What the Gospel Is (Not)

A few months ago I was in a Sunday School class in which the leader brought up 7 common substitutes for the Gospel, as defined by Paul Tripp. That list has stuck out to me ever since. Have I fallen into any of them? Have you?

As you read my own descriptions of these substitutes, ask yourself – which best describes your version of Christianity?

Continue reading


1 Samuel 24: Mercy and Grace

It’s been a while since I last posted. . . So I have to apologize for that. We went on vacation to the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter, and then it just seems like there’s been a lot of late nights and not as much time to sit down and actually put together a blog post.

With that said, let’s jump back into our 1 Samuel narrative. We left off with Saul and David playing a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse: with Saul being the cat and David being the mouse. David is forced to flee here and there, running from stronghold to stronghold, wilderness to wilderness, never quite feeling secure from the grasp of the jealous King Saul. At one point Saul and his men were encircling David and his band, and it looked like the cat may have finally caught the mouse. But before that could happen, Saul received news that Israel was under attack, and the king realized he had more important things to worry about. So he hurried back to his job of taking care of the country, and David escaped to the strongholds in En Gedi.

And that is where chapter 24 picks up. Continue reading

Mercy & Grace

ArkOfTheCovenant-2In the Old Testament, we read in Exodus of “the mercy seat,” which was actually part of the ark of the covenant.

I counted 214 times that “mercy” is used in the Old Testament. It signifies not giving someone what they deserve – extending forgiveness instead of punishment.

A close cousin is “grace,” but this word is only used 38 times in the Old Testament. It takes the extra step over mercy, extending as a gift what is not deserved. Not just forgiveness, but more than that.

In the New Testament, we see the counts reversed. While “mercy” is only mentioned 58 times, “grace” is mentioned 128 times.

And now, instead of a mercy seat, we have a throne of grace.

“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16, NKJV).

“For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17).

I just thought that was really neat – maybe you find that neat, too!


Second Chances


It’s an oft-repeated scene. Little Brother is misbehaving. I give him a warning. He continues the behavior. I give another warning. He still continues. The warnings end, the consequences are dealt. “But Lissie!” he protests, “You’re supposed to give me a second chance!”

Somehow he misses the fact that I already gave him one – or several. Somehow he misses the fact that he’s supposed to obey the first time – he shouldn’t need a second chance.

The other day he watched the VeggieTales version of “Jonah,” which is all about second chances, so that’s even more on his mind. Continue reading