Visits From A Man Named Nobody 51

Visits From A Man Named Nobody 51

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“That’s a different problem, but repenting before God is only the highest form of repentance. You sought forgiveness from Stacy, which, apparently, she gave, at least to some degree.”

The car continued along the freeway as Paul considered what his mother said. Was that what he was after? He didn’t think so. “I wasn’t after forgiveness, Mom.”

“You were probably trying to be punished because you know what you did was wrong.” Her already normally soft voice was whisper quiet. She was sad about something. It was probably because Paul wanted punishment.

“I think people should pay for what they do,” Paul said. “I think they should get what they deserve.”

“I sincerely hope not,” his mother replied. “I want to give mercy, and I want to receive mercy. I know exactly what I deserve, and that’s why mercy is so wonderful.”

“You deserve to be happy!” The comment came out in a sort of muttered growl.

“And I don’t deserve to be punished for letting your father do what he did to us?” Paul’s head jerked at the question, which came out much more like an accusation.

“You were the victim!”

“And yet I let him do as much to you.”

Paul shut his eyes and took a deep breath. He hadn’t forgotten how he’d treated her as a child. He did whatever he wanted and expected her to let him. Then he got angry at her for giving him exactly what he wanted. It never made any sense. It only got better when he and Jordan became friends. 

“That’s not the same,” Paul said.

“It can’t be both ways, Paul. We either all get everything we deserve, or we all need mercy. But I’m of the opinion that if everyone got exactly what they deserve, we’d all be in a great deal of agony. And before you make some crass extreme counterargument, I acknowledge that some people are far more evil than others, but that’s not my point.”

“There is no one who is good,” Paul said.

“That’s,” she paused in shock. “That’s exactly right. Have you been reading the Bible?”

He’d never even considered telling her before this moment. It never came up. “I read the whole thing around the time he was arrested.” Paul refused to speak his name, and he’d die a million times over before he acknowledged that man as his father. 

Not that it worked. He was literally just like him, and he deserved exactly what that man got. 

A memory flashed in Paul’s mind. It was the night of Nobody’s first visit. The bastard had passed out drunk, and a bottle had tipped over. Paul set it right to be positive the alcoholic wouldn’t trip and hurt himself.

“Paul, are you there?” He’d been years away in the past and hadn’t heard his mother.

“Sorry,” he said. “I zoned out for a second.”

“I was asking why you read the Bible then?” 

That answer would lead to a lot of other questions. Paul had eluded to Nobody once or twice, but he’d never told the whole story. As he thought, he figured he should have lied to his mother, saying he’d read the Bible after he got close to Bill, but he couldn’t bring himself to lie to his mother or about Bill.

“I was looking for answers.” That was at least a part of the truth. “I didn’t find any. I read the whole thing. I think I’ve read it two or three times, but I don’t believe any of it.”

“Because of what happened to Bill.” She said it as gently as she could given her tone, but talking about Bill was always a way to get Paul angry. 

“Yes.” Maybe by being curt, she’d know to change the subject.

“We can’t accept just part of the Word,” she emphasized the capital. “It’s all true. It’s true that he’s sovereign. It’s true that he’s loving. It’s true that he’s the righteous judge, and it’s true that he calls us when it’s our time. We don’t get to pick when, and, to be honest, I don’t know that we’d ever accept the explanation even if he bothered to give it to us.”

“That part is for certain,” Paul muttered. 

“I’m going to ask about this girl now to shift the subject.”

Paul laughed. She could have just done it.

“I’m not doing it because I’m afraid or unwilling to debate or discuss this with you,” she explained. “I doing it because I’m trying to be patient. You’ve been patient, hearing what I’ve had to say. I think any more on this subject would just be an argument neither of us wants.”

“Yeah,” Paul admitted.

“I imagine Stacy is willing to allow you this chance to change,” his mother said. 

“But why? If I’m capable of doing what I did tonight, what else am I capable of?” And there it was. The last part of his question came out in whine of agony. He was a monster. He should be locked up before he hurt anyone. He wouldn’t be sorry if a bolt of lightning struck him down.  He needed to be punished. He needed to be stopped before he became that man.

“We’re all capable of horrible things, Paul,” his mother said. He couldn’t know for certain without activating the holographic feature of his PID, but he thought he heard a smile in her voice. “But you’re every bit as capable of becoming a kind, loving, patient man. If she’s ever willing to talk to you, maybe ask her why she was so willing to give you such precious gift as her own body. Why was she willing to be your girlfriend? I imagine it’s because she saw the man you could be, the other man you could be. I just wish you’d focus on becoming that man instead of avoiding the other.”

Paul glanced out the window as he ran a hand down his face to dry his tears. He caught the exit to his school from the corner of his eye, but he needed to admit something to his mother. “I’m so afraid of being him.”

“But if you focus on him, so that’s your target,” she said. “You have so many better options to focus on.” 

“Bill is the only better option I have, maybe Jordan or his dad,” Paul said. “I don’t know about so many other options.”

“I do,” his mother replied. “You’ve read the Bible. You have Enoch and Noah, Moses and David, the apostles and, most importantly, Jesus.”

“I thought you were changing the subject.” Paul muttered.

“I did, for an entire minute.” She sounded pleased at her quip. “And before you argue about it for the sake of arguing, go back and look at just one of those people. Would it really be so bad to be like them?”

Paul opened his mouth to say, “yes,” but that lie wouldn’t form on his lips either.

“Then there’s Paul,” his mother said. “Now there’s a case I think you could study. You could ask yourself why he called himself the foremost sinner, and yet he was still chosen to be an apostle to the Gentiles.”

Paul didn’t know what to say that wouldn’t either start an argument or get more Bible references. His contemplative moment turned into a period of silence.

“I’ll leave you to think on it now, but I hope you will,” his mother said. “We didn’t name you after the apostle, but you seem to focus on the punishments people deserved. It would do you some good to see the value of what mercy can do.”

“Ok,” Paul said.

“Thank you.”

Wait? Did she take that as a promise to look into it? “Mom —”

“I’m sure you’re near the school now, and you should see if Stacy is willing to talk to you,” his mother said.

“Mom, I —”

“I’ll talk to you later. I love you always, my son.”

She hung up. That was a dirty trick! She hung up before he could explain he was only acknowledging that he’d heard her. He shook his head. He didn’t actually promise her anything, and she knew it. He wasn’t obligated to study any of that stuff.

The car indeed pulled off the exit and started to pull around to one of the campus’s entrances. 

… to be continued …

Musings on Christianity 52

Musings on Christianity 52

How Do The Ten Commandments Fit In?

“And God spoke all these words, saying, ‘I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, and out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me an keep my commandments. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it, you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore, the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you. You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s (Exodus 20:1-17).’”

We finish our analysis of how Christians should act with the Mosaic (and it’s important to note it as such) covenant that most know as the Ten Commandments. Something we must acknowledge before hand. We live by grace, not by the law. The law condemns us, but grace brings life (2 Corinthians 3:6). 

I say that not to negate the law, but to remember that one could obey these commandments to the letter and still fail. Indeed, no mortal man has or can actually live by the letter (much less the spirit) of the law. 

The commandments start where every command starts, with the most important law. I spoke about loving God with all your mind, heart, spirit, and strength in a previous chapter. The next two commandments are really just deeper ways in which we show our love for God. If you loved your parents, you wouldn’t make new parents for yourself. If you love your parents, you wouldn’t take their names in vain. A God we love with our entire being is one we don’t try to cram into an idol, and we certainly don’t create for ourselves another god to worship when we already have the one, true God to serve. Ironically, God may be the only name so frequently taken in vain. None of my sons have ever said, “Matthew darn you!” None of my sons have ever used my name as a swear. I don’t imagine any of your children or loved ones have done it either. Indeed, when we speak ill of someone, and that person finds out, we immediately recognize we were in the wrong. 

Rather than jump down a rabbit hole trying to understand why people feel so free to use God’s name so flippantly, we must simply recognize that regardless of the reason we may be tempted to do it, we should not.

I’m going to skip over the fourth commandment for just a while because it demands a certain perspective.

The remaining five commandments are simply better ways to love your neighbor, which we discussed in another earlier chapter. We begin by honoring our father and our mother. Indeed God places our parents over us to serve as a representation of the relationship we share with God. Several segments of the Bible (1 Corinthians comes to mind as well as Ephesians) expressed the representative nature of the family in that the father is the head, the wife is the church, and the children are to be trained. 

To honor our parents is to honor our God. One may quickly argue some parents are not worthy of such honor. My own biological father was one such parent. But this brings to mind the same paradox we face whenever we encounter temptation. We humans want to live in a world where our obedience to the law is somehow predicated on everyone else also obeying the law. From the time we were children, we proclaim, “But everyone else is doing it,” or “But this is the reason I am the exception to this rule.” There are no conditions to the laws.  I am not asserting that we should break one command even if our father and mother tell us to. My parents could never have ordered me to kill any more than I could honor them by doing something so deplorable. 

Are some of you remembering how God ordered Joshua to kill? God ordered several deaths of all sorts. Please remember, dear readers, that God is a perfect, holy being. It is his right to judge. Indeed only He could judge rightly who is to live and who is to die, who is to have eternity in Heaven, and who is to have eternity in Hell.

What about war and the military? I can understand one asking this, and it ties to the next commandment we must look at.

I took great detail to talk about murder, but I must address the spirit of this law to show just what murder looks like in the eyes of God.

“‘You have heard that it was said to those of old, “You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgement.” But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, “You fool!” will be liable to the hell of fire (Matthew 5:21-22).’”

While no one ever disputes it’s wrong for one man to shoot another, we must look to the words of Christ to realize that a man who becomes angry at another is in fact guilty of that same crime. Please don’t be ridiculous. I am not saying a person should shoot whoever he is mad at because he is guilty of the crime anyway. Rather I am saying that a man with anger in his heart (a man like me), is in need of God’s grace and forgiveness. Such a person as I must seek to change because we can not love our neighbors if we harbor anger in our hearts. That anger isn’t about the person. I assert that anger is quite usually far more about the person feeling the emotion than it is about what the other did. Indeed, if one were to articulate what they wanted to say, they would have to say, “He made me angry!” 

First, to say such a thing gives that person authority to change how you feel. Oddly, we cry out our right to feel and think whatever we want while, in the same breath, we give up that right by allowing what others do to change those feelings. If this paragraph has helped you see the paradox, I urge you to reflect on why you feel the emotion of anger. What were you denied, and is it really worth killing over? What was taken from you? Is it really worth killing over? 

There are circumstances where one may absolutely say it is worth killing over. But then we place ourselves on the throne of judgement. While I wish anyone wronged justice, I would not meet that justice out myself. 

The key to obeying this command demands one search his own heart and ask himself what is most important. For a Christian, this must be God. This means that one of what I may dare to say is only out of a few righteous forms of anger comes when proper worship of our God, the most important being in our lives, is threatened. I should be much more angry about a policy that denies me time to study the word than I am at my wife for wanting to talk to me about her day when I’m trying to read any other book. The letter of this law is obvious, but the spirt of the law is critical to understanding the value of love. Note the remainder of the verse. This same paragraph shows us how to address that issue righteously because Christ knows that we become angry. The commandment then offers the grace in that we can reconcile with our loved ones to save one another. So we should. 

But now I must come back to what I previously mentioned about the military. As one who served in the United States, I have always affirmed that I am not a killer. Perhaps I am unique in that viewpoint, but since I am the one writing this book, that unique perspective counts. You see, I never said I was a killer. I saw myself as a defender. I defended my brothers in arms. I defended my country. I never sought to kill. I never sought to harm. Many I served with felt similarly, at least to a degree. Luckily, I never had to kill. But I do not see the act of defense as an act of murder. To protect someone else is not to strike down one in anger, as Christ went on to explain. To protect is just that. There are other dangers in this path, but we are not in a nation that demands we serve in the military. Indeed, even in our military there are ways to serve that don’t require one to make the choice to kill or not to kill. I only offer my perception as one who served his country. Would I have killed in the like of duty? Yes, because I believe in the mission I was ordered to perform. Do those who oppose us feel equally committed under a similar belief? Perhaps. I this regard, I must joyfully seek the guidance of the panel.

The seventh commandment again is obvious on the surface and has deeper meaning.

“‘You have heard that it was said, “You shall not commit adultery.” but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart (Matthew 5:27-28).’”

While I wouldn’t make this a statement where women can wear what they wish however they wish, I would say that a man who’s eye is drawn to a woman with lustful eyes is wrong. This works in the same way for women and men. A person may notice someone is attractive. However, when you stare or long for that person, you become guilty. I say again, modest dress is a consideration one makes to help one who may be tempted avoid such things, but the tempted must be resisted even a willing tempter. Do not ever fall victim to the idea that the temptation is responsible. When we succumb to sin, whatever the reason, however strong the temptation, we are to blame, and only us. 

The final three commandments then continue to offer actions we can avoid that will help us be more loving to our neighbor. Indeed, I would affirm that the tenth commandment is critical even though it is placed last. Indeed who commits adultery but the one who covets someone else’s spouse? Why would one steal if he didn’t first covent what another had. I affirm that if one could focus on being content with what he has, no matter how little, he would avoid a great many other sins.

At present, that’s very easy for me to say, and I admit it. I’m not a millionaire, nor do I have such wealth that I can be foolish with my money and not fall into debt. However, I have more than a homeless man and maybe more than some other working husbands. So if you read this and think, “It’s easy for him to say be happy with what you have when he has all he could want,” I must, in my current circumstances, agree. 

However, I’ve previously written about need and want. I think anyone can look at others and see what they have. But why? What reason does one have to look at another’s possessions or life if not for the strict purpose of being covetous over what someone has that he doesn’t or even covetous over what he has because others might want it? 

Please remember what we should always be seeking.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you (Matthew 6:33).”

If rather than looking at what we do have or lamenting what we do not have, we instead look to serve and honor the God who created all things, we will be well. I am not promising prosperity. I’m also not declaring a socialist planet where people only have the very least of what they need. I’m simply stating that we will first have the most important thing: the promise of eternal life in God’s abundant kingdom.  After this, on this planet, we can trust that, at the very least, God will care for our needs. 

Now we return to the fourth commandment and what it implies. 

When this chapter began, I had to remind people that this was part of the Mosaic covenant. I had to do that to explain why this commandment is no longer enforced and others still stand. 

I must first explain the purpose. You see, while the first three commandments reign supreme as the most essential because we must love God above all, and the bottom five commandments stand firm because we must love our neighbor as ourselves, the fourth commandment is actually for ourselves. It is the one commandment that was put in place for the individual. It was not placed there for others to deny. Nor was it established as a way to honor God. Indeed to work to serve God honors him, so doing nothing for a day only allows us rest, rest God showed is good to take, rest God allowed us to have in the same way that he had it. 

How can I say such a bold thing? Christ told us.

“And He said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, not the man for the Sabbath (Mark 2:27).’”

Indeed, if one truly wishes to observe The Sabbath for the Glory of God, then good for him (a very personal paraphrase of Romans 14:5-9).

What I first stress is that The Sabbath was put in place to provide people a chance to rest, but we are not obligated to observe the Sabbath anymore because Christ fulfilled the covenant of Moses so that we might now live in His new and better covenant. 

Does this create a paradox? Not in my estimation.  In every covenant there were rules put in place for specific reasons that were accounted for in future covenants. Adam only had (from one point of view) one command. He certainly wasn’t given The Ten Commandments. There were reasons. You see, Adam was innocent, completely unaware of right and wrong. Indeed, pointing those things out would have made him aware. Once the fruit of the tree was consumed and Adam’s eyes were opened, that knowledge required further guidance. But we still didn’t receive the Ten Commandments for thousands of years. 

The only law that never changes is the original law to love God and obey him, indeed obedience is a demonstration of love and trust. Adam disobeyed, and so the curse fell on man. That disobedience was corrected not by any act of sinful man, but by the obedience of Christ, who died, as was His duty from the Father, and was raised again. 

But Christ serves as our example and the Spirt serves as our redeemed conscience. So we follow the example and commands of Christ because we hold fast to his promises. This means we still love the LORD our God and our neighbor as ourselves. This also means that we take the measures listed in The Ten Commandments to help guide us to do so. As for the day of rest? We may set it aside, but we are no longer commanded to do so. Neither should we judge the one who sets it aside for the glory of God. The explanation takes us back to what I said earlier. God didn’t establish that command as a form of honoring Him. He graciously gave us that command to provide for our rest. 

We may teach our sons to go to bed at 9 p.m. We do so to teach them good habits (I am here speaking about my own sons). However, my oldest already knows that I will no longer uphold that rule when he turns 16. I trained him to work and rest as is wise, but I did so not for my glory, but so that he had rest and energy to do what he must. He may need to work. He may even choose to stay up late to do something he knows needs to get done. He’s not dishonoring me by staying up to finish his homework or the dishes. 

This concludes the analysis of the laws that are either more well known or seen to be more important from my own human perspective. I must conclude by once again stating that one who honors God above all and loves his neighbor will instinctively conform to the lesser laws. For any seeking to honor God and be loving to his fellow man will do well.

In the next (and last) chapter, I will address that which every Christian must know.

For our panel: Is a person who serves in the military guilty of murder if he kills in the line of duty? Why or why not? How would you explain Christ as the fulfillment of the Mosaic covenant? Are there other commandments I haven’t addressed in the previous few chapters that must be addressed?

Musings on Christianity 47

Musings on Christianity 47

It’s As Simple As A Choice

The purpose of this chapter is to remind readers of the choice they made. It’s the same, ultimately-simple choice we discussed a few chapters ago. You can choose to be Christian, or you can choose to not be a Christian. If you choose to be a Christian, you have chosen to live a Christian life by Christian values. 

What happens is people get angry at those Christian values or rules. That’s always confused me. If you’re not Christian, you don’t have to follow the Christian rules. 

One possible explanation though is that some Christians strive to ensure all humanity follows those values. Christians believe certain things, and they vote in accordance to those beliefs. They support causes according to those beliefs. Some of those beliefs are in direct contrast to the way of the world. 

A major source of conflict is when people support their beliefs and others don’t. I was playing a video game one night. I didn’t do very well. This particular game requires teamwork. One of the people I was playing with didn’t feel as though I did a particularly good job. He sent me a message using language I won’t repeat. I don’t honestly remember all the details, but he eventually asked what my deal was. You see, he kept trying to get me to lash out in anger. On another night, I might have, but that night, by the grace of God, I didn’t fall for that temptation. In some mocking way he asked why I wasn’t shooting insults back his way. I told him, “I’m a Christian.”

His next message declared all kinds of things. I received things like “I’m a terrorist” or “666” (I remember that last one clearly). It dawned of me.

“This guy is just doing all he can to make me mad for the sake of making me mad.”

That’s when I realized that people sometimes get angry just for the existence of a different opinion.

I won’t pretend Christians don’t fall for this temptation. I see plenty of things that I fervently disagree with, and sometimes my anger gets the best of me. But this is where things come to a head.

I can tell you what I know (and I’ve never pretended to be more than just some guy working to understand the truth). You can choose to accept what I say, or you can choose to reject it. It’s ultimately that simple. Neither of us needs to loose our heads about it. When I say, “I believe this is wrong.” You have every right to say, “I believe that it’s right!” 

For Christians, we don’t judge the situation by our own reckoning. We believe humans are flawed creatures to begin with. What can my mortal mind reason out that the Almighty doesn’t already know? This, in my mind, should eliminate much of the debate. 

If you’ve rejected Christianity, you’re going to live the life you’ve chosen to live. I’m not able to stop you. I can, and will, continue to proclaim Christ, His life, His death, His resurrection, and His commission. You can choose to listen or not. 

But if you are a Christian, we have a standard to turn to, to test and judge rightly (John 7:24). Christian debates, in my mind, should always end with the disputing parties looking to scripture. 

If someone shows me in scripture that what I am doing is expressly forbidden by God, then I need to stop. The person pointing out the scripture to me isn’t making me stop; God’s commandment is ordering me to stop. 

Yes, some people are out there twisting the word of God to make you do things or not do things you have every right to do or every right to refuse to do. I can’t stop them from speaking, and neither can you. But we don’t listen to men, at least not just any man. I’m a member of a church. I give deference and submit to their leadership by choice. I chose to submit to their leadership because I believe that they understand God’s word better than I. If there’s ever a question or a doubt, I can bring the matter up to them, and we discuss it with love and respect. We look to God’s word for clarity. 

What happens though is pride gets in the way. I see it all the time in all sorts of situations. Maybe I’m a work and someone says, “You’re supposed to document this interaction with a student.” Someone get’s called out, and rather than just accept the information and move forward, they get defensive. I’ve done it. 


I believe the desire is to elevate myself (when I do it). Ask yourself how often you’ve said something like, “Everybody does it” or “Nobody else does it.” 

That’s lowering the standard from God’s commands to that of the other mere mortals around you. Ultimately, who cares how you look in comparison to those around you? 

If you combine all the religions and philosophies of the world, you still only come to a possible three situations when you die.

  1. You go to Heaven, where there is only joy, love, and peace. Who cares how many people are in paradise with you? I’d be a bit more concerned with who isn’t in paradise if I’m concerned about anything at that point. 

2) You go to Hell, where there is eternal pain and torment. We’ve talked about this situation already, but if you’re suffering unimaginable pain and torment, I’d imagine you’d be more angry about those who influenced you than those who tried to convince you to resist temptation. Why do I believe this? I’ve been in trouble before. I’m sure you have too. That’s when I hear, “They did it too!” I’ve even said it myself. I’ve been so mad at people who showed me the wrong example. I’ve been angry that I never saw the right example. But even in times when I wasn’t punished alone, I wasn’t comforted. If all my brothers and sisters were right there with me while I was being punished, I wanted my punishment to end. I’d even turn in someone else just to end my punishment. We see it in court. We see it at work. We see it everywhere. Readers, if you’re suffering in Hell, the chances are, your biggest concern will be the fact that you’re suffering in Hell. No amount of others around you will ease your pain. 

3) Nothing happens. 

Those are really the only three things that could happen when we die. You ultimately believe in a Heaven, Hell, or both, or you don’t. But how you compare to other mortal people around you is meaningless in all three of those situations. If you’re in Heaven, it doesn’t matter what those who were with you on Earth did because you’re in Heaven. If you’re in Hell, it doesn’t matter what those around you did because you’re still in Hell. And if nothing happens, no one cares about anything because you’re dead.

So there’s no scenario when comparing yourself to another person really does anything for you. Whatever religion you follow, you should submit to the rules of that religion. Then, when we all die, the correct religion will be proven one way or another. Just remember it was you who chose that religion. If you don’t have a religion, then live as the Israelites in the time of Judges lived, doing what is right in your own eyes (Judges 21:25). Then, when we all die, we’ll find out. Just remember, you choose to live that way.

Why am I spending so much time on this topic? Because people want to argue, debate, or fight over beliefs, and it’s just not profitable in any respect. Sure, if someone asks why I believe a certain thing, I tell them. Every now and then, I see a meme that honestly hurts my heart. I might send a message to the person privately and ask, “May I explain why that hurt me?” or “Would you like to understand how a Christian sees that?” If the post is just there to anger Christians, I don’t bother. People who do that are seeking anger and argument, and I don’t have time for that in my life.

But we’re about to talk about Christian law, and I need you to remember something.

Do you want to be a Christian or not?

If you don’t want to obey Christian law, then don’t be a Christian. It’s that simple. You don’t need to fight about it. You don’t need to argue. You just choose.

However, if you choose to be a Christian, you then must learn how a Christian should live and behave. These rules shouldn’t burden you; they should set you free. You just can’t have it both ways. 

You can’t say, “Well, I’m a Christian, but I’m going to go ahead and lie to my father.” You can’t say, “Well, I’m a Christian, but I really feel I should spend my life with this person instead of the one I’m married to, so I’m going to divorce my spouse so I can spend my life with this other person.” 

But here’s the beauty of being Christians. For those who truly repent and seek forgiveness, we are already forgiven! The price is already paid! 

I’m indeed Christian, but I’m as far from perfect as I could ever imagine. I have sinned. I will sin again. I won’t do so blatantly and without remorse, but I’m going to mess up so long as I’m in this cursed flesh. But I won’t do so habitually. I won’t pick “that sin I’m going to do because no one is perfect.” I’m going to do my best to live as Christ wants me to live, appreciating the forgiveness and Grace He gives when I stumble. 

So when I talk about Christian law, I’m absolutely saying these are things Christians should strive to do (or not do) at all times. I don’t present them to accuse you. I don’t present them to condemn you. They’re simply the ways a Christian should live. They’re not presented as I think they should be. They’re presented from the Bible as the standard and word of God Himself. It’s not my opinion, God never asked for my vote or input. They’re just the rules I’ve chosen to live by, and you can choose to live by them too. If you choose not to live by them, well, I can’t make you. We don’t need to argue or debate. 

Some may want to. I can imagine someone asking me, “Who are you to tell me how to live?” Nobody! Again, I’m not the one who made the rules. God made these rules, and He’s the creator of the Heavens and the Earth and all the host of them (Genesis 2:1). How do I know what God wants? I study the Bible, to learn what He wants.

Again, I’ve answered the debate about the mortal authors of the Bible. I’ve answered the debate about those Christ chose to lead the early church. I’ve addressed all the conditions that apply when one ultimately chooses to obey Christ or not. That is the choice. If a person can actually choose to turn from God (and they can and do), then I’m certainly not going to make you listen to my mortal mouth. 

But it isn’t my goal to get you to listen to me. It never has been. My goal is ultimately to get you to listen to God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The God who created the world. The God who loved us so much, He sent His only Son to die for us so that those who come to believe in Him can have eternal life (John 3:16). If you’ve already rejected that message, then go on about your life. But if you’ve chosen to believe in Christ, I urge you then to look at the things He’s told us, He’s telling us, to do. 

For our panel: Do Christians have the right to tell others how to live? How should a Christian respond to one who’s rejected Christ’s commandments?  What do we do when a conflict presents itself because of our faith? Why is it people react so passionately to Christian values (both believers and unbelievers)? How can one best present their viewpoints for mutual upbringing without turning it into an argument?

Musings on Christianity 33

Musings on Christianity 33

Why Must We Deny Ourselves?

I confess I like my stuff. If I’m covetous of anything, it’s my time. I have always believed that time is one of only two true valuable things (love being the other). I am most unloving when I see “my” time being taken from me.

But this just isn’t how I’m supposed to be.

“Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me,’” Matthew 16:24.

As I ponder this verse, I consider that one can’t possibly follow Jesus if one insists on going his own way. The only way to follow Jesus is to go where he goes and walk as he walks. That means the things that would cause one to step aside would have to deny that desire to stay with Him.

The most wonderful benefit to self-denial would be that you will arrive where Jesus is. Whatever this life has to offer, the Kingdom of Heaven is far greater (Romans 8:18). Matthew 16:24 is an eloquent summary of so many lessons that add up to the same concept.

When one denies himself, he shows his love for Christ by following him, and he shows his love to others in the sacrifice of those desires. I spoke about this at length in the previous chapter.

When one denies himself, he humbles himself for Christ. Those who humble themselves are lifted up by God (1 Peter 5:6-7). They receive God’s favor (James 4:6). Humility breeds wisdom (Proverbs 11:2). The humble one receives God’s guidance and instruction (Psalm 25:9).

When one denies temptation, they glorify God. We show that while temptation strikes, we rely not on our strength, but on God’s. When we are weak, He is strong (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

The book of Job in itself is a story of a test. Job is made an example for those who would deny temptation and continue to seek God even during the worst sorts of suffering of heart and body.

These are verses and thoughts I need. Time is indeed precious. It is indeed fleeting, but that makes it that much more important to use that time to glorify God. I promise, I’m not saying a man can’t take a few minutes to read or relax. God gave us the sabbath specifically so that we could rest (Mark 2:27).

I read The Heart of Anger by Lou Priolo to better help one of my sons through junior high, and I learned so much about myself. The relevant portion is that you can identify the idols in your life by what you’re willing to sin to have or what you’re willing to sin because you didn’t receive it.

As adults, we look at children throwing a tantrum and think about how spoiled they are. Why don’t we use that same judgement on adults or, more importantly, ourselves? This is a great failing in my life. Where I should have trained my heart and body to seek Christ, I trained myself to use every moment I possibly can to advance my goals. Yes, one should strive to accomplish the tasks set before them, but the main goal should always be to follow Christ. Every tertiary goal we have should still be directed toward honoring God.

  At this point in my journey I’m so trained in one manner I often find myself reacting to my sinful training before I even realize I’m seeking after what I want and not thinking about God at all.

We can even be sinful in our seemingly religious actions. This was the rebuke Christ offered the Pharisees in Matthew 23. All they did, they did for the appearance of piety, not to honor God. It was a pretense offered to only receive the acknowledgement of man rather than to glorify God. I’m ashamed to say I think I would have made a fine Pharisee. I love lists. I love standards. If one were to tell me, “Do X, Y, Z, and all will be well,” I’d blow that list out of the water.

But we should already know that there isn’t anything we can do to earn our way into Heaven. Our forgiveness is a gift of grace (Romans). When we deny ourselves, we accept God. When we seek His kingdom and His righteousness,  He provides for us (Matthew 6:33).

The more we make life about us, the less our lives are about God. No one can deny this truth. If our mind is on ourselves in what we do, it can’t possibly be on God. No one can serve two masters (Matthew 6:24).

I don’t pretend to be the most selfish man on earth. But I’m aware enough of my own heart to know how covetous I am of “my” time. But if I think of it as mine, it can’t be God’s can it? I’m battling this so often and so often finding that I’ve lost before I realized the opportunity I had to glorify God.

I’d challenge anyone to look at the things in life they value. If there is a thing so important, you’d harm, ignore, or resent others to obtain it or because you didn’t get it, you should probably think long and hard about what that thing is truly costing you.

I guess the thing I should do is try and challenge myself. If I’m angry that I’m being “interrupted,” I should ask myself, “Is what I’m doing worth the Kingdom of Heaven? Would I give up my salvation for this?”

To be clear, salvation can’t be lost! The challenge question is a check on my heart to glorify God in denying this part of myself rather than needing to ask forgiveness for once more sinning in whatever way I might be sinning.

It’s better to think on the Kingdom of Heaven and realize nothing here can compare than to realize and lament the fact that I’ve sinned to do or have something that just doesn’t matter.

For our panel: What are some other things people can do to take stock of the idols in their life? What other verses can one turn to when they find themselves as I sometimes find myself? For those who struggle so much to let go, are people such as I not saved simply because we’re struggling to let go? Are addicts condemned simply because of the difficulty of turing away from their addictions? If the answers to the last two questions are “no,” what verses can we turn to for comfort and strength as people struggle with and remorse their sin?

Musings on Christianity 32

Musings on Christianity 32

How Can We Control Our Emotions?

I’ve always been a man who wears his emotions on his sleeve. I feel things intensely, and I’m a passionate man. This has done a lot for me. My passion drives me. My ambition and focus enables me to move forward even when I thought I’d quit.

But is that the right thing?

For some time, I’ve been working on being in control of my emotions rather than letting those emotions drive me. This is especially difficult considering I’ve spent the majority of my life being driven by my passion rather than using my passion to do as I should.

I think it happens to everyone. Maybe you had a date set up, and your partner or friend changed it or asked to include someone. Did that make you feel jealous, asking yourself, “So does this person not want to hang out with me?”

Maybe you had this terrific idea on how a day with your child would go on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, and then your child asks if he could go to a friend’s house?  Is it possible you felt disappointed? Did you entertain the idea that your child is more invested in his and her friends than you?

I can’t really know you or your emotions, readers. What I know is there are some times when I feel disappointed, jealous, frustrated, or even betrayed or wronged. I might (and that’s a big might) be able to hide those feelings, but that’s not the same as dealing with them, and it’s not anything near to controlling them.

I hope I’m not alone in feeling like I’ve been in situations where I knew my emotions were in control.

How do I recognize this? For me, I know I’m struggling when I can’t let go of a thought or emotion. I know something’s off when I want to dwell in whatever emotion I’m feeling. Maybe you want to “vent” about that coworker who just gets on your nerves. Maybe you want to “vent” about how your spouse “always” or “never” does something. Maybe you want to complain in your car on the way home about how your boss “doesn’t” or “won’t” understand your point of view.

I’ve had to do every single one of those things, and none of them are righteous. None of them are healthy.

I think I do it because I want my feelings to be validated.

Maybe you just said, “Who doesn’t want their feelings to be validated?”

Are my feelings a person who should be included in my plans? Should others always make sure to set two places if they invite my feelings and me to dinner? Am I so important that before anyone does anything, they should consult me and my feelings on the matter?

Consideration is a wonderful thing. It really is. I’m grateful to anyone who asks me how I feel or what I want. Sure, if someone says something like, “I can really see how this might disappoint you, but this is my decision.”

However, to think that me and my feelings should always be considered are still self centered thoughts even if they’re true. A husband should always consult his wife and seek her wisdom. The authority may rest in him, but why not take advantage of a wife’s counsel before making a decision? If you do that, why not at least show your appreciation for her thoughts and opinions? Nevertheless, if my feelings and thoughts aren’t requested, I may feel sinned against. I may feel wronged. This particular chapter looks at how one handles those feelings before they fester into resentment or anger.

I think the first thing to do in a situation like that is to analyze myself. Philippians 4:8 has the guideline for where a person’s focus should be.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

“I feel like my husband cares more about his job than me.” That’s a very valid emotion. It may or may not be true. But to focus on the feeling then puts the emotions ahead of the truth. Why do you feel that way? What is happening that is fueling that emotion? Have you spoken to your husband about those things?

Let’s look at the other side of that coin.

“My wife never wants me to get any rest! I work all day, and then, when I come home, she just wants me to do more.” Those are also valid emotions.

You see, one person is seeking comfort in one way, presence and time spent together. Another is seeking comfort in another way, relaxation and quiet. One’s need is connection. The other’s is rest. We can choose to hypothesize about why a person is denying our need, but if we do that, we’re denying a person the right to speak about his or her reasons.

A person controlled by his or her emotions will do that. They’ll fix their thoughts on self-justification. “See!” a wife will say. “He’s gone all day and the first thing he wants is his television!”

“See!” a husband will say. “I just get in the door and all she wants to do is give me more to worry about!”

This is assuming the wife doesn’t work. Maybe she does, but I have to pick a scenario to work with, and this one works as well as any other. The point is the desire these people have is causing  them to perceive the other as an obstacle rather than another human being with needs that may not be getting met.

But what is true?

That’s such a valuable question. But we try to avoid the truth by either holding a trial in our own mind, seeking evidence to support our judgment without ever letting the other person testify, or we try and entrap the other person, asking pointed questions that don’t leave the other person anywhere else to go but where you wanted to shove him or her in the first place.

The search for truth can’t be conducted in a vacuum.

One thing I’ve come to do is ask what I really feel is the most important question anyone can ask another. Just come right out with it: What do you want? Now, you can use a tone that implies you could give a flying fart about what that answer is, and that’s wrong. You’re emotions are in control. But if you ask, genuinely seeking that, you might learn what the other person is after. Then, you can respond in truth and love with what you’re after.

If you find yourself mentally or even verbally articulating why another person is “trying to stop you from” or “refusing to,” you’re being resentful. It’s not loving, and it’s not helping anything.

What is true? I don’t know, let me start by asking. What do you want? Are you really out to stop me from sitting down and thinking for five minutes? Are you really out to avoid me more? Asking those questions in that manner is a sure way to start an argument. But asking, “Hey, babe, what is it you want?” and being honest about understanding the answer will probably allow communication to start. Yes, tired working person who just got home, that means you might need to delay what you want long enough to talk to your wife, but then you’re showing love. You’re being patient and kind, and that glorifies God. Yes, person who has been apart from someone you so desperately want to be close to, that means you might need to explain what you want so that it can be given, but people aren’t God to know and read your heart.

That leads me to another example of when your emotions are in control. Have you ever thought, “She or He knows I … “ or “He or She isn’t thinking about what I … “ You’re making a lot of assumptions with statements like that. 

But what is true? Is that person purposefully, intentionally trying to deny you something you want or need? More than likely that person is just trying to fill a need of his or her own. Is that selfish? Yeah, but aren’t you mad because you feel that other person is trying to deny you something you want or need? That is also thinking of yourself.

That doesn’t mean husbands shouldn’t love their wives or wives should’t respect their husbands or children shouldn’t honor their fathers and mothers (Ephesians 5). But those are commands from God, so they must be honorable and commendable things. However, forgiveness is also wonderful.

I get caught up in my emotions when I see my feelings as truth. We can’t know truth, let alone fix our thoughts on it, if we don’t even know what it is. This requires communication. If you’re not interested in hearing what that person has to say, aren’t you guilty of the same crime: Not being considerate?

We may find ourselves in a situation when our feelings are indeed true. I hate that there are husbands out there who really don’t love their wives. I hate that there are people out there who really do think less of any other people. It’s a sad truth in this broken, sin-cursed world, and that means sometimes our feelings are justified by truth.

Does that mean our feelings can now take control? No. Because there is still one truth that remains. God is judge. Vengeance is His (Romans 12:19). There isn’t enough time in this chapter to get into when it’s acceptable to divorce a person (there are times).

There are times when a person deserves justice, but it’s God’s right to determine when to deliver it. We have police and services we can report things to, and God provided those options. Through them, God can provide justice. In those extreme cases people should seek justice by reporting crimes and situations of abuse. We have to do this because if we don’t, we force ourselves to endure and feed our resentment and despair.

For those times that are less extreme, we have the options Jesus gave us, which we covered in previous chapters. We can forgive, which is always to the glory of God, or we can rebuke, wherein our goal is reconciliation.

What we should strive to do though is focus on the truth, which isn’t known in your mind and by your observation alone. If you do that, you’re making yourself God, proclaiming you know the hearts of man and his intentions.

For me, breaking that habit of venting or dwelling is easiest when I start thinking about that verse, and I share it with you for the same purpose.

For our panel: Why do people fall victim to their own emotions? What other verses can people turn to when they realize they’re struggling to look past their feelings? Is it a sin to succumb to emotions? Why would God give us emotions if they could cause us to sin? How do we live righteously even as we deal with such strong emotions?

Sonnets For My Savior 28

Sonnets For My Savior 28


When the world calls to me,

let me choose You.

When it asks me to turn from You or use You for money,

let me choose You.

When the world offers me power,

let me choose You.

If the world offers me all the food I could devour,

let me choose You.

You are the creator of all things;

let me worship you and not your creation.

Help my heart seek only the joy Your love brings;

Help me cast aside my desire for the material for the grace of salvation.

Should the world offer me glory or fortune or fame,

please, Lord, let me instead choose to honor Your holy Name.


Thirst, Come, Drink

The water of the earth can’t compare.

Any who drink of it, will be thirsty again.

To those who truly thirst, do not despair;

True living water exists for such men and women.

Come to Him, who can satisfy your thirst.

Seek Him, and you will find.

All who come to him, be they last or first,

will be provided for, for he is the Savior of mankind.

Drink deeply the water he gives.

Drink ,and you will be filled.

For he is the Savior who died and yet lives;

He is the Messiah, who did just as God willed.

Only believe in Him, who has come from the Father,

for those who believe, out of their hearts, will flow rivers of living water.


Forgiveness and Peace

Please rid my heart of this anger.

Forgive me for this sin.

Change my heart, oh Great Redeemer,

and purify me from within.

I feel slighted,

but vengeance is yours.

The fury in my heart has been ignited,

but judgement is all an angry heart procures.

Help me to turn my cheek.

Help me to give away my cloak.

Take my prideful heart and make it meek.

Grant me a heart that doesn’t provoke.

Help peace reign where anger lives.

O Heavenly Father, please great me a heart that forgives.


Whom He Chose

Let us prefer to be foolish

rather than regarded by this world as wise.

Let us think all earthly things rubbish

next to Heaven’s glorious prize.

Let us choose to be weak

rather then regarded as strong.

For it is written that Heaven belongs to the meek.

He who relies on his own strength will discover himself wrong.

Let us praise our God who raised up what is low

to make nothing things that are.

For those who worship God know,

His power is the greatest by far.

Let us not seek to meet any standards of this earth,

but instead let us seek to praise God, for what he gives is all that has worth.


What Must Change

This world is broken,

and I lack the power to fix it.

My pride demands I be outspoken;

It pulls me from Christ and won’t let me submit.

If I claim I know what should occur,

I place myself on the throne of perfection.

The world can’t run as I prefer,

if indeed I’ve given Christ all my affection.

If he is my ruler,

I can’t demand control.

If Christ is my ruler,

I must trust in him with all my soul.

It isn’t the world that should change to my whim;

rather it is I who much change, which is only possible through Him.


The Betrayer

Woe to he who would betray

Christ the Savior on that fateful day.

This deaf fool heard all Jesus had to say,

but could not bear to submit and obey.

Woe to he who accepted thirty pieces of silver

as a blood price for his terrible deed.

He thought he was a clever deceiver,

but Christ choose him that Jesus may do as God decreed.

Woe to he who tried to feign remorse,

for his actions showed his lie.

Rather than face the consequence of his chosen course,

he instead chose to die.

Woe to he who betrayed Jesus with scorn,

For it would be better for him if he had not been born.



They spoke the truth about what would happen.

They recognized what the sign would do.

Their hearts were hardened against what was done then,

for they refused to see what was plainly true.

Lazarus rose, and many believed.

Rather than rejoice, the leaders feared they’d lose their place.

In truth, they weren’t deceived.

Rather they wanted to avoid disgrace.

But God found a use even for the blind Caiaphas,

For the high priests’ lips spoke prophetic words.

It is better that Jesus died for us.
Indeed, the death of the Lamb saved the herd.

God used their blind and hardened hearts for our gain.

For Jesus died and rose again, just as the Father did preordain.

Sonnets For My Savior 16

Sonnets For My Savior 16

Call Us

Call us first, LORD, to Your Holy Name,

for we are nothing if we are not Yours.

Work through us, LORD, to bring Your name more acclaim,

and let our hearts be vessels in which Your grace pours.

Call us, LORD, to be more like Your Son,

for our Salvation is demonstrated by the fruit we bear.

Let us be Your instruments, LORD, that your will be done,

and let Your will be our one and only care.

Call us, LORD, to toil and work for Your will,

for to please You brings our hearts great cheer.

Let us work, LORD, in service till

the day Your Son has at last returned here.

Call us, LORD, to serve You each and every day,

so that your glory might always be on display.


Change Our Hearts

Change Our Hearts, Lord, so we may be more like Him.

Let Your word be our sustenance.

Forgive us, Lord, for we turn away on a whim.

Call us back to You and close up the distance.

We call on You in need,

but, when sated, we fall away.

Instead let us think of You with every thought and deed.

Let us place You first in our hearts each and every day.

Let us feel convicted

when we strive for our own desires,

and then we feel conflicted

when a chance to praise You transpires.

Help us choose You, Lord, each and every time

and consider every moment with You sublime.



Jesus called on Peter and Andrew,

At once, they left their nets and followed Him.

He called on James and John, too.

Again they left, and followed Him.

They did not balk or delay.

They answered as soon as they were told.

Immediately, they obeyed.

When we are called, will we be as bold?

What would you have Him wait for?

What would you ask Him to let you do?

With Him as master, do you need anything more?

Think instead of what you would give to be made new.

Do not delay when he calls on you.

Let Him be the greatest passion that you pursue.



I’ve done nothing,

but Christ died for me.

Yet still I’m seeking

the approval of men in any degree.

Yet man did not die on the Cross.

Man did not give up his body.

So why is it I feel such loss,

when I think I’m rejected by anybody?

Foolishly, I try to earn,

what Christ has already given.

The very acceptance for which my heart burns,

was granted the moment he was risen.

Help me stop the works I do so that I receive;

rather bless my work because you’ve chosen me, and I believe.


To Glorify You

When I open my eyes,

I glorify you for sustaining me.

Even when pains or sufferings arise,

I glorify You, for you can set me free.

When I work with my hands,

I glorify You for using me to do Your bidding.

Indeed blessed is the man who understands,

That life for You is a life most rewarding.

When I lay down at night,

I glorify you for providing me rest.

To obey You is my heart’s delight,

and knowing you’ve chosen me makes me feel blessed.

Every moment is a chance to glorify You;

Every action, a potential payment of what you are due.



Jesus is not divided.

No one else was crucified for our sins.

So let His church be united.

For our Savior sacrificed, is where our wisdom ends and begins.

He died once for all,

and thus we are His.

He died, but He did not fall,

for He was risen, and He lives.

Let us serve Him as one.

Our church is His beloved bride.

By defeating death, our spirits He has won,

so we turn to him, and away from our own foolish pride.

Each of His servants should be the other’s brother,

so let us show our love by serving one another.


In All Circumstances

If I am brought low,

let me be content.

If I face blow after painful blow,

let me be content.

If I have abundance,

let me be content.

If my heart is filled with exuberance,

let me be content.

For You are God in the winter,

and You are God in the fall.

Yet You are always a faithful provider

to those who worship you, one and all.

So let me face plenty, hunger, abundance and need

because I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

Sonnets For My Savior 14

Sonnets For My Savior 14

Because of His Grace

I was trapped by by sin.

I was lost and without hope.

I hid the pain deep within.

I was buried with more loneliness than I with which could cope.

No amount of money could bring me joy.

No amount of fleshly pleasures could bring me gladness.

Despite all of the effort I did employ,

nothing worked, I was still lost in sadness.

I questioned why he continued to deny me.

I questioned why he let me experience such pain.

Then His grace showed me what I couldn’t see.

Without Him, my life was in vain.

When I sought his grace, He made me new.

His grace saved me, and it can save you too.



Our God remains faithful though we are faithless.

He cannot deny himself.

Even though our sins are countless,

He does not lie or change, nor will He slander himself.

He doesn’t tempt us beyond our ability,

He provides a means of escape for every temptation.

While He rules with unquestioned sovereignty,

His grace is sufficient for us and worthy of veneration.

His word is upright,

and His love never ends.

Even as the morning comes after every night,

His great reliability never bends.

He is just, upright, and without iniquity,

and His faithfulness abounds despite our impurity.


Adam and Jesus

His obedience

to counter his defiance.

His deference

to counter his noncompliance.

Adam’s rebellion was the root of our sin,

so Jesus’ submission became our salvation.

Because of the first man, evil lies within,

but through Christ, we each become a new creation.

Adam’s sin led him to hide,

but Jesus sought His father when His time drew near.

Adam tried to cast his guilt aside,

but Jesus, without guilt, had nothing to fear.

Adam’s trespass resulted in condemnation,

but Jesus’ act of righteousness resulted in justification.


Your Will

We accept Your Son as our Savior,

for you gave us the gospel, and we have heard it.

We seek Your word with great fervor

and ask that you fill our hearts with Your Spirit.

Let us be sanctified,

so that we might be more like Your Son.

Let our previous, selfish temptations be denied,

and let only Your will be done.

Let us submit to Your law, Your church, and the leaders you’ve appointed over us.

Let our hearts be like a servant most humble.

We understand that some might punish or persecute us,

so we glorify You, Lord, for we suffer but trust that your grace won’t let us stumble.

Let Your will live in the hearts of women and men,

for You are our God now and forever, Amen.


His Miracles

He made the leper clean.

He healed the centurion’s servant with a word.

He healed many, just as the prophet had foreseen.

He healed Peter’s mother-in-law, and she began to serve him after that occurred.

He calmed a storm.

He cast out demons.

Many great works did he perform

to show authority in his sermons.

He helped a paralytic to his feet,

and brought life to the dead.

He healed a woman on the street,

He never failed to do a single thing he had said.

The Son of God did all these wonderful things,

but the greatest work is the salvation that He brings.


His Favorite Method

He worked through David to make Goliath fall.

He worked through Moses to set the Israelites free.

He healed the sick through the mere handkerchiefs that touched Paul.

He worked through Elisha to help a crippled woman earn money.

He worked through Sampson to bring the house of the Philistines down.

He worked through Elijah to burn the captains and their host.

For Joshua the sun and moon stood still, and this increased the army’s renown.

Look at all the miracles, and how He performed them most.

Through Peter, he strengthened a man’s legs and feet.

Through Isaiah, he killed the Assyrian king in his own land.

Many a wondrous deed did our Lord, God, complete,

but he didn’t do them simply by his own mighty hand.

Indeed for most the wonders and tasks we have seen Him do,

have come through his servants, people just like me and you.


The Provider

He made bread rain down from the sky.

He used a log to sweeten Marah’s waters.

To those who are faithful, his is faithful and does not deny.

His generously gives to all his sons and daughters.

He is our provider.

With him, we never want for anything.

Even to Ruth, a Moabitess outsider,

He provided a redeemer, and made her a matron of the king.

He provided for Elijah in the wilderness.

He blessed Abraham with an heir.

Praise be to God for his love and kindness.

Blessed is he who gives when we are in despair.

If ever one doubts how loving and giving is He.

Simply look at the world He gave us; it’s there for all to see.

Sonnets For My Savior 13

Sonnets For My Savior 13

What It Tells Us

A line from Abraham proves God’s faithfulness.

A line from Judah, Jechoniah, and Manasseh, demonstrate God’s forgiveness.

If there are evil sinners in the line, it is only to show that God can shift malice into kindness.

If God’s faithful are in the line, it is only to show God’s truthfulness.

Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba are mentioned in the line.

Each name shows more of God’s character.

Rahab was a harlot, and Bathsheba an adulteress, but still to them God was kind.

Ruth was a Moabite, but her faith and trust led her to her great redeemer.

Shealtiel, Zerubbabel, Abuid and Eliakim,

Before Joseph came Eleazar, Matthan, Jacob and Achim.

The line shows that by right the throne belongs to Him.

The line shows that Jesus came for sinners because sinners are his kin.

From Abraham to Joseph they waited for the promised King;

Lord bless the day he was born; for that day we offer praise; for that day we sing.


They Come

Look to the east, the wise men come.

They search for the Jews’ king.

Born in Bethlehem was God’s only begotten Son

just as the prophet said in his writing.

From there was born a ruler

who is the shepherd for Israel.

There is no way to a life that’s fuller

than to be among our Savior’s faithful.

They are here with treasures for His birth:

gold, frankincense and myrrh,

but those gifts are only a fraction of His worth.

For the day of His birth was one of wonder.

His risen star showed the way

to the Christ who was born on that glorious day.


Strong and Courageous

He promised to give every place Joshua’s foot walked on.

He promised no man would stand before him.

Three times God told him to be courageous and strong,

for God would never leave or forsake him.

He was warned not to turn from the law to the left or to the right.

He was told to meditate on the lay every day and every night.

With God at his side, Joshua would win every fight.

With God beside him, everything would be alright.

Let us hear your word, our God above.

Let us follow your path and do your will.

Let us keep your words in our hearts with love.

Even in times of trouble, let us keep them still.

Smile, oh God, on those who are strong and courageous.

Let us face our trials with faith, for You are always with us.


He Chose to Obey

He could have sent Judas away.

He could have remained hidden.

Instead Jesus chose to obey

so that He might do as the Scriptures had written.

He could have let Peter fight.

He could have petitioned for angles and received more than twelve legions.

Instead He chose to do what was right

and accept the price for our salvation.

He could have come down from the cross

and proven himself to the chief priests, scribes, and elders,

Instead he chose to endure the cost,

so that he could provide hope for all of us sinners.

Our glorious Savior chose to let himself die

to obey our Father and provide us a path to life.


When We Have Faith

When Joshua obeyed in faith, the walls of Jericho fell.

When Moses obeyed in faith, the Red Sea parted.

For those who obey and have faith, all will be well.

Blessed are those who work to walk the path You’ve charted.

Goliath fell to a young David and his sling.

Abraham and Sarah eventually gave birth.

Ruth offered her faith and became grandmother the king.

Elijah asked, and fire fell to the earth.

Gideon had faith, and God delivered Midian into his hands.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had faith and were protected from immolation.

A centurion’s servant was healed simply by Jesus’s command

A thief on the cross asked Christ to remember him and thus, found salvation.

Mountains can move from here to another place.

Indeed all things are possible if we only have faith.


Again and Again

Peter denied Christ three times,

but he was still the rock on which Christ’s church was built.

Peter had doubt sometimes,

but he always repented, for he acknowledged his guilt.

Christ taught us about forgiveness

in the parable of the unforgiving servant.

That wicked man sought payment with ruthlessness

even though his master was benevolent.

One should forgive

as he was forgiven.

For each day that we all may live,

we should pardon our brothers no matter what offense was given.

How often should we let go each time our brother offends us?

Seventy times seven is what our lord Jesus Christ tells us.


He Can Not Be Denied

Herod wanted to prevent His birth,

so he had all the children in Bethlehem killed.

But all of his effort and desire was of little worth,

for all of his evil only helped to see prophecy fulfilled.

Pharisees sought to prevent His teaching,

so they challenged Him and questioned his miraculous deeds.

But all their effort to stop His preaching

only provided the opportunity to place on display their hypocritical misdeeds.

Caiaphas sought to destroy Him and put his life to an end,

so the chief had Him crucified, and a guard for his tomb was given.

But with the will of God, they could not contend,

for after the third day, just as He said, He is risen.

The power of Christ can not be denied,

for the Son of God is King, and over Earth he will preside.

Sonnets for My Savior 3

Sonnets for My Savior 3

Only Through Him

It was He who came down to teach and call sinners to repent,

and it was He who willingly took all of our transgressions.

He ministered to us and taught us great lessons,

and through His sacrifice, the price for our sins was spent.

He is the way, and the truth, and the life,

and those who love him are saved.

He freed us from our sins, to which, before Him, we were enslaved.

How could they not know you, Jesus? How cold they offer such strife?

We can not reach the Father in any other way.

We can not earn salvation by any thing we do.

Without you to speak for us, our spirt and body will decay.

Only because of your sacrifice, we are made anew.

Keep us with you, Lord; please don’t let us stray.

The only path to Heaven, Jesus, is faith and believe in you.


What Happens When We Are Weak

His power is made perfect.

The Spirt gives us aid.

The grace He provides to His elect

is sufficient for me, so I am unafraid.

Now let us boast about our weakness;

Let us be content in all situations.

For He who can cure blindness

can surely remove all frustrations.

He is my life, and He is my power.

When I am weak, then I am strong.

When He is with me, I need not cower,

Nor need any whom to him they belong.

He is all in life we ever need.

We are more than conquerors through him, indeed.



You forgive us when we do wrong,

only for us to hurt you again.

How much pain have you taken for the likes of men

even though we’ve been sinners all along?

There is nothing in us that is good

even though our hearts desire to do your will.

How is it you forgive us still

even though we’re incapable of doing what we should?

Your grace and love are boundless.

Your mercy is without end.

You give it all to those who don’t deserve you.

That you are great is doubtless,

so on You alone we depend.

Please help us love how You love, forgive how You forgive, and do as You do.


Without Comparison

What is man beside He who created the universe?

What claims can man make to the face of He who hung the sun?

There is nothing man can say to bargain or coerce;

there is no feat to undertake and no deed to be done.

His very name is holy, and we were born into sin.

He is upright in all of his judgments.

Just what do we imagine we could do to win

the slightest amount of pride or any compliments?

Indeed, we all fall short of His glory.

Our redemption is through His son.

Therefore belief in Jesus is obligatory

because righteousness is given, not won.

Do not seek the self to save.

Instead trust in Him whom God rose from the Grave.



Only say so, and it shall be.

For the commander says go there, and the soldiers go.

If He says, “Open your eyes,” the one to whom He spoke shall see.

He can cast down what was high, and lift up what was low.

His words were power, for He spoke with the authority of the Father.

Blessed are any who obey.

Heed his instruction, and listen to no other,

walk in his path, and do not allow yourself to stray.

The paralyzed stood when He said stand,

and the dead woke when He said rise.

Even the ocean in the storm complied with his demand.

He who believes in Him never dies.

Obey the commander just as all these other things.

Listen to He who rules, and enjoy the life that obedience brings.


Lift Us Up If We Fall

He stepped upon the surface of the sea;

His feet were as steady as on dry land.

Through the wind and waves, His disciples saw firsthand

a figure walking toward them and felt the urge to flee.

But one among them asked to join the master,

and the Lord bade his servant to come.

Only steps did Peter travel before to doubt he did succumb;

Jesus pulled him up and kept him from disaster.

Lift us up, oh Lord, if we begin to sink,

and forgive us the doubts that cause us to fall.

Even if we should slide past the brink,

please save us from the squall.

If we find a fear and then begin to shrink,

let us have faith that you raise all of those whom you call.


Your Holy Instructions

Let us act as you have instructed;

Let us do as we should.

Let us honor the house into which we were inducted

by abhorring evil and holding fast to all things good.

Let us give affection to all of our brothers

and show honor to all.

Let us have zeal and serve you above any others,

and give help and hospitality to any saints who call.

Let us not seek revenge, but instead act with compassion,

for vengeance and wrath are yours and yours alone.

Instead, let us present ourselves in a giving fashion,

for only with good can evil be overthrown.

Let us exemplify these Christian actions with every breath we take,

so that we may live not for ourselves, but only your sake.