Darkness

The room was pitch black. No lights were shining anywhere in the house. And for that matter, no lights were shining in the neighborhood. At all. It was almost apocalyptic. There was a power outage in the middle of the night. The only reason she knew of the outage was because she woke up a little after midnight. The house was so dark that she felt a little unnerved getting out of bed. Oh. She knew the layout of her house. She could walk it in the dark. But there she was. The darkness was so thick, she couldn’t see anything. It was one thing to walk in the dark of the house with a few nightlights conveniently placed. But to walk around in total darkness, even in a familiar setting, was unsettling. It was as though the place had been invaded by unknown entities. And even though she hadn’t heard any strange sounds. No doors opening. No glass shattering. No stairs creaking. She still felt uncomfortable in her own home.

Hours earlier, a small nightlight had shone as brightly as it could in the dark space. Now all lights were darkened. But that small shard of light had offered a calming effect in the darkness. What shadows were there offered affirmation that nothing sinister was lurking. Whereas, the total darkness caused uncertainty even though no evidence of threats arose. One must be careful in the dark. Stepping on forgotten shoes or an empty box can send someone into the depths of fear and panic.

But while still dark a few hours later, a low hum filled the space. Clocks blinked. Lights flickered. Power was restored. And in that moment, all felt right with the world.


The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. John 1:15


The dark is a frightening place to be. It’s unnerving. Unsettling. Uncomfortable. Even though our eyesight will adjust to see shapes and shadows in the dark, we still don’t see clearly. Confusion can set in, along with fear and anxiousness.

People living in darkness can’t see the path they’re on. Because of their blindness, they don’t know the pitfalls and troubles that are ahead. Darkness causes fear and paranoia. Anger. Manipulation. Panic. When we’re in darkness, we’re in a self-protective mode. We don’t know what lies ahead. The next turn in the road may do us in. So we keep our guard up. Can’t be too careful. Don’t trust others.

Imagine living in darkness all the time. Never rising to see the light. Oh. Many people do it every day. Even for a lifetime. And I’m not talking about physical darkness. I’m talking about spiritual darkness. Anyone who has not confessed their sins and committed their life to Jesus Christ is living in darkness. And their darkness will remain unless they repent.

Just a tiny ray of light is all it takes to expose the darkness. And someone living in the dark doesn’t want to get close to the light, because then they may be exposed. That might require change. Or conviction. And who wants that? Who wants to be confronted with their sins? Who wants the weight of guilt hanging on their shoulders? But that’s what the light does. Even a small pinprick of light is all it takes to expose the darkness. And shouldn’t we be relieved when there is light? Shouldn’t we breathe a sigh of relief when there is even a bit of light? Because then we can see the path ahead. We know where to turn and when to walk straight ahead.

The light is hard on the eyes when darkness is all that’s known. The adjustment to light may take time, but it’s worth the pain and discomfort. Because light brings freedom and hope.

And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants. John 3:19-21

This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:5-7

A Good Man

He was a flawed man, but I didn’t know it. He wasn’t perfect, but I didn’t notice. In my eyes, he was perfect. He made good decisions. He gave good advice. He was an astute business man. He always did the right thing. He was a strong leader. He was a godly influence. He had his flaws, but they will remain nameless. He had to be flawed. He was human. So he had strengths and weaknesses, like everyone else. But I saw him as the man of all men. He was the one to be looked up to at all times. I never doubted his advice. I never questioned his decisions. At least, not out loud. I followed his instructions to a T. I knew that he loved me. He was my dad.

He had a sense of humor. In my mind’s eye, I can still see him throw his head back and give a big belly laugh. He was a disciplinarian. He kept his kids on the straight and narrow. He was an authoritarian. His word was law in his household. No one in the house ever doubted that. Or talked back.

He was my father. The man of all times. He was a soldier. A welder. A farmer. He was a Christian. Father. Husband. Son. Brother. Uncle. Cousin. Grandfather. Great Grandfather. He was a man of God.

He read the Bible. He had daily devotions. He spent time with God. He served God by being involved in the church. He taught Sunday School. He was on the church board. He was the church treasurer. He was the Sunday School superintendent. He read the Bible to his kids on a daily basis. He prayed for his family. But first and foremost, he was a Christian. He loved God.

He once caught a man stealing his farm tools and drove him to the police station in the middle of the night. He was a man of courage. He served four years in the Army during the Korean war. He defended our freedom and our rights. He was a man of valor.

My dad loved his job. He loved farming. It was his life. Planting. Harvesting. Raising pigs. He loved his life on the farm. He would have been content to work the land until his dying day if his health had permitted. But with age came heart issues, causing him to slow down and retire. It was a sad day for him to sell the farm equipment and lease the land to an up and coming young farmer.


Those who fear the Lord are secure; he will be a refuge for their children. Proverbs 14:26


After every Sunday dinner, my dad would get up from the table and kiss my mom on the cheek and thank her for a delicious meal. He was a man deeply in love with his wife. He spent the last years of his life making sure my mother was taken care of as her memory slowly faded. He waited eleven days to take his final breath once he knew she was safely secured in heaven. And then he quietly joined her.

Oh. My dad never brought flowers to my mom. He rarely bought her a Christmas gift. But he gave her his undying love and devotion. He provided a godly influence to their family. He was a faithful, loving husband.

My dad has been in heaven for eight years now. I’m sure he’s having the time of his life. I’m looking forward to the day that I join him, and then we’ll never be separated again. It will be a glorious time.

Oh. If only we had more men like my dad today. This world would be a much better place. It still wouldn’t be a perfect world, but it would be a more secure, productive and kind world. It would be centered around God, the church, a satisfying career and a loving family.

I miss my dad.

Following

I’m a follower. Of people. I follow people on social media. I’m not a stalker. I just like to see what is happening in their lives. I follow one who is into fitness. One who is a follower of Jesus Christ. Another is a cook who is now feeding four young children trying to be an influencer of moms with young kids. Another is an influencer who uses her clout to inspire others to purchase products that she has endorsed. Still another speaks biblical truth to the current cultural lies. They’re from all walks of life. And I see a glimpse into their lives on almost a daily basis. It’s fascinating.

The person who is into fitness just opened a micro gym. She is now able to offer one-on-one fitness lessons to anyone willing to pay her price. Oh. She takes her fitness very seriously. If you look at her photos, you can see the results of discipline and sacrifice. So. If she can become fit at her age, then she believes anyone else can do the same.

The Jesus follower recently had a new book published. It appears to be all the rage for her fan base. She’s introduced a study with videos that people can use to dig deeper into this latest book of hers. She shows beautiful photos of her family and home life for the world to see. But deep down, I wonder if she’s in agreement with her country’s leadership. She lives in another North American country that has been hit hard with mandates and tyranny. Oh. She never says a word about it on social media. And perhaps that’s best. But she shares how to live a solid Christian life in an unchristian world.

The young mom I follow intrigues me. She’s had four kids in four years. The last two are identical twins. Her brand started as a cooking blog, where she created plant-based recipes. Oh. I’ve never tried any of her recipes. I just watch from the screen. And now she’s expanded to cookbooks for child eaters of any age. She’s also partnered with financial institutions and cleaning product companies, all in the name of expansion for her growing list of followers. I follow to see the cute photos of her kids. No. I don’t agree with all of her political and cultural leanings, but I don’t have to.

Then there’s the influencer who earns a living strictly on endorsing products that she uses. She creates product and gift guides so others can buy the items she suggests. And then she makes money off of each purchase. And she earns lots of money. She has seven employees who help her in this business. Is this really a job?

The one who speaks biblical truths to the cultural lies does so in a very public way. She’s on social media defending truth and cutting through the lies. She walks closely with the Lord. She shares biblical truth as if it’s her job. And it is her job. She has taken to the task in a bold fashion and is not backing down. She is a faithful warrior fighting a battle that few believers are willing to fight. She says she isn’t an influencer, but her message influences masses.


Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me. Psalms 119:133


And then there’s the ultimate One I follow. Oh. He isn’t on social media. He seems to have no social standing at all in this world. But yet, he’s everywhere. His impact is of a spiritual nature. And it’s clear when his plan is being followed. Or not. It’s noticeable when his selfless, sacrificial gift to all mankind is being rejected. We see that rejection every day. We just call it by a different name.

This One I follow is the Creator of the universe. He’s the lover of my soul. He’s the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. His only and only Son came to earth as a babe. He gave his life on the cross so that I could have eternal life with him. Why wouldn’t I follow him? Why wouldn’t everyone follow him? But so many don’t. And others only follow halfheartedly. And he gave his all for each of us.

So. As I follow the Leader of my life, I too must give him my all. No shirking. Following the leader requires constant obedience. No turning to the left or to the right. Just following the one who is guiding my every step. Sounds simple enough. Until my selfish nature gets in the way. Until I want what I want and my want doesn’t match the One I say I’m following. Oh. Then life gets sticky. I either bow to his way or I bow out of his will. Either decision is life changing. If I choose to bow to his way, then I feel the peace of submission and obedience. I draw closer to him and have a deeper desire to always obey. But if I choose to bow out of his will, then I am claiming that I know best for my life. I’m saying his plan isn’t good enough for me. I know what I’m doing. Oh. What a tangled web we can weave if we don’t stay fully surrendered to him.

Since He has placed me in this world at this appointed time, I must use my gifts and talents to honor him. As his follower, I must walk the path he has laid out for me. Oh. There will be moments the path looks too steep and treacherous. It may be rocky or full of potholes. Or it may be newly paved. Regardless of the condition of the road, I must keep plodding forward. One step at a time. Because he is walking with me each step of the way.

As I follow the Giver of Life, I must be willing to lay down my life for him as he sacrificed his for me. I must obey his leading at all costs. Oh. The price may be high. No one ever knows until it’s time. But for this time, I am called to live humbly, justly and obediently.

We must be faithful to what He asks us to do, to what He asks us to believe, and to how He instructs us to live.

John Stonestreet

Attributes of God

We’re tempted to complain that life is unfair and God is not good. Especially when we’re going through a rough patch, or we don’t get what we want. But sometimes we just need to be reminded of how awesome God really is. In the darkness of the world and the evil that is played out on a daily basis, we need to stop and be still. We need to take a serious look at the goodness of God.

God is righteous. He is morally correct and justifiable, free from guilt and sin. God does no wrong. His decisions are always correct. His judgments are fair and right. He is far more than an upstanding citizen. His goodness goes beyond our wildest imagination. His deeds are kind. There is no other God. He listens to our cries for help. His righteousness will never end. God is blameless and holy. You are righteous, Lord , and your laws are right. Psalms 119:137

God is trustworthy. He keeps his promises. His word is truth. He doesn’t lie. He judges everyone based on his standards. God is fair. God has no part in sin. He is not deceptive or manipulative. There is nothing false about God. He has all wisdom and knows everything. God knows everything about us and doesn’t tell a soul. God alone can save us. No one else can. For the word of the Lord holds true, and we can trust everything he does. Psalms 33:4

God is truth. God’s law is truth. He’s honest to the core. It is impossible for God to lie. He speaks truth and peace and mercy and grace and kindness and correction. His word is above all others. He always keeps his promises. He has nothing to hide. I am the way, the truth, and the life. John 14:6


Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world. Psalms 46:10


God is faithful. His timing is his own, but he fulfills every promise he makes. He will never abandon us. His mercies are new every morning. He will strengthen us and protect us from the evil one. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us. Every time. He will not forget his covenants. Every one of God’s promises to Israel were fulfilled. He is faithful in all he does. Lord , you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago. Isaiah 25:1

God is unchanging. God’s laws and actions are consistent. He never wavers. His character never changes. What God has said he will do. His plan for the world has never changed. He keeps his promises. All of them in his own timing will be fulfilled. His love for us is constant. He who began a good work in us will carry it on to completion. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8

God is eternal. God has always been and will always be. He has always existed. He will live forever. He is everlasting. He is the beginning and end. He is our God forever and ever. He cannot be destroyed or defeated. He is the great I AM. He includes all time. Past, present and future. There is no time without God being in existence. Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. God’s invisible qualities can be clearly seen in everything he made. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Revelation 22:13

God is light. There is no darkness in God. He shines in glorious radiance. Chaos reigns in darkness, and God has no part of chaos or darkness. God’s light will guide us if we let it. He is the light of the world. His life brought life to everyone. The darkness can never extinguish light, so God as the light of the world can never be extinguished. His word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. 1 John 1:5

Settling for Mediocrity

I recently read that the biggest problem with today’s churches is the apathy of those who call themselves Christians. Basically, we just don’t care. And we’re unwilling to commit to strengthening our faith. In fact, J. Warner Wallace says that apathy among Christians poses a much greater threat to Christianity than atheism. Imagine that.

It’s very disheartening to know that many Christians today are willing to settle for a mediocre faith. A half-hearted relationship with God. We know it’s easy to have a divided heart. We want our own way. What are we afraid of, Christians?

Why do very few American Christians attend prayer meetings? Why aren’t we interested in rigorous Bible study? Or about learning to defend our faith? Why are we so reluctant to sink our teeth into the Bible? It’s no wonder we’re silent on cultural issues these days. Maybe we don’t know enough biblical truth to know the difference. Why are we so complacent, Christians?

Here’s the thing. If Christian parents don’t know enough about the Bible, then they’re more likely to teach a watered down version to their children. And the spiral downward continues to the next generation. And so on. And so on. And then we wonder why our kids aren’t interested in church or spiritual things. We wonder why the next generation isn’t as solid in their faith as we are. Or as our parents were.

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6

Even pastors are struggling with their faith. A recent survey showed that among lead pastors, only 41% hold a biblical worldview. Only 28% of associate pastors, 13% of teaching pastors and 12% of children’s/youth pastors hold a biblical worldview.

You may ask why this is important. Maybe it’s time to consider what a worldview actually is. A worldview is the way we look at the world, based on our beliefs and learnings and opinions. So, if we have a biblical worldview, we base everything on biblical truths. The Bible is the lens from which we view the world.

So, yes. It’s shocking to think that most pastors don’t have a biblical worldview. Then how do they view the world? What gives them inspiration for their sermons? If it’s not the Bible, what is it? What is truth if it’s not based on the Bible? Hmmm. And if a pastor doesn’t have a biblical worldview, what does he believe about all the cultural issues we’re facing?

I have to ask. Are Christians influenced or convicted by the sermons they hear? Do we apply the truths to our lives and take to heart the message we hear? Or do we assume the message is for the person sitting next to us?


I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! Revelation 3:15-16


And we wonder why our culture has veered so far off-course. Perhaps we’ve become lukewarm. Neither sincere about our relationship with God but not totally indifferent to our faith. How is that even possible? Well, it sure is. And the Bible warns us of exactly that.

Are we bowing to the culture? Or, are we just comfortable and don’t want to make an effort to increase our faith? I know. We’re all busy. That’s what we say. But isn’t it true that we find time for the things that are important to us? So. Maybe it’s safe to say that Bible reading and prayer aren’t at the top of our priority list. Maybe repentance isn’t considered normal anymore. Because, after all. Everyone is doing it, whatever it is. And if everyone is doing it, it must be ok. Right? But what does God say? Does he call what everyone is doing sin? Or does he call it holy? There’s a big difference. And God doesn’t change. Culture is what’s changing. And if we say we’re followers of God, then our beliefs must align with God’s Word. We can’t have it both ways.

Do we care more about comfortable lies we hear today than we care about uncomfortable truths? After all, who wants to be uncomfortable? Who wants to be ridiculed for standing up for right in a wrong world? Are we just lazy? Sure. It takes work to study the Bible and know what we believe. It takes strength and courage to speak words of truth when we’re surrounded by others who don’t. It’s time to speak up. It’s time to stand up and not be silent. Settling for mediocrity in our faith could send us straight to hell. And who wants that?

This life is filled with strong distractions

One pulls from the left, one from the right

I’ve already made up my mind

I’m gonna make my life a living sacrifice

I don’t want to be a casual Christian

I don’t want to live a lukewarm life

DeGarmo and Key

The Days are Evil

We hear word of the deadly shooting in the grocery store. Ten innocent people lost their lives. Three others were wounded. People going about their daily lives. Buying groceries. Planning for upcoming meals and family gatherings. Targeted by someone who thought their lives were worth nothing.

Other innocent people are killed every day, and they’re not even born. People are protesting the possible overturning of an almost fifty-year old ruling that was wrong to begin with. Women say they want to rule their bodies, but they’re also trying to rule the new life within them. I read about one young woman who thought the mother should have the right to end her child’s life at any point, even at any age after birth. She said the woman should always have the right to choose. She believes women should have the right to murder their child at any point in the woman’s life. That’s what she said.

And then there’s rage. It’s seeping into the fabric of our lives. People are outraged by everything that goes against their beliefs. They claim that people are intolerant for having different views. But isn’t that what tolerance is? Accepting of another’s views even if you don’t agree? I mean. Who’s really being intolerant?

School boards and administrators have been quietly pushing secular teachings to unsuspecting children. And now that the parents know and oppose the new ideologies being taught, they’re at odds with the schools. Pedophilia is being pushed as normal. Pronouns are being distorted based on feelings, not actuality. Kids are being groomed to accept sexual perversion as normal from a young age. Teachers are encouraging students to lie to their parents. Who’s really in charge of our children today?

The media is leading people astray by twisting the truth. Social media skews information to favor a biased left leaning agenda. The leader of the free world is chipping away at our liberty and is dismantling our rights. Our country’s sovereignty is on the chopping block. Who’s stopping him? Maybe a better question is. Who’s encouraging him?

If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you. John 15:18-19


Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are. 1 Peter 5:8-9


The enemy of our souls is on a warpath. And he’s coming for each of us. Can’t you tell? He’s trying to pull out all the stops, because he wants your heart. And mine. But mine isn’t available. It’s already been won by the Lord Jesus Christ. I plan to keep it that way.

Oh. Satan is working overtime. But just know this. He isn’t all powerful. He isn’t omnipotent. He isn’t God. So he is limited in his power and ability. Oh. God has him on a leash. Sometimes the leash is drawn tight, and other times it seems to be fully extracted. God gives Satan permission to do anything he does. Imagine what life would be like if God wasn’t in control. Imagine life with Satan as ruler of this world.

Oh. That day is coming. There will be a time when Satan has control over the earth. But right now, he’s just testing the waters. He’s just getting started. He’s tugging on the leash. He’s always trying to expand his power beyond what God has allowed. And yes. It seems that more and more, his power is increasing. Oh. He’s chomping at the bit to take control. He wants to wreak havoc over all the earth. And he is. Can’t you feel it?

Everywhere we turn, Satan’s fingerprints are on many aspects of life. It’s impossible to ignore him, anymore. But we don’t have to give in to his tyranny. We don’t have to bow to him. Never should we bow to Satan. He is the enemy of our souls.

We must stand and fight with all our might against his evil works. We must choose truth over lies. We must not give in to his pretty schemes and flirty ways. He’s a trickster, all right. He’ll woo and manipulate until we’ve bowed to his plans. If we aren’t careful.

What we must realize is that God is still in full control. He’s allowing Satan to infiltrate our culture and our minds, because we haven’t kept our eyes on God. We’ve allowed Satan to have his way in our world, and he wants more. He always wants more. But so does God. And we must choose who will have control over our lives.

Oh. It’s not too late to turn back to God. Even when the days are evil, God is still good. God is still sovereign. God is still in control. And we have the choice of who we will serve. God. Or Satan. Who will it be? I choose God. And while there’s still time, I encourage you to choose God, too. His love is everlasting. His love is eternal. He’s preparing a home in heaven for those who call on his name. Won’t you surrender your life to him while there’s still time? Bow to God and repent of your sins. Ask for forgiveness and choose to serve God. You won’t regret it.

Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Romans 10:13

Sacrifice of Thanks

The Israelites lived a life of rituals. It was their lot in life. Mainly because God had commanded a life of physical and spiritual purity. There were many laws and customs that the Israelites were required to follow. Some were for keeping physically clean, most likely for health reasons. Other laws were for spiritual purposes. After all, the Promised Messiah had not been delivered to the earth, so they had no Savior. Their sins were forgiven by offering animal sacrifices.

And sometimes, it was easy to sin and just offer a sacrifice without being truly sorry for the wrong that was committed. Just kill a cow and your sin will be forgiven. That was the thought in some people’s minds. But God saw their hearts. He knew they weren’t truly sorry. And he called them out on it.

He reminded them that he owns all the cattle on a thousand hills. He owns every bird on the mountains. So he doesn’t really need their sacrifices. He doesn’t let them know when he’s hungry, because he’s not human. He doesn’t need food to sustain himself. He needs their obedience and allegiance. He wants their sacrifice to be thankfulness. Their thankfulness emphasizes what God has done for them, not what they’ve done for God.

I have no complaint about your sacrifices or the burnt offerings you constantly offer. But I do not need the bulls from your barns or the goats from your pens. For all the animals of the forest are mine, and I own the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird on the mountains, and all the animals of the field are mine. Do I eat the meat of bulls? Do I drink the blood of goats? If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for all the world is mine and everything in it. Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High. Psalms 50:8-14


And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:1-2


Oh. How that still stings today. God sees our hearts. He knows our bent toward sinning. He sees the rituals that we cling to so we can call ourselves Christian. Sure. We go to church. We give our tithe. We volunteer to serve in church ministries.

But the question is. Are we offering our “rituals” with a pure heart? When we walk through the church doors on Sunday, are we there out of love and thankfulness? Are we there to worship God and stand in His presence? Are we there to fellowship with other believers? Or is it just a habit that we haven’t yet broken? Is it only a social gathering? When we tithe, is it because the bill is set to autopay without a second thought? Or do we give sacrificially because of our desire to help spread the gospel? Are we giving a gift of thanksgiving for God’s provision? When was the last time we asked ourselves if we were giving cheerfully or just out of duty? When we accept the cup and bread of communion, is it an act of reverence and honoring of Jesus’ broken body? Or is it a ritual we’ve come to expect on Sunday? Is it an impersonal act we perform without considering the sacrifice of God’s only Son on the cross for our sins? Do we perjure ourselves by presenting our unclean selves as holy before a God who knows our hearts?

If we’ve lost the joy of being a Christian, how can we turn our hearts around? How can we fall in love with giving our tithe and not feel like it’s a drain on our finances? How can we reclaim the deep burning desire to be in church worshipping with fellow believers every Sunday? What will it take to get excited about serving God in the church again? How do we reclaim the joy and thankfulness we experienced as new believers?

Perhaps it time to stop and renew our relationship with God. Perhaps our fire has burned out, because we’re not putting God first. If God cares so much about the animals, he cares much more about we who are made in his image. God does not need anything from us. He accepts our offerings. And our service. And our worship. He commands we honor him. But rituals won’t satisfy him. He wants our hearts. He wants our confession. He wants our obedience. Our allegiance. Our trust. He wants our full surrender to his will. He wants our sacrifice of thanksgiving.

Does he have it?

Therefore, change your hearts and stop being stubborn. Deuteronomy 10:16

Consider the Children

There is a large group of people who are silent on the day we celebrate mothers. Sixty three million people have never been able to celebrate Mother’s Day. They never made it out alive. Out of the womb, that is. Each of their mothers decided that the life she had created wasn’t necessary. Whether the act of creating that life was consensual or not, life had begun. And she knew it. But she opted to end the life of her child when their life had barely begun.

But make no mistake. Life had begun.

There’s confusion over whose right should be heeded. Is it the mothers? After all, she has the ability to make decisions. Or is it the baby’s right? The baby, who is helpless and can’t make decisions. Oh. Some say it’s her right to have control of her body. They believe this innocent, helpless life is an inconvenience. A needless clump of cells. An unnecessary expense. An unplanned pregnancy. So they remove the life from their womb.

But has anyone stopped to ask about the rights of the baby being formed? Has anyone thought of other options besides killing the unborn child? Don’t the unborn have rights? These millions of unborn babies never had the chance to declare their rights over their bodies. They can’t speak for themselves.

Somehow it seems that these lost children are overlooked. In the wake of demanding rights, we only hear of the woman’s rights. The mother’s rights. Nothing about how precious a new life is. It seems to be all about the mothers.

So let’s consider these children who have been lost to us. The generations of unborn lives can still speak to us. Their loss is magnified in the empty chairs and empty places in our lives. Our loss is overwhelming, because we have no idea what we have missed out on. We have no idea what those children have been denied. Their life. Their accomplishments. Their successes. Their inventions. Their mistakes. Their failures. They’ve missed out on their earthly lives. Only God knows the deepest losses placed on us because of the loss of these individuals.


You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. Psalms 139:13-16


I wonder which one of those sixty three million would have been the next Mozart. Or Michelangelo. Or Einstein. Or C.S. Lewis. Or John Wesley. Or Billy Graham. Or Abraham Lincoln. 

I wonder who in the group would have been an Olympic athlete. Or a brain surgeon. Or a florist. Or an engineer. Or a stay at home mom. I wonder if any would have been a bus driver. Or a farmer. Or a nurse. Or a teacher. Or a Heisman trophy winner. Or a photographer. 

We’ll never know. They never had the chance to live their life. But their mothers did. You betcha. 

These children missed out on piano lessons. Cooking classes. Softball tryouts. Prom. Sleepovers. Cousins. Grandparents. They missed their first loose tooth. They never got their first spanking. Or grounding. They never hit a home run. They never celebrated Christmas. Or their birthday. They never got married. Or had their own kids. They never went on a job interview. Or got a raise or promotion. They never got to teepee their neighbor’s yard. Or learn to drive. They never bought a house. Or rocked their own baby to sleep. They never got to retire. These children missed out on life.

Those sixty three million could have started a revolution. They could have been a powerful army.  They could have been a small country. They could have been someone’s spouse. Or mother. Or father. But they never got the chance. 

Instead. Heaven holds sixty three million precious souls who were never given the chance to live their lives. Their life was in the hands of a woman who chose herself. They were never allowed to become old.

Consider how many children never had a chance to be born because their parents never had a chance to be born.  We’ve lost many more than sixty three million lives. And that’s in one country alone. In the last year, forty two million unborn babies lost their lives globally. It’s unthinkable. This world isn’t overpopulated. It’s underpopulated.

Even before the mother knew she was with child, God knew. He knew the child intimately and had ordained the child’s life. God is the giver of life. And he’s the taker of life. No one else.

An Invincible Faith

The conversation went something like this. She said she didn’t see the point of going on. What was it all for? Was it really worth it to continue? Perhaps she’s in a dead end job and no longer finds joy in her work. Perhaps she’s bored with life. Maybe she’s depressed and doesn’t realize it. Or perhaps she needs a Savior.

Oh. But she said she was a believer. I wonder though. Does she believe in God? If not, where is her hope? Where is her joy?

It’s one thing to be hopeless and not have faith in God. But someone who says they’re hopeless and are a believer, well….that opens the door to some questions. Does she not know that those who have placed their hope and trust in God have access to his invincible power? Doesn’t she know that her faith is worth holding onto during life’s momentary troubles?

But perhaps she isn’t aware of how to be invincible in her faith. Perhaps she’s never taken a deep dive into how faith and growth occur for followers of Jesus Christ. It doesn’t just happen. It takes time and effort. But the results are life changing and life eternal. As believers, we shouldn’t scare easily. God is on our side.

So what does invincible mean for a Christian? Being invincible isn’t automatic. It takes faith. Self denial. Obedience. Trust. We must put on the full armor of God each day. There’s the belt of truth that goes around the waist. Then the breastplate of righteousness. These are followed by the gospel of peace. The shield of faith. The helmet of salvation. And finally we carry the sword of the Spirit. We’re fully dressed for battle.

I think of the three Hebrew men who were thrown into a fiery furnace, because they wouldn’t bow to a godless king. And when the the king looked into the furnace, he saw a fourth person with them. During the worst moment of their life, God stood with them in the fire. He saved their lives with his invincible power. If he can save them, can’t he save us during our most difficult days? If he can stand with them, won’t he stand with us in our fiery trials?

Paul was given a thorn in his flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment him and keep him from being proud. Three times he begged the Lord to take it away. Each time the Lord said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

It may be safe to say that we all have a thorn in our flesh. We have something that can cause us to be proud or tempted to sin. But God’s grace is all we need. Let’s claim God’s power in our weakest moments, because that’s when his power works best.


Remain in me, and I will remain in you. John 15:4


In 2 Kings 6:15-17, Elisha’s servant is afraid when the king of Syria sends a great army with chariots and horses. He asks Elisha what they should do. Elisha tells him not to be afraid. He said “there are more on our side than on theirs.” And the Lord opened his servants eyes, and he saw the hillside surrounding them filled with horses and chariots of fire. He then realized that the army of the Lord was on their side and would fight for them.

So often, we don’t stop to think of the army fighting for us. They are invisible. But yet, they are invincible. They do their job very, very well. In other words, they don’t lose.

Please be warned. When I use the word invincible, it is not a substitution for the word perfection. I know as believers in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, we will not ever be perfect on this earth. So that is not what I’m saying. My purpose for calling believers invincible is the fact that our faith is grounded in Jesus Christ. We buckle on the armor of God every day. Every single piece of the armor. We’re faithful to read God’s word. We’re prayer warriors. We obey God at all costs. We allow God’s will to work as the primary source of our lives. We are God’s children, and we live like it. We grasp on to God’s mercy. We hold tight to his grace. We ask for his forgiveness. We relax in his love. He is the main source of our comfort. Our identity is not found in something or someone other than God, our heavenly Father.

And when we put him in first place in our lives. Above all else. Our faith is invincible. Our faith will not come crashing down when life throws us a curveball. Our faith will not be weakened when we’re tempted by momentary pleasures. Our faith will not be at risk when we lose the joy of performing our daily tasks and duties and taking our responsibilities seriously. Our joy comes from the Lord. Our strength is from God’s strength. Because of that, we are invincible. God is the Lord of heaven’s armies, and he fights for us. He leads us into battle. When we’re up against Satan’s armies. The enemy of our soul. When we don’t realize that the pleasant thing that’s been offered to us is a trap of Satan’s. God is fighting for us.

We need to have that armor on. And the fresh sweet aroma of Christ needs to be so strong that any type of temptation will be weakened by the aroma of Christ in us. If we sense that our faith is not invincible, then we realize we must fall on our knees and pray and ask God to give us his strength and power. We can claim that as our own any time of the day. Let’s not forget. Let’s be bold. Because we know this one fact. The kingdom of God still stands. And it always will.

All or Nothing

It was his first year on the job as king of Israel, and it was unremarkable. Oh. It wasn’t a job he asked for. It was one his fellow countrymen had been asking for. They wanted a king. So God gave them a king. And when Samuel warned them that their desire for a king was sinful, they said they didn’t care. They wanted to be like every other nation around them.

This king, Saul, was chosen by God. And Saul failed early on in his reign. He failed because he was not a man after God’s own heart. He was after his own selfish ways. Never mind God. Saul would do what Saul wanted. And pay the consequences later, if need be.

And during his second year in power, he received a horrible performance review. Samuel told him that because of his disobedience to God, he would lose the kingdom. Saul’s early sin of offering a sacrifice that only the priest should make cost him his kingship. Oh. He remained in power, but none of his sons would inherit the throne. It would go to another.

And so the downhill decline started. So early in his reign, Saul saw his kingdom and legacy faltering. He was not a man of God. It didn’t have to be this way. But Saul made poor decisions early on in his reign that began a downward slide of continued disobedience to God’s commands. Saul led the nation of Israel poorly, and it showed. His monarchy would come to a screeching halt after his lifetime. It would not be carried down to the next generation. And he knew it.

I wonder how often Saul relived that day Samuel anointed him in private to be king of Israel. Didn’t he walk away a new man? God had given him a new heart. Once afraid, he was filled with boldness and bravery. He was now a statesman appointed to lead a nation. Oh. Saul did some good things. He won some battles. He rescued people from their enemies. He even prophesied. He was humble as he began his reign. But oh. How the tide turned.

Over the course of his reign, Saul’s sins were many. He was impatient, foolish and jealous. He attempted murder. He was vengeful. He consulted with a witch and disobediently offered sacrifices. When Samuel helped him guide the nation, things went well. Once Samuel stepped aside to let Saul lead the country on his own, Saul appeared to be awkward and weak. When left to his own devices, he made poor decisions.

Saul had a bent for disobeying the God who had chosen him as the first king of Israel. God rejected Saul, because he saw that Saul’s heart was set against him. Saul was self-centered and proud. He told himself he was being self sufficient when he took matters into his own hands, instead of waiting for Samuel to arrive and perform his priestly duties. Saul acted as his own priest. Because. Why not? He was king. He could do everything the priest could do. But that act of rebellion didn’t go down well with Samuel or with God. Saul thought he didn’t need God to instruct him. If only he obeyed God, his reign would have been a powerful statement of God’s grace. Instead, it was a powerful statement of how powerful men can be broken by sin and disobedience.


The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? Jeremiah 17:9


I wonder if King Saul ever stopped to examine his life and his decisions. Did he ever feel guilty about turning his back on God? Was he ever regretful for the many attempts to kill David? Did he realize he didn’t have to lose the kingdom to David? If only he had obeyed God, his family would have remained in power. But Saul was bent on having his way in his own way.

We never know how our lives will be impacted by responding wrongly to God’s will in our lives. Do we stop to think about how one decision can turn our lives in a totally different path with our disobedience? Or do we just go merrily about our business without a care? Disobedience doesn’t come out of nowhere. It starts in the heart. A turning of desires from pleasing God to pleasing self. It may start small. With just a glance. Or a thought. And it builds from there. Until one day, the desire to please God is a far distant thought.

Disobedience becomes easier the more often it happens. The conscience eases. The guilty twinges subside. Until disobedience becomes a lifestyle of comfort and selfishness. Our self sufficient attitude becomes an act of defiance to an all-sovereign God of the universe. And not a thought is given to pleasing God. Disobedience grieves the heart of God. Nothing about it pleases him.

It doesn’t have to be this way. We know that. Hearts can change. Hearts can be turned back toward God. Hearts can still be convicted if they are open to hearing God’s truth. Repentance can happen. Forgiveness is open to everyone who calls on the name of the Lord. Those who seek forgiveness will be saved. God is working in hearts and lives today. But we must seek him while he may still be found.

According to 1 Samuel 12:14-15, blessings await those who obey the commands of the Lord, while troubles are in store for those who disobey. Choose you this day whom you will serve.