Monday, May 15, 2023

DO YOU AND I HAVE A ONE-TRACK MIND?



     In 1953, one year before I was born, Lionel Train Company had a promotional campaign entitled “A ONE-TRACK MIND!” Here is a picture of the promotion. Lionel touted the fact that young boys were fixated on—and almost obsessed about having a Lionel train and track set.
     So my question today is—is it good to have a one-track mind?
     When I became a Christian some people in my family, and others thought I was way too focused on God and Christianity. They told me several times that they didn’t want to hear from me about their need for God.
     I also worked many years in a community mental health center, and sometimes in meetings with other mental health professionals, I heard the words, “religiously preoccupied” as it related to specific clients. These professionals shared their concern about clients who in their words were going “off the deep end” with their religious views—and their concern that the religious preoccupation would take those clients further into unreality.
     Psychologists tout the benefits of having a well-rounded mind with various interests. While they understand that some of our greatest inventions and creative performances come from people that are obsessed with a focus on one thing--they readily discuss the pitfalls of those obsessions.
     Reading Acts in the Bible has given me some perspective about having a one-track mind about our Christianity. I’m sure that Paul and the apostles had other interests that they talked about among themselves and with other people. But the writers of the Acts never made it evident. Everywhere the apostles went they shared Jesus with people in large crowds—and small gatherings. Nothing interfered with their purpose of sharing the gospel with everyone they met. Acts 28:30-31 sums it up:
“Paul stayed two whole years in his own rented house (in Rome). And he welcomed all who visited him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.”
     It could be said of Paul from those verses that he had a one-track mind focused, obsessed if you will, on sharing the love of Jesus with others. Do you and I have such a one-track mind?

Monday, May 1, 2023

POWER GRID INFRASTRUCTURE PROBLEMS


     In the last year, our electric power has gone off about four times, sometimes for extended hours. Mostly it was due to the weather, or a car hitting a pole. But we have frequently been hearing in the news about the fragile state of the power grid infrastructure in the United States.
     I think we as Christians also have power grid infrastructure problems. What we’re lacking is an up-to-date power grid infrastructure in our lives to be able to access the great power God has for us. Paul wrote in Ephesians 1:19 the following:
“—what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the mighty working of his strength.”
     What then is the infrastructure that we’re lacking? I’ll give a few ideas that I have.

1. I think we have a lack of knowledge of the 385 times that power is mentioned in the Bible, most of those times related to God’s power, Jesus’ power, the power of the Holy Spirit, and lastly the power God makes available to us as believers.
2. If we do know about the many, many mentions of power, I think if you are like me, it’s difficult to internalize and know how to access that great power that’s available to us.
     
     How then do we bolster this power grid infrastructure in our lives? Again, I have a few ideas.

1. If you have a Bible computer app or program, just type in the word “power”, and look up the almost innumerable references to God’s power, and especially His power available to us who believe.
2. Write down several of those verses and put them in your prayer list or journal.
3. Meditate daily on those scriptures about power.
4. Pray fervently that God shows you His great power available to you.
5. Remember that God is ready and very willing to allow you to access His great power. Jeremiah 33:3 states: 
“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and incomprehensible things which you do not know."
6. Talk to other believers about God’s great power available to us, and pray that it will have a snowball effect collectively in the lives of the believers around us.
7. Remember, this isn’t the power to get rich and successful—but it’s the power to fulfill God’s will in our lives to bring glory to Him.
8. I believe strongly that the main way to bring glory to Him is to tell others about His wonderful love for them—and to tell them how to have a relationship with Him.

Sunday, April 23, 2023

THE PATH OF LIFE



     This week I read a scripture verse that I almost can’t stop thinking about. David in Psalm 16:11 wrote:
“You (God) reveal the path of life to me;
in your presence is abundant joy (some versions have fullness of joy):
at your right hand are
eternal pleasures.”
     If you’re like me you might think of the inevitable difficulties or negative things in life. Jesus put it into perspective in John 16:33. He said:
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
     Back to Psalm 16:11. Many, many people in today’s world, or if we want to tell the truth, throughout the centuries, claim they have the answers to life’s problems. They offer solutions, or paths if you will, to remedy the many ills in society.
     But what excited me about what David said about God, is that God alone—no one else—reveals the path of life for us that leads to abundant joy and eternal pleasures. And that path is only through His Son Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

HAVE YOU HAD THE VEIL REMOVED? (An Easter Plea)




     
I didn’t realize it then, but before I became a Christian back in the 70s I had a veil over my heart.
     What was having a veil over my heart like? For me, it was like swimming upstream and never being able to reach my destination. I was searching for meaning in my life, but it eluded me.
     On the day of my Grandpa’s funeral in 1977, the veil was lifted. God met me in my car, and I knew my life was changed forever.
     So what about you? Have you had the veil removed as 2 Corinthians 3:15-18 explains so well? This Easter season is a prime time to do it by asking Jesus to forgive you for your sins and accept him into your heart.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

KEITH GREEN'S AMAZING 10-YEAR LEGACY!


“Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 4:19

Hello Friends:

     Welcome to the Soulwinnersr.us website. Remember again what Jesus said in Matthew 4:19, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
     I’m again piggybacking off the Jesus Movement theme. Even though I gave my heart to Jesus about five years after the height of the movement, I grew up during that time and I call myself a “hippie wannabe” with my long hair, beard, and my definite search for meaning in life. My last website post and video were about the “The Jesus Revolution”, based on a 1971 Time article, and the “Jesus Revolution” movie currently showing in theaters across America.
     For this post I explored a little bit more about Keith Green, a prolific Christian music artist, who gave his heart to Jesus in 1972, one year after the Time magazine “Jesus Revolution” article was written. Keith also grew up in the hippie scene in the Los Angeles area where Pastor Chuck Smith had such an impact on the hippie culture. The interesting thing is that I didn’t hear or read of any connection between Green, Pastor Smith, and the Jesus movement.
     Keith Green was less than three months older than me, so I can identify with him in the era we both grew up in. But I can in no way identify with him in the area of talent. He was a child musical prodigy and at the age of eleven Keith was the youngest person ever to sign a major recording contract. Decca Records’ goal was to make Keith a teen idol. My wife and I watched him perform on “I’ve Got a Secret” in 1965. I did a video with 11-year-old Keith Green on the piano and singing—transposed into twenty-four-year-old Keith Green again on the piano and singing.
     The problem with the 11-year-old Keith Green’s recording career was that the Osmond Brothers, and particularly Donny Osmond, stole the limelight. Keith’s rock-‘n’-roll career waned, and I could only find proof of two recorded singles.
     Soon afterward as a teen, Keith drifted and he struck out on his own to find out what life had for him. He experimented with drugs and spirituality. In his search for God, he was struck by one fact. All the other religions said that Jesus was a prophet. They said that Jesus was one of many ways to experience God. It struck Keith, however, that Jesus said about Himself, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father (God) except through me.” Keith was swayed by the fact that Jesus claimed to be the “only” way to reach God. 
     So in 1972, with this logical deduction, Keith made a calculated decision to follow Jesus, since he claimed to be the only way to find God. The problem was the fact that Keith wasn’t yet born again. That came sometime later when attending a small Bible study. It was told that when Keith finally gave his heart totally to Jesus in 1972, his fervor which was so evident in his music, turned to a fervor for Jesus, and telling others about the love of Jesus.
     Friends said Keith wasn’t a perfect man. Sometimes he could be overbearing if people didn’t see things the way he saw them. But there was one thing. He was on a path in the next ten years that left a legacy that will never be forgotten. Following is Keith Green’s amazing 10-year legacy:
  • 1972: Keith Green gave his life to Jesus.
  • 1973: Married Melody Green. 
  • 1975: Keith and Melody started taking people in need into their small house, dubbed “The Greenhouse”, because it was a place of “growth” for people in their faith in Jesus.
  • Their home in Los Angeles became too small, so they purchased a home next door, and rented five more to eventually help up to 75 people at one time.
  • 1977: Keith and Melody started the non-profit Last Days Ministries
  • 1977: Released his first album with Sparrow Records entitled, “For Him Who Has Ears to Hear”.
  • 1978: Released second album “No Compromise”.
  • 1978: Greens started publishing “The Last Days Newsletters” from their garage.
  • 1979: Negotiated release from Sparrow Records to produce albums to give away at no charge. Also, to go on free-to-the-public concert tours. Keith felt that the Gospel shouldn’t be sold. He only accepted love offerings for albums and concerts.
  • 1979: Outgrowing their space in LA, they packed up and moved to Texas, and started their ministry there on 180 acres of land that included an airstrip. The ministry grew exponentially in the next three years, including nationwide distribution of the “Last Days Newsletters” to students.
  • 1980: Released third album “So You Wanna Go Back to Egypt”. Bob Dylan, a good friend of Keith, played harmonica on one of the songs.
  • 1981: Released the “Keith Green Collection”.
  • 1982: Released “Songs for the Shepherd”.
  • 1982: Tragic plane crash, killing Keith, two Green children, a family with six children, and the pilot.
  • 1984: “The Prodigal Son” was an album released by Melody in 1983 after Keith’s death.
     So, the amazing facts are that Keith Green, in 10 short years became a Christian, started an outreach ministry to needy people, released six albums with fifty-four very, very impactful songs, and expanded the Last Days Ministries exponentially to reach students all over America. What a legacy!

Until I see you next time, keep sharing the wonderful love of Jesus,
Arlen

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

THE JESUS REVOLUTION: CAN IT HAPPEN AGAIN?

 


“Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 4:19

Hello Friends:

     Welcome to the Soulwinnersr.us website. Remember again what Jesus said in Matthew 4:19, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
     Time Magazine put out an article in June 1971 where the cover page reads, “The Jesus Revolution”. 
     The article inside discussed the turmoil of the late 1960s and early 1970s with the Vietnam War, protest riots, and the hippie movement with its prevalent drug usage. The result was that thousands of young people, including hippies, turned to Jesus for answers. On the first page of the article, it explained the following wanted poster popular at the time that was put out by a Christian underground newspaper:
WANTED
JESUS CHRIST
ALIAS: THE MESSIAH, THE SON OF GOD, KING OF KINGS, LORD OF LORDS, PRINCE OF PEACE, ETC.

Notorious leader of an underground liberation movement.
  • Wanted for the following charges:
    • Practicing medicine, winemaking, and food distribution without a license.
    • Interfering with businessmen in the temple.
    • Associating with known criminals, radicals, subversives, prostitutes, and street people.
    • Claiming to have the authority to make people into God's children.
APPEARANCE: Typical hippie type—long hair, beard, robe, sandals.
  • Hangs around slum areas, few rich friends, often sneaks out into the desert.
BEWARE: This man is extremely dangerous. His insidiously inflammatory message is particularly dangerous to young people who haven't been taught to ignore him yet. He changes men and claims to set them free.

WARNING: HE IS STILL AT LARGE!


     I went to see the “Jesus Revolution” movie on Thursday afternoon with some friends. The experiences shown in the movie brought back memories, some bad—some good.
     I graduated high school in 1972, so I was aware of the hippie movement, and after high school, I entered my phase of what I call “hippie-wannabe”. I grew shoulder-length hair and a beard. I even had one friend tell me, “Man, you look like Jesus.” Soon afterward, however, my hair on top mostly fell out, and I then looked like—and felt like an insecure bald man.
     I did just a little bit of the drug scene in those days—but like both Greg and Cathe Laurie in the Jesus Revolution movie, I had two really bad experiences tied to using drugs. I’m thankful, in retrospect, for the bad experiences, because with the last one, after three days of extreme paranoia, I made up my mind, even without living for Christ, to never use drugs again.
     In the Jesus Revolution movie, Pastor Chuck Smith was on his last leg as a pastor. His Calvary Chapel church was floundering. His daughter then introduced him to a hippie she met named Lonnie Frisbee. The relationship started rocky between the Jesus-freak hippie and strait-laced Pastor Smith. But later they warmed to each other, and Lonnie began bringing other hippies to his church, against the wishes of many in the congregation. The church began to flourish with young people attending from far and wide.
     Lonnie Frisbee in the movie said eloquently what was driving young people toward Jesus. He said, “It’s desperation, man”! Young people were desperate for hope. They were desperate for true love. And they were desperate for meaningful friendships.
     I enjoyed the movie quite a bit, even with the flaws of some of the characters on full display. After the movie concluded I asked a teenage boy in the lobby, “Do you think a Jesus Revolution can ever happen again?” He shyly said he thinks it can.
     So, what do you think? Can a Jesus Revolution happen again? What will it take? Can people in today’s world be so desperate that they again call out to Jesus for help—and are you and I so desperate for our loved ones and others that we call out to God—for Him to bring another Jesus Revolution?

Until I see you next time keep sharing the wonderful love of Jesus,

Arlen

Saturday, March 4, 2023

WHAT HAPPENED?


“Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 4:19

Hello Friends:

     Welcome to the Soulwinnersr.us website. Remember again what Jesus said in Matthew 4:19, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
     I’ve been watching some Adam Bowbrow ping-pong videos on YouTube. Adam is trying to bring ping-pong back into popularity all over the world. Back in the day, I was a pretty good ping-pong player, but I realized recently, without any practice, I'm fair, but no longer good at ping-pong.
     Adam, in his ping-pong videos, shares a meme with almost every video. It’s of a Chinese man who Adam played in the past. In the meme, the man was in disbelief at an unbelievably good shot made by Adam. He then smiled at Adam, and uttered the 
famous words—"What happened?”  It’s a very funny meme.

     The meme mirrors my concern about—“what happened” to mine and our power in the church. After all, didn’t Jesus promise us power with what He said in Acts 1:8? “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
     Didn’t Jesus promise us power in John 14:12? He said, “Truly I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do. And he will do even greater works than these, because I am going to the Father.”
      Didn’t Paul write about power in Ephesians 1:19? “What is the immeasurable greatness of his (Jesus’) power toward us who believe, according to the mighty working of his strength.”
     Didn’t Paul pray for God’s power to be manifested in us in Ephesians 3:16? He wrote, “I pray that he may grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with power in your inner being through His Spirit.”
     Paul once again wrote in Colossians 1:11 about the power we have access to. He wrote, “Being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, so that you may have great endurance and patience.”
     In James 5:16 James wrote, “The prayer of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect.” James didn’t say that our prayers might be just a little powerful—but very powerful.
     Peter in 2 Peter 1:3 wrote, “His (God’s) divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” We as believers have direct access to God’s divine power.
     Power is mentioned in some form 385 times in the Bible. Most times it refers to the power of God, His son Jesus, and His Holy Spirit. But as you have just seen, there are many references to God’s great power that He gives you and me as believers.
     So my question is about us as believers not realizing that great power—“What Happened?”

Until I see you next time keep sharing the wonderful love of Jesus,
Arlen

Thursday, February 16, 2023

WEIGHING IN ON THE ASBURY REVIVAL

 


“Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 4:19

Hello Friends:

     Welcome to the Soulwinnersr.us website. Remember again what Jesus said in Matthew 4:19, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
     Most of you have probably already heard of the Asbury Revival going on right now at Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky, and many other campuses around America. Many people see what's happening to our young people as a good, and even great thing. Others are sounding the alarm that Satan is behind what's happening. I thought I would weigh in on it, although most of you have likely already made up your mind about how you feel about it.
     Many packed their vehicles and headed to Asbury University, including my pastor—and to other universities to experience the revival event. I’m not sure of the motivation of everyone going to these places, but it’s not my job to question motivation. In the same way, it was not anyone’s job to question the motivation of people flocking to see and hear Jesus in the hills of Galilee. Jesus was able to perceive the motivation of people then—and I’m sure He can perceive the motivation of people going to these universities to experience the revival firsthand.
     For the last couple of years I have been praying—or trying to pray daily for young people in America and around the world to have an awakening. The future of our church depends on our young people. I think it’s OK for me, and a myriad of Christian people praying for revival in our young people to take just a tiny bit of credit for what’s happening at Asbury and these other universities. James in James 5:16 wrote, “The prayer of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect.” I think God is telling all of us who prayed and are praying for revival among young people. “Good job. Keep up the good work.”
     But before we take too much credit for the revival, I think I heard God telling me the real bottom-line reason for His movement in the hearts of people at Asbury University and other college campuses. It’s found in 2 Peter 3:9. Here it is: ”The Lord does not delay his promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance.”
     The bottom line is God has such a great love for us and unwillingness for anyone to die and go to hell, that He intervenes in the lives of people—as I think He is currently in the Asbury Revival—so that many will accept Him and eventually go to be with Him in heaven.
     Just like in the book of Acts, there will be unscrupulous people that try to take advantage of the situation. But, God was able to take care of it then—and I'm sure He can take care of it now.

Until I see you next time keep sharing the wonderful love of Jesus with others,
Arlen

Sunday, February 5, 2023

MAKING ORDER OUT OF CHAOS



“Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 4:19

Hello Friends:

     Welcome to the Soulwinnersr.us website. Remember again what Jesus said in Matthew 4:19, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
     I’m struggling lately with thinking of content related to evangelism for my website videos. And for that matter, sharing the life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ with others.
     Our family has been hit with many unforeseen blows in less than two months. It started with the frigid snow and wind storm before Christmas resulting in a power and internet outage. After that several other things went wrong:
  1. Our garage door sensors stopped working requiring me to get new ones. The door opened, but we had to shut it manually until I installed the new sensors.
  2. We got a new internet service provider after our old one failed three times in the last year for up to two days. This change required many changes with emails and all the websites that used our old email. What a long chore that was!
  3. Our basement started leaking some water again after last summer thinking I had it fixed. It's not bad, but any water in a basement is not good.
  4. I had to take my wife’s laptop to a computer repair shop to replace her hard drive with a solid-state drive. Thankfully, my cloning of the drive was successful! I was sweating it for a while. Some computer companies sure don’t make laptops very accessible to change things.
  5. An unexpected problem out of the blue with Social Security.
  6. Heat pump failure. Does anyone realize the cost of replacing an old R22 coolant system with a new R410 system? It isn’t cheap.
     I don’t deal well with circumstances causing chaos in my life. Anyone that knows me understands that I like things to be orderly. When things get out of order and chaotic my feeble brain almost can’t take it.
     I don’t think I have a full-blown Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder or OCD, but I do think I have some OCD tendencies like perfectionism or a preoccupation with details. It makes it difficult at times for me to move forward with a task if something else is looming in the background. I’m very prone to try to resolve first the nagging background problems, or chaos if you will.
     My OCD tendencies have followed me all my life, even into employment. My former bosses acknowledged it in me, but I think they sometimes saw the benefits of it, as long as I was able to reign in the time-consuming aspects of it. 
     I had one boss tell me when I was thinking about going back to college to get a higher degree, “Arlen, just do what you have to do to pass. No employer will ever look at the grades you got.” That boss didn’t know me very well, thinking I might be able to do something just half-hearted.
     At my last job, I ran an employment program. I took time to assure the procedures of the program were as repeatable and standard as possible. The benefit of the extra time I took was that I and the workers under me didn’t have to strive so hard to follow the standard procedures. My bosses knew that I would to the best of my ability follow the directives of the State of Ohio oversight board to whom our program was accountable.       Also, the national accreditation board every three years was always very impressed with my attention to detail. One accreditation official from New York City even gave me his card and encouraged me to consider becoming a fellow accreditation official, traveling the country to make sure that other employment programs did things correctly. I was honored, but with a family to consider, I declined to pursue it.
     Now that I’m retired I still have that drive to get things right—to make order out of chaos. It has helped me to write grants for Mission to Amish People. It has also helped me when doing remodeling projects at home and for others. I am persistent to try to do things right.
     But how does this OCD tendency to make order out of chaos affect my drive to share with others the life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ? It hasn’t been easy, as evidenced by the fact that I haven’t posted anything in about a month. And worse yet, I’ve only personally shared the gospel with two heat pump guys.
     My conclusion is that my only option is to trust Jesus and His Holy Spirit to help me make order out of chaos. Probably my favorite verse lately that I’m calling on to help me is found in Jeremiah 33:3. I have used it in several posts in the last number of weeks. Here it is:
“ Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and incomprehensible things you do not know."
     Who is better to help us make order out of chaos than God?

Until I see you next time keep sharing the wonderful love of Jesus with others,
Arlen

Sunday, January 8, 2023

ARE YOU AND I LIVING AN ABUNDANT LIFE?

          


“Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 4:19

Hello Friends:
     Welcome to the Soulwinnersr.us website. Remember again what Jesus said in Matthew 4:19, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
     Do you feel like you are living an abundant life? I fluctuate in my feelings about it. Sometimes I feel very close to Jesus and His wonderful Holy Spirit, and I feel very thankful for the life He has given me. Then things happen—and I don’t feel the same way.
     Starting in 2023 I’m trying more and more to focus on God’s promises. God’s promises to us as Christians are too numerous to mention all of them. I’ll share just a few of the nine that I try to look at each day:
  • “I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.” John 10:10. 
    • Dictionary.com defines abundance as “an extremely plentiful or over-sufficient quantity or supply.” 
    • I think it’s clear Jesus isn’t talking about financial wealth. Jesus, after all, wasn’t financially wealthy. He was talking about a life full of joy and contentment living for Him.
  • “For he will give his angels orders concerning you, to protect you in all your ways.” Psalm 91:11.
    • Do you ever think about angels protecting you? Do you ever think about the fact that we as Christians can be sure that angels are all around us, just ready to protect us?
    • There is one song about angels that had a profound impact on me as a young boy over 60 years ago. Mom played at Christmas, a song sung by Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians entitled “Angels We Have Heard On High”. I remember laying on the couch and thinking it was the most beautiful song I ever heard. I remember picturing the shepherds in the field looking up at the sight and searching our Bible encyclopedia for more pictures. I still often play the song at Christmas.
Angels We Have Heard On High

(Verse 1)
Angels we have heard on high
Sweetly singing o'er the plains
And the mountains in reply
Echoing their joyous strains

(Chorus)
Gloria in excelsis Deo
Gloria in excelsis Deo

(Verse 2)
Shepherds, why this jubilee?
Why your joyous strains prolong?
Say what may the tidings be
Which inspire your heavenly song

(Verse 3)
Come to Bethlehem and see
Him Whose birth the angels sing
Come, adore on bended knee
Christ the Lord, the newborn King

(Verse 4)
See within in a manger laid
Jesus Lord of Heav'n and Earth
Mary, Joseph, lend your aid
With us sing our Savior's birth
    • Also, some years ago we bought a Ring doorbell camera. Included in the box were Ring decals to place on our door, warning would-be intruders that the house was being protected. After that, Dee found in a store door window decals with an angel on them that stated the following: “Warning! This Property Protected By Angels Wireless Security System.” We loved it, but the decal faded severely, so I recently printed out a bigger, more colorful version of the decal. I placed it above my Ring decal on two of our front doors.
    • We are now double-protected—but I’m sure that the Angels Wireless Security System in our house—and yours—offer much greater protection than Ring.
  • Two great verses were written by Jeremiah in the Old Testament, and Paul in the New Testament that contain words describing God’s great, great love for us—and the insurmountable power He gives us to do His will.
    • “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and incomprehensible things which you do not know."  Jeremiah 33:3. 
    • “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so that you may know what is the hope of his calling, what is the wealth of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the mighty working of his strength.” Ephesians 1:18-19.
     I want to point out three things in these verses about God that will almost knock your socks off.
  1. God will show us “great and incomprehensible things” that we don’t already know. 
    • Think of people called savants. One dictionary defines a savant as a person that is "over-the-top smart" in a specific area. While we may take an entire day to solve a problem, a savant can figure it out in maybe, five minutes. God is saying, in essence, that if we call out to Him, He can make us spiritual savants.
  2. God will cause the "eyes of your heart to be “enlightened”.
    • To me, the term "eyes of your heart" is somewhat amusing. I said it in a recent Facebook post. The bottom line is that God wants to "enlighten" us. Again, He wants us to know what other people will never come close to knowing on their own.
  3. God will use His “immeasurable” great power to help us and protect us. 
    • That is one stupendous amount of power."
  • Jeremiah 3:15: “I will give you shepherds who are loyal to me, and they will shepherd you with knowledge and skill.”
    • I’ve always wanted a mentor in my life who is loving and passionate about Jesus. I don’t think of myself as a needy person. But in a way, all the people surrounding Jesus in and around Galilee were needy—so I’m in good company.
    • Jesus was in no way mediocre. And I think He in no way wants the people that lead us to be mediocre. He wants them to be excellent. I’m not saying “perfect”—but I am saying “excellent”. And they need to be men and women that love Jesus with their whole hearts.
     There you have it. Four or five Bible verses—and there are many more where those came from—that can change your life—and where God and His Son Jesus are calling us to live an abundant life.

Until I see you next time keep sharing Jesus with others,
Arlen

Thursday, December 22, 2022

"THIS 'LITTLE' LIGHT OF MINE

 


“Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 4:19

Hello Friends:
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine

Hide it under a bushel? NO!
I’m gonna let it shine
Hide it under a bushel? NO!
I’m gonna let it shine
Hide it under a bushel? NO!
I’m gonna let it shine
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine

Let it shine til Jesus comes
I’m gonna let it shine
Let it shine til Jesus comes
I’m gonna let it shine
Let it shine til Jesus comes
I’m gonna let it shine
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine
     Welcome to the Soulwinnersr.us website. Remember again what Jesus said in Matthew 4:19, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
     Well, a good singer I’m not. I recently asked my wife, Dee, “Why wasn’t I blessed with a good singing voice like some?” She just laughed. But at least I tried.
     There are varying versions of the "This Little Light Is Mine" song. The one I sang today is the one I remember singing as a child in the Mennonite Church. It puzzles me that the writer of the song used the word "little" to describe light in the life of a Christian. Perhaps, if you think of it—the "little" light—is not so little after all!
     During the Christmas season, people focus on lighting up trees, houses, and indoor and outdoor spaces. As a family, we love to travel to lighted neighborhoods, perhaps with families hosting annual parties, and dream of what it’s like for them at Christmas.
     The Wise Men in Matthew 2 followed the light of a star to find Jesus in Bethlehem. They wanted to see Him who was “born King of the Jews". Behind me is a lighted tree with a lighted star on top to commemorate the occasion.
     The word light is mentioned, in various sentence structure forms, 274 times in the Bible. But the majority of the time it is to contrast light with darkness—to equate light to good—and to equate darkness to evil.
     In the Old Testament are many memorable verses about light. Who can forget Psalm 27:1. “The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear?” Or Psalm 119:105. “Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path."
     Proverbs 4:18 is one of my favorite passages in the entire Bible. Here it is, “The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, shining brighter and brighter until midday.”
     A little later Isaiah 9:2 prophesied the birth of Jesus. “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; a light has dawned on those living in the land of darkness.”
     Are you blown away by these very few of many references to light in the Old Testament? Just wait! The New Testament references to Jesus' birth, and the light He would bring to mankind is unbelievable!
     Matthew 4:16 reiterated Isaiah’s prophesy about the birth of Jesus. “The people who live in darkness have seen a great light, and for those living in the land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned.”
     In John 8:12 Jesus explained who He was. “I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.”
     John 1:4-5 says about Jesus “In him was life, and that life was the light of men. That light shines in the darkness, and yet the darkness did not overcome it.
     John 11:9-10 explains men walking, or not walking, with the light of Jesus in their lives. “Aren’t there twelve hours in a day?” Jesus answered. “If anyone walks during the day, he doesn’t stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if anyone walks during the night, he does stumble, because the light is not in him.”
     John 12:46 explains further, “I have come as light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me would not remain in darkness.”
     Let’s go on to Saul, saved after Jesus met him and blinded him, ironically, with an unbelievably bright light. Paul, Saul’s new name given by Jesus, was gloriously saved. Paul said in Acts 26:17-18 about Gentiles, “I am sending you to them to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a share among those who are sanctified by faith in me. ’to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God.”
     Paul further talked about the light of the gospel message in 2 Corinthians 4:4, “In their case, the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
     Paul went on to say in 2 Corinthians 4:6 about Jesus, “For God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ.”
     Peter joins the bandwagon talking about light in 1 Peter 2:9. “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
     The apostle John joins the discussion about light in 1 John 1:5. “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light, and there is absolutely no darkness in him.”
     Then John said in 1 John 1:7, “If we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.”
     Let's continue with the Apostle John in Revelation 21:22-25. He’s just been given a vision of the New Jerusalem that came down out of heaven after the destruction of the earth as we know it. “I did not see a temple in it, because the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, because the glory of God illuminates it, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. Night will be no more; people will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, because the Lord God will give them light,—"
     So, in conclusion, the song “This Little Light of Mine”, is a very good “little” song. But I hope and pray that you and I see that—the “This ‘Little’ Light of Mine” mentioned in the song—is not so little!

Until I see you next time keep sharing Jesus with others,
Arlen

Saturday, December 10, 2022

CHECKMATE!

 


"Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Matthew 4:19

Hello Friends: 

     I have heard the song “King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, Glory, Hallelujah” for many years. But I don’t think I ever really internalized what it means. I sang it as a fact that I heard from a song, not a realization in my heart.
     This morning I read Revelation 1:5 and was struck by its plainness. John the Revelator wrote, “and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead and ruler of the kings of the earth.”
     These days we are aware of backchannel meetings of rich power brokers whose goal is to sway the course of history. They are engaged in sort of a chess match to influence leaders and even kings to their way of thinking. I can almost see their wry smile at the power they wield over the masses, not even really caring about who might suffer as a result.
     But, on the board with these backchannel chess match pawns, is a more powerful Chessmaster. Psalm 2:1-6 explains it.
1Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
2The kings of the earth take their stand,
and the rulers conspire together
against the Lord and his Anointed One:
3 “Let’s tear off their chains
and throw their ropes off of us.”

4 The one enthroned in heaven laughs;
the Lord ridicules them.
5 Then he speaks to them in his anger
and terrifies them in his wrath:
6 “I have installed my king
on Zion, my holy mountain.”
CHECKMATE!

Until I see you next time, keep sharing Jesus with others, 
Arlen

Thursday, December 8, 2022

HIGH HOPES FOR CHRISTMAS

 


“Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 4:19

Hello Friends:

     Welcome to the Soulwinnersr.us website. Remember again what Jesus said in Matthew 4:19, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Last week I discussed the fact that God will show us “incomprehensible things” when we call out to Him—things impossible to understand. I would say that to be shown incomprehensible things, and other Holy Spirit-led experiences we have are high points in our Christian lives.
     But—do you ever feel let down? Do you ever feel let down during, or after the Christmas season? I usually go into the Christmas season with high hopes of many people coming to Christ, especially family members. I feel the incomprehensible joy of knowing Christ, born in a stable over 2000 years ago—but many family members around me don’t feel the same way—or at least don’t express that they feel the same way.
     Each year I usually watch many Hallmark and Hallmark-like Christmas movies. They’re very predictable, and they always—I mean always have a happy ending. But I often feel a lot like Billy, the little boy in The Polar Express movie. Billy declined to get off the train to see Santa Claus and said, “Christmas just doesn’t work out for me. Never has.” Then the hero boy who has no name, and doesn’t really believe in Santa himself, said, “Look, I don't know if Christmas is gonna work out for you or not, but it's Christmas Eve. Don't stay here by yourself."
     This is what I feel God is telling me each year, but with just a slight variation. Here it is. I feel God is saying to me who has high hopes but feels let down during the Christmas season, “Look, I know that you feel Christmas isn’t going to work out for you, but it’s Christmas Eve when I sent My Son to earth. Don’t give up hope, and keep on trying to tell people about the wonderful love of Jesus.”

Until I see you next time keep sharing Jesus with others,
Arlen

Monday, November 28, 2022

INCOMPREHENSIBLE THINGS! (“Are You Incomprehensible?” revision)

 


“Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 4:19

Hello Friends:

     Welcome to the Soulwinnersr.us website. Remember again what Jesus said in Matthew 4:19, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” I’m revising my last post made about a week ago. I thought about the premise I made of God making US incomprehensible, as the title of my last post indicates. But really, HE is the One that is incomprehensible—and He shows us, when we call out to Him, those incomprehensible things that we didn’t know beforehand. So the title of my revision is, “Incomprehensible Things!”
     Again, Merriam-Webster dictionary defines incomprehensible as the following: “impossible to understand”. Why would a Bible verse then declare that people of God would be able to understand—something impossible to understand? Here is the verse in Jeremiah 33:3: “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and incomprehensible things which you do not know.”
     We discussed last time that intellectuals over the years have shared their belief that people who believe in God need a “crutch” because of their weakness. We discussed the fact that Christians oftentimes get a bad rap, sometimes, justifiably so. But that bad rap has absolutely nothing to do with God or God’s promises to us.
     When God tells us that He will show us incomprehensible things, things impossible to understand, where else do we get that affirmation? Nowhere! We as Christians sometimes feel insecure and don’t understand why people don’t like us. But then we need to remember—that God loves—in fact He really likes us—so much that we have the inside track—no one else—on Him showing us “incomprehensible things”.

Until I see you next time keep sharing the wonderful love of Jesus,
Arlen

Sunday, November 20, 2022

ARE YOU INCOMPREHENSIBLE?

 


“Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 4:19

Hello Friends:

     What is meant by the word “incomprehensible”? Merriam-Webster dictionary defines incomprehensible as the following: “impossible to understand”. Why would a Bible verse then declare that people of God would be able to understand—something impossible to understand? Here is the verse in Jeremiah 33:3: “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and incomprehensible things which you do not know.”
     Welcome to the Soulwinnersr.us website. The title of my post today is, “Are You Incomprehensible?” What a word incomprehensible is! Sometimes there’s a Bible word or verse, that seems almost too good to be true.
     Intellectuals over the years have shared their belief that people who believe in God need a “crutch” because of their weakness. Quora, an online website, about two years ago asked the question, “Is Religion a Crutch for Weak-Minded People?” Responders shared varying opinions, but most of them declared that religion is indeed a crutch for weak-minded people. On the campaign trail in 2008 former President Obama famously said about Bible-believing Midwesterners, “They get bitter", and "they cling to guns or religion.” He later tried to backtrack, saying his statement was misconstrued.
     This isn’t, however, a political commentary on former President Obama, or for that matter, a commentary against intellectuals. It’s just to share a contradiction against what has been ingrained in us for so long.
     Christians do sometimes get a bad rap. And sometimes, justifiably so. But that bad rap has absolutely nothing to do with God or God’s promises to us. When God tells us that He will show us incomprehensible things, things impossible to understand, where else do we get that affirmation? Nowhere!
     When is the last time you had a close relative compliment you for your insight and wisdom? They usually do the opposite—right? They usually let you know in uncertain terms how far they think you’ve fallen off the deep end—into religiosity. After the high you feel because of God’s wonderful promises, they usually try their hardest to bring you back down to earth. But do we have to come back down to earth? The answer is—no!
     The thing about this life is that we face adversity almost every day, some people more than others. We get sidetracked and because we're approaching Christmas, I’ll quote Burgermeister Meisterburger in the cartoon “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town”. He said, “I’ve been bamboozled”. We sometimes feel—“bamboozled”, or as the old saying goes, we sometimes “feel lower than a snake’s belly.” But that doesn’t change the promise that God gave to us. It doesn’t change the verse that says, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and incomprehensible things which you do not know.”
     Whenever we feel insecure and lower than a snake’s belly, or bamboozled—we can read that verse with confidence that He will indeed show us things—when we call out to Him, that seem impossible to understand.
     And many people in turn will look at us—as impossible to understand. And many will look at us as—incomprehensible!

Until I see you next time keep sharing the wonderful love of Jesus,
Arlen

Friday, November 11, 2022

ARE YOU AN ELECTION DENIER?



“Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 4:19

Hello Friends:

     In the last couple of weeks, I heard a certain phrase, likely between 50 to 100 times. I saw big graphics posted with the phrase and pictures and names of many men and women associated with the phrase. I chuckled each time I heard it. It was like someone put out a nationwide memo for all their friends to parrot the same phrase over and over again—trying I think to cause a snowball effect. They thought that if enough people stated the phrase enough times, then more people that heard the phrase would think negatively about the people in question.
     With a grin, I went back to Dee a couple of times in her office and asked her the phrase. Here it is—I said, “Honey, are you an election denier?” Both times she smiled, but shooed me away.
     I’ll bet you think this post is going to be about the elections two days ago. I’m as guilty as anyone of clinging to hope that our country will turn in a more conservative direction—one where the limbs of babies aren’t torn apart piece by piece. Abortion, in my opinion, is a barbaric practice, but that’s a topic for another day, likely not associated with my Soulwinnersr.us website.
     Welcome to the Soulwinnersr.us website. The title of my post today is “Are You An Election Denier?”, and it’s not at all about the elections two days ago. It’s about an election that is exponentially more important!
     There are seventeen New Testament Bible passages where the words “elect” or “election” are used. Why in the world does the Bible talk about election so many times? The writers were surely not talking about political elections or elected officials. Seven of those first references to election came from Jesus himself. The other ten were from the apostles Paul, Peter, and John.
     Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines election as the following:
  1. “The act of being carefully selected, or chosen for an office or position."
  2. “Chosen for salvation through divine mercy.”
     In a political election, people casting votes choose representatives for offices or positions. The election in the Bible, however, is where people are chosen by God to be His representatives. To say that God does the choosing doesn’t mean that people can’t influence God to choose them for salvation. God isn’t up in heaven pulling strings so that certain people are chosen, and others aren’t chosen. He does, however, know the end from the beginning.
     Jesus knew that Judas was the one going to betray Him. I don’t think that means that Jesus wouldn’t have relented and chosen, or elected, Judas if he had repented and had some inclination toward sincerely following Jesus. Jesus knew that Judas was, and was going to continue to be—an election denier. Judas wasn’t willing to cry out to God to be elected by Him.
     In the Old Testament Cain was despondent and very angry after Abel’s sacrifice was more acceptable than his own. In Genesis 4:6-7 God told Cain, “Why are you furious? And why do you look despondent? If you do what is right, won’t you be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” God was telling Cain, in essence, that He was ready and waiting for Cain to repent and turn toward Him. God was clearly saying to Cain, “Don’t be an election denier.”
     God also doesn’t want any of us to be election deniers, but acceptors of His election. The most impactful verse to me about the wonder of being an election acceptor and not an election denier is what Jesus said in the following verses of Matthew 24:31:
Jesus said,
“He (God) will send out his angels with a loud trumpet, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.”
     I so want to be part of the elect of Jesus who continues to follow Him, and not be a denier of him. The reason is that I want very much want to be among the many called up to the sky to meet Jesus in the air!

Until I see you next time keep sharing the wonderful love of Jesus,
Arlen

Saturday, October 29, 2022

DISCIPLESHIP POINT 7: AN EXCITING BUT SOMETIMES DANGEROUS JOURNEY!

 


“Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Matthew 4:19.

Hello Friends:

     This week I watched the 2022 Dove Awards. For those who don’t know, Dove Awards are awarded for the top Christian songs, albums, and artists in the past year. It’s a big event, attended by a large number of people.
     I told my wife that in a way I’m jealous of the people in the Christian music industry that get together frequently to collaborate on writing and performing songs—a place where there’s some action and excitement related to Christianity.
     Dee, my wife quickly brought me back down to earth saying that she dabbled in the music world in college, and most times it’s not as glamorous and exciting as it seems. She said that musicians are on the road many weeks a year, and if the musician is married with a family, the many weeks away from home are a hindrance to maintaining a healthy family. Not to mention the dog-eat-dog music world of trying to compete with others to come up with the latest and greatest sound and song.
     Welcome to the Soulwinnersr.us website. Last time we talked about the Cosmic Battle in which we are engaged. Most of us think of Christianity as being fairly humdrum. But the battles in the cosmos that Christians face make the Lord of the Rings movies pale in comparison.
     I titled my post this time “Discipleship Point 7: An Exciting But Sometimes Dangerous Journey!” It’s about the fact that the enemies of Christianity sometimes attack Christians, and portray them as needy, pitiful creatures. They think that we're weaklings that depend on a book filled with fantasies to help us to cope with the difficulties of life.
     Jesus told us in John 15 and 16 that people would hate us for our faith in Him. He said that people hated Him first, so we should expect nothing less than for them also to hate us, and even go so far as trying, and succeeding in some cases, to kill us.
     You may ask me, "Arlen, where is the excitement in people hating us and even going so far as to plot to kill some of us?" All of us long to be liked by others, right? There's no harm in wanting to be liked. But what's better than being liked? I would venture to say it is to be respected for not backing down from our faith in the face of persecution.
     People might be frenzied to spew hatred and disgust toward Christians, as in the case of Stephen in Acts. But you know at least one person that was changed dramatically after Stephen was stoned. We might think that Paul, whose name was then Saul, would have hesitated when called by Jesus to follow Him as one of Jesus' staunchest ambassadors. Paul, after all, saw firsthand what people did to Stephen, a lover of Jesus.
     Paul, however, jumped in headfirst to follow Jesus after his encounter with Him on the road to Damascus. Nothing would dissuade Paul from the exciting—but sometimes dangerous journeys he was about to embark on. Yes, I said exciting! Don’t let anyone persuade you otherwise.
     Last time we talked about a cosmic battle going on. I’m often amazed by people, sometimes famous, who jumped at the chance to go to war against Nazi Germany in the 1940s. Clark Gable and Jimmy Stewart were two established actors, and Ted Williams and Bob Feller were two baseball greats. All four interrupted lucrative acting and sports careers to face possible death in wartime. Why did they do it? I can only speculate, but I think they were willing to go to battle for the good of others.
     So, the bottom line is that I may never be involved in something as popular as a song awards show like the Dove Awards, But I CAN BE involved in the exciting—but sometimes dangerous journey of following Jesus' instructions in the Bible—of winning souls for Jesus.

So, until I see you next time, keep sharing the wonderful love of Jesus,
Arlen

Sunday, October 16, 2022

DISCIPLESHIP POINT 6: ENGAGING IN A COSMIC BATTLE!



“Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Matthew 4:19.

Hello Friends:

     Did you realize that we as Christians are engaged in a cosmic battle? We'll talk about it in a little bit.
     Welcome to the Soulwinnersr.us website. Last time we talked about fruit production, based on Jesus’ discourse in John 15. In that chapter, he likened himself to a vine, and we as Christians are the branches that bear much fruit if we abide in Him. I think the topic of fruitfulness is needed and interesting, but perhaps rather boring.
     I just finished watching the “Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power” TV movie series. I’m not suggesting it as a must-watch series. Some of you might question the fact that I watched it at all. The redeeming quality for me is the struggle of good against evil. I would suggest to you, however, that the intensity and importance of the Lord of the Rings TV movies pales in comparison to reality.
     I think it’s amusing that movie lovers and gamers live vicariously through movies and games such as Lord of the Rings. They watch and follow movie and gaming heroes, and don’t realize there is a bigger drama—or game in play. They resort to a shallow make-believe world, instead of the hard-hitting reality that is facing them squarely in the face, but they don’t realize it.
     Satan has done a very good job of making us not think of the cosmic importance of our lives. We think that life on this earth is all that we have—and we don’t realize that our very lives and the lives of our loved ones are teetering on the brink of disaster.
     I entitled this post “Discipleship Point 6: Engagement In A Cosmic Battle!” It’s not a physical war with guns and weapons, but the implications of this war are not just earthly. The Bible says the implications are cosmic, which is defined by Webster’s dictionary as “relating to the cosmos, the extraterrestrial vastness, or the universe in contrast to the earth alone.” In other words, if something is cosmic, it’s much greater than anything we experience here on earth, or in the case of Lord of the Rings, “middle earth”.
     We as Christians aren’t engaged in just some namby-pamby exercise. We can’t just be nice and sweet, and the world will come to us for answers to the tough questions they face. Jesus and His disciples had an edge to them. They weren’t going to back down when the lives of people were at stake. They realized they were in a war of cosmic proportions.
Paul described it in Ephesians 6:10-18. Here it is:
“Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by his vast strength. Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens. For this reason take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest, and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace. In every situation take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit—which is the word of God. Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints."
     There you have it! Do you believe that today’s battle for the souls of people is more intense than the one staged on Middle Earth in Lord of the Rings? This is because Lord of the Rings is just fantasy fiction, albeit very intense and dramatic. It was written by J.R.R. Tolkien, a friend of C.S. Lewis, who also wrote the very famous Chronicles of Narnia Christian fantasy fiction.
     It's time to get mad at the enemy of our souls. Galadriel in Lord of the Rings got mad at Lord Sauron, the evil enemy out to destroy the elves, dwarves, Harfoots, and Southlander and Numenorian humans who tried to get in his way. Sauron wanted to establish the dark kingdom of Mordor, inhabited by savage Orcs and other evil followers.
     Satan is, however, much eviler than Lord Sauron. He wants to lull people into a stupor—then destroy them and send them to an eternity in hell.
     In Lord of the Rings, the prevailing thought of many was to not resist the inevitable. Many people today joke about hell, saying, “At least I’ll be in good company.” They don’t have a clue what they’re dealing with—and with whom they’re dealing!
     All seems rosy and good now, but are we aware of the evil forces at work in the world? We are in a world where leaders propose war, destruction, and killing of innocent human lives to get what they want. How would it be if a tank went rolling down your road ready to annihilate you if you resist—and even annihilate you if you don’t resist?
     What about the unease in the Middle East? What about the hatred of Israel, a country about the size of New Jersey? You may say, “Arlen, those things are far away from us.” Well, then let's get closer to home.
     What about the killing of innocent people in our cities, and even in our own towns? I knew a young woman that was killed by a serial killer in Ashland, Ohio where I worked. I was very angry at the man who took the life of this vulnerable woman with mental illness—who was even paranoid on a good day.
     Also, my brother one year older than I got shot and blinded in 2001. It was the same year evil men used planes to kill people in the trade towers and the Pentagon. Their goal was to bring terror to the people of the United States by killing many, many people in one day.
     I know that when my brother was shot I was devastated. Then about two months later I found out that he had become 100% blind. That was almost too much for me to bear. All because one evil man decided to kill and destroy the lives of people that got in his way.
     I also had cancer in 2001. Cancer is another evil destroyer, and thankfully God spared me. My first cousin, however, had the same type of cancer and died.
     Evil forces are all around us, whether we want to believe it—or not. Whether we have experienced it—or not. The reality is that we are all going to experience evil forces at some point in our lives, whether we want to admit it—or not.
     This is not a time for “the power of positive thinking” that many people promote and believe in. We are in a battle of cosmic proportion. Are we going to rise and meet the challenge as Paul encouraged in Ephesians 6? Or, are we going to stand passively by and let Satan continue to kill and destroy us and those around us?
     I want to—and pray that many others of you--choose the Ephesians 6 option to do as Paul said. I want to join forces with you and many others, to engage in a cosmic battle to combat, as Paul said, "the cosmic powers of this darkness."

So, until I see you next time, keep sharing the wonderful love of Jesus,

Arlen