Friday, March 30, 2012

Jesus + Nothing = Everything

I listened to a sermon by Tullian Tchividjian from the called "Jesus + Nothing = Everything" today. It is based on the book by Tullian by the same name available HERE.

Galatians 3:3
Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?

Listen to the full sermon HERE.

Jerry Bridges says in The Chase: Pursuing Holiness in Your Everyday Life,

"Our first problem is that our attitude towards sin is more self-centred than God-centred. We are more concerned about our own "Victory" over sin than we are about the fact that our sin grieve the heart of God. We cannot tolerate failure in our struggle with sin chiefly because we are success oriented, not because we know it is offensive to God."

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Jesus is our rock, but is He a rock?

1 Corinthians 10:4

...For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.

Rocks are usually pretty inanimate and keep to themselves. Paul points out here, however, that the Israelites had a Rock which followed them through their desert wanderings: Jesus Christ, the Lord!

Jesus explained to a few disciples on the Emmaus road that the entire Old Testament pointed to him (read HERE.)

Paul is not saying that rocks are God or that God is a rock, or even that God is in the rocks. Paul did not find Jesus in the rocks as it were. It's not a magic 3D picture that requires a keen eye and patience to reveal the true picture. Jesus is the fulfillment of the Old Testament and the main character to which the whole narrative expounds. He is the protagonist. He is the hero.

(on a side note: realize that what the early church referred to as the Bible was the Old Testament. The New Testament was not written or compiled yet as it was still being written and copied by the early churches to whom the letters were addressed)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Tales from a Light Lunch

A co-worker of mine leads a Bible study on Tuesdays at my place of work.

As we studied "the prodigal son" passage from Luke 15 it occurred to me that a person can do any number of “good” things WITHOUT Jesus.

They can save their marriage, quit smoking, lose weight, go to church, serve at a soup kitchen, donate toys, stay faithful to their wife, pay their debts, or help someone move and all of it without trusting in Jesus.

You need Jesus to do that which you cannot do: Live a holy life, absorb full the wrath of God, and be resurrected spotless after 3 days in the grave.

For all that can be accomplished WITHOUT Jesus, peace with God for salvation is only found by what Jesus has already done and our belief in Him as sufficient to save us.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

C.H. Spurgeon's "Defense of Calvinism"

In researching Mr. C.H. Spurgeon I came across this gem the other day:

Here is an excerpt:

“John Newton used to tell a whimsical story, and laugh at it, too, of a good woman who said, in order to prove the doctrine of election, "Ah! sir, the Lord must have loved me before I was born, or else He would not have seen anything in me to love afterwards." I am sure it is true in my case; I believe the doctrine of election, because I am quite certain that, if God had not chosen me, I should never have chosen Him; and I am sure He chose me before I was born, or else He never would have chosen me afterwards; and He must have elected me for reasons unknown to me, for I never could find any reason in myself why He should have looked upon me with special love. So I am forced to accept that great Biblical doctrine.”

Monday, March 26, 2012

O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go

Listen HERE.

O Love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.

O light that followest all my way,
I yield my flickering torch to thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in thy sunshine’s blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be.

O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.

O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee;
I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Fade

We sang the song, "His Glory Never Fades" today at church.

Buy it HERE.

The chorus goes like this:

Holy is the Lord God,
worthy of praise
His glory never fades,
His glory never fades

Mighty is our King,
with no end to his days
His glory never fades,
His glory never fades

I meditated while singing on this premise. It is true. All else fades.

Perhaps this is why we are obsessed with photographs. They stamp in time the best of us and are timeless in that regard. The substance and sentiment behind the photo fade over time however. We are zealous to capture the beautiful, the honorable, the memorable, and make it immortal, but we cannot. Everything fades.

Isaiah 40:6-8

6 A voice says, “Cry!" And I said,“What shall I cry?” All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field. 7 The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the LORD blows on it; surely the people are grass. 8 The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.

This may explain why we recycle our celebrities as they get older and the luster wears off, the reason why there is so much pornography and so few marriages that actually end in the death of one of the two, why we are so desperate to have that which is beautiful and preserve it, why we are prisoners of the moment and addicted to that which is best for the moment, why we love the newness and freshness of babies, and why sports fan desire another championsihp unsatisfied with last year's if this year's is thwarted. We want to capture and possess the infinite. We desire to hold that which is unchangingly good and satisfying, but we grasp for it in places, persons, and things which can never meet the heavy weights which we place on them.

The flowers of the field fall. The grass withers. Men die. Memories fail.

God never fades. His beauty does not decay. His riches do not rust. His glory is not diminished by controversy, misstep, rumor, or accusation. He is the same today, yesterday, and tomorrow.

His glory NEVER fades. He is a picture of beauty, love, justice, mercy, forgivenss, joy, and strength. He is a living picture. He is the substance behind the photo that gives it life, yet He need not be captured in inactivity to avoid decay. He ever lives as the best and grandest to which our hearts and minds could possibly aspire. Put another way: nothing we think or feel as great is greater than God.

We can never out-imagine the enormity that is God's glory. We cannot allegorize it in superlative. We cannot apply to it hyperbole. It is beyond that which we exaggerate.

He is glorious. Forever.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Lesson from Church: 1/29/12

Today in church as a follow up to our completion of the book of Revelation, we are beginning a short series entitled: "Letters to Cornerstone" where we attempt to address the issues we speculate Jesus would address by letter if by His Spirit John wrote to us. Not necessarily that specifically, but you get the gist of it.

Today's topic was: Personal Worship

Some points of interest (to me)

(1) John was one of Jesus' best friends during His human life and when John met the resurrected, glorified Christ at the beginning of the book of Revelation, he fell down at his feet as a dead man. Jesus is infinitely glorious and worthy of all praise, adoration, fear, and honor.

(2) The word worship comes from an anglo-saxon word "worth scipe" It can be loosely defined as "the action of delight." We can worship many things, but the Bible makes it clear that only He is due worship, owed worship, worthy of worship. So much so that everything else in comparison seems like hatred. Not because you must hate everything other than Jesus, but you must love Him so much that the next thing in line is so far beneath it that one could say that you hate it per se.

(3) The Gospel in Jesus Christ is our call to satisfaction. It is our call to enjoy Him most that He might be made most to us.

(4) Despite popular notion: the pursuit of God is not at odds with the pursuit of joy.

(5) “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” ― A.W. Tozer

(6) The Gospel is the fuel for producing this joy and love and rich satisfaction. It is not another "to do" list of disciplines to produce in us or fake before men a certian pious hand-raising, tear-filled joy. It is a deep apprecation of gratitude and love and joy produced by the Spirit's reminding you of the grace of God in Christ Jesus.

It was a good reminder to enjoy God and to pursue Him, to make Him our hightest aim and to find our deepest satisfaction in Him by cutting off that in which we are tempted to delight that is not Him.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Personal relationhip advice

"The unbeliever simply needs to come into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ."

This may be the answer to the question: "How does one become saved?"

Now, granted, I think I perceive what the person means in answering the question this way. They mean to say the person needs to develop a "positive" relationship with Jesus Christ.

Grant me the next few paragraphs to at least appeal to you that this language is sloppy and perhaps not uniformly true.

We all HAVE a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We are born enemies. While not a favorable relationship or one to which we would boast on our spiritual resume, it is true. Our relationship to Jesus is one of enemy, adversary, and rebel.

We all also HAVE a personal relationship with the Devil. We are his children. While not a favorable relationship or one to which we would boast on our spiritual resume, it is true.

You do not become a Christian be developing a personal relationship with Jesus. You already have one and it is not favorable to your eternal security.

You become a Christian by God's grace reaching you through the preached Gospel of His atoning sacrifice in the Person and work of Jesus Christ, His Son. In Him, by Him, and through Him only do we have peace with God and eternal life secured.

In response to this, yes, we respond by pursuing God for the first time as His Spirit cheers us on. We pursue Him because He first pursued us. We love Him because He first loved us. It is a relationship and it is personal. But it does not save.

Grace working through faith in Jesus alone saves.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Lessons from Eriwn Lutzer

On the way to church this morning we heard Erwin Lutzer on the radio preaching.

Dr. Lutzer pointed out first that many modern church leaders display their lack of confidence in the Gospel by insisting that they dress it up. People do not want simply the Gospel, they need it packaged in a way that is marketed to the desires they bring with them into the service.

Dr. Lutzer rightly pointed out that the apostle Paul sought to know nothing except Christ crucified and was willing to be seen as foolish by the trendy hipsters in Corinth if only to know, matter-of-factly that it was the Gospel that was preached.

We are converted in no other way. Dr. Lutzer mentioned the conversion of C.H. Spurgeon, who as a 17 year old young man, attending a church service. The attending pastor was unable to attend due to poor weather conditions. A lay person in the congregation preached a message containing only a few Bible verses that he nervously repeated. It was clumsy, unprepared, unpolished, unfashionable, unimpressive, and it grasped the heart of a young 17 year old boy who would become known by many as a giant of Christianity.

Two observations:

(1) My wife and I discussed the beauty of a lay person stepping up to preach in light of the pastor being held up because of weather. We live in a day where church is likely to be cancelled if the pastor can not make it. We also live in a day where most lay folk would not even know one Bible verse on which they could preach. Things worth doing are worth doing poorly if no one more qualified is there to do them. Someone ought to preach. This man recognized this and his courage and humility in leaning on Christ to guide him is refreshing

(2) The Gospel is mighty to save, full of power, and the only means by which men turn from darkness to light. The simplicity of the Gospel is often overlooked in lieu of persuasive speech and the personality of the speakers.

Dr. Lutzer also made an additional point by pointing to a dream a man once reportedly had placed upon him one night while sleeping.

In the dream the man carried a burdensome cross that was heavy and frustrating and hard to bear. He came across a carpenter while travelling and asked him if he could lighten his load. The carpenter acquiesced and sawed off 2-3 feet of the cross. The man was grateful and continued walking with a new sense of vigor and excitement. His cross was lighter and he was excited. He then came to a vast gulf on the path on which he was walking. The only means of crossing the gulf was laying down the cross from his back to use as a bridge . The cross, however, was now 2-3 feet short and could not bridge the gap.

The cross we bear is given to us by God for His purposes and we will fall short every time we attempt to make our cross shorter.

Lastly, he quoted Bonhoeffer in saying (and I paraphrase here because I do not recall the words verbatim) "may they not tremble before us as men, but before the cross."

Monday, March 19, 2012

Jesus Paid It All

Listen HERE.

Yes, I do realize that bolding my favorites parts loses something when nearly the whole song is in bold text, but I suppose that speaks to the beauty and power of this hymn.

I hear the Savior say,
“Thy strength indeed is small;
Child of weakness, watch and pray,

Find in Me thine all in all.”

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

For nothing good have I
Whereby Thy grace to claim,
I’ll wash my garments white
In the blood of Calv’ry’s Lamb.
And now complete in Him
My robe His righteousness,
Close sheltered ’neath His side,
I am divinely blest.

Lord, now indeed I find
Thy power and Thine alone,
Can change the leper’s spots
And melt the heart of stone.


When from my dying bed
My ransomed soul shall rise,
“Jesus died my soul to save,”
Shall rend the vaulted skies.
And when before the throne
I stand in Him complete,
I’ll lay my trophies down
All down at Jesus’ feet.

Friday, March 16, 2012


1 Corinthians 7:25

...I have no command from the Lord, but I give my judgment as one who by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy.

There are choices in this life on which we have no chapter and verse on which to lean for the use of guiding our decisions.

In these we can search for Biblical principles by which we can find firm, consistent wisdom in which to provide peace and grace to our decisions.

These areas are called, "adiaphora." These are open-hand discussions. By that I mean that there are conversely closed-hand discussions on which the Church is strictly defined.

An example of a close-handed topic is the deity of Jesus. He is God. If you do not believe this, you are not a Christian. You can call yourself a "Christian," but you are not in essence truly one.

An example of an open-handed topic is whether or not to use guitars or organs in the accompanying of songs at church. It may be only preference. You can choose not to dance if you like, but you may dance if you like as well. Same with playing cards, smoking a cigar, using large screens at church, or women wearing pants in public. All up for discussion and subject to preference, but none of these determine or divide Christians and non-Christians.

HOWEVER - the apostle Paul still answered the Corinthians' questions. He pointed out that it was not a command of Jesus, but he did - as an apostle in Christ - relay his wisdom and ideas concerning the subject matters presented to him.

There are good reasons to think about and develope convictions regarding open-handed issues. They ought not become stumbling blocks or dividing fences for Christians however.

Be careful not to insist too deeply on your well-developed opinion on a matter of Christian freedom in which there is no direct command from God recorded in the Bible. Also be careful not to take too lightly matters of Christians freedom so that if you are asked for advice you have no thought or conviction on which to assist your brother/sister in Christ.

The trick is caring enough to mull it over, but not so much as to after having done so to believe it to be doctrine.

Being a Christian does not mean not having opinions. Being a Christians means knowing the difference between opinion and Gospel and fighting for the one in light of doctrinal purity and letting the other go in light of Spiritual unity.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Psalm 118:22

The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.

God forecast long ago that Jesus would be both rejected by men and at the same time the only foundation on which those same men may be saved.

That stone which the builders cast aside as unworthy has been exalted as more worthy than the building built upon it. The stone which was not even deemed sturdy enough to be included in the building of the wall has become the most firm foundation on which the weight of the world and government was layed. The stone judged crooked and unsteady has become the chief cornerstone by which all other stones find their straightness.

Jesus was rejected by men, but exalted by God. That which men call foolish, God calls wisdom.

Don't be too wise as to seek another way than Jesus. In Him is all wisdom. In Him is a steady and true guide by which to judge all other things. In Him was the fullness of God pleased to dwell. He is the chief cornerstone.

Woe to those who build on any other foundation!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Made in the image of...

Psalm 115:4-8

4 Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands. 5 They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see. 6 They have ears, but do not hear; noses, but do not smell. 7 They have hands, but do not feel; feet, but do not walk; and they do not make a sound in their throat. 8 Those who make them become like them; so do all who trust in them

We become like the things we worship. If you worship that which is not God, you become more and more ungodly as the days wear you away.

Idols are the work of human hands, imaginations, and vanity. We worship that which we create whether ideas, images, or items. When we worship them, we become like them: empty of life and full of vanity, void of substance and overflowing with mere sentiment, detached from reality and embedded in fantasy.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Lessons from Revelation 22:6-21

Today we concluded the study through the book of Revelation at Cornerstone Church.

Pastor Jeff exhorted the congregation to keep waiting on the Lord by working out their salvation until His return.

He also fleshed out the real, tangible nature of Heaven and the new earth described with rivers, trees, fruit, food, streets, gates, etc... When resurrected, we will live in new, perfected, heavenly, Jerusalem forever with God, face-to-face.

We are encouraged not to add anything to what God has said, but not subtract or fall short of saying anything He has declared at the end of the book of Revelation.

We are also encouraged to "keep" the sayings of the prophecy of the book of Revelation. This is an odd exhortation given that the letter is largely a statement of what God is doing, has done, and has promised yet to do. "Keeping" seems to imply an active doing of some kind, however, the things about which we are encouraged to keep are largely declarations of things done and to be done by God (not by us) If anything, Revelation is largely about God and His one and only Son, Jesus. There are, however, encouragements to "stand firm" or "persevere" throughout the book. There are also very church specific exhortations given in the opening letters addressed specifically to respective churches. The lion's share of the book seems to revolved around the reporting of what God alone can do and will do.

The "sayings" of the prophecy of the book of Revelation are largely debated and anything but proclaimed definitively (outside cultic "Christian" sects). So it does beg the question as to what one is to do with this last charge to the reader to keep the sayings of this book.

Many of the mysteries of Revelation remain simply that, mysteries. Admittedly, my church allowing that which belongs to God to remain with Him throughout the teaching of this book is more comforting than if they had attempted to dogmatize and codify as closed-handed that over which many have debated since the pen left the paper on this letter (or quill left the scroll you nitpicking jerkwad).

One thing is clear. Jesus wins. God returns the earth and those created from it to their original state: Eden. A place where God dwells with man face-to-face without any intercession necessary. No priests, no temple, no sin, no rebellion. A final state, like the first, without the possibility of the fall repeating itself.

Evil finally and forever put down. Not necessarily Heaven on earth, but earth and Heaven cleansed, perfected, and returned to their original state.


Monday, March 12, 2012

Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing

Listen HERE.

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.

Sorrowing I shall be in spirit,
Till released from flesh and sin,
Yet from what I do inherit,
Here Thy praises I’ll begin;
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.

Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood;
How His kindness yet pursues me
Mortal tongue can never tell,
Clothed in flesh, till death shall loose me
I cannot proclaim it well.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

O that day when freed from sinning,
I shall see Thy lovely face;
Clothed then in blood washed linen
How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace;
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransomed soul away;
Send thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Lessons from Revelation 21-22:5

This week Pastor Troy taught from Revelation 21-22:5.

I love that in 21:6 God says, "It is done!" The finality and climax of it is intense.

Pastor Troy mentioned that the best day here on earth will not rival the worst day in Heaven.
Conversely, the worst day here on earth will be the best you can hope for in Hell.

There is no temple in Heaven because the Father and the Lamb are the temple. Finally the shadow becomes the substance.

The tree of life is back. The last time we saw it was in the opening scenes of creation in Genesis.

The Bible is a wonderful story that captures the imagination and inspires the soul. The story is written so beautifully and the protagonist and the antagonist go at it from Genesis chapter 3 until the very end when God in Jesus puts down for good the threat of the Devil and his evil.

Pastor Troy brought up in John 14 the opening verses indicate that Jesus told his disciples that he went to prepare a place for them, a marvelous place in the mansions of Heaven. Pastor Troy pointed out that the disciples' response was not to ask about the place, to get anxious about arriving at the place, or to worry about who would live next to who and who would have the "best" place to call home. The disciples' response was to ask where Jesus was going and how to get there to be with Him. The mansion was of little enticement compared to being with Jesus. You can have the mansion if I can have You.

That is the final centrality of Heaven and the future of those He has called to salvation in the Lamb. Glory and Honor and Praise to God, forever!

There is no sin in Heaven. For those of us who are Christians here on earth, we follow Jesus sinfully. We struggle to resist the flesh as it wars with the new Spirit placed within us at our rebirth. In Heaven, this struggle will cease and the flesh's piece of the equation will be removed. This allows us, by our own volition, to worship Jesus because the Spirit in us wants to do nothing else. It is not that we are made robots in Heaven. It is not that we lose the ability to make decisions. It is that in Heaven we are finally completely free to choose Jesus in each and everything and to enjoy Him alone forever because the partial has passed away and the perfect has come.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Not in Part, but the Whole

What by Law God required by Gospel provides
The Protagonist’s raiment adorning the bride
Not in part, but the whole,
From beginning to end
God to wed, garments shed
Tailored His now to lend

What by works He demanded by faith He bestowed
In the vow of the Godhead to Abram foretold
Not in part, but the whole,
From beginning to end
God to save plowed the way
By the Seed He had sowed

What by Cross He extinguished by grace He erased
Justified the unrighteous, called sinners His saints
Not in part, but the whole,
From beginning to end
Satisfied He our debt
East to west, we from sin

What by Word was predicted by hope yet remains
That the way by which left will by He come again
Not in part, but the whole,
From beginning to end
Was the Word He with God
And e’er God He with man

~ an original poem/hymn by Todd Henry Van Voorst

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Judge Duty

1 Corinthians 5:1-3, 9-13

1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father's wife. 2 And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you. 3 For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing.

...9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

When was the last time you heard you pastor compel the congregation to do this? Must be because we have got everything together now and stuff like this doesn't happen anymore.

It is difficult to know how and when this applies, but rest assured there is a time and place for judging your brother or sister in Christ and overwhelmingly survey says, "We don't know how, when, time or place."

Note the motivation for doing so in verse 4

1 Corinthians 5:4-5

4 When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5 you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord

I have no idea what delivering someone to Satan looks like or entails, let alone the destruction of the flesh. But it is clear that the end goal is to save the soul of an out of control brother or sister.

I hope God reveals to me what this means if He is ever to place me in the context of an out of control brother or sister in Christ that I may assist in saving their soul by the power of the Lord Jesus. I pray that God would do unto me this divine intervention by the use of my brothers and sisters if I should ever get this out of control.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Family Force 5

My son Finneas Haddon Foxe Van Voorst (click on the names to see the inspiration behind them) was born on 3/6/12 at 9:19 pm!

I now am a father of three.


I honestly did not arrange for the "banner over my household" blog to post on this same day as my son was born. I had a good deal of my blogs scheduled out for future dates as I write them. It is quite fortuitous however. I do pray that this banner over my wife and children would be extended even to little Finn. I pray he adopts many of the qualities of the men for whom he is named and honors Christ in truth and Spirit.

Praise God for allowing me to have such beautiful, healthy children and may I be their pastor and they my mission field that they may know the God of their father, Jesus Christ. I love that I have a faithful partner in preaching the Gospel to my children in the form of my lovely wife. She is doing well and made it through labor beautifully, swimmingly even some might say - I don't know who these "some" are per se but I half suspect they are probably just me.

And for good measure, since we are now a family of 5 (Paige, Atticus, Penelope, Finneas, and myself) I thought I would give you something by which you can enter into our excitement and celebration HERE and HERE.

Psalm 78:1-8

1 Give ear, O my people, to my teaching;
incline your ears to the words of my mouth!

2 I will open my mouth in a parable;
I will utter dark sayings from of old,
3 things that we have heard and known,
that our fathers have told us.
4 We will not hide them from their children,
but tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might,
and the wonders that he has done.
5 He established a testimony in Jacob
and appointed a law in Israel,
which he commanded our fathers
to teach to their children,
6 that the next generation might know them,
the children yet unborn,
and arise and tell them to their children,
7 so that they should set their hope in God
and not forget the works of God,
but keep his commandments;
8 and that they should not be like their fathers,
a stubborn and rebellious generation,

a generation whose heart was not steadfast,
whose spirit was not faithful to God.

A banner over my household

As I read this Psalm the other day I thought about how concise and thorough it is and how wonderful it would be to have this be a banner for my household.

I hope my wife is able to teach our children well all that the LORD has done and that they grow up knowing and remembering these things as they face fear, temptation, joy, compliments, insults, success, and failure.

God's faithful love endures forever to those Whom He has promised.

In Jesus there is no "'Til death do us part" for not even death can seperate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Lord.

Read along.

Psalm 111

1 Praise the LORD!
I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart,
in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
2 Great are the works of the LORD,
studied by all who delight in them.
3 Full of splendor and majesty is his work,
and his righteousness endures forever.
4 He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered;
the LORD is gracious and merciful.
5 He provides food for those who fear him;
he remembers his covenant forever.
6 He has shown his people the power of his works,
in giving them the inheritance of the nations.
7 The works of his hands are faithful and just;
all his precepts are trustworthy;
8 they are established forever and ever,
to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
9 He sent redemption to his people;
he has commanded his covenant forever.
Holy and awesome is his name!
10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
all those who practice it have a good understanding.
His praise endures forever!

Monday, March 5, 2012

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

Listen HERE.

A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Bold move

1 Corinthians 4:16

I urge you, then, be imitators of me.

"Well, that is an arrogant thing to say!"

Did I just read your mind? Maybe not. Maybe you're cool with it because it's the Apostle Paul saying it. What if it were me saying that? What if it were your pastor? It is right to think about who we follow. However, it is wrong to think that the Apostle Paul was not a man like you and me (a sinner saved by grace).

Only a man who is so completely devastated before God in realizing both the weight of his sin and the extent of the grace required to save him may perhaps approach the gull to say, "Imitate me."

Paul is not urging us to live his old life: killing Christians and outward religious devotion. Paul is referring here to his present faith that God justifies the ungodly and the faithful acts of service that result from believing God. He is urging us to live our lives in a manner worthy of the Gospel (not because we have to, but because we get to).

Paul, more than any New Testament writer, stresses the importance of salvation and righteousness by faith alone, through grace alone, in Christ alone, to the glory of God alone! This same man lived a life of service, trial, suffering, charity, humility, boldness, courage, conviction, and evangelism.

Where are the men who are bold, humble, driven, prayerful, assertive, and gentle enough to encourage men to follow them as they follow Christ? It takes courage and humility: confidence in Christ and an abandonment of confidence in oneself.

It is arrogant to encourage people to follow you because you think you have it figured out.
It is evangelism to call others to follow you because you know the One who has it all figured out.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Humble Receivers

1 Corinthians 4:7

For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?

We all received the Gospel. No one is a Christian by any other means than by hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ and believing it. You were not born knowing it. It had to be delivered to you. In that regard, all Christians are alike.

It is a great leveller.

So why do you boast as though you did not receive it?