Thursday, October 29, 2015

fiery snakes

And the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you. Pray to the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.
Numbers 21:7

when grumbling takes
over our hearts
and rebellion makes
souls forget God

sinning is easily done
by complaining
and consequences come
from the Lord again

worship is what's at stake
when we complain
God sends fiery snakes
to correct us in pain

repentance must be made
acknowledging our sin
then forgiveness comes in grace
when we look again to Him

As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up that whoever believes in Him may have eternal life.
John 3:14-15

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

outside and between

So they took Jesus,  and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha.  There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them.
John 19:16b-18

Jesus died for sinners and there is a wonderful picture of that fact of the gospel even in the very manner in which He gave His life. He resigned Himself to the will of God, convinced that Pilate was only acting to give the death sentence because God had given him the authority to do so (John 19:11).

He is led outside Jerusalem's walls, a visible symbol of His rejection by men. There Jesus is crucified between two guilty thieves, the sinless dying for the sinful even as He is rejected by the sinners He is placed among and for whom He is dying to atone for their sins.

No point in history is more focused than this one. The perfect Son of God is dying for the sins of man, so that whose who believe in Him can be set free from sin forever. And it is a historical fact that Jesus lived and died in this way. The root of the gospel is in this actual time and place. And from it all Christian hope and life springs forth.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

according to his own mercy

But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,
Titus 3:4-5

The gospel is the display of God's richest grace and mercy to us. Paul constantly reminded believers of this in his epistles. This short little personal pastoral note to Titus is just another example of it. In the midst of giving instructions on how Christians ought to behave in the world, Paul is compelled to carefully point out that the reason why we can submit to governing authorities and live in such a way to display  gentleness to all people (Titus 3:1-2) is because of the change that the gospel brings (Titus 3:3-7). It enables us to do good works because through Christ's work we are renewed by the Holy Spirit.

So the gospel is my only hope. Because Jesus appeared, lived, died, and rose again, my hope is secure. Because He has saved me, I can truly live. I could never do what is right, since I am born a sinner, but because Christ saved me by His own mercy and regenerated me, the Holy Spirit now equips me to do good works through Him.

O Lord,
Help me never to forget the only value in my life: the good news of the gospel saves and empowers me. May I devote myself to this truth.

Monday, October 26, 2015


"I will strike the winter house along with the summer house,
and the houses of ivory shall perish,
and the great houses shall come to an end,”
declares the Lord.
Amos 3:15

No wealth can save your soul. God will judge the small and great, the insignificant societal cog and the most famous celebrity, the beggar and the king, the indigent and the insanely rich. And there is no distinction with Him. Human society creates class and positions. But no social status, no money, no fame among people ultimately answers for us when we give account of ourselves before God. All stand before Him naked sinners, ashamed, with nothing, in the same great need.

When Judah turned away from the Lord and His law, the society went crazy with lust for wealth. Most of the early half of Amos' prophetic proclamations are against the excesses of the wealthiest people both in Judah and the nations around them. This little snippet is just one of them. They may have prided themselves on all their property attainment, like they lived a Monopoly game in ancient Israel, with an estate in Jerusalem and a getaway by the sea, but all that would crumble at the Lord's hands when Babylon came to take them captive. Their rich and famous lifestyles would crash in a burning finish. There would be no more wealth to steal their hearts.

These words are strong and pointed. I live in one of the wealthiest places on earth, and they echo throughout KC suburban stupor. America is materially fixated and my little corner of it maybe even more. Lots of wealthy people live in my county. And by world standards I am one of them, even if I convince myself by comparison I am not. I cannot let that kind of wealth turn my heart from God. Having money is not the issue. Loving it over God, however, is idolatry.

There is a part of me that roots for watching vacation homes crumble. I'd like to run the wrecking ball sometimes if I could. But I also know that if I were given that kind of wealth, I'd easily be tempted to be the kind of person to whom this prophetic warning came. And so I pray for humility, for an attitude of thankfulness for what God provides, and for a strong, responsible, biblical stewardship to drive my view of material possessions.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Sweet Wisdom

My son, eat honey, for it is good,
and the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste.

Know that wisdom is such to your soul;
if you find it, there will be a future,
and your hope will not be cut off.
Proverbs 24:13-14

I look to God
for my future;
worry wants to take over
but wisdom should.
God will give me what is good
if sweet wisdom
fills my mind.

I look at life
and need hope;
pessimism wants to predict
but wisdom supercedes
as God's Word shows what will be
when sweet wisdom
rules my heart.

I am searching
for something... anything;
longing drives me hard
to look for what is good
and wisdom is what should
taste good... sweet wisdom
satisfies me.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

I am prayer.

Help me, O Lord my God!
Save me according to your steadfast love!

Let them know that this is your hand;
you, O Lord, have done it!
Psalm 109:26-27

Our great need for God to save us is so great that we should immediately rejoice when we call to Him for help. The psalmist is in deep need in this song. In the situation described here, enemies seek the destruction of his life. He calls out to God to save his soul from their schemes, even as he suffers under them. His enemy is described as wicked and deceitful (vs 2), hateful (vs 3), an oppressor of the poor (vs 16), and a cursing person (vs 17-18).

As the sinful attacks happen, the oppressed cries out to God for deliverance. He still suffers though. The one oppressed is poor and needy (vs 22), weak (vs 24), and scorned by others (vs 25). Giving himself to pray, he trusts in God to act rightly within His faithful love (vs4). The phrase "I give myself to prayer" literally reads "I am prayer". It is all he can do. He is powerless to do any other thing than beseech the Lord and trust that He will answer prayer.

And when I am in deep need, I should be a man of prayer. My life should be a prayer. I need not be afraid when I am prayer, for God will hear. God will provide. God will protect His children and judge those who wickedly work against Him. In faith, when we suffer under other people, we must "be" prayer.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

seeking the God Who knows my heart

And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever.
1 Chronicles 28:9

This charge that David gave to his son Solomon as he entrusts the young man with the construction of the temple serves as a vivid reminder to live holy before the Lord. David's prayer for his son as Solomon steps into the role of king in Israel is that they young man love and serve God first. All else would be great if Solomon's worship was first set on God.

David knows this because he knows that God knows Solomon intimately. Every plan of the mind and feeling in the heart is understood by God. He knows our wants and motivations, our needs, our deepest concerns, and whether our hearts are truly faithful to Him. This is why we must train our hearts to seek the Lord.

With my Bible open each morning I want to keep this advice to Solomon in my mind. My time in God's Word and in prayer happens not out of sheer duty, but so that I may come in my need to seek wisdom from the Lord Who knows my heart. He also understands it, which I can't say that I always do! I come to Him, not to reveal something to Him that He does not already know, but instead to find something from Him that I do not have and desperately need: God's wisdom for my day. That is the start to serving God with my whole heart and with a willing mind.

Many times that means I come to Him admitting what He already knows: that I am a sinner whose thoughts and plans are not holy as God's are. I also often come in praise, thanking God that His wisdom and care has saved me in some new capacity or experience. But always... every day... in many ways, I must seek God. And I find Him always faithful!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

leaps of doubt

And the people quarreled with Moses and said, “Would that we had perished when our brothers perished before the Lord!"
Numbers 20:3

There is strong, irrational emotion in the crowd as the people of Israel complain to Moses about their lack of water. God had led them to the place where they were currently camped so that He might supply their need. How quickly they had forgotten the God Who had rescued them and met every need in the wilderness. They really don't know what they are saying. They are consumed with irrational doubt.

Forgetting all their recent history in which God has miraculously cared for His people, they myopically focus on one problem: there is no running water near their camp. And in their complaining they actually state that those who died before them in God's judgment (see Numbers 11, 14, and 16 for context) were actually better off than they were. They actually ask God just to kill them off, in so many words, rather than go through the experience of waiting for Him to supply this need. It is absolutely nothing less than crazy talk.

When we take our eyes off of the Lord and look only at natural circumstances, we lose sight of faith, and make wild, crazy leaps of doubt. Yep, I don't much buy into the concept of leaps of faith. I do, however, find myself making from time to time huge leaps of doubt. And it is the craziest thing I do. I leap to doubt when I think a sinful act will provide for me better than God does. I leap to doubt when I let a sinful, selfish attitude dominate my heart because I briefly enjoy a feeling of vindication, self-justification, or revenge. I make a leap of doubt when I think that my own choice or action was good enough to prove me right. Oh how I need to believe the gospel by faith in Jesus, and turn to the rational truth of my Savior's work for me a sinner. 

forgive me and save me from my grumbling leaps of doubt!

Monday, October 19, 2015

that the world may believe

I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
John 17:20-21

Two things have always grabbed my attention from this passage, which is Jesus' prayer for His disciples before His arrest, trial, and crucifixion. Jesus knew well what was facing Him, yet He had the church squarely in His thoughts as He prepared to redeem a people to Himself. The first thing that grabs me is that Jesus had the current generation of believers in mind as He faced the cross. He prayed for me... really. It's right here in this passage. His prayer was not only for those 12 disciples in the upper room with Him, but also for those who "will believe in me through their word." The apostles were faithful to generations that followed them. The New Testament is a clear record of their words and actions with the gospel. I believed through their word, so Jesus prayed for me before dying for me. That truth shakes me even now as I realize it.

The second compelling observation from this passage is that Jesus prayed for strong unity for all believers across the ages. He knew that sinful human selfish actions would fragment His church. But we CAN be unified... if we center our faith on Jesus, and the Father, we can know the unbreakable unity of the Godhead. But it means embracing the gospel biblically and staying close to Jesus. When we are close to Jesus the church stays together. Stay faithful to the gospel, and the church is unified. Stay Christ-centered and we will be a powerful witness, with a powerful gospel that Jesus says will let the world know and believe His gospel. Do we want the world to know Jesus? Do we want people to come to faith in Him? Then let's stay close to Him, together let's proclaim the gospel that the Father has sent Jesus, and let's be one around our Lord!

Friday, October 16, 2015

8 part discipleship

You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me.
2 Timothy 3:10-11

There are eight parts of life imitation for a disciple that Paul mentions in this commendation of Timothy. They are worth briefly overviewing and bear further examination. Discipleship starts with teaching. Doctrine plays the foundational role in the life of a believer. Sound teaching flows from the gospel and is the core of what we believe.

Teaching leads to Christian conduct. We believe a certain way and that leads us to live a certain way. This is practical, real-life sanctification. And that conduct is driven by a goal or aim in life. For Paul it was to be found in Christ. And that aim is more than philosophical. It is a kind of worship from the will.

One cannot do these things without faith. So what we trust in, with the gospel as the first principle of our trust, will direct our lives. That faith is lived over a lifetime which requires patience. It is done in and with love, which marks out our relationships, and it must be consistent, which shows itself in a steady record of steadfastness.

And all this is tested. For Paul, the persecutions and suffering came at every level: spiritual, mental, and physical. But the Lord delivered him each time. And for those who have an imitatable discipleship, persecutions will come. But God will be glorified and the gospel will advance!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

those who call

And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. 
Joel 3:32a

Those who know their sin
     who grieve in their need
          and recognize their inability
               to avoid the wrath of Him
                    Who is holy
               will call on the LORD
          and be saved!

Those who know they need
     a Saviour holy Who died
          to bring them holy to His side
               who repent in word and deed
                    to follow Jesus
               will call on the LORD
          and be saved!

Those who first are sinners aware
     of their sin but trusting Christ
          will find He gives eternal life
               more than they thought or dared
                    to ask Him for:
               they call on the LORD
          and are saved!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The quality of my work

Do you see a man skillful in his work?
He will stand before kings;
he will not stand before obscure men.
Proverbs 22:29

Pay attention to your work. The quality of what you do for a living matters. Those who do their jobs well will be noticed... if not by corporate structures, then more importantly, by God. The injunction in this proverb is to do the best work possible. It is an important part of living a wise life.

Work existed before sin existed. So I conclude that work is a good thing that is made by God. After all, the rhythm of creation was that God worked for six days and rested on the seventh. Work and rest are fundamental aspects of creation. They mark our lives out as God has designed. God set an innocent Adam in the Garden of Eden to work there (Genesis 2:15). And that work was a holy command. It was only after the sin of Adam that work was also attended with a curse upon that sin. I conclude therefore that work is to be a holy thing, now often twisted by us sinners who alternately despise it as unholy, or exalt it to a point of idolatrous worship.

Because work is a divinely designed rhythm of our lives, it is rewarding and results in the blessing of God. One way in which it is blessed is by the livelihood that it brings us. God uses His creation of work to provide for us. The other way it is blessed is in this promise that good work is noticed by others and rewarded (that is a generalism... sinful humans make exceptions on the fleshly experience of our vocations).

But Christians keep one more focus to our work. It is good to be noticed by other people and perhaps rewarded for skillful labor, but that motivation is insufficient of itself. We must be gospel-focused. So we must remember the injunction to work for God's reward foremost. We work "heartily" (that idea of diligent, skillful labor that does the best we possibily can), as for the Lord (He is our true boss), and not for men (Colossians 3:23). There is only one performance review driving the Christian, and it is to hear "well done, my good and faithful servant" from the lips of Jesus.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Thank God He does the saving work!

Many times he delivered them,
but they were rebellious in their purposes
and were brought low through their iniquity.
Nevertheless, he looked upon their distress,
when he heard their cry.
Psalm 106:43-44

God is faithful, even when we are not. That is what this psalm sings about with praise. It is one of a series of psalms that recounts Israel's history, which is mostly a record of willful disobedience to God, disregard for His Law, spectacular failure of leaders and kings, intervening judgment, and most of all, God's overwhelming forgiving love when they cried out to Him again.

This verse says Israel was delivered many times. That is true. The exodus was just the beginning of God's rescue of His people. He did it time and time again, even as they slipped into idolatry with fresh memories of Egyptian slavery still with them. A band of people who watched God drown Pharaoh's army in the Red Sea quickly turned from worshiping Him. That experience IS the constant stream of Old Testament narrative over generations. Many times they sinned. Many times they were rebellious. Many times they failed at keeping the Law of the Lord. Many times their iniquities brought them low... and many times God delivered them again.

God did this because He "remembered his covenant" (Psalm 106:45) more than their imcompentence at keeping it. "For their sake" God delivered them and "relented according to the abundance of his steadfast love" (also found in Psalm 106:45). He delivered them for His sake. For His faithfulness to His covenant out of His faithful, holy, consistent, merciful grace God saves His people.

Your steadfast, faithful love is still known in Your saving work. In Christ I am forever delivered, not because I am so good, but because You loved me in Your Son. My record of rebellion and failure brings me low in my iniquity, no better than an Israelite idolater dancing before a golden calf. But it is all Your work to save me in Your Son, and I keep throwing my soul by faith into that amazing grace and work that He has done for me!

Monday, October 12, 2015

blessing in grace

Now, my son, the Lord be with you, so that you may succeed in building the house of the Lord your God, as he has spoken concerning you. Only, may the Lord grant you discretion and understanding, that when he gives you charge over Israel you may keep the law of the Lord your God.
1 Chronicles 22:11-12

David knew that the secret to his successful long rule in Israel was that God blessed him. The king would never be able to lead without God's wisdom and discretion granting him success. And it is this prayer that David prays that blesses Solomon as David names him as successor and prepares to let the kingdom go over to him.

As I read David's words to Solomon, I can't help but think back to all the ways God has taken care of the shepherd-warrior king. David's reign began with God's gracious choice of him as the least of Jesse's sons, even as king Saul raged against God, eventually trying to kill the young man David before he could ever have the promised throne. But David stayed close to the Lord, and under God's protection, he was spared Saul's rage. And when Saul died in battle against the enemies of Israel, David was ready and able to immediately lead the nation.

David's thoughts on God's grace had to flavor this charge to Solomon. God's grace literally gave David life in the wilderness. It spared him from death by lions, bears, and a Philistine giant while still a boy. It spared him from death when the armies of Saul hunted him like an animal. It spared him from death when his own sins of adultery and murder demanded the death penalty. It spared him disgrace and death when civil war led by his oldest son, Absalom, took the throne from him temporarily. David knew grace his entire lifetime.

And David handed the kingdom to Solomon cognizant of his son's need for God's gracious wisdom to lead. The means for knowing a gracious God in Israel was through the Law of God, so David charges Solomon to keep God's Law close. In that way wisdom, discretion, and understanding could graciously lead him, and the nation.

Friday, October 9, 2015

intercession & pardon

Please pardon the iniquity of this people, according to the greatness of your steadfast love, just as you have forgiven this people, from Egypt until now.
Numbers 14:19

At the very cusp of entering the Promised Land, Israel rebelled against the Lord. The spies sent out to scout out the land in advance returned with a mixed review. Ten of the group of twelve were negative in outlook, focusing on only the obstacles to gaining the good gift from God. Two of them, Joshua and Caleb, were enthusiastically encouraging and exhorted the people to have faith, confident that God would lead the nation beyond the mere obstacles of armies and giants.

But any hint of negativity will result in a nearly universal leadership principle: People will quickly turn tentative leadership into rebellion. And as they spoke against the Promised Land, the nation spoke against the Lord. And God was finally through with a nation of grumblers. He informs Moses that He would like to end Israel right there in the desert and make a new covenant with Moses and his descendents, sort of a generational "do over". The grumbling must stop. Moses respectfully and successfully intercedes for a doomed generation.

God then reveals a gracious plan that both punishes a faithless generation and protects His promises to bring Israel into the Promised Land. An entire generation must die, wandering the desert wastes for forty years. When the last corpse of a faithless and complaining generation is buried in the Sinai sand, then God would lead their children into Canaan. It was Moses' faithful intercession that gave a new generation a grace that their parents refused to accept from God.

I am warned about faithless complaining. The example of the Exodus generation reminds me of this each time that I read it. It also shows me the faithful love of God Who will forgive, even as sinful consequences remain.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

greater works than these

“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father."
John 14:12

I believe that Jesus is telling the truth when He makes this bold prediction. But how can this be? How can redeemed sinners who still struggle with sin but who are nonetheless entrusted with Christ's gospel do what is greater than the works of their Lord? It seems impossibly contradictory. But in truth, it is a bold encouragement for us. Here's why...

Jesus has just explained to His disciples that He is the exclusive means of salvation for all humanity (John 14:6-7). He clearly taught them He was one with God the Father, sharing "oneness" (John 14:9-11) and that His actions demonstrated His divinity. Jesus did what the Father did, in His works, His miracles, His teaching, His interactions and relationships with people. He did this because Jesus is God. The total sum of Jesus' ministry showed the world what God does.

How can we possibly do "greater works" than God does? We can't. But Jesus can through us, and that is the point Jesus is making: we can do greater works because Jesus has left us, but will still live and work in us so that others may see the work of God in and through us. And that is how we do "greater works". Jesus even gives us the path to do this: Ask for something in His name. Jesus will do it for one reason only... to have the Father glorified in the Son. And Jesus will be glorified in us. And that is how and why the gospel of Jesus Christ still saves sinners and changes people. 

As a pastor, I don't build the church. I humbly submit my needy self to the gospel as a broken and powerless sinner. I trust in Christ, His Word, and the Holy Spirit's work to sanctify me as I worship the Father and proclaim His Word to the world to encourage believers, and together we take the gospel into the world. I am an impotent sinner, but Jesus does greater work in me, and in all believers, for His glory. Amen!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Word is not bound!

  Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering,      bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound!
  2 Timothy 2:8-9

God's Word is not bound!
His gospel is fearlessly proclaimed;
wherever sinners can be found 
let them hear the name
of Jesus, our Savior!

God's Word is not bound!
Even if His servants are chained,
they still sing with joyful sound
for the gospel is unrestrained
in Jesus, powerful Savior!

God's Word is not bound!
Speak of Jesus, risen from the dead
and let the good news abound
to sinners hungry for Messiah's Living Bread
known in  Jesus, loving Savior!

God's Word is not bound!
The world will hear the message now
as Christians live and spread the gospel around
neighborhoods, cities, and nations, showing how
Jesus is the only Savior!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

I'm an idolater.

The more they were called,
the more they went away;
they kept sacrificing to the Baals
and burning offerings to idols.
Hosea 11:2

God was always faithful in His covenant love with Israel. It was the people who turned from His steadfast love. God never turns away His love from His people. But His people are stubborn in their sin. They worship idols rather than the God Who loves them and keeps calling them so that they might repent, turn back to Him, and know His love as they believe.

There is only one other option when a soul rejects God... and it is idolatry. We were created to worship something. It is what our souls naturally do. And if we reject God, we will seek something to fill the void. Our souls fixate on something or someone to fill the God gap. Even atheists "worship" something. By that I mean they commit to some ideal, some self-direction, some teaching from humanistic sources to direct them to what they deem as "right" living. That is the soul, admitting its own insufficiencies, and attempting to worship. It is no differenct than Israel sacrificing to pagan Baal and burning an offering to an idol.

But let's not pick on atheists and make them the bad guys. They are people like me. No different, really. Besides, we Christians (based on my experience) can be pretty respectable idolaters ourselves. We find a way to do it undercover as a second life for the most part. I've fallen to the temptation over the years to worship my works, my marriage, my family, my ministry and a host of worldly "isms" like materialism, selfism, egotism, and Americanism in my life as a Christian. How luring is the song of an idol of our age to make me blindly crash on the rocks of God-abandonment and false worship! And idols can temporarily drown out the call of the Spirit of God to repent and live under the gospel's obedience. That's why I need Jesus. That's why I must REPENT and BELIEVE in His work for me, because I am an idolater otherwise.

Monday, October 5, 2015


No wisdom, no understanding, no counsel
can avail against the Lord.
Proverbs 21:30

Because we are born sinners, we are born losers. Sin puts us at odds with God. It makes us His enemies. It makes us impotent in terms of moral uprightness, holiness, and doing righteous acts. We are powerless to save ourselves. Personal efforts, or even societal collective efforts... nothing we can do could possibly save us. In fact, our efforts are always against God as human efforts at righteousness because sin is against God's holy nature.

Human wisdom fails to match the infinite wisdom of the God Who simply spoke His thoughts and our vast universe came into existence. We are nothing compared to that powerfull wisdom. Human understanding is meager compared to that which God has of us. He has intimate knowledge of each person. He knows each sub-atomic particle that makes everything in us and in the entire universe. We can never have that level of understanding.

Put the best band of humans ever assembled against the LORD, there is no comparison. Only Jesus in His humanity matches up solely because He is God! No purely human counsel can match the Word of God that is in Jesus.

Since no wisdom, understanding, nor counsel of mankind can compare or prevail againt the Lord, what should humans do? We should trust God. We should repent of our sinful acts against Him and turn to Christ for salvation. We should submit to His holy goodness. We should receive His faithful love. We should obey His Word. We should not strive against Him. We are born losers, but in Christ, God makes those who trust in Him to be victors because Jesus has defeated sin, death, and the Devil for us!

Friday, October 2, 2015

forget not all His benefits

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
Psalm 103:2-5

My God has blessed me and lest I forget this, I shall think through David's list in the light of my own life. Like David, I will bless the Lord for the forgiveness of my sin. It is really at the heart of all my need and my only need. All else that is a deficit in me, is so because of my sin. I needed a Savior, and praise God, Jesus came, took my sin on Him in mercy on the cross, and I am now forgiven by faith in Him!

Jesus heals me. He can physically heal, though I am mortal and will die if He tarries His return. But despite the decay of this sin-cursed body, God has kept me relatively healthy all these years. I have chosen to consciously steward my health so that I may serve Him in my body.

Jesus redeemed me. I was hell-bound before I repented of my sin and trusted Him for salvation. He saved my life from the pit. And I can't help but believe He has given me an abundant life on earth as well as part of that redemption. Praise Him for such full salvation!

My life is crowned by God's grace and mercy. In Jesus I am blessed with what I do not deserve. I am kept from the consequences that my sins deserve. Praise the Lord for the incalculable gifts of mercy and grace!

I am satisfied and renewed in Jesus. In Him I have strength renewed every day. Even now, reflecting on His Word, I am empowered for this full day. Even as hard and difficult possibilities lie ahead, God will give me the energy and capacity to trust Him in those moments.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

praise, bless & feast

And they brought in the ark of God and set it inside the tent that David had pitched for it, and they offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before God. And when David had finished offering the burnt offerings and the peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord and distributed to all Israel, both men and women, to each a loaf of bread, a portion of meat, and a cake of raisins.
I Chronicles 16:1-3

Praise God Whose hand has blessed us
     with our families, our homes, our bread
Praise God Whose love has loved us
     Who saw our neeed and for us bled
Praise God Whose Son has saved us
     given us life by rising from the dead

Bless others who are near us
     family and neighbor, stranger and friend
Bless those dear to us
     may our joys never find an end
Bless those God brings to us
     so that they know Jesus as saving friend

Feast with the blessings we have
     in Christ in heavenly places found
Feast with the gifts God has saved
     for His own children His gifts abound
Feast at our Savior's empty grave
     soon, His wedding table we shall sit around!