Think on These Things 

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)

“Do not be conformed” and “be transformed” stand in opposition of each other. Either your mind is being conformed, or it is being transformed. Either your mind is becoming like the world, or becoming like Christ. 

Are your thoughts on things that are temporal or eternal? Do you love the things that this world loves, or the things that Christ loves?

We are given the imperative to renew our minds. So then, how do you renew your mind? 

God in His grace has give us His written word to hear, to read, to meditate on, and to pray over. It is in these ways that the Holy Spirit sanctifies us and changes us. (John 17:17)

Knowing the scriptures are sufficient in themselves to make the man of God complete, let us pursue knowing His word by spending time in His word. 

More specifically, we are to fill our mind with whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, of excellence, and worthy of praise. (Philippians 4:8) 

These things are made known to us through the entirety of scripture. So as Paul exhorts the church in Philippi, so we too are to think about these things. 


Children of God

“To be right with God the judge is a great thing, but to be loved and cared for by God the Father is a greater… We do not fully feel the wonder of the passage from death to life which takes place in the new birth till we see it as a transition, not simply out of condemnation into acceptance, but out of bondage and destitution into the “safety, certainty, and enjoyment” of the family of God.”

J.I. Packer, Knowing God

 Maybe I have been caught up in my study of theology and apologetics, but when I read this section from Knowing God, I was immediately convicted. I personally have found that it is easy to be immersed in doctrine, which is undoubtedly essential, but neglect what they point towards. That we are justified by faith alone, counted righteous by God, forgiven of all our sin, and have assurance of salvation are all great things, no Christian would deny that. But they are not the greatest. 

What is ultimate? We are adopted into the family of God, who is our Heavenly Father. 

“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” (1 John 3:1)

“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18)

“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.” (Galatians 4:4-7)

Has my mind truly grasped this reality? Have I cherished the fact that I am no longer condemned and am judicially declared “not guilty” more than the fact that I have a Heavenly Father who loves me deeply?

As I have meditated on these verses of scripture, and marveled at the fact that this is who I am, I’m absolutely overwhelmed in awe of Gods love for me. 

Who am I, but a sinner, that He would desire to adopt me into His family? That He would give His one and only Son for me? 

How incredible and immeasurable are the riches of His love which He displayed in Jesus Christ, by purchasing for Himself a people through that bloody cross, in order that they could enjoy Him forever!

I am a child of God because He has declared me so; and so I am. 

Glorifying God by Submitting to One Another

“submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Ephesians 5:21)

There is nothing more unnatural or appalling to the mind of Man than to submit to another person. This is not compatible with the image of power and self-autonomy. By nature we want to be in control of our lives, and be self-sufficient in all of our ways. To take the yoke of another would mean to lose control, and would acknowledge that we are in need and are lacking in some way. This in fact is the greatest barrier which keeps many from Jesus Christ; submitting to His authority.

For the Christian though, our submission does not end with Christ. It overflows with joy to each other. This submission is most visible as we serve the body, which is the church. Denying ourselves and self-sacrificial living are marks of the Christian life. This can be seen when Paul wrote to the church in Philippi:

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:3-5)

This mindset will come from a changed heart. A heart of stone that was replaced with a heart of flesh. A heart that has been transformed from loving self to loving Christ. 

What is the greatest motivator and strongest influence of such a life? It is our reverence for Christ. We submit to one another because of who Jesus is, and what He has done. He displayed the ultimate form of submission on the cross, to appease the will of the Father, “Not my will, but yours, be done”. It is the love of Christ that compels us, because we know that apart from His divine power, we can do nothing.

We are partakers of the same Spirit, being transformed into the same image of Christ, from one degree of glory to another. As we submit to one another, we are displaying to each other and to the world the glory and surpassing worth of our risen Lord.

And here is the point: The people that are outside of the church are not going to see something different if we are living like the people outside of the church. I am convinced that apart from the hearing of the gospel, that our submission to others is what the world needs to see the most. It is the evidence of a changed life, pointing to the One who changed us.

We must meditate over what this means for our lives. Is submission a characteristic of our life? If not, then how can we become more Christ-like in submitting to one another?

Be encouraged, there is good news. There is only one who lived a life in perfect obedience, and that is Christ. This new way of living is only possible by the power of His Spirit working within us. I encourage to you make this your prayer, that your reverence for Christ would result in joyfully submitting to others, displaying this transformed life to the world, so that others would see His goodness, and that God would be most glorified. 

The Good News For Those That Are Not Good. 

“But by the grace of God I am what I am” (‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭15:10‬)

If Paul, who persecuted the church, who delighted and assisted in the murder of Christians, was one day brought from death to life in Christ, who can be beyond the saving grace of God?

The word of God says,

“And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.” (‭‭Colossians‬ ‭2:13-14‬)

And again,

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”‭‭ (1 John‬ ‭1:9‬)

So I must ask, what lie are you believing that says you cannot be fully forgiven of your sin, and for the entire punishment that is due? What lie are you believing that makes you think you can add anything to the finished work of Jesus Christ by your own ability of being good? And what lie are you believing that says that you are not a sinner, and are even good?

No, apart from Jesus Christ we are dead. We have no life. We have no hope. And apart from God, we can do nothing. Do you believe this? Do you see your need for a savior?

A savior that only partially saves is no savior at all. If Jesus did not pay in full the wrath and punishment on the Cross, then that means there is something left for you. That is not good news for those that are “dead in their trespasses”. 

What is the good news you need to hear?

The truth is that when Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave, the work of salvation was finished. This included the full satisfaction of the legal demand for your sin in exchange for the full righteousness of Jesus Christ counted on your behalf. 

If you have repented of your sin and turned to Jesus alone, then all of the fullness of the glorious promise of salvation is yours, and will never be lost.

“All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.”‭‭ (John‬ ‭6:37‬)

Endure Suffering with Joy

“Now I rejoice in my sufferings…” (Colossians 1:24)

Rejoicing and suffering. Two words that seem to be contradictory, and especially when mentioned simultaneously. But the Christian life is not without both. In fact, a life without joy and a life without suffering is no Christian life at all.

To the stumbling saints, the redeemed children of God, the ones who are feeling less and less at home. You are not alone. We are sojourners together. I’m with you. The church is with you. For there are many a times when I say with the Psalmist, “Why are you cast down, O my soul?”

So, how can you be filled with joy in your suffering? It doesn’t come from circumstances.

It comes from the historical fact that Jesus has risen from the grave, and because of His victory, we have hope. Not a hope as the world defines it, but a hope that is sure and certain.

Our hope is in the great exchange, Jesus satisfying the full wrath and punishment for our sin, and the righteousness of Christ counted on our behalf. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Our hope is in the promise of God that when He says we will never be cast out, He means it. And in the promise that there is nothing that can separate us from the love of Christ. (John 6:37, Romans 8:39)

So in a world that says you cannot be certain about anything, in a world that denies the truth about God, in a world that glorifies sin and condemns righteousness, and in a world that doesn’t have an answer for suffering, we can have hope.

We will endure because our God will hold us fast. And as we endure with joy in our suffering, the world will see a hope that is not normal, and can only be explained by the good news they are in desperate need of hearing and believing.

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (‭‭Romans‬ ‭5:3-5‬)

The Hope of Christmas

It is that time of the year again. The temperature has dropped, the ground is covered in white snow. Or if you are in mid-Missouri, you could be experiencing spring time weather. The radio stations have playing Jingle Bells and Frosty the Snowman on repeat for the past month. Many people around the world are celebrating the Christmas season in some way or another. Although, not everyone is celebrating for the same reason.

If we were to turn on the television to get our definition of Christmas, it would seem to be a time when people give each other new cars with giant bows, diamonds rings, and shiny jewelry. If we were to walk into the grocery store to get our definition of Christmas, it would seem like a time when people consume large amounts of cookies, egg nog, and candy canes. If we were to go into a typical home to get our definition of Christmas, it would seem like a time when families put colorful lights on their landscaping, decorate trees with ornaments, and wait for a jolly man to come down a chimney with presents.

Who wouldn’t enjoy a new car, or eating lots of cookies, or decorating their home? But not everyone is able to buy gifts. Not everyone has the ability to go to the grocery store. Not everyone has a home to decorate. And not everyone has family to spend time with, or children to give gifts. Is there more to this season than what our eyes can see?

Where is the hope for the poor? Or the hope the homeless? Or the hope for the divorced parent? Or the hope for the childless? Or the hope for the single mother? Or the hope for the widow? Or the hope for the orphan?

The hope for the entire world is found in the breath of a baby in a manger.

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)

But not just a normal baby. God became flesh, born of a virgin woman. If it seems to you irrational and illogical that a baby could be born of a virgin, you are not alone. Even Mary herself questioned this saying. Even Joseph, her soon to be husband, sought to end the plans of marriage. How could this be that a virgin could give birth to a son?

I was a supernatural miracle.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14)

This is an act that was only possible by a sovereign and all powerful God and Creator. The one true God who created everything that exists, came down from heaven to fulfill His promise to redeem for Himself sinners. This redemption is only possible through the very child who was born that night, namely Jesus Christ.

Without the incarnation, the cross on which Jesus died would become powerless. Without the cross, there would be no resurrection hope for the world. But the prophesy was fulfilled. The promised Messiah has come. And Jesus has risen from the grave.

Jesus Christ, who is the eternal Son of God in human flesh, fully God and fully man, came into this world to do what we are incapable of doing. He lived a life in perfect obedience to the Law, suffered and died on the cross in the place of sinners (bearing in full their sin, guilt, and judgement), arose in victory from the grace (defeating sin and death once for all), and now sits at the right hand of God the Father where He reigns forevermore.

There is salvation in no one else.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)

This is the sure hope that Christians celebrate not just on this day, not just every Sunday, but every day. God coming to us, because we were incapable of coming to Him.

I am writing this specifically to those that do not believe in any of this, because I want you to share in this hope. I want you to believe. I want you to receive this gift. The very gift of salvation that I did not have until three years ago. If your hope is not in Christ, if Jesus is not your Lord, if your sin has not been completely forgiven and covered by His righteousness alone, it is my prayer that you would repent from your sin and turn to Christ for your salvation.


For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

What do we need to be saved from? The truth is that we need to be saved from God. The problem is that God is good, and we are not. No amount of good deeds will make up for our sin against an infinite God. Everyone alive is guilty before a holy God, apart from the work of Christ being counted on your behalf.

You can be fully forgiven, relieved of your guilt, reconciled to God, and spend eternity with Him, where there will be no more tears, no more death, no more homeless, no more widows, no more loneliness. Rather, creation will be restored with eternal unity and joy and pleasure in the presence of our Lord forever.

This is good news, not good advice.

For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. (John 6:40)

The gift of salvation was only made possible by Jesus Christ coming into this world that very night in Bethlehem. This is the joy and hope of Christmas available to all those that will believe. May your Christmas be filled with this eternal joy found in Jesus Christ alone.

In You Alone Do I Hope

My soul is like a fainting tree, seeking for the flowing water.

The rush of the water can be heard, but my roots can barely touch.

O Lord, increase my faith, and show me the way to your deep well.

So my roots would run deep, and I would be nourished by your help.

My heart aches for your light, that reveals your majectic glory.

Those beaming rays of hope from your heavens, which guide me to everlasting joy.

How long, O my God, will my heart toil in this mire of brokenness.

I cry out to you day and night, that this burden I hold would release. 

And the truth of your word would satisfy, my deepest longings be complete.

In you alone do I hope, your promises are true and unfailing.