Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Shall we sin that grace may abound?

If I can be forgiven everything, doesn't that mean I can do whatever I like?
No-one who understands how much they've been forgiven would ever want to live like that. No-one who knows how sinful they are, what it cost Jesus to gain them forgiveness, and how wonderful it is to be freely forgiven, will then walk away and live life "their own way". Jesus puts it quite explicitly when He says, "If you love me, you will obey what I command."
-Paul Williams & Barry Cooper (If You Could Ask God One Question)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Opinion is not truth

Everyone may be entitled to his own opinion but everyone is not entitled to his own truth. Truth is but one.
-Doug Groothius

Friday, September 26, 2008

Sing, sing, sing

Chris Tomlin released a new CD (Hello Love) a couple of weeks back. In the opening track “Sing, Sing, Sing” he says “What’s not to love about You?” Simply put and extremely thought provoking. Two simple answers come to mind: everything or nothing. For those who are separated from Christ everything is not to love about Him for the simple reason of self-glorification. But for those who are in Christ the answer is absolutely nothing. He is all-knowing, all-powerful, always present, majestic, holy, sovereign, our refuge, good, just, kind, merciful, gracious, forgiving, healing, eternal, giving, King of kings and Lord of lords, beautiful, marvelous, on His throne, personal, Creator, perfect, loving, worthy of all praise, honor and glory; what is not to love about Him?

We will sing, sing, sing

And make music with the heavens
We will sing, sing, sing
Grateful that You hear us
When we shout your praise
Lift high the name of Jesus

What's not to love about You?
Heaven and earth adore You
Kings and kingdoms bow down
Son of God, You are the One
You are the One we're living for

You are the love that frees us
You are the light that leads us
Like a fire burning
Son of God, You are the one
You are the one we're living for

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Praise God for role models

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a). These are the great words Paul penned to show us love is an action. Today I just want to rejoice in 37 years of love between two people I love very much. While accomplishing this love perfectly to one another is impossible, because of sin, my parents have loved through trials and triumphs. Growing up I did not understand everything involved in keeping a marriage together. Now that I’m married I understand God supplies grace to meet every need. It’s also grace that gets couples through the trials and glory to Christ in the triumphs. God’s grace has been shown in the marriage of my parents. God’s grace will continue to sustain their marriage until death do them part. Praise God for His grace that has allowed me to have a living example of what love looks like in marriage. May God receive all glory and honor for allowing their marriage to “endure all things.” Dad, keep loving mom the way Christ loved His church. Love sacrificially! Mom, continue to encourage and pray for dad the way you faithfully do. Love sacrificially! When tempted to do otherwise remember Jesus died sacrificially for those who hated Him that they might come to love. Thanks for your example and happy anniversary.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I despised myself

These are words I read in June of 2007 that had a life changing impact on my life. I pulled this off my shelf last night to see what in William Cowper’s biography had such an impact. This is my big highlighted paragraph in the book:

“Conviction of sin took place, especially of that just committed; the meanness of it, as well as its atrocity, were exhibited to me in colors so inconceivably strong that I despised myself, with a contempt not to be imagined or expressed…This sense of it secured me from the repetition of a crime which I could not now reflect on without abhorrence. Before I rose from bed, it was suggested to me that there was nothing wanted but murder, to fill up the measures of my iniquities; and that, though I had failed in my design, yet I had all the guilt of that crime to answer for. A sense of God’s wrath, and a deep despair of escaping it, instantly succeeded. The fear of death became much more prevalent in me than ever the desire of it had been.”

There is a lot about Cowper that is really interesting to say the least but what sin in your life do you see as hideous as Cowper saw his? Cowper understood God’s wrath was coming and is coming. Death is an absolute and we are all going to stand face to face with God almighty. Please do not plan to enter heaven based on your own merit, you will only find yourself in a place of eternal torment. Instead be like Cowper who read Romans 3:25 and wrote:

“Immediately I received the strength to believe it, and the full beams of the Sun of Righteousness shone upon me. I saw the sufficiency of the atonement He had made, my pardon sealed in His blood, and all the fullness and completeness of His justification. In a moment I believed and received the gospel.”

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

God is Knitting


"For You formed my inward parts; You knitted me together in my mother's womb.
I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made."
Psalm 139:13-14a

We experienced for the first time the joy of a baby and the blessing God has given to us. To Him alone be the glory for creating such beauty!!
Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!
Psalm 34:8a

The Supremacy of Jesus Christ

Oh, that the risen, living Christ, therefore, would come to us (even now) by his Spirit and through his Word and reveal to us
—the supremacy of his deity, equal with God the Father in all his attributes—the radiance of his glory and the exact imprint of his nature, infinite, boundless in all his excellencies;
—the supremacy of his eternality that makes the mind of man explode with the unsearchable thought that Christ never had a beginning, but simply always was; sheer, absolute reality while all the universe is fragile, contingent, like a shadow by comparison to his all-defining, ever-existing substance;
—the supremacy of his never-changing constancy in all his virtues and all his character and all his commitments—the same yesterday, today, and forever;
—the supremacy of his knowledge that makes the Library of Congress look like a matchbox, and all the information on the Internet look like a little 1940’s farmers almanac, and quantum physics—and everything Stephen Hawking ever dreamed—seem like a first-grade reader;
—the supremacy of his wisdom that has never been perplexed by any complication and can never be counseled the wisest of men;
—the supremacy of his authority over heaven and earth and hell, without whose permission no man and no demon can move one inch, who changes times and seasons, removes kings and sets up kings; does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; so none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?”
—the supremacy of his providence without which not a single bird falls to the ground in the furthest reaches of the Amazon forest, or a single hair of any head turns black or white;
—the supremacy of his word that moment by moment upholds the universe and holds in being all the molecules and atoms and subatomic world we have never yet dreamed of;
—the supremacy of his power to walk on water, cleanse lepers and heal the lame, open the eyes of the blind, cause the deaf to hear and storms to cease and the dead to rise, with a single word, or even a thought;
—the supremacy of his purity never to sin, or to have one millisecond of a bad attitude or an evil, lustful thought;
—the supremacy of his trustworthiness never to break his word or let one promise fall to the ground;
—the supremacy of his justice to render in due time all moral accounts in the universe settled either on the cross or in hell;
—the supremacy of his patience to endure our dullness for decade after decade; and to hold back his final judgment on this land and on the world, that many might repent;
—the supremacy of his sovereign, servant obedience to keep his Father’s commandments perfectly and then embrace the excruciating pain of the cross willingly;
—the supremacy of his meekness and lowliness and tenderness that will not break a bruised reed or quench a smoldering wick;
—the supremacy of his wrath that will one day explode against this world with such fierceness that people will call out for the rocks and the mountains to crush them rather than face the wrath of the Lamb;
—the supremacy of his grace that gives life to spiritually dead rebels and wakens faith in hell-bound haters of God, and justifies the ungodly with his own righteousness;
—the supremacy of his love that willingly dies for us even while we were sinners and frees us for the ever-increasing joy in making much of him forever;
—the supremacy of his own inexhaustible gladness in the fellowship of the Trinity, the infinite power and energy that gave rise to all the universe and will one day be the inheritance of every struggling saint;
And if he would grant us to know him like this, it would be but the outskirts of his supremacy. Time would fail to speak of the supremacy of his severity, and invincibility, and dignity, and simplicity, and complexity, and resoluteness, and calmness, and depth, and courage. If there is anything admirable, if there is anything worthy of praise anywhere in the universe, it is summed up supremely in Jesus Christ.

-John Piper

Monday, September 22, 2008

Hymns

A post from my friend, Stephen Bean, that I wanted to share with you all.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Five Reasons I Love Hymns
1. "Nothing in my hand I bring,

Simply to the cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress;
Helpless look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Savior, or I die."

2. "My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness;"

3. "And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain—
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?"

4. "Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In my place condemned He stood;
Sealed my pardon with His blood.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!"

5. "Here is love, vast as the ocean
Lovingkindness as the flood
When the Prince of Life, our Ransom
Shed for us His precious blood
Who His love will not remember?
Who can cease to sing His praise?
He can never be forgotten
Throughout Heav'n's eternal days"

Had I not joined a church that sings mostly hymns I would not have learned many of these precious words. I thank God for the many hymn writers of the past who expressed so beautifully truths which make my heart sing. My favorite thing about a good hymn is that much of the stirring of my emotions is done by the lyrics rather than the music.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A word from John Piper

If the Son of God had gone from incarnation to the cross without a life of temptation and pain to test his righteousness and his love, he would not be a suitable Savior for fallen man.
-John Piper (Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Man of Sorrows! what a name
For the Son of God, who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In my place condemned He stood;
Sealed my pardon with His blood.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Guilty, vile, and helpless we;
Spotless Lamb of God was He;
“Full atonement!” can it be?
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Lifted up was He to die;
“It is finished!” was His cry;
Now in Heav’n exalted high.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

When He comes, our glorious King,
All His ransomed home to bring,
Then anew His song we’ll sing:
Hallelujah! What a Savior!
-Philip Bliss

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

He never sought to amuse them!

Jesus pitied sinners, pleaded with them, sighed over them, warned them, and wept over them; but He never sought to amuse them!When many of His disciples turned away, because of the searching nature of His preaching--I do not find there was any attempt to bring them back, by resorting to something more pleasant to the flesh. I do not hear Him saying, "We must keep up the gatherings at any cost! So run after the people, Peter, and tell them we will have a different style of service tomorrow! Something very short and attractive, with little, if any, preaching. Today was a service for God--but tomorrow we will have a pleasant evening for the people! Tell them they will be sure to enjoy it, and have a pleasant time. Be quick, Peter! We must get the people somehow; if not by Gospel--then by entertainment!"
No, this was not how He argued. Gazing in sorrow on those who would not hear the Word--He simply turns to the twelve, and asks, "Will you go away also?"

Archibald Brown (The Devil's Mission of Amusement)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Does God forget sin?

Does God forget the sins of His children? This question is answered multiple times in Scripture. The writer of Hebrews says, “For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more” (Hebrews 8:12). Then in Jeremiah, God makes a covenant with Israel saying, “For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more” (Jeremiah 31:34). This is God’s promise to His chosen people. He promises to eradicate our sins – past, present and future – and also says He will forget them. “When God forgives, He forgets” (Matthew Henry Concise). How can an all-knowing God forget our sins; the same way he forgives our sins, through the cross of Christ. God knows our sins. He grieves for His children to confess and repent but He promises us “who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, He has now reconciled in His body of flesh by His death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before Him” (Colossians 1:21-22). He set aside our debt nailing it to the cross (Colossians 2:14). This is why it pleased the Father to crush His Son (Isaiah 53:10) so you and I may have our sins removed completely. What a great joy to know the God of mercy and grace. He supplies what we need for this life but we need to trust His great promises.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Talking about Wilberforce

This is what we (Christians) should like to the world:

His adversaries complained that "Wilberforce jumped up whenever they knocked him down." One of them in particular put it like this: "It is necessary to watch him as he is blessed with a very sufficient quantity of that Enthusiastic spirit, which is so far from yielding that it grows more vigorous from blows."

Arthur Wellesley, First Duke of Wellington, wrote after a meeting with Wilberforce, "You have made me so entirely forget you are a great man by seeming to forget it yourself in all our intercourse."
-John Piper (Amazing Grace in the Life of William Wilberforce)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Wilberforce in prison

I make not apology for speaking of Wilberforce again. You may hear about him the rest of the week.

Wilberforce anonymously visited in prison a famous infidel named Richard Carlile who was imprisoned for his blasphemous writings. When Wilberforce took out a small Bible, Carlile said, "I wish to have nothing to do with that book; and you cannot wonder at this, for if that book be true, I am damned forever!" To which Wilberforce replied, "No, no, Mr. Carlile, according to that book, there is hope for all who will seek for mercy and forgiveness; for it assures us that God hath no pleasure in the death of him that dieth."
-John Piper (Amazing Grace in the Life of William Wilberforce)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

William Wilberforce

This is a little picture into the life of William Wilberforce who I would say is the greatest politician to ever live. I'll be quoting from John Piper's biography on Wilberforce:

When considering the nature of sin, Wilberforce said, the vast bulk of Christians in England estimated the guilt of an action "not by the proportion in which, according to Scripture, actions are offensive to God, but by that in which they are injurious to society." Now, on the face of it that sounds noble, loving and practical. Sin hurts people, so don't sin.
Wouldn't that definition of sin be good for society? But Wilberforce says, "Their slight notions of the guilt and evil of sin reveal an utter lack of all suitable reverence for the Divine Majesty. This principle [reverence for the Divine Majesty] is justly termed in Scripture, 'The beginning of wisdom' (Ps. 111:10)." And without this wisdom, there will be no deep and lasting good done for man, spiritually or politically. Therefore, the supremacy of God's glory in all things is what Wilberforce call "the grand governing maxim" in all of life. The good of society may never be put ahead of this. That would dishonor God and, paradoxically, defeat the good of society. For the good of society, the good of society must not be the primary good.

Here is a link to Piper's book for free: Amazing Grace in the Life of William Wilberforce. Go get the book.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Piper Quotation Day

"The great end of all study--all theology--is a heart for God and a life of holiness."

"At the heart of Luther's theology was a total dependence on the freedom of God's omnipotent grace rescuing powerless man from the bondage of the will."

"…True saving faith is effective in producing practical obedience to God."

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Gospel

"For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures" (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).
This is the good news.
This is the gospel.
"Not only is the gospel the most important message in history; it is the only essential message in history."
-Jerry Bridges

Friday, September 5, 2008

An Example of Faithfulness

On Wednesday evening I had the privilege of sitting in the little prayer room at our church reading some Scripture. While I was in the room reading I could hear a sound coming through the walls. I could hear the beauty of faithfulness. What I mean is I could hear the organ playing beautiful songs (Immortal, Invisible; It is well) that reminded me of who God is. Then my mind started thinking back to a conversation I had about how the organ is not relevant to our day and age. How we need to be keeping up with the times even in the church. I think this conversation is commonplace among Christians. But what I was reminded of last night goes beyond the fact that I love a different style of music other than the organ. I was more reminded of God’s faithfulness through the faithfulness of one of His children. The same wonderful lady has sat behind that organ faithfully for many years (as long as I have been at the church) and she loves to serve us every Sunday. ‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness’ (Galatians 5:22). I fear faithfulness is a rare attribute displayed in the church these days. Not to mention faithfulness being displayed with such joy. I’m not saying it is wrong to keep up with the latest styles or songs but I cannot help but think of the lessons we can learn from the faithful people not the instruments. Mary Kate thanks for your faithfulness through the years to serve us every Sunday. Thanks for being a faithful member of the body of Christ throughout the years. Thanks for your example. I hope God is magnified and glorified by your light. ‘Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men’ (Romans 14:18). Acceptable to God and approved by men is what you are Mary Kate.
Thanks

Thursday, September 4, 2008

How is it possible for God to be around forever?

‘Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting You are God’ (Psalm 90:2). How is it possible for God to be around forever? Welcome to the world of God given revelation. This question transcends all reason and science and can only be revealed by the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit. While God’s eternal existence is mind blowing it is the truth. The gospel of John says ‘Your word is truth’ (John 17:17). The word of God states He is the one ‘who was and who is and who is to come’ (Revelation 1:4). If this is not a reality in your life remember He is the One ‘who is to come.’ He will be returning to take His children home. Confess and repent the sin of suppressing the truth. ‘Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God’ (Isaiah 40:28). Now you know and now you have heard ‘with everlasting love I will have compassion on you, says the LORD’ (Isaiah 54:8). ‘Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD God is an everlasting rock’ (Isaiah 26:4).

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Christ is all

Do not sit down and try to pump up repentance from the dry well of a corrupt nature. It is contrary to the laws of your mind to suppose that you can force your soul into that gracious state. Take your heart in prayer to Him who understands it and say, “Lord, cleanse it. Lord, renew it. Lord, work repentance in it.” The more you try to produce penitent emotions in yourself, the more you will be disappointed. But, if you believingly think of Jesus dying for you, repentance will burst forth.
Meditate on the Lord’s shedding His heart’s blood out of love to you. Set before your mind’s eye the agony and bloody sweat, the cross and passion. And, as you do this, He who was the Bearer of all this grief will look at you. With that look, He will do for you what He did for Peter, so that you also will go out and weep bitterly. He who died for you can, by His gracious Spirit, make you die to sin. He who has gone into glory on your behalf can draw your soul after Him, away from evil and toward holiness.
Look to Jesus for all you need between the gate of hell and the gate of heaven. Never seek elsewhere for any part of what Jesus loves to bestow, but remember, Christ is all.

-C. H. Spurgeon (All of Grace)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Admonishing and Correcting

Admonishing and correcting are two of toughest commands to follow in Scripture. Many times we have not properly examined our own life before we admonish and correct. This is why Jesus in Matthew 7 says “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but not notice the log that is in your own eye?” We are commanded to examine ourselves to see whether we are in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5) but we are also commanded to correct others who claim to be Christians. Do not correct with your own opinions. Use God’s word for correction (2 Timothy 3:16). Proper correction will come from a pure heart. A proper response will come from a broken heart. Proper correction and a proper response will only come through the Holy Spirit’s work.