Sunday, July 29, 2012

Clearly Changed - 2

Lifting the fog of selfishness
Putting on Thankfulness

Jesus went to the cross to save us, and transform us.

Change happens when we put off the sin, renew our minds in the Word, and put on the good.

Numbers 13:17-20, 25, 27-33, 14:6-10, 20-34   The Israelites are ready to go into the promised land and God sends them back into the wilderness.

God hates our grumbling.

I Corinthians 10:5-12

Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness.
Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and stood up to play.” Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day. Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents. 10 Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer. 11 Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. 12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. 

Your attitude matters!

Sometimes our attitude is the caboose on the train of obedience. 

Choose to do acts of obedience before we feel like it.

Genesis 4:6-7  God to Cain, do well and your countenance will be lifted up.

You don’t feel like it, but choose acts of obedience.

Satan’s lie – we need to feel good about what God has asked us to do before we do it.

If I don’t feel like it and I do it, than I am a hypocrite – a lie of Satan.

Faith is believing the Word of God, and acting on it, no matter how I feel, because God promises a good result.

God is concerned with actions and attitudes!

If you choose murmuring and grumbling as a lifestyle, you will spend your life in the wilderness.

Attitudes are patterns of thinking formed over a long period of time.

Numbers 11:1,2  God brought fire to the outlying camp of the Israelites because of their complaining.

·      Complaining is a choice.

Complaining is expressing dissatisfaction with a circumstance that is not wrong about which I am doing nothing to correct.

We choose our attitudes. 

·      Complaining is a sin.

Complaining is an attitude choice that if left unchecked has the capacity to wither our ability to experience joy and genuine thankfulness.

Complaining is an on ramp to the highway of bitterness, depression, anger…

When we complain we are bringing God’s provision in to question.  We are saying, God, You had the chance to meet my expectations and You blew it.

Complaining attitudes affect us and those around us.

1 Samuel 16:7 – God looks at the heart.

Complaining can be non-verbal, and can consume you from the inside. 

Complaining is a heart attitude, what we are thinking, where our minds are set.

·      God hates our complaining…
o   Specifically as it relates to our circumstances because as children of an Almighty King, He has promised that He is working and orchestrating the circumstances in our lives to our good. 
o   God has entrusted to every person a measure of adversity, giving just the right amount to accomplish His purposes.  We need to say thank you.
o   Everyone’s measure is unique but there is nothing that we bear that Christ doesn’t know.
o   We forfeit God’s mercy and grace when we complain.

Put off complaining – Put on Thankfulness

Luke 17:11-14 – Jesus heals ten lepers.  One gives Jesus thanks.  Ten attitudes were chosen, one was thankful.

o   God sees our thanklessness

o   Faith grows in the soil of thankfulness

Romans 1:18-21 – A lack of thankfulness makes you think futily.

Thankfulness is valuing a kindness received.


Lack luster worship stems from lack luster gratitude.
You can worship even when you don’t feel like it. 
Treat it as an act of obedience.
Hearts can be driven to praise when being obedient to praise. 

Levels of Thankfulness

1.     Thank you – I said it.  Bedtime prayers.
2.     Thankful IN everything – being thankful in everything
3.     Thankful FOR everything – for the circumstance…Because you know that it is through the circumstances of life, Jesus is going to prove Himself faithful in conforming you to the image of His Son

o   Thankfulness is a decision

Psalm 107:8,15,21,31- Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!

o   Thankfulness is a decision based in reality

Our thankfulness is based in reality of who God is and what He has done on our behalf in sending His Son to the cross for us – everything else pales compared to this.

o   Thankfulness is a life-changing decision

“Gratitude is the attitude that sets the altitude for living.”  James MacDonald

Friday, July 27, 2012

Charlie in a Bucket

If Ben sends me any more pictures like this, 
I am just sure I will suffer death by cuteness....

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

To This One, I Will Look

"But to this one I will look,
to him who is humble and contrite of spirit..."

Isaiah 66:2

Bartimaeus sat by the roadside, his thin fingers reaching out, his voice calling out for anyone who would listen, who would take pity and give him a morsel to eat, or perhaps even a coin.  Bartimaeus was blind and the blind were considered outcasts and under the judgment of God.  They were alienated and ostracized.  They were looked upon with disdain.  It was springtime and he and a blind friend were on the outskirts of Jericho, seeking alms.

Jericho was a magnificent place, a garden - filled with palm trees and all different kinds of luscious fruit trees.  All were in bloom and the fig trees were starting to put out their leaves.  Fed by natural springs, Jericho was an oasis in the middle of the desert.  Because of the availability of water, many people called Jericho home.  Bartimaeus survived by daily taking his usual spot under one of Jericho's palms, begging as the people rushed about their busy lives.  Maybe today, just maybe, someone would toss him some bread before the sun reached it's zenith.  His stomach ached with hunger.  Maybe today the group of boys that took such great pleasure in taunting him and his friend would leave them alone.  Yes, breakfast without being mocked would make it a good morning.

Voices and movement began to fill the desert air.  Lots and lots of voices.  A crowd was headed Bartimaeus' way.  His hope for a meal began to soar as did his curiosity at all the commotion.  This was out of the ordinary.  This was a massive, excited crowd.

"Look, there He is..."

"I want to see Him, Abba, put me on your shoulders!"

"This is the Man who has power over demons and raises the dead!"

"Yes, I heard about Lazarus too!"

Bartimaeus heard all the voices, clearly.  He didn't need to strain his ears.  His hearing was his keenest sense now.

"What is going on?  Who do you see?!"  "Tell me!" Bartimaeus called out...

"Jesus of Nazareth is here!"

Bartimaeus' mind began to race and he thought his heart would pound right out of his chest.

"Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"  "Please, Jesus, have mercy on me!"  Bartimaeus cried out.

"Be quiet you blind fool."

Many ordered the same command.  "Yes, stop shouting.  Leave Him alone.  We will not hear what He might say with you clamoring on!"

Bartimaeus just got louder, he practically screamed, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"

And Jesus stopped.  He turned and looked towards Bartimaeus and then He spoke,  "Bring him to me."

Bartimaeus felt his arms being lifted.  Then his entire body was pulled up and he sensed the crowd parting as he was led forward.

"What do you want Me to do for you?"  The voice was so kind and tender.  Bartimaeus was not used to such gentleness and tenderness.

The Son of God was not looking for information.  He was giving Bartimaeus the opportunity to express his faith and articulate his need.  Bartimaeus knew who Jesus was - the Messiah, the Savior of Israel who would come through David's line.  Jesus was the only One who could do anything about his condition.  Yes, he knew he was under condemnation, and he deserved death.  The mockers were right.  He was a sinner and this Man who called him to Himself was pure and spotless.  Jesus was Almighty, Holy God.  No mocking, scornful crowd would stop Bartimaeus from getting to the only One who could meet his need.  Jesus was the Only Person who could take him from darkness and bring him into the light.

"Lord, I desire to see again."

Jesus, His heart filled with compassion for this one who sought mercy, reached out, His fingertips gently touched Bartimaeus' eyes and immediately the Wonderful Voice became the Wonderful Face.

"Go, your faith has made you well."

Bartimaeus' heart had seen the light before his eyes ever saw the light.  His heart had seen Jesus before his eyes ever saw Jesus.  Now, he knew the mercy and the healing and the love of God had to come him.

Trembling, thankful, his heart bursting with joy, Bartimaeus began praising God.  Keeping his gaze fixed on His Savior, he followed Jesus, worshiping and rejoicing in his gracious Lord.


The account of Bartimaeus' conversion and healing is found in three different passages:

Matthew 20:29-34; Mark 10:46-52; Luke 18:35-43

It truly is the story of God's irresistible grace in the life of Bartimaeus.  I did not include all the elements in the different accounts.  I would encourage you to read them sometime on your own.  Humility does not always manifest itself quietly and when God draws, we will not care what anyone thinks to get to Jesus.  Christ is all...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Sometimes the purpose of God bringing storms into our lives is to get our attention, to draw us back to Him.  What is taken away is what we had our focus on, what we valued more than Him.  By sending the storm God is saying, "Dear Child, you have forgotten Me.  I love you, come back to Me."  Storms magnify our hearts, revealing where we really stand, and what we really love.  How we respond in the storm shows where our hope lies...

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Clearly Changed - 1

Lifting the Fog of Selfishness
Ephesians 4:17-24

Notes from the message at Harvest Bible Chapel Spring Lake - 7.22.12

“We are creatures of habit in a world of change.”

Because of the cross we are changed.  We are absolutely, fundamentally, to our core, changed.  We have: forgiveness of sins; right standing before God; we move from slave to adopted child of the King; lost to found; orphan to joint heir.  How did this take place?  Because God chose to make Himself known.  The most exciting thing about the cross is that we are changed before God.  He takes our sinfulness, we take His righteousness.  This is called The Great Exchange.  Because of what Christ did on the cross, we are fundamentally changed.  Our standing is different before God.  We are forgiven. Jesus died to save us, and to change us.

Philippians 1:6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”
God’s purpose is that God’s glory is brought to Himself, and we experience joy.
We are called by scripture to be all about change.
Ephesians 1-3, doctrine.  Ephesians 4-6, in light of this truth, how are we supposed to live.

In Ephesians 1 we find this phrase repeated, “In Him.”  Because of who Christ is, these are all the benefits we received when we were changed.

The theme of Ephesians is found in 1:18,19:  so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might…”

Ephesians 2:1“you were dead in your sins…”  Ephesians 2:4 “But God, being rich in mercy…”  Ephesians 3:8 tells us Paul was called to preach the unfathomable riches of Christ.

Ephesians 4:1, “Therefore…”  Because of the previous truths, walk in a manner worthy…

4:17-24:  17 So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; 19 and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. 20 But you did not learn Christ in this way, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, 22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, 23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

Our life before Christ -

1.     Futile thinking - v. 17 
o   All effort for happiness, no gain 
o   Seeing our goodness as not needing a Savior
2.     Darkened understanding – v. 18 
o   No unprompted thoughts about God
3.     Hard hearts – v.18
4.     Reckless behavior – v.19


·      Assumes you know Jesus as Savior -  vv. 20, 21
o   Don’t try to be changed by the gospel until you’ve been saved by the gospel
o   Repentance must be the first step in transformation
·      You cannot change unless you purpose to change
·      Name the lie, insert the truth
·      Nothing can be put off without putting something in its place


·      Luke 11:24-26 - Putting off without not putting on leads to greater sin, disaster
·      Putting off without putting on creates legalism
·      Putting on without putting off first creates hypocrisy
·      Psychology will tell you what you are and why you are but it can’t tell you what you ought to be
·      Followers of Christ are to be like Christ
·      Our pattern, our aspiration, is Jesus
o   John 13:15
o   1 Corinthians 11:1
o   Ephesians 4:32
o   Philippians 2:1-8
o   1 Peter 2:21
o   1 Thessalonians 1:6
o   1 John 2:6

The amazing thing – God took on human flesh and became like us so we could know God and know what we ought to be.  By being like Christ, the end of that trail, is joy.


Ephesians 2:23and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind,”

Romans 2:12 - And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
·      You cannot be something different without a renewal of your mind. 
·      Putting off is a single, past action.  You make a decision to be “done with it”, “enough.”  It is an act of your will.  It is a choice that you make.  Make the decision that that’s not going to be you any more.
·      Renewing of minds – present progressive, a process of continuing hard work
o   1 Timothy 4:7“Train yourself for godliness.”
How do I renew my mind?
1.     Study the Word
o   Not just read it
o   Take it in
o   Make it your focus
o   Memorize it
2.     Pray for renewed mind
3.     Do a better job of choosing your entertainment
4.     Choose new friends
People who really change:
o   Admit their need to change
o   Allow others to point out the specifics – Ask your spouse, a friend, “Where do you see I need change?”
o   Place themselves accountable to others for that change
o   Commit to the same group of people for a long period of time – “I’m not going to leave when times get hard.”
Jesus is able to make us what He wants us to be. 
The Great Exchange - Jesus righteousness for our sinfulness.  Jesus died to save us, and to change us.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Give Thanks, Sing Praises, Bow Down

"I will give You thanks with all my heart;
I will sing praises to You before the gods.
I will bow down toward Your holy temple
and give thanks to Your name
for Your lovingkindness
and Your truth;
for You have magnified Your word
according to all Your name."

Psalm 138:1-3

Psalm 138 is a psalm of David.  If we want to know what a man after God's own heart looks like, all we need to do is read David's psalms.  I think David's mind was drawn towards God most of his waking hours.  Here David determines to gives thanks, sing praises, and bow down because of God's steadfast, faithful love (of which he says in verse 8 is forever), and for God's truth.  Then David gives a third reason why, because the Lord made His word bigger and greater, according to all His name.  We can never unpack the magnitude of the character of God.  Of all that He is, His power, His love for us, His wisdom, His might, His wrath, His justice, His mercy, His faithfulness, His grace...we can never search out the depths of Who He is and how great He is.  But we can spend time in His Word with Him, letting Him become bigger and more awesome.  Letting Him increase.  He loves to do this in our hearts and minds.  And He does it so that we will love Him, worship Him, sing praises to Him, find encouragement in His character and love, find strength for obedience, find boldness to lift His name high.  Do you have a weary and troubled soul, a fearful soul?  Go to the Lord in His Word.  Rest there, wait there, and He will become bigger as He melts the fear and strengthens your heart.  Have you been in the Word and is your soul bursting?  Sing praises to Him.  Give thanks to Him.  Bow down to Him.

May your day be filled with thanksgiving, praise, and worship...  Jesus is worthy...

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

It is impossible...

2 Timothy 3:12 - "Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted."

It is impossible to be a committed, devoted follower of Jesus Christ, and be the person that everyone loves.  The sooner we grasp this, the sooner we will be free to love Jesus and be free from the bondage of what others might think.  The truth that persecution is a reality for followers of Christ should be an encouragement to us because it sets us free to love and worship Jesus boldly...

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Cleaning Off My Desk...

I have a small tablet next to my computer.  When I want to jot something down, I pull a piece of paper off and scribble away-  a phone number, a grocery item, a scripture reference I don't want to forget, but mostly nuggets of biblical truth that have crossed my path and jarred my thoughts.  I'm cleaning and organizing my desk this morning.  I don't want to just "throw" these nuggets away so I thought I would pass them along to you.
  • God hates sin.  God hates the effects of sin.  He hates death.  God hates that people die because of a sinful world...
  • The Lord brings hard things to cultivate a testimony of faith...
  • Faith is not a leap in the dark - it is a response to the revelation of light...
  • God is at work in us, freeing us from our old values and desires, giving us a passion for Jesus so that we are free to love Jesus, display Jesus, magnify Jesus...
  • What God plans, He does...
  • I am under obligation to Jesus, because He forgave me...
  • Forgiveness: Releasing the debt that person owed to me.  I won't bring it up to others.  I won't bring it up to myself...
  • Everything exists, including evil, and is ordained by an infinitely wise and holy God to make the glory of Christ shine more brightly...
  • Nine times the NASB uses the word "marvelous."  Each time it refers to marveling at God in some way.  We were made to marvel, at Him, not the other way around...
Revelation 15:3

"And they sang the song of Moses, the bond-servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, “ Great and marvelous are Your works, O Lord God, the Almighty; Righteous and true are Your ways, King of the nations!"

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Full of Grace
Lamb of God
The Lion Tamer
Conqueror of sin and death
King of Kings
Rock and Refuge
The Most Highly Exalted
Matchless in Beauty, Power, Splendor
Worthy of all Praise
Abounding in Lovingkindness
Light and Life
Living Water
Our Wrath Bearer
Our Peace
Our Praise
Lord of All,


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Treasuring You

Treasure: to keep carefully, one considered especially precious 

This is one of my favorite pictures of Tim.  I've always loved his smile and, he makes a hat look good.  I know the glasses date the picture (late 90s).  We'll just hope that style doesn't make a come-back.  It really is the smile I want you to notice.  His smiles have always come easily, and his laughter too.  He's always balanced my seriousness out.  We celebrated our 32nd anniversary nine days ago.  The love of this man over the last thirty-two years has truly been the grace upon grace of Jesus in my life.  

I'm undeserving of you,
I thank Jesus for you,
I'm treasuring you,
I love you,
Timothy Robert Hall.      

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Infinite Worth of God's Name

"For the LORD will not abandon His people 
on account of His great name..."

1 Samuel 12:22a

God’s allegiance to His own name is the foundation of His faithfulness to us. If God ever forsook His supreme allegiance to Himself, there would be no grace for us. If He based His kindness to us on our worth, there would be no kindness to us. We are stiff-necked, rebellious, and ungrateful. Free, unmerited grace is our only hope to be otherwise. And the basis of that grace is not the worth of our name, but the infinite worth of God’s name. Recall 2 Timothy 2:13: “If we are faithless, He remains faithful—for He cannot deny Himself.” The grace of our salvation is ultimately based not on our value to Him, but His value to Himself.

John Piper

"Being found in appearance as a man,
He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross.

For this reason also,
God highly exalted Him,
and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,

so that at the name of Jesus
of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth."

Philippians 2:8-10

Thursday, July 12, 2012

No Better Place to Go...

Does your mind need a place of rest?

There is no better place to go, than here...

"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.
He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers" - Psalm 1:1-3

What benefit we derive from going to God's Word and settling there - thinking upon it, meditating upon it, hiding it in our hearts.  It's where we find rest.  It's where we find refreshment.  It's where we find life-giving, sustaining water.  It's where we are made strong.  It's where we are changed because it's where we find Jesus.  Those who's minds and hearts consume God's Word will be consumed by Jesus and changed into His likeness.

Firm rooted trees with lush greenery and sweet fruit, or spindly branches with withered leaves and dried up fruit.

What kind of person would you like to be?  What kind of person would you like to be close to?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Moms, Dads, Grandmas, Grandpas...

We desire our children's and grandchildren's obedience for their good, right?  It's the same for us, with our Heavenly Father.  Obedience always results in blessing.  Failure to obey is pride and with time, results in judgment.  We are not required to prepare our hearts to obey, we are simply commanded to obey.  Jesus has paved the way for us to experience great joy and blessing through obedience but the number one reason for our obedience, we lift high the name of Jesus and it shows we love Him!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Grace to the Humble

Pride is "me above God."
Humility is "God above me."

Scripture never tells us to be humble.

It tells us to humble ourselves.

To humble ourselves,
is to take action
that places Jesus above us...

Repentance is the first step...

Pride plus time equals judgment...

Obedience plus time equals blessing...

James 4:10 - "Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord,
and He will exalt you."

Zephaniah 2:3 - "Seek the LORD, all you humble of the earth
who have carried out His ordinances;
seek righteousness,
seek humility,
perhaps you will be hidden 
in the day of the Lord's anger."

1 Peter 5:6 - "Therefore humble yourselves 
under the mighty hand of God,
that He may exalt you at the proper time."

James 4:6 - But He gives a greater grace.  
Therefore it says,


The destiny of those who humble themselves before the Lord -

Colossians 3:4 - "When Christ who is our life is revealed,
then you also will be revealed with Him in glory."

To remain in our pride is to usurp the glory of Jesus.
Everything is for Him and all about Him.
He is worthy.
To humble ourselves is to be revealed with Him in glory.

His grace is mind-boggling...