Without a doubt, especially as the days grow so ever darker, we, especially us men, need a holy and right resolve unto godliness.

Recently, the Scripture passage below has been exceptionally convicting and challenging for me. I pray that these words will stick firmly in the mind and grip the depths of our innermost being. Personally pray and seek God as to the really of this type of authentic reality and resolution.

“I will ponder the way that is blameless.

Oh when will you come to me?

I will walk with integrity of heart within my house;

I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless.

I hate the work of those who fall away;

it shall not cling to me.

A perverse heart shall be far from me; 

I will know nothing of evil.”

Psalm 101:2-5

All of Psalm 101 is edifying, but these few verses alone are enough to send us to our knees.

Let us ask ourselves, as we ought to do:

Is this a reality in my life?

Is this my resolve to be godly and seek to please God?

Have I been convicted to live in such a way?

If not, may we be a people, men, who will live in such a way!

Jeremy B. Strang

Christian. Husband. Father. Author.

Grace Upon Grace / Foothills of True Grace / As Christ: A Man and Marriage / Realities of a True Christian

Grace Upon Grace: A Story of May Eighteenth

Grace Upon Grace

 Story of May Eighteenth

 Download a FREE eBook (PDF) here: Grace Upon Grace

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May the Lord be glorified, my wife be honored and my kids grow in the true grace of God.

As special thank you, to my wonderful wife Trish – Your love, patience and endurance for me is testament to God’s grace.

For from His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.”

John 1:16


There is no other date on the calendar that reminds me more of God’s grace, the life of Christ and His propitiation, than May eighteenth. This year marks another milestone twofold. First, the powerful work of God’s grace for the exchange of my sin. Secondly, for the grace given me again one year later, a blessing of blessings upon the earth, a grace given over and over and over again.


Before diving forward, let me set the stage and lay before you the history and context of my life up to eighteenth of May.

You see, I was a simple Midwestern boy from a good family. I lived with my mom, dad and brother. We always had everything we needed; my mom was a nurse, my dad an electrician. I grew up going to church and lived a model, yet modest, America life. I grew up being taught simple prayers and that Jesus Christ was true.

I was a quiet child, very much a loner and a son of a loner. And although a loner, I had several friends in our little neighborhood and a few more at school.

After the summer of 1980, having moved earlier that year, this quiet loner of a boy was surrounded by new people, in a new town, in a larger school, and completely out of his element. I faced all new challenges. All of my previous friends were gone, the comfort and reliability of the environment outside of my home was radically changed, and yet nothing at all uncommon about the story, unless of course you’re a shy loner of a boy.

But something radically changed within me. Within the first few weeks at my new school, fear and depression began to creep into my life. I cannot explain it, for I had not experienced any traumas nor had any gross incidents at school, but nonetheless, darkness gripped me as if a strong-man grasped my neck, thus my very heart and life. I was powerless to understand what was happening to me.

During the first year at my new school, second grade to be exact, I began to cry every morning while sitting quietly at my desk. My teacher would comfort me by day and my mom during the night. For the first three months this repeated daily.[1]

This led to a destructive, dark, hidden life that no one could imagine the depths of; even to this day I will not share some of the thoughts that came into my mind during my years of transitioning from second-grader to 28 year old. The resulting effects sent my sinful heart deep into itself.

As I grew older, my pride was fueled, my anger grew, my many fears repressed, alcohol became my friend, and my treatment of women was horrid. Music became a way of escape. Gangster rap in my early years to heavy metal as I grew older, the false allusions of music and man-centered power, mixed with the toxic doses of adrenaline, was the release I often craved.

Many more stories of my past could be shared – the painful school years, the competitive Ice Dancing, the martial arts, my first of many jobs, hidden wickedness and etc., but I find that for the purposes of this book, these things are best, at least for now, left for personal conversations, many of which ought never to be heard by another’s ears.

A Year Prior to May 18th

Why do I say a year prior to May 18 eighteenth? I mean, had I not lived through 28 other May eighteenths? Yes, but allow me to lay before you the year prior. For it is my desire to demonstrate to you not only the common grace of God, but further yet, His “grace upon grace” that has been bestowed unto me.

In late 1999, having graduated Radiography (X-ray) school earlier that year, I found myself working in Bloomington, IL. In November I met this sparky little girl who caught my attention. She was a traveling X-ray technologist who was working in the Radiology department. At the time I was working fulltime in the Calcium Score Cat Scan Department – real technology at the time. Our meeting was not while working, but on a ‘booze cruise,’ basically meaning, we were on a bus that drove us around from bar to bar while drinking heavy amounts of alcohol for twelve hours.

Now, don’t let this time fool you, my life was anything but stable. I guess obviously stated since a ‘booze cruise’ was a highlight in my life.

I was living in a hellish deep dark depression, one very hidden, and controlling of my life. As a result, this helped to fuel my pride, empower my anger and enslave me in lust. I was a liar, a thief, an adulterer, a drunk, a malicious gossip and a flat out God hater. In my use, or abuse, of women, I was truly a murderer at heart – of course not physically, but spiritually. I used profanity as communication, anger as a lifestyle, all while deceitfully justifying myself. I lived with thoughts so dark and so wicked it was as if hell itself lived inside my mind. Nearly every day suicide swirled about my head. This was my reality.

Come January of 2000, and surprisingly having kept up some sort of a relationship with the girl I had met, I decided I too would hit the road traveling, after all, what did I have to lose, and besides, this girl was cute.

So before long, this Midwestern boy found himself in beautiful Taos, New Mexico. The three months I spent there were great, yet my life inwardly was a train wreck that was still very much hidden to the outside world.

Over the course of that year, that cute little girl I had met in Bloomington, became more of a girlfriend, and we traveled all over the United States. We worked at many hospitals traveling through and/or visiting all the states east of the Mississippi River and seven to the west. It was a busy year of work, but yet we made sure to live as reckless as possible nearly every chance we had. Little did I know at that time just how much she was working things out in her own life and mind as well.

After a year of heavy traveling, we both found ourselves working back in Taos at the Holy Cross Hospital. This stop would be one we would forever remember.

Back in Taos

It had only been one year since I had first discovered Taos. This was a beautiful and artistic, a bit eccentric, mountain town in northern New Mexico.

After only a couple weeks of us being back in Taos, I worked with a man who I had met the year prior. For two weeks we worked the evening shift together. Ironically enough, we had a slow two week period.

During this time I learned more about this guy as well he learned about me. The more we talked the more I realized he had something I had not. And although I was a bit intrigued as to what this might be, I really did not want to talk so deeply regarding spiritual things and things to which I had to give an account.

He shared stories and facts about Taos, and things about Christianity, most of which, I have to confess, I don’t really remember. The few conversations of his I vividly recall, and resisted, was his constant invitations to join his family Sunday morning for worship at their church. This had absolutely no appeal to me at all. I grew up attending a small church back home and was content to never cross those doors again. After two weeks of persistence and patience in inviting us, my girlfriend and I went the next Sunday morning – this of course only so that my co-worker would not ask me anymore.

During that first church service, I quickly realized I had a strange comfort yet disturbing hatred with being there. As the worship music commenced, I noticed that they (the church) did not have a bass player. Considering my obsession with music and playing bass, regardless of the style, I naturally thought to myself, “What an opportunity to show these people my talent.” (I now laugh thinking about this)

Amazingly, we went back three weeks in a row, although I had no idea why. After the third week, I approached the pastor, Larry Seguin[2], about the idea of me playing bass for him. We talked only for a moment when he asked about my story. I gave him some pathetic lie of how good I was and how I knew all about this Christian church thing. He responded by saying that we must find a time to sit down and talk prior to any of my involvement. Looking back, I can remember him staring at me, with his head slightly tilted and a smile on his face, like I had absolutely no clue of what I was saying.

That third Sunday I also remember, as we were on our way down to Albuquerque, my girlfriend asking me, “What does Larry mean by having a relationship with Jesus? You grew up going to church, what does he mean?

I replied, “I have no idea, I just skip that part of his teaching.”

And so went my life – a denial of that which I cared nothing about. I continued disguising a false front all while my dark realities ragged in an embittered hellish prison cell deep within.

May Eighteenth

Then came Friday evening May eighteenth two thousand one.

That early evening I was scheduled to meet with Pastor Larry about my playing bass. I somehow knew that the meeting was pointless. I mean, I certainly would not let someone like me to be in front of some church and play music, so I already knew he was going to tell me no.

Now my plans for the evening were simple: get the meeting over with and go out drinking it up while my girlfriend was at work. I had no intentions of having any kind of serious discussion nor was I seeking some sort of help, in all actuality, I didn’t even really want to be there at all.

Regardless, Pastor Larry and I met. We sat at this little round table inside of the quaint church building. After some small talk, Larry said to me, “I have only three basic rules if you want to join the praise and worship team.”

Whoa, stop right there,” I said, “I don’t want to join some team; I just want to play bass.”

He patiently and kindly replied, with a smile on his face, “Ok, I only have three rules if you want to ‘play bass.’

First,” he said, “no public drinking of any kind.”

This of course perked my attention.

He went on to explain,

The Bible does not say you cannot have a drink, but it is clear you are not to be a drunkard, or one who drinks until drunk.” He said, “We have many people here who are recovering addicts and one drink for them is death. When they see you ‘up front’ playing bass, you are seen as someone in leadership, approved by the church and a representative of the Bible. If they see you out in public having even a sip, they do not know your situation and they will very easily perceive it as being ok for them to do as well. This is why it is our rule, not to be legalistic, but to be accountable to God.

I nodded my head in agreement but had no plan of following the notion. What Larry said made sense to me, but at that time, it had no impact upon me.

Secondly, no pornography of any type – period.”

I responded with a half-truth, “Well, that really is not a problem for me.”

Now, this was partially true, for I was ingesting so much speed I could not sit still long enough to get caught up with pornography as we think about it today. Yet, I was living in the depths of my self-pleasing, self-exalting sin, and had committed all kinds of vile perversions in this area.

By this point, I really wanted to just get up and leave, and yet, I continued to sit there with an uncomfortable pressure upon my chest.

Soon, Larry began to elaborate on his third rule.

Thirdly,” he said, “to obey all the commandments of the Bible.”

Out from under his mustache he smiled and continued, “Now I know no one can do such a thing, but there is one specific thing I want to talk to you about.

Strangely I could sense something more serious was about to transpire. And with a new determined and serious change of tone in his voice, he said, while thumbing through his Bible, “Excuse me, I need to find this verse I am looking for.”

I was never more uncomfortable.

Very humbly he said, “I am sorry I do not know my Bible better than I ought.

He then stood up and walked over to the little corner of books and grabbed a large concordance from the shelves. He wanted to be absolutely sure of what I was to hear next.

I thought to myself, how could this Pastor not know what the Bible says?

After finding the passage of Scripture, he said, “Son, there is this one thing you are doing. You are sleeping with your girlfriend, am I correct?

He looked at me, as if looking into my soul itself, and waited for my response.

I was not enthused with the question nor was I happy being there at that moment, but I answered him honestly, “Yes.”

He asked, “Do you know what it means when the Bible uses the word fornication?

Yes sir,” I mumbled, yet I had no idea what the Bible had to say about it.[3]

He then began to read, opening the Bible before me, first-Corinthians 6:9-10 which reads:

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral [fornicators], nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”[4]

I was completely struck, left dumbfounded to myself and in a shock of sorts, but yet free in a way I could not describe. I sat there unable to speak. It was as if a light switch flipped on in my mind. The light of Christ[5] flooded my heart, exposing my sin, and my great need to be rescued was revealed.

And in this moment Larry perceived me correctly for he came down with the final blows to my soul, and yet he did so with compassion, love and utter power.

He said to me, “There is something else you are, that is not on listed above. You are a murderer!

I sat still. I was completely motionless and in awe.

He continued, “Every time you fornicate with that girlfriend of yours, you keep her further from the truth, further from Christ, further from knowing God. Thus, you are a spiritual murderer.”

And I could not help but agree!

What? How could I be in agreeance? How is it that I recognized that I was almost every single one of those things as described in the Bible passage above?

Simple, the Spirit of God opened my eyes to see the truth, the truth of who I was apart from Christ, the truth of my wretchedness and hopeless depravity, the truth of my absolute need for a savior – grace was coming into my life, deeply, powerfully and in a way I could not describe. And not only grace, but mercy upon mercy – freedom, life, and restoration. It was as if a blind man had just been granted eyesight for the very first time and I was that blind man.

I believe Larry noticed something was happening in me and continued to tell me,

You need to go to your girlfriend and apologize to her. You can stay at our home until you can work out different living arrangements. Now, what I believe you will do is what I did when I was a young man your age. I had a similar offer, but I turned it down. I went out and immediately got married just so I could continue pleasing myself. We were divorced three months later and I regret it to this day. So, what are you going to do?

Good question, what was I going to do?

But I knew exactly what I had to do.

He then sent me out the door, no prayer, no false salvation or profession of faith, he simply said to me, “If the Lord is working here we shall see. Now, go do what you need to do and my door is always open to you.

I stepped out of the doors of that little church building standing for a moment on the steps and looked at the beautiful New Mexico sunset that was hovering just above the mountains to the far west. I threw out all my drugs. I determined, thus by the power of God’s Spirit, that I must apologize to my girlfriend. I called her immediately and said that we must talk when she got home. I then went to our small rustic Spanish casita and replayed the events and words of Larry over and over in my mind. My plans to go drinking were not even a second thought.

Later that night, after my girlfriend got home from work, we talked. I told her about my conversation with Larry, what I was experiencing, what I felt and apologized to her. I shared with her exactly what Larry had told me and the verse from first Corinthians. I told her I could no longer be with her as I had for the last year and that if she thought I was completely crazy I understood. If she wanted to break everything off, I was willing to let her go her own way.

Around two am we finally stopped talking. She went into the bedroom to sleep and I to the couch. We had no idea what was ahead for either one of us. But one thing I knew for sure, that May eighteenth of two thousand and one the grace of God was made manifest to me!

Unlikely Witness

The next morning we sat at the small kitchen table talking of what we were going to do. We were out of sorts; everything we had normally been accustomed to doing was changing. This day was most certainly different for me as I had a freedom I could not explain and I certainly wanted to know more.

It was Sat morning, and not knowing what to do, I called Larry and shared what I had said and where we were at. He invited us to come down to the church building and talk some more.

Once there, we shared our conversation from the night prior and he encouraged us onward. As we talked with him, we started to stack up books they had for free via donation. They had some really good books that were very solid biblically and served to help our newly found faith. We nearly grabbed every book they had and we put all the cash we had into the donation box.

Over the course of the next two weeks, I started to notice a real change in my girlfriend. It was quite amazing to watch. She began making changes in habits and her talk. During this time, she kept searching and reading about this Jesus who saves. I know this, whatever work was being done there was not of me, nor directly of my story, but a working of the Almighty God who was working in and with me. I had been praying that she would experience this new life that had been granted to me. And indeed she did!

Who would have guessed that any of this could have taken place in our lives? And I certainly would never have guessed the Lord could use my testimony of God’s grace to impact anyone, especially my girlfriend. I was without a doubt the most unlikely of witnesses, yet I know that absolutely no credit was mine for the taking.

Over the course of that next year, much had happened. From New Mexico to Arkansas, from Illinois to North Carolina, from Wisconsin to Michigan, the Lord was working in my life and I shared it everywhere I went. The details of that year I believe could fill many more books.

Two very crucial things happened for me over that year.

First, I was introduced to the persecuted Christian church. This had a deep impact upon my personal life and propelled me to continue growing in this new profession of faith. Second, was with regards to my girlfriend.

I ended up taking an assignment nearly a thousand miles away from Taos where she was still working. During this time, we began to learn to communicate about deeper topics. Our main discussion quickly became centered on whether or not we would go our separate ways or move forward towards marriage. It became apparent as we talked that marriage was the path we were going to take.

This seriousness in our relationship, along with the new found life in Christ, caused this cute little girl who I had met in Bloomington, IL, to become more than a girlfriend and traveling coworker. No longer was she a girlfriend, but soon to be a fiancé. She became who she really was, Trish, my future wife and sister in our shared Christian faith. She was becoming my best friend and someone who knew me better than anyone else ever had. It’s not that I did not have many good friends, because I did, but no one knew the deeper realities of my past.

So in late September of two thousand and one, Trish’s assignment in Taos was nearly over. I was working in Arkansas and she was going to come and work there as well.

Before leaving Taos, on one early Sunday Morning, in the crisp cool air, we took a hot air balloon flight over the Rio Grande Gorge. A thousand feet above the white waters, and just a few miles outside of downtown Taos, Trish agreed to become my wife.

Later that morning, we went to our last church service together at that little church building. There we shared the news with everyone, said our goodbyes, and headed out onto a new road with an unknown journey ahead.

Grace Came Again

A year had transpired. We continued traveling the nation, began to cut off ties with our old habits, and continued to grow in grace and the knowledge of our dear Lord and Savior. During this year we decided to settle down, at least for a couple years, in Stillman Valley, IL, my home town.

We naturally thought we should ask the local pastor, to marry us. His name was Pastor Rod, and he knew, at least to some degree, my past life of rebellion and sin. He had been a friend to my family and the pastor of the church I used to periodically attend.

We had yet to share with Rod how God radically changed our lives. After asking him to marry us, hesitant as he was, he agreed to sit down with us in discussion. My plan was that we would tell him at our first meeting.

There we sat, Rod and his wife on one side, Trish and I on the other. I have to admit, there seemed to be an uncomfortable tension in the air. After about 10 minutes of watching Rod squirm in his chair (I believe he was working up the right way to tell us he was not comfortable about our marriage), I told him all about our last year. We told him how the Lord had exposed our sin, gave us His grace, and set our sights on eternity.  Both he and his wife were shocked and completely overjoyed! Those times of meeting with them were good and a real help for our future days to come.

A week before the wedding he asked us to pick a few Bible verses that we would like to have read individually. Without telling one another, we picked the exact same verses.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.[6]

So on May eighteenth two thousand and two, Trish and I were married.

After being announced husband and wife, and before we kissed, we had decided that communion and dedication to the Lord would be our primary commitment. We had many people there who did not know what had happened to us and why we now were so different. Pastor Rod explained what communion was all about and why we had chosen the act of communion as our first act as husband and wife.

Grace came again to me on May eighteenth two thousand and two. First the grace of God came in form of forgiveness of my past, freedom from my sins and new life in Christ Jesus; and grace came again in the form of my new wife Trish, whom I was now one with, in marriage and a symbol of Christ and the church.[7]

Amazing, simply amazing!

The Christian Life

It has now been 15 years that we have been married. I have been set free and saved unto God for 16 years now. We have 5 children, lived in 6 states, and met wonderful people from all over the world.

But don’t let me fool you, the Christian life is not some ‘name it and claim it’, ‘grab it and blab it, prosperous ease while bidding our time here on earth. The fact is that the true Christian life is one of constant commitment. It requires diligence and steadfastness; is full of failures and forgiveness; has victories and tears; and is most certainly active and dynamic. Although, it certainly is not one of perfection and the pleasing of one’s own self – not at all.

The longer I have been a Christian, the more I realize how weak I am. I have days where it is truly a spiritual battle to do the right thing.[8]

You see, although I had not been looking for God, at least not as I would have known, God came to me, taught me His word, gave me His grace, showed me my need, offered His Son and gave me new life. I was utterly helpless to be a ‘savior’ to myself. All the self-help in the world is nothing but powerless humanism. All of my attempts to be a ‘good person’ were miserable failures.

God has given us all a will to use, a will with the ability to seek, a will to make cognitive choices. And let me assure you, we will answer for how we have abused these common graces. For these common graces of God are bestowed upon all of mankind, and are meant to draw us to the powerful saving grace of God. For in His grace reality unto a new life really does exist and hope really does reside. And yet, we need the sovereign God to do the work that only He can do, His powerful work of conversion through the work of Jesus Christ upon the cross; yet His common grace of free will having been bestowed to us still stands, just as His promise is still available to those who will seek Him[9] – this all by faith through grace.[10]

Yet I too must apply this personally in my daily walk with God, I must everyday chose whom I will serve, not that I am saving myself over and over, but that I must chose whom I place as first in my life each and every day, myself or the God of the universe. When I wake up, I know where my help comes from[11] and to Him I must go, but I must activate that which he has already given me. I must choose with my mind from where I will draw my strength and what shall be my eternal purpose.

And you too must use the common grace God has given you. Will you seek God? Will you not? Will you be brutally honest with yourself and with your inability to make yourself right with God? Maybe you have tried all the philosophies and self-helps there is and you know there is yet more to life?

Or maybe you are running down roads similar to my past? Maybe you have never been as ‘bad’ as me and believe yourself to be a good person? But let me assure you, we are all fallen and separated from God.[12]

Regardless, you have to do something with Jesus.

If He is just another wise guy to you, then you have to do something about what He said and what He did – “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”[13]

If He was a lunatic or a man who simply lived and died, then how could He be so hated, even unto this day, if He was not true? Why the hatred for that which would have had no power, no truth, no lasting effect?

Yet, maybe, He is true and you have been casting Him off as simply some messed up religion or some ‘church’ affiliation? Maybe you have been hurt by people who call themselves some sort of ‘christians’ yet never seem to demonstrate compassion, patience or love?

I do not know your stance, your situation in life, your worldview, or how you have been treated – regardless, you will be held accountable for your actions and disregards of God’s varied grace.

I don’t know what tomorrow will bring specifically, I cannot sway the sea of hypnotized people consumed by the narcissism of multimedia, nor can I predict when the economy will fall, but this one thing I do know, this truth I will declare, this transforming power I will defend – the grace of God is true, powerful and life changing.

And the God of this grace will forever be my boast as to the best of my ability. And although I still fall short, I will make the “one true God[14] my boast forever and ever.

Thus says the Lord: ‘Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.’”[15]

And if you do not think that the true grace of God is powerful and working, alive and transforming, read what the Bible says about the grace of God,

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.”[16]

Although this book is merely a small glimpse into the history of my past, and maybe my experiences have not been yours, please know that there really is hope and more to this life – for “grace upon grace” awaits you.  Again though I must ask, my friend, what shall you do with it? Will you throw it to the wayside or receive it freely?

But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”[17]

“…grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”[18]

If you would like to know more about the grace of God or the realities of the true Christian life, please take a look at some of my other books. The Foothills of True Grace is a beginning look at God’s “manifold[19] grace and you can get a free copy of the book, plus others, on my website.[20]

For it is true,

“For from His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.”

And why do I share this story? Why put myself in a place of vulnerability and apparent weakness? Three-fold.

First, that my God would be glorified.

Second, that you may come to experience the realities, the love, grace, power and mercies, of this one true God.

Third, that my testimony would stand as a memorial for what God has done in my life, always reminding me of His attributes, His incredible salvation, His undeniable love and His redeeming grace.[21]

Indeed, May eighteenth I received “grace upon grace.”

“Sometimes, when I see some of the worst characters in the street, I feel as if my heart must burst forth in tears of gratitude that God has not let me alone! I have thought, ‘If God had left me alone, and had not touched me by His grace, what a great sinner I would have been! I would have run to the utmost lengths of sin, dived into the very depths of evil. Nor would I have stopped at any vice or folly, if God had not restrained me!

“If feel that I would have been a very king of sinners, if God had left me alone. I cannot understand the reason why I am saved, except upon the ground that God would have it so. I cannot, if I look ever so earnestly, discover any kind of reason in myself why I should be a partaker of Divine grace.”

~ Charles Spurgeon ~

[1] Interestingly enough, later in life I found out that my special reading teacher had prayed over me and all the kids in the school. She was a godly woman, very much the grandmotherly type.

[2] Larry passed away and went to be with his Lord on March 5th, 2014. Visit my website or The Taos News to view my letter to the editor, which the newspaper titled, “My Turn: In Memory of Pastor Larry Seguin.”

[3] Interestingly, the word, “fornication,” popped into my mind months prior and I thought about looking it up in the Bible, but chose not to do so at that time.

[4] [fornicators] King James Version (KJV©)

[5] John chapter one.

[6] 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

[7] Ephesians 5:31-32. Also see my book, As Christ: A Man and Marriage.

[8] Ephesians 6:12; John 1:12

[9] Matthew 7:7-8

[10] Ephesians 2:8-9

[11] Psalm 121:1-2

[12] Romans 3:22-23

[13] John 14:6

[14] 1 Corinthians 8:6; plus several other passages

[15] Jeremiah 9:23-24

[16] Titus 2:11-14

[17] John 1:12-13

[18] John 1:17

[19] 1 Peter 4:10


[21] I love the story of Joshua 4:1-7

Thoughts with Whitefield

In 1740, George Whitefield, a man greatly used of God in launching the first great awakening, and a man to whom I love to read, wrote to John Wesley, a close friend, “I never read anything that Calvin wrote.”[1] He was also quoted as saying, “I embrace the Calvinistic scheme, not because of Calvin, but Jesus Christ has taught it to me.”[2] Through the life of George Whitefield, no doubt the grace of God was taught with diligence and eloquence, never diminishing Christ, but it was more of a reality of who he was.

And with these things about Whitefield it is that I do agree: 1.) I too have yet to read anything Calvin wrote, not more than a random quote. 2.) Anything I have learned about grace has been what Christ has done in rescuing my soul and taught me through many hours of study in his word. Although I am yet still such a youth in the subject. Yet I am not a Calvinist, nor am I Arminian, simply a Christian saved by God’s grace. 3.) Grace must be a reality and not a mere thing to be minimized, legalized and scrutinized.

[1] Dallimore, Whitefield, I, p. 574.

[2] Packer, “The Spirit with the Word,” p. 47.

The Collision of Will and the Constraining Love of Christ

It is the power of God working conversion in the lives of men (and women) as men choose to embrace the love of God in and through Christ’s propitiation that was demonstrated for all. For God has indeed made Himself known – yet most will deny Him and deny His love. But those who truly embrace Christ are first to admit, even though their wills are free and active in making sound decisions, their power is grossly insufficient to craft a darkened sin laden heart into a new creation. And although God is indeed sovereign and omniscient, although the book of life has already been written, what man, woman or child, what beast or flower of the earth, what vast universe can attain such knowledge?

Therefore, in working under God’s sovereignty, and working in His economy, we, that is those of us truly born again to new life, are constrained by the love of God to be witnesses, in love, mercy, patience, and humility to every person that we meet. Thus our hope is that more people will yet have their free will collide headlong with the person of Christ and the sovereignty and power of God. For to His glory that we labor, and that we would boast in Him, giving verbal mention and practical application of our lives to Christ His Son and His powerful working Spirit. For our will, regardless of its given freedom, is ever so temporal and will one day need be given account for by its owner.

Let us boast in our God and respond to our salvation by being good witnesses of His workings, salvations, graces and mercies. For who knows what man yet will come to embrace the constraining and powerful love of Christ.

“For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” 2 Corinthians 5:14-15

Thought: If cancer radically destroys tissue and alters one’s life, if an accident deforms our bodies, if the smallest of microscopic bugs can make one sick and can kill, how much more radically changed is the life of one who collides with the God of all creation, encounters the love of Christ and is convicted by His Spirit?

This message below, “Reconciled“, from Pastor Larry Sheahan of Faith Fellowship in Marshfield, WI may just be a help to you.


Persecution: It Takes The President – Be Ashamed!

I know what you may be thinking, you’re thinking, this guy is going to write another article supporting President Trump, well you’re wrong! This article really is not centered on Donald Trump, nor really even Christian persecution. Rather, my topic is centered on pastors, preachers, leaders in the professing church.[1]

There is without a doubt, a great many problems within Christendom as a whole. First though, let me establish what I mean by Christendom.

Christendom is the overall complete terminology and ideology of what is labeled “Christian” or thought to be Christian by the general whole of society. I say this because the general public around the world has a very skewed view of what true and biblical Christianity really is, because most of what we see, hear and read about is not truly Christian. There are many false shadows and frontal illusions posing to be Christian, whether because of a root of pride and selfish gain, or because of complete ignorance, non-the-less, “Ichabod” has been tattooed all over that which is labeled Christian. With such deceptions more than rampant in every area of “Christian labels,” it is no shock to see how Christianity is viewed so completely wrong.

What I find so completely amazing, and maybe I should not be so amazed, is that pastors and preachers, generally speaking, overall lack in teaching and speaking about Christians being persecuted. I have seen more about persecution on the news, and most of this has been greatly reduced to nothing, than preparations for the coming persecution and that of our suffering brothers and sisters around the world. Even with the recent videos of horrible persecution  has seemed to have no effect on Christendom and the great majority of professing Christians in the affluent cultures. Little to no intercessory prayer meetings, little concern, and little to no preaching from the pulpit.

As many of you already know, President Trump has seemed to advocate the support of persecuted Christians.  Trump said this at a recent CBN interview when asked about helping Christians who are being persecuted,

“Yes.  Yes, they’ve been horribly treated.  If you were a Christian in Syria it was impossible, or at least very, very tough, to get into the United States.  If you were a Muslim you could come in, but if you were a Christian, it was almost impossible and the reason that was so unfair — everybody was persecuted, in all fairness — but they were chopping off the heads of everybody but more so the Christians. And I thought it was very, very unfair. So we are going to help them.”[2]

Of course, we shall see what will happen.

But the thought comes to mind, ought we not, by “we” I mean, church leaders, pastors, and preachers throughout Christendom, should we not feel ashamed? Should we not seriously introspect asking the question, why have we failed to preach and teach about persecution? I mean, how can this be? I know that I was only pulled from Satan’s grips and saved by the powerful true grace of God only about 16 years ago, but I have been advocating, as my small platform of life allows, for the persecuted and warning about a continuous rise of persecution since I was converted.

Well, I want to offer up two very possible causes of this.

First, I believe we have allowed for a very loose and very rampant influx of pastors and leaders who have never been born again.

Now before you wrongly use the Scripture, “judge not lest you be judged,”[3] let me remind you, Jesus clearly taught that we would “know them by their fruit.”[4] And let me say this, the fruit that is being displayed is absolutely appalling and very much ungodly. Jesus also clearly warned us, rather prophesied, about those who believe they are his followers and will be told, “be away from Me.” (Matthew 7:21-23; also see John 2:23-25)

I want show you a few statistics that I reprinted in my book, Realities of a True Christian.

“Here is a report of a survey of 10,000 Protestant ministers conducted by Sociologist Jeffrey Hadden; 7,441 responded to the questions. Here are the horrifying statistics. Read them, then wonder why God is grieved with our spiritual life. (I am indebted to Christ for the Nations, May 1982, for this information.)”[5]

Bible—inspired Word of God?

82% of Methodists said “No”

81% of Presbyterians said “No”

89% of Episcopals said “No”

57% of American Lutherans said “No”

Jesus the Son of God?

82% of Methodists said “No”

81% of Presbyterians said “No”

89% of Episcopals said “No”

75% of American Lutherans said “No”

Physical resurrection of Jesus?

51% of Methodists said “No”

35% of Presbyterians said “No”

30% of Episcopals said “No”

33% of Baptists said “No”

13% of American Lutherans said “No”

Any wonder why we are in the shape we are? Remember, this was first published in 1982!

Second, I believe, that if persecution were to be taught in a great majority of professing churches, their theology would have to be completely discarded for the dirty rags they are.

You see persecution, and those being persecuted, are a direct dichotomy to much of North American Christendom. Why? Well simple. For we are promised, “if they hated Me, they will hate you.” We are promised again, “Indeed all who desires to be godly will be persecuted.” Let me ask, how does the promise of persecution mix with the watered-down, self-centered, entertainment-seeking, emotionally-sensitive professing churches in Christendom today?

If many pastors and preachers were to start preaching about “denying themselves” and you “will be persecuted,” then they would have to repent of their selfish motivations and blatantly wrong teachings about this being your best life now and 5 steps to a happier you and so on.

So very rarely do we hear about the depravity of man, the wretchedness of our sin, the absolute need to be born again, the call to repentance and cutting away from living by self-help, the true grace of God,[6] and the list goes on.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there are many who do preach such things. But let me tell you, they are relatively speaking, few; and fewer yet those who have any true power and conviction of the Spirit of God in the conversion of men and women. But God, in spite of such, is still saving, whether we are obedient or not.

My overall point here is this: Should we not be concerned why it took our President to speak up for the persecuted before we were willing to speak up. Shall we trust Him to carry out what we, the professing Church, ought to be doing?

I have to say, if we are not moved to conviction, tears, intercessory prayer (not just occasional thoughts or prayer for the sake of self), speaking up for truth, and doing the work of the ministry (either going ourselves or supporting those who go), we truly need to heed what the Apostle Paul challenged the church at Corinth, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? – unless indeed you fail to meet the test.[7]

Maybe indeed, we are the generation, and individuals specifically, that Jesus is speaking to – “be away from Me![8]

Friends, dark days are coming, but for those who know their God, I mean really know Him, there is hope!

Let us suffer and advance.

[1] By professing church, I mean the totality of those who claim to be Christians, but in reality, very well may not be.


[3] Matthew 7:1

[4] Matthew 7:15-20

[5] Revival God’s Way, pg 145, Leonard Ravenhill, Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group, 1983, used by permission

[6] Titus 2:11-14

[7] 2 Corinthians 13:5

[8] Matthew 7:21-23

The Impact of Study


The Testimony of Spurgeon’s Brother

by Don Currin

fb_img_1485536938040Young Charles Spurgeon (age 17), who was already the pastor of a church of 450 congregants in Waterbeach, was in earnest prayer as to whether he should go to college to prepare for the ministry. Did he really need to obtain a formal education considering his insatiable appetite for study and his colossal spirituality embodied in a self – effacing humility?  A footnote in Spurgeon’s autobiography by the editor is worth consideration:

Spurgeon’s devotion to study is an important factor in estimating his future influence.  Charles Spurgeon’s brother’s testimony was that “he never did anything else but study.  I kept to the rabbits, chickens, and pigs, and a horse; HE KEPT TO BOOKS. {emphasis mine}  While I was busy here and there, meddling with anything and everything that a boy could touch, he kept to books, and could not keep away from study. But, though he had nothing to do with other things, he could have told you all about them because he used to read about everything with a memory as tenacious as a vice and as copious as a barn. …  He made such progress in his studies that I am sure there were few young men that were his equals, and I do not know of any that were his superiors.”

For those who would be quick to judge Spurgeon in what seems to be an immoderate preoccupation with reading and study without any service, he was a diligent soul winner during these days.  He was a faithful sower of gospel seed, distributing tracts as a lifestyle, while seeking to enter the most poor, uneducated and obstinate homes in his field of service.

Helps for the new and young Christian

20170120_212453Welcome to another new year and another new season in history as another new president has come into office in the United States.

As this year begins, many changes are happening in our family as well. I have recently accepted a new position in Wisconsin and will be moving in the next few weeks.

The one thing I want to do this year is to personally encourage, challenge, strengthen and warn the new and younger Christians – the old believer as well. I want to encourage you to grow greatly in your walk with God, challenge you regarding mere easy believism and personal beliefs that are not biblical, strengthen you in the warfare that will come against you, and warn you against pitfalls, complacency, false conversion and trusting in the flesh.

If you are not following this blog, please sign up below. If you have a question, please feel free to connect with me on the contact page. If you have not shared my page, please do so. Who knows what ‘seeds’ the Lord will use in the eternal life of a loved one or friend on social media.

Peace and blessings to you this year.

And may we grow in our authentic reality of the Christian faith; both in simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. May the fallow ground be worked, our humility be real, and may we boast upon God alone! Amen.

I would love to hear from you and stay posted for much more to come.


Jerebg-blogger-badge-350x350-e1387301563797my Strang: Christian. Husband. Father. Author.

Stay In The Boat / Foothills of True Grace / Realities of a True Christian / and more…


How Are We Being Moved?

“Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, ‘I am willing; be cleansed.'” Mark 1:41

In this day in age we seemed to moved about so many things. But are we being ‘moved with compassion?’

Oh how we are to be moved with compassion over souls who are suffering, lost, destitute, locked in bondage and awaiting a sweet release by and through the Lord Jesus Christ.

Are we being moved with compassion such that our hearts are broken, tears stream down our faces, our knees become worn with calluses and our souls resonate with the Apostle Paul when he said, “Oh that I would be accursed for the sake of my brethren?

Are we marked with compassion to such a degree that we take a holy resolve and a willed stance to labor in prayer for those who are in a dry spiritual waist land with little to no true fellowship?

Are we willing and open to used of God to edify the bride of Christ, His church, to call her to a more holy path and to return to her first love with eyes fixed upon the Author and Perfecter of her faith?

Are you willing to reach the one?

Are we, those of us who profess Christ as our Lord and Savior, moved with compassion over the souls of anyone? If not, our love has drawn cold, our profession is weak and our eyes are not set upon the things of Christ (2 Cor. 11:3; Rev. 2:4).

May we seek the heart, the eyes, the ears of Almighty God. May we grow in holiness and sanctification, and this being a real work of God that affects us to such a degree that our physical bodies respond to the inward and upward call of Christ Jesus.


Below is a quote is from Henry Scougal out of his book, The Life of God in the Soul of Man. I entitled this small section, Trust God and Work Diligently. Although the subject below is of the duality regarding, both trusting God and being diligent to work, we can learn much here; for if we apply this to the aforementioned, we may examine if we are rightly saved unto the claim we so boast about (that being a Christian). If indeed we have been converted, then there must be an inward application (increasing over time [sanctification]) whereby we take on greater and greater elements of God’s own heart and are moved with compassion over other people’s eternal condition.

Mr. Scougal says, “Away then with all perplexing fears and desponding thoughts: to undertake vigorously, and rely confidently on the divine assistance, is more than half the conquest, ‘Let us arise and be doing, and the Lord will be with us‘ (1 Chron. 22:16).

“It is true, religion in the souls of men is the immediate work of God, and all our natural endeavours can neither produce it alone, nor merit those supernatural aids by which it must be wrought: the Holy Spirit must come upon us, and the power, of the Highest must overshadow us, before the holy thing can be begotten, and Christ be formed in us: but yet we must not expect that this whole work should be done without any concurring endeavours of our own: we must not lie loitering in the ditch, and wait till Omnipotence pull us from thence; no, no! we must bestir ourselves, and actuate those powers which we have already received: we must put forth ourselves to our utmost capacities, and then we may hope that, ‘our labour shall not be in vain in the Lord‘ (1 Cor. 15:58).”
#bgbg2 #biblegateway

Who is this Jesus?




Who is this Jesus?

In the beginning mankind, being formed by Almighty God Himself, was set upon the earth. Man was to tend to God’s creation and under the boundaries of godliness and the very best way for his life.

Soon though, mankind sinned. Resulting effects of the direct defiance and willful sin against God’s perfect design immediately manifested. Sin, deep, dark, and at enmity against God, entered into mankind. This resulting effect, this depravity of mankind, took root and spread through the human seed, generation to generation.

Yet, God in His sovereignty and omniscience and omnipotence, began to lay out His redeeming plan of grace and mercy. Over and over and over again, grace and mercy, in His agape, would be demonstrated. Prophet after prophet, prophecy after prophecy, would lay hold of the authenticity of the “word made flesh,” a “Savior” to come, the very “God with us.” For Jesus was the authenticity of grace, the tortured One offering mercy, the Chief-most of love given and sacrificed and foretold of His coming.

As Loraine Boettner put it,

In all the history of the world Jesus emerges as the only “expected” person.  No one was looking for such a person as Julius Caesar, or Napoleon, or Washington, or Lincoln to appear at the time and place that they did appear. No other person has had his course foretold or his work laid out for him centuries before he was born. But the coming of the Messiah had been predicted for centuries. In fact, the first promise of his coming was given to Adam and Eve soon after their fall into sin. As time went on various details concerning his person and work were revealed through the prophets; and at the time Jesus was born there was a general expectation throughout the Jewish world that the Messiah was soon to appear, even the manner of His birth and the town in which it would occur having both clearly indicated.”[1]


This Jesus became flesh and dwelt among us. He who fulfilled every prophecy of the Old Testament, He declared, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”[2]

This Jesus was yet again foretold by the angel Gabriel to a virgin, favored by God, named Mary. He foretold of this coming One, this Jesus, this one who would be conceived in her, by the Holy Spirit.

This Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the city of David, the Savior, Christ the Lord.

This Jesus was raised sinless, without spot or blemish.

This Jesus lived a life in the demonstration of passion for the glory of God and the fulfillment of His perfect will.

This Jesus taught us a great many things, yet maybe none so great as to love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our mind, with all our soul, and with all our strength.

This Jesus “did not exalt Himself,” yet “in the days of His flesh, [He] offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to Him who was able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverence.” And “although He was a son, He learned obedience through what He suffered. And being made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.”[3]

This Jesus suffered when not guilty; suffering for the sins of many. Yet, this Jesus, “when He was reviled, He did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but continued entrusting Himself to Him who judges justly.”[4]

This Jesus was beaten and bruised, broken and whipped, mocked and spit upon. He was led up a long, spiritually dark, tortuous road unto Calvary’s hill, the very place where He would be lifted onto a tree and left for dead.

This Jesus, even in the darkest hour, pitied and prayed for the multitudes, forgave a condemned sinner and was in the control of all things.

This Jesus, bore our deserved punishment of wrath, being crushed of His own Father.

This Jesus, even while under such immense and unfathomable pressure, spoke forth His reminder to all that He indeed was the One, the only One, who fulfilled it all. For in such an unbearable time, as He drank down the cup of God’s own wrath against sin, Jesus said, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken Me?” For you see He was quoting, and bringing attention, to the fact He was indeed the fulfillment of the “worm,” being encompassed by the “bulls of Bashan;” for it was He would “walk through the valley of the shadow of death;” it was He who would speak to the doors of heaven, “Lift up your heads, O gates! And lift them up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.”

This Jesus, giving up His own spirit, said, “It is finished.”

This Jesus died, but He could not be held back, for it was foretold that this temple would rise again on the third day, and so this Jesus did just that.

Death was conquered.

This Jesus, after defeating the grave and rising from the dead, showed Himself to over 500 people at the same time.

This Jesus, even after all He went through, still offered forgiveness to His disciples, even the one who turned away from Him the hardest.

This Jesus ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God.

This Jesus will return, riding on a white horse, to destroy the kingdom of Satan forever.

This Jesus, today, still offers His unconditional love, grace and mercy to those who will seek Him. For to those who will knock, the door will be opened, for those who desire Him to come in and dine, He will.

But know this, this Jesus, this “God with us,” this mighty Savior, He is not impotent nor is He ignorant; He knows exactly those who are serious about knowing Him, worshiping Him, using His name in term only but not in reality of a new life.

This Jesus, oh friends, this Jesus, do not trifle with; do not cast Him aside. Do not think Him slow nor take Him lax. For many, oh a great many, will presume upon Him, using His name, doing all kinds of things in His name; and a great many, a great many of those who make claim to Him and the religions holding His name, will be told, by Him, “be away from Me, I never knew you.”

This Jesus, oh yes, this Jesus, friends, is real; for He is the only way, the only truth, the only life. He is The Great and Only Propitiator for our eternal life.

This Jesus, this day, seek to know Him.

Regardless of your stance on this Christmas/New Year Holiday Season – “Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.”[5]

[1] Loraine Boettner, The Person of Christ, pg. 42-43

[2] Matthew 5:17 (17-20)

[3] Hebrews 5:5-10

[4] 1 Peter 2:23

[5] Psalm 2:11-12