Two by Two

Two of every creature that has the breath of life in it came to Noah and entered the ark. Gen 7:15 CSB

Consider: The whole world knew Noah was building the ark. No doubt he was the brunt of many jokes over the 100 year construction. Everyone’s heart was so hardened that they didn’t even take notice when a most unusual event unfolded before their eyes. What an incredible testimony of truth when pair after pair of animals showed up and boarded the ark. I can only imagine the lions waiting patiently to board behind what would normally be their prey. A strange sight no less, but there was no fear of God in any of the onlookers to goad their conscience to repentance.

What a sorry state to find yourself in when your heart is so hard that repentance can’t break through.

Lord, thank you for not giving up on me. My flesh is stubborn and rebellious. Thank you for providing the way, the gift of repentance and the grace to respond! Amen.

Know Christ

I hear it said that I need to know who I am in Christ. That sounds like wise counsel however, my concern is that the primary emphasis becomes self. The accounts of when Jesus was tempted expose an enemy who exchanges truth for very subtle lies. Is this not a subtle lie of the enemy to take my eyes off of Christ?

The scriptures repeatedly quote Christ telling me to die to self. How do I die to self and search for my new identity? Doesn’t a focus on Christ and Christ alone put everything into perspective?


Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. 1

And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. 2

Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. 3

And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. 4

Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. 5


Do you know who I am in Christ?

If knowing who I am in Christ is important wouldn’t it be important for other people to know too? Imagine asking someone the question, “Do you know who I am in Christ?” If they don’t know, why would I ask if not to reveal my credentials? If I’m the one who doesn’t know is it not due to my lack of knowledge and understanding of who Christ is and what he has accomplished?

I know who I am in Christ.

Imagine telling someone, “I know who I am in Christ.” Where is the emphasis, why would I make such a statement if not to exalt myself?

Unless I’m a con-artist or liar working for an unscrupulous master, would it matter who I am?

If I worked for an individual and they sent me to purchase something, let’s say an expensive car, would I need to know who I am to succeed? Wouldn’t I need to know who they were? If I knew they were exorbitantly wealthy would that help? What if I had trouble cashing my last pay check, and I wasn’t sure my next check was going to be good, and I overheard they were filling for bankruptcy? What if I knew they already paid for it and all I had to do was pickup the keys and drive it back to the estate?  Doesn’t the authority of the messenger or servant come from the master.  Unless I’m a con-artist or liar working for an unscrupulous master, would it matter who I am?

My identity is hidden in Christ –I need to know Him!

Yes, my identity is in Christ however, I can’t find that identity by seeking it; it is a by product of relationship with God and knowing who He is. When someone tells me I need to know who I am in Christ, am I not being misdirected –pointed back toward self?  My identity is hidden in Christ –I need to know Him! 6

Finally, in what area of my life would I not benefit or my circumstances not be better from knowing more of who God is?

When David faced Goliath did his identity matter; was he trusting in it or God?

Did David’s skill kill Goliath or was God the victor? Wasn’t it God’s battle; didn’t David say that Goliath was defying the armies of the living God? David didn’t even claim the victory over a lion or bear that he fought. 7

How about Jonah, didn’t God prevail in-spite of Jonah’s identity?

Does an apple tree need to know it’s an apple tree before it can produce apples? 8  9

My Prayer:  God, please help me to rest in the work of your hands.10 God, everything good is from you, everything good within me is the work of your hands! 11  Please prevent me from getting caught up in the enemy’s lies.  How can a man take pride in himself without even the smallest claim of ownership?  Thank you for drawing me to your son Jesus. 12 Help me to grow in the knowledge of you and the work Jesus finished on the cross; please unfold the mysteries of the gospel to me.  Amen

Gospel Power

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”  Romans 1:16 AV

As a young man I was blessed to intern at a race car manufacturer in Great Britain. They were a small company with little more than a handful of people, limited resources and equipment, and yet they competed successfully in a world market. As I worked at the various stages of manufacturing the thing that impressed me was how they were able to do the most with the least. In fact, I found “doing the most with the least” was common thought out the culture there in Great Britain. Undoubtedly that culture was also part of the founding of our nation however, somewhere along the way it has been lost. One can only wonder how many things haven’t been attempted for lack of the “right” equipment.

There is a woodworking store a few miles away that I frequent on occasion. Until recently, every time I went there and looked at all the amazing tools a voice inside me would say, “If I had those tools I’d do a lot more woodworking.” One day, when I left the store, still dreaming about all the woodworking that I’d do with those amazing tools, truth confronted me. If I was passionate about woodworking wouldn’t I be doing it already with the tools I already had?

The people I worked with in Great Britain figured out ways to utilize the tools they had. In fact, they did an amazing job even though it would have been easier with better tools. When faced with a task they rose to the challenge and weren’t afraid to work harder. I’ve been making excuses based on what I don’t have. Lord, do I do that with the gospel?

*Why the block plane?  When I was a boy I had a woodworking teacher, Walter R. Olsen (1927-199?); Mr Olsen to his students.  He was a tough kind hearted man who I now have the highest respect for.  He was a principled man who strived to bring out the best in his students.  We didn’t have the latest and greatest tools like some of the other schools but now that I think back on it I can only wonder if Mr Olsen wanted it that way.

I had a project that required me to plane down some boards.  We didn’t have a powered planer so I had to do it the old fashioned way, with a 12 inch block plane –by hand.  I glued up 2 qty 3/4 x 24 x 42 inch boards for the sides, 2 qty 3/4 x 24 x 24 inch boards for the ends, 2 qty 3/4 x 12 x 24 boards for the rockers and a 3/4 x 6 x 36 board for a stiffener and set out to make them flat.  To my surprise they were flat by the time I reached 5/8 of an inch.  I asked Mr Olsen if I could stop there and he replied, “What do the plans say?”  I said, “1/2 inch” to which he said, “Keep going!”  Mr. Olsen didn’t want to hear that I made the plans and I could change them.  I spent the whole semester planing boards from 3/4 to 1/2 inch!

Thank you Mr. Olsen, I miss you my mentor, my friend!