Monthly Archives: December 2018

Lord, increase my faith

A prayer at the end of a year

Lord, increase my faith. I live among people who are jaded and cynical because of fake news. It is so tempting to begin to view your promises in the same way. It is so easy to believe your promises are too good to be true. Help me to take you at your word and believe what you say.

Lord, increase my faith. I live in a world that seems to become more evil every day. People become more negative as time passes. It is so easy to wonder if prayer even makes a difference. It is so tempting to forget that you can change hearts and lives. Help me to focus on what you are doing in the world. Help me to pray, believing that you can change hearts.

Lord, increase my faith. I live in a world that is permeated with a scarcity mentality. “There is only so much time, money, and energy available. When it’s gone, it’s gone.” It is so easy to forget that you are able to do abundantly beyond what we ask or think. It is so easy to forget that you are almighty God for whom nothing is impossible. Help me to trust you to provide all that is needed and more besides.

Lord, increase my faith. I live in a world that is punctuated by pragmatism. “Use your brain. Do what works. Take the safe, sure, easy, secure route.” It is so easy to think I can live without faith. It is so tempting to only attempt what I can do in my own power. Help me to step out in faith and take more risks for your glory.

Lord, increase my faith. I live in a world that goes through the motions. “Take it easy. Don’t work too hard. Just do what needs to be done, nothing more.” It is so easy to stop dreaming of “what if?” It is so tempting to stop asking, “what might God want me to do?” It is so easy to merely coast along. Help me to dream. Help me to work hard for your purposes. Cause me to grow.

Lord, increase my faith. The pressures are so great that I am tempted to jump into work and skip reading your word and praying. It is so easy to succumb to the pressure to be productive. Help me to “waste time with God.” Help me to saturate my mind with your word. Help me to submit my plans and schedule to you first. Help me to center my life and day on you.

Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief. Lord, increase my faith.

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Posted by on December 30, 2018 in Personal growth, Prayer


How are you using your life?

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Posted by on December 29, 2018 in Quotes, Tim Challies


Snow ! or ?

The comic strip, Betty, accurately presents our love/hate relationship with snow. We want a white Christmas where we can enjoy the beauty of the falling snow, take romantic walks, and play in the snow. But when it comes to shoveling snow, driving and living in it … not so much.

Perhaps Calvin & Hobbes sums up our feelings about snow the best.

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Posted by on December 28, 2018 in Calvin and Hobbes, Winter


Over the years and across the miles

Happy anniversary to my wife, best friend, and lover. 38 years is too short a time to be married to your best friend. We’ve gone from SoCal to Western MA, with stops in Dallas, TX; Anaheim, CA; Wheaton, IL; Moreno Valley, CA; Redmond, WA; Sammamish, WA; and now Chicopee, MA. We’ve served Christ at churches in Wheaton, Bellevue, Seattle, and Chicopee. We’ve led ministry teams to Toral and Malaga, Spain; Moscow, Tsibanobalka, and Anapa, Russia. We’ve traveled up and down the West Coast, across the States, visited London and New Zealand. We’ve celebrated graduations and weddings, sorrowed at funerals, and encouraged each other with rehab. We’ve experienced, benefited from, and enjoyed the grace of God through the ups and downs of life over the years and across the miles. May God grant us many more years to serve him together!


Posted by on December 27, 2018 in Family & Friends, Personal growth, Photos, Weddings


Christmas devotionals

Jack Gilbert was able to capture two videos from our Christmas Eve service at First Central Bible Church. In one, I am reading the book, The Littlest Magi, to our children. In the other, I am sharing a devotional, “How do you wrap an indescribable gift?” Thanks, Jack.



Celebrate the Son!

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Posted by on December 25, 2018 in Christmas, Isaiah, Scripture


How do you wrap an indescribable gift?

Christmas gifts are part of our celebration of the season. We often wrap packages creatively to add to the festivity. Sometimes, we take the Matryoshka doll approach. We wrap small packages in successively larger boxes. Maybe you wrap a globe to look like a basketball. You camouflage an educational gift to look like a toy.

In 2 Corinthians 9:15, the apostle Paul referred to Jesus as an indescribable gift from God. If you were God, how would you wrap an indescribable gift?

Jesus came wrapped in prophecy. Isaiah 7:14 tells us that Jesus would be born of a virgin. Isaiah 9:6 said that this child would have a significant future. He would come from the family of King David, according to Isaiah 11:1. Micah 5:2 identifies his birthplace, the city of Bethlehem.

God also wrapped Jesus in history. According to Galatians 4:4, Jesus was born at a certain point of history, when everything was ready.

Jesus also came wrapped in mystery. Luke 2:9 explains that Jesus’ birth was accompanied by angelic messengers. Luke 2:14–17 gives more clues about this mystery. This is the incarnation—the glory of God in human form.

Imagine that your parents or spouse or a friend spend all year long looking for the perfect gift for you. They pick out something they know you will love. It is something you will exclaim, “It’s what I always wanted.”

They wrap the gift creatively. It has shiny paper and beautiful bow. It has a tag with your name on it. They place the gift prominently in front of the Christmas tree where you can’t miss it. But rather than open the package and enjoy the gift, you leave it sitting under the tree. You push it to the side. You ignore it.

God has given the best gift of all to you and me. The gift came wrapped in prophecy, history, and mystery. To enjoy the gift, we have to receive it. In John 1:12, we read, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”

God offers each one of us the gift of salvation, the gift of forgiveness. He offers us the gift of becoming part of his family.

This Christmas, let me encourage you to receive his gift. It is as easy as A-B-C.

  • Admit you are a sinner.
  • Believe the message that Christ died for your sins.
  • receive Christ as Savior and Lord.

This is the synopsis of a message shared at the Christmas Eve service on December 24 at First Central Bible Church in Chicopee, MA.