LifeLink Devotions

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

As I prepare to travel to the Philippines in two weeks, I am evaluating carefully what has to go in each piece of luggage so that it makes the weight limitations. In addition to that, I am carefully planning what to take in my carry-on luggage and personal item I get to have inside the plane.

I plan to pack one carry-on with emergency clothing. Then there will be the personal care items I need on the plane and at the Hotel in Manila the first night. I will be very diligent about that so I am wearing the appropriate clothing when I step off the plane in the heat of Davao City.

Why? Because I’m going to see dear friends that I haven’t seen for over 8 years, and I want to meet them at my best. Now I know they won’t care what I look like when I get off the plane, because they love me. I know that there will be no subtle glances at my belly or baldness followed by facial expressions of disgust. I know that if I was wearing my ragged jeans and the same sweaty t-shirt I had on when I started the journey, and had not showered or shaved at the hotel, that they would still hug me. Because we love each other.

But I don’t want to put them in that position. I want nothing about me to distract from the total joy of our reunion.

My friends, we are God’s children, if we have been born into the family of God by the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit. He was given to us by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ when we received by faith the forgiveness of sins He paid for on the cross. Some day – maybe very soon – we will be reunited with Him in person. We will step off this earth into His glorious presence for all eternity. He will extend His arms and welcome us into heaven. He will hug you no matter what you are like because He saved you.

Yet the Scriptures tell us that we are to be prepared for that reunion.

2 Peter 3:14So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.

There is a possibility of shame on our part when we meet Christ. There may be the experience of grief and remorse when we are pulled into His loving arms. It hinges on how we have lived our lives prior to getting there. Peter’s challenge to us today is to use the coming reunion as motivation for pure and holy living. The Apostle John says it this way in First John 2:28 – “And now, dear children, remain in fellowship with Christ so that when he returns, you will be full of courage and not shrink back from him in shame.” (NLT)

This is a very real thing. There will be those of us who will shrink back from the Lord as we approach Him because suddenly, in His perfect presence, everything about us becomes perfectly transparent. All lying ceases. All cover-ups are exposed. All wrong motives are revealed. There will be, for the first time in our existence, absolute honesty about who we are. That’s scary to all of us, isn’t it?

Remember, Jesus will still hug you. He will revive you if you pass out from fear and shame. He will restore you. There will be the experience of His unconditional forgiveness as He reviews your life. But we will be reviewed in the light of His holiness. There will be no opportunity for us to excuse anything we have done, said, or thought. All will be revealed. Then Jesus will wipe away every tear from our eyes and welcome us into the perfection of His presence forever. Hallelujah!

Now is the time of preparation for that reunion. Today is the day to begin setting aside all falsehood about who you are. This is the moment to manage your motivations. Right now, at this very second, it is time to become spotless, blameless, and at peace with Him. Every lie, every cover-up, every self-serving motivation puts us at odds with our Savior. The guarantee of our reunion with Jesus is our motivation to be like Him. The Apostle John says “Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is.  And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure.” (1 John 3:2-3 NLT)

Pastor John


LifeLink Devotions

Monday, February 27, 2023

2 Peter 3:13 But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness.” 

In two weeks I will be on a flight to the Philippines to minister to hundreds of pastors and college students. Yet as much as I look forward to that trip and the people I will see, the real desire of my heart is for a land far beyond this earth. In fact, it hasn’t even been created yet. It will be a place of unsurpassed and unimaginable beauty. It will literally be glorious because it will be lit by the glory of God Himself. There will be no need for a sun. There will be no night without one, because God’s glory never stops shining and filling the whole new earth with light.

As a part of this new creation, the city of the King, the New Jerusalem, will be spectacular. It will be huge. Imagine a cube – you know, with equal sides so that height, width, and length are all the same – and this cube is 2.744 billion cubic miles in size. That’s 1400 miles long by 1400 miles wide by 1400 miles high. Amazing! And I get to go there someday and walk on the streets of crystal gold. In fact, I get to live there. Even more awesome is this…I get to reign there with the King of Kings.

Let the words of the Apostle John inspired by the Holy Spirit of God capture your heart as they have mine and put your focus on the right land. I know it looks long, but it will be worth the time investment. To use the words of an old song, “this world is not our home, we are just passing through…” Get your eyes on the right goal, and here’s the goal from Revelation 21 and 22…

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children. “But cowards, unbelievers, the corrupt, murderers, the immoral, those who practice witchcraft, idol worshipers, and all liars—their fate is in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” Then one of the seven angels who held the seven bowls containing the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come with me! I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” So he took me in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and he showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God and sparkled like a precious stone—like jasper as clear as crystal. The city wall was broad and high, with twelve gates guarded by twelve angels. And the names of the twelve tribes of Israel were written on the gates. There were three gates on each side—east, north, south, and west. The wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were written the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. The angel who talked to me held in his hand a gold measuring stick to measure the city, its gates, and its wall. When he measured it, he found it was a square, as wide as it was long. In fact, its length and width and height were each 1,400 miles.  Then he measured the walls and found them to be 216 feet thick (according to the human standard used by the angel). The wall was made of jasper, and the city was pure gold, as clear as glass. The wall of the city was built on foundation stones inlaid with twelve precious stones: the first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were made of pearls—each gate from a single pearl! And the main street was pure gold, as clear as glass. I saw no temple in the city, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God illuminates the city, and the Lamb is its light. The nations will walk in its light, and the kings of the world will enter the city in all their glory. Its gates will never be closed at the end of day because there is no night there. And all the nations will bring their glory and honor into the city. Nothing evil will be allowed to enter, nor anyone who practices shameful idolatry and dishonesty—but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. It flowed down the center of the main street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations. No longer will there be a curse upon anything. For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and his servants will worship him. And they will see his face, and his name will be written on their foreheads. And there will be no night there—no need for lamps or sun—for the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign forever and ever. Then the angel said to me, “Everything you have heard and seen is trustworthy and true. The Lord God, who inspires his prophets, has sent his angel to tell his servants what will happen soon.” “Look, I am coming soon! Blessed are those who obey the words of prophecy written in this book.”

Pastor John


LifeLink Devotions

Friday, February 24, 2023

2 Peter 3:10  “But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment.”

The Day of the Lord is coming, and it will surprise most people. There are two reasons for this: they haven’t been listening; or they haven’t had anything to listen to. They probably aren’t listening because they are so intent on getting everything they can from this world. They believe this life offers them everything they need, and they are intent on getting it.

But I think the issue of them not listening is primarily because we aren’t speaking the truth to them about the Day of the Lord that’s coming. I hope it doesn’t surprise those of us who claim to be the followers of the true King.

My friends, there is a terrible day coming. Everything that God created in the original creation will be destroyed by fire. The very tiniest of elements which form the building blocks of all else will be destroyed. It will be utter and complete annihilation. All that “stuff” that people worked so hard to accumulate will be gone. All the pleasures we experienced from it will be forgotten. All the value we thought we added to our lives will become worthless. All the identity we placed in it will be erased.

But there is joy to be had, and it’s found in the life insurance offered by Jesus Christ. Death will happen to the world. Life eternal is ours in Jesus now and forever! Hallelujah!

Read on in Second Peter 3 verses 11-13. “Since everything around us is going to be destroyed like this, what holy and godly lives you should live, looking forward to the day of God and hurrying it along. On that day, he will set the heavens on fire, and the elements will melt away in the flames. But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness.(emphasis mine)

Quite a contrast, huh? Which side of the “Day of the Lord” coin will you choose to look at today? My goal is to be more excited about the coming of Jesus than anything this world has to offer. My goal is to focus on getting as many people rescued from the bondage of worldly pleasure as possible.

That means they must hear about the alternative.

Will you join me in telling them?

Pastor John


LifeLink Devotions

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Some people find it easy to get excited about the judgment of others. Even in Christian circles there is a dangerous tendency to want the Lord Jesus Christ to return to the earth primarily for the purpose of destroying evil and evil doers. It’s hard to listen to such people for very long. They display very little compassion for the lost and are overwhelmed with a self-centered arrogance that seeks to enhance their own image by condemning others. It really is distasteful, and at times unlovable.

It is true that Peter reminds us of the coming judgment of sin, as we discussed yesterday. But he immediately tempers what he said and puts it into its proper context.

2 Peter 3:8-9But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

Peter reminds us – in fact he emphasizes that this one point should never be forgotten – that our primary focus should be on the days we have left and how we will use them to accomplish God’s will. We are not to desire the Lord’s return for the purpose of the destruction of evil people so much as we are to be thankful for the time He has given us to rescue more people from their sin.

As impatient as some of us get with the corruption of the world in which we live, imagine how impatient God must get when viewing it from His perfect perspective. Or does He?

Our desire to elevate ourselves by belittling others is an attempt to achieve perfection in our own eyes. It causes us to see others critically and judgmentally. When we carefully evaluate that position, we realize that it is the most immature perspective we can have. It is such a self-centered attitude. The logical conclusion of it is the destruction of all others who don’t meet our self-imposed standards – and the sooner the better. The problem is that as soon as the objective is accomplished there is no one left with whom to compare ourselves, and we are left as empty as ever.

But God, who is perfect, displays the mature attitude – patience and grace. The more we grow to be like Jesus, the longer we will endure the failings of others. The more we reflect the heart of the Father, the more we will desire the sinners around us to come to repentance and be saved. The more filled with the Holy Spirit we are, the more we will look with eyes of compassion on those in the bondages of sin and seek to set them free.

Maturity of faith brings identity with Christ. As we grow up in Him we reflect more and more of His nature, character, and mindset. His mindset is patient towards those who sin. He has not left us here as an unloving Father to suffer at the hands of sinners: He has allowed us to remain in His service of bringing people to Jesus.

Every day we awaken to a new sunrise on this degenerating planet, we should arise with thanksgiving that Jesus has granted us more time to win the lost, especially those we know and love in this life. God is patient with us and with the lost. Not because He is slow (the Greek word means “retarded”), or unfaithful to His Word, but rather because He is loving and gracious. His love does not desire judgment. His justice will accomplish it someday. But for now, His love is being extended.

Maybe His love should come through us a little more clearly.

Pastor John


LifeLink Devotions

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

This will not be popular. This could make me more infamous than famous – not that it matters to me. People doing an internet search who come across this blog today may be moved to anger and take offense. Some will feel that I have stepped on their toes. Well, in the words of my grandfather, I’m sorry about your toes. It must be a bad shot, because I was aiming at your heart.

2 Peter 3:7  “By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.”

Whether we deny it or not, the truth does not change. I cannot avoid the effects of gravity simply by saying or believing there is no gravity. I cannot avoid the consequences of sin simply by saying or believing that there is no God. I cannot deny the coming judgment of sinners simply by believing that God is perfect in love but not in justice.

Let the revelation of God to mankind speak to you today, first from the mouth of Jesus himself:

  • “For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it.   Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him. I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.   I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.   For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself.    And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.   Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice   and come out—those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.   By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.” (John 5:21-30 )

This same One named Jesus who has the power and authority to judge all men for their sin, became the very judgment for sin for those who believe on Him. He who would one day sentence many to death because of their sin would himself be sentenced to death to give life to those who believe. Right before His arrest and crucifixion Jesus said, “Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out.  But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” And lifted up on a cross He was so that you and I could be saved from our sin and its judgment. The judge has become our High Priest and has offered himself as the once-for-all sacrifice for our sins.

As a result, the Holy Spirit inspired writer of Hebrews to say:

  • “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.   Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.   And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.   Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.   If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.   Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.   How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?   For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.”   It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

There is a judgment for sin coming. Those who believe in Jesus and have been saved by His blood shed on the cross will be excluded from the judgment. Those who do not believe in Jesus and receive His forgiveness, but reject the truth about their sin and the coming judgment, will have eternity to think about their choice, if they can think clearly at all through the horror of their suffering. Jesus is the only answer to eternal judgment for sin. Respond to His call to repent and receive Him today.

Pastor John


LifeLink Devotions

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

It comes with age. It also comes with pride. We would like to blame it all on age, but that would be to deny the simple truth of our choices.

Forgetfulness is a two-sided coin. On the one side is the simple brain freeze type that we easily forgive in one another and excuse in ourselves. On the other side of the coin is the intentional type when we make choices to forget. Our motivation for these choices can be sinful or saintly.

2 Peter 3:5-7 “But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.”

Peter tells us that forgetfulness is intentional when it comes to the sinner’s ignorance of truth. They will deny this. They will claim superior knowledge. The truth is that God has revealed His nature through creation and the people who do not see it or know it have made the choice to ignore the obvious. (Read Romans 1:18-25) These are the prideful choices of sinful man to forget what is not convenient for the pursuit of personal pleasure.

But there is a proper and Godly time to be forgetful. The proper motivations for forgetfulness are given to us in Scripture. One of them stands out to me today:

  • We are to forget the past, no matter how painful, and press on towards the high calling we have in Christ Jesus. (see Philippians 3:12-14)

Years ago, there was a master violinist in Europe. He would play concerts, and he had a magnificent Stradivarius violin, extremely expensive. As he would play people in the crowd would whisper, “Listen to the beautiful sounds of the Stradivarius.” He would play in churches, and people would say, “Listen to the beautiful sounds of the Stradivarius.” He even played before kings and queens, and they, too, would turn to one another and say, “Listen to the beautiful sounds of the Stradivarius.” All the glory went to the instrument.

Then one day this master violinist was walking by a pawn shop. He noticed an old, beat-up, worn-out violin. He walked into the pawn shop and asked how much it would cost. The owner of the pawn shop told him the American equivalent of five dollars. He bought the violin, and he took it home. He polished it, and he refined it, and he tuned it, and he re-tuned it, and he built some character into that violin. Then, when he was to play the greatest performance of his life in a concert hall, he took out the little, five-dollar, worn-out, beat-up violin that he had polished and refined. He put it up to his chin, and he began to play, and everybody in the concert hall whispered, “Listen to the beautiful sounds of the Stradivarius.”

In the hands of the Master, your life has been revived, revitalized, and restored. You are of great worth and value. Do not think about the past. Forget it. Look ahead. As F. B. Meyer wrote,

“It is a mistake to be always turning back to recover the past. The law for Christian living is not backward, but forward; not for experiences that lie behind, but for doing the will of God, which is always ahead and beckoning us to follow. Leave the things that are behind, and reach forward to those that are before, for on each new height to which we attain, there are the appropriate joys that befit the new experience. Don’t fret because life’s joys are fled. There are more in front. Look up, press forward, the best is yet to be!”

Permission granted by God to be forgetful.

Pastor John


LifeLink Devotions

Monday, February 20, 2023

2 Peter 3:3-4 “First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” 

I cried the first time I heard them. I still cry every time I hear them. Two songs from two different artists in two different times, but they continue to have an impact on me. The scoffers who don’t believe the truths of these songs are blind, and so closed to the experience of real hope and joy. May I never become like them.

There are dozens of songs that depict the arrival of Jesus, and I encourage you to make a playlist of them and listen to it consistently. These are the two on the top of my list. May the words of these songs connect you more deeply to the truth that Jesus is coming, and He’s coming for you if you are His child. Be blessed and encourage as you read these words.

The King is Coming by Bill Gaither

The marketplace is empty, no more traffic in the street
All the builder’s tools are silent, no more time to harvest wheat
Busy housewives cease their labor, in the courtroom no debate
Work on earth has been suspended as the King comes through the gate.

Happy faces line the hallway, those whose lives have been redeemed
Broken homes He has mended, those from prison He has freed
Little children and the aged hand in hand stand all a-glow
Who were crippled, broken, ruined, clad in garments white as snow

I can hear the chariot’s rumble, I can see the marching throng
And the fury of God’s trumpet spells the end of sin and wrong
Regal rolls are now unfolded, heaven’s grandstands all in place
Heaven’s choir is now assembled, start to sing ‘Amazing Grace’

The King is coming, the King is coming
I just heard the trumpet sounding and soon His face I’ll see
The King is coming, the King is coming
Praise God, He’s coming for me

We Shall Behold Him by Sandi Patti

The sky shall unfold
Preparing His entrance
The stars shall applaud Him
With thunders of praise

The sweet light in His eyes, shall enhance those awaiting
And we shall behold Him, then face to face

O we shall behold Him, we shall behold Him
Face to face in all of His glory
O we shall behold Him, yes we shall behold Him
Face to face, our Savior and Lord

The angel will sound, the shout of His coming
And the sleeping shall rise, from there slumbering place
And those remaining, shall be changed in a moment
And we shall behold him, then face to face

We shall behold Him, o yes we shall behold Him
Face to face in all of His glory
We shall behold Him, face to face
Our Savior and Lord
We shall behold Him, our Savior and Lord
Savior and Lord!

Praise God, He’s coming for me, and I shall behold Him face to face in all His glory. How about you!

Pastor John


LifeLink Devotions

Friday, February 17, 2023

It’s in a box in the closet in my storage area at home. It’s huge. When unfolded it stretches at least 10 feet across. It’s very old. It’s a banner that my grandfather, Dr. J.A. van Gorkom, had custom made for his evangelistic meetings he conducted in churches all across the United States. He would stretch it across the front of the church above his head for up to two weeks at a time and preach on prophecy. It’s a banner that lays out the prophecies of Scripture in visual form.

In the days ahead we are going to be reading what Peter has to say about the future. We will not go into all the details of all the various views of the rapture and Second Coming of the King, but we will look at the signs Peter gives us that the time is drawing closer.

It’s important to study prophecy. Peter tells us in verse one of chapter three that he wants to stimulate us to wholesome thinking. Then verse two says this:

“I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles.”

Here’s your first application point for today – wholesome thinking is ALWAYS based on the Word of God.

Then, as we read further, verse three says:

“First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires.” 

Your second application point is this – wholesome thinking prepares us for the future.

I think it is very significant that Peter’s first point of emphasis in stimulating wholesome thinking is to teach us prophecy and what to look for as the Day of the Lord approaches. And the first thing he wants us to recognize about these last days is the level of scoffing at Christianity that will occur. It’s not hard to see how that is aggressively happening in our day.

Our response to scoffing is important. We are going to be abused – verbally and physically. Jesus promised it. “All men will hate you because of me.” (Mark 13:13) So we should expect it. But how we respond can be a powerful witness to others. This story from Charles Spurgeon illustrates the point:

“There was a certain king whose son was sent on an errand to a far country, and when he came into that country, although he was the lawful prince of it, he found that the citizens would not acknowledge him. They mocked at him, jeered at him, and took him and set him in the pillory, and there they scoffed at him and pelted him with filth.

“Now, there was one in that country who knew the prince, and he alone stood up for him when all the mob was in tumult raging against him. And when they set him on high as an object of scorn, this man stood side by side with him to wipe the filth from that dear royal face; and when from cruel hands missiles in scorn were thrown, this man took his full share; and whenever he could he thrust himself before the prince to ward off the blows if possible, and to bear the scorn instead of him.

“Now it came to pass that after a while the prince went on his way, and in due season the man who had been the prince’s friend was called to the king’s palace. And on a day when all the princes of the court were around, and the peers and nobles of the land were sitting in their places, the king came to his throne and he called for that man, and he said, “Make way, princes and nobles! Make way! Here is a man more noble than you all, for he stood boldly forth with my son when he was scorned and scoffed at! Make way, I say, each one of you, for he shall sit at my right hand with my own son. As he took a share of his scorn, he shall now take a share of his honor.”

“And there sat princes and nobles who wished that they had been there—they now envied the man who had been privileged to endure scorn and scoffing for the prince’s sake!”

Hebrews 12:2 says, “…looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

For the joy that is set before you in the presence of the King, prepare to respond to scoffers with grace.

Pastor John


LifeLink Devotions

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Peter makes an honest and revealing statement in the first verse of chapter 3.

2 Peter 3:1Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking.”

He tells his readers that his motivation and purpose for writing two letters to them was to stimulate them to wholesome thinking. That word wholesome is interesting. Used only twice in the entire New Testament, it means “to unfold and expose to the sunlight.”  Our minds are to be unfolded and exposed to the Light of Jesus. Our minds are to be like His.

There are so many ways to evaluate our state of mind, and so many thoughts that need exposing to the Light of God’s truth.  Let’s fix our minds on just one – an area that was revealed to me as I studied the life of Christ in Mark chapter two. It exposes the tendency we have to think about the negative side of people and circumstances.

Here’s the story:

“A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. So many gathered that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’”

Here’s the simple yet profound point for today: “Why wasn’t anyone worried about the hole in the roof and who had done it?” It that were my house I know where my thoughts would have been directed: probably more than just thoughts. I would have taken action to go up to the roof and put a stop to what they were doing. Particles of roof were falling on people’s heads inside the house. It was forecast to rain later that day and all my furniture would be ruined. Who’s gonna fix the hole? Will my insurance cover this? My thoughts would have been everywhere except on the need of the person coming through the hole.

My friends, I think quite strongly that the reason we don’t smile more and find joy in life is that our thoughts are focused more on inconvenient things and what’s wrong with people than on their spiritual needs. We need to be stimulated to wholesome thinking. We need to look at life the way Jesus did.

So to help you, here are author Marilyn Meberg’s six suggestions to cheering up:

  • Reflect on a funny or pleasant memory and get ready to giggle. Your original cheerful feeling will always remain attached to that memory.
  • Don’t “awfulize” life. Make a habit of thinking positive. After all, optimism isn’t born; it’s a state of mind we choose to develop.
  • Personalize Scripture by inserting your name in God’s promises.
  • Think uplifting thoughts—whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8).
  • Let God in on everything, including the annoying little cheer-depleters and joy-suckers in your life. He cares!
  • Keep in mind that earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy but only to make us hungry for the real thing: heaven.

Then I will add one more: Learn to care more about people than possessions.

Have a cheerful day.

Pastor John


LifeLink Devotions

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

2 Peter 2:9So you see, the Lord knows how to rescue godly people from their trials.”

In 1956, during the Mau Mau uprisings in East Africa, God demonstrated His power to rescue His people from their trials. The story is told by veteran missionary Morris Plotts.

“A band of roving Mau Maus came to the village of Lauri, surrounded it, and killed every inhabitant, including women and children—three hundred people in all. Not more than three miles away was the Rift Valley Academy, a private boarding school where children were being educated while their missionary parents worked elsewhere. Immediately upon leaving the carnage at Lauri the Mau Maus came with spears, clubs, torches, and bows and arrows to the school, bent on destruction.

“You can imagine the fear of those children at the school. Word had already reached them about the destruction of Lauri. There was no place to flee. The only resource was prayer.

“Out in the night, lighted torches were seen coming toward the school. Soon there was a complete ring of these terrorists about the school, cutting off all avenues of escape. Shouting and curses could be heard coming from the Mau Maus. Then they began to advance on the school, tightening the circle, shouting louder, coming closer. Suddenly, when they were close enough to throw a spear, they stopped. They began to retreat, and soon they were running into the jungle. A call had gone out to the authorities, and an army had been sent in the direction of the school to rescue the inhabitants. But by the time the army arrived, the would-be assassins had dispersed. The army spread out in search of them and captured the entire band of raiding Mau Maus.

“Later, before the judge at their trial, the Mau Mau leader was called to the witness stand. The judge asked him, “On this night did you kill the inhabitants of Lauri?”

“The leader replied, “Yes.”

“Was it your intent to do the same at the Rift Valley Academy?”


“Well then,” asked the judge, “why did you not complete the mission? Why didn’t you attack the school?”

“The leader, who had never read the Bible and never heard the gospel, replied, “We were on our way to attack and destroy all the people at the school. But as we came closer, all of a sudden between us and the school there were many huge men, dressed in white with flaming swords. We became afraid and we ran to hide!”

You may not be in danger of an army, but you are in a spiritual war, and your enemy the devil is stalking you like a roaring lion, seeking to devour and destroy you. But every attack can be, and for our spiritual health it must be viewed as an opportunity for our faith and trust in the keeping and protecting power of God to be displayed in our lives. If only we would get out of the way and let God do His work in us.

Charles Chu, writing in Leadership Journal, tells this story:

“A few years ago I had a chance to become a hero, but it turned out to be an embarrassing moment. I was in China on a tour group. Our tour bus was on the way to a scenic spot with another tour bus in front of us. It was snowing, and the road was muddy.

“Suddenly the bus ahead of us skidded off the road and tipped over on its side in a rice field. I quickly jumped off my tour bus, ran to the overturned bus, and jumped on top. Windows were shattered, and people inside were obviously hurt. The emergency door was facing upward, so I grabbed the handle of the emergency door and pulled. The door did not open. I kept pulling hard, but it wouldn’t budge.

“By this time, others had come and were pulling people out through the windows, so I gave up on the door and joined them. After I moved away from the door, another man went over to the door. He turned the door handle, and the door opened easily.

“I suddenly realized why the door did not open for me: I had been standing on the door as I tried to open it. With good intentions to save lives, I had become the biggest obstacle blocking the door of rescue.”

“The temptations and trials in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the test to be more than you can stand. When you are tested, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)

Pastor John