The Long Way Around

17 And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt:

Exodus 3:17

 God had plans for Moses. He was to bring His people out of captivity in Egypt. When Pharaoh finally let God’s people go, they marched out of Egypt with their captors’ silver and gold.

Strangely, God led them not along the direct route to Canaan, but the long way around. Had they gone the shortest route, they would have reached their destination in about a week. But the journey would have taken them through hostile Philistine country. These Hebrews, having spent the last 8 generations in slavery, were in no position to fight. So God took them the long way around.

Has God ever taken you the long way around? Have you ever wondered why God did it the hard way instead of making it easy for you? Sometimes, we just are not mentally, emotionally, or spiritually prepared to face what God knows awaits us. We need to grow and mature. God makes sure we go the long way around to get prepared.

Not only did God lead them the long way around, He led them to the Red Sea. Pharaoh had changed his mind and was in pursuit. He had the Hebrews trapped at the Red Sea; or so he thought.

What seemed like the end for God’s people had two purposes.  First, God wanted the Egyptians to know that He is Lord. Second, God wanted His people to experience a deeper and lasting revelation of who God is.

Sometimes we find ourselves going the long way around because He has the salvation of others in His plan. For example, God’s healing may not always come when we want it to. But as we stay faithful in our journey we learn that God puts others in our path so He can use us to bring His love and show His glory to someone else.

When we will stay true to the journey, God will bring us through the experience. And when He does, we will have a deeper and lasting revelation of who He is. When the Hebrews were trapped, God parted the Red Sea. When we don’t see the way out, God will open the door we are looking for. And when He does, He reveals to us something we didn’t know, or maybe we forgot, about God.

When you think God is taking you the long way around, don’t worry. He has a purpose, and you don’t want to miss out on what that is!

© Charles A. Kalkomey

September 17, 2017

Three

4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, 5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by vthe washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; 7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Titus 3:4-7

You have heard that events and things will happen in a set of 3. There won’t just be 1 or 2 things happen that are significant. Things happen in 3!

About four weeks ago we had a blowout on our car. The tire was ruined, of course. The rim was also damaged. And you can’t put just one tire on a car. At least one tire and the rim were covered by warranty.

About two weeks ago, a rock hit the windshield so hard it shattered a section of the inside glass. The windshield had an outer glass and an inner glass, separated by a clear film. It was that clear film that prevented the rock from perhaps coming all the way through and into the car. A friend made the comment at that time, “Remember things always happen in 3s.”

Well, she didn’t realize how prophetic she was. On Thursday, the car was rear-ended, and totaled. I need to remind her of Proverbs 18:21a, for “Death and life are in the power of the tongue:”.

But there is something else that comes in three. Something that we should be very thankful for. We wouldn’t have or be anything without the Trinity.

God the Father is the first. The Creator of all. The Giver of life. The Healer, the Provider, the God of Peace, and so much more. He is the One who desires that we walk in a relationship with Him. He wants to talk to us, and wants us to talk to Him. Without Him, there is nothing.

Jesus Christ, His Son, is the second. God in the flesh. Jesus showed us the love of God, how we are to live, how to treat others, and so much more. He provided the path by which we have access to God the Father. And more than anything, Jesus paid the price for our sin that we could never pay. His shed blood covers all our iniquities, and provides the Way for us to enjoy eternal live in His presence.

And of course, the Holy Spirit is the third. The Holy Spirit teaches us and reveals the truth to us about God. He helps us to discern God’s Word. He guides us. He convicts us of our sin. He comforts us. The Holy Spirit prays for us.

Be thankful for God watching over you. Be thankful that the One God manifested in Three wants us in relationship with Him.

After the accident, vehicles continued going by on both sides of the car. Finally a SUV stopped to check on my wife and grandchildren. They stayed until a constable arrived. Bea asked them for a name to be able to at least send them a thank you note, but they refused to even do that. They simply said they considered themselves disciples of Jesus, and they were only doing what God would want them to do. And, there were three of them.

© Charles A. Kalkomey

August 6, 2017

Fourth Day

The Fourth Day

 

39  Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days. 40 Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?… 43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. 44 And he that was dead came forth,…

John 11:39-40; 43-44a

 

Whenever we read the Bible, we should ask questions. Why did Jesus say this? What did Jesus mean when He used those words? Why did Jesus wait four days to raise Lazarus from the dead? Why not three days? Or just one day?

Jesus always had a reason for what He did, how He did it, and when. In this case, waiting until the fourth day meant there was no doubt that Lazarus was dead. The Jews believed a person’s spirit or soul lingered around for three days after the person’s death. The spirit was trying to re-enter the body, hoping it would come back to life. There was to be no doubt with Lazarus. No one could claim Lazarus had any sense of life still within him. Lazarus was dead, and there was only one thing that could change that – the Hand of God through the words of Jesus.

Mary, Martha, and others would see Lazarus come back to life in only one way – through God for the glory to God. There would be no doubt. And many came to believe in Jesus.

Does it ever seem like God waits for the “fourth” day to answer your prayers? You want God to solve your problem on the first day you pray to Him. We don’t like to wait even two or three days. But God sometimes waits until all hope seems lost. We try to solve the problem ourselves, but we can’t. When our situation becomes so desperate that we know there is no hope, then God can move in and show us that nothing is impossible with God. We just have to stop trying to do things on our own, and trust in God. We must allow Him to work in our lives the way He wants to. Not how we want Him to.

As we approach this July 4th, we think back on what this country has gone through for the last 241 years. We have survived wars, depressions, disease, and even ourselves.

But it seems like nothing is going in the right direction anymore. The government doesn’t’ seem to work. Terrorists seek to destroy us. Christians are under constant attack. We have taken God out of our schools, our work, our homes, and even some of our churches. The situation seems hopeless and impossible. Maybe it’s time to quit trying to solve this country’s problems ourselves, and turn it back over to God. Maybe it’s time to start trusting in God, and believing that nothing is impossible for Him. We don’t have to wait for the “fourth day” every time.

© Charles A. Kalkomey

July 2, 2017

 

Kenya 2016

                                                   Kenya 2016!

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Across the rolling hills of shiny green and gold,

There are so many stories that can be told,

About how the hearts of all were touched,

And how each one of us was loved so much.

 

 

The things we saw, they are hard to explain,

And why part of our hearts there still remain.

Their lives are so simple but yet full of joy,

Even in the smiles of each girl and each boy

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In this rich brown dirt they somehow survive.

The crops and the animals the land does provide.

The little things we find on our packed shelves,

They don’t even know to think about for themselves

 

Most people walk to wherever they need to go;

To market, to school, to home and church also

A matatu, a bike, or car is available for a few,

But most just walk here to there, like the animals do

But the sun begins to set in that great western sky.

It’s now time to leave; it’s time to say goodbye.

Yet in the still of our minds we still hear the sound

Of the soft praises to God from the hills all around.

 

Their hunger for God draws out all we have within,

And it’s their love and their joy that refreshes us again.

For sharing of God’s love and His truth with them all,

Blesses us more than we bless them, in no way small.

 

We are so amazed at this simple life that they live,

But blessed by the love from their hearts they give.

If those back home could feel the hunger for God here,

Maybe they’d think more of Him than of things so dear.

 

Each time we come a little piece of us we leave behind.

Old friendships grow deeper, a new friend we do find.

But what never changes with each time that we are here,

Is God’s love is the same in Kenya, as it is everywhere.

 

© 2016 Charles A. Kalkomey

August 30, 2016

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Separation On The Cross

46  And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

Matthew 27:46

 

The above Scripture gives us some of the last words Jesus spoke from the Cross. Has that last dying question from God’s own Son ever bothered you?

In Matthew 26:38-39, on the night that Jesus was betrayed, Jesus went to a garden to be alone with the Father. He asked if there was any other way to do this, let it be so. But if not, that the Father’s Will was to be done.

Jesus had said many times that He was going to be betrayed and He would die on the Cross. He also said that He would rise from the dead and live again. He said this indirectly as when He referred to destroying the “temple” and rebuilding it in three days. He also said it very plainly and directly so there was no misunderstanding as to what He meant.

So Jesus knew from the beginning that He was going to suffer and be nailed to the Cross. He knew that He was going to die, and He knew that He would rise again to live forever. Jesus knew there was going to be an Easter Sunday. He knew there would be a Resurrection Sunday. So what was it that He expressed concern about in the garden? What was it that He didn’t want to experience if there could be another way?

Perhaps the answer to that question lies in Matthew 27:46. Before Jesus died, He took on Himself all our sin. The One who was sinless had to lose His divinity to be filled with our sin. And when that happened, God could no longer look down on Him. God will not tolerate sin. So at that moment on the Cross, something happened that had never happened since before the beginning of time – Jesus was separated from God.

That is what Jesus did not want to experience if there was another way. He accepted the beatings and torture. He accepted being nailed on the cross. But He knew what separation from God meant. He tells us that in Luke 16 in the parable of the rich man and the poor man. Jesus didn’t want to experience that separation from God.

With all that Jesus knew about what was coming on that Easter Sunday, His brief separation from God was but a flash of time in the scheme of eternity. But even that brief moment was not something Jesus wanted.

Not accepting Jesus as Lord and Saviour, never developing that intimate relationship with God, will mean an eternity of separation from God. If Jesus was telling us that even a brief separation of God is not something we should want, then why do we ignore the eternity of separation that awaits those who don’t worship and serve God?

Once we make sure our relationship with God is in order, we must remember Jesus’ words to share the Gospel with all those we encounter. God desires that no one experience that eternity of separation, but that all would live with Him in eternity. Jesus’ last words from the Cross should convince us to fulfill His commandment to teach all the world to observe all that Jesus taught; to show all the love of God. Because of Easter morning, Jesus lives; and we have the promise that we, too, can live forever with God the Father in eternity.

 © 2016 Charles A. Kalkomey

March 26, 2016

Fellowship and Relationship

31  What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

Romans 8:32-33

 Fellowship is defined as “companionship; friendliness.” Relationship is defined as “a connection between persons by blood; the state of being related.” There is a difference in fellowship and relationship. We may use the two interchangeably, but there is a difference.

A person may not fellowship with one or both of their parents, or a parent may not fellowship with a child. They may not ever call them or visit with them. They may not even spend holidays with them. But a relationship exists. Regardless of what happens, or doesn’t happen in life, the fact that a child was born of two parents results in a parent-child blood relationship that can never be erased. Nothing can ever change that fact.

When we are born again in Jesus Christ, we enter into a very special relationship with God. The question becomes, do we fellowship with God?

We can try to ignore God. We can avoid talking to Him. We can stop worshipping Him. We can choose not to spend any time with God. We can decide not to be in fellowship with God.

But if that is the path we have chosen, that doesn’t mean the relationship to God goes away. He offers us every opportunity to come back into fellowship with Him. Why? Because of the love He has for us as our heavenly Father.

We are born as one of God’s children. When we accept Jesus Christ into our life, we enter into a deeper, special relationship with God. And that will never change. That relationship is a blood relationship as well, for Jesus shed His blood on the cross to reconcile us to our heavenly Father.

One more thing. When we break fellowship with our earthly parents, the pain and bitterness that usually develops can be so deep, that forgiveness is hard to come by.

That’s where God is different. Regardless of what we have done or where we have been, God is calling us back into fellowship with Him because of the relationship with Him. He is willing to forgive us if we will simply confess our sin, repent of our past wrong-doings, and come back to Him. He doesn’t hold a grudge. He loves us unconditionally. He waits for our return, just like the father waited for the prodigal son.

So if your fellowship with God has been lacking, or even non-existent, it is never too late to come home. God is waiting, but it’s your choice. Your relationship with God has been paid for on the cross. So what are you waiting for?

© 2016 Charles A. Kalkomey

March 19, 2016

Peace in Life’s Storms

27  Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

John 14:27

 

There was a news story lately about a cruise ship that sailed out of port with the idea that they could outrun a storm that was brewing in the open waters.  The ship’s captain didn’t win that race and the passengers were in the ride of their life.

If you saw some of the cell phone videos that made the news, you saw just how violent the storm was. I guess the good news is the ship was built to withstand such a storm, but I wouldn’t want to have to go through a storm like that.  Things on the ship were tossed everywhere. There was certainly no way that the people could sit and eat, much less the wait staff carry trays of food.  Trying to walk on the ship to get anywhere was out of the question.  People were hanging on to anything they could find while trying to stay out of the path of furniture, dishes, and the like sliding all over the place.

But as rough as that ocean was, deep down under the surface of the water it was calm and peaceful.  The sea creatures didn’t know anything about what was going on with the ship and passengers.  All was well deep down.

This world is a rough place.  Life will toss us around just like on the cruise ship, and we struggle to find something just to hold onto.  

Jesus knew the time was quickly coming when He would die and leave His disciples for a while. He knew they would be tossed about by those of the world and even their own minds.  So Jesus left them the best thing He could – His peace.

Jesus had taught them to live in peace.  Now He left the gospel of peace with them to be preached to all of the world.  There was peace in His shed blood as Jesus gave His life to reconcile man back to God.

This was an internal peace that is deep down inside of us.  It is an eternal peace that can never be taken from us.

Jesus came in peace (Luke 2:14).  He lived in peace, and He left His peace with His disciples, and with us.  Through the Holy Spirit we have the Comforter, and if the Holy Spirit is within us, then down deep inside we have a peace that this world can never take from us.  On the surface, things may be rough, but inside of us we have the peace that Jesus gives.

I’m not suggesting you avoid taking a cruise.  Just remember that storms happen, and you might get tossed around a bit.  But keep the peace that Jesus left for all mankind within your heart, and the storms of this earthly life can’t separate you from God’s love and presence in your life.  Happy sailing!

 

© 2016 Charles A. Kalkomey

March 12, 2016

First In Your Life

9 What a man’s heart deviseth his way: But the Lord directeth his steps.

Proverbs 16:9

 

Where is Jesus in your life? Is He first? Or just when you need Him?

As you drive down the road of life, is Jesus riding in the trunk of your car? You let Him out on Sunday morning, but as soon as you leave church, you put Him back in the trunk until next Sunday.

Or perhaps Jesus is at least riding in the backseat. But, do you treat Him as simply a “backseat driver” and you view Him more as a series of interruptions as you are trying to live life the way you want to.

Or, maybe you let Jesus ride in the front seat as a passenger you at least talk to. You tell Jesus about what is going on in your life, but your focus is still on the “road of life” as you drive. Regardless of what Jesus says, you are still in charge.

The place we want to be is letting Jesus get behind the wheel and drive. Our trust needs to be in Jesus. He must be the one in control.

Is Jesus first in your Finances?

Is Jesus first in your Interests?

Is Jesus first in your Relationships?

Is Jesus first in your Schedule?

Is Jesus first in your Troubles?

If we can say that Jesus is first in our finances, interests, relationships, schedule and troubles, then we can honestly say that Jesus is in our life. But He still may not be in the right place.

We must always be prayerful about our relationship with Jesus. We must always be positive about the potential that exists in our life with Jesus in control. We are simply stewards of everything that God has and wants us to have.

Proverbs 16:9 is about the heart of someone who is righteous and thinks of the way he or she should go; someone who desires to walk in the right way; someone who is led by the Spirit and the grace of God. If we will be like that, then we won’t make wrong turns; we’ll go safely and surely through all of life’s troubles and difficulties, to His Kingdom and see His Glory.

To do that, we must always have Jesus in the driver’s seat in the “car of our life.” He must be first in everything; first in our life. With Jesus in the driver’s seat we will arrive at the destination God has prepared for us.

Take your hands off the steering wheel and turn it over to Jesus. Be led by the Spirit. You will experience a much better ride.

 

© 2016 Charles A. Kalkomey

February 27, 2016

Promoted By God

23  Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgat him. … 40 Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou.

Genesis 40:23; 41:40

 

At times in our lives, we experience some cold, hard winters. Things don’t look so good, and we are not sure what the next year, the next month, the next week, or even the next day is going to bring. We wait for the things we are believing in, the things we have faith in, to come just as promised by God.

Those who are dedicated gardeners will soon be getting their seed catalogs for next spring. As they look through the pages of pictures of flowering plants and colorful vegetables, they place their hopes during the cold of winter in those packages of seeds that they will plant in the spring. Their trust is in the quality of those seeds to produce the same flowers and vegetables that they see in the pictures. The seeds are planted, and watered and watched, all in the hope that one day, without announcement, a small green plant pops through the soil and grows into the “promises” shown in those catalogs.

Joseph was doing what he believed was the right thing to do. He was true to God. He believed in all of those seeds of God’s promises that had been planted in his life. Yet, he was thrown into a pit by his own brothers, sold into slavery, imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit, and forgotten. But Joseph never stopped believing in those seeds of God’s promises.

Then, all of sudden, Joseph is called into the presence of Pharaoh. There was a dream to interpret, and God came through again. Without planning, without announcement, Joseph finds himself thrust into the number two position in all of Egypt, second only to Pharaoh. Spring had finally come! All of those seeds of God’s promises that were planted into Joseph’s spirit suddenly grew into what God had planned for Joseph from before he was born.

We don’t know what the next day will bring. God won’t usually announce what great thing He is going to do next in our lives. The promotion God has coming for us will come when God’s timing is right.

So we must not forget about all of those seeds planted in us by God’s Word. They may still just be “in the ground” waiting for “spring” to arrive. But one day, when we least expect it, that promotion we have been waiting for will come. And, like those plants that started with just a seed, but produced the corn, lettuce, beans, or whatever we planted, we will enjoy the harvest of God’s promises planted in our lives.

© 2015 Charles A. Kalkomey

October 18, 2015

No Time To Be A Standing Army

2 And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and pitched by the valley of Elah, and set the battle in array against the Philistines. 3 And the Philistines stood on a mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side: and there was a valley between them.

1 Samuel 17:2-3

 Just before we are introduced to Goliath, the scriptures paint a picture of the scene. Israel was gathered by the valley of Elah, and was set in battle array against the Philistines. The Philistines were on the mountain on one side of the valley. Both armies were on a mountain side with the valley between them.

But notice what else verse 3 says. The “Philistines stood on a mountain” and “Israel stood on a mountain….” The armies were not engaged in battle. They were both standing around, looking at each other.

Goliath steps forward and taunts Israel. He asks them why they are standing around in battle array (verse 8). For forty days Goliath scared the Israelites, and God’s chosen were dismayed (verse 11).

Sometimes we find ourselves standing around when we should be doing something. There are times when we need to be still and wait on God. But there are also times when we need to act.

We are God’s hands and feet. We are called to action. There is a spiritual battle going on around us, and standing around doesn’t engage the enemy in the fight.

David understood the call to action. And he wasn’t concerned about the fight, because he wasn’t fighting by himself. “This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand;… (verse 46).

So David took all that he had into battle – a sling shot and five smooth stones. You see, God can do much if we will bring to Him what we have, no matter how little it may seem to be to us.

Don’t get caught standing around looking “across the valley” at the enemy. There is a time to engage in the fight. And remember, we don’t enter into the battle alone. God is with us. He always has been. He always will be. And He will use just what we have to accomplish His plan. We just need the faith to trust Him, always.

 

© 2015 Charles A. Kalkomey

September 27, 2015