Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins,should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed..” I Peter 2:24 

Some years ago, I opened one of our utility bills and saw that there was $50 credit! I called the company to make sure it wasn’t an error and they told me that someone had sent in the money for us. Wow! And to say it came at an opportune time is not giving it enough credit! 

I went to work that night (at the prison) and was telling some of the other officers about it. My sergeant asked, “Who would want to pay some of your bill?” She was truly puzzled that someone would be that kind or nice to do that. 

I tried to explain, from my Christian perspective, that another Brother or Sister in the Lord was blessing us. Again, she asked, “Who would want to pay some of your bill?” She could not understand. 

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For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Proverbs 23:7a 

          I was teaching juveniles the class, Thinking Reports, to help them identify problems and to learn about their own red flag thoughts; those thoughts that would lead to actions that would be a problem for them. 

          One young man had written about joy riding. His friends had stopped by his house and they went out for a walk. They saw a car that had the keys in the ignition and everyone jumped in and on the report his first thought was “This’ll be fun!” 

          I told him, “Stop right there! That’s your Red Flag thought!” Then we all began to process his thinking report. When we finished, I told him, “When your buddies say, ‘Hey let’s do this!’ and your first thought is ‘This’ll be fun!’ don’t do it!”      Read more…


Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.  Proverbs 27:17 

          When I was in the corrections academy in 1989, the training staff wanted to show us how inmates would gradually gain our confidence especially when it involved the opposite sex. One of our instructors, a very nice-looking lady, had 4 or 5 five of the male recruit’s line up about 6 or seven feet from her. 

          She called the first man to come to her, and as the first man approached her, she greeted him very politely using his last name. “Good morning Officer Jones, how are you?” He returned the greeting and walked away. 

          She motioned for the next man and as he got close, she smiled and said, “Hi Officer, you look especially nice today!” Again, he said “Hello” and walked past her. The rest of us could see where things were going with this exercise. 

          When the next recruit got close, she leaned in to him and began to brush lint off of his shoulder and said, “Wow! You look really good this morning. Oh, you’ve got something on your uniform, let me get that for you.” She also gazed up at him with a big smile and patted him affectionately on the shoulder. 

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          Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.II Timothy 4:2 

          My pastor, Sam Flanagan, and I were invited to go to Haiti by a missionary our church supported there. So, after service one evening we got into my car and headed out for Miami, FL from Buras, LA. 

          We stopped for coffee and a meal in Slidell, LA (it was about 9 at night) and talked about the trip while we were waiting for our food. A couple of young ladies came in and sat in the booth directly behind ours. Sam and I were excited about our trip and we talked about what it would be like. 

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For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. I Corinthians 13:12 

In 2011 I was diagnosed with sleep apnea and was prescribed a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine. It is a wonderful thing! It has cut back on my snoring, I’m able to sleep on my back, and I even sleep better. 

There is a drawback though, the machine is electric. So? Well . . . when the power goes out (not very often, but it has happened!) it wakes me up and I feel like I’m sucking wind hard enough to pull the walls in! 

Anyway, to my point. Every night, as I get ready for bed, I put my glass of water on the night stand in front of my CPAP, then turn on the machine, pull the nose fitting over my head and lay down. 

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Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. 

And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. 

Matthew 7:24-27  Read more…


Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven;but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Matthew 7:21 

          “Mario, why do you say you’re a Christian, but you don’t live like one?” Merle Pollock (sometime in September/October 1973) 

          What could I say? I talked a good talk, knew most of the books of the Bible, had even taught a class or two, and loved to sing the hymns. Yet my life demonstrated that I was not saved! And Merle cut to the chase! 

          I liked to think I was a Christian (making a distinction here, Christian vs saved). Sure, I drank, sometimes got drunk, told dirty jokes, and acted a fool. Yet, since my birthday in 1969 (turned 18) I carried the King James Bible my folks had given me as a present (and they weren’t saved either!). 

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Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands: Psalm 66:1 

          Fishing trip over, packed up and headed back to the church. Some of the men asked if I would like to stay for choir practice and I said, “Sure!” They all went home, showered and changed clothes. 

          The rest of the choir began to show up and I was introduced to Hank’s wife, Sharon, who was the choir director. The men returned, fresh and clean, and we went inside for the practice. 

          Now think about it, here I am after two days of fishing, sitting by a campfire, clothes smelling like I’d been fishing for two days, and the brothers and sisters in the choir, including Sister Fern Johnson (Pastor’s wife) just loved me. They didn’t say anything about how I looked or smelled. All they knew is that I was saved and had a heart to sing! 

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Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.II Timothy 1:13 

          I was leaving Spain, my spiritual birthplace. I was leaving the comfort of brothers and sisters who had prayed for me and with me. As a new Christian I had my first pastor, Ron Waggoner, a man called by God and sent to Zaragoza who we, the Christian believers, had been praying for a pastor. 

          I was being reassigned to a different base in South Dakota (after a brief trip to Lackland AFB for the Tops in Blue competition) to a place and people I did not know. Ron took me aside, a few days before I was leaving, and told me that as soon as I got to the base find a good church. 

          Now the word, “good” might seem to be a little broad, but I knew what my pastor meant. Find a church that preached, taught, and believed in salvation through Christ alone, the inerrancy of the Word, and of Jesus, born of a virgin, crucified and then resurrection, now sitting at the right hand of the Father.  Read more…


Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, Ephesians 5:25-26

 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Titus 3:5

 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:2

 In the early 90’s Bonny and I lived in an area in Idaho called Myrtle Grove that was located right next to the Clearwater River. There were about a dozen homes in Myrtle Grove and it was beautiful to say the least.

One summer it was exceptionally hot (100+ every day for days) and the best way to cool off was to go swim in the river. Now, the Clearwater River was a very cold river so it would take a few minutes to get all the way in. However, if you stayed in that cold water for about a ½ hour or so, it would lower your body temperature so that the 100+ degree summer day felt comfortable!

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