Freedom. Truth. Marriage.

My thoughts on these things. Feel free to leave feedback.

40 years….

Today I turned 40. I don’t feel 40. I still feel about 30ish. A lot of people who don’t know my age have commented that I look like I’m in my lower 30s. I can go with that LOL.

I think what hits me more are these events of 2017:
1) My wife and I will celebrate the 20th anniversary of our first date.
2) I’ll officially have a teenager.
3) 10 years with FWFD – I’m not one of the younger, new guys anymore. Though not an officer, I’m a senior FF and I realize need to reflect that.

I heard a guy reflecting on his turning 50 say something to the effect of: I could sit back and coast on my faith, my accomplishments at this point. But I don’t want to. I want to do the remainder of my life to my best ability: love more, work tirelessly, and earn my sleep at the end of each day.

Me too. The past shaped a lot of me. How I medicated it shaped me even more as a young adult. The future has yet to be shaped.

The first 40 were riddled with hell (the last 20 of that being largely self-imposed). The last half of my life may be riddled with hell. But I pray that by now I’ve learn to handle life’s events with humility and grace. And no more self-imposed trauma.

Obstacle Course Racing has put in me better physical shape than I ever have been – ever!! In fact, I’m going to celebrate that today by doing something I’ve never done: I’m going to wear the last years worth of race medals all day. I mean, I’ve never been athletic to save my life, until now. So if you see photos of me and I look like Mr. T, that’s why.

Even 7 years ago I wasn’t sure what this milestone in my life would look like. Would I still be here? Would my life be worse or better? My marriage? My relationship with my kids?

It’s better than I could’ve imagined. And without my family it wouldn’t have been possible. Without the intervention of the Holy Spirit (who is still very much living, speaking, and active in these days) it would certainly have been impossible.

All the men in my family who’ve lived to be old have made it to 75+. I’m halfway there. The family and I decided to celebrate today and tomorrow (hey it takes 2 full days to watch all of The Hobbit and LOTR movies). Come Thursday, it’s time to get to work.

Time’s almost up.
Live excellent.
Earn your nights rest.


Is There a Better Way Than a Boycott? Maybe So…

Boycotts. Sometimes they work. Sometimes they don’t. There’s nothing wrong with withdrawing patronage from a business for whatever reason – bad service, bad morals, etc. I silently take my business elsewhere when it comes to a handful of places. And, on the other hand, I have companies I prefer doing business with – like O’Reilly’s Auto.

The problem with Christians boycotting is that 1) it takes “the light” out of the business,  and 2) while the company’s bottom line may not be hurt, decreased sales and tips (think Starbucks) affects the employees who may be on “your side’ of the issue and who are just trying to make a living. In theory, enough Christians may be hurting Starbucks income in Texas. But what do you tell those baristas when they end up closing a location? “Sorry you lost your job sweetie, but I’m doing the Christian thing by boycotting. God bless you as you look for another job.”  (Okay that’s a bit much, but you get the idea).

Now, I’m not a financial planner or economist, and I don’t understand the finer points of Wall Street, but I crunched some numbers and came up with this:

If 142 million Evangelical Christians (half of the worlds total estimated Evangelical Christians) spent $200 each year and purchased stock in Target (TGT) or Starbucks (SBUX), they could would have the purchasing power of $28.4 billion. At this mornings stock quotes that would purchase over 246 million shares of Starbucks and almost 172 million shares of Target. In a year 28% of Target would be owned by believers. After two years of this, believers would own 33% of Starbucks! What kind of impact do you think that would make on company policies?

Boycotting makes us feel good, and has it’s place, but its long-term effects are questionable. Can you imagine what Target would be supporting in 3 years when over half of the shareholders are believers?

(SBUX at $57.72 with 1.478B shares outstanding; TGT at $82.6 with 596M shares outstanding. Based on opening numbers, Apr 27, 2016)

Ash? Lent? Easter? Christmas? What???

Let me be completely honest and admit: I don’t get into religious holidays for “religious” reasons. May the stone-throwing commence.

The church I attend used to only observe Christmas and Easter. Now they’ve added Ash Wednesday. One time they observed Maundy Thursday. This is a Southern Baptist Church (though I’m non-denominational – long story) who, historically, hasn’t observed these man-made rituals.

Yes, they are man-made. You won’t find them in the Bible, as such.

Today is Ash Wednesday.  In a nutshell, Ash Wednesday is supposed to be about repentance, and preparation for Lent. The Bible I read says nothing about using a holiday to invoke a spirit of repentance, but instead says: “For godly grief produces a repentance not to be regretted and leading to salvation, but worldly grief produces death. For consider how much diligence this very thing — this grieving as God wills — has produced in you: what a desire to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what deep longing, what zeal, what justice! In every way you showed yourselves to be pure in this matter.” (2 Cor. 7:10-11)

In other words, Godly sorrow produces repentance. This is a work of the Holy Spirit, not a religious observance.

In the early church we read nothing in the Bible about special holidays being observed for “Christian” reasons. We see other things (like prophecies, selfless-ministry, etc.) occurring. The Galatians were reprimanded by trying to re-implement old Jewish holidays into The Way. “But now, since you know God, or rather have become known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and bankrupt elemental forces? Do you want to be enslaved to them all over again? You observe special days, months, seasons, and years. I am fearful for you, that perhaps my labor for you has been wasted.” (Gal. 4:9-10)

The lost see us being religious, but not real. We, as a body, need to be moving further from these man-made religious contraptions.  These, that are one more thing we need “to do” in order to feel right with God.  True Christianity is a daily walking by the Spirit, which includes repentance.  Fasting is a regular habit, not reserved for Lent.  Personally, I’d rather go each day of the year just living, than have the legalistic encumbrances of the Liturgical Calendar (another man-made device). Let’s move forward towards freedom in Christ, not backwards into religiosity.

Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom – Walk by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

Yes, You Can Biblically Worship with Instruments!

(I’ve somewhat rewrote this so if it looks different than what you originally read, that’s why.)

I read a lot of church/Christianity-related articles. Lately worship has been a big topic, particularly the whole “contemporary” vs. “traditional” debate. Yet there’s another side, less known in most church circles: The instrumental vs. a cappella issue.

I grew up in a sect of Christianity that says God only authorizes a cappella worship, those that used instruments were sinning, and were risking losing their salvation. They reasoned that other churches used instruments just because they selfishly and rebelliously wanted to. This sect thought other churches were simply ignoring what the Bible said. While I no longer am of that belief, I used to be. I used to be a lot. I used to argue with my Baptist grandmother, trying to convince her that using a piano and organ in church was a sin. It’s safe to say I’ve heard (and I one time wholeheartedly believed) every argument I heard on the issue of a cappella vs. instrumental worship. Let’s look at what worship is and why some reason it should only be a cappella.

What does worship mean, anyway? If someone is going to be concerned with what worship is or isn’t I’d recommend taking a close look at these verses.

  • sebo” (Mt. 15:9, Mk. 7:7) = “properly, personally esteem; to hold something in high respect.”
    This is more of an attitude and motive than an external action.
  • “proskuneo” (Jn. 4:24, Rev. 19:10) = “properly, to kiss the ground when prostrating before a superior; to worship, ready to fall down/prostrate oneself to adore on one’s knees”
    Are you standing and worshipping? Or sitting in a pew? Or falling on your face before the Lord?
  • “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (Jn 4:22-24). This is the ultimate command for Christian worship. If our spirits aren’t engaged then it’s not worship.
  • God doesn’t change. “Because I, Yahweh, have not changed,…” (Mal. 3:6). If He didn’t change then, He hasn’t changed now. He hasn’t changed between the OT and NT either. From His own mouth, He hasn’t changed. This is important because in Psalm 150 (and numerous other places) worship with instruments is commanded.
  • Worship is giving ourselves up for Christ; not limited to singing songs. “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” (Rom. 12:1)

Worship is much more than just going to church and singing along. The best book I’ve read on Biblical worship is “How to Worship a King,” by Zach Neese. Here’s some great excerpts regarding worship from his book:

“We have largely been content to let our denominations and our culture define worship for us. That is why there are so many different opinions about what is worship and how it should be done, but so little power in worship itself.”

“…we can build a beautiful facility, fill it with beautiful people, beautiful music, and wonderful programs, but if it is devoid of the presence of God it means absolutely nothing.”

“If worship is for man, then man is the object of worship. If man is the object of worship, then we are gods unto ourselves.

“Our worship communicates more to the world than you know! Our worship shows the world how valuable our God is.”

When we’re more concerned with obeying a rule about worship, for fear of our own salvation, is worship then about Him? Or ourselves?

The arguments saying instruments are not authorized are few and often repeated. Here are some of the more common ones:

“Jesus did away with the ‘old law’ and now we’re under a ‘new law.'” (Col.2:14, Eph. 2:15). First of all, the “law” is the Torah. Technically, Psalms (and 33 other books of the OT) are not “the Law.” Also, Jesus didn’t give us a new list of rules (laws) to follow, but a new covenant – one focused on grace, not law (Rom. 6:14, Gal 3-5). This is a whole other discussion though so I’ll move on…

“It specifically says ‘sing!'” Some cite passages in Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16 as definitively saying we are only to “sing” in worship. These passages are not discussing the subject matter of worship as a rule. They, nor the subject matter around them, use the words for “worship” we identified above. Using these passages to make a law about the use of instruments is “eisegesis” – interpreting a verse to fit a preconceived bias. (Read more about eisegesis at this link). In other words, these verses have been contorted to support a cappella-only doctrine.

“‘Psalm/psallo’ means heart-strings.” Find the English or Greek word for “heart-string” in the text for me, please. Some have tried to argue that “psallo” no longer meant plucked instrument by the time the church was established. Keep in mind Paul was well educated in the scripture. He was too well versed in *all* of the Scripture to have picked that word lightly. The fact is the New Testament, in the Greek, uses a word that means worshiping with a plucked instrument (1Cor 14:15, Eph. 5:19, Col. 3:16).

“Instruments are a distraction” Actually, what we’re not used to is a distraction. The first time I took my wife (who grew up Baptist) to an a cappella service she was distracted by the lack of instruments. Not to mention the very high soprano singing above the congregation. This is a personally subjective issue that can’t be used to discredit the use of instruments.

The following are other arguments against the use of instrumental worship, that are based on a misunderstanding of what the Bible as a whole is saying. I’m not going to into depth with these individually. These ideas are rooted in reading the Bible through filtered glasses, which is an issue on its own. When you step back and read the Bible as a whole, realizing that the NT isn’t a law book, that we’re under grace not law, and the original language, these issues fall flat on their own.

“The NT church didn’t use instruments.” – There’s a lot of things they didn’t do. There’s a lot they did that some churches don’t do now. The inconsistencies with this are so many, it would warrant it’s own post.

“I’m not going to take a chance just in case.” In case of what? Salvation isn’t dependent on one’s accidentally keeping or breaking a perceived rule. This is a fear response. Perfect Love (God) drives out fear.

“The NT only says sing. By exclusion we can rule out all else.” The law of exclusion is a man-made interpretive device. I can “sing” in the car accompanied by radio. I can tell someone I was “singing” but still have a guitar in my hands. The church probably didn’t use four-part harmony either. The Bible is silent on the use of harmony. Why is that not excluded?

“It’s simply not authorized.” This can lead to a whole other post about legalism. I can think of quite a few things that are specifically authorized that this sect does and doesn’t do. But that’s legalism – and legalism is unscriptural.

What it boils down to is this: How do we understand what the scripture is saying? We have to look at the whole Bible, the whole book, the whole chapter, the surrounding passages, and most of all, the original language.

Hear me on this: I’m not saying it’s wrong or sinful to worship a cappella. Nor is it a sin to use instruments. What is a sin is to mis-teach Scripture and therefore make a burden of new rules that God never intended. It’s also unscriptural to continue obeying this perceived rule out of fear that if you break out the guitar you might (might) lose your eternal reward.

Now that we’ve defined worship, and dispelled some of the reasons why some think it’s wrong, we’ll examine some modern “fruit” of why instrumental worship is authorized by God. “You will know them by their fruits.” (Mt 7:15-18).

(Continue on to Part 2)


Instruments in Worship, Part 2

(First part is here)

Throughout the NT it’s explained that we’ll know a good tree by it’s fruit. Jesus even said “You will know them by their fruits” (Mt. 7:15-18).

Listening to worship music this morning reminded me of something. While it’s not universal across all instrumental services (for various reasons that take too long to address here), I’ve been in many instrumental services where the Holy Spirit comes in power.

How do we know God is there? First, there’s always fruits of the Spirit manifested. There’s also a conviction of the heart – Godly sorrow that produces repentance. People turn to God for salvation, believers and unbelievers repent, people obey. The Kingdom is furthered. Sometimes there are gifts manifested. Yes there are still miraculous healings, prophecies, tongues, etc. taking place. (The argument that they don’t is something I may write about later. But they still occur, so….)

The posture of the worshipers is also telling – flat on their faces, on their knees, bowed down, hands raised, etc. As I mentioned in the first part, one of the words for worship means “bowed down.”

I don’t see how anyone can say they’ve worshiped in the presence of the King yet just sit in a pew… Just my opinion.

Some would say it’s a guise of Satan. They would say this is Satan masquerading as an angel of light. But a thorough searching of the Scripture would reveal otherwise. Why would the Enemy work against himself? (Mt. 12:16-27) He doesn’t. Because he’s not causing such an event.

I have been in some very worshipful a cappella services. The Spirit comes there too. I’m not saying He won’t or doesn’t. This is my main point: If God so despised instrumental worship as some would think, then why would the Holy Spirit grace an instrumental service with His presence?

How are instruments in worship authorized?

There are NT verses that speak of worshiping with a song that uses stringed instruments (1Cor 14:15, Eph. 5:19, Col. 3:16). By taking a look at the whole Bible, we see it’s commanded in Psalms 150. God commanded and preferred instruments in the OT, our previous examples in the NT, and in Heaven (Rev. 5:8; 8).  Since He doesn’t change (Mal. 3:6, Heb 6:17, ), neither do his preferences.  That’s the book-chapter-verse answer.
When you remove all the erroneous arguments against instruments, it only supports the truth in these passages.


The only hard fast command, in the NT, came from Jesus himself – that worship is to be done in spirit and in truth.

The specific use of the word ‘psallo’ denotes a song intended to be accompanied with an instrument.

Worship must come from the heart and express the gratitude of the believer, not an external action so that one may check off their “good work” for the week.

Instruments, across the Scripture, are authorized, including in the NT. Only through interpretive gymnastics can we come up with them being prohibited.

The Holy Spirit is present in instrumental worship services, as evidenced by His fruit and giftings, which wouldn’t occur if they were so “unauthorized.”

Finally, and most important: We’re not dependent on obeying laws and rules for our salvation. Romans 4-8, and Galatians 3-5 attest to this fact.

Truth takeaway:

Worship isn’t limited to a regulative view. It doesn’t prohibit a normative view either. Same deal with instruments, clapping, raising hands, bowing, kneeling, etc. Worship is, first and foremost supposed to be from the heart. If it’s just a rote action and not with all our heart, it’s not worship anyway.

An excerpt from a previous post that I think bears repeating:

The New Testament isn’t a rule book. You cannot possibly keep all the commands, examples, or inferences. God’s standard is perfection. The men who first established the doctrine that would lead to that sect didn’t have a full understanding of what the Bible was saying. But you can have a full understanding of Scripture.

I’m not against the people who think music is required to be a cappella only. I am against the Enemy who lies and deceives (“deceive” means you genuinely think you’re right when you’re not). A person who’s spends their whole life in a prison cell doesn’t know what freedom on the outside looks like. My desire is that people worship God with their hearts more than following some tradition’s rule. That they worship God out of gratitude for the grace He’s saved us by, not because they’re afraid He’ll “smiteth” them if they don’t. I don’t write this to argue, pick a fight, or try to be right. I write this that those would be set free from the Pharisee’s burden of man-made laws, and in turn, praise and glorify God.



Where I Started… And Why I Left

I grew up Church of Christ (CoC). More specifically, in one of the most strict & legalistic (“conservative” to use their terminology) churches of Christ in the region. Teachers and leaders said we were “right”. I believed we were “right.” We were right and everyone who didn’t agree with the Bible –  as we interpreted it – was going to Hell.

Now I had a rough childhood.  And while I wasn’t perfect all through those growing years I still went to church and participated as much as I could. I may have lived like hell but I was involved in church and desired to give it all my effort. When I was 19 circumstances occurred that allowed me to move away from bad influences (drugs, atheism, etc.) At this fresh start, I decided to really seek the Lord.

I now found myself living in a different town, 19 years old, and attending another strict CoC. With the desire of being a good, God-fearing young man, I set out to do what I was taught. I knew I needed to obey every command in the New Testament if God was going to love me and allow me into Heaven. I started from Matthew and went to Jude, noting every command and how it was to be observed. I didn’t just use my trusty KJV. I had an 8-version Bible that had New American Standard and even the Greek text. While I wasn’t a Greek scholar, I knew a lot about linguistics (okay, I was a nerd in school). Armed with a primer and dictionary on New Testament Greek, I prayerfully studied for hours each morning. If I didn’t understand what a word meant I went to the Greek source. One of the CoC’s reputable preachers taught a lot from the Greek text so I figured I was on the right track.

As I studied I learned something: When you read the NT as a whole, and the books as a whole, they read different. I was used to learning about a topic by looking at the selected verses that apply to it (“eisegesis”). In other words, taking scriptures that agreed with the argument at hand and reinforcing the belief by “cherry picking” verses. The problem with “eisegesis” is that it takes the verse out of context and screws up how it reads.

I also noticed that the NT was commanding things my churches never did. Such as:

  •  greet each other with a holy kiss
  •  lift hands when we pray
  • have the elders anoint the sick with oil and pray for them

If my book-chapter-verse CoC was supposed to be following the NT example and doing these things, why weren’t we? I also found that the Greek revealed deeper meanings. Some examples: “Psalmos” means a song accompanied with a stringed instrument.  Most CoCs are strictly a capella. Was it okay to use instruments?  Also, “repent” means a change of mindset or thinking (which leads to a change in behavior), not simply changing behavior by “turning and going the other way,” as I had heard growing up.

The most glaring contradiction was in the fruit of the believers. “By their fruit you will know them.” Most – not all but most – the CoC members I knew, myself included, were fruitless. As I went back and forth through the passages I found that the CoC I grew up in resembled the Pharisees more than it did the early church.

I thought about talking to the preacher but I knew how that was going to go. He was going to give me the same reasons and arguments I grew up hearing. Then when I countered all of them, I was going to be accused of “going astray” and then I would be treated as a “lost sheep,” stigmatized as an apostate. They’re quick to condemn one as “lost” if they get too “liberal” in their beliefs.

So I started sneaking out.

It’s hard to sneak out of a church in a town of 1300.

I went to the next most familiar church I knew: the Baptist church. My family accused me of going there because it was more “fun.” Funny thing is, I was pretty certain these CoC relatives didn’t put in the hours of study I had to this point. They didn’t know that I really knew what the Bible was saying. I also noticed that some (some) Baptists had more fruit – fruit of the Spirit that I had read about.

After about a year out of the CoC  I went to college. And after a year of silence from the CoC folks, certain men in the CoC – men that had rarely spoken to me previously – wrote me letters telling me why I was wrong.  One invoked my deceased father and how upset he would be about my “lostness.” Another was even more of a jerk.

FYI: When you never talk to someone, and haven’t seen them in a year, don’t think you can write them a letter telling them why they’re wrong in their Bible beliefs.

Oddly enough, I later ended up at a CoC university, due to a program they offered. I minored in Bible/Ministry. The atmosphere here wasn’t as strict, and the Bible professors were great. It was here I realized that not all CoC members were like the ones I grew up with. One thing I did notice: A lot of those kids who came from CoC backgrounds seemed spiritually dead. No fruit or desire for God. Christianity seemed like a religious duty. Not because God loved them, but because they had to in order to avoid hell and being “disfellowed” by their family (yes, a few of them admitted this). It was sad to see them miss out on true love and life abundant for the sake of keeping a rule-filled religion as if they could earn God’s love.

I graduated from there in a few years. Aside from friends, funerals, and weddings, that was my last involvement in the CoC. That was over 10 years ago.  Now I identify as a non-denominational Christian. In fact, I prefer to not label myself, as I am ever changing and growing to be more Christlike.  I’ve now been married 17 years and have 4 kids.  Getting out was the best thing I could’ve done for myself, my wife, and my family.

If you’re Church of Christ and reading this, let me say to you, as formerly one of you:

The New Testament isn’t a rule book. You cannot possibly keep all the commands, examples, or inferences. God’s standard is perfection. The men who first established the doctrine that would lead to the CoC didn’t have a full understanding of what the Bible was saying. But you can have a full understanding of Scripture.

First, ask the Holy Spirit, who dwells in you, to give you a proper understanding. Then start reading at Matthew. Pay attention when you get to Romans 4,7,8; 2 Corinthians 3; Galatians 3-5. Read what our Lord told the Pharisees in Matthew 15:8 & 23:13-28. Christ didn’t come to establish yet another religion where we have to work our way to God’s favor. He came to give us life abundantly. Grace is what will get you to heaven, and you can’t earn that. Like a old CoC minister said, “Don’t trust what your preacher says. Get in the Bible and read it for yourself.”

The God you seek to please, and you seek for an eternal reward… There’s more of Him outside your CoC congregation. It’s better; it’s real; it’s Biblical. If nothing else, now I know I have eternal life (1 John 5:13). If you die right now, do you know?

I’m not against the people who are still very much CoC. I am against the Enemy who lies and deceives (“deceive” means you genuinely think you’re right when you’re not).  A person who’s spends their whole life in a prison cell doesn’t know what freedom on the outside looks like. I am against people going to church and still being separated from God because of the doctrinal system.

He came to set us free, give us life abundantly, heal our diseases, and give us a yoke that is light and easy, with no condemnation, and with the comforting knowledge that we are indeed saved from an eternity in Hell even now. Your church membership, where ever it is, should be affirming that.

Now it’s 2015….

…and I haven’t posted anything on here since October. So.. What next?

I hope you got something out of the Stuff We Say series. I liked being able to go through those sayings, learn the root, and then figure out the truth of them.  I learned a lot myself. What was intended to be a 3-5 part post, ended up being much more. Thank you to those friends who suggested more sayings to look at.

  • Some time back I mentioned putting on here what I believe – sort of a statement of faith. Some of you know me personally, buy may not know where I stand or how I got to that point.  Also, this will give me a chance to dig deep and examine what I believe even further, just like I mentioned here.
  • During this new year I’ve decided to read some books pertaining to freedom, truth, & marriage. I’m also going to be attending various conferences throughout the year. I’ll post some snippets of stuff to share with you, if not here then on our Facebook page.

I think between these 2 areas we’ll have enough to talk about. As always, if you have anything you’d like to see written about, let me know.

Praying that the absolute truth of the Bible empowers you to walk in the freedom of who you really are in 2015.



God + country

“God’s country.” “For God and country!” We’ve all heard these phrases.  Until recently, I’ve have really thought about what it means. They sound Christian but anyone following this “Stuff we Say” series knows anything can sound Christian and not be.

God’s country
“God’s country,” as defined here  means this:  “1. an area or region supposed to be favored by God, especially a naturally beautiful rural area. 2. an isolated rural area. 3. one’s native region.”  None of these are really scriptural. Yes there are extremely beautiful places in this earth, but God created all the earth – even the parts deemed ugly by us.  All the earth is beautiful and brings glory to Him. I will admit, after seeing New Zealand as shown in the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies, some regions appear more glorifying than others.

God and country
I couldn’t find a definition for “God and country.” I did find here that “God and country” originated from the Army phrase “Pro Deo et patria.”  If you consider the conjunction “and” between “God” and “country” this phrase essentially puts country on equal standing with God. Some are motivated to serve “God and country.” Sometimes we have ceremonies to celebrate “God and country.”  There are even “God and Country” church services around the 4th of July.  The problem with this thinking is that country is held at an equal (or sometimes higher) place with God the Creator, the Most High, who Was and Is and Is to Come. (See the blog series on Idolatry in America to read more about this).

Using the Lord’s name in vain (Ten Commandment #3) means to use his name flippantly, emptying it of it’s real meaning, in ways that make God to be an object. That being the case perhaps we need to look very closely at what we mean when we say these.ThingsWeSaw  I’d say God comes before country…. way before.

“To thine own self be true”

This phrase actually has it’s origin in the Shakespeare play, Hamlet. The character Polonius is giving advice to his 18 year old son. He tells Laertes, “Neither a lender or borrower be. This above all; to thine own self be true.” Pastor David Dykes provides this commentary about this phrase:

“It combines two concepts that cannot be ignored: self and truth. Americans are involved in a continual love affair with self. Our mantra has become: Take care of #1. Know yourself, love yourself, and be true to your self. Self has become the basic standard for truth. Americans bow down at the altar of Sovereign Self. How far this is from the words of Jesus spoken in Mark 8:34 when He said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Today, we hear, love self; protect self; promote self–and Jesus said, “Deny your self.” He wasn’t talking about denying yourself some thing–like going without food, or pleasure. He meant to deny self’s desire to constantly climb onto the throne of your life.”

The passage he mentions, Mark 8:34-36, Jesus says this,

“If anyone wants to be My follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me and the gospel will save it. For what does it benefit a man to gain the whole world yet lose his life? What can a man give in exchange for his life?”

Truth takeaway: To God only are we to be true. This idea of being true to our self sounds good, but is self-centered. If we’re true to our Creator, then we’re ultimately true to who we’re really supposed to be – who he created us to be.ThingsWeSaw

“I need more of God”


In the church circles I’ve been in I often hear of people wanting, praying for, and singing for more of God. To me, it sounds like God is withholding some of his Spirit and we need to ask for more. But what does the Bible say?

In 2 Peter 1:3 it says, “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”

Philippians 1:19 also says, “for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.” The word for provision is “epichoregeo.” In his book, Sparkling Gems from the Greek, Rick Renner tells this story:

“Thousands of years ago in classical Greece, a huge choral and dramatic company practiced endlessly for a huge, important theatrical performance. After they put in a great amount of time, effort, energy, and practice, it was finally time for the show to go on the road. But there was one major problem — they ran out of money!

These people had given their lives to this production. They had committed all their resources to making sure the performance succeeded. But because they ran out of financing, it meant the show was over — finished! They were washed up before the show ever officially got started. From all appearances, it was the end of the road for them and their dream.

At that exact moment, a wealthy man heard of their crisis, stepped into the middle of their situation, and made a huge financial contribution on behalf of the choir. This contribution “supplied” all they needed to get back in business again! In fact, the gift the man gave was so enormous that it was more than they needed or knew how to spend! This man’s contribution was excessively large, abundant, overflowing, and overwhelming.

This is where we get the word “supply” in Philippians 1:19 that now describes the enormous contribution of the Spirit that Jesus Christ wants to give to you and me! In light of this, Philippians 1:19 could be taken to mean:

‘I am certain that this situation will ultimately turn around and result in my deliverance. I’m sure of it — first, because you are praying for me; and second, because of the special contribution of the Spirit that Jesus Christ is donating for my present cause.’ This means when you’ve run out of steam; when you’ve given your best effort and you don’t feel like you have another ounce of energy left to give; when it looks like your resources are drained and you are unable to take one more step unless someone steps in to help you — that is exactly the moment when Jesus Christ becomes your personal Benefactor! Like the wealthy man in the story above, Jesus steps into your life at that moment to donate”

Often when I feel like I don’t have enough of God, I find out I’m not allowing God access to all of me. According to the Bible he’s already given us everything. He’s there to supply and provide. My role, then, is to die to myself – my wants, desires, ambitions, and wishes.

Post Navigation

Cloudy with a Chance of Susan

Inside the Mind of Susan Cloud

Everyone Loves Sex: So Why Wait?

Just another site

Do Not Disturb

Practical Steps for Friendship, Unity and Intimacy in Your Marriage

The Forgiven Wife

Learning to Dance with Desire

Mark and Lauren

in Asia-Pacific


Freedom... Truth... Marriage...