Friday, February 27, 2015

day no. 13,276: God's commitment to God is His assurance to us‏

"We've all heard the objection, 'Christianity CAN'T be true. Look at the people in the church. They're sinners like everyone else.' The shoddy lives of Christians do cast doubt on the Gospel. The prophet Nathan said to David, 'You have given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme' (2 Samuel 12:14). But how does God think? 'Christianity MUST be true. Look at the people in the church. They're sinners like everyone else.'

What's the difference between these two lines of reasoning? The logic of each is impeccable in its own way. But each is grounded in a different premise. The skeptical objection to the Gospel is premised in works-righteousness. But the logic of God is premised in grace: Christianity MUST be true, because only God would save sinners. God proves that He is God by His grace to sinners. 

If you are in Christ, whatever God is doing in you life right now is not an experiment that He might abandon if He gets fed up with you. You need to know that God would have to stop being God before He'd quit on you. It's not because you risk looking like a failure. You already do. It is because God will never let His purpose fail. The defeat of grace to sinners would be the defeat of God.

The message of God to us all is this: 'For My Own sake, I love failures and fools and spiritual nitwits. My glory I will not give to another.'

God's commitment to God is His assurance to us."

~ Ray Ortlund, Jr.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

day no. 13,275: sin boldly, believe boldly

"God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong (sin boldly), but let your trust in Christ be stronger (believe much more boldly), and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world."

Martin Luther

This is not an invitation to license.

This is an invitation to be who you are, a sinner saved by grace through faith in Jesus alone.

This is for the moments of failure and folly when you feel like you can't be a Christian, when you are such a disappoint to yourself and others.

Embrace the FACT that you are a sinner in that moment and find comfort in the FACT that Jesus did not come to save hypothetical sinners, but real, tangible, dirty, rotten sinners like you and me.

Sin boldly and believe even more boldly that Jesus knows you are a sinner and has spent Himself to save sinful little you.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

day no. 13,274: the overlooked backdrop of the often looked over great commission‏

Matthew 28:16-17

16 Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him—but some of them doubted!
It is in this context that Jesus first assures His disciples and then commissions them to the good work of spreading the good news and making disciples who will make more disciples.

Jesus draws near that mixed group of worshipping/doubting disciples and assures them that He has ALL authority in Heaven and earth, so in other words, He has all authority everywhere that authority could be had.

He then says, "therefore."

Since that is true, go and tell the world that Jesus is God and immerse them into this God and teach them everything He commanded and help them to obey those commands as they seek to obey and trust Him alone.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

day no. 13,273: more disciples making disciples

2 Timothy 2:2
You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.
Did you see the FOUR generations of discipleship at work in this verse?
1. Paul
2. Timothy
3. Those whom Timothy will disciple.
4. Those whom Timothy's disciples will disciple.
And by implication from what we learn below, you could very well imply that FIVE generations of disciples are made manifest in 2 Timothy 2:2.

1 Corinthians 15:3

I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said.
Paul had it passed to him and he passed it along to Timothy who was instructed to pass it along to others who would pass it along to others.

Monday, February 23, 2015

day no. 13,272: disciples making disciples‏

Philippians 4:9
Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.
Paul taught.
Paul gave.
Paul talked.
Paul showed.
That is a disciple making disciples.
We would be wise to do the same.

Friday, February 20, 2015

day no. 13,269: on busy days...‏

Matthew 6:33
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
It is good to remember this often.
Seek His Kingdom, setting my own aside.
Most anxiety in my experience is a result of pursuing as top priority my own little kingdom.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

day no. 13,268: i am sherlocked

Paige and I have been watching A LOT of Sherlock Holmes lately on Netflix.

It is the bomb diggity.

They dropped this little gem the other evening:

 And then there is this:

If you haven't seen it yet, you're missing out.

British people are funnier and smarter than us.

It's cool.

After all, they did invent America.

Sort of.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

day no. 13,267: the King Who carries His people on His shoulders‏

Isaiah 46:1-4

46 Bel crouches; Nebo cowers.
Their idols are consigned to beasts and cattle.
The images you carry are loaded,
as a burden for the weary animal.
2 The gods cower; they crouch together;
they are not able to rescue the burden,
but they themselves go into captivity.

3 “Listen to Me, house of Jacob,
all the remnant of the house of Israel,
who have been sustained from the womb,
carried along since birth.
4 I will be the same until your old age,
and I will bear you up when you turn gray.
I have made you, and I will carry you;
I will bear and save you.

The gods we create need us to carry them around.
The gods we create are great burdens to us.
The gods we create need us to lift them up.

The only God that is, the only one in all of existence, carries us.
He lifts great burdens from our weary backs.
He comes down in order to lift us up.

There is only one God.
He made us and everything else.
And He will not renege.
He is not a deadbeat Father.

He made us
He takes full responsibility for us.
He carries us.
He bears us up
He saves us.

Of all the gods that we create, we have yet to create one that can carry us.

Of all the things we’d least expect of the real God Who does exist is the surprising fact that He is eager and willing to carry us if we will only lay ourselves and our idols down.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

day no. 13,266: #toocoolforcrack

I just thought of this the other night.

Crack is whack.

Not that.

Everyone knows that.

I thought of the phrase, "too cool for crack."

Which, by God's grace, I guess I thought myself to be as a lad.

Drugs have never really appealed to me in any sense.

They are expensive, illegal and a quite scary.

All things a small town, Dutch boy finds unattractive.

So get your hashtags out and scream it out loud with me:


Monday, February 16, 2015

day no. 13,265: the scary first steps out of comfort and into Christ

"There comes a moment when every one of us must decide: will we settle down in the Babylon of this world or we will venture out into redemption in Jesus?" ~ Ray Ortlund, Jr.

Will you make your home in Babylon with the rest of the world or will you leave everything you've ever known in order to possess the only things that outlast the world?

When the sea is parted and a way is provided to leave Egypt, will you take His hand and venture out into the unknown of the wilderness?

Friday, February 13, 2015

day no. 13,262: imputed failure and success

"His only failure was our failure. Our only success is His success." ~ Ray Ortlund, Jr.

Jesus took upon Himself our failures.

We take upon ourselves His righteousness.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

day no. 13,261: killing us softly with His song

"God is out to prove how kind He can be through Jesus Christ." ~ Ray Ortlund, Jr.

God is trying to prove something.

He could come down quickly, convincingly, like a hammer and we would know, but we would be powder.

Romans 2:4
Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

day no. 13,260: not great, not good

I fall in awe before great men.
I fall in shame before good men.

I am neither great nor good.

There are times I wish I was.
There are times I think I am.

But I am not great and I am not good.

But by the grace of God, I am what I am.

The religious man in me looks to other men and makes the mistake of assuming the they offer something in addition to God's grace to them that makes them extra attractive in God's eyes.

I know that is not true, but the religious man, buried deep inside is tempted to believe that those men are truly more beautiful in God's sight than men like me.

I admire them.

I respect them.

In my religious heart, I may be tempted even to worship them.

And that's why it's wrong.

The rebellious man in me looks to murder the man others believe me to be.  Knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am NOT worthy of praise or honor, I look to sabotage that man they praise and honor.

So I find in myself both the desire to be praised and the desire to sabotage the man I work so hard to convince others to praise.

The heart is deceitful and desperately wicked, who can understand it?

May God have mercy and save me from myself.


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

day no. 13,259: go beard or go home

I thought I had made this up the other day at work, but apparently (and not surprisingly, someone else had already beat me to it).

I'm growing my beard again and hopefully up until Easters.

That would make it a 4 month beard at its funeral.

I'm hoping some year soon to pull off the half year beard.

1/2 YR BRD!

I googled that, and while less common, that too is already a thing and not something I invented (even though I thought maybe I had  a shot at being the one to coin that baddy).

Monday, February 9, 2015

day no. 13,258: God does not shirk responsibility‏

Isaiah 45:7

I create the light and make the darkness.

I send good times and bad times.

I, the Lord, am the one who does these things.

"Let's stop trying to rescue God from a problem He created for Himself by claiming full mastery over all things. Let's not relieve God of His responsibilities as King of the universe. The very thing we perceive as a problem, God perceives as His glory, namely, God owns the dark moments of life. He bends everything around for a saving purpose. When Isaiah wrote this so long ago, he did not overlook a difficulty that we brainy modern people happened to notice. Isaiah 45:7 is NOT an embarassment. It's what we love about God. Not even evil can frustrate Him. And His surprising strategies are our assurance." ~ Ray Ortlund, Jr.

Friday, February 6, 2015

day no. 13,255: the good, the bad and the plan‏

Matthew 22:10

So the servants brought in everyone they could find, good and bad alike, and the banquet hall was filled with guests.
If you think of yourself as bad, the verse above gives you hope.
If you think of yourself as good, the verse above gives you the feeling that all of your good work is perhaps being overlooked since the bad are also included in the call.

Romans 9:30-33

30 What does all this mean? Even though the Gentiles were not trying to follow God’s standards, they were made right with God. And it was by faith that this took place. 31 But the people of Israel, who tried so hard to get right with God by keeping the law, never succeeded. 32 Why not? Because they were trying to get right with God by keeping the law instead of by trusting in him. They stumbled over the great rock in their path. 33 God warned them of this in the Scriptures when he said,
“I am placing a stone in Jerusalem that makes people stumble,
    a rock that makes them fall.
But anyone who trusts in him
    will never be disgraced.”

Thursday, February 5, 2015

day no. 13,254: upside down kingdom‏

Matthew 20:25-28

25 But Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. 26 But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. 28 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Everyone wants to rule the world and everyone without Christ in them would rule the world the exact same way: using authority and power to get what they want most, even if it meant others going without what they wanted most.

Not so for those in whom the Spirit of Christ dwells.

It cannot be so for the One who lives within came to lay down His life and bids you do the very same.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

day no. 13,253: bulging pockets at the narrow gate‏

Matthew 19:23

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is very hard for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
It is very hard for rich people to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.
They are often too content with their own kingdom.

Beware of the desire to be rich.

It is VERY HARD for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Maybe it's because they have too much stuff in their pockets and cannot fit through the narrow gate.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

day no. 13,252: the encouragement of Christ

Matthew 14:27

But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!

Those are 3 concise and comforting statements that we need to hear often from Jesus and they build upon each other.

1. Don't Be Afraid

Are you tempted to be afraid very often? I am. There are any number of things that can scare me on any given day. Jesus says, "Don't be afraid!"

I'd love to spend my days less consumed by tiny fears, but it isn't as easy as merely being disciplined enough to not give in to fear.

2. Take Courage

Don't just put off fear and cowardice, put on courage. 

Gird yourself and go forward.

OK, again, I'd love to be less scared and more brave.  I don't think I'm alone in that desire.

But it isn't as simple as being brave enough to avoid giving in to fear and smart enough to be brave instead of scared.

3. I Am Here.

The third statement is the most powerful and makes sense out of the first two statements.

Because He is here, I don't have to be afraid.

Because He is here, I can be brave.

Because He is here, the many times I have been afraid and cowardly are forgiven.

Monday, February 2, 2015

day no. 13,251: love God and do whatever you please‏

"Love God and do whatever you please" ~ St. Augustine

When you love God, doing whatever you please is doing whatever seeks to please Him.

If we love Him, we are free to love Him by doing what we please.
If we love Him, He is pleased with what we do.