Forever and Ever

To You be the glory, forever and ever,
To You be the glory forever.
What a joy it is to proclaim Your story.
For You have made it my own.
You saved this miserable wreck of a sinner,
You redeemed this long lost life.
You rescued this life from the grips of death.
You rewrote my future story.
To You be the glory, forever and ever,
To You be the glory forever.
Through Jesus my Lord I stand on the Rock,
Through Jesus my Lord I am saved.
You have washed and cleaned my sin-stained clothing,
You have crushed the Deceiver’s head.
You have snatched me from the lion’s mouth.
You have secured my life in Yours.
To You be the glory, forever and ever.
To You be the glory forever.
I will worship Your name through Christ my Lord.
To You be the glory forever.

The Evil Monster

Satan,
you are an evil monster,
deceiving and leading away,
the father of lies,
hiding in the shadows,
a lurking lion waiting to pounce,
a wolf wearing sheep clothing.
To hell with you.
Away.
Your dominion has been conquered by my Lord Jesus Christ.
He has shattered your hold through his resurrection.
And that is no lie for Jesus is the Truth.
You try to sell despair, but Jesus is the giver of Life.
You try to blind hearts, but Jesus gives the Holy Spirit to reside therein.
You try to reign but Jesus is the King of kings and the Lord of lords.
You are nothing.
Defeated,
Crushed,
Condemned.
I will not listen to your whispers – no, I will not listen.
I will not buy what you are selling – throw it on the dung heap.
Silence and to hell with you –
forever.
My Lord Jesus reigns.
He is my Truth.
He is my Hope.
He is my Life.
Silence and away with you.

Never Alone

Have you ever felt discouraged, attacked, beaten down, driven away like chaff or defeated? Have you ever felt like running away, hiding or curling up into a ball to wait out what’s afflicting you? Have you ever felt alone, lost or hopeless? Have you ever wondered if God actually cares? Have you ever wondered if God really knows what is going on or is doing what He said He would do? Well, you are not alone – and in more ways than one. First of all, you are not the only one to feel this way and second, you are never alone. God, your Shepherd, is always watching His sheep – He is always watching over you. Satan may get his punches in, but Satan will never remove and devour the sheep of the Shepherd, our God through Jesus Christ. And so, raise your voice to the Shepherd, but know – you are never alone, and Satan will never win.


Satan is on the prowl,
Looking to devour,
And I feel so defenseless.
He bites and scratches,
Wounds are appearing,
Injuries sustained,
Energy is draining.
And there is nothing I can do to stop him.
Hopelessness is his goal.
Lostness is his desire.
Oh God, come and rescue me.
Smash out his teeth,
Destroy his goals,
Slay the lion,
Leave him defeated.
Oh my Shepherd,
Keep me close to You,
May Your rod and staff comfort me,
Lead me through this dark valley,
May I once again see green pastures and still waters,
As You lead me in Your path of righteousness;
Healing and restoring my soul.
Satan is on the prowl, but YOU, oh God, are my Shepherd.
And thus, I am yours,
In Your house dwelling,
Forever and ever to worship You.
Amen.

The One

You are the Way, the Truth and the Life.
You and only You,
You are holy and true,
You are my hope and salvation.
There are no other gods who can stand,
all have been outdone,
none can prove to be the one.
Many try to dethrone You,
but all fall short,
incomplete
impotent
Ineffective.
Only You is praise wholly due.
But the battle rages on,
my soul is conflicted.
Wolves in sheep’s clothing,
trying to pull off a big con.
I become deceived,
straying from the way.
Listening to the lies,
oh God, my soul is grieved.
Forgive and restore,
remake, for You I adore.
May it be You who I follow,
for there is no other way.
The gods of this world,
are nothing, only hollow.
So dethrone the gods I’ve crowned,
Show me again,
That Jesus, only Jesus,
is the way to truly abound.

I Will Not Live in Fear but in the Fear of the Lord

Living in fear is never the answer unless, of course, we are talking about the “fear of the Lord”. In that case we aren’t really living in fear, per se, but rather in reverence and awe of our amazing God through Jesus Christ. It isn’t a fear that sends us running away. It isn’t a fear that causes us to cower and shake. It isn’t a fear to cause us to look over our shoulders. The fear of the Lord sends us running INTO the mighty arms of our Lord. We worship him. We revere Him. We stand in awe of Him.

Satan would have us do the opposite. So many people are fearful, today, as we process the horrific events in Sutherland Spring, Texas. People are wondering how to protect themselves, now, as we enter and worship in a sanctuary; a place that, by definition, is a place of refuge and safety. Do we need armed guards? Do we install metal detectors? Do we have bag searches at the visitor’s center? Do we lock the church doors after worship starts? Fear, fear, fear.

But I refuse to live in that kind of fear. I refuse to let Satan steer my eyes away from the One we ought to fear; God almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. No, I am not going to bury my head in the sand and pretend everything will be alright; that this will never happen to us, but I am not going to be held captive by Satan; by evil. I am going to enter my sanctuary each and every week with reverence and awe, and worship our awesome God through Jesus Christ. I will be aware of my surroundings but not at the expense of my God. Besides, if I die while worshiping, well, so be it. There are definitely worse ways to go and worse places.

Through Jesus Christ we are THE Church. We are his bride. Jesus died for us. Jesus redeemed us with his very blood. My friends, what is there to fear, then, outside of God almighty? So I am NOT going to live in fear, only in the fear of the Lord.

So with that said, there is only one thing left to do: Tell Satan to take his fear and go to hell.

The (feisty) Pastor -|—

Not Beaten Down

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.
[Psalm 42:11]

Isn’t this something we need to hear each and every day?
Isn’t this something we need to remember?
Isn’t this something we need to lift up our soul?
Isn’t this something we need to encourage us along the way?

I don’t know about you, but I can feel discouraged from time to time. I can get frustrated with what I see around me. I can feel beaten down by the forces of the evil one. I can feel defeated.

But…

…the psalmist reminds us of our hope. Though you may feel discouraged or frustrated or beaten down or defeated, we have a hope to which to cling.  He says, “…for I SHALL again praise him…” Did you see that? Read it again, We SHALL praise him again; for our salvation is a sure and certain thing in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Satan rejoices when we feel discouraged or frustrated or beaten down or defeated, but instead of allowing Satan to rejoice, let us rejoice in our Lord; who has already beaten down Satan through the cross and the empty tomb.

So take courage and praise GOD; our salvation through Jesus; for Satan has nothing on you.

Oh God, when Satan comes at me and beats me down, remind me of your Son, Jesus Christ, who has already beaten down Satan. May I not wallow in defeat but rather in the victory I have through faith. All praise and worship be unto You, oh God, through Christ Jesus my Lord, Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Laughing

We turn our eyes away from God,
and Satan laughs.
We fight among ourselves,
and Satan laughs.
We seek our own agendas,
and Satan laughs.
We put our needs before other’s,
and Satan laughs.
We build earthly kingdoms,
and Satan laughs.
We worry,
and Satan laughs.

We do anything and everything but seek the glory of God,
and Satan laughs.

But…

Let’s look to God,
let’s seek reconciliation,
let’s seek God’s will,
let’s humble ourselves,
let’s seek to advance God’s kingdom,
let’s trust God.

Let’s do anything and everything we can to bring glory to God’s holy name through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Let’s laugh at Satan and tell him to go to hell. Our Lord, Jesus, reigns.

Praise be to God!

The Pastor -|—

To Silence Satan’s Laugh

And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.[John 17:11]

I listened to a sermon recently where the pastor talked about oneness as the Father and the Son are one; using the above text. But something he said really caught my attention. He said that when we, as a church, get caught up in disputes or controversies or anything that takes our eyes off of Christ, Satan laughs.

He laughs.

Why?

Satan laughs because he won as he managed to get the church to take their eyes off of Christ. And ultimately that is what Satan is trying to do with all people. For you see, sin is a turning inward to see yourself as god; trusting oneself over God almighty. And when we look inward, we see only our agenda and our will. And let me tell you, our agenda and our will is not God’s.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. [Isaiah 55:8-9]

And Satan knows this and thus tries get us to focus on ourselves. For if Satan can divert our attention away from Jesus, then the church is not going to be the church as God wants. In scripture, the relationship of Jesus and the Church is like that of a husband and a wife, but only better. But if a wife (the Church) is not focused on her husband (Jesus); or worse yet, looking for another, the marriage is in trouble. And therefore, as the Church, we need to be one with Christ. For it is only by looking to Christ that we see his purpose and will for our lives. And that purpose? Is to be one as the Father and the Son are one. And when we are in one accord with the Father, the Kingdom of God is advanced. We are called to glorify God through the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ whereby letting the Holy Spirit add to “the numbers”.

But that won’t happen if the church is turned in upon itself. The Church MUST be Christ focused. The Church MUST humble itself before the throne of God. The Church MUST lay it’s burdens down and trust God to care for it’s needs. The Church MUST remain focused. The Church MUST be one as the Father and the Son (and the Holy Spirit) are one.

And so my prayer for the Church; the congregations I am leaving and the one I am heading to shortly, is that we are one; one in purpose. May our eyes remain fixed on Jesus, so much so, that we give no occasion for Satan to laugh.

All praise, honor, glory and worship be unto God our Father through Christ Jesus our Lord.

The Pastor -|—

P.S. If you want to listen to the sermon I referenced at the beginning, follow the below link.

Sermon by Pastor Gary Jepsen, May 1

Prepare the Soil

Prepare the soil of my heart,
Lord,
prepare the soil of my heart
as the seed of Your Word is sown.

Satan lurks,
as a bird waiting for the grain truck
in order to snatch away any stray seeds.
Satan lurks,
as a prowling lion waiting for prey
in order to devour an unsuspecting soul.
Satan lurks,
as a thief scoping out a house
in order to rob it of it’s treasure.

Prepare the soil of my heart,
Lord,
prepare the soil of my heart
as the seed of Your Word is sown.

The world entices,
as a forbidden lover
looking to steal away someone’s love.
The world entices,
as a wolf in sheep’s clothing
looking to deceive unto death.
The world entices,
as a desert mirage
only to provide sand to quench a dry mouth.

Prepare the soil of my heart,
Lord,
prepare the soil of my heart
as the seed of Your Word is sown.

For…

Jesus saves,
that’s it.
Jesus saves.

So…

Prepare the soil of my heart,
Lord,
prepare the soil of my heart
as the seed of Your Word is sown.

The Pastor -|—

Symbol Man

Hebrew - Beth

No worries, I am not following in the footsteps of Prince and becoming symbol man or the blogger formerly known as The Pastor. But if I were to become a symbol man or something of the sort, I like this one. Not just for is aesthetic appeal but for what this symbol refers to. So I am keeping this symbol in front of me.

So why the symbol?

The symbol is called a bet, and it is the second letter of the Hebrew alphabet.

O.K., that makes sense but that still leaves more questions.

Hold on, there is more.

Psalm 119 is an acrostic poem. It is broken up into 22 sections of 8 verses (one section for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet). Each verse within a particular section begins with that corresponding Hebrew letter. The section titled, bet, (the above symbol) refers to verses 9-16 which reads as follows:

(9) How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.
(10) With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!
(11) I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
(12) Blessed are you, O LORD; teach me your statutes!
(13) With my lips I declare all the rules of your mouth.
(14) In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches.
(15) I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.
(16) I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.

These verses caught my attention yesterday as I was preparing devotions for our local radio station; particularly verse 9 about how to keep one’s way pure.

You see, (and you really don’t need me to tell you this), our world is filled with so many distractions. Satan is on the prowl, looking for someone to devour. Just yesterday I read about a pastor who got caught up in prostitution and was arrested. He said he had a moment of “great weakness”. I am not judging him but I can’t help but wonder if that weakness was due to taking his eyes off of God; by not guarding his way according to the Word of God.

I am not suggesting that I am tempted to engage in prostitution (and I am definitely not tempted) but there are other temptations that Satan uses to attempt to draw me away from God. We all face these attacks. Some battles we win and many we lose. And in those defeats I look to another symbol; one that points to God’s incredible love and grace:

2012-08-12_07-10-08_314

Forgiven, I live to continue to fight the fight of faith.

How?

By guarding it a according to the Word of God; by loving God’s Law; learning it; meditating on it; memorizing it; reading it. And keeping at it, for when you drift away from reading scripture you quickly forget, because we all have very short term memories when it comes to God’s Law and the Gospel.

Guarding one’s way can not be done through clever tricks or strength of mind or simple human will power. Guarding one’s way is only done through the strength of God through the Holy Spirit. The Word of God.

And so I am going to keep this symbol in front of me as a reminder to fight the fight of faith; guarding my way according to God’s Word. And you too, Christian, fight on, going in the strength of God, guarding your way according to His Word and clinging to God’s awesome grace in Jesus Christ.

Holy God, may I always keep Your Word in front of me; that I may not turn away and go astray. But when I do go astray, retrieve me as a shepherd hunting down a lost sheep and restore me to life. It’s in Jesus name I pray, Amen.

The Pastor (a.k.a. Symbol man)  -|—