A Thought on David’s Sin

Posted: November 26, 2015 in Uncategorized


A story of lust, adultery and murder.

2 Samuel 11.

Have you read it? Take a moment and do so.

Back yet?

Recently, a pastor friend read this chapter to a group of men, and I listened as he explained the account. How the springtime was a time for war, and King David sent Joab and his servants, but he himself stayed back.

While he stayed back he looked upon Bathsheba and lusted.

Then he committed adultery with her and murdered Uriah.

We all know the account. But here is the interesting thing. David’s sin did not start with lust or murder.

It started when he broke his routine, when he disobeyed God and stayed back.

He was supposed to go to war. That was what Kings did at that time of year, and that is what the Lord expected of him.

He stayed back.

When he should have been leading his army to victory, he let his servants do that…and he saw a woman.

And lusted.

And committed adultery

and murder…

So I looked at my routine. And I notice, or realized, that the times I am most prone to sin is when my routine changes or when I turn my back on what God would have me do.

When I sleep in and miss devotions.

When I call in sick and have the house to myself.

When I don’t lead my family in prayer…

When I skip church…

All these things (and more) typically lead to me engaging in some sort of sin…and yes, these are all small compared to leading an army into battle.

But I guess my question is this, are we being diligent in the things the Lord would have us do? Or are we sending our servants to do our jobs?

This Sunday… are we going to skip Church? Send our spouses and sleep in? Call in sick? Or would we do what the Lord would have us do?

Routine. Discipline. They are good things. The Lord bids us to come and worship. What will be your response?

“In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel. And they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem…When the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she lamented over her husband. And when the mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord.”


I Walked Into Starbucks

Posted: November 24, 2015 in Uncategorized

Highstreet Starbucks in Abbotsford. 

I walked into Starbucks.

No, not because I like to drink the overpriced heathen caffeine juice, (ok, sometimes I do), but because there is one where I work, and I like to chat with the tenants.

As I walked in, the barrista greeted me warmly, offered me a grande Pike Place Roast with room for cream… (it’s what I get if I get anything…) and asked how my day was.

“It is going wonderfully!” I exclaimed, as I accepted the overpriced coffee and headed to the condiment stand to mix in some milk. I chatted with the supervisor on duty for a couple minutes, and sipped from my red cup which, by the way, was lacking in Christmas decorations.



In the corner, I noticed a group of young people, three of them, all sipping from the same red cups as I (which also were lacking snowflakes and bells). In front of them on the table were two laptops, an i-pad, and 3 bibles. That’s right, leather-bound, old-fashioned, paper Bibles. They were discussing something like evangelism or missions, and it sounded like they were trying to come up with ideas for a Christmas outreach program in Abbotsford.

And they weren’t being very quiet about it!

Christmas! They used the word Christmas in Starbucks!

They were talking about Jesus! In Starbucks!

Their Bibles were open! In plain view in Starbucks!

I waited for the managers head to explode…but it didn’t.

And those three young people did not seem to mind that the red cups they were ignorantly drinking from were lacking any sort of Christmas decoration. In fact they were so enthralled in their conversation about sharing the gospel of Jesus with their community this Christmas, that I don’t think they even realized the problem with their cups!

What is going on here?

Christians speaking freely of Jesus in Starbucks without being persecuted, AND they don’t care about Starbucks war on Christmas?

I said goodbye to the staff at Starbucks; they all waved and smiled, I took one more glance over at the table of young Christians and smiled myself.

As I left, I drank the rest of my Pike Place, tossed the joyless red cup in the recycling, and walked back to my office.

It was a good visit.

I may go back tomorrow.

This post first appeared on the  One Christian Dad Facebook Page.

So We Work…

Posted: November 21, 2015 in Uncategorized

download“But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” ~ Timothy 5:8

In the context of this verse, we learn that not providing for the physical needs of our family makes us “worse than an unbeliever” and shows that we have “denied the faith.”

So we work.

Most of us Christian men, especially those of the hardy Dutch Reformed variety, work real hard to provide.

A few years ago, I worked hard to get out of debt and to provide for my family, in fact I worked 2 or 3 jobs, while my wife also worked a job and had a side business. But I neglected my family while I was doing it, even though I was doing it for them…

Here is a thought.

What does it say when we as men fail to provide for the spiritual needs of our family? Well that makes us “worse than an unbeliever” and shows that we have “denied the faith.”

Find the balance.

We must provide for the financial and physical needs of our families, yes, but we mustn’t work so much that we neglect to provide for our families spiritual needs. A man belongs at work, plowing the fields, fixing broken things, making a living, but that is not all…

When he is home, he belongs at the bedside of his children, leading them in devotion and prayer.

He belongs in the Bible, digging for gems of wisdom to give his wife and kids.

He belongs up front on the path leading his family to the cross of Jesus Christ.

He belongs on his knees everyday, alone with God seeking God’s will, interceding in prayer for his wife and children.

Guys, are we providing for family’s needs? Not just physically, but spiritually as well? May it never be said of us that, “he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”



It has been a few days since the Paris Terrorist Attacks and we can breathe again.  It is ok.  Breathe. Between sobs.  In the midst of grief…breathe. In your anger…breathe…

We have had a few days to digest it all.

The whole of the western world it seems, has painted itself blue, white and red. “Je suis Paris,” is the rallying cry of a world against ISIS. French President Hollande has stated that this was an act of war by ISIS, and he has lead the charge in decimating the ISIS regime.

I both cheer and cry.

I cheer because I want to see evil decimated.

I cry, well, I cry because it is just godlessness fighting against godlessness.  As Doug Wilson said, “The massacre in Paris has brought two things, already obvious, into high relief once again. We are observing, in slow motion, a collision between two very diseased cultures. The diseases are quite different but seem, in some respects, to be made for each other. One disease is listless and the other aggressive. One has no organizing principle, no arche, and the other has the wrong organizing principle. One is idolatrous and polytheistic and the other is idolatrous and monotheistic. One believes that no gods should be honored in the public square while the other believes that only one should be, but that is a false one. One used to be Christian, and must become Christian again, while the other must become Christian.” 

As I turn my gaze upon my own country, Canada, the true north strong and free, I don’t know what to think. She too, used to be Christian and must become Christian again. She too, is idolatrous and polytheistic. We have a new selfie-taking leader in Justin Trudeau, who espouses the politicly correct, liberal, tolerant-but-anti-Christian, ideology of the day. He has barely dipped his big toe into the political pond as Prime Minister, and already he has been pushed in. Soaking wet, the eyes of the world are upon him. What will this new Liberal government do? What will be the legacy he will leave on this issue? Will they pull out of the war on terror?  Will they stand with their allies in the fight on terror? And what will that mean for us as a nation?


Then there are the refugees.  Those twenty five thousand displaced souls seeking refuge within our borders…and that brings up our nation’s immigration policy.

I have read so many articles, and listened to so many opinions, and heard so many points of view over so many cups of coffee. I have heard the left.  I have heard the right.  I think I fall somewhere in the middle on this issue, but, then again…I am not even sure, what I think about any of this.

Sometimes  I think we forget that these refugees are not merely a political issue to be debated. They are real people who, for the most part,  have been broken by war, death, pain, and suffering of such a magnitude that most of us cannot even begin to comprehend what it is they are dealing with.

Oh how my heart breaks for them.

Never in modern history have we seen such a massive migration of people seeking to escape the clutches of pure evil and hatred.  I choke up as I see the pictures of destroyed villages and towns, and I weep when I hear the stories of  survivors who lost everything. Yes, I am a bleeding heart, I admit it. I am for saving the weak and displaced.  Then the statistics come out that 2 out every 100 refugees might be a terrorist. And that twinge of fear and doubt creeps in. The fear that is exactly what the terrorists desire for us.  And then I start wondering things like, “Are our government officials capable of adequately screening all these people?  Many of whom have no identification?  Are there going to be enough jobs to go around?  How are these people going to be supported?” When I think about these things, my brain starts thinking emotionally, “We need to close the borders, stop immigration, deny the twenty five thousand Syrian refugees access! There might be 500 terrorists trying to use this as a Trojan horse! They will drain our resources! AAHH!”

The Trojan Horse stands inside the city of Troy in Warner Bros. Pictures' epic action adventure "Troy," starring Brad Pitt, Eric Bana and Orlando Bloom.  PHOTOGRAPHS TO BE USED SOLELY FOR ADVERTISING, PROMOTION, PUBLICITY OR REVIEWS OF THIS SPECIFIC MOTION PICTURE AND TO REMAIN THE PROPERTY OF THE STUDIO. NOT FOR SALE OR REDISTRIBUTION.

But then I remember the words of the Lord, “You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”  And I remember these words spoken, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”

Jesus says to be hospitable, to have compassion, to show love to everyone…  To let the stranger in to your dwelling place to eat with you. But…Where do we draw the line? Obviously I won’t knowingly allow someone intent on murdering my wife and kids into my house. I also have a duty to protect them as much as I am to be hospitable to strangers!  Jesus also told his disciples to arm themselves, to defend themselves in Luke 22.

So what is the answer?

Compassion?  Security?  Both? If it is both, what does that look like? Is our current immigration policy sufficient to weed out the terrorist threats? I don’t know the answer to that.

I have another concern.  I am concerned about how we, as western nations, as communities, as churches, and as individuals, will respond to the fear. Trevin Wax wrote in the Washington Post  that, “Terrorism thrives on fear, and fear—if left unchecked—can spread into the deepest, darkest corners of our hearts and lead to decisions and choices that, in normal times, would be unthinkable.” 

Just yesterday I saw two young Caucasian men taunting an elderly, Indo-Canadian Sikh man. They called him a terrorist and told him to go back to Syria. How sad! How misguided.  Was this just a couple of mean spirited youths engaging in some sort of off-the-cuff and mean-spirited racism?  Or is it sparked by fear? Is it the beginning of those unthinkable choices of which Trevin Wax was speaking?  The fear on which the terrorist regime thrives?  I am concerned that an irrational racism, or perhaps an “islamophobia,” is going to set in.  In the war against terror, I am concerned that in our fear we will see unthinkable hatred intensified against these neighbours of ours.

If it is true that history repeats itself, we do well to look back about 75 years… Let’s go back in time to December 7, 1941.  It was a different time, and a different war, but we can learn from it. On that date, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. A month later, on January 14, 1942, the government of Canada passed an unthinkable order calling for the removal of male Japanese nationals 18 to 45 years of age from a designated protected area of one hundred miles inland from the British Columbia coast. Those displaced souls were removed to internment camps. Three weeks later another order expanded that authority to allow the removal of “all persons of Japanese origin.” In all, some 27,000 people were detained without charge or trial, and their property confiscated. That was just Canada; America did something similar.

Will history repeat? Will those with Middle Eastern heritage, or who appear to look like them, be treated unfairly?

And what about the refugees?  Are they really a Trojan horse? Perhaps.  But most of them are just trying to escape the terror in their homeland. Will they be a drain on our resources?  Perhaps. But I doubt that it will be all that noticeable. Will they integrate?  It depends on whom you speak with.

So what is the answer?

Compassion?  Security? Both?

I don’t have answers.  I only have thoughts and questions and emotions. Just like most of you. What I do know is that this issue is far more complex than either the right or left make it appear.

I also know who is in control and He has given us His Word.

So let’s look there for answers.

You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday. – Psalm 91:5,6

We don’t have to fear terror and we needn’t fear godlessness. We needn’t fear this liberal anti-Christian climate in which we live, nor the extremists who threaten it. We need not fear the slow motion collision of two diseased cultures; two cultures who have no use for us as Christians. Yes, Psalm 91 encompasses it all. Night and day, no matter what happens, as believers we don’t have to be afraid. This verse speaks of Jesus. The “You” is Him, but we are in Him. He has taken all the arrows, the pestilence, the terror. So we need not fear…anything.

Even when we are scared.

Let us pray for all involved.

And remember to breathe.




It is no secret that porn use is rampant in the Church.  Estimates are between 50-70% of Christian men use it daily. The effects of chronic porn use, or porn addiction, on the brain are catastrophic. The effects are detrimental to families, to congregations, and to individuals. It is the new drug of choice and is easily accessible.

One of the saddest  things I have ever heard is this, “It is better for me to use porn than cheat on my wife.” I hear this in one form or another on a fairly consistent basis. And each time I do it breaks my heart. What a deception of the devil!  How is it that he has deceived so many Christian men into thinking that they are not cheating.  Now it may be “better” than visiting a prostitute, but it is not “good,” and in fact is cheating on a spouse.

Frankly, if you are using pornography you are committing adultery.

 over at Covenant Eyes has posted a 5000 word summary of his masters thesis on the topic of pornography as grounds for divorce. Read the full article here. I found it to be a fascinating and scripturally-sound read.  In it he states,

“The pornography industry is the entertainment wing of prostitution, just as the dancing girls of the brothels (the porneia) in the Roman Empire were the sources of entertainment for Roman nobility.

An analogy might bring some clarity to the question. At what point in the following series of scenarios does someone cease to be guilty of porneia?

  • Scenario #1: A man openly, habitually, and unrepentantly frequents prostitutes to have sex with them (clearly porneia).
  • Scenario #2: A man openly, habitually, and unrepentantly visits homes where prostitution is taking place, but instead of having sex with them, he immerses himself in the sex-saturated environment, watching the orgies, so he can masturbate in front of them.
  • Scenario #3: A man openly, habitually, and unrepentantly connects to prostitutes online to watch live-stream videos of them having sex with others while he masturbates.
  • Scenario #4: A man openly, habitually, and unrepentantly watches recorded videos of prostitutes having sex with others while he masturbates.
  • Scenario #5: A man openly, habitually, and unrepentantly watches the same videos as scenario #4, but the women don’t call themselves prostitutes. They call themselves “porn stars.”

Drawing a hard line is no easy task. The change of physical proximity, timing, or labeling of the participants does not change the fact that in each scenario the man is seeking the services of prostituted women to immerse himself in a world of licentiousness.”

Where do you think the line is? Regardless of whether it is grounds for divorce, porn use is definitely a form of adultery.

Now I am not here to heap even more guilt and shame on those who use porn.

If you are just testing the waters of Porn, stop and go back!  Turn to Jesus! If it is just an occasional recreation for you. STOP! Repent. Confess.  And turn to Christ! But if you are one who is trapped, if porn is your unbeatable Goliath, if you are addicted to Porn, there are resources available.  Do not stay silent.  Do not live in guilt and shame.  Do not isolate yourself. Stop telling yourself that you are strong enough to overcome it.  You are not. Only Christ is, so seek him and seek help. Surround yourself with people who will come beside you and encourage and support you, who will disciple you and ask the hard questions.

Guys, it is time to stop justifying porn use by saying it is better than sleeping with someone. It is time to cut it off and pluck it out.

**If you have no idea where to turn, or if you are too ashamed to go to seek help from those you know, message me anonymously here, and I will be more than happy to send you some resources.**


“Did you hear what so and so did?”

How often we talk about our brothers and sisters!

More often than not, we don’t even know the truth of matter, yet we repeat the story. It is so sad. I have heard stories about many of my brothers and sisters that paint them in a bad light. It is disgusting, and frankly, I am ashamed to be a part of the church when I hear it. And that hurts to say. Oh how our Lord’s heart must ache when he sees his children backstabbing each other, flinging mud, and putting each other down. It is truly an insanity that in the church, the body of Christ, we continually hurt each other in this way.

The Bible is very clear that those who persistently and unrepentantly partake in these sins – any sins actually – are not of the body. It is impossible for Christians to live in ongoing, unrepentant sin. But then again, the Bible does say that there will be hypocrites among the believers in the Church…so perhaps it is not so surprising that it happens as often as it does.

Let me put this bluntly.

Icancer-growthf we persistently and unrepentantly do these things, even though we appear to be a part of the body, we are not. In fact, the unrepentant gossiper is like a malignant tumour, feeding off the life giving blood of the body, only to cause harm to that which sustains it. Like a cancerous growth, they must be cut off for the sake of the body. As Paul says about the reviler,

” I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one.”

Those are harsh words. But the point is that we must cut out sin from the body. Now, not all of us who gossip are cancerous tumours. Some of us are a part of the body who carelessly and sinfully get caught up in the moment. Gossip is an easy sin to commit, and if we are honest, we have all done it. But that does not make it any less sinful or offensive.

And when we hear it, so often we just smile, even if we don’t like the gossip. We should confront it and stop it. In Proverbs 17 we learn that,

“An evildoer listens to wicked lips, and a liar gives ear to a mischievous tongue.”

To even entertain the gossiper by listening to it, is in itself an evil.

So we must stand guard.

James tells us,

” the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!”

It does not take much to set a congregation on fire, once the match is dropped…

Imagine if we all prayed for each other instead of talking about each other when we heard these things. My friend J.S. Park wrote in this article about stopping a gossiper in his tracks,

“The sneakiest thing you can do, especially if the gossiper says, “We should pray for them,” is to actually pray for them. On the spot. Or in the very next meeting. Go in a circle, and ask the gossiper to finish it off.”

I would say that is not so much sneaky as it is biblical! When we hear gossip, we should stop and pray! It is wisdom to seek the Lord.

D.A. Carson said,

“All of us would be wiser if we would resolve never to put people down, except on our prayer lists.”

This quote reminds me of a friend who once told me that she and her husband would take their church directory and pray for 4 or 5 people every night before bed. They would start at the “A’s” and work their way through it 4 or 5 people at a time, each evening. They would bring them before the Lord. All the gossip, all the pain, all their needs, and if they had any personal issues with them, they would pray about that as well.

This is beautiful.

This is love.

Love is what the church ought to be doing.

It is a difficult thing to gossip about someone, if you are earnestly praying for them in love.

Love is the cure for the cancer of gossip.

In a sermon on the 9th Commandment, Rev. Wes Bredenhof gives us some practical advice when it comes to practising love in the face of gossip:

Love also needs to compel us when we consider the always-present challenge of gossip – destructive communication about others. Again, whether it’s true or not doesn’t matter. If it’s hurtful talk, it’s gossip. The Word clearly instructs us to put it off – it doesn’t fit with a Christian life, it doesn’t belong in the life of someone who is united to Christ. It’s not a fruit of faith, not a part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. So, what are some practical things that we can do to put gossip to death in our lives? Let me make a few suggestions.
First, we can cut gossips off. When someone is going to tell you a juicy tidbit –“Did you hear what happened with so-and-so…?” – just say, “You know what? I don’t want to hear about that. I’m just not interested.”

Second, there are those who want us to gossip. They pry and probe, perhaps baiting you with leading questions. Refuse to engage them on it. Change the subject, walk away, do whatever you have to do, but don’t take the bait, don’t bite.

Third, as much as it’s in your power refuse to read or watch gossip about others. Many of us go through grocery checkout aisles every week and you can see plenty of gossip there. Don’t buy those magazines, don’t pay attention to them. Don’t watch the gossip shows.

Finally, you can put off gossip by setting a good example for others. Here think especially of your children. So, for instance, if our children hear us on the telephone engaged in destructive communication about others, how are we to expect them to act and behave?

So let’s resolve to cut out the cancerous tumour of gossip with the Surgeon’s knife of Love.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.


Imagine for a moment that one of your loved ones was kidnapped.

Maybe your son or daughter.

Maybe a mother.

Or a father.



Imagine that your beloved was stripped naked, beaten, whipped, humiliated, and tortured for three days. Bruised, cut, bleeding, slowly dying in excruciating and undeserved pain. Finally the killing blow is mercifully administered with a swift slice of a knife across the jugular.

They bleed out.

All is silent.

Imagine now, that one day you arrive home and at your door there is a white box with big bow on it, a gift to you. You open the box to find the knife that killed your beloved. Still stained with the blood. Inside the box you also find a little card describing in gruesome detail, how it was used torture and finally kill your beloved.

Would you try to wash the blood off and put it in the drawer with your other utensils?

Would you take that knife and set it on your table?

Would you use it to prepare your meal?

Would you slice your meat with it at dinner?


Every time you looked it it would repulse you, because it was what killed your beloved.

We are staring at that knife, every time we face temptation. When we sin, we are picking up the knife that killed our Lord Jesus, our beloved, and plunging it further into his side. Every time we indulge in that “pet” sin, we slice a little deeper into the flesh of our beloved. If we have a besetting sin, an addiction, a sin which we continue to return to, one that continues to wage war in our hearts and minds, we do well to remember the death on Cross that Jesus died for our sins.

It was our sin that sent him there.

It was our sin that held him there.

It was our sin that caused him to die.

But he volunteered to die. For us. He took it, he asked for it. So that we could be forgiven and restored. So that he could call us His beloved.

Put the knife down.  Stop playing with the knife that killed your beloved.

You don’t need it.

He already took it.

He already beat it. He won. Look to him, stop looking at the knife.


This post first appeared on the One Christian Dad Facebook page.


Did you know that it is illegal to transport a pregnant lobster? I learned that from this John Macarthur quote I read:

Bags of babies are found by trash compactors (as we all know); yet on the other side of this, a wounded American eagle was found recently in Maryland and rushed to emergency treatment. However, it died and a $5,000 reward was offered for the arrest of whoever injured it. It is illegal to ship a pregnant lobster: it’s a $1,000 fine. In the State of Massachusetts there is an anti-cruelty law that makes it illegal to award a goldfish as a prize. Why? This is what it says, “To protect the tendency to dull humanitarian feelings and to corrupt morals of those who abuse them.” The same people that want to save the goldfish are leading the parade, usually, to kill the babies.  Sermon: Biblical View on Abortion by John Macarthur.

So I had to look it up to see if it was true.

Yep it is.

Here is a statute from the Government of Maine website:

“It is against the law to take, transport, sell or possess any lobster that is bearing eggs (carried under the tail).

Penalty for possessing an egg bearing lobster is $1,000 for each violation and, in addition a fine of $200 for each lobster involved up to and including the first 5, in excess of 5, a fine of $400 for each lobster, or, if the number of lobsters cannot be determined, a fine of not less than $2,500 or more than $10,000.” (Title 12, Section 6438-A, Subsection 2).

It is illegal because the babies in the eggs could die.

Be warned if you plan on lobster fishing.

Earlier this week a woman was exonerated – a fancy word for convictions being overturned and being declared innocent- for killing her 6 day old newborn.

Context time!

She was drunk, pregnant, and driving. She crashed her car, and the baby was born and died 6 days later. She was originally convicted of manslaughter, however she appealed that her child was not a person at the time of the crash and won. She was also acquitted of killing the 2 people in the other vehicle, but that is not important in this lobster tale.



The baby was deemed not a person.

Too bad baby wasn’t deemed a lobster.

Then perhaps there would be some justice.

Oh hey, it gets crazier… did you know it is illegal to perform an abortion on a lobster?:

“It is illegal to remove the eggs from a berried female. The penalty for removing eggs from a female lobster is $1,000 for each violation and, in addition a fine of $300 for each lobster involved, or if the number cannot be determined, a fine of not less than $1,000 or more than $5,000. (Title 12, Section 6438-A, Subsection 2).”

Be warned. If you remove even one egg, it is a $1000 dollar fine. Because it is deemed a lobster right?

But feel free to go get an abortion…because the baby is not deemed a person yet.  Feel free to drink and drive if you are pregnant, right? If your baby dies, its ok, it is not a person. Oh and don’t worry, pregnant Lobsters don’t drink and drive, it’s a good thing too, because it would be a terrible tragedy if all those lobster eggs died in an accident.

May God have mercy on us.


This morning, over at HeadHeartHand, I read a great article by David Murray called Bonfire Repentance.  The article is about idolatry, and how the Heidlelberg Catechism delves into that subject. In the article he mentions as possible idols: blog stats, facebook likes etc. The very things that might cause pride within me as a blogger, and become idols to me.  I often ask myself, “Am I blogging to God’s glory or am I blogging for my own?”  

I can say that I usually am blogging for Gods glory, one of my rules is to sit on articles and pray about it prior to posting, and I usually have someone read them over, especially the controversial topics. But sometimes the answer is not what it should be, sometimes I like the “likes,” and sometimes the shares do mean more than they ought too.

The ironic thing is that this morning, while reading this post by Murray, I received a notification that my own blog stats were booming. So naturally, I stopped reading the article and followed the referrals back to see why there was so much traffic. It wasn’t long before I realized that David Murray himself had linked to the “Abused Christian Women” article on his Daily Check Out blog post, and the Aquila Report had reblogged it, and both were sending lots traffic this way.




I am ever so grateful that the topic of Abuse in the Church is receiving the attention it deserves, but the traffic, and the response within me, really made think.  When I saw the booming stats – I have rarely had an hour this busy before – I felt pride well up inside me, while I was reading an article about idolatry.

So I went back and finished reading the post that David Murray had written.

At the end of the article he links to some questions about digital media and idolatry, which are good for all of us to consider:

1. Does technology serve me or am I its slave? Do I use it to serve God or is the Devil using it to enslave me?

2. Am I seeking significance and self-worth in the number of Twitter followers, blog subscribers, and Facebook friends I have?

3. Am I addicted to information?

4. Are my digital communications serving as a substitute for face-to-face relationships, or even spiritual communication with God?

5. Am I open and honest in my accountability?

6. Am I afraid of anyone picking up my phone and looking through it?

7. Is my online persona real or partly an act?

8. Are my best and most valued relationships online or face-to-face?

9. Is my local church community more important to me than any online community I’m part of?

10. When I wake up, do I read my Bible and pray before any electronic communication? (54% reach for phone within minutes of waking. 74% check phone before spiritual disciplines.)

11. Am I taking regular digital sabbaths? (tech-free periods of time each day and one screen-free day each week)

12. How long a period of time can I go without connecting with the digital world? Am I seeking to extend and stretch such periods?

13. Am I promoting myself or my Lord?

14. Am I daily seeking and depending upon the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit to help me use digital technology for God’s glory?

15. Do you try to fill every spare moment and every quiet moment with media.

16. Would Jesus look at your phone use or social media profile and say, “Well done, good and faithful servant”?

17. Do you get anxious when separated from your phone?

18. Do you have any boundaries as to place or time?

19. How many times do you check your phone each day? (teens check at least 100 times a day, sometimes 200).

20. Do you rush to buy the latest technology?

How would you answer these?

I will be taking some time to examine myself.  It has been over year since I took a 2 week break, it might be time again. I will keep you posted!

imagesAbuse is not something we like to talk about. It doesn’t make us feel good.  It is something that sometimes we would rather just pretend does not happen. But sometimes we need to look at the ugliness of it, in order to do something about it.

October 19-23, 2015 is Domestic Violence Awareness Week.

So we should look at it.

It is a huge topic, covering many things, but for the purpose of this article, I will focus on domestic abuse in the Church, particularly that perpetrated by men against their wives.

In the setting of the Church, allegations of abuse can sadly be dismissed as an overly sensitive wife, or as coming from a wife who simply refuses to submit to her husband’s headship. Or perhaps we think that the wife must have done something to set him off. Or maybe we do care, but we just give thoughtless pat answers, and we prescribe Ephesians 5 and say, “You should submit…” If you dispense such advice to the abused, be careful, you may be well meaning, but you may also be aiding an abuser in destroying her.

Some, including men I admire like John Piper, would argue that the abused Christian wife should endure the abuse for a time as per Matthew 5:39. It is true that as Christians we are called to endure suffering for Christ’s sake. But on this point, I believe that John Piper is wrong.

Let me ask this question? Who determines how long the victim should endure? You? Me? John Piper? The local Church?

Let me ask, is 5 years long enough?

10 years?


Consider how long most couples are together before abuse is revealed…at what point would you say that her season of enduring is of a sufficient length? Do you want the victim to begin a new season of enduring after the abuse is revealed?

I should hope not.

Shepherd boy carrying a lamb and herding the sheep. AFP PHOTO / CARL DE SOUZA CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images

To those given charge over the sheep, the pastors and elders – I am not an elder.  I cannot claim to know the pressures you face when dealing with these situations.  I know you are striving to be biblical and do all things to the glory of God and out of love for the Church, but please, please, please, never demand that an abused spouse return to an abusive situation before you will counsel them. And please don’t ask if the abused Christian wife has followed Matthew 18. That is just foolishness. The shepherd’s job is to protect the weak sheep, not to send them back to be devoured by the wolf. As I have written elsewhere, Matthew 18 does not always apply. It certainly no longer applies in an abuse situation, for the simple fact that an abuser is not a Christian, even if he is a member of the church. Consider the words of John,

No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother. ~ 1 John 3:6-10

That is pretty clear.  Abusers live in a consistent pattern of unrepentant sin, therefore are not Christian.  Edit:**To clarify, this is not to be confused with a true Christian who struggles with repetitive sin.  This passage is not saying that we require sinless perfection in this life, but that the true Christian hates his sin and flees to God for forgiveness and grace, where as the abuser does not.** Feel free to look up these texts as well:

Psalm 1:1-6
Psalm 32:1-5
Psalm 50:16-22
Jeremiah 31:31-34
Ezekiel 36:24-27
John 3:1-5
John 13:34-35
Romans 8:3-9
Romans 8:13-14
Galatians 5:16-17
1 Thessalonians 4:9
1 John (all of it)

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My heart breaks when abused Christian wives tell their stories of being advised by well meaning Christians “to turn the other cheek.” I am sure the one dispensing advice like this is only trying to help, but the problem arises out of an erroneous interpretation of Matthew 5:39. One I am sure a lot of people, including myself, have made.

I was thankfully corrected by my pastor on this point.  Thank you pastor! (October is also Pastor Appreciation Month…so be appreciative and pray for your pastors!)

I digress…

When Jesus says “turn the other cheek”, it may sound like he is saying, “be a pacifist.” He is not. Jesus is not saying that we ought to simply lie down and take abuse and violence and do nothing about it.

So what is he saying?

Striking a person on the right cheek suggests a right handed person striking with a backhand slap across the face. Jesus’ disciples would have understood that this was a Jewish form of insult, not a physical assault as such.

Jesus is not saying that we shouldn’t defend ourselves or try to get away. In fact, in John 10:39 we read of Jesus escaping from the violent crowd. If Jesus was telling his disciples to not defend themselves against violence, he would not have later told his disciples to arm themselves in Luke 22. When Jesus says, “Turn the other cheek,” he is not speaking of someone punching you in the face.

He is not saying that we should remain in a dangerous situation.

He is not saying if someone abuses you, that you should stay there and let it happen over and over and over.

What Jesus is saying is that we are not to trade insult for insult, he is saying keep your mouth shut when people speak ill of you.

He is saying don’t responded to attacks on your character.

He is saying don’t waste your time defending yourself against evil, slander, lies, gossip, malice.

Do not trade evil for evil! Rather return good for evil.

To the victims of violence and abuse – please be aware, that in no sense does our Lord ever require you to subject yourself to physical danger or abuse of any kind.

Get out.

Protect yourself.


And to the Church. My brothers and sisters – we are the Body of Christ.

We should not only be aware of the problem of domestic violence, we should also care so deeply about those members of the Body who have been, or who are being harmed by an abuser, that we actually feel their pain, and will do everything in our power to help them…but so often we just say, “but that’s none of my business”, or worse, we side with the abuser.

Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 12, that we are all members of one Body and if one member hurts, we all hurt. The church should be a welcoming place of help and healing for the victims of abuse, not a place of hiding these evil atrocities and of coddling the abusers while the wounded sheep scatter across the pastures. We should stand up for and defend those who are abused, not tell them to suffer at the hand of the wolf for a day longer.

Granted, each case is different, and each case should be approached with much prayer, and treated with extreme care, and if the abuse is physical or sexual, by law, police must be involved. If you are a victim of a prolonged pattern of domestic abuse, you need to get out for your own safety and the safety of any children involved. The sixth commandment certainly mandates that you are allowed protect yourself from harm. Sure, leaving an abusive spouse creates the appearance of an unbiblical marriage relationship, as married couples ought to live together. But the responsibility for this distortion of the marriage relationship falls completely on the abuser, not the victim who leaves. 

While the victim should get out to protect themselves from harm, I should clarify one thing. It is extremely rare, but an abuser can repent, and this is only the work of the Holy Spirit. To say that an abuser cannot change is to deny the grace of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am not saying to forgive and forget and just move right back in when the abuser says, “sorry” but has not shown evidence of genuine fruit of repentance. Most, if not all, abusers will fake repentance.  

They will put on a show.

But if the abuser truly repents, that is, if the abuser confesses all sins, names them and calls them his own without deflecting any blame or minimizing his actions by blaming his victim or others, and if the abuser turns from the sin to Christ, and seeks professional psychiatric help (often perpetrators of domestic violence have personality or mental disorders),seeks real spiritual accountability, makes real amends, shows by his life over a significant period of time (many years) that he is a new creature regenerated by the Holy Spirit, and as such displays genuine fruit of repentance,  then reconciliation may be possible.

Until then, stay away.

Now, we should also not be naive… this world is a broken, sinful, messy place full of hurt and pain and irritating, itchy, confusing grey areas.

Abuse may scar the victim for life, and that abuse may cause a permanent rupture in the marriage relationship. The victim may forgive a repentant abuser, but some hurts may never go away. Who are we to judge a woman who cannot go back to the marriage bed with the man who tortured and tormented her for years?

But this is not about what happens after surviving the abuse, it is about what happens now.

Right now.

Right now, in the midst of abuse.

Right now, when your prayers are drying up, and you tears are drying up, and you are a broken shell of the person you once were. When love is just a nice concept that seems so far away from the truth of your reality… it is not your fault, and you do not deserve it, no matter what he tells you. You need to get help and get out to protect yourself and kids. But don’t go it alone…surround yourself with those who will help you and protect you – hopefully that includes your Church Body.

Let me be very clear about this, it is not a sin to protect yourself and your children from harm. Even harm which comes from your husband’s hand.

Don’t worry about the gossips or what people will think.

Don’t worry about those who say that a woman should submit to her husband in all things, including abuse…they are sadly misguided.

Don’t worry about the abuser playing the victim in your leaving and accusing you – of course he will do that, his father is the devil.

Protect yourself and your kids.

Remember that ultimately God is your refuge.