Tuesday, April 30, 2013

perfected by flesh?

Galatians 3:3

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

We find our rest in Jesus for salvation.

It is in the random rest of it that we often fail to find release.


Frankie said so.

But I digress…

It was not then your sweetness that saved.
It is not now your sweat that sanctifies.

Monday, April 29, 2013

but with God...

Matthew 19:25-26

25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” 26 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible,but with God all things are possible.”

I love a little Q&A.

So let’s have at it:

Q: Who can be saved?

Great question disciples.

A: No one.


Q: Who is worthy enough to deserve it?
Q: Who is capable enough to achieve it?
Q: How can I have it?

Again, great question disciples.

A: No one and you can’t.

Shucky darn!

It is impossible for a man to save himself, let alone another man.
It is impossible for a man to be worthy of being saved, let alone grant that worth to another.
It is impossible for a man to wrestle salvation to the ground by sheer will power, let alone corral enough to share with another.

With man this is impossible,

Shall I continue beating this dead horse or do we got it?

I thought I was going to have to get all Dostoevsky on your punk butt.

Speaking of but’s.
(that segue rivals weird al’s)

but with God…

(that is a beautiful big ol’ but by the by, isn’t it?)

God CAN.
He is capable of any and every thing.
He makes worthy those unworthy.
He gives by gift what could not be earned by grit.

but with God all things are possible.

That is Good News!

John 19:30

When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said,It is finished,”and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

wordsmithin': obeisance‏

Extra! Extra! Read all about it HERE.
o·bei·sance n.
1. A gesture or movement of the body, such as a curtsy, that expresses deference or homage.
2. An attitude of deference or homage
I first came across this word while reading my trusty, rusty RSV. When God first found me, He also lit my little head on fire with desire to read His Word. I had an RSV sitting around from my past connection to the RCA so I began reading.
According to BibleGateway, it first appears (if reading cover to cover) in the RSV in,
Genesis 43:28
They said, “Your servant our father is well, he is still alive.” And they bowed their heads and made obeisance.
It makes sense as a word since it has the sound “obey” as part of its pronunciation. So it sounds like what it is: obeying or showing that you are willing to obey the commands of the one to whom you are showing obeisance.
Joseph’s brothers deferred to Pharaoh’s right-hand man.
Little did they know that they were fulfilling the prophecy of their kid brother from years before.
We will all fall at the feet of Jesus.
Each and every either in adoration or devastation.

happy birthday Penelope!

My little girl turns 3 years old today!

Psalm 144:12

May our sons in their youth
be like plants full grown,
our daughters like corner pillars
cut for the structure of a palace

I pray that you would grow up to be beautiful and reliable, lovely and dependable, elegant and sturdy, remarkable and meek, feminine and trustworthy.

May you be like a corner pillar cut for the structure of a pallace.  May your beauty be admired and your integrity honored.

I will guard your heart as long as you let me.

May you submit to me, wear authority on your head, be kind, gentle and quiet, laugh at the days to come, and honor your father and mother by protecting your heart from the idolatry of self-reliance.

I have enjoyed getting to know you so much little girl. 
I love your spitfire little personality and your go-with-the-flow-ness.
Lord knows you did not inherit it from either your mom or me.

I am very excited as we enter the days where I have increased access to your heart.

You are developing language and charisma and I am thrilled to get to peek inside that little heart of yours in hearing its overflow speak.

May you never be satisfied in anything less than Jesus.
I pray you find heartache unto repentance in every endeavor not devoted to Him

May He in His grace forgive your sins.
May you in obedience receive His rightness.

I love you Sissy.
May you follow me as I follow Jesus.

Friday, April 26, 2013

thoughts from "Free to be Fallen" by Tullian Tchividjian‏

Check out the full post HERE.
The freedom to be OK with not being OK.
Some would say, “We go to church to give to God, to show Him that we’re serious.”
I understand the sermon note pointed at our consumerism.
It’s a good one.
Many of us do come to church only to get and never give the church or God anything.
We will continue to do so unless we RESPOND to the fact that in Christ, God has given us everything.
The best fuel for maturity is NOT a rally cry for us to do good works in order to become who we always wanted to be.
The best fuel for maturity is a proclamation of forgiveness found in faith in what has already been done by God.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

my assurance is as sure as He has secured it

Hebrews 6:17-20

17 So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath,18 so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to thehope set before us. 19 We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain,20 where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.

Check out the words used in the passage above:

con·vinc·ing adj.

1. Serving to convince:

2. Believable; plausible:

un·change·a·ble adj.

Not to be altered; immutable:

guar·an·tee tr.v.guar·an·teed, guar·an·tee·ing, guar·an·tees

1. To assume responsibility for the debt, default, or miscarriage of.

2. To assume responsibility for the quality or performance of:.

3. To undertake to do, accomplish, or ensure (something) for another:.

4. To make certain:.

5. To furnish security for.

6. To express or declare with conviction:

oath n.

1.  A solemn, formal declaration or promise to fulfill a pledge, often calling on God, a god, or a sacred object as witness.

2. The words or formula of such a declaration or promise.

3. Something declared or promised.

im·pos·si·ble adj.

1. Incapable of having existence or of occurring.

2. Not capable of being accomplished

3. Unacceptable; intolerable

4. Extremely difficult to deal with or tolerate:

hold·fast v.

1. stick to firmly

hope n

1. (sometimes plural) a feeling of desire for something and confidence in the possibility of its fulfilment

2. a reasonable ground for this feeling

3. a person or thing that gives cause for hope

4. a thing, situation, or event that is desired

sure adj.sur·er, sur·est

1. Impossible to doubt or dispute; certain.

2. Not hesitating or wavering; firm:.

3. Confident, as of something awaited or expected:

4. Bound to come about or happen; inevitable:.

5. Having one's course directed; destined or bound:.

6. Certain not to miss or err; steady:.

7. Worthy of being trusted or depended on; reliable.

8. Free from or marked by freedom from doubt:.

9. Careful to do something:

10. Obsolete Free from harm or danger; safe

stead·fast adj.

1. Fixed or unchanging; steady.

2. Firmly loyal or constant; unswerving

an·chor n.

1. A source of security or stability.

And all of the above, “on our behalf.”

2 Corinthians 5:18-21

18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

wordsmithin': hoi polloi

Extra! Extra! Read all about it HERE.
hoi pol·loi n.
The common people; the masses.
I was introduced to this word by way of a word-of-the-day calendar my friend, Ami Duvick, got for me one year for Christmas. I love words and love Ami for knowing that about me.

Matthew 7:13-14

13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

People enter ease by the masses.
Few find life.

More will work for wind than will receive rest.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

love God? sometimes i hate Him

“Love God? Sometimes I hate Him.” ~Martin Luther

“Love God. Love people.” is a beautiful summary OF THE LAW.

When we are told that the Gospel is “Love God. Love your neighbor,” we wilt.

I want to love God and my neighbor perfectly.
But I don’t.

It is not Good News to tell me that I must do something that is impossible in order to avoid the wrath I deserve..

Do not tell people that in order to be saved they need only to love God and their neighbor.
They cannot do it and they will not be saved by trying their best and failing at it.

So what hope remains then for the Christian who failed?

Dive deeper into this HERE.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

snapshot salvation

The Chambers of commerce profited a strong yield today when he pointed out that.
Many of us have a mental picture of what a Christian should be, and looking at this image in other Christians’ lives becomes a hindrance to our focusing on God.This is not salvation— it is not simple enough. He says, in effect, “Look to Me and youare saved,” not “Youwill be saved someday.” We will find what we are looking for if we will concentrate on Him. We get distracted from God and irritable with Him while He continues to say to us, “Look to Me, and be saved."
We get mad at God because we cannot be the good Christian people we imagine we should be. We think being a Christian means becoming a Christian. We hold up Christians around us as targets on which we set our sights. We often fall short of our aspirations; but even if we accomplish them and become the Christian we always wanted, we have not yet entered into the rest of salvation.
Becoming a Christian is not something we do.
We receive our Christianity because of and solely on the basis of whatChrist has already done.
When we focus entirely on becoming better Christians, we end up pissed at God for making the ceiling so high, the rules so unbending, the standard so unreachable, the lion’s den so dark, the clouds so untouchable, the Goliaths so large and perfection so impossible. We can even begin to hate God for His good standards.
Romans 8:7-8
7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot.8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
Our hope is not in achieving the resume’ of those to whom we look up.
Our hope is that God will forgive our inadequacy and find us in Jesus.
When we receive Him, we receive rest.
When we worry about the rest, we work up only more worry.

Monday, April 22, 2013

eat me

John 6:66
After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.
After what?
John 6:60-65

60 When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?”61 But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them,“Do you take offense at this? 62 Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.)65 And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”

The irony is that in response to Jesus telling the crowd that only those called can come, a large number of them leave.
Jesus basically says, “It’s My Way or the highway (or low-way in this case)” (VVCSV)
They choose highway.
Which makes sense.
The flesh profits nothing.
It could not choose Him without His consent.
But what started all of this hoolabaloo?
Two words:Eat me” (VVCSV)
There are things about God you have to accept when you sign up like the tension between God being BOTH completely in control and completely good.
If He is completely in control, why does He allow or will so much bad?
If He is completely good, why doesn’t He take more control?
Does He care? If He does why _____?
Is He capable? If He is then why not _____?
That is upper echelon tension.
These folks had a more simple, in your face dilemma.
Person 1: Did He just say, “Eat me”?
Person 2: I think He did.
Person(s) 1 & 2: That is crazy!!!
John 6:66-69

66 After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.67 So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?”68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life,69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

When you put your stock in with Jesus, you accept a lot of that which you do not understand.
That is not to say that understanding is not available or worth seeking.
It is more of a commentary on the fact that finite creatures are grappling with the Finite.
There should be more we do not understand in many circumstances.
Are you so committed to Him to be totally confused and frustrated and yet confess allegiance to Him alone?
Or do your feet flee to what you hope are firmer foundations when He acts or does not act in a way that confuses you?
The flesh profits nothing, but Jesus’ flesh profits everything.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

two of a kind

So Team VV had an impromptu ultrasound at Friday's mid-wife appointment and discovered that we are having another GIRL!

I am very excited to have another little girl.

I love watching my wife and her sister Lauren interact.
They are both beautiful and love Jesus. 
They are probably some of the closest sisters I have ever seen.

I am praying that Penelope and baby grrl #2 be like Paige and Lauren.
In every way imaginable.

God has been so kind to me.
I don't know why.
I am grateful.

All I can do is say, "Thank You" and know that when I do so I am also thankful for having Someone specific to offer my appreciation and gratitude for this life hidden in Christ and blessed in plain sight.

Friday, April 19, 2013

loose lips sink ships (and apparently apostles)

Matthew 14:30-31

30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him,“O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
Jesus rebuked Peter’s lack of faith, but did not let Peter drown because of his lack of faith.
Peter’s faith was criticized by Jesus for being “little” NOT “absent” altogether.
Apparently a “little” faith is enough to do miraculous things by the grace of God for in our weakness He is magnified the more.
It is also a great comfort to me in reading this morning that we can be bold and courageous in Christ solely on the assurance of knowing that He is mighty to save and compassionate to actually do so when our faith is shaken by “the storms of life.”
My faith need not be the anchor of my hope.
My faith can be shaken.
I love that Jesus reached out His hand to Peter in response to Peter’s cry.
Peter sank.
Jesus DIDN’T.
Peter did not need “walk on water” faith or “new car” faith.
Peter needed Jesus to save him.
Jesus could help Peter because Jesus NEVER SINKS.
In Him, we too may stand fully confident before God, forever.
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus Christ, my righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand.
When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;

In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

a hearty breakfast

Psalm 33:13-22 

13 The Lord looks down from heaven;
he sees all the children of man;
14 from where he sits enthroned he looks out
on all the inhabitants of the earth,

15 he who fashions the hearts of them all
and observes all their deeds.

16 The king is not saved by his great army;
a warrior is not delivered by his great strength.
17 The war horse is a false hope for salvation,
and by its great might it cannot rescue.

18 Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him,
on those who hope in his steadfast love,

19 that he may deliver their soul from death
    and keep them alive in famine.
20 Our soul waits for the Lord;
he is our help and our shield.

21 For our heart is glad in him,
because we trust in his holy name.

22 Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us,
even as we hope in you

Today we get to hear our new baby's heartbeat.

God is the Author and Designer of all life.
He creates us and knows us.

Only in Him is our heart glad.

St. Augustine said it this way,
"Our hearts are restless until we find our rest in Thee."

Our hearts can only be made complete by doing that for which they were designed.
We were made to love and follow Jesus.
We don't.

We fall short of our purpose.

So God made a way for us to be by faith that which we were made to be by design.

Our heart is glad in Jesus.

May our newest family member's heart be softened by grace to receive by faith the Author and Perfector of their little heart which we will hear beat for the first time today.