photo credit: USB Aurora via photopin (license)
photo credit: USB Aurora via photopin (license)

You call yourself a Christian?

Have you ever heard those words? Have you ever just said the wrong thing, or hurt someone and had this question plopped in your lap?

How about this one?

If God is good, why…?

Our enemy loves this question and it’s derivatives. It’s one of his favorite ways to undermine our faith because it pokes at our identity. If he can undermine our conviction of who we are, and who God is, he can derail our forward motion, leaving us broken down on the side of the tracks.

It’s not a new question. In fact it was his first strategy with the Lord in the wilderness. Jesus had come up from the waters of baptism full of the Holy Spirit and fasted for forty days. We’re told He was hungry. [When I fast it only takes about ten minutes from the decision to fast for me to hit ‘hungry.’]

And the tempter came and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread." - Matthew 4:3

The adversary’s first attack targeted IDENTITY.

If you are the Son of God…

It’s his go-to attack. Every one of his many minions knows this one. It comes in dozens of disguises.

Why is this such a great place for him to start on us?

Because the very first thing that changes when you enter the kingdom of Heaven is your identity.

You see, you are no longer the old sinner man or the evil woman. You’re not that bad kid anymore. You’re a brand new creation, born again with a living spirit and a washed soul. Your body may look the same, perhaps your step is higher and your face brighter. But satan finds his way into your mirror and begins his attack.

Who do you think you are?

You call yourself a Christian?

You’re no saint!

I know where you came from.

I know what you did last summer—and last night.

If you are a son/daughter of God…

These lies can discourage and disarm you, diminishing your impact on the darkness. They tend to create a bushel to cover your light. These lies must be met with the Truth.

I am a new creation, the old me is dead and buried with Christ. All the things done in the flesh were left in the tomb with Jesus’ grave clothes. All that stands before the mirror today is washed in the precious blood of  Jesus. The charges against me were nailed to the cross and Jesus Christ paid the penalty for every one. I have everything I need for life and godliness through the precious promises of the Word of God. You, satan, are no longer my king, but I serve the risen Savior, the God/Man, Christ Jesus. Get behind me and watch me shine!

Now get out there and get glowing!

cropped-BenHeadshot.jpgSee you again soon,



photo credit: Harvest via photopin (license)
photo credit: Harvest via photopin (license)

Solomon had a vineyard at Baal-hamon;

He entrusted the vineyard to caretakers.
Each one was to bring a thousand shekels of silver for its fruit.

My very own vineyard is at my disposal;
The thousand shekels are for you, Solomon,
And two hundred are for those who take care of its fruit. 

Song of Songs 8:11-12

There is a shift in speakers between verse 11 and 12. We were hearing the voice of the narrator telling us about the arrangement the King has with those who steward His vineyards.

Last week we talked about the fact that the Lord expects us to be fruitful. In verse 12 the bride is speaking and we’ll learn how she feels about the king’s demands.

If you remember the center piece of this Song, right at the end of chapter 4 and the beginning of chapter 5 the Shulamite gave her garden over to the Shepherd King.

Awake, O north wind,
And come, wind of the south;
Make my garden breathe out fragrance,
Let its spices be wafted abroad.
May my beloved come into his garden
And eat its choice fruits!"

Song of Songs 4:16 (emphasis mine)

This is the point where she goes from thinking in terms of her garden to understanding that all she has belongs His. [You might like this post.]

Today, in similar fashion, she still thinks of it as her garden because it is her charge. But she doesn’t begrudge the King his payment. Not only that she pays others to come and harvest in her garden.

You see, working in the Lord’s harvest pays well.

Now you’re thinking I’m really crazy. How many missionaries, itinerant ministers, pastors and other full-time christian workers can live on what they are paid.

OK - I don’t want to discuss who should get paid for what in the church structure—let’s not jump in that puddle today.

What I want to consider is how abundant the harvest is.

If she was just trying to get by, and pay the taxes—the thousand shekels—due, she certainly would not have labor’s working in the field with her. She would find a way to get by through her own sweat and blood.

But that’s not the case here.

She has enough to meet her own needs.

She can give that which is required of her, and does so gladly.

She has abundance to the extent that she has to hire help to bring in the harvest.

Why such success?

When you give yourself to kingdom living—kingdom occupation—you’ll find the fruit of the kingdom abounds. [Tweet This]

I know that at the top of the page I talked about jobs that are commonly considered “full time christian work.” But any work done by a citizen of the kingdom is kingdom work. There is no such thing as secular in the life of a subject of King Jesus. If He is your Savior, then He is your King, your Boss, your Master, your Lord. Oh, and He is also you Husband, the Lover of your soul, your Friend, and your Brother.

As to the abundance the bride finds in her/His vineyard, David puts it this way:

How blessed is the man who
does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.

Psalm 1:1-3 (again, emphasis mine)

Do you see it? When you give yourself to the kingdom—yoke yourself to the Lord—you’ll find you work fruitful.

We serve a Great King!

Since our prosperity does not always fit the world’s scale of success, we often don’t recognize the abundance. If we keep our eyes on their prize, we’ll likely miss ours.

The simple solution is to keep our eyes on Jesus.

BenHeadshotThanks for stopping by today.

Don’t tire of the good work He has called you to and created you for.



“I’m just a marine.”

So said the man standing in my doorway the other day. He was representing a company that does business with the company I work for. We were talking about a project on which we were collaborating. I was taking care of some techie stuff so our two companies could communicate electronically.

I apparently started speaking ‘techeese’ and lost him at the bakery, and that’s when he said ‘I’m just a marine.’ Understand me here. He was not putting himself down, or diminishing himself in any way. He was just stating a fact. He was, in fact, not an active marine. He was retired, and now has a job with a local ink company.

But if you ask him who (or even what) he is, the answer is,

“I’m a marine.”

When did he become a marine?

Was he born a marine? Nope.

I suspect the day he stepped out of the bus at the Marine Corps base at Quantico, he was a marine embryo. Over the course of the next few weeks in the womb of that base, through the umbilical cord of his drill sergeant he formed, in short order, into a full-grown, loaded for bear, marine.

You could say, he was born again.

Once born as a marine - it would be his identity for life. No matter how long he lives after Quantico, he identifies himself as a marine.

Have you been born-again?

Have you passed through the womb of the cross - killing the old man - connecting to the umbilical cord of the Spirit of the Living God? Has the breath of Live blown into your lungs and changed your DNA? Are you a new creation—new species— with the life of God inside?

Who are you? How would you identify yourself?

“I’m a child of the King.”

“I’m a son of God.”

“I’m a light set on a hill.”

“I’m an heir of the promise.”

“I’m a Christian.”

BenHeadshotThanks for coming by.

Shine where you’re screwed in.


I fell in love with a song - new to me - at the Supernatural Life Conference last weekend. Here's a video of Tim Hughes covering this new favorite from Phil Wickham.

At Your Name

At Your Name, the mountains shake and crumble

At Your Name, the oceans roar and tumble

At Your Name, angels will bow the earth will rejoice

Your people cry out


Lord of all the earth

we shout Your Name, shout Your Name

Filling up the skies

With endless praise, endless praise

Yahweh, Yahweh

We love to shout Your Name

Oh Lord


At Your Name, the morning breaks in glory

At Your Name, creation sings Your story

At Your Name, angles will bow the earth will rejoice

Your people cry out

There is no one like our God

We will praise You, praise You

There is no one like our God

We will sing, we will sing!

There is no one like our God

We will praise You, praise You

Jesus You are God

We will sing!

Yahweh, Yahweh

We love to shout Your Name

Oh Lord






Meet a new blogging acquaintance I've recently started following. I hope you'll find this as touching as I did.

Check out his other posts too. Reuben does a lot of first person accounts in a similar style to my book Encounters With Jesus.  He blogs at Loved and Forgiven!!

I think you will love what you find.





Magdalene’s Request…

Here I am… standing at Golgotha’s door. Looking upon my Lord, hanging from a Cross. Looking upon a blood red floor. (Matthew 27:33;John 10:9)

That he who carved beauty from a hewn hunk of wood, with precise eye and vision. With such tender care and understood. Held in strong hands and with gentleadmonition… 

Has been SLAMMED so carelessly – against a cruel stake, bare knuckles nailed to a calloused Tree. (John 19:20)

Exhausted and spent, our lives torn apart. Even so, I wasn’t about to give up on the One who had captured my heart! Give up, go home? Oh no! I would see this through. Approached the Centurion, told him what I planned to do.

[Read the rest of the post here]


photo credit: via photopin (license)
photo credit: via photopin (license)

Solomon had a vineyard at Baal-hamon;
He entrusted the vineyard to caretakers.
Each one was to bring a thousand shekels of silver for its fruit.

Song of Songs 8:11 NASB

Is what you’re doing fruitful?

I know—I’m meddling. My dad used to say to the pastor, after a particularly pointed sermon, you’ve gone from preaching to meddling.

So here I am today - meddling.

Jesus expects fruit. He expects a harvest.

Think of the parables Jesus tells of the master who gave his servants talents according to their abilities.

We know about the man with five who doubled his money, and the one with two who did the same. They hear the words every christian hopes to hear when reckoning with the Lord.

His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.' - Matthew 25:23

But what of the one who hid his talent? Listen to the rebuke he receives.

But his master answered and said to him, 'You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed. - Matthew 25:26

Not words I want to hear when I settle accounts with the Lord.

Most preachers today will tell you that because of the blood of Jesus, we will all hear those words - ‘Well done.’ This implies that we can continue to be 'wicked and lazy,' after Christ bought and paid for us with His own blood. His precious blood will hide the fact that we have buried our talents and gone on with life as usual. I’m not sure that’s so. It sounds a lot like hiding our lights under a bushel.

The point of being light is to shine.

The point of having seed is to reap a harvest.

The purpose of the gifts of the Spirit is ministry. There is a lost and dying world that desperately longs for a touch from the Spirit of God. [Tweet this]

There is good news. Notice in this parable of the talents when He gave the talents—this spiritual currency—He gave according to ability. God does not expect anything from you that is beyond your reach. He has equipped you—predestined you—to manage what He has given you.

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. - Ephesians 2:10

You can do this!

You can bear fruit.

You can please the Father.

Simply put what God has given you to work—your gift—your talents—your abilities.

Get them out in the field.

He will bring the increase. He loves to breathe life on the things we do in His name.

BenHeadshotOK - enough meddling for today.

Get out there and shine, beloved.



I'm away for the weekend at a wonderful (so far) conference - the Supernatural Life Conference in Harrisburg PA. One of my readers visited an article from two years ago and I realized it has been a long time since I shared my testimony on my blog, so I thought I would bring it back up for another look. This is my story. Perhaps you can share yours too.




Jesus said:

Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’ ~ Matthew 7:21-23

Who are these shocked folks outside heaven’s narrow gate?

  • They call Jesus Lord.
  • They have prayed “the” prayer.
  • They have been in Church – a lot.
  • They have even prophesied, cast out demons, and done many miracles.

When I read this I say with the eleven disciples at the last supper, 'Lord, is it me?'

In fact, this is the very scripture He used to draw me in.

I grew up as a church kid. I was always the good boy, always knew my memory verse, always got my Sunday school lesson done (albeit Sunday morning right before we left for church.)

  • I asked Jesus into my heart at age 4.
  • I was baptized in my little Plymouth Brethren Chapel when I was 11.
  • In my teens went through the Presbyterian Catechism.
  • At sixteen sang in a touring Christian choir
  • As a High School Senior joined the Church Choir
  • Considered becoming a missionary at the Urbana Conference at age 19
  • Taught Sunday school.
  • Ran the Christian Service Brigade boys program at our Church

Then one day I was listening to a preacher (Thank you brother Kim Josephson!) preach a sermon on the Rich Young Ruler, which described me to a tee.

I had to face the fact that I did not have an active, current relationship with Lord Jesus Christ. I asked myself, ‘Am I known by this Jesus?’

I started to ponder verses like John 4:10

…the sheep follow him because they know his voice.

I had to confess at age 25, I really did not know His voice. I knew His name, I knew His Word, I knew about Him, but He was not my Lord, my Master, my King, my Boss. I was not following Him, I was living life in a way that seemed right in my own eyes.

If you had asked me, I would say I had a relationship with Jesus, that He lived in my heart, but I could not point to His direction. I didn't know His voice. I didn't know His leading, so how could I be a follower?

For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. ~ Romans 8:14

That morning, listening to that sermon, driving down the road, I pulled off to the side of the road and, brushing tears from my eyes asked Jesus to take control of my life.

He had used His Word and His faithful messenger to expose to me the “one thing I lacked” (from Mark 10:21) and from that moment, with that very first baby step of repentance and faith, I began to “hear His voice” in my life.

I am so glad He is faithful. I am so glad He pursued me. I have a sense that those prayers and activities early in life were not wasted. He honored the little boy’s prayer at age 4, and wooed me for over 2 decades until finally I was willing to give Him more than lip service.

Where do you stand today?

If you feel some kind of vague uncertainty, brush it away. Vague condemnation comes from satan, and he loves to exploit the Word of God to his own advantage.

However, if you sense the Spirit of God saying take up your cross and follow me today, even if you have considered yourself a Christian for decades, don’t hold back. Give yourself to Him today. You will never be the same.

He will lead you to the life you were created for. [Tweet This]

I am so glad you stopped by today to hear my story. I would love to hear yours.

Just think, someone who does not identify with my story, might really resonate with yours! Why not blog about it, and leave a link below – or if you are not a blogger, just use the comment section here to tell us your story.

BenThanks for reading today.

See you tomorrow



Here's a bit of wonderful worship from Melissa How and Bethel Church.

You are my light
My breath of life
I trust in You
You fill my heart
Set me apart
I'm found in You

You are my one desire
You are the holy fire that burns in me
The Lover of my Soul
You don't let go
You've made Your home in me

You are my everything
All I need is in You
And all I have
All I am is in You
It's in You

You overflow my heart and soul
Wash over me
I feel you now
Your love surrounds and covers me

You are my hearts desire
You are the holy fire that burns in me
The lover of my soul
God, You won't let go
You've made Your home in me

You are my desire, You are my reward
You are my desire, all I'm living for

You're all I want, You are everything
You are my desire, come and burn in me

Read more: Jesus Culture - My Everything Lyrics | MetroLyrics

cropped-BenHeadshot.jpgHave a great Wednesday.

Bring life,



Kingdom of Heaven

Yesterday we looked at repentance, and how Jesus expected repentance as He brought the Kingdom to His people.

One thing we looked at yesterday tweaked my spirit a bit.

We read,

Then He began to denounce the cities in which most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent. - Matthew 11:20

It seems that Jesus expected repentance as a response to miracles.

Let’s read on,

Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. Nevertheless I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you.

And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day. Nevertheless I say to you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you. - Matthew 11:21-24

Jesus brought the kingdom of heaven to Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum. As we observed yesterday, it came with a call to repentance.

It also came with miracles.

Don’t miss this.

Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people. - Matthew 4:23

When Jesus brought the gospel, He brought a message of deliverance for the whole man, body, soul and spirit. He came bringing life—shalom—whole life—abundant life—to all who would hear and receive Him.

When He came to Chorazin, Bethsaida, and even His adopted home town of Capernaum, He brought healing, just as He did throughout Galilee, Jerusalem and all Judea.

Do you think it took Him by surprise that these great cities of Galilee did not repent?

Why does Isaiah 53 call Him the Man of Sorrows? This is it right here. Because light walked into darkness, and darkness put out the light, rather than risk exposure. It broke His heart.

The kingdom of heaven had come near to them, and them rejected heavenly citizenship to hold on to the fleeting pleasures of this life.

How is it with you? (Yes Ben, I’m looking at you.)

First—have you turned from your own path to The Way and followed after the One who brings life?

Next—do you bring the good news with the expectation that God will confirm the word preached with signs—wonders?

Finally—do you expect to see repentance. Do you call for it? Do you nurture it either in those to whom you are preaching, or in your own life?

Lord, teach me to preach the good news, as I go, in such a way as to foster repentance, and please bring signs and wonders as the word goes forth. Thank you for the promise of Your presence as we go and preach.

cropped-BenHeadshot.jpgThanks for stopping  by. Sorry this was a bit of a ramble today.

Be a blessing today,



Kingdom of Heaven

When you start digging into the concept of the kingdom of heaven, the first thing you hit your head on is this:

Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. - Matthew 3:2 & 4:17 NASB

The first two times the phrase ‘kingdom of heaven’ comes up it’s linked to repentance.

The first is John the Baptist and the second is Jesus the King.

Clearly when Jesus came on the scene He brought the kingdom with Him. Wouldn’t you agree? I know—that seems obvious.

But it’s striking to me that with the approach of the kingdom there comes the need for repentance.

John stood on the banks of the Jordan in the wilderness and called the nation to repentance. Once John was in prison Jesus took up this message and began preaching that same sermon all over Galilee and the regions there-bouts.

Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people. - Matthew 4:23

Though we don’t hear Him say it on every page, we know He kept up this message, because in Matthew 11 we read,

Then He began to denounce the cities in which most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent. - Matthew 11:20

What is Repentance?

Today’s wisdom, when it hears the word repent, quickly marks it out and writes in ‘change your mind.’ Others might tell you repentance is sorrow and tears at an altar. But I’m not sure either is a big enough definition for repentance.

Paul gives us a definition for repentance that will turn sorrow into victory, because repentance preps you for the kingdom of heaven.

Check it out:

For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death. - 2 Corinthians 7:10

First notice that there is a difference between sorrow and repentance. Tears at the altar are supposed to produce repentance. Notice this phrase too—'sorrow that is according to the will of God.' There are some circles in the church where you’d be tagged a heretic for simply suggesting that God would will sorrow at all.

But sorrow over our own sin, which leads to repentance and then to salvation—that is the will of God without a doubt. It's the very core of God's will for all men and women.

Let’s read on,

For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter. - 2 Corinthians 7:11 KJV

It’s almost a recipe for repentance:

  • Sorrow
  • Carefulness
  • Clearing
  • Indignation
  • Fear
  • Vehement Desire
  • Zeal
  • Revenge
  • Victory—Freedom

In my mind, when Jesus starts out the Beatitudes with,

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. - Matthew 5:3 NASB

He’s talking about this repentance that runs so deep in your heart that it purges every inch of you, inside and out. This poor spirit that sorrows over the sin in his or her heart and life gains entrance to the kingdom of heaven.

We’ve got to stop thinking of repentance in negative terms. The only thing that we lose when we repent is the hold hell has on our heart.

There is life available—life in the kingdom of heaven. And you don’t have to wait till you die to get in.

Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

For more detail on repentance you might want to read this article:

Repentance - the Path to Victory!

BenHeadshotThanks for coming by,

Keep the light on!