Please Take Jesus Personally

Lunatic liar lord

How many times have you been told, “now, don’t take this personally, but…”? Well, I want you to take this personally: Jesus is THE ONLY WAY to God.

The postmodern ear may bristle at that, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

Jesus, Himself said that. Not me. Not anyone else. JESUS.

“No one comes to the Father except through me.” – John 14:6

Either you believe that or you reject it. There is no riding the fence. John Duncan called this argument, “inexorable” (meaning unbending, unyielding, & unstoppable). It is black or white, one way or the other, but it can never be both or neither.

For a much more eloquent argument, look up C.S. Lewis’s “Lunatic, Liar, or Lord” trilemma in Mere Christianity.

Exclusive claim? Oh Yes. The claim is indeed, exclusive,but the invitation to accept it is 100% inclusive and universal (Gal. 3:28)!

So, please take this personally! In fact, it doesn’t get any more personal!

How do YOU answer the very same question that Jesus asked His disciples: Who do YOU say I am? (Matt. 16:15)

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C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (1952; Harper Collins: 2001) 51-52.

Divine Filter

purify our hearts

I came across this quote from Matthew Henry and was greatly moved.

“The grace of faith is most holy, as it works by love, purifies the heart, and overcomes the world, by which it is distinguished from a false and dead faith.”

Our faith, which is a gift (Eph. 2:8), is used best when it is running on love (1 Cor. 13). These acts of love operate like a divine filter sifting out the muck & guck saturating our hearts. The by-product of this heart-purification overcomes the world. “The world” is not only our society which gets darker and more violent with each passing day (Gen. 6:11), but also the carnal tendencies ingrained in our sinful nature (Matt. 15:19).

This present darkness will be overcome by our purified hearts acting in love from a holy faith that is an act of grace freely given to us from Jesus.

This wonderful and miraculous feat (choosing acts of love by the grace of faith) is what distinguishes a false & dead faith from a true & living one (James 2:14-26).

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Spiritual Root Canal


Root canals are the worst. The dentist removes the root before it spreads to the other teeth. Oftentimes we need a spiritual root canal. We need to remove the root of bitterness that has begun before it spreads to the rest of the body.

See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. – Heb. 12:15

I’m not sure about you, but I have to schedule DAILY root canals. That’s the way sanctification works, isn’t it? It is on-going, it is a life-long surgery, and it can be quite painful. However, the pain is far worse if that bitter root is allowed to develop and fester.

If ignored, that bitter root grows up. What started small digs deep and becomes a bitter plant. That bitter plant sprouts to becomes a mighty tree. And that tree will cause trouble & defile many.

You have to kill it before it kills you!

That’s where the Cross comes in. Our Savior obliterates that bitter root. How can we remain petty and childish at the foot of the Cross? Our self-obsession evaporates when we gaze on His face, when we remember His sacrifice, and when we accept His grace.

  • Whatever that sin is that’s taken root – it must be chopped down.
  • Whatever that bitterness is that’s wormed into your heart – it must be cut out.
  • That infected & inflamed tooth? It must be removed!

As Octavius Winslow said, “Lay the ax at its root!”

Swing fast & swing hard! Watch that mighty tree fall! Live in victory!

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18″ of Snow

“Imagine there are two trails. One is well-traveled. It is smooth and it has beautiful flowers along the path. The other trail is a mess. It is filled with deep ruts. It is ugly and difficult to take.

Imagine a storm comes along and drops 18 inches of snow. You can’t tell the difference between the two trails because both of them have been covered by the snow.

Just so our sins, big and small, are equally covered by God.

‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.’ – Isaiah 1:18

Your sins might still be on your mind, but they are not on His! He says ‘I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud and your sins like mist.’ – Isaiah 44:2

Charles Spurgeon also illustrated the lengths God will go to cover our sins:

‘Man piles a mountain of sin, but God will match it, and He raises up a loftier mountain of grace; man heaps up a still larger hill of sin, but the Lord surpasses it with 10 times more grace; and so the contest continues until at last the mighty God pulls up the mountains by the roots and buries man’s sin beneath an Alp. Abundant sin is no barrier to the superabundant grace of God.’

These are the words of Erwin Lutzer and Charles Spurgeon. I felt someone needed to hear them today.

Ref: The Power of a Clear Conscience, Erwin Lutzer, 2016.

Pregnancy Resource Center

I’d like to give a big shout out & thank you to the Pregnancy Resource Center of Marion County.
Life is under attack & I’m not sure how many people realize we have this awesome ministry in Fairmont. If you are, or know a woman in crisis, please look them up!
If you don’t already, consider supporting them financially & praying for their vital work!
“I praise You because I am fearfully & wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” – Psa. 139:14; 100:3; 8:5-7

“Rescue those who are unjustly sentenced to death; don’t stand back & let them die. Don’t try to disclaim responsibility by saying you didn’t know about it.” – Prov. 24:11-12 (NLT)


Christians Are Like Tea Bags


I heard this saying attributed to either Chip Ingram or Greg Laurie:

“Christians are like TEA BAGS; you don’t know what they’re made of until you put them in hot water.”

Isn’t that about the truth!

Is the heat being turned up in your life?

This is where “the rubber meets the road,” right? Anyone can act nice when everything is going their way, but what seeps out when things aren’t? What comes out of that teabag?

  • Fruit or works (Gal 5)?
  • Fresh water or salt water,
  • Bitter or sweet (James 3:11)?
  • Or… are you like a box of chocolates?

Something you may never have thought of is the fact that teabags are useless without hot water, aren’t they? It’s actually IN the hot water that teabag finds their purpose and usefulness.

Try to remember this the next time you find yourself in proverbial hot water. Pray for me as I pray for you.

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Do & Teach; The Holy Knot

Knot on the ropeMy mom is a retired educator. My wife is an educator in a family of educators. So, I know firsthand the real life of teachers: the extra hours, the out of pocket expense, and the grading papers late at night. They have hilarious & heart-warming stories. Stories of triumph & defeat. Stories of devotion & sacrifice. Stories of life.

I also know firsthand the absolute LOVE they have for education and for the future of “their kids.” You see, they are like family.

I have had many wonderful teachers in my life. However, there is One that stands above them all; the greatest Teacher ever, the Master Teacher: Jesus.

“You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am.” – John 13:13

In Acts 1:1, Luke says that he is writing “of all that Jesus began both to do and teach.Calvin called to do and teach “a holy knot that cannot be untied.”

That’s a teacher, isn’t it? Do and teach. They not only give you the tools, but also show you how to use them! They get right in the trenches with you! They fight with and for you! Teachers get up every morning to inspire, encourage, and challenge.

Eternal wisdom is imparted from Jesus (John 7:16). Every word that falls from His lips instructs and improves. Abide in the teachings of Christ (2 John 1:9)!

Recently a co-worker was talking about how much his mom hated Latin. Yet Latin was never mentioned. The comments were all about the teacher. The teacher made it a bad experience. Ironically, my mother also took Latin… but loved it.

Same subject. Different teacher. You see, a good teacher can even make Latin come alive.

If you love a subject, thank the passion of a teacher. If you excel in a subject, thank the encouragement of a teacher. And in all things, thank the Teacher of us all, Jesus Christ.


Want To Be Richer?

cave of wonders

I have Col. 2:3 written on a Post-it and stuck on my computer. I read it every single day and marvel at its brilliant simplicity. Don’t be fooled by its shortness; it is a total powerhouse. Each word is worthy of meditation and drips with truth.

All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Him. – Col. 2:3 (HOL)

Let me unpack it:

All – all is all. Is anything left out of all? Nope. If so, it would only be some. All means “each & every part; the whole, totality, thoroughly, and ‘all manner of.'”

the treasures = “a storehouse for precious things” from thesaurus, where we get the English term “thesaurus” which refers to a “storehouse (treasure) of synonyms.”

of wisdom & knowledgeknowledge is facts, wisdom is application of those facts. We all know people who had the facts, but did not apply them or who misapplied them and it resulted in folly or destruction (Also see Rom. 11:33

are hidden = kept secret; the concept is having something so valued that you store it away. Do we have anything like that today? Banks, maybe?

in Him – this, of course, refers to Xristós, “the Anointed One,” the Christ (Hebrew, “Messiah“): Jesus Christ!

All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Him. – Col. 2:3 (HOL)

Here’s a visual for you, remember the “Cave of Wonders” in Aladdin? Imagine that, only extending forever in every direction. In Eph. 3:8, Paul calls these riches “unsearchable” (boundless, endless, unfathomable, incalculable, infinite). In a million years, the treasures of Christ could still not be fully explored.

The Greek word means “past finding out.” So, as far as you can go, its past that.

Some takeaways: No matter how long you’ve been a Christian, there is still more to learn. Even after a 100 years, you have only scratched the outer edge of the knowledge of the Holy Spirit (A.W. Tozer). The soul prospers when we have clear knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus (Matthew Henry).

  • Want to be richer?
  • Want to be stronger?
  • Want to be healthier? Col. 2:3.
  • We cannot grow from Him until we are rooted in Him!

WARNING: The opposite of Col. 2:3 also exists. “All debts of folly and lies are exposed outside of Him.”

Do you know Him?

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Ref: All definitions from Strong’s & Thayer.

All –

Treasures –

Hidden –

Christ –

Unsearchable –

Thank You, Billy Graham

Billy Graham Takes His Crusade To New York City

Billy Graham; the very embodiment of 2 Tim. 4:7, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.”

What an inspiration, encouragement, and model for every Christ follower!

Thank you, Billy Graham for a life well lived in the service of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Well done, good and faithful servant; enter into the joy of your Lord!


One Minute Before You Die

I believe we believe that we have an unlimited amount of time. Tomorrow is going to come just like it did yesterday; Get up, go to work, come back home, go to bed, repeat. However, we are just fooling ourselves. Our time here on earth is so short. It’s just mist in the wind (James 4:14).

We will have a last day, a last hour, and a last second.
This is my last 10 minutes:
The clock begins.
10 minutes and counting…

What would I do? I’m sure I would squander a few of those invaluable minutes convincing myself that its not that bad and that I’m going to be alright. Then reality would set in like a heavy stone: this is it, man. It’s over.
7 minutes…

  • Where is my wife?
  • Where are my daughters?
  • Where is my family?

6 minutes…
If I am with them, I tell them (if not, call if possible?)… I tell them I love them. Over and over I tell them how much I love them and I wouldn’t change a single second. I’m so sorry for being such a big baby all the time. I ask them to please forgive me all my stupid petty trespasses. I forgive them all theirs.
4 minutes…
I release any grudges, hatred, resentment, or bitterness. Those should be like mist in the wind! I wouldn’t remember any of the bad. The good would jump to the front of the line. I hold them tight. Tighter still. I can’t get them close enough!
2 minutes…
I cry with them. I laugh with them. I breathe with them… deep breaths, let’s share that. Share my last breaths, tightly, tightly in the arms of my sweet beloveds. See you soon. Thank you Lord Jesus! Thank you for every thing. Thank you for saving me. Thank you for loving me. Thank you!
1 minute…
Imagine the hourglass of time. Just like the clock counting down, it is relentless. All those grains of sand. All those seconds tumbling through and then gone. There is one grain of sand that is the very last one. It sparkles and shines, it is so precious. 
There is one second that is the very last one. It is worth more than gold. You want it to be the longest second ever created. It bounces around the middle section of the hourglass… holding on for the very last millisecond, the last nanosecond, the last – DON’T FALL! – and then it is gone. Forever.
Time’s up.
For a believer, it is “far better” to depart and be with the Lord (Phil. 1:23). We look forward to it. We long for that day. Our time here on earth IS limited, but our time after is eternal. Jesus is waiting for us (2 Cor. 5:8). So, it will be a glorious day. However, for an unbeliever, it will be a dreadful, dreadful day; the beginning of eternal torment. Fear like you’ve never known.
No one wakes up thinking, this is going to be my last day. But one of those days is. God’s “appointed time” for all of us is winding down (Acts 17:26, Psa. 139:16).
If you don’t know Jesus, PLEASE accept & confess Him as Lord over your life (Acts 2:38-39). [IM me if you have questions.] Repent of your sins and live each day for the Him (Col. 1:10). Let go of the trivial stupid-ness that entangles all of us. Forgive quickly. Show mercy. Don’t withhold your heart. Tear down the walls mistakes have built. Remove strongholds & inroads the enemy has used to twist your thinking. Laugh! Enjoy God’s blessings & gifts!
Thank the Lord for every heartbeat, every breath… until it is your very last one.
Clichés are clichés because they are true: live each day like it’s your last.
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