Tuesday, June 30, 2015

day no. 13,399: guilty yet free to go‏

Romans 4:5

And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness
God justifies the ungodly.  That is to say, He calls ungodly people "godly."
Is God wrong?
I mean it's like He is looking at white and calling it black, sweet and calling it sour, light and calling it dark, evil and calling it good.
He would be wrong if He hadn't done something. 

Romans 4:24-25

...God will also count us as righteous if we believe in him, the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God.
Because Jesus lived perfectly for us and died sacrificially for us and rose from the dead for us, God can rightly apply our sin to Him and His glory to us and is justified Himself in justifying the ungodly.

Monday, June 29, 2015

day no. 13,398: a bold statement and an underlying principle‏

Romans 3:28

So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law.
This is one of the boldest statements made in the entire Bible.  In the next chapter we'll see Paul say something equally as bold and jarring to the common senses.
We are made right with God through faith in God period.
We are not made right with God by obeying the law.
We are only made right with Him through faith in what He has already done for us.

Romans 3:31

Well then, if we emphasize faith, does this mean that we can forget about the law? Of course not! In fact, only when we have faith do we truly fulfill the law.
Paul anticipates your reaction to the boldness of what he just said above.
No, he didn't just say do whatever you want as long as you have faith in God.
What you do matters, but only that which is done out of faith in response to His loving life, death and resurrection FOR us.
We work hard to do what He desires because we love Him and want to honor Him by tangibly surrendering and submitting our entire lives and livelihoods to Him and His perfect law.

Friday, June 26, 2015

day no. 13,395: what makes us right?‏

Romans 2:13

For merely listening to the law doesn’t make us right with God. It is obeying the law that makes us right in his sight.
Sitting in church every week does not a saint make.

Knowing what is right and what is wrong does not a good person make.

Doing only what is right and never what is wrong a righteous man makes.

So by show of hands, who by this standard believes they will be ushered into Heaven?

Thursday, June 25, 2015

day no. 13,394: the one who by faith is made righteous shall live

Romans 1:17

This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.”
Habbakuk 2:4 and Galatians 3:11 both also make this STRONG point.

The one who by faith is made righteous shall live.

And that one only.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

day no. 13,393: discernment‏

Acts 28:4-6

The people of the island saw it hanging from his hand and said to each other, “A murderer, no doubt! Though he escaped the sea, justice will not permit him to live.” But Paul shook off the snake into the fire and was unharmed. The people waited for him to swell up or suddenly drop dead. But when they had waited a long time and saw that he wasn’t harmed, they changed their minds and decided he was a god.
Wow, that didn't take long did it?

You must be a death-deserving murderer!
Never mind, you must be God!

If you use only results as your barometer of who or what is good or evil, your opinions will vary like waves tossed by the wind.

They are anchorless assumptions with constantly changing data points affecting your fluctuating assertions.

Praise God for His everlasting Word that timelessly aims us in whatever times we find ourselves so that we may know Him and His ways.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

day no. 13,392: substitute teaching‏

"The concept of substitution may be said, then, to lie at the heart of both sin and salvation. For the essence of sin is man substituting himself for God, while the essence of salvation is God substituting himself for man. Man asserts himself against God and puts himself where only God deserves to be; God sacrifices himself for man and puts himself where only man deserves to be. Man claims prerogatives which belong to God alone; God accepts penalties which belong to man alone."  ~ John R. W. Stott "The Cross of Christ"

Sin entered the world when man substituted himself for God by eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in an effort to be god.

Sin was ushered out of the world when Jesus substituted Himself for us by tasting death for us so that we might surrender safely to God.

Substitution is the very essence of the sin and salvation script.

It accompanies both the greatest fall and greatest triumph that has ever been respectively witnessed in all history.

Monday, June 22, 2015

day no. 13,391: the talk du jour‏

Acts 24:25

As he reasoned with them about righteousness and self-control and the coming day of judgment, Felix became frightened. “Go away for now,” he replied. “When it is more convenient, I’ll call for you again.”
Paul reasoned with Felix about the topics of righteousness (being right before people and before God), self-control (as opposed to self-indulgence and self-satisfaction) and the coming day of judgment (the day when your righteousness and self-control will be judged by the Judge of judges).

Bold stuff Paul.

While I'm sure they also talked about the weather and what not, Paul brought this stuff up enough that it bothered Felix in the best of ways.

That said, Felix also entertained these little bunny trails in the hopes of getting paid off by Paul.

But Paul never attempted to pay his way out of anything. Paul was where he wanted to be: on the way to Rome.

Perhaps this frightened Felix all the more.

Paul wasn't just a wandering peddler of philosophies, he was a walking, talking exemplar of the faith he so powerfully attempted to persuade Felix to embrace.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

day no. 13,390: dad's day

Today is a day for dad's.

I am not great at anything in particular, but of the things that I am ok at, being a dad is one of them and it has nothing to do with me.

It doesn't come naturally, it comes supernaturally.

It had me thinking about the last few verses of the entire Old Testament.

Malachi 4:5-6

“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.”
God has turned my heart to my children and by His grace I pray they reciprocate and have hearts turned towards me.  I fully intend to leverage any and every ounce of love they have for me to point them to the only Father God who lovingly provides for and patiently endures us.
God has done the work and I want my kids to know that.

Friday, June 19, 2015

day no. 13,388: order in the court‏

Acts 23:3

But Paul said to him, “God will slap you, you corrupt hypocrite! What kind of judge are you to break the law yourself by ordering me struck like that?”
The judge ordered Paul to be slapped which was against the law.

Paul points out to him the hypocrisy of this order.

To stand in authority meant for good and to use that authority as an instrument of evil is an abomination and Paul rightly points out the misuse of this judge's position.

All authority comes from God and those in places of authority bear the responsibility of using that authority for good, not for private gain or protection of their power.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

day no. 13,387: jokes!

So the other morning before church I was inspired to take a picture of my darling lady Penelope as her hair was just sooooo curly and so cute and we had a moment to spare.

When I asked her to sit down to take her picture, I naturally wanted to inspire a genuine or Duchenne smile, so I asked her to tell me a joke in the hopes that she would entertain herself and do all the heavy lifting of making her smile while I merely pressed my index finger on the camera to capture a cute moment.

The following joke transpired:

Penelope: What did one gorilla say to the other gorilla?

Me: I dunno, what?

P: Nothing silly gorillas can't talk!!!

I Duchenne smiled.  That joke was legit and off the cuff to boot.  Such a sharp gal.

But that isn't all.

I wanted another opportunity to get a good picture and asked her to tell me one more joke.

So without hesitating, she created this gem:

Penelope: What did one shirt say to the other shirt?

Me: I dunno, what?

(now at this point I fully expected her to recycle the hook from the gorilla joke she just stuck the landing on previously having received 10s from all the judges, but she had another trick up her sleeve)

P: Tag.  Get it?

I thought about it for a split second.  Did she really just make a joke about shirts having tags? Did SHE even get it or was it a lucky coincident?

So I asked her what she meant:

P: Shirts have tags!

Yep, she's a sharp one that Penelope.

Man, I LOVE her so much.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

day no. 13,386: in the red

Luke 17:10

When ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants.
I was reading Pilgrim's Progress the other night and Bunyan made use of this verse highlighting the unprofitability of our doing.
It reminded me of another verse.

John 6:63

It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing.
There is no gain to be accounted for in our efforts alone.
If God does not do something, anything, no profit will be produced.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

day no. 13,385: bad guys

So Laurelai is clearly the little sister of two older brothers as evidenced by the fact that she thinks the word for toy is "bad guy."

Atticus and Finneas often play soldiers with one being the bad guy and one being the good guy.  They also have a set of these little plastic medieaeval looking gents with axes, arrows, spears and swords.  Some wearing black, some wearing white.

Finneas calls ALL of them bad guys.

So Laurelai, who is 1 1/2 and absorbing every word around her like a diaper, naturally inferred that ALL toys are called bad guys.

It is the CUTEST thing ever to hear her saying, "bad guy" while pointing at a stuffed elephant or a toy car.


Monday, June 15, 2015

day no. 13,384: paul's previous life as a stoner‏

Acts 22:20

And I was in complete agreement when your witness Stephen was killed. I stood by and kept the coats they took off when they stoned him.
Why did he keep their coats?

Because it's hard to throw rocks with long sleeves and they wanted to get as much zing on the rocks as they could.

Paul was happy to oblige and hold their coats so that they could better pummel Stephen with rocks until he was so bruised, bloodied and beaten down that he died.

This is Paul reflecting on the reality of who he was before coming to Christ.

No sugar-coating or rose-colored memories: just the dark truth of life outside and against Christ.

Friday, June 12, 2015

day no. 13,381: struggling with assurance‏

Acts 21:13-14

13 But he said, “Why all this weeping? You are breaking my heart! I am ready not only to be jailed at Jerusalem but even to die for the sake of the Lord Jesus.” 14 When it was clear that we couldn’t persuade him, we gave up and said, “The Lord’s will be done.”
Paul's journey to Rome would not be without its difficulties and he was made well aware of that on the front end.

Maybe this was a great kindness shown to him on the front end to prevent him from worrying that he wasn't doing what God desired when the intense resistance attended his path to Rome.

Struggle is not a sign that God has abandoned us.

Struggle exists whether sinner or saint.  It is, rather, the end to which one struggles that matters.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

day no. 13,380: the fuel for the fight‏

Acts 20:24

But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.
When you have a vision and a mission for what you're supposed to do, you can endure all the hardships and trials that come along with it.

Everything costs something.

Everything is attended by difficulty at some point to some degree.

Find the end to which God has gifted you and granted you life and all sorrows that attend the way will be endurable.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

day no. 13,379 continued... the results are in!

It's a BOY!

Coming soon.

Oct. 31st

day no. 13,379: what you think you know about others and what you know already about yourself

"If the Spirit of God has given you a vision of what you are apart from the grace of God (and He only does it when His Spirit is at work), you know there is no criminal who is half so bad in actuality as you know yourself to be in possibility." ~ Oswald Chambers "My Utmost for His Highest"

I've done some stuff.

But I've thought of more stuff than I've done.

If it weren't for cowardice or circumstances, I'm sure I would have done more stuff than I've done and all of it further in the wrong direction than I ever dreamed I would wander.

My wife said it this way, "There are people, right now, in jail who are more innocent in what they've done compared to what I've thought of doing."

So there is a cowardice in me and a lack of opportunity in circumstances for which I owe gratitude to God as it has restrained from me much evil.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

day no. 13,378: two ways to serve only your self

"Then I saw that there was a way to hell, even from the gates of heaven."

 ~ John Bunyan from The Pilgrim's Progress

I just finished reading "The Pilgrim's Progress" again recently.

This is how the book ends reflecting upon the fate of Ignorance.

Bunyan points out two paths that lead to Hell:

1. making your home in the City of Destruction

2. making your pilgrimage to paradise on the merits of anyone other than the perfection purchased by Jesus' life, death and resurrection

Ignorance made it all the way to the gate.

From an earthly perspective, it seemed like he had his heart set on Heaven.

But Ignorance wanted paradise without the Prince, forever joy without temporal submission.

Both residing in the City of Destruction and striving for Heaven without Christ end the same sad way in Hell.

Rebellion or Religion: two ways that pave the way to Hell.

Monday, June 8, 2015

day no. 13,377: the beaucoup bucks bonfire‏

Acts 19:19-20

19 A number of them who had been practicing sorcery brought their incantation books and burned them at a public bonfire. The value of the books was several million dollars. 20 So the message about the Lord spread widely and had a powerful effect.
The clear act of faith is what prompted such a powerful spread of the Gospel of God.

The fact that the act involved the sacrifice of such a large fortune fueled the effect of the news of Jesus.

Some would have certainly argued that the more powerful use of the books would have been to sell them and use the millions of moolah to send missionaries abroad.

But it's not money per se that funds successful missions, it is a Message accompanied by faithful men and women forfeiting their earthly fortunes and throwing their entire lot in with Jesus that often provokes the most powerful response.

Friday, June 5, 2015

day no 13,374 continued... 6 and 1/2

Atticus is 6 1/.2 today!

Cray, cray!

This past 1/2 year has shot by about as fast as Atticus has shot up.

Srrsly, he is about as tall as me.

Which I realize isn't saying a ton considering I'm tall by any means.

But still!!!

He is long and lean and awesome as all get out.

Luke 2:52 often comes to mind when I set my eyes or mind upon my firstborn son.

And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.

Atticus is growing in wisdom, stature and favor in my eyes and in God's eyes.  

He has God's Spirit working in him and I see him becoming more of a man of God everyday.

It's an awesome front row seat to have.

I LOVE being a dad!!!!

day no. 13,374: one of the myriad benefits of Bible reading‏

Acts 18:27-28

27 Apollos had been thinking about going to Achaia, and the brothers and sisters in Ephesus encouraged him to go. They wrote to the believers in Achaia, asking them to welcome him. When he arrived there, he proved to be of great benefit to those who, by God’s grace, had believed. 28 He refuted the Jews with powerful arguments in public debate. Using the Scriptures, he explained to them that Jesus was the Messiah.
Apollos knew his Bible and believed in Jesus.

Because of this, he was a great benefit to others who believed.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

day no. 13,373: sun's out, guns out

I can't believe I had never heard that until just the other day.


Never been a tank top guy really.

But more opportunities to bark, "Sun's out, guns out y'all!" is quite enticing.


Monday, June 1, 2015

day no. 13,370: the time and the place to seek and find God‏

Acts 17:26-27

26 From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries.
27 “His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us.
God specifically chose the time and place for you to exist.

You could have been born anywhere.
You could have been born at any time.

But you were born when and where He chose for you to be.

And why has He chosen this time and place for you?

To seek after God, to feel your way toward Him and to find Him because there is no better place or time for you to find Him than the one you find yourself right now.
***Also, happy June!!! Summer. Sweet Summer is upon us.