Thursday, March 31, 2011

Take Up Your Armor...Daily

Take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. (Ephesians 6:13-18)

In his book A Gospel Primer for Christians Milton Vincent's talks about our daily protection as Christians based on Ephesians 6:

"As long as I am inside the gospel, I experience all the protection I need from the powers of evil that rage against me. It is for this reason that the Bible tells me to 'take up' and 'put on' the whole armor of God; and the pieces of armor it tells me to put on are all merely synonyms for the gospel. Translated literally from the Greek, they are: '...the salvation...the justification...truth...the gospel of peace...the faith...[and the]...word of God.' What are all these expressions but various ways of describing the gospel?

That God would tell me to 'take up' and 'put on' this gospel armor alerts me to the fact that I do not automatically come into each day protected by the gospel. In fact, these commands imply that I am vulnerable to defeat and injury unless I seize upon the gospel and arm myself with it from head to toe. And what better way is there to do this than to preach the gospel to myself and to make it the obsession of my heart throughout each day?"

As a reminder to preach the gospel to ourselves daily Reach Records artist Tedashii has a new album coming out in April titled Blacklight. Below is a video for the song Need it Daily where Tedashii is reminding everyone of their need for the gospel daily.

Grace upon grace,

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Unworthy Disciples

I baptize with water, but there stands One among you whom you do not know. It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. (John 1:26-27)

R.C. Sproul writing on this passage gives us great insight into the humility of John the Baptist statement and the humility that should be shown in every disciple of Christ.

"John's mention of Jesus' sandal strap was an idiom, an expression of the Jews. A disciple of a rabbi, such as Jesus' disciples, not only attended the lectures of the rabbi and learned the lessons that he taught, he took on the role of a servant. The disciple actually functioned as the personal slave of the rabbi and took care of all of his needs - making his housing arrangements, getting his food, and so forth. We see examples of this in the ministry of Jesus, such as the occasion when He sent His disciples into Jerusalem to make sure that a room was reserved where He could celebrate the Passover. But the one thing that differentiated a disciple in a rabbinical school from an actual bondslave was that the disciple was never required to take care of the shoes or the sandals of his teacher. A slave could be reduced to that humiliating task, but no a disciple.

Therefore, when Joh said, 'I'm not even worthy to unstrap His sandals,' he was saying: 'Don't look at me. I'm lower than a disciple. I'm even lower than a slave. I'm not even worthy to untie His shoes, to take off His sandals, to clean His feet. Don't look at me. Look to Him.' I believe John put this incident right at the beginning of his Gospel to help focus his readers' attention on the One whom John's Gospel announces. John is saying, through John the Baptist, 'It's time to make straight the highway of our God.'

Those of us who believe and trust in Christ are His disciples. But like John, we need to see that we are not worthy in and of ourselves to untie His shoes, for we have sinned against God and despised His just rule. Despite that, Jesus gave Himself for us, to reddem us from our sins. May we never cease to give thanks for such a great salvation."

Grace upon grace,

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Greatest of All

The greatest of all transactions
The costliest purchase price
Father, Your Son’s atoning death
Was given in payment for mine
To buy me back from slavery
To set me free from my chains

Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb
Redeemed through Your infinite mercy
Your child forever I am

Now I’ll never know Your judgment
You ransomed and saved my soul
Jesus, Your death and Yours alone
Has canceled the debt that I owed
You satisfied the law’s demand
And new life’s been given to me (Fanny Crosby, Pat Sczebel)

Grace upon grace,

Monday, March 28, 2011

Heed the Words of Christ

The words of Jesus:

"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash." (Matthew 7:13-27)

Grace upon grace,

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Great God of Grace

"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...Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain" (1 Corinthians 15:3-4, 58).

I have had the honor for several years now to partake in a ministry at the local Juvenile Detention Center here in Little Rock. What started as a once in awhile trip to share the Gospel with these youth has turned into a twice month ministry. Turnover is quick and we rarely get to see kids twice although there are some we get to see more frequently to which I am grateful. Our task is simple: Go be ambassadors for Christ so that he may be magnified through our testimony. This is Gospel ministry. Even though the turnover is quick we still get one opportunity to speak the Gospel of Jesus Christ to these kids. We want them to have the hope that is found in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the only hope for sinners! We want them to hear the Good News that Jesus came to live the life none of us could live and that he died the death that we deserve. He paid the punishment for sin and took upon himself our wrath. For those who place their trust in Christ we are given his perfect righteousness. This is the hope they need and the hope I am so glad to be reminded of often.

After several years and only a couple of short term relationships once they are released at time this ministry can get discouraging. I had hopes of a row of them at church being faithful to come and be involved. I had hopes for phone calls, e-mails and dinner times to have relationships with these kids once they were released. This is what I desired and for the most part none of that stuff took place. The questions have always been lingering: "Is this worth it?", "Will you ever have a relationship with any of these kids?", "Are we wasting our time?", "Should we be investing elsewhere?" Some of the questions have been good but others have been my sinful tendency to want to see immediate success. But God's Word tells me truth: "Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain." The way I measure success is not the same as that described in Scripture. The call is to be faithful to proclaim the excellencies of the One who called us out of darkness and into his marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9). So after seeing these passages the aim has changed from what I want to doing what God want from me.

Last Friday we were back, same place and same time, with kids who were locked up. The Gospel we proclaimed is the same Gospel we have always proclaimed. We talked, we sang and I had the privilege to teach John 14:6 to which I simply wanted to communicate the truth about who Jesus is. When I was done we had more time to talk. I was speaking with a young man I have had conversation with the last couple of times. As we were talking I saw another young man leave his seat and walk to the back of the room. His head was down and he came back and sat right in front of me. He simply said, "I get it." Normally the conversation we have with those kids are good and some are more difficult. I did not prompt anything in this conversation. This young man looked broken and humbled by the Gospel. He proceeded to tell me that God had opened his eyes to the truth of the Gospel about a month ago. He spoke about going to church his entire life and going for himself rather than seeking to know God more and more. He spoke about repentance and faith. He spoke about Jesus rescuing his soul. My words: None. This was the first kid in all these years that I had seen broken. I kept hearing his first words ("I get it") over and over in my head. Then I realized: "I get it." I get that our God is so awesome that he saves souls in his perfect timing. "At the right time Christ died for the ungodly." This young man's time had come for God to rescue him from the pit of hell and he got it.

I was broken myself that evening. We went on to speak briefly before he had to go back to his cell. I was in awe of our great God. I saw right in front of me a living testimony of God's great grace and I was instantly reminded that right in front of him was also a living testimony of God's great grace. The labor of proclaiming the truth of the Gospel is never a work done in vain. Our great God will accomplish everything he has set out to do. If you are involved in kingdom work and it seems the fruit is lacking, be refreshed by the promises of God. That one conversation with this young man reminded me that God is working in his perfect timing. O what glorious timing he has to save sinners. Hallelujah.

Grace upon grace,

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Greatly to be Praised

Lift your eyes, lift your eyes to the One
Who's reigning over us, for He has overcome
Fill the skies, fill the skies with a song
As heaven sings along, to glorify the Son

Who is like You, none compare
There's no one like our God

Great and greatly to be praised
Name above all other names
Powerful and strong to save
Hallelujah, our God reigns
Our God reigns

Glory in the highest place
King of mercy, God of grace
Together let the earth proclaim
Hallelujah, our God reigns
Our God reigns

Tell the world, tell the world of the love
He's lavished over us, His daughters and His sons
Made alive, made alive, now we're free (Steve Fee)

Grace upon grace,

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Life

“The Life” (John 14:6)

Jesus is clear; he alone is “the life.” He is the One through whom sinners can have life abundantly (John 10:10) and life eternal (John 3:16). He is not a way of life but the only true life. How can we know this is true? Jesus is the One who has the power over death so therefore he is the One in whom we can find life. He proved this fact three days after his crucifixion when he rolled the stone away and walked out of the tomb. He is the One in whom we can have life.

In order to understand what Jesus is talking about when he says he is “the life” we need to understand our condition. The Bible is clear when it says, “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1) and “You, who were dead in your trespasses” (Col. 2:13). We are spiritually dead to God. “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 2:23). Until we realize this is our condition we will continue to reject true life which is found in Christ. No one is excluded from this truth. But the Good News is Jesus who is “the life.”

God, in his gracious plan of redemption, sent his only Son into the world to redeem sinners. Jesus came to make spiritually dead, God rejecting sinners into his sons and daughters. He came to provide the way for sinners to inherit eternal life with God in heaven. He came to justify those who would repent and trust in him. Simply put, he came to give us life, true life. The problem is spiritually dead people do not have life unless they are made alive. In Ezekiel we read, “I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” The promise does not stop there, “And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules” (Ezekiel 36:26-27). This is an amazing transformation that can only be done by the grace of God through the work of Jesus Christ. Ephesians 2 is one of the clearest passages about this reality. We already saw that the text states we are dead in our sins but then we read about being rescued by God’s mercy. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ” (4-5). We are made alive through faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is “the life.”

Sadly the majority of people already think they have the life. They are living it up and finding their satisfaction is petty pleasures which never completely satisfy their soul. They are content to be empty and dead. But I know apart from grace that is the place I would be right now. Only the Gospel of Jesus Christ can liberate the soul from the bondage of sin. If you see the trinkets of the world are not fully satisfying then you are on the right path. They will never satisfy you completely! Turn away from making the world your god and turn to the One who is eternally satisfying. Jesus Christ is “the life.”

Grace upon grace,

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Who Really Cares About Rob Bell?

Over the last month we have seen articles about the release of Rob Bell's new book Love Wins which was released on Tuesday. It seems Bell has been attacked by many big name Evangelicals and clearly supported by the staff of Mars Hill Bible Church (where Bell is on staff)and many other Christians based on comments of articles written. But this begs a big question: Who really cares about Rob Bell?

To determine who really cares about Rob Bell we must figure out what it means to care and love for a person or people in general. Rob Bell addresses what he believes to be love all the while adding confusion about the word. Bell is trying to speak of God's love while distorting the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Al Mohler in his article We Have Seen all this Before and the (Re) Emergence of Liberal Theology quotes Bell's book:

It begins in the sure and certain truth that we are loved. That in spite of whatever has gone horribly wrong deep in our hearts and has spread to every corner of the world, in spite of our sins, failures, rebellion, and hard hearts, in spit of what has been done to us or what we've done, God has made peace with us.

Mohler says, "Missing from his Gospel is any clear reference to Christ, any adequate understanding of our sin, any affirmation of the holiness of God and his pledge to punish sin, any reference to the shed blood of Christ, his death on the cross, his substitutionary atonement, and his resurrection, and, so tellingly, any reference to faith as the sinners response to the Good News of the Gospel. There is no genuine Gospel here." Mohler is correct according to Scripture. There is no way around the truth. The problem is Bell has shaped and molded a good news that leads to the destruction of souls.

On the flip side there are those who fully support Bell including Shane Hipps who is the teaching pastor at Mars Hill Bible Church. In an article by CNN Hipps is quoted as saying:

On a personal note, when you get to see a very dear friend spend a year of his life working to create, pouring blood, sweat and tears into something that before it even releases become this incredible phenomenon, it's just extremely thrilling...This book will irreparably, irrevocably, irreversible change Rob's life and change a lot of the things in the life of this community. These are good things, but he needs prayer. And not because he's fragile but because he's a leader, and leaders need prayer...We are not anxious about this at all. Because I promise you when you get to read the book, you will find that it is fresh and liberating ─ but that it rests firmly in the wide screen of Orthodox Christianity and in the history of Christianity it fits perfectly. You will be very much at ease.

Sadly the congregation should not be at ease if they have read the Scriptures. I know it may seem to many that these Evangelicals like Mohler, DeYoung, Taylor and Moore are attacking Rob Bell but that is not true at all. These men first and foremost are concerned about the Gospel of Jesus Christ who came to save sinners (1 Tim. 1:15) like you and me. But they are also concerned about the soul of Rob Bell. This is no attack on Rob but love being shown to him. Love does the hard thing and confronts sin because eternal consequences are at stake.

Grace upon grace,

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Going Out How we Came In

"For we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world" (1 Timothy 6:7)

John Piper writing about this passage:

"In verse 7 [Paul] says, 'For we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.' There are no U-Hauls behind hearses. Suppose someone passes empty-handed through the turnstile at a big-city art museum and begins to take the pictures off the wall and carry them importantly under his arm. You come up to him and say, 'What are you doing?' He answers, 'I'm becoming an art collector.'

'But they're not really yours,' you say, 'and besides, they won't let you take any of those out of here. You'll have to go out just like you came in.' But he answers again, 'Sure, they're mine. I've got them under my arm. People in the halls look at me as an important dealer. And I don't bother myself with thoughts about leaving. Don't be a killjoy.'

We would call this man a fool! He is out of touch with reality. So is the person who spends himself to get rich in this life. We will go out just the way we came in."

Grace upon grace,

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Christ is Risen

Let no one caught in sin remain
Inside the lie of inward shame
But fix our eyes upon the cross
And run to Him who showed great love
And bled for us
Freely You've bled for us

Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling over death by death
Come awake, come awake
Come and rise up from the grave
Christ is risen from the dead
We are one with Him again
Come awake, come awake
Come and rise up from the grave

Beneath the weight of all our sin
You bowed to none but heaven's will
No scheme of hell, no scoffer's crown
No burden great can hold You down
In strength You reign
Forever let Your church proclaim

O death, where is your sting?
O hell, where is your victory?
O church, come stand in the light
The glory of God has defeated the night

O death, where is your sting?
O hell, where is your victory?
O church, come stand in the light
Our God is not dead
He's alive! He's alive! (Matt Maher)

Grace upon grace,

Monday, March 14, 2011

Need of Jesus

Lord Jesus,
I am blind, be thou my light,
ignorant, be thou my wisdom,
self-willed, be thou my mind.
Open my ear to grasp quickly thy Spirit's voice,
and delightfully run after his beckoning hand;
melt my conscience that no hardness remain,
make it alive to evil's slightest touch;
When Satan approaches may I flee to thy wounds,
and there cease to tremble at all alarms.
Be my good shepherd to lead me into the green pastures of thy Word,
and cause me to lie down beside the rivers of its comforts.
Fill me with peace, that no disquieting worldly gales
may ruffle the calm surface of my soul.
Thy cross was upraised to be my refuge,
Thy blood streamed forth to wash me clean,
Thy death occurred to give me a surety,
Thy name is my property to save me,
By thee all heaven is poured into my heart,
but it is too narrow to comprehend thy love.
I was a stranger, an outcast, a slave, a rebel,
but thy cross has brought me near,
has softened my heart,
has made me thy Father's child,
has admitted me to thy family,
has made me joint-heir with thyself.
O that I may love thee as thou lovest me,
that I may walk worthy of thee, my Lord,
that I may reflect the image of heaven's first-born.
May I always see thy beauty with the clear eye of faith,
and feel the power of thy Spirit in my heart,
for unless he move mightily in me
no inward fire will be kindled. (Valley of Vision)

Grace upon grace,

Friday, March 11, 2011

Remember Jesus Christ

“Remember Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 2:8)

Paul, like a loving father, continues to remind Timothy throughout his letters to know Jesus Christ. Keep the true Jesus Christ found in the true gospel at the front of your mind and guard this gospel with everything you’ve got. Paul pleads with Timothy to be a soldier for the sake of the gospel. The key to guarding the gospel is knowing Jesus Christ. Paul urges Timothy, “Remember Jesus Christ.”

Why does Paul have to remind Timothy to “remember Jesus Christ”? Paul is actually referring to the gospel when he writes: “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel.” Jesus Christ is essential to the gospel. Paul is saying, “Timothy don’t get Jesus wrong or the gospel is no longer the gospel.” Paul is speaking to each of us as well. Every Christian needs to remember to keep the gospel the gospel and the gospel is centered on Jesus Christ. The minute Jesus becomes anyone other than the Jesus in the Bible we lose the truth of the gospel. Jesus is not just a mere man. He is not just a good moral teacher. He is not just an example for us to follow. He is not just a man who wanted social justice. He is not just the Son of God. Jesus Christ is God! “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1, 14). The second member of the Trinity descended into the depths of humanity in order to be the mediator for sinners.

Sadly when people create their own idea of Jesus they make him more like us rather than who he is: God. We cannot understand why God would leave heaven to take on humanity. We cannot understand how in those 33 years of his human existence he was still fully divine yet truly human. We cannot comprehend how the Father crushed his Son yet Jesus willingly came to die. We cannot comprehend how God is three persons yet one being. But these are truths taught in God’s most holy Word so for us to change what God’s Word clearly teaches because we cannot comprehend it is wrong. These are truths that cannot be changed or we lose Jesus. We, as Christians, need to cling to the truth and, to be quite frank about it, we to do more battle against those who proclaim a different Jesus. Speak the truth in love requires speaking the truth even when it is tough or easier to let it go.

Christian, “remember Jesus Christ” our Savior, who was in the beginning with God, left the glories of heaven, born of the Virgin Mary, sinless, crucified, buried, resurrected, now seated at the right hand of the Father and will one day return to bring his children home. This is the Jesus Christ of the Bible. No other Jesus will save sinners like you and me. May we hold tight to the truth.
Grace upon grace,

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

His Love and Our Sin

Here is a Grace Gem from the other day from James Smith that is so gospel saturated. I hope it reminds you of God's great love for sinners:

"When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified Him." Luke 23:33

What brought Him there?
It was our sins--and His own infinite love.
Our sins alone could not--for He was not involved in them.
His love alone could not--for as innocent, He could not die.
But out of His pure, infinite, and eternal love--He became answerable for our sins. He engaged to bear them, atone for them, and remove them forever!

'He died for our sins.'
He suffered--because we had sinned,
He died--because we deserved to die, and
He lay in the grave for a time--that we may not lie in hell forever!

Our sins . . .
forged the nails that fastened Him to the tree,
planted the thorns that pierced His brow, and
sharpened the spear that was thrust into His heart!

O what an evil must sin be-to bring the Son of God into such a state of suffering and humiliation!

O what love must the love of Jesus be-that induced Him to take our place, and suffer and die in our stead!"

Grace upon grace,

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Mighty yet Merciful

Justice and power are held in Your hand
But You stooped to shoulder the shame of man

This holy mystery is hard to believe
Forgiveness shown by humble royalty

I will live the love I've known
Show the pardon I've been shown

Mighty yet merciful how could it be
The high king of heaven extends grace to me
My sins were many my merits were none
But You are the mighty yet merciful One (Celtic Cry)

Grace upon grace,

Monday, March 7, 2011

Songs of Salvation

Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners! (1 Timothy 1:15)

"Begin, at once, the songs which shall never cease! The saints shall never [be] done singing, for they remember that they were sinners. Come, poor sinner, out of the depths extol him who descended into the depths for you! Chief of sinners, adore him who is to you the Chief among 10,000 and the altogether Lovely! You black sinners who have gone to the very brink of damnation by your abomimable sins, rise to the utmost heights of enthusiastic joy in Jesus your Lord! Put your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and all manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven you - and at the receipt of such a pardon - you shall burst out into new-made doxologies to God your Savior!

Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool. O you guiltiest of the guilty, the Apostle Paul speaks to you and stands before you as the bearer of God's white flag of mercy! Surrender to the King eternal and there is pardon for you, and deliverance from the wrath to come!" (C.H. Spurgeon)

Grace upon grace,

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Exposed by the Light

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God." (John 3:16-21)

Grace upon grace,

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Forgive or Excuse?

How do we avoid confusing the forgiveness of sin with the excusing of sin? The forgiveness of sin is glorious news for believers but most unbelievers see it as an excuse to sin. When the gospel is proclaimed to unbelievers there can be a tendency in the unbelieving heart to say, "Why does it matter what I do since God has forgiven me all my sins?" It is true that by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ sinners can have all their sins forgiven. Paul is clear in Colossians 2 when he writes:

"And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross." (13-14)

This is the Good News revealed to Christians by the Holy Spirit's work in our lives. But what about those who claim to know Christ yet still sin? What is the difference between the unbeliever and the believer? Ask yourself this question: "What is your attitude toward sin?" There is a huge difference between hating and grieving over sin as opposed to presuming on God's forgiveness as a reason to excuse sin. Paul had to address this issue in the book of Romans:

"Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?" (Are we to continue in sin because we know God will forgive us?) Paul continues, "By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life." (Romans 6:1-4)

The true child of God does not use forgiveness as an excuse to sin but truly grieves his sin. Christians are new people who have been given the Holy Spirit. We are to be people who love what God loves and hate what God hates. The Bible is where we find out what he loves and hates. Let me help you on one thing: GOD HATES SIN!! Want proof: He crushed his Son on the cross! Do not look any further than the crucified Christ. God hates sin but in his love and for his glory he sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to die for sinners like you and me. Why would we want to offer him back a spit in the face by presuming on his forgiveness?

Grace upon grace,

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Lord of the Small

Praise to the Lord of the Small Broken Things,
Who Sees the Poor Sparrow That cannot take wing.
Who loves the lame child and the wretch in the street
who comforts their sorrows and washes their feet.

...Praise to the lord of the faint and afraid
who girds them with courage and lends them his aid,
he pours out his spirit on vessels so weak,
that the timid can serve and the silent can speak.

Praise to the lord of the frail and the ill
who heals their afflictions or carries them till,
they leave this tired frame and to paradise fly.
to never be sick and never to die.

Praise him, O Praise Him All ye who live
who've been given so much and can so little give
our frail lisping praise God will never Despise.
He Sees His Dear Children Through Mercy Filled Eyes! (Johanna Anderson)

Grace upon grace,