Breathe

The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.
Job 33:4 ESV

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
1 Corinthians 6:19‭-‬20 ESV

Michael W. Smith released “Breathe” in 2001 that was written by songwriters Liam Howe, Tahliah Barnett, and Timmaz Zolleyn. With lyrics like “I’m desperate for you”, “Your holy presence living in me”, and “Your very word spoken to me” — it’s clear that this song is about something much deeper than church attendance, quoting scripture and following a moral compass for day to day living.

This song is about intimacy with God. It is about an abiding relationship that generates a fire in our bones and a thirst for closeness with our bridegroom, Christ Jesus.

That might sound very odd and peculiar to both the rigid religious practitioner and the wild lost rebel, but that is what sets The Way apart from “religions”. Others might choose wise men with wise words and advice that are long ago dead and turned to lifeless dust in the ground — but our Lord not only overcame death and sin and rose again in both body and spirit — He lives in us. Not just metaphorically in our memories (like a lost friend or relative), but truly as a companion, teacher, and a close friend.

I don’t ask you to join my religious organization. I don’t ask you to send your money. I don’t ask you to abide by my guidelines. I don’t even ask you to call me teacher. I’m telling you about THE TEACHER that you can know for yourself personally and closely and intimately. I’m telling you about a breath of life that can be breathed into you by Almighty God to bring you into a life abundant with the fruit of His Spirit that tastes of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. I’m telling you about a miracle where men and women are born again to lives of purpose, of service, of building up and encouraging others instead of tearing them down — and a life free from shame and guilt and treating their own selves down anymore.

Yes, it sounds crazy at face value. What’s the angle? Where’s the catch? What is this fool trying to sell me? What is He going to ask me to do?

It is free. Free free free free.

I know you hear that from commercials and advertisements these days and or is always a lie and a marketing attempt to eventually separate you from your money or your time.

I’m not here to convince you. I’m just here to tell you that it is true. I know what Jesus has done for me, and I just have to celebrate and praise Him for it. I know some might hear and believe and be changed, and I know that some will refuse, and that’s between you and God.

I just have to praise and worship, and if you want to listen, sing along, or join me in worship — deep, personal intimate worship of the Lord God Almighty who is worthy of praise and honor and glory — you choose to do what you are drawn to do. God bless you and yours, and glory be to God! Amen!

Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, Thus says the Lord God : Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.” So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.
Ezekiel 37:9‭-‬10 ESV

Have we been “Free Fallin”?

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
1 Corinthians 9:24‭-‬27 ESV

Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne wrote “Free Fallin'” in two days to go onto Tom Petty’s debut album Full Moon Fever, that was released in 1989. The song is full of references to areas of Los Angeles, California — so it is fitting that one of my favorite singing buddies from California would be a great choice to collaborate with on this cover, James Pittman.

I think that it’s an especially interesting song lyrically — in that even though it describes the “bad boy” and the “good girl” in the song — Petty tells when asked about the song’s development and meaning — that it isn’t about a certain person or story per se, but was written about what he saw along his commute every day.

In this time while most people’s “normal lives” have been changed and impacted, one of the greatest benefits to this situation is that “normal life” has been interrupted for most of us. And we might each benefit from having time to pause and ponder and appreciate so many “common blessings” that we encounter regularly every day.

I wonder how many of us can admit that at times we are just “free falling” through the days — without real intention or purpose or appreciation — just “making it through”. I also wonder if circumstances like we are seeing around us today might give us a more clear and present opportunity to be aware of this.

I wonder how many of us in our complacency and our “free fallin'” might have broken the hearts and dreams of those around us — not even consciously or maliciously or intentionally — but by our indifference and lack of encouraging, lifting up, and supporting those around us? I can at times be overly critical and set high expectations on those around me and hurt them unintentionally just by my attitude and perspective towards them. But when I contemplate such shortcomings, and I pray about them, and when I am purposeful and conscious of those old traps instead of just free falling through my life — I might find myself willing to be the brokenhearted good girl instead.

The good girl loves. Do you hear that in the lyrics? Repeatedly it tells us she LOVES. She loves Jesus. She loves America too. And horses. And her boyfriend too. She loves. Isn’t that the key difference?

I hope someone might enjoy this cover. It isn’t for money or profit, because I’m just a bad boy trying to be more like that good girl who is in love with Jesus and America. I’m not a professional or trained singer or artist or entertainer. If I’m anything by name or title, I’m a Follower of The Way and a Student of the Word. I’m lucky enough to have been awakened from my free fall through life by an encounter with Jesus Christ that changed my whole life. And now that I’m awake, I’m just like a voice crying out and singing out through the night — trying to lift up the name of Jesus and see who else is waking up from that free falling. Yes, we are look more like the bad boy if we are honest with ourselves — but what a wonderful thought that we have a hope for something that is completely different.

God bless you to be a blessing to those around you. Amen!

Poses No Threat?

This picture seemed immediately to me to be a commentary on the Coronavirus. There are plenty of people griping and complaining about the inconveniences. And plenty of people ignoring requests and recommendations by government officials. Plenty of people wearing thin foil hats and crying out “conspiracy” and doing everything they can to resist whatever is recommended as the safe and reasonable thing to do. I’ve even seen “church people” talking bad about “How some churches are closing their doors!” Or about “The government can’t close our churches, that’s unconstitutional!” And it’s always from the standpoint of “my rights” and “what I want”.

I can tell you that attitude isn’t fruit of the Holy Spirit:

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
Galatians 5:22‭-‬23 NLT

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
1 Corinthians 13:4‭-‬7 NLT

Shouldn’t we ask ourselves before spewing out grumbling and complaining and bitterness where that is all coming from? Is it that our words are in agreement with the Word of God that I posted above that clearly define the spirit of God and the fruit that it produces? Or could it be that — instead of trusting God — we have come into agreement with the Accuser, that enemy of God, and that our grumbling and complaining against others is actually our complaining against God?

It’s a pretty important question — where your attitude, your mood, your perspective, your “spirit” is sourced from. And we should all take the time to ask whether the fountain welling up inside us is fresh, nourishing water that brings life to those around us — or whether it is bitter and poisonous and deadly.

Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen. You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near. Don’t grumble about each other, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. For look—the Judge is standing at the door! For examples of patience in suffering, dear brothers and sisters, look at the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. We give great honor to those who endure under suffering. For instance, you know about Job, a man of great endurance. You can see how the Lord was kind to him at the end, for the Lord is full of tenderness and mercy.
James 5:7‭-‬11 NLT

See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people. Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:15‭-‬18 NLT

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord , my rock and my redeemer.
Psalms 19:14 NLT

Lord, help us to be mindful of what seed is being sown by our words and whether we are speaking life or speaking death. Help us to not only be willing to suffer for our own eventual gain, because even wicked and greedy investors know how to make a small sacrifice in the short term for a large personal gain later! But Lord, give us a heart that is willing to be inconvenienced for the sake of others. Give us a heart to avoid things and actions and words that might be a hindrance to others. Help us to avoid sinfulness and temptation, not because our own wickedness or righteousness in itself has any bearing on our own salvation/damnation or reward/punishment — but because our example might either lift up or tear down our brothers and sisters. You did not die on the cross for your own gain, because you are God and have need of nothing. You suffered and died for our benefit. Help us to follow in this way, Lord. Amen.

I Say This Because…

As you read the next verse,  expect it to provoke a reaction in your heart and mind:

I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
Jude 1:4 NLT

Did you:

A) Defiantly get offended that something written so long ago by self-righteous hypocrites has anything to say about what is moral or immoral today

B) Proudly think to yourself, “Yeah, THOSE PEOPLE….” and immediately build a list of people in your mind whose sins you know fit this verse

C) Fearfully consider your own sinfulness and imperfections and wonder if your own giving in to temptation is any reflection of your having either fully accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior truly in your heart — or if those things might be evidence that you have said “Christian things” with your mouth but denied Him in your heart and need to repent and turn back to Him

D) Humbly realize your own perfections and shortcomings that you deal with daily,  but confidently and boldly stand on the truth that we must be “Holy as He is holy” and trust God to make this true in every area of our lives by His power, not just by our own efforts

Or maybe you have a different reaction, or even a combination of the above. The first word in each of those choices tells you what perspective those are coming from. Our “perspective”, “mood”, “spirit”, or whatever you would like to call it for the sake of this discussion is going to greatly influence how you “receive” the communication of this verse. And knowing your own state of mind is valuable.

I’m asking you right now to essentially step outside of your privileged biases and circumstances and mood — and to consider what “flavored” your reading of the scripture. Consider how much defiance, or pride,  or fear,  or humility may have played into how you received the message. And if you understand what I’m saying about how that might influence your perspective — can you accept that there are many other perspectives, moods, biases,  or spirits “whispering in your ear” while you read or hear or see something that might influence how you “receive” things from the world around you?

Be honest with yourself.

Are you defiant and quick to be offended by things around you? Quick to either dismiss or attack or grumble about anything that doesn’t fit “your way”?

Do you have high expectations of what other people “should” be or do? Are you critical and judgemental of others?

Does fear have influence on your decisions? Do you face the unknown by making great preparations, stockpiling, and anxiously contemplating what “might” happen and “what dangers lie ahead”?

Do you have a right balance of humility about your own abilities, even while trusting fully ands boldly in God’s promises?

All of us at different times might be in these different places, so don’t consider this a time to retreat in shame because you aren’t where you think I’m telling you that you “should be”. We are where God has us right now for a reason. The question is, are you taking the time to look at yourself “spiritually” to know where you are? If you are in a defiant, proud, fearful, humble, or other place/mood/Spirit/perspective — do you know this and consider this when facing messages that are coming to you through TV, radio, Internet, friends, coworkers, etc.? Can you see how this might “flavor” and bias not only your receipt of the message, but your response/reaction?

So here is our opportunity. I used our reaction to the verse to show us something hopefully deep and introspective about the verse and how we received it. Which in turn showed us something that we might be mindful about in our day to day activities. This can be a helpful exercise to better receive, respond and react wisely. However, this verse is not primarily about YOU.

No, the wisdom and insight that we are touching upon from just a piece of this verse is chock full and overflowing in the Word of God, because it is all central to revealing God and His ways to us. This verse is not about you are me, but is about Him.

The verse is about “God’s marvelous grace”. This message of Jesus Christ has been sent to us all, clear and perfect and beautiful and wise and helpful and full of love. But perspective/mood/spirit can either serve as blinders, as a veil, as a twisted and warped glass through which to receive the message — or healthy eyes and ears and heart to see, hear, and understand. This verse is about His grace being the substantive Truth, the One Way, One Truth, One Life that IS, regardless of the opinions, perspectives, or biases of people.

That Truth of His grace is not malleable into whatever people want to twist it into. It is not a respecter of our personal perspective, mood, or bias. We cannot twist it around to fit us, we are either torn down and rebuilt to confirm to it by falling upon the rock in repentance, or one day that rock will eventually fall upon us. That may sound like a hard or harsh truth if you aren’t ready to hear that, but nonetheless, it is true.

If you consider yourself a Christian, it is important to consider reading the book of Jude, even the whole Bible and consider whether you will let it change you to be more conformed to the image of Christ — or whether you have chosen that this verse IS about you and isn’t about Christ. There are only two characters in this verse — hell bound sinners, and Christ Jesus. May we find Him and His grace while there is still time. Amen.

On Time? Or Too Late?

Two passages caught my eye tonight. One from the old testament and one from the new. And I have marked in bold the verse in each that I found critical to my contemplation tonight:

“Then you answered me, ‘We have sinned against the Lord . We ourselves will go up and fight, just as the Lord our God commanded us.’ And every one of you fastened on his weapons of war and thought it easy to go up into the hill country. And the Lord said to me, ‘Say to them, Do not go up or fight, for I am not in your midst, lest you be defeated before your enemies.’ So I spoke to you, and you would not listen; but you rebelled against the command of the Lord and presumptuously went up into the hill country. Then the Amorites who lived in that hill country came out against you and chased you as bees do and beat you down in Seir as far as Hormah. And you returned and wept before the Lord , but the Lord did not listen to your voice or give ear to you.
Deuteronomy 1:41‭-‬45 ESV

On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry. And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. And he said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it.
Mark 11:12‭-‬14 ESV

In the passage in Deuteronomy, we see that even though they “wept before the Lord” that the Lord didn’t listen. And we see that when the Lord found the fig tree with no figs that He cursed it.

These two passages immediately bring to mind the passage in Hebrews 12 about Esau:

Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.
Hebrews 12:14‭-‬17 ESV

And this passage from Isaiah:

Seek the Lord while you can find him. Call on him now while he is near.
Isaiah 55:6 NLT

What a fearful thought, to be “too late” — to not be prepared and ready when the time comes. Just consider the imagery in Matthew 25 on this topic:

“Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten bridesmaids who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. The five who were foolish didn’t take enough olive oil for their lamps, but the other five were wise enough to take along extra oil. When the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep. “At midnight they were roused by the shout, ‘Look, the bridegroom is coming! Come out and meet him!’ “All the bridesmaids got up and prepared their lamps. Then the five foolish ones asked the others, ‘Please give us some of your oil because our lamps are going out.’ “But the others replied, ‘We don’t have enough for all of us. Go to a shop and buy some for yourselves.’ “But while they were gone to buy oil, the bridegroom came. Then those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was locked. Later, when the other five bridesmaids returned, they stood outside, calling, ‘Lord! Lord! Open the door for us!’ “But he called back, ‘Believe me, I don’t know you!’ “So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return.
Matthew 25:1‭-‬13 NLT

I have a large cross that I carried walking the roads on several Good Fridays years ago that simply reads in blood red letters “ARE U READY” on a black cross that I would strap to my back and carry across town. It sits at the end of my driveway so that passersby might see it and contemplate the importance of NOW of TODAY.

I wonder how many days I ignore that message on the cross as I pass by it because I have become familiar with it sitting at the end of my driveway?

I wonder how many of us Christians have become shamefully ignorant of the importance of today’s opportunities to live in fear and trembling and awe and wonder of our mighty God who saves?

“ARE U READY” I should ask myself!!!

We should each ask ourselves what have I done purposefully and intentionally and sacrificial and joyful today that glorified and lifted up the name of Jesus so that He might draw all to Himself?

The beauty is that we have the opportunity right now to confess our sins, to believe upon Jesus Christ who not only died on the cross, but rose from the dead and sits at the right hand of God offering us mercy, forgiveness, and renewal to follow in The Way and to be conformed to the image and nature and character of God by ther power of the Holy Spirit!

Lord, light that fire in our hearts that you will never let go out. Overcome our shortcomings by the all sufficient power of the Blood of the Lamb. Finish this mighty work you have started in us, and prove yourself and the power of your name by leading us along the path that has our anointing oil overflowing and the fruit of your Holy Spirit rose ands abundant in the branches of our lives. Amen.

Share What You Have

Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. Hebrews 13:16 ESV

I want to look at the statement “Share What You Have” today. I try through my website, YouTube, and other channels to share what I have. At times, the enemy will try to discourage me from sharing by telling me it isn’t good enough, etc. Sometimes it comes through discouraging comments made by others about what I am doing, and sometimes it is just thoughts that come to mind.

But I’m learning to be content with “sharing what I have”. Whether it is the little bit of cash left in my wallet when a deaf man approaches me in a parking lot — or whether it is sharing what insight I can glean from the scriptures for application in my own life — or whether it is sharing heartfelt worship in song — I can only bring what I have to offer. And the truth is that the most spotless sacrifice I could ever try and lift up is never going to be as perfect as the Lamb of God, as Jesus Christ on the cross for you and me.

The point in all of this is that we shouldn’t be discouraged by our best not being as good or as polished as what someone else might lift up. We can’t let comparison hinder us from “sharing what we have”. Earlier this week, the neighbors were over and the kids were playing in the back yard while us parents chatted. And my grandmother who has Alzheimers and lives with us came outside to spend some time on the back porch with us. She gave each of the three children a quarter and a dime. And even though the children knew that it might not buy them much, that didn’t matter at all in that moment. This sweet gesture from a sweet woman that at times battles against the negative thoughts of dementia “shared what she had” and it was a beautiful moment.

Jesus sat down near the collection box in the Temple and watched as the crowds dropped in their money. Many rich people put in large amounts. Then a poor widow came and dropped in two small coins. Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions. For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.”
Mark 12:41‭-‬44 NLT

There are people in the world that need different things. Some need food. Some need shelter and clothing. Some need help through their grieving. Some need encouragement in the midst of their hopelessness. Some need an outpouring of undeserved love to rescue them from their bitterness and unforgiveness. There are all kinds of things people need. And our choices, what we will do and say today will influence their lives.

No, we don’t always get this right. And no, we don’t always realize the impact of our either “sharing what we have” or “withholding it” (for whatever reason our minds have justified to us) has on the environment around us. But our willingness or unwillingness doesn’t even just change or environment — but it either softens our hardens our own heart towards the spirit of God — towards love for our fellow man.

This week I have watched people reacting to the Coronavirus in very different ways. Some people have been hoarding for themselves, and grumbling and complaining about the inconvenience to themselves of precautions being taken to protect the weak. While some people have looked at the precautions from a perspective of willing and eager sacrifice on the chance that it might help the weak and the vulnerable. And I have faced the decisions myself — do I buy more toilet paper than we need or just buy the one pack we actually need. Can I offer help to families who might struggle tho make ends meet as businesses and schools close, etc. Will I see things as “us vs them” or as “we” and will I “share what I have” willingly and eagerly — and out of love not pity or “proud charity”.

Lord, help us all in these areas.

Amazing Grace

I know the prodigal sinner’s path because I have walked it — and seemingly looked under every stone along the way and loved clinging to the filth I could find along its path — “UNTIL”.

I understand that not everyone has had that “UNTIL” yet in their lives. I realize that it is that encounter with God’s “Amazing Grace” that changes men and not some decision to act religious or “do right” on their own. And this is why I can neither look down upon the sinner who is my brother, nor take any glory for any saint-like actions that might shine through in my life that is truly the work of God’s Amazing Grace. I don’t sing and praise so that I might convince you to “convert” or “become religious” because that might have you just as evil ands wicked as so many self-righteous religious hypocrites out there that are twice the devils as a swindler or crook or murderer.

No, I tell you because it is truly Amazing! And He might just draw you to Himself as He has drawn me, and you might know the freedom and mercy and love and joy of His “Amazing Grace” too.


Written almost 250 years ago, the song Amazing Grace was written by a man who grew up without any religious conviction, was known for his “recalcitrant insubordination”, and was a slave trader until he called out to God for mercy in a violent storm at sea.

He went on from that old life to be and ordained preacher in the Church of England. Having fully known the beautiful intertwining of sinner and saint that can only be produced by the work of God’s redeeming grace revealed through Jesus Christ — he wrote Amazing Grace to illustrate a sermon for New Year’s day 1773. In 1835, American composer William Walker set it to the tune known as “New Britain” and this is the version most frequently sung today.

Wikipedia has this to say about this quarter century old hymn:

With the message that forgiveness and redemption are possible regardless of sins committed and that the soul can be delivered from despair through the mercy of God, “Amazing Grace” is one of the most recognisable songs in the English-speaking world.

‐————–

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Ephesians 2:8‭-‬10 NLT

From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another.
John 1:16 NLT

“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.
John 3:16‭-‬17 NLT

Who has believed our message? To whom has the Lord revealed his powerful arm? My servant grew up in the Lord ’s presence like a tender green shoot, like a root in dry ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him. He was despised and rejected— a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all. He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. Unjustly condemned, he was led away. No one cared that he died without descendants, that his life was cut short in midstream. But he was struck down for the rebellion of my people. He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man’s grave. But it was the Lord ’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants. He will enjoy a long life, and the Lord ’s good plan will prosper in his hands. When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins. I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier, because he exposed himself to death. He was counted among the rebels. He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels.
Isaiah 53:1‭-‬12 NLT

“I don’t know whether he is a sinner,” the man replied. “But I know this: I was blind, and now I can see!”
John 9:25 NLT

When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God. When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. Yes, people sinned even before the law was given. But it was not counted as sin because there was not yet any law to break. Still, everyone died—from the time of Adam to the time of Moses—even those who did not disobey an explicit commandment of God, as Adam did. Now Adam is a symbol, a representation of Christ, who was yet to come. But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ. And the result of God’s gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man’s sin. For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins. For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ. Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous. God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant. So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans 5:6‭-‬21 NLT

She Sleeps Peacefully

I remember bringing her home for the first time
Watching every car and every sign
Driving so slow and taking my time
Mindful of every bump in the road

And listening to her sleep peacefully at night
And being in awe of this precious gift
I wonder how I might ever live up to the task

I sure don’t want to let her down
I sure don’t want to fail
There is so much at stake in her sweet little life
There is so much that she’ll have to face

I remember that first time I sat up straight in bed
Not hearing her cry in her bassinet by the bed
Afraid that she needed me and I wasn’t there
Realizing it was all in my head

And listening to her sleep peacefully at night
And being in awe of this precious gift
I wonder how I might ever live up to the task

I sure don’t want to let her down
I sure don’t want to fail
There is so much at stake in her sweet little life
There is so much that she’ll have to face

I remember the first time we camped in a tent
Our start to campfires, smores, and stars in the sky
We laughed, we played, we sang aloud
And watched our breath like fog in the air

And listening to her sleep peacefully at night
And being in awe of this precious gift
I wonder how I might ever live up to the task

I sure don’t want to let her down
I sure don’t want to fail
There is so much at stake in her sweet little life
There is so much that she’ll have to face

I remember that first dance, her dressed like a princess

Beautiful, graceful, smart kind and sweet

A wonderful treasure in her daddy’s eyes
Smiling, laughing, swaying to music late into the night

Then listening to her sleep peacefully at night
And being in awe of this precious gift
I wonder how I might ever live up to the task

I sure don’t want to let her down
I sure don’t want to fail
There is so much at stake in her sweet little life
There is so much that she’ll have to face

I remember our trips building memories together
Seeing new sites, towns and folk
Walking, running, and playing pretend together
Until the fun of the day had us spent

And listening to her sleep peacefully at night
And being in awe of this precious gift
I wonder how I might ever live up to the task

I sure don’t want to let her down
I sure don’t want to fail
There is so much at stake in her sweet little life
There is so much that she’ll have to face

Today is the day she’ll wear the white dress
And I’ll walk her down that long isle
In truth I’ve dreaded this moment ever since her birth
I don’t know how strong I’ll need to be

But I have been blessed with this daughter of mine
Who is so precious that everyone can see
It’s no wonder she caught the eye of some sweet young boy
But I doubt he can love her like me

Will he listen to her sleep peacefully at night?
Be in awe of this precious gift?
I pray that he might live up to the task

Please don’t let us let her down
Please don’t allow her fail
Lord, there is so much at stake in their sweet new life
There is so much that they’ll have to face

There’s a new little girl that we met just today
Snuggled against my girl’s chest
I see that same look in my son in laws eyes
That I knew not so long ago myself

He’ll listen to her sleep peacefully tonight
And be in awe of this precious gift
And he’ll wonder how he might ever live up to the task

He sure doesn’t want to let her down
He sure doesn’t want to fail
There is so much at stake in her sweet little life
There is so much that she’ll have to face

——————

Original lyrics by Harold “Hop” Ballinger

Morning Confession

We confess this morning that we have fallen short of your perfect holiness and that we have sinned against you, Lord. We confess that our desires, that our emotions, that our doubts, that temptation, that the distractions of this dark world have led us astray from the perfect, narrow path by your side to fall into sin in our thoughts, words, actions, and disobedience. Lord, we repent from our own willful and prideful disobedience to surrender to your will and your way. We know that your forgiveness is available, and that your Blood on the Cross is sufficient to wash us clean from all unrighteousness. We know that this forgiveness is not there so that we could just continue in our own wicked ways, but so that we will be convicted in our hearts by your Word, by your holiness, by your grace and mercy towards us — so that we will gratefully and wisely and humbly follow you along the narrow path. Lord, give us your strength, write your lessons upon our hearts, place your armor of light upon us to protect us and guide us through what the days have to bring. Remind us that the time draws short and that we have a purpose and a calling today and now. Remind us that your resurrection from the tomb is a lasting sign and testament to the resurrection and everlasting life that lies ahead for those you have called and revealed yourself to, and who know you, and love you, and abide in your presence. We do not deserve such amazing things because of anything we have done ourselves — even our faith and our repentance is a gift from you. You blind carnal eyes set on a road to destruction, and restore spiritual eyes to lead us instead on that prodigal’s road back to you. Lord, see us through to the end for the glory and honor of your Holy Name. In Jesus name we ask such amazing ands awesome things of you, Amen.

Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
Romans 13:11‭-‬14 ESV
https://bible.com/bible/59/rom.13.11-14.ESV

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
1 John 1:5‭-‬10 ESV
https://bible.com/bible/59/1jn.1.5-10.ESV

Valentine

Valentine

So the late middle English speaks of “valentine” as “a person chosen” as a “special friend”.

This reminds me immediately of John 15:15-17 where He says “I chose you” and “I have called you friends”.

I hope this Valentine’s Day that you know Jesus Christ as your valentine. As much as I love my wife ands she loves me — He is the better valentine to both of us. We fall short and we let each other down at times, but He is always faithful and true.

Today, our family knows that He is our first love, and we are so much richer for it, and our love for each other is so much deeper, wider, fuller and abundant because of it.

Thank you, Jesus. Help us always remember. And remember us on that day, for your name’s sake. Amen.