Intimate Love, Costly Grace, Wondrous Holiness: Navigating a ‘Boring’ Passage

road-sky-sand-street.jpgJourneying through the book of Exodus can feel a lot like wandering in circles through the Sinai wilderness—it’s easy to get lost in the details. Exodus is an exciting and enjoyable book to read and study through at least the first 20 chapters. But the last half of the book is rarely read, studied, and preached—except for a few stories (Ex. 32-34). One of the reasons is that the book shifts from narrative to lengthy descriptions and commands. The last half of Exodus, particularly Exodus 28-31, are a little boring to the casual reader.

In Exodus 28, there is a seemingly endless list of specific descriptions and commands from the Lord as to how the priests’ garments were to be designed. An instructional tone continues in Exodus 29 as the Lord explains how the priests should be consecrated (set apart for service to the Lord). In Exodus 30 we see more instructions regarding the placement and purpose of tabernacle elements such as the altar of incense and the bronze basin. Exodus 31 reinforces Sabbath commands while Exodus 39 is a lengthy description of the Israelites obedience to the Lord in making the priests’ garments.

From a bird’s-eye view, Exodus 28-31 and 39 are all about God’s love, grace, holiness, and glory. True, this is a very broad and general statement that could nearly be true of every biblical text. But there is something unique about this section of the Exodus in how it relates to the rest of the Bible and even to you and I today. Exodus is all about God’s glory extending to the ends of the earth through his chosen people who possess his indwelling presence.

By God’s grace alone, he chose a people for himself and dwelled with them. The tabernacle was constructed as a means for God to live with his people. One of the most glaring realities communicated in Exodus 28-31 is that God demands and defines how he will be approached and worshiped. Because of our sin, approaching God on our terms will always prove disastrous. He is too holy for his people to just waltz into his presence whenever and however they so please. In the words of pastor Landon Dowden, “You don’t just stroll into God’s presence.” If Exodus 28-31 teaches us anything, it teaches us that it is incredibly costly to dwell peacefully with the living God.

Ultimately, Exodus 28-31 points to Christ, our great high priest, who makes “propitiation for the sins of the people” (Heb. 2:17). Only by being clothed with his righteousness can we fearlessly approach the throne of God (Heb. 4:14-16). The fact that we possess the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit every waking and sleeping moment of every day should leave us in awe of the work of Christ on our behalf.

I believe there are three important truths to draw from this often overlooked and seemingly obscure passage of Scripture.

1. God’s Love is Deeply Intimate

We see his deeply intimate love in the simple fact that he desires to live with us. Most of us are particularly careful in choosing who we live with. Whether in choosing a spouse, college roommate, or camp roommate, we don’t want to live with someone who will inevitably cause us harm. We choose who we live with based on their merits and their history with us. I’m so thankful God is not like us. He chooses to live with people who will inevitably cause him harm. He chooses to live with people who will deliberately turn their backs on him despite his unfailing goodness. It wouldn’t take long for the people with whom he has chosen to dwell to start worshiping a calf made out of gold. Yet, this God of deep, intimate love constantly pursues his people not based on their merits or history, but solely on the basis of his love.

2. God’s Grace is Costly

The only way for a God of infinite holiness and a people totally depraved with sin to live together is forgiveness. In any broken relationship, the party who is wronged must forgive the party who has wronged in order for the relationship to be restored. Well, the relationship between God and man is broken with a greater divide than any other relationship in history. Mending this relationship will require more than just blind acceptance. God would cease to be God if he allowed man into his presence without dealing with their sin. Grace and forgiveness that are in any way meaningful are always costly. And they are costly to the one showing grace and offering forgiveness.

The sacrificial blood-bath in Exodus 29 is not for the sake of religious rituals. These sacrifices are necessary for the possibility of forgiveness. And they point to the ultimate sacrifice, the divine sacrifice where the God who owns heaven and earth takes the greatest loss by sending his Son to bear his wrath against sin. God’s grace is indeed costly. But it is costly to himself. Oh, the lengths and depths of God’s grace!

3. God’s Holiness is Wondrous

Being overwhelmed by the mountain of details in Exodus 28-31 isn’t necessarily a bad thing. They speak to the wonder of God’s holiness. Remember, you can’t just waltz into God’s presence however and whenever you like. So, the details aren’t ritualistic. They aren’t for the sake of information overload. They are a testament to the grandeur and wonder of God’s holiness. One of the more sanctifying things you can do is meditate on God’s holiness or otherness. Just how different is he from you?

In all honesty, Exodus 28-31, and really much of the last 20 chapters of Exodus, is difficult to read. It is easy to miss the importance, meaning, and significance of these chapters. It is easy to get lost in the details. However, with the right lens, we will be able to see not only the importance of these chapters as inspired Scripture, but we will be able to see the deeply intimate nature of God’s love, the costly nature of God’s grace, and the wondrous nature of God’s holiness.

Mathew Gilbert (B.A. Boyce College) is Associate Pastor for Children and Preschool at The Church at Trace Crossing in Tupelo, MS. He is a M.Div student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Mathew is married to his high school sweetheart, Erica. Mathew and Erica live in Tupelo with their son, Jude. You can follow him on Twitter @mat_gilbert.


Does God Love All Sinners?

ask-question-1-ff9bc6fa5eaa0d7667ae7a5a4c61330cThis question originated from a young Christian girl in the children’s ministry I lead. At First Baptist Church, East Bernstadt, we encourage our children to ask difficult questions. Then, we answer them as best we can. The last thing we want is to limit the heart and mind of a child. Doubts only slip into unbelief when they are ignored. So, instead of shunning doubts, we welcome them. We do not have all the answers, but our desire is to be open about any concern about life, death, Christianity, the Bible, God, Jesus, or whatever else.
The girl that asked this question has been thinking a lot about eternity, and she has taught me to think more about eternity than I currently do. Her question comes from this conundrum in her mind: “If God loves everybody exactly the same way, then why do some people go to heaven, but others go to hell?” If God does love everyone in exactly the same way, then his love is no good for those in hell. So, if there is a difference in the result of the love, isn’t it possible that there is a difference in the way God loves. This girl is questioning the nature of God’s love (in a good and healthy way). Is it as simple as we present it to children–“God loves all the children of the earth!” Or, is God’s love a little more complex than that?

From Hate to Love

First, before we can fully appreciate and grasp the nature of God’s love for us, we must first realize another biblical truth. The Bible tells us that God hates sinners. What?! Yes, you read that right. God hates sinners. Don’t take my word for it. Take God’s: “The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers” (Ps. 5:5). The Bible doesn’t say that God just hates evil, he hates the one who does evil as well. Psalm 11:5 says, “The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.” God doesn’t just hate wickedness, he hates the wicked one as well.

You see, it is not just my sin that God hates, it is me that God hates. This makes us uncomfortable. In fact, it was a little hard to write. But is this because it is an unfair treatment of God’s nature, or is it because we are so filled with pride that we cannot begin to see ourselves as deserving of hate? We have done evil by elevating ourselves above God. We have done wickedly by breaking God’s law and seeking satisfaction in everything but him.

It is so, so important to know that God hates you first, so that you can begin to understand his great love for you. If God did not hate you in your sin, his love for you in Christ would mean nothing. Jesus did not die for sin. He died for sinners! The tremendous hatred of God for sinners and the tremendous love of God for sinners collide in the cross of Christ. So, God hates all sinners in this sense.

God’s General Love for Sinners

But thank God the Bible does not stop there. The Bible also teaches us that God loves all sinners in a general way. Jesus puts it this way: “For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matt. 5:45). In James we see that “every good and perfect gift comes down from above . . . from the father of lights” (Jam. 1:17). Historically and theologically, this has been called common grace. Theologian John Calvin once said in The Institutes of the Christian Religion,

“[L]et that admirable light of truth shining in them teach us that the mind of man, though fallen and perverted from its wholeness, is nevertheless clothed and ornamented with God’s excellent gifts” (Book II.2.15).

God even loves those who will never repent and believe in Jesus in this general way. He cares for their basic needs by allowing even the most evil people to have families, friends, food, and shelter. He gives them abilities to play beautiful music. He gives them knowledge to discover mathematical and scientific truths about the world. This means that even though some people clearly do not believe in Jesus, they are still loved by God in his provision for them and allowance of good gifts. No one can claim that their abilities originated with them. Every good thing that anyone has is the gift of God’s general love or common grace.

Special Love for Not-So-Special People

However, the Bible also does not stop there, thank God. God also loves some sinners in a special way. This is not because they are more special themselves. Quite the contrary. The testimony of the Bible is that “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). In spite of how not-so-special we are, God loves some sinners in a special way. It is because he is especially gracious in sending his Son to die. For those sinners who repent and believe in Jesus, God loves in a special way.

This means that he not only gives them good gifts like family, friends, and food, he gives them the greatest gift of all, himself. It is from this special love that sinners are adopted as sons and daughters of the King of the universe. “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirsheirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:16-17). God loves his children in a special way, which is more than the general love that he shows to all sinners. We are not only given the ability to create or write or play music, we are given the eternal kingdom of God.

Certainly God’s love for those who are in Christ is greater and more special and specific than for those who are dead in their sin. The pivotal question here becomes, “What is the key to eternal destination? Grace or ability?” If we answer with “grace,” then we can see God’s love in both general and special terms. If we answer with “ability,” then we can see that God’s love is the same for all, but eternal destiny is up to our own abilities. I praise God the Bible seems to indicate the former. God loves some sinners in a special way, not as a result of their ability, but as a demonstration of his grace.

Here is a simple and imperfect illustration I hope helps you understand. I love all children. I would do anything I could to care for a child in need. However, I will love my child in a special way. I will do more for him than I would for children that are not my own. It is the same with God. God loves his children in a special way and will do for them eternally more than he will for those that are not his own in Christ.

396110_519885398036913_1852978654_nMathew Gilbert is the Children’s Pastor at First Baptist Church East Bernstadt. He is the author of the forthcoming book Come to the Well: 50 Meditations to Fuel Your Joy in God (CrossBooks). Mathew lives in London, KY with his wife, Erica, and their dog, Simba.

Why Does God Love Us?

On Wednesday nights, students that I have the privilege to lead have the opportunity to ask any biblical, theological, ethical, or life question and put it into a cardboard mailbox. The following week, I take about five minutes to quickly answer as many questions as I can from the stage. We began this at the beginning of January and it has been really fun so far.

Last week, a wonderfully curious girl asked a deeply profound question: Why does God love us?

You have no idea how many times I have asked myself this question. Why does God love us? It is such a great question to ask. There is no doubting that God does in fact love us. We see it over and over again in Scripture. In fact, much of the Bible is a one-sided love story, as God’s people play the role of the adulterous spouse, while God plays the role of the unbroken lover bound and determined to have his bride despite her infidelity. Why would God choose to love Abraham? He was a moon worshiper. Why Moses? He was a cowardly murderer. Why David? He was a murderous adulterer. Why the people of Israel in general? They wanted to worship a golden calf rather than the God who had literally taken them through waters to salvation from slavery.

Or maybe a more appropriate and personal question, “Why does God love me?” Someone who had built a kingdom where only I could rule. Someone who gladly thanked God for his gifts and then desecrated them by using them my way, not his. Someone who claimed lordship over my own body and life and used both for my glory. And even now, while redeemed, but still imperfect, why does he love me? Why does he love me when the stench of my hypocrisy rises to heaven?

Not How, But Why?

Look, I’m a theology student. I know how God can love me. I know that his love for me is not based on my works. In spite of my guilt, God loved me on the basis of his grace. And the ultimate display of his love is sending Christ to die in my place to take away my guilt. How is a holy and just God able to justify guilty sinners? The answer is written in the blood of the cross. I understand that he is committed to his covenant. But why enter into a covenant with sinners? Why pursue us? I understand that he loves us on the basis of his grace. But why show us grace in the first place? Because it is his nature? Well, his nature would be no different whether he showed us grace or left us in our sin. I get the how. But that’s not the question this young girl wants answered.

Why does he do it? Why does he love unworthy, dirty, blasphemous, prideful sinners? Why does he love those who have rebelled against him? Why does he love those who have broken his laws? Why does he love those who have taken all of the good gifts he has given us and used them to scheme against him? Why? Why does God love us?

For His Glory

The best biblical evidence I can find for the reason God would love us is that God loves us for his glory. I am borrowing from John Piper here. Shocker, I know. But Piper gives the most compelling answer to this almost ethereal question.

According to Piper, God loves us because he wants to glorify himself. Here are some examples he gives:

God loves us by adopting us into his family, and he does this for his glory. “In love he predestined us for adoption to the praise of his glorious grace” (Eph. 1:5-6).

God loves us by creating us, and he does this for his glory. “…Everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory” (Isa. 43:6-7).

God loves us by sending us a Savior, and he does this for his glory. “The angel said to them, “I bring you good news of great joy. . .For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior. . .And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest’” (Luke 2:10-14).

God loves us by Christ’s dying for us, and he does this for his glory. “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 Cor. 5:14-15).

And these are just a few reasons Piper gives. To tell you the truth, I don’t ultimately know why God would choose to love his enemies. I believe the Bible demonstrates God loves us for his glory. God makes himself the greatest treasure when he loves us for his glory. This means that even when we are tempted to make a god out of the loving gifts God gives us, we will see that the reason he loves us is for the praise and glory of his name, which causes us to make him our only God.

I know that it is an important question to ask because of what it causes us to think about. It causes us to think about God’s holiness and perfection and glory. It causes us to think about our sin and our guilt. It causes us to think about God’s grace. And even though we may never know exactly why a gloriously perfect God would choose to love horribly imperfect sinners, we know for sure what the apostle Paul said to the church at Rome: “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). What tremendous love!

And on the basis of this extreme love, we are to love others. Time to repent.

396110_519885398036913_1852978654_nMathew Gilbert is the Children’s Pastor at First Baptist Church East Bernstadt. He is the author of the forthcoming book Come to the Well: 50 Meditations to Fuel Your Joy in God (CrossBooks). Mathew lives in London, KY with his wife, Erica, and their dog, Simba. You can follow him on Twitter @Mat_Gilbert.

If God Is For Us…

I have begun 2015 by reading a book that I should have already read twice. J. Gresham Machen’s What is Faith? is a classic theological text that examines the doctrine of saving faith while denigrating the liberal theology of his day. I came across something in the second chapter of his book that caused deep reflection. I wanted to share some of these musings.

Romans 8:31 is one of the most beloved and encouraging verses in the entire Bible. It is an expression of God’s immeasurable love and grace. It is found in one of the most profound and important sections of Scripture in the entire Bible. Romans 8:31-39 is basically a grand exultation in the love of God. While John 3:16 is a tremendous description of God’s love, nothing grasps the depths and extent of God’s love like Romans 8 and specifically Romans 8:31-39. Beautiful, poetic words flow from Paul’s pen as he was moved by the Holy Spirit to compose a glorious doxology of God’s love.

In the stream of words that display the glory of God’s love, there is one word that recently stood out to me; and it may be a word you would least expect.

After Paul asks what can be said now that he has explained the totality of God’s salvation from election to glorification, he says,

If God is for us, who can be against us?

The word that I have been sitting on is the word, “If.” If God is for us is a phrase that if left alone is absolutely frightening. I think we too easily pass by this word and interpret the verse as a conditional statement used by Paul with an assumed answer to drive home the force of his point regarding God’s everlasting love. Think about it. If God is for us. This phrase takes me back to Eden. It takes me back to my own sin. It causes me to reflect on the depth of God’s love.

When Adam sinned against God by breaking the covenant of works that necessitated his perfect obedience, he was immediately (along with the rest of mankind) thrust into the mire of eternal guilt and despair. From this point on, nothing necessitates that God respond with grace and love. God has no outside obligation to be “for us.” It is not as if we were some hot commodity that God just had to rescue because of our worth. No, we had forsaken our dignified right as heirs to the Kingdom. In Adam, we failed to fill the earth with the glory of the Lord. Instead, we began building a kingdom of our own based on obedience to the will of our sinful passions. In this state, we deserve God’s wrath and curse. And we definitely do not deserve his favor.

If God is for us. Who knew such a small word could cause my heart to stop? Think about it. God did not have to be for us. He could have left us in our guilt and he would be no less righteous. He could have left us in our sin and he would be no less good. God’s holiness, which is the glorious manifestation of all his attributes, is not dependent on the obedience of his creation. God is not love because he sets his favor toward sinners. He is and has been love for all eternity, before his rebellious creatures ever existed. His actions flow from his character, but his character is not determined by his actions or lack thereof. So, if God had not acted to save sinners, his character would remain eternally intact and perfect.

But what if God is not for us? He is still God, but our lives would be drastically different if he were not for us. If God is not for us, then our lives will be an endless and impossible search for pleasure, satisfaction, and joy, that will end in eternal misery. If God is not for us, then He is against us! How dreadfully important is this verse. For non-believers, this is the state they are in. This was the state I was in. As I walked in the darkness of my sin, God was not for me.

The better question is not what if God is not for us, but why would God ever be for us? What is in it for him? Why would a king with all the authority in the world set his favor toward the very ones that have staged a global and cosmic rebellion against his reign?

Theologian J. Gresham Machen answers this question in beautiful and profound simplicity:

But why is He for us? Simple indeed is the Christian answer to that question: He is for us simply because He has chosen to be. He surely has a right to receive whom He will into His fellowship: and as a matter of fact He has chosen to receive us poor sinners who trust in Christ; He chose to receive us when He gave Christ to die.

According to Machen, God’s favor is upon unworthy and undeserving sinners, because he sovereignly chose to set his favor upon us. He had no obligation, but according to his infinite wisdom, kindness, mercy, love, and grace, he chose to receive those who rejected him.

Machen continues,

It was His act, not ours…”If God be for us, who can be against us?”–it is a large “if,” but it melts away very soon in the warmth of God’s grace.

Not only is it a sovereign act of sheer grace that sets God’s favor upon us, but it depends not on our working, but on God’s alone. God being for us is totally dependent on his action, not ours. We can do nothing to attract the brightness of his face. His face shines upon us as a matter of his own doing. When we see the reality of God’s sovereign grace, it will truly melt away the bitterness of all the possibilities that lie in that cold little word, “if.”

If God is for us…Because of his sovereign grace, an action that is his alone, God is for those he has called to life in the Son. And this changes everything about the way we live. Namely, we can face all worldly enemies with confidence in the eternal and unshakable love of God in Christ. And all temptation to despair over the guilt of sin is swallowed up in God’s favor. Machen puts it this way, “If God knows that we are right, what care we for the blame of men?…Little care we whether our sin be thought unpardonable or no, little interested are we in the exact calculation of our guilt. Heap it up mountain high, yet God has removed it all.”

In the end, the Christian cannot fully explain why God would set his favor upon in light of our sin and guilt. While we can come to some answers, ultimately it is as simple as, “That’s the way God wanted it!” And that is good enough for me. The guilt that could pile up mountain high in my heart is enough to blacken even the brightest day. But the depth of God’s love is seen in the fact that he is for me even though I have sinned against him! Who am I to keep this love to myself?

So, Christian, live this day with utter confidence, that despite your sin and guilt, Christ died for you. And by your faith in him, his favor is upon you. I could not sum it up better than Machen, so I will allow him to close us out:

I know not what my guilt may be; one thing I know: Christ loved me and gave Himself for me. Come on now ye moralists of the world, come on ye hosts of demons, with your whisperings of hell! We fear you not; we take our stand beneath the shadow of the Cross, and standing there, in God’s favour, we are safe. No fear of challenge now! If God be for us, who can be against us? None, in heaven or in earth or in hell.

396110_519885398036913_1852978654_nMathew Gilbert is the Children’s Pastor at First Baptist Church East Bernstadt. He is the author of the forthcoming book Come to the Well: 50 Meditations to Fuel Your Joy in God (CrossBooks). Mathew lives in London, KY with his wife, Erica, and their dog, Simba. You can follow him on Twitter @Mat_Gilbert.

Finding Joy by Fighting Sin: Thoughts on Grace, Sin, and Joy in God

hand-broken-chains-vector-1084222I have noticed a weak link in some Baptist circles. Baptist theology is by and large a high praise of the glory of God’s grace. This is unsurprising since Southern Baptist theology and confessions, such as the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, have their roots in Reformed Baptist theologians like James P. Boyce, John Broadus, and Basil Manly Jr. However, while this emphasis on grace is both biblical and praiseworthy, in some Baptist circles, an errant version of “grace” is taught and believed. Grace is wrongly understood as the doctrine that frees us to not worry about our sin, but to continue in it. The mantra may well be: “Show love. Show grace. Don’t bother with sin in you or others.” The idea of love radically changes into the allowance of sin in the name of cultural “tolerance.”
In such an environment, anytime sin is labeled, called out, or even discussed, those who gladly affirm grace deny obedience. This is a problem because Paul—the foremost proponent of salvation by grace through faith—desperately hated sin (Romans 7:7-25), debunked those who argued for an antinomian mindset (Romans 6:1-2), and urged believers to work as God works (Phil. 2:12-13). It is tempting to label Christian brothers and sisters who call for repentance as being judgmental or legalists when it is our sin that is being called into question.

The problem with this kind of thinking is what it produces—a culture of people praising God for his grace as a basis for continuing in their sin. This is utterly blasphemous. How can we talk so frequently and highly of God’s grace and ignore his people’s sin? Essentially, some Baptists want to have their cake and eat it too. Some Baptists are tempted on the basis of their own theology to continue living in sin while justifying it with God’s grace. I think one motivation for this, among many, is that it is hard for some to understand how mortifying the flesh, fighting sin, and repentance could be joyful. All of these things are painful, so how could there be any joy in them? That is an important question to ask. Can Baptists (or anyone) find joy in striving for holiness, dying to self, and fighting sin?

Let’s first take a deeper look at joy itself. The ultimate fulfillment of joy in man is found in the ultimate expression of love from God. Never say that joy cannot be found in suffering. Eternal joy is found in the suffering of our Passover Lamb, Jesus Christ. In fact, joy is more profound, more real, more weighty and has more substance when found amidst suffering. Joy is by nature an end. Joy is the result of something. Joy in God is not dependent upon circumstances. Joy in God is dependent on the grace of the joy-Giver. Grace enables and fuels joy in God.

Where repentance goes, joy in God swiftly follows. Joy in God is found where repentance has left its mark. Joy in God is the footprint left by repentance. Repenting is not only necessary for salvation, commanded by God, and a requirement for admission into the Kingdom, it is also the most freeing, liberating, and relieving act one can make. Resting in repentance is breeding ground for a multitude of joy.

Joy in God is satisfaction in God. Satisfaction in God is contentment in God. Contentment in God results from resting in an eternal covenantal bond of which the Cornerstone announces: “I will never leave you nor forsake you!” Repentance is a marker of a member of this covenant. Eternal joy in God is impossible outside of a repentant heart. Holiness is the soil in which joy in God grows. Rich holiness leads to healthy and plentiful joy in God. And peace will always follow joy in God.

Pursuing joy in God is nothing more than the way of salvation, which is of the Lord. If you want to love yourself well, you should run not to your own defense when you sin, but to the eternal fountain of God’s joy and drink deeply. Loving yourself then can become holy and good and God-glorifying. Magnify the glory of God by being satisfied in him today. Be content in the Lord our God today and by doing so magnify his all-sufficient grace. Love God. Love yourself. If you do so in this joy-seeking way, then sin will become disgusting and distasteful. You will desire godly rebuke. You will gladly repent. Grace empowers holiness, not sinfulness.

If you want to love yourself well, you will love God to the end of glorifying him through your satisfaction of him. From here apply the principle of loving your neighbor as yourself. Seek their joy in God. Even better, seek your joy in their joy in God. Oh, the glory of God in the satisfaction of his people! May we ever revel in and spread the joy and glory of his grace. Under this theology we will enter heaven with full hearts and eager appetites, never to taste sin again.

396110_519885398036913_1852978654_nMathew Gilbert is a student at Boyce College (B.A. Biblical and Theological Studies, Dec. ’14). He is the author of the forthcoming book Come to the Well: 50 Meditations to Fuel Your Joy in God (CrossBooks). Mathew lives in London, KY. with his wife Erica.