Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

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Psalm Saturday – Psalm 123 – To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens!



Psalm Saturday – Psalm 123 – To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens! – 01/02/2016
This is a song of Ascents, of David known as the man after God’s own heart and I love this Psalm due to its simplicity and humble let’s look it all four verses on a verse by verse basis.
Psalms 123:1 (ESV) To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens! 2 Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, till he has mercy upon us. 3 Have mercy upon us, O LORD, have mercy upon us, for we have had more than enough of contempt. 4 Our soul has had more than enough of the scorn of those who are at ease, of the contempt of the proud.
David starts by praising God and giving him his rightful praise. This is awesome in that I question myself in my own “praise life” and ask do I do likewise? Am I praying in faith, nothing wavering? Am I giving God his due glory and honor? Do I believe that he will grant the requests of a pure heart according to his will? Let’s look at verse one…
V1) To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens!
David starts the correct way, by facing in the right direction. He lifts his eyes up! Often times when we are so overwhelmed with life, when we let our situations get the best of us and we allow the weight of the world to be on our shoulders we realize that we should be looking up at those times first and foremost. Reminds me of the line in the hymn “What a friend we have in Jesus” where it states the following:
“Oh, what peace we often forfeit, Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer!”
And that is the truth dear Christian, He is willing to aid you and he will carry you through! You may not see him doing so and I have had situations in my life where I have been rescued from situations and have not attributed glory to God until sometime later because I was rescued and didn’t even see myself leaving that situation. I am not saying that all trials are bad, because I do believe in “teachable moments by trails”.
The lyrics of this Psalm are beautiful, the Psalmist heart is preparing for praise, and the eyes are lifted up that the Psalmist is focused on God and things that are not of himself or any distractions that could occur, it also says that he is aware where God is (in heaven) and he has his trust, his faith not on the things of this world but the things of God.
This is an important lesson for us, where we invest our time is a decent barometer of where we are invested and as we are in the “New year season” where we make resolutions and all of that fun stuff, a good question to ask is how many of your resolutions are about your most important relationship, the one with your creator and Savior?
He is enthroned in the heavens, he is in charge! Earth may be a cruel sinful wicked place that won’t give you much grace, mercy and peace; however you can tap into the unending flow of grace mercy and peace from a loving heavenly father.
V2) Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, till he has mercy upon us.
The psalmist gives a great illustration of a servant/master relationship and we should have that same devotion to service for God than if we were serving an earthly master who was watching our every move. The analogy speaks of a servant who would quite literally attend to every need or want of the master above them and we should be serving God with the same fervor.
Would you work harder if you knew you were being watched? Well I hate to break it to you but you do have someone in heaven who is always watching and unlike your earthly boss he can see the heart and the motives (good or bad) in what you are doing and why you are doing it. The Psalmist strikes me, in his words at least as a “model employee” for God, he has zeal, fervor and is steadfast in the truth for God.
And lastly we read the timeline of how long we have to be like this and that is “till he has mercy upon us” and that is the tough part, sometimes our feet will be in the fire for much longer than we would like and are comfortable with. We have to sometimes learn the value of perseverance because Gods ways are always above our ways and sometimes Gods timing does not align with ours. Please remember that a skilled sailor is not a sailor who has never navigated a storm.
V3) Have mercy upon us, O LORD, have mercy upon us, for we have had more than enough of contempt.
Then we get to a plea for mercy, the Psalmist while he waits for mercy will also petition God for it, he will plead for it and appeal to the heart of a loving father. It is okay to cry out to God and let him know that we are struggling, he does already know but I have felt closest to God in my deepest pits and hardest struggles when I have laid my pride by the side and come to God as I should, broken and in need of Him and Him alone.
We have to not be filled with contempt, or had enough of contempt because we will not always understand God’s plan when we are in the middle of the chaos, however as a “big picture” guy I like to look back retrospectively at what God has achieved once I am done with the trial. We can’t be filled internally with contempt and we cannot allow others to influence contempt from others…
V4) Our soul has had more than enough of the scorn of those who are at ease, of the contempt of the proud.
…Which reminds me instantly of what Job had to endure when his counselors who were scornful of him, accused him of being in sin and were really no comforters at all and ended up being very scornful and contemptuous (Starting in Job 4) and that is often times the truth. I have been gossiped about, had motives questioned, had spiritual maturity maligned and even had the validity of ministries I was involved in questioned by scornful people who were either jealous/scornful/just being evil with their speech (delete as appropriate) but you know they were working in their own motives as opposed to Gods.
And that is a valid question to ask the scornful and the scoffer, what is your motivation in doing so? I ask this as many are scornful and believing they are doing so “in the name of Christ” when they tear down pastors and leaders they don’t agree with. Unless it is obvious heresy then I would shy away from doing so and I had a situation in social media recently where people were maligning a well known pastor and a pastor who is the butt of many jokes in the Christian world and the quotation used in the graphic was actually a solid biblical principle and I called the scoffers on this and asked “What was wrong with this?” and asked the question “If XXXX face was not on this graphic many of you would have shared it!”
And the Psalmist warns of this that we not be filled with contempt. Here is the deal guys, the Christian world is full of former sinners who still sin occasionally but are really doing their best. My prayer for this year is that we have more grace on each other than we did last, we can’t allow ourselves to be filled with contempt and if we do then only the grace of God can save us.
And that is the truth dear Christian, the grace of God will triumph over the proud, over the folks who are contentious or are scornful. We serve a big God who we can have faith and confidence in. I say this often, but I am a simple guy, I am no theologian, I have no letters behind my name or nothing that would suggest any form of advanced education but what I do have is a faith in a much “higher education”. I am not mocking college but there is only so far earthly credentials can take you.
God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to

Don’t stop repenting


Don’t stop repenting!

Nehemiah 9:1 (ESV) Now on the twenty-fourth day of this month the people of Israel were assembled with fasting and in sackcloth, and with earth on their heads. 2 And the Israelites separated themselves from all foreigners and stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers. 3 And they stood up in their place and read from the Book of the Law of the LORD their God for a quarter of the day; for another quarter of it they made confession and worshiped the LORD their God. 4 On the stairs of the Levites stood Jeshua, Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Chenani; and they cried with a loud voice to the LORD their God. 5 Then the Levites, Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah, said, “Stand up and bless the LORD your God from everlasting to everlasting. Blessed be your glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise. 6 “You are the LORD, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you. 7 You are the LORD, the God who chose Abram and brought him out of Ur of the Chaldeans and gave him the name Abraham. 8 You found his heart faithful before you, and made with him the covenant to give to his offspring the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Jebusite, and the Girgashite. And you have kept your promise, for you are righteous. 9 “And you saw the affliction of our fathers in Egypt and heard their cry at the Red Sea, 10 and performed signs and wonders against Pharaoh and all his servants and all the people of his land, for you knew that they acted arrogantly against our fathers. And you made a name for yourself, as it is to this day. 11 And you divided the sea before them, so that they went through the midst of the sea on dry land, and you cast their pursuers into the depths, as a stone into mighty waters. 12 By a pillar of cloud you led them in the day, and by a pillar of fire in the night to light for them the way in which they should go. 13 You came down on Mount Sinai and spoke with them from heaven and gave them right rules and true laws, good statutes and commandments, 14 and you made known to them your holy Sabbath and commanded them commandments and statutes and a law by Moses your servant. 15 You gave them bread from heaven for their hunger and brought water for them out of the rock for their thirst, and you told them to go in to possess the land that you had sworn to give them. 16 “But they and our fathers acted presumptuously and stiffened their neck and did not obey your commandments. 17 They refused to obey and were not mindful of the wonders that you performed among them, but they stiffened their neck and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt. But you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and did not forsake them. 18 Even when they had made for themselves a golden calf and said, ‘This is your God who brought you up out of Egypt,’ and had committed great blasphemies, 19 you in your great mercies did not forsake them in the wilderness. The pillar of cloud to lead them in the way did not depart from them by day, nor the pillar of fire by night to light for them the way by which they should go. 20 You gave your good Spirit to instruct them and did not withhold your manna from their mouth and gave them water for their thirst. 21 Forty years you sustained them in the wilderness, and they lacked nothing. Their clothes did not wear out and their feet did not swell. 22 “And you gave them kingdoms and peoples and allotted to them every corner. So they took possession of the land of Sihon king of Heshbon and the land of Og king of Bashan. 23 You multiplied their children as the stars of heaven, and you brought them into the land that you had told their fathers to enter and possess. 24 So the descendants went in and possessed the land, and you subdued before them the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, and gave them into their hand, with their kings and the peoples of the land, that they might do with them as they would. 25 And they captured fortified cities and a rich land, and took possession of houses full of all good things, cisterns already hewn, vineyards, olive orchards and fruit trees in abundance. So they ate and were filled and became fat and delighted themselves in your great goodness. 26 “Nevertheless, they were disobedient and rebelled against you and cast your law behind their back and killed your prophets, who had warned them in order to turn them back to you, and they committed great blasphemies. 27 Therefore you gave them into the hand of their enemies, who made them suffer. And in the time of their suffering they cried out to you and you heard them from heaven, and according to your great mercies you gave them saviors who saved them from the hand of their enemies. 28 But after they had rest they did evil again before you, and you abandoned them to the hand of their enemies, so that they had dominion over them. Yet when they turned and cried to you, you heard from heaven, and many times you delivered them according to your mercies. 29 And you warned them in order to turn them back to your law. Yet they acted presumptuously and did not obey your commandments, but sinned against your rules, which if a person does them, he shall live by them, and they turned a stubborn shoulder and stiffened their neck and would not obey. 30 Many years you bore with them and warned them by your Spirit through your prophets. Yet they would not give ear. Therefore you gave them into the hand of the peoples of the lands. 31 Nevertheless, in your great mercies you did not make an end of them or forsake them, for you are a gracious and merciful God. 32 “Now, therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love, let not all the hardship seem little to you that has come upon us, upon our kings, our princes, our priests, our prophets, our fathers, and all your people, since the time of the kings of Assyria until this day. 33 Yet you have been righteous in all that has come upon us, for you have dealt faithfully and we have acted wickedly. 34 Our kings, our princes, our priests, and our fathers have not kept your law or paid attention to your commandments and your warnings that you gave them. 35 Even in their own kingdom, and amid your great goodness that you gave them, and in the large and rich land that you set before them, they did not serve you or turn from their wicked works. 36 Behold, we are slaves this day; in the land that you gave to our fathers to enjoy its fruit and its good gifts, behold, we are slaves. 37 And its rich yield goes to the kings whom you have set over us because of our sins. They rule over our bodies and over our livestock as they please, and we are in great distress. 38  “Because of all this we make a firm covenant in writing; on the sealed document are the names of our princes, our Levites, and our priests.


Repenting – because they want to, not because they have to!

So we read in the book of Nehemiah that they were now in the 24th day of the month, they had completed a whole bunch of festivals, they had atoned for the nation earlier and yet they were still repenting, in the previous chapters we have lists of the people that were returned from exile and then we see where they were in respect to the year in prior chapters. Despite the fact that they had atoned for their sins in the sacrificial method they continued to be in sackcloth and were in mourning for the wrong that they have done to God. I find that awesome but also challenging! I find myself looking at my own life to see whether I confess and repent as often as I should and in the spirit of honesty I have to say that I do not do what I should in this area, I am challenged due to my own selfish nature and the problems I cause myself when I try to “go it alone” or when I do it not in Gods strength.

I love that they did not just confess their sins but they fell on their face and sought intercession for the sins of their fathers, now this is not the same as weird doctrines such as “baptism for the dead” but they are seeking God’s forgiveness for the example given to them by their fathers and their grandfathers. I am conscious and I worry that the example that I am delivering to my child is a bad one, I have a unique place in that child’s life where I am supposed to be the one she can count on, she will expect her marriage and her husband to be similar to the way that I treat my wife and the way my wife treats me and LORD please help me do a better job than I have done this far. She will expect the man in her life to make decisions similar to the ones I have done and I pray much better than I have done also. She looks at me for spiritual guidance and as she gets older she starts to see chinks in the superhero she believed daddy to be when she grows up, she craves my undivided attention and wants nothing more than to spend time with me and just me, not a distracted daddy who is in the same room, she wants a playmate, someone to learn from and real quality time from ME, I have to realize that I will not get this day again and there really are no do overs in parenting. I repent for the multiple ways I have failed those I claim to love most and if they based it on my actions sometimes I would be guilty of failing to love them. Trust me if sackcloth was available I would be parading around in it at present as I am guilty of this and much more.

This is something we all have to learn, that the things that often times occupy our minds really have no eternal value, our hobbies, our time fillers, our waste of time, our TV shows, our favors we do for others, our good works, the money we make, the things that we use to define us, the goals we have, the demi-gods that we worship instead of the true God and many more things besides really have no value, eternal or otherwise. I go to bed most nights and beat myself up about how much time I have wasted and how I could better have invested that time but then again time after time I never learn! I am far from perfect and I am saying this not to sound holy but I stink to high heaven sometimes and I have no idea why God still pursues a relationship with me but I am grateful that he does because if it was up to me we would be an estranged couple.

I love the prayer that begins in verse 5 and the prayer is from the most powerful prayer language there is, it is from the Word of God they praise God and are genuinely thankful for what he has done in their life, yesterday when we looked at Cain and Abel we looked at the idea of “going through the motions” and giving God lip service and it is easy done and very difficult to get away from doing. It requires diligence, obedience and a willing heart to make a commitment and stick to it, many of us have the first parts nailed down but fall at the final hurdle. This prayer goes through the history that we read in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua all the way through to the history found in the books of Kings and I find it rich with blessing because I find it true to my own personal experience that when I truly repent, lay myself low before God and strip myself of all that is me then I find that I am convicted of my sins, I am ashamed I am low of what I have done and in the same way these people are I am in mourning of how far I came away from what God wants me to be. I would love to be able to type here that I am perfect but you all know that I am not and I would not wish to lie to you. If you want to know my faults ask my wife and daughter, but reserve a few hours because those faults are many.

This is a foreshadow to the relationship we should be having with Christ, often times we carry burdens that we should have left a long time ago because we have not released it to the LORD in prayer. We know this; we have sung it many times in church in the words of “What a friend we have in Jesus” but how many of us regularly use the relationship in the way God intended? Personally and let me talk about myself for one second and let me say this in bold capital letters so that there is no loss in translation. I DO NOT DO THIS AND I AM STILL LEARNING THIS LESSON! I am not trying to teach something I have mastered but merely wishing to share something that God has put on my heart to share. Let’s be real here, I do not have it all together and I get more wrong than I get right, however I know the remedy to my problem and I just have to get over myself and do it. This is not a false humility or a confession for the sake of dispelling the “I am perfect rumor” but a genuine issue that I covet your prayers on, please pray for me.

This would be like the man who trains to be an EMS or EMT, gets all the knowledge in the world, knows the procedures inside out, learns CPR, learns life saving techniques and can answer “book knowledge” questions and can get 100% on every single test and exam he has ever sat on the subject and then goes on a 911 call and cannot put what he has learned into practice.

God is a gracious God and wants to have that one on one relationship with you, he is not an absentee father and does not wish only weekend visitations but he is a holy God and we have to realize where we are and confess our sins and desire to be holy as he is holy. There is a weird doctrine out there that states that once you are saved then you no longer have to check in with God and that salvation is the end of the road in that respect, salvation is only the first step on a lifelong journey and relationship with Jesus, there is no treading water or staying stagnant. There is either progressing towards God or going further away from him and if you are not doing one then you most definitely doing the other.

Lastly, this passage of the Word of God inspires me to look at my prayer life, to be thankful for what God has done for me, to be real in my prayer time to the one who sees inside my heart, to repent for the ways I have erred and to resolve to do better. Prayer has to be a priority for the man after Gods own heart as I use King David as my example; he messed up big but still took everything to God in prayer and Psalms of praise. What an example to us all and I pray that you are blessed by my thoughts and this small devotion. It was never meant to be a word by word, verse by verse study but just what God had given me to share.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing, please like, share or comment below as the LORD leads you to.

Deal with the soul first and then the sin


Tale of two viral blog articles

In the last few weeks I have had two articles that have went “viral” (by my standards) which have addressed two issues that the Internet were talking about. I am of course talking about commentary on the situations with Josh Duggar and the accusations of molestation and also the Vanity Fair cover that displayed and introduced Bruce Jenner as Caitlyn.

I have appealed in both of these articles that we pray for these people and I would go further and state that we should pray without ceasing. Josh Duggar, his sisters and his other victims all required prayer and I do wonder whether this public shaming of Josh does not victimize the victims as much as the perpetrator. Some are doing it out of compassion for the family, some are really doing it because they hate Christians and want to see the show off the air and there are some are doing it just to gossip and slander.

Josh Duggar has had less “abuse” from the Christian circles and I believe that generally there was a good feeling towards the family prior to this news being broken because of the show and the fact that Josh is now a born again Christian make him less of “fair game” in the eyes of the Christian bloggers but the same cannot be said of Bruce Jenner.

In Bruce’s case it is open season on him from the Christian point of view and many are judging him as if he is a brother in Christ, he may very well be but his actions recently suggest otherwise. My earlier blog about his situation I spoke about the need to deal with the soul first and that is my priority for Bruce or anyone who is still in their sin. They need to come face to face with their messiah, repent of their sins, then and only then can we look at the sideshow of what their lives are like.

Keep the main thing the main thing

We have to remember as Christians to keep the main thing the main thing! We are here primarily to “Go forth and make disciples” and in that commission we are not to be shy, we are to be bold in our proclamation that Jesus is the messiah and that the words in John 14:6 are true that only Jesus is the way, only Jesus is the truth and only Jesus is the life and that no-one came to the father except through him.

Closer to Jesus or further away?

We have to examine our conduct and ask if what we are doing (especially online) is bringing people closer to Jesus or further away to Jesus. Are we serving the LORD with our words or ourselves? It says in the book of Jude that we have to have wisdom and “have compassion on some” but also have discernment to “save others with fear, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh” and we have to be discerning on how we evangelize and present the gospel. 

Read the article before you comment

For this purpose I am saddened when I read people who comment on social media, not appearing to have read the article and commenting things that border on hate, they fail to grasp that he is in the world and of the world, the world by in large has been accepting of his procedure and call him words such as “brave” and “courageous” and Christians fall into the trap of appearing to have the moral high ground when all the world wants to see if the Christian condemning the sinner so they can report that the Christian behaved the way that they thought they would.

Prayer comes first

We need to pray for this and other situations because these two situations come on our media screens, social media newsfeeds and news reports because these people are “famous”. We live in a world that is fallen, the sin upon sin upon sin upon sin that has been the case since the Garden of Eden has allowed us to distance ourselves that far away from God that we are completely alien to the purpose of why we were created and that was to glorify God.

Bruce won’t find peace in his surgery, in the change he has made and the pharmaceuticals that he has consigned himself to take. He will only find peace through Jesus and I pray that he will fall to his knees, repent and follow the one true messiah, I pray that for the whole family, I pray that for the whole Hollywood circus, I pray that for the whole of the USA and lastly I pray for the world to come to repentance in Christ Jesus.

Pray not Pharisee

We need to be more like Jesus and less like the guys who wanted to condemn and kill him! It is easy to get lost in our Religious-ity and that in our mind look for the “right answer” or the “holy answer” but we are called to love first, evangelize unto repentance and then make disciples and allow them to repeat the process.

As stated a few days ago in a previous article that we need to make prayer the first priority, it is the most dynamic weapon in our arsenal and often times it is the one that is least used. It is amazing how much your countenance changes towards a person when you are genuinely praying for God’s blessings, praying because they hate you, (that is the toughest one) praying that they repent or praying for their walk with Jesus. We are to be recognized as Jesus disciples because of our “love for one another”.

I am not saying don’t deal with sin in the brethren

If a brother is in sin then respectfully deal with it as you would in Matthew 18, but we love to “name and shame” in our culture as if by tearing someone down we somehow raise in righteousness, I see this in churches where brothers become “ministry rivals” and friendships are scorched due to ambition coming before serving. 

We have to check our motivation why we do these things. I was once asked by a pastor “What was your motivation for …” and when I answered it allowed him to tailor his advice to the situation, in many cases when gossip occurs we have to ask whether we are fanning the flames or putting out the fire. Often times we can make it worse when we pass on a “95% true statement”.

There is a lot to read here and I apologize, should I have not covered anything, if there are any questions or anything that you feel should be added or you simply wish to have your voice heard then please comment below. If you liked this article and you wished to know when new articles are posted then please either “follow this blog” at the top right hand corner of the screen, like our social media pages or bookmark this site in order to find us again. Lastly I would appreciate if you would please share or like as God leads you to on any social media sites or blogs you use.

This Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner media circus from a Christian point of view


This Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner media circus from a Christian point of view

Disclaimer :- These thoughts are my own and do not represent any of the organizations, churches or bible studies I serve at.

I am sure you will be aware of the media circus that is following the surgical procedure of former Olympian and cast member of the show “Keeping up with the Kardashians” Bruce Jenner. If you are not, then the most “non-emotive” way of talking about what has happened is that he has went through an operation to present himself as a woman and he now wishes the world to know him as “Caitlyn Jenner”.

The part that is difficult for me as a Christian is seeing how other Christians are reacting to this news, I always try to approach (let me say that sometimes I do not manage it) situations in a “bigger picture” situation as if to ask “how is this bringing glory to God?” or “how are we showing ourselves to be followers of Christ?” and i have to say that I am disappointed in some of what I read from folks who profess Christ as their savior.

The basics behind this scenario

Biblically, if we strip away all the outside issues such as words like LBGT, gender confusion and all of that good stuff and strip it down to plain facts as the Christian sees it then we will realize that Bruce/Caitlyn is in the same spiritual place that we were all in at one point (some folks who read this may still be there) that “All have sinned an fallen short of God’s glory”. Let’s look at that first and realize that the primary issue is that Caitlyn (let’s call her that for the purpose of this exercise) can pay people to hack away at her body, change her appearance, have her on magazine covers, display her as a woman but if we do not deal with the soul and the eternal destination of that soul then it is just a sideshow.

Basically they need Jesus! (Do I hear an Amen?)

The error we make as Christians when we comment on these things

Is that we try to apply unequal standards on things of the world, the world is mixed in opinion on the Vanity Fair cover but most pieces I have read have been supportive of the “brave decision” to appear scantily clad in a magazine parading oneself as this new image of oneself.

Christians have been against it but have by in large missed the major point and really missed a good evangelical opportunity, they have gossiped, they have slandered, they have been guilty of name calling and they have used the story to fuel their own agendas. I get why you would feel the need to “Stand up for the cross” but using this story to club as many people with a pharisaical stick really helps no-one and makes evangelism a million times harder.

We have to be careful to not do this, I am not saying condone sin but really (much like me in this scenario) none of us know Bruce Jenner, none of us know the psychological issues he is facing, none of us know the thought process why this happened and none of us know what influence (counselling, pharmaceutical or otherwise) he was under and whether he realizes what doors he is opening to remain in the spotlight.

Is he a woman?

Legally I guess he can call himself one, however scientifically, anatomically and biologically he is not. He certainly is surgically enhanced, he certainly is taking pharmaceuticals to propitiate the lie that he is what he wants to paint him to be, but when is all said and done he will have been born a man and will die a surgically modified man that has presented himself as a woman for however many years he has left.

It’s not a new procedure!

Bruce Jenner is not the first person to have gone through this type of surgery and probably will not be the last, we as a society have become accepting of the right to “play God” and determine who we wish to be. If Bruce Jenner was a plumber from LA who decided to do this there would be no-one commenting pr even caring outside that circle of influence, what makes this newsworthy is that this man is famous for being an Olympian and latterly famous for being involved with a family who is famous for being famous – That is what makes it newsworthy! 

And perhaps that is the tragedy, perhaps some people were not made to be followed 24/7, photographed every time they appear in public and gossiped about every time they let their guard down.

How Christians should respond to Bruce/Caitlyn

Bruce needs prayer not condemnation! Pray for him, pray for his happiness and pray for his eternal destination! I fear for a future headline concerning Bruce as I fear this “transformation” will not bring him the peace and happiness that he longs for. This man was depressed as a man, he has been at the top of his game and is a true example of what Paul spoke about when he compared the life of an Olympian to the Christian life…

1st Corinthians 9:24 (ESV) Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

Bruce has run that race literally and I fear for him, depression is the real deal and I do not approach the subject flippantly and despite the reasons or circumstances behind why someone is depressed you have to always be careful that they are looking for a way out and in the most extreme cases the “way out” may be terminal.

And that is why Bruce needs our prayers as anyone can smile for a photo-shoot but if there are “tears behind the mask” then we need to intercede on his behalf regardless of your views on his life choices.

Pray without ceasing

This may be an application for some of us in that we need to evaluate in our prayer life whether we only pray for people that we like or do we pray for those who hate and despise us. I have found that praying for those (especially the ones who are Christians) that despise and have rejected me then I find myself in a far better disposition towards them. Scripture tells me that i am heaping coals on their head, that is not my desire, I just wish for them to be civil to me.

I have no idea what Bruce thinks of Christians (if he even does) but even if he does hate us, that is all the more reason to keep him in prayer. I once went to a prayer meeting and I mentioned praying for a celebrity that was messing up their life in the public view and I heard a tut of disapproval from someone I respected and it saddens me because these people are in need of God’s grace as anyone and regardless of our status on this earth if they do not choose to follow Jesus then they will not be with him in paradise.

That is a prayer point if ever there was one!


Please do not think I am bashing Christians but people really need to pray before they start to comment on things with huge wide brushes of condemnation. These people are in the world, they do not adhere to the bible and they do not hold the same standards as the bible. Attempting to bring them up to biblical standards in a way that condemns, in a gossip like way which is not helpful and often times will not show them God’s love, grace and mercy. I fear that it will have the opposite effect and give them an excuse to brand Christians as “unloving” and “judgmental” and really my MO is to bring people to Jesus so that is the last thing I want to do. It is a thousand times harder to evangelize someone who has been recently “burned” by Christians.

I pray this was a blessing, a challenge and an exhortation, I know some of this will not go down well and should you wish to comment below then please do. Also please feel free to share, like or comment as the LORD leads you to.

On Mother’s day spare spare a thought for the childless mothers


On Mother’s day spare spare a thought for the childless mothers

DISCLAIMER:- This blog contains details pertaining to infertility, if you are sensitive to such subjects then please proceed with caution. My intent is to help and not cause hurt. Thank you for reading.

First of all I wish to say as a man who by God’s grace has been allowed to be a father – Happy Mothers Day!

Psalms 113:9 (ESV) He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children. Praise the LORD

God’s Provision

Those of you who know my wife and I will know that this verse is a very special verse in our testimony of God’s provision in our life. 

In my wife’s own words

The link (Keeper Ministries) I quote from will tell you in my wife’s own words why this verse is important to us so please understand that my intent is not to hog the limelight or give a “look at me” account, I write as someone who has half an idea of what I am talking about in this area.

The area I speak of is that of infertility, I  reminded in a daily basis due to the job I do that people just can’t get pregnant for whatever reason. I believe that God is the opener and closer of wombs and regardless of what science tells us people get pregnant when there is no scientific hope.

I get where you are coming from

I always feel for these people as I know the hours I put in praying for always the same thing. Lord please just give me a child and in God’s time we did have one. (You see the evidence in the picture above) My message is one of hope and encouragement as I have been there. People mean well but if you have been in this situation you will know and perhaps have fielded questions like this…

…Things you don’t say to folks who may not have disclosed issues in this area

1) why don’t you have more kids?
2) do you guys not want a family?
3) is there a reason you only have one child?
4) _____ (child’s name) is great but shouldn’t she have a brother by now?
5) (playfully) your wife not pregnant yet?

Improved prayer life

Everyone has different situations and you may be suffering from infertility and you don’t have that constant reminder that others are having kids. You may have that inner hurt that you feel that you are missing out, you may be in the situation that my wife and I are in where we have a child and are not pregnant with the second one. (Called secondary infertility) Let me say that is as hard as the first and It sure improves your prayer life.

Please spare spare thought for these ladies who may not celebrate mother’s day but certainly want to. Be in prayer for their needs and pray for their comfort. If you are the husband don’t say “Am I not better to you than 10 children?”

The Lord blessed us with three years of just us and a country move prior to answering our prayers and granting us our “Princess” who truly is the jewel in our crown, but I still remember the pain and longing for what I believed that God had witheld from me. It truly was a test of my faith.

The man goes through it too

I write this because the man goes through infertility just ashes hard as the lady does and I love my wife and always wish to honor, love and cherish her. My hope is that our testimony will help strengthen you the readers where you are.

If you are that person or know that person, love on them today, bear their burdens, seek help, be in prayer, get in contact especially the men, I have always thought there is a gap in ministry for those men who go through infertility and counseling and help for them.

If this is not you then please pass this on to someone that may benefit,  if you wish to talk more then use the contact details on the contact page.

Thank you for reading this article and I pray these words are a blessing to you and please share, like or comment below as the LORD leads you to.

TTE Advent Calendar Day Twenty Two – December 22nd


TTE Advent Calendar Day Twenty Two – December 22nd

Thank you for reading our twenty second installment of our advent series, please check out our advent page for more articles in this series.

Today we look at Psalms chapter sixteen which is an awesome piece of prophetic scripture and speaks that the messiah will resurrect from the dead…

Holy One not corrupted

Psalms 16:10 (ESV) For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.

This is an awesome piece of prophecy that is often quoted when we are looking at Messianic prophecy. Like many of David’s prophecies in Psalms it has two direct applications:

1) The life of David
2) The life of Jesus

The life of David

David was sure in his faith that his soul would not be abandoned to the grave.

The life of Jesus

As we read in Acts 2 (further down this article) Peter quotes this verse and refers it directly to Jesus. This refers to Jesus by stating the words “Holy One” as Jesus never committed any sin and was the literal first born without blemish that is called for in the Law.

Jesus would not see corruption as his body would only lie in the tomb until the third day, his physical body would not deteriorate until day 4, again fulfilling prophecy. This is confirmed in both Matthew and Acts as we read below.

Matthew 28:1 (ESV) Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2 And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4 And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. 5 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” 8 So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”

Why the two Mary’s?

The two Mary’s come to the tomb and expected to see a dead Jesus, remember how I keep saying that God is in control? God knew the calendar and knew that the Sabbath would be slap bang in the middle of this, God planned it this way and the two Mary’s come to finish the body that had hurridly been taken off the cross and put in Joseph’s tomb.

We read there was a great earthquake and an angel rolled back the huge stone and sat on it. We are not privy to whether the earthquake was due to the angelic intervention or did God send the earthquake to loosen the stone? Does this not give a demonstration of the power of God, that one of his angels could effortlessly move huge stones?

Where were the guards?

The guards were also missing, now Roman guards were there “on pain of death” so it was not a usual circumstance that they would appear “like dead men”. The angel was reassuring to the women and wished to confirm that Jesus was indeed resurrected and the angel said where they would find Jesus.

Answered prayer

We see that the women got an answer to prayer that they were not expecting, Jesus had in fact been resurrected. They whole idea of coming back from the dead and living eternally was beyond what they thought was possible. You have to understand that they had personally witnessed Jesus die in the cruelest way possible and they literally saw the blood and water hit the ground as Jesus was pronounced dead and were there at the last possible minute and saw their Savior died.

An appropriate place

Which is why it was completely appropriate that they took the angels invite to see the place where Jesus was placed. This solidified any testimony they had relayed to the disciples and others stating that the messiah was no longer in the tomb. They were now eye-witnesses and primary witnesses to the fact that he had resurrected.

The two Mary’s were given an appropriate place in relaying the news both to the disciples and also in being one of the first to see the resurrected Jesus. They were truly Women of faith having the desire to come to the tomb, even when they thought their Savior was dead. They worshipped at his feet giving him the praise that was due him, if he was not God they would be sinners under Jewish law.

Peter’s Pentecostal Sermon

Peter confirms this on the day of Pentecost, lets look at the book of Acts chapter two:

Acts 2:22 (ESV) Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. 25 For David says concerning him, “‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; 26 therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; my flesh also will dwell in hope. 27 For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption. 28 You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’ 29 “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, 31 he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. 33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing.

Peter, empowered by the Holy Spirit spoke in a very volatile situation with no fear. You have to remember that this is Peter who just about fifty days earlier had denied his LORD three times under far less pressure.

Peter speaks what is known in scripture as “Peter’s sermon”, whilst this is a good title I would suggest that “The Holy Spirit speaks through Peter” is more apt. Peter quotes the verse that we stated above as well as another verse in Psalms chapter 16, which Peter goes onto explain why the Holy One could not be bound by death, the full quotation is below:

Psalms 16:8 (ESV) I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

Peter begins with the words “hear these words” or to paraphrase “listen to me” in addition to the speaking in tongues, the miraculous signs and wonders and the explanation from the prophet Joel, Peter makes sure that they are fully aware of the reason behind this is Jesus.

This is a challenge for me as I know how many opportunities I have blown because I have not given full attribution to the LORD Jesus Christ. So many good deeds that could have given glory to God but I did not go that extra mile. People that have crossed my path but I have not introduced the gospel to them, I lament in my soul but I am encouraged by Peter’s boldness and makes me realize that God can use even the flawed to accomplish his will.

Peter pulls no punches and lets them have the truth, this is barely two months after Jesus was crucified (basically says “You crucified the messiah sent by God!) Let’s just say that people will have heard of Jesus of Nazareth, it was a big deal when he was speaking of these things. He starts with “a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know” Everyone in that crowd was aware that he died and was crucified, this is a sound evangelical principle to begin with what people know about Jesus and build from there, but Peter does not stop there.

Peter goes on to attest that he rose again in verses 24-33, he quotes the verses much better than I have and explains wonderfully that the one who was quoted to “not see corruption” was in fact Jesus of Nazareth. (Known also as the Christ)

What a wonderful Gospel message, that Jesus took the full wrath of God that was reserved for us who remained in our sins. Jesus was the only innocent, sinless one who not only died as a sacrifice for our sins in the cruelest, most barbaric way that was ever designed for a criminal to die, he also resurrected and these people attest and are witnesses to the fact to show that because of the resurrection we have proof that Jesus sufficiently paid for our sins. He also tells us that we need to call on the LORD to be saved in verse 21, the full quotation is below:

Call upon the name of the LORD

Acts 2:21 (ESV) And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

And that is the truth, Jesus is the only way to be saved from your sins and be reconciled to God. Obviously I want to see you join me in heaven, but only you can make that choice to accept Jesus as LORD of your life. If you are still in your sins, you are already in slavery to whatever you have as your God; this has no eternal value so I urge you to investigate the claims of Jesus as your messiah.

Jesus went through all this so we can go to heaven, although that decision is ours, we have to choose to follow Jesus. My hope is that these articles help and please contact me if you need to discuss further.

God bless you one and all, I thank you for reading this article. Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads you too.

I am no “Patriot” but I do “Hail to the Chiefs”


I am no “Patriot” but I do “Hail to the Chiefs”

Like most males based in America, I love me a little MNF (Or Monday Night Football for those who do not speak NFL) but I try to restrict myself to when my team are playing and I have it as more of a treat than a Monday night ritual. As you may have guessed by the title and picture that I have placed on the top of this article, I am a fan of the Kansas City Chiefs.

I must have some sort of NFL style Stockholm syndrome by choosing a team that I have never seen live in the Superbowl (I was born in 1977) and who quite often lose in the playoffs, but I am a loyal guy and once I saw an aging Joe Montana throw snaps in the Red, white and yellow uniform, I was hooked and instantly loved the game.

A few years later in the country where I lived in Scotland we got the NFL Europe and we got a team called the “Scottish Claymores” and I continued to like this “foreign sport” along with about 10,000 other die hards until the team ceased operations in 2004.

When I moved to the US I continued to like the game and although I live no-where near KC, I have kept up with what is going on with a team that I have formed an association with and a team that has given me a great deal of joy, a great deal of frustration and a great cause of my mood swings.

Last night was a good night to be a Chiefs fan and it is hard because there is a tradition that we do at Arrowhead that I am not too fond of, this may sound hypocritical as I was not born in the US or am I a US citizen, however I am not a fan of the tradition of concluding the American national anthem with “The land of the free, in the home of the CHIEFS!” I am a really big fan of my team but I do think there are some things that you shouldn’t mess with. The US is a wonderful country and one of the greatest things about this place is that they are proud to be American.

Play by play, the Chiefs played better than the Patriots, won 41-14, they set a new Guinness record for noise and despite the fact I started the game about an hour after the rest of the country. (I had errands to run and I had the game DVR’d) I still finished it about the time the rest of the US and I was getting more and more excited as the game was drawing to a close.

This made me think, imagine getting into a state about a game that I have no control over and that for half of it I was cheering after the play had occurred, (even if I was in the stadium I would have little to do with the outcome on the field) when I don’t get in a state about the things that matter, things like I wonder how many of the 76,000 seats last night were occupied by people who were assured of going to heaven by having Jesus as their Saviour.

Please do not think I am against sports and enjoying yourself, that is not the case. I love watching football and love to see my team win, however I do realize and recognize that “tribal worship” like that is not exactly a good thing. Since I have been in California, I have seen folks check their smart phones to check scores whilst in church, rush out of church to get home to see their game or in some cases (and I have done this) when the church service collides with a game, not went to church.

That’s when you have to do some examining our natural face in the glass (as James would say in his epistle) and pray about what the LORD wants you to do. This maybe an emotive subject as I know many Christians who love the NFL and I know the teams they follow but precious little else about them, that is tragic and we do tend to wear our sports teams jerseys like some sort of cultish pride.

I am not against watching football on a Sunday, Monday or whatever day you choose to, but I do have some advice, last night when I DVR’d the game, I got through it in just over an hour as opposed to the nearly 4 hours I usually set aside. This is not a guilt trip and I am as much talking to me as anyone but when was the last time you spent nearly 4 hours in prayer and worship to the one true king? (Jesus Christ)

I do not wish to get all legalistic and we are all free to make our own choices. I can no easier see your heart as I can your motives in what you do, I have no idea what your daily walk with Jesus is like, however I do like to throw up warning flares and hope that the Holy Spirit uses these writings to fulfill the will of God. There is no anti sport agenda here as I love Rugby, Soccer, Football and Baseball. In fact if my “religion” was sports results then I would have been a happy worshipper with Dundee United, Glasgow Warriors and the LA Dodgers all winning recently.

It is like most things I guess in the Christian faith, all down to your heart. If it becomes a consuming passion in your life then it is clear that you need to take a step back and a step closer to Jesus.

From this member of the Red Tribe I pray that this blog is edifying, challenging and thought provoking, please feel free to comment, like or share below, God bless you one and all

Prayer is the answer


Prayer is the answer

Philippians 4:5 (ESV) Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Before we begin I have to explain one thing! I am a guy! I never learn anything the first time over, I usually have to go over or go through something at least three times before I have it in the memory banks as a lesson learned.

It is not that I wish to go through the same things over and over again it is just one of my many character flaws. No one is prefect and I most certainly am not. (For independent adjudication of that fact you need go no further than my wife’s testimony)

So why is it that I have to go through the prayer test over and over? I am sure that I am not the only one (and I would love to hear from you if you do this also) that knows that in trials the first port of call is prayer with a reverent heart and a contrite spirit, however after passing it to God I still want to hold on to it as if God cannot handle my little request that while it is monumental in size for me, it is but a vapor in Gods eyes.

We should heed the words of Paul to the Philippian church, that we should not be anxious, that when we take it to the LORD in prayer we realize that he has got this, one way or another. He will always answer our prayer, might not be in the way we want but we will get an answer.

If we do this properly, let go and let God do his will and have faith that Gods plan is the best one for our lives. What I mean is truly let go and accept Gods peace then we will be where God wants us to be.


I recently was in this place, perhaps this is why this is top of my mind at present. My family had a need and we were fervently praying about a way out from that need, we thought we had a way out but for a long time that wasn’t happening. God showed up in a big way, in his own timing and if this was a test of my resolve or belief that God had this, then u am not so sure I passed.

When I was rescued, I was joyful, but also floored on what a gracious God I serve (sometimes better than other times) I was in awe how yesterday’s mountain was nowhere to be seen disappearing in my rear view mirror.

I am not saying this because one situation went the way I was hoping for, often times I don’t realise I have been rescued until much much later when the crisis is a distant memory and the waves that threatened to sink my ship have subsided and calm is restored and I realise that like I do with my daughter when she is scared, my Abba father is holding my hand through the trials and pain.

This is not health, wealth and prosperity teaching, just simple faith that whatever your burdens, prayer is the answer I have found to instilled peace in my wretched and worrying heart.

Find out what Gods will is for your life and pray for that will to be done, then he will do much more exceedingly more through you than you ever would have done alone.

I pray this was a blessing and please share, comment or like as the LORD leads

A fathers advice


A fathers advice

Ephesians 6:1 (ESV) Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Let me begin by saying I am very much a family man. I love my wife very much and my daughter is my princess and very much a daddy’s girl.

I wasn’t always a Christian and I have seen enough of the world to realize that children with no strong male role model have what is called “daddy issues” and I never wanted that for my child.

I am especially grateful for my daughter because of how she came about, we had been trying for just over three years when we found out that my wife was pregnant. What a joy that was and my wife was overjoyed also.

I want my children to obey me, but I want to be the kind of man who should be obeyed and respected.

As I was putting my child to bed last night, I do what I am prone to do, I kneeled and prayed, for rest for her and us, a few other prayer requests that were on my heart and I was thankful for a few things that had blessed us that week. Fathers if you do not do so already, pray with your kids, show them why you pray, invest in their spiritual as well as their earthly lives.

Children need to know they are important, when my child doesn’t think I am paying attention (even if I am) she tells me to “look into my eyes Daddy”

There is nothing finer than the hug you get when you walk through that door and it is announced by a loud “Dadddddddy”. LORD help me to be the kind of man my kid thinks I am.

As a prayer point, my wife and I are going through adoption process at the moment so please keep us in prayer as we prayerfully consider our next steps.

I love these verses and keep them close to my heart, I hope you do to!

Thanks for reading this blog article and please feel free to share or comment as the LORD leads

Lights out, what will we do?



photo credit: Lel4nd via photopin cc

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:2 (KJV)

This is a series in the book of Romans, for the home page in our study and to see other studies then please click here or our main epistle page is here. My aim is to go through the Book of Romans as the LORD wills.

This morning we had a power outage at my house, it was not at a critical time (was between about 5-7am) but with my family living in a Central California heat wave (basically anything up to about 108-110F) it can get pretty scary if your power is out and there is no cold air circulating in your house. (I would not do well being Amish

Things I did well

As I checked the breaker outside using my dying cell phone (guess who forgot to charge his phone last night – Parable of the foolish virgins all over again huh?) I decided to pray, nothing deep or theological, nothing that Luther, Calvin, Schofield or Spurgeon would sign off on.

My prayer was simple “LORD this is such a small thing for you, but a huge thing for us, we just bought a lot of food and my wife and child will be super hot today, please LORD get us through this”

We also opened the door and tried to circulate air as much as we could through the house, my wife was the one who noticed it, she wakes up at the drop of a hat, whereas I could sleep through the outbreak of war.

Things I didn’t do so well

I did what I am prone to do, I worried, I worried about the groceries I had just bought, I worried about the snacks for my kids soccer game, I worried about maybe having to find other places to store my stuff that had to be chilled or frozen.

The point of prayer

Which does bring me to my point, when we pray, we should not do so out of habit, but as a genuine request for help, now it may be small insignificant stuff like me having no power, it may be the risk of losing your home, it maybe to put food on your table. But we have to do so in FAITH.

God is not some big “wish and it will all come true Genie” waiting to grant us all Ferraris, big houses with Olympic size swimming pools and millions of dollars in the bank, the Christian life is tough, we are not exempt from day to day struggles, we still struggle with old sins, we still have money issues, we still make bad choices.

We have to approach prayer as if “God has got this” not just saying the words but actually and genuinely believing that God can rescue you or not (sometimes the trials are actually a lesson and we as Christians do not want to learn some of Gods harder lessons)

Steven Furtick in his book “Sun stand still” called this “audacious faith” and whilst I don’t subscribe to all of the tenants in his book, this is really what’s required. We need to stop limiting God to our understanding of what he can do.

God is the God who created everything we see around us in 6 days. If it is his will he could wipe out all of your little issues in the time it takes you to sneeze. The problem is that we fall foul of the original verse and are so consumed in our lives down here; we do not seek the will of God fully in our lives. Our prayer life becomes about God playing the “Genie role”

I have committed recently to pray for others more, to listen more and to cry out more. I could do with some honest to goodness fasting time also, Also this week my family has committed to worshipping more together and we plan to hold a worship and prayer evening every Sunday evening in our home, for no other reason than another opportunity to worship, praise God and pray, listen and spend quality time with him.

I pray this blog was a blessing and please leave any comments below