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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Thursday Tozer Tidbit of Truth

"A worshiper can work with an eternal quality in his work, but a worker who doesn't worship is only piling up wood." A W Tozer

Saturday, December 24, 2011

CHRISTmas eve Prayer

Another great one from SCOTTY SMITH

But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.Gal. 4:4-7
Dear Lord Jesus, the details surrounding your birth seem quite happenstance, even tragic. It’s easy to criticize innkeepers for gross inhospitality, pity Mary for the birthing room she had to endure, and judge Jerusalem for missing their moment. Yet everything happened just as you, our Father, and the Holy Spirit planned.
“Doing all things well” (Mark 7:37) didn’t start happening after your resurrection. “Working all things after the counsel of your will” (Eph. 1:11) includes the delightful and the most difficult things in life. Just as you could have called down 12 legions of angels to rescue you at your arrest (Matt. 26:53), so you could have arranged a palatial circumstance for your birth. Lord, please give me greater grace and faith to accept this liberating, if complex truth. You reign… you rule over all things.

“When the time had fully come” you came, Lord Jesus, not a day early and not a day late. And as humbling as it was to be born under the ceiling of a stable, being born under the weight of the law was a far greater burden. Yet that’s exactly why you came into the world—to be born under God’s law to redeem us from our sin and rebellion… to rescue me from my unwillingness and inability to love God as he deserves
There’s no way I could have ever fulfilled the demands of God’s righteous, perfect, and holy law. Only you could do so and only you did so. I worship, praise, and adore you, Lord Jesus. I must not see the manger without seeing your cross.

Jesus, because you lived in my place and died in my place, I’m no longer a slave to sin but a son of God. This self-indulgent prodigal and self-righteous man, has been robed in your perfect righteousness. And as surely as he sent you into the world, so God has sent his Spirit to live in my heart—by whom I cry with glee, “Abba, Father!” My future looks quite amazing as well, for I will co-inherit the new heaven and new earth with you, Lord Jesus. How can I possibly keep from singing and shouting, “Hallelujah, what a Savior! Hallelujah, what a salvation!” I will not judge innkeepers, but I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. So very Amen I pray, in your merciful and matchless name.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Stunning Sentences

In the original, this was all one paragraph. I broke it up to sentences, and thought/prayed/thanked about each one...perhaps a good exercise for you, also? Merry CHRISTmas!

The Word became flesh! 

God became human! 

The invisible became visible!

The untouchable became touchable! 

Eternal life experienced temporal death! 

The transcendent one descended and drew near! 

The unlimited became limited! 

The infinite became finite! 

The immutable became mutable! 

The unbreakable became fragile! 

Spirit became matter!

Eternity entered time! 

The independent became dependent! 

The almighty became weak! 

The loved became hated!

The exalted was humbled! 

Glory was subjected to shame! 

Fame turned into obscurity!

From inexpressible joy to tears of unimaginable grief! 

From a throne to a cross! 

From ruler to being ruled!

From power to weakness!

Sam Storms

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Staggering Mystery

“The supreme mystery with which the gospel confronts us 
lies not in the Good Friday message of atonement, nor in the Easter message of resurrection, but in the Christmas message of incarnation.  

The really staggering Christian claim is that Jesus of Nazareth was God made man – that the second person of the Godhead became the ‘second man’ (1 Cor. 15:47), determining human destiny, the second representative head of the race, and that He took humanity without loss of deity, so that Jesus of Nazareth was as truly and fully divine as He was human.

Here are two mysteries for the price of one ­- the plurality of persons within the unity of God, and the union of Godhead and manhood in the person of Jesus.  It is here, the thing that happened at the first Christmas, that the profoundest and most unfathomable depths of the Christian revelation lie.  ’The Word was made flesh’ (John 1:14); God became man; the divine Son became a Jew; the Almighty appeared on earth as a helpless human baby, unable to do more than lie and stare and wriggle and make noises, needing to be fed and changed and taught to talk like any other child.  And there was no illusion or deception in this: the babyhood of the Son of God was a reality.  The more you think about it, the more staggering it gets.”

J. I. Packer, Knowing God (Downers Grove, 1973), pages 45-46.

Thursday Tozer Tidbit of Truth

"A Pharisee is hard on others and easy on himself, but a spiritual man is easy on others and hard on himself." A W. Tozer

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Don't Forget This!

Important Reminder from J I Packer:

"Our business is to present the Christian faith clothed in modern terms, not to propagate modern thought clothed in Christian terms.

Our business is to interpret and criticize modern thought by the gospel, not vice versa.

Confusion here is fatal."

"Fundamentalism and the Word of God (Eerdmans, 1958), pg 136

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas Cheer?

Longtime friend (and pastor) Johnny Williams directs God's Mountain Camp, where son Josiah works full-time, Janelle lifeguards summers, and Jane helps when she can...they had their staff get together, with obligatory, ah, unique clothing...Josiah won the prize for tackiest "sweater"

                                                         Janelle and Sarah Williams


                                                  Josiah and his winning creation:

                                                           The Whole Gang

Friday, December 16, 2011

Only One!

Professed atheist Christopher Hitchens died yesterday. Did he die an atheist? I don't know, nor do you. He had heard the gospel from many; perhaps he came to Christ near deaths end.

Here are some sane comments on "death bed conversion":

"It cannot be too often, or too loudly, or too solemnly repeated that the Bible, which ranges over a period of four thousand years, records but one instance of a death-bed conversion - one that none may despair, and but one that none may presume."
                                           Thomas Guthrie (1803-1873), Scottish preacher

Thursday, December 15, 2011

God's Greatest Gifts

"When God planned the great work of saving sinners, he provided two gifts. 

He gave his Son and he gave his Spirit. 

In fact each person of the Trinity was involved in the great work of salvation. 

The love, grace and wisdom of the Father planned it; the love, grace and humility of 

the Son purchased it; and the love, grace and power of the Holy Spirit enabled 

sinners to believe and receive it.

The first great truth in this work of salvation is that God sent his Son to take our 
nature on him and to suffer for us in it. The second great truth is that God gave his 
Spirit to bring sinners to faith in Christ and so be saved."
John Owen

Thursday Tozer Tidbit of Truth

"When men turn to Him, the same enemies that crucified Him will try to crucify them." A W Tozer

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I Wish Holy Spirit was Named Herb

God the Father.

God the Son.

God the Spirit.

Blessed three-in-one.

Not gonna try to "explain" the trinity.

But I do sort-of wish Holy Spirit was named Herb...or Fred...or Tom.

We try to and should stress Spirit is a "person" just as the Father and the Son are...but it is sometimes difficult.

Holy Spirit is just hard to relate to...He seems like a "what" as opposed to a "who" or "whom" (all Bible quizzers grin).

I pray to the Father through the Son by the Spirit.

I am everlastingly glad the Father planned the gospel; the Son paid for the gospel, the Spirit proclaimed and applied the gospel.

But I still, sometimes, wish He was named Herb...

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Near Demonic

Mike Mosiman, my overall boss at Midland Ministries, enjoys CHRISTmas and holiday decorations.

He has this inflatable snowman displayed in our auditorium.

I find it scary, near-satanic, and something-in-need-of-a-burger (as in cheesy).

But Mike likes it.

And thus he attached a note, just for me.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Favorite First Testament Passage

I try to reference the "Old Testament" as the First Testament, simply because too many, at least subconsciously, feel "Old" is unimportant...though we know that all Scripture is inspired by God..

Anyway, this is one of my favorite passages in the First Testament:

"Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is Yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and You are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from You, and You rule over all. In Your hand are power and might, and in Your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. And now we thank You, our God, and praise Your glorious Name." (1 Chronicles 29.11-13)

Go back through the passage and look at the context of the four "all"s, and be encouraged.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Legalism versus Licentiousness

“When we misunderstand the relationship between law and

gospel, it leads to two opposite but equally destructive errors:

legalism and license. Legalists continue to live under the law, 

believing that God’s approval is somehow dependent on their 

right conduct. 

Licentious people dismiss the law, believing that since they are

“under grace,” God’s rules don’t matter much. These two 

errors have been around since the days of the apostles. 

The book of Galatians is written to combat the error of 

legalism: “Are you so foolish? Afer beginning with the Spirit

are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?” (Gal. 


The book of Romans addresses the error of license: “What

then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under 

grace?”(Rom. 6:15).

Both legalism and license are destructive to the gospel. To 

avoid these pitfalls, we must understand the biblical 

relationship between law and gospel. In a nutshell, here’s how

God designed it to work: the law drives us to the gospel and

the gospel frees us to obey the law. 

Realizing all that God expects of us should drive us in 

despair to Christ. And once we are united with Christ, the 

indwelling Holy Spirit causes us to delight in God’s law and 

gives us power to obey it.”

— Bob Thune and Will Walker, The Gospel Centered Life

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thursday Tozer Tidbit of Truth

"The resurrection and the judgment will demonstrate before all worlds who won and who lost. We can wait." A. W. Tozer

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Losing Blessings?

"Let us not dictate to God. Many a blessing has been lost by Christians not believing it to be a blessing, because it did not come in the particular shape which they had conceived to be proper and right. To some the divine work is nothing, unless it assumes the form which their prejudice has selected."

Jeremiah Lanphier, Alone with Jesus (London, 1872)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Losing Heart? Read This

SCOTTY SMITH does such a phenomenal job. The following comes off his blog and ministered greatly to me...perhaps you also...

A Prayer of Hope for Those on the Verge of Losing Heart

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Cor. 4:16-18
Heavenly Father, once again we praise you for the relevance, realness and rawness of the Scriptures. For there are times when we feel exactly like Paul felt. We are tempted to lose heart. We know ourselves to be wasting away—emotionally, mentally, physically… not metaphorically, but in reality.
Broken people, complex stories, strained relationships, old hurts bearing current pain… these things are sometimes far more visible to us than anything else. We go through seasons when our troubles neither feel light nor momentary, but “too much” and always.
Father, thank you that we don’t have to pretend otherwise. Thank you that we don’t have to mute our emotions, window-dress our stories, or doing anything to get ready for grace. Grace is for sinners, not for the competent. Mercy is for messes, not for the manicured. Strength comes to the weak, not to the promising. Hope is for the heartless, not the hardy.
So we come… we come to you today, asking you to do what you did for Shepherds long ago. Simply show up, Father. We don’t need an angelic visitation. We don’t need another star. We don’t need another manger scene. We just need to be taken “farther up and farther in” into the once-and-for-all manger.
You promised the Messiah, and you delivered… not only in Bethlehem, but also at Calvary. You have never lied to us, Father, never. We can trust you in the midst of our heartaches and heartbreaks. We can trust you with our angst and anger, our fears and failures, our brokenness and our bitterness. We can trust you for things we can barely see with the eye of faith.
Send your Spirit and open the eyes of our hearts. Today and tomorrow and the next day… throughout this whole Advent season… give us a fresh vision of the hope to which you have called us, the inheritance you have secured for us and the power you have given us in Jesus (Eph. 1:15-23).
When our thinking runs awry, bring us back to gospel sanity. When our emotions run amuck, lasso them in with cords of your love. When we want to run away, run ahead of us, turn around and let us collide into your welcoming embrace. You are so very good, Father, and so very in control. Hallelujah several times over. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ merciful and mighty name.

Blessed Burden Bearer

“Jesus is the great Burden-Bearer of His people. No other arm, and no other heart, in heaven or upon earth, were strong enough, or loving enough, to bear these burdens but His! He who bore the weight of our sin and curse and shame in His obedience and death — bore it along all the avenues of His weary pilgrimage, from Bethlehem to Calvary — is He who now stretches forth His Divine arm, and makes bare a Brother’s heart to take your burden of care and of grief, dear saint of God, upon Himself.”
— Octavius Winslow

Thursday, December 1, 2011