“Sincere” Faith

I was a student at Clear Creek Baptist Bible College in Pineville, KY when Dr. H. C. Chiles taught by illustration the meaning of ‘sincere’ faith as mentioned in 2 Timothy 1:5 

“For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well.” ‭‭2 Timothy‬ ‭1:5‬ ‭NASB‬‬

[Illustration] “sincere” = means without wax. Story told of old time general stores that sold wooden bread pans carved from trees. Some were sold as sincere while others were ‘not sincere.’ Whenever the wood dried out and left cracks in the bowl the carver would fill the cracks with wax. That way the bowl could still be used without splinters and such. Those that dried true, without cracks, were called ‘sincere’ = without wax. 

So the question is put. Are there cracks in your faith? Rather than wax, let’s embrace the Holy Spirit to fill in where we lack faith so that our faith might grow strong. 

Until next time,


P. S. By the way, it’s hard to beat a good hot biscuit kneaded with the hands of love in a sincere wooden bread pan soaked in butter with a layer of jam. Yum Yum!

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Fear No Evil

What scares you? What is it that makes you afraid? Are you one of those who says “nothing scares me.” I’m not one of those.

Do the terrorist attacks scare you? How bout the future of the USA/Presidential race? Does the evil and wickedness in this world scare you?
Some things may scare you more than others. I’m not scared but an irate red-head with my wedding ring around her finger will surely get my attention!

You may be one of those who enjoys being scared. You enjoy it so much you’ll spend large amounts of dollars every Halloween to be scared out of your mind! (Btw, I can save you some dollars. Come by the house and I’ll scare you silly with just a utility bill or mortgage notice. For an extra jolt I’ll fire off a few rounds of a shotgun at close range!!)  

I’ve got my first grandchild, a grandson, last March 3rd. I have my first grand-daughter due in June. I am concerned about the world they will grow up in. They will face many challenges. 

Should we be afraid? Should we have fear control us?  

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7 KJV 

God speaks often to tell His children to not be afraid. 

Joshua is one example. 

3. “Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses.

5. No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you. 

6. Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. 

7. Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go.

9. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”” Joshua 1:3, 5-7, 9 NASB 

Nehemiah and his people helping to rebuild the wall is another example. 

“At whatever place you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.”” Nehemiah 4:20 NASB 

Isaiah tells the people of his day not to be afraid. Another example. 

“’Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’” Isaiah 41:10 NASB 

Jesus reminds us He is always with us. 

“teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”” Matthew 28:20 NASB 

Consider the lesson of the psalmist. 

  1. “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. 
  2. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. 
  3. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. 
  4. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. 
  5. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows. 
  6. Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” Psalms 23:1-6 NASB 

As a small child I would have severe bouts of fear in regard to one thing. It was the fear of dying. Often my mom would come into my room to wake me up or to comfort me because of the nightmares and restless nights. I was afraid to die. 

Even now I will have bouts with my mind reminding me I’m going to die. I don’t have mom at the house to comfort me. I’m too proud to tell my wife when these events take place. However, what I do have is a loving gracious Savior who has given to me His love, His Word, and the power of the Holy Spirit of God to enable me to over come the attacks of the devil. 

Take your fear and describe it to God by reducing it down to a word or two. 

About death… 

I. Because Jesus did it for the beggar man, he will do it for me. “Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried.” Luke 16:22 NASB 

II. Because of Jesus I will only pass through the valley of the shadow of death. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4 NASB  

Shadow of death is the literal meaning of the Hebrew word salmawet which occurs nearly twenty times in the Old Testament. 

III. Because Jesus defeated death, hell and the grave, I too can cry out…“O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:55-57 NASB 

Let me close with this admonition and a few verses of holy scripture. Honesty and transparency with God on this is essential to having victory over our fears. 

  • Tell Him without reservation. 
  • Allow Him to minister. 
  • Embrace the Holy Spirit.  

“but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:57 NASB 

“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world-our faith.” 1 John 5:4 NASB 

“But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:37-39 NASB 

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Faith, Confidence and The Little Engine That Could

How many of you know who Arnold Munk is? How about Watty Piper?


The best known incarnation of the story The Little Engine That Could was written by “Watty Piper”, 

  • a pen name of Arnold Munk, who was the 
  • owner of the publishing firm Platt & Munk. 
  • Arnold Munk was born in Hungary, and as a child, 
  • moved with his family to the United States, settling in Chicago. Later he moved to New York. 
  • Platt & Munk’s offices were at 200 Fifth Avenue until 1957 when Arnold Munk died. 
  • Arnold Munk used the name Watty Piper as both an author of children’s books and as the editor of many of the books that Platt & Munk published. He 
  • personally hired Lois Lenski to illustrate the book. 

This retelling of the tale The Pony Engine appeared in 1930, with a title page that stated: “Retold by Watty Piper from The Pony Engine by Mabel C. Bragg’s copyrighted by George H. Doran and Co.”[2]

 In 1954, Platt & Munk published another version of The Little Engine That Could, with slightly revised language and new, more colorful illustrations by George and Doris Hauman.[3] Although there had been many previous editions of this classic story, “It was the work of George and Doris Hauman that earned The Little Engine the title of being worthy to sit on the same shelf as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.”[3] 

 A 1976 rework featured art by Ruth Sanderson received a lot of attention at the time of its release, in part because the art reflected “the stereotypes of masculine strength and feminine weakness in vogue when it was written”.[3] 

 The tale with its easy-to-grasp moral has become a classic children’s story and was adapted in November 1991 as a 30-minute animated film produced in Wales and co-financed in Wales and the United States. The film named the famous little engine “Tillie” and expanded the narrative into a larger story of self-discovery. 

In March 2011, the story was adapted as a 3-D film named The Little Engine That Could, produced by Universal Studios and featuring the voices of Whoopi Goldberg, Jamie Lee Curtis, Alyson Stoner, and Corbin Bleu.[4]

The whole premise behind The Little Engine that Could is the success which comes from believing in yourself. We sometimes refer to it as “Confidence.” 

The Apostle Paul wrote a special little greeting to the church at Philippi in chapter one of Philippians. It speaks to confidence. I particularly like verse six (6). 

  • “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6 NASB 

What does that mean? 

  • Does it mean God will see that you’re the greatest football player in the county, or 
  • no one can dunk a basketball like you. Three pointers are a walk in the park. 
  • Maybe it means God will make you the best pitcher to ever take the mound. 
  • The greatest hunter to bag a deer
  • how bout the greatest cook to ever put a Sunday dinner on the table, or 
  • the mother of all moms! 
  • The greatest female CEO to drive a business into financial success. 
  • Perhaps perfecting a good work in you means God will make you to be another Lottie Moon or Annie Armstrong. 
  • Another Billy Graham or Carroll Caldwell? 

The ministry that God began in you will be perfected by Him and your ministry will never end.  

What does that mean? To what is God referring? God will perfect…. 

Paul is likely referring to the salvation of the saints in Philippi. I believe the Holy Bible gives great evidence of the security of the believer. Once saved always saved. 

Not a license to sin or toy around with God’s grace but an affirmation of God’s ability to keep those whom He has saved! 

  • “who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” 1 Peter 1:5 NASB 
  • “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.” Jude 1:24-25 NASB 
  • …for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:13 NASB) 

You have to be careful when it comes to confidence. Writer Norman Vincent Peale wrote a book years ago titled, The Power of Positive Thinking, where confidence in oneself is heightened to where dependence on God becomes secondary. 

There comes a time when self-confidence has to be transitioned into faith in God. 

John 15:5 tells us ‘apart from Jesus, we can do nothing.’ 

King David had something to say about God and his work. Psalms 138:8 “The LORD will accomplish what concerns me; Your lovingkindness, O LORD, is everlasting; Do not forsake the works of Your hands.” Psalms 138:8 NASB 

God’s Spirit actually lives within the heart and body of the believer. 

The Believer has absolute confidence in the work of salvation (redemption) God has begun in his life. 

1. It is an incomplete work. 
“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6 NASB

I know I’m somebody cause God don’t make no junk…

He’s still working on me, to make me what I ought to be…(is not just a child’s song).
2. It is a good work. 

God’s Spirit that dwells within him gives him confidence

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6 NASB
3. It is a work to be completed. 

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6 NASB

There is always work to do; therefore God is always working in the life of a believer to mature him more and more. 
What is faith?

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” Hebrews 11:1, 6 NASB 

When my daughter was very small she would jump off a table into my arms. Totally confident in my ability to catch her, to protect her, and to be there for her. 

How did that come to be. She learned she could trust me. 

Isn’t that the way it is with God? Haven’t you seen God at work in your life? Doesn’t that make you have more faith 

Confidence and assurance are two of the striking traits of genuine believers.

Believers know God and know Him personally.
“For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.” 2 Timothy 1:12 NASB

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Outsourcing Church Ministries

I have to be careful not to think on this too much because it distresses me. Apparently this is a more and more frequent approach some church fellowships are taking. 

Instead of the local church congregation taking on a mission project, the leaders elect to decline. Why? Liability issues. They are afraid of being sued. Litigation scares them off. 

Also instead of doing their own church ministries they advertise for other local congregations and outsource their youth ministry etc, to those churches. Some financial expenditures but an “all in” approach appears lacking. 

I wonder if there are liability issues with God and the local churches approach to outsource? Is it considered? Risk taking for the cause of Christ is worth the risk when you are doing what God has called you to do. 

Should the church fellowship be made up of relatively small numbers or of senior adults whose health will not permit missions involvement then I can have some latitude. However, when there are able bodied people and a general spirit of reluctance to “be the church” then inner conflict arises. 

Wonder what the likelihood of churches growing in number, spirit and otherwise are when the attitude of out-sourcing church ministries prevail. I wouldn’t hold my breath. 

I recall an older woman at a church in Kentucky who paid me and a few others to go to her church to help with a specific ministry. I didn’t feel comfortable with it then and I don’t now. I helped the church where the lady attended and accepted her money only to place it in that churches offering plate. 

Dear local church, if you do not wish to do missions, perhaps you should consider Matthew 28:18-20, and many more passages, and the purpose you have in being at your location.

Until Next Time


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Did Joshua have only One Foot?

It’s nearing Easter and usually the mega movie called The Ten Commandments is aired near this time each year. If you’ve watched it or read the account of Moses going up atop the mountain to meet God then you know God told him to, “Do not come near here; remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” Exodus‬ ‭3:5‬ ‭NASB‬‬

What about Joshua? Remember the scripture very similar to this one where “the captain of the Lord’s host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.” ‭Joshua‬ ‭5:15‬ ‭KJV‬‬ 

It’s not feet but foot. It’s not sandals but shoe. Does that mean Joshua only had one foot at this time. The NAS seems to render the verse in a plural tense. Guess that fixes it? Hope that doesn’t bother the KJV only group. Not trying to divide but to entertain discussion.

So, what you think. Joshua lost his foot during a battle, as a slave or there is some other explanation? 

Until Next Time,


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Sign my Bible

It seemed foreign to me. It was the first time I ever actually seen it happen. I had not heard of it before. 

I used to attend a Pastor’s School and Bible Conference every year from the late 1990’s into the early 2000’s. It was a great experience to hear well known pastors, evangelists and biblical scholars expound the Word of God. What struck me as odd was bible students and pastors asking the speakers to sign their bibles. I guess it’s okay but I thought I’d feel awkward making that kind of request. 

Now if the speakers had written their own book and were asked to sign it then it seemed more appropriate. I’ve done that. Adding a speakers initial to the bible wouldn’t add any value, in my estimation, to the Word of God. While I appreciate what so many pastors, bible scholars, evangelist and the like have done in their service to the Lord I personally couldn’t ask for them to sign my bible. Is that wrong? 

While I don’t feel like I’m being covetous or critical some may think otherwise. I’ve wondered why I would ask these great men of God to sign my bible and have not come up with a good reason. Any suggestions? 

Until Next Time,


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Valley of the Shadow

You’re walking down the side of the road when a tractor trailer rig is barreling down on you. Those 18 wheels are singing as it draws nearer and nearer. I know it is a foolish question but would you rather be hit by the truck or by the shadow of the truck? Naturally you will say the shadow! The shadow doesn’t hurt! It might put a scare in ya for a moment but it passes. (Pun intended)

Though it’s a foolish question, I asked it to make a point. Would you like to experience death or the shadow of death? Note the following familiar scripture. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭23:4‬ ‭NASB‬‬ 

The person who has placed his/her faith in Jesus Christ for salvation will not experience death. It’s sad we do not have a better word for the ending of a life here as we transition into the hereafter. Hospitals use words like ‘expired’ and terminated (abortions). 

I take comfort in knowing when my life here ends, it will be continued with Jesus in heaven. That’s not death! That’s great expectation of unending glory!! 

It is the person who dies without Jesus Christ as his/her personal Savior who actually experiences death. Biblical death is best defined as separation from God. Eternal separation from the loving gracious God has to be hell. Why would anyone want to experience death and hell when they could experience only the shadow of death and eternal joy, happiness and immense glory with God the Father? 

What direction are you headed into? Being hit by death, like the tractor trailer rig, or near death, like the shadow of a big rig? 

I want to invite to to join me in heaven. Only the valley of the shadow of death will be our experience. 

Until Next Time,


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