Monday, December 31, 2012

I received this is an email from a friend, this morning...

"Read the Bible to get to know God better.  Our goal in reading the Word is wasted if we are just trying to be a Bible encyclopedia.  Rather, we want the beauty of who God is to sink into our hearts and flow out to other people."

A blessed and joyous New Year to you all...

Sunday, December 30, 2012


There is a difference between hearing it and learning's doing it...obedience...

Our joy is full when we are completely lost in Jesus, and in obedience to Him.

Choosing obedience is to choose joy.

Friday, December 28, 2012

A Country Far Better

"To all of you who increasingly love and long for Jesus' appearing (2 Timothy 4:8), who have an inconsolable homesickness for a country far better than any that exists here (Hebrews 11:16), your perfect home, a home prepared especially for you (John 14:2), is coming."

Jon Bloom

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Psalm 33:10, 11

"The LORD nullifies the counsel of the nations;
He frustrates the plans of the peoples.

The counsel of the LORD stands forever,
The plans of His heart from generation to generation."

Who's word is upright 
and all His work is done in faithfulness (v. 4),
Who loves righteousness and justice
and fills the earth with His lovingkindness (v. 5),
 is in control.

We aren't.

The grid-lock in Washington ("cliff chaos") is on my mind right now, with the truth from this scripture.

When we know the character of God and
when we let the truth of the sovereignty of God
over all things control and shape our thinking,
peace will reign in our hearts,
no matter what the circumstance.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Hebrews 2:9-17

"But we do see Him 
who was made for a little while lower than the angels,
because of the suffering of death
crowned with glory and honor, 
so that by the grace of God
He might taste death for everyone.
For it was fitting for Him,
for whom are all things, 
and through whom are all things, 
in bringing many sons to glory,
to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings.
For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified
are all from one Father;
for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren,
And again,
And again,
since the children share in flesh and blood,
He Himself likewise also partook of the same,
that through death He might render powerless
him who had the power of death, 
that is,
the devil,
and might free those who 
through fear of death
were subject to slavery all their lives.
For assuredly He does not give help to angels,
but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham.
He had to be made like His brethren in all things,
so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest
in things pertaining to God,
to make propitiation for the sins of the people."


I trust you all had a wonderful Christmas...being with family.
sent by the Father,
 came to a manger throne,
Christ the King,
to make us part of His family,
the very best part of Christmas.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Asher David Jacoby

Born at 3:13pm on Thursday, December 20, 2012.
Six pounds, fifteen ounces.
Congratulations, Karin!  He is perfectly precious
and such a sweet blessing from the Lord!
There are few things that bring greater joy than a baby announcement.  There's just something about babies, isn't there?  They are so precious.  And when a new baby is born into your family, there is just joy flowing everywhere.  My twin sister received her second grandson into her arms and heart on Thursday.  I am just so incredibly happy for her!  My husband and I were with our daughter's family, on our way to our favorite restaurant, to celebrate my husband's birthday, when we received the announcement of Asher's birth.  My cell phone rang.  After I said hello, I heard these three words from Karin, "Asher David Jacoby."  It took a couple of seconds to register the information and then I squealed in delight and then passed along the announcement to my family.  (More squealing from my daughter.) What made it even more exciting was we didn't even know my niece was in labor. It was being kept quiet so there was no anticipation, no build-up, which made the announcement all the more thrilling.  And then we waited for the pictures to start coming in.

Isn't this one absolutely beautiful?

While significant to our family and our family's friends, there was a baby announcement made two thousand years ago that has affected the entire world and continues to do so to this day.  It was the greatest baby announcement ever given.  The Father of this baby chose to make the announcement by an angel, to a group of shepherds...

"In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night.  And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.  But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." Luke 2:8-11

Good news of great joy, for all the people.

This announcement is for everyone, around the globe.

A Savior has been born.

Christ the Lord.

May your heart thrill again, this Christmas season, over this good news, which, even after two thousand years, is still fresh and exhilarating, never growing old or stale - that we have a Savior, Jesus, who was born and has saved us from our sins. 

How This Present Age Will End

You saw them, all the funnies about the end of the world occurring today, as predicted by the Mayans.  The one above was one of my favorites.   The one below made me chuckle out loud.

Here's the truth.  The Creator, Who also created time, has clearly given us signs to know when He will close this present age.  

First, take a look at Genesis 1:14 - "Then God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and for years."

Jesus created the lights in the sky to govern our days and nights and years - time, and to signal events.  

Jesus gives very specific and clear signs to us, concerning the end of the age we are in now, and how He will bring it to a close.  We find the signs in Matthew 24 and Mark 13.  These signs are to be watched for by all of His followers.  He says this in Mark 13:37 - "What I say to you I say to all, be on the alert!" - all is a 100% word.  Each generation of believers should know these signs.  He spells them out simply and clearly.  Here's my quick summary of Matthew 24 and Mark 13, but you should really study it and know it for yourself.  

False Christs.
Wars and rumors of wars.
Earthquakes and famines.
Hatred and deadly persecution against His followers.
Falling away.
Gospel being preached all over the world.
The abomination of desolation that Daniel wrote about.  (The New Testament teaching on this is in 2 Thessalonians 2.  This is when Antichrist proclaims he is God in the temple - which means a temple of sorts will be rebuilt before the end of the age.)
The greatest holocaust, the slaughtering of the elect - His chosen people, Israel, and of Jesus followers ever to occur.  (It will be much worse than the holocaust of WWII or of the persecution against the church in her infancy - much, much worse.)  
The natural lights going out - Genesis 1:14!
The Glorious Appearing of Jesus with His angels who will gather us to Him!

We aren't given the day or the hour, but we do know what will happen prior.

"...and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

Pretty clear, isn't it?  

Silly Mayans...

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Hope

Evil does not stop the plan of God.  Evil does not mean God's hands are tied.  On the contrary.  God is all powerful and in control and even though evil is around us and in us, evil will not triumph.  Jesus will.  God Almighty is dealing with sin.  God will not rest.  He will not quit.  He will not relent until every molecule, in every cell, in every person, in everything in this universe is brought into submission to who He is.  When we get to times of absolute and desperate despair, it is not that God cannot reach - God is calling us to turn again and acknowledge Jesus, the Redeemer.  No love is higher than His love.  No love is wider than His love.  No love is deeper than His love.  No love is truer than His love.  Jesus is The Hope that saves.  

By the Word of the Lord...

"By the word of the LORD the heavens were made,
And by the breath of His mouth all their host.

He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap;
He lays up the deeps in storehouses.

Let all the earth fear the LORD;
Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.

For He spoke, and it was done;
He commanded, 
and it stood fast."

Psalm 33:6-9

Jesus made the heavens and all the heavenly bodies, simply by speaking them into existence.  "Let there be an expanse."  So waters separated and sky appeared.  "Let there be lights in the expanse."  And lights appeared.  Sun.  Moon.  Stars.  Star clusters - sparkling, swirling...millions upon millions...going deeper and deeper in to grains of sand, too many for the human eye or manmade telescope to count.

Power.  Incredible, unfathomable, incomprehensible power.

Just by speaking words.

I believe this.  No random, spontaneous, massive explosion brought the heavens and their heavenly bodies into existence.  It was Jesus.  Jesus created, effortlessly - with order and beauty and He holds His creation together.  He pours out the rain and snow on some areas of the earth and withholds it in other areas.  He oversees it all.  The waves rise and crash according to the boundaries He has set up.

This power, this awesome, wondrous, massive power causes the worship leader to call everyone, over all the earth, to be in awe of Jesus, and we are to stand.  Not sit.  Stand, for we should stand in the presence of Almighty God, revering, marveling, fearing, for accomplishing incredible wonders...simply by breathing words.

We need to let the power of Jesus shape our thinking today, and His lovingkindness, which fills the earth.  He is greater than everything.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Manger Miracle Night

Pictures from our Awana Manger Miracle Night.  The children came dressed as someone or something at the nativity...

To view the entire album of pictures, click here.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sing for Joy in the LORD

"Sing for joy in the LORD,
O you righteous ones;
Praise is becoming to the upright.

Give thanks to the LORD with the lyre;
Sing praises to Him with a harp of ten strings.

Sing to Him a new song;
Play skillfully with a shout of joy.

Here is why...

For the word of the LORD is upright,
And all His work is done in faithfulness.

He loves righteousness and justice;

The earth is full of the lovingkindness of the LORD."

Psalm 33:1-5

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Working Joyfully and Waiting Eagerly

Ephesians 2:8, 9 - "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast."

Philippians 3:20, 21 - "For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.

Philippians 2:12, 13 - "So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in your, both to will and to work for His good pleasure."

Philippians 3:14 - "I press on toward the goal of the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."

It's happened to you.  Jesus has grabbed your heart.  Maybe it was a week ago.  Maybe it was half a century ago, but we play no part in our salvation.  We were dead in our sins and dead people can't do anything.  God saved us, doing it all.  Faith is His gift to us.  He brings life to us.  When our eyes are opened, and our hearts are melted by Jesus, we've already been raised.  Our salvation begins 100% with God's work and ends 100% with God's work.  Jesus will transform our bodies into His glorious resurrection body.  Our beginning and end is locked up, not in what we've done, but in who Jesus is.  Right now we are in the middle process.  We've been saved but we still sin.  The process we are going through, growing in Christlikeness, is called sanctification.  It means we work and we strain to become more like Christ - to bring glory to God.  We play a part in this middle process.  A big part.  It takes effort.  Great effort.  We work hard.  We press on.  We strain.  It takes discipline.  It's not easy, but oh is it rewarding.  Keep going, child of God.  Keep working.  Keep straining.  Keep pressing on while eagerly waiting for the return of Christ.  There is more joy and overwhelming peace in a growing, vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ, than anything this world has to offer.  Jesus is at the finish line.  He is waiting eagerly and joyfully there for you, just as you are working joyfully and waiting eagerly for Him.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Most Humble Person

Jesus was the most humble person to walk the face of the earth.
Every second He was here,
He was pushing aside what He rightfully deserved,
Who He rightfully was,
What He could rightfully command -
His glory,
His honor,
His majesty.
He came like a child.
Christmas was the greatest act of humility,
next to the cross,
that the world has ever known.
Christmas -
God became man.
As we seek to look more like Christ,
we must continually humble ourselves...

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Why Press On?

"I press on toward the goal
for the prize
of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."  

Philippians 3:14

Why press on?  

Why give everything we have?  

It is not to earn God's love.  

It is not to make ourselves clean.  

We are loved.

We are clean.

It's because we cannot get over the truth that the Creator God of the universe would love us so much that He would spare us from our sin.  

Why do we get up and go to church?  

Why do we study our Bibles?  

Why do we pray?  

Why do we discipline ourselves?  

Because we love Jesus.  

Everyday we need to live in light of the gospel.  We deserved death and hell.  We deserved to be separated from God.  We deserved to not have Jesus step into our place.  In our sin, in our hypocrisy, Jesus has made us His own.  We don't need to fear what the future holds.  We don't need to wonder whether or not we are good enough.  We don't need to wonder if we are loved.  We are loved.  Jesus paid the price for us.  We will stand before the throne, one day, and worship Jesus.  We are going to see Him face to face. It is going to happen.  It will be a reality.  We press on, we strive, we push harder and harder to know Jesus and to grow and be transformed into His likeness, not because we need to for God to love us, but because Jesus has already loved us so much.

(This post, and yesterday's, are notes gleaned from Sunday's message at Harvest Bible Chapel Spring Lake.)

Monday, December 3, 2012

God Loves Hypocrites

Non-believers biggest complaint against Christianity is not necessarily against Jesus; it’s not necessarily against God’s Word.  It is against believers themselves.  They see believers, claiming to be Christians, but they say they don’t see any difference in the believer’s life.  They say believers are just as selfish, just as arrogant, just as lonely.  They see believers making the claim that their hope is in Christ but yet they see the believer living for worldly things.  Non-believers don’t have an issue with Jesus, but with His followers, because they are hypocrites. 

Unbelievers are right.

Any follower of Jesus Christ lives with hypocrisy in their life.  We are saved by Jesus.  One day we are going to be without sin.  One day we are going to live eternally with God in a perfect relationship with Him and others.  We are still sinful people right now and we live in a sinful world.  We are not the finished product that God promises to make us.

If we are honest with ourselves, there are periods in our lives when we are very selfish.  We lie.  We are more about ourselves and temporary things than we are about eternal things.  We shake our fist at God in our attitudes or our sinful actions. 

Here’s the good news.

Because of Jesus and His death on the cross and His resurrection, God loves hypocrites.  Our identity is not in our hyprocrisy, but we are found and hidden in Jesus Christ.  Even though we are not there yet, we are not perfect, God loves us and cares for us.  He is working on us. 

We are His. 

Jesus is greater than our sin.  Jesus loves us, despite our hypocrisy.

We belong to Jesus, but we are not the finished product yet.  We don’t have to be perfect for God to love us.  Jesus took that over for us.  All we have to do is believe by faith, live a repentant life, and we can know for sure that God loves us.

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ."  Philippians 1:6

Friday, November 30, 2012

New Christmas Blog Tradition

This is so great...  This is what Christmas is all about.  I posted this last year.  Lord-willing, I will post it next year, too...

Christmas, the celebration of the Creator of the universe putting on flesh, the One Who forms each human life as He weaves it in the womb, undergoing that same great miracle, so He could grow up and step into our place, bearing the crushing fury of God's wrath...making peace for us with God.  Tell someone this good news.  Fall on your knees, raise your hands and voices, and worship and adore Him, this Christmas season.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Trying to Decide on a Passage to Memorize?

How about one of these...

  • Psalm 1 - The benefits of dwelling in the Word
  • Psalm 19 - Creation glorifies God
  • Psalm 23 - He is the Great Shepherd
  • Psalm 100 - Thanksgiving psalm
  • Psalm 139 - God intimately knows you
  • Isaiah 40:28-31 - He slumbers not, nor sleeps
  • Isaiah 53 - The suffering Messiah
  • Matthew 6:25-34 - Anxiety teaching
  • John 14:1-6 - Comfort passage
  • John 15 - The Vine passage
  • Romans 8:28-39 - The believer's security
  • Romans 12:17-21 - Practical Christian living
  • 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 - Love passage
  • Ephesians 4:17-32 - Practical Christian living
  • Ephesians 6:13-17 - The armor of God
  • Colossians 1:15-20 - The greatest description of Jesus Christ
  • 1 Peter 2:19-25 - Suffering like Christ

Monday, November 26, 2012

Rejoicing is a Safeguard to Sin

Rejoicing in the Lord always,
leaves no room for anxiety...

Rejoicing in the Lord always,
leaves no room for complaining...

Rejoicing in the Lord always,
leaves no room for gossiping...

Rejoicing in the Lord always,
leaves no room for bitterness...

Rejoicing in the Lord always,
leaves no room for jealousy...

Rejoicing in the Lord always,
crowds out sin..

Rejoicing in the Lord always,
does not allow sin to take root...

To rejoice in the Lord always, 
is a safeguard for us.

When we are delighting in Jesus,
we are choosing not I, but Christ and 
we are being changed into His likeness.  
He is glorified and our Heavenly Father is honored.

Something to think about, 
confess where we have been falling short,
 and then get started doing, faithfully.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Rejoicing Joy

"Finally, my brethren, 

 in the Lord."

Philippians 3:1a

Rejoicing is the outward expression
of a joy that we have,
a joy in the Lord.

Jesus, You are the One who saved me,
in love You came,
bearing all my sin and shame,
You were crushed in my place,
pouring Yourself out in death for me,
and You gave me Your righteousness -
I delight in You!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

God at Work Story

"Oh give thanks to the LORD,
call upon His name;
Make known His deeds among the peoples.
Sing to Him, sing praises to Him;
Speak of all His wonders.
Glory in His holy name..."

Psalm 105:1-3a

We had small group tonight and we had the best time.  We haven't been able to meet for awhile and everyone was really missing it so when I got the text two days ago that we were meeting Saturday night, I was really glad.  We always have dinner together.  I had made four pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving and still had one left.  Perfect!  I love to bake so I whipped up some rolls and threw together a salad, too.

After dinner, we heard Dan's testimony.  Dan is a dog trainer and Jim, who is in our small group, took his dogs to Dan for training.  They soon developed a friendship.   A year and a half ago, Dan had a stroke.  The stroke caused a blood clot to form on his brain.  They did an MRI and a cat scan and also found a tumor and a cyst on his brain.  Jim was with Dan and his wife as he was wheeled into surgery.  Jim gave him the gospel clearly, and Jim told us that though he could barely talk because of the stroke, Dan clasped Jim's hand and said, "I believe," three times.  Dan told us that while in surgery he had a very vivid dream or vision.  He saw a massive rock, and a man was sitting in an area carved out in the rock.  The man turned out to be Jesus.  Jesus told Dan to invite Him into his life.  And Dan did.  Jim and Dan's wife testify that Dan came out of surgery a completely changed man.  It was dramatic.  He was a heavy drinker and had a foul mouth.  All that stopped, immediately.  Here's the part of the story that I love.  After the Father rescued Dan from the domain of darkness and brought him into the kingdom of His beloved Son, Dan cannot get enough of the Word.  He is in it, constantly.  He craves the Word and constantly acts on that craving.   The peace of God was written all over this dear man's countenance.  He wants to be an elder in his church someday.  And there is even more wonder to Dan's story.  The surgeon spent two hours looking for the tumor and the cyst, they were gone!  The Great Physician had removed them!

I love God at Work stories, don't you?  Jesus died to save us and to change us and if our faith doesn't change us, we are probably not saved.  He clearly began a good work in Dan, a year and a half ago.

If you missed this previous post of mine a couple of posts ago, there is another wonderful God at Work story at the end of the song...Hallelujah for the Cross happens to be one of my favorites and oh the joy in heaven when a sinner repents and lays down their life at Jesus feet, at the cross!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Seven Reasons to Memorize Scripture

1)  It makes meditation possible when a Bible is not available - you can mull over, ponder and digest the Word as you memorize - what does this say about God?  How does this affect my life?

2)  It shapes how you view the Word because you are conforming your mind to God's viewpoint.

3)  It makes God's Word more accessible when battling temptation.

4)  It guards your mind, making it easier to detect error.

5)  It enables you to defend against the devil with a weapon he cannot stand against.

6)  It provides the strongest and sweetest words for ministering to those in need.

7)  It provides fellowship with Christ because He speaks to us through His Word.

A friend recently sent me this list - also, check out this blog for more ways it benefits us to memorize scripture.  (You cannot use the excuse that you are too old to memorize.  I am old, and a grandmother of three.  Yes, it is harder than when I was younger, but the benefits are so worth the effort!)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

I'm Gonna Sing!

I'm gonna sing, sing, sing -
I'm gonna shout, shout, shout -
I'm gonna sing, I'm gonna shout,
Praise the Lord!
Heaven's gates are open wide,
We are loved by the Father and Jesus Christ,
I'm gonna sing, I'm gonna shout,
Praise the Lord!

Do you know this song?  It's an oldie.  I changed one line of the words (third from the bottom).  I woke up this morning with my heart full - we have so much to be thankful for, but this morning I am thankful for those wide open, approachable, gracious, forgiving arms of our Abba Father.

Happy Thanksgiving!  (And do a little singing today as you give thanks to our Heavenly Father and enjoy spending time with all your loved ones!)

"See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the children of God; and such we are..."  1 John 3:1

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thankful - Part Two

Out of Colossians 1 -

  Transferred to the kingdom of the Father's beloved Son
       CHrist in me, the hope of glory
       Hope lAid up in heaven
Prayers of the saiNts for the
                    Knowledge of His will
                  Fruit bearing for Jesus
           Spiritual wisdom and Understanding
                                The GospeL

Monday, November 19, 2012

Thankful for...

    The cross
     His precious blood
My right stAnding before God
        Jesus imy place
        His Kindness and mercy 
           Forgiveness of all my sins
        Being United with Him
         His everLasting love

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Jesus, The One and Only

"He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything."

Colossians 1:15-18

If Jesus is to have first place in our lives, He must be our first thought, and His Word is the first place we will go...

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Forty Brave Soldiers for Christ

This was on the inside flap of my church's bulletin this past Sunday - it is from Voice of the Martyrs...

Emperor Constantine legalized Christianity in the Roman Empire in A.D. 320.  However, Licinius, who controlled the Eastern half of the empire, broke allegiance with the West and continued to suppress Christianity.  When Licinius demanded that every soldier under his command sacrifice to the Roman gods, the forty Christian men of the "Thundering Legion" refused.  Their general, Lysias, had them whipped, torn with hooks, and then imprisoned in chains.  When they still refused to bow down and give up their worship of God, he ordered them stripped of their clothing and left in the middle of a frozen lake until they relented.  A warm bath was poured for any who would give up their convictions.  The men prayed together that their number would not be broken.  However, as it grew dark, one could not bear the cold any longer and ran to the warm bath.  One of the guards who had watched the forty brave soldiers sing to Christ became angry that one would give in to Lysias's orders.  His anger turned to conviction, and then his conviction turned to faith.  He tore off his clothes and ran out into the icy lake, fulfilling their promise to be "forty brave soldiers for Christ!"  The forty died together that day.  How about you?  Are you willing to take a stand for Christ at work, in your home, around your friends?  Today we take a look at some critical decisions Daniel made that could have cost him his life.  Unwavering, he was willing to lay it all on the line for God.  What creates this level of commitment and dedication?  Does your faith run that deep?  Put on the full armor and fight the fight.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Paul - An Example of Maintaining Joy While Suffering

Joy and suffering are close friends in the New Testament.  Paul suffered greatly and Paul never lost his joy - his God-given delight in the Person, People, and Purposes of God. He never lost his joy because of physical suffering, unfair circumstances, persecution, or friendly fire.  Paul chose joy.  He was imprisoned for years, for a crime for which he was not guilty. He looked at prison as a mission field. He saw that his suffering served a purpose - it encouraged other believers to be bold for Christ.  Paul's passion was Christ and the gospel, this was his joy. We have much to learn from Paul about suffering and being joyful. It's not about our circumstances. It is about delighting in Jesus, His people, and His purposes, no matter what our circumstances. Our source of joy is confidence in three things. In what God has done - taken us as an enemy, saved us, and placed us into His kingdom. Confidence in what God is doing - transforming us into the likeness of Jesus. Confidence in what God will do - Jesus is returning and will wipe away all tears and sorrows.  

Joy and suffering are friends – a truth that unbelievers will not understand, but every believer needs to understand and embrace.

When our desire for comfort eclipses our desire to see the gospel go forward, we lose our joy.

We shine most brightly and our faith is most real when we maintain our God-given joy - proclaiming the gospel, while under suffering.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Biblical Blessedness, Happiness

Biblical blessedness, true, rich, deep-down-joyful, vibrant, biblical happiness, springs from what we do, the actions we take, and from what God has done for us...Biblical blessedness, first begins with our right standing before God and then we respond to this incredible love for us...

"How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers!  But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night."  Psalm 1:1,2

"How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered!"  Psalm 32:1

"O taste and see that the LORD is good; how blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!"  Psalm 34:8

"How blessed is he who considers the helpless;  the LORD will deliver him in a day of trouble."  Psalm 41:1

"How blessed is the one whom You choose and bring near to You to dwell in Your courts.  We will be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, Your holy temple."  Psalm 65:4

"How blessed is the man whose strength is in You, In whose heart are the highways to Zion!"  Psalm 84:5

"O LORD of hosts, How blessed is the man who trusts in You!"  Psalm 84:12

"How blessed are those who keep justice, Who practice righteousness at all times."  Psalm 106:3

"Praise the LORD!  How blessed is the man who fears the LORD, Who greatly delights in His commandments."  Psalm 112:1

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

Monday, October 15, 2012

Sorrowing, Yet Always Rejoicing

Sorrowing, yet always rejoicing...

According to Paul in 2 Corinthians 6:10, this is the mark of a faithful minister of Christ.

Why do servants of God sorrow?

There is one thing that should always cause us sorrow - sin.  Our own sin, and the sins of the world.  All of us, have brought sin into our church's in one way or another.  The offense sin is to God and the grief it brings Him should cause us to sorrow.  Children of the King will be characterized by sorrow over sin.  We know we belong to Him when we mourn over our sin.  We know God has begun His good work in us when sin grieves us, when it breaks our hearts, like it breaks the heart of God.

How can we rejoice when we are also sorrowing?

When we focus on the cross, where Jesus stepped into our place and made the payment for our sin with His precious blood.  We have a constant and steady flow of grace and mercy for our sin, because Jesus laid aside the glories and privileges He had in heaven with the Father and took on the likeness of our flesh and went to the cross.  In this, we rejoice, and this is the good news we are to get out to the world, and the good news also that we are to faithfully remind each other in the family of God.

Sin is present right now and its affects.  It's all around us, but so is the mercy and grace and presence of Jesus Christ...sorrowing, dealing with our sin daily, yet always rejoicing in our Beloved Savior.

Someday sin is going to be gone.  When sin is gone, the sorrowing will be gone too.  And then there will only be rejoicing.  It's a day we look forward to, with great joy and anticipation.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?

Shall tribulation,
or distress, 
or persecution,
or famine,
or nakedness,
or peril,
or sword?

Just as it is written,

But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.

For I am convinced that neither death,
nor life,
nor angels,
nor principalities,
nor things present,
nor things to come,
nor powers,
nor height,
nor depth, 
nor any other created thing,
shall be able to separate us from the love of God,
which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Romans 8:35-39

Monday, October 1, 2012

Our Incomparable Savior

"He is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn of all creation.

For by Him all things were created,
both in the heavens and on earth,
visible and invisible,
whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--
all things have been created through Him and for Him.

He is before all things,
and in Him all things hold together.

He is also head of the body,
the church;
and He is the beginning,
the firstborn from the dead,
so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything."

Colossians 1:15-18

Saturday, September 29, 2012

BW Newton on Why Matthew 24 is for The Church

"It is important to observe that Jerusalem and all her people, including the remnant finally to be spared in Israel (for it is they who will at last say, "Blessed is He that cometh,") are all left at the end of the twenty-third chapter, and are addressed no more.  They are left to their desolation and judgment.  In the twenty-fourth chapter not a word is said to them.  They are spoken OF, but they are not spoken TO.  The body thus addressed in the twenty-third chapter is as diverse from that addressed in the twenty-fourth, as blessing is different from woe.  The first were rejectors of Jesus - refusing to call Him blessed.  They were the representatives of hardened, blinded, unbelieving Israel.  But the others, that is to say, those addressed in the twenty-fourth chapter, were the disciples of Jesus.  They had already called Him blessed.  They were going without the gate bearing His reproach.  Whilst blindness was resting upon Israel, they were to be His ministers, and His witnesses.  They were to walk in light whilst the others were groping in darkness.  They were addressed, therefore, not as the representatives of hardened, unbelieving Israel, or of Israel partially enlightened.  They were addressed as the representatives of the Church of the living God.  To them it had been said, "Blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear."  Having Christ they had all things.  How important, therefore, to distinguish between the "ye" of the twenty-third chapter, and the "ye" of the twenty-fourth.  In each case it is a corporate "ye," and has already extended over nearly two thousand years."

Benjamin Wills Newton
December 12, 1807 - June 26, 1899

Do you know the instruction and truths in Matthew 24?  As followers of Jesus Christ, as citizens of His kingdom, it is very important that we know it.

One of the Sweetest Promises in the Bible

"I will come again and receive you to Myself,
that where I am,
there you may be also."  

John 14:3

Free From Guilt

Believers are the only people who live free from the guilt of their sin.  No one else is free from the guilt of their sin.  Believers who live feeling guilty over their sin are believing a lie.  We are to live mourning over our sin, confessing it, and repenting of it, but never feeling guilty over it.

Those who mourn over their sin, will be comforted - Matthew 5:4.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

...Because He Delights in Unchanging Love

Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity
And passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession?
He does not retain His anger forever,
Because He delights in unchanging love.

He will again have compassion on us;
He will tread our iniquities under foot.
Yes, You will cast all their sins
Into the depths of the sea.

Micah 7:18,19

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Point of an Image

When the first chapter of the Bible says, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27), what is the point? The point of an image is to image. Images are erected to display the original. Point to the original. Glorify the original. God made humans in his image so that the world would be filled with reflectors of God. Images of God. Six billion statues of God. So that nobody would miss the point of creation. Nobody (unless they were stone blind) could miss the point of humanity, namely, God. Knowing, loving, showing God.

John Piper

Friday, September 21, 2012

Traits of a Growing Child of God

Traits of a growing child of God - 
  • More love for God
  • More love for others
  • Better at resolving conflict
  • Strong in the face of temptation - the victories over sin are increasing
  • Deeper in the knowledge of God's Word
  • Quicker to admit wrongs and confess them
  • Slower to be captured by things that are worthless
  • A growing passion for reaching the lost
  • Finding identity as a child of God first
If these character traits define who we are, we can be confident that we are growing in devotion to and in likeness of our precious Savior.

Poor In Spirit

What does “poor in Spirit” look like in the life of a believer? Or what are the effects of being poor in spirit? 

According to Thomas Watson:

1.     He is weaned from himself – he understands that without Jesus he is going to hell – he loses his pre-occupation with self. Self is nothing – Jesus is everything!  Galatians 2:20 – Not I, but Christ.
2.     He is a Christ- admirer – all his thoughts lead to Christ.  Christ is not only his Savior but his source of life, wisdom, help, joy and belonging.  Everything he needs is in Christ.
3.     He does not complain about life, no matter how difficult.  He knows that what he deserves is far worse than anything he is currently experiencing and this causes a grateful heart in all things – lives with an eternal perspective – Romans 8:17,18.
4.     He is lowly of heart. He sees the strengths and virtues of others, as well as the weakness of his own sin.  He puts the needs of others before himself – Phil. 2:3.
5.     He is constantly in prayer.  A beggar constantly begs – he recognizes his complete dependency on God and God’s continuous presence in his life.  He has an ongoing conversation all day with the Lord.
6.     He will take Christ on Christ’s terms and lay aside his own.  “A castle which has long been besieged and is ready to be captured will surrender on any terms to save their lives.”  He will do anything to have Christ.
7.     He is an exalter of free grace.  He is ever in a state of thanksgiving and praise.  He was condemned and then pardoned – he greatly proclaims the goodness of his master.