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 Life Ransomed by the Body and Blood of the New Covenant

I have been under powerful conviction of the Holy Spirit regarding the body and blood of the New Covenant each week as we take the Lord’s Supper.  This conviction has been holding my mind throughout the week so that my soul cries out bless the LORD; all that is within me bless the holy LORD!

Jesus didn’t just give Himself up to the cross in theological terms, He gave His body over to wretched sinners to be beaten and broken; His blood was shed in excruciatingly real terms so that you and might be healed of our iniquity and cleansed of our transgressions!

“He Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we having died to sins, might live for righteousness- by whose stripes you were healed!” ~1 Peter 2:24

“But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” ~1 John 1:7

“Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate” ~Hebrews 13:12

This sacrifice of Christ has utterly captivated me these weeks; there is healing in the body and cleansing in the blood!!!  I am laid hold of by Christ with a great burden for what kind of body we ought to be because of the body and blood of Christ Jesus!  This is no trivial matter because it is not our body that we have all become members of, it is His body- a body that has been purchased with His own blood!

But the greatest of evils is occurring today, as it was forewarned of long ago: we who are His body are living to our own purposes and committing adultery, having souls drunk on the fornication of this age!  We have become obsessed with ourselves and our own images, and infatuated with the love of money!  We are boastful, proud, and blasphemous!  Submission, thanksgiving, and holiness has been cast out from among us; our love has grown cold for the multitude of our transgressions and there is no warmth of forgiveness in the body anymore!  The Church’s love of God has been replaced by our love of pleasure so that there is now no power in our godliness anymore!  But I am laid hold of by Christ with a zeal that has consumed my bones with fire!

Therefore, because of the body by which we are healed and the blood by which we are cleansed and sanctified, we ask today what manner of life has the body and blood of the New Covenant ransomed?

“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on lofty things, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own opinion. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as it depends on you, live peaceably with all men… Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” ~Romans 12:9-18, 21

Harvest Shirts

Kris Cates is serving the Lord in the New Orleans area with a special heart for mission work in Africa and South America.  Kris decided to start a T-Shirt printing company to fund the Lord’s work both work here and abroad.  I have seen some of his upcoming designs and they are awesome, so check back periodically to see what’s new!

So go check out Harvest Shirts

With every purchase you will be supporting Christian missionaries both in the USA and abroad!

So please share and re-blog this post as much as possible to help him get started!!!

The Harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the Harvest, that He will send forth laborers into His harvest.” Matthew 9:37-38 KJV

The Marks of Good Eschatology

Eschatology is the name academics gave to the study concerned with prophetic end-time events.

Earlier I was meditating on the divisions caused in the Church over eschatology and lamenting the power that pride has over the subject.  I feel the division among brethren, and many Christians subsequent reaction of repulsion, are the egregious casualties of this affair.  But it should not be this way!

So I felt compelled to look at some of the marks of good eschatology. These are not meant to support any one eschatological position over another, rather, they are meant as principles by which we can judge our own positions; they are principles that have helped me to move away from certain views because they did not bear these marks.


We must bear in mind that eschatology is not separate from the faith; the same marks of soundness that apply to the other aspects of our faith also apply here!

2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

Our understanding of eschatology should not create panic, weakness, or an unstable mind in us; if it is from God it will be in accordance with the Spirit that He has given to us.


Acts 17:11  “These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.

One of the foremost marks of good eschatology is that it is in agreement with the whole of God’s counsel on the subject.

This principle has personally led me out of many errors as I found that the positions I held did not agree with God’s revelation!  If God had intended for us to take our understanding of end-time events from only one book, He would have given us only one book.


2 Peter 1:19-21  “And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit”

You might call this “a mark of humility”, or “a mark of unity”, or “a mark of submission”, or perhaps you might call it “a humbling mark of submission that brings unity”?  Either way the mark is clear that good eschatology is such that has been sharpened by the whole body of Christ and not one that originates and is contained within a single human source.

Far too often we are afraid of allowing our eschatology to be examined by others, and when we examine other people’s eschatology, we often times do not afford them the patience and time necessary for this process of public interpretation to take place.

I thank God always for the brothers in my life who have sharpened my eschatological positions over time.  But I thank God the more for the irreplaceable and undeniable work of the Counselor in leading me into all truth!  For in a place of public interpretation how are we to know which is the voice of God and which is the voice of man unless it is the Holy Spirit bearing witness to the truth?

And so this mark humbles us among one another and draws us desperately near to the feet of the Counselor who will lead us all into the truth!


1 Timothy 1:5  “Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from a sincere faith”

Good eschatology will not work contrary to sound teaching, rather, it will agree with the purpose of God’s commandments:  it will produce love, first for God, then for His creation (the pinnacle of which is mankind).

Now it’s important to understand that this love is from a “pure heart”, a “good conscience”, and a “sincere faith”.  Some who do not possess these may argue that any eschatology which includes God’s severe judgment upon sinners would diminish our love for God, but that is not so for those who are born of the Word by the Spirit of God!  Good eschatology, not to mention sound doctrine, does not appeal to the state of corrupt men, rather, it pulls corrupt men out of the mire and washes their hearts, cleanses their conscience, and purifies their faith, if they will have it at all.

Thus we must ask whether our eschatology builds up love from a pure heart, or defiles the heart with pride, bitterness, and hate?  Does it build up our love from a good conscience, or does it go against our consciences that were made clean by the sacrifice of Christ?  Does it build up our love from a sincere faith, or does it lead us astray from the faith that was once and for all delivered to us by Christ?


One of the marks of good eschatology that is nearly impossible to fabricate is a sincere fervor for the return of Christ!

Revelation 22:17, 20  “And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let him who thirsts come.  Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.  He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming quickly’.”

Good eschatology will produce in all the saints of God a fervent and unquenchable desire for Christ’s return!  It causes the things of this world “to grow strangely dim”, and magnifies the things of Christ.

We should examine ourselves to see whether or not our eschatology produces a greater desire for life on this earth, or life in the age to come?


Jonathan Edwards, who preached a sermon back in the 1700’s entitled “sinners in the hands of an angry God”, during which people fell out of their seats and clung to pillars in repentance, prayed “Oh God, stamp eternity on my eyeballs.”

2 Peter 3:11-12  “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in all holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?”

If you do not have eternity in view, I am certain you will not live a life of holy conduct and godliness in this seductively wicked world!

Peter combined three of the most unpopular topics in the Church today into one unequivocally important lesson: holiness, judgment, and the fear of God are necessary to the Christian life, and to grasp these three you must have the King of king’s return in mind.

One of the clearest marks of good eschatology is that it drives you to live a life of holy conduct and godliness.  Any eschatology which leaves your everyday life wholly untouched is shallow and good for nothing but temporary intellectual stimulation- and the Church definitely needs no more of that!


1 John 3:2-3  “Beloved, now we are the sons of God, and it has not yet appeared what we shall be, but we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.  And every man that has this hope in Him purifies himself, even as He is pure.”

Good eschatology will inspire sanctification in us through hope!  Eschatology that produces no sanctification through hope does not have Christ in view!

Your eschatology is the lens through which you peer into eternity, without it, your hope becomes obscure and fuzzy.  You need good eschatology to have strong hope in Christ so that you can weather the storms and persevere to the end.


Untold desolation has happened in the Church because we have lost sight of eternity!  When I was in high school and college I was a runner.  I ran cross country and track- I loved running!  I learned very early that it is imperative to form that when you are sprinting that you keep your eyes forward and fixed on the finish line.  You can’t take your eyes off the end or you lose momentum.  In much the same way the Church has drifted aimlessly and lost focus on our goal because of our eschatology.  Many Churches meander from trend to trend because they have taken their eyes off the end!

If your eschatology is good, it will stabilize your faith and produce a sound mind, a strong faith, a fervent perseverance, and a lifestyle of holy conduct and godliness, but if your eschatology is bad all kinds of things can go wrong; a bad eschatology produces an unstable mind, robs the work of evangelism, causes panic, and creates apathy.

Don’t let anyone rob you of the vast treasures of Bible prophecy!  Jesus told the Church to “watch and pray” because He wanted her to be prepared for the end and keep alert.

Lifting Up Hearts

What is the chief end of man?

Answer: Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.

Psalm 86.  Bow down thine ear, O LORD, hear me: for I am poor and needy. Preserve my soul; for I am holy: O thou my God, save thy servant that trusteth in thee.  Be merciful unto me, O Lord: for I cry unto thee daily. Rejoice the soul of thy servant: for unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee. Give ear, O LORD, unto my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications. In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee: for thou wilt answer me. Among the gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord; neither are there any works like unto thy works. All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name. For thou art great, and doest wondrous things: thou art God alone. Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name. I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore. For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell. O God, the proud are risen against me, and the assemblies of violent men have sought after my soul; and have not set thee before them. But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth. O turn unto me, and have mercy upon me; give thy strength unto thy servant, and save the son of thine handmaid. Show me a token for good; that they which hate me may see it, and be ashamed: because thou, LORD, hast helped me, and comforted me.

Isaiah 60:21. Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified.

Romans 11:36. For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.

1 Corinthians 6:20, 10:31. For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s…. Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

Revelation 4:11. Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

Psalm 16:5-11. The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot. The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage. I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons. I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

Psalm 144:15. Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD.

Isaiah 12:2. Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.

Luke 2:10. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

Philippians 4:4. Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.

Revelation 21:3-4. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.









Asking For Prayers

We have been blessed with a lot of work here in Kansas City- and sweet fellowship and unity with brethren that has been of immense blessing and refreshing- but with these blessings and increased work comes a greater strain on my time.

Consequently I will probably be posting fewer posts here for a few months.  However, I will continue to post my audio sermons from Sundays.   I also hope to catch up on a very backlog of posts that I have in the works- right now I have about 15 full posts that I’ve been working on but have been unable to complete.

So, I wanted to let everyone know there will be a slowdown in posts, but I am not quitting.  It is only because I can’t keep up!


I’ll start with an important, but necessarily vague prayer request: Mary and I are walking by faith through a period of decision as we wait on the Lord.  We’re asking for prayers of discernment, for wisdom, and for increased faith.  And, as if you needed any more ambiguity in this already ambiguous request, we offer thanksgiving to God, who has kept our hearts and minds girded up in peace thus far.

Evangelism here has been awesome- we’re witnessing to pastors, to drunks, to rich men, to homeless, to bouncers, and every kind of vain philosophy in this world; I’ve seen Jesus standing at the door of peoples hearts knocking!  The Holy Spirit is shaking strongholds as mighty thunder shakes a shack.  Therefore, please pray that our time witnessing is blessed and that Jesus would reveal Himself by grace and mercy to the lost!

We also ask that you pray for restored unity with dearly loved brethren who have forsaken us.  I have had to wrestle with the reality that I cannot force anyone to seek unity and reconciliation, but my heart is utterly broken because of the selfish reasoning’s of men’s hearts that have been exalted in the Church over Jesus’ most earnest prayer for Church unity!  Therefore, please pray that the body would humble itself before the high commandments of Jesus Christ and lay aside bitterness, selfish ambition, envy, deceit, gossip, contention, and begin to love one another in deed and in truth.

Forgive my preaching here for a moment, but I do want to add a note here about “love in deed and truth”: anyone who claims to love God but has not obeyed Jesus’ commandments to seek reconciliation with the body is deceiving themselves and does not love God- they love themselves over God, because they’re putting their own concerns, judgments, and thoughts above those of Jesus Christ.

Please join me in mourning for the sins of the Church and begging God to forgive our disunity and our selfishness!  I pray even for all you whom I may not know, but are ever bit as much part of this body as I am, that anyone whom you may have temporarily lost fellowship with may be restored to you quickly in the name of Jesus Christ, amen!

Remember, love hopes!  It is certain of better things, even as Paul wrote, and pursues peace!  It never turns its back when someone gives an open door for reconciliation (again, dis-fellowship should only ever occur where the Bible explicitly says- all other dis-fellowship is cowardly and selfish).

Anyway, my last request for prayer is concern our financial provision and my health.  Please pray that my health would continue to get better and that God would continue to make miraculous provision for our needs, as He has been.

To all who pray for us in sincere unleavened love, I thank you!

Worship From the Fires of Suffering

A few weeks back I had one of the most painful weeks of my life: Multiple Sclerosis teamed up with a bout of Shingles and Satan didn’t miss the opportunity to shoot his fiery arrows.

To be honest, that is the pretty version; the plain version is that my mind was bogged down in the “M.S. fog”, I was struggling with M.S. triggered discouragement, my whole body felt like knives were stabbing me, and my back, where the shingles were, was extremely painful and felt like sandpaper rubbing raw skin if anything touched it.  What I wanted to do was retreat into a dark room and lay down in the hopes of getting some sort of rest and reprieve, but, going out to preach on the streets is the calling that was resonating in my spirit.

But in the face of all this scripture cries out, beseeching us,

by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship” (Romans 12:1 NASB).

Trials like infirmity, suffering, and tribulation seek to rob our worship by binding us in time with physical burdens so that we do not cast our gaze above time into eternity, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God, and worship Him from the fires of these trials with bodies in submission to His perfect will.

Doubts declare in the darkness, “I simply cannot do this”, “I am just not ready”, “I don’t have it in me”, “I must be crazy”.

How can we offer our bodies to God as acceptable spiritual sacrifices of worship when we are overwhelmed with such suffering, and what does that even look like?

I believe Wesley’s hymn captures the essence of this superbly;

Thee, Son of man, by faith we see, and glory in our guide; surrounded and upheld by thee, the fiery test abide.

The fire our graces shall refine, till molded from above, we bear the character divine, the stamp of perfect love.

~Wesley Hymn #329

We must peer through faith and let the resplendent glory of Christ capture our gaze and enrapture our souls!  From this high temple-mount of holy trust in God,  we can abide the test being upheld by Him until we are wholly refined in His perfect love.

This is about trust, not trust in ourselves, nor the provision of this world, but a holy trust in God for which we lean wholly upon His mercies to meet and provide our all- not so that we can simply go on living common lives, as we have always done, but so that we can offer our bodies in spiritual service of worship for those things with which God is most pleased- the “good works prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  ~Philippians 4:6-7

The reality of Christ’s peace is understood by so few because it is not grasped by human means of inquiry, but by means of trust through faith.

Those who suffer little in life often struggle to find the all-surpassing-peace-of-Christ because they continue to retain control over everything.  And yet, so many who suffer much never find such peace because their hearts are weighed down by the cares of this world (Luke 21:34).

I know the temptation to think that “if only my body were strong, like other people, I could do more for God”, but truth be told, the vast majority of people who are wasting their life away not serving/worshiping God are those who perfectly healthy.

The real battle begins with trust– do we lean wholly God’s mercies rather than our own strength and provision- and then moves on into the heart and mind, which is where so many people, healthy and weak, rich and poor, wise and simple, lose the battle to spiritual fatigue, discouragement, doubt, uncertainty, and deception.  Those who would worship God in the fires of trial must relinquish their grip on all life’s anxieties with a child-like trust in God.

The strength of human resolve, the might of our flesh, and the intellect of the human mind offer empty promises that they cannot deliver.  If we lean on these attributes when our tribulations come, we will surely stumble.

Christ doesn’t give peace in the same way that the world gives peace, rather, He gives it through trust, and said “therefore, let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).  With thanksgiving in prayer and supplication we entrust our hearts and minds to God and close every door to iniquity and tribulation through which they might rob our worship for God!

But sometimes when we are walking through the valley of the shadow of death we can hear from the tombs those who cry out “but I prayed to God and He did nothing!”

“You ask and do not receive because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.  Adulterers and adulteresses!  Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?” ~James 4:3-4

For many people, their prayers to God were for their own desires- they may have offered God a tithe out of His provision, but their heart was bent on pleasure, not God, to preserve their own way of life and not to seek His way of life- and for many they felt betrayed because they were led like lambs to the slaughter by wolves and false teachers who said “this is the way! Find peace here with us” when there was no peace to offer.

Never listen to the voice of doubt that echos out from the tombs!

Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. ~Hebrews 10:19-23

For He who promised is faithful.  Never doubt that!

With my body full of pain, and my mind sluggish and bogged down as if a thick fog had descended upon me, my tank was empty and I had nothing left to offer, except this broken, empty, weak excuse people call “my body”.  What was I to do?

I prayed after God and poured out all my measly sorrows and cares on the altar I’m not even worthy to approach, and out of the glory of God’s throne in my heart I heard Him say “let your flesh wholly despise my work, then go out and do it in My name- and I am with you.

The 30 minute care ride to the bar-street I preach on was agony as my back was rubbing against the car seat, and I was assaulted the whole way up with doubt; “David, what are you doing man?”, “maybe just go up there and pray and then go home”, “you’re not under a law, you don’t have to go”.

Let me deal with that last one for a moment.  That is precisely why “going” is such an acceptable sacrifice of worship to God!  I am under no law to go out every week and preach the gospel to the lost- but Christ has so enraptured my soul that I am compelled to worship Him in this way!

Perhaps your spiritual service of worship is something else, maybe you clean the Church building, or maybe you serve the homeless and sit with them at soup kitchens.  Perhaps you have a prayer ministry that isn’t being glorified in the spotlight, but it is your calling.   In all of these things no one is under a law of ritual obligation!  Rather, we are a people being moved and compelled by the glories of Christ, who has utterly and totally enraptured our souls, that we heartily pick up the banners to which we each have been called by God and joyously worship Him with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength!

As I approached bar-street and moved through the crowds of drunken revelers, I found a corner and stood there without an ounce of strength in my bones- everything in me was crying “go home!”  I saw a tarot card reader set up on the corner and prayed to God, “Lord, I don’t have anything in me, but I will open my mouth- use me however you want; let me be a fool, let me be a preacher, it is up to you”, I went up to him and started talking.  Thirty minutes later, as I walked away, a big hulking man approaches me with his wife who was literally half his height and God spoke a word of encouragement to me through him.

I took my corner and began preaching,

“Deliver those who are drawn to death, and hold back those who stumble to the slaughter” ~Proverbs 24:11

What came over me was nothing like adrenaline or physical strength- it was not a feeling of physical might or intellectual superiority- it was the splendid presence of absolute peace engulfing my whole spirit, soul, and body.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  ~Philippians 4:6-7

Too often we stand at a stalemate with God, demanding that first He pave the way and make everything fall into place before we entrust ourselves to His care, but God is searching the world “for those who will worship Him in spirit and truth”.  We think we can levy demands on God and arm-twist Him until everything seems just right in our own eyes, but all the while His eyes have already moved on to look for those who will trust in Him.

We are never alone.

Thou Lamb of God, thou Prince of peace, for thee my thirsty soul doth pine, my longing heart implores thy grace; O make me in thy likeness shine!

When pain o’er my weak flesh prevails, with lamb-like patience arm my breast; when grief my wounded soul assails, in lowly meekness may I rest.

Thou, Lord, the dreadful fight hast won, alone thou hast the winepress trod; in me thy strengthening grace be shown, O may I conquer through thy blood! Wesley Hymn #338

Part 1: Faith in Infirmities

A ministry of faith