Monday, April 30, 2012

O Magnify the Lord with Me - Jesus as Creator

I trust you had a wonderful Sunday.  I came away from church yesterday challenged, full, and rejoicing from being in the presence of God with His people.  We are in Amos and we are seeing the holiness of God and His condemnation of Israel's sin of apostasy and promised judgment. In His lovingkindness and grace, He calls Israel (and us) to forsake sin and turn to Him and seek Him.  He is jealous for our obedience and true worship!

I think on Mondays, I am going to post scripture that points to the majesty and wonders of God.  I was drawn to Psalm 104 this morning.  It's a rather long psalm so I just put up about half.  I would like to encourage you during some of your free time this week to read the entire psalm, meditating on it.  What a great psalm that testifies to the wonders and power of God through His creation and exalts Jesus as Creator, Sustainer, and as Superintendent over it! Then, I invite you to post a favorite passage in the comment section sometime this week that exalts Jesus as Creator.  Let's exalt His name, together!

"Bless the LORD, O my soul!
O LORD my God, You are very great;
You are clothed with splendor and majesty,
Covering Yourself with light as with a cloak,
Stretching out heaven like a tent curtain.
He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters;
He makes the clouds His chariot;
He walks upon the wings of the wind;
He makes the winds His messengers,
Flaming fire His ministers.
He established the earth upon its foundation,
So that it will not totter forever and ever.
You covered it with the deep as with a garment;
The waters were standing above the mountains.
At your rebuke they fled,
At the sound of Your thunder they hurried away.
The mountains rose; the valleys sank down 
to the place which You established for them.
You set a boundary that they may not pass over,
So that they will not return to cover the earth.
He sends forth springs in the valleys;
They flow between the mountains;
They give drink to every beast of the field;
The wild donkeys quench their thirst.
Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell;
They lift up their voices among the branches...

...O LORD, how many are Your works!
In wisdom You have made them all;
The earth if full of Your possessions..."

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Proclaim His Excellencies

When you quit telling the glories of God,
the presence of God leaves
and the people of God lose their wonder of God.

"But you are a CHOSEN RACE,
so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him
who has called you out of darkness
into His marvelous light."
1 Peter 2:9

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Little Buddies

Here are the latest pictures of Charlie and Daniel...the boys had so much fun in the tall grass...

The jackets are from great-grandma...

This one is not Charlie and Daniel, but I wanted to share a pretty picture of what we have beginning to bloom now...this is a crab apple tree...

Sweet Charlie...

For the whole album, dirty faces and all, click here...

Morning Reflections

"Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
and in Your book were all written
the days that were ordained for me,
when as yet there was not one of them." - Psalm 139:16

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
and He will make your paths straight." - Proverbs 3:5,6

Sometimes I take two verses, lay them side by side, and reflect on their truths.  It's fun and it is a way to set my mind on the things above.  The first verse speaks of the superintendence of God.  How He oversees and is intimately acquainted with His creation, especially His children.  He is sovereign.  He is eternal and outside of time.  He's the author of time.  He knows the beginning from the end of our story in this world, which has been written into His story, before we even enter this world.

The next verse is our responsibility towards our sovereign Lord.  We are to trust in Him, wholeheartedly.  Human reasoning is flawed and never enough, but that is not so with our omniscient, sovereign, all wise God.   He created us to depend completely on Him.  When we study Him in His Word we see that He is completely trustworthy, always working for our good.  He did for Abraham.  He did for David.  He did for Ruth.  He does the same for us.  All the wisdom we may acquire can never replace our need to trust God in His superior ways.  When we trust Him in all our ways - in choosing a spouse, in choosing a job, in deciding to move, in choosing a church, in choosing our friends, we find that God makes our paths straight.  He removes the obstacles, bringing us to the appointed goal.  Life is wonderful, and abundant, though we encounter trials and tribulation throughout, if we walk, learning more and more about who Jesus is and depending on Him.

My mind will wander to other verses as I'm thinking and pondering.  "The mind of a man plans his way, but the Lord directs His steps." - Proverbs 16:9  We make plans, and even if we do not acknowledge God in our plan making, the Lord determines how we will go.  Man does not write his story.  God does.  God is sovereign.  He loves us.  It is folly to trust in ourselves, the non-author.  Trust in the One Who created life and time.  He is all powerful and He cares for us far beyond what we can comprehend.  It brings Him pleasure when we live our lives centered and dependent on Him, and it was what we were made to do.  

Friday, April 27, 2012

How to Spot a False Teacher

"He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory;
but He who is seeking the glory of the One who sent Him,
He is true, 
and there is no unrighteousness in Him."

John 7:18

Jesus life was devoted to the glory of His Father and the salvation of men.  He was indifferent to worldly approval and applause.  When you meet a man whose one controlling desire is to glorify God, believe that man - he is true.  False teachers love the approval of men.

John Piper

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Still With You

Build your identity on the love Jesus has for you - Mark Driscoll.

"How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I should count them,
they would outnumber the sand.
When I awake,
I am still with You."

Psalm 139:17, 18

Jesus thoughts are always on you, and always for your good.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Reward and Blessing of Obedience...

...a dynamic sense of the presence of Jesus.

"He who has My commandments
and keeps them
is the one who loves Me;
and he who loves Me 
will be loved by My Father, 
and I will love Him 
and will disclose Myself to him."

John 14:21

Stephen lived in bold obedience, proclaiming Jesus, declaring to men their sin, without fear.  People respond to the gospel in different ways...

"Now when they heard this,
they were cut to the quick, 
and they began gnashing their teeth at him.
But being full of the Holy Spirit,
he (Stephen) gazed intently into heaven
and saw the glory of God,
and Jesus standing at the right hand of God."

Acts 7:54, 55

Stephen stood boldly for Jesus, Jesus stood for Stephen.  Jesus said He would be with us until the end of the age, when He returns.  Our calling is to make disciples by boldly proclaiming the gospel.  This means telling others how sin offends God, but God has made a way for forgiveness.  Jesus followers will be called to stand boldly for Him before His return and it is our calling now.  Sin and disobedience separates us, His followers, from the sense of His presence.  In living in bold obedience now, boldly proclaiming the gospel, Jesus manifests Himself to us, and we will be ready for the severe pressure that is coming...

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

John Piper on Loving One Another

Go low in foot-washing-like service to one another. Lay down your lives, your privileges, for one another. Love your brothers and sisters across all racial and ethnic lines. Love the weakest and oldest and youngest. Love the disabled. Love the lonely trouble maker. It is certain when you love that you cannot atone for anyone’s sin. But you can do something like it, because “Love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). How blessed the church — that loves like this!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Jeremiah Burroughs Nugget

“My brethren, the reason why you have not got contentment in the things of the world is not because you have not got enough of them.  That is not the reason.  But the reason is because they are not things proportionable to that immortal soul of yours that is capable of God Himself.  Many men think that when they are troubled and have not got contentment, it is because they have but a little in the... world, and if they had more then they would be content.  That is just as if a man were hungry, and to satisfy his craving stomach he should gape and hold open his mouth to take in the wind, and then should think that the reason why he is not satisfied is because he has not got enough of the wind.  No, the reason is because the thing is not suitable to a craving stomach.” 

Jeremiah Burroughs

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Portrait of Love - 1 Corinthians 13

I needed a reminder of what the love of Jesus should look like in my life.  I took some time to go through 1 Corinthians 13, along with my John MacArthur commentary.  These are John's insights along with some of my thoughts.  While the context is the misuse of spiritual gifts in the church, the application is widespread...

Love is patient...Love practices being patient with people, without getting curt or angry, even if inconvenienced over and over again.  Love never retaliates, in any form.  Love responds to the faults of others, with kindness.  If you find yourself in a sinful cycle of curtness with another, confess your sin and break the cycle with a sacrificial act of kindness.

 Love is kind...working for the welfare of others, even when tired.  (And acts of kindness will often reproduce in others, acts of kindness.  Pretty soon you have kindness overflowing in abundance all over the place!)

Love is not is glad for those who have what we don't have.  

Love does not brag...about what we do have.  The loving person does not parade their accomplishments or gifts.  With Jesus first in our thoughts, we will never brag about ourselves.  Jesus, Who had everything to boast of, never boasted.  

Love is not arrogant...about the gifts and good things we've been given.  Every good gift comes from God.  Pride jades and when pride comes, then comes dishonor. (Pr. 11:2)  Arrogance is putting self first; love is putting others first.

Love does not act doesn't use poor manners.  Love isn't rude or short.  Love does not behave "gracelessly."  Love is not brutal.      

Love does not seek its own...Here is the key to everything!  The person who loves is not preoccupied with their own things, but with others.  This is Jesus!  

Love is not provoked...Love guards against being irritated, upset, or angered by things said or done against us personally.  (This does not rule out righteous indignation - being angered by what angers God.)  Love never acts in self-defense.  Jesus again, set the example for us in this.  

Love does not take into account a wrong suffered...Love does not keep a tally of wrongs against us.  No other record exists, but the righteousness of Jesus.  Love forgives - 1) We release the debt owed by the offense. 2) We do not bring the offense up to others.  3) We do not bring the offense up to ourselves.  

Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness...Love never takes satisfaction from sin, whether ours, or another's.  Rejoicing in unrighteousness is to say it is ok.  Jesus never rejoiced in unrighteousness.  Why would we want to rejoice in something that has produced harm, and death, and offends God?  (How many TV programs and movies do we watch that take satisfaction in sin?  Turn it off or walk out!) 

Love rejoices with the truth...Love always rejoices in God's truth and never with falsehood, of any kind, or false teaching.  Love for God's truth will not let God's truth be compromised.  What people believe will matter to the person who loves.  If we know a person is believing a lie, we will do what we can to introduce them to The Truth - Jesus.  We will step out of our comfort zone! 

Love bears all things...Love absorbs the faults and irritations of others.  Love protects others from ridicule or harm.  Love does not expose others' sin with gossip.  Love tries to correct it with the least possible hurt and harm to the guilty person.  Love warns, corrects, exhorts, rebukes, and disciplines, but not with a bullhorn.  Love feels the pain of those it loves and helps carry the burden of the hurt.  Love is redemptive.  It wants to buy back, not condemn, to save, not judge. 

Love believes all things...Love is not suspicious or cynical.  Love works and looks and prays for the best outcome.  

Love hopes all things...Love does not lose hope.  Don't give up praying for someone, until life is over for them.  Love perseveres in prayer for others, love continues to want Jesus and the best for others, to the end of life.  We don't know when God's grace is no longer operative for a person.  As long as there is life, there is hope for a person.  

Love endures all things...Love holds fast to those it loves.  Love endures all things at all costs.  Love bears ridicule to the end.  (Stephen and his stoning...)  We can endure all things because God's power for enduring love has been poured out upon us, through the Holy Spirit.  Genuine faith produces enduring love, which forgives, over and over and over again.  

Jesus modeled love for us.  It is not feelings based.  It is actions based.  We are called to love one another like Jesus loved us, sacrificially, serving, laying aside our interests and desires, and our needs, for the interests, desires, and needs of others.  Our love is to be far reaching, and there is no greater love than giving up our lives for the sake of others.

This is the love that draws people to Jesus, and glorifies Him... 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Jesus Paid the Price...

...and He's coming back to pick up His purchase!

Do you know what is going to happen before He returns?  

He's laid it out for us in Matthew 24.

How do you stand firm in the times that are coming?

By knowing Jesus!

Know Jesus and understand your part.  You do that by being 
in the Word, in the Word,
in the WORD!

(I can't say that enough times...)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Who and What It's All About

"In all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fulness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things upon the earth."

Ephesians 1:8-10

"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 by Him and for Him.  And 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 first-born from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything." 

 Colossians 1:16-18

"For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.  
To Him be the glory forever.  

Romans 11:36

"Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever.  Amen."

Jude 24, 25

"Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power 
and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing."  

Revelation 5:12

The Bible is God's revelation to us.  It is the story of the Lord Jesus Christ.  It gives us God the Father's plan to ultimately end all things with Jesus Christ being supreme in all things.  Each one of us is written into the story of Jesus.  The one who's life is spent drawing close and learning who Jesus is and living in service and honor and exaltation of Him as Lord and King lives not the easiest life, but it is the hope-filled, joyful life.  With Jesus in us, glory is our future.  Every knee will bow to Jesus Christ.  There is great joy in the willing bow.  There will be no joy in the forced bow.  Life was, is, and always will be, about Jesus.  I hope Jesus is your life!

"The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him.  For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us." 

Romans 8:16-18

Sunday, April 15, 2012

"He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me;
and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father,
and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him."

John 14:21

There are times when the child of God's soul is absolutely crushed with longing - to have faith be sight.  There are also times when the child of God's soul is absolutely crushed because of their sin.  Both are a by product of richly dwelling in the Word...

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Will Stand, Forever

These words of Jesus have been coming to mind as of late, whenever I watch the election news coverage :

"Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste;
and any city or house divided against itself will not stand."
Matthew 12:25

Our nation is divided on so many issues. The truth in this verse is one reason why America will not stand.  Sin creates division.  Sin separates us from God.  Sin is our captor.  Sin demands a price for our release.  Death is the price that had to be paid for our release from sin and to bring us to God.  The good news, Jesus paid the price for us and it was an unbelievable price.  How we value the price paid and the Person Who paid the price determines how important it is to us to act on getting the good news out, of Jesus dying willingly in our place, of Jesus providing peace and oneness for us with God and each other and providing the peace of God within our hearts, in a broken, divided world.  We don't need to be praying and working for God to save America, we need to be praying and working for God to save the broken people in America.  One day, the kingdom of Jesus and righteousness and oneness is going to fill the earth.  It will stand forever.  Giving ourselves up for Him, surrendering our wills to His enlarges His kingdom now.  It is our calling.  It is our obligation, because we've been given to Jesus (John 13:3) and He gave Himself for us (Titus 2:14) and He is Lord.

Sunday, April 8, 2012


This is has been a great weekend.  It started out Friday night with dear brothers and sisters in Christ at Discovery Baptist's Good Friday service.  It was an evening of quiet reflection - of Jesus as He went to the cross.  I've been thinking about what the different faces of the people in this story looked like.  The ugly, snarling faces of the people as they yelled for the crucifixion of Jesus.  The laughing faces of some when the crown of thorns was sunk into Jesus brow.   Not pleasant to think about.  The message Tim and I heard Friday night mentioned the look Jesus gave Peter when the rooster crowed.  Imagine the shame and agony on Peter's face when his eyes met Jesus eyes.  Jesus eyes brought Jesus words to Peter's remembrance, that he would deny Him.  Peter didn't remember after the first denial, or the second, or the third.  It was after the rooster crowed and Jesus looked into Peter's face and eyes.  The look by Jesus couldn't have been a look of "I told you so."  That would not be fitting with His character, not when it was His desire to have relationship with Peter.  I think Jesus look was one of sadness, grief, and redemptive compassion.  This is what caused Peter to weep bitterly.  Jesus loved Peter and Peter had not loved Jesus in return, but denied that he knew Him.  What about the agony on Jesus face, when the Father tore Himself away from Jesus, His face was not even recognizable, because of the beatings.  And what did Mary's face look like, as she watched what happened to Jesus?  Certainly there must have been tears streaming down.    

Saturday morning I read the four gospel accounts of the resurrection.  The anticipation began to build for Sunday morning.  On the first day of the week, the two Mary's (neither the mother of Jesus) went to the tomb to anoint Jesus body with spices.  John records that Mary Magdalene was weeping.  Had Mary cried herself to sleep the night of Jesus crucifixion?  Did she even sleep that first night?  The events of the day and what she had seen must have been tormenting her relentlessly.  No thoughts of Jesus having raised from the dead.  Just grief.  Matthew records that the two Mary's were trying to figure out who they were going to get to roll the large stone aside.  Grief-stricken faces changed to fearful faces as they encountered an angel of the Lord when they arrived at the tomb.  The guards at the tomb had trembled with fear at the earthquake as the angel descended, whom God had sent to roll the stone away.  The angel's appearance was like lightning.  Imagine the terror on the guard's faces.  Matthew recorded that the guards shook and became like dead men, they were so terrified.  They didn't see Jesus walk away.  Their faces were buried in the ground.  But the angel told the women not to be afraid.  But they were afraid.  Fearful faces and tear-stained faces.  The angel knew they were looking for Jesus, the body of Jesus, but the angel said they weren't going to find Him there because He had risen as He said He would.  And then the angel instructed them to go tell His disciples that He had risen.  Matthew tells us that they left quickly, running, with fear and great joy on their faces.  How do those two emotions express themselves on faces, at the same time?  We are told that Mary Magdalene encountered Jesus first.  She was still overcome with grief, after her angelic encounter.  She thought that Jesus was the gardener.  Jesus asks her why she is weeping and who she is looking for.  Then He says her name. "Mary."  Recognition of Him envelopes her, she clings to Him - her face surely expressing great joy, through the tears.  The women run and tell the eleven, but the eleven don't believe them.  Luke says it seemed like an idle tale to them.  Sarcastic disbelief on their faces, even though Jesus had told them He would rise.  But it did move Peter and John to get up and run to the tomb.  John made it first and stopped at the entrance of the tomb.  Peter followed and didn't stop but goes all the way in.  Peter sees the linen cloths lying there, the face cloth folded up, separate from the linen cloths.  Disbelief on Peter's face turns to marveling.  John then enters, sees the empty tomb and the cloths, and the disbelief on his face turns to belief.  His eyes and face must have been shining now.  Jesus had risen, just as He said!

Jesus is risen, and because He lives, we will live too.  Someday our faith will be sight.  Someday we are really going to get to look into the face and eyes of our Beloved Savior.  For me, I'm convinced it will be through tears of great joy, along with wonder, and marveling.

Today has been a wonderful day, spent first celebrating with Harvest Bible Chapel, Spring Lake, our beloved online Michigan church.  Such joy seeing the grinning, transformed-by-Jesus faces of twenty-two of His saints, as they were baptized at the end of the service, impromptu - the testimonies were precious.  And then the celebration moved to our home church here in Port Orchard, at Christ the Rock Community Church.  More baptisms and precious testimonies and tears of joy, seeing such joyful, Jesus loving faces.

Thank You Jesus, for the cross.  It transforms hearts, then faces.

I'm shifting gears a bit now, but it's still about faces.  I promised you some pictures of Charlie, and Ben, and Mai.  They are in this album, along with more faces of the people I love that I spent the afternoon with...I trust that you, friends, had a wonderful day, too.

Ok, here's a sneak preview, before you click on the link...

Friday, April 6, 2012


"It is finished!"

Our salvation has been secured.

What a cost -

Nothing, shall ever separate us from the love of our Savior...

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Forsaken, for Our Oneness

"Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me?...Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me."  John 14:10a, 11a

One with the Father,
cherished by Him from eternity past,
became sin on the cross.

Jesus became our pride, 
and our lust,
and our foolishness, 
and our rebellion and hostility towards God.

The list goes on and on.

The Father no longer took joy and pleasure in His Son.
The Son became abhorrent to the Father.
He pulled away and turned from the Son.
The oneness was gone.
His feelings for Jesus turned to righteous anger,
and in fury He poured His wrath out on Jesus.

sin hanging on a tree,
feeling the crush of His Father's wrath,
cried out,
"My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me!"

His body, crushed,
and His heart, was crushed also,
for you, and me.

Then, "It is finished" fell from His lips.

The plan made from before the creation of the world was accomplished. 

The price for sin was paid, in full.

The Lamb of God, the Son, had been crushed by the Father's wrath
so His sheep, His gifts from the Father, His chosen - could be forgiven.

Jesus committed His spirit into His Father's hands, His scourged, pierced body going limp.  His bloodied and shredded body was then placed in a tomb where it lay for the next three days and three nights...but the forsaking was over, and the oneness between Jesus and the Father was restored, and will never be broken again, and we are lovingly held in Their oneness for all eternity, too.

"The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me."  John 17:22,23 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Power of the Cross

Oh, to see the dawn of the darkest day:
Christ on the road to Calvary.
Tried by sinful men, torn and beaten,
Then nailed to a cross of wood...

Oh, to see the pain written on Your face,
Bearing the awesome weight of sin.
Every bitter thought, every evil deed
Crowning Your blood stained brow...

Now the daylight flees, now the ground beneath
Quakes as its Maker bows His head.
Curtain torn in two, dead are raised to life,
"Finished!" the victory cry!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Happy Birthday, Sweet Mother

For the last three weeks I have been in LA, helping my sister care for my sweet mom who had to have emergency surgery on February 29th.  Today is my last day with her before heading home and it just happens to be her 75th birthday!  It has been wonderful being with you, Mother.  Your continual trust in our Sovereign Lord throughout this past month has been a blessing.
Happy Birthday - so glad I was able to spend it with you!  Being with you on your birthday was golden.  Seeing the smile on your face, priceless!

My twin sister Karin thinks I look like my mom,
I think I look like them both!


Stay tuned.  Charlie, Ben, and Mai arrived back from Vietnam 
while I was away.  More family pictures to come!