A New Covenant

But God found fault with the people and said: “The days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord.Hebrews 8:8-9

As I read about this New Covenant I wonder: Why did we need one? How does it work?

God once made a covenant with His chosen people. These were the descendants of Noah, and the children of Abraham. He promised to bless them and save them; and to save the world through them. They, in exchange were bound to his law, essentially the Ten Commandments. Law that focused primarily on loving God and each other, putting God above all while striving for purity and relying on ritual sacrifice to receive God’s atonement for sin.

As I read through the book of Kings and 2Kings, it reinforces the tremendous disappointment God experienced in the almost constant rebellion of his people. Though God appeared at crucial times, rescuing His chosen people, offering many signs and wonders, still they turned away — worshiping other gods, sacrificing their children, and leaning on their own understanding.

The New Covenant came despite God’s disappointment, perhaps even because of it. It came as an expression of His constant love for people. This is not His plan “B” but the final reconciliation, through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Considering our tendency to rebel, it’s remarkable God extends salvation to us. When we receive God’s grace, in an instant our sins are washed away and we are made righteous by faith! No longer under the power of the law, we are set free in Christ and given freedom to pursue a relationship with the one true God. A holy God who declares our innocence, though we are guilty. A self-sacrificing God, who takes our place on the cross and dies for our sins so we don’t have to.

The New Covenant is based on an act of love that restores the fullness of God’s intended relationship with us — His created beings. Once set free from sin, we are able to pursue holiness in the power of God’s Holy Spirit and a life in the presence of a living God who offers everything we cannot attain on our own. In this way we are blessed with peace, freedom, power and joy in the truth and security of an eternal, dynamic relationship with the very creator of the universe! This is the New Covenant. Thank you God!

Reading: 1 Chronicles 1–2; Hebrews 8; Amos 2; Psalm 145

A Letter to Hate

The other morning I found myself watching the news about the Orlando massacre and crying. As I looked over at my wife Heather, there were tears streaming down her face as well. How is it that there is so much senseless violence in our country, in our world? Where does such hatred come from? My only answer was it is born of selfishness, confusion and pain. Perhaps some form of mental illness triggered by indifference that flourishes in self pity and self righteous.

When I think about history, I know that in other times and other places there have been terrible genocides and atrocities of massive proportions. Perhaps these are just as senseless, even on a grander scale. Sometimes the history of the world seems mostly about people taking each other’s stuff and killing. Certainly not the utopia of the garden where man once “walked” in harmony with God.

We live in a modern society with abundant freedoms to pursue our dreams and raise our children in relative tranquility. In contrast, violence of any kind is quite disturbing, and perhaps, without a strong anchor of truth, contagious. This all makes me wonder, where does such evil come from?

Does selfishness and indifference reside in the heart of man? My personal experience tells me it does, and so does the Bible. In our own power we will always fall short of God’s greater glory. The tendency to justify our desires, and our achievements; sometimes with great pride, always puts the focus on us instead of on others; instead of on God. Is it possible that even the smallest acts of self interest ripple beyond our understanding into great evil?

Todays Reading Link: Duetoronomy 31, Psalm 119:97-120. Isaiah 58, Matherw 6

The verse below from last Sunday’s reading offered me hope and understanding. It also encouraged me to write a letter to the problem, HATRED.

Not to us, Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness. -Psalm 115:1

Dear Hatred,

Why do you torment the helpless, the weak and the unprepared? Why do you spill the blood of grief upon those who suffer for your treachery? Are you a coward? Is your life driven by fear or confusion? Did you not see the sunrise or the sunset, and the dome of the heavens or the magnificence of nature that hath ceaselessly proclaimed the glory of the living God? Have you been passed over by love, unable to feel God’s love in the lives of those who have chosen to turn from their selfish desires? Have you not heard the good news: God’s grace is sufficient for all mankind! God’s love endures forever!

Yes, even you Hatred are loved are offered freedom from your malice and self loathing, through the redemption of the blood of Jesus. God proclaims your salvation as His hand reaches deep, into the depths of your despair, to pull you into the light of His amazing grace and love. Look away from your self. Look up. What would your life be if you knew the truth of God’s amazing love?

Hatred, I cry for you in your confusion, and for those who must wrestle in the pain that you deliver in the evil of your delusion. But you need to know this; love cannot be overcome! You cannot extinguish the light of hope, for it will only grow stronger, as the wounded and the left behind search for answers to your senseless violence.

In the light of the glory of God.

With all my Love,


Love Songs

Picture Date: 12/23/2015

Today’s Reading: Numbers 10; Psalms 46–47; Song of Solomon 8; Hebrews 8 

May 3, 2016

What is true love?  As we finish up the Songs of Solomon I reflect on my own love, wedding, and marriage. God has an expectation for our love and marriages. I’d like to also share a story of a wonderful marriage between a couple, and a husband who was committed through it all. The other story is of the commitment and promise made by Christ to love us.

For at least a year my Uncle Fred would literally carry my Aunt Betty. Tireless arms that carried my aunt everywhere she wanted or needed to go. This physically took off about 50 lbs of his already small frame, but it did’t matter. Nothing else does. When she wasn’t able to walk from the couch to the bed, or if she needed to go to the bathroom, or when she needed a shower, it was all done together and by him.  My Aunt Betty Baker went to be with the Lord December 25, 2015. We love you and miss you and look forward to seeing you again in paradise.  My Aunt was one of the most fun, loving people you would meet. She has two sons (Shawn & Chris), her husband (Fred), and siblings (Donna & Carl) who would do anything for her if asked. They learned this from my aunt, who modeled this and gave everything to others. She put everyone before herself. My Aunt Betty & Uncle Fred’s stories remind me of Jesus when he told us to put others first. Philippians 2:3. Ultimately Jesus gave his life for ours.

The lifetime of my Aunt’s diabetes was bad and about a year before her passing she was given the option to go through dialysis daily.  She decided not to do this and had faith that God was in control of her life. Psalm 46 allowed my Aunt Betty to let Him be her strength. In our moments where hope could be lost she would “Be still” and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10).  Faith is not the assurance that everything will be OK; it’s the assurance that He is in control.  We can often forget this.

Song of Solomon 8:6-7 says: (6) Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the Lord. (7) Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. If a man offered for love all the wealth of his house, he would be utterly despised.

Love is stronger than death; it doesn’t fold in time, or collapse by disaster, and it cannot be bought for any price. Love is priceless and will never die.  It is a gift from God.

The book of the Song of Solomon reminds me of this gift of Love to us and his guidelines he has established for us to live by in our marriages.  He is part of our marriages and in the love between my Aunt Betty & Uncle Fred in their marriage. Song of Solomon reminds me of the love God has for his people. My Uncle Fred would model characteristics of Ephesians 5:25-33 .  (Walking in love and putting others before yourself. JOY = Jesus Others Yourself) My Uncle Fred retired early to meet all her needs.  Jesus does the same for us.  All we have to do is call Him. Psalm 55:16

1 Corinthians 13 shares with us The Way of Love message It’s one of my favorites because it defines real love and how it is available to all people.

My Aunt Betty and I had many conversations in that last year about her faith and her comfort of what was ahead. I cried each time, but also had tears of joy knowing her eternal life and faith. Though physically fragile, she would overwhelm anyone with her huge heart and love for others. Song of Solomon tells of love, commitment, problems, and beauty. Through all things God loves us and has a place waiting for everyone who believes.  A husband and wife can honor God when they love and enjoy each other. I saw this in them and in my own marriage. I pray all our marriages exemplify what God’s love means. His love endures all things and will never end. God will take all our choices, mistakes, and failures and turn them into something good.

As you reflect on your marriage or others, think of your relationship with Christ. God’s love is freely there for us to take hold of. He is ready to start a new relationship with you that will be eternal. This year our marriage has been created new because of our relationship with Christ in our marriage. Those who walk daily with Him have heavenly resources available all the time.  As we grow closer to Him, we’ll grow closer to each other. When you walk in the light, you’ll grow in fellowship with each other.

Dear Father,

I pray for the strength, love, and guidance for all that have lost loved ones.  That we keep our faith in God and help us find joy in all we do. If you haven’t had faith in God I pray You’re love touches our heart and you understand He loves us and cares. Jeremiah 31:3 tells us about His everlasting love he has for us.  Thanks for the priceless gift of love and grace you share with us.  Lord we need you to continue to pour out your love to us.  Thank you for giving us ways to show this love.


Leadership and Love

Today’s reading: Exodus 34; John 13; Proverbs 10; Ephesians 3

March 23rd, 2016


Whenever the topic of leadership comes up I like to pass on a simple truth I was taught. I call them the two things. They are simple to understand. Simple to remember. Simple to see why these two things are it. Still they are not so simple to enact without fail. They take sacrifice at the most fundamental level. Self. They take us out of ourselves. Away from us. Away from this world. They leave us with less self and more others. A good friend of mine taught me what leaders do. Leaders do two things:

  1. Leaders lead by example
  2. Leaders serve those they lead

Search your experiences and you will hopefully find a leader in your life who does these two things well. One thing to mention here is that anyone can lead. Power is not needed to lead. Authority is not needed to lead. Though power and authority will accrete to those who follow these two things. Do you want to be a leader? Are you doing these two things?

Leadership and Love

Love, the Fulfillment of the Law

Here I just want to share a collection of verses that point to the importance of love and close with a few verses I encourage everyone to memorize. They are verses you have likely heard several times, but please do not let that cause you to pass over this encouragement without prayerfully considering memorizing them. Once memorized you can meditate on them throughout the day and call them to service as the ultimate checklist against what Jesus has called you to do in any situation. Running late in the check out line; run through the list. In the throes of a tough conversation; run through the list. Frustrated, worried, concerned, angry, scared, upset… go through the list, one by one and make sure you align with God’s word. 

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. – Ecclesiastes 12:13

If ye love me, keep my commandments. – John 14:15

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. – John 13:34–35

Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. Romans – 13:10

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

– 1 Corinthians 13:4–7

God would you give us understanding that we may keep your law and obey it with all our hearts? Would you turn our hearts toward Your statutes and not toward selfish gain? Would You turn our eyes away from worthless things and preserve our lives according to Your word? Thank you. Amen.