What a Cheap Facade!


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So many things today are made with a cheap façade – a false front. So much furniture is made with a plastic veneer over particle board. Fake flowers look pretty real, not like the plastic things from years ago. Manufacturers have gotten very good at making things look like the real deal. The more they work at it, the better they get at it. So it is with the Christian façade.

I don’t have any faults or foibles. At least I like others to think I don’t. That in itself is a foible, maybe even a fault. Then when I mess up, I expect people to understand that I am not perfect. They should know that plastic just doesn’t stand up well. I know I am full of imperfections and I know that they know, too. What a cheap façade!

Why do I dig in my feet when I read this verse? Why do I find myself pushing back? Why am I shaking my head “no”? My first thought is that I am not going to tell anybody about some of the greatest concerns in my life – those things that come under the “unspoken” part of the prayer list.

First of all my ego does not like to be bruised. It’s pretty fragile and can be popped like a soap bubble.

Second is being afraid of gossips. Prayer is a good thing but gossip in the name of prayer is not. Prayer is helpful, gossip is destructive. Do we trust other Christians? Do they trust us?

Third is admitting sin. No one likes to do that.

A rote repetitious redundant recycled smattering of words does not bring results. A polished prayer spoken in King James English has no more value that cosmetic jewelry – pretty, but not worth much. However, a prayer spoken from the heart with fervor is effective. The words aren’t as important as the heart.

The point is that to pray for one another intelligently and with heart is to know the need and to care about that need.

“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:16.

© copyright 2016 Kevin T Boekhoff



Olive Squeezings


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“The elders of another church (name omitted) came over to pray in tongues and anoint my uncle with oil and healed him,” a church member informed me. A couple days later he called and said his uncle died. He was perplexed because the other church proclaimed the guy healed.

He directed me to James 5:14 and expressed his confusion. “But God’s Word says…”

As we talked, we looked at verse 15 and saw the major emphasis. When we delved into this passage we discovered a few things. (1) Anointing with oil was medicinal only. The olive oil represented taking medicine. (2) Praying in tongues didn’t mean more prayer power. In fact, the gift of tongues was not in effect anymore. Prayers in English work well. (3) The elders were the spiritual leaders of this member’s church, not a shaman, a fortune-teller, Christian charlatan, or any other ungodly “healer.” (4) The power was in prayer of faith in the name of the Lord. (5) Healing came from the Lord. (6) If the sickness was a result of sin, only the Lord could forgive his sin. (6) God can heal, but it may not be His will to do so.

The point is not trusting in olive squeezings, tongues, or other religious scams, but in the Lord.

“Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.” James 5:14-15.

© copyright 2016 Kevin T Boekhoff




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I like comfort food. You know, ice cream, caramel topping and brownies thrown in, followed by chocolate chip cookies and a cappuccino. It doesn’t necessarily help me feel better when my Parkinson’s is acting up, but I justify it by seeking comfort.

I like to celebrate good things that happen to me. Nothing like rewarding myself with ice cream, caramel topping and brownies thrown in, followed by chocolate chip cookies and a cappuccino.

I find it interesting that I do the same thing for opposite occurrences. I just realized as I thought on this verse this morning that two things in life can make me forget about God. Afflictions and blessings.

This verse was one of those that I never really thought about. It is kind of a “duh” moment. It makes perfect sense that a Christian should do those things. In fact, it should come natural. Odd that I need to be reminded of something so obvious.

The thought here for me today is, no matter what happens, don’t forget about God. Keep Him in the loop.

“Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.” James 5:13.

© copyright 2016 Kevin T Boekhoff


Pinky Promise


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“Promise?” My girlfriend, later my wife, asked.

“Yes, I promise.”

“Pinky promise?”

“Pinky promise?” I had never heard of such a thing. She explained that two people would lock pinkies to seal the promise. Sounded pretty silly to me. I can’t remember if I did it or not. I’m sure I kept my promise regardless. I couldn’t see how locking pinkies gave a promise more credibility.

Shaking hands, swearing on mother’s grave, swearing to tell the truth in court and such really don’t either. Buying a house has so much paperwork even to the point of one document requiring my signature saying that I really am me. At least my Mom didn’t have to sign it, too.

James is telling Christians that they simply need to keep their word in this verse. Wow, wouldn’t keeping one’s word change our world? Lawyers would go out of business. Police would be able to keep up with crime.

Christians can’t change the world by keeping their word, but it does give our witness credibility that a pinky promise doesn’t. Our witness might help someone come to trust Christ as Savior. Thus, keeping our word might change someone’s world!

“But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.” James 5:12.

© copyright 2016 Kevin T Boekhoff




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Sometimes God drives me crazy. He doesn’t listen to my advice. He doesn’t do things like I think they should be done. He lets me go through hard times. He doesn’t let me have the things I want to have. Then He turns around and blesses me. He can be hard to figure out.

The Bible helps me understand Him. Then I forget what I read when I need it. I have to go back to the Bible again. Did God give me a faulty memory so that I would do just that? Hmmm.

Maybe God allows me to go through hard times to make me more durable. Living tissue grows stronger with use, but fabric tears with more use and abuse.

One thing is for sure. He can use the durable me as an example and encouragement to others. I can look at what Job went through and be encouraged. I can’t imagine when he went through, from losing his family, wealth, etc. all in one day. Then he lost his health. I am so glad that God put the rest of the story in the Bible.

At first I didn’t understand today’s verse. As I looked at it I paraphrased it to help a bit: “We esteem or consider them fortunate that persevere. You have heard of the endurance of Job and witnessed the outcome. That the Lord took pity and blessed him with tender mercy.” Because Job made it through I can imagine how much he appreciated God and how happy he was. He didn’t quit on God, but endured with God by his side.

I understand God a little more today!

“Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.” James 5:11.

© copyright 2016 Kevin T Boekhoff


Do You Have Insight?


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As I was talking with a homeless man one day over a meal I bought him. He asked me if I had “insight.” I had never been asked that before. He seemed to be asking about spiritual insight. I only have the Bible. I don’t know why some things happen. I don’t know what God is planning. I don’t understand a lot of things. He thought I had some mystical hotline to God.

I must admit that I have wondered why God has allowed some things in my life. Parkinson’s, financial difficulty, a bad day landing on an important day, sickness, car trouble, jerky people etc. I sound like a whiner when I think of the things the prophets and preachers of old when through. I can only imagine what Christians in Muslim countries are suffering through.

When I read this verse I did find some insight. The prophets of old suffered as an example for me. I wonder if they wondered why at the time.

The word “patience” means longsuffering and fortitude. The idea is since they handled it with the Lord’s help, I can, too. Does this count for red traffic lights? I don’t suppose that would be considered suffering for Jesus.

I do not have great insight, but I do have the prophets of old to inspire me.

“Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.” James 5:10.

© copyright 2016 Kevin T Boekhoff


My Grudge


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I adopted a grudge once. It seemed harmless, like adopting a pet. It was so cute and cuddly to start with – about the size of a small irk. It was easy to care for and didn’t require much attention. I fed it whenever it wanted, I even gave it treats now and then. I carried it with me wherever I went, to the store, to the park, even to church. It grew and became quite a handsome grudge.

After a while, it demanded more of my time and attention. It used to fit on my lap, but now just stomped all over me. It became more of a job to carry it around. In fact, it became a burden. Its demands took over my thought life. I tried coddling it more. I spent more and more time grooming it. But instead of becoming a more pleasant companion, it turned into a monster.

I was not happy. My whole life revolved around my grudge. My attitude changed. People noticed I was grumpy. I finally realized I had to get rid of my grudge. I took it to church with me one last time. I sought God’s forgiveness and let the grudge go.

I don’t know what happened to my grudge. It just disappeared. If you see it, don’t go near it. Whatever you do, don’t hold it. Just let the grudge go before it takes over your life.

“Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.” James 5:9.

© copyright 2016 Kevin T Boekhoff

Use the “Off” Button


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Off Trigger

The news is full of things I cannot control. The best I can do is use the “off” button.

I used to work with a woman that would get so upset with the news that she had to see a shrink of some kind. Her health was suffering because of it. She had a difficult time with me because I held the direct opposite opinion on almost everything. At times I wished I could turn her off, like I could the TV.

I find that social media does not help me deal with politics, morality or my faith. I find myself getting upset at the craziness of this world. It seems to me that common sense has been tossed out the window and has become road kill. Cruel people hurt and kill other people. Sexual deviants want special rights. Christians are having to deal with persecution and intolerance. Natural disasters are reported every day. Predictions of horrible political fallout from every perspective fill the airwaves.

I have two things that encourage me. One I can turn off the device filling my mind with this stuff and go outside enjoy the sunshine, listen to the birds and relax. The other is knowing that Jesus is coming back and will set things right. Meanwhile, like the gardener preparing for a crop, I can care for things in my life until Jesus comes. The gardener’s main concern is tending to his garden, my main concern is my relationship with Jesus.

So, I have not been focusing on the stressors of life, but on Jesus. I just need to keep that focus and occupy until He comes.

“Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.” James 5:7-8.

© copyright 2016 Kevin T Boekhoff


Because I Can


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One day a high school classmate was bragging, “We beat the #@** out of a cripple. Har har. He flipped over his wheelchair and kicked the snot out of him.”

Another classmate asked why they would do that and he said, “Because I can.” Quite a scene ensued until a teacher broke it up. Yet, the guy bullied other people whenever the opportunity arose. He usually had his friends supporting him.

This mentality goes into adulthood. I have witnessed leaders of countries kill their own people. Why? I supposed because they can. Attacking another country is totally different. Some abuse their own children. Why? Because they can. Others abuse their wives because they can get away with it. Why do people torture and kill other people? Because others let them.

Now comes the question for me personally. If I could get away with it (whatever it may be), would I be a bully? Would I abuse a weaker, more vulnerable person just because I could? I like to think not because I have to answer to God. He can stop me anytime He wants.

As a Christian, the mind of Christ should be in me and being a bully should never enter my mind. Jesus has all power at His disposal, so He sets the example. He loves, protects and encourages those that are not in power. He does so because He can.

“Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you.” James 5:6.

© copyright 2016 Kevin T Boekhoff


The Gift of Jerk


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After the service an evangelist shook hands with those that had come to hear him preach. Many just said simple platitudes and shallow compliments, but one guy told him exactly what he had done wrong, where he had misspoke and that he had gone overtime. The guy went on to explain that he only said such things because God had given him this gift of speaking his mind. He expounded on his statement by sharing that he used his gift wherever he could – criticizing, commenting, and complaining about things. The evangelist said the reality was that the guy had the gift of jerk and that it wasn’t God-given.

Christians can say the most hurtful things by allowing corrupt (rotten) communication spew from their mouths. We may justify it by saying that we have the right to say it, but does that make it right? At times, the gift of jerk comes out of all of us.

Its human nature to pass the blame. The attitude of, I can say what I want and if you have a problem with it, it’s your problem. When someone makes a joke of your disability, weight, accent, heritage, or whatever, learn to laugh. Please realize that mocking is not the same as laughing with someone.

In America we may have the right to say what we want, but it isn’t always right. God is the higher authority. I need to be careful to say what’s right rather than exercise my gift of jerk.

“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:29-32.

© copyright 2016 Kevin T Boekhoff