Monday, February 28, 2011

Memorization Monday - Resources - Wisdom

James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.

Topic titles taken from Navigators Topical Memory System

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Hymn of the Week - Come Thou Fount

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.

Sorrowing I shall be in spirit,
Till released from flesh and sin,
Yet from what I do inherit,
Here Thy praises I’ll begin;
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.

Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood;
How His kindness yet pursues me
Mortal tongue can never tell,
Clothed in flesh, till death shall loose me
I cannot proclaim it well.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

O that day when freed from sinning,
I shall see Thy lovely face;
Clothed then in blood washed linen
How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace;
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransomed soul away;
Send thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Memorization Monday - Resources - Wisdom

John 8:32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

Topic titles taken from Navigators Topical Memory System

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Hymn of the Week - Rejoice, Ye Pure in Heart

Rejoice ye pure in heart;
Rejoice, give thanks, and sing;
Your glorious banner wave on high,
The cross of Christ your King.

Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice,
Give thanks and sing.

With voice as full and strong
As ocean’s surging praise,
Send forth the hymns our fathers loved,
The psalms of ancient days.

Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice,
Give thanks and sing.

With all the angel choirs,
With all the saints of earth,
Pour out the strains of joy and bliss,
True rapture, noblest mirth.

Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice,
Give thanks and sing.

Yes, on through life’s long path,
Still chanting as ye go;
From youth to age, by night and day,
In gladness and in woe.

Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice,
Give thanks and sing.

Still lift your standard high,
Still march in firm array,
As warriors through the darkness toil,
Till dawns the golden day.

Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice,
Give thanks and sing.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Memorization Monday - Resources - Power

Ephesians 3:20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.

Topic titles taken from Navigators Topical Memory System

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Hymn of the Week - I Sing the Mighty Power of God

I sing the mighty power of God, that made the mountains rise,
That spread the flowing seas abroad, and built the lofty skies.
I sing the wisdom that ordained the sun to rule the day;
The moon shines full at God’s command, and all the stars obey.

I sing the goodness of the Lord, who filled the earth with food,
Who formed the creatures through the Word, and then pronounced them good.
Lord, how Thy wonders are displayed, where’er I turn my eye,
If I survey the ground I tread, or gaze upon the sky.

There’s not a plant or flower below, but makes Thy glories known,
And clouds arise, and tempests blow, by order from Thy throne;
While all that borrows life from Thee is ever in Thy care;
And everywhere that we can be, Thou, God art present there.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

It Matters What We Worship

I’ve been thinking lately about how our view of idols and idolatry is way too narrow. We tend to think of idols as a physical object of worship when in fact an idol is anything that we lift to a place of prominence ahead of God. By not realizing the extent of idolatry in our lives, we’re able to fool ourselves into believing we don’t have a problem with it.

The other day I read an article by Mark Driscoll about how worship transforms us. His point is that what needs to change in our life is not so much our behavior, but changing the object of worship from our idols to the true God. I don’t always agree with Mark Driscoll, but I thought this was a helpful article.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Key Words of the Gospel

I want to say how much I appreciate the faithful Bible teaching we receive in our church. Both services on Sunday were an excellent example of that. What an encouragement it is to hear the truth of the gospel proclaimed. Of course many other churches are faithfully teaching God's word as well and it is an encouragement wherever it is proclaimed.

In the morning we heard about the wrath of God. Now that is not a topic heard much these days. But in order to understand the gospel it's necessary to understand that the wrath of God is a real manifestation of his character. The Bible clearly teaches that God is angry with the wicked every day (Psalm 7:11); those who don't believe are condemned already (John 3:18); and those who don't believe the son shall not see life but the wrath of God abides on him (John 3:36). These last two quotes were made by Jesus, the one who people claim is so meek and mild he wouldn't hurt a flea. Those are words of judgment are difficult to swallow, but to ignore them is to ignore the whole message of Christianity and to risk eternal judgment.

In the evening service, our pastor took us to Romans 3:21-26, weaving our study of these verses within the communion service. Verse 23 reminds us that everyone has sinned and has come short of God's glory. No matter how good we think we are, we fail to reach the standard God has set. And it is for this failure to reach the standard that God's wrath is upon us.

Verses 24-26 give us three key words that are crucial to understanding the Christian message. The first such word is justified. To be justified means to be declared righteous by God. God cannot just overlook our transgressions because that would violate his holiness and justice. But by sending Jesus Christ to bear God's judgment against sin, he is "free" to declare believers righteous while at the same time maintaining his justice. Romans 3:26 explains it this way, "to demonstrate at the present time his righteousness, that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus." He is able to show mercy and maintain his justice at the same time.

The second key word is redemption. Redemption describes what took place in the Roman culture where slaves were put on the auction block for sale to the highest bidder. From time to time someone would pay that price for the slave and then set the slave free. The slave in such a case had been redeemed. That is what God has done for those who trust in him. The death of Christ on the cross and the payment he made in dying purchased our freedom from our slavery and bondage to sin and Satan. We've been set free.

The last word is propitiation. This is not as common a word to most people as the preceding two. To propitiate means to appease or regain favor with. The wrath of God is upon us and something is needed to appease that anger. There is no gift or offering we can provide that is great enough to placate God's anger against us. The good news is that Jesus Christ is the propitiation. His death appeases God's anger and allows God to look favorably upon us.

By understanding the greatness of God's wrath and the tremendous graciousness of God's provision for our salvation through these three key words, we can cast ourselves upon God's mercy knowing that his promise to save us will be kept. Have you personally come to know God's saving mercy and grace in your life? If not, why not call on him for mercy today. The Bible says that "whoever calls on the name of the Lord, will be saved." Romans 10:13

Monday, February 07, 2011

Memorization Monday - Resources - Power

2 Timothy 1:7 For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self control.

Topic titles taken from Navigators Topical Memory System

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Hymn of the Week - Praise to the Lord

1. Praise to the Lord,   the Almighty, the King of creation.
O my soul, praise him, for he is thy health and salvation!
All ye who hear, now to his temple draw near;
join me in glad adoration!

2. Praise to the Lord,
who doth prosper thy work and defend thee;
surely his goodness and mercy here daily attend thee.
Ponder anew what the Almighty can do,
who with his love doth befriend thee.

3. Praise to the Lord!
O let all that is in me adore him!
All that hath life and breath,
come now with praises before him!
Let the amen sound from his people again;
gladly forever adore him.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Finding Life

As I was reading the Bible this morning, 2 Corinthians 4:11 grabbed my attention. It says, “For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.” As I read this I thought, “I’m one who is living. How am I always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake?”

A few verses earlier, Paul had written that he was hard-pressed, perplexed and persecuted but not in any way crushed or in despair. But my life isn’t like Paul’s. I don’t have the kind of persecution and oppression that he faced. I don’t face anything greater than the normal pressures of modern American life. There are the aches and pains of growing older. There are the disappointments that come from relationships with other people. But nothing in my life approaches the kind of sufferings that Paul had gone through.

Nevertheless, I think there are some ways in which we all could learn something from this passage. Our bodies are under the curse. We are in the process of dying; and we carry that dying with us everywhere we go. Those aches, pains and weaknesses are all signs that this body is not going to live forever. Even in our areas of service for God, our efforts are often weak and ineffective in our own strength.

Another way I think that a Christian carries about the death of the Lord Jesus is that we are to be continually dying to self. Matthew 16:25 says, “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” In Luke 9:23 Jesus said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” The cross, of course, is a symbol of death. It seems to me that the Christian life involves learning to lay down ones life for others. It means not trying to get your own way all of the time. Loving others means putting their interests first. Even in the more mundane things of life we need to die to self and lift up others. Perhaps your spouse wants to eat at one restaurant and you a different one. Love says put your spouse’s interests above your own. Perhaps one spouse wants to watch a football game, but you would rather watch a movie. It’s hard to give up what you want to do to allow the other person to do what he/she wants to do. How often do you need to put other’s interests above your own? All of the time! That is extremely difficult and requires a constant dying to self. And dying to self is difficult and often painful. But it is what God requires. But shouldn’t the other person die to self sometimes too? Yes, but that’s between them and God and has nothing to do with what you need to do.

What is the benefit? Losing ones life in this away actually is the doorway to finding true life. Our passage in 2 Corinthians verses 10 and 11 tell us that the result is that “the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.” And, “the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.” The encouraging thing to me in these verses is the focus on this mortal, physical life. The positive benefits are realized in our body, our mortal flesh. It does not wait for some future time, but rather the life of Christ becomes visible in us today as we allow his death to accomplish its work in our lives.