Tuesday, December 3, 2019


One night and morning, we got a bunch of snow in front of our house. As pretty much every other house does, I went out when it had slowed down to get it shoveled away so we could get our cars out and it would not create an even bigger mess later on. About halfway down the driveway I saw it: the dreaded plow truck. I watched in dismay as it shoved an extra layer of wet snow onto the end of the drive and proceeded down the street. This is normal, but I was hoping for a chance to get the first layer off before the second got put on as well.

By the time I got to the heavy snow at the end I was running out of steam. Even better, as I have an arrangement for parking my car across the street in my older neighbor’s second drive, I had that one to do as well. I began wondering if I really would need my car that day…

As I was contemplating this decision, I heard a sound: the lovely, wondrous sound of a small-cylinder engine. Looking up I saw one of the teenage boys down the street bringing over his family’s snow blower. He had seen me taking a break and had come to help. He plowed out the heavy snow in my driveway, plowed the driveway across the street, and then plowed the older couple’s main driveway while I helped our next door neighbor with a second round of heavy snow brought by a second plow truck. The young man did not ask for payment, thanks, or anything of the sort. He simply saw a need and went to fill it without boasting or seeking praise.

This reminds me of the attitude we are to have in our own lives. Time and again Scripture tells us to help those in need. It does not give qualification. It does not tell us to judge if they are worth helping. Jesus says in Matthew 6:1, “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your father in heaven.”

Every person reading this has opportunity to quietly do good for others. It is one way we show our faithfulness to Christ. It is so easy to get caught up in our day to day activities that we start thinking we do not “have time” for it, but that is simply not true. We have the time. It is a matter of priority. The question is what will we choose?

There is a time and place for big, grandiose aid, but those tend to be few and far in-between. It is in the daily life of watching for those who need help that we find the vast majority of our opportunities to do so. It is my encouragement to you that you watch for and take those opportunities whether big or small, so that Christ may be glorified as you go about your daily life. If we were all to do this, and shine the light of Christ in our actions and words, both big and small, there is no telling how far those seeds we plant will go!

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

I Will Bear

Isaiah 46:4
Even to your old age I am He. And even to gray hairs I will carry you! I have made, and I will bear; Even I will carry, and will deliver you.

This is my favorite verse in the Bible. It has been for the last nine years. I “happened” to come across it as a verse of the day on a website and it immediately spoke to me where I was and exactly how I needed. It took no effort to memorize. I basically saw it, knew it, and remembered where it was. This never, ever happens to me. I am probably the single worst memorizer I have ever known. But this stuck and has stuck with me ever since.

In an age where we are told to carry ourselves, fill our needs, and do what we want, this verse is important for us to remember. If we forget the principles it speaks to, we will quickly find ourselves walking away from God and the faith that saves us. It is, I believe, a vital verse, and one that remains relevant, especially in our current age.

In this chapter of Isaiah, God is warning His people Israel about the powerlessness of idols compared to His ability to save. In fact God begins by saying “Bel bows down, Nebo stoop; their idols were on the beasts and on the cattle. Your carriages were heavily loaded, a burden to the weary beast. They stoop, they bow down together; they could not deliver the burden, but have themselves gone into captivity.”

Bel and Nebo were both ancient idols: false gods people worshipped without any power to aid. God go on to state that despite paying for an idol to be made, prostrating before them, and crying out, it could not move, save, or even answer the one in trouble. It had not power to do anything.

I wonder how often we do this in our own lives. We may not bow down to a statue, but often we look to everything except God to save us. We turn to our family, or finances, or job, or doctors, or hobbies, hoping they will take away the pain or give us what we think we need, when what we really need is to turn our faces to the One who can truly save us from it all. This is not to say that any of these things are bad – not at all! in fact God gives them for our good and to help us through life! But as another preacher once said, “when a good thing becomes a god thing it becomes a bad thing.”

God reminds us that He is just as strong to save today as He always has been. He will not leave us, forsake us, or fail us. He can and will carry us to the end, and bear us to His side. He says “even I will carry, and will deliver you.”

Let us be those who use the blessings and helps God has given us, and who also remember where those blessings and helps have come from. Let us turn our faces toward Him knowing He cares for us. Let us be those who remember the words of God through Isaiah: “Even to your old age I am He. And even to gray hairs I will carry you! I have made, and I will bear; Even I will carry, and will deliver you.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019


“Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up, and they saw the God of Israel. There was under His feet as it were a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness. And He did not lay His hand on the chief men of the people of Israel; they beheld God, and ate and drank.” (Exodus 24:9-11)

“So all the people took off the rings of gold that were in their ears and brought them to Aaron. And he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf. And they said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!’ When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the Lord.” (Exodus 32:3-5)

One of the great things about reading Scripture is that you occasionally notice things you have not made the connection between before. Having recently gone through Exodus, it clicked with me just how absurd the passages above look when placed next to each other. In one you have the only instance in Scripture where a group of people see God, and it specifically lays out that God did not destroy them in the process. In the latter we see Israel, some of whom have seen and had a meal with God, construct an idol in the shape of a calf and say “These are your gods!”

Like I said. Absurd.

The men of Israel, Aaron included, have seen something no other earthling has seen, and experienced something no other earthling has experienced. Yet at maximum 40 days later, they have lost sight of the amazing things and experiences God granted them. If this wasn’t enough, in Leviticus 10 Nadab and Abihu, during what basically amounts to the opening ceremonies of the Tabernacle, offer fire they were not authorized to offer and are killed by God. Like Aaron and the elders of Israel, they too are listed as participants in the feast on the mountain with God.

How quickly experiences fade from memory. This is not to say they are bad, only that we cannot rely on an incredible experience to keep us faithful. If we build our faith and lives around an experience, rather than the One who gives them to us, it becomes very easy for that faith to fade quickly over time with the impact of the memory.

God granted those men what they needed (possibly far more than they needed), to know Him and be faithful to Him. He does the same for us as well. All we need in order to know Him and be faithful is granted to us, whether that be His Word or and experience we need to have. But while we can (and should!) rejoice in and make use of that experience, we must also take care we do not build are faith on it, but on our Lord and Savior who it all revolves around.

Take joy in what you are given by God! Whether it be knowledge, wisdom, faith, experience, or something else to keep you faithful, He has given it to you for His glory and your good. Rejoice in it, and let it cause you to hold to Him ever more closely as you walk through life.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Knowing God

It is imperative for a Christian, above all else, to know God. Not just about Him, or His laws, or His works, but to actually know God. We realize the difference in our personal lives, how we may know about someone without knowing the person themselves. We know about the President, celebrities, coworkers, etc., but we understand that we do not know them personally. In the same way a person can have knowledge of God without actually knowing Him; just ask any atheist on the street.

How do we know someone? It starts with some base level of knowledge about the person. These are usually based on shallow first impressions which may or may not be accurate. As time goes on these impression become modified and rewritten the more we spend time with the person. Eventually we get to the point where we come to know the person – we understand them, empathize with them, and can even predict some of their thoughts and actions with a reasonable amount of accuracy. This is most common in close friendships and strong marriage relationships.

One humorous thing I have noticed with certain married couples (myself and Danielle included) and close friendships is that in certain conversations one person speaks, and during a pause the other person picks up mid-sentence to speak, then during another pause the first person once more picks up the conversation mid-stream and continues as if they had been speaking the entire time. This happens because they know each other and can largely predict the other’s movements. It is something that only comes with time, and springs from a natural, intimate knowledge about the other.

I find it interesting that God speaks of His people as His bride. I also find it interesting that Jesus calls His disciples His friends. These terms speak to a relationship where each party is known by the other in a deep, significant way. It goes beyond mere intellectual knowledge about the other (as important as that is), to actually knowing the other themselves. If God speaks about us in these terms, then He must have an expectation that we will know Him, and He will know us.

I also do not believe that this is only something that will happen one day when we leave this earth to be with Him. God called Abraham His friend while Abraham was still alive! Jesus called the disciples His friends while they were alive! The church is called the bride of Christ now! Our knowing God will surely be perfected when we are free from the corruption of this world, but that is another stage of growth, just as we continually grow in other close relationship. The fact is we are called into a relationship where we know God now, not just someday.

Over the next several weeks we are going to be talking about what it means to know God. I hope and pray you will take this time to delve into His Word, go to Him in prayer, and seek to truly know Him just as He knows you. The opportunity is given to us now. Why not take such an offer? J

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Wanting the Reward

Every once in a while I come across someone saying something along the lines that we should love God so much that we would honor and serve Him even if there were no reward involved and we got nothing out of it. The basic argument essentially ends with the idea that if we really love God, we won’t care much about the reward of Heaven He offers. That will simply be a bonus top of everything else.

I have to say I don’t find this concept anywhere in the Bible.

In Hebrews 11 the writer states of the Old Testament patriarchs,
These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.

In John 14, Jesus, tells people to store up treasures in Heaven rather than earth, then during the Last Supper promises the Apostles mansions in His Father’s house. In Romans 8 Paul writes about the hope we (and creation!) have in being free from corruption. Revelation is filled with talking about the rewards God showers upon His people who remained faithful to the end.

I bring all this up to say this: if God Himself does not expect us to give ourselves over to Him for nothing, who are we to argue and disagree with that?

God has given us every chance and opportunity to be His special people. He sent Jesus His Son to die and be raised again so we could know His love for us and be set free from the power of sin and death. He makes all who put their faith in Christ and follow His path children of the Most High King. And then He goes another step and offers eternal rewards and treasures that far surpass anything we could possibly hope for in this present life.

In I Corinthians Paul through the Holy Spirit writes not to run for nothing, but to “run in such a way that you may obtain the prize.” It is a good thing to desire and chase after the promises of God. Desiring the reward God offers does not lessen our love for God, but shows that we want what God wants to give. It is a recognition that God’s promises are far greater than anything we could achieve in this life.

So let us, as God’s people, love our Father in Heaven, and chase after what He wants us to want – eternal life in perfect fellowship with Him, and all the good rewards He offers to His people.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019


When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near. For God said, “Lest the people change their minds when they see war and return to Egypt.” (Exodus 13:17).

Reading through the story of the exodus, I came across this verse some time ago, and thought it interesting that even though Israel had just seen Egypt utterly decimated by the 10 Plagues, God recognized that Israel still needed time to separate itself from Egypt in a peaceful way. Instead of throwing them “from height to height,” God gave them rest a time of rest and peace so they could be mentally and spiritually prepared for what was coming. We know they were already physically prepared, since in verse 18 we read “And the people of Israel went up out of the land of Egypt equipped for battle.”

Israel had the physical tools necessary to get the job done; God had already seen to that. However they did not have the mental and emotional (and likely – spiritual) tools that were needed. They had been slaves for generations. They were no Spartans, trained for battle from childhood. They were brick makers, bakers, and sheep herders.

And so God took Israel the long way. He destroys the Egyptian army in the Red Sea, He feeds them mana and quail from heaven, He provides water for the nation from a large rock, He meets them on Mount Sinai showing His power and giving His Law. He confirms His covenant and tells them of the conquest of Canaan they are about to embark on. He gives the instructions for building the Tabernacle and Ark of the Covenant. Then He fills the Tabernacle with His glory and rests on the Ark.

In all these things God takes the time necessary to prepare His people. He shows them what it means to be His chosen people, and does everything necessary to equip them to carry out His will. Rather than throwing them in the deep end, He shows them how to swim, then says “Go.”

We see the same in the New Testament. The Apostles live with and listen to Jesus for 3 years, day in and day out. The entirety of Paul’s life appears as one big preparation before he meets Jesus on the road to Damascus. The church is in near-constant prayer and encouragement together from when Jesus ascends to the Day of Pentecost. We see God prepare His people, then tell them to act.

And act they do! Israel (after a bad miss), takes over Canaan. The Apostles preach and teach no matter what persecution comes. Paul goes across the known world teaching the Gospel. The church grows and spreads.

Things are the same for us. You may be in a time of preparation, or a time of action. It takes a genuine look at things to see which it is. If you are in a time of preparation, be prepared to take action when the time comes. If you are in a time of action, use what God has prepared you with to the best of your ability. But wherever we are, let us be faithful, trusting that God will lead if we will follow.

Sunday, September 29, 2019


Today is the 12th Anniversary of Danielle and I getting married. In that time we have had 7 zip codes, 2 states, 10 homes, 2 children and 1 phone number (yay for cellphones!). We have twice experienced the terror of being out of work for 6 months where we had to scrape by on savings, tax returns, night-shift entry level jobs, and gifts. Then there were the difficult births and pregnancies, the car engines exploding, the house repairs that cost way more than we thought we could handle, and more.

These are not the kinds of things you are dreaming about while standing in front of your friends and family saying “I do.” Usually you are dreaming of a life where late nights are nothing but laughter, children act just as you expect and desire, and you never leave the upward curve of a better and better life.  But that is not reality. And I am thankful for that fact.

The reason I am thankful for this is the simple fact that without challenge – without effort or difficulty – nothing happens. Bonds are not strengthened, stories are not made, and life becomes very quickly becomes a shallow, bland puddle.

Consider any good movie or book. There is always conflict, difficulty, and pain. There are good times as well, but if the entire story was nothing but one soft, nice thing after another it would be boring and bland. There would be no growth, no depth, and no truth to it.

Consider Scripture itself. In it we find both terror and triumph. Pain and joy. Strength and weakness. From Adam & Eve to Abraham to Sampson to David to Jesus to the Apostles, we find meaning and strength not because everything went smoothly but because it did not. Because it did not we can find truth and help in our time of need. In Hebrews 4:14-16 we read,

Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Understand, friend, that Jesus Himself was tested and tried just as we are! In doing so He became able to sympathize with and help us. I say this to say that in a different way, we too can help others from the trials and tests that we have encountered in life. Our difficulties in life are not to grind us to nothing, but to build us into those who can perform the works God has prepared for us.

At the beginning I listed many of the difficulties we have faced as a couple. We have also had uncountable joys as well. The long trips full of laughter, the movie nights, the traditions built as a family, the games, the worship, the times everything looked wrong but turned out better than dreamed of and so much more. All these things, good and bad, are what God has used to mold us and grow us as a husband & wife and as a family. Wherever you are in life, God can and will do the same, if you will let Him.

My hope and prayer for both you and I, is that we will always do so.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

"Christian Witches"

A real thing, coming this Easter.

Some time back, I read this article about the rise of witchcraft. Two sets of numbers stuck out to me in it. The first is that the number of Wiccans has grown from about 8,000 to 340,000 in the U.S. from 1990-2008. The second is that it currently looks like there are about 1.5 million Americans "identify as Pagan or Wicca," a higher number that mainline Presbyterianism (1.4 million).

I read it, and thought it interesting, but didn't really connect the dots until I read this article about the first "Christian Witches Convention," set for April 2019 in Salem, MA.

Let's just say this right now: there is no such thing as a "Christian Witch."

You might be a Christian who has fallen into witchcraft, or been lured into it by peers or culture, but if you stay there, you no longer be a follower of Christ. It is sin, and just as with all other sin there is a call to reject it and repent. Falling into sin doesn't condemn a follower of Christ automatically, but choosing to stay there and not fight against it will.

I could go through each and every Scripture that warns against it, but in the interest of space and time I will simply list several of them: Deut. 18:10-14; I Chr. 10:13; 2 Chr. 33:6; I Sam. 15:23; Acts 8:9-13; Acts 19:17-20; Gal. 5:19-20, and more.

Notice: the warnings appear in both the Old and New Testaments. It had no place with God's people in the past, and it has no place with God's people today. To live as a witch is to live in sin, Scripture leaves no room for it.

To get on with the main point however, we need to deal with what these people are teaching, namely that Jesus was a sorcerer, the Bible is a grimoire, and the Christianity and Witchcraft are compatible. I hope that last statement has been adequately answered above.

First, to imply that Jesus was a sorcerer is, simply put, blasphemy. To be a sorcerer Jesus would have to break Old Testament law, which would be sin, which would mean He could not die a perfect sacrifice for sin. It is a straight line from one to the other. Furthermore, to claim Jesus as a sorcerer because of His miracles is a fallacy. They broke the laws of nature in order to prove He was the Son of God. The miracles Jesus performed went far beyond what any of the prophets and people God used in the Old Testament did, as a proof of who He was. If you are going to live in agreement with the statement "Jesus was a sorcerer," you are living in blasphemy.

Second, to say the Bible is a grimoire is ludicrous on its face. The Bible is a book of history that shows the path God has taken in order to bring all peoples to Himself. It is the history of the world and the church, and it is the Word of God to bring salvation to all men. To relegate it to the place of a book of magic is to take it from the highest place to the lowest. It is to steal from it its position as God's Word to save all mankind and turn it into a trinket for our own personal aggrandizement, power, and glory.

If you do happen to watch the video at the end of the article about the convention, I encourage you to notice the large number of red flags throughout it. The constant use of "oh my God," the theme of the witches ball (American Horror Story: Apocalypse), her desire to see someone attend dressed as Michael Langdon, literally the spawn of Satan in the show ("however, I like him" she says), or his "witchy mother," who was a "servant of Satan", as she states.

This is something to watch out for in our churches today. Wicca is one of the fastest growing (if not the fastest growing) religion in the United States, and it is likely to only accelerate. It is a perfect match for our postmodern culture, and we need to be prepared for it. Do not take this lightly. It is real and it is growing. Teach yourself and others to stand firm in Christ alone, so we do not fall into the mindset of saying something "isn't a big deal," or that it "won't affect me." Those are traps of the the most dangerous kind. We must know what it means to stand in Christ, or we will find ourselves standing in anything but Him.