DiM | “Eye of the Storm (ft GabeReal)” by Ryan Stevenson

Presentation1CCM Radio Edition.

May 17, 2016. Today we’ll be taking a look at “Eye of the Storm (feat. GabeReal of DiverseCity)” by Ryan Stevenson which currently sits at #13 on the20theCountdownMagazine.

Stylistically, I like the song. The vocals are solid and have a nice grit to them that give the song an impactful feeling of honestly. You believe the singers are singing something real, at least in what they’ve felt and what they are holding onto. Theologically, the song falls a bit flat in that it remains within the theology of glory rather than the theology of the cross. We’ll get into that a bit later, but for now this song treats faith and the Promises of God as something to be invoked when things are going well for us… particularly when our dreams and visions aren’t coming true. Well, that’s a bit shallow compared to the richness of God’s Promise of Salvation in the Gospel of the Cross. So lets give it a listen and then look at the lyrics.

Official Audio (Album Version)

Official Lyric Video (Radio Version)

Album Version Lyrics (via GannsDeen)
Radio Version Lyrics (pulled from Video)

Ryan Stevenson featuring GabeReal of DiverseCity

Prologue (Album Only)
In the eye of the storm, You remain in control
And in the middle of the war, You guard my soul
You alone are the anchor, when my sails are torn
Your love surrounds me in the eye of the storm

Verse 1 (Album Version)
When the solid ground is falling out from underneath my feet
Between the black skies, and my red eyes, I can barely see
When I realize I’ve been sold out by my friends and my family
I can feel the rain reminding me

Verse 1 (Radio Version)
When the solid ground is falling out from underneath my feet
Between the black skies, and my red eyes, I can barely see
When I’m feelin’ like I’ve been let down by my friends and my family
I can feel the rain reminding me

Chorus (both versions)
In the eye of the storm, You remain in control
And in the middle of the war, You guard my soul
You alone are the anchor, when my sails are torn
Your love surrounds me in the eye of the storm

Verse 2 (both versions)
Mmm, when my hopes and dreams are far from me, and I’m runnin’ out of faith
I see the future I picture slowly fade away
And when the tears of pain and heartache are pouring down my face
I find my peace in Jesus’ name

Chorus (both versions)
In the eye of the storm (Yeah, yeah)
You remain in control (yes you do, Lord)
In the middle of the war, You guard my soul
You alone are the anchor, when my sails are torn
Your love surrounds me (Your love surrounds me)
In the eye of the storm (in the eye of the storm)

Verse 3 (Album Version)
When the test comes in and the doctor says I’ve only got a few months left
It’s like a bitter pill I’m swallowing; I can barely take a breath
And when addiction steals my baby girl, and there’s nothing I can do
My only hope is to trust You
I trust You, Lord

Verse 3 (Radio Version)
When they let me go and I just don’t know how I”m gonna make ends meet
I did my best, now I’m scared to death that we might lose everything
And when a sickness takes my child away and there’s nothing I can do
My only hope is to trust You
I trust You, Lord

In the eye of the storm (yeah, yeah)
You remain in control
In the middle of the war (middle of the war)
You guard my soul (yeah!)
You alone are the anchor (ooh), when my sails are torn
Your love surrounds me (yeah!)
In the eye of the storm

You remain in control (yes you do, Lord)
In the middle of the war (in the middle of the war)
You guard my soul
You alone are the anchor (ooh), when my sails are torn
Your love surrounds me in the eye of the storm

Radio Version Ends Here. 

Album Version extended ending
Oh, in the eye of
Oh, in the eye of the storm
I know You’re watching me, yeah, ay

When the storm is raging (When the storm is raging)
And my hope is gone (And my hope is gone, Lord)
When my flesh is failing, You’re still holding on, oh whoa
When the storm is raging (the storm is raging)
And my hope is gone (and all my hope is gone)
When my flesh is failing (my flesh is failing), You’re still holding on, oooh
When the storm is raging (when the storm is raging)
And my hope is gone (and my hope is gone)
Even when my flesh is failing (flesh is failing), You’re still holding on, holding on

The Lord is my Shepherd
I have all that I need
He lets me rest in green meadows
He leads me beside peaceful streams
He renews my strength
He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to His Name
Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid
For You are close beside me



As I’ve already noted, I generally like this song. It is definitely something I can sing along with to help fight away thoughts of despair and frustration. It is motivational and encouraging, at least on the surface, provided I don’t rely solely upon the thought fragments found in the song and turn to the source and builder of my faith, Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Whose very words are found in Scripture. In so much that this song might point me to Scripture, it does well… but it falls short of completing the thought.

Target Audience. While the person being addressed in the lyric of the song, the “you” of the song is intended to be God, the target audience isn’t… the target audience is the hurting, struggling, or disappointed Christian. The goal is to motivate a fellow believer to not give up, and to trust that God is taking care of them no matter what. For the most part, this is a good thing. But, as with nearly all of CCM, there is no accounting for the Law and it is an attempt to preach Gospel apart from it. While many feel like preaching Law to someone who is hurting is just mean, if you skip over the Law you leave no room for proper discussion of repentance or justice. God’s promises of forgiveness, reconciliation, justification, and redemption then become hallow and our sinful flesh jumps at the chance to re-define those terms based on our own emotions, dreams, and desires (theology of glory) rather than on the Law of God which exposes our sinfulness and the Gospel of Jesus Christ who bore the full brunt of the punishment we deserve on the cross (theology of the Cross). A penitent (repentant) believer who is broken down and acknowledge his/her sin doesn’t need more Law preaching at that point, he/she needs to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ and know that his/her sins have been forgiven in Jesus’ Name.

The Sovereignty of God. The encouragement found in this song comes in the reminder that no matter the circumstance we find ourselves in, God is in control. Full control. That should be of supreme comfort to those of the household of faith. This comfort is an eternal one. Where the enemy creeps in to shake our faith is in getting us to define this comfort in temporal terms, and our sinful flesh is more-than-willing to support this measure. When Jesus tells us not to be anxious, faith says, “Amen!”… but our flesh jumps in and says, “but I’m hungry, and thirsty, and tired… how can I not be anxious”. God is sovereign… not our flesh.

Matthew 6:25-34 (ESV) | Do Not Be Anxious

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Amen. Has God promised we will always come out of every earthly struggle as temporal winners or ahead? No. His Promise is much bigger than that… for life is more than food and the body more than clothing.

That’s why the second verse is slightly off-mission. God is in charge, not us… not our hopes and dreams… not the future WE have pictured for us.Sufficient for the day is its own trouble, said Jesus. The notion of running out of faith comes from a poor (yet prevalent) understanding of what Faith is. Popular evangelicalism uses the word “faith” often but usually where “zeal” should have been used. Zeal is a measure of emotional impetus… that isn’t what Faith is. Reading through the book of Hebrews and Romans will give the best understanding of what Biblical, Saving Faith, really is. It’s not something we are born with (we are born dead in sins and unrighteosness… faithless) Faith is something God gives us through His Word (Romans 10:17). So then, in the context of this song, we all run out of zeal… we grow weary and tired. When we approach church and Sunday morning services as a charge up my zeal station, we get a lot of hype, maybe loud music, smoke machines, light shows, and 3 basic principles to being a super-influential fully devoted follower of christ… but none of that has substance… it always fails, because it’s all based on the opinions, ideas, visions, and dreams of men. None of that builds faith… though, for a short time it can truly build up a great deal of zeal to “do good works” and “give sacrificially”.

The gathering of the saints isn’t solely to stir up emotional zeal or to take a break from everyday life, we come together to hear the Word of God preached, both Law and Gospel, we come to repent of sin and to be forgiven, and to know that we have already been forgiven in Jesus’ Name.

Hebrews 10:12-25 (ESV)

But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying,

“This is the covenant that I will make with them
after those days, declares the Lord:
I will put my laws on their hearts,
and write them on their minds,”

then he adds,

“I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”

Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin. Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

So, I’m not dismissing the notion of stirring up one another to love and good works (zeal), but it comes AFTER the more important issue of drawing near with faith to repent and be forgiven, sprinkled clean and washed with pure water (remembering our baptism in the Name of Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit).

There is rest and comfort available at the cross for all who are weary and heavy-laden. We grow weary in this life because we are still walking cursed flesh, though we have a Promise of New Life in the Resurrection on the Last Day.

1 Peter 1:3-9 (ESV) | Born Again to a Living Hope

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

The third verse of this song is gut-wrenching. And in those times we know that this life is temporary and fading away, and we find our strength and peace in the Eternal Promise of our Lord Jesus Christ. For it is not by our strength, or zeal, or determination, but by the Power of God that we are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

I have mixed feelings regarding the closing portion of the Albuv version of the song. It is a summary or paraphrase of Psalm 23… and it seems like they were paraphrasing the New Living Translation. I’m grateful they didn’t give a citation since they weren’t really reading the text. My major problem with these sort of things is that modern-day evangelicals are so painfully Biblically illiterate that I doubt many would even recognize it wasn’t the actual Psalm being read. Let’s look at in the NLT and then the ESV.

Psalm 23 (NLT) | A psalm of David.

1 The Lord is my shepherd;
I have all that I need.
2 He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
3     He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.
4 Even when I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.
5 You prepare a feast for me
in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
6 Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord

Psalm 23 (ESV) | The Lord Is My Shepherd
A Psalm of David.

1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2     He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
3     He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord

Did the artist mangle the Psalm? No, but memorizing the song (as we tend to do automatically) will not truly lead to memorizing the Psalm… but those who know the song will think of the song when Psalm 23 is read, and our music/art should point to Scripture, not the other way around. That’s my concern, anyway. I’m grateful it didn’t make it into the Radio Version of the song, though some radio stations might play the extended (Album) version from time to time.


I like the song and feel it serves a purpose, particularly in these days where so many Christians are being run ragged by modern-evangelical zeal-machines posing as Churches, preaching law-heavy, theology of glory doctrines without ever rightly dividing Law and Gospel. The song doesn’t make our “Approved” list, because it doesn’t actually convey the Gospel, nor does it stand fully on its own. I still like the song, personally, and I think even with all of the muddled doctrine dominating the CCM airwaves, this song at least can point the listener to a Sovereign God.

Romans 16:24-27(ESV) | Doxology

Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.

Amen, Indeed.
In Christ Jesus,

Gospel Wednesday | Mark 11

GWWelcome back as we continue working through the Gospel According to Mark. Last week we covered Mark 10, where we saw Jesus clearly teach regarding marriage and divorce by reaching back all the way to Genesis 2. We are again reminded that Jesus came to die for our sin and then be raised up for our salvation.

Today, we’ll resume reading, beginning in Chapter 11 of the Gospel According to Mark.

Mark 11:1-11 (ESV) | The Triumphal Entry

Now when they drew near to Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately as you enter it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it and will send it back here immediately.’” And they went away and found a colt tied at a door outside in the street, and they untied it. And some of those standing there said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” And they told them what Jesus had said, and they let them go. And they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it, and he sat on it. And many spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields. And those who went before and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!” And he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple. And when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.

In the future I’d like to get these devotional posts better lined up with the church year, but this one landed fairly closely. If you attend a liturgical church that moves through a lectionary, you probably read through this account or one of its parallels last week or the week prior. While this may seem an oddly specific request from Jesus, Matthew and John give us the reference to the following Prophecy:

Zechariah 9:9 (ESV) | The Coming King of Zion
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
righteous and having salvation is he,
humble and mounted on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

It is so cool to see how completely Jesus fulfilled these prophecies and how once you see they are fulfilled in Him it becomes clear that these couldn’t possibly be about anyone else. Praise the LORD!

Mark 11:12-14 (ESV) | Jesus Curses the Fig Tree

On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry. And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. And he said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it.

When we worked through the parallel texts in Matthew, we spent a great deal of time pointing out how this encounter with the fig tree was prophetic, and it pointed to the religious leaders, the chief priests of Israel. They had a form of godliness (the leaves) but were not bearing fruit (faith in Christ Jesus). They were the fig tree that bore no fruit. This text is often used by unbelievers who seek to deny the Deity of Christ (Muslim and Atheist apologists and heretics who deny the Trinity) by accusing Jesus of being mistaken and not knowing it wasn’t the season for figs. Jesus knew, and this wasn’t about wanting figs nor was it about a prophet having a tantrum. Mark isn’t writing about the false teaching of the Pharisees here, he’s writing about the Authority of Jesus and his inclusion of the encounter with the fig tree is being used to build up to that moment.

Mark 11 (ESV) | Jesus Cleanses the Temple

And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. And he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. And he was teaching them and saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.” And the chief priests and the scribes heard it and were seeking a way to destroy him, for they feared him, because all the crowd was astonished at his teaching. And when evening came they went out of the city.

Here, the fruitless tree seeks a way to destroy Jesus, for they feared Him.

Mark 11:15-19 (ESV) | The Lesson from the Withered Fig Tree

As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. And Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.” And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”

Notice here that the object of faith isn’t faith itself, it is God. Don’t allow others to mix this teaching with the mustard seed reference where the end result is a focus on whether or not you have “enough faith” as if it were gasoline in a fuel tank. Jesus isn’t telling them they will somehow grow into a power of their own, He tells them to have faith in God. What is the fruit that was lacking in the fig tree? Faith. What are we asking for in prayer? Forgiveness by the Blood of Jesus. Don’t look inwardly for a sense of forgiveness or some emotional experience confirming what the Scriptures say… when you hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ proclaim you forgiven and set free, trust in His Word. And when you speak these words of forgiveness to your neighbor, trust in God’s Forgiveness for your neighbor as you do in your own forgiveness. Jesus is not merely teaching about signs and wonders to impress the kingdoms of this world, He’s preaching the Kingdom of Heaven.

Mark 11:20-33 (ESV) | The Authority of Jesus Challenged

And they came again to Jerusalem. And as he was walking in the temple, the chief priests and the scribes and the elders came to him, and they said to him, “By what authority are you doing these things, or who gave you this authority to do them?” Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one question; answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. Was the baptism of John from heaven or from man? Answer me.” And they discussed it with one another, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ But shall we say, ‘From man’?”—they were afraid of the people, for they all held that John really was a prophet. So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”

In refusing to confess Him as the Christ, they suppressed the truth in their own unrighteousness (Romans 1). Jesus’ authority came from Heaven, for He is God the Son. He came to set the captives free, not to rule over them in this temporal life, for His Kingdom is not of this world.

Philippians 2:1-11 (ESV) | Christ’s Example of Humility
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Jesus didn’t need to verbally proclaim His Authority at this time, for God had already testified of Him as did the signs and wonders and teaching of Jesus. Those who had an ear to hear did hear, and eyes to see did see. His sheep heard His voice and believed. We are still doing so today, for as long as the LORD tarries.


Consider the cross this week, consider your sin, consider the humble sacrifice Jesus, God the son, made on our behalf, that we might be called Children of the Most High God. Until next week, spend time in the Written Word of God and do not forsake the gathering of the saints, hearing of the Preached Word… both Law and Gospel.

Hebrews 13:20-21 (ESV) Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will,working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

In Christ Jesus,

Gospel Wednesday | Mark 10

GWWelcome back as we continue working through the Gospel According to Mark. Two weeks ago we covered Mark 9, where we saw Jesus transfigured into His glorified form in front of Peter, James, and John. We also worked through some difficult passages. I’d like to remind my readers that if anything I write seems novel (new) to you, please discuss these things with your pastor, for I am but a layman sharing my thoughts as we read God’s Word together. Particularly in the difficult passages… do not simply take my word for it.

Today, we’ll resume reading, beginning in Chapter 10 of the Gospel According to Mark.

Mark 10:1-12 (ESV) | Teaching About Divorce

And he left there and went to the region of Judea and beyond the Jordan, and crowds gathered to him again. And again, as was his custom, he taught them.

And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce and to send her away.” And Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

And in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. And he said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her, and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”

We’ve discussed this teaching and the subject of Divorce before. This is a question of the Law, and Jesus answers it lawfully. To divorce is to sin against God. What God has joined together, let not man separate. Specifically it is the sin of adultery by virtue of having sexual relations with 2 different people. There is a tendency for Christians to provide an escape clause of sorts for those who have been abandoned and for those whose spouses have committed the sin of adultery. They don’t use this passage, they refer to the one in Matt 5:31-32. The intent is to relieve the consciences of those Christians. It is a noble intent, but we already have the best solution for that in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Law doesn’t provide an out as we see here. When it comes to righteousness coram mundo (in the sight of the world/neighbor) we do all that we can to save the marriage, bring reconciliation within the marriage, and seek forgiveness and absolution… there is no “easy out” of the marriage covenant. There are no “biblical divorces” that receive God’s blessing. It is sin. The solution for this sin is the same solution for all sin, the Cross of Jesus Christ.

In this sinful life, we have to deal with sin all around us and within us. There are times when a divorce is unavoidable and the necessary course of action due to sin and unbelief as is the case with the guidance of the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 7. There is repentance, forgiveness, and absolution by faith in Jesus Christ, His death and resurrection. Marriage is a vital gift from God and divorce is a destructive and odious sin to be avoided. By the Law we uphold the highest view of marriage possible, and we cannot fulfill its demands on our own, we need the Gospel of Jesus Christ to grant repentance, forgiveness, and healing.

There is room for Pastoral care, teaching, and guidance in all things marriage related and it is necessary. There is a role for Church discipline regarding sexual immorality, marriage, divorce and even remarriage… but we must ever be Gospel focused in how we treat this subject.

Mark 10:13-16 (ESV) | Let the Children Come to Me

And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.

Jesus receives whom He will receive, and it isn’t for man to determine who merits the gift of God’s Grace. Praise the LORD!

Mark 10:17-31 (ESV) | The Rich Young Man

And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again,“Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” Peter began to say to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

This man came to Jesus for confirmation that he was “good to go”… because he had kept the Law and was good. We see this first demonstrated in Jesus’ response to the man calling Him good teacher. The man didn’t catch on, and he even went further to claim that he had not only kept all of the commandments, but he believed he had kept them since childhood. Being the father of two precious little children myself… I know this cannot be the case. I love my kids… and they break commandments daily. So, we see a man seeking justification according to the Law, not understanding that the Law condemns everyone in sin… no one is good except God alone.

Mark 10:32-34 (ESV) | Jesus Foretells His Death a Third Time

And they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. And they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. And taking the twelve again, he began to tell them what was to happen to him, saying, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles. And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise.”

Mark takes us through tough encounters of teaching regarding the Law of God… and now he presents to us the Gospel in the foretelling of His death and resurrection. The disciples didn’t get it at the time, but praise be to Our God and Father for His patience and mercy on us, and Grace to us in His Son Jesus.

Mark 10:35-45 (ESV) | The Request of James and John

And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” And he said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?” And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” And they said to him, “We are able.” And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized, but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.” And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John. And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Quite the bold request made in ignorance. Jesus graciously redirects their focus away from a theology of glory and back toward a theology of the cross, of service to others in Christ Jesus. I believe the right hand and left hand of Jesus to be already prepared in Trinitarian Godhead. We know that Jesus ascended into heaven and exalted at the Right Hand of the Father (Acts 2:33). When we are all joined together in the Resurrection, the Holy Spirit of God will be there also. As for dividing up the Kingdom of God among the elect who are designated reign and rule with Christ (1 Cor 6:3), such things are not open for dividing up in the moment by contracts here on earth… such places have already been prepared according to God’s infinite Will and purpose, for His Glory Alone.

Mark 10:46-52 (ESV) | Jesus Heals Blind Bartimaeus

And they came to Jericho. And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart. Get up; he is calling you.” And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.” And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way.

Praise the Lord. May that be our prayer today… “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!“.


Until next week, spend time in the Written Word of God and do not forsake the gathering of the saints, hearing of the Preached Word… both Law and Gospel.

Hebrews 13:20-21 (ESV) Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will,working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

In Christ Jesus,

CTT | Ezekiel 4:9 Bread?

It’s been a while since we looked at a popular thing purportedly “Biblical”, so I thought we’d take a light-hearted look at some bad marketing to Christians. Today’s topic actually bumped the planned topic to next week and was inspired by Episode #367 of TableTalkRadio.

So, with health food stores being all the rage, what’s an opportunistic entrepreneur going to do to gain market share? Daniel Plan Diet 2.0? Nope, Rick Warren was all over that one. No, we’ll need something new… I know, let’s rope in some of the Hebrew-roots enthusiasts and pull from a different OT Prophet. Let’s go to Ezekiel for bread.

ezekiel49Ezekiel 4:9
Bread. And Better!™

Ezekiel 4:9 products are crafted in the likeness of the Holy Scripture verse Ezekiel 4:9 to ensure unrivaled honest nutrition and pure, delicious flavors.

“Take also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentils and millet, and spelt and put them in one vessel…” Ezekiel 4:9

It’s this special, unique combination of 6 grains and legumes that harvests benefits beyond what we normally expect from our breads, pastas, cereals, and other foods.

Source of Complete Protein – Rated 84.3% as efficient as the highest source of protein (comparable to that of milk or eggs)
Contains 18 Amino Acids – Including all 9 essential amino acids
Increased Digestibility – Sprouting breaks down
starches in grains into simple sugars so your body can digest them easily.
Increased Absorption of Minerals – Sprouting breaks down enzyme inhibitors, so your body can more easily absorb calcium, magnesium, iron, copper and zinc.
Increased Vitamin C – Sprouting produces vitamin C.
Increased Vitamin B – Sprouting increases the vitamin B2, B5 & B6.
Great source of Fiber – Combining sprouted grains and legumes gives a good amount of natural fiber in each serving. (Source Link last accessed 3/14/2016)

Wow, that must mean it’s awesome for you and totally blessed by God since the recipe comes straight out of the Bible! Well… the problem is there’s more to the recipe… and trust me when I share it with you…. you won’t be happy about it.

Ezekiel 4

Ezekiel 4 (ESV) | The Siege of Jerusalem Symbolized

4 “And you, son of man, take a brick and lay it before you, and engrave on it a city, even Jerusalem. 2 And put siegeworks against it, and build a siege wall against it, and cast up a mound against it. Set camps also against it, and plant battering rams against it all around. 3 And you, take an iron griddle, and place it as an iron wall between you and the city;and set your face toward it, and let it be in a state of siege, and press the siege against it. This is a sign for the house of Israel.

4 “Then lie on your left side, and place the punishment of the house of Israel upon it. For the number of the days that you lie on it, you shall bear their punishment. 5 For I assign to you a number of days, 390 days,equal to the number of the years of their punishment. So long shall you bear the punishment of the house of Israel. 6 And when you have completed these, you shall lie down a second time, but on your right side, and bear the punishment of the house of Judah. Forty days I assign you, a day for each year. 7 And you shall set your face toward the siege of Jerusalem, with your arm bared, and you shall prophesy against the city. 8 And behold, I will place cords upon you, so that you cannot turn from one side to the other, till you have completed the days of your siege.

9 “And you, take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and emmer,and put them into a single vessel and make your bread from them.During the number of days that you lie on your side, 390 days, you shall eat it. 10 And your food that you eat shall be by weight, twenty shekels a day; from day to day you shall eat it. 11 And water you shall drink by measure, the sixth part of a hin; from day to day you shall drink. 12 And you shall eat it as a barley cake, baking it in their sight on human dung.”13 And the Lord said, “Thus shall the people of Israel eat their bread unclean, among the nations where I will drive them.” 14 Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I have never defiled myself. From my youth up till now I have never eaten what died of itself or was torn by beasts, nor has tainted meat come into my mouth.” 15 Then he said to me, “See, I assign to you cow’s dung instead of human dung, on which you may prepare your bread.” 16 Moreover, he said to me, “Son of man, behold, I will break the supply of bread in Jerusalem. They shall eat bread by weight and with anxiety, and they shall drink water by measure and in dismay. 17 I will do this that they may lack bread and water, and look at one another in dismay, and rot away because of their punishment.

So, if you are Ezekiel… you get to cook this bread over cow dung… otherwise… human dung. Tasty, eh?

No, it’s (probably) not cooked over dung

This bread is clearly not cooked over dung. It should also be abundantly clear that this bread is in no way, shape, or fashion ANYTHING like the bread that the LORD God told Ezekiel to bake as a prophetic sign against Israel. The point of this post is 2-fold.

  1. STOP PROOF-TEXTING YOUR UNBIBLICAL NONSENSE! Seriously… stop it. It’s at best embarrassing and at worst eternally damning. This is doing great violence to the Written Word of God.
  2. Stop letting con-artists get away with this nonsense. This isn’t a “bless their hearts” sort of silliness, this is twisting God’s Word to earn a buck… at best. At worst is a ploy to get the professing Christian to place his/her trust in something OTHER THAN Jesus Christ, our Daily Bread, our Manna from Heaven, our Lord and Savior. Yes, dear Christian, you are free to eat of any food that God created… so that means this bread cannot harm you… that’s not what I’m worried about… it’s about the bible twist at play in its marketing. If you want a nutty bread go get some. If your brother or sister in Christ mentions this bread, or promotes it, call them on it. Have them open their Bible up to Ezekiel 4 and ask them to read it aloud.


Let us continue to encourage one another in Christ Jesus to spend time in the Word of God, that our faith might grow in Christ, the author and finisher of our faith.

Hebrews 13:20-21 (ESV)

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

In Christ Jesus,

Gospel Wednesday | Mark 9

GWWelcome back as we continue working through the Gospel According to Mark. Two weeks ago we covered Mark 8, where we saw Jesus directly rebuked the Pharisees for demanding a sign from Him despite having rejected Him and the signs that had already testified of Him. Their demand for a special sign demonstrated their wickedness, it flowed directly from their unbelief, and He called them on it. We also saw Jesus feed the multitudes again, this time really driving home who He is… and Peter confessed Jesus as the Christ.

Today, we’ll resume reading, beginning in Chapter 9 of the Gospel According to Mark.

Mark 9:1-13 (ESV) | The Transfiguration

And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.” And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. And Peter said to Jesus,“Rabbi, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” For he did not know what to say, for they were terrified. And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.” And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only. And as they were coming down the mountain, he charged them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what this rising from the dead might mean. And they asked him, “Why do the scribes say that first Elijah must come?” And he said to them, “Elijah does come first to restore all things. And how is it written of the Son of Man that he should suffer many things and be treated with contempt? But I tell you that Elijah has come, and they did to him whatever they pleased, as it is written of him.”

Here, for a moment, Peter, James, and John got to see Jesus in His Glory. They saw Elijah and Moses speaking with Jesus (these 2 represented the Law and the Prophets) for they pointed to Him. The Kingdom of God had come to fulfill the Promise of Salvation. Understandably, the disciples couldn’t quite put a handle on what they were witnessing and made some poor attempts at capturing the moment to preserve it… but the Voice of the Lord God spoke to them and what did He say? “This is my beloved Son; listen to Him.” Jesus wanted them to start understanding why He came and what He needed to do. I can’t qualify this statement with any hard facts, but I tend to think that whenever the disciples heard Jesus speak of raising from the dead, they probably assumed He meant sometime way out in the future.

Mark 9:14-29 (ESV) | Jesus Heals a Boy with an Unclean Spirit

And when they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and scribes arguing with them. And immediately all the crowd, when they saw him, were greatly amazed and ran up to him and greeted him. And he asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?” And someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a spirit that makes him mute. And whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able.” And he answered them, “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me.” And they brought the boy to him. And when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” And Jesus said to him,“‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, “He is dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”

This is a tough passage for me, because I’ve been through so many bad sermons on it. Let’s focus on the clear, and leave the less clear for discussions with your pastor. What is clear here is the father lacked faith. He hedged his request not by “if you are willing” but by “if you can”. Jesus rebukes the mans lack of faith and the man repents, but notice in the repentance he makes a powerful statement, help my unbelief! It is God who gives us faith, by His Grace. Jesus saves us from the Kingdom of darkness. As for the last statement, what is clear is that what took place was nothing short of a miracle of God upon the boy. Much ink has been spilled in trying to parse out and dissect what Jesus really meant here, but I’m going to leave it now with the point that it is God who saves, and we should pray. I encourage you to seek out your pastor for more teaching on this point.

Mark 9:30-32 (ESV) | Jesus Again Foretells Death, Resurrection

They went on from there and passed through Galilee. And he did not want anyone to know, for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them,“The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise.”But they did not understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him.

Jesus is preparing His sheep for what was coming, and they were confused yet afraid to ask.

Mark 9:33-37 (ESV) | Who Is the Greatest?

And they came to Capernaum. And when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them,“If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.”

It’s good to see the humanity of these Apostles. Like kids, they got into a squabble over their relative greatness. We all do it. Jesus calls them out on it, and instructs them… and us… on what is most important.

Mark 9:38-41 (ESV) | Anyone Not Against Us Is for Us

John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” But Jesus said, “Do not stop him, for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. For the one who is not against us is for us. For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will by no means lose his reward.

Jesus isn’t making a blanket philosophical statement like the easily refutable “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”… the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a singular road, a singular Way to God. EVERYONE who is not for the Gospel of Jesus Christ is against us, because all who are not of Christ are against Him, for the world hates Him. This verse should in no way be used to stifle Biblical discernment or the rebuke of false teachers, false doctrine, or spirits of error.

Mark 9:42-50 (ESV) | Temptations to Sin

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’ For everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”

This is about false teaching. I hadn’t noticed it before, but this time reading through this text the words (emphasis mine) who believe in me really jumped off the screen at me. We deal with our own hearts tempting us to sin on a regular basis… woe to the one who tempts believers to sin. I think this particular warning is particularly aimed at the false teacher or one who engages in false doctrines. Jesus is speaking figuratively here regarding the cutting off of hands/feet/eyes since even doing so literally will not address the sin of the heart. From an individual perspective, it’s about dying to self, so that we might live in the Spirit. The references to being salted with fire is often explained as a reference to the Old Testament sacrifices, that they were salted before being offered up at the altar. In the New Covenant it’s the work of the Holy Spirit in us, salting us, and burning away sins and transgressions.

I’d like to offer up another way of reading it, but this is just me sharing my thoughts and I have yet to find a commentary that confirms this reading: I think this also points to church discipline if we read this not as an individual’s body but the local Church body. Reflecting back to the danger of leading those who believe in Christ away from Him, those within the Body of Christ who are preaching falsely and causing division by preaching falsely ought to be cut away rather than send the whole body to hell. I’m borrowing heavily from Paul’s treatment of the subject of rebuking and silencing false teachers as well as excommunicating unrepentant sinners so that they might repent, be forgiven, and restored.

Regarding the loss of saltiness, that isn’t something we can fix, because becoming salt wasn’t our doing in the first place. I think this is reflected in Hebrews 5-6 discussion of apostasy. Jesus ends with an encouragement to be salty and at peace with the Body of Christ. I think the encouragement of being salty is to trust in the Person and Work of God the Holy Spirit as He keeps us in Christ Jesus.


Until next week, spend time in the Written Word of God and do not forsake the gathering of the saints, hearing of the Preached Word… both Law and Gospel.

Hebrews 13:20-21 (ESV) Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will,working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

In Christ Jesus,