked in time to see a giant swirl about thirty feet away and I knew that whatever had been ambushed was destined for digestion.

 

I watched sunrises and sunsets. The northern lights put on a spectacular show one night. 

 

And I was filled with joy and peace and gratitude.*

 

One morning as I was sitting on the Public Access of one of my favorite little lakes and, before I launched the boat, I picked up my beat-up old five-dollar Bible and let it flop open to see what the Lord had to say on that glorious day. I came to Galatians 4:1-7:

 

“Think of it this way. If a father dies and leaves an inheritance for his young children, those children are not much better off than slaves until they grow up, even though they actually own everything their father had. They have to obey their guardians until they reach whatever age their father set. And that’s the way it was with us before Christ came. We were like children; we were slaves to the basic spiritual principles of this world. But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.” (NLT)

 

And I thought to myself that everything around me, all this glorious beauty is my Father’s creation. He made it and it all belongs to Him. And He has adopted me into His family and made it my inheritance because He loves me enough to die for me. Even though I am not worthy in any way of all this glorious goodness, He gives it to me and gives me an eternity to enjoy it with Him forever.

 

Now, that’s a good, good God. 

 

Sometime after that, a song popped into my head:

 

“All joy, no stressNo worries, I’m blessedFrom early in the morning ’til the crickets and the sun done set, yeahAll joy”

(From “All Joy No Stress” by  Rhett Walker / Matthew Joseph West / Jeff Pardo)

 

And that song stuck in my head for days. Even on the drive home, even as other songs were playing on the car radio, it was like this year’s vacation theme song. 

 

“I got that good news smile on my faceI got that feeling that the world can’t eraseThere ain’t a single day I let go to wasteI got that good news smile on my face”

 

And then, when I was less than 90 minutes from home on Day Nine (Sunday) of one of the best vacations ever, I stopped for a sandwich and checked my text messages. My wife had sent me a message that said she had a lot of wet clothes in her closet and there was a musty smell emanating from the back of the closet.

 

The song stopped playing in my head.

 

The back of the closet shares a wall with the bathroom shower and all the pipes feeding the shower are in that wall. As I thought about it, I became convinced that this had something to do with some difficulty I had experienced when I had installed a different shower head about a month ago. I also realized I had passed a big-box hardware store about a mile ago, so I turned around and bought the parts I thought I would need to fix it.

 

When I got home, sure enough, I found that the five-dollar fitting the shower pipe screws into had cracked. The leak had been small, but over the course of a month or so the persistent dripping had damaged the sheetrock behind the tub surround. So, while I had purchased the right fifteen dollars worth of parts to fix the leak, the damage done would require a 60-mile round trip to yet another big-box hardware/lumber/miscellaneous items store for more stuff.

 

By the time I was finished, this little Sunday afternoon restful vacation repair had taken eight hours and I was hot, sweaty, and beat up.

 

The shower at the end of that day sure felt good –and the song in my head came back.

 

Today’s Praise

In the struggle Yeah, in the battle  
Yeah, life will get you down  But there’s joy still to be found  You can’t buy it ’cause it’s free  So lay your troubles on the ground, get to singing with me.”.

 

 

*Speaking of gratitude and glorious and wonderful times away from home, don’t forget about the chance to win a FREE Caribbean Cruise with Dr. David Jeremiah from Kinship Radio! The entry form and details are here: https://kinshipradio.org/home/the-great-gratitude-giveaway-entry-form/

 

On my drive to work the other morning, I saw three cars had pulled off to the side of the road. A car had gone into the ditch and struck a utility pole in someone’s lawn. I could see the airbag had deployed. The driver, a young woman, was laying on the grass moaning. There was no ambulance or police vehicles in sight, so I asked if anyone had called 911. I was told an ambulance was on its way so, rather than stay and be in the way of emergency services personnel, I proceeded on my way. I did lift all involved up in prayer before the LORD.

 

A couple of weeks ago, a man in my community passed away at age 60 of an autoimmune disease. Although he had briefly mentioned what I thought were some minor health issues on social media, I was shocked to learn of his passing.

 

Some time ago, a likable, strapping softball player I had a passing friendship with died of a heart attack at age 50. I regretted not being just a little more compelling in inviting him to learn more about Jesus.

 

Now, I don’t know whether any of these people are with Jesus right now. The young lady in the car certainly did not seem to have life-threatening injuries, but the point is life is fragile and short and none of us know when and where it will end here on this earth. 

 

If you are reading this and you have not come to Jesus, please, please keep reading. 

 

I know some of us Christians do a lousy job of showing the love of Jesus in our everyday lives.

 

Come to Jesus anyway. Come because His death on the cross was because God loves you and wants you to live forever with Him. (John 3:16)

 

I know it seems like Christianity requires that you give up all your bad habits and become a “perfect” Christian before you will be accepted.

 

Come to Jesus anyway. Come because we’re all messed up. Not one of us is perfect, but He loves us and accepts us as we are. (Romans 3:23 and Romans 5:8.)

 

I know it seems like your past mistakes make you feel like you cannot be forgiven. 

 

Come to Jesus anyway. Come because none of us are any better than you and you can and will be forgiven, (Romans 3:24)

 

I know it seems like Christianity is all about making you feel bad about your past.

 

Come to Jesus anyway. Come because Jesus did not come to this earth to condemn you, but to save you. (John 3:17, Romans 8:1)

 

I know it seems like the things we Christians disapprove of in your life are things you may enjoy and don’t necessarily think are bad things.

 

Come to Jesus anyway. Come because He can sort all that out. (That takes more than a couple of verses, but start with 1 Corinthians 10:23.)

 

I know some of us Christians seem we are more about enforcing a bunch of rules than anything else.

 

Come to Jesus anyway. Come because the people Jesus reserved His harshest judgment for were religious big shots who thought they were better than everybody else. (See Matthew 23: 1-36.)

 

I know you may not like the politics of some Christians.

 

Come to Jesus anyway. Come because even though He was killed for political reasons (John 11:48) He insisted on operating at a level above the political. (Luke 20:20-26, John 18:28-40.)

 

I know sometimes it seems hopeless and pointless and why would God care about you anyway?

 

Come to Jesus anyway. Come because of Luke 15: 1-7. (Especially verse 7.) 

 

I know it seems like sometimes life has no meaning and no purpose. 

 

Come to Jesus anyway. Come because He has a wonderful, glorious plan for you. (Ephesians 2:10)

 

I know some of us Christians seem like a joyless bunch singing songs you don’t like and sitting in boring church services forever.

 

Come to Jesus anyway. Come because there are churches that aren’t like that at all. (Philippians 4:4)

 

I know you think if you just try harder, you can get your life in order all by yourself.


Come to Jesus anyway. Come because the God who created the universe and everything in it is ready and willing and able and wants to help you be not just all you can be, but more than you ever imagined.. (See Ephesians 3:20)

 

And, if none of that convinces you, read Luke 15: 11-32.

 

Today’s Praise

Galatians 5:22-23

“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!”

 

 

I have just returned from MANCAMP. And yes, it is properly spelled in all caps because it is very manly indeed.  About 40 men attended this weekend camp at Pinehaven Christian Assembly on the shores of Long Lake near Park Rapids. 

 

The list of manly activities included golf, hiking, bicycling, shooting, motorcycling, and fishing. (I very much enjoyed the fishing in beautiful Long Lake.)

 

There was also eating.  Lots of eating. Throughout the weekend we enjoyed pulled pork sandwiches, baked beans, fruit, cake, bars, sweet corn, ginormous sub sandwiches, potatoes, prime rib, salad, and ice cream sundaes every night. After church on Sunday morning, breakfast was a hearty sausage egg bake, tri-tators (essentially large triangular tator tots) and a cinnamon roll the size of my face.

 

Every single member of the staff was positive, friendly, and incredibly helpful in every way. One young man named Alexander even said, “It is my joy to serve you!” –and he meant it.

 

There was also an abundance of wonderful praise and worship and excellent testimony, preaching, and teaching. We sang and we learned and we listened to and studied Scripture many times throughout the weekend.

 

The theme was “Undaunted” which, of course, manly Christian men should be in a world that seems to be unravelling at ever-increasing speed. 

 

And as I mulled over living an undaunted life, it occurred to me that the task at hand does certainly seem daunting. There are thousands, even millions of people who have lost their way. Crime is rampant in our cities. Atheism and hedonism seem to be gaining ground every day. We are a nation divided in so many ways and politics and the media are disheartening to say the least. It would seem we are very close to all hope being lost.

 

But there’s a line in one of the songs we sang at MANCAMP …perhaps you’ve heard it played on Kinship Radio…

 

Till He returns or calls me homeHere in the power of Christ I’ll stand.

(From “In Christ Alone,” written by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend)

 

There is no power in all the history of the world that has changed the world more than the power of Jesus Christ. 

 

No guilt in life, no fear in deathThis is the power of Christ in me

 

The cross of Jesus Christ and the empty tomb, His victory over sin and death, and that glorious Holy Spirit we receive as a gift –the guarantee of our eternal inheritance– is still changing lives. The same power that was hovering over the waters at creation, the same power that God breathed into Adam, the same mighty power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in us.  

 

And that power lives in Pinehaven Christian Assembly and has drawn many, many people to be saved there. I have heard their testimonies. That same power is broadcast over the airwaves of Kinship Radio 24 hours every day and we have heard their testimonies, too.

 

It is that same power that produces in us the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control that others crave like a cinnamon roll the size of their face. 

 

 

Okay, that may have been the worst analogy in all the history of Christendom. But you get the idea. Go and do likewise. 

 

Today’s Praise 

John 3:16&17

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (NIV)

 

 

 

(Photo courtesy of Pixabay. Not the actual cinnamon rolls served at MANCAMP. They were better.)

Romans 10:9&10

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. (NIV)

 

I have  a dear pastor friend who is like a brother to me. At one time some years ago, he was told he was not a “real Christian” because of his theological beliefs on predestination and predeterminism. 

 

I myself have experienced lengthy discussions on some of the songs we play on Kinship Radio where the other party considered me an absolute heretic for believing the Holy Spirit could move through such a song. 

 

Just a few days ago, I was quoting Scripture to a dearly-loved relative and totally and unintentionally alienated her from Christ when my objective was exactly and precisely the opposite. After a day or two, we both apologized and I think our relationship is better for it, but I did not see that kind of conflict coming from what I thought I was saying in love.

 

And then those two verses up there got me in very much the same way slicing the tip of your thumb gets you when you’re making pickles.

 

If you say “Jesus is Lord” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 

 

Period. 

 

It doesn’t say you have to have your politics or your music or even your lifestyle right. 

 

So, why do we spend so much time making sure we all agree on every last detail of politics or music or even theology when not one of us shares exactly the very same theology about every little detail of every aspect of theology? From what that verse says, I’m going to be standing in heaven someday right next to people who believed the Earth is flat and selling indulgences to fund cathedrals was God’s will. 

 

Now, before you start composing an angry response to this blog, let me make it very clear that I am familiar with those lists of “gotcha” verses of people who will not get into heaven in 1 Corinthians 6:9&10, Galatians 5:19-21, Revelations 21:8, and more. 

 

But we’ve all been on one of those lists at one time or another. Paul himself laments his wretched inability to overcome his own sin in Romans 7:14-24, then declares in verse 25:

 

“Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.” (NLT)

 

Which is then immediately followed by the verse I would have tattooed on myself if I suddenly woke up one morning and somehow, inexplicably could not resist getting an inky needle poked into my skin hundreds and hundreds of times. Romans 8:1:

 

“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” (NLT)

 

No condemnation. None. Zero. Nada.

 

Which then brings us to the point where (At the cutting edge of irony after just posting that particular verse.) I need to clearly state that my preference for not having a tattoo is absolutely, positively, NOT meant as a condemnation of any of my Christian brothers and sisters who do choose to get a tattoo honoring God. 

 

Whew. That was a close shave.

 

See, when we start wielding the Bible like the sword that it is, there’s a very present danger of getting cut ourselves. In Romans 1: 28-32, Paul lists some very nasty people indeed. There are backstabbers and liars and people who invent new ways of sinning. They hate their parents and are heartless, merciless, cruel, insolent, proud, cocky, arrogant, and even encourage others to sin, too! These are clearly some bad dudes.

 

But then, in the very next verse, (Romans 2:1) Paul writes:

 

“You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things.” NLT.

 

Ouch. Double ouch. I think I need a styptic pencil after that one.

 

Make it a tourniquet. 

 

Now, don’t get me wrong. Sin is still bad. God still hates sin because sin kills the people He loves.  And make no mistake, God is holy! That is why we have a loving and holy Savior in Jesus who was willing to die for our sins. But I don’t think He’s overly pleased with people who claim to love Him marching around with signs like the folks from Westboro Baptist Church. (If you have to do an internet search to figure out what I’m talking about there, let me know so I can raise a HALLELUJAH that these people have finally passed into obscurity.) 

 

Yes, sinners should repent of their sins. Yes, we observe the law because the law is good and it is given for our benefit.

 

And yes, Jesus should change your life forever.

 

Jesus is indeed LORD, as we proclaim every day on Kinship Radio. And because He is LORD, He is LORD of all and He can change even the worst sinner into a child of love adopted into the family of God, loved beyond anyone’s ability to fully comprehend. And yes, through his mighty power at work within us, He is able to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

 

But sanctification is a process. It takes time for most of us. 

 

Let us not forget that when confronted with the conundrum of great hordes of uncircumcised heathens coming to Christ, the early church fathers called a huge meeting in Jerusalem, concluded that these Gentiles had received the same Holy Spirit as they had when they were saved and pared down all that Levitical law they couldn’t keep themselves into the manageable essentials. (See Acts 15) 

 

Let’s try not to dice the sinners into a puree before they can get near the table.

 

Today’s Praise

Galatians 5:22&23

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (NIV)

 

My wife and I recently took our daughter out for a birthday supper at one of the new, trendy restaurants. Now, my daughter is a huge fan of grilled cheese sandwiches and they had one on the menu that caught her fancy which she ordered and very much enjoyed. We were happy to buy it for her.

 

It was $17.

 

Of course, that included house-made peach preserves, goat cheese, thick-cut bacon, and thinly sliced jalapeños, all on grilled multigrain bread. And frites. (Our waitress explained that “frites” is the restaurant’s fancy word for “fries.” She rolled the “R” when she said “frites.”)  We had a wonderful time and I do not regret this birthday treat for my daughter.

 

Still, it is the very first time in my life I’ve paid $17 for a grilled cheese sandwich and frrrrites. 

 

And that $17 grilled cheese sandwich brings to mind something that recently came up in Bible Study.

 

In Mark 7:24-30 and in Matthew 15:21-28, the story is recounted of how Jesus retired to Tyre to escape the crowds and rest, but he is visited by a Gentile woman who falls at His feet begging and pleading that He free her daughter from a demon. Even though there is no reason to believe she is a convert to Judaism, she calls Him “Son of David” and “Lord.” The disciples urge Jesus to send her away because, well, (to paraphrase) she’s annoying. Jesus tells her he must feed the lost children of Israel first and that it’s just not right to throw the children’s bread to the dogs.

 

I had long understood that as a pretty harsh answer, but keep in mind that He’s not saying He will never help the Gentiles. He’s pointing out the order, the pre-ordained progression of His ministry. And yes, it sure seems like He is calling her a dog –until you look up the actual Greek word in the text which is (according to Strong’s Concordance) κυναρίοις (kynariois), which means, “a little dog, a house dog. Neuter of a presumed derivative of kuon; a puppy.”

 

The reference is not to a stray, garbage-eating street dog. He’s talking about a beloved member of the family, a puppy. 

 

And her response is astounding. She’s not offended or defensive or argumentative in her reply at all: (Mark 7:28)

 

“She replied, “That’s true, Lord, but even the dogs under the table are allowed to eat the scraps from the children’s plates.” (NLT)

 

So, not only did she believe that Jesus was the Messiah, God in the flesh (as evidenced by calling Him “Son of David” and “Lord”) she considered His ability to cast out her daughter’s demon a mere crumb, a menial task for one as mighty and powerful as Jesus.

 

And Jesus tells her because of her great faith she may go home where she will find that the demon has left her daughter.

 

She asked for a scrap. 

 

There are so many times when I pray and I ask the Lord for something, somewhere in the back of my mind I think that I ask too much. Sometimes I think we all think God can’t or won’t do what we ask because it’s too hard or the circumstances are too great to overcome or I’m not worthy of it, or some other reason to doubt.

 

But when I really look at what’s going on in this passage, I cannot help but conclude that even the scraps that fall from the table of an infinitely powerful and mighty and awesome God  are infinitely powerful and mighty and effective. 

 

There was probably no one else in all the world who could have freed that woman’s daughter from that demon, but Jesus did it without even going to her. The girl did not even have to touch the hem of His garment. The girl presumably had no faith in Jesus at all, but it was her mother’s faith that did it. 

 

He spoke and it was so.

 

When we ask in prayer, when we humbly believe and ask even for the tiniest crumb that falls from the Lord’s table, nothing is impossible. Mountains crumble and whole forests are uprooted at the Lord’s command. (Matthew 21:21)

 

We are given permission to come boldly before the very throne of God and ask. (Hebrews 4:16) We are encouraged to ask for the power of the Holy Spirit, and I believe Jesus meant we should ask for that Holy Spirit daily. (Luke 11:13) If we ask in His will and in the name of Jesus, for His glory and not for our own foolish passions (James 4:3), if we ask believing it be so (Mark 11:24) I believe there is nothing that can prevent from happening what God has willed to happen. 

 

The crumbs from the Lord’s table are far more valuable and effective and powerful than even the crumbs from a $17 grilled goat cheese sandwich. 

 

Frrrrites or not.

 

Today’s Praise

Ephesians 3:20

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To be honest, I was going to call this post, “The Wrath of God,” but I figured no one would read it with that title, so I came up with something a little more intriguing.  Hop on board and see if you can tell where this steamroller is going. 

 

One of the best songs we play on Kinship Radio is “In Christ Alone” by modern-day hymn writers Keith and Krystin Getty. The song is beautiful and spot-on theologically, but some churches refuse to use it in worship because of the lines:

 

“Till on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied.”

 

Nooo, we don’t like to talk about the wrath of God, do we?  Righteous judgement, sinners in the hands of an angry God, the vengeance of the LORD –these are all things that don’t market well in the modern church, do they?

 

But, interestingly, we are more than willing to watch an action-adventure movie where the hero’s wife, daughter, brother, sister, mom, best friend, or dog has been kidnapped or murdered by the bad guys followed by 120 minutes of our hero steadfastly tracking down the evil, nefarious perpetrators and exacting his righteous and furious revenge on them one at a time until the baddest of the bad is shot, blown up, buried beneath a collapsing skyscraper, or falls from an impossibly lofty height and we delight in his death.

 

That basic plot-line has been used over and over. And we never get tired of it.

 

In the 1988 comedy, “A Fish Called Wanda,” audiences loved it when stuttering Ken (spoiler alert) ran over his evil fish-eating nemesis Otto with a low-speed steamroller –all the while shouting, “Re-venge!”

 

We actually love the idea of the bad guy getting his righteous punishment, except when we’re the bad guy and the vengeance comes from the God of the universe. We want a loving God who gives us a “Get out of hell free” card no matter how badly we’ve messed up.

 

But that only applies to us. The thought of a God who would let some horrible serial killer or genocidal dictator get into heaven with a death-bed conversion doesn’t appeal to us at all. We want a fiery, lightning bolt chucking, brimstone-breathing furious God for the really bad dudes, just not for ourselves. We loved it when the Red Sea collapsed on Pharaoh and all his armies but thought He was just a bit over the top when He raged from Mount Sinai because the Israelites had melted down their earrings and necklaces to make a golden calf to worship.

 

But here’s the deal: The golden calf thing was part of the worship of Molech and that idol was made in such a way as to function as a furnace to burn up infant sacrifices for this fake god.  (See Jeremiah 7:31, 19:5-6, and 32:35.)

 

Now, surely none of us has ever done something so horrible as that, right? 

 

Or have we?

 

We’ve all, at one time or another, thought our own way was better than God’s way. I know I have. I was absolutely certain at one point in my life that all you religious crazies with your silly rules just didn’t get it and life was for having fun.

 

And so I was in rebellion against God. I thought somehow He’d understand and it would all be okay in the end,  because He gets it, right?

 

Yes, He gets it and the “it” is that every one of us thinks we know what’s best for us. What we don’t get is that He knows us better than we know ourselves and the truth is that deep in my heart, I want to decide what is good and what is evil based entirely on what I want without any consideration of the rest of the universe, including that God guy. What we don’t expect is that we cannot run from the truth forever and some day sooner than later, the truth will sneak up behind us and steamroll us into the rapidly-setting concrete in which we have oh-so-firmly planted our feet.

 

And maybe, just maybe, in that moment of pain, we come to realize that a God of infinite love and infinite mercy and infinite grace would also have to be a God of infinite anger if He were to also be a God of infinite justice. Who would worship a God who ignored justice? Who would worship a God who just looked the other way at murder and greed and corruption and hate and lawlessness and every other crime against humanity and against Him?

 

But in His infinite wisdom and knowledge, He knew we were not capable of anything infinite, so He stepped into our time and took that infinite, righteous, holy, justifiable anger upon His own Son. In a moment of infinite literally earth-shattering love, He did to His own flesh and blood what every one of us who fall so short of His glory deserved so that there would be justice. 

 

He created us to love Him and love each other that love would be multiplied. We were designed and built not for ourselves, but for Him and for each other. It’s an infinitely beautiful design and we who believe in Jesus Christ are not condemned, but given freedom from the righteous and just vengeance we deserve as much or more than the baddest of the bad guys in any movie ever made. 

 

We’ve been freed from the concrete overshoes into which we’ve willingly stepped and given a new life.

 

Let’s not forget about all the other people standing in the path of the steamroller.

 

Today’s Praise

Psalm 89:14

“Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne. Unfailing love and truth walk before you as attendants.” (NLT) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s that time of year again.

 

This is the time we just absolutely could not wait for back when blizzards raged across the frozen prairie, when you wouldn’t dare venture outside without seven layers and forty pounds of insulation covering your body, when the measure of a man was the stoutness and hardiness of his ice scraper.

 

Yes, it’s summer —midsummer to be exact. It’s that glorious time when the heat index and the relative humidity can simultaneously approach triple digits. When the lightning bugs flash in the night and wall clouds build on the western horizon thick with the promise of God’s thundering voice and a fireworks show complete with life-giving rain for the lush green biomass covering Kinship Radioland. This is the photosynthesis machine in high gear cranking out all sorts and kinds of delicious, glorious bounty for our tables. 

 

And among that bounty there are three things that immediately come to mind that one cannot buy in the megabox corporate megastore: homegrown sweet corn, homegrown tomatoes, and homegrown cucumbers.

 

Yes, the giganto-mart does sell corn, tomatoes, and cucumbers, but they just are not the same as what comes out of my garden or what that farmer by the side of the road is selling. This is the real thing, folks. That other stuff is edible, but it’s kind of like the difference between TV love and honest-to-goodness real love. One is like nothing else in the world. The other is a shadow, a vain attempt at the real thing that leaves one fed but unfulfilled.

 

It’s because the real thing is always homegrown.

 

Kinship Radio is like that. What you hear on your radio every day is not something some megacorporation produced and packaged in Midtown Manhattan for a mass market coming to you from some dog star in outer space. Kinship Radio comes to you from people just like you. It comes from your friends and neighbors. It has its roots in local people who had a vision for a local radio station broadcasting things for local people. It was born and nurtured by your prayers and your support and those two things are still what keeps it growing and thriving by the grace of a loving and wonderful God.

 

Yes, most (but not all) of the music comes from outside the area, but the particular songs are prayerfully chosen with you in mind by people you know and who know you. 

 

Now, I am a huge fan of how the Holy Spirit moves people’s souls through the power of music, and some Christian stations are quite successful playing almost all music all the time, but teaching and preaching from the Word is glorious and wonderful, too.

 

If Kinship Radio didn’t broadcast those kinds of things, I would have never heard Alistair Begg say, “And I am not insensate, dear ones, to the irony of a Scottish preacher named Begg preaching on tithing.” (Which is quite probably the funniest line I’ve ever heard in any sermon anywhere.)

 

Nor would I have heard, many years ago, a kindly old preacher named Hayford change my life by saying, “Praise of the LORD creates an atmosphere the enemy cannot move through.” That one sentence led me to ask the LORD every day to help me to live a life of gratitude and praise. And let me tell you, dear ones, the enemy of our souls does indeed flee from praise of the LORD. It’s a wonderful way to live and that one concept, that one tiny nugget of spiritual inspiration, is one reason you are reading this blog right now. The cascade effect of drawing near to God has drawn me to distant lands and glorious times and through it I have had the honor and privilege to get the slightest of inklings of the awesome, indescribable, infinite majesty and grandeur of the love of God. 

 

So, as you sit down some midsummer evening in the near future with the mourning doves cooing and the cicadas humming and your homegrown supper of a BLT and sweet corn with a side of cucumbers in that white sauce grandma used to make on the table in front of you, thank our Father in heaven for that which is homegrown.

 

Today’s Praise

Pslam 4:7

Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased. (KJV)

 

I have made no secret of my fondness for Hawaiian shirts. 

 

On triple-digit heat index days like today, when the  degree days are pouring down and the corn is growing so fast you can almost hear it, a 100% cotton Hawaiian shirt provides unmatched comfort. (Hawaiian shirts made of synthetic fibers, on the other hand, are like wearing a plastic trash bag in a sauna. They are 100% unacceptable by my standards.) In addition, I do not have to tuck them in, and the floral prints make excellent food camouflage. I fear no drippy ice cream cone while wearing a Hawaiian shirt. 

 

But of course, ever since I’ve discovered them, the entire fashion world has noticed the trend I set and now they are popular. Of course, this has escalated the price and limited their availability to some extent in my local thrift store.

 

Oh well, I guess it’s the price I pay for being so hip, happening, and “now.” (Tongue oh-so-firmly in cheek.)

 

I’ve even convinced Kinship Radio Executive Director Jen Hayden of their potential as comfortable and practical apparel for all the announcers. Our “vision” for the perfect shirt has radio towers and microphones on it. So far, even after hours of searching the internet, I’ve found nothing that’s truly perfect. Jen did find one that was truly excellent but it was $479. She found another one that was pretty close but it was made of “100% Acetate” which sounds like something best left in a chemistry beaker. 

 

Why all this interest and effort in a shirt? Read on.

 

Back in 2019, on my first trip to Israel, Hawaiian shirts were not nearly as trendy as they are now. In fact, there were a few misguided souls who thought I was dumber than a box of home-made radios for donning my Aloha garb on that trip. 

 

But, just as home-made radios are really not all that dumb at all, (Search “foxhole radio.”) I discovered a good Hawaiian shirt can be an effective ministry tool.

 

I found if I approached someone while wearing a bold floral print from the island paradise with, “Hello, my name is Dan Jones and, as you can tell, I’m not from here…” they would almost always chuckle –and a smile is a great way to open the door for a conversation.

 

One night in Tel-Aviv, a young man on the street even stopped me and asked if he could have his picture taken with this goofy tourist guy in the Hawaiian shirt.

 

Over and over again, the Hawaiian shirt made people smile and opened doors. It wasn’t  just a fluke.

 

On one particularly memorable night on the boardwalk in the city of Tiberias next to the Sea of Galilee,  I introduced myself and my shirt to a young couple named Aaron and Ayelet. After the initial chuckle, I told them I wrote a blog for a Christian radio station in the United States and every Christian I know loves Israel, supports Israel, and would pray for Israel if asked. I asked them, “If you could say anything at all to the Christians in the United States, what would you say?”

 

Aaron said, “I believe the people of the United States were chosen to be the graceful people in the imminent resurrection of the third kingdom of Israel.” He said he believed the USA was a “kingdom of grace.”

 

These were very kind comments and I thanked Aaron for them.

 

The three of us went on to have a wonderful, deep, and genuine conversation about morality and God and religion. When it came right down to it, we agreed that we all believed what we believed after much earnest soul-searching and prayer. There was a mutual understanding that all three of us were truly seeking God’s heart.

 

And, in my heart, I loved those two people. Yes, I had only met them perhaps fifteen minutes before, but I looked in their eyes and deeply longed to call them “brother” and “sister.”

 

I asked, as humbly as I could, if they would pray with me that all three of us would spend eternity in heaven praising God.

 

They agreed, and there in the night beside the Sea of Galilee, we prayed that prayer together. I tried to remember as I prayed that practicing Jews do not speak the name of God out of reverence but instead use “Hashem” (which means “The Name”) or “Adonai.” (Which means, “the Master.”) I did not try to “convert” them as there was a power at work there that night that was far greater than I. 

 

As we all said, “Amen” together, I trusted that the Holy Spirit would work out if and how and when that would come to be.

 

I still think of Aaron and Ayelet and I still pray for them. And I still look forward to the day when I can greet them in true paradise with “Aloha, my brother and sister!”

 

Today’s Praise

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”