Man’s Free Will

The wind howls through the mountain pass. Dark clouds roll across the sky. The Man looks up as He takes hold of the long gnarled branch He’s using as a walking stick. He grips it more tightly. The path is narrow and treacherous.

Walking carefully across the rocky path He stops for just a moment. Glancing up He sees an eagle off in the distance. His majestic wings spread wide and as though floating on the currents, the eagle glides with the wind.

The Man walks a little further and stops again when He hears the screech of a hawk. He smiles as He watches the bird flutter to a stop at the top of a tree.

Rain begins to suddenly pour from the sky and He lifts His face allowing the large drops to pelt His bearded face. His hair is soon soaked, His beard drips and squinting His eyes closed He sticks His tongue out to catch the drops of rain.

“Oh Father, what a beautiful and glorious sight,” He whispers. Rain pelts His head, His shoulders, His back and soon He is dripping wet. It doesn’t bother Him as He continues to follow the narrow path.

He comes across a man sitting on a stump under the protective arms of a large Oak tree. He walks to Him and says hello. The stranger looks tired but says nothing. The Man offers him His canteen of water and says, “Here, drink. It’s living water.”

The stranger hesitates and snarls, “What’s the difference, water is water?” He suddenly snatches the canteen from the Man’s hand and gulps thirstily.

“I am the Living Water.” The Man replies. “Whoever drinks of My water will never thirst.” The man hands the now empty canteen back to the Man; grunts, swipes a hand across his mouth and beard and stands.

“Thanks for the water,” he states gruffly as he tugs at his pants waist, stretches, and without another word walks on down the narrow path. The Man watches as the stranger approaches a Y in the path. He stops and looks to the narrow path, then the wider path. He runs his hand through his long wet hair as though trying to decide which path to take. He glances back at the Man watching him.

“Father help him to choose the right path.” The Man whispers. Continuing to watch the stranger, the Man lowers His head, swipes at a tear, as the other man steps onto the wide path and disappears.

(Sue’s version) Matthew 7:14 – John 4:14

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Are We Attentive to God’s Needs?

The desert is hot and humid. The sun beats down on a lone tree. It’s arms reaching out as though seeking the moisture that kisses its leaves.

The heat is oppressing but the dew from the night still lingers. The strong gnarled trunk stands majestically holding up the arms of time.

Beneath the shade of the old tree at an old rock kneels a Man. His head bowed and drops of sweat drip down His cheeks. His silent prayer becomes agonizing as His sweat turns to blood and drips down forever staining the rock.

“Take this cup” His anguished voice pleads.

Men that He has called friends slouch a few yards away, asleep. They hear not the anguished cry of their friend, the Man they called friend.

Tears stream, blood red sweat pours as the Man kneels with His head hanging low. “Not My will but Thine,” He finally whispers as  His friends snore.

After some time He slowly, painfully, rises. He walks toward His friends and sees they are sound asleep. He stands silently looking down at them.

Slowly the closed eyes of His friends begin to open and they look up at the Man and make no apology as they rub their calloused hands across their eyes and beards.

“So you could not watch with Me an hour?”* The Man states.

His friends say nothing.

The Man waits a moment.


The Man finally turns and walks slowly away leaving his friends,  slouched and yawning.

*Matthew 26:36-56

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Fishing For Men


The day began bright and sunny with few clouds floating across the blue skies. Simon and a friend decided it was a good day to go fishing but was concerned that maybe it was the wrong time of day.

Backing up their pickup truck they latched the trailer with the john boat to the back hitch and grabbed their water bottles and fishing poles. The ice chest was filled with drinks and sandwiches, ready for a day on the lake.

Simon grabs the starter rope and giving it a quick mean jerk, the engine fires up with a billow of smoke. He steers the boat away from the launching ramp as his friend slowly drives the truck up the ramp and parks in the marked parking space.

Simon turns the boat facing the clear blue waters as his friend wades through the shallow water and crawls aboard. They smile, raise their hands to heaven and at the same time yell, “Show us your favor Lord. The wives want fish for dinner,” and they speed off to deeper waters.

“This looks like a good spot,” Simon announces over the roar of the engine. He cuts the engine off and tosses the anchor overboard. Placing bait on their hooks each sits quietly waiting for the sudden jerk on their line.

It doesn’t come.

Hours are spent, drinks are gulped, sandwiches wolfed down. No bites. Discouragement takes over and as Simon suggests they give up and go home, something happens they’ll neither forget.

Simon gasps.

His friend’s eyes pop wide open and he can’t speak.

A Man approaches. He isn’t in a boat! He’s walking across the water as though He’s on dry land.

They both gulp and begin to stand. “We’ll jump to our deaths.” the friend whispers.

“It’s a ghost.” Simon croaks out.

The Man speaks, “Oh sit down. It’s just Me, Jesus.”

With a sigh of relief the men slowly take their seat while staring at Jesus standing on the water, right next to the boat. “Ya’ wanna’ catch some fish throw your lines on the other side of the boat.” Jesus states confidently.

He steps into the boat, takes the last sandwich and takes a bite. He watches the two men as they struggle with their thoughts.

“Well, Are you going to trust me or not?” Jesus asks while chewing a bite of sandwich.

The men make no comment but cast their fishing lines on the other side of the boat. In seconds they are hauling in the biggest fish they’ve ever caught. They can’t bait their hooks fast enough and in no time the boat is overloaded with fish flopping around in the bottom of the boat. They shout and laugh, not believing their good luck.

Jesus stands, steps out of the boat, turns and grins at the two men. “Told ya’ so! Next time you’ll be fishing for men.” He states and saunters off across the water.

“Huh? Fishing for men? We gonna be looking for dead men out here?” Simon asks as he removes the hook from yet another large fish.

(Sue’s version) Luke 5:3-6

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Thursday’s Pen Tip #14

Rejoice in Him

As the pain filled memories flow for they are memories not actual acts of today.

Rejoice in Him

When the pain swells to tidal waves within it is pain that is being brought to land; sand filters, cleans.

Rejoice in Him

for He who loves you removes the old within a damaged soul. Rejoice, for He fills those area’s that have been left vacant of those hurtful things.

Rejoice in Him

for He is filling, giving of Himself to bring you to a place where you can rejoice in Him.


Thursday’s Pen Tips #10

For you who believe there is no end. For others who do not believe in the Son of God Almighty, there is end to joy that you think you have now.

For those who scoff and follow the one not of Christ – hell fires will deliver you into the coals of hell.

Lift thy hands, thy heart, towards the heavenlies for your Father who art in heaven waits.

He who is on high awaits your plea for His grace. If you do not succumb unto Him, may He who was born this day have mercy on your soul.


Billy Graham: Judas is a ‘Warning’

By Michael W. Chapman | March 22, 2016 | 3:27 PM EDT

Pastor Billy Graham (Photo: BGEA)

World-renowned pastor Billy Graham said that Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus Christ for 30 pieces of silver because of his “unbelief” and interest only in himself,  and that because of his self-inflicted death, whereby he lost everything, Judas “stands forever as a warning of the dangers of stubborn unbelief.”

In a Q&A section on faith, published in the Kansas City Star, a reader asked Rev. Graham, “I’ve never really understood why Judas betrayed Jesus. After all, he witnessed Jesus’ miracles and heard his teaching just like the other disciples, and yet he ended up turning against him. It just doesn’t make sense.”

Billy Graham said, “No, it doesn’t make sense, just as most evil doesn’t make sense. Why deliberately do something we know is wrong, when — if we’d only stop to think about it — we also know it will destroy us? The Bible says, ‘Do not … be envious of the wicked, for the evildoer has no future'” (Proverbs 24:19-20).

“Judas’ real problem was that he was interested only in himself and what he could gain by following Jesus,” said Rev. Graham.  “Instead of committing his life to Jesus, he allowed greed and envy to rule his heart and mind. His unbelief fed his greed, and his greed fed his unbelief.”

“When Jesus’ enemies offered 30 pieces of silver to anyone who would disclose where Jesus was staying so they could arrest him secretly, Judas readily agreed,” said the pastor.

“Judas stands forever as a warning of the dangers of stubborn unbelief,” said Rev. Graham.  “And in the end, Judas lost everything, even his life.”

Artist’s illustration of Judas

betraying Jesus with a kiss. 

(Public Domain.) 

Billy Graham continued,  “Some of the most tragic words in the Bible are these, ‘So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself’ (Matthew 27:5). Make sure of your commitment to Jesus, for he alone is worthy of your life.”

Billy Graham, 97, is one of the most well known and respected evangelical preachers of the last 60 years.  His gospel preaching reportedly has reached about 2.2 billion people worldwide over the years. He has five children and lives, now retired, at his home in Montreat, N.C. His wife, Ruth Bell Graham, died in 2007.

This Q&A on the Bible can also be read at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

Michael W. Chapman
Michael W. Chapman
Michael W. Chapman

What’s with all this Suffering?

I don’t think there is a human being alive that hasn’t questioned the reason we humans suffer. Many have given the very simplistic answer that, “Well, it’s just God’s will.” Others go into all sorts of long exasperating explanations that make no more sense than the simplistic answer.

Can any of us ever really understand why we humans suffer? I don’t think so! God is so far above us in all aspects that there are just some things that we will never fully understand until we are standing before Him and He’s explaining some of it to us. Personally I like the idea that I have all of eternity to question Him.

I am no different from someone else who questions why did my husband die in the prime of his life? Or why do children suffer abuse from the hands of those who are supposed to love them? Or why did so and so die after I prayed fervently healing over them? Why did this happen or that happen? We all have questions and there seems to be no satisfying answer coming. Yes, some will turn their suffering into bitterness and turn from God. Others, that truly are close to the Lord and more mature in their faith may find strength through their suffering. We all react to suffering in various ways.

Well, today I got an answer that has encouraged me and has helped me to better understand what all this suffering is about. It came from the Holy Spirit and I hope it can be an encouragement to you, the reader as well. It has certainly shed new light and has given me a new perspective on why we suffer.

We have to think about God’s glory. Isn’t that what all of this Christianity stuff is about? Doing, praising, worshipping, all for His glory? God’s glory is so far above anything we can even imagine! Our lives on this earth in no way can come close to His glory. There is absolutely nothing that we suffer that can come close in comparison to His glory. No matter what has been done to us, no matter what hurt we have suffered, no matter what physical, emotional, financial, or even spiritual pain we have gone through or will go through comes remotely near His phenomenal and awesome glory.

We are like a baby in the womb. That baby struggles to live. It fights for every breath, it kicks, stomps, and maybe even screams and cries. It fights for life and waits and struggles for the day it will be expelled from the present world it is in. We’re like that baby in the womb fighting the umbilical cord waiting to be expelled from this our temporary home. We struggle daily, we suffer in a variety of ways, and we fight, sometimes for just the next breath, to make it the end.

The day we take our last breath and leave this earth is our birth. All this time on earth is as though we are in the womb. Suddenly we take our last breath and are expelled from our temporary world into the full glory of the Lord. ALL of His glory is within us, around us, above us and beneath us. We are encapsulated in glory!

That is what all this suffering is about! It is our time of preparation for the day we will be born into the full glory of God. Our suffering is over. No more tears, no more sorrows. Only the full and complete awesome glory of our Almighty God is now our new home.  We have left the womb of suffering, heartaches, and sorrow and Jesus says, “Welcome home.”

Blessings to you.