Category Archives: Today’s Thoughts

Biblical insights and devotions for the day.

Christmas Is About Three Fathers…

Christmas Is About three Fathers…
By Pastor Lee Hemen
December 25, 2016

The other day as I was changing the diaper of my baby granddaughter it all of sudden hit me that Christmas is about so much more than a baby boy. It is about fathers as well. In fact it is about three of them that I know of. First, I cannot but wonder about the father of Mary who watched as his little pregnant daughter walked slowly down the dusty road leaving Nazareth. The trip would not be long by today’s standards but a huge undertaking for a new couple. Food, clothes, and necessities for a new baby and of course her care had to be carried. We forget people usually did not live past their 40s during this time and at a distance of about 89 miles would be a hard journey. I wonder if he looked at the night sky full of stars noticing that the one which shown brightest was in the sky near the place where his daughter journeyed to and thought about her. Was she safe? Had she given birth? Was Joseph taking care of her? Was the baby born healthy and strong? I am sure this father worried about his daughter so far away from home giving birth for the first time. Loving fathers are like that.

The second father I thought of was Joseph. Here he was a father for the first time, far from home town himself, and the only spot he could find for his pregnant wife was a stall for sheep and goats. It was comfortable at least, with some new hay for Mary to spread a cloak down. But now the baby, his baby, their baby was going to be born. I am sure growing up in a small farming community like Nazareth Joseph had watched siblings, other family members, or friends’ children being born. Certainly he watched as sheep gave birth. But now it would be his bride and his child. He could place the baby in the clean swaddling clothes they brought from Nazareth with some of the new hay in the feeding trough. I wonder as Joseph looked up at the stars shining in the night sky if he realized all the work being a father entailed? The mentoring, the training, the discipline, devotion, and the imparting of the love of God, would he be up to it all? As he looked at his little wife did he wonder at his role in being the father of the Messiah? I am sure he did and so much more because loving fathers are like that.

The third and final father I thought of was God himself. The mystery, the shear wonder, and the amazing thing God the father had decided to do since the beginning of all creation was about to occur. I stand in utter awe thinking about the fact that this was God the father’s plan all along: To come himself in the form of a human baby, born to a young Hebrew couple from a small village, in small stable on such a silent night. The birth as amazing as it truly is, is just a moment in time and fades in stature to the cruel death he would willingly face; a death that would become the sacrifice for all of our sin for those who believe and even those who do not. I wonder that as the stars danced in the sky he had created and as the young woman cried in the pains of childbirth if God the Father did not smile as his plan was being born. It makes me smile. I do not think he worried about anything at all, after all he foreordained it all. He had predetermined that on this particular night that this young couple would give birth, well, to him! He had told them both it would happen just as he knew it would and it did. As angels sang, shepherds trembled, Wisemen wandered, and mad kings plotted the plan of God the Father came together perfectly. The plans of our loving Father are like that.

Merry Christmas!

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Christmas Is All About Love…

One of the things I have learned over the years is that Christmas is all about love. It begins with God who is love displaying himself in his love for all mankind. And this marvelous and mysterious love has infected all of mankind whether they want to believe in that love or not. The infection has manifested itself throughout the entire world. God’s love does that whether we want it to or not. It is manifested in the godly things we do to one another without asking for anything in return. It is seen in the trust little children have in the belief that God’s love is found in believing in a saintly man who loves children enough he is willing to share that love to those who are willing to be good for goodness sake. It is heard in the songs sung about that silent night when two people became parents for the first time a long way from home and their baby boy would be the hope of all mankind. Love is displayed in the red, green, and white decorations that celebrate the coldness of winter but the warmth of that Godly love. The wrapped gifts given are the shadow of the wonderful Wisemen who journeyed across stream and fountain, moor and mountain to an animal feeding trough outside of a tiny town in an obscure kingdom ruled by a mad king to set before the king of Kings their precious offerings of love. The love of God is reflected in the lights strung on houses, trees, and bushes and buildings; they blind us as Holiday Displays or warm us next to a fireplace as they twinkle on a tree. Each and every part of Christmas may be prepackaged or commercial for some but there deep inside of all the Christmas dress up is the love of God. And whether you like it or not there it is, his love sent in his Son and it is his birthday we celebrate. That’s what Christmas is all about.

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Today’s Thoughts – Personal Mediocrity and Situational Ethics

Today’s Thoughts – Personal Mediocrity and Situational Ethics
By Pastor Lee Hemen
June 28, 2015

We live in an age of personal mediocrity and situational ethics. So much so that there are those who claim Christ, but who truly have no idea what that means. I was speaking with a young man the other day and we were discussing spirituality. I shared with him the gospel and he responded that he thought a lot of people believe in Jesus because they did good things, treated one another nice, and were basically good people. In fact, he thought of himself as a believer! I challenged him to consider the statement of Jesus himself where he declares that he is the only way, the only truth, and the only life and that no one will ever know God unless it is through him. And where Jesus declared himself God and that one must believe in him to have eternal life or die in their sins. He just kind of blinked at me and then said, “Well we all see Jesus differently.” As we talked further it became evident that he had settled for his own form of spirituality and has stopped investigating it any further because he is satisfied with his mediocrity and situational ethics. He considers himself a believer without ever believing! And herein lays the danger of most Christianity; too many have settled for their own brand of faith instead of what Jesus actually teaches.

At what point is disobedience, disobedience? We live in a day and age whereby everyone wants to define their faith their own way, and this is simply not biblical and in fact spiritually dangerous. The judgment of the Supreme Court on gay marriage makes this quite plain. Far too many who claim Christ does not see it as any big deal and why should they? After all at what point after we have committed adultery, fornication, clipped, cut, marked, and tattooed our body, used booze and recreational drugs, and reinterpreted Scripture to suit our own emotional proclivity of the moment does any spiritual concept have any relevance in one’s life? As I asked before, at what point is disobedience, disobedience? We no longer go to church to worship God, we go to worship ourselves worshiping the god-concept we have constructed to meet our emotional needs. It is shallow at best and heretical at its worst.

When we simply ignore or rewrite what the Bible plainly teaches on the concepts of holy living, we are living dangerously and may have walked away from the true faith once delivered to all the saints. And sadly, we therefore may have doomed future generations from hearing the truth because most folks will settle for spiritual mediocrity and situational ethics. The Israelites did. It makes one wonder.

This article is copyrighted © 2015 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.

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Are guns the problem or perhaps it is something else no one wants to admit?

Are guns the problem or perhaps it is something else no one wants to admit?
By Pastor Lee Hemen
June 12, 2014

What no else is addressing is the fact that ACTUAL school shootings usually are student on student violence. Why? Why is this happening when we are supposed to be living in the most enlightened age and we honor students for everything and anything? I believe it isn’t bullying, the availability of guns, or any other such nonsense. I believe it is because we no longer teach the sanctity of human life. This includes treating all women with respect. That the taking of a human life is horrendous — whether it is an abortion, suicide, or murder — that real men act like real men and are kind, considerate, courteous, brave, honest, trustworthy, sacrificial, gentle, chaste and godly. That real women act like godly women worthy of the previous instead of trash and dress worthy of being honored as ladies worthy of devotion. We no longer view marriage in its proper perspective and actually disdain it. Family is being redefined as any recent perverted proclivity. Most children have no clue who might be the “man of the week” in their life.

Then there is public education which has become worthless due to unions being more concerned for their power base than for the children and families they are supposed to serve. They use our precious progeny for experimentation and then blame parents when it does not work. Schools teach we are evolved from goo, that life is only convenient when it benefits us, and that free speech is being able to do or say anything at anytime without any consequences.

I do not necessarily like stories about “when I was a kid” but the simple fact remains that I went to a large high school and most all the guys in the school owned guns, shot guns, and went hunting regularly. We even carried them to school, put them in our lockers or kept them in gun racks in our vehicles, and we built beautiful wood and glass enclosed gun cases for our fathers in shop class, and at no time did anyone ever dream of using their weapons to take someone’s life. In fact, more people owned and used guns during my youth than they do now and yet we now have more violence? It isn’t the guns that are the problem, it is a permissive society that values porn, violent videos, and personal selfishness over a safe and sane society that respects human life. When we give up godliness for the sake of self-centered narcissism, we will continue to reap what we have sown.

So, perhaps what the Apostle Paul wrote so long ago smacks of the truth of what we are now facing: “Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator–who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.” (Romans 1:22-32 NIV)

Just my thoughts…

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Today’s Thoughts… You deserve what?

Today’s Thoughts… You deserve what?
By Pastor Lee Hemen
February 20, 2012

Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave– just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:25-28 NIV)

“I deserve this” is probably one of the most ungodly phrases a Christian can utter. It is the antithesis of just about everything Jesus taught, lived and died for. Yet we find it creeping into the theological and casual conversation of believers. Evangelicals have readily been sold a bill of theological goods concerning what they do deserve. Some think that God was so lonely that he created mankind for fellowship. This is so patently false, as to boarder on being heretical. If God who is completely holy, loving, all powerful, all knowing, and all present would lack anything is laughable. God is complete in of himself and needs nothing or no one else to make himself complete, that notion is a human concept based on our insecurity.

What then do we “deserve,” if anything? We deserve birth because God knew us before we were born and gave us this tremendous gift of life. (Psalm 139:13-16) Life is sacred. We deserve death because this is not only the ultimate outcome of our life it is also the ultimate outcome of our sinful nature. (Romans 3:10 & 6:23) And what we therefore do in-between those goal posts of birth and death relates what we believe. (Matthew 7:16-23) We deserve eternity because we are eternal beings. We will exist for eternity with our Creator or we will exist eternally separated from his presence. We therefore have a choice on how we will spend eternity. (John 3:16-18)

Jesus willingly gave his life that we might live. If Jesus willingly did that for us, shouldn’t we want to live our lives as Jesus would want us to? You know, “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life!” Paul said it best when he wrote, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20 NIV)

Now, dear child of God, what do you really deserve?

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Pastor Lee Hemen has been the outspoken pastor of the same church for 25 years in Vancouver, WA. He writes regularly on spirituality and conservative causes and maintains several web blogs. This article is copyrighted © 2012 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.

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Today’s Thoughts – What are you living for? – Mark 15

Today’s Thoughts – What are you living for? – Mark 15
by Pastor Lee Hemen
April 3, 2011

What are you living for? It is a good question to ask. I have often asked others this very question yet in a different way. I ask, “Suppose you were standing before God, in heaven, and he asked you, ‘Why should I let you into my heaven?’, what would you say?” Yet, this week I have been encouraged by another writer, to consider asking another series of questions: “If you live for many more years, what quality of character will you take into eternity? For what will your life have counted? What lasting spiritual legacy will you leave to those left behind you?”

The author of these questions goes on to state that everyone accepts–intellectually if not emotionally–that they eventually will die. What they do with their remaining years is crucial. A legitimate question to ask anyone–and most of all ourselves–is: What are you living for? In light of eternity, everything hinges on your answer.

In the final moments of Jesus’ life we discover something that simply takes our breath away. Here is the Savior who is so focused on what the will of God is in his life, he is willingly going to his death. How he does it and how he faces his life’s greatest trial is something that cannot but affect those who read it. After all these years as a pastor, it still makes me hold my breath, wonder, and stand in awe. The fact is, I often cry when rereading Jesus’ final moments. No greater love has anyone than this.

It brings me back to my first question, “What are you living for?” If God gives you many more years, how will you live your life? Will you impact the world around you for the sake of the gospel? We cannot control how we were brought into this world, nor do we have much control over how we were raised or what happens to us while we go through life. However, we do control how we respond, grow, mature, and what we do with our faith in Christ.

Jesus knew he was going to die, and he gives us a good example on how to finish well. We will all die sometime, yet how we live the remaining moments in time we have says a lot about what we believe.

What are you living for?
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Pastor Lee Hemen has been the outspoken pastor of the same church for 25 years in Vancouver, WA. He writes regularly on spirituality and conservative causes and maintains several web blogs. This article is copyrighted © 2011 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.

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Everyone Fled — Today’s Thoughts

Everyone Fled — Today’s Thoughts
by Pastor Lee Hemen
March 12, 2011

Then everyone deserted him and fled. A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, he fled naked, leaving his garment behind. (Mark 14:50-52 NIV)

The garden is quiet now. You only hear the sounds of birds rustling in the trees and the soft whisper of the wind as it blows through the leaves. Night insects begin their chorus and the sounds of men draws further and further away. Perhaps, after those who came to pray had fled or had been taken away, we find some of them coming from out of cover to wonder at what had just occurred. We know that some of them followed Jesus and his captors. But right now you can smell the trees, the good earth, and feel the quiet of the place where the Master had just been. Everyone fled the garden.

I wonder if the stars shone just as bright, or the moon was glowing down on the scene. There would have been a partial moon at least. Did the creatures of the glade know what was occurring? Did they weep as their Creator was led away? Did the quiet of the garden grow deeper as the realization of what had just happened played its final act? Probably not. The earth still spun around its axis, the clouds still floated serenely over the earth, and the animals went back to their nightly routine of sleep or foraging. Everyone fled, but them.

As they drag Jesus from place to place and the accusations fly, the garden continued to grow. The figs began to ripen and the roots gathered water and nutrients for the coming season. Soon, the sun would begin to poke its rays over the hills of Judea. It would reflect off the doors of the temple that was just across the little brook and vale between the garden and the hill it sat on. The trees of the garden would then stretch themselves toward the life-giving rays. Some of the creatures there would go back to their borrows, while others would fly away looking for food for the day or building materials to renew their homes. But right now in the early morning dawn, everyone fled.

I do not know about you dear child of God, but I often wonder at the scene that was left after the greatest betrayal occurred. I wonder how could people continue their lives after such an event? I wonder at the buyers and sellers in the temple, if they still were angered as they begin to set up again for another day, at the man who had just come a few days before and upset their trade? Did they realize he was being taken, accused falsely, convicted, and condemned? If they knew, would they have cared? Now a few of the disciples had made their way back to others, and the women begin to weep. The men are afraid and angered. Two, as I said before follow at a distance, as they take Jesus from place to place, while the garden is now bathed in full sunlight, and new people come and sit. Perhaps looking across at the temple they wonder at the things of God, not knowing what is happening just below them in the dark halls of the Sanhedrin and Roman courts. They spread out a morning breakfast and begin to eat, to them the garden is just a place of reflection and to enjoy, because everyone fled. I wonder, do you?
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Pastor Lee Hemen has been the outspoken pastor of the same church for 25 years in Vancouver, WA. He writes regularly on spirituality and conservative causes and maintains several web blogs. This article is copyrighted © 2011 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.

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