Thanksgiving Table

This year I just wanted to give a simple word of encouragement for Thanksgiving:

The table for Thanksgiving is set year-round with the provisions made by your heart in both times of trial and rejoicing. If in trial your heart set the table with bitterness, and if in rejoicing your heart set the table with selfishness, your Thanksgiving table will be sour and miserly. But, if in trial your heart set the table with thanksgiving, and in rejoicing your heart set the table with meekness, your Thanksgiving table will be full of gladness and contentment.

Set your table with things by which others can be fed.

Seek God for a heart fit to offering up sincere blessings to the LORD from the fires of trial.

Walking With God: Conscience & The Voice of Christ- Part 1

We are starting a new series on “walking with God”.  We start this series by asking the question “how do you hear the voice of Christ”, who is our Shepherd, and the roles our new and clean conscience has in listening to the voice of God.


Opening Scriptures: John 10:4-5, 14-16, 27-30

“We walk by faith, not by sight” ~2 Corinthians 5:7

What, then, guides our faith?


Proverbs 20:27; cf Isaiah 59:12 and Romans 2:15

A Conscience Defiled:

Romans 1:21; Proverbs 16:25; Ephesians 4:17-24; Hebrews 3:12-13; 1 Timothy 4:2; Titus 1:15

Cleansing the Conscience:

Hebrews 9:11-15; Hebrews 10:19-23; 1 Timothy 1:5; 1 Peter 3:21; Ezekiel 36:22ff

Seeking God in Prayer

Prayer holds a special place in my heart because I was born again into prayer; willing and joyful prayer from deep longing for the Father is what I was born again into.  It was alive, it was pure, clean, free, and fresh.

But prayer must always remain pure.  Nothing destroys prayer faster than impurities like pride, legalism, selfish ambition, carnal lusts, and doubt.  They are like a ceiling that oppresses our prayers!


Prayer is not monologue, but dialogue. Gods voice in response to mine is its most essential part. ~ Andrew Murray

Nothing in prayer is more important than our Father.  If our Father is not in our prayers, then they are for naught!  To pray out of obligation, or for respect of others opinions, is the most futile endeavor a Christian can undertake in prayer.  To abide in such a condition for very long will wreck havoc on your fellowship with your heavenly Father and strip your time in prayer of all joy and benefit!

Therefore first and foremost seek God in prayer!

Seek Him with constancy, persistence, sincerity, and love; seek Him without respect to time, place, or environment.  It is too easy to settle complacently into set times or places to seek God and allow our prayers to plunge into the dullness of routine; such rote prayers lose all expectation and awe of God.  If our prayers are shaped by such temporal things like “atmosphere”, they lose all sense of eternity!

Prayers that do not seek out God are will be filled with “self”, and prayers that are filled with “self” are woefully dry!


Prayer – secret, fervent, believing prayer – lies at the root of all personal godliness.  ~ Williams Carey

Jesus taught His disciples “secret prayer”, that is, intimate prayer that is unseen and unheard by others.  Prayer must never lose its intimacy!

Prayer that is unseen by others is prayer that is seen by God!  Jesus said, “But when you pray, go into your private room, shut your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret.  And your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:6 HCSB).  I fear that the prayer-life that is always seen and heard by others is never seen or heard by God.

What is the reward of secret prayer?

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6)

Those who will seek Him in secret will find Him; I believe God Himself is the reward Jesus spoke of that belongs to the diligent, to those who earnestly pursue God out of a fervent desire for Him!

Prayer is an effort of will.  ~ Oswald Chambers

We mustn’t think that prayer will come easily; while the redeemed soul yearns for God in prayer, the flesh, when deprived of substance to feed its pride and lusts in prayer, resists fervent prayer. There is simply nothing gratifying for the flesh in unseen, unannounced secret prayer.  Therefore, if one is to seek God fervently in prayer, it is necessary for our redeemed will to impose itself on our heavy, sluggish, flesh, and exert an effort diligent enough so as to lift the flesh to this purpose.

Prayer is not about goosebumps or feelings.  This is not to say that sincere prayer will not activate your emotions, nor stimulate your body, rather it is to say that “the will” is where the struggle for prayer exists.

Unless God first exerts His will to draw us unto Himself in prayer through Christ, we simply cannot lift the weight of our flesh in prayer for very long.  The disciples in the garden demonstrated just how quickly the flesh wearies in prayer.  But once the effort of God’s will has been felt in our soul, drawing us nearer to Him, then the redeemed soul of His children must awaken and exert force over the weighty flesh that so resists prayer!

Understand that when Jesus taught the disciples to pray, “Your will be done”, He was teaching them to cry out to the Father for the effort of His will upon their prayers!


The fewer the words the better the prayer.  ~ Martin Luther

We are not heard for the words we pray.  We are heard for the Spirit who makes intercession for us on our behalf, as it is written, “the Spirit helps in our weaknesses.  For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Romans 8:26).

Neither those who sit for hours, swaying back and forth, praying the same words over and over again, nor those who stand to “wax eloquent” in their prayers, are heard by God for their words; if the Spirit is not interceding for them with deep groanings that cannot be uttered by man, then God is as deaf to them as He is to the prayers of the pagans!

Confidence put in words kills prayer.  Only evil can come of this.  Either it will cause timidity and doubt in those who seek to pray, or it will cause boasting and evil pride to arise in those who pray often, as it is written “to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Romans 8:6).


But You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel. Psalm 22:3

The heart of prayer is ever mindful of God; it is consumed by Him who is enthroned by our praises!

I have experienced both the fervent joys and deep darkness of prayer, the former being a time when my prayers ascended to God upon winds of joy, awe, and reverence for His glory, and the latter being a time when my prayers were bound by pride, the judgments of men, and self.  As with all things in Christian life, if we lose sight of God, prayer dies and becomes a burden.  Set your prayers on God and He will fill them with life!


They Think It Strange

1 Peter 4:1-2    FORASMUCH then as Christ has suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin; that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.

The scripture says that we should “equip ourselves also with the same resolve” as Christ, knowing that “the one who suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin” so that we might “live the remaining time in the flesh, no longer for human desires, but for God’s will” (HCSB).

Brethren, I am gripped in the Spirit again, being moved in travail for the Church in this nation because there is not the mind of Christ!

It is as though sudden amnesia has struck the body and we have forgotten that we should no longer live out our remaining time for human desires but for the will of God!

O God give us ears to hear!


Give me a moment to address this phrase; the KJV/ NKJV/ NASB render it”the lusts of men”, the ESV renders it “the passions of men”, and the NIV/ HCSB renders it “human desires”.  This expression is talking about all such human desires as are not sanctified by faith- such passions that are not consecrated to God in Christ by faith- they are those rising passions that drive us, but not to God, that move us, but not in righteousness, that stir us, but not unto the glory of God!

This expression must not be reduced to only those debased and innately sinful “lusts of the flesh”, for I could not find a translation that rendered Peter’s words as “the lusts of the flesh”- which are clearly identified in Galatians as innately sinful works.

Peter’s expression is much broader and encompasses both those passions which are innately sinful and those that are not.


It is now the case that those of the Church think you are strange- and slander you also- if you do not join them with the world in chasing after natural human desires!

They think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation”, therefore “they slander you”. (1 Peter 4:4)

Dissipation” is “mental distraction, amusement, or diversion”; it is an act of “wasting by misuse”.  It is the essence of what Christians who are redeemed by the blood of Christ do when their time, passions, and energies are diverted to pursuits that are by nature “passing away”; but Christians are being swept away in the same flood of dissipation as the world, being drawn into deep holes of “season long” distractions!

The results are catastrophic in the lives and spiritual journey’s of Christians.  We are malnourished and underdeveloped in this country!  Despite our historic advantages, we are oppressed by our own sin!


LUKE 8:11, 14   “Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God… and that which fell among thorns are they, which, when the have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and the pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.”

What is choking the word of God from bearing fruit in your life?  Why does the word seem to “bud” and bring forth “blossoms”, but never brings forth ripe fruit?  Because you have not died to this world yet!  Concerns for the demands of this world, your labors for wealth, and your love of pleasure is choking the word of God out of your life!

Crucify that which is of the world and touches your heart, for your heart is holy to the Lord.

It is time that we bring forth fruits worthy of repentance. We must not be moved by the cares of this world, nor let the pursuit of riches steal our strength, that you might serve the Lord in full assurance of faith. Again, let our repentance be known to all, that the world may wonder why we do not run with them in their fruitless pursuits and empty passions.


Cross-less Christians

Please bear with the zeal in which I write this post. I am writing this post being gripped by the spirit of travail because so many in the Church are manifestly living as cross-less Christians! It is not even that the cross is wholly absent from our preaching; far worse! It is often present to one degree or another in our preaching, but almost entirely absent from our living! The day to day life of the average Christian is almost entirely unaffected by the cross of Jesus Christ, save for the mythical notion that they will receive the benefit of the cross they never carried on their judgment day!

I do sincerely ask that the Spirit give the Church at large understanding and conviction to know that no Christian is one without taking up the cross!

We must put away this idea that there is a Christ who bore the cross, and our sins in his flesh, so that we could enjoy life more fully, excel more abundantly in our dreams, or become good Republican citizens!  It is impossible to accept Christ and not accept His cross! If we accept Christ, but go on living for self, we are doubly damned as before.

Put away your grumbling and take up praise!
Put away your deceiving and take up the truth!
Put away your pride and take up the humble yoke of Christ!

Before regeneration can occur it is necessary for something to die; something that was previously alive and thriving must wither and die. To think otherwise is to wholly reject the entirety of the gospel and commit flagrant adultery with another Jesus!

The cross-less Christian is more preoccupied by worldly hobbies than he or she is with the will of God, but the “hobbies” of a Christian are the projects of their Father!

Don’t be deceived by those who would lead you to believe that you can be a child of God while your heart, time, efforts, and passions can be consumed by the things of this world. Certainly there are many that would like to see the Church forget that friendship with the world is enmity towards God, but we must by no means be deceived by them. They are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame- who set their mind on earthly things!

The vast majority of churches in Western Christianity- and those we have spawned abroad- both liberal and conservative, are edging towards a precipice from which they will fall into the judgment of God if they do not become zealous and repent. Rend your hearts before God! Humble yourself! Is there no feeling left in our hearts that we are not moved with zeal over the blasphemies the so-called Church has brought upon the precious name of Jesus Christ?

It is time that we take up our cross and follow Christ. It is time to deny ourselves and follow the voice of our Shepherd.

10 Commandments- Keeping the Name of God


An important note from last week’s lesson is that the whole of the law and prophets rests on the premise of God’s redemptive act:

  • Deut. 5:6
  • Hosea 13:4
  • Example- Lev.19:36- note that God appeals to His redemption of Israel as the base for why Israel must have honest scales; this is the case all throughout the whole law over and over again.

This is no mere coincidence as the same appeal is made today because of the redemptive act of Christ: 1 Corinthians 6:19-20


Opening Scripture Reading:

  • Psalm 139

Key Passage:

  • Deuteronomy 5:11 (cf Ezekiel 36:20-27)

Word Definition: “Vain” (Hebrew word “Shav”)- means “empty”, “nothingness”, “falsehood”, and “lying”.

The gravity of this commandment:

  • Deut. 28:58-59 (cf. Malachi 1:6-14; Leviticus 22:32-33)

Redemption, covenant, and the name of God:

  • Psalm 111:9

Prophecy of restoring a pure language to call upon His name:

  • Zephaniah 3:9 prophecy about restoring pure language to call upon God’s name.

The commandment fulfilled:

  • Matthew 6:9 
  • 2 Timothy 2:19
  • Colossians 3:17 
  • James 5:12 (cf Matthew 5:33-37)


The law and the prophets were but shadows of what was to come in Christ; when the Word of God took on flesh, the shadows and copies gave way to the light and substance.  Christ took the righteousness that was testified of in the Law and elevated it, fulfilling and perfecting it so that the fulfillment of the command, “do not take the LORD your God’s name in vain” is accomplished in a people who “do all things, whether in word or in deed, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ”.  Now, our every word, even our “yes” and our “no”, are in the name of the Lord!

10 Commandments: the idolatry commandments

This is the first lesson in our series on the 10 Commandments.  We begin with the first two commandments on idolatry.  Our objective is to expose the deeds of idolatry and turn our fellowship away from idols with the ultimate end that we might “come out and be separate”.

Beware Spiritual Lust

There’s a door of temptation that is often wide open in many people’s lives and it rarely gets exposed; I’m talking about the temptation of spiritual lust.  By that I mean the same carnal lusts that we find in “the pride of life”, “the lusts of the flesh”, and “the lusts of the eyes”, except it is focused on spiritual aspects.

First consider the physical effects lust has on relationships between spouses: lust causes dissatisfaction, discontentment, quarrels, and doubt to spring up between a husband and a wife- in the most painful of terms it drives a wedge between two people whom God has made one, and breaks unity in that sacred body.


The 10th commandment of God warns against this:

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife” ~Deuteronomy 5:21

Spiritual lust can occur when a man see’s the spiritual attributes of another woman and becomes dissatisfied with his own wife; he starts trying to conform his wife to the nature of another woman rather than nurturing the one to whom he has been joined together with by God.  The same is true of women who see the spiritual nature of another man and begin to harden themselves to their husbands who they are now dissatisfied with.

Once a husband or wife sees another person and becomes dissatisfied with their own spouse, discontentment breaks into life and spreads across every element of their life, both public and private.  This brings quarrels into their marriage, and, eventually into their other relationships.  When these things take deep enough root, doubt fills their heart towards their husband or wife- and when bitterness sets in, it can even fill their heart with doubts towards God who joined them together with their spouse.

Really what we are calling “spiritual lust” is nothing more than carnal lust, it is just set on things of a spiritual nature and is more often found in those of a spiritual mind than the plain carnal lusts.


So here is a warning for my brothers and sisters in Christ: never look at another man or another woman to compare them to your own husband or wife.  To look at another man or woman and become dissatisfied with your own husband or wife is the key that unlocks the door to the  covetousness and lust that will destroy your marriage; it is a sin against the God who has joined you together with your spouse, and it is sheer folly.


Never compare your spouse to another man or woman, for you will only find either pride on the one hand, or lust and covetousness on the other.  Rather, cherish and nurture the good in your husband or wife, and show mercy in patience, lest the wrath of God break out against you in the same manner yours broke out against your spouse!


There is only One to whom you can come for the waters that will satisfy your every thirst, the One Christ Jesus, King of kings and Lord of lords, from Him comes the love by which you can love your husband or wife, your children, your friends, neighbors, coworkers, and the strangers in the land.  Let your eyes be set only on Christ that your heart may rest in satisfaction and contentment, and the grace and peace of Christ will fill your every thought, amen!

Personal Piety at Home

1 Timothy 5:4 “Let them first learn to show piety at home…” (partial verse)

Every day I spend with the Lord I have become more and more convinced of one thing: personal piety in the home fundamentally supersedes every other matter of religion in our faith.

Mark 7:6-13
Jesus answered them, “Isaiah prophesied correctly about you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘These people honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. They worship Me in vain,
teaching as doctrines the commands of men. Disregarding the command of God, you keep the tradition of men.'”

He also said to them, “You completely invalidate God’s command in order to maintain your tradition! For Moses said: ‘Honor your father and your mother; and whoever speaks evil of their father or mother must be put to death.’ But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or mother: whatever benefit you might have received from me is Corban’ (that is, a gift committed to the temple), you no longer let him do anything for his father or mother. You revoke God’s word by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many other similar things.”

Jesus condemned the Pharisees because they nullified fidelity to God’s commandment for personal piety in the home.  Contrary to what those who are deceiving the flock from the pulpits are teaching, Jesus was not opposed to the Pharisees because they kept the law: He was opposed to them because they invalidated the commandments of God by their traditions!  Does that sound familiar to anyone else who might be looking at the state of churches in the U.S. today and seeing preachers who are invalidating God’s commandments to make room for the latest and trendiest ideas to take the Church by storm?

Here is where the hypocrisy of those who love the praises of men gets exposed:

If you have no personal piety in your private life, then any public piety you show to men is as filthy rags before God.

“White-washed tombs” are the dwelling places of those pierced through with hypocrisy; they are where the woe of those who were inwardly destitute of God but went to great lengths to secure the respect and praise of men abides!

1 Peter 3:7

Husbands, in the same way, live with your wives with an understanding of their weaker nature yet showing them honor as coheirs of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.

It is possible for a man to live a life that is highly respected by everyone in the Church, but yet be so destitute of the personal piety due his wife that even his prayers are hindered before God!  What a terrible thought it is that the strength and power appointed to prayer could be relinquished because personal piety in the home was rejected!

God is not a man that He should judge according to the outward appearance of things.  Even the boldest preacher, roaring from the pulpit on Sunday, if his private life does not exhibit personal piety, will he escape the judgment of God (Romans 2:2)?

I am convinced to the uttermost that personal piety is a true unseen mark of those who have drawn near to God Himself!  It is acquired from God at great personal cost, as gold refined in the fire; it is not acquired by those who are intent on comparing themselves among themselves: personal piety is the mark of someone who is heaven-bent on offering his or her whole life as a living spiritual sacrifice of worship to God.

We must learn to first show piety in the home, where the lusts of day-to-day life wage war against our devotion and dedication to God, before we can do anything else in the kingdom of God.  Therefore, we must learn from God what it means to live a pious life.  If we accept the trends and traditions of men for piety, what are we any more than the hypocrites?

2016 Election: Pray

As the U.S. enters the 2016 presidential election season I wanted to bring our minds back to God’s will and encourage my brethren everywhere, not just in the U.S. to pray for our leaders as those appointed by God.

Praying for our leaders takes wisdom and discernment.  But how can we pray for our leaders if we get swept into the polarizing and vitriolic landscape that typifies politics today?  Likewise, how can we pray for our leaders if we react to this landscape by sinking into an apathetic non-engagement mentality that holds so many Christians who are disillusioned by our corrupt political system?  Let me encourage you to avoid these snares altogether by being rooted and grounded in love according to the knowledge of God and praying earnestly for your leaders.

Remember God’s way according to His word:

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities.  For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.  ~Romans 13:1

I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. ~1 Timothy 2:1-2

Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good.  For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men- as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God.  Honor all people.  Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. ~1 Peter 2:13-17

I thought it would be beneficial to add videos from interviews and speeches of our President and upcoming presidential candidates so that you may listen with godly discernment and understand how to pray for our leaders and potential leaders.

My intention is not to promote any candidate in this post, rather, to provide a starting point by which you may carefully consider these men and women in prayer.  When we hear these men and women speak, we should endeavor to conform our minds to the mind of Christ, that He may have the preeminence among us and that our actions might reflect His good will even in the most vitriolic and divisive season of American politics.

I believe there are appropriate times to stand up and speak out over the sins and abuses committed by those in political leadership for the purposes of stemming incoming tides that would seek to sway and defile the Church, but I also believe there are times to call for earnest intercessory prayer from the Church for our political leaders.  I believe this is just such a time as this, so please join me in praying for our leaders.

The U.S. President

Barack Obama

Presidential Candidates

Donald Trump

Carly Fiorina

Ben Carson

Ted Cruz

Marco Rubio

Jeb Bush

Bernie Sanders

Hillary Clinton


A ministry of faith