Friday, December 1, 2017


Aaron Rodgers a few years ago posted his famous R-E-L-A-X statement to Packer fans who were concerned about the team's slow start to that season.  Just relax he said, don't worry.  So as we really get into the Christmas season, can I say to you;  just be at peace. P-E-A-C-E!  Why? Because it's a nice little catch phrase at this time of the year? No, because the Word of God is full of encouragement about being filled with peace. I guess God knew what we would struggle with, right?

It was the message God gave to Mary, to Joseph twice, and to the shepherds. Peace in a world full of turmoil? Really? Who knew? God's people hated their representatives in Washington (that is: rulers in Rome) and wanted them out. With just a change of leadership, they would finally be at peace. Right? Ah, no.

I've always loved the scripture quoted often at Christmas from Isaiah 9:6-7: "For a child is born to us, a son given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and it's peace will never end." (NLT)

So why hasn't it happened yet? Where is the Prince of Peace promised to a troubled world then and now? Oh, it will happen in a literal sense and probably sooner than most think. Even many Christians are weary of thinking of Christ coming again. Don't be friends. It will happen. The Bible guarantees it. But what about now you say. We thought a change in leadership in our government levels would bring about what is really needed in our world. If only all the enemies of the United States were eliminated, then we would have the peace we so desperately need. Right? Wrong!

The truth is you can have the peace that God's Word promises and you can have it right now. If Christmas tells us anything, it tells us that Jesus wants to come into your life even more deeply than He is now. He said, "My peace I give to you, not the peace that this world thinks it can give. Don't let your hearts be troubled; believe and believe deeply! "  (Jerry Bruette Version)

Friends, Up North Wisdom tells us that God wants you, yes you, to be His instrument of peace. Let others see Godly peace in your hearts, lives, families, circumstances and when they wonder how can it be, you tell them the answer for that peace, comfort and joy. To paraphrase a very old Christmas hymn: " God give rest, merry men and women, and let nothing bring you to dismay and discouragement. REMEMBER CHRIST THE SAVIOR was born on Christmas Day. To save us all from satan's power (to bring fear, doubt and unbelief which leads to lack of peace) when we went astray (and didn't believe God's Word). Wow! Those are words of great comfort and joy and are meant to free all those who trust in Him from the power of sin and fear."

I love it, don't you? And remember: yes, you know it is true, don't you: The Best Is Yet To Come! That is what Isaiah 9 is all about. Believe it. And a very merry, happy, joyful and peaceful Christmas season to all!

Monday, February 6, 2017


"That's LA. They worship everything and value nothing." - says Sebastian,  one of the lead characters in the movie La La Land.  And so we wonder what values will affect his and Mia's choices as they chase their dreams.

That quote by Sebastian still sticks in my mind and I wonder if that philosophical statement defines our world. Or the church. Or me.  For the church and you and me,  I hope not. I think every decision a person makes is driven by the values they hold, don't you? So I ask myself: what do I worship today and how does that affect my values?

Jesus said we are to worship God(only) and serve Him(only).  Luke 4:8   What do we see as we look around at our world, both near and far? What's gets worshipped:  possessions? family? jobs? finances? religion? etc. The dictionary says to worship is to honor, exalt, adore, glorify, idolize, follow, and more. I think when God is without question first and foremost in our lives, our worship and our values will be reflected by that.

I worship Jesus so I want to value what He values. For instance, He places value on the little ones. How little? When they have life. In my dentist's office I saw a chart by the National Dentist Association that was called a Chart of HUMAN (my emphasis) Dentition.  It showed when the teeth were first being developed in a baby's gums early in the womb. When I congratulated my dentist on being pro-life, he didn't know what to say. :)  Jesus places value on the elderly. An old man (Simeon) and an old woman (Anna) were among the first to recognize the Lordship of Jesus when he was taken to the temple to be dedicated. (Luke 2)

Read the Word. You will see that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit place value on all life. ALL LIFE! And do not discriminate. When I think about our country and the rest of the world, I see confusion, disarray, anger, discouragement, fear, etc.  So let's all look within ourselves. I don't want it said of me that I worship many things and value few things. Let us not have said of the church that it worships form but has no substance. Let's be people of the Word, but being very careful to divide it rightly. And let's bear the same fruit as Jesus did: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness ands self-control. Wow! Wow! Would that have an impact or what!

So back to La La Land. The ending is interesting. Whose dreams are we seeing: Sebastian's or Mia's? Or is it our dream. I wanted a better resolution at the end of the story but there didn't seem to be one. I wonder why I would hope for one. Up North Wisdom says that for the Christian believer, we know that there is a final resolution for this world and all of creation. All things will be restored, including relationships. God planned it from the foundation of the world. Christ's return is our wonderful, blessed and living hope! So in light of that, God help us to worship rightly and value rightly! And remember:  The Best Is Yet To Come!