Not By Popular Vote but by grace and peace

Part of Paul’s letter to the Galatian churches:

I, Paul, and my companions in faith here, send greetings to the Galatian churches. My authority for writing to you does not come from any popular vote of the people, nor does it come through the appointment of some human higher-up.

It comes directly from Jesus the Messiah and God the Father, who raised him from the dead.

I’m God-commissioned.

So I greet you with the great words, grace and peace!

We know the meaning of those words because Jesus Christ rescued us from this evil world we’re in by offering himself as a sacrifice for our sins.

God’s plan is that we all experience that rescue.

Glory to God forever! Oh, yes!

I can’t believe your fickleness—how easily you have turned traitor to him who called you by the grace of Christ by embracing a variant message! It is not a minor variation, you know; it is completely other, an alien message, a no-message, a lie about God.

Those who are provoking this agitation among you are turning the Message of Christ on its head.

Let me be blunt: If one of us—even if an angel from heaven!—were to preach something other than what we preached originally, let him be cursed. I said it once; I’ll say it again: If anyone,

regardless of reputation or credentials,

preaches something other than what you received originally, let him be cursed.

Do you think I speak this strongly in order to manipulate crowds? Or curry favor with God? Or get popular applause? If my goal was popularity, I wouldn’t bother being Christ’s slave.

Know this—I am most emphatic here, friends—this great Message I delivered to you is not mere human optimism. I didn’t receive it through the traditions, and I wasn’t taught it in some school. I got it straight from God, received the Message directly from Jesus Christ.

I’m sure that you’ve heard the story of my earlier life when I lived in the Jewish way. In those days I went all out in persecuting God’s church.

I was systematically destroying it. I was so enthusiastic about the traditions of my ancestors that I advanced head and shoulders above my peers in my career.

Even then God had designs on me.

Why, when I was still in my mother’s womb he chose and called me out of sheer generosity!

Now he has intervened and revealed his Son to me so that I might joyfully tell non-Jews about him. Immediately after my calling—without consulting anyone around me and without going up to Jerusalem to confer with those who were apostles long before I was—I got away to Arabia. Later I returned to Damascus, but it was three years before I went up to Jerusalem to compare stories with Peter. I was there only fifteen days—but what days they were! Except for our Master’s brother James, I saw no other apostles. (I’m telling you the absolute truth in this.) Then I began my ministry in the regions of Syria and Cilicia. After all that time and activity I was still unknown by face among the Christian churches in Judea. There was only this report: “That man who once persecuted us is now preaching the very message he used to try to destroy.”

Their response was to recognize and worship God because of me !
Galatians 1:1‭-‬16‭, ‬16‭-‬24 MSG

Living proof.

Feeling Judged?

The next time you feel some one judging you keep this verse in your mind and heart, especially if that person making a judgmental statement is a Christian.

If we really love God, we will not be afraid of him. We cannot love him completely and also be afraid. We would only be afraid of God if we thought that he would punish us. So, if someone is afraid that God will punish them, it shows that they do not completely know God’s love.
1 John 4:18 EASY

Keep your eyes on Jesus, not on yourself, not on others, not on others perception of you.

In Christ, beetle

Testing The ShihTzu Out Of Me

Watch “Labrador, Shih Tzu, and Golden Retriever Puppies! | Too Cute! (Full Episode)”

I couldn’t help but mark the similarities of how they trained those puppies to be more than just another dog and how God tests, trains, & disciplines me.

Everything we go through as individuals can make us so much more stronger. Experiences we’ve had (good & what we consider bad) is all part of His plans.

Trusting Him, beetle

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16‭-‬17 NLT

Everything that is written in the Bible comes from God’s Spirit. It helps us in many ways. The Bible teaches us what is true. It warns us when we are doing wrong things. It shows us what is right. It teaches us how to live good lives. As a result, people who want to serve God can know how to live properly. They will be people who can do all kinds of good things.
2 Timothy 3:16‭-‬17 EASY

Nature Nurture And Instincts

I’ve been thinking a lot about human nature and natural instincts. Also about what nurtures us.

Jesus tells us to observe or look at the birds of the air and even the plants/flowers.

As I continue to bloom I get into God’s Word, & more importantly, I let His Word get into me.

Take a closer look at what Jesus says about nature & how we can look to it as an example of His handiwork:

Jesus addressed those who worried about life & making a living. He says,

“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing?

Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them.

And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?

Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

“And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
Matthew 6:25‭-‬30 NLT

I’m consistently amazed at what our Creator has made, how He rules over it, continues to develop, maintain it, and reproduce it.

I believe God The Father is our Creator and although we live here on mother earth He is still the one to give glory to, HE IS in the simple & complexity of what science we know, discover & participate in.

Perhaps it’s time for you and me to,

Let go & let God.

He’s got this. He knows best and He will prevail. Our only real task is to follow His lead & enjoy the life He gives.

Pick up again at Verse 31 of Matt 6 –

“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and HE will give you everything you need.

“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
Matthew 6:31‭-‬34 NLT

Too cute:

More too cute:

Dear Christian,

We share because of our personal experience.
We share because we care.
We share because Christ shared with us & wants us to do the same as He has done.

Link to article “Non-Believer, Part 1” from the blog, “Those Who Sin Differently”:

Those Who Sin Differently

Imagine that you found the perfect food at a nearby restaurant.  It’s something new, with a name that you’re not sure how to pronounce, and – at first – you have to point at the menu to indicate what you want to order, because you don’t know how to pronounce it.  This lunch is so great, though, that you go out to get it once or twice a week, and always order the same thing.  The servers – and even the manager of the restaurant – get to know you by name, and welcome you with, “The usual, today?” (saving you from the awkward menu-pointing).  The taste is so great that you can’t wait to make room in your schedule to stop by and order more food, but the meal is so filling that each time you finish one, even though you want more, your stomach forces you to to…

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Time To Eat! You Are What You Eat.

Time to eat! Words we all perk up to, but as important as it is for us to take in food for the nutrition our body needs, so also our minds & our spirit (soul) needs to be feed.

I believe that regardless if we go to church or not, belong to a group, or particular denomination or not, God can and will feed our souls through His inspired word (The Bible).

He gives us all that we need in His Words and never before in history have we had as many translations and adaptations.

Today’s thoughts are from: the @YouVersion plan ‘COMIC BIBLE – The Book Of God’. Check it out here:


No other book has such a legacy. It has shaped the laws of nations and the hearts of individuals. It has inspired great works of art and helped people through times of hardship. It has given moral guidance and inspiration. World leaders have looked to the Bible when facing monumental choices. Children have looked to the Bible for the same reason, if on a different scale.

It is a book both universal and personal. It speaks to everyone, if they let it, breaking down barriers of nationality, gender, and even time, as it was originally written by members of a small nation/tribe in the Middle East a few thousand years ago.

But for all its grandeur, there is still a fundamental question: What is it to you?

In today’s reading, Christ is using the words of Scripture to combat the temptations that Satan is throwing at him. When asked to turn stones into bread, Jesus counters, “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

Bread can be baked by the greatest master chef, but it does no good if it is not eaten. It may smell pleasant, as anyone who has witnessed the warm scent of freshly baked bread as it fills the house can attest. And for many people, the Bible only affects them like the scent of bread: an external warm feeling. They have benefitted from its effects on other people, and maybe they have even appreciated its artistry and practical wisdom.

But, like bread, it does no personal good unless it is ingested. Read, studied, internalized, meditated on, memorized.

What is the Bible to you? Why?

What does a life look like that does not live “on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God”? How does your life look compared to that?

Bible Verses for this:

And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”
Matthew 4:3‭-‬4 ESV

And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord .
Deuteronomy 8:3 ESV

My goal is to ingest & digest His Word, devouring it so much until I am “Spiritual overweight”, and overflowing with Him.

This is just day 1 of the @YouVersion plan ‘COMIC BIBLE – The Book Of God’. For more Check it out here:

Also, especially for youth, those young at heart, & those artistically motivated check out the graphic novel version:

Far and Away by Neil Peart A Book Review

I just finished reading/listening to the 1st book in this 3 book series.

Far and Away

Far and Near

Far and Wide

I’m a great admirer of Neil Peart. He is perhaps best known for being the percussionist & lyricist for the classic rock band Rush; however, he is also the author of several books. I Love hearing about traveling, drumming with Rush, and all the things Peart shares about his perspectives in life.

I was so glad to hear in this book (Far And Away a prize every time copyright 2011) that he had another daughter, after hearing about his 19 yr. old daughter dieing back in ’97 and her mother dieing in ’98. His new daughter was born close to the anniversary of his other daughter’s death and coincidentally she is not much younger than my youngest (Abigail). To top it off her name is Olivia, the same name as my 15yr. old (the oldest of my 3 younger daughters).

I wrote a short review on my facebook page and on audible but wanted to go into more details; after all, that is what my blog is for.

Peart (emphasis on the hard “e”) recalls what he sees while on his journeys, not just by tour bus but by motorcycle.

Here are a few thing I highlighted as I read:

He usually takes notes of various Church signs he sees. One said,

“To error is human, but it can be over done.”

He learned in his travels that VBS stands for Vacation Bible School, something I’ve almost just took for granted. He mused at the busses he saw for the large groups of kids on these vacations.

One such bus had a banner on the side that read:

“VBS – Soccer With Jesus.”

As Peart thought about what he read he went on to ask, “What position would the Son of God play?” Then he assumed the answer would be, “Coach!” Although you could hear the scepticism in his words, almost like, “Coach?” Because I only have the book through audible and it is wonderfully read by Brian Sutherland I could not see if there was a question mark, nor know for sure. I only know through this book, as well as other books I’ve read by Peart, that he is not a believer in God or His Son. I don’t hold that against him, I know too he’d want it that way.

Another thing I missed out on by just having the book on audible was the pictures in the printed version. Neil refers to them throughout his writings. I was, however, able to google for them.

Pearttwent on with the literal thought of, “Soccer with Jesus” and wondered, “Would that make Mary? A soccer mom?”

He notes a few signs he sees held up by fans in crowds. One night on stage right he saw one that read,

“If I loved a woman like I love this band I’d still be married.”

Stage left another,

“I support my husband’s rush addiction.”

He stated, “Two very different stories there obviously.”

One last sign in the crowd I also thought was cute read,

“VBS field trip.”


Rush fans are really a different breed of people, perhaps more dedicated in some ways than many rock band fans.

In this book Peart also addresses the physical pains that accompany drumming, another thing I can truly identify with.

Throughout this book, much like his other writings, he paints pictures with words. Specifically in this book I enjoyed how he described tracks he saw left in the snow while on one of his trips snow skiing or snow shoeing. He says, those tracks are like,

“Stories written in the snow but (he) seldom spots their elusive authors in the silent woods.”

Although some of Neil Peart’s philosophy and beliefs, or lack there of, differs from my own I enjoyed many of his thoughts & contributions. He is in no way against people sharing their faith, convictions, & beliefs with him and the world he just wishes more people were kind when doing so. He is also opposed to people forcing things, anything, upon others (ref. 2112). I agree, “ain’t that the truth brother!”

An old Rush song, “Freewill”, still says it best,

“If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice… I will choose freewill.”

I wrote an article on this as well see👉Freewill👈( for that.

A few things he says in this book I added to my own personal journal. Such as,

“What can’t be altered must me endured,

and sometimes,

What can’t be endured must be altered.”

He also gives what I consider very good advice. One of many things he offers is to,

“Wake up every morning like it’s the last day of your life. Go to sleep at night like you’re going to live forever.”

He takes what he reads (which is a lot), what others say, what he sees & experiences, mulls over it all, then develops a way of life that has not only served him well but benefits those around him & all who read his writings & listen to his lyrics.

Another form of transportation Peart takes is by ferry when possible. That is where he learned the origin of the word posh, “Port side Out Starboard side Home.” He is always trying to get the best views and that advice served many sea traveling guest well when on just such a venture.

On the subject of journaling he says,

“Every detail I think of writing down seem inconsequential; and yet it is the sum of those details that made the day.”

By the end of this book he expresses how he feels about finding out what the purpose of life is.

He mentions a few quotes from others & refers to many books he has written reviews on. He gives great examples and attributes credit to several things he reads and hopes to convey in his own writing. One he personally shared is,

“Be kind. For, everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” -Philo of Alexandria (a Jewish philosopher who lived in Egypt under the Romans at the time of Christ)”

Peart questions, “why we haven’t learned or applied what these ancient sages had to offer.”

He goes on to suggest that the easy answer is, “Humans are weak willed & self centered.” Here I refer back to one of the signs he saw,

To error is human, but it can be over done.

Yet it seems strange to him that we often resist clear goodness, like generosity to the less fortunate. He is bothered how coldly many human beings are, slow to do such good acts, but how readily they devote themselves, unstintingly, to following meaningless ritual and customs.

To me, this part was much like reading C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Leters. Peart notes how many observer a Holy holiday without fail, yet are unlikely to commit random acts of kindness regularly in everyday life. Peart agrees that the human race has a lot of work to do when it comes to being kind & appreciating others who are fighting a hard battle every day.

He discussed it with friends and he has discovered much within the past two years. While he was not just writing this but living this life; far and away, riding his motorcycle along an American back road, skiing through the Quebec woods, or laying awake in a backwater motel contemplating the spirit of generosity, he engaged himself to these thoughts and ultimately the theme he was grappling with was the meaning of life,

“Love & respect.”

To get the full grasp of what Neil has come to understand first hand you’ll need to read this book for yourself, but I do want to share in short here how he still struggles with a few thoughts, or call them philosophical dilemmas if you will.

Although he comes to this wonderful discovery and conclusion that life should be about love & respect for others, and for ourselves, he claims that no one ever told him this. He had to find out for himself. Perhaps that is the way it is for many of us, but then again if we were told would we have accepted it, or comprehend it, when we were told?

As I heard these words read to me I was saddened to hear the list of people Peart mentioned who he would have liked to hear say these facts, purpose, and meaning of life words, “To love & respect.”

In his own pursuit of happiness Neil Peart sadly states that no one ever told him this: not his mom & dad, not Revered Chism as St. Andrews United Church, not Miss Masters in grade 6 (she gave small prizes to students who memorized Bible verses), not Confucius, not Muhammad, Krishna, not even Jesus. To this I’d like to say to Neil,

“Many may not have told you but Jesus did & still does, it is up to us to listen.”

I, not Neil, can say that I know and believe who my coach, musical director, riding partner, & author of life is, for me personally, it is Jesus Christ.

Just as Peart shares his experiences and faith, so do I, in everything I do. Most importantly I strive to be like Christ. He not only said & still says today, “We are to love, respect and be generous to others”, HE lived it out. Christ did not and does not just tell us with words but said it all with His actions too.

Here is the documented truth behind the philosophy Christ not only taught but practiced. We can still read & apply it to this day:

One of the teachers of religious law was standing there listening to the debate. He realized that Jesus had answered well, so he asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord . And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important:

‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

No other commandment is greater than these.”
Found in the gospel of Mark 12:28‭-‬31 NLT

That specific verse (Mark 12:31) within that text ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ is called, “The golden rule” by many. Most likely it was even one of the verses his grade 6 teacher rewarded them for memorizing.

I will agree that we may not see the examples Christ set lived out by many people. Each of us as individuals need to show much more selfless love, respect & generosity.

So, over all in conclusion, this is another great read by Peart. He is a very sincere man and detailed author. He doesn’t hold back and it always amazes me how well he puts things down into writing. As I read his works I feel as if I am right there with him on the journey & experiences he shares with the reader.

If you too like hearing about traveling, especially by motorcycle, drumming, and his participation in the classic rock band Rush, all along with a few philosophical thoughts along the lines of being the best you can be, & doing the best you can do check it out.

And now, for the reprise,

“Wake up every morning like it’s the last day of your life. Go to sleep at night like you’re going to live forever.”

Which someday he may make into a song, a song called, “Far and Away.”

With much love & respect, beetle

If you’re interested, I’ve also written several articles regarding my take on some songs by Rush. You can find the index to those articles by going to 👉Moving Pictures The Series👈 (

For a listen of the book go to:

Short Read: Sorting Through the Noise

This morning I had a great read from the blog, “Those Who Sin Differently” (

Go to link above for more inspiration in following God & His Word.

Here is a portion of what I highlighted today from this particular blog post.

He writes:

Real truth doesn’t need us to pick and choose what is correct; instead, the truth is already the truth. However, it is important that we be able to sort out what is true and what is not.

Like several jigsaw puzzles mixed in the same box, we need a clear picture of what is true so that we can tell which pieces are the right ones for us to apply to life.

All of the other pieces may fit together and make pictures from other puzzles, but those are not the ones that God created us to work on.

We must divide the truth from lies, and find the truth among the noise around us.

we need to use the truth of God’s Word appropriately.

When the circumstances call for a paintbrush, the truth shouldn’t be used like sandpaper. When truth should be used to repair, we can harm others if we use it like a sledgehammer.

Truth is already here. We must handle it carefully, keeping it pure and untainted. However, we don’t just make it up.

The truth exists, even before we figure it out.

A math problem in school might take a while to work out, but its answer existed before we calculated it.

Some truth takes investigation, study, and research, but God gives us all of the truth that we need for our lives.

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15 NASB

The King James Version has the phrase, “rightly dividing the word of truth.” at the end of this verse, which is the phrase that my pastor friend used.

Between the two translations, there seem to be a couple of important points implied here.

The things that are true in this world are competing with countless voices that are wrong.

After all, where there is one right answer, there can be a million wrong answers.

Only with a strong grasp on the truth, taken from a reliable source (like the Bible), can we even tell the difference.

In order to succeed at this, though, we must take hold of the truth that is available to us: reading the Bible, asking for God’s help in understanding it, listening for the Holy Spirit’s guidance, and studying the words of those who faithfully teach its message.

More than that, though, we must use it wisely, applying the right truth for each situation.

This was such a good read this morning, reminding me where to go for true & accurate guidance.

Again, check out:

for more devotional thoughts & other Bible Studies.


Go with God, beetle

Those Who Sin Differently

I admit to not reading everything that is sent to me.  I skim through certain e-mail notes at work (sometimes, at my own peril!).  I browse through a newspaper page in no particular order (except for the comics).  I rarely read through an entire web page, especially if it contains notes off to the side.

In one sense, this is the cost of living in an information-saturated world.  There’s just no way for any of us to absorb everything that we could be reading, watching, or listening to – at least, not in one lifetime.

In another sense, though, skimming – to sort out the important content from the unimportant content – is simply part of trying to make good use of my time.  When I don’t have the luxury of taking everything in, I must figure out what is useful (or interesting), and what is just noise.  Some days…

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“History Brief: Daily Life in the 1930s”

After watching this I was just thinking to myself, How do we live now in comparison?

Regardless of our culture, our century, our circumstances I focus on Romans 12:

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you.

Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable.

This is truly the way to worship him.

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.

Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are.

Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.

Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well.

So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them.

Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.

Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.

Rejoice in our confident hope.

Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.

When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them.

Always be eager to practice hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them.

Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.

Live in harmony with each other.

Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people.

And don’t think you know it all!

Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable.

Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.

Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord.

Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.”

Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.
Romans 12:1‭-‬21 NLT

Enough said, Beetle