Hope in pain

“It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn Your decrees.” -Psalm 119:71

One subject I have shied away from because of how it affects me personally is depression. This is a topic some feel ashamed to speak on, let alone admit to the world wide web. But I once wrote a post related to my son’s autism, describing how I was comforted by another in a similar special needs world, and how we as Christians should comfort others with the comfort we have received. This comes directly from Scripture, reminding us how God has shown us comfort in our time of need (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

Depression has been my companion now for over 20 years. Some seasons are more intense than others. I can look back on the darkest times now as bittersweet. One period in particular I poured over the Psalms as they were especially helpful. I appreciated and could identify with the raw emotions in the pages of Scripture which spoke to my pain. Did you know that all but one psalm ends with praise or hope in God? Psalm 88 is the only psalm which concludes with darkness. This shows us that God can handle our emotions. He created them. Rightly channeled, emotions are good. But sin taints everything we do so we must interpret our emotions through the lens of Scripture.

If you or a loved one struggles with depression I have a few resources to suggest which greatly encouraged me over the years. Depression is spiritual warfare felt acutely. We need not fight alone. In fact, we don’t as believers. Each child of God is supremely blessed with His Spirit. But sometimes when you are drowning in darkness and can’t focus on the promises of God, His voice can seem distant…silent. This is when a Christian friend, Biblical counselor, or pastor needs to come alongside you. We are not meant to walk the Christian pilgrimage alone.

Devotional Psalter by Dane Ortlund

I have owned this devotional for a few years and referenced it in past blog posts. Dane Ortlund is a pastor serving in Illinois. Going through the Psalms Ortlund comments on each one, always pointing toward the cross. If we ever question God’s love for us in our trials and life experiences we don’t understand, all we need to do is look to Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-2). He gave us our answer by going to the cross in our place.

Depression: A Stubborn Darkness by Ed Welch

A Biblical counselor gave this to me years ago and I recently re-read it. Ed Welch is a counselor and faculty member at the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation (CCEF). It is a helpful resource for friends and family to understand their loved one with depression. This is also an excellent tool for anyone suffering with depression as Welch identifies various reasons for this kind of pain and how to work through it Biblically.

Quotes from the book:

“Contrary to what we might think, God says that strong faith can coexist with emotional highs, lows, and everything in between. It is a myth that faith is always smiling. The truth is that faith often feels like the very ordinary process of dragging one foot in front of the other because we are conscious of God.”

“Through our struggles and pain, we are being offered perseverance, the character of God. Hardships are intended to give us a spiritual makeover, “that we may share in His holiness” (Hebrews 12:10). Therefore, when God encourages us to persevere He is not stumbling for encouraging words. He is teaching us how to look like Him.”

“Suffering is God’s surgery that leads to health when responded to by faith.”

Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers by Dane Ortlund

I loved this book. Actually, each one of the books listed I have given as gifts or recommended to someone. This one in particular helped me understand the depth of God’s love for me. Maybe like you, I have no problem comprehending the wrath of God, but His love? Well, sometimes I do struggle with how much I am loved as a redeemed sinner. Ortlund uses commentary from godly men of the past such as Thomas Goodwin, Richard Sibbes, John Bunyan, Jonathan Edwards, John Calvin and John Owen. This topic on the love of Christ is not new, but Ortlund fleshes it out and uses Scripture as well to back up his argument. He dives deeper in understanding the great love our Father lavishes on His children. It is an essential book every believer needs to have in their library for spiritual encouragement. The depressed especially need to rightly see how loved and forgiven they are in spite of how they feel.

Quotes from the book:

“the Bible takes us by the hand and leads us out from under the feeling that His heart for us wavers according to our loveliness.”

“The yearning heart of God delivers and redelivers sinners who find themselves drowning in the sewage of their life, […] in need of a rescue that they cannot even begin on their own, let alone complete.”

“If you are in Christ, you have a Friend who, in your sorrow, will never lob down a pep talk from Heaven. He cannot bear to hold Himself at a distance. Nothing can hold Him back. His heart is too bound up with yours.”

I hope you find something helpful here. If anything, sometimes it is good to know you are not alone in pain. The hope and peace we have as Christians is that our suffering is not in vain as we look to Jesus. It is sanctifying. Joseph told his brothers in Egypt that what they intended for harm, God used for good (Genesis 50:20). In the same way, what has the potential to destroy, God can use your depression for His glory in refining how you think about Him and yourself in light of who Christ is and what He has done for you.

Grace upon grace,


Our words matter

“The Revolution will be complete when the language is perfect.” -George Orwell

During Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearing last year she used the term “sexual preference” when responding to a question about a sex-same marriage ruling in the Supreme Court. The next day, Meriam Webster changed their definition of sexual preference describing it as an offensive term. This was done to characterize Barrett as out-of-date, bigoted and hateful. If it sounds eerily familiar to Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four its because it is. Doublespeak is a deceptive (and powerful) tool used to distort words of any real meaning. Truth is defined by the individual or an oligarchy meant to control people through the power of language. In our post modern society our words are relative, with truth determined by “what it means to you” instead of absolute truth according to God.

This is why Christians must define terms by God’s Word, not our culture. Not only do we defend the truth through apologetics, we have to preserve it by speaking plainly. Our conversations should leave no room for misunderstanding. The culture uses a word that sounds good, like social justice, and twists it to promote an agenda of progressivism that is anti-Christian. Believers must understand that social justice is the gateway for Critical Race Theory and Marxism, not for upholding righteousness. Yet words that sound harmless, even virtuous, are deceptively taught in universities, high schools, corporations and the military as a means to educate and break down barriers. Yet social justice promotes partiality which is a sin and creates divisiveness not unity. Christians are to view all people as created in God’s image and therefore deserving of respect. Ironically, Martin Luther King Jr. said to judge others on the content of their character, not the color of their skin. Who cares what your melanin count is? If someone is purple, but qualified in their job then that should be the criteria used, not because of an immutable characteristic. Along with treating all persons with value, under Biblical justice, God calls each believer to defend the vulnerable, not the government. Godly leaders can use their influence for good in the government realm, but it is ultimately up to God’s people to use discernment and promote mercy through our everyday ordinary lives with the people we meet (Micah 6:8).

Lately the term equity is another word weaponized against those who disagree with CRT. Equity is concerned with equal outcome for all. Equality promotes equal opportunity for all. The difference lies in those who are willing to work for their personal goals in life versus those who expect to have the same end result without working for it. This is detrimental to a society that depends on handouts rather than sacrifices, creating a generational cycle of sin and a victim complex.

Even sexuality is up for debate as transgenderism, the focus of the Biden administration, infiltrates our schools and hospitals, forcing teachers and doctors to educate and mutilate minors who are sincerely confused with their own biology. God is clear on the definition of a man and a woman (Genesis 1-2) yet perversion of God’s design is rampant. The reason transgenderism is a topic we have to address at all is because everything these days is fluid, not concrete. The biggest lie in this endeavor is telling kids that they can reverse the courses of action they take if later on down the road Sally decides she likes being Sally and not Harry. However, a pre-pubescent girl taking hormone blockers could have long term damage related to infertility, permanent hair or body changes that make it hard to distinguish whether an individual is male or female. Not to mention the emotional and psychological harm this does. Speaking plainly with compassion can actually help and should not be considered hate speech when the truth is what someone crying out for help needs. Lets consider sharing the love of Christ first with Biblical counseling.

When President Biden calls for unity in our country it sounds good. Who doesn’t want peace and unity? However, the message underneath reveals what he actually means in ‘unity’. The way Biden defines ‘unity’ is for everyone to agree on the narrative he promotes. Anyone who disagrees or thinks for themselves by simply asking a question can be labeled a bigoted, racist, homophobe to name a few of the slanderous terms. Unfortunately infantile name-calling produces results in our cancel culture.

It will become increasingly hard to stand firm in Biblical truth in a country seeped with lies. Yet this is to be expected. The world hates the truth as it exposes their false reality, forcing them to confront their own sin (John 3:19-21). Do not be afraid when the pressure intensifies to conform to the world’s standard. The 21st century witch hunt on truth tellers and plain speakers is here. Yet, as Orwell put it, “in a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” He was not a Christian, but this idea applies most appropriately to believers. Speak the truth we know, and stand firm. Since all truth is God’s truth we can also rest assured that the truth we obediently speak will not return void (Isaiah 55:10-11). Exposing lies and shining the light of truth will either heap judgment on the unrepentant or bring a repentant soul to Jesus. We just have to be faithful because what we say and how we say it, matters to the Lord.

Grace upon grace,


A Call To Repentance

“This was evil’s hour: we could not run away from it. Perhaps only when human effort had done its best and failed, would God’s power alone be free to work.” -Corrie Ten Boom ‘The Hiding Place’

Since homeschooling my son this last year, we begin each day with The Pledge of Allegiance. In the pledge we recite “one nation under God” and we talk about justice and liberty for all. Unfortunately this isn’t true in today’s America. We have taken God out of our schools, businesses, homes and in some cases, our churches, replacing God with government instead. Justice and liberty are terms twisted to define them as we see fit instead of submitting to the Lord’s definition. The results are playing out in real time with homosexuality and transgenderism not just to be tolerated, but as something which must be applauded by all with the Equality Act Biden is pushing through Congress.

Under the Equality Act, LBGTQ “history” will be taught in public schools, men who identify as women have access to girls lockers rooms and restrooms, doctors will be forced to perform sex operations even for minors without parental consent, gender identity will become part of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and those seeking religious exemption will no longer be protected under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. Christian business owners or anyone with a moral conviction on these issues will have no choice but to provide services or hire individuals that are practicing homosexuals or transgender. On the surface this seems mostly like matters that won’t affect us personally, but the tentacles are far reaching in its effects. For example, should a Christian baker make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple even though this goes against God’s command of what marriage is? If the baker or florist or minister even, refuses to comply, they are no longer protected by any sort of religious exemption. Pastors will not be allowed to uphold God’s Word and speak against these issues. Your convictions are now obsolete and even criminal.

Or what if a man who decides he’d like to be a female goes into a salon spa and requests a bikini wax? This is gross but not unlikely since this is where we are today in putting blinders over our eyes in biology. The woman who is forced to give the bikini wax to a confused man pretending to be a girl is victimized in this case. It is interesting that the Democratic party celebrating the #MeToo movement, and has been the face of feminism since the 1960s now decides they will no longer protect women. Women’s sports are at an unfair advantage as transgender men seek to compete against females and will dominate since biologically speaking, men are stronger then women in most cases. We are sexualizing our children by allowing them to choose their own gender, teaching them in public schools that their biological sex can be disregarded, aiding even more gender dysphoria. But none of this matters to the Left. Tolerance is an antiquated word from their past which must embarrass them in 2021. Truthfully, it was only a gateway word for demanding acceptance to their ideology anyway.

Even though the current times should grieve Christians, it can also be a time to praise God. The next few years will bring even more clarity, contrasting true believers from the unbelieving. One good thing that can come from the rise of a new pagan political religion is the middle of the road, lukewarm, cultural Christianity will evaporate. This will be one less deceptive tool used to lull souls into spiritual dormancy. Our post-Christian nation is a time for God’s people to persevere in His strength and wisdom. We have ample opportunity to proclaim the gospel with our lives and words. Lately it seems to be a radical act just by going to church in person! Believers can no longer afford to be passive, convinced this is the same as gentleness. This is an error that must be corrected. It is not sinful to call out sin- Jesus did this, as did John the Baptist and also Peter (Matthew 23; Matthew 3:1-12; Acts 2:36-41). Speaking against lies and sin, is an act of mercy as the goal is to cause the individual or group in sin to be confronted with their sinfulness, repent and turn to Christ. The difference is in how we say God’s commands are good, His mercy is enough to cover even the most vile sinner, and God’s grace abounds. Uncompromising Christians will need to be the standard. We show others the redeeming work of Christ in our own lives, calling the lost to repent of their sin and turn to Jesus.

As Romans 1 plays out before us, Christians must also examine our part in how we got here as a nation. This is a spiritual battle manifested in the political sphere. Whenever the news is distressing we need to remember this. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of the dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12). Yet we must also repent of our own spiritual complacency, apathy, fear of man, lack of courage, or plain ignorance in how to communicate eternal truths.

In Daniel 9:1-19, Daniel learns the judgment against Israel would last seventy years through reading Jeremiah’s prophecy (Jeremiah 25:11). He immediately goes into prayer. There are 3 things to notice in his prayer- Daniel’s prayer consist of adoration, confession and petition. The chunk of his prayer is confession- his own sin and for the nation of Israel. It is a helpful template for how we can repent and pray for these times.

Christian, we do not have to lie down and fold our hands. We mustn’t fall asleep. God’s Sovereignty works with man’s will, not excusing man from his responsibilities. We need personal and national repentance from our complacency and rebellion. In John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress there is man named Honesty. Mr. Greatheart is the guide for Christiana and her sons, and they meet Honesty on their pilgrim journey:

“Soon they came to a large oak tree, and saw under it an old pilgrim fast asleep. They knew he was a pilgrim by his clothes and his staff. Mr. Greatheart awoke him. At first he was frightened, and asked, “Who are you? What do you want? What is your business?”

Greatheart: Calm yourself, my good man, we are all your friends. (The old man’s name was Honesty.) My name is Greatheart; I am the guide of these pilgrims who are going to the Celestial Country.

Honesty: I beg your pardon. I was afraid you might be of the gang who sometime back robbed Little-Faith of his money; but now I know you are honest people.

Greatheart: Why, what could you have done if we had been robbers?

Honesty: Done? Why, I would have fought like a tiger, as long as I had any breath. And had I done so, I am sure you never could have conquered me, for a pilgrim can never be defeated unless he yields himself.

Greatheart: Well said, my brother, now I know you are a good soldier.

Honesty: And by this I know you are informed as to what a true pilgrim is, for all others think that we are the easiest to overcome of any.”

Understanding sin, the freedom of the Gospel of peace, and the realities of spiritual warfare should make us a people of prayer. We don’t wish to see any perish into eternal Hell. So the answer is to examine our own hearts, repent, and stand firm in the truth we know without fear of being canceled, villainized or even criminalized. God’s truth will stand no matter if we decide to uphold it or not. This is the beautiful call we have as believers. Show Christ to the world even if it costs us everything.

“Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil of comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:13)

Grace upon grace,


Let’s sow

“Light is sown for the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart.” -Psalm 97:11

One spiritual marker in my life has been remembering the wonder of God. That night I distinctly remember, as the Lord drew my eyes up to His star filled sky, instead of inwardly focusing on myself. It’s not that I didn’t understand Him to be the Creator Who spoke everything into existence. I knew He threw the stars into space, igniting the sun and moon, causing planets and galaxies to appear in splendor. Growing up I heard creation stories of God forming the elephant and the ant; the eagle and the caterpillar. I understood He made me according to Psalm 139. But somehow I wasn’t focusing on His Glory as much, still treating Him casually.

The commentator in my psalter devotional speaks of such thinking, calling believers to consider God in all His Majestic Glory. Confess wrong thinking of the Lord in which He seems small. By meditating on God’s Greatness, His truth, radiance and glory take root in us as we seek Him each day. I’m convinced that the downfall of Christianity has happened because believers stopped communicating to the world the wonder of our Lord. As we behold God, this serves as spiritual arrows which lead to questions about Jesus, the Gospel, commands in Scripture and finally, where we’ll spend eternity. We begin remembering Who God is in His rightful place by first telling the truth to ourselves. Some exchange the truth for a lie (even in the Church) which is why it is imperative to remain vigilant in pursuing truth, clinging to the Author of Truth. We begin with sowing- so let us sow, becoming our truest selves in Christ.

Let us be consistent in our reaction against evil. Whether this be condemning six months of burning cities, looting small businesses, wreaking terror against police or rioting at our nation’s capital. There is a stark contrast in peaceful protest versus chaotic rampaging. The latter does not promote any kind of justice, but is the exact opposite. The Bible says, “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay’ says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19). We do not repay evil with evil, but sow a deep seated trust in the Lord’s Sovereignty and wisdom to lead us.

Let us speak plainly. Words matter in how we say them. The language indoctrination caused by “political correctness” has seeped into every aspect of our culture. Two people may use the same word but have very different meanings. In his book ‘Live Not By Lies’ Rod Dreher says, “we are repeating the Marxist habit of falsifying language, hollowing out familiar words and replacing them with a new, highly ideological meaning. Propaganda not only changes the way we think about politics and contemporary life but it also conditions what a culture judges worth remembering”. Avoid rhetoric and kernels of truth kneaded into a lie. Also develop discernment to spot it when you hear it. Language is powerful. We must speak kindly but plainly.

Let us remember our history. One way to sow truth is to have a correct understanding of where we’ve come from. This applies not only to one’s nation but our Biblical history as well. We cannot understand the present if we are not informed about the past. Christians need not repeat the wicked actions of previous generations if we know what signs to look for and how to respond accordingly. How we react to the present will dictate who we are as a people in the future.

Let us not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing, but encourage one another- and all the more as you see the Day approaching (Hebrews 10:25). In light of our cultural climate and political theater, believers need one another now more than ever. Some benefits of gathering together include strengthening the weary and downcast Christian, knowing they are not alone but in the presence of their spiritual family. We also lift one another up with Biblical encouragement, smiles, hugs, handshakes and accountability as we meet face to face. As we sing songs of worship, receive communion, hear words of exhortation in preaching, knit our hearts in prayer, we are being edified, our spirits refreshed. This is the ministry of meeting together which Hebrews 10:25 commands. It is for our own good.

Let us live in truth with our words and deeds. For generations America in particular have sown what God hates- the abortion of millions of people created in His image, same-sex mirages, sexual promiscuity which has led to pornography, pre-martial sex, adultery, lust and divorce to name a few. The material wealth of this country has turned Americans into a consumerist entertainment driven society, dulling our spirits as we live only for the temporal. We are now seeing the fruit of sin heaped in judgment today. It seems each day we wait to see which powder keg will explode, leaving many in a state of fear, anxiety and despair. This is not to be the mark of a Christian. This is not our legacy. Instead, let us cling to the Lord who is all Truth, Power, Wisdom, Judgment and Love. Know what God’s Word says, viewing each event from a spiritual perspective and act accordingly. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand” (Ephesians 6:12-13).

Let us sow righteousness each day into our ordinary lives. This is how we bring about a quiet resistance to the evil of our day. Meet with others believers where you can speak freely, teach your children Biblical principles, protect the family unit, have a correct understanding of the past. Victory has been secured in Jesus Christ. He has already overcome sin and death for us. His is an everlasting kingdom which will never be destroyed, intimidated or censored (Daniel 7:9-27). Although the present time will require courage, boldness and sacrifice to live out what we profess, Christians must act like the victors we are. The next generation depends on how well we sow.

Grace upon grace,


Grow deeper: Revelation 19:11-16; Galatians 6:7-10; Psalm 63:8; Isaiah 41:10; Isaiah 43:1-3; Psalm 2; Psalm 33

Falling and Rising

Sometimes life is heavy and confusing, hanging us upside down by our toe nails. That’s alright because God still has His firm grip on His sons and daughters. What if we need to be sifted? What if God graciously uses a situation to show us blindspots of sin? What if our faith needs refining to burn away the dross? Rest assured, the fire will not consume you. It just makes our zeal for Him stronger, stoking the fire in our hearts, for those who belong to our Lord. 

The doubts, hardships and sin battles are not something unique only to us today. Christians since the Fall have engaged in spiritual warfare typically compounded with situations which test our faith. Sometimes circumstances happen outside our control, sometimes we bring the consequences of sin on ourselves. But you are not any less in His eyes during moments of weakness or trials. Think of our great heroes of faith from Scripture. Noah drank too much after God rescued him and his family from the flood; Abraham on a few occasions let his fear overcome him and he lied about Sarah being his wife; Moses got angry with the Israelites and disobeyed God’s command to speak to the rock and bring forth water. He angrily struck the rock instead and took credit for himself. Then there’s “the man after God’s own heart” King David, who sinned in adultery and murder of Uriah. Even Saul, later renamed Paul, was a persecutor of Christians before Jesus changed his life. Paul would later write, “But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more” (Romans 5:20). These men understood God’s discipline and His grace.

So when we fail God is faithful to humble us, show us our sin leading to repentance. Then we get up again. And again. And again. Grace isn’t a license for us to sin, but a declaration that we are no longer condemned (Romans 8:1). This is the wonder of God’s grace to His children. The MacArthur Study Bible states this redeeming work in our struggle with sin combined with pursuing righteousness:

“Believers receive the imputed righteousness of Christ at salvation (justification) . The Holy Spirit works practical righteousness in the believer throughout his lifetime of struggle with sin (sanctification). But only when the struggle is complete will the Christian receive Christ’s righteousness perfected in him when he enters heaven (glorification).

Dear Christian, this is our promise, this is our confident hope. Rest in the finished work of Jesus today.

Grace upon grace,


Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus

“He has sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives.” -Isaiah 61:1

Jesus chose these words from Isaiah to read publicly in the synagogue. After the Lord read Isaiah 61:1-2 He said, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:21). Jesus has come and is coming again. Living in the in-between is difficult as we are not likely to be swept up into Heaven like Enoch or Elijah. No, most of us will taste death first if the Lord tarries. Yet it will be light and momentary compared to the eternal weight of glory we see in the distance.

We must also patiently endure our individual means of sanctification for a time on earth. It is not without purpose. God has seen fit to give us physical birth at an appointed time in history, to live where you live, to be in the family you have (or don’t have), to be surrounded by people, circumstances and events which may seem wearisome at the time, yet can serve as our good, in how we respond. Dear Christian, you are being made, crafted after His likeness, because your position in Christ already affirms this.

The grace of God allows sandpaper to refine our own hearts, smooth the rough places, transforming a heart of sin into one of eternal beauty. God makes this so. One day soon and very soon, the tension of the “already and not yet” will be laid to rest in sweet glorification. Until then Jesus calls you and I to walk worthy, obey His commands, stay faithful.

While we wait in hopeful, confident expectation, we can sing ‘Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus’, a hymn written by Charles Wesley. I hope you and your family enjoy a restful and joyful Christmas celebration this year. Jesus is King. Satan may win a battle, but God has won the war.

Grace upon grace,


Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus

“Come, Thou long expected Jesus, Born to set Thy people free;

From our fears and sins release us; Let us find our rest in Thee.

Israel’s strength and consolation, Hope of all the earth Thou art;

Dear Desire of every nation, Joy of every longing heart.

Born Thy people to deliver, Born a Child, and yet a King.

Born to reign in us forever, Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.

By Thine own eternal Spirit, Rule in all our hearts alone;

By Thine all sufficient merit, Raise us to Thy glorious throne.”

-written by Charles Wesley

4 Ways to exalt Christ by not wearing a mask

It seems the further we get into COVID regulations to flatten the elusive curve people are becoming more and more conditioned to wear masks. They have become normalized in everyday life, shifting American culture into three categories. The pro-mask, anti-mask and the apathetic.

My goal is not to attack one group or another but thoughtfully consider the dangers of what this precedent suggests. Also as a Christian my reason in writing this post comes from a sincere desire to rightly handle the word of Truth. I don’t want to mislead anyone or promote further discord than our present culture already has. However, I do believe Christians in particular have lacked discernment, giving way to fear of men, not rightly grasping our Father’s Sovereignty. Christians should not be easily swayed by whichever way the wind blows, but stand firm in the truth we know, even when we feel alone in the fight. Pushback in a clear yet gentle way can still co-exist while peaceably disagreeing with someone. There are many Christians whom I would disagree with on greater issues than masks, such as baptismal mode, eschatology, or worship style preference. Yet this does not nullify my love for someone I can completely disagree with. The Christian’s outward behavior should represent the inner reality of Christ’s redeeming work even as we work through different viewpoints.

Regarding the mandate of masks, I would ask Christians (not at high risk) to consider exercising their freedom in not wearing one where appropriate. For example, my state does not require masks when voting or in worship. Yet many still feel the need or pressure to adorn a mask even when it is lawful to go without. This ends up doing more harm than good because of what our actions say. Here are 4 ways we can exalt Christ by not wearing a mask:

  1. Love your neighbor by telling the truth. Wearing masks for COVID19 perpetuates the narrative of fear and a lie. This fear is unfounded and actually harmful to the healthy individual covering their faces for prolonged periods. Most are not properly trained in mask-wearing thereby creating a bacteria zoo in their PPE which is the real danger in making someone sick. Wearing a sheer homemade veneer or bandana might make someone feel safer but does not serve the intended purpose to keep away COVID, thereby giving false security. Although N95 masks are better to wear, such as what medical personnel have, even healthcare workers get sick. It has been shown people who wear masks and those who do not can get the virus.

President Trump rarely wore a mask and contracted COVID19. This actually wasn’t surprising to me, given the hundreds of people he is around every day, especially while campaigning. It is also interesting that he seemingly recovered so well. Yes he was given the best care known to man but he is considered high risk given his age and weight. Yet God willed his life to prolong just as He determines all lives.

A proper understanding of this virus reveals that there is a 99.9% survival rate for the general population. Only a small percentage are in the high risk category- persons over 70 years of age and immunocompromised individuals. This isn’t to say others cannot contract the virus but chances are low and your ability to fight it even higher. Notice in the news the cases are reported and emphasized much more than the mortality rate. When the death total is given the media typically clumps the total number for the United States, implying the virus is more dire than it actually is. As of November 5, 2020 the CDC is reporting 233,129 deaths from COVID in America. The U.S. population is 331,687,749. Doing the math, this indicates that the virus has taken 0.07% of lives. One life is one life too many but we desperately need perspective. There needs to be context as to 1) the age of the individual and 2) was it compounded with a weakened immune system or other factors which made them more susceptible? Because of God’s mercy, COVID did not claim 2 million lives over the summer as predicted. Even with the slow rise in cases, it has not turned out to be on par with the Black Death, yet we act like it is the end of the world.

There is also inconsistency with wearing a mask all the time. If COVID19 truly was an existential threat to our society then there would be no exceptions to the mandate such as when one is exercising, eating in a restaurant or children under a certain age. The country would have to shut down indefinitely. But apparently COVID can tell whether you are seated at a restaurant or waiting for a table and can also discern your age. The inconsistency from the mask police is more telling than anything else.

When a child is afraid of the dark because of a monster in the closet, a parent doesn’t laugh at the frightened child. Neither do you enable their fears by agreeing with them that an imaginary monster is hiding in the closet. Instead, a loving parent addresses this fear by exposing the truth. So, what can a believer do in response to the COVID fears held by others? Compassionately acknowledge their concerns and lovingly shine the light of truth on this issue. This is actually what it means to sincerely love your neighbor and honor others (Romans 13:8-10).

2. How we respect civil authority and church leadership matters. I think some Christians have a misunderstanding of what this entails. I’ve observed well meaning believers use Scripture about submitting to government but take it out of context. America isn’t governed by a king, queen or governors, but by the people (1 Peter 2:13-17; Romans 13). For the American government, our elected officials can not decide for themselves what the Constitution says and make laws on their own for the people to obey. In this case, America drafted the Constitution as the law of the land with the Bill of Rights enumerating our unalienable rights. In its original intent, rightly interpreted, American citizens are given personal liberties which we are free to exercise. Leaders we elect into office, are to serve the people discerning each decision/law through the lens of the Constitution. It is not a free-for-all dictatorship position led by mob rule. Yet this is where we are as each month governors extend a nefarious mask order on the people they are called to serve with integrity.

For the Christian, this means a) we live by the freedom our Constitution allows while b) simultaneously realizing wrong headed leaders overstep their God given authority. No authority is given to a man or woman except by the Lord. We appeal to Christ in this matter asking for continued discernment in our response to civil authority.

As for church leadership the consequences of compromising with the culture instead of using Biblical discernment has had and will continue to have detrimental effects on the testimony of His Church. We are supposed to be a people who trust in God’s Sovereignty, not comply with unfounded recommendations. The more churches agree to foster fear with outrageous requirements the more likely we are creating a mindset that this “new normal” is acceptable. For those who argue people are less likely to attend church without restrictions in place I would counter with this: those leaders are putting control into the hands of men rather than submitting to God’s authority. It is folly to follow the crowd instead of Biblically leading the congregation.

Generally speaking we are to trust our doctors where our health is concerned, however this topic has become a partisan matter meant to divide the country. This is no longer only about our health, as masks have become extremely politicized. There is a pull for control in making the public wear masks, weaponizing the issue. Why would anyone do this? Because it’s an election year. COVID19 is a virus which the Left has used to its advantage taking a page from their playbook to “never waste a crisis”. Masks are being used as a visual reminder to the people that President Trump has not defeated COVID (because he’s not God) but under Joe Biden things will be different. It has become clear that an enemy does not need an army to overthrow a government, just fear.

3. Your smile is a ministry. Did you know that you are a blessing to others just by smiling? It’s true. Think of when someone walked past you down the grocery aisle and looked your way with a friendly smile. Or perhaps a loved one cheered you with a compassionate smile. You’ve probably been the one to offer this token as well. It says ‘I see you’ and ‘I care’. We’re missing this important component in body language by covering our faces. The faceless crowd is conditioning people to be void of affection, promoting isolation instead. It is the opposite of what a Christian should communicate. Especially in our churches, we have a golden opportunity to be a refuge from the world and welcome each other with smiling, happy faces.

4. Those in Christ use their freedom not to wear a mask because death has no hold on us (Matthew 10:28; 1 Corinthians 15:54-57; Philippians 1:20-23). I don’t have to live in fear of how I will die. If worst case scenario were to happen and I perish from Coronavirus this would be to my advantage. I don’t have a death wish but I also rest secure in my eternity.

Each day we get up in the morning is a risk. Living is a risk because we cannot cheat death. A brain aneurism, heart attack, stroke, cancer, car wreck, lightning strike or even falling asleep into death are all possibilities that await us. You know why? Because we are not the giver or taker of human life. God is. Until Christ returns 100% of the human race will die, and another generation will follow and so on into history.

This isn’t a scare tactic but to offer hope. There is a needle of hope in the haystack of confusion. His name is Jesus and the Gospel can break the chains of fear to the temporal, the slavery to sin, and the hold of spiritual death. John MacArthur noted in an interview that the real pandemic is sin. There is a disease which infects every person- a nature we inherited from Adam. Christ is the only cure for what truly afflicts us. Taking an eternal perspective does not discount our temporal reality but helps us see things clearly. We can rightly view COVID19 in light of who God is and what He has done for us through His Son Jesus. Whether you agree with me concerning masks or not, my prayer is for all who belong to King Jesus to look to Him for wisdom gaining a Biblical perspective in response to our current events.

Grace upon grace,


Safely His

“I lift up my eyes to the hills- where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip- He who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, He who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you- the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm- He will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.”

Psalm 121

I taught my son the first two verses of this psalm over the summer for Bible memorization. It came to mind this morning, refreshing my burdened spirit. This psalm also reminds me that although at some point my physical body will perish my salvation is eternally secure in the hands of our Lord. The Christian life isn’t an escape from hardship and the sorrows this world brings but gives us an eternal perspective so we need not fear them.

I’m reading The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom, an excellent example of how Christians respond in the face of evil. As the war begins to invade their Holland village, Corrie and her sister Betsie stay up one night as British and German airplanes dogfight overhead. Explosions make their dishes rattle as the night sky lights up a fiery orange. After the noises die down, Corrie makes her way back to bed in the dark. She is almost met with harm as a piece of shrapnel lay on her pillow. Racing back downstairs she exclaims to her sister Betsie of the ‘what if’ scenario that could have happened just then if Corrie had not felt the blade first before laying down. Betsie responds:

“Don’t say it Corrie! There are no ‘if’s’ in God’s world. And no places that are safer than other places. The center of His will is our only safety- O Corrie, let us pray that we may always know it!”

This is my prayer- to know I can trust my Father even when wickedness seems victorious. The center of His will is the safest place to be. I may not understand it but can rest assured He has not forsaken His children. It’s easy to get caught up in our current events and despair as Christians. But God is our strength and will carry you through each day in His mercy and grace. We are hidden in His Son, the One who died for believers so that we do not ever face eternal separation from God. He is our Help- the Maker of Heaven and earth. We are merely passing through this world as pilgrims. Our forever home will one day be a reality for all those who trust in Christ. Run the race today. The finish line is not that far ahead.

Grace upon grace,


Should Christians vote for Donald Trump? Part 2

Joe Biden does not view our country the same way as Donald Trump. If Biden wins, he will usher in socialism then a Marxist society with the help of Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The 110 page manifesto known as The Unity Task Force is something out of a George Orwell novel. So is the idea of creating a “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” toward those who think differently than Democrats. Just to have a different opinion than liberal groupthink would become a crime. This isn’t a human rights issue like South Africa or WWII victims. This is a “truth” committee bent on squashing freedom of speech. It couldn’t be more dystopian. Along with saddling with Black Lives Matter whose goal is the destruction of America, the fabric of this nation would be ripped apart, sown back together via Frankenstein. This isn’t overreacting but stating what can happen under a liberal regime.

There is a reason the two main political parties have grown a bitter hatred towards one another. 2020 is a perfect example of this where leaders, news anchors and journalists openly disrespect and slander one another. Those on the Left versus those on the Right have a vastly different worldview. We don’t share the same vision for America which is why these elections get so heated. Christians need to vote for a philosophy that aligns with godly values. That candidate is Donald Trump. To be clear, he is not our Savior. This is a man who just happens to be on the right side of history given the two choices.

No matter who wins in November, God is still on His Throne. He uses the righteous and the wicked for His purposes. Its no wonder there are more wicked rulers dating to Biblical times than there are righteous ones. Remember when Israel demanded a king like the other nations? That didn’t go over so well with the first one (1 Samuel 8-15). Our inherent sin nature forgets God and forces Him out of every aspect of our lives. We’d rather replace God’s control with government control over us. So when you go vote on November 3 keep in mind that we are voting not for a person, but a way of life.

Along with voting, please continue praying for godly men and women to lead America. We need Biblical wisdom and courage now more than ever. If you need more information from news sources that shoot straight here are a few:

Prager U

The Daily Wire

Allie Beth Stuckey podcast ‘Relatable’

Also, here are two helpful podcast episodes on the Christian case for Donald Trump and our Religious Liberty at stake this election. I hope you take time to listen as it is more in depth and informative than what I can produce.

The Christian Case for Trump||Guest: Dr. Wayne Grudem

Trump v. Biden 2020|Religious Liberty| Guest: John MacArthur

Grace upon grace,


Should Christians vote for Donald Trump? Part 1

Given the contentious election cycle we’re in this is a fair question. Should we elect a leader in spite of their sin? Should we vote for someone because they seem more charismatic or are we more concerned with what their record says? Should Christians even be concerned with civil government?

I am a Christian first, then a patriot. Nevertheless, politics and faith are irrevocably intertwined. The leaders we elect, policies made, our cultural climate are all a reflection of what we value as a society. Christians are called to be the hands and feet of Christ ministering to others. We humbly serve God by defending truth and justice (Micah 6:8) speaking for the least of these, representing a Biblical ideology in our daily living. In America, one way we do this is in how we vote. The government can be a tool used for the practical outworking of our Christian faith.

We operate as a democratic nation, so the policies made by our government are important for us to pay attention to, especially as Christ followers. Our democracy is expressly written in a document which governs the people, the Constitution. Rightly interpreting this freedom allows us to pushback against abuse of power, deceit and mistreatment in society in dealings which are un-Constitutional.

In 2016 I did not vote for Donald Trump, but decided to go third party. His personality was a turn off and frankly he had no policies to look back on and see what his true political colors were. I still don’t care for his thin skin and arrogant behavior. Yet after 4 years Trump has a resume to lean on. What has he done for America in his term? Here are a few of the highlights:

  1. Trump champions life in the womb
  2. Protects our borders with stronger military allowing immigrants to come to America lawfully
  3. Removed toxic Critical Race Theory government funding
  4. Improved our economy so its citizens can work with dignity and thrive
  5. He believes in the right to bear arms, protect private property, peaceful protesting, and individual liberty.
  6. Advocates school choice

All of these issues are Biblical. God creates life demanding its preservation, especially toward the vulnerable and voiceless (Psalm 139:13-18; James 1:27). God blesses people with land and possessions, entrusting men and women to defend and thrive with His gift (Exodus 22:1-15; 23:31-33) . God also calls for showing no partiality, treating all persons with respect as we are created in His image (Exodus 23:2-3; James 2:1-9).

The apostle Paul wrote that a man should earn his wages and be worthy of them (2 Thessalonians 3:6-10). This means that the able-bodied are not to continuously receive hand-outs or worse, make a living from government checks unwilling to work. This was God’s design from the beginning as He called Adam to take responsibility and rule over the rest of creation (Genesis 1:26-28). Parents are given the task of educating their children about God and the world He has created (Deuteronomy 4:9-10; 6:6-9). The government cannot dictate this decision, forcing you to put your child into a failing school, or an environment that does not share your worldview or even acknowledge it.

No matter your personal opinion on Donald Trump’s character, his record speaks for itself. Furthermore, when given the opportunity he has nominated conservative justices to the Supreme Court. Conservative political thinking rightly interprets the Constitution to its original intent and does not see it as a fluid document for whatever progressive regressive idea blows their way. History has shown conservative politics to be in line with a Biblical worldview whether the person holding this ideology realizes it or not.

There is no one without sin who has ever lived except Christ. We cannot overlook Donald Trump’s multiple marriages and prideful behavior. Yet if our rationale is that we choose not to vote for someone because we consider them sinful then heaven help us. No one should run for office or serve in a church- ever. I would also point out the corrupt dealings Biden has had as well in his checkered past. Joe Biden has been accused of sexual harassment multiple times and is currently involved in a scandal with which his son Hunter Biden served as the straw guy. So this argument among Christians does not hold up considering both candidates are with sin, just as we all are. When you go to vote on November 3, keep in mind we are voting not for a person, but a way of life. The two choices we have are vastly different.

Grace upon grace,