Becoming who you already are

Do I love Him?

Do I love Jesus deeply? Is He becoming what I treasure most?


It is a life long transformation. On one side we are instantaneously made righteous, redeemed, adopted. On the other side the Lord is patiently working out our salvation, growing our faith and love for Christ every day.

It’s the broken hallelujah being restored living in the middle of “already and not yet”. Jesus Christ has come and died and rose. My Hope is made real the more I see, the more I love the unseen. My eyes begin to adjust to the Light as I am washed in His Word.


We have one foot in this world and one foot in heaven. It can be hard at times to live out the resurrected life. But it is ours for the taking. We have the Holy Spirit’s power to wield into our every day lives.

How do we do this exactly? In reading through the Scriptures you start to notice themes and commands that serve as the backdrop to all of life. It goes something like this:

Take your sin seriously because we offend a Holy God. Pursue personal holiness even when trials come. Commit your way to the Lord.

We stumble. Grieve our sin, repent, seek God’s unending storehouse of mercy. We do not live as one condemned. Lean into our freedom as sons and daughters of the Most High. This is the rhythm of Christianity.


You already belong to God as a believer. Jesus made this possible. We live on the other side of the cross, complete with the canon of Scripture to read whenever we want. I need these reminders too. We have to preach the Gospel to ourselves not just on Sundays but every single day of the week.

This is my prayer and offering to you-


Let Your truth fall fresh on us. Captivate our hearts and minds with Love so Divine, demanding our soul, our life, our all. Help cultivate within us deep joy and abiding faithfulness today, tomorrow, into the rest of our eternity when we will see You face to face. Our hallelujahs made fully complete.

Grace upon grace,


How do you know?

“We know that we have come to know Him if we obey His commands.

The man who says, ‘I know Him’, but does not do what He commands is a liar, and the truth is not in Him.

But if anyone obeys His Word, God’s love is truly made complete in Him.

This is how we know we are in Him: Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did.”

1 John 2:3-6

The biggest lie we can believe is to deny Christ as Lord and Savior. Unbelievers embrace this by rejecting Jesus as the Son of God whether they openly admit it or not. Rebellion can be visible and loud, or a quiet hardening.

Let us live in the truth we know, resting in our confidence and freedom. Jesus paid for our sinful, helpless souls so that we could be free to love, trust, and obey Him for all eternity. This is the central truth to all of life – to know Christ and be in Him. Do you know?


Grace upon grace,


The Perfect Passover



“It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for Him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved His own who were in the world, He now showed them the full extent of His love.” –John 13:1


They wanted You dead

and You let them

take You away.

Questioned, accused, lies,

mocked, betrayed, beaten,


I helped.

The world was not worthy of such

a King.

You made this place Your home

for a little while

to reveal Yourself as the

Son of God.

You taught, You healed, You served,

You loved, You wept;

You obeyed God the Father.

“Hosanna!” they cried, “Save us!”

they pleaded.

Just as the Israelites selected an unblemished

lamb to cover their sins,

so God sent You, the Perfect Lamb

to cleanse our hearts.

Sin requires blood so You gave

Your lifeblood.

It is written, “The life is in the blood.”

Murdered. Resurrected. Redeemed.

Now we are made holy

because You were born to die –

To Save.

“Hosanna” was their shout,

Salvation is Your gift to me.

Hope lives

because Jesus has won.

The Road to Jerusalem

He keeps walking toward Jerusalem. His feet like lead, heavily putting one foot in front of the other. He knows what will happen and Jesus goes anyway.

As the Son of God He has set His love upon us so He keeps moving closer.

As the Son of Man He bends His will to the Father walking in full obedience. The wonder of it all. The grotesque brutality and suffering and pain.

Jesus did not walk into His purpose blindly, caught off guard. He understood the cost. Jesus, sorrowful yet determined to fulfill prophecy and redeem all mankind.

Firm, resolved, focused on the task at hand. History was made that day.


Christmas in December

I enjoy watching the Christmas Hallmark movies each year. Despite the mediocre acting I just can’t help myself. The sets are perfectly orchestrated with the fake snow shoveled against the only bakery in a quaint little town of 400 where every one knows every one and that ONE person is having a crossroads crisis- Does she stay in her small hometown where her first love resides or go back to the big city chasing after her dreams?

There are the dressed up carolers, a cute school Christmas play, festive sweaters, a Santa who seems to know everything before you do (a little creepy) and every house on the block is decorated by HGTV. Seriously. And I buy into all of it. Sold! They have a way of sweeping up my emotions into these unrealistic platforms by making everything feel so Christmas-ey.

After the 90 minutes of Hallmark-ing I come back into my own little world, aka, real life and I remember that those warm fuzzies are so fleeting. Christmas is not just a feeling, it’s knowing. When our emotions betray us, hiding our eyes from the Beauty before our hungry souls we must actively remember the Jesus Story. Tell ourselves the Gospel as we gaze onto the glimmering lights from the tree, because on another Tree Jesus gave His life for the lifeless. Marvel His Love come down as you ponder the significance of your Jesse tree ornaments. What do these mean? What does the apple and the serpent represent? What does Noah’s ark say of God’s character? What does any of this have to do with Christmas?

Flood of grace over a flood of sin?

Saving a chosen, obedient family over the swirling waters that could engulf them at any moment by God’s command, God carried Noah and his family as He carries us over the murky ocean of sin and despair.

If you’re like me December has already brought a few days marked with heartache, stress, frustration, impatience, and a lack of love. Those things are not put on hold just because the calendar says it’s the Christmas season. People die, hard workers get laid off from their jobs, little ones get sick, and you get sick, tough decisions still need to be made. So what happens when we don’t feel like Christmas?

Go to the One who started it all, from the very good beginning. He knows your heart all too well, more than you know it yourself. He sees you tired from a day’s work of hurry, hurry, hurry. He notices the lonely among the crowded shuffle. Notice Him back this Christmas. Look and see what God has done by going back to the Scriptures.

Not everything will look like a scene straight out of a Hallmark movie and that’s okay because that isn’t what Christmas is all about anyway. Real life still happens and functions in a sin cursed, heavy burdened world. “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we are saved” (Romans 8:22-24 NIV).

This is why we need to seek Christ in a season of parties, plays, music, gift- wrapping, cookie decorating and tree trimming. Not that any of these things are wrong, but also leave room for the quiet. This world is loud and screams for lights, camera, action! But Jesus, in meekness and humility came in the dead of night, to a hurting world in need of a Savior. Don’t miss it this Christmas.

When you don’t feel like you have the Christmas spirit, enter into His Presence. Take time to read His Love Story and be reminded that on the first Christmas, God gave us all The Greatest Gift, Jesus the Son of God.


Grace upon grace,



There is Grace

511939471         Saturday was a national day of protest against Planned Parenthood in light of the atrocities many have seen from the undercover videos released. I attended the one in my city and for the most part it was a peaceful demonstration for those who were there to defend the defenseless. There were a handful of pro-abortion supporters who came to deter us and drown out speeches, prayer, and hymn singing with shouting and loud music. Ironically it was music that demeans and degrades women. I saw their hostility and ugly signs and then it hit me. My heart breaks over the murder of unborn babies, but also for them. I cried behind my sunglasses seeing their anger, ultimately their hatred of God. Whispering prayers aloud (probably looking a little crazy), pleading with God to have mercy on their souls, to soften hearts, to save them, and break the heavy chains of unbelief. If only they knew the freedom Jesus gives.

We all need the life redeeming, death crushing, soul saving, and beautiful Gospel message of Jesus Christ. He is the One who rescues a condemned soul from the gates of Hell. Christians cannot change the mind of a pro-abortion fan until our Savior changes their heart. Only He has the power to do that. I realized then that it is not an “us versus them” mentality. It is not strictly about who wins the argument more than it is about believers speaking truth into the heart of the hardened when opportunity arises. Speaking words of wisdom and love, acting in kindness.

Grace and love are two of my favorite words because of Who and what they represent. If I am to be like Christ then I must practice these actions to others on a daily basis. Is it easy? Nope. Especially to those I feel don’t deserve it. But the truth is, none of us deserved God’s grace and forgiveness, and He freely gave it to us anyway wrapped up in salvation through Jesus Christ. Jesus’ words are recorded in Luke 6 when He says, “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you […] If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that […] Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:27-28; 32-33; 36 NIV).

John Newton is the man who penned the famous hymn ‘Amazing Grace’, in collaboration with William Cowper. What led Newton to write these words is a remarkable journey in itself. As a young man he was forced into the British Royal Navy. After a failed attempt to escape his fate, Newton was publicly flogged and demoted. He then requested a transfer aboard a slave ship. On the coast of Sierra Leone Newton was abandoned by his crew and became a servant of a harsh slave trader where he was relentlessly abused.

Newton was not a believer at this point and in fact led a rebellious life. He kept running from God, but the Lord continued to pursue him through various circumstances. One of those times occurred during a violent storm out at sea which threatened to sink the ship. Newton was captain of his own ship by now, and he was heavily involved in slave trade. In a moment of desperation he cried out for God’s mercy on him. He would later recall that moment in his life as a spiritual turning point. The wheels of grace began turning.

He continued working as a slave trader until 1754 after an illness caused him to hang up his seafaring ways for good. Newton applied for the Anglican priesthood in 1757 and became minister at Olney in Buckinghamshire in 1764. During this period of Newton’s life he met and befriended figures who had great impact on his spiritual growth- George Whitefield, John Wesley, and William Cowper to name a few. John Newton began to regret his time as a slave trader and recounted its horrors in tracts. He describes in detail the conditions of the ships and the life of a slave aboard the ship. Newton became an avid supporter and influencer in the abolition movement because of his personal experience and spiritual convictions.

‘Amazing Grace’ is a summation of his past life before Christ and the continued work of grace even after salvation. These are the first 3 verses to the beloved hymn:

‘Amazing grace! How sweet the sound

That saved a wretch like me!

I once was lost, but now am found;

Was blind, but now I see.


‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,

And grace my fears relieved;

How precious did that grace appear

The hour I first believed.


Through many dangers, toils, and snares,

I have already come;

‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,

And grace will lead me home.’

I do not minimize the sin of those who favor pro-abortion but I do maximize the truth of the Gospel because there is grace. There is forgiveness. There is redemption found in Jesus Christ alone. This is what is needed more than anything else. The tide of abortion can change with one heart at a time repenting and knowing Jesus as Savior.

“Then did the dead heart begin to beat,

the darkened eye glimmer with light,

the dull ear catch thy echo,

and I turned to thee and found thee,

a God ready to hear, willing to save […]

Then didst thou come to me in silken robes of love,

and I saw thy Son dying that I might live,

and in that death I found my all.

My soul doth sing at the remembrance of

that peace; […]

Grant that I may always weep to the praise of

mercy found,

and tell to others as long as I live,

that thou art a sin-pardoning God,

taking up the blasphemer and the ungodly,

and washing them from their deepest stain.”

(‘The Great Discovery’, The Valley of Vision, p. 112-3)

Grace upon grace,


Imperfectly Perfect

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9 NIV)


Sometimes I am challenged in my faith, whether it is something I put on myself or subliminal messages from the Christian pop culture I don’t know, but it is to “do more” and “be more”. I hear in these words a works based salvation and that I have to be “good enough” in order to be saved. I believe this is why so many in the church are disillusioned and feel condemned from the start. They wonder if their salvation is true or a lie. I think more people wrestle with this than we realize. We definitely would not say we believe in saving ourselves, but what do our actions say? Are we on every committee that is offered at church, constantly there whenever the doors are open, and a superhero in our community services or projects? I am not saying any of these things are bad, but the motive behind it is the issue. Do we do these things in order to establish our own righteousness, for the praise of man, or do we really serve others because of our love for Jesus?

I’ve struggled with this lately, questioning my love for Jesus. My flesh doubts, but the Spirit within me defends my fragile heart. I know I love Him however imperfect it may be. I wish I could love Him perfectly as He does me, but that will not happen until I am safely in the Savior’s arms in Heaven. All things are perfected in Heaven. This is a promise I hold on to and long for.

I think in those moments where we doubt our faith or wrestle with confusion about the means of salvation, we miss the simplicity of the Gospel. Just look to Scripture for answers. Romans 10:9-11 says, “that if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord’, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, ‘Anyone who trusts in Him will never be put to shame’.” The rest of Romans 10 is worth reading (actually all of Romans), because the remainder of the chapter talks about how a saint carries out their faith – by telling others about Jesus. If we love someone or something we cannot wait to share it with others. So it is with our love for Jesus, “for out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34 NIV).

The change that has taken place in us through faith will now come out of us in our words, thoughts, and actions. “Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (James 1:22 NIV). Salvation involves God placing a burning desire within our hearts to know Him. He has chosen you and loved you before you even knew Him (1 John 4:19; John 15:16). We respond with a repentant heart, recognizing our sin and deadness apart from Christ (Ephesians 2:1). We confess with our mouths (1 John 1:9). We trust that what God says is true and that He has never lied to us (John 17:17). True believers pursue holiness and desire to love Christ more today than they did yesterday. His children love His Word and want to walk in obedience (Psalm 119:97-104). The saints will persevere to the very end and finish well (Hebrews 12:1-2).

So faith and works work together, but our deeds do not precede faith thereby saving us. Jesus did the saving work for us on the cross. He is the only One who has ever lived a perfect life, so only He could be the perfect sacrifice. Jesus did this, for us, His Beloved. Christians are identified by how they live. This is what makes our faith come alive, “for a tree is recognized by its fruit” (Matthew 12:33 NIV). We walk with Jesus everyday, obeying His commands not out of mere duty, but because we love Him (1 John 2:3-6).

The entire Bible points to Christ and His redemptive work. Scripture is one great love letter to God’s chosen people and meant to glorify His Name. God’s love for us is perfect. He set His love upon us, an imperfect Church, to call His own. I cannot yet love Him the way He lavishes His love on me, but I can still be confident that I am His:

“And this is how we know that He lives in us: We know it by the Spirit He gave us […] This is how you recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, […] You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 3:24; 4:2,4).

I wish I could write all of 1 John on here to make my point, but hopefully it is clear. When God’s love is manifested in the heart of a believer we are able to love Him above all things and love others more than ourselves (Matthew 22:37-39). We cannot work hard enough or ever be good enough to cleanse us from all of our unrighteousness apart from Christ. The Bible says “there is no one who does good, not even one” (Psalm 14:3 NIV). The good news is that believers can have true rest over the doubt of their salvation with these words from Romans 11:5-6: “So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.” However, if you read this and realize you do not know Jesus as your Savior, can I encourage you to come to Him today? Do not put it off. Feel free to leave a comment so I can pray for you and encourage you.

This is part of a prayer taken from The Valley of Vision called ‘The Spirit’s Work’:

“Take of the things of Christ and show them

to my soul;

Through thee may I daily learn more of his love,

grace, compassion, faithfulness, beauty;

Lead me to the cross and show me his wounds,

the hateful nature of evil, the power of Satan;

May I there see my sins as

the nails that transfixed him,

the cords that bound him,

the thorns that tore him,

the sword that pierced him.

Help me to find in his death the reality

and immensity of his love.

Open for me the wondrous volumes of truth

in his, ‘It is finished’.

Grace upon grace,