Christ [is] the very essence of all delights and pleasures, the very soul and substance of them. As all the rivers are gathered into the ocean, which is congregation or meeting-place of all waters in the world: so Christ is that ocean in which all true delights and pleasures meet. . . .His excellencies are pure and unmixed; he is a sea of sweetness without one drop of gall.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Monday, April 25, 2011
- Valley of Vision, Christlikeness
Mike, I throw this up here knowing I very often am consumed in my work, and the tasks of the day. More so, my self-centeredness distracts me from the TRUE END of these very tasks, which I pray to be Christ. Since daily tasks are inevitable and necessary, may we encourage one another to recall when we are amidst the daily grind, the person whom gives meaning to everything in our lives, the person of Christ.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Stricken, smitten, and afflicted,
See Him dying on the tree!
'Tis the Christ by man rejected;
Yes, my soul, 'tis He, 'tis He!
'Tis the long-expected prophet,
David's Son, yet David's Lord;
By His Son, God now has spoken
Tis the true and faithful Word.
Tell me, ye who hear him groaning,
Was there ever grief like his?
Friends thro' fear his cause disowning,
Foes insulting his distress;
Many hands were raised to wound him,
None would interpose to save;
But the deepest stroke that pierced him
Was the stroke that Justice gave.
Ye who think of sin but lightly,
Nor suppose the evil great
Here may view its nature rightly,
Here its guilt may estimate.
Mark the sacrifice appointed,
See who bears the awful load;
'tis the Word, the Lord's Anointed,
Son of Man and Son of God.
Here we have a firm foundation,
Here the refuge of the lost;
Christ's the Rock of our salvation,
His the name of which we boast.
Lamb of God, for sinners wounded,
Sacrifice to cancel guilt!
None shall ever be confounded
Who on him their hope have built.
Friday, April 22, 2011
Garden of Gethsemane.
Delivered to the cross.
Released prisoner (You and I).
It is Finished.
Died in our place.
Abandoned by the Father.
Yielded up His spirit.
Angels announce ‘He has risen’.
End of death's reign.
Raised with Christ!
Thursday, April 21, 2011
""For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. 1 Corinthians 13:12
Restoration is at the very heart of the Gospel. In creation, we see that humans are made in the image of God, as whole creatures. Sin dehumanizes and thwarts this wholeness. Our relationship to our creator is broken, and our relationships with each other are broken as a result. However, the Gospel restores. In these verses, we see that humans are made to be whole, and through the gospel of Jesus Christ, we are offered glimpses of what this restoration means. When we are in Christ, the process of being renewed to be truly human begins. However, these verses also depict the future orientation of human life. Restoration or redemption from Sin and to God is part a present reality and part a future orientation. Our full renewal or restoration awaits its full discloser at the return of Christ (Sherlock). Our restoration to wholeness, our full redemption from Sin, our renewal to being truly human awaits our future resurrection. Along with Paul, I too eagerly await, and inwardly long for that glorious day, when everything that I am will be renewed in the image of God, and I can enjoy and worship God without the hindrance of sin. Then I will see God for who He really is, and I will see others and myself for who they are.
"Wholeness is an idea which has gained much attention in recent decades, particularly in the light of the split that many, especially men, experience in living. Anything which contributes to holistic living is valued highly today, while dualistic impulses are vigorously avoided. Christian faith points to Jesus Christ as THE example of a whole life lived in full integrity, 'without sin'. The distinctive feature of the work of Christ is that he freely gave up his life, so that his wholeness might be offered to all... Salvation in Christ brings healing from the consequences of sin, a healing whose fullness awaits our resurrection but is anticipated in the present through the work of the Spirit."
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
The gospel is both similar and sharply contrasted to this. The gospel says the only way to be saved is by works.....but not your own. And here is the gospel, or good news.
The Bible testifies against man, that in their own works, or own goodness, no one is righteousness, not one. In our own standing, we are completely and utterly hopeless. Before God, any attempt to stand on our own two feet, or any attempt to justify ourselves by thinking we really aren't that bad, or are better than our neighbor or the 'evil' people in the world, won't stand. But, God being rich in mercy and great in love, saw this problem of Sin. He sent His Son to live the perfect life, and die the death we deserve. Now, though we all are condemned based on our own lives, the good news is that we can be saved based on the works of another. The gospel is that we are saved by works....but not our own. The gospel is that Christ's work is fully sufficient to merit salvation. More so, this is a gift that is given freely by grace. It can't be earned. So why would we spend our lives striving so hard to try and earn God's favor? Why do we try to justify our existence with our own goodness? Jesus is better. Being a Christian is to forsake, or turn from your own work/goodness and to turn to Christ and His work. In the words of my favorite hymn, 'Rock of Ages'
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Monday, April 18, 2011
From Charles Sherlock's, The Doctrine of Humanity
"But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. And now, behold, I know that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom will see my face again." Acts 20:24-25
Saturday, April 16, 2011
Friday, April 15, 2011
An encouraging report of revival in Little Rock, AR.
Monday, April 11, 2011
"Our relationship with God should not be defined by our feelings about ourselves at any one moment, but by the eternal promises of God that we know throughout every moment."
-Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
I often fall into a deceiving and foundationless mindset when I awake in the morning. I am burdened by the "daily doing" that lies ahead of me. My attitude and mood can be entirely dependent on my moral successes and failures of the previous day. I can be filled with so much unrest. I lose sight of where I truly stand with God, and seem to forget the joy of my salvation in the gospel.
But, I am brought back to peace when the scripture is spoken to me. God's word empowers me to believe in someone outside of myself, Christ Jesus. When you look at the person of Jesus, his life, death and resurrection, you begin to see He is the only answer to yourself. His life is the only explicable and powerful being that can deal with me. May we stay reminded that the Bible's truths are personal. They are corporate. They are defining. They are applicable. They are unchanging, and they are transcendent through all of time. If we embrace each and every moment in light of the truth of the Bible, I believe we will see more and more how they prove to be true!
What a beautiful Gospel!
Friday, April 8, 2011
God is the creator of all life. All of creation is a masterpiece made by God. As Genesis reads, everything that God had made was 'very good'. But of all creation, Man was the only thing that God made in his image. We were created with God's stamp imprinted on our soul. We are made to know God in a unique way. We were formed with the intent of being infinitely intimate with Him. Being made in God's image, we were created to reflect His glory in all of creation. We were called to be image bearers. This is what it is to be truly human.
Yet, even though God is the glorious maker and giver of life. Though He graciously entered into relationship with His creation, Man went his own way. We rebelled. We failed to be His image bearers. We chose the path of autonomy and rebellion over intimacy with our Creator. What was the result of this? The intimacy was lost. The purpose for which we were created was thwarted. Instead of experiencing the perfect delight of knowing and cherishing our Creator, as we were created for, our hearts are restless, insecure. We feel shame (Genesis 3: 8-12). Because we are separated from God, because we don't properly live as His image bearers, our relationships are broken. Because we were created with God's image stamped in our souls, our lives are broken unless that image is restored, unless God is at the absolute center. What's the solution?
"He is the image of the invisible God" Colossians 1:15
In Genesis, God identifies this problem as sin. Sin is what thwarts our image bearing. Sin dehumanizes. To be human is to know and enjoy God as we, as humans, were created to. But Sin is a cancer that derails the true essence of our humanity. So what's the solution? How is our relationship restored? How is our image bearing renewed?
One of the most beautiful verses in the Bible is Genesis 3:15. Right after Adam and Eve fall, condemning themselves, along with all their descendants (us), God makes a marvelous promise. Even though they have turned their backs on Him, God so loved us that He promised that one day He would make things right again. He promises that He will crush Sin. Even more amazing is the way in which God does this. God sends the True Image Bearer. God sent His Son Jesus, not as someone made 'in the image' of God, but as 'THE image of God'. The Son himself was God, but became man, living in human flesh. His mission was to defeat Sin, thus redeeming Man from its curse, and restoring them to that which they were created for, knowing and enjoying God. Jesus defeated Sin by absorbing the full weight of its curse, death and shame on the cross, and then resurrecting, thus displaying His victory over the power of Sin.
The Bible says that those who truly believe in Jesus have been 'born again' or 'given new life'. That's because we are given life in 'THE image bearer'. Before we were under Adam, who failed to be an image bearer, who was under sin. Now we are under Christ, who redeems from Sin, in order to restore us to a relationship with God. Through our union with Christ, we are being conformed to His image. We are being restored. Where Adam failed, and Sin crept in, Christ's victory and grace abounded. The only way to be truly human is to be given new life through faith in Christ. And as Jesus said, He came to give abundant life.
Thursday, April 7, 2011
Paul writes to the Colossians asking why they are still falling under the 'elemental' spirits of the world. The phrase 'elemental spirits' comes from a word meaning 'order', specifically, 'alphabetical order'. So in other words, Paul is asking why the Colossian Christians are following the ABC's of the world, as if the orders or regulations of the world can give life. What are the ABC's of the world? What is the world 'order'? Given the following verses, I think Paul is referring to the worlds system of religion. Religion is obeying God in order that He will accept you. Religion is trying to climb a ladder to heaven. Religion is finding comfort in your goodness. Religion is sin management. It's like putting a band aid on a gaping open wound. Religion is lifeless.
In verse 23, Paul states that the ABC's of the world, mans system of being right with God indeed has the appearance of wisdom. It looks good. They have the appearance of piety. Yet, as Paul goes on in chapter 3, true life comes from our union with Christ, wherein we are given a new self. Because the Colossians are united to Christ, just as he has been raised, they too are raised to newness of life. Because Christ died to sin, so they too are dead to sin. Their lives are hidden with Christ. (ch. 3). Why then would they spend their time following the ABC's of the world, trying to get to God by religion? It is of value. They must look to their union with Christ. They must look at the work of another. Everything in the Christian life flows from this.
This makes me ask myself, in what ways am I looking to self-made religion in order to move closer to God. Am I depending on the ABC's of the world for my justification, sanctification, redemption and wisdom? In what ways am I using religion as a cover up, to give the appearance of asceticism? In what ways do I try to look good so people and God will approve of me? This is of no value. This is lifeless. What is of value is Christ. He is the only one who can give life to a dead corpse. True life is found in Him only. And, we aren't to just look to Christ for our 1 time conversion event, where we are given new life. We are to look for Him for life everyday. Our present union with Christ is the grounds for everything in this Christian life.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Saturday, April 2, 2011
This means that Christ is the center of the biblical story. Through out its length, Scripture has a Christ-centered thrust: he will come! The Bible tells the redemptive story of the promised Messiah who came to redeem. That thrust must define our understanding of the nature of Scripture and the way we read it. As we look back to the earlier chapters in the story, we must see that the coming of the covenant promise to Adam that God will crush the power of the evil one (Genesis 3:15). The coming of the Messiah forms the foundation for God's covenant promise with Noah that creation will be sustained for all time (Genesis 8:22). The coming of the energizes God's covenant promise to Abraham that he and his posterity will be a blessing to all nations (Genesis 12:3). And the coming of the Messiah burns in the covenant promise to the prophets that God will write his law on the hearts of his people and will give them the gift of the Holy Spirit (Jeremiah 31:31-34). In the resurrection of Christ, God has begun to make good on his promise....Because God's plan of salvation is fulfilled in Christ, Jesus is the leading player, the protagonist of the biblical drama of redemption."
From Mike William's Far as the Curse is Found