Archive for December, 2021


December 31, 2021

Introspection and counting blessings, home alone with my bride, are my thing on New Year’s Eve. Back in my skydiving college days my uncle boldly predicted that I would not see my 25th birthday. There were some times in the war when I thought he was going to be right. For nearly four score years I have lived two standard deviations from the mean–an uncommon life uncommonly blessed. There is a God and he is merciful to fools and fighter pilots and incorrigible sinners. I am living proof.

I am grateful to my Sovereign God for giving me another year, well beyond the lifespan of the last three generations of Wetterling men. He has fixed the quantity of my days so I can focus on the quality, to enjoy life with the wife whom I love, all the days of my vain life that he has given me under the sun, because that is my God-given portion in life. (Eccl. 9:9). And by his grace I will run with endurance the race that is set before me (Heb. 12:1).

With one small edit the meme-maker speaks for me this New Year’s Eve. I look back on my life and I am seriously impressed I’m still alive…because I know why: By the grace of God alone, an old acquaintance that will never be forgot, from whom all blessings flow and to whom is due all my praise and worship for time and eternity.

O God, you’ve numbered all my days
Before the first one was.
They dwindle down but they’re your ways--
My fitness you must cause.
Please stoke in me a heart ablaze,
Eradicate my flaws.
I need your grace in these last days
To get my Lord's applause.


December 29, 2021

I don’t know if time exists in heaven, but if it does my soul brother/blood brother, John, is celebrating his 6th anniversary today, and “there’s no less days to sing God’s praise than when they first begun.” He promised to hold a seat for me at the marriage supper of the Lamb, but far more importantly, so did The Lamb. See you soon, beloved brother, in our Sovereign God’s own good time.

“Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Revelation 19:9).

“Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29a).


December 26, 2021

This applies to all y’all…all the time. Perhaps you’ve seen that meme that’s going around. “Q: Do I need Jesus to go to heaven? A: You need Jesus to go to Walmart.” This is why he came. As you celebrate the season, forget not the reason that babe was born in Bethlehem–omnipotent God veiled in helpless human flesh, came to die for the salvation of many. From the splendor of his throne room to the stench and squalor of the manger, to a humiliating, agonizing slow death on a very public cross between two criminals, he came to die to save depraved, rebellious souls.

Non-believers who do not know Christ as their Lord and Savior live life oblivious to the reality of their impending doom. The birth of Jesus is the Divine Solution for those who believe. The Incarnate Deity died…for me!  He is “…a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11), who is with “you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

“…if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

See you in church. We’ll sing, “Glory to the newborn king….” May it reverberate in your brain and resonate in your heart forever.


December 25, 2021

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger” (Luke 2:8–12).

This Christmas Day seek that Savior, friend, and know that joy. He is Christ the Lord. He is the answer to what ails you and this fallen world.

“…seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deuteronomy 4:29).

Merry Christmas


December 22, 2021

A Christmas message to old friends:

Dear old fighter pilots,

Here’s my Christmas wish–decidedly unwoke: When my allotted days are up (Psalm 139:16), please don’t say that I “flew west.” When it applies to ourselves and our loved ones, we sure come up with some esoteric euphemisms to keep from choking up on that “d” word that we were so cavalier about when it applied to the enemy. But we’ll be just as dead…to the world.

I don’t know what’s west, but I know where I am going. I am flight planned to fly home (my forever home in heaven) and it’s been signed off by the Head Shed, and I’m just cooling my jets in a mighty comfy alert shack with the love of my life awaiting the call to launch, which I do not anticipate anytime soon.

How can I be so sure I’m flying home? It has everything to do with that babe born in the manger in the Middle East 2000 years ago, the Son of God who, at great cost and incomprehensible Grace ransomed my soul, and the irresistible power of the Holy Spirit that changes hearts. Unworthy? For sure! Grateful? Overwhelmingly so!

If our Sovereign God can work a miracle in my stone cold heart, he can do the same for you, if he hasn’t already. May you all enjoy that gift this Christmas.

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11).


December 19, 2021

If you thought you awoke this morning precisely where you went to sleep last night, you would be wrong…by quite a bit.

Earth spins on its axis at 1000 miles per hour. Earth moves around the Sun at 67,108 mph. Our solar system orbits the center of the Milky Way, at 864,000 mph. Our Milky Way galaxy, 100,000 light years in diameter, just one of innumerable galaxies, moves through the universe at 1.3 million mph and “none deviate a hair’s breadth from the path which God has marked out for them” (John Calvin). It surpasses knowledge!

Where does God stand to monitor and manage his universe? Everywhere. “Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain him…” (1 Kings 8:27). Is the Sovereign God, who created all this and controls every molecule everywhere, big enough to deal with your problems?

Perhaps you have the opposite worry–He’s too big to care or even notice you exist. In the vast scheme of things you are but animated dust on a pebble hurtling through the limitless emptiness of space. Fear not, little one. You are not insignificant. You are not lost in the cosmos. The psalmist asked the question long ago: “What is man that you are mindful of him…?” (Psalm 8:4) You are a microscopic image of the God who made you (Genesis 5:1-2), “a little lower than the Heavenly beings and crowned with glory and honor” (Psalm 8:5).

He is the Savior whose arrival we celebrate this season, the God so big the heavens cannot contain him, who condescended to enter this rebellious human race that was/is desperately in need of a savior, on a tiny planet in his vast universe. He arrived in the least magisterial manner imaginable–as a helpless baby born in a cattle stall–to live a sinless life, then lay it down to ransom his people, chosen for the gift of faith unto salvation before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4), that they might spend eternity with him. It was the hinge of human history, the only gate that only he can open. Fix your gaze on that babe in the manger and be overwhelmed at how much The Sovereign God of the Universe cares for you. Rejoice, again I say rejoice!

“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! … For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” (Romans 11:33, 36)

See you in church.


December 11, 2021

The angel said to Joseph concerning Mary, “She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).
Note the angel did not say He’d save all people, but HIS people from their sins.

On the night of his birth the angels sang to the shepherds, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:14) Note “those with whom he is pleased,” not all people.

Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me…” (John 10:14). That strongly implies a select portion of the whole. And his last words on the cross were, “It is finished” (John 19:30). He had given his life–finished his rescue mission–atoning for the sins of his people. The Good Shepherd died on the cross, then rose from the dead that his people with whom he is pleased would have eternal life with him. It’s a miraculous mystery of divine love, that God would save his chosen with his own blood, the blood of that babe born God/man in a manger. Why he would choose to call a rascal like me his people is a baffling part of his inscrutable will. I bow in adoration and wonder and gratitude. He is the Gift that all gifts under all Christmas trees represent and honor. This, then, is the question to ask yourself this Advent season–the ultimate question: “Does this Gift have my name on it?”

“For the Lord has comforted his people … Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands…” (Isaiah 49:13, 16).

See you in church.


December 6, 2021

Pastor Hutchinson’s final line in his sermon on Isaiah 60 yesterday, that so affected him he had an extended pause before his closing, powerfully poignant prayer, has long moved me as well. It’s the final line of the refrain of Charles Wesley’s hymn, “And Can It Be.” I made this a few years ago and have displayed it in my home ever since. Google the hymn lyrics–the entire hymn is powerful, composed right after Wesley’s conversion.

Pastor’s quote and prayer alone, beginning at 1:17:30, is worth 3 minutes of your time.


December 4, 2021

“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!” (Romans 11:33)

God rescued Israel from 400 years of slavery with seven disastrous miracles for their Egyptian captors. Then he parted the sea so upwards of a million people could cross on dry land, then closed it behind them, drowning the Egyptian army. And in spite of all they had seen with their own eyes and experienced, within a few weeks the Israelites were building an idol to worship! Fourteen centuries of cycles of rebellion against God, His severe judgment, and renewal that followed proved that depraved mankind was incapable on his own of coming to God and remaining obedient to His laws given to Moses on Mount Sinai. So instead of turning his back on the whole sorry lot, Omnipotent God came to man, and in the ultimate incognito–a helpless baby born in obscurity–a divine rescue mission for the ages, foretold 700 years before by the prophet Isaiah (7:14). To parrot a popular phrase these days, you can’t make this stuff up. With each passing Advent, when we break out the Christmas decorations and I set up my homemade creche, I think about those extraordinary events, that unlikely cast of characters, the even more unlikely venue and the incomprehensible love of God to do such a thing. I realize more acutely just how much I need this rescue mission, just how unworthy I am to spend eternity with a Holy God–my best deeds are filthy rags (Isa.64:6). I read of ancient Israel’s failures and shake my head, then realize that I am no better, and I have even less excuse this side of the cross. My sins put that helpless babe, grown to maturity, the Son of God himself, on that cross voluntarily as my Substitute. He came to die for me. It was His plan from the beginning of time, launched that first Christmas, to do for me what I could not do for myself–atone for my sins. How inscrutable His ways! That is love that cannot be comprehended or repaid, but it sure can be gratefully received and reflected, however dimly, in the life I live.

“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Cornithians 10:31).

See you in church.

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