Dec 11, 2010

He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins


“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” ~1 John 1:9

God is great; He has saved us from condemnation. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord.” (Rom. 6:23) He sacrificed His Son so we could be saved and He forgives our sins. Not only does He forgive our sins, but He washes us pure with His blood. But at the same time, we need to repent of our sins. 1 John 1:10 says, “If we say we have not sinned we make Him a liar and His Word is not in us.” One of the best prayers in the Old Testament is Psalm 51. It’s a long passage, so I won’t put it all in here, but it is the prayer David prayed to ask forgiveness for taking Bathsheba and killing her husband. It is a great example of the type of prayer we should pray to ask forgiveness for our sins. David admits his sin, he regrets his sin, he pleads for forgiveness, and he believes God will forgive and forget his sins. While we know God will forgive our sins, we need to repent of doing them.

Your brother in Christ,


Dec 5, 2010

Be still and know that I am God...

“Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” ~Ps. 46:10


Last night we were sitting at our kitchen table with the lights turned low and the advent candles lit, while my dad read from an advent book that included this magnificent verse. Especially during this busy holiday season, we often forget the resounding command in this verse. “Be still and know;” few times have I been more reminded of God’s presence, than when I stepped outside one windy, rainy night and sang hymns to the Lord. There is something about rainy nights, especially, that show God’s majesty. The wind rushes around you breathing its icy breath through your hair and rustling ominously through the trees. The rain rushes toward the earth in pounding waves; thunder and lightening flashing and booming, sound forth in awe of their Maker. And then, hidden away in all this tumultuous cacophony of sounds and sights, is a silent pervasive hint of yet another of God’s many promises: the clean, fresh smell that comes after rain, a reminder that one day the world will be made new and that even as the rain washes away the dirt and grime and filth of the land, so Christ has washed away our grime and filth.

With the holiday stress of searching for presents, preparing meals, visiting, writing letters, and cleaning the house, it is very, very easy to lose our focus of what truly matters. This past week as my sister was in the hospital and my mom was getting ready to go to Africa, I could feel myself getting grumpy, sharp, and all together like a wet blanket. I knew that the reason was that I had lowered my sight from the things of the Lord to the dust of the ground, but it wasn’t until several days later that I truly prayed that the Lord would yet again clear my mind of the fog that so often fills it. Remember this month, the reason we celebrate is that it is a time that commemorates the fulfillment of God’s promise to send a Deliverer to Israel and the beginning of His great sacrifice. Don’t get bogged down in the meaningless pageantry of the season Rather, remember that Christ was born in a stable and His first bed was a feeding trough. Don’t worship santa, Christmas songs, or your Christmas tree. Remember the sacrifice that would later be made on a tree. Don’t diminish the celebration. I’m not advocating an abolishment of Christmas, merely a simpler celebration that revolves around Christ, instead of presents and sweet rolls. Don’t stop singing; just start singing for the lyrics, not the tune or tradition. Even I have lost some of my focus over the course of this letter, so I will turn it back to the original intent:

“Be still and know

That I am God…”

Your brother in Christ,


Dec 2, 2010

Faith is the substance of things hoped for...

“Faith is the substance of things hoped for. The evidence of things not seen.” ~Heb. 11:1

Dear Corey,

Throughout the Bible we are told that faith is vital. Matthew 17:19-20 says, “Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, ‘Why could we not cast it [the demon] out?’ So Jesus said to them, ‘Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.’” A long passage, but it shows that we must have faith. Throughout his ministry, Jesus said, “Because of your faith, you have been healed.” Hebrews 11 shows major characters in the Bible and their faith. Here’s a partial list:

Abel – By faith he offered a more perfect sacrifice than Cain.

Enoch – By faith, Enoch was taken away without death.

Noah – By faith, built the ark.

Abraham – By faith, offered up Isaac.

Isaac – By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau.

Jacob – By faith, blessed Joseph’s sons.

I leave you with Hebrews 11:6,

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

Your brother in Christ,


Nov 27, 2010

“For you have need of endurance"

“For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise…” ~Heb. 10:36


In our modern-day world, few have the knowledge of what endurance truly means. The first use of the word was in the late 1400s. (Which brings up an interesting point: We translate the Greek word for patience as endurance in the cases like the one above. Thus we know that endurance is closely linked to patience.) One question we have to ask is what did the author mean? First of all, who was he writing to? Twice he uses patience in the context of lasting or continuing. As the title of the book indicates, it was written to the Hebrews. At the end of the book, however, he is talking to all Christians. Think of what these early Christians were going through. They were being crucified, burned at the stake, starved to death, cut in pieces, and many, many more tortures. Many times they would be given a dungeon cell by themselves, away from the light. Think of all the pain involved and then think about suffering that yourself. Think about pain coursing through every nerve, every tissue, every fiber of your body. About people mocking and slandering you at the door of your cell, while thirst loneliness and hunger almost overcome you. How fitting this passage was and is for believers. It is during these times of persecution that we truly understand the meaning of endure. When we have persevered with complete faith in God and with boundless joy, knowing that our Lord suffered worse for us, but that we have the opportunity to suffer for Him, then we can say, without boasting, that we have endured.

In America, enduring is many times either continuing to workout until you’ve reached your goal weight, or being successful in your attempts to stop smoking, or training up your children with loving discipline. We view, as a nation, jogging a few miles without stopping as a feat of endurance, and in a way it is, but it rarely enters our minds that people have had to sit on iron chairs while a fire raged beneath them. Don’t let that thought revolt you. Rather, you should be longing to show your love of Christ, no matter what the cost, even if it means being tied hand and foot and then being thrown to an angry bull. As Americans, we have an easy lifestyle, untainted by the persecutions that, say, the Chinese are currently facing. Some are threatened at gunpoint to denounce Christ. You can probably guess what they do and what the outcome is. They would rather be shot than degrade God’s holy name. As Americans, we are often forgetful, not remembering the sacrifices that have been made for Christ Jesus our Lord and ignoring the fact that we are to make sacrifices as well. As Americans, we fear pain, even the thought of pain. As Christians, however, we should welcome the opportunity to make a stand for Christ. The only question left is, what path will you follow? The path of the American, easy and carefree? Or the path of the Christian, potentially fraught with danger and suffering? Where do your loyalties lie?

Your brother in Christ,


Nov 5, 2010

Glorify God, Stand Strong, and Lead

One of the most recent additions to our group has started writing his own letters. Here is one that I hope will encourage you as much as it has encouraged me:



Sorry it took so long to answer your first letter. I agree with you that there are very few godly men standing up for what they believe. So many people are distracted by the things of the world. For example, the media today is growing more and more popular, seeking to entertain us, but rarely with anything good and wholesome.

Very few men are leading their families, teaches their sons and daughters to be godly men and women. As a result, there is an increasing tendency in the youth of today to want to satisfy their flesh, rather then seeking the Lord, so that they might be truly satisfied.

There is a song circulating today that talks about a man who is so busy in life that he misses the true purpose in life. Just like that man, we tend to read parts of the Bible that we like the best and live by the rules those passages teach. We try to make God into something that can fit into our lives, rather making God the focus of our lives.

It seems as if people have forgotten that there is a purpose to their lives. If you go up to a person in the streets and ask them what they are living for, they will most likely give a worldly, self-centered answer. Only when the Lord moves their heart do you get a question in response, “I am going to Hell: what must I do to be saved?” However, very few people are asked this question, because most people are sitting at home, rather than evangelizing in the street.

Godly leaders need to rise up in this generation and stand strong in the faith. They need to direct people to Christ and guide people to lives that glorify God. May God bless you this week.