T.J. I wrote an "agnostic" for you. (an acrostic)

T.J., my brother in Christ, fellow counselor, and friend, I made an agnostic for you (in honor of your misspoken comment at my last Red Team meeting with you even though we knew you meant ACROSTIC). This is for you as you celebrate your Savior and mine forevermore in the realm of glory in your eternal life with Christ:

T: Thrilled even when others were not, always full of joy
H: Hysterical and hyper, twenty-four, seven
O: Outrageous, self-explanatory
M: MANLY, because you probably wouldn’t like it if I didn’t say this
A: Animated, without fear of anything or anyone
S: Senseless and Shameless. If you know anything about T.J. he did not have one bone of sense in his body, but that’s what made him T.J. J

J: Joyful, always. I never saw him down and defeated
A: Adept, skilled in so many ways some will never know or appreciate
M: Maniac, just straight up crazy
E: Energetic and Extreme, even to the very end. Even in heaven I heard one person say they could see him running and sliding down the streets of gold just because he can.
S: Sold out for Christ, whether spoken or not, always did things for God the best he could.

N: Never quitting, never giving up, always strove hard and pushed himself and others for victory and success
O: Outspoken and honest, that friend who was not afraid to call you out on what you did wrong and ready to say something at the drop of the hat.
T: Truthful…uh who am I kidding; he always was sarcastic and funny. A more fitting word would be trustworthy and showing God’s truth to those he loved.
T: Tough and Thoughtful, always tried to be the big man, but was never self-focused. He always wanted to goof off and be crazy so others would be energized, upbeat, excited, or joyful.

Thank you T.J. for all the lessons you taught us in life, and much more also now in death. We celebrate your life, may we all take your energy and use it for God as you did.


The Passing of a Friend and a Co-Laborer

I just found out within the last two days that a pretty good friend of mine I counseled with last summer at Northland Camp named T.J. Nott had been promoted to glory in the act of a motorcycle accident. According to the coroner's report it was due to blows to his head and chest in a motorcycle accident. He had on a helmet and a motorcycle jacket. He was not going at a fast rate of speed, as matter of fact, had he come off his motorcycle any where else, not hit a tree and just rolled into a ditch, he probably would have walked away (this is all from the police officer at the scene of the accident). But that's just a side note for what this post is about.

Personally, I’ve felt a tremendous pressure to really etch out personal emotions, thought process, and self-counseling that may prove helpful to others outside my little personal bubble. This also may prove to be some “mini-legacy” I leave behind for the furtherance of God’s glory should he promote me to heaven soon as well.

So first of all when someone breaks the news: what goes through your mind? In trying to keep this blog profound but still practical, here’s what I came up with: shock. Simply shock. I honestly felt nothing, for some reason, when tragedy strikes my life, fear rises up, or when I am startled I have always felt the typical “deer-in-headlights” reaction. Someone is gone, what do I do? Instantly I think of who needs to know, I look to the nearest person(s) and show them the news. I don’t know if this is the proper response, but this is what happens.

Ok now what? When do the emotions, physical toll, and spiritual testing begin? Well emotionally, for me, it is likened to Indiana weather. In 5 minutes I could be victim of a horrible storm. The storm could last 5 minutes or a few hours. The interesting thing is that the emotional drop-off always seems to be as abrupt as when it started. Physically, exhaustion kicks in when the emotional attacks are hitting me in multiple waves or in lengthy waves when the physical toll incurs. Spiritual testing, however, starts right away. Death always effects more than just the family and immediate friends, ALWAYS.

Spiritually speaking, testing in the area of death of my friend T.J. has to be Hebrews 12:2 FIXING my gaze to the author and finisher of my faith. Searching the Scriptures for comfort proves an excellent exercise, but we all know that you can only do so much listening when trying to be consoled. You need someone to talk to. You need to find a quiet place to run in crying to your heavenly Father. Your daddy. Your Abba. Today I felt obligated to run to the throne of grace as a servant and left comforted, still hurting, but comforted as an adopted child.

Prayer has the uncanny ability to reveal a lot about ourselves if we choose to be as honest as we can be with God. Hebrews 4:12 states that God’s Word is active and ALIVE. It strips us naked of all facades and fronts and leaves us helpless, exposed, bare, and alone before God’s holiness and scrutiny. The metaphor in the text emphasizes being at the mercy of a much more powerful person in a wrestling hold. Completely helpless and exposed is where the victim (you and I are) to God’s word. The illustration I discussed with my RA was that before God’s Word we are like a child in a man’s armor and rank. God takes all the “cool armor” and “fake ranks” from us. God likely takes away all the clothing and under garments to expose us for exactly who we are, sinners in need of grace to even want to love God. And then he grabs our hands and holds them tight so we are completely helpless, unable to fight back or argue.

Prayer is nothing more than admitting this reality to God and truly asking for help in the areas in which you struggle with most. Right now I feel as if uncertainty, priorities, unbelief, purpose, focus, reality, love, compassion, feeling, and friendship are things that I need to reevaluate. Things that God brought to life for my personal walk as to what I am exposed in right now. Am I willing to be a ladder to allow people to get ahead on me? Am I willing to be a doormat that I would allow people to tread on me so they can find themselves welcome before Jesus’ face? Both questions bring to light Phil. 2:1-11.

It’s really time to wrap this thing up. Let me leave some verses I particularly found comforting to wrap my brain around:

John 11: Look at Thomas’s attitude, a willingness to volunteer to die WITH Lazarus. NO FEAR IN LIFE NO FEAR IN DEATH.

Lamentations 3: God’s mercy and grace are the sole things holding us together, without them we would surely be consumed. Thank your God that mercy triumphs over judgment!

I Peter 4-5: Submission to God’s mighty right hand and casting our cares upon him so that he will exalt us in his due time is the best thing you can experience in trials.

I Thessalonians 4: The last half of the chapter tells us the whole point. DO NOT SORROW. Comfort one another. Hello! You will see them again, get back to work!

John 6:35-40 and James 4:13-17: The will of God is for us to do the Father’s will. Distractions are no excuse. Live like you don’t have tomorrow, but plan like you have a lifetime.

Philippians 1:27-4:11: Live worthy of your heavenly citizenship by pointing yourself and others to the gospel. In like manner, characterize your walk in submission to the Father’s will and esteeming everyone you meet as better than yourself.

I hope I didn’t waste your time with reading this blog. Please, don’t take my word for it, read the Word of God each day, for without it, you won’t make it through your day loving God fully.


A Disconcerting Status, from a friend

I saw a very disturbing status today on Facebook that caused me to write this post. Granted it is a little confrontational, I can advise you that you please "chew the cherry and spit out the pit" should I be off-base in any manner of speech. I would just like to preface what I state here that this is purely out of love for the individual and for those in agreement with this individual. I just want to correct our thinking to think biblically and to make sure our goal is not ourselves, but God's glory and the helping of others to the same end (to glorify God).

The status clearly stated was this: "just because i wander doesn't mean i'm lost." While this seems feel-good, encouraging, and helpful, I couldn't help but feel an unsettled spirit in my heart over this. I would like to add something to this status and edit it a little bit, but again I don't know the heart of this particular person so I can only take the statement at face value. First, I want to show you why I believe this statement is not entirely biblical, and even in the feel-good status remarks we need to always have our "vigilant hat" on.

When we wander, our affections for God are compromised and we choose sin. That means we choose to ally ourselves with the world's mindset (a mindset absent from God James 3:14-16). Furthermore, James 4:4 states that this alliance with the world is a close friendship with God's enemy. So close a relationship, in fact, that not only does James call us out for being a best friend to the world, but also an adulterer/adulteress. You and I have an adulterous relationship with sin in such a blatant manner, not necessarily blatant and obvious others, but to God. God isn't stupid. He knows exactly what you and I do every moment of every day, and yet we think we can just put our "Christian clothes" back on and act like nothing happened.

Wandering does not mean your lost, but it does not help your case prove against being lost. All this being said, I implore you all: let us strive together being like-minded, with the same love, being of one accord, of one mind...esteeming others better than ourselves (Philippians 1:29-2:4).


Books - Updated

So I haven't blogged in a few weeks so I decided to do one, a little different style. The following are all books with appropriate links in which to purchase/view all the books I'm wanting to read that have any spiritual connotation and I highly recommend all who even look at this blog (like 2 people sometimes) to read except for one. Forgotten God by Francis Chan I heard has a very interesting and possibly unbiblical viewpoint of the Holy Spirit and should be noted that he is also the author of Crazy Love as well so just put your discernment cap on while you read his works, as you should with all your readings.


Here's some updated content on my recommended/reading project as I attempt to read more Christian Literature. Personally, all of these books I will be reading at some point, so it is mainly a list for me and anyone that wants to look up some additional books they want to read.

Valley of Vision - editor Arthur Bennett [U]
The Gospel Primer - Milton Vincent [X]
Note to Self - Joe Thorn [X]
Counsel from the Cross  - Elyse M. Fitzpatrick & Dennis E. Johnson [U]
When People Are Big And God Is Small - Edward T. Welch [U]
Not a Fan  - Kyle Idleman [U]
Just Do Something  - Kevin DeYoung [U]
Jesus + Nothing = Everything - Tullian Tchividjian [U]
Heaven  - Randy Alcorn [U]
Total Church - Tim Chester [U]
Gospel Centered Discipleship - Jonathan K. Dodson [U]
The Christian Atheist  - Craig Groeschel [U]
Disciple: Getting Your Identity from Jesus - Bill Clem [U]
Redemption - Mike Wilkerson [U]
The Explicit Gospel - Matt Chandler [U]
Life Quest - Cary Schmidt [U]
I Will Trust - Mrs. Oliver B. Greene [U]
The Prayer of Jabez - Bruce Wilkinson [X]

Don't Waste Your Life - John Piper [U]
When I Don't Desire God - John Piper [U]
Think - John Piper [U]
Desiring God, Revised Edition - John Piper [U]

Fear Not! - Rand Hummel [X]
Turn Away Wrath - Rand Hummel [X]
Lest You Fall - Rand Hummel [X]

Trusting God  - Jerry Bridges [U]
The Gospel for Real Life  - Jerry Bridges [U]
Transforming Grace  - Jerry Bridges [U]
Growing Your Faith  - Jerry Bridges [U]
Respectable Sins  - Jerry Bridges [U]
Pursuit of Holiness - Jerry Bridges [X]
Is God Really in Control?  - Jerry Bridges [U]
The Discipline of Grace - Jerry Bridges [U]

Forgotten God - Francis Chan [U]
Erasing Hell  - Francis Chan [U]
Crazy Love - Francis Chan [X]

The Gospel as Center - editors Timothy Keller & D.A. Carson [U]
The Prodigal God  - Timothy Keller [U]
Counterfeit Gods - Timothy Keller [U]

The Pursuit of God - A.W. Tozer [U]
The Crucified Life - A.W. Tozer [U]
Keys to the Deeper Life - A.W. Tozer [U]

[X] = Read
[U] = Unread


O Wondrous Love from I John 4

This week was a meaningful one to say the least. It was the first time I have ever gone to a friend's house for the entirety of Thanksgiving break instead of spending the fall holiday season with my family (even though I really wanted to). I spent the time with a very close friend (Will) in Holly, Michigan and had some great time of what I like to call "mutual-discipleship" (or iron sharpening iron discussions). Anyways, I had a phenomenal break just randomly hit with little trials along the way, but scheduling a time to talk to a good Northland Camp friend from California and finding out I had a small clan of close Northland Camp friends around the area of my friend Will as well. This alone would make for a pretty fun break all ready not having to work, being with your best friend, and getting to do pretty much whatever we wanted.

The real blessing, though, was my personal study in my devotions through the holiday. Before this year, I really never had solid, meaningful, daily devotions with the Savior of my soul. Sad, I know. So, that being said, I really wanted to not necessarily "make up for lost time" with God, per se, (because that is a foolish thinking process) but instead I wanted to make something meaningful of the occasion. I was rescued from my sin 14 years ago in the month of November, when, through the preaching of God's Word by an evangelist at my church at the time, and some guidance from my dad, I asked Jesus to cleanse me of my sins and be my Savior after a Wednesday night service by my bedside. The salvation was just another reflection that drove me to make something meaningful to my personal digest of the Word of God during a holiday where thankfulness is expected even from those who do not associate themselves with God (at least in the United States).

Anyways, I finished a study through I & II Corinthians that I had begun the month prior and was deliberating before leaving my college campus for what book study to tackle next. It hit me like a ton of bricks when I saw my little booklets I bought from Northland Camp. To make a long story very short, the camp I counseled at the previous summer (mentioned a few times all ready) offered booklets that we use during our camp weeks to guide us through a particular passage in scripture with campers all summer, but structures it in a one-week program. The past summers' booklets I bought as many as I could before I left with intentions to work through them as well. One of them was from last summer, the study was through I John 4. I heard so many things from this passage and even read through the whole book a few times the past few months for prayer group so this was nearly jumping out at me as what I should study next.

I John 4 jostled my devotional life into yet another pulse of passion for Christ-likeness as I read through a new segment each day. Love and Fear are discussed in great detail not just in the Bible, but also the booklet as they ask very pointed, heart-revealing questions in the book. First, John asks us to test the spirits that try to influence us to see if they are even of God. If they do not confess that Jesus came to earth to take on flesh as a man, those people are not of God, period. Next he shows that God is greater than the entirety of the world, in power, sacrifice, love, and vitality. Furthermore, John shows us that Christians are of God in a variety of ways and ends his thoughts by defining love. How does John define love? As God. God is love. If you do not know God, you do not know love. What a powerful statement! He doesn't stop there! He further shows how we can display our love to others, how love is actually God giving us his love and perfecting it inside of us by dwelling in His children! Lastly, John closes by showing us how we can love one another. He states that love cannot co-exist with fear. Perfecting love casts fear out of the room. It drives out fear vehemently like Jesus drove out the money changers from the temple. How is it that this works? Because fear exists when we are tormented by what scares us. If I am fearful of how someone looks at me and try to love them, the love is empty and selfish and not selfless. I only can love because God loved me first and died for me.

After reading 21 verses in I John 4, there is no way I can be un-thankful for what God has given me. This Love is wondrous! The song at the end of the post is one I got on a CD from the Steve Pettit Evangelistic Team from a few years back that really reassures my love that is inexistant apart from Christ's finished work on the cross. God's love will never let me go. Romans 8 and I John 4 explode with this truth. Appreciate God today, give God His breath back, you owe Him.

 These are the Lyrics to the song "O Wondrous Love"

O wondrous love that will not let me go
I cling to You with all my strength and soul
Yet if my hold should ever fail
This wondrous love will never let me go

O wondrous love that’s come to dwell in me
Lord who am I that I should come to know
Your tender voice assuring me
This wondrous love will never let me go

I’m resting in the everlasting arms
In the ever faithful heart
The Shepherd of my life
You’ll carry me on Your mighty wings of grace
Keeping me until the day
I look into Your eyes

O wondrous love that sings of Calvary
The sweetest sound this sinner’s ever known
The song of Your redeeming Son
Whose wondrous love will never let me go

O wondrous love that rushes over me
I can’t escape this river’s glorious flow
You overwhelm my days with good
Your wondrous love will never let me go


Just a step into my mind about my God

From day one: rebellious, selfish, hateful, spiteful, lying, thieving, backbiting, wretched, and sinful. This is my bent as a human, innately sinful. Only seeking to fulfill what I want all the time. My wants are more important than yours when it comes right down to it if anyone would be honest with you. Funny thing is, most people will not even want to be honest, because people have a bent towards lying. Do you see how vicious this circle of sin can continue? I want a toy, but someone has it, so I covet, envy, and ultimately steal it in my heart before I actually steal it and fulfill my desire for the toy. Someone asks me if I stole the toy in question, I want to be safe from conflict and punishment so I lie. The lie gets me exactly what I want, no punishment and the toy at the same time. Problem solved. Some people don’t want to hurt their conscience so they tell the truth and get the punishment because they feel guilty. Likewise, some also don’t steal because of the same conscience violation. If anything else is true of humans, besides this bent towards sinning, it is our hate for being guilty.

Guilt is interesting, though. What we humans like to do is ignore the guilt or distract ourselves until they forget it, thus searing their conscience. Each time it gets easier and easier to ignore the conscience until it is finally hardened so that you don’t feel the guilt anymore. This same guilt does not make sense though. There is only survival of the fittest right? We are all just animals that are progressing to be better and have to be good people. Right?


How can we be progressing to a better world when everything around us is decaying or breaking? Man continually is dying and we still have not figured out how to live longer or forever. This endless bent to say that all “good” people are a little “bad” is absolutely true because all people are bent towards sin, but the argument that all “bad” people have some “good” in them is preposterous. All of what we do is sinful, wicked, and disgusting.

How is it that mankind can only sin continually? Because we defy God’s Law, that’s how we continually sin. What is God Law? God’s law is to love God with every part of our being and love our neighbor, or everyone around us, the same as we love ourselves. That is God’s Law.

Okay, okay, I know you’re wondering how in the fat world do we love God with every part of our being? Well the Bible lets us know how to do that. We are to treat other people with respect, not hate. We must love others more than even we love ourselves. We are to ask God to take away our desires to give us His desires for us. We must have God and His Word at the priority of our lives. We have to seek a relationship with our heavenly Father in His Word and pray to Him all the time. And there is the typical laundry list of do not’s as well. The list includes don’t murder, don’t hate, don’t lie, don’t commit adultery, don’t have sex outside of marriage, don’t covet, don’t envy, etc. There is a lot of do not’s, but there is a whole lot more of do’s than do not’s I can assure you of that. God left us quite the list of things to be doing.

But here’s the kicker, everything we do should not be motivated by “What can I get out of this?” Our motivation must be to give God the glory for all our actions, thoughts, and words. Anything we do with a self-motive is sinful, period.

Oh, and by the way, one sin, just one, is like breaking all the law that God established. It works like a giant chain, breaking a chain in any place causes the whole thing to break. Breaking one part of the law makes us guilty of all the laws. God also says that he is holy, meaning separate completely from sin and He cannot so much as look at sin because He despises it so much. So if you sinned, even just once, you have no hope of pleasing God. The punishment is death. Oh no, not physical death, it is far, FAR worse. It is an eternal separation from God and His presence, because He cannot so much as look at sin, God designed Hell. Hell is a real place where those people who sin must go in righteous judgment to be continually and eternally tormented in a never-ending inferno where your worst nightmare seems comforting in comparison to your current situation.

This is where you would object saying, so everyone goes to Hell? Yeah sure, everyone screws up sometime so you are being some kind of legalist that says everyone goes to Hell. Actually, without God’s love, yes, all people are doomed to despair in Hell. But there is a hope. The hope is not by buying your way to heaven. The hope is not by doing enough good so that God likes you enough to let you into heaven. And the hope is not by staying in Hell long enough to burn off our sin debt so that eventually we will get into heaven. The only way for you to be able to get into heaven would be for someone to take your death penalty after having lived a perfect, sinless life. They have to be fully human AND fully God since humans are infallible with a bent to sin, this is why being fully God is needful. This super-human (per se) would then have to take on death for the whole of humanity and then conquer death by rising again from the dead in order to give freely the power over it.

This sounds like an impossible task. But it happened. God sent His Son, Jesus to earth, born miraculously from a virgin to be fully human yet fully God to live a perfect life on earth. He had only a focus for others and God’s glory to teach people truth about His Word and to take the payment of death for us. He was crucified in a brutal Roman designed murder and rose from the dead three days later with over 5,000 eye-witnesses that saw Him before and after death.

Now what do I do? Nothing. You don’t DO anything. All you have to “do” is believe it happened, believe Jesus Christ died for your sins, fully cancelling out your death punishment and sin debt. Believe you do sin and that you do so many wicked things continuously. Ask Christ Jesus to forgive you of those sins and to come into your life to help you obey His law better out of thanks for what He did for you.

Okay now what, I’m saved from sin and death. Life doesn’t get any easier. Salvation only gets you the access to a wonderful relationship with a powerful God and a guarantee into heaven. Is that all you wanted? Sounds pretty selfish to someone who did all that just because He loved you. Why don’t you want to obey God’s law and please Him and get to know the Savior of your soul?! He loves you and wants you to love Him back! He doesn’t want a trite, one-sided relationship with the person he created!

Funny thing is we cannot, in our own strength so much as come close to obeying God with right motives or even do what He wants. The fantastic thing is, He tells us that by continuing in the relationship of reading His Word and praying to God like a conversation for help in order to please Him. The way we please God is by being filled with His spirit. A phenomenon that is impossible to explain until you become a Christian. There are so many things that I cannot explain on what we owe back to God. He asks only that we do our best to grow closer to Him. All He asks is that we try our hardest to be stewards of the life we are given to tell more people about His love for them and to love God the best we can. This is real love, real Christian faith.


The Rise of Fall

Autumn is the season
Where trees and plants have a reason
To die with a hope to return.
With the death the trees hope to spurn
New life, which cannot be possible
Without God making it permissible.
But God,
A two-letter phrase that prods
The heart to see a new alternative.
An option so divine, premeditive
By a holy, God, that chose such a contradiction
To show his glory to us in nature. 

The reality is this:
That sin’s payment is death, fatality, and separation
Christ took our payment to place us in reconciliation
Before God’s very presence. He won us back
So that through death and resurrection He could tack
Righteousness on my account, which I can never achieve
Aside from God’s empowerment that Christ gave so I might receive.
But God chose death to give life to the autumnal season,
And in worthless, wretched sinners
For no apparent reason.

This great mystery that God sent his Son
To die a payment for my sins because I run
So far from Him and choose to sin
But God,
Chose to use death to win
My soul back in His jealousy.
He arose in victory
Paying for sin, destroying death’s penalty
This gives all humanity a new reality.

God, so infinite in mercy, chose not to stop there,
He furthered his glory in another death. He chose to leave His chair
In heaven, the mighty throne to be a servant to his creation,
To rescue the human race in such a depravation.
Shown in yet another contradiction, that life can be given
At the expense of a perfect death He showed power that he could be risen.
Rising from the ashes, like a phoenix He conquered fatality
After in the grave for three days he arose to divinity
In to glory to give the gift of life back to humanity.


Malachi 2:1-17 [Oct. 9, 2011]

 King James Version Translation of the Life Application Study Bible
 English Standard Version John MacArthur Study Bible

  • A constant Old Testament theme is displayed here when God says if you obey I will bless, but disobedience brings a curse. Likewise, He reminds the people of their current curse and says it will get worse. He used vivid language saying dung would be spread on their faces and offerings. This is how God viewed their hypocritical and second rate offerings to Him. More despicable than just not offering anything at all!
  • God, the Almighty Creator reached out a perfect hand to sinners all over the globe with love. He deserves us to glory His name in worship. Taking sin seriously like God sees it, and loving God with our whole being is the least we can do! You cannot know or love God without reading His Word!
  • How often do I expect to get God's blessings while rejecting the full responsibility to serve Him fully and purely?
  • How can God's people be witnesses and separate from the world if we don't know God's Word?! Malachi rightfully shows God's righteous anger at the priests' willful ignorance! Leadership with the lack of God's Word is also a lack of truth. This caused them to lead people astray! We must know God's Word - what it says, what it means, how to apply it, and constantly be immersed in it. In order to represent God we must know our God; you cannot know Him without reading His Holy Word!
  • "But have been partial in the law" or "but show partiality in your instruction" is how Malachi ends verse 9. Is this absurd to you at all? Influential, popular, or favored (higher class) people were allowed to break God's laws! Confronting people was not even done because priests found dependency in these men and not in God! Do not tolerate double-standards within your life where you are allowed. My standards need to be based on God's Word, not man's social or monetary status.
  • Verses 10-16 indicate the nation of Israel marrying heathen women, committing much adultery and idolatry both physically and spiritually. They were acting as if punishment never would come. God clearly states he would cut off from them. Idolatry and adultery disqualified them from rights and privileges, thus God rejected their sacrifices. With the violation of marriage vows and allowance of idols. Double disloyalty caused their offerings to be a "hypocritical mockery" as MacArthur puts it.
  • Something interesting the Life Application brings up in verse 14 is that the people questioned God as to why He rejects them. They were looking at others and not at themselves. Willfully ignorant of their sins. It's almost as if I can hear Malachi saying, "Are you kidding me?! Do you see what you are doing?!"
  • Heavenly silence is not approval. It is merely the eye of the storm or the calm before the storm. Judgment comes to the unrepentant and the faithful always receive blessing.
  • Don't be like the priests who were faithless, partial, skeptical, self-justified, disobedient people that wore out God's patience.
PRAYER: "Lord I do not want to be complacent or try to do this Christian life on my own anymore. I am rotten, but I want to be faithful, I am double-minded, but I want you more. Your Word works, I do not. May I be dependent on you and help me crush the desire to be independent. Allow me to be a source for others to find You and Your truth no matter what the circumstances. Lord, I just want what you want. I don't know where I am to go or what you will have me do. Know that I will go where you lead and your plan is a whole lot better than mine. Keep me coming back to your Word, starving for Truth. Amen"


Haggai 1:1-15 [Sept. 24, 2011]

King James Version Translation of the Life Application Study Bible
 English Standard Version Journaling Bible

  • I almost missed devotions today. I literally just finished talking to a good friend and I made this face O_O. And I told him, "I just forgot to do my devotions! Quickly, I ripped open my Bible to Haggai Chapter 1 and read the forward (preface) about the book and it says: "The important is all too often left in the dust. Our problem is not the volume of demands or lack of scheduling skills, but values - what is truly important to us." ...*slap* that hurt.
  • Haggai points out Israel's goofed priorities. They were too concerned with their own needs than doing God's will. This brought them suffering.
  • Wow. Verse 7 is another huge *whap* to the face: "Thus saith the Lord of hosts, consider your ways." It is as if he says "Stop! Think. Reevaluate what you're doing!
  • I am so wicked. Haggai is amazing conversational in his wording of God's message. Verse 9: "Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the Lord of hosts. Because of mine house THAT IS WASTE, and ye run every man unto his own house."
  • I want to be like the remnant of Israel. They "obeyed the voice of the Lord their God...and the people did fear before the Lord."
  • What was God's response to Israel's new obedience? What has God's response ALWAYS BEEN TO BROKEN, REPENTANT OBEDIENT SERVANTS!? MORE Grace! "I am with you, saith the Lord." The still small voice is sometimes the most needed aspect of my Christian walk.
  • The ESV in verse 9 says "because of my house that lies in ruins, while each of you busies himself with his own house." This is so messed up guys...come on, is God really just something to run to when you need Him? God is always needed! We need to be constantly with Him and about Him and through Him! He should be my life.
  • "I am with you declares the Lord." a promise only give to those who come broken in obedience to the Lord.
  • What in all of God's creation is hindering me to pay attention to the Creator?! Why am I so impressed with what God makes that I neglect who God is and the purpose of all this? Because I am wicked, rotten to the core, and the only way I can live a successful Christian life is by letting God live it through me and being willfully obedient in love. Christ does the work, it is not anything of me.
  • Stop focusing on making myself better intellectually, physically, or emotionally. My focus is to be seeing God's grace in light of my wickedness.
  • My deepest needs cannot be met aside from divine intervention of a loving Savior that died for me.
  • Life is unproductive without God. God does satisfy, so even when other seem to be blessed, they're given things that don't truly satisfy! God's blessings truly come only when He is first place in your life. Where does God rank in your life? Do you have confused priorities like Judah?
  • Now with these words, you must respond. The people obeyed, will I? Putting my words into action like Israel's remnant did is a constant battle. Make plans to practice what God teaches me


Joel 2:1-32 [Aug. 22, 2011]

King James Version Translation of the Life Application Study Bible
 English Standard Version Journaling Bible

  • After warning the people of judgment and calling them to repent, Joel moves to revisit the penalty for the sin they committed if they did not repent. As Joel describes the "Day of the LORD" and calls for the alarm to ring out, he tells us the crisis is here and now! Joel also implies the locust plague was just a forerunner to a bigger crisis if repentance was not met.
  • As the punishment is being described you gather that there is nothing that can stop it, even when the judgment is in full swing. It is organized, quick, impenetrable, even the ground quakes in fear. This to me can almost describe the Nazi German invasion. It's like you could insert planes, troops, tanks, helicopters, guns, etc. and all could fit! 
  • Vs. 13 in ESV is awesome, I even circled it:  "...Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster."
  •  Even though destruction was coming God said it's not too late! Turn back to God while there is still time left! You don't know when you will die, turn to God now before it's too late. Don't let anything hold you back!
  • Beginning of verse 13 shows God wanting an inward, deep remorse over sin, not just an outward show of penitence. Attiude is worth more than action.
  • Where there is repentance, there is hope -- Joel now switches gears to prophesy of God's outpouring of blessings and forgiveness. These would ONLY be received if they repented.
  •  Joel now contrasts fearing judgment with joy of intervention. Sin brings judgment, but God's forgiveness brings joy. Let God intervene! God doesn't promise we will be prosperous now, but he does promise to meet the deepest needs of those that love him--he loves and forgives us, gives us a purpose in life, and gives us a caring Christian community.
  • Judgment and mercy go hand in hand. Repentance will bring mercy on those who repent. God wants not to destroy, but to heal! Accept salvation and repent of sin or we will perish.


Joel 1:1-20 [Aug. 21, 2011]

King James Version Translation of the Life Application Study Bible
 English Standard Version Journaling Bible

  • Joel was a prophet to Judah and his message was to tell that God's judgment comes because of sin, but with God's justice and wrath there is also great, inseparable mercy.
  • Joel tells the message of God is to NOT forget! Continually tell the next generation about all the lessons you learn! One of the best gifts you can give to younger people is your life's story so they see and understand your successes and failures.
  • Joel gives a very specific, detailed description of judgment from a massive locust swarm that will come or had come. Another view is that the locust swarm was used as a symbol of an invading army. Either way, the point is that God will punish the people for their sin. When it would come, it would be called "The Day of the LORD".
  • The people were dulled as a drunk person to their sin. Joel pleaded for the people to snap out of it! Complacency and apathy was characteristic of the entire nation! If they didn't shake out of their apathy and realize the true gravity of their sin and give up the light-hearted attitude to sin, it would be too late. Everything would be destroyed. Peace and prosperity can lull us to sleep. Don't give up spiritual preparation and brokenness for comfort in times of material abundance and peace.
  • The people were asked by Joel to be so serious and sorrowful over their sin that they were to wear sackcloth as in a funeral custom to mourn over their sin! Joel also asked them to fast and focus on the LORD and rememer what was truly important!
  •  The "Day of the LORD" can refer to an extraordinary happening in the present, near future, or the ultimate final period of history when God judges evil. Even present or near future "Days of the LORD" will always symbolize the final judgment. A judgment of evil and sin and a rewarding of the believers are present at the final judgment. Righteousness and truth will prevail, but not until much suffering is endured first.
  • "Without God, devastation is sure." Prepare for "The Day of the LORD" by trusting Him and serving the Savior for true hope and joy!


The Beginning

This is also a place where I  etch out some thoughts and memories from a spiritual perspective onto a blog. A majority of the posts have been the devotional studies I had through unfamiliar minor prophets and I will be finishing up with the most impactful one: Hosea. This study was done much earlier than all the rest, but you can actually see in just the language and way the text flows throughout each post as the Lord makes me to be more like his son, Jesus Christ.

Following after the Hosea posts this will function as a "Spiritual Saturation Blog". I say that only to coin the phrase :) But more seriously, this is just another outlet for my personal thoughts to work their way into words on a page.

Basically, the blog will be a combination of posting meaningful devotionals that impact me in a special way, poems I feel like writing, conceits, interesting illustration ideas, fictional (spiritual) stories, and even actual events. Hopefully this is just will function like a journal you just stumble upon and start reading.

Enjoy the blog my hope is that you see God's love, grace, and greatness as you read.
The Word of God is quick and powerful and it is the only thing that works in our lives apart from the Holy Spirit if you are saved by the grace of God. May he show his love to you today.