Visits From A Man Named Nobody PT 12

Visits From A Man Named Nobody PT 12

PT 1 // PT 2 // PT 3 // PT 4 // PT 5 // PT 6 // PT 7 // PT 8 // PT 9 // PT 10 // PT 11 //

“I want to make sure I understand what happened.” Mr. Eckleman pointed at Paul. “Trevor was apparently talking about your mother.” He turned his finger toward Jordan. “You hit him for that, but Trevor said Jordan was the one talking about your mother, so Paul hit Jordan.”

Both boys nodded.

Mr. Eckleman shook his head and looked at Paul. “You’ve been warned about fighting, Paul.”

“I know,” Paul said softly. “Am I going to be expelled?” That’s what the principal had said the last time Paul got into a fight. 

“But I said it was ok!” Jordan leapt up from his seat. “Look, I’m fine, and he said he was sorry.”

“That doesn’t mean he didn’t do anything wrong.” Mr. Eckleman just kept staring at Paul. “Why did you come in here to confess?”

Paul thought for a moment. “I don’t want to be that person anymore.”

No one else said anything. The silence grew every bit as uncomfortable as Mr. Eckleman’s stare. 

“I’m angry all the time.” Paul wasn’t sure if Mr. Eckleman wanted him to keep explaining, but he just couldn’t tolerate the quiet another moment. “I don’t want to be angry, but I don’t know how not to be. I think someone gave me a hint, but even then I’m not sure how it works. I just want to change.”

Paul realized he wanted to sit down and read Romans. No matter how infuriatingly short Nobody’s visits were, they always left him with advice that helped. Nobody’s questions were infuriating, but the answers gave Paul options he hand’t considered. 

“I want to try something new,” he said. “But I guess that doesn’t really matter here.”

Mr. Eckleman smiled. “I wouldn’t say that.”

“You’re not going to punish me!?” Paul was shocked. Maybe he was going to get one last chance. 

“I didn’t say that either,” Mr. Eckleman replied, “but given what you’ve said combined with Jordan’s desire to help you, not to mention your science teacher, who seems to be the only adult in this building you respect, I’m willing to reduce your punishment.”

Paul nodded. It was already more than he deserved, and he knew that. 

“Instead of being expelled, I’m going to suspend you for two weeks,” Mr. Eckleman continued. “I suggest you use that two weeks to do whatever it is you’re planning to do to let go of that anger. If you’d like access to our counselor, we’ll allow that.”

“Thank you, Mr. Eckleman,” Paul said. Then he turned to look at Jordan. “I’m still sorry I hit you. I’m sorry that I didn’t ask what happened.” 

Even in that moment, a part of Paul wanted to track down Trevor and beat him. It was such a powerful desire. I don’t want to be angry anymore!

Jordan shrugged again. “Like I said, it’s ok.”

Mr. Eckleman smiled again. “I’m not actually sure what happened here, but I’m encouraged by it. We’ll call your mother to pick you up.”

The principal dismissed Jordan and had Paul sit in the waiting area until his mother arrived. While he waited, he used his phone to read Romans, trying to see what Nobody was getting at.

The answer the the question Nobody asked was pretty easy to find. 

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” The verse was Romans Chapter 5 Verse 8. 

Paul considered the last thing Nobody had told him. “Nobody deserves forgiveness. That’s why it’s a gift.”

It only took Paul about 45 minutes to read Romans. With nothing better to do, he started reading it again.

His mom appeared after Paul got about halfway through his second pass of the letter. She stood in the doorway. Her long black hair flowed over the her shoulders and nearly blended with the purple Lularoe dress she wore. She looked at Paul with brown eyes that shimmered in unshed tears. 

Paul hated that look for some reason. Why did she have to look at him like that? Did she hate him? Was she disappointed in him because he was turning into someone just like his dad? Was he destined to grow up to be just like the man he hated? 

Paul got up and walked past her on his way to the car. He heard her take in a sharp breath as if she were about to say something, but he didn’t give her time. He walked to the car and got in. He wasn’t particularly interested in reading the Bible, but focusing on his phone seemed to keep his mother from trying to talk. 

He was doing it again. He was ignoring her. He was avoiding her. Why was he so afraid? 

“I’m sorry.”

Paul’s head shot up. He hadn’t noticed his mother had pulled over.

“Every time you defended me,” her voice caught, but she kept speaking. “You’d protect me, and all I could do was patch you up, but I couldn’t do it anymore.”

Paul forced himself to look out his window. He couldn’t look at her. He couldn’t watch her bury her face in her hands and cry. 

After a moment, she found the strength to talk a bit more. “I couldn’t keep trying to heal you when I was the reason you were hurt.”

“Let’s just go,” Paul said sharply. He still couldn’t bring himself to look at her. He didn’t want to see her cry. It hurt him, and in strange way it made him more angry. What did he expect her to do? What did he want from her? 

“I shouldn’t have stopped coming in to help you.” She rushed the words out. “But it was worse because I never should have let him lay a hand on you in the first place.” The last word ended in a wail. She dropped her head onto the wheel of the car and sobbed.

Paul could look away all he wanted. He even shut his eyes. But he couldn’t block out the sound of his mother’s weeping.

“I couldn’t stand to hear you crying,” Paul said. “I couldn’t stand to see you hurt.”

He finally turned to look at her, and tears streamed down his face. “That’s why I did it, Mom. I was trying to protect you, and it never worked.”

In some random parking lot in the suburbs, a mother and son held each other and wept. 

“I’m sorry,” Paul said between sobs. “I’m sorry I was so mean. I’m sorry I avoided you.”

His mother gently pushed him away to look into his eyes. “You don’t owe me an apology for anything! I did this, understand? I failed you.”

He still wanted to know why. He still couldn’t understand why she never left his father. He couldn’t understand why she ever married him in the first place.

“I deserve it,” she continued. “I know you hate me, and I deserve that, but I still love you.”

Visits From A Man Named Nobody PT 10

Visits From A Man Named Nobody PT 10

PT 1 // PT 2 // PT 3 // PT 4 // PT 5 // PT 6 // PT 7 // PT 8 // PT 9 //

“Not once!” It was true, sort of. Sure, since the divorce and that last beating, his mom had given him everything he’d ever asked for. She made what he wanted for dinner. She never told him what to do. But neither did she ever once say the words, “I’m sorry” or “Forgive me.” 

Nobody’s masked head nodded as if conceding the point. “But with all the times you’ve run off or changed the subject, how could she do more than she’s done. And what has that really done for you? Where has your resentment led you?”

Nobody pointed at the mirror. “Who have you become because you choose to hold onto your anger.”

Paul turned to look at his reflection in the splintered mirror. There was that face again. His own face. A face that looked far too much like the face of the man Paul hated more than anyone else. 

“She doesn’t deserve it!” Paul spun back around as he spoke, even if only to hide the all to horrifyingly familiar scowl he knew he wore. 

“Did she deserve the beatings?” Nobody asked. 

“Nobody deserves that!” 

“What about Jordan?”

Paul wanted to lash out, but how could he? Right after declaring nobody deserves a beating, how could he justify beating someone?

“Now we move on to the more interesting question,” Nobody said. He glanced at a black device on his wrist. It would look like a smart watch if it had any sort of light or symbols, but as far as Paul could tell, it was just a black rectangle about the width of a pencil.  “What are the wages of sin?” 

“What?” Paul asked.

“You’ll remember when you think on it. Look to Paul’s letter to the Romans to refresh your thoughts,” Nobody said. He started to make his way back into the stall.

“I never finished it.” Paul said. “I put that Bible away and forgot about it.”

Nobody stopped, standing at the entrance to a simple bathroom stall. “Liar.”

Paul knew it was pretty stupid even trying to lie to a man who could read his thoughts or had some way of knowing everything. How did he know Jordan’s name?  

“Nobody deserves forgiveness,” Nobody said. “That’s why it’s a gift.” 

Nobody shut the door. Paul darted at the door as quickly as he could, but the temperature swung again, and a flash of light forced him to shut his eyes and turn away. Even as his eyes adjusted to the light, Paul flung the door open. His tennis shoes plopped into a small puddle of water. The toilet seemed to be completely unaffected by whatever Nobody had done. 

His science teachers, the only teachers who treated Paul like a normal human being, had talked about experiments and measurements, but Paul didn’t have any equipment. He wouldn’t know what to measure for anyway. Maybe I should start with temperature, Paul thought to himself as he continued to look around the stall. He dropped down to a knee to look behind the toilet.

“What are you doing?” 

Paul’s head spun around to find a boy standing at the bathroom’s entrance. He seemed equally amused and disgusted. 

“I lost something,” Paul said getting up and washing his hands. “Have you seen a watch?”  

Paul didn’t own a watch, but at least it explained why he was carefully looking around a toilet in a public bathroom.

“No.” The answer seemed more like a cough, but he went on about his own business. 

Even as Paul let the water run over his hands, the questions about how Nobody moved around seemed to fade behind the last thing he had said to Paul. 

“Nobody deserves forgiveness. That’s why it’s a gift.”

Paul frowned in confused anger. If nobody deserved forgiveness, why would anyone forgive anybody else? And if people were always forgiven when the didn’t deserve it, why would they ever stop doing things that bothered other people?

Paul scrubbed his hands more fiercely as he thought. 

Musings on Christianity 8

Musings on Christianity 8

Why Would God Allow This World to be Broken?

In an earlier chapter, we discussed the idea of bad things happening. Some see a distinction between humans and the world. This question may be phrased more like, “If God made everything, why would he allow us to … ” or “ … why would he let the world be like this.”

I actually see less distinction in this than some, but there are insights Christianity can offer. God made this wold perfectly. When he formed it, it was all good (Genesis 1). The fall of humanity brought about the fall of the world as well (Genesis 3).

So one would think, why would God let this happen? I actually have a mentor, teacher, and parental perspective. Parents, when you watch your children, do you follow them around with a pillow to make sure they don’t fall? When you buy them an X-Box or other expensive or fragile toy, do you sit there and watch them play to be sure they don’t break it? Teachers, do you constantly stand over the shoulder of your students and tell them what to do as they need to do it?

Sure, teachers, you teach. You show them the way. You explain what they need to do, but any teacher who gives homework can’t possibly answer yes to the question above. At some point, you leave the student alone to see if learning has occurred. Neither can any teacher who has ever administered a test ever say yes to the question above. Part of being in one of the roles listed above means eventually leaving the person alone and letting them make mistakes.

Why do we think God should do something even our own mortal minds knows we must eventually stop doing?

The truth is, God gave us a perfect world, and one rule, one symbolic rule of obedience to follow. Humanity chose disobedience (Romans 5:12-21, compare Genesis Chapter 3). Our action brought consequence.   

My thought (and I’ve spoken frequently on how I’m not an expert) is that those consequences themselves are an opportunity. Think about it. Parents, when your child has done something irresponsible in the best of circumstances, didn’t you eventually have to give them your trust in even the lest ideal circumstances? In a perfect world, with one, and only one, rule to follow, humanity still messed that up.

In a broken world, God gave us several covenants (Mosaic to name one, see Exodus 19), which eventually led to the New Covenant in Christ. But now, in this broken world, we have endless ways in which we can glorify God, which is what we were made to do. In a world full of sin, pain, and harsh environments, each time we choose to put our faith in Christ and do as he would have us do, we glorify him and bear fruit of our salvation, not as a work of justification, but as evidence of the gift of salvation through faith we have already been given through Christ (Romans).

This all builds to a much more interesting question. If God wanted us to be obedient beings who never turned from him, why didn’t he make us incapable of such? Why not make us essentially robots who couldn’t deny him and couldn’t fall to temptation? Now that’s a really great question, and it’s one I don’t necessarily have a Biblical answer for.

I do, however, have a thought to consider. If I make a robot, I know it will do as I’ve designed it because the programming prevents it. But that robot is heartless. It doesn’t do what I say because it loves me; it does what I say because it can’t do anything else.

My sons could easily do whatever I tell them. Observably, this world might think me a great parent, but am I? Stay with me here. My sons can have a number of reasons to do what I say. They could do it out of resentment, a sense of obligation, fear, or love. Some parents don’t even care why a kid goes to bed on time or does his homework after school. Isn’t that dangerous? If we don’t speak to the motivations of our children, how do we know their hearts are true? Can’t any one, no matter how horrible, act contrary to their personality for a time? So I want my children to do what they do out of love. I’ll deal with fear of the Lord in another chapter, but our first commandment is to love God with all of our hearts, all of our minds, all of our strength and all of our souls (Deuteronomy 6:5, cross-reference Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30, and Luke 10:27)

  We can’t love if we aren’t given hearts. Robotic slaves who are only capable of doing what they’re programmed to do is something man as a species has already proven they can do, but only an all-powerful God, can make man, who has a heart born of evil, and change that heart, in this broken world we live in, and lead it to Himself. That glorifies Him. 

For our panel: If God wanted us to be obedient beings who never turned from him, why didn’t he make us incapable of such? Why is the world broken? If we couldn’t obey God’s one rule in a perfect place, why give us many rules in a broken world? What are things Christians can do to remain strong in a world this broken? Do our hearts matter if we’re doing the right things? Could we or should we try to fix this world? If so, how?

Musings on Christianity 1

Musings on Christianity 1

Musings on Christianity


In this project, we seek to better understand Christianity. We also seek to apply Biblical principles to life issues. In this blog series, the goal is for this to be an online panel in which I pose questions and offer an introduction. These introductions will be my interpretation and application of scripture. As I’ve mentioned before, I haven’t even attended seminary. I’m not a pastor. I’m just a man studying the word of God and working to apply it to his life. My sincere hope is that the elders of my church, Hope Bible Church in Columbia, Maryland, will contribute to the discussion. I also hope that other pastors around the world will join in intelligent, loving discussion of these topics.

We seek to operate in truth and love, which is an essential combination. If any should feel compelled to comment, I humbly request that you support your opinion with scripturally based supporting comments. You are more than willing to add personal application, but we seek a historical, grammatical hermeneutics based discussion which will help Christians, or people who are curious about the faith, gain wisdom on how to approach topics of faith and life. For consistency, please use the ESV. I’m not claiming it to be better than other versions of the Bible. It’s just the version that I as moderator am currently using, and I believe strongly that consistency is essential in any academic discussion. You are more than welcome to then include other translations of the Bible to add further clarification, but I’d appreciate it if we begin with on version and then branch out.

Please be advised that your comments are subject to being included in this book. By placing a comment you consent and permit me to include your comment in the final version which will be sold.

I will be the editor and compiler of this book. As such, I retain the right to include or omit any comments. My hope is the elders of Hope Bible Church will review and edit the project for hermeneutical accuracy.

The inspiration for this blog series is a combination of the concept from the book Right Thinking In a World Gone Wrong by John MacAurthur and several thoughts, discussions, and questions I hope to understand better as I grow in the faith.

The end goal is to produce a published book which will provide readers with answers to questions and scripturally-grounded mindsets to apply to life’s issues and situations.

We sincerely hope this series of 52 weekly discussions (or at least I hope there will be discussions) will provide comfort and wisdom through the only source equipped to help man face the world in which we live.




Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People

If we’re going to confront questions about faith or Christianity, let’s just start right off the bat with one of the biggest, if not the biggest, questions.

Why do bad things happen to good people?

This questions has a major fallacy that must be addressed:

There are no good people.

“And Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.” (Luke 18:19)

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)

“For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, adultery coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” (Mark 7:21-23)

“The Lord looks down from haven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.” (Psalm 14:2-3)

A point of pride for man is the desire to proclaim himself good, when that’s just not the truth of it. I’m not good, and neither are you. If we declare ourselves good, we do so only in comparison with man. We can certainly look upon man and pridefully declare ourselves better than one and less than another, but then we make man that standard by which we measure ourselves, and this is the improper standard. We can surely look to one another on our journey, but the foremost standard by which we should always evaluate ourselves is God himself, and compared to a perfect, holy God, we fall so very short. (The last part is paraphrased from Romans 3:23.)

Some read scripture like this and feel compelled to turn away. Who wants to be called a bad person? Who wants to be condemned? But this is less an accusation or inherent condemnation than it is a simple fact of our own, broken, human condition. I am not good, and neither are you. I’m not claiming to be the worst human, I’m just not pretending to be anywhere near the same level as God. Neither am I declaring you, reader, the worst human ever. However, if we are human, we are not good.

So what is this question really asking? It’s asking why bad things happen to people regardless of their level of evil. You may add to this question the sub topic of why do evil people thrive while the good suffer?

This isn’t always true. Personally, I’ve had some wonderful things happen in my life. I’ve also seen my share of tragedy. But isn’t it hard to see people we love suffer? Isn’t it infuriating to see someone who’s wronged you receive rewards you seek? I know it bothers me, but should it?

First, let’s not forget that humanity suffers. The richest man alive with the most children has suffered in some way. The most wretched person, homeless and starving, is still alive or was still given life. If we focus on our suffering, we forget or even cast aside any blessings we’ve received. We’re like children who are well-fed, housed, and genuinely loved by our Father who forget it all and declare our parents horrible because we didn’t receive our most recent desire, or we’ve just come upon some misfortune.

“For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:45)

What do we do when someone who’s transgressed against us receives rewards and we don’t? Sure, it stinks to feel passed over, but this world isn’t the reward. The greatest reward is to be in the presence of God in His kingdom. Does this mean I don’t want a promotion or to sell more books? Of course not, but  I hope to be very careful before I start looking to others who have worldly things.

“be not envious of wrongdoers! For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb.” (Psalm 37:2)

A parable I seek when I need comfort as I suffer and others who I arrogantly declare are more evil than I am receive wealth and happiness, is the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31).

People will receive on this earth, and people will lose things on this earth. However, I’m a bit wary of hoarding worldly things. This doesn’t mean I didn’t work to be debt free or I’m not working to ensure I have a three-month emergency fund. However, if God appeared to you and gave you a choice: All the money and joy you desire on Earth at the cost of eternity afterward, or all the pain and misery you fear at the reward of joy and glory for eternity afterward, which would you choose?

Then consider this: As bad as things have gotten, have you never had one moment of joy or pleasure? If not, then I offer my genuine prayer for comfort and peace to you. Yes, bad things happen, but they happen to all people. No person is good. If we focus on the rewards of eternity, we can find comfort.

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:18)

For our panel: Must people suffer? What about children? What does suffering do for us? How does suffering help us if it does? What scripture can we seek to find comfort or gain understanding?

Thank you for reading,


Sonnets for My Savior 41

Sonnets for My Savior 41

Why We Were Made

He made our mouthes so we could praise Him.
He made our hands so we could work for Him.
He made our bodies to be a temple for Him.
He made our hearts to be filled by Him.

He did not make us for our own sake, but for His.
He did not make us to please us, but to please Him.
He did not make for our glory, but for His.
He did not make us to serve us, but so we would serve Him.

This does not take away His love for us.
This does not reduce His desire to care for us.
It does not change the wonderful things He will give to us.
It only establishes His relationship with us.

There is no real mystery as to what our purpose is.
The LORD God made us; therefore, we are His.



Before Him

Before Him, we were lost.
Before Him, we were enemies.
Jesus Christ accepted the cost.
Jesus Christ washed away our iniquities.

Before Him, we were hostile.
Before Him, we committed evil deeds.
Jesus Christ stood our trial.
Jesus Christ intercedes.

Through Him, we are reconciled.
Through Him, we are made holy.
Each person who accepts him has become God’s child.
We are saved through Christ and Christ only.

The only reason we are cleansed of sin
Is the loving, willing sacrifice of Him.



The Next

If I should live a life full of happiness,
rich in wealth, joy, and love,
I will stand in wonder at the greatness
that awaits in the world above.

If I should live a life full of agony,
wrought with pain and famine.
I will work to remember the glory,
which waiting for me in Heaven.

The things of this world are fleeting,
The grace of God is forever.
The redeemed on this Earth are waiting
For the kingdom of our Savior.

There is nothing, good or bad, this world can offer
that compares to eternal life with the Father.



You or Him

Why do you struggle to change?
Shouldn’t you be loved for who you are?
Those who seek to obey seem strange.
Why continue to run when the finish line is so far?

Shouldn’t you want happiness?
If God loved you, he’d allow it.
Those who say such things bear false witness.
They speak about the temptation of the world and all that comes with it.

They want you to be like them, when Christ is whom we should be like.
They speak with the world’s wisdom, when we should be fools for the sake of our Savior.
They speak about what feels good rather than what is right.
They seek to bring you to their level rather than the LORD’s favor.

Those who act like men only become men and suffer man’s fate.
Those who act like Him, will be more like Him and receive his grace.



What We Want and What We Deserve

Let go of your anger and pride.
Let go of your desire for vengeance.
What happened to the mercy for which you cried?
Wouldn’t you want forgiveness if you offered repentance?

Why do we want justice from others,
but we want patience for ourselves?
Why do we celebrate the punishment of others
only to lament what consequences fall on ourselves?

We are all guilty.
All of us deserve God’s punishment.
Compared to God, we’re all filthy.
If mercy is what we seek, why do we hold onto resentment?

Forgive as you are forgiven.
Give the mercy you were given.



The Helper He Blessed Me With

I was alone.
There was no one to share my pain with.
Whenever I came home,
there was no one to share my joy with. 

I prayed in submission,
finally placing Him in charge of my life.
Then he granted my petition,
and he gave me such a wonderful wife.

She is my helper.
She aides me in sickness and in health.
Her presence has made my life better.
In terms of love and joy, I have so much wealth.

None of this came by any power of my own.
This only happened after I submitted and knelt before his throne.




He came from the Father above.
Born to a virgin in a body of flesh.
He came to show the Father’s love.
He gave us life through his death.

He lived a perfect life, guilty of no wrongdoing.
He trained the 12, who would preach his gospel when he left.
The wisdom of the Father was in every word he was speaking,
And to this day all who hear and believe are blessed.

On the cross, He was raised.
Unbroken and unblemished he died.
When he rose again, the path was paved
for all who couldn’t be forgiven by anything they’d try.

Now stands the commandment of our salvation:
Believe in Him who died for our forgiveness and rose for our justification.

Sonnets for My Savior 20

Sonnets for My Savior 20

Let Me

If I lose every cent,

let me remember it’s meaningless.

If I should lose all that I was sent,

let me count it all as worthless.

For His love is worth more than gold.

His love is better than acclaim.

Instead let me be strong and bold,

and proclaim the name of the Lamb who was slain.

The dead have no pride.

The dead have no treasure.

But for those who believe in Christ who rose after He died,

the life that comes next will be more than mortal man can measure.

So let me let go of this world’s material things,

and give me Jesus, and all the peace that He brings.



Let me be patient and kind.

Keep me from being angry or boastful.

Keep arrogance from my mind.

Do not let me be irritable or resentful.

Change my heart.

Help me stop insisting on my own way.

When others rejoice in wrongdoing, let me be apart.

Rather, let me rejoice in truth this and every day.

For it is written, love bears all things,

believes all things,

hopes all things,

endures all things.

Let me hold on to all the things that demonstrate love,

because love is these things and, first, God above.


Rejoice, Patience, Consistency

In hope, we rejoice.

We thank Him for this, and every day he has made.

Sing to the Lord with a powerful voice.

We are glad, for the price for our sins was paid.

We strive to be patient in our tribulation.

When our cares are many, his consolation cheers our souls.

No matter how dark the situation,

there is nothing beyond His Control.

We work to be constant in prayer.

We should pray without ceasing.

Whether in joy or despair,

our prayers shall be ever increasing.

We hope we display these traits as evidence of our salvation,

which is the gift from the Father of our creation.


Evidence of Salvation

Confess Jesus is Lord with your lips.

Believe God raised him from the dead with your heart.

Fallen is he who fails to come to grips,

with this truth, which is where Salvation starts.

Salvation is the beginning,

and those who have, it have no end.

Far be it for them to keep on sinning,

for those who are truly saved only rise, not descend.

Sanctification is the process

by which one becomes more like Him.

Each time one purges a sin with success,

bears fruit and gives glory in honor of Him.

Confess and believe is all one must do.

Good works and honorable living is proof of His work in you.



They used a lamb without impurity;

His lamb was truly perfect.

They spread the lamb’s blood on the doors for security;

His blood was shed for all of the elect.

They ate the lambs’ flesh until none of it remained;

He gave his body and blood so mankind might be saved.

The early lambs allowed Israel to be unchained;

The last sacrifice was one for all, so we were no longer enslaved.

The early lambs bought freedom from Egypt’s ruler;

The last lamb bought salvation from sins.

Israel killed the early lambs in obedience to the Creator,

but the last was killed through man’s hypocritical whims.

Many lambs were sacrificed to protect one generation;

but Jesus’ perfect blood is all that’s needed for eternal salvation.



Some may utter wisdom;

others may utter knowledge.

These gifts are never random.

To use them to serve His will, we must pledge.

Some may speak various tongues;

others might interpret them.

But whatever breath comes from our lungs,

the Holy Spirit is from whom they stem.

The Spirit apportions to each as he wills.

All gifts serve the body.

We seek to honor God with each of the skills,

for his perfection is what we aspire to embody.

Do not be concerned with how visible the gift might be.

Instead just use them, for God has made you His appointee.



Run the race to win.

Be disciplined in your training.

Exercise away the sin.

For the eternal prize is the only one worth attaining.

Ensure every step has purpose.

Do not be disqualified.

Do not let your work become careless,

lest what you truly work for be denied.

Work to win the prize,

for it will never fade away.

If you fall, simply remember to rise.

Then continue, without letting your heart go astray.

Just as athletes work toward their physical goals,

so should we train for the sake of our souls.

Sonnets for My Savior 10

Sonnets for My Savior 10

The Reward

Praise the Lord, for my quiver is full!

Three arrows, I have in hand.

Let the Lord’s wisdom be a well from which I pull

the knowledge to raise them to obey his command.

Help me teach them diligently.

Let me speak of Your word at all times.

Let Your grace fill me abundantly,

that they won’t fall victim to my crimes.

Help me rejoice in wise sons who are glad

and leave a good inheritance to these boys.

It’s such a blessing to be their dad,

for they bring me so many joys.

They are a heritage from the Lord,

the fruit of a womb, a reward.


The Blessing of Humility

Help us clothe ourselves in humility.

Let us be worthy of Your grace.

If we humble ourselves before the almighty,

He will lift us from disgrace.

Let humility bring us wisdom,

which is found in those who take advice.

Cheerful service should be our only ambition,

and the value of others should more than our own price.

Help us avoid boasting of our strength or riches.

Keep us from acting out of ambition or conceit.

We know a fall come to him who to pride clinches,

and that man will only find defeat.

Honor is for the lowly in spirit,

so listen for God’s call to be humble, and be blessed when you hear it.


What is Better

Martha toils, making preparations;

she works while Mary appears to only rest.

Soon frustration and jealousy become temptations,

and thus she faces a test.

She’s blind to the work she does.

She’s angry she works alone.

She demands of the Lord because,

she wants Him to make Mary atone.

“You are worried and upset about many things,” he said,

“but few things are needed — or indeed only one.”

For Mary’s actions were misread;

for His presence is second to none.

Choose to rest in His salvation,

for that is worth more than any sort of perpetration.


Our Mouths

Let what comes from our mouths be clean;

keep defiling things from spilling out.

Help us seek your word and grant us wisdom to glean

the way to be clean both within and without.

Ceremony does not cleans us,

nor should we make void Your word for the commandments of men.

Be in the front of our minds as we discuss

our actions and thoughts both now and again.

Guard our hearts from evil thoughts;

Deliver us from the temptation of murder, adultery, false witness and slander.

For through you we have received victory over the sins against which we fought,

and through you we have received lives that are grander.

Live in our hearts and keep us pure,

that our mouths might speak clean things that will forever endure.


My Eye

There’s a plank in my eye,

and it won’t let me see

the sin that is inside

that keeps me from serving Thee.

Who cares about the speck in the eyes of others

when my eye is nearly blocked out.

I have no right to judge my brothers

when my own transgressions give me doubt.

I must look within and remove this plank;

then I can see clearly.

For my salvation, I have only You to thank,

and such a gift, I treasure dearly.

Before I judge others, help me to first look within,

for how can I judge, when I am still covered in sin?



Your love is more powerful than death and more enduring than mortal life.

Your love can’t be stolen by angels nor forbidden by rulers.

We remember this, LORD, in times of strife.

We find comfort in this when faced with hecklers.

Your love is more powerful than anything that exists today.

Your love will be more powerful than anything that comes.

We remember this, LORD, come what may.

We find comfort in this because Your love always overcomes.

Your love is greater than any power.

Your love is highest and deepest.

We remember this, LORD, in every hour.

We find comfort in this when our path seems its steepest.

Nothing can separate us from your love in Christ, not any thing.

Because of this truth, LORD, our hearts forever sing.


To Serve

We should not worry what others receive,

for You always grant us what You promise.

For we will be blessed if we believe

and we serve with hearts that are honest.

Your reward is great

and more than we should get.

Let us be happy with our state

rather than grumble over what you give to others and become upset.

It is your right to give to others as you have given to us.

It is good that all can receive your gift.

Help us avoid complaining or making a fuss,

for you’ve paid us fairly no matter the length of our shift.

First or last, let us not worry over where we stand,

Only let us serve You as You command.

Sonnets for My Savior 9

Sonnets for My Savior 9

Trust Him

Trust Him who created all things in seven days.

Trust Him who gave life to man.

Trust Him and His inscrutable ways.

Trust Him, for while we can not, He can.

Trust Him who brought the Israelites out of Egypt.

Trust Him who is always faithful to his servants.

Trust Him who provided the holy scripts.

Trust Him who hears all faithful supplicants.

Trust Him who is our Shepherd we shall not want.

Trust Him who gave up His Son.

Trust Him who is our Heavenly confidant.

Trust Him through whom all battles are won.

Trust him who is sovereign and wise.

Trust Him who’s love endures and never dies.


Follow Him

“Follow me,” He said to Peter and His brother.

“Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

They left their nets to follow Him and no other.

Jesus called them, and He did not have to ask them again.

“Follow me,” He said to the sons of Zebedee.

They left their boat and their father.

He simply said, “Follow me,”

and they obeyed without a bother.

“Follow me,” he said to zealots and tax collectors.

“Follow me,” he said to to the poor and even the rich.

“Follow me,” he says to all of God’s debtors.

If the path we are on is not His, we can turn away; we can switch.

What must we do to escape a life of sin?
He gave us the answer; it is simply to follow Him.


He Provides

When the five thousand were hungry, He gave them food to eat.

Twelves baskets left over, when He only started with five loaves and two fish.

Yet what He feeds our spirits is even more sweet.

It is more filling and more essential than any earthly dish.

How many people did He heal?
How many were blind and then could see?

Did he not care for all who made an appeal?

Did he not perform those acts for free?

Yet something greater He still gave,

on the cross at Calvary.

He died and then rose from the grave,

and the price for sin was paid for you and for me.

Of all the gifts he gave while he walked the earth,

our salvation is the greatest, for it provided our rebirth.


Not Me, But Him

It is not me who works

but him who works through me.

It is him who defeated any evil that lurks

in my heart waiting to entice and corrupt me.

It is not me who stands victorious

but him who defeated evil on the cross.

It is him who is glorious,

and him who can save me from any loss.

It is not me who fights,

but him who uses me to glorify his name.

I am the tool he uses, and my heart delights

to be used, so he might gain the acclaim.

I am not the hero who defeats sin;

the credit for all victory goes only to Him.


How Many Times

How often, Lord, have I sinned against you,

and yet you still forgive me?

How many times have I sought you,

and you received me?

All the sins in my past have been paid for.

All the sins of my present have been paid for.

All the sins I will commit have been paid for.

But please guard me from temptation, so I’ll be a slave to sin no more.

Every time I sin, Lord, I turn away from you.

Help me keep my gaze on you by ensuring I glorify you with all I do.

Every time temptation comes, a way to escape comes from you.

Every time I resist and stand strong, it glorifies you.

Praise you, God, for your merciful ways.

Help me, Lord, to glorify you for all of my days.



Our Father

He gave us life, forming us from dirt and bone.

He provided for us food and rest.

His doors are always open to us, waiting for us to come home.

We may find love in others, but He loves us best.

He protected us and delivered us from persecution.

He corrected us when we went astray.

His is the right of retribution,

but His love for us can turn us back to his way.

His love for us is endless and true.

His gracious gifts are boundless.

In times of trouble, He sees us through.

The times he’s helped us are already countless.

When any think of what a father should do,

let them follow Your example, and seek to be like You.



Your Will

Work through me to accomplish your will

just as you slew Goliath through David.

For to serve you is my greatest thrill,

and I hope my faith in you becomes even more avid.

Just as you worked through Moses to lead the Israelites,

work through me that I might bear you fruit.

When I serve you, my heart ignites,

so please help my service to you be resolute.

Let me bear my cross as Christ bore his.

Let me serve has he did.

Let me be more and more as he is.

Let me avoid sin and resit doing things that you forbid.

Not my will be done, but yours,

for yours is the only will that endures.

Book Review: How to Study the Bible by John MacArthur

Book Review: How to Study the Bible by John MacArthur

(NOTE: As with last week, please don’t worry about the For a Few Credits More review. I simply review things in the order that I finished them, and this was next on the list.  It looks like I’ll review the next story in that anthology in next week.)

Bible studyAfter I finished reading the Bible all the way through, I was happy I’d done it, and I truly felt better, but I didn’t feel wiser. Anyone who just sits and reads the Bible is doing a great thing in any area of study, reading, or literature, but I wanted to understand it.  This is where How to Study the Bible by  John MacArthur comes in.

MacArthur establishes a few prerequisite for the study of the Bible. I understand them in one context, but I’d still challenge anyone to read the Bible all the way through and not be changed by it.  Detractors might say that anyone who reads anything with an affirming mindset will only become more convinced, and those people are correct. I leave these choices to the individual.  If you are saved and open to the Holy Spirit, I do believe you will find more value. I just also feel that anyone who does the same thing I did, read it and see what you learn and feel, will be positively impacted by it.

MacArthur provides a few key aspects that boil down to a concept called hermeneutics, which is the interpretation of the Bible. It’s not what people think. It’s a way to understand the context, language, and syntax used when the Bible was written.  Understanding the audience and the purpose of the information is key to having a greater concept. Reading the Bible isn’t about looking for affirmation to one’s thoughts; it’s about reading the Bible to better understand what it says. Where most people get frustrated with people who carelessly through scripture around, I’d advise others to go to the source interpret what it says rather than look for evidence to what you think.

The basic mechanics of study involves the approach to reading and making sure one understands the aforementioned hermeneutics.  From there, it’s reading with a purpose.

I’m currently trying this.  As early as I can in my day, I read my New Testament section.  I started in Romans because it’s my second favorite book in the Bible. I read it (the whole thing) once a day for thirty days. (I’d say it took about 45 minutes a day.)  One twist I added (because I find making a thing your own increases effectiveness of learning) is I started tracking what Gospel (Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John) Romans connected or cross-referenced with most.  I’m doing this with the John MacArthur English Standard Version Study Bible.  So in the notes, each time I saw a Gospel mentioned, I made a mark.  I did this both in the Bible and on a note pad I kept around.  If you’re curious, Matthew was mentioned more than 16 times (That’s just what I have on my notepad and doesn’t include the totals from the marks I made on the book). Mark was mentioned more than twice. Luke was mentioned more than seven times, and John was referenced more than 19 times. Again, these are just the numbers I have right in front of me.

I also took notes. I tracked words or phrases that come up a bunch of times, just to see if I could identify themes. Matthew won the overall count, so I broke that book of the Bible into chunks of seven. I read Matthew 1-7, and I just finished Matthew 8-14.  As I type this, I’ve just read Matthew 15-21 for the first of 30 times. That’s how this book recommends going through the New Testament. That might be a bit more than I can chew, but I’m torn between wanting to dedicate the time I read and the amount I read with how intently I can read it. I have pages of notes on Romans, and not so much on Matthew. I am reading it, and a lot is sticking. I also find the Epistles a bit easier as they’re clear messages rather than narratives as the Gospels are. Still, I read what I committed to reading and try to hold on to what I read (The repetition of 30 times helps).

The end of the night is for my Old Testament reading. That’s just starting at Genesis 1:1 and working through it. I read about a chapter a day there.

What I’ve discovered is pretty cool.  Doing this, I see a the connections. Many argue the Old and New Testaments conflict.  There’s a reason for that. Jesus came to further explain and uphold the law (Matthew 5:17-20). One thing Jesus did was com and separate a legalistic, ceremonial sense of justification from the real source of salvation (his death on the cross and resurrection).  But we see other things. As I read about Rahab, I found Matthew 1:1, and realized, “Hey! That’s the same woman from the Old Testament!” Those connections are simply astounding. And, the conflicts are resolved when one has the context for it.

I guess I’m going to digress here because this was a major sticking point in my growth with Christ. The Pharisees and Sadducees had started to rely on the Law and ceremony. They’d become hypocritical.  Jesus quotes the Old Testament at least once a chapter. The Law is still the Law, but through Christ we have Grace. Through the Law, we are condemned. We need the law to understand how impossible our salvation is on our own.

Christ helped us better understand the law and how we are to act individually and with each other. (The sermon on the mount is pretty much all about that. Matthew Chapter 5-7.)

Reading the Old with the New makes it easier to understand the context of the law and appreciate the grace God gave us through his son Jesus Christ.

I have a few other plans regarding how I’ll read and study the Bible. My intent is to read it again and again. The trick is, I want to look at it in every way I can, seeking to understand what it says more than evaluate how I feel about it or what it means to me. This is something people do too often. First, Word of God is our Sword of the Spirit. We use it to fight temptation and stand strong. In terms of apologetics,


we use it to understand context. I’m wary of those who use it to attack a brother. I have a plank in my eye, I don’t have time to look for the speck in my brother’s eye (Matthew


I’m not saying any time someone quotes scripture at you, they’re being a hypocrite. But the spirit of why one is doing something matters.

I’m thrilled with this book and the approach it offers. If you’ve read the Bible, and it doesn’t make a ton of sense, I wouldn’t stop there and say, “It’s not real.”  First off, the Bible isn’t like a story to read (It can be, but that’s the lowest use of it).  It’s a manual. It’s a reference book. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have a single text book I’ve read once through and considered myself a master at the subject.  But to study anything effectively, one needs a study approach, and this one is really giving me more insight.


Thanks for reading,


Sonnets for My Savior 5

Sonnets for My Savior 5

A Family Under God

Let husbands love their wives with a sacrificial love;

let husbands love their wives as they love themselves.

Let wives respect their husbands as heads just as the Lord is head above;

let your scripture be the source for guidance into which the family delves.

Let children be obedient and honor their parents;

let them be raised in the Lord’s discipline and instruction.

Let Your word and Your teachings be parents’ primary arguments

to guide them to a life free from the evil one’s seduction.

Let family members bear with each other and forgive

just as the Lord has forgiven us.

Let their worship for You outlive

any personal distrusts.

Let families live only in accordance to Your will,

so that love and blessings from their hearts overfill.



Let us give thanks to the Lord with all of our hearts

and proclaim all of His wonderful deeds.

We owe all we have to Him who gives all one needs;

We know that once You have one’s soul, from You it never departs.

He is our rock and our salvation,

so let us always keep him near.

His presence means we need not fear

the curse of eternal damnation.

He grants us our strength and makes us strong,

and to His people He gives peace.

We give thanks to the God from whom all things flow.

He has passed over the sins we have committed, indeed every wrong.

Through him we receive a release

and await the new lives he will, eventually, bestow.


An End to Suffering

We pray for Your day to come fast,

for that day, You will wipe the tears from our eyes,

and death will no longer last.

Mourning, crying, and pain will cease on the day You arise.

Even if we suffer for a time,

we rejoice despite the pain

because the age to come will be sublime.

Therefore our endurance is not in vain.

From the character endurance breeds comes hope,

and hope does not put us to shame.

Even if we feel we can’t cope,

we will put our trust in Your holy name

We await Your return eagerly,

for on that day, from suffering we will be free.



Oh gracious God, You keep Your ears open for our supplications.

Your love is steadfast with those who love You and keep Your commandments.

You are faithful and provide ways to escape our temptations.

You provide for us and heal us from our ailments.

When we seek You with all our hearts, we find you.

When we come and pray to You, You hear.

Let us hold fast to our hope, for when You make a promise, You always come through.

We exalt You, Lord, for to us You are dear.

In times of temptation, we take heart in Your son.

Even if some are unfaithful, your faithfulness remains.

Even when we suffer, we trust in your will, which will always be done.

We were trapped in sin, and You have broken our chains.

Thank you for being merciful and true

and we give thanks for all the glorious things you do.


Trust in Your Wisdom

Your Wisdom is pure;

Your judgements are unsearchable.

Though we may doubt, you are always sure.

The depths of your knowledge are unmeasurable.

Fear of You is the beginning of knowledge;

to shun evil is understanding.

In times of sadness, let us pledge

to offer You praise that is abounding.

Should we encounter disappointment,

let us see it as an opportunity

to glorify your sovereign judgement

and conduct ourselves with dignity.

Any one can praise You in times of gladness,

but blessed are those who praise You even in times of sadness.



We know it isn’t enough to know.

Our fathers and ceremonies are not what count.

With all we do, we are held to account,

and we will reap what we sow.

You, Lord, measure our heart,

so the rule of law is not where our salvation lies.

Any person who relies on himself dies,

but those who put their faith in Christ are held apart.

Those who do the law are justified;

righteousness doesn’t come from listening.

Even those who haven’t heard it can be a law to themselves if they do what is required.

Those who know the law but break it show themselves falsified.

The disobedient will find the obedient condemning.

For those who receive grace through faith are the ones who are desired.


Call Me

Here I sit in my iniquity;

call me please, so with You I may sit.

To claim not to need You is fatuity.

I am a sinner, so to You I submit.

I am sick;

You are the only physician who can heal me.

Rebuild me, Lord, brick by brick,

and leave my transgressions in the debris.

I listen for Your call,

for I can not escape my sin.

Let me hear You before I fall,

for there is nothing good in my skin.

The table of tax collectors and sinners is where I should be,

so please sit with us and share the truth that sets us free.