Thursday, 29 December 2011

To Where You Are

Chloe Agnew sings to her (our) forever beautiful! Her voice is so light and clear, like a spring breeze:

Contemplating Gifts from God

This morning I awoke pondering what it must have been like to find out your baby is REALLY special. Every mom thinks their baby is special (well, the normal ones do, anyway...these days that isn't always true I guess). What I mean is, Mary had a miraculous conception and birth. "Ordinary" childbirth is already miraculous, however Jesus's birth was doubly (at very least) miraculous.

Luk 1:26  And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
Luk 1:27  To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.
Luk 1:28  And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
Luk 1:29  And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
Luk 1:30  And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
Luk 1:31  And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
Luk 1:32  He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
Luk 1:33  And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
Luk 1:34  Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
Luk 1:35  And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
Luk 1:36  And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.
Luk 1:37  For with God nothing shall be impossible.
Luk 1:38  And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

Monday, 26 December 2011

The Glory of the Lord

Hab_2:14  For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.

Yesterday (Christmas Day) was a little gloomy for me... well, I had to work, not my favorite place to be by any stretch of the imagination ESPECIALLY on Christmas Day.....and I was also thinking about all the various people that would just love to do away with Christmas altogether, baby Jesus and I'm driving to work, and the sky is covered by small gray clouds with little peekholes into the bright blue sky behind it, and the sun was extremely bright behind and above those gray clouds, causing bright and beautiful rays of sunlight to shine through in long ribbons to the ground. It was extraordinarily GORGEOUS!!! and it made me so sorry that I couldn't capture it with my camera (left it at home)...besides, I was driving on the expressway so taking a picture would have been risky and probably wouldn't have turned out good either, lol.... but it sort of looked like this (only even more beautiful)

....and then the thought that all the dark, little, gray clouds in my life that I find so troublesome and cumbersome are there to help me see God's glory shine even more brightly in everything....and He reminded me of Romans 8:28.

God is sooooo good. :)

Monday, 19 December 2011

The Humble Miracle of God's Birth Into Flesh

Luk 2:4  And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David,
Luk 2:5  to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.
Luk 2:6  And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth.
Luk 2:7  And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
Luk 2:8  And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
Luk 2:9  And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear.
Luk 2:10  And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
Luk 2:11  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
Luk 2:12  And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger."
Luk 2:13  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
Luk 2:14  "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!"
Luk 2:15  When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us."
Luk 2:16  And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.
Luk 2:17  And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child.
Luk 2:18  And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.
Luk 2:19  But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.
**** from my e-sword: used English Standard Version (ESV)****

Declan Galbraith!!!

This was about 10 years ago...he's 20 now (born in 1991)

I love this song!

This was the one I meant to post:

This next one is sung by Peter Auty (to compare), also nice but I like Declan's much better, too much rolling of the "r" in Peter's version

Friday, 16 December 2011

Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring

Another Celtic Woman favorite (I adore Chloe!!!), this one is from Johann Sebastian Bach...from the Youtube description:

Performed by Máiréad Nesbitt and Celtic Woman in HD with stunning sound quality.

This is from the 10th movement of the cantata "Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben", BWV 147 composed by Johann Sebastian Bach. Written during his first year in Leipzig, Germany, this chorale movement is one of Bach's most enduring works.

Contrary to the common assumption, the violinist and composer Johann Schop, not Bach, composed the movement's underlying chorale melody, "Werde munter, mein Gemüthe"; Bach's contribution was to harmonize and orchestrate it. Lyrics follow:

Jesu, joy of man's desiring,
Holy wisdom, love most bright;
Drawn by Thee, our souls aspiring
Soar to uncreated light.

Word of God, our flesh that fashioned,
With the fire of life impassioned,
Striving still to truth unknown,
Soaring, dying round Thy throne.

O Come All Ye Faithful

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

The Tree of Life

Genesis 3:22  Then the LORD God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever--" 
 3:23  therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. 
3:24  He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life. 

Really think about what is said there for a few moments. Was this cherubim placed there to keep people out? Is that what this verse says? Does it say "to keep people out and away from the tree of life"? 

Now that I've got you thinking a little bit about that verse, look at this one, and compare it with Genesis 3:24

John 14:6  Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Do you see that the words "way" "truth" and "life" are in both verses? No?

Here's another hint:

Hebrews 4:12  For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.  
 4:13  And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. 


John 17:17  Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 

(another place you can find "truth" being represented by a sword is in the armor of God in Ephesians chapter 6)

Do you see it yet? The way to life is guarded by a flaming sword which is truth.

The way to the tree of life is guarded by a flaming sword of truth that exposes every part of us to the penetrating gaze of God. Without some way prepared God's gaze would kill us instantly because His eyes would slay us...but we have Jesus blood covering us, healing us with His wounds, just as the Israelites were protected by the blood on their doorposts on that first Passover by the blood from the wounds of the Passover lamb.

Ephesians 2:13  But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 
 2:14  For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 
 2:15  by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 
2:16  and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 
 2:17  And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 
 2:18  For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.

Transgression came by the partaking of the fruit of a tree (of the knowledge of good and evil) and forgiveness and restoration comes by the partaking of another fruit of another tree.

Partake of the cup of His suffering with Him, all who are His will also suffer with His suffering (although I personally think it is not to the same degree that He suffered, I don't think it would be possible for any of us to endure that degree of suffering).

1Peter 4:12  Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 
 4:13  But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 
4:14  If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. 
4:15  But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 
 4:16  Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name
 4:17  For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 
4:18  And "If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?" 
 4:19  Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Escape out of Hinduism

I followed some links from a LUF entry "Christian Yoga? Apostasy Disguised" and from there found the link to Lamb and Lion Ministries videos to watch the videos by  Caryl Matrisciana and her thoughts on Hinduism, her testimony of how the Lord brought her out of it, and her thoughts on "Christian Yoga". I'm so glad Jred brought this up because I didn't really think it was as deadly as I now realize it is...just as I am also somewhat lax about the witchcraft in Harry Potter and fantasy type films and books. They do not have power over us, they are just imaginative "stories" and fables, and if we are in Christ, that is all they remain, nothing harmful, right?

Well, there is a bit more to it than that, and of course, YES, Jesus protects us from all kinds of harm and nonsense... but the devil is very clever, and he knows how to disable us from being effective (at very least) if not completely taking over... he is not so benign as I (and many people) tend to want to think. When we think he is powerless is when he actually has the most power.

Anyway, when you have time, listen to what Caryl has to say, she has a powerful testimony, and makes sense out of why and how Eastern mysticism is as harmful as it is.

Friday, 2 December 2011


The past couple of years have been very troublesome for me, to say the least. Last night I got another blow, which I won't go into details but suffice it to say, I was heartbroken, again. Sometimes I wonder: Am I being punished? Am I doing something that greatly displeases Jesus to the point that He's punishing me?

This morning I awoke to thinking about Job. Remember Job? He did everything right, to the point that the devil felt it necessary to tell God that Job was good only because God blessed him, but if God took everything away, Job would be as bad as everyone else. I'm no Job, I have plenty of areas that definitely need an overhaul...but does God correct us through punishment?

I am a believer in "tough love"...and I do agree that tough situations call for tough measures, HOWEVER, when I think about Job's situation, and how Job's friends kept telling him how he was being punished for something he did, and Job's denials, it makes me realize there is so much to this that I really don't know enough about. Job was a human being, so of course he wasn't perfect, only Jesus could say that He was, and Jesus never flaunted that at anyone, He didn't have to. I find it interesting with many of the cults such as the JW's that bring up the fact that Jesus never said He was God. True...but, if you are perfect, why would you have to keep reminding everyone of it?..., it is just a fact. If people were paying attention (some were) they would have known that Jesus is God incarnate, and that it had to be so to fulfill all the prophecies, which Jesus did.

Anyway, at the end of Job's narrative, we discover that God tells Job that he isn't as perfect as he thinks, but that this wasn't the reason he was going through what he was going through. In the end, Job's friends are humbled by God to realize they were wrong about their assumptions about Job. And in the end, God doubled Job's blessings from what he had before all this trouble hit him. What is interesting is his cattle were all doubled in numbers, but the children which he had after this period of testing were equal in number to the number prior to this testing period.  A bible teacher once pointed out that he had double children too, because this was revealing that his previous children were all saved by God, WOW, that is a huge blessing!

What really stood out to me this morning is that a period of testing is to be just must suffer through it, praying, trusting, growing in His likeness. 

Jas 1:2  Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,
Jas 1:3  for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
Jas 1:4  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. 

Rom 8:14  For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
Rom 8:15  For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!"
Rom 8:16  The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
Rom 8:17  and if children, then heirs--heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
Rom 8:18  For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
Rom 8:19  For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.
Rom 8:20  For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope
Rom 8:21  that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

The royalty that monarchs of this earth enjoy is nothing compared to the glory that will be enjoyed when we are with Jesus. We are sons and daughters of the King of kings, we are the true royalty. The royalty of this earth is a sham and a fraud. We are heirs to God's throne! Hallelujah!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Goats and Sheep

Had this on my Flutterbys blog, decided to bring it here:

Did you know that there are alot of similarities between sheep and goats? I find that interesting in the light of the parable that Jesus gave us about the separating of sheep and goats:

Mat 25:31  When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
Mat 25:32  And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
Mat 25:33  And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
Mat 25:34  Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
Mat 25:35  For I was hungry, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
Mat 25:36  Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
Mat 25:37  Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee hungry, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
Mat 25:38  When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
Mat 25:39  Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
Mat 25:40  And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Mat 25:41  Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
Mat 25:42  For I was hungry, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
Mat 25:43  I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
Mat 25:44  Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee hungry, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
Mat 25:45  Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
Mat 25:46  And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. 

Do you notice what Jesus does here? The sheep come from a place of credit where anything they do is added to them. The goats come from a place of debit where the moment they fail to do the right thing, they have failed altogether and hopelessly so.

What can we learn from what these animals are like?
 One of the main differences is what they eat. Goats can eat anything and not get sick. If sheep eat the wrong things, they get diarrhea and it sticks to their wool, which can cause them further problems if the shepherd doesn't take care of his sheep properly. 

More sheep facts (check the links along the top of the page too, lots of interesting facts about sheep)

and goat facts (I do believe the picture of the goat with braces was photoshopped, lol)
and this is a fun site for more info...
and a few insights from a veterinarian...
Goats are more independent while sheep get uncomfortable if they get separated from their group. 

Most sheep don't have horns like goats do....but some do

Rev 13:11  And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.

Hmmm looks like a sheep, with two horns, and speaks like a dragon. What does a dragon speak like?

Dan 11:21  And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honor of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries.
Dan 11:22  And with the arms of a flood shall they be overflown from before him, and shall be broken; yea, also the prince of the covenant.
Dan 11:23  And after the league made with him he shall work deceitfully: for he shall come up, and shall become strong with a small people.

He will tell people what they want to hear. He will appeal to people's fleshy desires.

Jesus knows what His sheep really need, and it isn't flattering...but He loves us so what He does for us is out of a gracious and loving heart.

Pe 5:2  Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;
1Pe 5:3  Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being examples to the flock.
1Pe 5:4  And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Kirk Cameron Interview With Lane

Kirk mentions the sheep and goats judgment, and I like some of the things he mentions here:

He says a pastor he knows often says: "You know, one of the things that I know that I'm on the right road? I'm not what I could be, and I'm not what I should be, but I'm not what I was"..Good thoughts!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Left Hand?

Matthew 20:21 James and John's mother asks Jesus that her sons will sit next to Jesus, one on His right and one on His left. Jesus tells them that they don't know what they are asking but then goes on to talk about being "baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with" which (martyrdom) He says they will indeed suffer, but that sitting on His right hand or left is not given by Jesus but by the Father who prepares each of us for it (Matthew 20:23)

In doing a word search, being on the right hand is often mentioned. Do a word search with the Blue Letter Bible or E-sword and see what you come up with. It is a very fruitful study. The left hand is where the goats go to in the sheep and goats judgment (Matthew 25:33) so for mom to ask Jesus to give her sons a place on the right and a place on the left....her request was off track right from the start. This reminds me of the saying "he is my right hand man" (someone that is so helpful you cannot do without him).

He goes on to say that these things are decided and prepared by God the Father. We can ask, but the final decision rests with God.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Marah Means Bitter

Exodus 15:23-25

And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah. And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them.

This passage has been coming to mind alot lately, and I think that it is so because sometimes I'm tempted to be bitter about some of the things that are going on with me right now. These are difficult times, and they aren't going to get easier, but will get more difficult. The recorded entries we find in scripture are for our learning and strengthening. When Moses swished the tree into the bitter waters, the waters became sweet. Interesting fact that Miriam, whose name means "bitter", just a few verses prior to this was singing praises to God for helping them escape the Pharaoh's armies. The name Mary also means bitter. And from Revelation 8:10-11 we learn that a star will fall from heaven named wormwood, which means bitter or poison, which will make one third of the rivers and streams bitter/poisonous. 

Jesus was put to death on the cross, but one of the ways it is referred to in scripture is that He was hung on a "tree".... so swishing a tree in bitter waters to make them sweet, is an interesting metaphor. Jesus was offered bitter gall to drink while hanging on the tree, but He refused it, and water poured out of His side when the Roman centurion pierced Him. 
Just trying to piece these together as I endure some difficult times, knowing that others are going through much more difficult times than I am, and praying that Jesus will make the bitter waters His time.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

For Petra: Count it all JOY!

James 1:2-8 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering for he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.

There is so much packed into that passage. It is a wonderful passage full of promise. There is that fact that the latter portion has been abused by the word/faith (or “name it and claim it”) crowd. I know, I isn't talking at all about increasing your worldly possessions, in fact, if you do increase in worldly possessions, it is more of a burden and cause for temptation and sorrow in the life of the true believer:

Proverbs 30:7-9

Two things have I required of Thee; deny me them not before I die: Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny Thee, and say “Who is the LORD?” or lest I be poor and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.

There are so many evils in this world, temptations, and those who get caught in their snares, and make a mockery of the name of the Lord through the misapplication of things He has said to us. These are all here for our learning. Through all these things we learn to depend on Jesus more, to seek His face while there are many today who disappoint or bring dishonor to such terms as JUSTICE and TRUTH. There is so much corruption, so much that is vile or empty of value. God sees it all much better than any of us. We need to see it and beware, seeing the consequences that these evil practices are bringing. All the while, as we see the evil of this world, we can thank the Lord that we will only be here a short while. He has promised us a much better inheritance.


Saturday, 12 November 2011

Apples of Gold in Settings of Silver

Proverbs 25:11
A word fitly spoken [is like] apples of gold in settings of silver.

Although that verse is in a passage about proper reproof of someone in error, I find it to be an apt description of a wonderful conversation that I was blessed to have with a patient at work last Thursday. It happens every once in a while when you just sense that the Lord brings a person your way and blesses you with the words that uplift you both and have you both praising God for His goodness and His wonderful caring ways. Such a situation occurred for me and this patient.

This patient came to the hospital because he has been experiencing some painful discomfort in his feet (which already has interesting spiritual application when you do a word search in the Bible relating to feet and our walk, hopefully you understand what I mean). While asking him the normal general questions that I do to place a few comments on the study for our radiologist, he said to me "I know this isn't in your area of expertise, but would you know anything about the disease of cancer and what I should know about it, I think I may have it..." so I asked him what makes him believe he might have cancer, and what symptoms he has that makes him think so. He then said he didn't know of any, nor does he know anything about cancer, except that it runs in his family and that he knows he is more at risk because there is alot of history of cancer in his family. He said his grandma died of cancer, so I asked him how old she was when she died, and he replied 92, but that he wasn't ready to let her go and that he felt that she was still too young to die. This number, 92, brought a recent patient I had xrayed to mind. She had broken her hip, and was yelling alot about how we  were going to kill her or cause her to have a heart attack or stroke. I related that situation to him, and told him that her problem was not with us medical personnel, but it was with the fact that she did not feel ready to face death. He then confessed that this was an issue for him also, that he feared dying, and that he could understand that 92 year old patient's apprehensions about death.

There were many things the Lord brought to my mind, during the 20 minutes (it usually would have taken me about 15, I had to take 12 xrays I didn't do too badly) we had together. By the end of the exam, I said "Ok, Bible study is over" and he said "I LOVED IT!" and was beaming from ear to ear, and his eyes were twinkling with the tears he blinked back. We hugged and acknowledged that one day we would meet again.

With all of the problems that I have at work, this patient reminded me of the most important thing regarding why I work there, (besides the fact that it's helping me pay my bills) it's for the patients. Thank you Jesus for the generous gifts of such blessings in the midst of the trials.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Embracing Sorrow

I think we all try to avoid pain and sorrow... I try to. However, sorrow and suffering is a part of this life. This morning I awoke to two thoughts (I had a restless night and woke up several times in the night):

1. Daniel's three friends in the fiery furnace.

2. The life of Job.

The thought that suffering is a necessary part of the life of a child of God was very present in my thoughts. God doesn't give His children evil gifts, so these gifts of suffering and sorrow need to be cherished and used wisely by me. I need to thank God for everything He gives, including the painful times that cause me to grow in Him.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Joseph's Troubles

Last night was an especially dark night for me at work.... in fact, the whole weekend was horrible. There's an individual that I've had trouble with which the Lord has been working with me on (I mention it here ). And I know that she (and a couple of others) have turned the story around and have told the newbies at work false c**p about me. So yeah, I pray about it, but every day I dread going to work. This weekend brought this situation to a head for me. I felt trapped in a really bad situation, and it feels like the new people fresh out of xray school (one is slightly older than my oldest granddaughter) treat me like I don't know the first thing about my job, and are telling me what to do like they are the senior techs. ARE you K-I-D-D-I-N-G me? Really?

Last night on the way home from work, I was still a bit bothered by the situation. When I was getting ready for bed, I was muttering my frustration to the Lord by saying "I know how I'm SUPPOSED to be, but that isn't me. I can pretend to be above all of that, but honestly I'm being crushed under it. Please help me be the person I'm supposed to be. Please help me bear this burden in a way that honors You."

I awoke this morning to the thought of Joseph.... no details, just "Remember Joseph"... so I thought about Joseph. Joseph was treated terribly by his brothers, and sent into slavery. But God blessed him and he found a good job working for a wealthy Egyptian. He had everything going for him, but the wife of the wealthy Egyptian had it out for him. She lied about him to her husband to cover herself (boy can I relate to this situation) and he ended up getting sent to prison (dungeons in those days, which I'm sure make the prisons of today seem luxurious in comparison). Joseph suffered for years under that burden, but he made the best of it, and the Lord blessed him for it....but he endured many years of darkness in an Egyptian prison system before being elevated out of that situation.Every time things got bad for Joseph, it turned out for good, but then would become something even worse than before, which would then turn out for good, and again become EVEN WORSE....and then ultimately after MUCH SUFFERING, it turned out excellent....I think I'm in the EVEN WORSE phase so the MUCH SUFFERING part is still to come....sigh....

AND, yesterday, when I was reading the book of Amos during my lunch break, I came across this:

"the prudent shall keep silence in that time; for it [is] an evil time" Amos 5:13

Up to this point in time, I haven't been prudent, and haven't suffered this very silently. I have been bitter about what has happened to me there, and am constantly trying to watch my back around "certain people", and that list keeps growing there.

So the thought to "Remember Joseph" was a perfect fit for what I need to do...and which also helps me  with Amos 5:13, but only if it is the Lord (Truth) doing it not through my flesh (the flesh has me faking it to try to appear righteous, with my "I'm doing this and look at how good I am while I am suffering for the sake of these idiots" routine). 

"Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This [is] the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts." Zechariah 4:6

The Truth does set me free.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

The 23rd Psalm, Revisited

Last night I had a difficult and restless night, waking up often to a darkness that was darker than the darkness of the room. I felt like I was wrestling more than the blankets and sheets that wanted to tangle themselves around me. I felt small and inferior to the tasks that I have a difficult time keeping up with... I cried out "Oh....Jesus..." and a verse came to mind:

Psalm 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou [art] with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

See also my other Psalm 23 posting

Two things gave comfort –
The Shepherd’s rod: The rod which the Shepherd carried was for protecting the sheep from predators. It was never used on the sheep. (Whew!) Do we not gain comfort from the fact that it is Almighty God who is our Shepherd! No robber, predator or enemy ever takes Him by surprise!
The Shepherd’s staff: The staff was used by the Shepherd to direct the sheep in the way in which they should go, and, in the case of a wandering nosey sheep, to pull it back into line[8]. Again, there is comfort in the fact that God directs us and even discipline from the Lord (pulling us back into line!) can be seen as comforting for it is a sign that He loves us scripture says (Heb 12:6)
( Link to the above)

Here are some sheep and shepherding facts that are helpful in understanding our relationship to our Good Shepherd:

The Good Shepherd Cares for His Sheep (us)

Monday, 10 October 2011

What Spirit? Where is the Discernment?

 Yesterday I had a patient who said she hadn't eaten for "a number of days", and was only drinking water. She didn't want to tell how long she hadn't eaten. I asked her why and she told me the Holy Spirit told her to fast. She otherwise seemed ok, a woman in her 60's nice hair, good hygiene , etc. I asked her why she came to the hospital, and asked if she came because concerned family members brought her. She admitted this was the case. I then asked how long she was going to keep fasting. She said until "the spirit" told her to eat... so I asked what would be the sign that she was to eat,...she said she would know and then asked me if I was a born again Christian. I told her "Yes, I am" to which she then replied "Then why don't you know the answer, you should know the voice of the Holy Spirit", and asked me if I ever fasted. I said I used to fast, juice fasts as well as water only fasts, when I was in NAM (the new age movement) and that there are "other voices" that we need discernment. I said to her gently: "I understand why your family is concerned, don't you?" and she agreed that she knew why they would be concerned.

When I took her back to the nursing module I prayed that the true Holy Spirit would help her, and hoped that a few seeds were planted.

There are so many who are being misled by voices thinking they are being guided by the Spirit of God. This woman seemed rational but she couldn't tell me why the "Holy Spirit" would tell her to do this fast, or for how long she would have to do it. Where is the discernment today? We are not to listen to "every spirit", and the devil himself will disguise himself as an "angel of light" and try to convince us that he is god himself. He hates us and is a robber (of life) a murderer, and a deceiver. We must be very diligent to know WHAT is true, and WHO is true. I pray for more oil in our lamps.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Pre, Mid, or Post Trib Rapture?

Today's Church is very soft and weak, imho. We have become conditioned to "Have it our way" instead of trusting that even if we (like Daniels 3 friends were) get thrown into a fire, God will see us through...and that even if we (like the early church martyrs) get our heads chopped off for not denying Jesus, He will bless us and bring us into His presence when our mortal bodies expire. So why do so many want to escape all tribulation and think that there is an escape hatch that Jesus is going to keep His true ones from suffering any hardship or pain and persecution? That we will avoid tribulation is exactly contrary to what the Bible REALLY  says. Dr Robert Luginbill had this on his Q & A page, and thought it very good:

Question #2: 
Dear Dr. Luginbill, I believe that faith in our Lord saves and not one's theology i.e., belief in pre-trib rapture, but my question to my friends is if they are not raptured and find they are in the Great Tribulation would they also find that their misunderstanding of scripture had done them no harm and even so be spiritually able to get through it? All said yes, but they still believe they will be raptured. And if you and I are wrong, won't that be a nice surprise! Why do you think so many people are so insistent about being right on this point, and how much difference does it make? Again, thanks and God bless.
Response #2:
The list of good and true believers who wrongly believe in a pre-trib rapture is very long indeed. My main complaint is with pastor-teachers who should know better. Anyone who is reasonably prepared in biblical languages, theology, and some basic hermeneutics – and who reads his Bible diligently every day – could not help but to be at the very least beset with doubts and concerns about this issue. Some doctrines of scripture are plainly difficult to develop and honest disagreements on these are understandable. But in my view, the pre-trib rapture does not fall into this category. There simply is not a single passage in scripture which even seems to teach it prima facie (i.e., it is not something that a person would ever come up with on their own by reading the Bible if they had not been taught it first by someone else). And there are only a scant few passages which may superficially seem to agree with it if one doesn't probe too deeply. On the other hand, that our great hope is the resurrection of the Church at the return of Christ, His parousia, is taught throughout the New Testament and was clearly taken for granted in apostolic days.

So I have to ask myself, why it is that so many prepared men have chosen to stick with this what-I-believe-to-be so dangerous false teaching? The answer seems to be that they have embraced tradition over truth, and that is also dangerous in and of itself, because once one lets go of scripture as the guiding light in exchange for any other standard, no matter how well meant, there is no end to the amount of falsehood that can creep in on the one hand, and on the other hand this attitude becomes both a symptom and a cause of degeneration in the teaching of the truth of the Bible.

Inasmuch as we are on the threshold of the greatest deception and greatest apostasy of believers in world history, being wrong on this issue (and on other issues as a result of not caring enough about the Bible to change one's position even though it may be uncomfortable) has the potential of producing egregious harm to self and to all who listen and accept the wrong view. I know your friends mean well, but the problem is, to use a military example, the time to learn military discipline and procedure is not when you find yourself being shot at for the first time. Without these qualities already drilled in, you are likely to panic and run (as in fact very often happens to conscript armies who have never been properly trained).

The Tribulation is going to be very difficult (what an understatement!), and it will at the very least place those who have squandered opportunities to prepare at a tremendous disadvantage. Add to this the fact that true Bible teaching will likely be very difficult to come by in the Tribulation (see the link:The dearth of Bible teaching in the Tribulation" in CT 3A, and we have a recipe for apostasy among those who have been lackadaisical during the calm before the storm. Failing to understand that they need to prepare contributes to the problem. For if your friends (or any Christian who believes in a pre-Trib rapture) really believed and understood that they were possibly going to have to negotiate the Tribulation, it just stands to reason that on the one hand they would be preparing more aggressively now, and on the other hand that they would be less inclined to have their faith undermined or eroded altogether when it suddenly became clear at that future time that what they had believed was wrong (i.e., thus causing them in the crucible of unprecedented pressure to doubt everything else they have come to believe as well).

Yes it would be wonderful if you and I were wrong. It would be a great relief if, like Enoch, the Lord just took us out of all our trouble. My reading of scripture, however, tells me that we have a very important job to do: to demonstrate to men and angels alike that come what may we are going to remain faithful to Jesus – even in the midst of the Tribulation. For this I am preparing and to this end I am trying to help others get ready as well (see the link: “Coming Tribulation”). But it is hard to motivate people who remain convinced that nothing bad is ever going to happen to them.
In this world you do have tribulation. But be courageous. I have overcome the world.
John 16:33

[They were] strengthening the hearts of the disciples, and encouraging them to remain in the faith, and saying "We must pass through many tribulations to reach the Kingdom of God".
Acts 14:22

And we sent Timothy to you, our brother and co-worker in the gospel of God and of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, so that none of you might waver in the midst of these tribulations. For you yourselves know [very well] that we have been appointed for this (i.e., to endure pressure in this life). Indeed, when we were with you I was warning you that we [all Christians] were destined to be persecuted (lit., tribulated).
1st Thessalonians 3:2-4
If this is true of Christian life generally (for all those who are truly committed to spiritual growth at any rate), how much more will it not be so during that time of intense pressure to come? Here is the verse which rings in my ears about our likely future job (potentially - none of know exactly what the Lord has in store):
Strengthen the hands that are weak. Steady the knees that are giving way. Say to those with fearful hearts, "Be strong! Don't be afraid! Look, your God is coming to avenge you. God [will] recompense [both them and us]! He will come! And He will rescue you!
Isaiah 35:4-5
Whether we are taken home before all this, martyred in the cause of Jesus Christ, or destined to endure until the blessed day of our Lord's return, our purpose needs to be to get ready for all of these eventualities and to help others to do so as well. In my experience and observation, the pre-Trib rapture is a tremendous detriment to all of these things (for reasons I have written about in the series linked above). I certainly don't blame your Christian friends. I love and pray for all my brothers and sisters in Christ. In fact, I commend you both for your willingness to share your point of view with others, and for the appropriately diplomatic and loving way in which you are clearly doing it. I too feel that is very important not to break fellowship over this issue. Observation that there are other genuine Christians who do not share the rose-colored pre-Trib view is the best way to get them thinking. And if they start thinking, they will start reading their Bibles. And if they read long and honestly enough, they will be led to the truth.

In our Lord whose return is our blessed hope,

Bob L.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Bible Timeline

In taking my ancient history class, I wanted to be able to put the civilizations I was reading and learning about into the perspective of what was happening as recorded in the Bible during the times we were studying about, and found this timeline:

Page one of timeline:

Here's a little background to how the creator of this timeline got started, and his statement of faith:

Obedience and Submission

(..and then there is also groveling)

The two words seem to be the same, and often get confused for each other. Our human bosses and husbands want obedience and submission, mixing the two to mean the same thing.

Who gets that "top dog" position? and Is it really deserved?

Submission may seem to ourselves like groveling, true? Especially if we do it with a spirit of "I hate all that you stand for, but if I don't lick your boots I know I might lose my":

1. "job"
2. "standing in the community"
3. "life"

etc, etc, etc.....

If we submit to authority does that mean we have to obey in every way? I look to Daniel's three friends for the answer to try to gain a bit of clarity in that area. They were to obey the edict that was put into place and used by their enemies to trap them.(Daniel 3:12). Did they submit to the edict? Did they obey the order to pray to Nebuchadnezzar's image? No. They did not curse the king, nor did they obey him by bowing down to him in this unlawful law, and counted on God to see them through whether they lived or died as a result.

When I look for relevance in contemporary terms in my own work situation, I see that I can submit to authority by acknowledging the fact that a person has been placed in a position that is superior to my own and behave accordingly. If he or she abuses the authority in order to try to get me to grovel, I must submit it to God who will intervene in the way He sees fit. It may mean that I may lose my job and go through fiery trials as a result of that, and those trials may last several months or even years. It may be  like it was for Daniel's three friends "out of the frying pan and into the fire", and like them I may have to endure intense heat or perhaps even death and the end of my mortal existence. They were ready to die, if necessary, knowing God was with them. There is a difference between not bowing down (groveling) and actively railing against (cursing or demonstrating and openly protesting against) authority. That is the area that I sometimes (often?) cross the line, and there is a huge difference between these two, although sometimes it does seem like a fine line, really there is a big difference. Not bowing takes an inner strength and self control and a meekness that is conformed to the way Jesus stood before His accusers. He did not rail against them or curse them. He stood His ground with the truth being His only defense, the truth did not need to be screamed out in self justification. It (truth) just is. He did not grovel, He did not bow, but He did not demand, and He did not run from conflict, He faced it head on as they led Him to His death. Here was the God of the universe made flesh, and He let Himself be led to His execution.....He, the Creator of all, was led....He was led....He should have been leading, but He was led....and He followed, not grovelling, but He did follow their leading, knowing it would lead to His demise, knowing God's purpose was in it. (I had to keep repeating that because it completely defies all logic, and my brain continues to struggle with that one)

Dying to self has been something that I have been praying to understand better over the last several months, and as things have been heating up in certain areas of my life, I know it is in answer to my prayer to understand the phenomenon of the worm that dieth not (Mark chapter 9).

And by the way, I don't believe God wants us to grovel before Him either, but we are to submit AND obey Him, because what He desires from us is His perfect will for us. And if we can submit to human authority (without groveling) whom we do not necessarily hold to high regard, we can get a glimpse of true submission to God and that it likewise is done without groveling.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Antigone by Sophocles

Not really out of the Bible, this ancient Greek play re-enacted for us in this 1984 television program has alot of wisdom in it. I wish they wore togas, though lol:

Well, it seems that the video has been removed :( I did find it again in 11 parts, but parts 1, 2 and 11 are missing....I do recommend this play (as well as Oedipus the King) It is wonderful even with parts missing and poor costume designing. See them here:

or just read the full text here:

Saul and David

A situation at work has been giving me grief. It has been going on for a long time between a certain coworker and I. Recent events put her into a position of authority over me. I cannot even begin to tell you, there are so many things that are so wrong about this situation that I don't even know where to begin, except to say that I have been in misery. I've been in constant prayer about this and some other things, this being THE THING that most confronts me directly so it being uppermost in my thought and prayer life. Then, a couple of weeks ago the thought "which would you choose?" came to me. If there were two seats open and available, and God offered me a choice between:

A. The highest and most important position
                                 IN HELL

B. The lowest and most humbling position
                                 IN HEAVEN

which would I choose?
Well, that made me feel a bit better. :) Of course I would choose B, but it still seemed like my attitude and actions were still saying I wanted A.....sigh.

Yesterday morning, before work, the relationship between King Saul and the future King David came to mind. What was that relationship like? Was Saul a good king? Did Saul have alot of issues? Sure he did. What did David do? How did David handle the Saul situation? I saw alot of parallels to my own situation. I know Jesus brought that relationship to my mind to mull over. David knew that Saul had problems and was trying his best to discredit and kill David (might have even been worse for David than my situation because I don't believe the girl is trying to have me killed.....but then again...??? I may have been watching too many 48 Hours shows, lol)

One day Jesus will return, and all of this nonsense will indeed cease to be. BUT, what did we as His stewards do with the time? Were we ourselves wise or wicked stewards? I'm so grateful that I have a gentle Savior who keeps reminding me of what is truly important and what is truly "Dust in the Wind".

Seeking a photo to add to these thoughts, the Lord shared this (which dovetails with this situation perfectly! imagine that!)

Love that blog entry!...I'm going to have to look around that blog site some more! 

Friday, 9 September 2011


Water is essential to our existence. When I lived in California we were constantly made aware of the crucial and dire problems they continually encounter because of their lack of sufficient amounts of water.We need it to drink, bathe, wash our clothes, clean our homes, water our gardens...and we need moisture (water) in the air to breathe. Often the topic of how necessary water (immersion) baptism is to being saved comes up. I found this on Dr. Robert Luginbill's website....excerpt (find the entire discussion at link):

Question #1: 

Hello Robert,
I'm not sure if you have answered this somewhere, but if you could give your interpretation. This deals with baptism, i am a firm believer that salvation is a gift given by GOD and that a baptism does not save. I find most people dis-agree with that view and it's easy to see why with many references if scripture that make it appear so. One such reference below makes it seem like a water baptism is required. I've heard some say that their tears shed in their acceptance of Jesus as savior is what they feel is sufficient to satisfy that verse. Can you elaborate. Thanks for your time in advance.
"Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God" (John 3:5)
In Christ,

Response #1: 
Good to make your acquaintance. This is a very involved question and a topic which is somewhat "hot" at present. While there are some materials for this on the site (see the links below), not I everything I have written about the topic of water-baptism is yet posted. For example, it is only recently that it has come to my attention that there are some people out there who actually see water-baptism in Jesus' conversation with Nicodemus in John chapter three (your citation – I assume you are getting this from someone else). I don't believe any of the materials yet posted at Ichthys at present deal with this particular verse and chapter, though I have written some about it in the recent past. Simply put, neither the word, nor the action, nor the concept of water-baptism occurs anywhere in this conversation or context, and indeed the word "water" is to be found only in verse 5. It never occurred to me before (that is, before being confronted by some misguided water-baptism-necessary-for-salvation folks) that anyone would find water-baptism in this conversation. After all, Jesus never water-baptized to anyone (as John himself makes clear in the next chapter: Jn.4:2), never mentioned water-baptism elsewhere (including in Matthew 28:16-20 where He is referring to Spirit baptism), and never suggested anywhere that any such ritual was necessary to be saved. Indeed, this context, John chapter three, is one of the strongest expressions of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ alone to found anywhere in the entire Bible. Therefore to assume that the mention of the word "water" reverses all that is to put on a very heavy set of blinders purely for the purpose of advancing one's own (in this case false) doctrinal agenda.
Naturally, the word "water" in John 3:5 has to be explained, and that is very easy to do. Throughout scripture, "water" is an extremely common symbol for the Word of God (Is.55:1; Jn.3:5; 3:8 [Greek]; 4:10; 4:13-14; 7:37-39; 1Cor.10:4; Eph.5:26; Heb.10:22; 1Jn.5:8 [Trinity]; Rev.7:17; 21:6; 22:1; 22:17; cf. Ex 17:5-6; Num. 20:8; Ps.42:1-2; 63:1; 84:5-7; Is.41:17; 44:3).
And the Spirit and the bride say "Come!" And let the one who hears say, "Come!" And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.
Revelation 22:17
And this is precisely what we have here in John 3:5, with this use of the word "water" meaning the life-giving truth used by the Spirit to quicken those who believe (and often also for the Spirit who ministers the Word, making it understandable; cf. 1Cor.2:4-16). Moreover, this usage is certainly not unprecedented elsewhere in John's gospel:
(13) Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, (14) but whoever drinks the water I give him (i.e., who believes in the gospel of eternal life through faith in Me) will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."
John 4:13-14 NIV
He that believeth on me as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water (i.e., the truth will live in him, as a believer). But this spake he of the Spirit, [who ministers the Word received] which they that believe on him should receive.
John 7:38-39a KJV
Just as literal water is essential for life, so the Word of God is essential for spiritual life (with an initial "drink" necessary for initial regeneration). Thus, in John 3:5 our Lord's use of the word "water" represents the truth of the gospel to which the person in question responds in faith; the Spirit is then the Agent of regeneration for all who drink this water of truth (i.e., for all who believe the gospel message about Him). That interpretation is certainly affirmed everywhere else in this chapter where faith (i.e., in Jesus) is later very clearly expressed as the one single thing needful for salvation (and "water" is not repeated: i.e., Jn.3:10-12; 3:15-16; 3:18; 3:36).
Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water (i.e., the gospel which he believes) and the Spirit (i.e., the Agent of regeneration for all who believe and drink the "water of truth").
John 3:5 NIV
Just as in the communion ritual (the only authorized ritual for the Church Age) we drink the cup as a symbol of our faith in the work of Christ, so water in all these contexts represents our faith in what we drink, the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
It is true that there are instances of water-baptism in the gospels and in the book of Acts, but in my opinion the idea of any necessity to be baptized with water comes exclusively from tradition and not directly from any Bible verse – and how much more is that not the case for any false notion of water-baptism-necessary-for-salvation!?
It is well to start such considerations with three pertinent facts: 1) John said emphatically that while he himself was baptizing with water, that ministry was preparatory to the coming of the Messiah who would baptize with the Spirit (and fire) – as opposed to water (e.g., Mk.1:8); 2) Jesus never baptized anyone (Jn.4:2) and never even mentioned the ritual; 3) there is no water-baptism whatsoever in any of the New Testament epistles (including 1st Peter chapter three where the "baptism which saves" is Spirit baptism), only Spirit baptism – except in 1st Corinthians chapter one where Paul repents of ever having water-baptized anyone at all. From these critical points of emphasis throughout the New Testament, we can easily conclude that it is the baptism of the Spirit experienced by all true Christians at the point of salvation which is important, not the water ritual which looked forward to the coming of Christ.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Argument with Ignorance

Sermon Audio has some clips from an audio drama of Pilgrim's Progress that is well done with several voice actors:

This one is about Christian's argument with Ignorance. It's very good and eye-opening.

Scroll down for more audio clips of this audio book. Battle with Apollyon is also excellent.

The Acid Test

Wonderful article about the difference of being a Christian compared with being a church attender:

Have I lost my sense of wonder at the grace that saved me? Do I see every misfortune in my life as not nearly as bad as I truly deserve? Or do I think I deserve better? I confess to my shame that most often I tend to think it's the latter. I'm not saying that someone who does not fully appreciate the awesomeness of salvation isn't saved. I think the evil of this world can cause true Christians to lose their first love, that sense of wonder that asks "why would God stoop to save someone like me?" That is why His grace is so amazing!

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Moderation in all Things

This is an idea that I often struggle to understand and hold onto "in the proper sense". Over the more recent years as I ponder this concept of moderation in all things, I find that I am unable to find that narrow place, and that I trust that it is completely in Jesus's hands, not mine, to do and perform. To some people that seems like a cop out, but truly it is a confession, and stated truly with absolutely no hypocrisy, falling on the mercy of Jesus.

However this is one of those sayings that many of us think is in the Bible, but in fact it is not.

From the Blue Letter Bible:

Though there is no direct quotation matching the proverb, Paul does use a similar idea in his description of the successful athlete:
And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown (1 Corinthians 9:25).
While Paul could be making reference to an Aristotalean sort of ethic of moderation here, it is more likely that the phrase translated here as "temperate in all things" should be better rendered as "wholly self-controlled" or "entirely self-disciplined." Several alternative translations favour this reading of the text. Thayer's Greek Lexicon notes that Paul is presenting the figure of an athlete who trains himself, taking charge of his body, abstaining from "unwholesome foods, wine, and sexual indulgence" that he might perform at the peak of his potential prowess.