Matthew Henry on the soul

Genesis 2:7 Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.
“The soul was not made of the earth, as the body: pity then that it should cleave to the earth, and mind earthly things. To God we must shortly give an account, how we have employed these souls; and if it be found that we have lost them, though it were to gain the world, we are undone for ever! Fools despise their own souls, by caring for their bodies before their souls.” Matthew Henry


On heaven…

Take heart today weary Christian…

1 Corinthians 2: 9 However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” — the things God has prepared for those who love him—
If you are afraid that heaven is going to be boring or unpleasant, consider this: heaven comes from the mind of the same Creator who gave us Yosemite National Park, the Grand Canyon, and Niagara Falls. Just think of all the amazing, beautiful, thrilling places God has created around the world for humanity to enjoy. If there is so much beauty and wonder in a world that is fallen and broken by sin, imagine what heaven will be like! Imagine eternity without sin and suffering! The most awe-inspiring waterfall will seem as impressive as a lawn sprinkler next to the wonders God has prepared for us in heaven.

Words are inadequate to describe heaven. The mind is inadequate to imagine eternity with Jesus. If Jesus is your Lord and Savior, all of eternity and infinity will be yours to explore. And the new heaven and the new earth will resound with the praises of His people.”
-Michael Youssef, “End Times and the Secret of the Mahdi”

With an eye on you

There is a difference in one who gives advice and one who guides. One points you in a direction, and one walks that direction with you. If a problem or road block occurs, the first is not there to modify, change, clarify or expound their instruction. The latter can give you real-time coaching. In some cases we don’t mind the advisor who just points the way. Other times are so crucial, painful and/or scary, you desire an onside coach.
God has promised to be such a guide.
Psalm 32:8 “I will instruct you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.”
God hasn’t created us and left us to ourselves as is the idea of some. No, He says He counsels with His eye upon us. So we can rest assured whatever calamity may enter our day, like the GPS in your car that chimes “recalculating” , God continues to guide you home – with perfect accuracy.
Burning within me,

I have a life goal

I have a life goal. Don’t get me wrong. I have taken to reminding my children that there is one ultimate aim for our lives and that is to please God. I am not my own. I have been bought with a price, a very high price for “a worm such as I”. However, I have a specific reason for remaining here on this corrupt earth. Actually, there are two of them: my sons. As the song states, “I cannot feel at home in this world anymore.” This world is full of evil and sin, and those things make living here a battle, a high stakes battle. Like Paul, I say to live is Christ and to die is gain. However, like he stated, it was better for those to whom he wrote for him to stay, and it was better for him to depart. I agree. I long to be where righteousness dwells. That being said, I know my sons NEED Christ, and I trust no one else has the burden to lift them before the throne of grace day by day that I do. So when I read the following from Psalms I am burdened to pray for them, to pray for those I know who are lost, to pray for our nation and souls around the world.

Psalms 78:8 And not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation that did not prepare its heart and whose spirit was not faithful to God.

This is a fine an example that the word of God is timeless because this could be written of us today. We are such a generation. I passionately desire that my children would prepare their hearts; I cry out to God that they would be faithful to Him. Verses before this one tell me how to encourage that.

Psalms 78:5-7 For He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers that they should teach them to their children, that the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, that they may arise and tell them to their children, that they should put the confidence in God and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments,

We must teach our children the commandments of God and rehearse often to them the great things our God has done. Do you remind yourself of His faithful deeds? If I am to share them with my children I must do this myself. Are we concerned enough to pass the laws of God down to the children yet to come? The burden to establish my children in truth is great. The assault of Satan and the world around us to keep them in darkness is fierce. I am reminding us all today, when we reach our last breath very few things will matter: those things center on Christ. Do you have a life goal that grounds your choices each day? I am reminding you and me, time stops for no one. We have lost this generation. Our generation is lost. What will WE do? Will we prepare our hearts and have spirits faithful to God?

Burning within me,


Will you or they succumb?

“We simply cannot not worship something, but rather irresistibly pursue what gives us a perceived sense of meaning, identity, love or comfort… For all our technology and sophistication, left alone we are simply powerless to rise above our inborn paganism.” Jeff Kinley, “Wake the Bride”

There it is in its simplicity: we are sinful creatures. Left to ourselves we are pagan, against the God who created us. The battle to overcome this inborn fault is fierce, and the loss of the battle damns us. Here is a thought even more sobering to me, the loss of the battle in my children damns them. The fight is so intense; there are no pauses or breaks. It’s ongoing, hour after hour, day after day, for every year of a soul’s life on this corrupt earth. We must diligently arm ourselves and our children.

Here is the law:

“You shall have no other gods before Me”, immediately followed by “You shall not make for yourself an idol… You shall not worship them or serve them.” Exodus 20:3-5

But in a given day how many things vie for your allegiance? There is the cry for Americans to stand and save this divided, deluded country. There are calls to support your local school and the children served there. Numerous pleas come daily for donations and volunteer service to a number of organizations fighting illness whether physical, social or psychological. We find ourselves giving our all to a worthy cause. This is if we are emotionally convinced to be magnanimous. Oft times we are focused on whatever gives us our own personal high whether physical workouts or entertainment. As Kinley says later in the same chapter of his writing, “Wake the Bride”: “Sin makes people stupid.” Hang on you say, I am not stupid. WE are if we neglect to see the danger of worshiping anything other than the God who created us. I fear that is true for most of us, and our children are watching.

As I read Kinley’s book I am challenged to change myself, prepare myself further for the coming “day of the Lord”. As much as I am convicted to prepare me, I am burdened to get my children ready. As you know the seductions set before our precious offspring are beyond my description in magnetism and as we pointed out earlier, relentless. Each day we must remind ourselves of the real objective of our lives and the cost of being distracted. I want to be a watchman on the wall for my kids and the kids I have the privilege of knowing and loving (Ezekiel 33). I pray daily for children of the body of Christ I personally know. I ask you to join me in the battle. I don’t want to succumb to the inborn pagan within me, and I want to help those I love to overcome. The cost of losing this battle is the soul. In the words of Kinley, help me “wake the bride”.

Burning within me,


Tell the children

WHNT news station warned parents to speak to their children after an attempt to kidnap a child was made in the Huntsville area. The child responded correctly by running and was not taken. The news media wanted other children to know of the danger and how to react in such a situation.

The Bible admonishes us to share with our children as well. It tells us over and over to tell them of God’s deeds and of His power.

Psalm 78:4 We will not conceal them from our children, but tell to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and His strength and His wondrous works that He has done.

What important act of God can you share with your child today? What difference would it make if each day we were sharing God’s praise, strength and works with the next generation? God honors obedience. Will we change their future? Will we change ours?

Burning within me,


The Great Physician

A card is a special way to intervene in the day of a friend. It goes where you are not to lift spirits and convey concern. This week a card arrived from a service provider who has become a dear friend to our family. She knew of my health issue and wanted to encourage me with her love. She also is nursing a family member who suffered a severe health crisis back to health. The verse on the card had special meaning to her and brought tears to my eyes. I share it so that the ones of you with health issues of your own or family members who are struggling may know the peace that knowing Jesus brings.

The blessed Christ of God I see,

In that fair land of Galilee,

He speaks in loving words to me,

“I am the Great Physician.”

Healed by the Great Physician,

Healed by the Great Physician,

Glory to God! He saves the soul,

Maketh the suff’ring body whole;

Thus at His feet my burdens roll,

Healed by the Great Physician.

With all my heart I do believe,

I dare not doubt, His Spirit grieve;

Each suff’ring one He will relieve –

Christ is the Great Physician.

“Christ, the Great Physician” Barney E. Warren, 1907

May the truth of who Christ is bring the suffering peace today, for He is doubtless the Great Physician.

Burning within me,


What shall we say to these things?

There is a battle for our minds. Notice how much rhetoric is geared toward our thoughts. Slogans tell us: “just be happy”, “think positive”, “attitude is everything”. However, the right thoughts don’t trump reality. Pretending my leg isn’t broken will not stop the pain. Telling myself it is just a scratch won’t either. Bolstering myself with the assurance help is on the way just might aid my endurance. Why? I am speaking truth to myself. Truth is powerful. That must be why it is so contested today.

Our thoughts run amuck in fantasy, fiction and horror, especially when we are in dangerous, dire and painful circumstances. It’s hard not to ask “what if”. However, it is an emotionally spiraling quest. We must train ourselves to know truth and dwell on it. As Paul tells us in his “whatever is” list, dwell on what is true (Philippians 4:8).

Romans 8 has a list of facts to store in our late night answer database. One of those is found in verse 31.

Romans 8:31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?

Is God for us? The passage states that He did not spare His own Son but gave Him over for us all. It speaks of the one who died for us is now interceding for us. The passage goes on to recount the impossibility of being separated from the love of God.

For your own thought police, memorize the points in Romans 8 so that you might guide the emotions you experience in the dark hours. Truth triumphs. It sets you and your thoughts free.

Paul believed God. Paul trusted God. Paul instructed others to do the same. Be like Paul; guide your thoughts to God and His truth.  (insert stick figure here) J

Burning within me,


Can you watch the news?

The horrors of one day of news is overwhelming. Yesterday, I read a local news station’s report of the blogger who is organizing pro-rape rallies across the nation for this Saturday. One is planned in our home state of Alabama! Another tweet by @ActforAmerica introduced me to a brutality which dumped nausea into my stomach. The stat given was “513,000 women and girls are at risk of female genital mutilation in the US today”. The billboard shown in the article showed devices for such I won’t name. Later in the evening I listened to someone accused of treason continue to campaign in this country for president. This morning I read a devotional by John Piper which described the contract killing of street children to rid society of the criminal adults it is assumed they will become. The corruption of our nation and this world is so scary.

The time I have spent in Romans 8 reminded me that even the earth itself is distressed by the evil that pervades us.

Romans 8:19 For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.

The passage continues to speak of creation being set free from its slavery of corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. I can’t help but notice that creation is looking for God’s children to take charge! Me too! I can’t wait for justice to roll down like water and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. (Amos 5:24)

Believe me I realize God’s children are not yet perfected and this earth will be destroyed before freed from its corruption. However, we have something to which to look forward. Evil will not continue. It will be defeated when our Lord returns. Then Amos 5:24 will come true. So if you like me become astounded with the news media, remind yourself even the earth wants the evil doers gone.

Burning within me,


Who’s praying for you?

Facing uncertainty is tiring. We roll matters through our minds at an exhausting rate. We often find ourselves making the matter worse and worse, especially in the watches of the night. Problems take on a haunting capability in the watches of the night.

There is encouragement in the eighth chapter of Romans. Most of us know this chapter for the verse which promises God works all things together for our good (verse 28). However, there are many assurances contained within this chapter. Reviewing it for peace of mind the past few days, I grasped hold of several thoughts to reign in my active mind. Here is a first: one repeated word in the text caught me. My inductive Bible study training caused me to key in on a powerful concept.

Verse 26 informs us that the Spirit is interceding for us: “the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” The Spirit is talking to God on our behalf. Verse 34 encourages us that Christ is interceding for us: “who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.” God is three persons, the Holy Trinity. In this passage of Scripture we learn that two parts of that Trinity are talking to the third to which you too are pleading. Who all is praying with you when you pray? The answer is the most powerful Beings of the Universe!

Take heart when you are talking to your Father in the darkness of the night, while those you love are sleeping. There are powerful lovers of you praying with you. There is intercession on your behalf, and you are not alone. Feast your mind and thoughts on truth.

Burning within me,