Watching the Skies

Ask any farmer “What do you look at the most?” and they’ll respond with, “The weather.” We order our lives by it. Did it just rain? No mowing, tilling, planting, or harvesting today. Is it fixin’ to rain? Better hurry and get the seed drilled in, the fertilizer slung, or the drainage cleaned out. Scorching hot sun or below-freezing temperatures, some constants remain in a farmer’s or rancher’s life. We care for the livestock, do chores, and we thank God while praying for a better day tomorrow. Since the weather can quickly change, we also prepare so we can adapt to changing conditions.

Climate affects much of what we do each day here on the ranch. When it’s hot, we find things we can do in the shade. If it’s cold, we try to find things we can do quick. Since starting the Cross-Dubya, one lesson I’ve learned well is that every time I tell God my plans He laughs and says to Himself, “wanna bet?”. The lesson was to leave the things of God up to God and take every day for the gift it is. I’ve learned to prepare for whatever weather God might bring to my day.

Writing this post before the national election on November 3rd comes with mixed emotions. I know this nation is being ripped apart from inside and cannot continue on this path of self-destruction. Part of my prayers over the past six months has been a fervent request for God’s will in this once great country. Either way this election goes, I suspect more troubled times are coming. However this election’s outcome, it will be God’s answer to my prayers. Our country will have a little more time to repent and return to the moral character and national values our nation was founded upon; or it will descend further into chaos. In either case, we Christian’s had better keep our souls clear and our eyes on the sky—the winds of change are blowing.

While we cannot know the moment, we can prepare for the promise of Christ’s return. Share on X

In the same way we can’t know who will win this election beforehand, or when Christ is coming for His church, we can be certain He is coming. For that reason, we must make certain we keep our lamps filled with oil, as Jesus taught in Matthew 25. I suspect many of you know this parable, so I won’t include it here. My take-away was, since I can’t know when He’s coming, I need to keep oil in my lamp (be the watchman on the wall) at all times. As a young Christian, this sent me on a journey of discovery to figure out what was the oil and where was my lamp.

My journey of discovery was a long one. It took me years of thoughtful Bible study and prayer before God revealed it. Using an old Coleman™ lantern, God brought Proverbs 20:27 to life; showing me that His light doesn’t come from the lamp, but from the flame inside. “The spirit of a man is the lamp of the Lord, Searching all the inner depths of his heart.” (Proverbs 20:27, NKJV). I understood how I was the lamp and that God’s light shines in my life when I allow the fire of His Holy Spirit to burn inside me.

While refilling that old lantern, my mind knew the oil I was seeking to understand was the Holy Spirit Himself. He is the oil that fuels God’s light living inside me. As a lamp, I am a vessel that stores the oil. The oil of gladness, the oil that anointed Christ (the Anointed One) himself, is what fuels the illuminating flame that is God’s light unto the world. Isn’t it amazing how so many scriptures reference the Holy Spirit as oil, yet many cannot recognize or make that connection?

If we’re the lamps that shine God’s light into this world, we must ensure the Holy Spirit fills us. We must be prepared to shine brightly as the night becomes even darker around us. The phrase “It’s always darkest before the dawn” was first used by English theologian Thomas Fuller in 1650 has long intrigued me. As a soldier, I can recall some of the darkest nights in my life. Waiting in a hide, beneath a triple canopy jungle somewhere below the equator, the darkness was so enveloping even light-gathering night vision gear failed. The same foreboding sense of darkness is encroaching upon our lives today. Our only weapon to battle the coming darkness is God’s light and love within us.

Among my favorite gospel songs is “Midnight Cry”, written by brothers Chuck and Greg Day in 1986 ( When I think of the words of this song, my heart soars as I hold onto God’s promise that he’ll return for His children. Oh, how I long for that day; and more, I long to see many loved ones and friends there with me. We won’t miss the ones who choose not to avail themselves of God’s gift of salvation, but surprised when we see those whose souls were more fertile than we thought.

I pray you’ll join me in keeping your lamp full so we might shine God’s light into this world while there’s still time. I both fear and rejoice in my belief there’s only seconds left. Let us not waste one more second on the humanistic concerns of this world, but on our task of being Ambassadors for Christ and His gospel.

God’s blessings,


Please join me each Thursday evening at 9:30 Eastern as host Coach Mark Prasek and I take a trip Around the Cross-Dubya on PJNET TV. We discuss this week’s blog post, offer insight about the lessons learned, and enjoy the fellowship of friends in the live chat room.

36 thoughts on “Watching the Skies”

  1. Oh, how this refreshes my soul today, J.D.! I found myself tensing up last night when the returns began coming in, and had to remind myself that my (our) mission to share the Gospel of Christ does not change based on who God is allowing to rule our country. I praise the Lord for His sovereignty!

    1. I’m so very glad Ms. Cathy. I think, EGT at its best! I chose not to partake of all the political wrangling last evening. Instead, I offered up more prayers for our nation and went to bed early. Woke up early; looked at the status of things, realized very little has changed. We’re still a very divided nation, and very divided body of Christ, and God is still God. With that, I said another prayer for everyone’s safety and security in the coming days, begged God’s help to let me be a better witness for His glory, and went back to sleep for a while more. After my “God time”, my prayers left me sleepy. I laid back down and asked God to just let me rest in Him. What a difference that makes. God’s blessings my friend.

  2. This morning, with the final results still uncertain, I know I need to trust in the Lord like never before. I will welcome the oil of the Holy Spirit that He might shine God’s light in me and through me, that others may have hope, no matter what the weather.
    Blessings, J. D.!

    1. Amen Ms. Martha. We can, and must, voice our opinions and offer our thoughts and prayers for the candidates we support; but let us be ever mindful that God doesn’t give us what we want, but what we need to have to carry our His plan for our lives. I may not like (as a human) how this election turns out; in fact I’m quite sad to see what I’ve seen this morning, but I’ve resolved myself to accepting as God’s will. It’s given me a stronger desire to help reach others for Christ; and the help so many find their way back from the apostasy that’s spiritually blinded them. God’s blessings gentle friend.

  3. We have a new puppy, and what you said about telling God your plans resonates with me. I think about God’s position as I watch the funny, awkward, – or, potentially, risky -things that this puppy attempts.

    1. LOL… Yes ma’am. I’m certain God uses puppies to teach us his principles. I pray that as you apply God’s lessons that are being reinforced through your new puppy that you take time to simply cuddle and find joy in those moments. Like our sanctification as Christians; not all of the moments are enjoyable, but they are part of the maturation process. God’s blessings young lady.

  4. JD, This is such an appropriate message for today, November 4, 2020.
    The Hebrew word “halal” means to shine!
    The Greek word “phaneros” means to shine from within.
    However, we know that word in the English as “Manifest.” Therefore, John 14:21 (ESV) reads as follows: “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest (shine from within) myself to him.”
    So, fill those lamps, trim back the wicks, and keep looking up!

    1. Amen Mr. Ben. We need to shine brighter now than ever before. I chose to pray and rest instead of immerse myself in the mess of election night. When I briefly looked at things this morning, I was saddened to realize how divided our nation, and worse the body of Christ is. So much apostasy and deception out there. My heart is broken this day. My only hope is that the remnant of Christ’s true church out there can help so many find their way back.

  5. What a beautiful message! I truly feel like I’m right there on the farm with you when you share descriptions of the weather and surroundings. We need to show God’s love to everyone. We need to shine the light brighter in each moment and show others how to have a relationship with God. Troubled times have been and troubled times are coming. We must worship God and not people. Whatever the outcome of the election, God is still King and He is still in charge. Thank you for this wonderful reminder to shine the light of Christ every moment.

    1. Such kindness. Thank you Ms. Melissa. This may sound silly ma’am, but when I’m writing my blog posts, etc., I can picture my readers along with me as I’m telling my story. In my mind’s eye, which I agree is a very scary place, I can place different readers in different situations. In your case, and I pray this doesn’t offend, but I most often see you in the family room or in Children’s church reading or talking about your pal “Licky the Lizard” and what he’s teaching the children. 😀 Again; thank you ma’am for all your kindness and encouragement.

  6. The Holy Spirit is the oil that fuels the light of God within us. I love this. We must ask to be filled with the oil of the Holy Spirit each day.

    I enjoy your writing so much!

  7. Thank you, J.D., for this timely reminder to keep our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. Blessings to you and all the critters under your care!

  8. J.D. just reading this made my heart soar, too. I so desire to look up and to focus on Jesus. To look higher than mere men and to God’s ways. And for the Holy Spirit to keep the oil in my lamp burning as I watch the skies for the promised return of Christ!

    1. Same thing happens when I think on that coming day my friend. I’m so excited for this day to come, but saddened too that there are so many I haven’t reached. I often ask myself “What more can I do?”, but the question I need to be asking is “Lord, what more would You have me do?” God’s blessings Ms. Karen.

    1. That’s a most wonderful thing about salvation Ms. Tammy; from that moment on, we’re never in the dark. It may, and will, surround us, but God’s light in us is brighter than any darkness that might surround us. One of the goals of sanctification, I think, is to let God shine His light into all those places within us where darkness still hides. As the darkness inside us recedes, our lamps become brighter throughout the world. I love how you shine sweet friend.

  9. I agree with you, my friend, that dark days are arriving. Regardless of the elections, our job now is to let our lights shine in the darkness. The more oil we carry in our lamps, the brighter our light will be. Like you, I am looking for Christ’s return in the clouds and joyfully anticipate that glorious day! Blessings, dear brother. Maranatha.

  10. I have fond memories of walking through the woods at night gathering firewood for the camp. The light of that Coleman lantern could not be used to see afar – only about a 6 foot radius around me. Even though I could not see into the distance, I COULD see to take the next step. Of course, in taking that next step, the light came along with me.

    Even though we can’t see into the future, our light allows us to confidently take the next step in faith.

    Keep that lamp full and the fire burning!

  11. You are right on point with this, JD. Too many well meaning Christians take for granted they are going to heaven and make little effort to shine their little bit of light on their corner of this world. Thank you for reminding us, my friend.

  12. As I sit in a cold emergency room lobby in the wee hours of the morning awaiting word on my friend, I read your post. I resonated with the idea that our light is internal as the flame versus external as a Coleman lantern. Even now, I feel a calm warmth in my soul from the flame burning within.

    1. I’m so sorry to hear you’re alone in a hospital awaiting news. Have prayed that it’s a good outcome, and that God’s will is done my friend. And you are so right, our inner peace comes from the Holy Spirit who resides within all who are truly saved. During all the turmoil and troubles of these times, we can have peace knowing that our sovereign Lord remains in control upon His throne. God’s blessings ma’am, and prayers for you and your friend.

  13. Your comment about having an internal flame versus an external lantern resonated with me. Good insight, my friend.

  14. As a young farm girl, we grew tobacco, vegetables, and hay for our beef cattle. We watched the skies a lot! Now, if we are children of God, we watch to see if our light is shining. We live in a world filled with darkness, but each of us can make a difference if we choose to follow the Light and then let His Light shine through us. Thank you for being a light, J.D.

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