people, old, man

What You Need to Know to Live & Die Happily

I assume you want to live a happy life. I also assume that when you are taking your last breaths, you would like to have a deep sense of joy, peace, and comfort in your heart. Who wants to live their life in a constant state of fear and insecurity? Who wants to feel overwhelmed by panic and dread as they lie dying in their bed? You want your life to be filled with true and sustainable happiness and your last days with contentment, calm, and consolation. But in order for you to have this true...

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animals, birds, nature

The Comfort of Dead Birds (Part 2)

How can a dead bird be comforting? You’re walking along a trail on a cool and crisp fall day and notice a little dead bird in the leaves by the trail. Does that comfort you? I don’t think we should take some peculiar pleasure in the death of animals. Native Americans killed many animals, but had great esteem and appreciation for them and industriously made use of the meat, hides, bones, and more. Hunters today may not be as industrious, but they also esteem and appreciate the animals...

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bird, branch, sit

The Comfort of Dead Birds – Part 1

If life all of sudden became like Alfred Hitchcock’s horror film The Birds, then maybe the thought of a dead bird would provide some comfort. But in real life seeing a beautiful little dead bird along the path is slightly sad. It reminds us of death. But, according to Jesus, it should remind us of something else, something comforting: God’s providence. In Matthew 10, Jesus instructs his disciples and readies them for a difficult and painful future of gospel ministry. His words are...

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fashion, jacket, elegant

Your Pastor Needs the Same Grace You Do

I was ordained for the pastoral ministry on May 1, 2010. Ever since that day, I continue to struggle deeply with sinful desires, thoughts, words, and actions. Being ordained doesn’t kill sin in the heart of any pastor. Your pastor takes his sinfulness into the ministry. To go further, being ordained didn’t save your pastor, because the saving grace of God in Christ does not flow through ordination, it flows through true faith. Your pastor needs the grace of true faith. John Charles Ryle...

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thunderstorm, flashes, night

The Holy Spirit Serves & Assures Us

When some professing Christians liken the Holy Spirit to a “funny and sneaky and silly blue genie” like the one in Aladdin, it becomes painfully obvious that many professing Christians don’t know the Holy Spirit, at least as they should. There are many things attributed to the Holy Spirit today, things like speaking gibberish, laughing uncontrollably, falling like a dead person on the ground or flailing around on the ground, and even so called “miracles” which never seem to be...

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planner, flatlay, calendar

Certainty & Comfort in Hard Times

You look at your schedule for the month and think, “How am I going to make it through this?” You hear the unwelcome words from your doctor, “It’s cancer.” You feel deep grief and regret over your child who is rebelling against God and the Christian upbringing you tried to give them. You notice the empty seat at the table – they’re gone – and tears well up in your eyes. Hard times are indiscriminate. No one desires them to come, but they come to everyone. And when they come, hard...

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castle, light, prison

True Freedom from the Devil’s Tyranny

Bondage is uncomfortable. Who enjoys gluing their fingers together with superglue? What wrestler enjoys not being able to move as his shoulder blades are pinned to the mat? Who wants to be in handcuffs or behind bars? Bondage is uncomfortable. Freedom, on the other hand, is a universal delight. Heidelberg Catechism 1 states that our only comfort in life and death is that Jesus Christ “has set [us] free from all the power [or tyranny] of the devil.” This presupposes that we were in...

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money, wallet, banknotes

He Paid Your Debt in Full

Years ago, when I was the Director of Student Ministry at a church in the North Hills of Pittsburgh, I invited a family to go out to Rita’s Italian Ice with my wife and me. The invitation was accompanied with my offer to pay. When we got to Rita’s, I realized I was missing something important – my wallet. I couldn’t pay. I guess I could’ve scrounged up a few coins from the car, but I wouldn’t have been able to pay the full bill. Rather than dejectedly heading back to the car and...

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girl, drinking, tea

I Am Not My Own

What gives you comfort? Your hands enfolding a cup of tea? Savoring a piece of chocolate cake? Falling into the loving embrace of your spouse? Sitting beside a crackling fire in your favorite sweater with good book in hand? There are many pleasures in this life that do give wonderful comfort, but nothing comforts the soul accept the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Question one of the Heidelberg Catechism asks a good question about comfort. It asks, “What is your only comfort in life and...

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