Category Archives: Devos

My “Temple” – A ’50 Chevy Coupe

My TempleWhen I was a young man in high school I was living a hypocritical life. I claimed to be a Christian and played the part pretty well on Sunday and other special occasions, but during the week I was anything but a follower of Jesus! God sent a wonderful Christian teacher to our high school, Mr. Shenaman. The way he lived the Christian life was an adventure – it was certainly not boring. He started a Bible study for interested students in the church across the street from my High School. Students were flocking to it.

One day I couldn’t stand it any longer, I told Mr. Shenaman I was raised in a Christian home but didn’t experience Christianity like he did! I asked him, what was his secret and what he thought I should do. He asked me a simple question that forever changed my life!… He said, “Bartel, how much time are you spending in God’s word every day?”

I decided to accept his challenge and began meeting with the Lord every day before I went to work in the old ’50 Chevy my grandfather had given me. I had enough credits in high school I only had to go to school half a day. I worked at a newspaper in the afternoon. I’d park my car in the parking lot of the newspaper at noon, and on the car seat I’d have my lunch bag, my Bible, and a pencil… I’d read God’s word and underline what I thought God was saying to me that day. God met me there… That old ‘50 Chevy turned into my “temple” – I would read… I would weep… I would worship… I’d repent… AND GOD CHANGED MY LIFE!

In fact, I would have to say that the most significant personal “revival” I have ever experienced in my life did not take place because of special speaker we had in our church, or a special series of meetings that focused on “revival.” It took place in that old ’50 Chevy as I would read, reflect upon, and respond to God’s word! That’s why I love the Bible so much! And that’s why I have a time every day I treasure and call, “coffee with the Lord.”

“Be Careful Son… You’ve Got a ‘Hair Trigger’ There!”

Target practice

“Be careful of that rifle son,” Dad said, “it has a ‘hair trigger!”

As a young man growing up, we were part of a rifle club, and one night a week we’d go to the local school gym and target practice with 22-calibre target rifles, shooting into target traps at the end of the building. It was a great time with Dad and it gave him an opportunity to train us in gun safety and marksmanship.

This particular week, I heard his words, but didn’t think about their significance… I began to get down into a prone shooting position, but my finger was not quite safely on the trigger guard, it slipped off the guard, touched the trigger, and a shot was discharged, hitting a light switch on the other end of the gym, shattering it into a thousand pieces (fortunately not hitting or hurting anyone)! A few scolding words, and further instruction from a loving Dad and an important lesson learned! … “Be careful of a ‘hair trigger!”

I also had a “hair trigger” when it came to my temper! Anger management has been an issue for me (perhaps you too?). Something or someone would irritate me, try my patience, and I would “pop off” indiscriminately… saying and doing things that hurt people and that I would regret. It’s an area where God has had to do a transforming work within me through the power of the Holy Spirit… AND an area in which I have had to be spiritually vigilant… More than once I’ve heard my Heavenly Father’s voice warn me through the Holy Spirit, “Be careful son! Remember, you’ve got a ‘hair trigger!”

Thought of that issue in my life as I read these words in my Bible this morning…

“Understand this, you must be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry! [and I need to be all three!] Remember, human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires! … If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless!” (From James 1:19-20, 26 NLT)

I’m listening Lord! Help me, remind me, and enable me!

Remember… “The Flower fades!

a dying flower

You’ve seen ‘em – a flower that appears to be alive, vibrant and thriving, beautiful out in a field in the springtime. They’re delicate and delightful! But then something happens, the weather changes, circumstances happen, something in the soil changes and what was a few days earlier bursting with hope, health and beauty, quickly fades, wilts, looks diseased and eventually decays!

In my Bible reading this morning I encountered a word of warning based upon that analogy!

It was directed toward those who make wealth their lifegoal… Those who suddenly experience prosperity and forget the things in life that really matter… Those who shift from eternal lasting values to what is material. They forget the transient, delicate, temporary, unpredictable nature of the pursuit of wealth!

Here it is from the letter from James in the Bible, “a servant of God and the Lord Jesus Christ”…

James reminds us, “Believers who are poor have something to boast in… God has honored them! …But those who are rich … will fade away like a little flower in the field. The hot sun rises and the grass withers; the little flower droops and falls, and its beauty fades away. In the same way the rich will fade away with all of their achievements.” (From James 1:9-11 NLT)

It’s tragic… I’ve seen it happen and so have you! Money suddenly comes… prosperity comes… wealth come… and things change for people. Their goals change, their values change, their pursuits change – even their attitude and actions change! If they are not careful, before long they have exchanged what is eternal for what is transient, and forget that the prosperity they are enjoying can and will pass away! Fine houses, expensive vacations, fine dining, expensive cars, large bank accounts and thriving investments get more and more attention and they slip into spiritually destitution! “The flower fades” James says!

Oh, It’s not just James to gives the warning… Apostle Paul did as well!

“Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life.” (1 Timothy 6:17–19 NLT)

And if that wasn’t enough, Jesus Himself address this topic…

“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be… No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money… Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” (From Matthew 6:19–33 NLT)

Oh Lord, help me to remember and prioritize what really matters in life! That’s my prayer!!!

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