Fighting Temptation by Understanding Its Lie

There is a lie that is circulating around (and always has been) that says pursuing sin is where we’ll find joy. Have you experienced this? Are you ever tempted to believe that laziness, gluttony, lust, or idolatry (these are but a sampling of sins we could list) will satisfy your desires? Sin comes to us and entices with bold and alluring temptations which appear to offer happiness and satisfaction.

Or will they? Is joy really to be found in pursuing sin? (And to be clear, I’m not talking about a short-term thrill—there may be plenty of that. Rather, I’m thinking of a long-term, soul-satisfying joy.) Is that kind of joy to be found with choosing to listen to temptation?

Clearly, the answer is no. The path of sin is the path of futility, shame, and death. Try as you may, Continue Reading

Celebrating A Better Country

Happy 4th of July! Today is the day our nation is celebrating Independence Day—the day which represents the birth of the United States of America. No longer would we be dependent on Great Britain, and even more, no longer would we be subject to unfair taxation and rule. Instead, we would have the freedom to govern ourselves under an authority which has our best interests in mind.

And understandably, this was (and is) cause for much celebration. Take note, for example, of the vast importance this day held in the mind one who was a crucial figure at this time: John Adams. He wrote the following to his wife Abigail when thinking of this great occasion (which was about to happen when he wrote this): Continue Reading

Not I, But the Grace of God

How do you think or talk about the good things that you do in life?   When you do that extra service at church, when you help your neighbor with that project, when you give money to that charity, when you do any number of good deeds…who gets the credit?   If your answer is, “I do,” you’re correct. If your answer is, “God,” your answer is also correct.

If you think I’m contradicting myself, just hang in there a bit. Continue Reading

Confident In Our Sovereign God

The Bible gives us complete confidence that God is in control of the unfolding of history. No matter what evil the times bring, or what uncertainty we feel, we have a resting place for our minds and heart. I want pick up this thought again from last week and consider another facet of this truth, which I trust can give us great encouragement: Beloved, we may not always (or even often) be able to fully grasp how history is in God’s hands but this doesn’t mean that we are totally ‘in the dark.’ We can have confidence that no matter how things seem, God is having His way.

How so?  Well, the Bible not only teaches God’s sovereignty over history, but it demonstrates it with real examples. As a result, we can look backwards in history and see how things that seemed to be spinning out of control were actually the exact fulfillment of what God had planned.  No other example is clearer about this than the plan of God to triumph over sin, death, and the Devil through Jesus Christ.  Continue Reading

Is God Bound By History?

Is God bound by history, or is history bound by God?  The answer to this question is vital, not only in terms of getting it right from what the Bible teaches, but even more because it impacts how we can go on living in a world that seems so difficult.

It doesn’t take but a few seconds to think of various events and circumstances going on in our personal lives, in our country, or around our world to begin to practically suffocate us with the fear-inducing reality of how crazy things are. Continue Reading

The “Triple-trap” of Legalism, Self-righteousness, and Superstition

Reading the bible is so important to do.  So are praying and fasting, giving, being kind to a neighbor, and so many other things.  As most of you are well aware, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gives many things (some listed above) that are important for his followers to do.

But here’s the thing, in doing them we can quickly find ourselves having the wrong reasons or the wrong motivations. I was powerfully reminded and convicted of this reality just yesterday morning from something I read.  It’s so helpful, I thought I’d include the entire quote.  Please consider it carefully and slowly:    Continue Reading

By No Means! We’ve Died to Sin!

Hello brothers and sisters~

This past Sunday I gave a message focused on how we are to go about judging fellow Christians in our own body. This judging I was describing was the kind that understands that we all have our own struggles with sin and we all need help to fight our sin. As Hebrews 3:13 says, we need to “exhort one another every day…that none of [us are] hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” Continue Reading

Look to the Lord

Hello brothers and sisters~

Do you ever struggle with sleep due to anxiety? For example, maybe you’re trying to fall asleep, but your mind has gone down the path of thinking about what is “on your plate” in the days ahead or past. Perhaps it’s an important responsibility you have at work, maybe a difficult conversation you need to have or have had with your spouse or close friend or family member, or perhaps there is some other burden weighing on you—the bottom line is that whatever it is, it is consuming your thoughts and even has your stomach churning in knots causing you to lose sleep. Continue Reading

God’s Satisfactory Justice

Dear Grace~

As promised, I want to pick up pretty much where I left off last week. You may recall that I was addressing the awful circumstances surrounding the tragic sinking of the ferry off the shores of South Korea which ended up killing some 250 teenagers. Specifically, I brought to light the captain (along with most of the crew members) who abandoned ship while the majority of the passengers still were stranded. Continue Reading

Moral Outrage and God’s Sovereignty

Brothers and sisters in the Lord~

It’s been almost two weeks now since the tragic ferry disaster took place in the waters of South Korea. Some 250 16 and 17-year-old high school students have died and the grieving of the survivors (about 70 students), family and friends still continues on.

But there’s not just grieving. There’s also moral outrage. Why is that? One picture captures it well: the picture of the captain abandoning ship while hundreds of his passengers were still on board. People have responded with shock and anger. The president of South Korea described the crew’s actions as being “like murder.” I read one article which gave this example: “An aunt of one of the students victims told me how ‘ashamed’ she was that this could happen in South Korea. She is so upset, she just wants to leave the country.” Continue Reading