Archive for September, 2021


September 26, 2021

I’ve been pondering my garden ever since I read from the Prophet Jeremiah in last week’s blog.
“…thus says the Lord of Hosts… plant gardens and eat their produce…” (Jeremiah 29:4-5).

My garden is sparsely planted and plagued with weeds. The peskiest weed is worry. It defies my own logic and contradicts my faith in a sovereign God. In a word, it’s sin. Our God has demonstrated to me time and again that he is in charge, sometimes in spectacular fashion. He has guided every step of my life, controlled every breath I’ve taken, and every beat of my heart. He has numbered the days of my life before the first one came to pass, and they’ve already far exceeded every Wetterling male in the last three generations, in spite of some of my adrenalin-drenched efforts to shorten them. So why do I worry about how my covenant children and grandchildren will get on in this world gone crazy? I have no better excuse than Flip Wilson’s–the devil makes me do it. There is a battle raging within me between the old man and the new. The Apostle Paul, a master gardener, explained it this way:

“For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate…So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me” (Romans 7:15, 17).

He also supplies the answer:

“For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”(Romans 7:22–25a).

That, too, is a sovereign act by our Gracious God, so I say to the wretch in the mirror (and anyone else who’s listening), head down and hoe, plant, pull weeds and praise the Sovereign God who guarantees the harvest. Our God reigns.

See you in church.


September 18, 2021

“Armed with a big vision of God and a passion for divine grace,” Dr. Owen Strahan this past week declared, “The world is on fire, but our God reigns. We must always remember that.”

In 1976 Francis Schaeffer wrote his classic,  How Should We Then Live, a life-changing book for many readers over the years and it’s
more relevant today than ever. This week Dr. Strahan, in his weekly podcast, The Antithesis, picks up Schaeffer’s mantle, in my view, with his timely message entitled, “Plant Gardens: On Living Like an Israelite in Babylon.”

Strahan reads from Jeremiah 29:4-7: “…thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.”

Strahan’s commentary prompted much thought and soul-searching. Unlike the Israelites of Jeremiah’s day, God has not sent Christians in America into exile in Babylon, but He has brought the modern equivalent to America. Note well that God spoke through Jeremiah “…to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile.” They did not get there by accident, they got there by God’s design–He sent them. Like 21st century America, Israel compromised its faith and incurred God’s judgment.

Our Babylonian exile means hard times for us, too, but it’s our Sovereign God’s plan for the sanctification of His chosen. As the Apostle Paul told the Romans, all things work together for the glory of God and the good of God-lovers, even the bitter medicine we wayward children earn along the way. If we are to remain salt and light in this increasingly pagan nation, it is of utmost importance to be a part of a Bible-believing church that does not compromise its faith with the culture. If that is not your church, find another. The pandemic of “cultural relevance” that’s been sweeping liberal Christianity for the last century has led to irrelevance and apostasy. There is  no other way to prevail, even thrive against the gates of hell than as a part of the one true church–the remnant–discipling fellow believers, holding one another up in prayer and joyfully, corporately exalting our Risen Savior Jesus Christ under sound uncompromised, unapologetic Gospel preaching. In our Sovereign God’s plan we’ll also draw lost souls, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to see and savor the salt and light of the only safe refuge in a world aflame.

Pray for the welfare of America, “…pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” The stakes could not be higher. The devil prowls like a roaring lion seeking the ruin of souls, and he’s on a roll in 21st century America. Then cultivate your garden and don’t stress over what’s beyond the reach of your hoe. God’s got that part of the plan as well. He is the God of Providence at every level, and your times–the total ordering of your life–are in His hands, Christian (Psalm 31:15). Rest in that. Therein is the peace that passes all understanding.

Please find 30 minutes to listen to Dr. Strahan’s podcast entitled, “Plant Gardens: On Living Like an Israelite in Babylon.” His practical life application of this scripture is just excellent for our times.

See you in church


September 12, 2021


If on this Lord’s Day morning you are sitting in your recliner sipping coffee and reading God’s Word and suddenly your front door is kicked in and three men charge into the room with automatic weapons pointed at you and ask “Are you a Christian?”what would you say?

If you knew there was a chance that you would be killed in a hail of bullets if you went to church this morning would you go?

Some of our Afghan Christian brethren are answering these questions in the affirmative this morning. Meantime Americans who claim they’re Christians will not be in church this morning because there is a less than ten percent chance they might catch a virus and a less than one percent chance it might be lethal (unless you’re over 70 and then it’s 6 percent). Americans who claim they’re Christians are silent in the workplace and the public square, not from fear for their lives but fear of being ostracized for their faith. Americans who claim they’re Christians remain silent as millions of innocent unborn children are being murdered by their mothers in no less gruesome ways than our Afghan brethren. Americans who claim they’re Christians vote for politicians who claim they’re Christians who aggressively advocate for the murder of children. Americans who claim they’re Christians are silent as some of God’s demented image bearers rebel at their God-given gender and declare themselves otherwise…and demand we celebrate their rebellion instead of praying for their healing. And Americans who claim they’re Christians are silent as our nation’s highest court codifies the trashing of God’s covenant of marriage.

Jesus had some words for those ashamed to speak up in His defense:

“For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels” (Mark 8:38).

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).

The Apostle Paul had similar sound advice for the Corinthians that likewise speaks loudly to our day in America:

“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!” (2 Corinthians 13:5)

One hundred percent of Americans stand a 100% chance of dying. “…and then the judgement.” Hell is populated with self-deluded souls who were sure they could meet the test (Matthew 7:21-23).

Oh Lord, my soul is sorely vexed in this adulterous and sinful age. At 3 score and 17 years in this fallen world I am more and more willing to be a stranger and more and more longing for your heavenly kingdom. I confess America deserves your judgment as much as Sodom and Gomorrah and ancient Judah and Israel. But you have promised, O God, “…if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14). Gracious Father, your sure promise is conditional–“if…/ then…” The absence of your “then” in this sin-ravaged land indicates we have failed to deliver the preconditional “if.” O Sovereign God, be pleased to incline our wayward will unceasingly to that end, with full assurance in your promise that our times, and the timing of our deliverance, are in your hands. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

See you in church.


September 5, 2021

Foreword: Beth is a much loved member of our church family. She received a heart transplant in the spring and while her new heart is doing fine, her kidneys never began to function again after surgery and she is on dialysis three times a week. Recently she had to go on supplemental oxygen because her lungs were not adequately functioning. Please pray for Beth as she continues to put up a valiant battle that is an inspiration to all of us who know and love her. 

Beth posted this on FaceBook on August 31, 2021 and it is so typical of her witness:

UPDATE: Heart Transplant Biopsy # 10 Results – No rejection of the new heart. Praise the Lord! See Surgeon tomorrow morning at St. Vincent for consultation regarding the catheter for peritoneal dialysis. God has been and continues to be so faithful to me, even when I am undeserving of His faithfulness. And, that’s the thing… there is absolutely nothing we can do to earn His love, His mercy, His grace, His faithfulness, His goodness, His Salvation. If we could earn our way to heaven or earn our way to receive all His blessings, then we wouldn’t need a Savior. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness”. ~ Lamentations 3:22-23

Dear Beth,

I have a little brother, now in heaven, who loved the Lord with the same witness-to-the-world enthusiasm as you. He was my lifelong best friend. Actually John was just 16 months younger and from the earliest years we were the same size and very athletic, also like you. I’ve never met another man who claimed, as I do, that his little brother was his role model as to godly manhood, fatherhood, and selfless servanthood. He did not have a heart transplant as you did, but his heart was overhauled numerous times, and, like you, he had additional major maladies. He came back from hard knocks time and time again, just like you. Through it all he was a powerful witness to our Gracious God, to the very dying seconds of his life at the age of 70, when he silently raised a feeble hand off his death bed and pointed his index finger heavenward.

Beth, I never met anyone like him until I met you. You are living, breathing proof that being a Christian witness is not just about toughing it out in hard times. It’s much more of the opposite, in fact. It is a complete submission to the will of our Sovereign God, while recognizing one’s utter helplessness to draw as much as another breath against His will, and to cheerfully, gratefully proclaim the same to the world in the midst of relentless personal adversity. Those of us in your church family who know and love you shudder in awe and admiration at how our Lord is using you to show us how to be a joyful witness to Him in ALL circumstances. I thank God that I am blessed to call you my little sister in Christ. I pray He will continue to grant you an abundant measure of that peace that passes all understanding that you so winsomely exude. Our Sovereign God promises that His chosen will persevere. So very great is your reward.

“The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:5–7).

Our God reigns,


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