Tag Archive: 1 Peter 1


The Christmas season is an excellent time of year to examine our hearts. Too often, even for the born again believer, there is a drifting and stagnation that occurs within our souls. Maybe joy to the world has been replaced with an attempt to find “joy” from the world. For others, the trials of this sinful planet have shaken the earth beneath their feet, causing a loss of God’s true peace.

The path on this side of eternity is neither smooth nor comfortable. For many, it is filled with more valleys than peeks and over time those valleys may eclipse the light of Christ. The weary soul may be tempted to turn inward instead of upward for its consolation. Complacency and self-preservation may set in in an effort to keep from traversing more of this world’s rugged paths.

Sadly, while attempting to keep from engaging in difficulties, we are actually robbing our Lord from the very work He seeks to do. (1 Peter 1:6-9) It’s the flesh that longs for this present darkness. It longs for worldly pleasure and comfort and often, if not filled daily with God’s Word, we heed the beckoning cries of the old man instead of the clarion call of our precious Savior. And over time the ways of God can be ever so slowly replaced with the things of this temporal sphere.

“Ho! Ho! Ho!” isn’t simply a cute call from a mystical figure clothed in scarlet. It’s really more of a reminder that the world is beckoning, pressing in, ever desirous to “bless” mankind with the temporal trinkets that can only offer, at best, distraction and momentary satisfaction.

Instead of “Ho! Ho! Ho!”, let us consider true faith, hope, and love.

FAITH– The Lord often reminds the born again believer to be sanctified by His Word, to daily take up our cross, denying ourselves, and following Jesus. (John 17:17, Matthew 16:24) He teaches us to carefully examine ourselves (2 Corinthians 13:5) and to diligently keep in step with the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:25). Only then can the mettle of our faith be tested and trusted. The house on the rock stands firm! True faith becomes substantive as we reject the often not so subtle attempts of the world to entice our focus away from Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. The Lord reminds us in Hebrews 12, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” Hebrews 12:1-2.

HOPEWherever faith resides is where hope is derived. Biblical hope is not wishing upon a star, hoping that we can somehow manipulate the Creator of the universe to give us what we want. True hope is rooted and ground in the absolute assurance of God’s faithfulness and the reliability and sufficiency of His Word. As the hymn goes, “Our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” God’s Word is true from the beginning and forever settled in Heaven. The world’s promises and treasures have nothing on this. We will be constantly distracted, disappointed, and disgusted if we seek to place our hope in mankind and this world’s ungodly economy of life. And it seems that most recognize it, yet many are simply unwilling to acknowledge the truth.

True hope is a continual theme throughout God’s Word.

“[The Lord] delights not in the strength of the horse: He takes not pleasure in the legs of a man. The LORD takes pleasure in them that fear Him, in those that hope in His mercy” Psalm 147:10-11.

“Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost” Romans 15:13.

“For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.” Galatians 5:5

Not only does God fill us with steadfast hope (assurance), He, Himself, is our hope. “Wherein God, willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability [permanence] of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath: that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which enters into that within the veil; where the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus…” Hebrews 6:17-20. Jesus doesn’t merely provide eternal hope. He is our eternal hope!

LOVE– It’s easy to let our love grow cold. Even the Ephesians were indicted by Jesus for this and it’s no small matter. It really is the heart of everything. The world constantly barrages us, all with one simple goal, to draw our hearts away from Jesus and His Word. The enemy is smart. He knows he doesn’t have to turn away all our love in one fail swoop. A little pull here and a slight tug there will do. He knows that’s all it takes. Over time even a small compromise has the potential to compound and left unchecked, we’ll eventually find ourselves 180 degrees from eternity. That’s why the Ephesians were commanded to repent and return quickly to their first love. (Revelation 2:1-5). True love is the key! That’s why Jesus said the entire law and prophets hang on two laws- Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and love your neighbor as you already love yourself. (Deuteronomy 6:5, Mark 12:30)

Contrary to the world, the Christian’s love is neither self-induced nor self-centered. It flows from the God who first loved us; the God who is love! While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us! Amazing love, how can it be that You, my King, would die for me!

All that the world offers, the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life might be alluring, especially during a season filled to overflowing with nostalgia and commercialism, yet it cannot begin to hold a flame to the brilliance and splendor of our King!

Whether our hearts have grown cold through trials, persecutions, or the pleasures of this world, let us repent from heeding this world’s beckoning to preserve the flesh and all its ornaments. Instead, let us make way for the real King. May we fill our hearts and minds with the true faith, steadfast hope, and everlasting love of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. Only then will we be able to joyfully join in the angel chorus, praising God and giving Him all the glory. While we’re on this sullied soil, we can know assuredly that true and eternal peace only comes though Jesus Christ, the true light of the world!

Merry CHRISTmas!

“And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and [the shepherds] were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord… And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” Luke 2:9-14.

“Wherein you greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, you are in heaviness through manifold temptations: that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, you love; in whom, though now you see Him not, yet believing, you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls” 1 Peter 1:6-9.

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Entertainment-ChristianityWhen considering wolves in sheep’s clothing, we might envision some slick-haired salesman lugging his box of snake oil from house to house. Yet too often nothing could be further from the truth.  There are many warnings from Scripture admonishing the saints to pay careful attention as we traverse through this planet’s deadly terrain. We are instructed not to believe every spirit, but to test the spirits (Jeremiah 29:9; Matthew 7:15; 1 Thessalonians 5:21; 1 John 4:1) indicating that the enemy of our souls is very good at keeping up appearances.  Sometimes it’s not only difficult to detect a false teaching or teacher, but often it’s even more difficult to come to grips with the notion that an inspiring, talented, enthusiastic young adult might actually be used as a mouthpiece of Satan.

Granted, we should use godly wisdom in discerning whether a person leading others in the enemy’s lies is simply misguided or really out to deceive and destroy. The times in which we live are most definitely filled with muddied waters. God’s Word clearly indicates there are a growing number that are not only deceiving, but also being deceived. (2 Timothy 3:13)  There are those who actually believe they are doing God’s business (John 16:2) when, in fact, it is the god of this world they are serving. This brief article will not deal too much with the latter, but instead will hopefully serve as a warning and an encouragement in examining one very defined avenue of lies presented by one specific person.

Let it also be said that in today’s lukewarm Christian climate, there is a powerful embrace and strong misunderstanding regarding the “live and let live” philosophy pervading every facet of our earthly existence. Instead of being the new and improved super highway it’s cracked up to be, this broad road of tolerance is in actuality paved with the blood of the saints.  Over the years, many have given their lives for the Gospel’s sake and yet today, there are whole segments of professing Christianity unwilling to take a stand on the exclusivity of eternal life found in Jesus Christ. They are however all too ready and willing to embrace a vast array of wickedness and deceptive darkness in order to display their friendship with the world; all in the name of tolerance (and enlightenment).

Jesus, however, had a much different proclamation regarding the fellowship of darkness and light.  His prayer to the Father was that we would be in the world, but not of it. John 17:15. We’re also reminded that “friendship with the world is enmity (hatred) toward God.” James 4:4. How can there be true fellowship between light and darkness? Yes, we should be friendly, but never friends with this world and it’s dark philosophies and practices. How can light embrace the darkness and still call itself light?

It was stated above that it’s sometimes most difficult to come to grips with the fact that certain personalities might actually be leading others in a false direction.  Any good salesman knows that one of his most powerful tools is his own personality.  Not to say there’s anything necessarily wrong with working on having a pleasant personality, but we all know there are certain dispositions in which people tend to gravitate.  Someone peddling falsehood with an unlikable attitude might be easily dismissed, even exposed.  But someone who comes across genuine, someone energetic and interesting to listen to, perhaps even musically or artistically talented might be much more difficult to detect and even harder to speak out against.

Society has always been a lover and worshipper of man’s wisdom, strength, and wealth. Unfortunately, much of today’s Christianity is not much different.  We prop up certain actors, pastors, and speakers on billboards, Christian magazine covers, TV segments, and in bookstores. They are looked up to as our heroes and heroines, giving them the seats of honor within our hearts and minds, forgetting it is God alone that deserves all the glory, honor, and praise.  Some of these people are given full and free access to the pulpit, allowing the sheep to be fleeced and fed worldly manna over and over, causing them to grow anemic and impotent against this world and its destructive methods. Instead of reminding the sheep of the hope we have in Heaven, too often these false teachings encourage listeners to grow their roots deep into this planet, letting go of their heavenly hopes. Of course this is not true of all those on the “stage” today, but one thing is for sure, Christians are not immune from the power of personalities.

As saints, we are set apart for the service of our King, not those who set themselves up as earthly authorities.  Sadly, too many churches have started much in part because of one person’s magnetic personality.  As believers, we are not to sit idly by in our labor of love unto the Lord, nor are we to sit in silence, quietly giving approval to falsehood proclaimed to the masses.  Are we not called by God to expose the works of darkness?  Ephesians 5:11. Are we not called to reprove, correct, and exhort with all longsuffering?  2 Timothy 4:2  This world is daily peddling its false doctrines to the church and we too often just politely smile. Over time the church has become an unwitting participant in receiving and assisting in the circulation of their snake oil.  May we diligently ask the Lord to remove our dull hearing and blind eyes and instead give us careful, discerning hearts and minds to detect those things that are sometimes difficult to see and hear.  May we ask the Lord to give us a love for the truth, a love for Jesus Christ!  May we desire to earnestly feast on His Word, spiritually fasting from this world!

The world lines up to have its flesh entertained, loving pleasure more that God, and sadly God’s people too often love to have it so.  Church meetings have not remained a time for the saints to gather and proclaim the glory of God, but rather a place we go once a week to be entertained.  We might as well sell soda and popcorn at the doorways.  We go to our movie theaters and concerts on Friday nights and then expect the same show on Sunday mornings.

Above were mentioned some of the positions lifted up in today’s Christian world, but one was intentionally omitted. It is arguably one of the most powerful positions in the Christian world today.  It is the title of “Worship Leader”. This person, perhaps even more than the pastor, has the power to “prime” and direct the audience week after week.  This article is not meant to address the many facets of worship, however suffice it to say that music is an extremely powerful tool, one that can easily access the soul, often bypassing logic and reason.  Perhaps more than any other medium, music is the vehicle most often chosen to drive an audience in a particular direction.  If you disagree, try watching any cinematic masterpiece with the sound off.  You cannot go to just about any retail restaurant or popular clothing store without being bombarded with music.  And not only is it a powerful main character in the world of entertainment and marketing, but it’s also a tremendous tool in promoting false doctrine and seductive spiritual counterfeits around the world.

Some musicians propped up and circulated by today’s “Christian” platforms and pulpits are at best novices in the faith, puffed up through the adoration and accolades of men, while others are truly false teachers masquerading as angels of light.  Sadly, due to their talent and strong stage presence countless thousands within the body of Christ have found themselves distracted and directed by the darkness derived from the spirit of this world.  What is perhaps most troubling is the readiness by which so many musicians and worship leaders are received and promoted regardless of their lifestyles, doctrines, and associations.  Mature pastors and elders within the body should know better, however too often they are the ones promoting and even hosting concerts and conferences that help sow the seeds of this world’s teachings of tolerance, fleshly faith, and false unity.

It’s bad enough to be peddling snake oil, selling some worthless, yet benign elixir to the masses.  How much worse to be packaging and promoting a product that not only doesn’t work, but in all actuality is poisonous to all who partake?  The remainder of this article will examine one such peddler, yet it is not the intent here to examine his motives but rather the facts at hand.  As with any persuasive and positive personality, it will perhaps become easy for readers to misunderstand the intent behind the remainder of the article.  There is no desire to malign on a personal level nor is there any desire to disparage this musician’s character or perceived intent; however there is clearly a destructive message being sold to the masses, often to the most vulnerable, the youth within the visible church at large.  The person in question is musician and evangelist, Matt Maher.

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Matt has been propped up and promoted around the world as a Christian singer and songwriter and is currently touring cross country with the several well known groups in “The Rock and Worship Road Tour”.  Matt hasmattmaher both written songs for himself, as well as for several within the Christian community.  Perhaps one of his most recognizable songs is “Your Grace is Enough” which was released a few years ago and quickly accepted within Christians circles around the world.

Matt has written songs for well-recognized Christian musicians such as Matt Redman, Chris Tomlin (i.e. I Will Rise), Philips, Craig, and Dean, and Bethany Dillon. Regardless of their mixed doctrinal beliefs, especially concerning eschatology (end times); all of these artists are some of the most instrumental in producing today’s worship music. They are embraced by churches around the world.  Needless to say, they have many avenues already paved, readily accessing the hearts and minds of listeners across the globe.  How easy it is for a false teaching or teacher to hop aboard, sharing lies that will lead listeners astray?

Although Matt Mahar is a talented musician with a warm and humble persona, although he is warmly embraced and promote by the well known performers such as Chris Tomlin and Third Day’s Mac Powell, he is far from a follower of the true Jesus Christ.  But please don’t take this writer’s opinion for it.  Here are just a few facts from recent years.

First consider Matt’s own words. He admittedly considers himself much more than just a talented worship leader. He sees himself as a music missionary. He was recently quoted to say, “It’s funny but more and more I see myself as an apologist and as an evangelist.  Songs are my tool.” From the same article, Matt was quoted to say, “I would love for them to not be thinking about me but to be thinking about God.  My hope is that they would have an encounter with God.  I hope it isn’t about the person writing and singing the song.  My hope is that the music would just whisk them away to a holy place.  That is my heart more than anything.” (Full interview link below)

On the surface that might sound biblical, but is he really referring to the Christian God? It is important to examine what else He has said and done.  Matt has not only given interviews for magazines and websites, but he’s also done many performances for a variety of venues. He has played and spoken at many Roman Catholic events including such prestigious gatherings as the World Youth Day.  Readers may or may not know that Matt has never claimed to be a Bible believing, born again Christian. He is Roman Catholic, through and through.

He does not try to, in any way, shape, or form, hide his love for the Roman Catholic church and its many false doctrines.  In one of his popular Roman Catholic songs entitled “The End and The Beginning”, he wrote, “If everything that the Roman Catholic Church taught were true what difference would it make in our lives? We believe that in every single Mass, through the power of the Holy Spirit, that the bread and the wine are transformed into the Flesh and the Blood of Jesus. Transubstantiation – Heaven kisses earth. We become a living tabernacle. So wisdom, be attentive. Steady my shaken mind. Let this be my reality. More than just bread and wine…”  This alone should be enough to convince anyone that Matt is at best a professing Christian. In reality, he is a devoted practicing Roman Catholic.

Even though this article is not meant to focus on the false gospel of Rome, it is important to at least point out the glaring difference between the true Gospel of Jesus and the false gospel of Rome. According to Rome’s official doctrines, anyone who believes he is saved by grace alone through faith alone is accursed, that is damned to hell.  (Council of Trent, Canon 12- “If any one shall say that justifying faith is nothing else than confidence in the divine mercy pardoning sins for Christ’s sake, or that it is that confidence alone by which we are justified . . . let him be accursed.”) In order for someone to enter Rome’s heaven, he must not, as the Bible teaches, simply place his faith in the full, free, and finished work of Jesus. (Romans 3:20-28). Instead he is taught that sin is removed little by little, week after week through a series of rituals such as partaking of the Eucharist, reciting rote prayers, etc. Below are several You Tube links of Matt Mahar and his connections to Roman Catholicism, along with a couple other links as well.

Sadly, Matt has been warmly embraced by all variety of well-known Christian artists such as Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, Mac Powell, and Philips, Craig, and Dean. Currently Matt is touring with several artists in “The Rock and Worship Road Show”, singing, speaking, and ministering to literally hundreds of thousands across the country. Some of the other artists on the tour include David Crowder, Jamie Grace, and Mercy Me. (Incidentally, the “Road Show” will be performing in Phoenix on March 22nd.)  Matt also recently made a guest appearance for Third Day’s concert at the Beacon Theater in New York City on March 3rd.

There are those in the Christian music world, such as Dan Haseltine from Jars of Clay, that don’t want to be held accountable for doctrinal errors they share, believing musicians should not be looked up to as teachers. This is dangerous enough. How much worse when an unbeliever dressed in wooly clothes sincerely sees himself as an evangelist and his music simply as his tool?  The question must be lovingly asked, of what does Matt considers himself an evangelist?  He clearly understands and supports Roman Catholicism. He clearly believes in the unbiblical idea that Eucharist has the power to cleanse partakers of their sins.  He most definitely embraces and encourages the practice of Rome’s false gospel to millions of youth and adults alike.  He has made no effort to hide any of this and yet, thanks to assistance of the Christian music world, his message and evangelistic crusade now have full access to the hearts and minds of tens of thousands within the true body of Christ.  How tragic!  Which is worse, the person openly promoting his false gospel or those claiming to know the true Gospel who hand him the keys to the front door?

So what are we to do? As far as I can see, there are three choices.  First, we could embrace Roman Catholicism and all of its false religious teachings, supporting it and saying nothing to all those who are being led astray.  Or we could choose to agree that Rome’s gospel is false, but still support the songs of artists such as Matt Mahar because they at least sound “Christian”.  The challenges in this article to identify the dangers of personality probably most apply to those who lean toward this second option.  Too often those who privately understand the falsehood of Rome’s gospel, will still support and even promote artists such as Matt Mahar because their music sounds so “Christian” and they seem so religious and sincere.

May we never forget when Rome speaks of God’s grace it has a completely unbiblical definition for it.  When Matt sings “Your grace is enough”, the Roman Catholic will inject his own traditional definition for grace, not the biblical one.  Rome teaches grace, but in order to enjoy and apply God’s grace, one MUST go to the Roman Catholic church time after time, partaking of its rituals and religious traditions such as the Eucharist.  Unfortunately, we too often make the mistake of assuming others have the same definitions as us. It is always important we listen carefully to what people are actually saying in order to discern truth from error, weighing everything against God’s Word.

Our third choice is one that many may find most difficult.  In Ephesians 5, Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit reminds us, “For you were sometimes darkness, but now are you light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.  And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” Ephesians 5:8-11.  Not only are we instructed not to participate in those activities that promote false doctrines, we are also to lovingly, yet truthfully expose them.  This is the avenue that will often cause the most controversy. Darkness does not enjoy the light, nor do lies embrace the complete truth.  Of course, it goes without says that we are to always speak the truth in love, with the Lord’s peace and joy in our hearts, knowing it is His Word, not ours, that effectually works in the hearts and minds of broken and contrite men.

May this article both serve to instruct and encourage true saints to continue fighting the good fight of faith, never growing weary in doing well.  Remember, it is the Lord who goes before and behind. May we never lose sight of Him, having the sole intention of pointing everyone to Jesus Christ, and Him alone.  That might mean exposing and correcting from time to time. That might mean naming names once and a while. It might mean not going along with the popular Christian crowd, but in the end what could be greater than knowing we have chosen to make Jesus our one and only treasure now and forever?

“Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; but have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God…For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” 2 Corinthians 4:1-7 

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fades not away, reserved in Heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein you greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, you are in heaviness through manifold temptations: that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, you love; in whom, though now you see Him not, yet believing, you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:3-9

Matt Mahar Interview Article:  http://www.religionnews.com/2013/05/17/catholic-rocker-matt-maher-finds-cross-over-appeal-among-evangelicals/

More on Roman Catholicism: http://www.once-lost.com/ggapologetics/catholicism

More on Worship: https://unityinthetruth.com/2010/10/03/as-we-worship/

You Tube Videos: Matt Mahar, Roman Catholicism, and the New Evangelicalism

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9eX5BeXkNZU LI http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3rjEmPxcLI http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ky0g_9dyhbU https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIgGHA27nG4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYR_sZRv_c4

A Palette of Pageantry

Church EventWhy do we get so excited about the outward business and activity of the visible church yet often have so little thought or joy concerning the Lord’s eternal work within the inner man?

In the unseen heart and mind the Lord continues transforming and renewing the broken and weak into His victorious and sanctified saints. He mysteriously and gloriously plants His Eternal Word into all who are willing, breathes His breath within, and by His power, the Seed grows and grows, producing eternal fruit to both nourish that very person and those hungry and weary travelers he meets along the way.

Much of this amazing work takes place in the unseen realm, only becoming visible over periods of time. This is the godly life made known in and through true believers! This is what Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, called the mystery of godliness, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27

This is truly the marvelous work of the invisible God, yet instead of joyfully walking by faith, we too often choose to walk by sight; becoming enamored with the outward accouterments and pomp now calling itself the (post)modern church.

Sadly, many have traded the desire to marvel and rejoice over the inward work of the Holy Spirit for a palette filled with the pleasantries of outward pageantry. Instead, let us return to the old paths. Let us truly taste and see that the Lord is good! (Jeremiah 6:16; Psalm 34:8)Bible Light Bulb Image

“Seeing you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that you love one another with a pure heart fervently: being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which lives and abides forever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower thereof falls away: but the word of the Lord endures forever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” 1 Peter 1:22-25

Faith Becomes Sight!

Flynn and CherrieMy beautiful bride of almost 18 years went to be with Jesus last night (March 21st), entering into the joy of the Lord.  She served Him faithfully for 20 plus years. Regardless of cancer’s intrusion three and a half years ago, she simply continued running the race set before her with joy in her heart and Jesus as her sole and grand prize!

Cherrie honestly hungered and thirsted for righteousness, searching the Scriptures daily, desiring to know her Lord and Savior more and more.  One word that has always come to mind to describe her walk is integrity.  She understood the absolute necessity of a sincerely Christ-centered and upright life. She knew the very real need for God’s Word in the believer’s life and the Gospel to every nonbeliever she came across. When she was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in July of 2010, the doctors would not tell us how long she had left.  Later we discovered that many with cancer that far advanced really don’t have more than several months.  Praise God we learned quickly that God is not a God of statistics.

Through chemo, radiation, and the prayers of the saints, the Lord allowed the cancer to shrink small enough for surgery in May of 2011.  Three weeks later we had our 15 year vow renewal, moved to a new house, and Cherrie got busy again, going back to work part time from home.  Everyone we knew surrounded us with so much encouragement and love. It was truly humbling! After getting through surgery, Cherrie told us she was surprised to overhear the nurses talking outside her curtained room about her whole lung being removed.  She was only supposed to have her left lower lobe taken out, but the surgeon found a small amount of cancer in the upper lung and chose to remove the entire thing.  She said she laid there with this new revelation, contemplating life with only one lung. Self pity began creeping in, but as she explained it, only for a moment.  The Lord opened her ears to those around her.  She could hear a man moaning in agony, a baby crying in pain, and families sobbing near by.  It was at that moment that God reminded her that there were many people hurting as much or worse. It was then that the Comforter began to produce in her a new desire, a ministry of comfort to those affected by the ravages of cancer.

When her son, Jake and I first talked with her after surgery, she smiled and told us she wanted to start a cancer group at church, focusing on Christ.  God is so amazing! The next two years were filled with Cherrie serving as the leader of Calvary Cares Cancer Support along with keeping up her blog, Comfort in Christ.  We were blessed to minister to many during that time, but God was not through yet.  Last summer Cherrie decided she wanted to make her blog into a devotional book so we embarked on yet another journey in the Lord.  We picked 50 of her posts and with the help of two friends and the support and prayers of many, her e book, Comfort in Christ Cancer Devotional  was finally sent in for publishing on January 31, 2013.  She was so excited to see the book go live in January! In January, Cherrie experienced a set back that landed her in the hospital for a week.  It was at this point with much prayer that we sought the Lord’s face, desiring to do His will.

With a new granddaughter in the midst and much desire to continue serving the Lord, she decided to stop chemo and simply continue resting in the Lord, running the race until He called her home. She always told me, “I never want to chase cancer’s tail.”  I can say, although at times cancer caused her to go places and do things outside of her control, she never allowed it to own her.  She simply used it as another tool in witnessing to the lost and encouraging the saints.  In the extra three and a half years she was given, praise God she did not go the route of Hezekiah (2 Chronicles 32:25), but instead the way of Job, praising and testifying of the greatness of God in the midst of adversity.  She was blessed in that time to see her son get married, have a beautiful granddaughter, begin a Christ-centered cancer support group, write an encouraging blog, put together an e book, and be a godly witness to countless thousands.  Although we never asked for this valley, we both said we wouldn’t have traded it for a moment.  How ironic that for years, Cherrie sought the Lord, asking Him to open the door for her to have a focused ministry to pour her life into.  The answer came in the form of adversity, providing a mission field we would’ve never ever thought of on our own.  In the midst of experiencing the effects of the curse in a very deep way, God took that curse and turned it upside down to bless others.  How awesome is our God!

Last Saturday, we laid in bed and Cherrie for the first time told me she was ready to go home to be with Jesus.  She leaned on my shoulder and told me she just wanted to rest in what the Lord had done with joy in her heart.  She was ready.  She had fought the good fight and run the race, coming out victorious, not because of anything good in her, not because of her own strength, but because of the ultimate Victor- Jesus Christ who lives and abides forever!  She simply yielded to His will as a vessel to His glory and honor.  Cherrie was not perfect and she would have been the first to remind people of that.  She would probably “kill” me for writing so much about her.  She wanted to focus to be on Christ.  Her life was simply one that yielded to the Savior.  Jesus gets all the glory and I know she’s face to face with Him now singing His praises.

Even in the last week, although she really could not leave the house, our prayer was to be like the Apostle Paul.  Even though he was under house arrest by the Roman authorities, he shared the Word with all who would come to see him as well as the guards he was chained to.  We prayed the Lord would give us opportunity to share the truth with the hospice nurses and aids coming to our home.  Sure enough God honored our prayer.  We had the privilege of testifying of God’s goodness and He opened up an opportunity for me to talk a bit in depth with one particular male nurse, leaving him with Gospel tract and Lord willing, much to consider. Mid Monday, Cherrie was admitted to Peppi’s House here in Tucson, where she had excellent care and still we were able to share Jesus with all those who came.  Thursday night, a good friend came to visit us and God opened an amazing opportunity for us to share with Brenda, a 71 year old volunteer.  We talked for a half hour and she was so interested in hearing about Jesus.  Jesus’ life in Cherrie was again being proclaimed as I shared some of her testimony to Brenda.  It was a great night with many seeds planted and watered yet again. PicsArt_1395520014824Cherrie ran the race all the way to the end!

Last night (Friday, March 21) her son was able to come down again to be with her.  Jake and I sat with Cherrie praying and reading Scripture and literally upon finishing with 1 Peter 1:3-9 and with “It Is Well With My Soul” playing in the background on my phone, she breathed her last temporal breath. The timing could not have been more amazing and blessed!  She entered the joy of the Lord peacefully and pain free. God so undeservedly blessed me with an amazing woman who taught me many things throughout our 20 years of knowing one another, however the most important lesson I ever gleaned from her was that fear of the Lord is truly our strength and joy!

God is good!  Below is a collection of Scriptures and other writings that the Lord has impressed upon my heart over the last several days.  I hope they bless and comfort you! In Christ’s truth and love, ~Flynn

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“Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.  For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds by Christ. And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. And our hope of you is steadfast, knowing, that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so shall you be also of the consolation [encouragement, refreshing].” 2 Corinthians 1:2-7

Poem by C. T. Studd Only One Life, ’Twill Soon Be Past “Two little lines I heard one day, Traveling along life’s busy way; Bringing conviction to my heart, And from my mind would not depart; Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last. Only one life, yes only one, Soon will its fleeting hours be done; Then, in ‘that day’ my Lord to meet, And stand before His Judgement seat; Only one life,’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last. Only one life, the still small voice, Gently pleads for a better choice Bidding me selfish aims to leave, And to God’s holy will to cleave; Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last. Only one life, a few brief years, Each with its burdens, hopes, and fears; Each with its clays I must fulfill, living for self or in His will; Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last. When this bright world would tempt me sore, When Satan would a victory score; When self would seek to have its way, Then help me Lord with joy to say; Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last. Give me Father, a purpose deep, In joy or sorrow Thy word to keep; Faithful and true what e’er the strife, Pleasing Thee in my daily life; Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last. Oh let my love with fervor burn, And from the world now let me turn; Living for Thee, and Thee alone, Bringing Thee pleasure on Thy throne; Only one life, “twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last. Only one life, yes only one, Now let me say,”Thy will be done”; And when at last I’ll hear the call, I know I’ll say “twas worth it all”; Only one life,’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last. ” — extra stanza — Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last. And when I am dying, how happy I’ll be, If the lamp of my life has been burned out for Thee.” ~C. T. Studd

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“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fades not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:3-9

“Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.  Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins. The voice of him that cries in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: the grass withers, the flower fades: because the spirit of the Lord blows upon it: surely the people is grass. The grass withers, the flower fades: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.” Isaiah 40:1-8

“I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:1-8

“Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man comes. For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.  But he that had received one went and dug in the earth, and hid his lord’s money. After a long time the lord of those servants comes, and reckons with them. And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliver unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” Matthew 25:13-21

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaks. By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: for he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city. By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment. By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible. Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Hebrews 11:1-10, 13-16, 23-27, 12:1-2

“I love the Lord, because He has heard my voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon Him as long as I live. The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell got hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow. Then called I upon the name of the Lord; O Lord, I beseech Thee, deliver my soul. Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful. The Lord preserves the simple: I was brought low, and He helped me. Return unto Thy rest, O my soul; for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee. For Thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.  I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints. O Lord, truly I am Thy servant; I am Thy servant, and the son of Thine handmaid: Thou hast loosed my bonds. I will offer to Thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord.” Psalm 116:1-9, 15-17

“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

“According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:20-21

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