Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Consignment Stored

Galatians 3:22

But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.


We saw this before in Romans HERE.

The word "imprisoned" is our old friend "consigned."

A proper reading of the OT (what Paul refers to here as Scripture) will render the reader destroyed before a Holy God and His loft commands hoping for a Savior by Whom God will deliver His chosen people from despair and destruction.

Paul writes here after the events of the Cross to tell us that this Savior had a name. The Bible imprisons the whole world and makes it possible that only One specific Person can set it free: Jesus Christ, the Lord.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

True Romance

Romans 12:9

9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.


Do you understand genuine love to include hating evil? If you do not, you do not understand genuine love.

Jesus describes a love of money that a person can enter into that opposes the love of God. He does not deny that it is a form of love, just comments on them being less than true, genuine love.

Paul does the same.

Genuine love includes both loving something and hating something else.

Not.my.words - God's.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Old Rugged Cross

Listen HERE.

On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suffering and shame;
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.

Refrain
So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.


O that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
Has a wondrous attraction for me;
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above
To bear it to dark Calvary.

Refrain

In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
A wondrous beauty I see,
For ’twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
To pardon and sanctify me.

Refrain

To the old rugged cross I will ever be true;
Its shame and reproach gladly bear;
Then He’ll call me some day to my home far away,
Where His glory forever I’ll share.

Refrain

Friday, February 24, 2012

God knows we are but dust

Psalm 103:8-14

8The LORD is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9 He will not always chide,
nor will he keep his anger forever.
10He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
13As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.
14For he knows our frame;
he remembers that we are dust.


How far are Heavens above the earth? How far is the east from the west?

Heaven is as far above earth as Jesus is glorious. He is the distance between Heaven and earth which is remarkably near through the Cross, but the gulf crossed to get there was incredibly vast.

East is as far from west as anything can possibly be from anything else. If it were North and South it would be less distance. If you go North, you eventually head South when you cross the North Pole. You can go East forever and never face West! You can go West forever and never face East! He removes our sin by Jesus as far as they could possibly be from us, not a hint, not a trace, not a stain, not an echo, nada, nothing, no more, gone! Praise the LORD, thank You Jesus!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The applied DNA of the Gospel

I listened to a sermon today while donating plasma by Tullian Tchividjian. I was not donating plasma near Tullian, he was the preacher of the sermon of which I was listening. Misplaced modifiers are funny.

You can listen HERE.

He quoted Blaise Pascal's challenge to pastors when he asked them to, "Make people wish the Gospel were true, and then show them that it is."

The most marvelous News ever to grace the world is the most unbelievable hope a person who has come to realize their place before God has ever heard. The Gospel is the Best News.

Here are some other quotes from Tullian's sermon HERE.

He also referenced Donald Grey Barnhouse (love him) mentioning that if the Devil took over Philadelphia the town would most likely be clean, crime would go down, kids would say, "Yes sir," and everyone would gather into churches every Sunday where Christ was NOT preached.

It was a challenging view of what we as Christians often settle with regard to what we expect and desire out of this life and of our loved ones and ourselves.

He also mentioned that if no one has ever responded to your preaching of the Gospel by saying "What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?" then you have not preached the Gospel. It is radical and outrageous. It is much freer than you would dare believe. It is more self-controlled and pure than you believed possible.

Lastly, he mentioned some time spent with Elyse Fitzpatrick and how amazing the Gospel is and just how far it will push our comfort zone if we take it to be as serious and merciful as it is.

If you have an hour, download it from iTunes at the link at the top and give it a listen.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Lessons from Revelation 19-20

Pastor Dodge taught from Revelation chapters 19-20 this morning at church.

There are few tougher things than Jesus wearing His King of Kings, Lord of Lords riot gear dipped in blood in Revelation 19:11-16. Pastor Jeff pointed out the grace of God extends even to our being included in the armies accompanying Him at this final battle. However we wear garments of white that never see blood. This is Jesus' battle and we are counted as though having fought it through and by Him alone.

Pastor Jeff also made note of the two feasts mentioned in verses 9 and 17 of chapter 19 respectively. There are two feasts: one at the wedding in Heaven and one at the slaughter of the earth. You can either be a guest at the meal in Heaven or be the meal of vultures on earth.

Lastly, Pastor Jeff made note that this chapter includes the very first use of the word "Hallelujah!" in the New Testament. It is as though this breath of praise was held until Jesus' return, the day for which the church has long since longed.

Pastor Jeff played a portion of Handel's Messiah Hallelujah Chorus. Beautiful!




We are about to complete our study through Revelation at Cornerstone and it has been great to corporately look through the final victory won in Christ.

Hallelujah, in deed. Hallelujah!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Even Twitter has enough sense to limit words, which is saying something (which could have been said with less words)

140 characters are plenty to make yourself a fool.

Proverbs 10:19

19 When words are many, transgression is not lacking,
but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.


Ever notice the more you talk, the more you are apt to say something totally ridiculous?

Once you tweet or text it, it is gone and out there in the air, unable to be retrieved.

Once you say out loud the thing in your mind, it is out there. There is no taking it back. You can repent and apologize and you should, but the words still went forth into the minds, hearts, and souls of the hearers.

Here is a poem I have heard oft repeated by my pastor Tom Nesbitt.

Boys flying kites can haul in their white winged birds.
You can't do that when you are flying words.
Words unspoken may sometimes fall back dead.
But God Himself can't stop them once they are said.


If that doesn't grab ya, perhaps an ancient quote will.

nescit vox missa reverti
A word, once spoken, can never be recalled. (Horace)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Of The Father's Love Begotten

Listen HERE.

Of the Father’s love begotten, ere the worlds began to be,
He is Alpha and Omega, He the source, the ending He,
Of the things that are, that have been,
And that future years shall see, evermore and evermore!

At His Word the worlds were framèd; He commanded; it was done:
Heaven and earth and depths of ocean in their threefold order one;
All that grows beneath the shining
Of the moon and burning sun, evermore and evermore!

He is found in human fashion, death and sorrow here to know,
That the race of Adam’s children doomed by law to endless woe,
May not henceforth die and perish
In the dreadful gulf below, evermore and evermore!

O that birth forever blessèd, when the virgin, full of grace,
By the Holy Ghost conceiving, bare the Savior of our race;
And the Babe, the world’s Redeemer,
First revealed His sacred face, evermore and evermore!

This is He Whom seers in old time chanted of with one accord;
Whom the voices of the prophets promised in their faithful word;
Now He shines, the long expected,
Let creation praise its Lord, evermore and evermore!

O ye heights of heaven adore Him; angel hosts, His praises sing;
Powers, dominions, bow before Him, and extol our God and King!
Let no tongue on earth be silent,
Every voice in concert sing, evermore and evermore!

Righteous judge of souls departed, righteous King of them that live,
On the Father’s throne exalted none in might with Thee may strive;
Who at last in vengeance coming
Sinners from Thy face shalt drive, evermore and evermore!

Thee let old men, thee let young men, thee let boys in chorus sing;
Matrons, virgins, little maidens, with glad voices answering:
Let their guileless songs re-echo,
And the heart its music bring, evermore and evermore!

Christ, to Thee with God the Father, and, O Holy Ghost, to Thee,
Hymn and chant with high thanksgiving, and unwearied praises be:
Honor, glory, and dominion,
And eternal victory, evermore and evermore!

Friday, February 17, 2012

21st Century Paul

2 Corinthians 10:10-11

10 For they say, “His letters are weighty and strong, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech of no account.” 11 Let such a person understand that what we say by letter when absent, we do when present.


That is such a billy bad apple thing to say. Do you suppose if this were to be translated into the Message Bible Commentary it would read

"For they say, 'His blogs are bold, but in person he is a wimp, and he's not very imposing.' I would like them to know that what I blog on-line, I am in person."

Or something like that.

Paul had real authority because it was given to him by a real Authority. The only real authority in this world is that given to it from the Authority that made the world.

Governments, Pastors, Husbands, Parents, and Employers.

It's not a long list, but it's long enough that I can with confidence suspect that the person reading this blog has difficulty in honoring at least one of them.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Covenantal

While writing my St. Valentine's day blog I discovered that blogger's spellcheck does not recognize convenantal as a word. It highlighted it to direct my attention to my mistake. Here are the options it gave me to "fix" it:



So I guess "blogger" has gone the way of the world as well and promises just aren't promises anymore. What ever happened to the day when at least the dictionaries weren't ashamed of truth. It's not like they are even positing it or creating an apologetic for it. They are simply asked to define the words.

By the way, could there be an absolutely worse "substitute" recommended by blogger for covenantal than "conveniently," or "convenient."

A covenant is anything but. It is work. It is faithful. It is long-suffering. But it is Godly.

It is not easy to keep your promises when the other party isn't. In a contract you could legally exit. In a covenant, you demonstrate Christ's love for the church by keeping your word to an unfaithful lover.

To most, unfortunately, marriage is a contract, not a covenant. Marriage is convenient, not covenantal. And that's counting only the ones who even bother getting married. At least those living together and playing marriage have not promised before God and man to be covenantal. They may one day experience the shame of their choices, but woe to the Christian who is covenantally bound to their spouse and takes their promises lightly.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

FUNerals follow up

I love life. I'm thankful for the one I've been given. I'm thankful for my wife and my children and that God created them, knit them, and formed them.

I am all for celebrating the lives that God has created and giving Him glory for all that He and His creative hands can accomplish.

But when these people die, because of the sin both possessed in their nature and performed by their choices, they are dead. The curse is real and we all will one day bear the weight of our first Father Adam.

It is worth noting that a funeral on behalf of a Christian brother or sister who has fallen asleep is a celebration of Christ and the fact that our loved one is now with Him.

I believe in celebration of life and even the idea of having a celebration of life event. But NOT at the expense of a funeral. My fear is that in performing celebration of life ceremonies the funeral aspect may be lost altogether or replaced.

I guess my primary concern in broaching the subject was to create the categories that would place a celebration of life ceremony and a funeral in different categories with different purposes. As long as both categories are addressed in the context for which they are Biblical, I see no reason to flesh this out any further.

I half-suspect a good deal of the inertia behind celebration of life ceremonies is this idea that Christians ought always be happy and that we aren't Christian if we are depressed, sad, or mourning.

Do not attempt to out-Christian Christ.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Hearts and hugs for everyone

St Valentine was a Christian who performed Christian marriage ceremonies during a time of extreme persecution towards Christians. The story has it that upon being caught in assisting Christians, St. Valentine attempted to convert the Emperor to no avail. St. Valentine was martyred for the fruit of his faith in Jesus Christ: assisting brothers and sisters who were seeking to honor the LORD.

So much for fat babies with bows and arrows and diamonds and candy.

Not that there is anything wrong with those (sans the fat babies with weapons). Just not, perhaps the point of the holiday.

Furthermore, the day celebrates romantic love in the form of Christian marriage and convenantal faithfulness to our spouse which is a far cry from the excuse for fornication the day represents in American culture.

Monday, February 13, 2012

This Is My Father's World

Listen HERE.

This is my Father’s world,
and to my listening ears
All nature sings, and round me rings
the music of the spheres.

This is my Father’s world:
I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;
His hand the wonders wrought.

This is my Father’s world,
the birds their carols raise,
The morning light, the lily white,
declare their Maker’s praise.

This is my Father’s world:
He shines in all that’s fair;
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass;
He speaks to me everywhere.

This is my Father’s world.
O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the ruler yet.

This is my Father’s world:
the battle is not done:
Jesus Who died shall be satisfied,
And earth and Heav’n be one.

This is my Father’s world,
dreaming, I see His face.
I ope my eyes, and in glad surprise
cry, “The Lord is in this place.”

This is my Father’s world,
from the shining courts above,
The Beloved One, His Only Son,
Came—a pledge of deathless love.

This is my Father’s world,
should my heart be ever sad?
The lord is King—let the heavens ring.
God reigns—let the earth be glad.

This is my Father’s world.
Now closer to Heaven bound,
For dear to God is the earth Christ trod.
No place but is holy ground.

This is my Father’s world.
I walk a desert lone.
In a bush ablaze to my wondering gaze
God makes His glory known.

This is my Father’s world,
a wanderer I may roam
Whate’er my lot, it matters not,
My heart is still at home.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Silence

Proverbs 17:28

Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise;
when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.


Nuff said.

Have a good weekend and don't forget to shut up!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Day of Trouble

Does the LORD make the wicked for the day of trouble?

Proverbs 16:4

The LORD has made everything for its purpose,
even the wicked for the day of trouble.


If it is your understanding that He would not or does not choose to do that. What do you do with verses like this?

I know that sounds arrogant and priggish. I'm sorry. I don't mean it to. I am genuinely curious as to how this verse is understood in a context where God makes everything, even the wicked. Then as though that were not provacative enough, the author states God makes the wicked FOR something: the day of trouble.

He didn't have to clarify. He could have just said that God makes the wicked.

This mystery is deeper and richer than a blanket dismissal based on your visceral reaction to it. I feel like a jerk repeating this because of my base fear of man, but it is what the Bible says.

Accuse me of wrongly interpretting it or reading into it. I can deal with being wrong.

Do not accuse the Bible of being wrong however, for if there is one thing I know, it is that it is correct.

Romans 3:4
Let God be true though every one were a liar

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

For Whom The Bells Tolls

Rob Bell does not win. Jesus does, no matter how badly Rob Bell may try to rob Him of His glory.

God is love. Love is not God.

Rob Bell's book Love Wins is a radical departure from orthodox, historical Christianity. Most people will focus on the creative license given to the idea of hell. However, the most troubling implication of this post-modern heresy is that hell is unnecessary because we are not that bad and Jesus died mostly to give us an example of selflessness.

I am not attempting to state that Jesus' death in no way provides us an example. I am stating that if it primarly shows us how we should behave, it is Bad News. I do not take up my cross as often and in as many circumstances as I should. If my sin is not paid for in Christ, my debts are not satisfied. If my righteousness depends on my good deeds and obedience to the example shown to me, my righteouness is bloody tampons and fecal matter. You recoil and think me a dirtbag for saying it that way, but it was the Holy Spirit speaking through Isaiah's and the apostle Paul's words, not mine.

(and a kudos to Wycliffe for having the cojones to say, "turds" in a Bible. You can argue the merits of translating refuse, filth, rubbish, etc.. from skubala, but the point is clear: it is disgusting and to be cast off as something dirty when compared to the glory of Christ. The goal is to produce a horrible image to contrast with the glorious image of Jesus. Given that, perhaps "turds" does not go far enough.)

All that to say: Hell is true because Jesus said it was. To attempt to reason around it because you don't like it is understandable (misguided and foolish, but understandable). I don't like hell. But then again, I like to think of myself as being above the mean and not as deserving as God tells me that I am of death.

If hell is not real, Jesus' prayer to let this cup pass was rejected by a sadistic and unimaginative Father.

There was no other way. Jesus had to die.

"Why?" you ask. Because hell is real and people you love are likely going there.

Without Jesus in this life, it will be life under His wrath in the next.

Read Kevin DeYoung's fantastic and thorough review HERE.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Counted, but not counted against

Romans 4:8
blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.

Not because He forgets how to count it or because there is no sin to count, but because He counts it against Jesus and counts His righteousness as yours.

Your only hope is not that God would stop counting, but that He would count you among those in whom Jesus is found.

A man is blessed only inasmuch as God does not count his sin against him.

O Lord, please do not count my sins, which are many, against me. It is my only hope. I have no other plea. No other boast before you. And in light of such mercies, please enable me now to live as one in whom you delight and by my actions and thoughts give you glory as I trust in You and Your promise fulfilled in Jesus.

Monday, February 6, 2012

For The Beauty Of The Earth

Listen HERE.

For the beauty of the
the glory of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies.

Refrain
Lord of all, to Thee we raise,

This our hymn of grateful praise.

For the beauty of each hour,
Of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale, and tree and flower,
Sun and moon, and stars of light.

Refrain

For the joy of ear and eye,
For the heart and mind’s delight,
For the mystic harmony
Linking sense to sound and sight.

Refrain

For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child,
Friends on earth and friends above,
For all gentle thoughts and mild.

Refrain

For Thy Church, that evermore
Lifteth holy hands above,
Offering up on every shore
Her pure sacrifice of love.

Refrain

For the martyrs’ crown of light,
For Thy prophets’ eagle eye,
For Thy bold confessors’ might,
For the lips of infancy.

Refrain

For Thy virgins’ robes of snow,
For Thy maiden mother mild,
For Thyself, with hearts aglow,
Jesus, Victim undefiled.

Refrain

For each perfect gift of Thine,
To our race so freely given,
Graces human and divine,
Flowers of earth and buds of Heaven.

Refrain

Friday, February 3, 2012

Watch out! Avoid Them!

Romans 16:17-18

17 I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. 18 For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.

I read this the other morning in my Bible read through.

The smooth talkers and flatterers did not die in the first century. When was the last time you marked someone out to avoid them and their teaching? If you never have you have either been tremendously blessed and shielded in that God has kept the wolves from your pen or you are naive and have already even now possibly been swooned by a snake oil salesman.

Not everyone who says, "Jesus," from time to time and quotes a Bible verse is trying to help you to reconcile with the Father through Jesus Christ.

I wish it weren't true. I wish wolves died out with the persecutions of Nero and the church hiding in caves.

The Gospel has been taught and preached to others since the events of Calvary took place around 2000 years ago. It does not change, just like Jesus. Times change. Mediums change by which we are able to preach, teach, and share the Gospel. The messengers' clothes, haircuts, and languages change.

The Message is the same, forever.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

I want you to know that He knows and that I know that you don't yet know that

Psalm 109:26-27

26 Help me, O LORD my God!
Save me according to your steadfast love!
27 Let them know that this is your hand;
you, O LORD, have done it!


The advantage of allowing God to take vengeance against your enemies for you is that He not only does it better than you but by it He can reveal Himself to them.

"Let them know that this is Your hand."

Not chance. Not accident. Not bad luck. God.

This is Him doing this to you. Avenge me in a way that is so obviously Divine intervention that all those who witness it - including the object of the intervention - that it is God Almighty who has taken His all-seeing eyes and focused them on this. This has not escaped His attention. Not this time. He wants you to know that it was Him.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

How does the Old Testament fit into the New Covenant?

Romans 15:4

4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.


I was reading the Bible the other day and came across the verse above.

What was written in the former days is for our instruction, that we might have hope.

Remember, the early church did not have what we call the Bible. They had the Old Testament and the few, if any, letters written specifically to them by the Apostles.

Do you find hope in the Old Testament? Do you see Jesus there?

If not, are you sure you are reading it correctly or understanding it fully?

The White Horse Inn is shoring up their year of discussing the Great Commision by fleshing out Jesus in the OT HERE. Check out parts 2 and 3 as well available now on their website.