September 30, 2008

Who Should I Marry? Part 2

Here are some passages I wanted to share from the booklet, "Whom Shall I Marry," by Andrew Swanson:

"It is not wrong to wish for someone you find attractive, who shares similar interests or a similar background. These and many other qualifications have some importance in guiding your choice of a marriage partner. The one qualification, however, that is a must as opposed to an optional extra is that the prospective partner really shares your Christian faith.

If your prospective partner is good looking, has a secure occupation, shares many of your interests and whatever else you value - that is a bonus not to be despised. But these matters are not of first importance. They must never replace the one thing that really matters." [which is that we marry 'only in the Lord' or only a true believing Christian].

And in another place it says:
"2. Marriage to a believer is one of the ways you can glorify the Lord.
The great question for every believer is, how can I best live to please God? The Apostle Paul teaches us that our whole life should be governed by the principle, 'whatever you do, do it all for the the glory of God' (1 Corinthians 10:31). In the context in which Paul writes these words, he is emphasizing the fact that even our eating and drinking should be controlled by this principle. He is clearly teaching that we can and ought to seek to glorify God in the things we allow ourselves to eat and drink. But that is only one example of the principle. It is not just that God expects us to glorify him in what we eat or drink but also, 'whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.' This means that every believer who contemplates marriage ought to ask, 'Can I be married to the glory of God?

Believers should never simply get married because they want to be married or because they feel pressured into being married. No! believers should only marry if they can marry to the glory of God. Believers should be thinking of the purpose that God intends marriage to fulfill."

Just remember, this is a blog about grace and I wouldn't be a 'grace man' if I didn't say that all we have, or will ever have that is good, only comes from God. Prov. 19:14 says, "House and wealth are inherited from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the LORD." God has not promised us a marriage partner, but He has promised eternal life, where marriage will no longer be necessary, and He has promised to give more grace to the humble (Titus 1:2; Luke 20:34-36; James 4:6).

When considering marriage, I usually think about death also, because we just don't know if we will have the opportunity to get the kind of marriage we desire in our hearts. I honestly never expected to live past 22 or 23 for a couple reasons. One is that I know people who died at a similar age before they were able to marry, and I always thought, "Why them and not me?" We just don't know if we will live long enough to be married. Christ could even return before that happens, so we need to make sure marriage is not "the end all be all" of our hope, but eternity with the risen Savior is. I'll be arriving at 25 in a few months, and it is possible that I could die before I get there. So I think the question we should examine ourselves with most searchingly is, "Have we found our satisfaction in the truth and trustworthiness of God in Jesus Christ according to the promises of His Word - the Bible?" With that said, I still plan on getting a prudent wife from the LORD if He would be so gracious.

This post relates to these also:
I also wrote in much more detail on the subject of marriage a number of weeks ago here:

September 29, 2008

Grace Abounding: Update on some things

I cannot express the thanks I have toward God for all who have been praying for my grandma. My dad arrived home tonight. He is pretty sad, because he lost his dad five months ago and now his mom is very ill. We have lived 8 hours away from his family all my life. We always only would visit them occasionally. Please keep praying for faith in my grandmother, that she would trust in Christ alone as her salvation. I hope to go visit her before she dies, so I will probably drive out with my siblings this weekend.

I'm still memorizing Psalm 119, although it has slowed down, since I need to make it stick. So I'm going over what I've got so far of it. I can still fly through Alef like crazy, but I'm working on keeping some other lines in my mind before moving on. With all that is going on lately, I have some things on my mind, nevertheless, my joy in Christ has been greatly increased this past week. There is nothing better than joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:11)!

There are some new things added to my internet life on the sidebar there: Pennspod (which is some audio clips of my evangelism adventures and other things which I decided to share for encouragement); Learning to Speak in Tongues (my new blog to help me perfect a gift I've requested from the Lord); and there is a song sung by Michael Card and Sarah Groves on the sidebar, called "Jubilee" (you have no choice, you have to hear it!).

In thinking on the topic of marriage according to a post from a few days ago, I thought the lyrics to this song were pretty insightful. No matter what our circumstances, these words are true for me:

These lyrics accompany the song "You're So Good To Me" from the I Stand In Awe album by Steve & Vikki Cook (Sovereign Grace Music).


You’ve given me so much
More than I’d ever dreamed
And so much more than I deserve
Your mercies surround me, reminding me anew
That all I have has come from You
It’s all from You

For You have crowned my days
With overwhelming grace
Lord, You’re so good to me
Though troubles fall like rain
This precious truth remains
Lord, You’re so good to me
Yes, You’re so good to me

You chose me, You saved me
And made me Your own
Promised that You would never leave
Soon one day, You’ll call me
And we’ll see face to face
‘Til then You’ve given me a taste of paradise

This is grace abounding in a world of sin and trouble (...I'm sorry, that line I just wrote reminds me of a Tupac song I used to listen to because of the words "in this world of sin" - don't ask why that just came to my mind - but now I think this way: this is grace abounding over and above sin and trouble in the promises of God's Word).

Grace to you all.

September 28, 2008

Please pray for my grandmother and family

I just told my dad to call my mom, because she told me my grandmother's heart and kidneys are failing and they took her to the hospital. The family in Ohio wants my dad and mom to come there before she dies (if the Lord wills, perhaps she will recover). My grandmother's name is Elizabeth Tomassetti, and she was born in Ireland. My grandfather Tomassetti just died in April this year. Most of my Tomassetti family lives 8 hours away in Wooster Ohio. They all need prayer for salvation and for peace. This will be tough for my parents to travel tomorrow in this situation.

Thank you all in Christ Jesus my precious Savior.


September 27, 2008

Faith vs. Works? My Morning Meditation on Galatians

[I was reading this morning, and the following thoughts came to my mind, so I turned them into a post.]

In the letter to the Galatians, Paul used some strong, strong language to warn them about trusting in a work's (law) based salvation. At the end of chapter four, after he explained the difference between the two covenants - how one is of the flesh but the other is of a promise, one is for slavery and the other for freedom, one is from below while the other is from above, one is born of the flesh and the other born of the Spirit - he then ends with these words, "But what does the Scripture say? "Cast out the slave woman and her son, for the son of the slave woman shall not inherit with the son of the free woman." So brothers, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman." (Galatians 4:30-31 ESV).

So we see that all who are of the flesh, and who remain under the covenant of works-righteousness (law) for salvation, cannot be heirs with those who are of faith. It is only the children of the promise who are saved. Paul's point has become clear by this section of his letter, which is that salvation is only by faith in Christ. Faith unites us with Jesus, and it is in Christ Jesus alone where we find eternal life (1 John 5:11-12). As long as anyone continues in a course of works-based righteousness, they will never attain to the righteousness that leads to eternal life, which is given freely only to those who believe in Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 3:21-24). Christ died, was buried and rose again on the third day making sufficient atonement and satisfaction for all the sins of those who trust in God through Him. It is only through His Person and His work that we are reconciled back to God the Father. There is no other way for sinners to be justified and reconciled to God for eternity.

I was once exhorted to remember Paul's own words in the beginning of chapter five: "For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery [works-righteousness]" (Galatians 5:1 ESV). We ought to also know and understand that faith does not free us to live any longer in sin, but rather it frees us to enjoy living by God's grace through faith which always works through love (Ephesians 2:8,9,10; Galatians 5:6).

Grace and peace be multiplied to all who find their righteousness and rest in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Total Depravación, part 2
In Hope He Believed Against Hope
Entering His Rest

September 26, 2008

Who Should I Marry? Two Resources to Help in the Struggle

This title comes from a booklet called, "Whom Shall I Marry?" published by the Banner of Truth Trust and available here to order.

With all the commotion around Christian circles today about singleness, dating and marriage, I thought I'd check out this booklet. Personally, I think a lot of the singleness/dating/marriage talk and books flowing through Evangelical circles are somewhat ridiculous. There is a certain point where you can talk about certain subjects too much (of course not including the gospel, which can never be spoken too much, yet I've been accused of that). Nevertheless, it still is an important subject and shouldn't be ignored.

I have been unmarried my entire adult life, which is going on seven years (if you consider age 18 to be adulthood). That means that I have had some time to wrestle with thoughts on this issue, (just as those close to my age can very aptly understand). People often ask me, "Why don't you have a girlfriend?" or "Are you looking for anyone?" and other similar questions. My most recent answers have been like this: "When Abraham sent his servant to get a wife for Isaac, the one thing he made his servant swear to do was not to get a wife for his son from the Canaanite daughters." (Genesis 24:3). There is one crucial thing for a Christian when considering marriage, and that is marrying "only in the Lord" (marrying only a like-minded believer - 1 Corinthians 7:39). The Canaanite women proved to be a disaster to every saint who ever messed with them (just remember Solomon who was the wisest guy, yet even he stumbled in this area).

The starting point of the booklet is a much needed reminder that we are not our own, but were bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23). We belong to God, and as His temple, we are to be holy and honor God with our bodies. This should be at the center of our thinking when choosing what to do about marrage. I especially like what 1 Peter 1:18-19 tells us about being bought with the precious blood of Christ. That kind of love deserves our whole-hearted devotion to Him who first loved us.

Well, the booklet does a great job at explaining this familiar concept in a positive way as well as in the negative. It talks about why Christians must not marry unbelievers and gives a lot of good reasons for it, which I don't have time to list. One of them being that unbelievers are the enemies of Christ.

It keeps at the center of the message the truth that God is a benevolent Father who knows what our greatest needs are and how to provide for His children best (Matthew 7:11). It also offers some helpful advice, such as this: "In seeking a marriage partner, the first rule to observe is: 'Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness' (Matthew 6:33)." I would recommend this resource to any single Christian friend thinking about what kind of person is acceptable to consider marrying. I really don't think there is anything too legalistic in it, (such as I've found in some of the other books I've read on Christian single male/female relationships). I wish I could say more, but my lunch break time is running out. :º

While I'm at it, I also want to list one of my favorite resources I ever found on this topic, which is a message by Mark Dever at a Desiring God conference called, "Christian Hedonists or Religious Prudes? The Puritans on Sex." I really think the Puritans understood more than we do all the trials and temptations surrounding this subject. If you have an hour to listen, or download it and listen in the car, etc. This one is really worth your time.

That's all for now, and may God's magnificent grace through Christ be your glory.

Related Posts:
Who Should I Marry? part 2
Is God's Grace Sufficient?

September 25, 2008

Moving On To Maturity or Leaving The Gospel Behind?

There are a lot of times when we need to get real and grow up... and stop acting like children (Hebrews 5:11-12,13-14, 6:1-2). In America, the tendency can be to remain childish and stupid, and that makes you a better person (as long as you are 'loving') than those grown up mature *#%jerks. It is foolish to never learn to tell the difference between what is good for you and what will kill you. Such knowledge requires some level of maturity and experience.

However, when it comes to one thing, we must never move on. That is the one thing people sometimes will tempt us to leave, saying, "I've heard enough about the gospel and all that... I just feel it's time to move on to something deeper."

Colossians 1:21-22,23 reminds us to be stable, steadfast and not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard. Galatians 1:6-7,8-9 strongly warns with a curse against being led away from the one and only gospel of the grace of Christ. There is no other subject we should hold to more tightly than the good news that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners... (1 Timothy 1:15).

I was reminded again this morning as I read Galatians chapter one, of how important it is to hold firmly to the true grace of Christ without moving. By the mighty power of God through His Holy Spirit, we who are saved must and will do so to the end.

Related Posts:
Justified by Grace
Full of Grace
Hell and Grace

September 24, 2008

Grace Abounding: Rejection is Good

Last night, Matt and I hit the streets of York again. This time, it seemed people were walking around all over the place for such a small downtown city area. We gave away some tracts, talked with a few people about why the gospel is good news, again using Romans 5:6 as our text. Although a few people were open, most rejected us. I am used to getting rejected, and it is good for me to not always have huge success in witnessing, because it reminds me that 1) people are lost without the power of God's grace, 2) people are naturally enemies of Christ, 3) Jesus promised we would not be liked, 4) it keeps my heart from resting in this world, 5) it makes prayer a necessity. We did pray afterward for some of the people we met. We also prayed that the Lord would drive away all the religious demons in that city, and that people's hearts would be opened to the good news. Man-made religion seems to make hearts twice as hard as they normally are, and that seems to be the case often in York.

There are probably more reasons why rejection is good for me. It makes me laugh to think of what Bob says in Pittsburgh, "The Lord knew we needed the rejection today." Praise God! I'm looking forward to seeing answered prayers! Yesterday I was simply praising God that He always hears my prayers and that He answers me in supernatural ways. To me, that is just amazing, because I do not feel like one worthy of the same experiences as those in the Bible, but that is what we are - supernatural children. That is also one of the privileges of being a child of God by grace through faith in Christ (1 John 5:14-15).

September 23, 2008

Remembering God's Purposes for Suffering

John Piper wrote today on the Desiring God blog about five purposes God has in the suffering of Christians. You can read it here: Preparing for Sudden Suffering.

The five purposes he listed were like these:
1) a call to repentance (Luke 13:5)
2) a call to trust God (2 Corinthians 1:9)
3) as Fatherly discipline in order to share in His holiness (Hebrews 12:6,10-11)
4) to work for us a greater reward in heaven (2 Corinthians 4:17; Matthew 5:11-12)
5) to remind us of why Jesus came to suffer (Philippians 3:10; Mark 10:45)

September 22, 2008

How Have Your Trials Produced Hope?

I recently watched a video by Voice of the Martyrs with my teen Bible study group. It told the stories of Christians who had been severely persecuted in countries around the world. Jesus promised that Christians would have it rough in this world. In fact, He said:

"If the world hates you, know that it hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours." (John 15:18-21 ESV).

Many of us live in countries where persecution is much less severe than in places like Orissa, India (right now), or Pakistan. However, does that mean we are excused from the world's hatred in our more free countries? How have you, or someone you know, experienced suffering as a Christian? Has there been pressure on you to deny the truth since you became a Christian? How has your faith been tested, and how has that produced hope in Christ? (Romans 5:3-4; Philippians 1:29).

This post is also highly related to these:

September 20, 2008

Hope Does Not Disappoint

This is a passage from my Bible study over on As It Is Written. I thought I'd post it here for encouragement to anyone who does not read my Bible studies. I hope you enjoy!

(On Romans 5:1-5)

Romans 5:4... What is the third thing sufferings produce? Or, what does tested character produce?
Character produces hope. Hope is a really good thing. It means to be waiting with expectation. When I was studying this word in the Bible, I thought of this example for hope: The Bible's definition of hope is similar to the feeling you get when you know it is sure your team is going to win. You are watching a football game, or playing soccer or something else, and everything is intense, then the time starts running out, and your team does something like scores or whatever, and you realize it's all over. The game is over - your team is going to win and now it is just a matter of time until it ends. And you begin to rejoice, even jump for joy, because you know it's finished. You know what the outcome is going to be, and so you are filled with hopeful expectation. That is the idea we get here. Suffering produces endurance in the justified believer's life, which produces tested proven character, which produces joyful hope.

Verse 5
and hope does not put us to shame because the love of God has been
poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given
to us.

What does hope not do for us? Hope does not put us to shame. The NASB says, "and hope does not disappoint." Verse 5 is the climax of all the spiritual blessings listed in Romans 5:1-5. Hope, which means "waiting in expectation" does not leave the justified ashamed or disappointed. Why not? How could someone have hope, and then end up disappointed or put to shame? Proverbs 13:12 says, "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life."

...Now, we are reading here that while Christians may suffer extremely in this life, and we are promised that it will be so, nevertheless, this hope will not be deferred, it will be fulfilled. Christians may die, yet Christ, who is our hope, will return and will raise the dead. And this is how we know our hope will be fulfilled, because it says, "the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." I have often thought, how could I ever doubt God's love? How can I doubt His love when He has given me everything? He gave His Son, as we will see in verse 6, and He gave me His Holy Spirit to be in me and with me. Through the Holy Spirit, God has poured out His love into the hearts of those of us who are justified. The Holy Spirit is given as a down payment, or as an engagement ring. He is the seal of God's promise that He will save those who are justified by faith. This love of God is poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. So if you have the Holy Spirit, then God's love has been poured into your hearts through Him and you have this hope that will never put you to shame, because it will be fulfilled!

Hope really does produce joy, and that is what I was attempting to show throughout the study of this section of Romans. To read the entire article and get the context of the lesson on hope, click here.

Grace, peace and love to all who hope in God through Jesus. (Romans 5:11).
Here is a song I found on UTube by Sarah Groves. I think it relates big time to hope, because it convicted me to look forward to the promise of God instead of back to "Egypt."

September 18, 2008

Grace Abounding: Love is the Motivation

Love was manifest (made clear) to us in the gift of Christ Jesus our Lord, who died for us while we were still His enemies (Romans 5:6,10). God is love (1 John 4:8,16). Love comes from God (1 John 4:7), and those who love have been born of God and know God (1 John 4:7-8). In fact, our faith works through love (Galatians 5:6). In other words, we are saved because of God's love for us, our love for God and for one another comes from Him, and all the works of faith are worked through love. As my grandmother likes to say, "Love is the key."

So why am I saying all this? "Don't we already know it?" Well, because when I drove through the city of York today, I was praying for God's love to work in me to love the people. I met my friend, Matt, in the square. We stood there for about 5 seconds when we met a guy carrying a motorcycle helmet who said he didn't believe in God. I talked with him for about 10-15 minutes, appealing to the fact that he knew when he was a child that there was a God, and that he was afraid of dying (I said it all in a gracious manner). We talked a little about Creation and the Fall in Genesis, but my main focus was testifying to God's love shown in that He loved me while I was a self-righteous religious hypocrite and an enemy of God when He reconciled me by grace. This guy at first didn't look like he wanted to talk, but he ended by thanking me and accepting a small gospel of John. I ended by pointing him to Jesus and saying, "You cannot believe, because faith is a gift that God must give." (See Ephesians 2:8). He agreed with that statement more than anything, and perhaps he will read that gospel of John (See John 20:31).

The next person we met was Brad. He was in his early twenties and is white. He lives in the city and told me some guys on one street threatened him with a gun. He seemed a little stressed out. I thought he probably had a mental illness, and he told me he is bi-polar and had been praying because of his suicidal thoughts. We went to McDonald's to sit down and talk. While we were there, one of the older black women said he was her neighbor. She sees me come in every week, so I think they are opening up a little. We sat down and talked about our health conditions and our outward vices, each of us sharing similar but different problems, then we talked about the ROOT of the problem - SIN. I kept pointing Brad to Christ as the answer, and he said, "He's the root killer!" I said, "Yeah, He killed our sin root problem in His own body when He was crucified." Brad wanted our phone numbers, so perhaps he will meet with us again. He said God meant for us to meet today. (Of course, a lot more was said concerning the gospel in these conversations, but I cannot write it all. My main text was Romans 5:6,8,10).

Last of all, as Matt left, I was at the cross walk, and there were a group of Hispanic Christians preaching in the Square from a loudspeaker. They had a bunch of people from their own church standing around with tracks. It was all in Spanish, so I couldn't understand what they were saying, except for, "A Su nombre Gloria!" ("Glory to His name!" I'm not sure if I worded that right?). There was a girl standing at the cross walk, so I handed her a gospel tract and asked her some questions. I will call her "Luella," because I couldn't pronounce her name in Spanish. She had an accent, and as we talked she said she had been here for 9 years, so I asked where she was from, and she said from the Dominican Republic. So I said, "I have a friend who lives there!" (I hope you don't mind me mentioning you, Rita? Rita's blog is New Human Life). I said what I always say in Spanish, "Tiene un Biblia?" (Do you have a Bible?) She pointed to her purse. Then before I left, I mentioned, "La salvacion es por la gracia de Dios... no por obras." And I explained that in english, that it is the gift of God by grace that we are saved, and not by our works.

I left feeling joyful, because God answered my prayers. I also saw Charles, my homeless friend, and Smitty, who always asks me for things now at McDonalds. I don't have the love apart from God's grace working it in me through Christ, but God called me to evangelism, and I am so thankful that He raised up Matt as my fellow worker in the field. Usually I don't like to go alone. I share all this to encourage you all in your prayers and love toward the perishing. I order a lot of good resources to give to people from these places: (Tracts and booklets - "The Poor Huckster" and "Greasy the Robber" are classic stories to give to those interested). (inexpensive Bibles and pocket NT's in ESV). (gospel of John in English and Spanish, and sometimes other languages).

This is grace abounding from York to Gap, Pennsylvania. Grace to you (Ephesians 6:24).
(Please also listen to these songs: "Why?" and "Love Crucified")

The Gospel is About Love

Romans 5:8
"but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

This is God's love: The Son of God died on a tree in place of me (1 John 4:9-10). The Son of God gave his life in exchange for mine. The Son of God experienced His Father's judgment and wrath instead of me. Love... Love that is out of this world. Love from God while I was still a sinner (ungodly, under God's wrath, an enemy of God - Romans 5:6,8,9,10), Christ died for me. That is love, and that is the good news.

It had nothing to do with my decision either, because God decided to love me in this way without consulting me. If the LORD had said to me, "What do you think if I send my Son, and have Him die instead of you?" I probably would have said, "No! I'll pay for my own sin. Thank you." But God didn't ask me, instead, He sent Christ into the world as a baby, and the Lord Jesus arrested my heart with His love (Galatians 2:20; Revelation 1:5-6).

"For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life." (Romans 5:10 ESV).

This is good news of great joy (Luke 2:10) and it is worth preaching (proclaiming) to the world!

Grace, peace and love to all who treasure Jesus with lasting joy.

September 17, 2008

Foolish Wisdom

This guy's (Michael Card's) songs really touched me today. Thank you, LORD! See 1 Corinthians 1:18-25, and watch the reffer tag it! :P

After you listen to this song, go next to the one called "Why", very moving.


This is a repost on Faith, which I wrote before on my other blog months ago, but I thought I could use the reminder, so I'm posting it again here. (Also, if any are interested, check out the new reftagger info on my last post. You may like it? Also, please pray for me as I study Romans 5:1-11 this week/weekend. This is such an important passage, and those I'm teaching are so important to me as well. Thanks, grace to all looking to Jesus!).

"By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward." (Hebrews 11:24-26 ESV).

Faith is a strange and alien thing to a blind and fallen world. Faith sees Christ as worth the cost of separation, mistreatment, reproach, and loss of worldly wealth here and now, for something far more rewarding in the future. To the eye of faith, Christ is worth it. No faith is like no sight - it sees no worth in Christ as the only true and lasting treasure.

"But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having my own righteousness that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith..." (Philippians 3:7-9 ESV).

Oh Lord, grant me such faith, and let all those who hope in you rejoice! Amen.

September 16, 2008

New Stuff: Logos Reftagger

I received an email the other day about adding the "reftagger" to my blog for Bible verse references. Reftagger is free from Logos Bible Software. I've seen other blogs and websites using it, but had no clue how to get it for myself until Dan, from Logos, emailed this info to me. I really appreciated it, so I am now doing what he suggested and spreading the news. Check it out for yourself. (I have also rearranged some things on my sidebar, don't know if anyone notices or not, so just thought I'd mention it anyway).

Here is most of what the email said:

Just in case you're interested, you can add it to your blog for free.

You watch how it works and then get the code here:

There are already almost 2,000 Christian blogs using it. If you like it go ahead and put it on your site. It is really easy to add. Then if you want to help spread the word write a blog post about it! ?

...and if you want to link to the best Bible Software in the world, just add a link in the layout section.

Here are some links you might want to add:

Logos Bible Software Blog

Bible Study

I hope you like the Bible reference tagger, it will work automatically for your blog once you add it. It will make every Bible reference you type from now on automatically linked, and it will also take any Bible reference you typed on any old posts and automatically link that too!

If you want a tutorial on how to add it to blogger, go to the post here:

Here's an example of how it works (I took out the Bible quotes and left only the verse references):

"III. Who are they that are to be saved by grace?
I COME now to the third particular, namely, to shew you who they are that are to be saved by grace.
1. Not the self-righteous; not they that have no need of the physician: The whole have no need of the physician, said Christ (Mark 2:17). And again, ( Luke 1:53)."

- John Bunyan, Saved by Grace (Old Gospel Paths Press), pg. 36.


[a photo from my first apartment in Pittsburgh]
Those were the new old days...
times when bright sunlight
cleared away the haze;
time for future days
never to be the same.
~ Penn 9/08

Here is my next section of Psalm 119 I memorized. I am slowly moving forward, and badly in need of some review time:


You have dealt well with your servant,
O LORD, according to your word.
Teach me good judgment and knowledge,
for I believe in your commandments.
Before I was afflicted I went astray,
but now I keep your word.
You are good and do good;
teach me your statutes!
The insolent smear me with lies,
but with all my heart I keep your precepts;
their heart is unfeeling like fat,
but I delight in your law.
It is good for me that I was afflicted,
that I might learn your statutes.
The law of your mouth is more to me
than thousands of gold and silver pieces.

How true are these words to a quickened spirit! I was once dead to the love of God's Word. I could fake it, but I couldn't say truthfully, "The law of your mouth is more to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces." I know that for me, it was good that I was afflicted... how about for you? I can remember standing in my college apartment, after all I had was cleared out and thrown away as a mistake except for the things I had brought with me from home and my radio, and thinking, "God did this." I remember saying this, "It was good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes."

September 15, 2008

Grace Abounding on My Brother's Birthday

[2003 - on the day I ended my first car relationship]

Today is my younger brother's 22nd birthday... so Lee... happy birthday!

I wrote this on his card: "In Christ are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. - Colossians 2:3"

I am truly grateful for such a friend, as well as for each member of my family.

How do we know there is a God?

Is there clear evidence for God?

God's works of creation and providence plainly make it clear that there is a God. The masterful design found in all of creation requires a Mastermind Designer, and providence requires a Provider. However, the Word of God and the Holy Spirit testify more effectively by revealing God as He must be known for salvation in the Scriptures.

(see Job chpt. 38 & 39; Psa 19; John 16:8-14, 17:8; 1 Cor. 2:10; click here to see a selection of verses).

September 13, 2008

Knowing Christ By a Personal Revelation

I thought these questions I transcribed from a gospel tract were good for some healthy self-examination:

He said to them, "But who do you say I am?" And Simon Peter answered and said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." And Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah: for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven" (Matt 16:15-17).

The most important question we can be asked is this: Do we in reality know the living Christ? It is not: Are we religious? Are we members of local churches? Do we read the Bible? We might be very religious, yet not know Christ in the heart. We may be very loyal to our local church, we may study the Bible, we may "say our prayers," or even love to read religious books and study doctrine. But these soul searching questions still remain - Have we ever seen ourselves as lost, vile sinners before a Holy God? Have we ever been stripped of our self-righteousness and laid low in the dust of humility? Have we ever by faith perceived the glorious person of the Lord Jesus Christ, all because of a direct and personal revelation to us by God the Holy Spirit?

When Christ is made known by the revelation of the Holy Spirit, he is made known as the very well-spring of blessing to the soul. If we know Jesus no more than the world does, or than those who are intellectuals among men, then we do not have the real blessing. If we only know the Lord of glory by what we have found out by reading or talking to others, without the help of the Father's drawing power, then it is not the blessing of true salvation. If we do not know more of Christ than what flesh and blood can reveal, we are nothing more than Pharisees or Sadducees - religious, but lost without God - separatists or rationalists, but not recipients of revelation and regeneration. May the eternal Jehovah reveal to us our true and undone condition before Him!

Among the vast religious throngs of this earth there are to be found true people of God. Those chosen of the Father are also redeemed by the Son, and made alive by the Spirit. The elect of God know by deep acknowledgment of their sin that they are blind and ignorant by nature. The true children of God have been made humble; they confess their total dependence on the grace and mercy of Christ, and place their entire confidence and faith in his credible righteousness and shed blood. In the Lord Jesus Christ alone do "we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace" (Eph 1:7).

It is only when the Lord himself deals with us, taking us in his powerful hand, that we are truly taught who Christ is. We may have heard about Jesus, but we only know him as "the Son of the living God" when illuminated and made alive by God the Spirit. Jesus came forth from God, and the power to know Christ comes forth from God also. If we have Christ, we have eternal life! If we do not have Christ, we have nothing but dead, lifeless, counterfeit religion. Our blessed Master said, "No man can come to me, unless the Father who sent me draw him" (John 6:44). May divine power draw you this day! May we see Christ in all his beauty! May we come to worship and serve only him. Christ is to be seen, but in the light which he himself supplies. May that light shine on you even now, and to our glorious God be all the glory!

(Adapted from "Do You Know Christ By Personal Revelation" by W. F. Bell. Available from Chapel Library.)

September 11, 2008


Well, I'm continuing to memorize a stanza a day. I did review all of them today by quickly reading over what I've covered in Psalm 119 so far. I thought that if I can memorize a stanza a day, then after I have memorized them all, I can go back and re-memorize what I forgot along the way. So far, I am blessed to be able to reflect on God's precious truth through all of this.

Here is my first try for Heth:

The LORD is my portion;
I promise to keep your words.
I entreat your favor with my whole heart;
be gracious to me according to your promise.
When I think on my ways,
I turn my feet to your testimonies;
I make haste and do not delay
to keep your commandments.
Though the cords of the wicked ensnare me,
I will remember your law.
At midnight I rise to praise you,
because of your righteous rules.
The earth, O LORD, is full of your steadfast love;
teach me your statutes!

In case you didn't check it, I had to correct some mistakes:

The LORD is my portion;
I promise to keep your words.
I entreat your favor with all my heart;
be gracious to me according to your promise.
When I think on my ways,
I turn my feet to your testimonies;
I hasten and do not delay
to keep your commandments.
Though the cords of the wicked ensnare me,
I will not forget your law.
I rise at midnight to praise you,
because of your righteous rules.
I am a companion of those who fear you,
of all who keep your precepts.
The earth, O LORD, is full of your steadfast love;
teach me your statutes!

(Only minor mistakes this time, nothing too serious :)

September 10, 2008


Another wonderful day of evangelism. Bob, the lead evangelist in Pittsburgh, who trained me in street evangelism, came to York today to witness at the York fair. He met me during lunch and we hit the streets together for about 45 minutes. A lot of people are still trying to be good to get to heaven. They think that if they can overcome sin in their lives, such as smoking, lust, pride, etc. that they will be acceptable for heaven, when in reality, they haven't yet come to the end of the law. Romans 10:4, "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes." The question always remains, "Have you come to the end of the law yet?" My answer was, yes, because I could not overcome my own sin, my pride, my lust, my anger, my self-righteousness. Jesus would have condemned me for all these, but He became the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes! So, my testimony to people today was, "I needed faith to believe Him. When I came to the end of myself, I called out to the Lord, and He gave me the faith to trust Him as my righteousness. Now I am at the end of law, no more trying to do it anymore, because Christ has done it already for me, by putting to death my sin in His own body on the cross and by rising from the dead, He now has become my righteousness and my life. I have been crucified with Him, and now He lives in me." I could go on, but it is summed up in 3 words: "All of Grace." Matt joined us tonight, and we had a blessed time ministering to the poor of this world. Praise God for His righteousness and for His love!

Remember your word to your servant,
in which you have made me hope.
This is my comfort in my affliction,
that your promise gives me life.
The insolent utterly deride me,
but I do not turn away from your law.
When I remember your rules from of old,
I take comfort, O LORD.
Hot indignation seizes me because of the wicked,
who forsake your law.
Your statutes have been my songs
in the house of my sojourning.
I remember your name in the night, O LORD,
and keep your law.
This blessing has fallen to me,
that I have kept your precepts.

September 9, 2008


I spent this evening with my buddy, Matt, and we walked around the block in York Square where we met about half a dozen people open to the gospel. We talked to a few of them from more than ten to twenty minutes each, while two experienced slight conviction. I was preaching mainly from Romans 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." The response to grace was really profound, "I never heard this before!" I explained that we are all guilty of sin and therefore worthy of eternal judgment as a result of Adam's sin, but that Christ crucified (and resurrected) is the answer. Salvation is by the grace of God through faith in Christ apart from any works that we perform. I do not doubt that God may perhaps grant repentance and an eternal change in at least one of those we met tonight. LORD, please make it so! Amen.

Let your steadfast love come to me, O LORD;
your salvation according to your promise;
then shall I have an answer for him who taunts me,
for I trust in your word.
And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth,
for my hope is in your rules.
I will keep your law continually,
forever and ever,
and I shall walk in a wide place,
for I have sought your precepts.
I also will speak of your testimonies before kings
and shall not be put to shame;
for I find my delight in your commandments,
which I love.
I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love,
and I will meditate on your statutes.

There, I did it, now I can go to bed!

September 8, 2008

A prayer from my early days of being transformed:

This is not Scripture, but I was thinking of how Psalm 119 had influenced me so much in the past, as I was just beginning to understand God's Word back in 2003 or so. The bridge photo is where I walked every day during my first year in Pittsburgh, often praying as I passed over the river. I was 19 years old then, and I actually found verses from Psalm 119 written on one of my old notebook pages (I may scan it later and stick it here). Here is one of my prayers I found written waaaay back then:

O Lord, how majestic is your name?
No one knows my heart like you,
they don't believe me when I speak.
When I was in trouble, I called out to you,
and you answered me with your love.
The world is full of confusion,
though you perform miracles right in front of them,
they do not understand.
Through faith you came to me,
through hope you healed me.
But through your great love, you saved me.
How can I bear to disobey you?
Surely your will guides me,
and my heart rejoices along your path.
When you shone your light on me,
I saw my sins for what they were.
Who can see in the darkness without a light?
As surely as light contrasts dark,
righteousness contrasts sin.
Through your righteousness, I saw
the light of life.
Such a great thing cannot be hidden.
To speak of your great love,
is to speak all I know.

[There was no date on this page, but I think I was being influenced by certain Psalms when I wrote this?]


Today was tough for memorizing. My brain was beginning to freeze up; I had to hit restart more than once! Perhaps it was the fatigue from a busy weekend, or that I have been memorizing 8 verses [1 stanza] from Psalm 119 a day for the past five days in a row. It may soon be time for slowing down and focusing on reviewing what I've burnt into my memory space to keep it organized and clean. I was able to recite all five stanza's today, but not without resetting once in a while and a little help from my Bible to correct my mistakes. I can literally fly thru Alef, then Beth I have to slow down and think, then Gimel and Daleth need some polishing, and finally He is to the point where I can write it down without looking [this time including the footnote alternate reading at the end of verse 33].

Teach me, O LORD, in the way of your statutes;
and I will keep it to the end [or I will keep it as my reward].
Give me understanding, that I may keep your law
and observe it with my whole heart.
Lead me in the way of your commandments,
for I delight in it.
Incline my heart to your testimonies,
and not to selfish gain!
Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things;
and give me life in your ways.
Confirm to your servant your promise,
that you may be feared.
Turn away the reproach that I dread,
for your rules are good.
Behold, I long for your precepts;
in your righteousness give me life!

September 7, 2008


More Psalm memorizing today. I had a blessed day of worship; listening to the sermon on Galatians 1:1-4 at church; studying Genesis chapter 3; eating with fellow believers; visiting my brother in Christ Herman Lee and looking at his artwork; eating with my Bible study group and teaching them of the amazing grace and love of God through Jesus Christ. Please pray for them, that they will all see the amazing hope that God gives by His promise through Christ. I really understand better, after being a teacher, that not many should presume to be teachers, we stumble in many ways with our tongue. I love teaching, just not my tongue that sometimes gives the wrong answer to some questions, so now I need to remind myself to correct it as soon as I can. There is so much joy in serving such precious people, and I love helping them understand God's Holy Word the Bible.

I read John 10 tonight for my devotion, and it struck me in a new light how that Jesus was telling the Jewish leaders that He was God by saying, "I am the door... I am the good Shepherd... I and the Father are one." They understood him when they said, "It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God." Even though Jesus claimed, "I am the Son of God," He was not denying His deity, but was affirming His divine relationship with His Father. He ended by saying, "If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father." Then in the next chapter, He goes and raises a man from the dead!... Wow, bow down and worship this Lord.

Again, I'm only at the 32nd verse of Psalm 119:

My soul clings to the dust;
give me life according to your word!
When I told of my ways, you answered me;
teach me your statutes!
Make me understand the way of your precepts,
and I will meditate on your wondrous works.
My soul melts away for sorrow;
strengthen me according to your word!
Put false ways far from me
and graciously teach me your laws!
I have chosen the way of faithfulness;
I set your rules before me.
I cling to your testimonies;
let me not be put to shame!
I will run in the way of your commandments
when you enlarge my heart!

September 6, 2008

What a day... Gimel

I woke up late this morning feeling not so great. I was up late studying Spanish and reading the Scriptures last night. A morning dose of insulin and a glass of water quickly relieved my problem. Before I even had my first cup of coffee I was up and preparing to study Genesis chapter three. I have been listening to MacArthur sermons on Genesis three all week as it was read to me by my mac at work, and I have been listening to Genesis read by Stephen Johnston all week (I listened to all of it twice). All I can say is, "Wow!" and I can say it backwards, too, "woW!" :P

Today, I really looked into the first seven verses of Genesis 3, and was amazed at what I was seeing, and with connections it was making to other verses in the Bible (the picture is me studying last week with cheerios). I will have the study up on my other blog after tomorrow. At around 3 p.m., I helped my sister and mom pick out a good senior class photo for my sister, then I headed off in the pouring rain for Philadelphia. On the way to Philadelphia, I memorized the third stanza in Psalm 119, praying along the way. Since it was raining, the brothers and I decided not to go to our regular spot for street evangelism, so we headed down to the 30th Street Station in center city. We've been there before, and it is always a blessing. Well, I can't go into all the details, but we had a great time and left rejoicing in God's magnificent grace. I spoke to a Spanish Christian man from Puerto Rico, a drug addict from Ocean City (I think that's where he said), a homeless woman from Sierra Leone (W. Africa, her name was Christiana), and also brief interaction with a few other people. We didn't stay as long as usual, but went back to Pastor Mark's house to pray. Our prayer time was filled with rejoicing and requests to God, and we also prayed for souls in the hurricane storm down in the South, as well as for the police who are walking the streets now in Philadelphia (dangerous job). It was really wonderful to have fellowship with a bunch of "ordinary" men, who are fired up for reaching lost people in our cities. One brother, a former drug addict, alcoholic and homeless, is preparing to start Bible college soon (amazing to see the change in his life, as well as the same change in one of his old buddies - amazing). Others are just so much of a blessing to know.

When I left, it wasn't raining and the sky was clear. I came home, and behold, the stars where covering the face of the sky! One of our prayers tonight was a thanksgiving for God's faithfulness to His servant Abraham, that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the heavens and the sand on the seashore. My reason for sharing all this, is for encouragement to any who read, and to give away a little info into my life, showing that I'm not just a "smart kid" (I always despised those kids while growing up, and now I am one, but for a good reason - to help others know the gospel). As one man said to me last Saturday, "I'm a real person," I answered, "I'm a real person, too" (even though I've never been stabbed or been in jail, or joined a muslim cult - I understood the guy's point and wasn't disrespecting him). So my life is richly blessed to be spent with the greatest people in the world, the poor, lowly, downcast and nobodies of this earth, who by the grace of our precious Lord Jesus will one day be numbered with those stars.

Here is where I'm at in Psalm 119, I practiced it again on my way home:

Deal bountifully with your servant,
that I may live and keep your word.
Open my eyes, that I may behold
wondrous things out of your law!
I am a sojourner in the earth;
hide not your commandments from me!
My soul is consumed with longing
for your rules at all times.
You rebuke the insolent, accursed ones,
who wander from your commandments.
Take away from me scorn, and contempt,
for I have kept your testimonies.
Even though princes sit and plot against me,
your servant will meditate on your statutes.
Your testimonies are my delight;
they are my counselors.

September 5, 2008

Psalm 119 Aleph and Beth

As I said in my last post, I'm memorizing the longest Psalm in the Bible, which is also my favorite. I want to memorize it, because much of it is a prayer that I often need to pray for myself. I feel helpless, just like the Psalmist, when I desire to keep God's commands, so that is why I pray, "Incline my heart to your Word," "Teach me," and "Give me understanding!" My drive to work is a lengthy one, so that is a good time to repeat Scripture out loud in my car.

I hope this will encourage any of my readers to memorize Scripture also, or please share with me what you have been memorizing and why. How do you pray when you desire to do what God has said? Do you honestly desire to keep God's statutes and commands? If so, why? Does it seem impossible to do, let alone even have the desire? Perhaps by reading along with me, you will be encouraged to pray Psalm 119, and to think a little deeper into why it was written.

Here is where I am so far (without looking):

Psalm 119 (ESV)
Blessed are those whose way is blameless,
who walk in the law of the LORD!
Blessed are those who keep his testimonies,
who seek him with their whole heart,
who also do no wrong,
but walk in his ways!
You have commanded your precepts
to be kept diligently.
Oh that my ways may be steadfast
in keeping your statutes!
Then I shall not be put to shame,
having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.
I will praise you with an upright heart,
when I learn your righteous rules.
I will keep your statutes;
do not utterly forsake me!

How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to your word.
With my whole heart I seek you,
let me not wander from your commandments!
I have stored up your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.
Blessed are you, O LORD;
teach me your statutes!
With my lips I declare
all the rules of your mouth.
In the way of your testimonies I delight
as much as in all riches.
I will meditate on your precepts
and fix my eyes on your ways.
I will delight in your statutes;
I will not forget your word.

September 4, 2008

This Book Shall Not Depart from Your Mouth

Joshuah 1:8-9, God said to Joshuah:
"This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."

People sometimes ask me, "How do you remember so much of what the Bible says?" My answer is, first of all, that God has put the desire to know His Word in my heart. But that desire started when I first began to actually read the Bible. That is where it starts. Often people who do not know much about the Bible say to me, "I read it, but I just don't understand it." I simply encourage them by saying, "Just keep reading it. Even if you don't understand it all at once, if you keep reading, as time goes on it will begin to all make sense." That is my experience, and I hope that others will do the same by the grace of God. Nevertheless, this does not mean we don't need sincere preachers and teachers, especially God as our teacher (John 6:45), but I am saying that it all begins by simply reading.

So today, I was motivated by the verse above to memorize Psalm 119. Today was the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, which is "Aleph." The Psalm was written as an acrostic poem, which means that the poem is alphabetical, with each stanza beginning with a different letter of the Hebrew alphabet. It has 22 stanzas for the 22 letters. It is the longest Psalm in the Bible, and it is all about God's precious Word!

I decided to write out what I memorize to help me keep it in my head, so here it is in the English Standard Version (without looking):

Psalm 119
Blessed are those whose ways are blameless,
who walk in the law of the LORD!
Blessed are those who keep his testimonies,
who seek him with their whole heart,
who also do no wrong,
but walk in his ways!
You have commanded your precepts
to be kept diligently.
Oh that my ways may be steadfast
in keeping your statutes!
Then I shall not be put to shame,
having my eyes fixed on all your commandments!
I will praise you with an upright heart,
when I learn your righteous rules.
I will keep your statutes,
do not utterly forsake me!

September 1, 2008

Persecuted Christians in India

Christians in India are being brutally murdered, threatened and persecuted by those who reject the gospel. Please read about it and pray for their protection and safety, especially that their faith may be strong.

Please read Rita's post at her blog, New Human Life,

and you can read Team Pyro's report at their blog, Pyromaniacs.

"Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have."
(Philippians 1:27-30 ESV).