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March 2019

Now Available in eBook and Paperback

Witness in Dreams is now available in eBook format, as well as paperback, on Amazon!

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It is the first installment in “The Witness” trilogy, a fictional account of hoe God uses an ordinary man in an extraordinary way.

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What happened to Nathanael under the fig tree?

Did You Ever Wonder . . .

What happened to Nathanael under the fig tree?

Let’s put it into context:

The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.”

 Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked.

“Come and see,” said Philip.

When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.”

 “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked.

Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”

 Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.”

Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.”     John 1:43-50

It all began with a simple command; “Follow me.” Philip didn’t receive a detailed plan on what they would be doing, just two simple words. I love Philip’s response. He goes and finds his friend Nathanael. Why? It wasn’t part of Jesus’ command. It was because he loves his friend and wants to bring him to Jesus.

What is Nathanael’s response to the great news? Let’s just say he has some doubts about this man being the promised one. Is it normal to have doubts about whether something is truly from God or not? I hope so, because I have. Years ago, my wife and I discussed having another child. At the time, we had two girls and a boy. I was feeling a little overwhelmed and expressed my concerns. My wife said those dreaded words, “Go pray about it.” So I did. In my prayer time, I felt God told me, “You will have a son.” Yes!!!! Things will be even, two girls and two boys. I was onboard with God’s plan. I told people I knew that we were having a boy. “God’s giving me a son, He told me so himself!” Sitting in the sonogram room, I was waiting for my boy to appear on the screen. We got a pretty good view of our child, but it was missing a key component to make it a boy. A girl??? I was devastated. Not necessarily because we were having a girl, but because what I heard was wrong. I started to doubt, not only the promise God had given me, but whether or not I had ever heard from God correctly before.

Am I alone in this? Fortunately not. After John the Baptist announced Jesus to the world, he was thrown into prison. Viewing his surroundings, he began to doubt whether he heard correctly too.

When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” Matthew 11:2-3

What is Philip’s response to Nathanael? He doesn’t engage in a theological debate, he simply says, “Come and see.”

Upon his arrival, Jesus makes an assessment of Nathanael. He has doubts, but at least he is honest about it.

Nathanael continues to express his doubt saying, ”How do you know me?”

Then Jesus says a simple statement. “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”

Before we try to answer our question, let’s look at Nathanael’s response. So far, everything he has said has been a question, because of his doubt. Now, he makes one of the boldest proclamations in all the bible; “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.” He goes from “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” to “This man from Nazareth is not only a Rabbi (sign of respect), but the Son of God (considered blasphemy) and the King of Israel (don’t tell Herod)!”

Why the change? Why the 180 degree pivot? What happened under the fig tree? Was he visited by an angel? Did he have a vision? Did he witness some sort of miracle? Scripture doesn’t tell us.

Why?

Because it was personal. Something happened under the fig tree that allowed Nathanael to believe that Jesus was the Messiah. That is what happens to us. We all have that “Come to Jesus” moment where He becomes real to us and our faith is established. That is your story to share.

What is your “Come to Jesus” moment? If you don’t have one, take it to Him. He will turn your doubt into super-sized faith, just like Nathanael. But that is just the beginning. As Jesus said, “You will see greater things than that.” He is faithful.

Oh, what happened to my promise of a son? First, that little girl, that sent my faith into a freefall, had me wrapped around her finger from the moment she was born and I wouldn’t trade her for the world. Then, a couple years later, God gave me the son he promised. You see, He only told me what I needed to hear. Just like with Philip. Just like Nathanael.

 

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The eBook is Available

The eBook version of my first book, Witness in Dreams, is now available for Kindle on Amazon.

The paperback version is coming soon!

You can find the eBook here: Find it on Amazon

 

 

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How did Noah and his family stand the smell in the ark?

Did You Ever Wonder . . .

How did Noah and his family stand the smell in the ark?

Let’s put it into context:

You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you.  Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive. You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them.” Genesis 6:19-21

The waters flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days. Genesis 7:24

Can you imagine the smell? Noah and his family were locked in the ark with all those animals for 150 days of flooding. (Actually, if you read chapters 6, 7 & 8 and do the math, they spent 211 days trapped in there.)

Have you ever gone to the zoo and walked into one of the animal enclosures that is indoors? Smells toxic at times, right? I have a small hobby ranch with only six horses. In the winter time, I can walk out into our barn, turn around and walk right back into my house. My wife will walk past me and say, “You smell like barn.”

I cannot fathom the smell with hundreds of animals . . . day after day. I imagine Noah and his family spent some time sitting on the roof of the ark . . . even in the rain.

I once heard a theory that God made all the animals sleep through the whole ride. Sounds nice. That would keep them from attacking each other, reproducing and reducing the need for Noah to use a pitchfork. However, Genesis 6:21 says, “You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them.” If they were eating, they weren’t asleep. So much for that theory.

This question came to me several years ago. We had a 7 year old daughter, a creative, “strong willed” toddler and a baby boy. I was working overtime with a 55 minute one way drive to work. My wife was trapped in our own little zoo alone for 10-11 hours each day. She wanted to move and had a house picked out that would cut my commute in half. I told her I would pray about whether we were to move or not. In my prayer time, I felt God was telling me the timing was not right. In desperation, I asked, “What am I supposed to tell my wife?” God immediately responded with, “Tell her Noah’s wife didn’t like the smell in the ark.” Things did not smell good in the Lotz house either.

I’ve reflected on that response many times in my life since. You see, sometimes we look at the circumstances and feel that we are suffering unjustly. Noah’s wife could have been asking, “What did I do to deserve this?” She was just trusting her husband, who I’m sure had been called a nutjob by all of his neighbors for building a giant boat in the desert on a whim from an unseen God. The Bible also says that Noah and his family sat in the ark with the animals for seven days before one drop of rain came. I’m sure there were several times on days two through seven where Mrs. Noah stood with her arms crossed, foot tapping while asking, “Are you sure this is from God?”

I’m sure my wife’s thoughts were similar to those of Mrs. Noah, however, she trusted what God had told me. Was it difficult? Sure, especially when she saw the sold sign go up in front of her dream house. But, as with the flood, the clouds parted and a ray of hope shone down upon us. A few months later, the for sale sign was back up again. This time, God said, “It’s yours.” Why the wait? I’m not sure I’ll ever know.

So how did Noah and his family stand the smell? They simply persevered while God prepared their blessing.

And what blessing was that? He gave them the whole world.

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