How many of us have a dream to follow … someday … but someday never comes? Well, perhaps my *someday* is here!

How many of us have a dream to follow … someday … but someday never comes? Well, perhaps my *someday* is here!

OVER THE YEARS, I’ve dabbled in writing fiction — a few short stories but mostly novels. My first attempt at writing a novel  was in elementary school. Since then, I’ve taken a stab or two, but never completed a project. 


That has changed over the last two years, as I’ve completed three novels that had been occupying space on my computer’s hard drive. 

The difference? I’ve decided to go for it without regard to anyone’s response. Why not? This is my life, and I want to enjoy the challenge and the privilege of completing this dream.

All three novels have undergone tremendous refinement. While the years passed and the novels lay dormant, I became a born-again believer in Jesus Christ, which led me to redefine my characters and change the story flow, while still maintaining the tension and suspense of the original story.

Oh, and I needed to trim each of them significantly to stay within an 85,000-word limit expected of a novice novel-writer.


So, I’ve now completed three novels. They’re ready for a publishing agent and, should that fail, find their way to e-publishing.

Since every story is a love story, my three books also are love stories, but with twists. Two of them are set against a Washington political backdrop, while the third focuses on fatherhood, divorce, and reconciliation.

The two political books  — Beware of Liars and If Not For You — are part of a series featuring a congressman from Rhode Island and a congresswoman from Nevada who butt heads politically while fighting demons from personal tragedy and navigating their difficult relationship.

The third novel — At Last — is a first-person perspective. The lead character is a journalist-turned-magazine writer, who becomes suspect number one in a murder investigation while trying to restart his career and unexpectedly care for his young daughter after her mother — his ex-wife — is hospitalized in an auto accident.

Each of the three novels has something special for the Christian reader and, hopefully, a compelling testimony for the not-yet Christian who seeks better answers for life’s deepest questions than those the world offers.


For years, I have wanted to write fiction. That’s not unusual. God created us in His image, and the first thing we read about God is that … He created! (Gen. 1:1)


Yes, it’s like the woman who nurtures her rose garden or expertly crafts gourmet pies, or the man who busies himself with wood-working, or anyone who dances, sings, plays an instrument, writes music, paints landscapes, photographs the sea, or dashes off sonnets or plays.

Mostly, in writing, I enjoyed creating characters with distinct personalities and speaking styles and then molding them into action scenes where the reader feels he/she is in the room with them.

I love my characters!!

My next project — Lord willing — is to create a three-part novella series centering on one or two main characters and featuring a variety of secondary characters taking turns staring in sub-plots. The idea is once a reader enjoys one of the books, he/she is more likely to show an interest in the other two, especially if they can be read in any order.

Plus, for me as the author, I get to watch my characters maneuver their way through different situations — some of them difficult, some embarrassing, some humorous — but all of them, hopefully, recognizable to the reader. 


The Holy Bible is replete with *dreams,* as God once used them to connect with His creation. It’s the imagination that God has instilled in us that has led mankind to invent machinery, technology, and pharmaceuticals, to discover new lands, minerals, galaxies, and nano-particles, and to “go where no man has gone before.” 


Whatever your dream is, especially if you haven’t found your “someday” yet, maybe ask yourself, “What’s holding me back?” We all have a boatload of excuses, but in the end, listening to those excuses only stops us.

Our dreams are not accidental. We might assume God has placed them in our hearts along with eternity. 

As long as those dreams honor God, finding that rainbow could be more than satisfying a personal desire … it also could be honoring God’s plan for our lives.


FATHER GOD, thank You for giving us hearts of boldness, minds that long to create, and hands – and sometimes feet – that put action to those urges. We pray, Lord, in all we do, we’ll honor You. In Jesus’ name. AMEN


Too often, we are our worst critics, condemning ourselves more harshly than others do, and dismissing our strong points as nothing special.  That tendency is satanic and keeps us from being more productive.


 I HAVE TO ADMIT IT, I often heap abuse on myself for failing to be *perfect,* even when I *know* (i.e., have mental knowledge) that perfection is beyond human reach.


 I’m not alone in this regard. According to the Myers-Briggs personality profile, my profile type (INTJ) is more likely than other profile types to be self-abusive. We strive for perfection and demand accountability in others. 

There is help, but in our (my) human pride, we tend to glaze over it, preferring to focus on the achievements of others and our tendency to underperform, at least by our own standards.

The Bible tells us — if we’ll let it speak to us — that we are helpless without the guidance and strength of the Holy Spirit. Here are some examples:

  • But my work seems so useless! I have spent my strength for nothing and to no purpose. Yet I leave it all in the LORD’s hand; I will trust God for my reward. — Isaiah 49:4 (NLT)
  • Do your own work well, and then you will have something to be proud of. But don’t compare yourself with others. We each must carry our own load. — Galatians 4-5 (CEV)
  • “If any remain in me and I remain in them, they produce much fruit. But without Me they can do nothing.” — John 15:5 (NET)


THE PROBLEM IS THIS: When we listen to the voice of the Evil One, we ignore the voice of the Holy Spirit. The Evil One will cause us to doubt God’s goodness, His love for us, His caring touch.

Instead, like Eve in the Garden (Genesis 3), we’ll convince ourselves that God does not have our best interests in mind and that, just perhaps, He’s “holding out on us.” Therefore, we reason, we must “follow your bliss,” as mythologist Joseph Campbell taught and, like Cream sang in Strange Brew, “do what’s inside of you.” 

Then, we get into trouble.

With God’s help, we can change that dynamic.


Recently, I wrote about following my dream (LoveAndGrace). I wanted to use the skills, training, and experience of being a newspaper reporter (journalist) to write novel-length fiction, creating characters and dialogue and movement and setting and storyline — all the things I was doing at work when reporting on real-life events.

I wrote about having started — and stopped — writing three novels. Two years ago, I began diligently to complete them. Since then, I’ve edited them severely — shrinking them to 85,000 words each and, more importantly, reflecting the Christian values I’ve come to embrace in the last decade as a born-again believer.

Okay, in this example, I am glad I had not finished the novels beforehand, because I would not want my pre-Christian heart and soul made public. Now, when I publish the novels, they’ll reflect the new creature God has created in me.

The point I’m making is that it only has been very recently that I’ve felt the self-confidence God wants me to experience so that I could complete the novels and contemplate writing more.

Being my inner critic prevented me from completing any of the novels. I just stared at them on my computer’s hard-drive.


WHAT CHANGED FOR ME is that God has given me a spirit of courage, replacing my spirit of fear. I am now willing to embrace my dream and go after a calling, unafraid of temporal rejection or lack of applause.

  • For the Spirit that God has given us does not make us timid; instead, his Spirit fills us with power, love, and self-control. — 2 Timothy 1:7 (GNT)
  • So we may boldly say: “The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” — Hebrews 13:6 (NKJV)

I would like to say that this change in me came suddenly as the Holy Spirit entered my heart; but the truth is, this has been part of His sanctification process in slowly and methodically bringing me closer to Him. Also, the Lord has used the testimony of some dear brothers to speak this truth into my life.

But, wait! There I go again. The gift came from God, and I’m trying to grab credit for it, wishing I had come to this realization  myself, by myself, on my own, and … apparently … for myself.

Not anymore. I want to embrace the new reality: God has transformed me and brought me into His embrace in His timing for His purpose.

Not anymore. I want to embrace the new reality: God has transformed me and brought me into His embrace
in His timing for His purpose.


This is what He tells me (and you):

  • PROVERBS 3:5-6 (NIV): “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
  • 1 PETER 2:9 (NKJV): “But you [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”

With those promises of God, how can we ever doubt His goodness toward us and therefore … in Him … our own worth as people of God?


 FATHER GOD, We thank You for Your everlasting kindness, Your patience, and Your willingness to teach us how to be faithful and obedient sons and daughters of the King. All blessing, honor, and glory are Yours, O Lord, from everlasting to everlasting. AMEN and AMEN


OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST PROMISES TO RETURN. When He does, He will grant those who love Him their reward—eternal life with Him. Those who reject Him also will receive their reward—eternity without Him. 



Our  Lord will come partway to Earth, and as the trumpet blasts, He’ll shout, “Come Up Here!” 


All the believers alive at the time, and all the believers who’ve passed through this life, will hear His voice and rise to meet Him in the air, the dead in Christ first, then those alive at the time.

What an amazing scene to contemplate! Yes, it is exciting, even though God, in His wisdom, has purposed not to give us much information about the event.

Romans 8:19 (NKJV) For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 

Romans 8:19 (NKJV)

Just a few things I think about but have no information:

  • Will the dead in Christ be assembled according to geography, i.e., where they lived during their lives;
  • Will we be assembled according to era, i.e., when we lived;
  • Will we speak a common language; if so, which one – a current one or a brand new one? Will we become multi-lingual?
  • Will we wear robes, or our current garb, or something entirely new?
  • What will my “room” or “mansion” look like, and will it be tailored for my current tastes and desires, or will it meet needs and desires entirely different from what I want now;
  • How often will I see my loved ones — especially, my wife — and how will I react when I realize dear family members might not be joining me (that’s a euphemism, of course).

My list actually is much longer than this, and you probably have your own list.

Two Realities

I MENTION ALL OF THIS because we are faced with two realities, both of them valid: one the one hand, we have valuable biblical doctrine to guide our understanding of the Rapture and our eventual Eternal Home; while on the other hand, we have the natural human curiosity and wonder that God instilled in us at creation that prompt us to ask questions.

Yes, the Bible teaches us that the “secret things of God” belong solely to Him (Deuteronomy 29:29) and that many of the details are “not for us to know” (Acts 1:7), yet God did create us in His image, so naturally we are curious. He built that into us.


  • While Jesus’ death on the Cross provides forgiveness of sin for all people—-past, present, and future—-only those who believe He is the Messiah, the Son of God, are His children (John 1:12; Rom. 8:14), and they alone will reap the benefit of eternal life with God (John 3:3). The rest will suffer for having rejected what the Bible calls “so great a salvation” (Heb. 2:3).


  • Does everyone who ends up in Hell actually choose that destination, or were they not paying attention or falsely assumed they were *good enough* by their standards to warrant inclusion in Heaven? Will they regret their life choices, or will they remain convinced they chose wisely?

Approaching Event

WITH EACH PASSING DAY, we all come closer to that Moment of Truth, when the Lord returns to take some of us home while leaving the rest to struggle in a world of increasing evil and terror.

Jesus told us to “be prepared.” You can read about it in Matthew 25 (“The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins”). Matt. 25:1 (NKJV) says: “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.”

He relates a Jewish wedding festival in which the bridegroom leads a parade to the bride’s father’s house to claim his betrothed to begin their married life. Five of the bridesmaids were prepared and had stored enough oil for their lanterns, while the other five were not prepared and missed the celebration.

The haunting message to me is that the five “unprepared” virgins actually wanted to attend the joyous celebration. 

They failed to take the proper precautions, but they did not want to be excluded.

Yet, they were.

Different Destinations

SO, WHERE DOES this lead?

We’re rapidly coming to a point where some of us will take the road that leads to an eternity of extreme joy and peace — while others, many of them our loved ones and colleagues — will transition into eternal regret. 

Yes, I know that’s to burden us with the need to reach out to them with the message of hope — and, yes, it means we need to redouble our prayers for them.

In this life, I anticipate the coming Rapture with eager expectation for myself, yet fear for those loved ones who, by their own testimony, show no signs of trusting the Lord for their salvation.

I praise the Lord for my salvation … while saddened for those who reject His generous gift.


FATHER GOD, We love You and praise Your holy name. We thank You for Your gracious gift of life for all who claim the name of Jesus, and we petition You, O Holy Father, to quicken the hearts of those who spurn Your love. Turn them from their worldly pursuits and show them the peace and joy that will be theirs if they would humble themselves, pray to You, seek Your face, and turn from their wicked ways. In Jesus’ magnificent name. AMEN

Relevant Scripture

  • 1 John 3:1 (NKJV) Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.
  • John 1:12 (NKJV) But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.
  • Romans 8:14 (NLT) For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.
  • 1 John 5:12 (BSB) Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
  • 2 Peter 3:14 (ESV) Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.


In the story of Jesus healing 10 lepers, we learn important lessons about God’s mercy and man’s lack of gratitude. Jesus healed 10 lepers — social outcasts from their debilitating disease — yet only one man returned to thank Him. 

Giving Thanks to God

IF WE ARE TO BELIEVE THE BIBLE is God’s holy and truthful Word — and this column holds to the Bible’s inerrancy and infallibility — then we also believe that God created us to glorify Him and that all good gifts come to us from Him. 

 How often do we recognize the Lord’s goodness and thank Him, actually stop a moment and thank Him for the goodness He provides?


I find that throughout the day, I am offering “prayer-lets,” little “thank you” prayers to the Lord for everything from keeping me from driving in front of a speeding car to helping me find my house keys to keeping me more patient and compassionate than my nature would warrant.

As I do so, I think my “guardian angel” must be working diligently to keep me safe and serene, and, yes, for that, I am grateful! 


THAT BRINGS US to our story of the 10 lepers. These were men and women ostracized from “polite society” because of their  disfigurement. 


  • MATT. 6:11 (NET): “Give us today our daily bread.”
  • MARK 8:36 (ESV): “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?”
  • LUKE 17:17 (NKJV): “So Jesus answered and said, ‘Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine?’”
  • JOHN 10:10b (NASB20): “I came so that they would have life, and have it abundantly.”

They lived in colonies on the outskirts of town and were forbidden from visiting their loved ones. 

One day, when Jesus was in town, 10 lepers from the local colony — who knows how many were in the colony, the Bible doesn’t say — but 10 of them approached Jesus, hoping He would heal them.

He told them to show themselves to the temple priests for the ceremonial cleansing of healed lepers — a ceremony that probably never had been held before because the illness was incurable — and they all traipsed off dutifully to see the priests.

As they walked, they were healed. Jesus wanted them to demonstrate faith as a healing mechanism. 

One of them turned back to fall at the Lord’s feet and to thank Him for healing him, and the Bible tells us he was not even Jewish but one of the Samaritans, which made him racially outcast as well as a leprosy outcast.


THE BIBLE TELLS US that Jesus was amazed — two-fold amazed.  Only one of the 10 expressed thanks, and He was a Samaritan, not a Jew!

“Weren’t there 10 lepers healed?” Jesus asked as He turned to His disciples. “How come only one of them came back to say “Thank You,” and He’s a foreigner, to boot?” (paraphrase mine)

Isn’t that embarrassing? If you were standing there with Jesus and had watched this charade, what would you have thought of the nine countrymen who sashayed off to the temple priests for the ritual cleansing ceremony and didn’t bother to give thanks to their benefactor?

Before you answer, how often do you give thanks to the Lord for His goodness in your life? 

Many of us, including self-identified Christians, will dig into a meal without pausing to offer grace, who take their good health for granted, or figure their new job with the hefty salary is a result solely of their own effort.


SO, WHERE DOES that leave us?


The Bible tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5 to be thankful in all situations and to pray constantly. Obviously, to pray constantly, and to be  thankful in all situations, means to “be in the attitude of prayer.” That would be “praying as we go.”

The Bible also tells us in Matthew 7 to “keep on asking, keep on seeking, and keep on knocking” and, in God’s perfect timing, we’ll receive the answers He wants us to have, the goal we’re looking for, and the doors to be opened.

That promise, for me, is worth stopping in my tracks and turning around to the Master and, falling on my knees, saying “Thank You.”


FATHER GOD, we thank You for Your patience with us. Even while we were yet sinners, You sent Your Son to die on the cross for us, to restore us to fellowship with You, yet too often, we take our blessings as our “due,” and not as the gift of grace, which they are. Forgive us, Lord, and sustain us in our walk with Christ. In Jesus’ name. AMEN


Every week in church, at least in those churches committed to New Testament teaching, the pastor will offer a prayer for salvation for anyone wanting to know Jesus Christ as their  personal Lord and Savior. 


Only a small number of congregants, if any, find their way to the front of the church or commit silently to salvation. 

Either everyone else has made that journey or, more likely, many stay rooted to their seats, unwilling to lay down their pride or else falsely assuming they’re good enough to merit salvation on their own. Jesus assures us that decision is eternally disastrous.


  • HEBREWS 4:2 (NKJV): “For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.”
  • 1 CORINTHIANS 6:11 (ESV): “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
  • MATTHEW 11:15 (NASB20): “The one who has ears to hear, let him hear.”


MARK AND SUSAN DRESSED to impress as they dutifully made their way to church that Sunday morning. He wore a smart-looking suit with crisp shirt and tie; she wore a stylish dress that modestly dropped below-the-knee.


When the altar call came at service’s end, they remained in their seats, head bowed and eyes closed, wondering who, if anyone, was foolish enough to participate.

They knew their place in life. He was a rising star at work, at mid-40s a regional vice president, on the fast track to a corporate-wide assignment; she was department chair at the local high school. Their children were “generally” orderly, maintaining good grades, popular, and active in school clubs.

What they weren’t were like the hopeless “losers” who threw their worthless lives onto the altar of forgiveness, seeking mercy for the garbage that littered their path.

No way. They were upstanding citizens. Suburban, well-off. Paid their taxes, kept their lawn neat, enjoyed a comfortable home, and entertained dinner guests.

They knew who they were: Good People Who Lived The American Dream.


SOMEWHERE IN THE DISTANCE the voice of Jesus Christ called to them, saying that “today” was the day of their salvation, that He was knocking on the door of their hearts, wanting an invitation to come in and enjoy life with them.


Somewhere in the distance the voice of Jesus Christ told them that unless they believed that He was, is, and will be the Lord and Messiah, they would die in their sins. 

Somewhere in the distance the voice of Jesus Christ told them that without their confession of faith, when their earthly lives ended, they would be met with a closed door to Heaven and He would tell them to depart from Him. He never knew them.

Those words should not have been in the distance for Mark and Sally. Were they not listening to the pastor as he read from the Bible every week? Were they not reading their Bibles at home during the week?

Maybe they were; maybe they weren’t. Either way, they didn’t think the words applied to them. 

Here’s some of what they may have missed over time:

  • HEBREWS 4:1 (NIV): “Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it.”
  • MATTHEW 7:23 (CSB): “Then I will announce to them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you lawbreakers!’”
  • REVELATION 3:20 (NLT): “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.
  • JOHN 8:24 (NET) “Thus I told you that you will die in your sins. For unless you believe that I am he, you will die in your sins.”


MARK AND SALLY took comfort in knowing they were not alone. They were convinced that most people took their religion the same way they did — in small doses, kept in its place, without intruding on their personal lives. 


“Religion,” as they called it, was their “Sunday thing.” Once church let out, they got busy with their regular lives. Back to home, shuck the tie and stockings, walk the dog, remove the roast from the oven, gather  for a meal, and then spend the day relaxing, getting ready for Monday and the “real world.”

After all, they reason, the Bible is a nice repository of interesting tales and fables, but apart from some of the Psalms, and maybe the Christmas story in Luke 2, not overly relevant to their lives.

Besides, there’s no way a reasonably intelligent, well-educated person in today’s world could actually take the whole of it literally as God’s Word, but just the writings of some long-dead Jewish men who wrote whatever they wanted to write to proclaim whatever point they wanted to make at the time they wrote.


SO, WEEK AFTER WEEK, month after month, and year after year, Mark and Sally dutifully made their way to church, knowing they were pleasing their Moms in old age and making a “good showing” in the community.

Whatever it was that Jesus is saying, regardless of how accurately it may have been recorded, they were sure it had little to say to either of them or to their children. 

So, week after week, month after month, and year after year, they half-listened to the pastor’s altar call, wondering to their eternal peril, how anyone could take this ceremony seriously.

Dear Mark and Sally, here’s what the Lord Jesus says about you, and, yes, He is speaking directly to you:

  • MATTHEW 7:24, 26 (NKJV): “Therefore, whoever hears these words of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock. … But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.”
  • HEBREWS 5:11 (NLT): “There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don’t seem to listen.”








FATHER GOD, WE KNOW the hardest group in church to reach for the Gospel are those “cultural Christians” who don’t take the Bible’s call for rebirth seriously, who assume their goodness will get them into Heaven, who believe whatever Hell exists is for “those people” who, they imagine, are so much worse than they are. 

Lord, that is not what the Bible teaches, and many of our loved ones (family and friends) are lukewarm Christians, possibly unsaved. We pray for a convicting spirit to soften their hearts to bring about a humility that leads them to repentance.

In Jesus’ name we lift this prayer to the throne of Grace, AMEN


The story of Bartimaeus (see Luke 18:35-43) is a simple story of one man’s faith and how God, through the Person of His Son Jesus, acknowledged that faith. Bartimaeus was a blind man who cried out to the Lord to restore his sight.  


Bartimaeus is notable because he saw Jesus as more than just a man or a healer or a miracle worker; by calling him, “Jesus, Son of David,” he was acknowledging Jesus as the Jewish Messiah, whereas the sighted people following Jesus merely called Him “Jesus of Nazareth.”

Jesus Can Work Miracles

SOMETIMES, I FEEL LIKE I just need a miracle. Someone Big, Strong, Powerful, and Important to show up, snap his fingers, and make all of my problems go away. 


  • Luke 18:38 (NKJV): And he cried out, saying, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
  • Luke 18:43 (ESV): “And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him [Jesus], glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.”

Sometimes, I just want a super-hero to swoop in, whether he flies like Superman or Mighty Mouse, or clings to the web like Spider Man, or drives a supercharged sports car like Batman and Robin, to “save the day” for the good guys.


Ever feel like that? I’m sure you do. We all do. It’s normal. It’s part of life here on planet Earth. Despite all of our joys and happy moments, we all feel there is something desperately wrong with our lives and our condition. 

We feel alienated, as if we don’t belong here. 

In reality, we don’t. 

Philippians 3:20 (NIV) tells us “our citizenship is in heaven.” In Hebrews 11, we learn that the Old Testament saints were “looking forward to a city with eternal foundations” (Hebrews 11:10 NLT), while Solomon reminds us that God “set eternity in the hearts of men.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11 BSB)


We may blame Adam and Eve for their disobedience, because our separation from God results from the curse from their disobedience, but truth be told, we have enough disobedience of our own. So, we can blame ourselves.

PASTOR GARY HAMRICK, Cornerstone Chapel, Leesburg, VA

As we know, God in His mercy stepped in and reclaimed us through the life, death, burial, and resurrection of His Son, so believing in Him puts us back together again (unlike Humpty Dumpty, who remains a hopeless creature of brokenness). 

However, in our brokenness, we need to continue to seek God, to repent of our sins, and  to knock on the door of fellowship.

Bartimaeus, the blind man in Luke’s story, shows us how simple faith is all that it takes to restore that broken relationship that our sin, and only our sin, caused.


I’M INDEBTED TO Pastor Gary Hamrick, Cornerstone Chapel, Leesburg, Va., for his insight and exegesis of this Scriptural passage.

We see five lessons or “take-aways” from Bartimaeus:

  1. He believed that Jesus is a miracle-working God
  2. He appealed to the mercy of God
  3. He dismissed the voices of doubt
  4. He exercised faith in God
  5. He gave all the glory to God.

In Luke’s account, Bartimaeus is a blind man who lost his sight, probably from an infection, which was common in that day. Once a hearty man, he was reduced to begging by a busy commercial route.


One day, he heard a loud commotion as a small army of excited passers-by kicked up dust in his face. He called out, asking who was there. Several in the crowd, proudly following Jesus on His way to Jerusalem and the Cross, replied that it was “Jesus of Nazareth.” 

A dismissive appellation, really, as He was more than just a regular bloke.  He also was Almighty God. 

But Bartimaeus, the man who couldn’t see because of his physical blindness, could see “spiritually” more than what Jesus’ followers — we might call them the “church” — saw.

Bartimaeus knew that Jesus was, and is, the Lord.


DO WE LOOK FOR MIRACLES? How many of us truly believe the Creator of the universe would bother Himself with showing us a miracle when (1) He has so much other work to do, and (2) Other people either are more worthy than we are or are in more desperate need? 

Yet, our Lord assured us in His earthly ministry that not even a sparrow falls without the Father’s notice (Matthew 10:29-31) and that we, His image-bearers (Genesis 1:26-27), are infinitely more important to Him than sparrows.

Certainly, this view is the deception the Liar, the Great Deceiver, whispers in our ears that, yes, God can, will, and does perform miracles today … just not for you (John 8:44; 10:10a).

Yet, look again at the plight of Bartimaeus and his faith in Jesus as Lord. A blind beggar sitting along a dusty road, totally dependent on the generosity of stingy, self-centered heathens for is survival, was important enough to Jesus that on His way to the Cross, Jesus stopped the procession, called him over, inquired of his wishes, and granted it immediately.

Why would anyone not believe that same Lord would look upon us with the same measure of compassion, love, forgiveness, and healing.

He Still Can. 

He Still Will. 

He Still Does.


Dear Father God, we need a miracle. We need You to swoop down and heal our souls, heal our hearts, heal our world. 

 We need humility in our lives to bend our wills to Yours, to repent of our sins, and to turn in a new direction, one that imitates the life of our Lord Jesus. 

Forgive us, Lord, for our disobedience, and set a new heart within us, one of flesh and not of stone, one of humility and not of pride. In the name of Jesus we raise this prayer.  AMEN


FOR SOME REASON, our country is embroiled in a debate over an issue that should be firmly settled: the role parents play in overseeing their children’s education. 


 Those on one side of the political spectrum — the conservative side — say parents should have a voice over the educational material. While they don’t insist on determining the curriculum or grade standards, they want oversight over core values, including what passes for acceptable information on sexual behavior and issues related to race and gender identity.

Those on the other side — I’m not even sure why there is an other side, but it’s the liberal side — supports the indoctrination of our youth to comply with liberal politics of the national teachers unions. 


ADD TO THE LEFT’S support of same-sex attraction as a normal “alternative” life style is its sadistic support of children changing their gender, from recognizing the alternate first names they choose corresponding with their new gender to honoring the gender-appropriate pronouns accompanying their new gender identity. 


THE BIBLE TELLS US to teach our children well, tell them  about God and, as mothers and fathers, discipline them in the Lord with love and patience. 

Yet, in today’s world, most of our children are taught (programmed?) by government-run public schools, many of which promote non-biblical values and demonize parents who raise objections. 

How can that be?

That’s before we get to racial relations, where the left divides the classroom into “oppressors” and “oppressed” based on their race; global climate change hysteria; and demonizing our country’s Founding Fathers for having owned slaves, a common practice at the time, before Christians were able to put a stop to it.

While slave ownership is not something to admire, it was common around the globe 200 years ago, and our Founders struggled with the idea.


JUDGING ONE GENERATION’s moral code by the morality of another generation hundreds of years later is a monumental misstep. Not only can the deceased not defend themselves but it leaves their  detractors open to the same scapegoating from generations yet to come.

Would leftists who sanctimoniously condemn slaveholders George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison — giants of an earlier era who brought forth the American Experiment — want the spotlight turned on them?

What moral failings of today could our progeny point to in disgust? Let’s look at a few examples:

  • Abortion Rights — killing innocent lives in the womb;
  • Exorbitant Debt — passing down entitlements costs to future generations;
  • Urban Decay — skyrocketing violent crime;
  • Educational Failure — declining test scores.

To that short list, we can add inflation, porous borders, mask mandates, and cancellation of dissent, plus many more. 

Would today’s leftist crusaders want to stand up to values scrutiny from moral scolds 200 years from now based on THAT record?


  • ISAIAH 54:13 (NKJV): All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children. 
  • PROVERBS 1:8-9 (ESV): Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.
  • MATTHEW 19:14 (NASB20): But Jesus said, “Leave the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

At least our Founding Fathers contributed something useful to hand their successors — a republic!

What contribution will our statue topplers, hero bashers, and sexual perverts leave for THEIR successors?


THOSE OF US who take our Bibles seriously, especially those portions instructing us on how to raise our children (“It was that you should have children who are truly God’s people.” Malachi 2:15 (GNT)), know that God’s values, purposes, and agenda never vary. (“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8 (NKJV)) 


What we’re seeing in the government-run schools, however, is anything but the eternal and universal values of our Creator. 

Instead, they are the shadow values of the Great Imitator, the one  Jesus warned us about: “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy.” (John 10:10a (NLT))

Jesus contrasts that dismal outlook with His own promise: “I have come so that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.” (John 10:10b (NET))


THE LORD CLEARLY WANTS us to tell our children about Him, His goodness, His grace, mercy, and love, and also His righteous judgments, reserved for those who reject Him. 

He says, “We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.” — Psalms 78:4 (ESV)

We are not to leave that chore to the churches and professional Christians but are to handle it ourselves, leading by example and teaching them God’s Word.

Even more important, we need to pray for our children, starting even before they’re conceived in the womb and right through the day we take our last breath on earth. 

God says, “I want Godly children.”



ABBA FATHER GOD, how often do we fail to teach our children of the Lord’s will, of His love and His wrath, of  His mercy and His judgment, of His call on our lives and our duty to obey. As our children grow to adulthood, we lose the role of protective parents with absolute authority to tell them Your truth, but we can continue fervently to pray for their conviction and to lead by example, to the best of our ability, with God’s help. O Lord, have mercy on our children’s souls, and the souls of their children, and so on down the line, that they will not suffer eternally for our failings. Bring them to repentance that our joy may be complete. In the majestic name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, we pray. AMEN 


WHAT KIND OF UNSIDE DOWN, convoluted, world are we  presenting to the our youngest Americans, those pre-teens whose only knowledge of the world around them is one where everyone is masked, boys really are girls and vice versa, and at any moment their supposedly safe schools could be turned into a shooting gallery. 


This is a world where energy costs are soaring as political leftists declare war on fossil fuels, and government leaders, school officials, television personalities, and most adults in their lives encourage youngsters to “snitch” on their parents, siblings, friends, neighbors, and anyone else who they are told are bad people because they don’t get with “the program.”

While the above-named events are difficult even for adults to handle, at least those of us with some life experience are able to compare our current world with a not-too-distant past that was more benign and recognizable.

Our evil world is polluted with hatred, inflamed rhetoric, judgmental commentary, and pure evil intent. As Christians, we are called to a higher standard, but all too often, even those in the church that bears the name of Jesus fall into the world’s insidious trap. We need to pray and dedicate ourselves to setting a better example.

LoveAndGrace Christian Blog

The youngest among us are not so privileged. They have nothing safe, benign, and comfortable to compare this with, to see for themselves that what’s happening all around them isn’t right, isn’t normal, isn’t the way it should be.


 IMAGINE BEING A five-year-old girl and being told you could be a boy if you want to be, or a boy who’s encouraged to think of himself as a potential girl. Maybe you’re a mistake! Maybe you shouldn’t have the body your mind is housed in, but, instead, the body of your opposite sex sibling! 


What if you see nothing wrong with a man dressed up like a tawdry woman reading children’s stories to your classmates at the local library, or hearing your parents grumble and gripe over dinner because of the cost of gasoline, the shortage of baby formula, or the idiots — like their uncle and aunt — whose political views differ from theirs.

Recently, a Christian brother posted a FaceBook meme about voters in a state other than the one in which he lives who selected a political candidate in the primary election — not even the general election but the primary — by calling those voters “stupid.”

Seriously? They’re stupid because you don’t agree with them? And supposedly you’re a church leader, one who sings “Give Me Jesus” on Sunday but rails against his neighbors on Monday?

Is this not madness! 

What is a five-year-old to think?


THE BIBLE WARNS US that in the “latter days,” all sorts of evil and mayhem will flourish. Among the sin examples in one passage, along with murder, lying, and various sexual sins, is dishonoring one’s parents (Rom. 1:29-31).


That one seems so innocuous, like tossing litter into a condemnation of assault with a deadly weapon or sucker punching someone, yet it lies at the very base of our youngests’ world … the lack of respect for authority.

That lack of authority translates over to failing to adhere to teachers’ instructions, or that of police officers, or teachings at church, or advice from older — and wiser — siblings and family members.

Yet, when we look at the instruction they are given, too much of it — way too much of it — is disrespectful of life as God designed it, so the young are disrespecting the authority of those placed over them who, themselves, are disrespecting God’s order.

What a mess.


YES, THERE IS A WAY OUT. It starts with the Bible. Yes, the Bible! It is God’s Word, and He tells us how He designed us and how He expects us to live — how to think, how to speak, and how to act.


  •   Romans 12:21 (NKJV): “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
  • Ephesians 4:29 (NIV): “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

We’re not doing it. Those of us who claim the Lord as our Savior may well do a better job than the rest of the world, but the Bible clearly states we are in the minority, and we’ve still got sinful hearts. 

If Christ’s followers can’t get it right, what hope is there for those who reject Him and His design for our lives?

Who will speak into the lives of our children, to teach them there is a way out of the dark jungle of our current world and into the shining light of God’s new creation?

There are those who labor in the muck, striving gallantly to instill good morals in the young, only to be vilified for their effort. 

In today’s upside down world, they are considered “bigots” and “haters” because they, alone, stand true to God’s eternal and universal Word, not equivocating between good and evil as the moment suits.

The answer, of course, is to rely on Jesus Christ, who, the Bible reminds us, remains sovereign and will enjoy having *the final say* on human history. 


OUR HEAVENLY FATHER, we are ashamed at the mess we’ve made of the perfect world You created and gave to us to run. First, we disobeyed you in the Garden; then, we killed Your prophets and apostles, and even Your Son, Jesus Christ, and still we continue to rebel. Forgive us, please, and help us walk the straight path You have designed for us. Thank You, Lord, for Your mercy. In Jesus’ name. AMEN


HERE’S A CHALLENGE I recently saw: Are you (am I) living our lives in light of eternity, or are we living soley for the present, without regard to the eternal consequences of our current choices?


The challenge appeared in a book I recently reread on marriage, co-written by pastor and author Francis Chan and his wife, Lisa.

While I thought the book would focus on “marriage tips,” the  authors challenged us to focus on Jesus Christ, His perfection, and our failure to be like Him. 

“People accuse me of going overboard in preparing for my first ten million years in eternity. In my opinion, people go overboard in worrying about their last ten years on earth.”


Why? Because, the Chans argue, the health of our marriage is based on the health of our relationship with Jesus Christ. If we are strong in our faith and in our walk with Christ, our marriage will flourish; if our faith is weak, then our walk with Christ will be spotty, and our marriage will suffer.

My takeaway from this scenario is that God created the institution of marriage to be our life’s barometer, much like our personal canary in the coal mine.



  • MATTHEW 10:37 (NKJV): “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me, And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.”
  • PSALMS 111:10 (ESV): “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!”
  • 1 CORINTHIANS 13:1 (NASB20): “If I speak with the tongues of mankind and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”


Marriage is an “early warning system” that tells us daily whether we’re on track with the Lord or whether we’ve fallen off the path.


That point was made succinctly in Gary Thomas’ book, Sacred Marriage, which suggests marriage was created not to make us happy but to make us holy.1

You can read my blog on that, titled “Unity and Peace at Home” here.


 FRANCIS CHAN FURTHER says the health of our marriage depends on our life purpose, on whether we are living for eternity or simply focused on our daily existence. 

It’s all too easy, he says, for us to fill our minds with our list of things-to-do-today so that we ignore the most important aspect of our lives — why God created us in the first place. He says it was not to scurry about like busybodies checking off our daily tasks but to glorify God.

Glorify God! How can we do that, he asks, if we’re overwhelmed by daily burdens?

Chan starts his book with a comment that I want to focus on for my life because it is so startling and so prescient that I wonder how I never thought of it before:

“People accuse me of going overboard in preparing for my first ten million years in eternity. In my opinion, people go overboard in worrying about their last ten years on earth.” —Francis Chan, Lisa Chan, You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity, Claire Love Publishing, San Francisco, 2014, Kindle, p. 5 2


WHAT DOES YOUR daily activity list look like?

Here are two lists that Chan offers. 

The one on the left is what most of us professing Christians will write; the one on the right is what Chan says the Bible tells us our lists should look like:

Two Priority Lists

1. GOD1. GOD
4. WORK4.

Chan says, “Too many are content with the list as it is arranged on the left. But that list doesn’t come from the Bible.” Ibid. P. 20

He says that while professing Christians often say, “God first, family second,” they rarely live out their lives that way. The test, he says, is to ask yourself, “If I lived for family first and God second, what, if anything, would be different?” Ibid. P. 74

The reality, he says, is that very little would change, which proves the point that while we recognize our God should come first in our lives, we rarely live that out.


IN THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, God tells the Israelites, and through them He tells us, not to worship idols, meaning anything that we cherish or value more than we cherish and value the Lord.3


God, our Creator, has given us the gift of life and a promise, if we want it, of eternal life with Him, yet how many of us who call ourselves by His name live with eternity in mind? 

God has given us marriage, which may be our earthly barometer telling us when we’re following the Master’s lead or veering off onto our own path. 

God is calling us back to His path, and if we follow it, He has promised to give us everything we need. It’s an airtight promisefrom the One who never lies.

LoveAndGrace, an Evangelical Christian Blog

Yet what priorities do we show in our actual living? What comes before God? Is it work, or pleasure, or home, or family, or title, or cars, or musical instruments, or computers, or boats, or … any other of our possessions?

I hate to admit it, but I need to: I cannot imagine functioning anymore without my array of electronic gadgets, from computer to tablet to smart phone to smart watch to noise-canceling earbuds to “tags” that I can attach to valuables (like my keys) so I can find them with an audio beep activated by an app on my smart phone.

Where is God in all of this?

Have I left Him behind? Thrown Him into the ditch? Ignored Him? Pushed Him aside?

I hope not.

As I said earlier, “I hate to admit it,” but I need to acknowledge my sin and repent of it, learning that God has given me this lineup of electronic gadgets to assist me in my labor but not to take first place in my heart.


WE NEED TO KEEP in mind not only that God created us for His glory and purpose but that through the sacrificial love of His Son, He has reconciled us to  Himself that where He is, we might live also.


We are not our own but are bought with a price and that price is the life blood of Jesus Christ.5

When we do that, the Chans say, when we really focus on God and His message of love and compassion to us, when we’re living for eternity with God, then we are living “on mission,” according to the will of God, our Creator. 6

When we lose sight of that call on our lives, we stumble in the dark, unsure of our way.

Lisa Chan said it this way: “Those who don’t believe [in Jesus Christ] are going to live self-absorbed, greedy, sensual, indulgent lives. But those who belong to Christ will be on a mission.” Ibid., P. 78

If we want better marriages, we should adhere to the Bible’s teaching, to seek first the things of God and then everything else — including our marriages — will be thrown into the bargain. 7


OUR FATHER GOD, we are so grateful for Your willingness to reconcile us in fellowship with You after we broke it through our disobedience. Now, we honor You through marriage, in which husband and wife share life’s burdens but, more than that, encourage one another to walk “on mission” for the Lord, witnessing to the secular world through word and deed the blessings of Jesus Christ. In His precious and glorious name we pray. AMEN 

  1. Gary Thomas, Sacred Marriage, Zondervan, Grand Rapids,Mich., 2000
  2. Francis Chan, Lisa Chan, You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity, Claire Love Publishing, San Francisco, 2014, Kindle, p. 5
  3. Exo. 20:3-4; 1 John 5:21
  4. 2 Cor. 5:19; John 3:17; John 14:2-3
  5. 1 Cor. 6:19-20
  6. John 10:28; 2 Cor. 4:18
  7. Matt. 6:33; also C.S. Lewis: “Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither.”Mere Christianity. (1952)


This is a recurring scene. I’m sitting in church with my wife,  and we’re praising the living God, thanking Him for redeeming our lives and saving our souls. 

At the end of the sermon, the pastor issues an altar call.


He invites anyone who has been moved to receive the Holy Spirit to come to the altar — or, if they prefer, remain in the seats — and pray some form of “The Sinner’s Prayer.” 

In the prayer, the penitent is led to declare his or her need for forgiveness and to thank God for sending His Son to pay the price of death that our sin requires. Then they are led to declare their repentance from sin and their desire to follow Jesus’ plan for their lives. 

With everyone joining in on “Amen,” the row of penitents is led to another room or the church lobby for a gift — usually a small  Bible and a devotional — and congratulated on having passed from judgment into life.

Jesus calls us to dream big, to take new paths, to make an impact on our world. The caveat is that He wants us to follow Him in that venture, not strike out on our own. Are you following a dream … or just drifting? I feel called to pursue a dream.

In far too many churches, for all we know, that’s it. Good bye. Good luck. See you around.


UNLESS WE’RE DEEPLY INVOLVED in the church’s complete ministry program, we would have no idea what resources are available for the newly initiated. Perhaps it’s extensive at some churches, but many churches seem to let the matter go at that point.


I want to change that dynamic, to come alongside the “newbies” and help them navigate the often bumpy and challenging road ahead.

Eleven years ago, when I surrendered my life to the Lord, I was tasked by Jesus to break free from my addiction to alcohol. That began a three-year fight before I gave in to Him, and He has sustained me since.

I had expected that He would demand that transformation, but what I hadn’t expected, never anticipated, and recoiled in horror at was something more insidious — it’s called “spiritual warfare” — and new Christians are seldom prepared for it.



I was in a home group (some churches call them “life groups” or “small groups), which is a group of believers who meet together regularly, often in someone’s home, other times at another venue, such as a church or restaurant meeting  room.


  • Matt. 4:19 (NKJV): “Then He said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.’”
  • John 15:5 (NET): “I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me — and I in him — bears much fruit, because apart from me, you can accomplish nothing.”

I announced to the group that I was “quitting” my new-found Christian life because I was being attacked by Satan, and I did not know how to react. It felt like my life was falling down an endless black chute. I was scared, but more than that I was angry.

I had signed up for “Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” when, instead, I got caught in the middle of a gun fight between the archangel Michael and the King of Demons. 

No way! I wanted none of that. 


Fortunately, our home group leader recognized the symptoms and explained spiritual warfare to me, even showing me the colorful graphic of a man clothed in Ephesians 6 armor, brandishing his sword (the Bible), and protecting himself with the shield of faith, the breastplate of righteousness, the belt of truth, the helmet of salvation, and the shoes of peaceful readiness.

Yes, I remembered the graphic, but I had no idea at the time how to apply it.

Now, I was in the middle of a demonic attack, and I was ready to bolt.


AS I SIT IN CHURCH week after week, I’m compelled now to do something about the burning inside me to help someone else through the coming battles.

Wanting to be bold yet humble at the same time, I approached one of our  pastors recently to inquire about whether such a ministry exists at our church, and, if so, if I could join it. 

The scenario looks promising. Working with new Christians, as well as struggling Christians, seekers, and even skeptics, is my life’s passion.

Perhaps — just perhaps — this is the Dream my Lord and Savior has been calling me to follow … and now is the time He’s raising the curtain.



ABBA FATHER, OUR LORD AND MASTER, let me kneel humbly before Your Throne of Grace, offering myself as an ambassador for Christ to minister to new Christians, to those struggling with their faith, and even to those who remain distant and skeptical. Lord, You know my strengths and weaknesses, and You can put both of them to work to complete Your plan. As Isaiah said years ago, “Here am I, Lord. Send me!” I raise this petition in the matchless, majestic name of Jesus the Messiah. AMEN.

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