Nuggets – God’s Ways Are Best

God’s Ways Are Best
“And the word of the Lord came unto [Elijah], saying, Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.” (1 Kings 17:8-9

The leading of God is not always clear to our understanding or satisfying to our pride, but it is always directed to God’s glory and our good. Elijah had been supernaturally fed by ravens until the brook of Cherith dried up due to the very drought that Elijah had prophesied. Then, instead of supernaturally providing water, God told Elijah to move to a village in Zidon to stay with a poor widow who would feed him.

But Zidon was the home of the idolatrous queen, Jezebel, who would soon become Elijah’s implacable enemy. Furthermore, he would have to so humble himself as to request that the widow share what she thought would be her last meal with a stranger whom she had never met and who had claimed to be the prophet of a God she did not know. What a strange way for God to deal with His servant!

Nevertheless, Elijah obeyed God without question, and so did the widow of Zarephath, and thus the Lord was able to perform two of His mightiest miracles of creation. At the same time, He was able to meet the deep spiritual needs, as well as the physical needs, of this unlikely duo—the greatest spiritual leader of his age and an insignificant widow. An amazing daily miracle of continuing the creation of oil and meal took place as long as the drought continued. And then an even more amazing miracle was accomplished, when, for the first time in all history so far as the record goes, one who was dead (the widow’s son) was restored to life (1 Kings 17:20-24), and the woman came to believe that Jehovah was the true God. God’s ways may not be our ways, but they are always best. May He give us the grace always to obey His word, whether or not we fully understand. HMM

From the Institute for Creation Research


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ATB 38 A Square Peg

As I prepared to go to work this morning I did follow my usual routine.  Part of my routine includes listening to the news while I am getting ready.

I must admit that watching or listening to the news each morning can be both inspiring and as well discouraging.  At times as I prepare to leave I do so with a sense of hope that all will be well.  And then there are those times when I leave home feeling that things don’t seem likely to work out.

Each of us I believe on a daily basis is dealing with many different things in our lives.  As well we are also on a daily basis subject to a constant barrage of images and messages that attempt to shape and define us as individuals.

It is in my opinion that in the times that we are living in there is constant pressure to try to fit in.  Fitting in is not necessarily a bad thing.  But more often than not we find that there is a growing mindset that popularizes the theory that those who choose not to fit in are by definition missing out or dare we say the odd balls.  At times we find that the choice of not fitting in may lead some to feel that something is wrong with them or that perhaps they have made a bad choice.

To this end I can remember as a child hearing an old saying.  “You can’t squeeze a square peg in a round hole.”

A Square Peg.  I have to admit.  In looking over the course of my life I have been that square peg.  Truth be told on many an occasion I have tried to fit in.  At times I was successful, and at other times I came up a little bit short.  But even during those times where I thought I was being successful fitting in, being that square peg fitting in a round hole, in truth it was at best nothing more than an illusion.

How often has each of us in our lives found ourselves trying to fit it?  Insisting that at times in spite of the fact that we were a square peg, we still we would make it point to at times to even force ourselves to fit into that round hole.

Yes at times we did fit in.  But I would surmise that during those times when we forced ourselves to fit in there was that feeling that something was not quite right.  A feeling that was telling us to not to try to fit in but to be who and what we are called to be.

As Christians each of us has a calling and a purpose to our lives.  No calling is the same.  God has a purpose and plan for everyone.  The ways of this world would implore us to fit in, to be like others.  But as the scriptures declare, the ways of man are not those of God.  God’s calling on our lives will result in us many times being that square peg that does not fit into the round hole, that being of this world.

Psalms 25:4 declares” Show me your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths.  As we follow in the foot path of the Lord my prayer is that we do so with the knowledge that yes, we will indeed wind up being that square peg that doesn’t fit in with others around us, or even the world itself.  But as it stands in my life, if I am in accordance with God himself, and if in fact I know from whom all blessings flow, then indeed it will be well with my soul.

Yes perhaps I will not fit in, and my being that square peg may not be understood by others, but I will stand on the promise that when it is all said and done, it isn’t about this world that we live in.  Nor is it about what others may say or do.  It is most of all about the will of God.

My desire is to be obedient, and to be pleasing in his sight.  A square peg to others, but to my Lord and savior, a willing servant whose choice is to stand with the Lord.

To God be the Glory

Alan T. Black

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Behind the Scenes

Fireplace Screen ~ Ryan’s Sophomore Project (Spring 2018)

After a grueling fall semester, my oldest son, Ryan, is still home for a much-needed break before heading back to campus. But the time has passed quickly leaving only one short week with us before returning to school in Charleston at the American College of the Building Arts where he’s in his junior year in the iron working program. Regular readers already know that his school is a unique university that according to their mission statement “educates and trains artisans in the traditional building arts to foster exceptional craftsmanship and encourage the preservation, enrichment, and understanding of the world’s architectural heritage through a liberal arts education.” Or as I explain it, students learn ‘old world’ crafts (blacksmithing, plaster work, stone carving, timber framing) with ‘new world’ application.

It’s definitely a different track than most kids choose nowadays, but one that has proved to be perfectly suited for him as his skills have grown exponentially in just a couple of years. When we tell people that Ryan is studying to be a blacksmith, (often met with confused looks), they usually ask how he ended up in such an unusual field, to which either Clif or I tell the same story…

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Nuggets – The Brightness of the Glory

The Brightness of the Glory
“Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” (Hebrews 1:3This verse constitutes one of Scripture’s most magnificent declarations of the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us examine the phrase “the brightness of his glory.”

The word for “brightness” is used only this one time in the Bible and means, literally, “out-radiating.” The word picture conveyed is of the energy overflow from the sun. The sun constitutes a tremendous generator of energy, more than adequate to sustain all processes on Earth. However, these energies would be utterly useless for any such noble purpose if they could not somehow be transmitted from sun to Earth. They are transmitted, however, through the remarkable radiant energy known as sunlight, or solar radiation.

It is this figure which the writer is using. As the sun’s rays are to the sun itself, so is Christ to the Godhead. He is “the light of the world” (John 8:12). It is He whose “goings forth” have been “everlasting” (Micah 5:2). His glorified countenance is “as the sun shineth in his strength” (Revelation 1:16). The Lord Jesus Christ is the life-giving radiation of the ineffable glory of the eternal One, from whose face one day the very heaven and earth will flee away (Revelation 20:11). “But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings [or ‘outspreadings’]” (Malachi 4:2).

And through this One who mediates God to us, we can enter boldly into His presence. “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). HMM

From the Institute for Creation Research

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Genesis 44 – A selfless act that changes everything

Teach us O Lord to do what is right in spite of wrongs that surround us. Thank you for looking after us. Amen.

Bible in a Year Blog

joseph judah

Today’s reading: Genesis 43-45.

Sometimes people with a track record of bad choices surprise you and do the right thing. That’s what happens in today’s reading, and for the first time in the Bible it leads to real reconciliation between brothers. It also sets Judah and his descendants on a new course.

Joseph’s brothers return to Egypt in need of food, even though it means taking Israel’s beloved son, Benjamin, with them. Joseph’s heart is moved deeply when he sees his younger brother, but he continues to hide his identity as he plants false evidence against his brothers and then threatens to imprison Benjamin. His pretended cruelty is part of a plan to reveal the true character of his brothers, and his plan works. Despite the shortcomings we’ve seen in him up until now, Judah offers himself as a prisoner in place of Benjamin.

“Now then, please let your servant remain…

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Genesis 41 – What makes a man wise?

Lord, when we know you and obey you we fear you – it is only then we walk in your will n perspective – we fear you. When we fear you we will walk in your wisdom. Thank you Lord fo making the way for us.

Bible in a Year Blog


Today’s reading: Genesis 41-42.

When faced with complex problems, some people present solutions that work. The more difficult the problem, the more profound their answer. But where does this wisdom come from? Think of a wise person you’ve known. What about them makes them wise? And what is the source of their wisdom?

Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you.” Genesis 41:39

After years as a slave and then in prison, Joseph is released, washed up, and brought before Pharaoh to interpret his dreams. By God’s power he explains that Pharaoh’s dreams are a forecast that Egypt will have seven years of plentiful harvests followed by seven years of great famine. Joseph then goes on to present a solution to this crisis: set up administrators that will collect and store twenty percent of the harvest…

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Genesis 39 – Finding good in a bad situation

The God on the mountain is also God in the valley. When things go wrong, He will make them right. Amen.

Bible in a Year Blog


Today’s  reading: Genesis 38-40.

We’ve all been stuck in bad situations, yet some survive and thrive while others sink deeper into the dark. Joseph’s journey into slavery can teach us a few things about surviving hard times and coming out stronger.

 But while Joseph was there in the prison, the LORD was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor… Genesis 39:20-21

Look at the difficulty of Joseph’s situation. He didn’t deserve to be a slave, or later to be in prison. He had done nothing wrong except get on the bad side of his brothers. He was falsely imprisoned. He was a victim of human trafficking. He was oppressed. He was a stranger in a strange land. He could have given up and despaired. In fact, there probably were days when he felt like giving up and giving in to depression. But Joseph overcame his dark days and…

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Genesis 37 – A dreamer and his brothers

Thank You Lord , despite our dreams and wanderings, we can return to Your good plan which make all things come together for good to those who love Ypu. Amen.

Bible in a Year Blog


Today’s reading: Genesis 35-37.

When a dreamer grows up in a dysfunctional family, there will be conflict. It’s no surprise that Joseph and his brothers don’t get along, but the degree of dislike is shocking. Unfortunately for Joseph , many of the themes of Genesis come into sharp focus in his life.

When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him. Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. Genesis 37:4-5

Joseph’s father favors him greatly, a practice Jacob (now called Israel) learned from his own parents. Parents should love and bless their children, but they should not be partial to one over another. If they do show favoritism, it will sow seeds of bitterness that bear poison fruit. “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to…

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Genesis 32 – Praying the promises of God

O Lord God, your word is yes and amen to those who believe. Thank you for remaining faithful to your word. Amen .

Bible in a Year Blog


Today’s reading: Genesis 32-34.

But you have said, ‘I will surely make you prosper and will make your descendants like the sand of the sea, which cannot be counted.’ Genesis 32:12

Jacob’s deceptions come back to haunt him in a big way as he faces a confrontational reunion with his brother, Esau. Jacob ran away twenty years earlier after his brother threatened to kill him for stealing his father’s blessing. Now Jacob is returning home and Esau is coming to meet him. Jacob sends his servants ahead of himself with gifts to try to mollify Esau, but he remains behind and prays.

Jacob prays well, because he prays the promises of God. Twenty years earlier God promised to make Jacob’s descendants as common as dust. He also promised he would be with him wherever he went. Now he gives those words back to God, linking his request for mercy and protection to God’s own…

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Life is Hard (But God is Good!)



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