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Doug Tweed


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… Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
(1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Today is my 75th birthday, and Thursday is Thanksgiving, one of my favorite holidays.

Overall, our focus on family and gratitude, we often behave more like Jesus on Thanksgiving than we do during the Christmas and Easter seasons.

It had not been my plan to celebrate my 75th birthday without my beloved Christie; who has been with the Lord for the last three years.

And I had not expected Israel to be invaded this fall by an army of Hamas terrorists who, amidst their killings and kidnappings, beheaded and burned children and the elderly.

I never expected antisemitism to reappear so forcefully in our nation and around the world.  I never expected to hear Israel labelled as the “bad guy” when they chose to respond forcefully to this invasion. What would we do in America if instead of immigrants fleeing their own troubled countries?

We had an army of terrorists cross our border with Mexico, kill and kidnap our people and children, and then go back across the border to hide.  We ask the question, why their army’s goal is to annihilate our nation.

I had not imagined to see Russia invade one of our European allies, while threatening everyone else with the use of nuclear weapons.  We still give thanks, and I never expected that after we and our other European allies helped the incredibly brave Ukrainians resist this invasion, some of us would want to quit helping and let Russia prevail.

I never wanted to be told gender is a multiple-choice question rather than a biological fact. Likewise, that two national political parties to project the present frontrunner candidates for President in 2024 as the best we can do. And that people were using artificial intelligence to write term papers, songs, and even sermons.

Yet amidst all this, it is God’s will for me to be thankful, and I am.

  • I am grateful for 47 years with my beloved Christie, and for the knowledge I will see her again.
  • I am so thankful for the two beautiful daughters we raised together and their wonderful families.
  • Always very thankful that through the Bible and His relentless engagement in my life, particularly through other people.
  • Our eternal Creator God has revealed to me His character:
    • unfailing goodness,
    • faithfulness,
    • truthfulness,
    • knowledge,
    • wisdom,
    • justice,
    • mercy,
    • power,
    • generosity,
    • grace,
    • and above all, unconditional love.
  • I give thanks that He loves me, and you, and every other person on this planet, including those struggling and suffering on both sides in Gaza and Ukraine.
  • Grateful beyond words for how God has expressed His love to us through the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ.
  • Very thankful for the gift of His Holy Spirit. I am thankful for His desire that everyone receive these gifts of God from God and enter everlasting life with Him.
  • I give thanks for God’s plan through Jesus Christ to totally conquer evil and reconcile all things in heaven and earth back to Himself – a plan God will fully accomplish.
    (Isaiah 46:9-11; Colossians 1:15-20; Ephesians 1:9-10)
  • Always thankful that I can rejoice always, even in times of great difficulty, because God’s strength is perfected in my weakness. He will use those difficulties to make me more like Him, and in the end, we win!
    (John 16:33; James 1:2-4; 2 Corinthians 4:7-10, 12:9-10; Philippians 4:4-7, 11-13)
  • Eternally thankful that I can enter God’s gates and presence with thanksgiving.
    (Psalm 95:2, 100:4-5)

With thanksgiving for all my Lord has done in the past, I can have peace in my heart and pray faith-filled petitions for my Lord to move in our world today. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
(Philippians 4:4-7; Hebrews 13:8)

Finally, I am thankful to be able to share this column with all of you. I am going to make a birthday request. 

Today, when you can give God your undivided attention please pray this prayer with me:

“I give thanks to the Lord, the God of Gods and Lord of Lords, for all good things come from Him.  He is good, and His steadfast love endures forever.”
(Psalm 136:1-3; James 1:17)

God bless you, and God bless our community.


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…[F]or at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. (Ephesians 5:8-11)

Jesus Christ was the light of the world while He walked the earth. (John 1:4-9, 8:12) The ascended Jesus Christ calls His disciples out of darkness and into His marvelous light so we can be the light of the world. (Acts 1:8; 1 Peter 2:9; Galatians 2:20; Matthew 5:14) We are the children of light because Christ lives in us, the hope of glory. (1 Thessalonians 5:5; Colossians 1:17)

This contrast of light vs. darkness is the contrast of good vs. evil, truth vs. lie, and sin vs. righteousness. (Isaiah 5:20; Psalm 119:105, 130) To be the light of the world, we must do more than just claim Christian faith. We must live our daily lives as children of light who no longer take part in works of darkness.

I was recently invited to speak at a Central Baptist Church men’s conference titled, “Living by Faith in Challenging Times”. As the first speaker, I was assigned to describe the challenges we face: the increasing darkness in our nation and world. My research revealed more than I have room to discuss here, but I offer the following examples.

There are about thirty active wars in the world today. Putin invaded Ukraine and has his Russian troops target civilians and kidnap children while he restrains Ukraine’s allies with the threat of nuclear weapons. Hamas invaded Israel, targeting civilians and beheading children, and will now seek to portray Israel as the “bad guy” when the Palestinian civilians Hamas hides behind are harmed. The Mexican drug war, just across our porous border, has killed 350,000 people in the last fifteen years. Our news media are too preoccupied with ratings to even report on the war tragedies in Ethiopia, Yemen, Somali, Sudan, Myanmar, the Congo, and elsewhere.

Less than a generation ago, 2-3% of Americans identified themselves as homosexual. Today, in the wake of our cultural decision to endorse homosexual marriage, 16% of Americans in the age group 10-25 identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

The average American teen spends seven hours per day in screen time for entertainment and social interaction. Adults do not do much better.

The percentage of Americans who identify as Christian has dropped from 78% to 63% in the last fifteen years. Only 37% of Americans say they have confidence in the Church. In today’s age group 18-29, 23% believe in an absolute standard of right and wrong. In that same age group, only 51% are certain there is a God.

Our polarized political system is so broken we have most people in one party showing no concern for a leader’s competence while most people in the other party show no concern for a leader’s character.

Amidst this increasing darkness, fortunately, I have been blessed to see groups of Christians arise and shine as children of light. (Isaiah 60:1) At the men’s conference I mentioned were many men, both black and white, who are “daring to be different” as bible-believing, Christ-following men in their homes, workplaces, and wherever the Lord leads them.

A week before that conference, I was with members of the Tennessee Prayer Coalition at an event on Nashville’s legislative plaza titled “Worship City Repent”, where a loving, faithful group of men and women prayed and worshipped around the clock for three days in intercession for our state, nation, and world.

And during the weekend following that men’s conference, I was a spiritual director on a Walk to Emmaus where over fifty men gave three days to the Lord, without cell phones and watches, while over one hundred other men and women prayed for them. Every man was touched in a transforming way by Jesus, and they all declared their commitment to proactively serve and represent the Lord in their homes and in the world. Children of light!

We live in a time when many people love darkness rather than the light, and many call the darkness light and the light darkness. (John 3:19; Isaiah 5:20) We cannot shine as children of light while yoked to people, socially or politically, whose behavior or character represents darkness. (2 Corinthians 6:14-18; 1 John 2:9-11)

However, we can be children of radiant light when, as our Ephesians 5 passage requires, we are God-pleasers rather than people-pleasers because God is light and the Father of lights, and in Him there is no darkness at all. (Galatians 1:10; Romans 12:2; 1 John 1:5; James 1:17)

These are the people that darkness will never overcome. (John 1:3; Isaiah 60:1-3)

God bless you, and God bless our community.


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Asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He replied to them by saying, “The kingdom of God does not come with signs to be observed or with visible display.  Nor will people say, ‘Look! Here it is!’ or, ‘See.  It is there!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is within you [in your hearts] and among you [surrounding you].” Luke 17:20-21 (AMP)

At Friends of the King, we spend much time discussing foundational truths.

What is the gospel of the kingdom of God?  Who is Jesus Christ?  Who are we once we become disciples of Jesus?  What does it mean to know God as our Father? Who is the Holy Spirit, and what does it mean for the Holy Spirit to live in you?

All these questions are crucial to our understanding of reality.  And our scripture studies reveal many facets of truth to each one – facets not in terms of different points of view, but in the sense of a beautifully cut diamond.  Jesus is Lamb of God and Lion of Judah, suffering Servant and King of kings, Son of God and Son of Man, the One who hung on the Cross and the Risen One revealed in Revelation with a face that shines like the sun.  Wow!

Twelve years ago, we examined what the Lord’s Prayer says, to wit: that our prayer is not to go to heaven, but for the kingdom of God to come to earth.  The Kingdom exists wherever the rightful rule of King Jesus is honored and embraced. So we asked ourselves, “What would the Kingdom look like if it was here in our greater Kingsport /Gate City/Tri-Cities community?”

In other words, can we imagine (visualize) the outcome of what we continually pray for?

The answers we came up with were, in my opinion, breath-taking both then and now.

Everyone in the community would know what it is to love and be loved, both by God and neighbor.  Everyone would be valued.

There would be no pride and self-centeredness, no more people trying to force their own agendas onto others.  Our humility would empower the selfless nature of our love, including our healthy love of ourselves and our appreciation of what God made when He made “me” and “you”.

There would be no unbelief.  Our faith in God would match His flawless faithfulness.  Through our great faith, the Lord would work miracles and move mountains.

We would grow daily in truth, wisdom and understanding as, led by the Spirit of truth, we meditate daily on God’s Word.  We would be set free from the countless lies of Satan that have been imposed upon us.

Hope would abound.  No one would suffer from depression, cynicism, or low expectations.  Disappointments, if they did occur, would heal quickly.

We would all find God’s kingdom purposes for our lives on earth: no more aimlessness and no more focus on being great at unimportant things.

Everyone would know the peace of God.  There would be no fear, and no more dissension or division, because we would all live together in God’s perfect love.

Marriage would be a sacred institution of God joining a man and woman together for the rest of their lives.  Sex would be a sacred element of marriage.  People not led to marriage would live rich, celibate lives filled with faith, close friends, and family. Broken homes and broken children would be no more, and, after one generation, sexually transmitted diseases would be no more.   

There would be no poverty.  Those who have would share with those who need and help them find opportunity.

Each person, young and old, would walk in joy with the Lord throughout every day.  And our community’s prayers for the rest of the nation and world would bear much fruit.

After twelve years, l am still gripped by the awareness this “imagining” we had done is achievable, not by politics but by prayer, discipleship, and evangelism.  This isn’t false hope.  This is what God wants for us.

Isn’t there at least one person in our community who could draw so close to God these Kingdom realities become their lifestyle?  Of course there is.

And if one person could do it, could not two, or a family, or small group of friends, or congregation, and beyond?  God is for us.  Who can stand against us?

Perhaps the greatest lie imposed upon the Church is the lie of low expectations.  The Lord would never ask us to pray for something He was not ready to do.  He told us the Kingdom was among us and within us.  He told us to pray for His Kingdom to come here just like it is in heaven.  Do we believe Him or not?

I urge us all to pray “Thy Kingdom come…” with faith, deep desire and eager expectancy.  Then seek each day to be part of that prayer’s answer.


God bless you and God bless our community.


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“Who is wise and understanding among you? By their good conduct let him (or her) show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” (James 3:13-18 ESV)

For me, the most important character traits in any person are faith in God and the character traits that should always accompany that faith: integrity, humility, and unconditional love. When it comes to a leader, however, I add another essential trait – wisdom.

Wisdom is the ability to exercise sound judgment and make good decisions. We all make decisions, but leaders must make decisions that impact both their lives and the lives of others. Their good decisions can bless many, but the repercussions of their bad judgment can be incredibly destructive.

James, the apostolic half-brother of Jesus, gives us two valuable instructions on wisdom. First, he tells us that if we need wisdom, we should ask God, who will generously provide it. (James 1:5)

This instruction reminds us that the only true wisdom is the godly wisdom that comes from above. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom because our reverence for God rightly persuades us God is wisdom’s source. (Proverbs 2:6, 9:10) God gave it to Joseph as he rose to power in Egypt, to Joshua as he rose to be Moses’ successor, to King Solomon when he asked for it so he could rule justly, and to Daniel in Babylonian exile. (Genesis 41:38; Deuteronomy 34:9; 1 Kings 3:5-12, 28; Daniel 1:17)

The ultimate example of godly wisdom is, of course, Jesus Christ, who personified wisdom and demonstrated it in both his youth and his ministry on earth. (1 Corinthians 1:30; Luke 2:40-52; Mark 6:2)

Our second instruction from James 3 tells us how we can recognize true wisdom and distinguish it from its false worldly counterpart. Scripture warns us strongly and repeatedly that this false wisdom is not wisdom at all. It is worldly cunning and craftiness patterned after the serpent’s deception of Eve that mesmerizes and manipulates people to go along with its personal agenda. (2 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 4:14; Colossians 2:8; 1 Corinthians 3:19)

I have researched the original Greek vocabulary for this James 3 passage and studied multiple English translations so I can offer a fuller explanation of what the passage reveals:

Who among you considers themself to be wise and knowledgeable? Demonstrate this wisdom by the moral excellence and even-tempered humility of your life. But if your heart is filled with a self-centered desire for personal success and a zealous hostility toward those who challenge or compete against you, then do not boast that you have wisdom because that would be a lie. What you have is not godly wisdom. It is worldly, unspiritual, and like the devil if not of the devil. It will inevitably lead to disorder, confusion, instability, and even open defiance of lawful authority; and it will result in all types of mean and evil behavior.

Godly wisdom, on the other hand, is first and foremost innocent and without moral blemish. It demonstrates and promotes a sense of well-being, not anxiety or turmoil. It is gracious and kind, not quarrelsome, and is open to reason and willing to listen. It is filled with mercy and compassion for others and demonstrates this through good deeds that glorify God and not self. (John 15:5-8) It is fair to everyone, and it is sincere – totally free from “glad-hander” hypocrisy. Godly wisdom cultivates righteousness in harmonious ways because the bearer of godly wisdom is a peacemaker. (Matthew 5:9)

My friends, we must have godly wisdom to break through these evil days. (Ephesians 5:15-17). Do not judge a leader by what they say, as they seek to scratch our itching ears, but by how they live and how they treat others. (2 Timothy 4:3; Luke 6:43-45; 1 Corinthians 13:1-3) For leaders and those who get to choose their leaders, godly wisdom comes from knowing God’s will through both prayer and a rich understanding of God’s Word. (Colossians 1:9, 3:16)

Moses was trained in all the wisdom of Egypt, but he did not obtain a heart of true wisdom, or accomplish any good, until he chose to learn and follow the ways of the Lord. (Acts 7:22; Psalm 90:12; Exodus 33:13)

In every leadership situation, large or small, choose godly wisdom over worldly cunning.

God bless you, and God bless our community.


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“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)

God wants us to change our minds.

If you are a “not-yet Christian,” God wants you to change your mind about how you can receive everlasting life through Jesus. (John 1:12-13, 3:16)

If you are a Christian, God wants you to know the change in mind that brought you into everlasting life was only the first change in mind He desires for you. (Hebrews 5:11-14)

I have repeatedly asserted that “agape” love is the fundamental law of God’s Kingdom, and it is, but the fundamental battleground for God’s kingdom on earth is the mind. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

What we think, consciously and subconsciously, continually dictates how we feel: love, peace, joy, hope, and a sense of purpose, on the one hand, or fear, anxiety, anger, isolation, depression, and aimlessness. Which set of emotions dominates our nation and world today? Which set reflects your own life and the lives of those around you?

Even more important, what we think and how we feel then combine to dictate what we choose in every circumstance based upon what we consider important, possible, desirable, frightening, and good or evil.

We have all learned, often the hard way, that we are never fully in control of our circumstances. Our only control is our ability to make choices based upon the circumstances in which we find ourselves. Do we want those choices grounded in truth or lies? (Psalm 51:6; Proverbs 23:23)

Satan, the consummate enemy of God and humankind, is “the father of lies,” and “the deceiver of the whole world.” (John 8:44; Revelation 12:9) This deceived and broken world has been teaching us life lessons and developing our worldview since birth.

To counteract this, God sent His Son Jesus: the Truth, the Word made flesh, and the light of the world. (John 1:1-14, 8:12, 14:6) God also gave us His Holy Spirit of truth, who can lead us into all truth. (John 16:13-14) And through the Holy Spirit, God gave us the Bible, the Spirit-breathed scriptures that teach us what we need to know and do. (2 Timothy 3:3-16-17; Psalms 1, 119)

The gospel invitation to the lost is, “Repent and believe!” (Mark 1:14-15, 6:12; Luke 24:45-47; Acts 2:38-39, 17:30-31) The Greek word used for “repent” is “metanoia”, which means “change your mind”. The truth sets you free. (John 8:32)

And because the mind remains the fundamental battleground after you become a Christian, Paul tells the Christians in Rome to keep renewing their minds and transforming their lives by learning and obeying all that Jesus teaches and commands. (Matthew 7:24-27, 28:19-20; James 1:22-25; Acts 2:42) This is how we show our love for the Lord and how He manifests Himself to us. (John 14:21-23) More truth sets us more free.

The Greek word used in Romans 12:2 for “transformed” is “metamorphoo.” It indicates major change, and so, today, we use the word, “metamorphosis,” to describe how caterpillars become butterflies and tadpoles become frogs. 2 Corinthians 3:18 describes our process of metamorphosis, one glorious step at a time, into the image of Christ.

The Greek word used for “renewal” of our mind is “anakainosis.”  It also indicates major change – making something superior to what it was before. Transformation then comes about by what Paul calls “testing” (or “proving”): the Greek word “dokimazo,” which means to learn by examination and actual use.

Because the Spirit who inspired the Bible now lives in us, we have access to the mind of Christ and can, through our application of what we learn, understand things of God our natural minds could never comprehend. (1 Corinthians 2:9-16) God reframes our worldview and understanding of reality so “the eyes of our hearts” are enlightened, we know His perfect will, and we know the hope to which He has called us. (Romans 12:2; Ephesians 1:18-21)

My friends, our nation and the world are going dark. God calls us to be the light, which means we must be in the world but not of the world. (Matthew 5:14; Isaiah 60:1-3; John 17:15-18)

To be that light, we must have a biblical worldview. We must be convinced that all scripture is God-breathed, that every scripture is to be understood in the context of all other scripture, and that we have no right to delete or disregard the portions we do not like, do not understand, or have never experienced (2 Timothy 3:16; Matthew 13:53-58; Revelation 22:18-19).

And since the traditions and doctrines of man, including denominational institutions, are not scripture, we have no right to treat them as though they are (Matthew 15:1-9; Mark 7:1-13; Colossians 2:8).

We need to change our minds, and we need to do it now.

God bless you, and God bless our community.


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“He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” (Psalm 23:3)

“Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness ….” (Matthew 6:33)

“For the Kingdom of God is … righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit”. (Romans 14:17)

Every Christian is thrilled to declare God is love.  But we often gloss over the truth God is also the Righteous One who calls His people to righteousness. (Acts 22:14, Matthew 6:33) This term, “righteous”, appears in scripture over five hundred times.  Yet most of us would struggle to define it.  

Righteousness is about right rather than wrong and good rather than evil.  It is the opposite of “sin”.  And it can never mean “self-righteousness” because we are not capable of being right, good, or sin-free on our own. (Romans 3:9-23)

The righteousness we must pursue is not our own.  It is “the righteousness of God” we receive “through faith in Jesus Christ”. (Romans 3:22) But be careful how you understand this!  The righteous live by faith. (Romans 1:17; Habakkuk 2:4) The righteous are doers of the Word, not just hearers. (Romans 2:13; James 1:22-25)

Put another way, the righteous live in right relationship with God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We are children of God who truly trust Jesus and want to follow Him, not just get a ticket to heaven. (1 John 3:1-10) We have decided God is the only One with the authority and ability to determine what is right and wrong, and that the Bible reveals those life standards to us. (Genesis 2:17, 3:4-6; Isaiah 5:20; 2 Timothy 3:1-7, 16-17) We know God’s Holy Spirit lives within us and we seek to be led by Him – the Spirit of our Lord. (Galatians 5:25; Romans 8:14; John 15:16:13-15; 2 Corinthians 3:17-18)

We are not required to be stumble-free. We are clay jars – God’s works in progress – learning each day how to put off the old self and put on the new self. (2 Corinthians 4:7; Philippians 1:6, 2:12-13; Ephesians 4:20-24) When we fall short, and we will, we repent, confess our sins, and receive with gratitude His blood-bought forgiveness. (Ephesians 1:7; 1 John 1:5-9)

Those who know their Shepherd’s voice can be led obediently in paths of righteousness. (Psalm 23:3) When we stray, we receive our Father’s loving discipline, which may be painful at first but soon restores both righteousness and our peace in Christ. (Hebrews 12:11) This is the “easy” way, led by the One who is the Way. (Matthew 11:28-30; John 14:6) 

“Easy” does not mean trouble-free or persecution-free because when you walk like Jesus, you will be persecuted by God’s enemies like Jesus. (John 15:18-25, 16:33) Some of those enemies will be in the Church. (Matthew 23:13; John 8:42-47; 2 Corinthians 11:12-15) But you can know them by their fruit and be strengthened by the Prince of Peace who lives in you and has overcome the world. (Matthew 7:15-20; Isaiah 9:6; John 14:27, 16:33)

The heartbeat of righteousness is selfless, unconditional love in truth and deed for God and everyone God loves. (Matthew 5:43-48, 22:35-40; 1 John 3:18, 4:7-12) If we don’t get love right, we are nothing, have nothing, and gain nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3) 

But we must remember that this love rejoices in the truth and never rejoices in wrongdoing. (1 Corinthians 13:6) We love the Lord and abide in His love by having and keeping all His commandments. (John 14:21-23, Matthew 28:18-20) And we do not use grace as an excuse to compromise His standards of righteousness for our lives. (Romans 6:1-18)

Compromise is systemic in today’s culture, particularly as to sexuality, materialism, and idolatry. But nothing has compromised righteousness in our churches today more than politics on both sides of the aisle. We have forgotten that with God, the ends do not justify the means, and we can only overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:21) In our efforts to support the issues of righteousness most important to us, we have yoked ourselves to unrighteousness on other issues. (2 Corinthians 6:14) We have failed to understand that truth without love is not God’s truth, and love without truth is not God’s love. (Ephesians 4:15; 1 Corinthians 13:6) 

We want what God wants: righteousness for our nation, but we must understand that “it starts with me”. (Proverbs 14:34; Isaiah 6:1-8) We cooperate with Jesus, who authored our faith and seeks to perfect it, by laying aside every sin and weight in our lives that hinders our loving witness for Him. (Hebrews 12:1-2; Acts 1:8)

Our reward for pursuing righteousness will be twofold. In the life to come, we will hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:21, 23) While we await that day, we can experience the Kingdom of God on earth: the peace and joy in the Holy Spirit that is available for those who seek righteousness with their whole heart. (Romans 14:17; Matthew 5:6; Jeremiah 29:13)

God bless you, and God bless our community.


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An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life…. She opens her hands to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy…. Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

… Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.’ … A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. (Proverbs 31:10-12, 20, 25-26, 28-29, 30b) 

May 26, 2023 will be the 50th anniversary of my marriage to my beloved Christie. We will not be able to celebrate it together because she went to heaven on September 5, 2020. With your permission, I will celebrate with you.

During the seventeen years I have provided columns for this good newspaper, I have written three columns directly related to marriage. “Divorce is a Preventable Disease” is available on our Friends of the King Ministries website. “Love Your Loved Ones with God’s Love” and “The Devil’s Marriage Strategy: Divide & Conquer” are both available in my book, “Moon in the Darkness”. Anyone who wishes a copy of these columns can email me through the website and I will be happy to send them to you.

Also available on our website is the column I wrote in the immediate aftermath of Christie’s departure for heaven: “Arise, My Love, My Beautiful One, and Come Away”. That column said what I was able to share then. This column says what I am now able to share after over two years as a widower. And while I offer these thoughts as a husband reflecting on the blessing of his wife, they are equally applicable to a wife reflecting on the blessing of her husband.

Every marriage is different, no marriage is perfect, and because we do not work on our marriages as diligently as we should, no marriage is as wonderful as it could be. But if you love your spouse like I have loved Christie and then become a widow or widower, I can assure you of some things you will never say. 

You will never say, “I told her ‘I love you’ too often.”

You will never say, “I held her in my arms too often”; “We held hands too often”; or “I kissed her too often”.

You will never say, “I spent too much time with her”; “I watched her while she went about her day too often”; or “I listened attentively while she told me about her day too often.”

You will never say, “I asked her what she would like me to do for her too often”; or “I asked her what she would like to do and where she would like to go too often”; or “I asked her about her dreams and aspirations for life too often.”

You will never say, “I brought her flowers too often”; or “I spent too much time watching her while she slept beside me”.

You will never say, “I praised her for her good character and beauty of heart too often”.

You will never say, “I wish we had argued more”; or “I wish I had insisted on having my way more often”; or “I didn’t get angry at her enough”.

You will never say, “I asked her if I had done anything that hurt her too often”; or “I apologized too often and too deeply in those times when I knew I hurt her”.

You will never say, “I thanked God for her too often”; or “I talked with her about the Lord and His kingdom too often”.

You will never say, “I prayed for her too often”; or “I prayed with her too often”; or “I sat in the manifest presence of the Lord with her too often”.

I miss Christie every day but would never ask the Lord to send her back to me. For a Christian, … to live is Christ, and to die is gain. (Philippians 1:21) And just to make sure I personally understand what God’s word tells us on this point, the Lord spoke directly to me during a prayer time at Friends of the King about eighteen months ago. 

He said: “Doug, Christie is everywhere you would want her to be, except with you.” 

By reading this column today, you help me celebrate my 50th wedding anniversary. Thank you! If you are married and want to help me celebrate even more, please let what I have shared here become a blessing for your beloved wife or husband.

God bless you, and God bless our community. 


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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 made Himself nothing, 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. (Philippians 2:5-11)

And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:14)


Christians call today Good Friday because on this day almost 2,000 years ago Jesus died on a cross in full payment for all the sins of all people for all time. (1 John 2:2) But it would not be Good Friday unless followed on Sunday by Resurrection Day! Jesus conquered death and is alive forever! Hallelujah! (Revelation 1:17-18)

All four of the Gospels provide vivid descriptions of the crucifixion and resurrection, but I have chosen for this column the summary of both given by Paul to the Philippians. This concise passage provides a contrast we must understand between the humility of Jesus as the Lamb of God and the exaltation of Jesus as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. (John 1:29; 1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 17:14, 19:6)   

The resurrection of Jesus gloriously demonstrates His victory over death for Himself and all who put their trust in Him. (Romans 6:3-5) But we cannot let our understanding stop there. We must embrace how the resurrection of Jesus proclaims His Kingdom in heaven and on earth. The gospel is not simply a gospel of salvation. It is the gospel of the Kingdom.

From the outset of His ministry on earth, Jesus preached the gospel of the Kingdom. (Matthew 4:23, 9:35) He sent forth His disciples, and later Paul, to do the same. (Matthew 10:7; Acts 28:23, 31) Shortly before His crucifixion, Jesus declared the end of the age would not come until this gospel of the Kingdom was proclaimed throughout the world. (Matthew 24:14) 

After His resurrection, Jesus remained on earth forty days before ascending to heaven so that He could teach His disciples even more about the Kingdom. (Acts 1:3) And just before His ascension, Jesus boldly proclaimed His Kingdom with these words:

All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:18-20)

The Kingdom of God is the loving, wise, benevolent rule of God over those who love, trust, and obey Him. God created both heaven and earth as expressions of this Kingdom, but as we all know, mankind sinned and earth came under the dominion of darkness. (Genesis 3; Colossians 1:13; 1 John 5:19)

Heaven is the unimaginably wonderful place it is because it remains a perfect expression of the Kingdom of God. (Luke 23:43; 1 Corinthians 2:9; Revelation 21) God’s goal is to destroy the works of the devil and restore His Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. (1 John 3:8; Matthew 6:9-10; Colossians 1:15-23) Put otherwise, God’s response to insurrection is the resurrection, through which the Son of Man became King of earth as well as heaven, disarming the enemy and taking possession of the keys of death and Hades. (Colossians 2:15; Revelation 1:18; Matthew 25:31-34)

Because it is the gospel of the Kingdom, you cannot have forgiveness without repentance – a change of mind, heart, and life direction. (Mark 1:15; Acts 2:38; 2 Peter 3:9) Our King calls for disciples who seek to learn and obey His commandments because the faith that embraces the grace gift of salvation must be a sincere decision to trust and follow Him. (Mark 8:34-38; Matthew 7:21-27; 1 John 2:1-6, 3:4-6) 

As we gather this Sunday to proclaim – “He is risen!” – I pray we will all remember who our risen Savior is. Every born-again Christian has received God’s Holy Spirit so we can be divinely enabled to love, trust, and obey the Lord. (1 Corinthians 12:3; John 14:15-23) As we do so, we reveal the Kingdom of God to the lost people of this broken world, and He has promised we will experience both the joy of the Lord and His peace. (1 Peter 2:9; Romans 14:17; Nehemiah 8:10; John 14:27)

God bless you, and God bless our community.


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In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the
devil a foothold…. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of
redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of
malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave
you.” (Ephesians 4:26-27, 30-32 NIV


I have been engaged in “prayer & counsel” ministry and mediation of family conflicts for 25
years. The most destructive single force I have encountered in people’s lives is unresolved anger.

Anger is a God-given emotion with a godly but limited purpose. When we experience injustice or
see evil victimizing others, a righteous anger can arise in us to motivate action. We are created in God’s
image and such emotion imitates God’s wrath against evil. (Psalm 7:11) Jesus cleared the temple in
righteous anger. (John 2:13-17)

However, unlike the Lord, we far too often sin in our anger. We respond to evil with evil. One
killing leads to another in Palestine and one cruel word leads to another in our living room spat. We
forget that the Lord commands us to be kind to our enemy and overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:18-

We also go to bed still angry, and usually this unresolved anger is not just a one-night stand. We
can hold on to that anger for years. It is killing us.

Anger comes in varied forms: bitterness, rage, obsessive thoughts of revenge, long-term
frustration, or even cynicism, which is looking at the world through anger-colored glasses.

These angers come from hurts in varied degrees of severity: injustices both real and perceived to
our person, our pride or someone we love. Some angers are recent. Many are childhood hurts from abuse
or rejection. You can be angry with others, yourself, or even God.

When sincere apologies are offered, or justice served through restitution or punishment, we can
usually release our anger. But when those things don’t occur, the anger stays with us. It may remain in
our conscious thoughts or it may be stuffed in a memory closet, but it will not – I repeat – will not go
away on its own. It cripples our ability to love or receive love. It gnaws away at our whole person,
resulting in physical problems like sleeplessness, digestive troubles, headaches, or worse. As we come to
conclude “things will never be made right”, it even becomes the root for chronic depression.

The Prince of Peace has the answer to this bondage. The Lord will, if we ask, remove that anger
and heal those hurts. But He will not do so until we obey His command. We must choose to forgive.

Forgiveness is a “very big deal” to our Lord. It is the only lesson Jesus reemphasizes in the Lord’s
Prayer. (Matthew 6:14-15) It is the first action Jesus took from the cross: “Father, forgive them….” (Luke

There were no apologies or restitutions taking place when Jesus forgave those who hurt Him.
Their hearts were still filled with hate and evil. He forgave to keep anger and hate out of His own heart.
We must do likewise.

Reconciliation and restored relationships are God’s goal. (2 Corinthians 5:18-19) But
reconciliation is mutual. It requires both parties, and in many situations, the one who hurt you cannot or
will not cooperate. You cannot control their choices. All you can do is your part. (Romans 12:18) You
must forgive anyway for your own health and relationship with God.

God wants you freed. (2 Corinthians 3:17) Ask Him to reveal where your unresolved angers are
rooted. You may benefit from the help of a mature Christian you trust. But don’t let the grass grow under
your feet. The devil has had his foothold long enough.

Remember the act of forgiveness is a choice to obey God even when your feelings say, “No!”
God will help your feelings change as He cleanses you from the anger and begins to heal your heart.
(Psalm 147:3)

If you have unresolved self-condemnation, forgive yourself. You cannot properly “love your
neighbor as yourself” until you forgive yourself, so join God in His forgiveness of you. (Galatians 5:14) It
will give you a fresh start in life. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

And when forgiving still feels like it is too unfair and too hard to do, remember this: When Jesus
paid the price for your sins, He also paid the price for the sins of others against you. (1 John 2:2) Any
remaining issues of justice to be addressed can be entrusted to the One who will judge everyone. (Acts
10:42; Romans 12:19) You must let that burden go. Then you will be free.

God bless you, and God bless our community.



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Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him (or her), and he in God. (1 John 4:15)

… God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. (Acts 10:38)

Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” (John 20:21-22)

Every biblically grounded Christian knows you receive the Holy Spirit when you embrace Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior (Acts 2:38-39). Amidst the debates on what that means today in terms of spiritual gifts, we have tragically failed to answer the more important question: Who is the Holy Spirit we have received? 

The Holy Spirit is God! 

It is time for the Church to fully embrace the marvelous mysterious truth of the Trinity: one God in three Persons. We know God as Father, as Son, and as Holy Spirit – three Persons. But how many Gods are there? One (Deuteronomy 6:4; Mark 12:29; Romans 3:30; Galatians 3:20; James 2:19). 

The Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Triune Godhead. He proceeds from the Father through the Son to us but always remains eternally and perfectly one with the Father and the Son (John 15:26, 16:7-15; Galatians 4:6) When we are joined to the Lord through the Holy Spirit and become one spirit with Him, we amazingly become part of that divine connection! (1 Corinthians 6:17)

Jesus, Son of God, emptied Himself of His divine power to live among us in human form, for two reasons. (Philippians 2:6-7) First, this enabled Him to die for the sins of mankind. (1 John 2:2) Second, this enabled Him to show us how we should live our lives on earth as children of God, “walking” just He “walked”. (1 John 2:4-6, 5:1-3)

Acts 10:38 tells us Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit and power, doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil because God was with Him. Now, as His disciples, we are anointed with the Holy Spirit and power, and God is with us. Jesus sends us into the world in the same way the heavenly Father sent Him. So, why are we not doing the works that He did, and even greater works? (John 14:12)

My friends, we are not doing the works of love, truth, and power that Jesus did on earth because Jesus was perfectly aligned with the God who was with Him, and we are not. (John 10:30, 17:20-23) Far more often than not, we fail to deny self, abide in Him, and let His words abide in us. (Luke 9:23; John 15:5-7) 

To illustrate what I mean, remember how valves and nozzles are used to control the flow of water through a pipe or hose. When the valve or nozzle is properly aligned, water flows freely through both the intake and outlet. Without proper alignment, the water is partially or totally obstructed at the intake, the outlet, or both.

The Holy Spirit is described by Jesus as a fountain of living water flowing into us with eternal life, and as rivers of living water flowing out from our innermost being. (John 4:13-14; 7:37-38) Unfortunately, we can be out of alignment at our points of intake, outlet, or both.

Let me offer three fundamental ways we can better align with the God who lives in us.

First, we must have agape love for everyone God loves. (Matthew 5:43-48) The God who lives within you is love. (1 John 4:7, 16) Without agape love, you have no alignment at all. (1 Corinthians 13; 1 John 4:8, 20-21) It must be love in truth and deed. (1 John 3:18)

Second, we must trust the scriptures as the divinely inspired written revelation of truth concerning who God is, who we are, and how we are to live. (2 Timothy 3:16-17; Psalms 1, 119; Matthew 28:18-20; John 14:21-23) Jesus is the Truth, and He came to fulfill scripture, not change it. (John 14:6; Matthew 5:17-19) When we try to change it – calling evil good and good evil because we are wise in our own eyes and lean on our own understanding – we become misaligned or even totally disengaged. (Isaiah 5:20-21; Proverbs 3:5-8; Matthew 7:21-27) 

Third, we must be humble before God and man. (James 4:6-10; 1 Peter 5:5) God despises pride, arrogance, and self-righteousness. (Proverbs 8:13; Matthew 23:11-36) Proper alignment is being childlike before God and a loving servant to all. (Matthew 18:1-4; Mark 9:35)

If we align ourselves with the God who lives in us, we will experience an abiding revival that transforms our region.

God bless you and God bless our community.