Saturday, July 28, 2012


Why is there suffering in this world? There is one answer that sheds light on this topic very easily. That answer is sin. I am NOT saying that you suffer because of a direct sin that you have done. This could be the case with certain sins, ie. murder, theft, or other such things, you will suffer punishment from earthy powers. However, all suffering is the direct result of the sin that permeates our lives and world. As Christians we need to try to combat sin through the righteousness that has been imputed to us through Christ's work on the cross. We oftentimes hear the phrase, "but they are such a good person" or "what did they do to deserve such suffering?" These statements are not true anyway. I was recently listening to a song by KB and it brought about these thoughts. It said, "Why do the good always suffer and die, they don't, that only happened once." That simple statement has caused me to think deeply the past few days. There has only ever been one good person to live upon this earth. Since that is the case, there are never any "good" people that suffer here on this earth. We only suffer because of the effects that sin has had upon our world, yet, the only reason that sin exists in this world is due to our direct disobedience to the command of God. Therefore, because of the sin that we have brought into the world, we suffer.
Yet, suffering is not always a bad thing. Yes, sometimes it can be very painful and very hard to go through. But would we rather say to God that we wished our life was easy and knew and trusted him little? This rather than to suffer some in this world to be enlightened with the mercy and grace that God has shown to us and to know the great mercy he shows to us daily, to learn how to trust God in everything that we do. Because of the way that God has shown throughout the history of the world that when, the church as a whole  or individual Christians, we suffer we grow by amazing leaps and bounds. The church throughout the world has grown in persecuted countries, while here in America the numbers grow while the church does not. I do not mean by church a building and amount of people inside that would claim to attend because of faith. Rather, I mean the church, those that truly worship God in their hearts, not because it looks good, not because it is the easy thing to do, not because it is what their family has always done, but those that serve Christ daily, with or without food, with or without shelter, with or without the promise of life.
We need to suffer as Christians. If we are not suffering in some way, then we are not stepping out of our comfort zones enough. Suffering brings about a change in the way a person sees the world. Many times it brings about two different responses. The first is to curse God and blame him for our suffering. The second is to take joy in knowing that through your suffering you have the gift of being able to express the wonderful grace of God. We can see amazing examples of this throughout scripture. Two great examples are that of Job and Paul. Job has his whole world taken away, all but his wife. Yet, he says that the Lord gives and takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord. This is an amazing example of the way that we should approach suffering. Every good thing that we have on this earth is a gift from God, there are no good things that we deserve. Paul's example is also truly eye opening. We see the amazing way that he shares the gospel of Christ with those that he comes in contact with throughout his whole life, and yet he is beaten, stoned, shipwrecked, and left for dead more times than not. Yet, he says, "Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead."
(Philippians 3:8-11 ESV)
Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ take great joy in your suffering. Learn what God has to teach you through those trials that come, for they will come. Life will not be easy, but you will be held safely in the arms of Christ if you truly trust in him. No matter what trials come or what dangers you may face, you can take comfort in knowing that you have a savior that intercedes for you each and every day. The Lord of all creation cares for your every NEED and will always carry you through to the end. Use your sufferings to bring glory and praise to His name and those around you will see His glory shining through.

Saturday, July 21, 2012


In many Christian circles today there are large arguments about music. What is appropriate in church, what should we listen to out of church, and even the occasional question of whether Christians should listen to people in the music industry at all. There are a few things that come to my mind when talking about music. When it comes to what is appropriate in church, I would say that as long as it brings glory and honor to Christ alone, then it can be appropriate. I do believe that there are certain congregations that are in different places musically then others. Part of this reason is due to their upbringing and things that they have been exposed to. I do think that there are some styles of music that are less appropriate for a church setting. Not because they are in and of themselves bad, quite the contrary, but merely because they make it harder to understand and are not as easily understood. For instance, musical styles like rap or heavy metal/screamo. These styles may have many good things to say about Christ and his glory, but they may not be able to be understood by a congregation. I recently listened to a song by KB called, "Here We Go". I believe that it is one of the best worship songs that I have heard. In order to understand what I mean by that I think that we need to understand what worship is. I would define worship as any time spent declaring the glory and majesty of God. Therefore, anything that draws your eyes/heart to the throne of Christ should then be considered worshipful. If it draws your eyes away from Christ then there is an opposite effect that takes place in ones life.
I believe that there are many churches who do not use songs within their congregational worship times just because they believe that they may offend someone in attendance. Now, I am not talking about a certain style or genre, but merely because of the words that are said. More "Christians" would be offended by a song that talks about the sinful hearts of man that can do no good on his own without the divine intervention of God, then by a secular song being sung in their Sunday morning service. Again, more "Christians" would say rap in any and all forms is of the devil and should never be uttered within a church, and yet they would sing a song about Jesus not intruding upon our lives and waiting for US to open doors so HE can act. This is one of the sadest states within the church today.
KB's song "Here We Go" states, "Here we go, we're fighting just to see another day, to behold the beauty and the glory of his face, here we go.... every day I have one goal to convince myself there's one Lord, it's not me or the things i long for.... my heart's so prone to go astray, every morning i pray, its a call to grace, i beg the lord to give me vision, to see the beauty in the scriptures...If you could see what God does to our hearts, it's light breaking through the darkness... He will come and get US..." How can we see anything but Christ when looking at this song? Yet, because of the way that it is written and sung there are people who would say that it does not become a Christian to listen to or long to worship alongside the men singing that song. As John Piper has said many times before, God is glorified most when we are enjoying Him. He does not receive glory when all we do is think about ourselves. He does not receive glory by our statements implying that unless we act, there is no salvation. God takes glory in himself ALONE!
If you enjoy rap music, or would like to check it out, I would highly recommend KB's new debut album entitled, "Weight and Glory."

Friday, July 6, 2012


What is love? Scripture lays out many qualities for love, ones that most of us have probably heard a hundred times. They are used at weddings and as ways to try to get people to act "lovingly". However, these are just actions that come from someone who is a loving person. What makes this person loving? I think that the answer is found in I John 4:7, "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us."
(1 John 4:7-12 ESV)
We see here the amazing love that can exist within us. If love is from God then the only way that we can truly love, is to be filled with the Holy Spirit and to trust fully and only in Jesus Christ. John clearly says here that, "whoever loves has been born of God and knows God." Now, some people might say, "how can this be true?" I would point back to the text where it again says, "if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us." I love what this passage means to us as Christians. It puts such a greater calling upon us to share the gospel with those we come in contact with. Without God, there is no salvation, no love, no hope. However, when a person comes to a saving faith in Christ, there is salvation from sins. There is a deep love and passion for others. There is HOPE!
Without God in our lives, all of our attempts to love others fail. We use our "love" to be manipulative, greedy, and selfish. We act as though our deeds are what love is, when our hearts couldn't be further from love. We act as though we deserve something for the "love" we show to others. How can this possibly be love? We have an amazing example of what true love looks like in this passage from I John. He says, In this the love of GOD was made manifest among US, that GOD SENT his ONLY SON into the world, so that we might LIVE through him." It isn't about what actions we do or who they are done to, in one sense, but rather it is what we have living in us and coursing through our bodies. Is it our sinful, selfish, depraved state that we are born with? Or rather is it this love that God displayed through the appearance of his son? This is a question all people must ask themselves. Without Jesus being the propitiation for our sins, we never would know what love is or even looks like.
Even though we can now love because of Christ living in us, our love is oftentimes still tainted by our sinful humanness. We will only truly love upon receiving our purified bodies when we join Christ, worshiping him forever, in paradise.
Praise God for his loving kindness and mercy that he has so graciously poured out upon those whom he has chosen to draw to his glorious presence!!! Amen and amen!