Friday, December 31, 2010


The worst thing we could do is assume we are perfect (or even good enough) the way we are.  We should always be striving to be more like Christ - even though we will never fully complete this until our day of perfection at the end of this life.

"And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ? - Philippians 1:6

With that being said, if you are struggling to find a good resolution for this coming year (or for the rest of your life) a good place to look might be Jonathan Edwards' list of resolutions.  He is considered to be America's most important theologians and intellectuals.

Below I've listed a few of the 70 resolutions he made in his short lifetime:
  • Resolved, Never to lose one moment of time, but to improve it in the most profitable way I possibly can.
  • Resolved, To live with all my might, while I do live.
  • Resolved, Never to do any thing, which I should be afraid to do if it were the last hour of my life.
  • Resolved, To act, in all respects, both speaking and doing, as if nobody had been so vile as I, and as if I had committed the same sins, or had the same infirmities or failings, as others; and that I will let the knowledge of their failings promote nothing but shame in myself, and prove only an occasion of my confessing my own sins and misery to God
  • Resolved, Never to do any thing out of revenge.   
  • Resolved, That I will live so, as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.
  • Resolved, To maintain the strictest temperance in eating and drinking.
  • Resolved, Never to do any thing, which if I should see in another, I should count a just occasion to despise him for, or to think any way the more meanly of him.
  • Resolved, Whenever I do any conspicuously evil action, to trace it back, till I come to the original cause; and then, both carefully endeavour to do so no more, and to fight and pray with all my might against the original of it.
  • Resolved, Let there be something of benevolence in all that I speak.

Each of these are wise guidelines to live your life by.  That most of these were made when he was 20 years old is a great encouragement to me.  

I pray that I may live a life accurate to these resolutions.

Mallory and I have decided to join @TimmyBrister in memorizing Philippians by Easter Sunday 2011, starting January 1st.  For more details (and we'd love you to join in on this venture to store up God's word in our heart!!) check out his blog post here.

Blessings to you all and have a Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

As white as snow, but not like snow...

The blizzard today got me thinking about how Christ's atonement washes us white as snow - referring to taking away the 'crimson red' stain of sin on our hearts.  One of my favorite hymns is Jesus Paid It All by Elvina Hall which has the refrain:

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

However, when we use snow as an analogy for Christ's work on our heart, we must stop at the color.  Beyond that, the snow is more of a metaphor for how we often deal with our sin by covering it up:

Snow is temporary
     -Our wretched sin can be covered up for a season by our 'good' deeds or by our smooth-talking mouth making us seem better than we really are, but eventually the covering will come off and we will be seen for how we really are (we may even be able to make the 'snow' covering our sinfulness last most of our life - but once we stand before the powerful, holy, majestic Lord of All, that snow will melt away faster than an ice cube on the sun.)  We cannot hide from God - learn from the lesson of Jonah.

Snow is cold and numbing
     -Our soul can become numb to our sin.  We can get to the point where we actually think we are good; indeed many people believe that man is inherently good.  However, that is contrary to what Scripture teaches:
          -Romans 3:32: "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
          -2 Chronicles 6:36: "...there is no one who does not sin..."
          -Romans 3:9-18: "What shall we conclude then? Do we not have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. As it is written: 'There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one. Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit. The poison of viper is on their lips. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know. There is no fear of God.'"
          -1 John 1:8,10: "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us."
          -Mark 10:18/Luke 18:19: "'Why do you call me good?' Jesus answered. 'No one is good - except God alone.'"

Snow tastes good
     -Sin tastes good to us. This attests to the above point. If we were good, or holy (which we one day will be) we would be disgusted by all forms of sin.

Snow tainted yellow is a warning to us
     -Covering up our sin so no one sees it is not the way to live
          -1 John 1:9: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."
     -If our sins seeps through and turns our white coat yellow, let it be a warning that we cannot forever hide our sins from our brothers.  We must confess our sins to God and those whom we have sinned against, so that our Father in Heaven will forgive us.  Our sin will inevitably be found out, so when someone spots that yellow stain, lets open up and seek help to remove that part of our wicked self.

Snow drifts when there's wind
     -When we have trials in our life that rattle us and push us around, our sin covering becomes agitated and shifts.  Some areas of sin in our life are extra covered, and others are exposed.  Our pride can be hidden when we do something worth praising; no one could blame you for soaking up the praises of others after writing a NY Times Best-seller.  On the flip-side, the passing of a close friend or a family member can expose your lack of trust in God's sovereign control over everything and cause you to question your faith.

Snow gets sticky when wet
     -Exposing our ficticious holiness to the elements of time can make it even harder to remove when the time comes to be progressively sanctified.  The longer we dwell in our sin and hide it from even ourselves, the more we will be attached to it when the time comes to remove sin from our lives.  The habit of telling white lies for years and years is hard to break.  Gossiping behind everyones back is as addictive as internet porn and pride.  All of these will consume a life and make your process of sanctification more difficult.  Of course in the final act of sanctification no sin will be left behind, but once Christ opens our eyes to see Him for all He truly is, we will at that instant begin to become more holy and less sinful.  Again, nothing can limit the Holy Spirit's ability to sanctify, but we can make things harder for ourselves.

May this season's snow remind us to always be removing the snow from ourselves and seeking forgiveness from God and others.  Summer will come and the snow will melt.  Let us not become comfortable with the snow.

Friday, December 3, 2010

$50 Christmas Giveaway

What greater way could God have blessed us than giving the gift of Christ Jesus to take away our blame so that we may one day enter into His presence?!  This season we celebrate Christ's birth and His incarnation (taking on flesh).

In an attempt to honor that gift, and spread resources that will aid in understanding this truth:

I will be holding a contest for the next week (from 12/3-12/9).

The winner will receive a $50 gift certificate for merchandise from Ligonier Ministries!

See what you could get at their store:

To enter the contest simply tell me what your favorite Christmas song is by leaving a comment below!

Spread the joy by sharing this post on your Facebook by clicking  or via Twitter by clicking  (if you have an account of course). 

    NOTE: You only need to post a comment below to be entered in the drawing.

    **The winner will be chosen at random and announced Friday the 9th, so be sure to check back!

    Christmas is not about giving,
    it's about a GIFT.
    May the gift of forgiveness through Jesus, our Lord,
    fill your heart this year.
    ~Merry Christmas~

    Friday, November 26, 2010

    Crimson-turned-White Friday

    The biggest $5 Friday yet! Get some Christmas shopping done!

    Get your Ligonier $5 Friday Items
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    Wednesday, November 24, 2010

    εὐχάριστος - It's Greek to me!

    Eucharistia - Thankfulness

    Root word: Eucharistos - Thankful
    *Eu - good, well
    *Charizomai - to show favor, give freely
      The greek word for thankful is eucharistos, which is comprised of two words: eu which means good or well, and charizomai which means to show favor or to give freely.

      It's interesting to note that the word charizomai was used in the Bible most often as forgive.

      What could I be more thankful for than God's forgiveness?  Christ dying on the cross to take the place of my punishment for all my sins is the absolute best thing that could ever happen to me. Giving me the opportunity to spend eternity in His presence is a far greater blessing than any earthly gift.

      This Thanksgiving, I will be thankful for Christ.  Every day I will be thankful for Christ!  I pray that this eucharistia would spread and all of God's people would recognize how great a work Christ has done for us.  He is to be treasured above all else.  Our desire should be Him alone.

      Instead of being thankful for something temporary this season (family, friends, health, etc), I plan to be primarily thankful for God's work in my life (choosing a wretched sinner like me, gifting the Holy Spirit, forgiving my sins)!  That is what I should be most thankful for this holiday season.  Friends, family, and health never last; but God's love is forever.  I will one day spend eternity with Him, and that is something to be thankful for!

      Thursday, November 18, 2010

      Daddy Christmas Tips

      Mark Driscoll's Daddy Christmas Tips:

      1. Dad needs a plan for the holidays to ensure his family is loved and memories are made. Dad, what’s your plan?
      2. Dad needs to ensure his family is giving generously during the holidays. Dad, who in need is your family going to adoptbless, and serve?
      3. Dad needs to carve out time for sacred events and experiences to build family traditions that are fun and point to Jesus. Dad, is you calendar ready for December?
      4. Dad needs to not let the stress of the holidays, including money, cause him to be grumpy with Mom or the kids. Dad, how’s your joy?
      5. Dad needs to make memories and not just give gifts. Dad, what special memories can you make this holiday season?
      6. Dad needs to manage the extended family and friends during the holidays. Dad, who or what do you need to say “no” to?
      7. Dad needs to schedule a big Christmas date with his daughter(s). Dad, what’s your big plan for the fancy Daddy-daughter date?
      8. Dad needs to schedule guy time with his son(s). Dad, what are you and your son(s) going to do that is active, outdoors, and fun?
      9. Dad needs to help get the house decorated. Dad, are you really a big help to Mom with getting things ready?
      10. Dad needs to ensure there are some holiday smells and sounds. Dad, is Christmas music on the iPod, is the tree up, can you smell cookies and cider?

      Great advice!

      Tuesday, November 16, 2010

      The Intolerance of Tolerance

      My goal in these posts (really the purpose of this blog) is to reflect aloud the meditations of my heart. By doing that I hope to learn Godly truths, work through the difficulties of the faith, and see the relationship with my Savior strengthened. Only He can draw me closer to Him; and I pray He will produce fruit in my life.

      This week, I'm going to talk myself through the following objection to the faith:

      "How can you say Christianity is true and other religions are false?!"

      Well, the easy answer is "because I can!" (Not trying to sound pompous).

      And by this I mean I am logically justified in making this argument. Logic tells us that 'A' and 'not A' cannot both be true. Yet we still get the comment above from people who say we are being intolerant by calling others wrong. We all hold to our own opinions for one reason: we think they are true. Why would we believe them if we didn't think they were true?

      In fact, that person is telling me that I am wrong in regards to my belief that I think I am right. Right there they are violating their own definition of tolerance.

      When someone uses the word intolerant, the first thing I need to do is ask them what they mean by the word.  It is important that I pay close attention to their definition. If their answer implies the idea that 'saying someone elses views are wrong' is intolerant, I will need to clarify with them the fallacy in their argument.

      Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason explains how "tolerance is being courteous of another persons viewpoint, no matter what the view, not that all views have merit."

      Saying that by disagreeing with someone's view I am being intolerant is completely absurd. In fact, tolerance implies an opposing view. If they held the same view, there would be no need to 'put up' with it! We would be in agreement! Tolerance implies a disagreement by definition.

      I must be careful of 'strategically' used words like 'tolerance' and 'respect,' which no longer hold the same classical meaning in conversations these days. These words are used strategically so that the accuser is able to hide behind the accusation. If I take their respopnse at face value and buy in to their idea of tolerance I will quickly find myself far from the truth of my own faith; for how could I call myself loving and tolerant but say everyone elses views are false? They make it seem so horrible.

      Just remember: WE CANNOT BOTH BE RIGHT! We can both be wrong, or one be wrong and one right. But in order to be intellectually honest, they have to admit this fact.

      Chuck Colson said of this postmodern mindset: "Tolerance has become so important that no exception is tolerated."

      That captures the fallacious ideology perfectly!

      Lastly, and most importantly, I must remember to be Christ-honoring and respectful in my discussions (1 John 3:15-16). And remember what Paul said in 2 Cor 10:5, "We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God. "

      I need to be ready to answer these questions when they come up. And if I'm doing my job, they will!

      Friday, November 12, 2010

      WSC Memorization

      The other day I received in the mail 4 cds of the Westminster Shorter Catechism put to song. I had borrowed them from a friend to check them out and loved them immediately. I have the first 7 questions memorized already. Easy!

      For those who are not familiar with the WSC, they are an abridgment of the teachings of the Bible from a reformed perspective. They are long considered the best doctrinal statements to come out of the English Reformation.

      The purpose of the WSC was to help educate the everyday person in doctrine and belief. They were and are traditionally used to teach and train up children, and are often given to new converts for study.

      I can't wait until I can teach Emery these truths!
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      Friday, November 5, 2010

      Unapologetic Apologetics

      "But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." - 1 Peter 3:15

      Word of the day: Apologetics - giving a defense

      As Christians, we are told to be able to give answers for why we believe what we believe.  That is a serious charge.  Why?  Well, because for one it's in the Bible.  <= That brings us to some of the most common questions asked of Christians: Why do you believe the Bible? Why do you believe it is the inspired Word of God?  How can you be sure it is accurate after all these years of translating?

      If we actually stop and ask ourselves these questions, are we able to answer them? Even more importantly, are we able to answer them well?  Let's think about why Peter would say what he said.  There is a hint in the last part of 1 Peter 3:15: "But do this with gentleness and respect."  Peter wants us to be a light (1 Peter 2:11-12) in the dark.  Having a reasonable answer for what we believe may be all it takes for someone to believe!

      I guarantee you, if you are doing your job (preaching to the lost and the unsaved) you will need to be able to answer these.  If you haven't had to answer them, take a look at what else you could be doing to spread the Truth.  
      Peter speaks as if he is assuming we will need to be able to "give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have."  We should have these coming up in conversation daily.

      So be ready! I challenge all those who call themselves Christians to find an answer to these common questions.  Scripture demands DO IT!!! (Acts 5:29)

      Here are just a few to get you started:

      • How can you say that Christianity is true and all other religions are false?

      • How can the Bible be accurate after so many translations?

      • Why do you believe that Jesus raised from the dead?

      • Science and religion are not compatible!

      • Why is there evil in the world? (rape, child abuse, genocide) How could a loving God allow it?

        Post your answer to one of the above questions, or another one you thought of/were asked recently! I'll answer some in upcoming posts.

        Another reason we should be prepared to answer these and other questions about our faith is to teach, train, and equip fellow believers.  We all go through 'long, dark, tea-times of the soul' and have doubts.  Getting our questions answered in such a time is sometimes all it takes to strengthen our faith.  So do your fellow brother and sister in Christ a favor and make like a Boy Scout and "Always Be Prepared"!

        **Just a tip: don't use the 'burning in the bosom' argument that LDS use, it's a very weak argument and can be turned on you very easily.

        If you need a jump start in the right direction, check out Stand to Reason. This is probably the best site I've found for apologetics resources.  Also, the STR Android App has finally arrived! They also have an iPhone app (both are free) so check them out!

        Monday, October 25, 2010 Christ loved the Church

        Upon reflection of my first post, I feel the need to express my responsibility as a husband.  Not that being a father isn't of the utmost importance, however I became a husband first and this is my premier responsibility.  I and my wife are one (Genesis 2:24b).  I am not one with my daughter.  They are two different types of relationships.

        With regards to the purpose of marriage, John Piper put it succinctly when he said, "I have tried to show from scripture that the main meaning of marriage is to display the covenant-keeping love between Christ and His church.  In other words, marriage was designed by God most deeply, most importantly, to be a parable or a drama of the way Christ loves His church and the way the church loves and follows to Christ.  This is the most important thing for all husbands and wives to know about the meaning of their marriage" (, emphasis added).

        I see today that many people put the love and care of their children above the love and care of their spouse.  That simply should not be so.  The family is first and foremost strong in the parents' mutual relationship with God. From there, a firm foundation is setup for the household to provide a Godly, Christ-filled environment by which the children can learn from the acts (more-so than mere words) of the parents, and even from the (future in our case) older siblings.  If the bond between the mother and father (and yes, I do say mother and father not father and father, or the opposite, for a reason) is weak, the children suffer.

        So we spend time every day together in prayer, going through a Bible study, memorizing scripture, and just getting closer.  In order to do our best as parents, we must do our best as husband and wife, yet we must first do our best in our relationship with our Savior and God.

        Now, does this mean that every day when I get home from work I should first greet my wife with a kiss before I greet my daughter? Does this mean in the morning I should be more joyful to see my wife's face than my daughter's face?  Well, I don't know.  I do know that I'm human, and therefore I get most things maybe that which I do not do is that which I should do! : )  I'm sure that is the case often-times. But really, this needs to be a heart issue.  Of course, when I get home I want to see my baby first, because she is so new to me.  I want to see if she has changed (as she does daily!), I want to see if she reacts differently to me (big smiles, baby talk, etc).  This does not mean I put her before my wife.  I do love my wife more than my child. But how that plays out in active, daily life is not a textbook answer.  I need to make sure my heart is in the right place day to day and pray that I can be the husband and father God calls me to be.

        Wednesday, October 20, 2010

        Our Home

        We have prayed about our home on numerous occasions, that it would be our ministry (specifically Mallory's) and that people would always feel welcome here.  We want Christ's love to emanate throughout it like the warmth of a fire. I think a part of that will come from the way our kids are raised, and therefore act. Recently, after Emery went down to bed for the night, we sat up and discussed how we desire to raise our kids.

        This is a strange topic, because many people seem to think it is unnecessary to discuss it past "Are we planning on spanking?"  I won't go into that right now, but I do have a strong opinion on that subject.

        We were discussing more about what we wanted the environment of our house to be like.  The first thing that came up was material possessions.  Since the number one treasure we want to instill in our kids' hearts is the affection for Christ, we don't want to let material things get in the way.  I don't want my daughter to think more of her doll, or her set of figurines, than Christ.  Not that there is anything wrong with toys, or having more than 10 different hats, but when the affection for these is present...  But where is the line drawn so that a love is not created for finite, eternally worthless material possessions?  True, material objects can be used to teach lessons (i.e. how to properly take care of a baby, or how to set a table), however finding that balance is what we are working on.  We don't want to have so many toys in our home that they are taken for granted ("Oops, I broke my G.I. Joe, oh well I'll just be getting another one now"), when they are a simple means of entertainment that so many in this world lack.  I want our children to think, "Wow, what a blessing!  I got a new toy!"

        Wastefulness is rampant in nations of plenty, and ours is no different.  Now don't misunderstand what I'm saying here; by no means are we tree-hugging environmentalists who worship 'Mother Earth!'  However, we do recognize that we need to be good stewards of what God gives us.  Part of that is not being wasteful; whether we're talking about food (primarily), money, time, etc.  I want my children to see how responsible we are with the resources God has blessed us with.  The USDA said back in 1997 that 27% of all edible food gets tossed out.  The Lord never promises to give us abundance in this life.  To waste what He gives us is showing our lack of thankfulness for the gift.  

        Managing our money responsibly with either a budget or a similar way of tracking our resources (giving is extremely important here) is very important in not only teaching stewardship, but also preparing our children to survive on their own.  I am not convinced we as Christians are required to tithe (10%) regularly, as that was an Old Covenant law for the Jews, however I do believe giving is an essential part of one's walk with God.  Showing mercy and love to others who are in need is one way we should feel obligated to give, but even as a mere way of preventing us from becoming greedy giving is spiritually helpful.  The less money we have, the more we are required to depend on God.  Greed is easily overshadowed by a desire to be 'financially secure.'  If you can show me a section of Scripture that portrays 'financial security' as a good thing I would be willing to listen (Matthew 19:24; Mark 10:25; Luke 18:25).  It is when we have all we need to physically survive that we feel we need God the least.  

        ...this has turned from a recommendation to not waste money to a dissertation on giving it all away; but the way one spends is in direct correlation to how one gives.  The more we spend (on ourselves) the less likely we are to give (to others) because there is always that one thing we want to buy:  the latest iPod, the newest style of clothing, a hyped-up video game.  If we have a heart for others and a repulsion for idolatry, we will be moved to push our monetarial blessings in a direction that will stimulate our affection for Christ versus material possessions.

        Maybe more importantly, we discussed how we will teach what it is to live a Christ-centered life.  Prayer before every meal; not as a religious, repetitious rule but as a moment we stop and thank our Lord for blessing us with food for our bodies when we deserve starvation.  Daily devotionals as a time when we stop our busy lives and rest for a moment in prayer and meditation on the Word, and thank our Lord for blessing us with food for our souls, for "Man shall not live by bread alone..." - Matthew 4:4.  Memory verse of the day/week recited at dinner.  Time spent outside and not in front of the tv.  Only God-honoring tv shows/movies.  All of these are practical things we can implement once we get over our mere laziness or idolatry of what we enjoy - good thing I'm done with 24!  :)

        Tuesday, October 12, 2010

        Ligonier Ministries '$5 Fridays' - Good for family?

        I just received my two products that I purchased from Ligonier Ministries (RC Sproul's ministry) last week. They have an ongoing promotion called '$5 Fridays' where they select a few items from their inventory and offer them for a substantial discount. For some items it is a better deal than others.

        For example I purchased a dvd set of their 2003 National Conference 'The Power and the Glory' which retails for $85, typically you can get it for $68; I got it for $5!

        I also purchased their Abortion dvd which retails for $20, typically sells for $24; and of course I paid $5!

        What a steal! (shipping was only $3.99!)

        These videos will serve my family well over the years as I study them personally and learn how to convincingly contest for the lives of those who cannot contest for it themselves, and also learn about Gods power and glory in building His kingdom from the likes of John MacArthur, Doug Wilson, Al Mohler, Sinclair Ferguson, and the Sprouls. One day, my children will understand these concepts.  Their faith will be strengthened. That makes these a good investment; whether at $5 apiece or not.

        I highly recommend Ligonier Ministries as a source of finding answers to the tough questions of the faith. Dr Sproul has a winsome way with words and is able to clearly articulate seemingly difficult concepts so anyone can understand. If you are interested in learning more about your faith: how to live it, how to understand it (the Bible), etc I cannot say enough how much you will benefit from their resources.

        Check them out:

        See the latest $5 Friday Items

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        Saturday, October 9, 2010

        ...and the meditations of my heart...

        ... be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer - Psalm 19:14

        This is a verse that has defined my pursuit for the past year.

        With the birth of my (first) daughter, I feel like I have been hit with a ton of bricks; those bricks being the Holy Spirit forcing me to wake up out of my "Christian slumber."  I have a new-found passion to learn more about God and understand what He has given us in Scripture, so that I may do my called duty to train up my child in the ways of the Lord so that when she is old she will not turn from them (Proverbs 22:6).  My daughter is a heritage from the Lord. She is an arrow in my quiver, to be used in the battle against the evil one. I am blessed to have her.  She is a gift from God  (Proverbs 127:3-5).

        I take this responsibility very seriously.  I want her to know and love the Lord, and hate the evil that has consumed the world (1 John 5:19).  It is my job to teach her how one can be both in the world, yet not of it.  Our mission is to show Christ's love and be a light to them (Matthew 28:19-20).  The world hates her, and she should know that (John 15:18; John 17:14).

        Satan is real.  He is defeated, but he is still taking people with him on his way down.  I've realized I must consider this when I live the way I do.  When I watch the shows/movies I watch.  When I spend my time the way I do.  I need to refocus my life so that, truly, every second of every day (1 Thes 5:17) every word that comes out of my mouth, and every thought and meditation in my heart are acceptable in Christ's eyes, who is my ultimate Lord, my solid rock upon which I stand mine and my family's life, and my kinsman redeemer (Psalm 19:14).

        We are called to treasure Christ above all things.  I will do my best to live my life in a way that when my daughter (and future children, Lord willing) sees me, she could not help but think of Christ and His glory.

        I pray the posts I make on this site will not only help me become stronger in my faith, but will reach out to those reading and display Christ's glory so much that a life would be changed.

        Be Blessed,