But God

I was dead.

I was hardened.

I was blind.

I was incapable of seeking God.

I was a son of disobedience.

I was by nature an object of God’s wrath.

I was separated from God.

I was unable to please God in any manner, no matter what I did.


Rich in mercy

Because of His great love


By His grace

Not because of anything I had done

As a gift

For His Work

According to His purpose.

Now, I am ALIVE!

A Tale of Two Families

Nearly a year ago, entire people groups throughout the world experienced their governments telling them they could not leave their homes except for essentials.  Almost immediately, some saw that this was a huge power grab and began to fight back.  Others cowered in fear.  Welcome to the tale of two such families in the United States.

Initially, no one knew what to expect when the panic ensued.  Both the Gratis family and the Aislar family thought the government’s information about a deadly pandemic to be forthright and honest.  However, when “two weeks to stop the spread” did not pan out and everyone was being bombarded with fear narratives that did not seem logical or grounded in reality, the Gratis family began to question things.  Never before had the country experienced such intense government restriction.  The numbers did not seem to add up.  The information being disseminated kept changing, and it was discovered that what was used to cause panic in everyone were just projections and not reality.  This did not make sense.  Members of the Gratis family began extensive research into what was happening, and what they found revealed nothing but lies, smoke and mirrors, being regurgitated by the government.  It was a well-scripted narrative.

The Aislar family hung on every word the government said.  They hunkered down in their home.  Certainly, if the government was telling them how horrific it was going to be, it must be true!  There was no reason to question the government.  After all, the government is there to protect you, right?

The entire country was told not to celebrate Easter.  Although spring was coming, they were told to stay inside.  They were told to restrict their movement.  Businesses were shuddered.  Everything was shut down.  Life as they knew it ended.  They were told, and even often forbid, to see treasured loved ones.  They were warned not to be the one who caused grandma to die from a deadly virus.  Moving into the summer, they were told not to engage in athletic events, not to celebrate Independence day, and not to have weddings or graduation parties.  More restrictions followed as time passed.  No family gatherings, no holiday celebrations, no church.  Totalitarian reigns became the norm for many governors as entire state legislatures became impotent. 

The Aislar family bought it all hook, line, and sinker.  They completely avoided any person that was not in their immediate family.  They even avoided seeing their children, grandchildren, and other loved ones.  They avoided public places.  They isolated as they were told.  Family ties appeared all but severed.  Major life events were avoided or ignored.  After all, Grandma did not want to die of the deadly virus. 

The Gratis family was quite the opposite.  Grandma and Grandpa spent time with their children and grandchildren.  Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas were celebrated in grand style.  Not a life moment was missed.  In fact, because everything had been cut off and shut down, the family was able to spend a lot more quality time together in person.  Relationships grew and strengthened.  Memories were made.  Life was lived.  Not a moment was missed.

Here we are more than a year later.  Both the Aislar family and the Gratis family have not lost a single loved one to the virus.  Sure, most of them have had the virus, but all of them have recovered.  The virus did not turn out to be the monster the government had made of it and continues to make of it.  The only difference is that the Aislar family lost an entire year of their life while the Gratis family did not.  The Aislar family missed major life celebrations and events.   They missed spending time with their loved ones.  They missed seeing the smiles and experiencing the hugs of grandchildren.  An entire year of family…vanished. 

The Gratis family did not miss a thing. 

I ask the Aislar family, was it worth it?  Was it worth not living your life to continue to have life?  Was it worth living in fear and isolating yourself to miss out on an entire year of your family’s lives?  Yes, you may say, “But I’m still alive.”  So is the Gratis family, and they actually continued to live their lives.  They continued to make memories and spend time in the presence of their loved ones.  They continued to live, love, and laugh with their children and grandchildren in person and close enough for hugs. 

Many people have been played the fool by their government.  Many people have lost an entire year of living…I mean really living…because they bought into the fear.  Looking back over the past year, knowing what we know now, was it worth it? 

Isolated Panic

Just over a year ago, the lockdowns around the world began.  Just over a year ago, fear became the new normal.  Just over a year ago, a state of isolated panic ensued.  Isolated panic is just about the worst kind of panic one can experience.  In isolated panic, there are no voices of reason to combat the irrational thoughts inside one’s head. 

The forced isolation was not an accident.  There is no better way to train people’s brains to live in fear than to keep people from communicating with one another.  When there are no dissenting voices to be heard, there is only compliance.  As we see now, the lockdowns were just the start of a progressive cycle of shutting off voices of reason.   

The only way to combat the narrative is to be a voice of reason.  Come out of your isolation and speak out.  Has what you fear would happen to you happened?  Are you still alive to read these words?  Has the devastation been as vast as they claimed it would be?  Was it worth not being around your family for a year to be in the exact same place living in the exact same fear of something that either never happened or happened and you survived it? 

Stop giving in to the fear.  Fear is a liar.  Fear is used to control you, and it has worked marvelously. 

Come out of your isolated panic and live.      

The Lie Device

“I know the mask doesn’t work, but I will wear it anyway because I care.  I want others to feel safe.  I am trying to be nice.”

Is it caring to lie?

Is it right to give others a false sense of security?

Is it nice to propagate fear? 

I’m sorry.  I don’t believe the hype that wearing a mask is caring about others.  If you have done your research, and you understand what the real science says, it is nothing more than being completely and utterly deceitful to claim to wear a mask for others.  I’m not buying it. 

You are doing it for yourself. 

You are doing it because you are afraid of what others are going to think about you if you don’t wear a mask.

You are doing it because you are afraid of getting into trouble for not being compliant. 

You are wearing it for you because you care about what other people think of you.

It’s easier to hide under the mask. 

Quit lying to others.  Take the lie device off and speak the truth with your bare face. 

Masks: The Gateway

For those of you who think that it’s the considerate thing to do to wear a mask so you can protect other people’s health, I have a thought. 

I’m pretty stressed out most of the time because I have to work to support my family.  The CDC recommends that it is important to reduce stress to reduce the risk of serious physical and emotional problems.  In fact, I think my high blood pressure is related to my work stress, so if I continue on working, I might just have a heart attack, stroke, or even keel over dead.  So I think the best thing for me to do is to stop working.  However, in order for me to be able to do that, I need all these wonderful people who are willing to wear a mask out of consideration for the health of others, to take my health in this circumstance into consideration.  Therefore, I am asking that in consideration of my health—possibly even my life—that you forward a portion of your income to me.  Cash and checks are both acceptable.  After all, it’s the considerate thing to do!  Better yet, maybe the government should just mandate that those who work should send their money to those who can’t because it might be bad for their health and cause spikes in hospitalization or even deaths.  That way everyone is treated equally.  I mean, one size really does fit all, right?

Wait, you say?  That’s socialism?  Now you get why so many of us are concerned that mask mandates are the gateway to make socialism the new normal.  If they can get you to accept something small…social distancing; lockdowns to flatten the curve; wear a mask for four to six weeks to slow the spread; wear a mask while walking to your table in a restaurant but not while you’re at the table; wear a mask indefinitely because nothing is safe from the monster virus; here, take this questionable vaccination that did not go through lengthy testing processes for a virus that 99% of people survive; in order to socialize, you must have a vaccination card…then they know they got you hook, line, and sinker for the bigger things.   

Out of consideration for others, why don’t you not wear a mask to show them that you will not accept socialism?   They are watching to see how far you’ll go…with how much you will comply.  Now is the time to put the mask down before we lose everything!

Fear: Easier than Truth

Someday, you’re going to wake up and realize you’ve been duped.  You have believe the lies. It will be a hard pill to swallow.  No one likes to be lied to or played the fool.  Unfortunately, you won’t know what to do about it.  It will be too late.  You will realize what we’ve been warning you about all along has been true, yet you were too busy living in fear to believe it.  Somehow living in fear was easier than accepting the truth. 

But it’s too late.

Too many things have been taken away from you now.  People you love needlessly died because the almighty dollar was more important to those in charge.  They manipulated the data.  They spread propaganda.  You accepted what they said without question.  Critical thinking was overtaken by the fear and panic they intentionally invoked in you.  Because you were afraid, you believed what they told you.  You enabled them.  You complied.

And now your freedoms are gone.  You may not fully realize it yet, but they have been obliterated. 

It would have been wiser to ask questions.  It would have been wiser to consider what the people around you had been warning you about.  But you were told to fear them too.  And fear is the antithesis of truth and seeking truth. 

Now it’s too late.  You let fear rule you…misplaced fear.  You let fear snare you.  You let fear be your guide…and now we shall all suffer for it. 

Imposters in the Church: Spiritual Abuse

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about abusive relationships.  Most people relate abuse to primary relationships such as in a marriage or in a dating relationship.  However, did you know that abuse can incur at a spiritual level within the visible church? 

You don’t really expect to go somewhere where they are claiming to preach the word of God and be abused.  No, you think you’re going to find love and acceptance in a group of people who seem to espouse the same beliefs as you.  So it is shocking when you find yourself in an abusive relationship with a church family. 

If you think about it though, it really does make a lot of sense that this can happen.  After all, churches are made up of people, and people are fallen and sinful.  Add to that someone becoming a pastor for the wrong reasons (e.g., God complex, power and control, narcissism), and people attending church for the wrong reasons, and you have a recipe for disaster. 

Church was never meant to be about humans.  Church was created for God’s true children to come together to worship and glorify Him.  In the process, God grows and changes His children to be more like Him.  Unfortunately, many treat church as a means of finding personal importance, having friends, or trying to look good to others.  There are many in churches these days who have little to do with trying to understand God’s holiness or His purpose for the lives of His children.  Many are wrapped up in comparing themselves with everyone else to make them feel better about themselves. 

When I was growing up, whether you were a good Christian always seemed to be measured against other people.  When other people were more spiritual than you, you always knew about it.  I finally came to a realization.  I can remember clearly thinking, “Wow!  Why am I so concerned with so and so.  None of us measure up to God!”  As God changed the way I thought about things, I realized that Christianity wasn’t about comparing myself to other people.  In comparison to a holy God, none of us measure up.  I needed a savior to save me from my sinful self.  Reading my Bible 3 hours a day, praying on my knees at 5 a.m., only wearing skirts, and even going to church every time the doors were open were never going to save me.  These things were not what made me a child of God.  They may have made me look more spiritual to other people, but they were only a cover-up for the true nature of my heart which was desperately wicked.  I was behaving just like the Pharisees, and Jesus never had kind words for their religious behavior.

When you are in a church where what you do is a measure of your Christianity in the eyes of other people, you are in a very dangerous place.  You may just be in a situation rife with the potential for being in a spiritually abusive relationship.  I’ve noticed some similarities in churches were spiritual abuse occurs. 

First, there is almost always a pastor who is larger than life.  He is very vocal, sometimes even yelling at people during the church service.  People hold him on a pedestal, and it doesn’t seem like he can do anything wrong.  Even when it’s clear he’s doing wrong, no one questions him.  He is the supreme authority, and you cannot question that authority.  If you do, you’re not a good Christian. 

Secondly, there is an attempt by the church or people within the church to control your life including where you go, what you do, how you dress, and who you spend time with.  You are made to feel guilty or ashamed if you are not doing what everyone else is doing.  If you do not appear humble and subservient like everyone else, if you wear the wrong article of clothing or go to the wrong place, you are vilified and pointed out.  If you don’t dress the same way as everyone else, if you aren’t at church every time the doors are open, and if you don’t do what the pastor tells you to do, you are not a good Christian. 

A third indicator is an attempt to isolate you from the outside world.  You are told that you should not seek any help from people outside the church.  The only true Christians are the ones in your church family or churches that are just like yours.  So you cannot trust anyone else’s advice.  If you seek input from others outside the church, you are not a good Christina.  This isolation is designed to keep you from realizing that something is wrong. 

Another indicator that you might be in a spiritually abusive church is a violation of your privacy.  Everything you do, everything you say, must be accountable to the church and/or pastor.  Now there is a place for accountability within a church.  However, God has a very specific prescription for how that accountability is to take place, and it is not in a spirit of judgment or control.  A spirit of love and restoration must dominate that accountability. 

When we were looking for a new church family many years ago, I can remember walking into a church where the first thing a man said to us was, “We are an accountability church.”  He was quite proud of this fact.  But what I heard him saying is, “We are going to be in your business all the time, and we who think we are spiritual are going to be the judges of whether what you are doing is right or wrong.  You’ll be beholden to us, not God.”  That’s a very scary place to be!

Another indicator of being in a spiritually abusive church family is that you are treated with disrespect by people actively making you feel ashamed of who you are, blaming you for problems, and putting you down.  Any little perceived misstep is broadcast to the church, often from the pulpit, and then when you don’t fall into line, you are told you are responsible for confusion, disunity, and chaos in the church.  You become public enemy number one, and others in the church badmouth you and blame you.  The goal of this behavior is to try to pull you back in line and make you follow lock-step with what everyone else is doing to be a “good Christian”. 

It is important to remember that abusers have a very difficult time showing compassion.  They are only concerned with themselves and looking good.  They want to appear spiritual and more religious than anyone else.  Because they must maintain the appearance that they are better than other people, they have very little concern for the feelings of others.  The thing that makes them look the best is when you and others are made to look their worst.  They don’t truly care about others.  The are full of pride. 

Finally, abusers want you to do what they want you to do, and you are not allowed to have any individual opinions in the matter.  You are not allowed to be the individual God created you to be.  Your gifts can never be better than the other “important” people in the church.  You must believe what the pastor and/or church wants you to believe at all times, without question, even if it doesn’t align with Scripture.

It can be very difficult to remove oneself from a spiritual abusive church.  It can be very hard to recognize when you are a part of one.  Nothing irks me more than to see the harm inflicted on people by a spiritually abusive church.  The enemy is alive and well in the visible church these days.  His goal is to take as many people down as possible and keep them from a true saving relationship with God through Jesus Christ. 

I can remember going to a Christian college and discovering that there were true believers who did not live legalistically.  Their faith was based on a true and honest relationship with Christ and not on how they measured up against other people.  Being able to be around a community of true believers opened my eyes to the fact that something was not quite right in the church I had grown up in.  My heart’s cry for those who are in a spiritually abusive church relationship would be that they would see the truth, separate from that body, and seek out a true church.  

The focal point of a true church will be on God’s Word, not people’s actions.  There will be an emphasis on worshiping God because of who God is and not because it gives you an emotional high or makes you feel spiritual.  Good churches are churches where people are growing to be more like their Savior and not based on looking good on the outside or how they measure up to others but based on the work God has accomplished in their lives. 

There are many imposters these days, but it is possible to find a body of true believers.  Do not give up hope. 

Experience Life

Whispering in your ear, the evil one says, “Experience life.” 

You take that first hit thinking, “I know people have told me it’s dangerous, but I need to experience life.”

Seductive and cunning, the tempter says, “What’s it going to hurt.  Now this is living!”

And down the path of destruction you go. 

The wicked one calls the path to death life.  The father of all lies has been doing it from the beginning.  He started with, “Did God actually say…” Then he moved to, “You will be like God knowing everything…now that is really living!”  And we’ve been falling for those deceptions hook, line, and sinker ever since. 

When we “experience life” the way satan wants us to, we walk down the path that leads to destruction.  Destruction is not truly living life.  It is like walking a plank over shark infested waters and thinking, “I think I’ll go for a swim.”  The jump off may feel exhilarating, but the end result leads to certain death.

The age-old lie of the evil one is designed to take away your life.  John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”  It is through Christ that we truly experience life.  “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life” (John 5:24).

We all have crossroad moments.  Those moments where the tempter says, “Did God actually say?  Common man, experience life!”

Don’t buy the lies.  Choose truth.  Choose real life in Christ that you might live (Deuteronomy 30:19).

“My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; keep my commandments and live…” (Proverbs 7:1-2a). 

You Thought I was one Like Yourself

Holy.  Set apart.  God is holy, holy, holy.  God is not like us.  He is independent of us. 

Because we are told we were created in God’s image, I think we often imagine God to be like us.  In doing so, we severely underestimate who God is.  God is not a reflection of who we are. Anything good in us is a reflection of who He is…a glimpse of how awesome and wonderful He is.  Consider the following passage from Psalm 50:16-23:

16But to the wicked God says:
    “What right have you to recite my statutes
    or take my covenant on your lips?
17 For you hate discipline,
    and you cast my words behind you.
18 If you see a thief, you are pleased with him,
    and you keep company with adulterers.

19 “You give your mouth free rein for evil,
    and your tongue frames deceit.
20 You sit and speak against your brother;
    you slander your own mother’s son.
21 These things you have done, and I have been silent;
    you thought that I was one like yourself.
But now I rebuke you and lay the charge before you.

22 “Mark this, then, you who forget God,
    lest I tear you apart, and there be none to deliver!
23 The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me;
    to one who orders his way rightly
    I will show the salvation of God!”

From this passage, we come to understand that it is the wicked that think God is like people.  How incredibly faulty that thinking is.  God does not see things the way we see them.  He sees perfectly.  Our vision is impaired.  We do not understand things the way God does.  He understand perfectly.  Our knowledge is extremely limited. 

We will never understand God by looking at ourselves.  We will only even begin to understand God by examining who God says He is in His Word, and even that is just a glimpse of all He is. 

What would happen if we truly understood what it means for God to be holy?  What would it mean if we completely understood that He is not like us? 

God is not one like us.  God is holy.  I don’t know about you, but this brings me great comfort.  If God was like me, we most certainly all would be lost and without hope in this world.  But He’s not like me.  He’s not like you.  He is God, and He is holy.  In that there is great hope!  In that truth is the foundation for such a great salvation! 

A Prayer for America in Her Hour of Greatest Need

Dear Lord, We humbly ask for your intercession for our country.  Evil has arisen and is attacking the freedoms we hold dear in this country.  This evil seems insurmountable. Only you can save us! I pray that you “uncover the deeps out of darkness and brings deep darkness to light” (Job 12:22).  Lord, please act because your laws have been broken (Psalm 119:126).  The wicked have perverted justice in our country.  They have accepted bribes.  They have suppressed the truth by their wickedness (Romans 1:18). You hate robbery and wrong but love justice, O Lord (Isaiah 61:8).  Repay the wicked according to their deeds (Isaiah 59:18).  “Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” (Amos 5:24).  Let what is hidden be revealed in time to make a difference to preserve America and restore this nation to its Christian roots.  Open the eyes of those who have been blinded, so they will see the truth and act upon it.  Please do not forsake your children who call humbly upon you to let truth be revealed and justice be done.  We are crying to You for help.  Please hear and deliver us out of all our troubles.  Thank you for being near to the brokenhearted and saving the crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:17-18).   “To the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever. Amen” (Romans 16:27).