Monday, June 28, 2010

Pray for Huang

I met a very sweet, young man last night.  He is a friend of Mai's family.  He wanted to learn about Jesus so we shared Jesus with Huang.  It seems the Father is drawing Huang to Christ.  Please pray that the Lord would give Huang complete understanding and the gift of repentance. 

Tim and I are off camping for a few days with Annie and Ruh.  They have already been out in the woods for a week.  So, when we return, I would imagine they will have the most mosquito bites!  Should be a fun time and yes, I have my camera with me!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Giving Thanks...

So I just looked at the website of C3.  That cross surely needed to come down!  But once again I am humbled that God chose me for salvation.  Thank you Lord that you have enabled me to see you as the one and only true God.  How lost in sin I would be if it weren't for your intervention in my life!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Cross of Christ

Read this story about a church taking down its cross and changing its name by clicking here. 

After reading the article, we are deep into the times, aren't we, in which Paul told young Pastor Timothy that were coming, when people will not endure sound doctrine?  They will want their ears tickled and they will amass teachers that will satisfy their own desires.  They will turn away from the truth and turn to myths.

The pastor of the church in the article said they meet to exchange ideas.  They have long since turned away from the truth.

Paul told the Corinthians that the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing but to those who are being saved the word of the cross is the power of God.  This is a gathering of perishing people, on their way to spending eternity without Christ.  Those who are meeting under this pastor's teaching are deceived, blinded by Satan, unable to see the power of the word of the cross.  They are chasing after myths.

The true church loves sound doctrine.  The true church loves the Word of God and embraces it only as truth.  The truth is that all are not God's children.  The truth is we are born into this world as enemies of God.  We are born spiritually dead because of sin and there is only one way to be made spiritually alive and become part of the family of God.  The word of the cross is what points people to the truth, that it is Christ's shedding of blood that atones for our sin.  Christ bore the wrath of God on the cross for those who put their faith in Him.  How sad that these people have removed the symbol of salvation.  They have no idea what the cross means.  It is foolishness to them.

After listening to a very gracious Dave, I agree, that it was the right thing for them to do, a thing of integrity, to remove the cross, since Jesus is the only way to the Father.  

To leave the cross up would misrepresent their claims. 

Since this article was written, the pastor of the church and Dave Wisen, CEO of the Christian relief organization who acquired the cross, have been invited on Fox and Friends Sunday morning show.  Pray for Dave as he has an opportunity to exalt Christ and to speak of the power of the cross on national television.  Pray for those in this church who removed the cross, that they would be cut in their hearts over the truth of the cross.  That they would repent of their sin of unbelief, and turn to the Truth.

Remember the cross of Christ.

Cherish the cross of Christ.

Reflecting on the cross reminds us of what our salvation cost our Savior and how we gained from His suffering.

"For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.  And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach-if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister."  Colossians 1:19-22.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Believer's Bank

This is just one of the names given to the book of Ephesians.  It has also been called the Christian's check book and a treasure house.  It is because Paul writes about our great riches, our inheritances, our fullnesses in Christ, and our possessions in Christ.  Among them being God's grace and peace, our election, our adoption, our redemption, God's forgiveness, God's wisdom and insight given to us, the sealing of the Holy Spirit which guarantees our inheritance, being delivered from the power of Satan, God's mercy, our being raised up with Christ and our seating with Christ in the heavenlies.

The list goes on.

The word "riches" is used five times, grace - twelve times, glory - eight times, and fullness, filled up, or fills - six times.  The phrase "in Christ" is used fifteen times.  Christ is the source of our riches.

During the great depression many banks only allowed depositors to draw 10% of their money because banks didn't have the resources.  This is not so with God's resources to us.  His resources are limitless.  There is no reason for us to suffer from spiritual malnutrition when so many of us do.

If you are in need of encouragement today, the letter to the Ephesians is a great place to find it.  It's a letter of encouragement for you, too.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Chosen By God...

...three of the most precious words in the world. 

Chosen by God to be holy and blameless...

Chosen by God to be loved by Him...

Chosen by God for adoption...

Chosen by God for redemption...

Chosen by God to inherit His riches...

Chosen by God to be His own possession...

Chosen by God to be created in Christ Jesus so that we would walk in good works...(notice which comes first)...

Chosen by God so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus...

Chosen by God...

He did not pass me over... 

He could have because of my sin and been perfectly just in doing so...

Chosen by God... 

These three words cause me to weep, to praise, and to wonder...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Theology Becomes Doxology

Have you noticed how theology becomes doxology?  By that I mean when we study God we learn more about Him and then praise just comes naturally.  I think one of the greatest prayers we can pray for each other is what Paul prayed for the Ephesians...

"that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him."  

A growing knowledge of Christ will lead to praise and set apart life for Him and in this, God is glorified.  But you've got to do your part.  You've got to be in the Word...

Well, what are you waiting for?

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Doctrine of Election... a doctrine which lets God be God.

We really have no comprehension as to how vast the difference is between us and Him.  The more we are able to comprehend this difference, the more we will be able to understand just how amazing His grace is.  I think that is why we will be able to praise Him throughout all eternity for it.  His grace covers that great chasm between us and Him.  It is so massively huge...

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world..."

The first blessing Paul celebrates as he breaks forth in praise here in Ephesians is our election.  If you remember, Paul was on his way to Damascus to persecute the church, when Jesus broke into his life.  Paul was not looking for Jesus, or searching for Him.  He was set on persecuting Him, even having Him killed, without even realizing it.  Jesus even asked him, "Why are you persecuting me?"  Paul most assuredly understood better than most of us the wonder of God's grace in choosing him...  And no wonder he chose to greet others with wishing them God's grace and peace...  

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Daniel Turns One!

One tired little birthday boy after a very fun view entire album, click here.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Do Not Fear Tomorrow...

...for God is already there.

I saw this very biblical quote on a friend's refrigerator yesterday.  It set my thoughts on the sovereignty of God.  Then this morning, as I was reading my Bible, I came across these words in Genesis that the Lord spoke to Abram, "Do not fear, Abram, I am a shield to you; Your reward shall be very great."  Later on in the same conversation, the Lord  tells Abram he will be buried at "a good old age."

We are prone to fear, aren't we?  We get our minds on our circumstances and forget that God is big, sovereign, in control of absolutely everything, working out His plan.  We forget that He has written a story, from beginning to end, and He is there throughout, working to bring this story to His end.  For every one of us, He has our days numbered.  He had Abraham's days numbered.  He planned the day we would be born.  He knows what will happen to us all the days in between, up until the day we die.  He knows how we will die, or if we will be alive at His return.  He hasn't stopped being good when bad things happen to us, and they will.  He is so big and awesome He uses the evil in this world for good purposes.  He is in absolute command of it.  We shouldn't fear whether or not we will have something to eat tomorrow.  We shouldn't fear what the economy might do, or that we could lose our jobs, our homes, our loved ones, or even our very own lives.  If He wants us to have a full stomach and be warmly clothed, we will have a full stomach and be warmly clothed.  If it is His plan for us to go hungry and cold, He will provide the ability even then to be content, and joyful, in Him.  He has told us that before He returns, some of us will be delivered over to tribulation, and will be killed.  We will be hated because we identify ourselves with Christ.  Darkness hates light and when unrestrained, will do everything to extinguish it.  We shouldn't fear what people can do to us.  God will be there with us. 

Abraham didn't have the written Word.  He had the blessing of the very God of the universe speaking directly to him.  "Do not fear, Abram, I am a shield to you; Your reward shall be very great."  You are going to live to be a really old man.  And he did.  What God says will happen will come to pass.  We have the blessing of the full revelation of His Word.  The full testimony of Himself.  The full record of His faithfulness from generation to generation.  Ignorance breeds fear, but with knowledge comes peace.  We are commanded to be bankrupt when it comes to worry and anxiety.  There is no reason to fear our circumstances or to fear what tomorrow may bring.  We have the end of the story.  We triumph.  We are overcomers and we overcome, through Him, because He has written it into the story.  When you find yourself heading down the path of fear and worry, set your thoughts on Him.  Begin a prayer of thanksgiving for His sovereignty over all things.  Get into His Word, and be reminded of just how big of a God He really is.

Do not fear tomorrow, for God is already there.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

First Class

Want to know how to get high schoolers excited?  Take them food!  Blueberry muffins and chocolate muffins and poppy seed muffins...lots of smiles...and that is how we started class today.  I spent the first fifteen minutes getting to know them a little bit more.  Noah likes to read Ted Dekker and Brittany is looking for a job and Matt likes Sour Patch Kids because they make his eyes water.  We then looked at verses that show vivid pictures of what the Word is like and the effect it has on our hearts.  I told them they will hear from me a lot - that we need to be in the Word because it is the source of truth, the source of God's blessing, the source of victory, the source of growth, and the source of power.  Everything we need to know is in scripture.  Everything we need for life to make sense is right there.  Nothing can benefit us like scripture.  It's His Word to us.  It shows us Him and what pleases Him.  In it we are confronted and astounded with the wisdom,  beauty, and glory of God.  It moves us to worship.

There's just no greater place to be.  Really...

Jeremiah 15:16 - "Your words were found and I ate them, and your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart."

Thursday, June 3, 2010

John 17:19 - "And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth."

Jesus set Himself apart willingly to die on the cross, so we could be set apart to the Father through the truth.  Are you pursuing the Word with a passion and an eagerness and taking it in so that it can be translated into a sanctified life?

May we say daily with the psalmist, "I have chosen the faithful way; I have placed Your ordinances before me...  I cling to Your testimonies...How sweet are Your words to my taste!"

"How blessed are those who observe His testimonies, who seek Him with all their heart" - Psalm 119:2 

God will accomplish His work in us yet the mystery is we also have a part in it.  We must choose to be in His Word and then choose to obey it.  We can experience the doing of it with full joy and blessing rather than experience it kicking and screaming with reluctance.  

If I had my choice I would rather be perfected by the truth than by trials, wouldn't you? - John MacArthur 

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Only in Alaska

For the past ten years, on Memorial Day, our church family gathers together for a bar-b-q at the home of one of our families.  This year we were rained out.  We were going to celebrate Ben and Mai’s marriage with our church family at the bar-b-q.  We ended up moving the informal reception to our church.  We had a great time together.  Ben told everyone how they met, which was while they were both working in Alaska two summers ago.  The conversation drifted to telling fun stories about each of our experiences in Alaska.  About half who came had been there.  My favorite story was by Ben.  As he drove up to his cabin one day after work he saw a dark trash bag sitting in the middle of the front yard.  He wondered who on earth would leave a trash bag there.  All of a sudden the tied off ends wiggled and then the trash bag stood up.  It was a moose.  Later that evening, after dinner, he was at the sink doing dishes.  He looked up and directly in front of him, in the window, that very same moose stood staring at him. 

It sure is fun having you home, Ben.  Your father and I are rejoicing in the goodness of God in bringing Mai to Himself and in giving you such a sweet wife.  We love you both very much!