Thursday, February 28, 2013

the One Who's owed no less the more we give‏

Revelation 5:8-14

8 When He took the scroll, the four living creatures and the 24 elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of the saints.9 And they sang a new song:

You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
because You were slaughtered,
and You redeemed people
for God by Your blood
from every tribe and language
and people and nation.
10 You made them a kingdom
and priests to our God,
and they will reign on the earth.

11 Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels around the throne, and also of the living creatures and of the elders. Their number was countless thousands, plus thousands of thousands.12 They said with a loud voice:

The Lamb who was slaughtered is worthy
to receive power and riches
and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and blessing!

13 I heard every creature in heaven, on earth, under the earth, on the sea, and everything in them say:

Blessing and honor and glory and dominion
to the One seated on the throne,
and to the Lamb, forever and ever!

14 The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped.

Phillips, Craig & Dean’s “Revelation Song” captures well the sentiment expressed in this passage.

In the presence of Jesus there is constant singing and praise being ascribed to His Name, His deeds, His presence, and His authority.

I get the feeling that new songs are more often than not the product of people who spend their time regularly worshipping God here and now rather than those who hope to do so spontaneously and only on special occasions like Easter or Christmas.

You see, “new songs” are not created from new content. They are, so to speak, new ways to organize old, familiar content. In order to love singing new songs, you have to love the old, familiar songs you are used to singing or you end up just making stuff up. And that ends not so much in “making up” new songs as it does in just making crap up.
All that to say, if you do not like singing now, you will probably not much care for it later either. So it is no small wonder that we do not desire to be with Jesus much now because the thought of being with Him alot someday sounds super boring (but better than the alternative, I guess, if I have to, whatever.)

Here is my point: the best way to prepare to worship Jesus tomorrow is by worshipping Him today.

Hebrews 3:12-15

12 Watch out, brothers, so that there won’t be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart that departs from the living God. 13 But encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception.14 For we have become companions of the Messiah if we hold firmly until the end the reality that we had at the start.15 As it is said:

Today, if you hear His voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.

What is holding you back?

Is it that you do not believe He is worth it?
Re-read the verses above from Revelation 5:8-14.

Is it that you like what you currently have and do not want to lose it?
Re-read the verses above from Hebrews 3:12-15.

So now what are you going to do?

James 1:22

But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

He is worthy of your praise.
He is worthy of your money.
He is worthy of your time.
He is worthy of your life.
He is worthy of your everything

Any time, money, love, energy, desires, service, etc… you give to God will never be wasted.

You are not wasting anything in giving Him everything

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

goo goo gaga 2.0

“Broadway is dark tonight.”
But not that dark.
And not that broad.

chopping down axe-idental discipleship

Matthew 3:10

Even now the ax is ready to strike the root of the trees! Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

I am only borrowing one line from Chambers today.

No man is virtuous because he cannot help it; virtue is acquired.

You will not conform your life to Christ by accident. You will not happen upon godliness and virtue. If your plan for maturity consists largely of “going about business as usual,” you will not mature. You will only get older, which is just another way of saying that you will continue dying.

You cannot take a vacation from virtue and remain virtuous.

Being a man of character is hard, relentless work.

So hard, in fact, that if you try to do it fueled by will power and pride alone, you will fall.

It starts with faith.
Faith in God.
Faith in His Son.
Faith in God’s righteousness revealed.
Faith in His Gospel.

From that fuel and foundation, we can create character and validate virtue as we are conformed to the image of Christ more and more daily.

2 Peter 1:5-8

5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge,6 knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness,7 godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they will keep you from being useless or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

when being two-faced is apparently two too short‏

Revelation 4:6-8

6 Something like a sea of glass, similar to crystal, was also before the throne. Four living creatures covered with eyes in front and in back were in the middle and around the throne.7 The first living creature was like a lion; the second living creature was like a calf; the third living creature had a face like a man; and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle.8 Each of the four living creatures had six wings; they were covered with eyes around and inside. Day and night they never stop, saying:

Holy, holy, holy,
Lord God, the Almighty,
who was, who is, and who is coming.


And each one of them is praising Jesus ever always.


Monday, February 25, 2013

and i would do anything for love, but i won't do that‏

I was listening to Chelsea Moon and Uncle Daddy’s version of When I Survey when my mind latched onto the following lyrics:

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
that were an offering far too small;
love so amazing, so divine,
demands my soul, my life, my all.

My thoughts gravitated toward how often I heard words or sentiments of similar vein and responded by feeling guilty for not having given or done more. Lyrics like this pricked at my conscience. But I fended them off by trying harder or doing more for a short season.

I was a sprinter.
Not a marathoner.

I liked to periodically and very intermittently run very quickly for a short distance and then give up entirely. Not even walking. Just collapsing and playing wherever I was.

When people hear that God demands our soul, our lives, our everything, I think they too often do what I used to do and assume that means that we simply have to devote ourselves towards doing more. While a robust, legit Christian life will certainly overflow in fruit and good works, it is wrong to imply that these can spring forth from anything other than a spirit converted by a will surrendered.

We will do anything other than give up our will. We will go to great lengths to avoid giving up control. Don’t tell me what I can’t do! And don’t tell me what I must do either!

I will commit to serve and to give and to live a certain way as long as it is me deciding the who, what, when, where, why, and how's of my service, giving, and living. I will work in the nursery at church, just don’t make me give up my right to self-govern.

We often use our good works to guard us from giving up control.

We do not in earnest ask God, “What do You want from me?” with any sense of comfort since our suspicions will likely be confirmed in our estimation.

He desires to be God and to make much of Himself.

Q: But how can I fit into that?
A: By surrendering my life and will to Him as an instrument to bring Him praise.

But I don’t want to do that.

God does not need our service.
God does not need our gifts.
God does not need our lives.

He owns everything.
He alone has life

For now, you have a life.

To whom will you give it?
On what will you spend it?
For whom will you use it?

What keeps you from surrendering ALL your will and control to God?
What are you holding back?
Why are you holding it back?
What are you waiting for?

The last battle is not in the mind or in the heart.

It is in your will.

Friday, February 22, 2013

holy sh!t

Philippians 3:8

More than that, I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Because of Him I have suffered the loss of all things and consider them filth, so that I may gain Christ

This word translated here as "filth" is from the Greek skubalon
It is only used this one time in the entire Biblical texts. 

It means refuse, dung, filth, garbage, good-for-nothing, etc...

It's bad.

But is it a "bad" word?

Some would say the emphasis of what Paul is saying and the shock value intended by listing off his entire Hebrew resume' in the verses prior only to imply after having done so that it means jack-squat warrants an expletive.  He spent 4 verses prior tooting his own horn only to conclude that his horn and his toots mean absolutely nothing and condemn him before God if not for Jesus.

That is shocking.

To fit the occasion, did the apostle grab a word that would have shocked his hearers? 

We should use bad words for bad things.

What I mean is that we should say adultery and not "affair," lie and not "fib," hate and not "dislike," gossip and not "news," etc..

It unnecessarily softens the seriousness of the sin underneath it when we punt semantically.

Paul speaks on many occasions regarding our mouths being used for the purposes of building others up and not using crude language or vulgar talk.

So, maybe skubalon is more in the family of crap than sh!t.

I don't know.

If you were going to drop it one time, the context and climax of his persuasion in Philippians 3:8 would be a good place to use it.  It would be a clever literary device.  To build a case for himself through his resume', only then to pull the rug out from your nodding head to show you, the reader, the religious bent of the human spirit by comparing said resume' to poop when compared to Jesus.

The closest we can get in self-effort, will power, exertion and man-made righteousness is considered sh!t when offered to God.

Paul was not the first to use a violent metaphor to flesh out this phenomenon.

Isaiah 64:6

All of us have become like something unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like a polluted[a] garment;
all of us wither like a leaf,
and our iniquities carry us away like the wind.

  1. Isaiah 64:6 Lit menstrual
Yeah, the translators let the footnote do the heavy-lifting on this one.  Kudos to them for at least making the footnote to confirm the severity of Isaiah's intentions.

All of our righteous acts are like bloody tampons.

That is a more contemporary way of saying what Isaiah said and gets you closer to hearing the severity of what Isaiah's original audience would have heard.

"He said what?"

It's hard to ignore the guy shouting about tampons (take note also that he was doing so in a culture that was even more discreet about "lady times" than we are with our commercials and ads openly discussing the matter.)  How crude would it have sounded for him to use such a filthy metaphor? 

We don't talk about tampons at all, let alone in public forum, let alone in religious contexts, let alone in comparison to our good works. 

Isaiah's point is Paul's point: if you're hung up on the metaphor being too bloody/too poopy, you do not yet understand the depth of your own depravity or the holiness of God OR the infinite gap that exists between them without grace, mercy and faith.

The undeniable point (in the midst of the debate as to the proper translation of skubalon) is that our righteousness is the best we can do by human effort and it falls tragically short of God's righteousness revealed in Jesus.  Not just "falls short," but is a different thing altogether.  It's not like human righteousness is pretty good, just not good enough.  It may be our best, but on a scale of perfection (1 being perfect and all other numbers being meaningless) we score ZERO.

Think of it like mad libs.

All of our __(best works the human race can offer)__
are __(worst thing you've ever seen in a public trash can)__.


I consider __(best things you have ever done)__
to be __(worst thing you have ever smelled)__
when compared to knowing Christ Jesus, our Lord.

What mad libs did you come up with?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

a trophy life

Chambers is my AM friend. Here's what we talked about this morning.

It is a trap to presume that God wants to make us perfect specimens of what He can do— God’s purpose is to make us one with Himself. The emphasis of holiness movements tends to be that God is producing specimens of holiness to put in His museum. If you accept this concept of personal holiness, your life’s determined purpose will not be for God, but for what you call the evidence of God in your life.

Christian perfection is not, and never can be, human perfection. Christian perfection is the perfection of a relationship with God that shows itself to be true even amid the seemingly unimportant aspects of human life. When you obey the call of Jesus Christ, the first thing that hits you is the pointlessness of the things you have to do. The next thought that strikes you is that other people seem to be living perfectly consistent lives. Such lives may leave you with the idea that God is unnecessary— that through your own human effort and devotion you can attain God’s standard for your life. In a fallen world this can never be done. I am called to live in such a perfect relationship with God that my life produces a yearning for God in the lives of others, not admiration for myself. Thoughts about myself hinder my usefulness to God. God’s purpose is not to perfect me to make me a trophy in His showcase...

Even godliness, ironically, can become a means of trying to gain the world and its approval. 

The very first sin in the garden of Eden was a desire to be more like God by worldly wisdom: to be "like" God, but not "with" Him, to be "as" God "instead" of God.

We often want to be like God so we can have what is His: this world.

The promise of Christianity is that you can have God Himself after the world is gone away.

But you will lose it and everything else forever if that's all to which you aim.

"Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither." ~ C. S. Lewis

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

i wholly hate false doctrine which is only half right‏

Revelation 2:6

Yet you do have this: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

I am better at hating false doctrine than I am at believing and behaving in love based on true doctrine.

It is right to fight against bad teaching.
It is wrong to ignore good teaching.

We can dwell on what is wrong so much that we dwell on nothing else.
We can dwell on our hate of evil to the exclusion of everything else.

Revelation 2:4

But I have this against you: You have abandoned the love you had at first.

It is good to hate evil.
It is better to love God.

If you love God, you will also hate evil.

If you just hate evil, you can live without love for anything or anyone, even God.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

the heart, head, and headship of the matter‏

In meeting with Pastor Tom yesterday I was given insight into the malady and mending of the whole human as created in God’s image and reconciled, restored, and renewed in Christ.
We must order our lives around obeying God in our emotions, mind, and will.

When we feel wrongly about God, we grieve the Holy Spirit.
When we think wrongly about God, we quench the Holy Spirit.
When we do not conform our will to God, we resist the Holy Spirit.
The world operates in the world of the belly.
In other words, "how does it make me feel?"
Here's how this fleshes out (pun intended)
*wink & the gun*
Feelings are paramount.
They are the most trustworthy guide to live a worldly life.
How does it make me feel?

I will act based on my feelings.
I will learn to think about things based on how this process produces results.

The end result: feeling led actions producing thoughts about life.

However, the Bible instructs us to:

Think rightly about God
Act in accord with what we learn
Conjure feelings finally as a result.

Feelings are the least trustworthy source of information we have.

Do you see how the world does this ass-backwards? 
Or belly-forwards? 
Or wrong!
Or Bazinga!
Or whatever, I’m tired.
You will not like where you end up.
You will end up doing things you regret.
You will get caught up in the spirit of the age and miss the Spirit of God entirely.

"made alive" by Citizens

This past weekend at church our band played a new song.

I waited patiently (read: I checked virtually every hour on the hour Monday until the blog posted recapping the set from the prior day's service) and discovered it was a new Citizens' song, "Made Alive."

I just read the other day that Mars Hill music is partnering with Tooth & Nail.
So billy bad apple!

I then discovered the Citizens' song was posted HERE.

This new partnership is allowing Citizens to produce a full-length album.

You can pre-order it now on iTunes, but it drops officially on March 12, 2013.

I'm super jazzed.

Monday, February 18, 2013

house for sale by owner

Our home is officially on the market!!!

Please pass this along to anyone who may be interested and has cash coming out their wazoo.

Interest with no wazoo is not helpful.
Wazoo with no interest is not helpful.

Let's recap:

IDEAL = Interest + $$$ out the wazoo.

Thank you for your time.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

is this post on purpose?

Yep. No mistake.
This post is about sinning on purpose.
That is to say I am purposely writing about the times we sin on purpose.
Psalm 19:12-13
12 Who perceives his unintentional sins?
Cleanse me from my hidden faults.
13 Moreover, keep Your servant from willful sins;
do not let them rule over me.
Then I will be innocent
and cleansed from blatant rebellion.
We are so depraved, we sin without knowing it. We are, however, given insight enough to understand that we make more mistakes than we know; including mistaking how many mistakes we make.
We daily get into the grime of life and contribute muck to the mess. We crap on other people’s days and they poop on our parades. Round and round it goes and where it stops?God only knows.
Until then, we who by faith approach God through Christ deal with the daily reality of still falling short. Being born from above and renewed in one’s spirit by the Spirit still involves living in a body trained by the old man. And that old man does not learn new tricks well at all. He liked the old life. He was used to it.
There are sins we like doing. We want to do them. But we must ask God to assist us in conforming our minds more to His and agreeing with Him as to the nature and desirability of those things. We must grow and mature in becoming more like Him as we orchestrate our days around serving Him and denying ourselves.
Jesus picked up His Cross once and did it perfectly. He did not have to die to Himself. He chose to die for us. Because we live, we must die daily until we by grace enter His courts in Him fully.

We need to daily be protected from ourselves.
We are a work in progress.

The point I am hoping to highlight is not simply that we like sin.
That is obvious.

The point is that by God’s grace, when reborn, we desire righteousness.
Not that we do so at the exclusion of still wrestling with sin, but whereas before we could ONLY desire sin, we now can desire righteousness as well and war against the sinful desires inside us.

Even still, we sin.

And even still, He is faithful to forgive those who blatantly rebel against Him.
We were not forgiven our former sins solely because they were performed in ignorance.

Jesus died on purpose for the sins we do on purpose.
Jesus died for those sins we do by accident or without premeditation.
Jesus died for those sins we do not even realize that we did.

It is not a tit-for-tat confession-for-forgiveness formula. If so, we would have to have perfect knowledge of our imperfection in order to appease the perfect judgment of God.

Rather, we have a perfect Mediator who knows us perfectly and took on all imperfection in Himself that we might be called perfect by justifying imperfection without offending perfect justice.

Say that 37 times quickly!

The bad news is we fall shorter than we thought.
The Good News is God is more gracious than we ever imagined!

Friday, February 15, 2013

why do bad things happen to good people?

Q: Why do bad things happen to good people?

A: That only happened once and He volunteered.

Mark 10:45

...the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.

looking for a home in Ames, IA?

My pastor at canDeo (the Cedar Falls church plant), Joel Vint, is selling his home in order to move his family to the Cedar Valley area.

Check out the Vint's beautiful 3 bed, 2 bath home out HERE.

If I weren't also moving to the CVA (Cedar Valley Area), I would seriously consider making an offer on this place.  I love the sitting room off the master.  Great for married couples to retreat to at the end of a long day to enjoy time together.

If you aren't looking to buy a new home in Ames, do you know someone who is?

Please direct them to the link above.

Please assist the canDeo crew so that we can all arrive in Cedar Falls ready to get to work.

is forgiveness possible?

At Men’s BASIC this morning we watched this video.
Good on ER for articulating with such brutal honesty the struggle of preparing to meet one’s Maker without the certainty of what one will encounter.
This powerful clip presents well the deep guilt of being wrong and knowing better now for what you should have known better then. This is the crystallization of epiphany. This is the coalescence of sin, shame, guilt, fear, God, and judgment.
What this man wants is answers. He wants to know what he is up against. Not a greeting card sentimentality about a silver lining. Sin is serious. This man recognized the severity of what he had done and what that meant for him. He did not want someone to wink at his sin. Nor someone to come along side him and tell him that we all fall short and that it is going to be OK.
It was not going to be OK.
We are not saved by our common falleness. Our most endearing quality is not that we are “just as bad” as everyone else; at least, no worse than most.
This man was right to fear God without Jesus.
He wants someone to shoot straight and tell him that his sin is serious and that it separates him from God. This acknowledges the shame and guilt of what he knows is bad news.


Romans 4:8

How joyful is the man
the Lord will never charge with sin
The bad news and a right acknowledgement thereof provide a foothold for the Good News to make sense, to be accepted, and to be embraced in joyful response.

This man ultimately wanted Good News. The counselor sitting at his bed side was trying to speak to him kind words and sentiments that sounded sweet and comforting. They, however, were attempting to do so without being in concert with reality. Any attempt to make peace with God that does not include a right acknowledgement of being at war with God through sin falls flat and is nothing but flattery.

Do not make less of sin in order to make much of man.

Make much of Jesus by acknowledging the depths of sin and the abounding grace of God.

Making less of sin makes less of Jesus.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Jude ends where he intended to begin

Jude 1:24-25

24 Now to Him who is able to protect you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of His glory,blameless and with great joy, 25 to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority before all time, now and forever. Amen.

So much to soak in this morning as Jude gets to what he originally intended to communicate. 

Unlike us, God is able to hold that which He has grasped. Everything inevitably slips through our fingers and faster and more frequently the more we grip it. Like sand sifting through your fingers, the harder you squeeze to keep it, the more you ensure you have less to squeeze.

John MacArthur once said, “If I could lose my salvation, I would.” That is to say if it depended upon us to keep what we could not get, we would lose it because we couldn’t find it in the first place.

Moving on…

The Holy Spirit is our personal helper in reminding us of the Gospel of God so that we are assured daily of His sufficiency on our behalf. He also urges, encourages, commands, and equips us to walk in light of this love by having love stirred up within us. We delight in the Law and desire to organize our lives around fulfilling God’s desires rather than our own. If we keep the first commandment, we keep them all. If we break the first commandment, we break them all.

The Holy Spirit secures and seals us to finish the race by faith alone when the world around us tempts to abandon it for self-indulgence, self-interest, self-esteem, or self-righteousness.

24blameless and with great joy”

That is awesome!!! And totally, utterly ridiculous and scandalous.

We are counted as blameless because in Christ we are seen as clean; not because we are actually blameless, but because Christ was and is and intercedes on our behalf - imputing to us what is rightfully His.

We have great joy because facing God as a friend in Christ is an occasion that erupts with melody, dancing, singing, and joyous shouts of praise. We have no natural business in being anything other than destroyed by the presence of God.

We deserve to be found as blameworthy and afraid. We have done wrong. We have failed to do right. We have known that for these things we deserve to die. We know that He is better than us. We all admit, “no one’s perfect,” but know that God is. That is a problem. His perfection is not our salvation, it is our condemnation.

By grace, God has provided a means to alleviate this situation in Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. By our faith in God’s provision, we are saturated daily in eternal life and prepared to survive God’s holy presence. We will “stand” in that we will survive.

Our hearts attached to Him.
Him holding our hearts secure.

25 to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority before all time, now and forever. Amen

God will never fail in what He has prepared, planned, performed, produced, and published.

It was His Gospel from the beginning.
It’s His Gospel until the end.
It’s His Gospel for you today.

galentine's - let's hear it for the grrls

Happy Valentine's Day wife!

I am looking forward to our date tonight.

(mad props to lauren janelle - formerly from myspace fame - for watching her niece and nephews, and for forsaking myspace fame for the common life of an Aunt of God :) )

I love our family and I love you, my wife.

Before it was all of us, it was just us (although "just us" was fairly short lived).

I like looking forward to nights like tonight where we get to remember and enjoy the "just us."

In other news, I would be remiss if I failed to mention the other two prominent ladies in my life (for a total of four if you are playing along at home: wife/sister/mother/daughter).

Mom, I love you.
Thank you for patiently loving me even though I was not as good of a son as you tell people I was.

Penelope, I love you.
You are the sweetest daughter and the thought of you produces giggles in my soul and gratitude to my God for providing and commiting such a beautiful specimen to me to raise.  I will always love you and protect you and guard your heart in leading you to Jesus in any and every thing.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

thoughts from "the burned over place" a blog by Tullian Tchividjian‏

Read HERE.
This is an awesome image of how the Law and the Gospel interact.
“Fire would not burn the place where fire had already burned.”
It is well worth the 5 minutes it will take to read it.
It reminds me of the following passage:
Psalm 51:17
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

a birthday is only as good as it is reborn

Happy Birthday Sister!

I love you and I'm so proud of you.

I thank God for the faith He has given you to depend upon Christ.

I pray that He blesses you richly in this life and the next by His grace for living faithfully before Him -- often to me and my family's frequent benefit.

you gots to get down to get up‏

When on our own, we try to stand before God; we fall.
When on our knees, we fall before God; we stand.

Revelation 1:17-18

17 When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. He laid His right hand on me and said, “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last,18 and the Living One. I was dead, but look—I am alive forever and ever, and I hold the keys of death and Hades.

John was one of Jesus’ best friends during Jesus’ earthly ministry; and when John saw the glorified Christ, he fell down at His feet like a dead man. But Jesus raised his friend John back to his feet.

We do not stand in God’s presence without His grace.
And by His grace, we stand secure in Him.

He is the beginning and the end, the point of it all.
He tasted death on our behalf, but death could not hold Him down.
He controls the afterlife where He reigns all of it: up and down, Heaven and Hell.

If we are controlled by Him, we too will live forever and stand with, through, by, and in Him alone!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

an unexpected bridle shower‏

Last night I was taking a shower after running on the treadmill and my thoughts gravitated towards this dilemma of grace and faith and good works and Law and Gospel.

Here is a thought that God organized in my mind in thinking about both:

Romans 3:28

For we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.


Romans 4:5

But to the one who does not work, but believes on Him who declares the ungodly to be righteous, his faith is credited for righteousness.

This is the question that often arises:

“If the Law cannot save us, why should we still try to follow it?”

This demonstrates both the ignorance and arrogance of the asker.

I will try to illustrate by way of examples.


Imagine someone saying, “If an MRI cannot cure cancer, why should I get one?”

You would rightly reply, “You don’t get an MRI to cure cancer, but determine if and where you have cancer. It helps you see the problem more clearly. It gives you a place to focus your efforts. It tells you what is broken and what needs healing.”

The Law was not intended to save you. It was meant to show you the areas where you fall short of God’s perfection and provide you ample opportunity to fall devastated before the Law-Giver in humility. The Law cannot save you unless you keep it perfectly.


Imagine someone else saying, “If my wife already knows that I love her, why should I listen to her or do things that she likes? If she knows that I love her, I should not have to concern myself with what she wants from me.”

You would rightly reply, “It does not sound like you love your wife. If I were her, I would sincerely doubt that you loved her. You cannot merely say, ‘I love you’ and have that mean anything tangible if in every other way you demonstrate you do not love her. Love is not saying things that aren’t true. That is lying, not love. If you loved your wife, you would care about what she cares about. The fact that you so openly acknowledge that you do not care about her desires, demonstrates more matter-of-factly a disposition of flattery and deception. If that is love, I hope you never love me.”

The Law is what God desires for us. It is His holiness on display. This is the way things would be run if we all lived in concert with God’s will for us 24/7. How arrogant and obstinate are you to tell God that He can save you as long as you don’t have to love Him? How can you claim to love Jesus and so defiantly, intentionally distance yourself from any and every thing He loves?

We do not strive to obey the Law because we need to do so in order to be saved. We read the Law and ponder upon it and rely on it to reveal to us our sin and need for a Savior. We read the Gospel and hear that this atonement has been accomplished by the good works of Jesus who kept the Law fully. Jesus’ MRI was clean. Yet He voluntarily took upon Himself the cancers of our lives. The very things the MRIs reveal in us, He invited into Himself. He died, not because of His sin, but because of ours. If we receive this gift on our behalf, our MRI reads clean because Jesus grants us His results.

Anyone whose response to this is reject the honor and beauty of the Law does so to their own demise and demonstrates that they have not received the gift of salvation, the gift of God Himself. That person, like the fool, tells you that their only interest is self-interest. They tell you that their faith is not faith at all, but futility.


So why the pun about the bridal shower?

Well, smarty pants, I thought of this in the shower. So there’s that.

Why the bridle?

verb /ˈbrīdl/ 
Bring (something) under control; curb

Romans 3:19

19 Now we know that whatever the law says speaks to those who are subject to the law,so that every mouth may be shut and the whole world may become subject to God’s judgment.

The Law was meant to shut us up. It was meant to make us realize our place before God without His intervention on our behalf. It was meant to show us that He is holier than we are and that we are more depraved than we would ever think we were without it. It reveals to us greater heights and deeper depths available to us through mere speculation. The Law is a diagnostic device: it is used for determining health and sickness, goodness and badness, holiness and sinfulness.

Psalm 119:25-32

25 My life is down in the dust;
give me life through Your word.

26 I told You about my life,
and You listened to me;
teach me Your statutes.
27 Help me understand
the meaning of Your precepts
so that I can meditate on Your wonders.
28 I am weary from grief;
strengthen me through Your word.
29 Keep me from the way of deceit
and graciously give me Your instruction.
30 I have chosen the way of truth;
I have set Your ordinances before me.
31 I cling to Your decrees;
Lord, do not put me to shame.
32 I pursue the way of Your commands,
for You broaden my understanding.

I would also be remiss to overlook the obvious Bride of Christ allusion being referenced by my puns-o-fun.

Paul summarizes my points in this way:

Romans 3:31

Do we then cancel the law through faith? Absolutely not! On the contrary, we uphold the law.
The Law is the revelation of our awesome God. If you love Him and have been made anew in Him, you will desire to do what brings Him delight.

If your claim to love for Him is characterized by attitudes and actions in complete conflict with Him; it is very likely that you do not love Him at all.

The Law bridles our tongues and our lives. It keeps us silent before a Holy God and keeps our lives on the straight and narrow.