Category Archives: Meditations

Teaching My Children Mercy!

Recently I was preaching in our county jail and trying to explain the gospel and its various implications. I told them what Jesus did on the cross was “Substitutionary Atonement.” Of course, they were not familiar with this theological truth, nor did I expect them to understand it. That is why I was there explaining the gospel right?
You might be thinking, “I thought this post was about teaching his kids mercy.” Well, the following is how I taught my daughter mercy and the previous is the context to which I used the teaching of my daughter to explain the gospel. So, I have two agendas here. One, to help you teach your sons and daughters mercy (showing them the gospel) and proclaiming the gospel to others; whether that be through experiences at home or however.
Now, the teaching of mercy. The other day one of my daughters broke one of the rules in our home. The one who received the breaking of the rule came to me in order to inform me of this violation. So, I called the one who broke the rule to come and speak to me about it. She was quick to admit her wrong and I was thankful for that. Nevertheless, she was less reluctant to admit her need for punishment. I began to explain how God cannot look over sin. He is holy and just, therefore he must punish sin. So, I asked her, “If your brother hits you, do you think it is necessary that I punish him for hitting you?” And she replied, “Yes!” Again, I asked, “If your sister takes your toys away from you, should I punish her?” Again she emphatically replied, “Yes!!!” Now I turned the question to her, “Is it fair that I let you get away with no punishment for breaking the rule you have admitted to?” She then (with understanding) replied, “No, I do need to be punished.”
With that having been established, I then proceeded to teach her mercy. I explained to her that mercy is NOT getting what you DESERVE. But, in order to remain just (like God) someone must take the punishment for the crime. So I began drawing conclusions about this foundation. I indicated that she had admitted the breaking of our rules. She agreed that God is holy and just and cannot NOT punish sin. (I know I used a double negative but it was needed.) And she understood her need for punishment.
In light of this, I then moved to the substitute. I told her that I was going to take the punishment for her and that she would be the one who was to deliver the punishment. It broke her heart that I was to receive the punishment for her sin and that she had to do it. Human pride rose to the surface as she discovered my innocence and her guilt. She did not want to do it. She wept with tears as she lightly tapped me with our paddle. I then began to tell how Jesus Christ had done this for her sin and if she placed her trust in him, for her punishment, she would be saved.
As I shared this with the guys at the jail, they sat there with amazement and hopefully a clearer understanding that God had to punish sin and he did on his Son. But, it is not yours unless you repent and believe in Christ. We will see as I twice a month preach to these guys.
So, have you ever shown your children mercy (the gospel)? Do you now understand the gospel better…substitutionary atonement, propitiation? Maybe you yourself need to repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. In him you will find mercy. In him you will have your sins forgiven and receive his righteousness. Praise be to God for reconciling himself to us!


What is Worldliness?

Greg Beale said in a sermon that I recently listened to that one of his friends describes worldliness as any attempt by the world to make sin comfortable and righteousness uncomfortable.


Opportunities to Share the Gospel

Luke writes, “And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, ‘Behold, Lord, the half of goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.'”
If we were diligent to seek out the poor and those we have defrauded we would be busy evangelists explaining why we were giving our goods to them.


Can God do this?

As we read the Scriptures, we miss things. There are multiple reasons why this happens. So, I want to take a moment to point out a jaw-dropping text from Ezekiel. I would encourage you to read the surrounding context so that the full meaning of the text lands on you. Here is only a brief excerpt from the text:

Therefore say to the to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: Repent and turn away from your idols, and turn your faces from all your abominations. For any one of the house of Israel, or the strangers who sojourn in Israel, who separates himself from me, taking his idols into his heart and putting the stumbling block of his iniquity before his face, and yet comes to a prophet to consult me through him, I the Lord will answer him myself. And I will set my face against that man; I will cut him off from the midst of my people, and you shall know that I am the Lord. And if the prophet is deceived and speaks a word, I, the Lord, have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand against him and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel. And they shall bear their punishment–the punishment of the prophet and the punishment of the iniquirer shall be alike–that the house of Israel may no more go astray from me, nor defile themselves anymore with all their trangressions, but that they may be my people and I may be their God, declares the Lord God. (Ezekiel 14:6-11)

I guess you can understand the question in the title. You be the judge. The humbling truth of this is God’s relentless pursuit of His people. Be encouraged brothers.


A Question Concerning Teaching

How are we to teach? I am troubled by the approach some take at teaching these days. The nature of teaching must fit the situation I suppose. So, what should the nature of teaching be at a seminary?

First, let me state briefly what type of teaching I am troubled by and what type of teaching I long for. Often times teaching is basically an unbiased or biased view of the historical views on a certain topic. This part is great. I hope all teachers attempt to do this in their teaching. However, the teachers seems to stop right there. Should this be the case?

I think they should present their position as well with clarity. I want to here how they have wrestled with the Scriptures and how they came to conclusions. I want them to articulate their position with great precision. Not only are we seeing how the process of wrestling with and concluding on the truth of Scripture came about but we are seeing the thoughful presentation of those conclusions.

This process teaches me more than doctrines. I learn that it is hard to understand some things. I learn what attitude to have in approaching the Scriptures. I learn how to articulate a view. I learn how to answer questions and remain compassionate. All of this is seemingly being left out. I long for my teachers to do this. May our teachers teach us well.


A Decree of Healing and Means

This entry is simply to point out how God works. The Scriptures are encouraging (to say the least). I hope you picked up from the title the things which I am hoping to pointing out. I point this out for us to stand in awe of God.

2 Kings 20:1-7

God decrees Hezekiah will be healed and Isaiah lays a cake of figs on him that he may recover. Wow!


The Swiftness of Sin

Recently, as I read through 2 Samuel I noticed a unique literary style that emphasized the meaning of the text by its presentation. Notice in the following passage how fast sin overcame him:

“…Now when evening came David arose from his bed and walked around on the roof of the king’s house, and from the roof he saw a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful in appearance. So David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, ‘Is this not Bathesheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?’ David sent messengers and took her; and when she came to him, he lay with her, and when she had purified herself from her uncleanness, she returned to her house. The woman conceived; and she sent and told David, and said, ‘I am pregnant.’…”

In four verses, sin has taken David captive. Many things enter through the senses (mainly our eyes) and from there all sorts of evil can erupt. So, be careful what you see, hear, touch, and smell…sin may be around the corner.


Divine Election is…

As I have been reading 1 Corinthians, more on election should be stated. So, as Paul states it clearly and our pastor exhorted the body of Christ with and I too exort you with these words…

The Apostle Paul,

“For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.’ Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God

  1. Chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise;
  2. Chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;
  3. Chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.

He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom and our righteousness and sanctification and redemption. Therefore, as it is written,

LET THE ONE WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.” (1 Cor. 1:18-31 ESV)


How Should We Pray?

Is it biblically correct to pray, “Lord cause me to need You and provide my need“? Does this sound like, “O satisfy us in the morning with Your lovingkindness, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days” (Ps. 90:14)?

In a day when our hearts are so fragmented; we need to be aggressive in knowing what is satisfying our hearts (mostly temporal things). For example, Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks of this water(that I will give him) will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life” (John 4:13-14).  I purposefully placed the the omitted phrase (“I will give” i.e. grace) in the text so that you could SEE that Jesus ALONE satisfies the thirsty soul–not mere water. Just think with me for a moment, you understand what it means to thirst again and again. This SHOULD remind us of the ONLY satisfying water–Jesus. As you bow and pray at your next meal (being aware that you will be back to eat and drink again) praise Him for being the satisfying “well of water springing up to eternal life.”

Let me show you a quick example of a man who demanded (mere water) for his needs to be met and his heart to be satisfied with relief. We are going to step into a real story in Exodus. Note, this is only one example of many within the context of this story: “Pharaoh said, ‘I will let you go, that you may sacrifice to the LORD your God in the wilderness; only you shall not go very far away. Make supplication for me.’ Then Moses said, ‘Behold, I am going out from you, and I shall make supplication to the LORD that the swarms of flies may depart from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people tomorrow; only do not let Pharaoh deal deceitfully again in not letting the people go to sacrifice to the LORD.’ So, Moses went out from Pharaoh and made supplication to the LORD. The LORD did as Moses asked, and removed the swarms of flies from Pharaoh, from his servants and from his people; not one remained. BUT, Pharaoh hardened his heart this time also, and he did not let the people go.” (Exodus 8:28-31 emphasis mine). See also, Ezekiel 16 where God’s own people are not satisfied.

Brethren, we are in need of being satisfied with Jesus alone. When we are not satisfied with Him alone our hearts become hardened. Relief is not always a good thing. Actually, it can be deadly. Think about how you pray. Be cautious about how you pray. But, pray with great anticipation that God alone will satisfy your every need in Himself.