Purpose Statement

My holy ambition is to bring glory to God through the study of His Word. I am passionate about the observation, interpretation and application of God's Word in our lives.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Where Are You Going?

The other day I was in a parking lot when a mother and her two daughters exited the store.  One of the daughters walked past the car and her Mom yelled "Where are you going?" The daughter turned around and strode back to the car door.  I thought about the mother's question  in light of a Bible Study on Philippians I have been doing. Paul in Chapter 3 encourages the readers to "Go on and go on and go on". He encourages them to have a singular purpose. Paul knew what he was called to do and he set his aim on that goal. He was to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles.  Nothing dissuaded him.

What is your singular goal? What one thing is required? What one thing is necessary? We are so busy running around doing a lot of things. Even good things often weigh us down. We have more than one aim in our sight..  A good friend of mine encourages her children to "focus" when she teaches them in her home. I can her hear her say it in my head.  "Focus".  I think the Holy Spirit is often telling us the same thing. "Focus". There is only one thing that matters. Pursue Christ. Fight the good fight of faith. Hold fast and persevere. Live the Gospel. Let others see your testimony and realize there is a living God in heaven. What is your purpose? Where ARE you going?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

God the Father

Today I was feeling very discouraged and distant from the Lord.  I opened my Bible and read Romans 8:16: "The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children."  God is the creator of all but only those who have come to faith in Jesus Christ are called His children.  Adoption is such a radical doctrine in the Bible.  We who were enemies and alienated from God have been brought near.  Upon regeneration--coming to faith in Jesus Christ--we are treated and indeed become God's children. He is our Father in the very real and intimate sense.  He is close and personal and we are under His personal care.

God is our providential provider and our protector.  Such a truth helped me to rest in His heavenly care with childlike trust.  He works all things for good which means a growing likeness to Jesus Christ. He hovers near and sorts and sifts everything through His loving, sovereign and wise hands. It is here under His aegis that we are permitted to be vulnerable and emotionally transparent. We can lay our hearts bare before Him for He cares about us. That's what I did and the tears flowed down my cheeks. I came to Him with heartfelt needs. I cried for some time as I poured out my heart. He met me in that place. He moved quickly to comfort and to calm and I rest assured in His grace for that moment. 

As I pondered my relationship with the omnipotent God I was grateful that He did indeed call me His child.  He tenderly considers all that concerns me.  He is my Abba which translates "Daddy." It is a strong word and indicates a personally intimate relationship.  The Spirit we receive when we come to faith in Jesus sets the Father's heart on us as His own children. Here we have an antidote to anxiety and aloneness. We are His in the most intimate of ways. And even more amazing He is our Father in the most true sense of the word.

Monday, February 10, 2014


Matthew 18 is the chapter we studied in BSF this week.  The first part speaks of humility.  A humble heart makes a person great in the Kingdom of God. The second section is about seeking the lost. The third section is on church discipline and the fourth speaks about forgiveness. Jesus relates the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant. Essentially a slave is forgiven by his master for an unreal amount of money--10,000 talents. The slave in return refuses to forgive another slave his debt of some $20.00.  There are some lessons we learn here.

First, God is angry at the lack of forgiveness in our lives. We who have been forgiven much should forgive much. Second, forgiveness is an act of the will and not an emotional decision. We shouldn't wait until we FEEL like forgiving an offender. We do it in obedience to the Lord who has forgiven us so much!

Third, forgiveness means that we don't bring the issue up to the offender or any one else. It also means we don't dwell on it ourselves.  It releases the offender to the Lord and frees us in the process. Bitterness builds a prison that encloses its own architect.  Fourth, true forgiveness requires much humility.  It releases not only the offender but the offended. Such an act screams to the world's  "get even" or "some one is going to pay" mentality that Jesus Christ lives. He works through the hearts of His own. Is there someone for whom you harbor bitterness? Don't waste any more time. Offer a full pardon now with a concise yet sincere "I will forgive you" and thus be pleasing to the Lord.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

War of Words

The person who talks to us the most is ourselves. The estimates vary from study to study but our internal dialog impacts us greatly One pastor said that the greatest thing we can do is to quit listening to our inner dialog and to speak truth to our hearts.  As a man thinks so is he.  What we tell ourselves day in and day out is best framed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We need to preach truth to our hearts if we want to be transformed into the likeness of the Savior. 

There is much power in words. Proverbs 18:21 states: "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit."  We must fight to preach biblical truths instead of the flesh or the world system.  Words don't create a reality but they do have consequences which at times can be severe. We can either use our tongues to build up others or tear them down. We can encourage or discourage them. We can affirm or condemn them.  We do the same inside our own heads. We are called to be good stewards of our speech.

Matthew 12: 36 is sobering: "But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment." Our words have eternal significance. We must battle daily against negative and unbiblical speech.  Not only what we speak out loud but also what we think internally.  Meditation and memorization are two ways to better ensure that what you say lines up with what God says.  May we all strive to use our words in ways that please the Lord.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Right Thinking

The Bible puts much emphasis on the mind. The hallmark Scripture in Philippians 4: 8 tells us this: "Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things."  We need to be people who take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ for as a man thinks so is he.

The mind we brought to the Christian life is carnal and worldly. The mind God wants for us is one that sets itself on things above and not on things below.  We must not change our thoughts but also conform our hearts into more and more Christ likeness.  The Bible teaches that the way we are transformed is to renew our minds. 

One of the greatest threats to our Christian walk is unbelief. It lies at the root of all sin against God. Gratefully the indwelling Holy Spirit can enable us to change our minds biblically and develop a Christ like one.  This verse stands as one of the clearest commands in terms of where to set our minds and thus our hearts. We are to dwell on whatever is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, excellent and praise worthy. It isn't easy to corral the unbiblical thoughts that have been allowed to flourish for years. But as we consistently put them through this grid we can develop new habits of thinking. Thus bit by bit grow into greater obedience and become more like the Savior we serve.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Hope for the Abandoned and Alone

In today's depersonalized world it is easy to feel abandoned or alone. Gratefully God promises so many times in His Word that He is with us. I have been meditating and memorizing Deuteronomy 31:8 "The Lord is the One Who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you nor forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed."  Genesis 28: 15: states: "Behold I am with you and will keep you wherever you go and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.  Psalm 138: 8 says: "The LORD will accomplish what concerns me; Your lovingkindness, O LORD, is everlasting; Do not forsake the works of Your hands."

The omnipotent and omniscient God is with all who trust in Him. He is patient in guiding and wise in direction. He loves us with a perfect love. He is for us and with us.  He is on our side if we have trusted in His Son. Granted He disciplines us and sometimes severely so.  But His ultimate goal is His glory and our good. He will perfect that which He has begun.   It is comforting to know that in spite of some very hard circumstances He has the whole world in His hands as the song says.

Gill's commentary declares:
God is able to do it, and none can hinder him; he has promised to do it, and he is faithful who will do it; and his glory is concerned in it; and it may be depended on it will be finished; he is a rock, and his work is perfect.
Matthew Henry states:

         "Whatever good there is in us, it is God works in us both to will and to do. The Lord will  perfect  the salvation of every true believer, and he will never forsake those whom he has created anew in Christ Jesus unto good works."

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Antidote to Gloom

I have been focused on two verses to day found in Isaiah 58: 10-11:
And if you give yourself to the hungry
And satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
Then your light will rise in darkness
And your gloom will become like midday.
11 “And the Lord will continually guide you,
And satisfy your desire in scorched places,
And give strength to your bones;
And you will be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.

The prescription for  gloom is to focus and meet the needs of others.  We are not to merely look out for our own personal interests but the interests of others it states in Philippians 2: 3-4.  Depression and gloom often have a self absorption component.  God intends for us to perform acts of mercy and kindness.  It reflects the Savior we serve.  When we live for others we end up being like springs of water whose water never fail.  We refresh others and are ourselves refreshed.

When we live for ourselves we flounder and sometimes end up in deep despair. When we pour out our lives for others, we are full and joyous.  It is very easy to slowly give in to a selfish approach to life. It is our default position. But God says that small mindedness and a self serving life ends badly.  As we turn away from us and turn our attention to the others, gloom lifts little by little. The fresh water of God's grace fills us with joy and we bubble over joyously in the lives of others.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


I was visiting with some friends this morning who were commenting about God's providence. They both work for a non profit pregnancy center where they fight for the lives of unborn children.  We were discussing how God is truly in control of everything in life. Nothing happens apart from Him.  Even the times when a staff member resigned God was there to fill the void. Sometimes even before a staff member quit.

As I sat there talking to these ladies I mused how truly sovereign is the Lord. The very fact that I had gone to the center on this particular morning was evidence of His providence. I heard the testimonies of two young women who had aborted their children but had found forgiveness and grace in the Lord Jesus Christ.  They were both riveting stories.  God had certainly wrought miracles in their lives.  Now they stand as proof that God's intent is to work all things together for our good and His glory.  He makes sinful people into real trophies of His grace as it states in Ephesians 2: 7 to 10. 

Dr. R.C. Sproul is fond of saying that no random molecule exists for God is control of even that. There are no maverick atoms that exceed the bounds of the Lord and Savior.  That has to be comforting to all those who are in the midst of dark trials.  God has allowed the hardship for reasons of His own.  Our best response is to be quiet before Him and wait for His providence in our circumstances. It is an active waiting that obeys in the mean time.  God has a plan and Genesis 28:15 declares God won't leave us until "{He} has done what {He} promises to do."  Isaiah 46: 10 states that His "counsel shall stand and {He} will accomplish all {His}purpose." May you take comfort in that this very day.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Scripture Memorization

Our associate pastor issued a call for the congregation to make scripture memorization a priority this year.  I know where a lot of Scripture is located but I don't have it memorized word by word.  I started this past week to memorize verses that I can more easily recall to mind when I need them  It has helped ease the emotionality in my life somewhat. I am grateful.  We need to trust in the promises of the Lord along with heed any warnings He gives. If we only trust the promises we can grow hardened to sin and make the Gospel self centered instead of God centered. If we emphasize the warnings we can become legalistic and paralyzed with fear.  With a healthy balance between the promises and the warnings we can walk more powerfully by the Spirit.

When I am afraid or discouraged, I can bring these passages to mind to challenge my thoughts. Our default position isn't the Scripture but our own thoughts which often flow from our wicked hearts.  We can learn to preach the Gospel to ourselves and take every thought captive. The proverb as a man thinks so is he is true.  We can choose to dwell on the flesh or we can choose to embrace the word of the Spirit.  I am grateful that the Bible gives much hope as we meditate upon Jesus and focuses our gaze upon the Lord. Someone once said that for every glance at ourselves we need to take ten glances at Jesus Christ. Memorizing His Word is a good way to do that!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Habit Change

I was talking with some ladies from my church today about habits.  Habits are long time patterns of behaviors or thinking that become automatic over time.  Unfortunately I have some very bad habits.  Some of which are nearly as old as I am.  It can be hard, very hard, to alter your patterns.  But there is hope.  If you have the Holy Spirit dwelling within you, change is possible.  It is not easy but it is possible. God's Word is full of encouragement for those who want to make things different.  We need to preach truth to ourselves throughout the day. Some of the "stinkin' thinkin'" has been in our heads for so long we don't even know we are thinking at all. The thoughts are there like deep ruts in a rural road.  The thoughts must be rooted out and replaced with new thoughts. II Corinthians 5: 17 "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come."

Much of the success in changing habits lies in what you believe about God. His Word tells us what we need to tell ourselves. First, God is completely sovereign, infinitely wise and perfectly loving.  We can trust Him to help us. Tim Chester points out in his book "You Can Change" that He is also good, gracious, great and glorious. That means that God and  not us controls everything. No random molecule in the universe gets past Him. He takes away the fear of man. He is the ultimate source of all good and we can stop looking to other gods to satisfy.  We don't have to join the rat race to prove ourselves to anybody. If you are like me, there are habits to break.  It will take a lot of hard work but God is there as a very present help in times of trouble.  Please pray for me and others as we set out this year to resolve to change some things. 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Compassion of Jesus Christ

I am studying Matthew in BSF and today's lesson was about Jesus feeding the 5,000.  Even though the disciples didn't want to minister to the large crowd Jesus insisted that they do something.  The Word said He compassion for them.  They were like sheep without a shepherd. I think the analogy of Jesus being the Good Shepherd is such a tender one.  For those who have read the books about shepherding the analogy is deep.  He does love people and is longsuffering toward the sinner.

The heart of God is love.  To love is to give something someone needs. That is exactly what Jesus taught His disciples to do on that day.  He had them gather what provision they had and then He blessed it by raising it toward heaven. He fed the huge crowd with some left over. The disciples learned that to be like Jesus is to show compassion and to meet needs regardless of how large they may seem.  The heart of God is to give. The greatest gift was to send His Son to die on the Cross for all who will believe.  Romans 8:32: " He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?"

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Sweet Time With Baby S

I had the opportunity to visit with the daughter and son in law of one of my best friends. Their son was born last week. I walked in and looked at the sweet bundle in his grandmother's arms. The first thing noticeable about him was his hairy head. It didn't take very long to figure out his gentle disposition and quiet nature.  The grandmother let me sit in the rocking chair and hold him. I nestled him against the front of my shoulder. I looked down and fell in love. What a perfect little child! He had long fingers and toes. His little body was perfectly formed and he slept soundly leaning up against my chest.  He did so for twenty minutes.

I never had children of my own.  It is always such a joyous thing to celebrate births and to be a small part of others' happiness. One wonders about what Baby S might be when he grows up. Who will he look like? It always overwhelms me to think about human physiology and how God forms each infant in his mother's womb.  Baby S was no exception.  Those twenty minutes were a delight.  God is so good. It is easy to lose sight of such things in a world gone mad. I am grateful to Him for giving me the chance to share a piece of the joy.  By the way his Mom looked radiant and his Dad had a calm sense of gratitude.  What a blessing.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Goodness of God

I started a study in the Psalms on the word "good."  I haven't looked up many references but it is interesting to note already that God's goodness is His character and not dependent on anyone or anything. His promised blessings of "good things" are often contingent upon conditions of the believer. For example, David said God gave him gladness in his heart, peace and safety (Psalm 4). But he was to tremble and not sin. Psalm 21 speaks of giving the king life and length of days and blessing of good things of life. The king was to be glad and joyful in the presence of the Lord and trust in Him always.

There are some recurrent phrases that give us insight into the good blessing of the Lord. "Fear the Lord" occurs a number of times. So does "praise" or "exult" the Lord.  We are to "taste and see that the Lord is good". He hears the righteous' cry. He delivers them out of their troubles. He is near to the brokenhearted and to those crushed in spirit.  He redeems the soul. The conditions stated in the same Psalm include bless the Lord, magnify Him, take refuge in Him, seek Him and depart from evil and do good.  Psalm 34 lists a number of promises of God interspersed with our responsibility to Him.  He sustains, grants the desires of our hearts, gives us the land as inheritance, orders our steps, delivers and saves. We must fret not, be not envious, delight in the Lord, commit our ways to Him and a number other of commands God gives.

Psalm 100 states that the Lord is good in verse 5. His lovingkindness is everlasting and His faithfulness is to all generations.  We must shout joyfully, serve Him with gladness, know that the Lord is God, give thanks and praise His name.  God is good but often His promises of blessing are linked to responsibilities we have to obey Him. I want to commit in the new year to be a more obedient and worshipful believer of the Lord who is good and does good!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Amazing Grace

I am in a book study with some single ladies from my church. The title of the book is "This Great Salvation, Unmerited Favor, Unmatched Joy." It is Gospel saturated. As such the chapter this week focuses on the wrath of God.  The subject of sin has been lost in our culture and unfortunately in far too many churches in our nation. Rather the focus is on self esteem and boosting our egos.  God's focus has never changed. As a thrice holy God His wrath is as J.I. Packer says "God's resolute action in punishing sin." R.C. Sproul has said that Christ's death on the Cross isn't only to save us from hell but more accurately to save us from the wrath of God the Father. The better you know how deeply sinful you are, the more true fear of the Lord you will possess and the greater your appreciation will be of His grace.

Hell is a frightening reality.  The Scriptural references are sobering. Much is said by Christ about hell. Much also is written about God's wrath at the sins of people. Don't be deceived.  God will express His anger and wrath at sinful creatures who refuse the Cross of Christ. Either Jesus bore the penalty for our sin or we will bear it.  Sin is so heinous to God it will take an eternity of punishment.  But there is hope.  God has sent His Son to reconcile us to a holy God.  The Father gave His Son to suffer the judgment due us.  Through faith in Jesus Christ we are declared righteous in the eyes of God. Not that we are righteous but God attributes Christ's perfect righteousness to our account and our sin to His. We deserve eternal punishment in hell but God offers eternal life through His Son.  Our need is not for greater self esteem, our need is for the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


There have been three births this past week of close friends.  It is such a wonder to me how atheists are forced to explain the miracle of birth. All the intricacy and detail of the infant somehow just occurs I guess as a random event because of evolution.  It is amazing to note the human body systems and how they function in sync. The heart and lungs, the liver and intestines, the glands, the brain, spinal column and nervous system all working together for life.  To think that there isn't a Creator behind it all is just plain nuts if you ask me.  (Not that anybody is asking-ahem).

Psalm 139: 13-16:
For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will give thanks to You,
for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.

I used to be an evolutionist but since coming to the Lord I align myself with what the Scripture says is true about our origin.  It is far more comforting and frankly sensible to be formed by a Creator God. Random chance leaves me despairing and distressed. These young lives were formed by God and He has a purpose and a plan for each one. Congratulations to the parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, siblings and everyone else who will have a part in raising up the children in the fear and admonition of the Lord.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Zephaniah 3:17

There is a verse that has been very comforting to me during the past two years. Zephaniah 3:17 "The Lord your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy."  I struggle experientially to know the love of God but His Word states emphatically that the Lord loves His own. I have heard that the picture here is of God with His child tucked securely between His shoulder blades. Also the child who is snuggled upon His chest.  As I view the pictures of a newborn son of some friends, I am better reminded of this verse. Dad has the baby close to him and smiling. I think it captures the verse well.

John Gill writes of this verse:

...there is a pleonasm of joy in Christ's heart towards his people, and so a redundancy in his expression of it; he rejoices with joy, and joys with singing; which shows how delighted he is with his people, as they are his chosen, redeemed, and called ones; as they have his own righteousness upon them, and his own grace in them; they are his "Hephzibah", in whom he delights; his "Beulah", to whom he is married; and it is his love of complacency and delight, which is the source of all the grace and glory he bestows upon them.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Complaining and Grumbling

I have been reading a book called "Notes to Self" by Joe Thorn. It is an excellent read. He writes notes to himself on such things as fear, doubt, idolatry and a whole host of other categories. His writing is short but precise.  One chapter that caught my attention is the one called "Stop Complaining." Scripture has much to say about grumbling and never is it called good by God. In fact if we truly believe that God is omniscient He hears every word we speak and even knows the ones we don't.  Thorn says sometimes we want to call it harmless venting.  But such a name is a lie and one that bothers God. Complaining doesn't please the Lord to put it in its most concise summary.

To complain is to undermine God's loving sovereignty in our lives. It is to tell Him that somehow He isn't doing right by us.  God grants many blessings of grace such as life itself.  The minor annoyances that come are way are usually the ones that trip us up the most. With tragedy we typically draw closer to the Lord. But in every day life we get confident in our flesh and are more likely to sweat the small stuff and grumble while we do.  It is also our reactions to the small stuff that most people see day in and day out.  It is hypocritical to say that God handles the big stuff but somehow isn't up to the small things about which we grumble. By bringing the Gospel to bear on every aspect of our lives--small and large--we can respond in ways that honor God.  God has purpose in the inconvenient and petty annoyances; He uses it to transform us into Christlikeness and thus deeper fellowship with the Lord.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

God's Sovereignty in Community

Today I spent a good part of my time with the children of some good friends.  One of the kids and I went for a walk. As we passed houses my younger friend named the neighbors who lived there. she explained how she had met the children in the given home. It was an interesting excursion in the sovereignty of God. She told of how when they first moved to their street one young boy introduced them to many others. I realized the providence of God in all the affairs of men. Nothing happens by chance.  All is overseen and accomplished by a living, loving and wise Father in heaven.  He governs the universe and all that is in it.

It is a ponderous thought and one quite frankly our finite minds can't quite grasp. Yet the Bible is clear about God's hand in the all the events of mankind. Think about it. He even controls the small things in our lives. He guides those people who come into our lives and also leads them out in His time. Our times are in His hands and no where else. He sets the boundaries of life for us. It is a comforting thought to the believer in Jesus Christ to know that the all wise, all knowing and every where present God is working on our behalf to accomplish that which concerns us.  Look around at the community God has placed you in and be grateful to Him for it. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Holiness of God

I am in a book study that meets on Friday nights. We are reading "This Great Salvation--Unmerited Favor, Unmatched Joy" written by C.J. Mahaney and Robin Boisvert.  The third chapter is all about the holiness of God. It is a sobering read.  In American Christianity I fear, as did the authors, that we have lost a sense of God's purity and separateness. It is because of watered down theology and praise songs that focus on the human side of Jesus so much as to exclude His divinity.  We have for the most part lost our sense of reverence and awe. The word "holy" has been largely removed from our vocabulary. We no longer speak of the Holy Bible, Holy Communion or Holy Matrimony. Even the Holy Spirit is often stripped of His nature and referred to as merely "the Spirit."

In the Old Testament God took lives, many thousands on occasion, for treating as mundane and worldly that which He deemed set apart. Whether it was the strange fire of Abihu and Nadab or the men of Beth Shemesh looking at the Ark of the Covenant (II Samuel 6: 19-20);  God dealt severely with those who profaned holy things.  Ananias and Saphirra in the New Testament lied to the Holy Spirit and died immediately.  When are we going to hear that preached in the Houston arena on a Sunday?

We need to be mindful of how serious God takes His holiness and our sin. Sinclair Ferguson said "The holiness of God teaches us that there is only one way to deal with sin--radically, seriously, painfully, constantly. If you do not so live, you do not live in the presence of the Holy One of Israel."