Tuesday, December 30, 2014

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

And every created thing which is in heaven 
and on the earth 
and under the earth 
and on the sea, 
and all things in them, 
I heard saying,

“To Him who sits on the throne, 
and to the Lamb, 
be blessing and honor and glory and dominion 
forever and ever.”

Revelation 5:12,13

*In context...these words of worship will be said when Jesus opens the title deed to the earth...

Sunday, December 7, 2014

What Child is This?

Jesus, Our King
Sermon Notes - 12.7.2014
Luke 1:26-38

  • Christmas - the special time of year we celebrate the Incarnation...God with us, to save His people from their sins

"He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; 
and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; 
and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, 
and His kingdom will have no end."
Luke 1:32,33

"There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace,
On the throne of David and over his kingdom,
To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness
From then on and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this."  
Isaiah 9:7

  • As King, Jesus has all authority, power, and rule
  • A Baby King, threatens a king - Herod
  • The cross is the point of the manger
  • Jesus was pursuing the cross from the moment He took His first breath
  • The right, just, fair penalty for sin is death
  • It doesn't matter if we don't feel like a sinner, we are one
"For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, 
but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Mark 10:45

  • Jesus served us, by being a ransom for us - Jesus in our place
  • Jesus can rule forever, because He is forever
"She will bear a Son; 
and you shall call His name Jesus, 
for He will save His people from their sins.”
Matthew 1:21
  • "Jesus" means - God is salvation
  • If Jesus is the King, we are His servants.  If King Jesus loves us enough to die for us, His plans are good for us.  He can be trusted, in all our circumstances

Sunday, November 16, 2014

A Bridal Shower Devotional for Melanie

Hi, Mel, wish I could be there but I was very honored when Aunt Karin offered me the privilege of writing a devotional for your shower and grateful for Auntie Annie being willing to be my mouthpiece.  Greetings also, to all who are there with you.

When I was in Mammoth this summer with the family, it was so much fun to receive your call that Ryan had proposed.  Marriage is God’s gift to us of a life-long, best friend.  We all erupted into cheers of joy, because we love you and Ryan and are so excited for you to be entering into this union with such a great guy. 

I’m going to pass along some wisdom nuggets which I have been so blessed to receive, four things that you can put into practice, Melanie, for the years that God gives you together, that bring honor to Jesus Christ, from which flows a life of blessing and joy.

1)   Be Ryan’s biggest FAN. 

In other words, be Ryan’s greatest cheerleader.   Let him know often how much you love him and appreciate him and the things he does for you.  This sets a protection on your marriage and will guard against a husband going elsewhere for affirmation.  God has created husbands in such a way that they thrive on significance, and wives, thrive on security.  If you are affirming Ryan often, he will only come to you for it, and he will desire only to love and serve you, and be your protector.  You will then experience that security which God has set into your heart.

2)   FOLLOW Ryan.

Marriages work the best when one leads, and the other follows.  God has designed marriage so that the husbands are to lead.  When you are following and supporting Ryan, his significance will go through the roof.  The Lord has given us wives wisdom for helping our husbands.  If we see them headed down a path we know is not good, we can and should lovingly speak into it.  But in the end, let Ryan lead you.  This will call for trusting the Lord.  Ryan will not lead perfectly and you will not follow perfectly, because we are not perfect.  We are broken.  Mistakes will be made, but let following Ryan and coming under his leadership be what characterizes your marriage.  Following God’s design always produces blessing in our lives.

3)   Live with a spirit of FORGIVENESS

I want you to picture a field of beautiful flowers.  You are in it, running towards Ryan, and he is running towards you. There’s a gentle breeze.  The aroma from the flowers is sweet.  You almost reach Ryan’s outstretched arms but right before it happens…you both land in a huge...cowpie, and now that cowpie is everywhere.  Yeah, it’s pretty gross, and very messy.  This is the reality of life, isn’t it?  Because we live in a broken world, because we are broken image bearers of the One who made us, sin happens.  We fall short of God’s perfect righteousness, which leaves our love broken and faulty, and we land in cowpies.  We sin and hurt people and others sin and hurt us. We don’t love each other perfectly.  I have a great definition of love for you.  It’s easy to remember – it’s just three words.  You before me.  Love is putting the other person first.  It’s sacrificing what we need and want, for the good and need of the other.  It’s how Jesus loved us, to redeem us, and repair our brokenness.  We are to love this way, too, but, we become selfish and want our way first.  You are going to say things and do things that hurt Ryan, and Ryan is going to do and say things that bring you pain.  When this happens, be quick to forgive.  Quick readiness to forgive comes from that wonderful knowledge and experience that we have been forgiven by Jesus Christ.   

Forgiveness has three parts, or is a three-part contract:

1.     I will not hold the sin against the offender. 

Conditional love only sends a marriage down a rocky path.

2.     I will not talk to others about it.

Our propensity is to go to others and vent.  Instead of covering the sin against us with the blanket of love and forgiveness, we commit the sin of gossip, and sometimes slander.  We know we have forgiven if we absorb the hurt and don’t go to someone else with it.

3.     I will not bring up the offense to myself again.

True forgiveness doesn’t rehash the sin and hurt.  We don’t marinade in the pain.  All this does is plant a seed of bitterness.  We put it off.  It’s gone.  When we feel it coming back, we tell ourselves, “Nope.  Not going there.”

This is the way God forgives.  This is our model for forgiveness.  You will need to forgive the same hurt, more than once and you will need forgiveness, over and over again.  Ultimately, all our sin is against God.  Our debt is to Him for it.  But the good news is that God’s inexhaustible bank of grace and forgiveness is freely given to us, because Jesus stepped into our place and paid the price for our sin, so we could experience God’s forgiveness and so that we might offer it generously and liberally to others as it's so generously and liberally offered and given to us.  There are no enduring relationships without forgiveness.  Your relationship with Ryan will thrive, if you live with a spirit of forgiveness. 

4)   FINISH Ryan.

Uncle Tim and I hadn’t been married for very long.   At the time, Aunt Sheryl lived close to us.  Her in-laws had come for a visit and we had everyone over for dinner.  Uncle Tim and Uncle Skip’s dad were so kind and did the dishes afterwards so the rest of us could sit and visit.  A little while later I went into the kitchen and saw that the stove was still messy.  I had made spaghetti or something like messy that.  Instead of thanking Uncle Tim for doing the dishes and then quietly cleaning up the mess on the stove, I let Uncle Tim know he’d missed that part of the clean-up –  it was truly a genuine significance killing moment.  But Uncle Tim is a gem of a husband, and he’s always been quick to forgive my failures and hurts against him.  Ryan is going to leave some things undone, unfinished.  You as a wife can love him and help him by quietly finishing him.  If he leaves his dirty clothes on the bathroom floor, smile and thank the Lord that you have him.  Quietly pick them up and put them in the hamper for him.  We take away our husband’s significance when we voice our criticism to them over something so small and petty.   Guard and protect your marriage too, by not criticizing Ryan’s faults to others.   Work out the big things with Ryan.  Quietly, absorb his little idiosyncrasies with gratitude, rejoicing that you have been given such a great, life-long, best friend, by God. 

Fan Ryan.

Follow Ryan.

Forgive Ryan.

Finish Ryan.

Live your life in such a way that no other human relationship compares in importance to the one you will have with Ryan.

Love you, Mel.  May the Lord bless you and Ryan with many, many wonderful years together. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Loving Equals Keeping

"If you love Me, 
you will keep My commandments...

...But so the world may know that I love the Father, 
I do exactly as the Father commanded Me."

John 14:15, 31

When we walk in the truth of God's Word, when we obey it, we are being just like Jesus, and we are loving Jesus, just like He loved the Father.  This is our calling as believers - to love Jesus by keeping His commandments, by doing exactly what He says.  We should never grate at this because He has given His commandments out of His love for us.  He made us and He knows what's best for us.  Obeying always benefits us, and those around us.  

We need to practice daily repentance, which Jesus never did, or had to because as God, He is without sin.  The truth that we can greatly rejoice in, and rest in, is that Jesus obeyed perfectly, for us.  He loved the Father, perfectly for us.  What's left is to love Him by abiding with Him in His Word, by being with Him, by walking in His footsteps, striving to become more faithful in our obedience.

We will never be perfect at mirroring Jesus this side of heaven, but like Jesus, we are to hate sin, we are to sorrow over sin.  But unlike Him, we are also called to turn from sin - what He became for us, which is exactly what the Father wanted Him to do, and He obeyed, so we could be accepted and loved by the Father, and not forsaken.

Don't despair over your failures.  They don't define you.  What defines us is the love Jesus has for us.  Rejoice and be thankful in this love, and for Jesus' perfect obedience, for you, which is why you will always be loved, and welcomed by the Father.  

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Jesus Took The Dashing

"Hear, O our God, how we are despised!  Return their reproach on their own head and give them up for plunder in a land of captivity.  Do not forgive their iniquity and let not their sin be blotted out before You, for they have demoralized the builders."  Nehemiah 4:4, 5

Braveheart is a bloody movie.  It's about William Wallace, the Scotsman who led the rebellion against King Edward I of England.  Lots of blood is spilled throughout the movie, but I'm thinking particularly of the scene in which Wallace seeks revenge for the killing of his wife.  Limbs are sliced off.  Spears gored into torsos.  Heads are bludgeoned.  Throats are slashed.  Blood is splashed everywhere because of Wallace's vengeful anger.  That's quite a picture, isn't it?  It brought to mind the passage above, that Jon went over on Sunday in the sermon, and which we also covered in Bible Study yesterday.  In this passage, we see that Nehemiah is calling for the dashing of the enemies of Israel who are jeering at their rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem.  Nehemiah desires that Israel's enemies remain under condemnation, with no hope of redemption.  Jon said in the sermon Sunday that some of scripture is prescriptive, that is, it tells us what we should be doing, and some of God's Word is descriptive, that is, it tells us what people are doing, but not necessarily what they should be doing.  This is a descriptive passage - Nehemiah should not have been calling for the wrath of God to come down on Israel's jeering reproachers. Yet, this is what we desire or how we feel sometimes about people, isn't it?  Praise God, His grace is continually washing over us and when we confess the sin of unrighteous, malicious anger, (anger can be righteous, but we are so poor at it) we are forgiven.  Jesus spilled His blood for the sins against us (and our own sin).  On this side of the cross, we don't call for our enemies to be dashed.  We are not to dash our enemies ourselves - those who mock us or deride us for our love for Jesus and His kingdom work.  We are not to dash anyone, for any reason, with words or hateful thoughts.  Jesus tells us:  I took the dashing, the jeering, the derision.  I was despised and rejected.  All that is left for you is to live with a spirit of forgiveness in your heart.  You, love your enemies and return evil with good and a curse with a blessing.  We are to carry a softness in our hearts towards those who hate us and mistreat us, and with God's grace and the Holy Spirit dwelling inside of us, we can choose graciousness under all mistreatment.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Daniel Turns Five

Getting so tall...

Loves to hug...

Favorite candy: suckers (Tootsie Pops)

First bike...

Loves to be silly...

Times 5...

Sweet smile...

Happy Birthday, Daniel!  

For more pictures, click here.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Deuteronomy 32:3b, 4 Defined

"Ascribe greatness to our God!
The Rock!
His work is perfect,
For all His ways are just;
A God of faithfulness and without injustice,
Righteous and upright is He."

Deuteronomy 32:3b, 4

An excerpt from the song of Moses...

Ascribe - attribute to; regard as belonging to; to credit or assign as to a cause or source

Greatness - distinguished; a state of superiority; being higher in degree or importance

God - the Creator and Ruler of the universe

Rock - someone (or something) that is extremely strong, reliable, immoveable.  

Work - activity involving effort (mental or physical) in order to achieve a purpose or result or to accomplish something

Perfect - as good as it is possible to be; completely free from faults or defects; no mistakes or flaws; without blemish

All - whole, entire, total amount

Ways - manner, modes, how someone does something

Just - treating people in a way that is morally right; guided by truth, reason, fairness; honorable and fair in one's dealings and actions

Faithfulness - keeping your promises; strict or thorough in the performance of a duty; true to one's word, promises, vows; steady

Without - in the absence of

Injustice - lack of fairness, unfair treatment or action

Righteous - morally right, virtuous; upright; without guilt or sin

Upright - strictly honorable, or honest unchanging standards, correctness

Jesus, You are the Creator and Ruler of the universe and are higher in degree and importance than anyone or anything else.   You are extremely strong and reliable and immoveable.  (No one comes close to Your power and strength and ability to protect!)  All the activities in which You engage, everything You accomplish -  is completely free of faults and defects and is as good as it is possible to be.  The total amount of how You do things is guided by truth, reason, fairness.  You are always honorable and fair in Your dealings and actions.  (You deal with all sin honestly and fairly and you dealt with my sin by paying the price I should have paid!)  You always keep Your promises.  You are true to Your word and always do what You say You will do.  With You there is no unfairness.  You are without guilt or sin and Your standards are honest and unchanging.  

What a great and mighty and wonderful God we love and serve and worship, who loves and cares for us!

This blog was inspired by this blog.  The defining method of study is a great way to spend time in the Word.  It will enlarge your view of God and in turn enlarge your heart towards Him.  He is worthy of our thoughts and our obedience and our praise!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Now For This Very Reason, Faith Sweats

"Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love."  
2 Peter 1:5-7

Right before Peter wrote these God-breathed words, he'd just finished explaining how the child of God has been given the gift of faith; that the child of God is wrapped in the righteousness of Jesus Christ; that the child of God has been given power to image Jesus more and more and this power is activated through the knowledge of Jesus Christ; that the glory and excellence of Jesus called us to salvation; that by the glory and excellence of Jesus we have magnificent promises, and, we've been made to partake in the nature of God and this has caused us to escape the decaying world system.  

To be brought from spiritual death into eternal life through Jesus Christ is amazingly breathtaking, isn't it?

The person and work of Jesus on our behalf, that He would give Himself to save us, calls for a correspondingly amazing response on our part and the Holy Spirit through Peter gives us seven qualities of which we are to increasingly supply - with constant, maximum effort.

Moral excellence - high moral, godly standards.

Knowledge - of God and His Word.  (Requires being in the Word.)

Self-control - holding our passions and appetites and desires under control.

Perseverance - having patience and endurance in doing what is right, without giving in, giving up, or complaining.

Godliness - honoring and adoring God with proper thoughts, actions, and feelings.

Brotherly kindness - having a fervent practical caring for others.

Love - seeking and supplying the highest good of another at the cost of even our lives.

How hard is your effort?

Where can you increase?

Not so Jesus will love you.  You are greatly loved and the love Jesus has for you will never stop and will be as great and as vast as it is now, throughout eternity.  

Put forth the effort, because of His great love for you.  God is glorious and wonderful in loving us and redeeming us.  Our response is to magnify His worthiness by being...

...just like Him.  

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

"In My Father's house are many dwelling places;
if it were not so, 
I would have told you;
for I go to prepare a place for you.
If I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come again
and receive you to Myself,
that where I am,
there you may be also."

John 14:2,3


"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."

Psalm 33:1-4


Sometimes it's fun to put different truths of scripture together...and think about them...and rejoice in them...

Monday, May 12, 2014

Living Water

Jesus answered and said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life."

John 4:13,14

Yesterday my lead campus pastor, Pastor Bubba, preached out of John 4.  You might think like I did when I first heard his name, that this is a nickname, but we learned yesterday that Bubba is his given name.  It's on his birth certificate.  His young parents agreed - when his mother was pregnant, that if he were a boy, his father would get to name him and if he were a girl, his mother would get to name him - no arguing from the other half.  Bubba was a boy and having been born in the south and having a mother who kept to her word, Pastor Bubba proudly bears his name!  

Pastor Bubba stands at the door, every Sunday, greeting us warmly with a smile and a hand shake on our way in and he's there, saying good-bye to us with a smile and a handshake, on our way out.  The love of Jesus Christ splashes all over us each week, through Pastor Bubba.

Jesus is the Living Water.  When we drink from Jesus Christ, we will never thirst.  The water springing up from Jesus, who is eternal, is eternal life.  He is all satisfying, refreshing us daily with His abundant grace and lovingkindness and mercy and peace.  Satisfaction begins with Him and once begun, never ends.  When we share the good news of The Living Water in our place we are offering the only source of true joy and fulfillment.  True joy and fulfillment is knowing our sins are cleansed and forgiven - that we don't have to work for God's favor  because we are accepted and loved by God because of the love and sacrifice of the Living Water, for us.  When we look to anything else other than Jesus to satisfy, we will come up thirsty, again and again.  The blessing of complete satisfaction in Christ begins to flow with our repentance, with our turning from sin and from those things which don't truly satisfy - which ultimately take us down the path of misery and destruction.  When we drink from any other source other than the Living Water, we are dipping our buckets into a well of hot, gritty, desert sand...but when we drink from Jesus, we are dipping our buckets into the sweet, never ending, delightful presence of a loving, forgiving, Savior.

Monday, April 21, 2014

God's Definite Plan

Acts 2:23 - this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan 
and foreknowledge of God, 
you nailed to a cross 
by the hands of godless men 
and put Him to death.

Jesus wasn't killed for what He did - heal the sick, raise the dead, feed 5,000.  He was killed for what He said - that He was God.  Only God can heal the sick, raise the dead, and feed 5,000.  

God the Father had a definite plan - to bring salvation to the world through the death and resurrection of His Son.  We murdered Jesus, and in the wonder of God's plan, our murder of God, was God's love for us!  How do we know the Bible is God's Word and not originated by man?  Because man would never think this plan up!

King David is still dead.  Muhammad is still dead.  Buddha is still dead, but Jesus is alive!  This Jesus, God raised up!  There is no other world religion that has a founder that claimed to be God and there is no other founder of a world religion that is alive today!

Jesus is alive!  He is the God-man, Savior of the world - who paid the price for sin, who died, who rose from the dead, who gives eternal life!  He is not a great moral teacher.  Jesus is God, raised from the dead!

Hear Him, friend - Jesus alone is the way to salvation and eternal life.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Worthy is the Lord of all Glory

You are the only King, forever,
Almighty God, we lift You higher!
Oh wondrous day when we will see
Your face, Jesus, our Redeemer,
Crowned in glory, such glory - 

Worthy are You, Lord, of all the glory!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

How Do You Know If You Are Teachable?

Ask yourself these questions...

  • Do I get angry when someone speaks into my life?

  • Do I assign blame when someone speaks into my life?

  • Do I deflect to another subject when someone speaks into my life?

  • Do I remain silent and then go complain to another person, after someone speaks into my life?

"Therefore, putting aside all filthiness 
and all that remains of wickedness, 
in humility receive the word implanted, 
which is able to save your souls."
James 1:21 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

What's So Great About Jesus?

"He was despised and forsaken of men..."
Isaiah 53:3a

 If you were told, "I can't stand you...just seeing you, I am repulsed by you", how would you feel?  Not so good, right?  This verse is telling us that for some people, Jesus gives them a feeling of repulsion.  But maybe it's not repulsion you feel.  Maybe it's just, indifference.  Here's the issue.  Indifference toward Jesus is just as sinful as despising Him, or feeling repulsed by Him.  Both are forms of rebellion and call for justice - and the justice is eternal separation from God's presence and His grace, in hell.  Every person born experiences the grace of God, as soon as they draw their first breath and until they take their last.  The fact that we can even draw a breath is only by God's grace, and reason enough to give Him our complete, utter, devotion and worship.  Can you create a flower by calling it into existence with your voice?  Can you make the winds and waves obey you?  As the created, we can't, but as Creator, Jesus can and does.  Jesus, who is God, gives life and rules over His creation.   This makes Him The Greatest, and worthy of our worship.

There are other reasons why we should worship and adore Christ.  Isaiah continues with this...

"He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities..."
Isaiah 53:4a

Have you ever gotten angry and wanted to hurt someone?  Ever lied?  Lusted?  Gossiped?  I have.  Not one of us can say we are perfect, and without sin.  The greatness of Jesus in this verse is that He took the punishment we deserve for our sin.  Justice fell on Him, and mercy and grace falls on us.  For our anger, for our lust, for our lying, for our gossiping, we deserve death.  To no longer draw breath.  To no longer experience the grace and power of God in living on this earth.  None of us can make others righteous by standing in their place and paying the price for sin.  Only Jesus can.  And did.  He did that, for you, and me.  And this is why to be indifferent toward Him, or to despise Him, should cause us great pain and grief in our hearts.  

See the greatness of Jesus.  See His love for you.  It's why He went to the cross.  Repulsion for Him and indifference toward Him, He forgives...He forgives!  When we confess and repent - when we mourn over this sin, and then He replaces our despising, indifferent hearts toward Him with a heart that treasures and loves and adores Him.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Established Sovereignty

"The LORD has established His throne in the heavens,
and His sovereignty rules over all."
Psalm 103:19

establish - to put ( someone or something) in a position, 
role, etc., that will last for a long time

sovereignty - supreme power or authority

I love this verse and its truth.  It's one of my favorites.  It tells us that God is in control of everything.  He is above all things, and in control of all things.  When you know the character of God, that He is good, and holy, and hates evil, and that He is working out His plan, this verse lifts faith and alleviates fear.  Do not fear the news today, or tomorrow - God is ruling and in control of everything.  

Trust God.  

He is Lord over all, and His good and righteous rule will never end.  

Pray for the Gustafsons - Updated

Some of you may have seen my first post regarding the Gustafsons, missionaries that Tim and I know who are serving in Kiev.  The report is not as dire as I first learned.  They are not trying to flee, but are planning to evacuate by the end of the month.  They can still use your prayers.  Here is Mike's status update as of this morning...

How about some GOOD NEWS FROM KYIV?  We are expecting our fourth child in September! 
PLEASE PRAY: Ultrasounds show that Rachel has subchorionic hematoma and needs bed rest. (Try that with 3 young kids.) But help is on the way by way of Rachel's mom who is planning to arrive tomorrow and help us get ready to evacuate by the end of the month. We will head directly to Seattle and stay in the US until January 2015. Our leaving earlier than we had planned has little to do with the Russian invasion or the political turmoil but it raises stress levels. Pray for spiritual answers for Ukraine in the midst of so many questions.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Praise & Petition

Give us a greater glimpse of You, Jesus!
All we want and all we need, is found in You.
Every victory is found in You!
Guard our hearts from routine, and tradition, 
when we gather to worship You.
Our hope is in Your name - in all that You are.
We call upon Your name!
There is no greater name, than Your name, Jesus.
You reign forever.
You are the Everlasting God!
We lay our sins at the foot of the cross...
By Your sacrifice, Jesus, we are forgiven, 
and set free...
You are strong to save!
No pen can capture the greatness of Your love or name.
Holy, holy, holy are You!
Worthy, worthy is Your name!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Isaiah 53:3

"He was despised and forsaken of men,
acquainted with grief,
and like one from whom men hide their face.
He was despised and we did not esteem Him."
Isaiah 53:3

despised - feel contempt or a deep repugnance for
forsaken - abandoned or deserted, to quit or leave entirely
esteem - respect and admire, value, regard, appreciate, prize, treasure

As you grow in your knowledge of and affection for Christ, so will you grow in mourning over the truth of this verse...

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Seat of Glory

Yesterday, to end his sermon, my pastor got down on his hands and knees, with head bowed.  He was proclaiming the glory and majesty of Jesus Christ, his voice thundering with praise and exaltation.  It was one of the most powerful moments I'd ever experienced while being in church.  At that moment, every believer in the room must have been holding their breath, longing for heaven, for the time coming when all the elect will be worshipping at the feet of Jesus.  

The sermon was out of James 2:1-7.  This is the passage where the Holy Spirit through James teaches us that partiality has no place in the church.  If someone comes into church well-dressed and with lots of bling, don't show favoritism to that individual.  If someone comes into church in dirty clothes, maybe a little smelly, don't look down on that person.  Don't give to them a superior attitude by telling them they cannot sit up in front, or by telling them they have to stand in the back, or by not welcoming them at all.  A church that favors the rich is wrong - this  church could be one that upholds the prosperity gospel, that God wants us to be materially wealthy.  A church that favors the poor is also in the wrong - this is the church that believes in the poverty gospel.  You must give up all your wealth to be godly.  The bible simply does not teach either.  God doesn't want us to be rich or poor.  He wants us to be godly and we are to treat people equally because the bible says that we are equal in our humanity and we are also equal in our depravity.  We all need to be robed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ.    

Our Heavenly Father does not play favorites, like His children sometimes play favorites with each other.  He loves all His children equally.  We all will be inheritors of the kingdom.  We all have access to the power needed to live godly,  Christ-honoring lives.  And that is what this life is all about.  Giving Jesus the place of honor.  The seat of glory is reserved only for Jesus Christ.  Splendor and glory and majesty belong to Him alone!

It doesn't matter where we sit, but it matters greatly where Jesus sits.  Be faithful till death, or the return of Christ, longing Christian.  Let's keep putting off the sin the Holy Spirit reveals to our hearts, and put on the love and righteous character of Jesus Christ.  Your faith is going to be sight, some day.

"To Him who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb,
be blessing and honor and glory and dominion
forever and ever."

Revelation 5:13