Thursday, January 31, 2008

Fool's Gold

"The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God'" (Psalm 14:1,'s in there twice because God knew some would say "huh?" the first time they read it).

But, have you noticed that when that fool gets angry, he suddenly becomes religious and can talk to and about nothing else? "Where is God when I need Him?" "How could God let this happen?" "If You loved me, You would help me out of this mess!"

As a full time believer in God, I find unbelievers' views fascinating, perplexing, and often quite disturbing. I've known people who get mad at a God they only believe in when they get mad at God.

I don't know what else to call that but reverse hypocrisy. Followers of Christ are always being slammed as "hypocrites," and we often deserve it. Our lives don't always reflect our testimonies of faith.

But if I'm a hypocrite when I don't live what I believe, then what do we call a person who doesn't believe in God, yet frequently flings a complaint toward heaven? If there is no God, why ring His doorbell at the midnight hour of your suffering?

Makes no sense. In fact, it's downright fool-i-s-h. Ah! God must be right. Why would a non-existent God set up a complaint department?

The truth is...God does exist and we all know that truth innately. "What may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them" (Romans 1:19).

We don't have to like the fact that God exists because God created us with a free will. But He does exist. I don't like broccoli, but I know the vile weed exists!

We can willfully believe anything, regardless of how far it bends the needle past the stupid meter.

Maybe I'm asking too much. If the Bible says that atheism is for fools, then how can I expect a fool to act any other way than foolish?

Oh, by the way...for anyone reading this who truly believes there is no God, you might be interested to know that God Himself said, "there is no God." He sure did. You might check that verse out because what greater evidence to support your theory than for God Himself to say "there is no God?" It's in Deuteronomy 32:39.

Couldn't Resist,
Perry Crisp

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Rugged Cross Far Better than Paper Rug

My hope has been lifted to a whole new level! I received a thing in the mail this week informing me that a certain "church" in Oklahoma has prayed for me ("or whoever's hand touches this envelope") -- and I am going to be blessed!

They even sent me this cool prayer rug made out of paper. All I have to do is touch both of my knees to the prayer rug, ask God for anything I want (they even gave examples of "what I want" -- a Mercedes, a helicopter, a lottery jackpot).

There's a picture of Jesus on the paper rug. His eyes are closed. But when I finish praying, all I have to do is stare at His eyes and they will open. If they do, my prayers are answered. Then, I have to RUSH the rug (along with a form where I can enclose a donation) back to the Oklahoma "church" so another person named "Occupant" can get the same holy rug blessing.

If you are taking me or them seriously at this point, you need to log off of your computer, find a New Testament, Bible-believing church with an emergency room entrance and go to it as quickly as need Biblical Therapy!

God answers prayer. But He doesn't need paper rugs or holy envelopes. God is waiting for you to pray. And He knows your name isn't "occupant." God is prepared to bless you. But His blessings are eternal, spiritual, emotional, supernatural, often physical, and occasionally financial. God is not as interested in what you drive as He is what drives you. God is not nearly as apt to increase the odds of your gambling habit as He is to pay the debt of your sin.

God is bigger than that "church" in Oklahoma figures. His prayer lines are not for your profit. His throne room is not your casino. He doesn't exist to wait on you. You were created to serve Him.

He will take care of you. He will meet your needs. He will bless you as He chooses, and He looks at your obedience to His Son more than He checks to see if both knees are touching a paper Jesus.

All you need to know about prayer is found in the Bible, not in your mailbox. I won't waste time arguing how powerful prayer is because it is more powerful than any of us will take the time to realize and/or incorporate into our daily lives.

We don't need to open Jesus' eyes. Jesus needs to open ours. His words of truth are there for all to see: "And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it" (John 14:13-14).

My hope is lifted. Not by a bunch of materialistic promises underlined in red on an envelope. But by the knowledge that God knows me by name, knows my past, present, and future needs, and cares for me enough to provide all that I need rather than all that I want.

Preferring a Personal Jesus to a Paper One,
Perry Crisp

Monday, January 28, 2008

No Bottom - No Problem

Some things have no bottom. The stomach of a teenage boy, for example. Can I get an a-men? They can hold ten times their own body weight at one setting, ask for dessert, and then be back in the pantry an hour later, moaning, "I'm hu-u-u-u-ngry."

There seems to be no bottom to the depths people will go to get money without having to earn it. There seems to be no bottom to the ignorance of people who can't sing, yet willingly share their painful lack of talent with the whole world on television.

There would be no bottom to this devotional if I were to try to list all the bottomless immorality that spans and spams this "Christian" nation called America.

I remember an old television commercial where trash littered a highway and a Native American stood on the side of that highway with tears streaming down his face. Apply that same idea to the founders and framers of this nation standing practically anywhere in America. They wouldn't just have a few tears. They would need immediate hospital care and fast-acting anti-depressants.

Ah, but all that is bottomless is not bad! Paul writes in Romans 5 of the super abundance of God's grace. While sin seems to have no end, it in fact DOES have an end. And if you stood at the very end of sin and looked out beyond it, you would still see grace as far as your eyes of faith would allow you. Grace is bottomless!

So is love. It is one thing to be amazed by God's grace; it's another to personally experience the length and depth of God's grace and realize that the source of it all is the Father's love.

Love has no bottom. There's not a stop sign on the road of love. 1st Corinthians 13 tells us that "love never fails." That means it never stops being love. Love never stops growing long. But it never stops growing deep, either. Love never ceases to increase in volume or in time.

Paul commended the Christians at Thessalonica for the depth of their love for one another (1st Thessalonians 4:9, 10). But then he said, "As good as ya'll are doing loving one another, I just want to encourage to keep loving one another a whole bunch more" (PV - perryphrase version). There's always more love.

However much you realize God loves you, slap the weight of a thousand universes on top of that and you've just added 1/1000th of a percent of the magnitude of God's love for you.

And if that blows your mind, let me 'splain something to ya: God's love for you truly has no end, so you can go ahead and add as many 0's to the above figure as you'd like and still not define the depth of God's love.

Go ahead. Get a new pencil and start adding zeros. Don't stop for lunch, don't sleep, just keep adding zeros, keep sharpening pencils, from now till next Christmas. You'll still be 99 yards from a touchdown on a billion football fields.

Better yet -- avoid the carpal tunnel syndrome you will get from that exercise and turn those zeros into hosannas! Praise and thank the Lord that His love and grace have no bottom.

Diving Into a Bottomless Bowl of Gratitude & Joy,
Perry Crisp
"As you have believed, so let it be done for you" (Matthew 8:13). And so often it is.

These words of Jesus were for a specific situation where a man with an ailing servant asked Jesus to intervene. Jesus commended the man's faith as the best faith He'd seen, even among the Israelites.

But even outside of that context, Jesus' words bring a universal truth to light: As you have believed, let it be done for you.

Some people say we get what we pay for. But then I see my tax dollars at work and beg to differ. By watching today's children in Wal-Mart, I'm tempted to think we get what we cry for. In our miserable excuse for a justice system, it appears we get what we sue for. At the doctor's office, we get what we are insured for...sometimes.

But honestly...don't we so often get what we "faith" for? The hypochondriac's tombstone reads, "I told you I was sick" for a reason. What we believe impacts what we receive.

Everywhere God shines light, the devil makes shadow puppets to shed a little darkness over the truth. So every time Jesus tells us of the simplicity of faith and the greatness that can be accomplished if we would only believe, the devil brings in his red-suited lawyers to pick truth apart with deception and lies.

This devotional is done, but our meditation on this truth from Jesus should stay stamped upon our minds for a long time:
"As you have believed, so let it be done for you."

"And his servant was healed THAT SAME HOUR..." (same verse)... I guess Jesus was telling the truth, eh? He's pretty big on that.

What you believe can happen can happen,
Perry Crisp

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Do You Have the Time?

Timing is everything. But I can't see the clock. If I'd known a five-second hesitation would have given me a closer parking space, I would have waited. If I'd known the baby was about to do that, I would have given him back to his mother. If I'd known the market was going to go back up today, I wouldn't have sold the stock yesterday.

My time machine only runs in real time. I have no idea what is going to happen or when. Whether we are talking "big things" or "little things," the clock remains a blur. Gas is unpredictable. Gas prices, I mean. The only predictable thing about gas prices is that the price will drop after I fuel up. And it will drop exponentially equal to the amount I put in the tank. If the gas prices drop twenty-five cents a gallon, you can thank me. That means I filled up the day before.

Jesus saw the clock. He was all about perfect timing. One day Jesus' brothers were trying to advise Him on how to promote Himself. They thought He should take His miracle-working act to Jerusalem while there was a big feast going on so He could "wow" the crowds. But Jesus knew what time it was. And Jesus said, "My time has not yet come, but your time is always ready" (John 7:6).

Jesus knew the plan for His life so perfectly that He even knew when He should and should not go to Jerusalem. For every second of Jesus' earthly ministry there was a definite moment drawn from a grand scheme so that Jesus knew what to do when.

Even though we can't see the clock, Jesus said some rather urgent things about it. "Your time is always ready," He said to His brothers. It's no coincidence that just before Jesus said that, John stated, "For even His brothers did not believe in Him" (v. 5).

Paul wrote, "Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation" (2nd Corinthians 6:2). Because we can't see the clock, we need to take God's Word for it. If you haven't accepted Jesus as your personal Savior and trusted His sacrificial death on the cross as payment for your sins, then you need to hear Jesus say, "Your time is always ready." NOW would be the best time to give Him your life.

Perry Crisp

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Tachometer Ears

There's something about James. Poor guy almost didn't make it through the process of being canonized in Scripture. Can you imagine the Bible without James? Can you imagine the phrase, "be doers of the word and not hearers only" being dropped to the cutting room floor?

But God was in control of things when the sixty-six books of the Bible were put together. And I'm glad. I can understand why some didn't want James in the Bible. James pulls no punches. James is like the snarling, stomping, spitting evangelists that once roamed up and down the aisles of churches. Tough to take, at times. But full of truth we need to hear whether we like it or not.

My favorite section of James is in the first chapter. In verse 19, James barks out orders like a commanding officer, "Now hear this!" Then he gives the follower of Christ very specific orders. Three very specific orders that, when applied to our relationships and discussions, could spare us a lot of misunderstanding and conflict.

"Be quick to hear." The word in the original language is "tachus" where we get our word, "tachometer." James is telling us to check the speed of our hearing. Hearing is usually not the pedal of choice for a heavy foot. We tend to stomp on the gas with our mouths instead of our ears.

"Be slow to speak." Living in East Texas, I am quite familiar with slow speech. I've seen locals that can drawl an "a-men" out for so long that I could eat a candy bar before continuing with my sermon. But James isn't talking about stretching syllables. He means, "slow to begin speaking." Once you have listened well, THINK before you speak.

"Be slow to anger." Will Rogers said it well, "People who fly into a rage always make a bad landing."

These three, taken together, can make a world of difference in your life. They are eliminatory. If you are quick to hear and you listen well, you will be less likely to pop off or speak hastily. And if you listen well and speak wisely, you will be less inclined to have boiling, bubbling anger spew the lid off your conversations.

So, to translate James 1:19 in a perryphrase format: "Pay attention! Be quick to respond with your ears (listen well). Be slow to begin with your mouth (muzzle your mouth and consider what you've heard before speaking). Temper your tantrums."

A softer, gentler fan of the saucy, gritty James...
Perry Crisp

Monday, January 21, 2008


All cute puppies and kittens should come with the same warning label: If you feed me, I will grow.

A disclaimer on the reverse side of the label should follow: Once you start feeding me, you will have to keep feeding me. I will never learn to feed myself, nor will my appetite ever decrease. You are taking on a serious one-sided commitment here. Though I am cute and fun now, I will soon grow weary of your games, become increasingly lazy, and may develop an attitude.

Case in point: Kudo. Kudo began life tragically. At a very young age, he was separated from his mother and siblings. He somehow managed to get in the way of a road construction crew on a busy highway. The young, black pup was tossed and rolled in front of a road grater and left wounded and alone in a pile of dirt and gravel.

The whimpering pup caught the ear of a teenage girl who ran to his rescue. My daughter was driving along the highway at this time and saw her teenage friend rescuing the beat-up pup. Of the two teenage heroines, only one had a pushover parent who would allow the roadside orphan to take up residence in his home. Yep. Yours truly. The pup was fuzzy on the outside and tough on the inside, and I was just the opposite.

While it was my daughter and her friend who saved the pup's life, it is I who regularly maintain it. This story would be so much more Norman Rockwell if the cute little puppy grew up to be a small, fragile, intelligent, well-mannered dog. Ha! Not only did the dog grow huge and strong, he's also hyper and mentally challenged.

An animal psychologist I am not, but here's my evaluation of dear Kudo: He is something I feed every day, yet cannot control.

It's time to cross the bridge from the animal kingdom to the Kingdom of God. James 1:14-15 speaks of the temptation to feed our desires. Those desires are very enticing. But the argument of James and much of the New Testament is that what you feed, will grow. There are all kinds of negative applications here. Addictions and "ism's" can all be traced back to a little puppy that once seemed like harmless fun. Now, it's something you feed every day and can't control.

So what can you do? Starve yourself? Absolutely not. You should keep feeding yourself. But change the menu. Feast on the Word of God. Pack your spirit full of nutrients as you pack your mind full of truth. Spend so much time reading and concentrating on what the Bible says that you don't have time to feed anything else.

The Bible Buffet is open 24/7...and you don't have to count calories.
Perry Crisp

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Bon Appetite


(Menu might best be understood by reading Galatians 5:16-26)

Fleshly Appetizers……………….………………………….………$Your Purity
(Includes Sauteed Sexual Immorality, a generous sample of Moral Impurity a la Mode and a side dish of Peppered Promiscuity)

Idolatry/Sorcery Combination Platter…………………………$Your Soul
(Choose from a wide variety of idols or a spicy array of sorcery. For those who enjoy a variety, why not combine your sorcery with your favorite idols for a taste you won’t soon forget!)

Hatred Buffet………………………………………………..$Your Relationships
(Many of our customers enjoy battling our bountiful buffet. You will find succulent strife, jaw-tingling jealousy, and old-fashioned outbursts of anger that will remind you of home and keep you coming back for more.)

From the Dessert Table:

“Selfish Ambition” (Hard Flesh Café’s most popular dessert!)

“Dissension” (You won’t want to share this delectable dessert with anyone!)

“Factions” (Comes in generous portions!)

“Envy” (Everyone’s eye will be on THIS dessert when it comes to your table!)

(Free Refills!)



Manager’s Note: There is much, much more available to you than is listed on the menu. If you think of something your flesh desires, ask your waiter or waitress. We will bring it right out!

Whatever That French Word is for "Enjoy your meal,"
Perry Crisp

Monday, January 14, 2008

Killer Voices

Enemy forces joined together and marched toward Judah in massive force. Multitudes of capable warriors were only miles away, ready to pounce on the weak, unsuspecting nation. King Jehoshaphat received very bad news from the JIA (Judah Intelligence Agency): "We have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us, nor do we know what to do" (2 Chronicles 20:12). "Jehoshaphat feared" (v. 3).

When it seems defeat is inevitable, it always helps to remember these words from this same story: "The battle is not yours, but God's" (v. 15). Sure, Jehoshaphat feared. But the verse doesn't end there. Fear was the initial reaction, not the course of action. "Jehoshaphat feared, AND SET HIMSELF TO SEEK THE LORD."

By doing so, the king set in motion a series of events that required the direct involvement of God to explain the outcome. I love the outcome. "Now when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated" (v. 22).

Talk about the choir knockin' 'em dead! "When Judah came to a place overlooking the wilderness, they looked toward the multitude (the enemy's camp or stronghold); and there were their dead bodies, fallen on the earth. No one had escaped" (v. 24).

No, their singing was not that awful. Their God is just that powerful! Jehoshaphat and Judah understood something that we too easily forget: "You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem! Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow, go out against them, for the Lord is with you" (v. 17).

Look back at the first paragraph and read the first verse I quoted (v. 12). I must confess I didn't quite finish that verse. Hear the end of that statement now: "but our eyes are upon You" (v. 12).

When a people turn their fear into faith and choose to submit the situation totally to God instead of surrendering in defeat or sulking in despair, God rolls up His sleeves. And if you want to see God blow your socks off in the way that He works, keep your sword in your belt, and belt out some "hallelujah's" -- sing His praises -- and see His power!

There are so many keys to the victory that Jehoshaphat and Judah saw that day. Sure, when they "stood up to praise the Lord God of Israel with voices loud and high" (v. 19), God moved in power and might. But before they stood to praise, they bowed their faces to the ground in God's presence and worshipped Him (v. 18).

What enemy has you in sight? What force greater than you leans heavily upon you? Remember what the true enemy of your soul wants you to forget: "The Lord is with you," and "the battle is not yours, but God's!" Oh, and remember this as well -- You have a killer voice whenever you sing God's praises.

Be warned, devil -- I'm about to become a one-man hallelujah choir!
Perry Crisp