Love is a term that many people use without meaning or purpose and sometimes it is assigned the wrong definition. God is love and His love toward His elect is a decisive action unto their eternal life, redemption, forgiveness, etc. I want to encourage you to think on this Love of God this year… this day… right now.
There is never a day when I don’t have some sense of a spiritual struggle. Even in the best of days, the enemy is at work, my flesh enjoys the ride, and the Spirit within is at war. Thankfully, I don’t have to come to rest in my struggle in order to be assured and secure in Christ; he’s done that work in my place. But there are many things that I have noticed cause a worse struggle within, namely, some of the things I put into my mind at times…
There is no room for a “close” gospel, and according to Paul in Galatians, any iteration of the gospel that is not pure on both sides is a false gospel. Therefore, those who hold as their hope these nuanced gospels are to be understood as having not been converted as they do not have the truth.
The bible and the brethren are essential “legs” of the Christian’s life. Without ONE of these, there is no real or tangible way that any believer will be healthy and growing. Think about this for a minute, and remember, these thoughts are for your perusal, for your thinking… are you listening?
Evangelism is the PURPOSE of most religious groups in the world. The Christian faith surely should be actively involved in reaching God’s lost sheep with the gospel of grace. But the methods employed most of the time are not necessarily good or effective. What does Scripture say? This brief thought is just to jar our minds and get us thinking as we look to the future of this topic. We can either trust God’s word or we can’t. That is the simple truth of evangelism.
Reading books is something I LOVE. And for the longest time, I hated reading anything but Scripture… or comic books as a kid. (And the season read through of encyclopedia sets). OK, I have always loved to read, but only what I loved to read. To the point. I get questions related to what books Christians should be reading nearly every week. So, my thoughts, in brief, is that we should be reading the Bible more than anything else. If I spend an hour reading other material (even about Scripture), I should be reading the bible three times longer.
Four years ago this week my eldest daughter, for an academic project, needed to interview someone relating to their profession. She chose to ask me a series of questions relating to my life as a pastor. Having been reminded of this today I read back through my answers and the answer to this question is necessary for many who are in the ministry of shepherding these days. I have already made the distinction of a pastor/shepherd and just a teacher/preacher. The first does the second but not all who do the latter are called to the first. This answer was given to a 16-year-old girl who has always been fascinated by the work of the Lord in our lives, and moreover, His providence in the times of great hardship.
How has being a pastor affected your life? Well, it has made my life hard. Ministry for the average “church” is just a list of things done and programs practiced, but for me it has been different. Having pastored churches of over 2000 members as well as churches of 40 members, God has allowed me to see one continual stream through it all: suffering. In suffering God is made brighter because I have not been able to qualify any success in ministry by my wisdom or hands. So, at many times pastoring is a lonely place, even though we are surrounding continually by people, the burden is difficult to express and in some ways, unnecessary. Many pastors will lie and say, “It’s a big ball of fun..” But it isn’t, it is gloriously satisfying but gravely burdensome. So, to simply put it, pastoring has allowed me to see that my life is not mine, but it is God’s and He has given it away to others for His name’s sake. This gives me great satisfaction.
This, among other things, is a great reminder and glimpse at the nature of the cross work of Christ, the continued work of laboring as Paul and the Apostles did for the sheep of Christ. We will suffer and we will suffer well.
 And when they came to him, he said to them: “You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia,  serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews;  how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house,  testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.  And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there,  except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me.  But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. (Acts 20:18–24)
I’ve got the Joy Joy Joy… well, somewhere!
Joy is often difficult to find in the midst of trials. Christ is our joy, He doesn’t just “bring” our joy and even when we can’t find it, see it or feel it, it is there because the Promises of Christ of Christ is there.
“The Joy of the Lord is our Strength.”
You are Justified in Christ.
Justification comes with two distinct partitions: That the sinner is forgiven (pardoned) and that he is given a new credit to his account: righteousness! This righteousness is NEVER his to claim but always the glory of Christ’s perfection!
“Just get it right why don’t you…”