Friday, December 25, 2015

Longfellow On Christmas

I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace of earth, good will to men.

Till ringing, singing on  its way
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good will to men

And in despair I bowed my head
"there is no peace on earth," I said,
"For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men."

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men."

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Heaven Is The Face

For children, Christmas is a season of great expectation.   Do you get the same feeling about the day you'll lay eyes on the new heaven and the new earth?    Think about it - it's almost too good to be true, yet, like Christmas morning, it will happen.  Imagine children coming down the stairs and seeing a tree and lights and gifts and smelling warm aromas and thinking, "this is the best day of the year!"  Christmas makes our hearts ache and yearn, and the world to come should capture us in the same way.  I want it to come so badly.  I wish it would get here soon.  I know that everything I've ever wanted is there.  Maranatha!



Wednesday, December 9, 2015

JESUS




Jesus . . . 
They say You walked upon the water once
When you lived as all men do
Please teach me how to walk the way You did
Because I want to walk with You 
Jesus . . . 
They say you taught a lame man how to dance
When he had never stood without a crutch
Well, here am I Lord, holding out my withered hands
And I'm just waiting to be touched 
Jesus
Write me into Your story
Whisper it to me
And let me know I'm Yours 

Jesus . . . 
They say You spoke and calmed an angry wave
That was tossed across a stormy sea
Please teach me how to listen, how to obey
'Cause there's a storm inside of me 
Jesus
Write me into Your story
Whisper it to me
And let me know I'm Yours 

Jesus . . . 
They drove the cold nails through Your tired hands
And rolled a stone to seal Your grave
Feels like the devil's rolled a stone onto my heart
Can You roll that stone away?

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The God Man

"Every human father begets a son or daughter with his sin nature.  We may not understand completely how this works, but this is the way of the world after the Fall.  Sinners beget sinners (Psalm 51:5).  Always.  So if Joseph was the real father of Jesus, or Mary had been sleeping around with Larry, Jesus is not spotless, innocent, and not perfectly holy.  And as a result, we have no mediator, no imputation of Christ's righteousness (because He has no righteousness to impute to us), and no salvation."  ~ Kevin DeYoung, The Good News We Almost Forgot.

But He is everything Scripture says He is, and He has opened up the way to save forever, completely, and to the uttermost those who draw near to God through Him (Heb 7:25).

He is the One Mediator between God and man, CHRIST JESUS! (1 Timothy 2:5).

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Faith or Fatalism

We don't - in fact, can't - always understand how God is working in our lives, but we must hold fast to faith, and not fatalism:
The difference between fatalism and faith lies just here.  Fatalism means, "My number's up; I have to bow to the power whether I like it or not; I do not know the character of the power, but it is greater than I am, and I must submit."  The submission of faith is that I do know the character of the Power, and this was the line Job took:  "Though He slay me, yet I will trust the fact that His character is worthy."  This is the attitude of faith all through - I submit to  One whose character I know but whose ways are obscured in mystery just now."  ~ Oswald Chambers, Baffled to Fight Better

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

What Is Boldness?

"Boldness is not a lack of fear.  It is faith in something bigger than our fears so that we appear fearless. Confidence in something bigger than our fears gives us the strength to do the right thing in spite of opposition or persecution."  ~ J. Mack Stiles, The Marks of the Messenger

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Only Real Truth Brings Real Change

Let's not prefer "nice" to "truth".

"I think the sad tendency of well-meaning Christians who want to share their faith is to water down both.  They say we're not so bad (you actually can clean up your act), and God doesn't really mean it when we says that the unconverted are enemies of God (tut, tut, boys will be boys)." ~ J. Mack Stiles, Marks of the Messenger

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Sin Or Sins?

"Our sin is the bigger problem:  it's our condition or state which ins in hideous rebellion toward a holy and good God.  When Christians feel that sins (acts) are bigger than sin (condition), they see evangelism as an effort of moral reform rather than explaining the steps that need to take place to rip out our wicked hearts and replace them with new hearts - that amazing work of God that Jesus called being born again." ~ J. Mack Stiles, The Marks of the Messenger

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

What Does Jesus Want?

A general reading of the Gospels reveals what Jesus wants.

"Jesus' call to commitment is clear:  He wants all or nothing.  The thought of a person calling himself a 'Christian' without being a devoted follower of Christ is absurd.  But please don't take my word for it.  Read it yourself."  ~ Francis Chan, Crazy Love

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

What Time with God Should Be Like

"This is how God longs for us to respond to His extravagant, unending love:  not with a cursory 'quite time' plagued by guilt, but with true love expressed through our lives.  Like my little girl running out to the driveway to hug me each night because she loves me."  ~ Francis Chan, Crazy Love

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Genuine Love

"[I]sn't that what God wants of us - to crave this relationship with Him as we crave all genuine love relationships?  Isn't that what brings Him glory - When believers desire Him and are not merely slaves who serve Him out of obligation?"  ~ Francis Chan, Crazy Love

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Bedtime Prayers

Be angry and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent.  Psalm 4:4

In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety. Psalm 4:8

"One purpose for our bed in the night is to ponder in our hearts what troubles us and to speak such tings to God.  We entrust to him now what we pray the morning will relieve with fresh hope.  Sleep results.  Sleep is a Sabbath-like act.  We rest from it all and leave it all for God's keeping while we lie motionless in the world for a while."  ~ Zack Eswine, Sensing Jesus

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Growth Takes Time

". . . when grace begins teaching a liar how to tie his shoes again, as with any other sin and sinner the change often does not come all at once but in fits and starts.  This means that the liar requires time to begin to see how deeply she lies and how thoroughly words of spin saturate her daily life.  For this reason, a person whom Jesus is actually changing will tell the truth in the same conversation that undetected lies are also present. . . It just takes much more time than we want."  ~ Zack Eswine, Sensing Jesus

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Purpose of Knowing

What is your goal in reading Scripture?

"To read the Scriptures in a manner that leads us to something other than greater enjoyment of God and embodied love in Jesus is to know without knowledge, to shine without illumination, and to stand at the door with no key"  ~ Zack Eswine, Sensing Jesus

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Setting Aside Time for Prayer and Devotion

"Since meditation on the Scriptures, prayer, and intercession are a service we owe and because the grace of God is found in this service, we should train ourselves to set apart a regular hour for it, as we do for every other service we perform.  This is not 'legalism'; is is orderliness and fidelity." ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Distractions In Prayer

Sometimes it's hard to stay focused when we pray; stray thoughts intrude and our minds wander.  Perhaps those distractions are merely an opportunity to pray in another direction.

"When this happens it is often a help not to snatch back our thoughts convulsively, but quite calmly to incorporate into our prayer the people and the events to which our thoughts keep straying and thus in all patience return to the starting point of the meditation."  ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

What Did You Say?

Controlling our words, responses and reactions is one of life's greatest challenges!  But if we learn to daily submit ourselves to listen to God's Word, we will find that we're better able to manage what comes out of our mouths.

"If we have learned to be silent before the Word, we shall also learn to manage our silence and our speech during the day."  - Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Heralds of Good News

"O that we would so love the gospel and have so much compassion for lost people that tribulation and distress and persecution and famine and nakedness and danger and sword and terrorist would turn us not into fearful complainers, but bold heralds of good news."  ~ John Piper, Finally Alive

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Walking In the Light

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:7

". . . John is at pains to say that 'walking in the light' does not mean walking flawlessly.  It means that, when you stumble, the light of Christ causes you to see your stumbling as sin and hate it and confess it and receive forgiveness and move forward with Christ."  ~ John Piper, Finally Alive

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

No Other Gospel

"You were born again through the living and abiding word of God.  This word is the gospel of Jesus Christ crucified and risen.  Don't fall prey to another gospel.  There is no other gospel, and there is no other path to God . . . than hearing, understanding, and believing the scandalous news of Jesus Christ in the gospel." ~ John Piper, Finally Alive

Thursday, May 7, 2015

New Birth and a New World

"So when you think of your new birth, think of it as the first installment of what is coming.  Your body and the whole world will one day take part in this regeneration.  God's final purpose is not spiritually renewed souls inhabiting decrepit bodies in a disease- and disaster-ravaged world.  His purpose is a renewed world with renewed bodies and renewed souls that take all our renewed senses and make them a means of enjoying and praising God."  ~ John Piper, Finally Alive

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

God Revealed In Nature

The greatness of God's majesty and the nature of His character are revealed to all mankind in creation.  It is a constant witness of His existence.  Despite what you might be led to believe, many scientists - astronomers and microbiologists - have been moved by their observations to believe in a transcendent God. 

"Look at the world through either a microscope or a telescope and you will be dwarfed into terror by the infinitely minute or the infinitely great; both are appalling." ~ Baffled to Fight Better, Oswald Chambers

Monday, March 30, 2015

Growing In Knowledge

Yet as we grow in our knowledge of Him, we gain a deeper love for His purity and sense a deeper dependence on His grace.  We learn that He is altogether worthy of our adoration.  The fruit of our growing love for Him is the increase of reverence for His name.  We love Him now because we see His loveliness.  We adore Him now because we see His majesty.  We obey Him now because His Holy Spirit dwells within us. ~ R.C. Sproul, The Holiness of God

Monday, March 23, 2015

Grace and Justice

We often blame God for the injustices done to us and harbor in our souls the bitter feeling that God has not been fair toward us.  Even if we recognize that He is gracious, we think that He has not been gracious enough.  We think we deserve more grace. . . What is wrong with that sentence? . . . It is impossible for anyone, anywhere, anytime to deserve grace.  Grace by definition is undeserved. Only justice can be deserved.  ~ R.C. Sproul, The Holiness of God

Monday, March 16, 2015

Peace With God

Our peace with God is not fragile; it is stable.  When we sin, God is displeased, and He will move to correct us and convict us of our sin.  But He does not go to war against us.  His bow is no longer bent, and the arrows of His wrath are no longer aimed at our hearts.  He does not rattle His sword every time we break the treaty.  ~ R.C. Sproul, The Holiness of God

Monday, February 23, 2015

On Fighting Sin

"I have friends who think that talking about sin and giving attention to the details of fighting sin is defeatist.  I know it's possible to be morbidly introspective about sin.  And that's not what I'm ad-advocating.  I think we should all be more aware of Jesus's saving work than we are of our shortcomings.  Robert Murray McCheyne's advice is worth repeating: 'For every one look at your sins, take ten looks at Christ.'" ~ Josh Harris, Dug Down Deep

Monday, February 16, 2015

Truth That Changes

"God's saving work through Jesus's life, death, and resurrection has practical, real-world implications for our lives.  It is truth that can't be kept on a page or in a house of worship.  It follows us home. To our shcool. To our work. To our bedrooms.  It grabs hold of every detail of our lives.  Our thoughts.  Our sexuality. Our money. Our leisure. Our relationships. Our desires. Our dreams."  ~ Josh Harris, Dug Down Deep

Monday, February 9, 2015

What Is A Christian

J. I. Packer posed the question, "What is a Christian?"  His answer: "The question can be answered in many ways, but the richest answer I know is that a Christian is one who has God as Father."

Monday, February 2, 2015

Emotions In Worship

"[E]motion built on emotion is empty. True emotion - emotion that is reliable and doesn't lead us astray - is always a response to reality, to truth.  It's only as we study and consider the truth about Jesus with our minds that our hearts will be moved by the depth of his greatness and love of us.  When we engage our minds with the doctrine of his person and his work, our emotions are given something to stand on, a reason to worship and revel in the very appropriate feelings of awe and gratefulness and adoration."  ~ Josh Harris, Dug Down Deep

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Moving of the Holy Spirit

Joshua Harris, in his book Dug Down Deep, has this to say about the Holy Spirit:
"I basically confined him to a certain emotional experience in church meetings.  In my view the Holy Spirit was moving when I felt a surge of emotion while we sang or when I had a dramatic experience during times of prayer.  While I believe the Spirit can move in those ways, confining his work to those moments is sort of like thinking that fork can be used only to eat peas.  It's not that my knowledge about eh Holy Spirit was false; it was just woefully incomplete."

Monday, January 19, 2015

Christian Humility

From Mark Dever, pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C.:
Christian humility, is to simply accept whatever God has revealed in His Word. Humility is following God's Word wherever it goes, as far as it goes, not either going beyond it or stopping short of it...The humility we want in our churches is to read the Bible and believe it...It is not humble to be hesitant where God has been clear and plan."

Monday, January 12, 2015

Rest Assured

“They did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.”  Joshua 5:12

Israel’s weary wanderings were all over, and the promised rest was attained. No more moving tents, fiery serpents, fierce Amalekites, and howling wildernesses: they came to the land which flowed with milk and honey, and they ate the old corn of the land. Perhaps this year, beloved Christian reader, this may be thy case or mine. Joyful is the prospect, and if faith be in active exercise, it will yield unalloyed delight. To be with Jesus in the rest which remaineth for the people of God, is a cheering hope indeed, and to expect this glory so soon is a double bliss. Unbelief shudders at the Jordan which still rolls between us and the goodly land, but let us rest assured that we have already experienced more ills than death at its worst can cause us. Let us banish every fearful thought, and rejoice with exceeding great joy, in the prospect that this year we shall begin to be “forever with the Lord.”
A part of the host will this year tarry on earth, to do service for their Lord. If this should fall to our lot, there is no reason why the New Year’s text should not still be true. “We who have believed do enter into rest.” The Holy Spirit is the earnest of our inheritance; he gives us “glory begun below.” In heaven they are secure, and so are we preserved in Christ Jesus; there they triumph over their enemies, and we have victories too. Celestial spirits enjoy communion with their Lord, and this is not denied to us; they rest in his love, and we have perfect peace in him: they hymn his praise, and it is our privilege to bless him too. We will this year gather celestial fruits on earthly ground, where faith and hope have made the desert like the garden of the Lord. Man did eat angels’ food of old, and why not now? O for grace to feed on Jesus, and so to eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan this year!

Charles Spurgeon, Morning by Morning

Monday, January 5, 2015

The Best Test of Growth

How do we know that we're growing "in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?"  One simple test involves our hunger for him.  Follow the link below to a brief article from Tim Challies that describes this kind of hunger.

The Best Test of Growth at Challies.com