Kept by Our Sovereign Lord: A Meditation on Psalm 121

The other morning, I was reading Psalm 121.  Since then, I have found myself deeply comforted and encouraged by this particular passage of Scripture.

I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
From where shall my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to slip;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
Will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper;
The Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun will not smite you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
The Lord will protect you from all evil;
He will keep your soul. The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in
From this time forth and forever.

(Psalm 121, New American Standard Bible, 1995)


This Psalm makes it very clear that the Lord is your keeper.  How assuring it is to know that the Lord keeps His own!  He doesn’t save us to then just leave us alone and to our own devices and the attacks of the world, the flesh and the devil.  He keeps.  He protects, keeps, and holds us tightly, clutching us in a Fatherly grip in his strong, yet gentle hands of grace and peace.  Knowing that from this time until forevermore,  we are saved, set apart, kept and protected by the unmerited grace of our Sovereign God, ought to propel those of us who are in Christ into a life of joyful and humble perseverance and holiness.



Marriage: The Greatest and Most Sanctifying of Graces

“Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave his life up for her…” Ephesians 5:25

“In a similar way, you husbands must live with your wives in an understanding manner…” 1 Peter 3:7

Marriage is an institution that is ordained by God, a covenant before Him, and is designed to be a reflection of the Gospel. It is meant to last and designed for life. Marriage is something to be desired and pursued intentionally and bathed in prayer.

I love my wife, Kaitlin. She means the world to me.  Aside from my salvation, she’s the greatest gift from the Lord to me and being married to her is an honor, privilege and joyous blessing.  Marriage ought to be like that, should it not? I think so.

Marriage is something that I eagerly longed for.  I prayed and prayed that the Lord would provide for me a wife.  I was about ready to give up all hope, when He did just that.  And that’s when everything truly began and the most exciting journey started.

Right now you’re probably thinking, “Oh, here we go again.  Another blog post about marriage.  Why bother, I’ve read so many.”. Or perhaps you’re thinking that this is going to be some sales pitch or formula for how to obtain the perfect marriage.  It is nothing of that sort, let me assure you.

However, it is about something very special and crucial about marriage.  It is about what marriage can, and will always do, for you.  This is true whether you are a man or woman, mind you.  This post is all about how marriage is a means of sanctifying grace.  Marriage is one of many ways our Sovereign Lord and Father has chosen to conform us more and more into the image of Jesus (Romans 8:28-30).

Have I gotten your attention yet?  Well, I hope so, because I am about to be a bit transparent.  Ok, so remember how I said that I prayed and prayed for a wife and the Lord gave me one?  Well, that too quite a bit of time to get to that point.  But what I didn’t really fully comprehend is that I had not, and indeed have not, arrived at the final destination.  For you singles, and I dare say married folks, please be aware and careful that you do not find yourself thinking marriage is the final destination.  The state of being married is not the final destination.

The fact that a marriage is a covenant is a critical part of the journey.  A covenant is an agreement between two parties.  And this one has God as the witness.  When I and my wife said our vows, we meant them and fully intend to keep them till death do us part.

However, in order to make true on the promise to love, cherish, have hold and care for, there needs to be two very important lessons learned. These are still being learned, mind you, and the learning is part of the journey too.  But the two most important things are, 1) you’re both sinners and will sin.  And, 2) part of sanctification is the mortifying, or killing of, sin in your life.  It is a daily trust and faith exercise to put to death the old man and his old selfish nature and ways.  This is not something you can do on your own, mind you.

It is, however, only by daily reliance upon God’s Holy Spirit to do daily heart surgery,that you can kill whatever sin is getting in the way.   Trust me, marriage will reveal daily, just how sinful you are and how desperately in need of the God’s Gospel of grace you truly are.  There will be times when you feel like an absolute failure as a husband, and can do absolutely nothing right.  And that is a good place to get to, because it is true.  You cannot make it on your own strength.  You need that daily trust and reliance upon the Lord for His sustaining and empowering grace given by the Spirit.

I absolutely love my marriage, it is a testimony to God’s radical grace and healing work.  But, God is not done with it yet.  He has a plan.  He wants to conform us, individually and together, into the image of His Son Jesus.  And it is by way of sin killing and running daily to the Father, and throwing myself upon His mercy and grace found in the cross, that I can begin to grow up into an exemplary and Biblical husband, as 1 Peter 3:7 and Ephesians 5:25 lay out.

 Oh, and trust me, there will absolutely be follow up blog posts to this one. The conversation is only just beginning.   


Every time I turn on the TV or read the news, there seems to be a new spin on what is happening in politics and religion and ethics.  I have read of many shootings and killings.  I have read of many lies and liars.  I have read so many sides to each story running around out there, that it is rather difficult to determine what is really happening.  The only thing I know for sure is happening, is that a sinful world is living and acting sinfully.  Quite honestly, I am growing tired the affairs of the kingdom of the world.  But the Bible tells me not to lose heart, and not to be surprised at the evil of the system of the world at work.  But I must get priorities straight and search the Scripture to determine how to live in this world.

When considering politics, and ethics, I believe that Romans 3:10-18 speaks clearly, and we can learn much.  All men and women inherit Adam’s sinful nature (affecting mind, heart, soul and incapacitating the will), thus they are unable to do anything pleasing to God.  Thus, regardless of party affiliation, all men and women apart from the grace of God in Christ Jesus, will never do anything pleasing to God.

Take the abortion conversation, for example.  Even the defense of the lives of the unborn, if done by an unregenerate man or woman, is like filthy rags to God and has no meritorious value in his sight.  So neither Republican nor Democrat parties are pro-God.  If they are pro-life, they are merely moralistic nice people,but still hell bound sinners.  Thus, sinners will sin and God will never be on the throne in their hearts, unless God has sovereignly chosen to save them and bring them into the kingdom by the means He has chosen — you and I through the proclamation of their fallenness and God’s grace in the Gospel.

Ultimately, our priority ought to be Kingdom work.  What really matters is the conversion of sinners and the expansion of the Kingdom into the hearts and lives of men and women from every walk of life, and not what political party one affiliates with.  And when one is converted, we must remember that we have a new nature, and are considered the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus by Christ alone and imputed to us by grace alone through faith alone.  We are now no longer hell bound sinners, but saints being progressively transformed into the image of Jesus Christ.  But it was not politics or economic growth strategy or theory that saved, it was the sovereign grace of God by the power of the Holy Spirit.  

Priorities, my friends. Remember that though politics can be important, and one must be an informed and discerning citizen, it is not through government and power systems that God’s Kingdom expansion takes place.  You cannot legislate morality in a society made up of sinners and ran by children of the devil.  Remember that revival and judgement will always be works of God’s sovereign grace, and begin in the church and family.  In the end, we’re all called to be on mission, advancing a Kingdom whose maker and builder is the God who uses the foolishness and weakness of the world to shame the wise.

There will be more to come.  It seems we’re heading into some turbulent times and tough topics will arise.  Just like the above subject matter.

The Gospel and Forgiveness

Till sin is bitter, Christ will not be sweet.

— Thomas Watson

To know the gospel means to know the reality of sin and the understanding that sin is not merely “missing the mark,” but rather offending God’s holiness, and thus reveals a lack of holiness and the separation from God. When the Spirit convicts the true Christian of this, then and only then can they truly understand forgiveness.

If you understand the gospel and forgiveness, then you will see how the two are perfectly aligned with one another and go hand-in-glove.  For example, in Luke 7:36-50, Jesus tells a parable about forgiveness. The moral of the story is “those who are forgiven much, love much.”  What is the point?  The point is that ff you are a Christian, you have been forgiven more than you’ll ever know. You’ve been redeemed and forgiven all your sins, past and present, and you’ve been rescued from the wrath of God and an eternity in hell. How much more could you possibly be forgiven?

Given all this, then my question is this: “How are you doing with the ‘loving much’ part?” We ought love all our brothers and sisters in Christ, and forgive them, unconditionally. Why? Because we’re loved and forgiven unconditionally.

Something to ponder dear friends.

A Little Bit About The Church (Part 1)

What is preaching? Logic on fire! Eloquent reason! Are these contradictions? Of course they are not. Reason concerning this Truth ought to be mightily eloquent, as you see it in the case of the Apostle Paul and others. It is theology on fire. And a theology which does not take fire, I maintain, is a defective theology; or at least the man’s understanding of it is defective. Preaching is theology coming through a man who is on fire. A true understanding and experience of the Truth must lead to this. I say again that a man who can speak about these things dispassionately has no right whatsoever to be in a pulpit; and should never be allowed to enter one. What is the chief end of preaching? I like to think it is this. It is to give men and women a sense of God and His presence.
— D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones,  Preaching & Preachers (pg. 97)

Jesus Christ is the head and ruler of the church. God established it, Christ bought it, and the Holy Spirit lives in and works throughout it. But the age-old question still applies as to how a church is to be governed. Ultimately what matters most is what the Bible says of the matter, not what the current trends or best-selling church growth books might have to say (and trust me, there are plenty of those out there). Theology matters, my dear readers, as the quote above reminds so well.  Let us, then, examine a bit of biblical theology about the church, it’s leadership, and the roles and responsibilities thereof.

The Bible reveals that there are two leadership offices in the local church. They are Pastor/Elder(s) and Deacons, and they are to be men who are walking in accordance to the standards set for their God-given role by the Scriptures (see 1 Timothy 3:1-13, Titus 1:5-9, and 1 Peter 5:1-4). Deacons are the servants of the church. They are to be servants and work in behind-the-scenes sorts of ways that free up the ministry of the Pastor/Elder to do his role and work.  The role of the Pastor/Elder is primarily broken into the following categories:

  • Preaching and Teaching
  • Shepherding and Equipping
  • Evangelism and Outreach

It is this particular leadership role that we will be looking at today.

Of The Elder and His Preaching

The pastor’s regular, week-by-week preaching should be primarily expository. Only by explaining and applying the meaning of successive biblical texts can a preacher let God’s agenda lead the congregation, rather than his own. Further, preaching should be expository because God’s Word is what gives life to dead sinners and sanctifies struggling saints (1 Pet. 1:23; Jn. 17:17). By the power of the Holy Spirit, God’s Word convicts, converts, sanctifies, and builds up the church. A regular diet of anything other than expository preaching hinders the work of God’s Word because it fails to tell the church what God has said, all that he has said, and only what he has said.

In addition to this, the pastor’s regular preaching should be expository because only by preaching sermons in which the point of a biblical text is explained and applied can a pastor teach his flock how to read the Bible and profit from it themselves. A pastor’s regular preaching should be expository because a preacher will grow most in his knowledge of God and his Word by diligently studying God’s Word each week to understand it and apply it to his congregation. Other kinds of preaching will simply allow a preacher to preach what he already knows and pick Bible verses to back it up. Expository preaching, however, requires the preacher to wrestle with a different text every single week, which will sharpen and challenge him in ways that would never happen otherwise.

Of The Elder as Shepherd

The focus of pastoral ministry is not the people outside the church, and it’s not drawing unbelievers to the church. Evangelism is important, absolutely it is, but it is the job of the pastor to train the flock for these works. This is the idea behind the equipping for the work of the ministry part. The focus is to be shepherding as an under-shepherd, accountable to God. The focus is to be primarily on the people inside the church—the flock the Lord has sovereignly drawn together and entrusted into the care of a shepherd.

The pastor has been set apart, as the apostle Paul put it, “for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12-13). Therefore, the pastor is to be considered the “under-shepherd,” and the role of the work of shepherding is so critical.

Shepherding is also crucial because it allows the leadership to speak directly with any individual member of the Body of Christ and give them clear and distinct spiritual counsel.  Whatever has been taught from the pulpit can be directly applied to any individual who has need.  This is no doubt why Paul links the two equipping means together with the title, “Pastor-Teacher” in Ephesians 4:11.  The “Pastor” of Pastor-Teacher is the distinct shepherding role he must fulfill, and the “Teacher” function of “Pastor-Teacher” is the impartation of that truth into their lives through preaching.

The Bible spells out for us in Acts 20:28 and 1 Peter 5:1-5 what this shepherding is to look like. These passages both give the command to “shepherd the flock.” Shepherding might be the more elastic term among preaching/teaching and shepherding, but it is nonetheless paramount for the elders of the church. It is true that shepherding is an aspect of the teaching role but shepherding primarily relates to meeting individually and regularly with the flock. It will also assuredly mean that the elders must warn/instruct/counsel believers of their sinful thoughts and actions, so that they will be more fully conformed to the image of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18).  Paul speaks of this ministry of shepherding/admonishing in many key passages (see Romans 15:14; 1 Corinthians 4:14; Ephesians 6: 4; 1 Thessalonians 5:14; 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15).

Conclusion and a Foretaste of What is to Come

Thus far we have seen what the role and responsibility is for those who are in leadership in the church. But one thing more remains: what exactly is the mission of the church, or what exactly is it that the church, both members and leaders, are to be doing during the course of their daily lives? We will be looking over the next few weeks at some of the primary things that make up a biblical church. We will examine the Great Commission, which involves both evangelism and discipleship. Then we will look a bit further at what discipleship is, and how it is to be done biblically. Family ministry falls under that category of discipleship, and so we will devote quite a lot of time in coming weeks to an examination of the family and the church and how they relate and what the Bible has to say about the relationship of the family to the church and vice versa.  For now, I hope this has been a blessing and an encouragement to you.

Consciences Ablaze

“We are not sent into the pulpit to shew our wit and eloquence but to set the consciences of men on fire.” –Solomon Stoddard

The above quote from Mr. Stoddard is the simplest way to begin and best captures my heart for this blog, and, indeed, the ministry that God has graciously given to me.  I am a minister of the Gospel who works in both the corporate marketplace of the world and as a pastor in a small, rural church.  However, I do not view this to be, as some may call it, “bi-vocational” ministry.

Ministry is to be an all-encompassing reality for the born-again follower of Jesus Christ.  Thus all Christians are, in some fashion or another, “vocational ministers” of the Gospel.  The Apostle Paul viewed his entire life as such, and urged all who claim to be in Christ to present every part of their lives and every fiber of their beings as a “living sacrifice,” to God.  This means that every single area of life for the Christian man or woman is to be viewed as ministry.  We are to do all that we find ourselves doing to the glory of God and for the furthering of His Kingdom.

Dear reader, I pray that you will find this site to be an encouragement to your soul and a challenge to the mind and heart.  It is my desire, by the grace of God, to light your consciences ablaze with a fire for the work and ministry of the Kingdom of God wherever the Lord has planted you.

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