Thursday, January 31, 2013

All Broken, But One

Written by my friend, Marion...

Last year, my father-in-law passed away.  I took his nativity set home with me.  It is very beautiful and very expensive, and I love it.  As God would have it, the box was flipped over and smashed to the ground.  I just cried.  I installed the entire set of broken pieces into the trash.  Well, my husband dug all of it out of the garbage and, piece by piece, glued every figurine together, all but one.  Jesus was the only piece in that entire set that wasn't broken.  I'm serious. 

One of my son's dearest friends was admiring the nativity this year.  He had no idea the trauma this set had endured last year.  We laughed as I told him every piece is broken and meticulously super-glued together, all but one.

Rich, wise men and their camels they rode in on - lowly, poor, stinky shepherds and their unruly sheep they tended - a simple girl and the honorable man who covered and protected her..  All sinful - all flawed - all broken --- but One.  Jesus.

May you ponder this year just how lovely God meticulously super-glues your brokenness, snatching you out of darkness and the shadow of death, to guide your feet into the way of peace before a Holy God.

"By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace."  Luke 1:78-79

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Sovereignty of God

Daniel 2:20, 21a...
"Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever,
For wisdom and power belong to Him.
It is He who changes the times and epochs;
He removes kings and establishes kings..."  

Proverbs 21:1... 
"The king's heart is like channels of water 
in the hand of the LORD;
He turns it wherever He wishes."  Proverbs 21:1

Daniel 2:37, 38...
"You (Nebuchadnezzar), 
O king, 
are the king of kings, 
to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, 
the power, 
the strength and the glory; 
and wherever the sons of men dwell, 
or the beasts of the field, 
or the birds of the sky, 
He has given them into your hand and has caused you to rule over them."

Psalm 24:1...
"The earth is the LORD's,
and all it contains,
The world,
 and those who dwell in it."

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."

Psalm 33:13,15...
"The LORD looks from heaven;
He sees all the sons of men;
From His dwelling place He looks out 
on all the inhabitants of the earth,
He who fashions the hearts of them all,
He who understands all their works."

Isaiah 45:7...
The One forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the LORD who does all these things."

John 1:11-13...
"He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.  But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God."

Romans 8:28...
"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."

Ephesians 1:11...
"Also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will."

Saturday, January 26, 2013

"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.

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

Sunday is just around the corner...

Friday, January 25, 2013

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.

I love this part of Psalm 33.  These are verses 10 and 11.  God is in control.  Man is not.  Remember the tower of Babel?  It was God's plan for man to fill the earth so He commanded it, during creation week and again after the flood - Gen. 1:28, 9:1. After the flood, man, continuing in his rebellion towards God, decides to build a city for all to live together, and a tower in that city.  God frustrated man's plans of staying together by causing men to speak different languages.  Man scattered, gathering in language groups, nations were created, and the earth was filled - Gen. 11.  All according to God's plan...

I can't help but think the finger of God has been stirring things up, in Washington D.C.  He is in control of everything that is going on, everywhere, in each generation.  Nations will continue to rise and fall, according to God's plan.  Everyone who's name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life, will come to salvation.  Man cannot thwart the plans of God, God thwarts the plans of man, to bring His plans about.  It's rather mind-boggling, and wonderful, all at the same time...and we will always experience the greatest joy and blessing, when we seek to know God's plan, and align ourselves with it.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

as those who have been chosen of God, 
holy and beloved, 
put on a heart of compassion, 
gentleness and patience; 
bearing with one another, 
and forgiving each other;
whoever has a complaint against anyone; 
just as the Lord forgave you, 
so also should you. 
Beyond all these things put on love, 
which is the perfect bond of unity. 
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, 
to which indeed you were called in one body; 
and be thankful. 
Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, 
with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, 
singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 
Whatever you do in word or deed, 
do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, 
giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

Colossians 3:12-17

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Sermon Notes - The Pursuit of Pleasure

"Only an eternal God can satisfy the longings of our eternal soul.  God created us as eternal beings.  Everyone will live for eternity somewhere and we were created to have a relationship with the eternal God who made us.  When we reject that and put our hope and our identity in earthly things, it can't fill that void.  No amount of wine, no amount of parties, no amount of friends, no amount of love anyone else can give, can satisfy the longing I have in my soul because it is meant to be filled by an eternal God."  Solomon

Solomon's pursuit - pleasure
The Church's response - legalism  (legalism -  you can't do this and follow Christ)
God's desire for us - satisfaction in Him

Legalism produces misery so kids run away from the church to the world, pursue sinful pleasures, then suffer the consequences of sin.

God has two great enemies - sin and legalism.

God wants us to enjoy life.  John 10:10

What keeps people from sinning?  Not rules, but satisfaction.

When we are satisfied in God and our relationship with Him, we don't need to turn to sin - overeating, drunkenness, sex outside of marriage, love of money...

God offers us a feast, and we settle for gluttony.  God offers us a party, rejoicing and celebrating with His people, and we settle for drunkenness.  God offers us laughter, real laughter that fills our hearts and makes us joyful, and we settle for coarse joking.  God offers to forgive us of our sins, we settle for legalism and trying to earn God's favor through our works.  God offers us sexual fulfillment in marriage, we settle for pornography.  The issue is not that there is no joy and no pleasure when we pursue the Lord.  The issue is that we get lazy.  We turn our eyes off of Christ and we get distracted by things that leave us wanting.

Pursue Jesus and enjoy the things He's given us, according to the counsel of His Word - His love letter to us on how to have abundant, satisfying, life.


Notes taken from Sunday's message at Harvest Bible Chapel Spring Lake - powerful, life-changing teaching from God's Word on pleasure, legalism, and God's desire for us - satisfaction in Him.  Please take the time to listen...

Thursday, January 17, 2013

We Don't Need to Defend God

One of the hardest situations for a Christian to handle occurs when a skeptic points out man’s inhumanity toward man and asks where God is. “If God is God, so great, so loving, where is He when people are torturing and killing others?” That’s always the question. And before the skeptic will even consider the gospel, he wants an answer. 

What do you do? How do you answer? Man’s inhumanity to man is taking place all the time in every corner of the world. Why doesn't God intervene? Perhaps you yourself even wonder sometimes: Where is God—and why doesn't He do something?

“But the LORD is in His holy temple. Let all the earth be silent before Him.” – Habakkuk 2:20

Embrace this truth and be silent before Him. You don’t need to defend God, simply explain Him as the Word of God explains Him. Then it is the skeptics responsibility to accept Him or reject Him. It’s between him and God.

One thing we need to understand is that God is not ruled by love alone. God is also holy, and God acts in accordance with the sum total of all His attributes. God does not think like man. God is other than man, different from man.

Kay Arthur

Monday, January 14, 2013


If I am seeking to get my identity from you, I will watch you too closely, listen to you too intently, and need you too fundamentally.  I will ride the roller coaster of your best and worst moments and everything in between.  And because I am watching you too closely, I will become acutely aware of your weaknesses and failures.  I will become overly critical, frustrated, disappointed, hopeless, and angry.  I will be angry not because you are a sinner but because you have failed to deliver the one thing I seek from you, identity.  But none of us will ever get the well-being that comes from knowing who we are from our relationships.  Instead, we will be left with damaged relationships filled with hurt, frustration, and anger.

Paul Tripp

By nature we are worshippers.  What we worship defines our identity.  What we worship/identify with tells us where we have put our hope.

Pursue Jesus.  He is pure and without sin.  He is constant.  We were created to worship Him alone.  Pursuing anyone or anything else to build identity and self worth, is sin.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Bond Slave

"The early saints delighted to count themselves Christ's absolute property, bought by Him, owned by Him, and wholly at His disposal.  Paul even went so far as to rejoice that he had the marks of his Master's brand on him, and he cries, 'Let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.'  There was the end of all debate; he was the Lord's, and the marks of the scourges, the rods, and the stones were the broad-arrow of the King which marked Paul's body as the property of Jesus the Lord.  Now if the saints of old time gloried in obeying Christ, I pray that you and I ...may feel that our first object in life is to obey our Lord."  

Charles Spurgeon

Do we really see our lives as not our own, but, as belonging to the One who paid a very high price for us?  Do we find delight in obeying and serving Him, or are we desperately seeking our own way and yet finding no lasting satisfaction in it?

Sunday, January 6, 2013

God's Greatest Name

Jesus Himself gives the clearest teaching about what God's name means, because Jesus Christ is God's greatest name.  "I manifested Thy name to the men whom Thou gavest Me out of the world" - John 17:6.  Everything the Son of God did on earth manifested God's name.  As the perfect manifestation of God's nature and glory (John 1:14), Jesus was the perfect manifestation of God's name.

John MacArthur


It is not because we simply know God's titles that we love and trust Him, but because we know His character.

John MacArthur