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GRACE

Sunday, July 22nd, 2018

I recently shared this on my other blog, Be Transformed, and decided it needed to be “heard” by more. It had so much power, so much oomph, that I could not pass it by. I wrote it in my journal so I would have it, then used it in my post on Be Transformed.

My worst days are never so bad that I am beyond the reach of His grace. And my best days are never so good that I am beyond the need of God’s grace. Every day should be a day of relating to God on the basis of His grace alone. Jerry Bridges

WOW! Is that good or what?

I’m ashamed to admit this but there are times I take grace for granted. Not the “I can sin because I know God will forgive me” taking for granted. I just forget it is there for me. Days are tough and I forget because I am preoccupied. Days are good and I forget because I’m not hurting.

So…let’s make a vow together to live each day in grace. Up or down…Grace.

My song this week is from a man who knows grace…big time.  It is very upbeat and is a great way to start and then continue your week. Here’s your song for the week.

Think

Sunday, July 8th, 2018

Paul says in Philippians 4:8- “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on these things.”

Over the past week or so I have been reading God of Tomorrow, Caleb Kaltenbach’s new book.  A normal review will give the pros and cons , good points and bad points, and whether it is worth your while to read it.  I’m going to take a different approach in this post. I want to highlight several of his included quotes and thoughts. Then let you decide at the end if it is a book you want to invest your time in.

God of Tomorrow: How to Overcome the Fears of Today and Renew Your Hope for the Future

First, an explanation. Caleb’s book’s premise is focused around hope for tomorrow being the solution to the fears of today. He analyzes the culture pretty well and what should be the Christ-follower’s approach to the people who are the culture. Change is inevitable. It is how we react to that change which gives us our approach to people.  (My comments appear after)

“Combativeness without compassion is always going to be counterproductive.”  We need to have our beliefs but we don’t have to cram them down someone’s throat nor do we need to be militant.

“Our differences with people should drive us to them, not from them.” This is sure opposite of our “hunker down” attitude.

“Our fear is no match for the unlimited power and uncontested reign of God.  When will we learn this? Instead of fearing change, let’s hold to our beliefs but not shy away in fear.

“Hope reminds us that our best days are ahead, not behind us.”  And I might add not right now either. No apologies to Joel for that.

“Out-of-place people always have a place with God.”  I seem to remember someone telling a story about going to the highways and bi-ways to bring people into a meal. Hmmmm.  Maybe this would change our approach toward “unlovely” and “unacceptable, despicable” people we often have.

There are plenty more and I plan to use them during the next week as I post some thoughts. But the coup de grace for me was this one:

When people look at your (my) life, it should be so easy for them to see Jesus in how you (I) treat them, love them, and share truth with them. (p.201)

What do you think of those quotes? Think you might get this book?

 

PonderThis

Tuesday, June 26th, 2018

The Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea.  Jonah 1:4

The lot fell on Jonah.  Jonah 1:7

The Lord appointed a great fish.  Jonah 1:17

The word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time.  Jonah 3:1

The Lord God appointed a plant.  Jonah 4:6

God appointed a worm.  Jonah 4:7

God appointed a scorching east wind.  Jonah 4:8

The Lord has more ways of confronting us than we have ways of evading him.

Courtesy of Ray Ortlund as part of The Gospel Coalition.  June 25, 2018

FaithfulGod

Sunday, June 24th, 2018

Sunday’s sermon is history. I wish I could say it was monumental, but I’m not always delusional. 🙂 I talked about promises from Joshua 10:1-12:24. I took the liberty of combining those verses and what I found into 3 important promises we can find.

PROMISE #1: “You will keep your word”

Joshua had made a covenant agreement with the Gibeonites to protect them. It wasn’t too much later that promise was “called out” by the Gibeonites. Joshua came to their rescue with a daring under-the-cover-of-darkness trek from Gilgal to Gibeon (25 miles over very rough and rugged terrain). When he got there he heard the words, “Do not be afraid, I have given them into your hands” from God.

PROMISE #2: “You will battle daily”

It is easy to feel overwhelmed by life, circumstances, and events. We will be and are in a daily battle with the enemy of our souls. There are days of “We got this. You and me, God.” Then it might be the very next day when we feel totally dogged by the enemy. Two Scriptures come into play here: Ephesians 6:10-18 and Romans 7:7-17.

PROMISE #3: “You will complete the task”

God told the Israelites the Promised Land (land of Canaan) was theirs. An important reminder: Winning a victory is not determined by whether God is on our side or not. Abraham Lincoln had an interesting thought on this. While both sides claimed God was on their side in the war, he was heard to say, “The key issue is not whether God is on my side but whether I am on God’s side.” Wise words.

We do serve a promise-keeping God who wants His children to keep their word as well.  Your song for the week is an old one but still powerful. Listen here.

WORD

Thursday, June 14th, 2018

How important is the Word? I’d like to ask you to check out my other blog here to see what today’s New Morning Mercies is all about and how important the Word is.

Gone…for a little while longer

Wednesday, June 6th, 2018

Today is Wednesday. Today is also the day, Lord willing, we will be heading back home. To our house. To my bed. Aaaahhhh home sweet home. 🙂 To a yard which I figure needs cut baled.  🙁

If you have been keeping up you know we were in Ohio since last Friday.

I told you about my possible 2019 experiment experience here. I hope you have taken the time to read the Scripture I left with you each day.  Another possible Scripture is this one here. It may be one of the most well-known of all the Psalms.  I hope you will take the time to read it today.

What was most meaningful to you in your reading? How can you apply it?

By the way,  I will check in to approve any comments.

Going…Going…Gone (Still)

Tuesday, June 5th, 2018

Jo and I are still away in Ohio for a few days. Read the previous three posts to find out about it.

My possible 2019 experience is explained here.

Your Scripture reading for today is here.

It is a tough one, but it can’t be skipped.

What part of this passage was most meaningful to you? How can you apply this to your life?

By the way, I’ll check in to approve any comments.

Forget?

Friday, May 25th, 2018

MEMORIAL DAY

Day off or Day of Memory.

Day to cook out or Day to be thankful.

There’s a third. Around these parts,  high school graduation takes place Saturday. So Memorial Day is a day of recuperation. And drying tears. And relishing one of the last possible times for a family cookout before life really gets hectic.  🙂

Memorial Day was a day designed to remember. Even more than July 4, it was designed to call to mind the sacrifice and commitment so many men and women, moms and dads, brothers and sisters, etc paid to keep our nation free (or to help others be or stay free). It is a day of “Lest We Forget.”

Did you know God also instituted opportunities for the Israelite nation to not forget Him and what He has done? Three of them, in fact.  I switched last week’s sermon and this week’s around so I could focus on those three opportunities this week. What are they? Well…I’m glad you asked!  🙂

  1. The Ark of Connection. You read that right. Why do I say that? Because the Ark symbolized God’s presence.  The story is in Joshua 3.
  2. Stones of Remembrance.  That unique story is found in Joshua 4.
  3. An Act of Consecration. You will find that story in Joshua 5.

We all tend to have “memory amnesia” from time to time. The Israelites were no different. God wanted them to remember “lest they forget.” Same goes for us. We all need memory joggers. May Sunday, then Monday, be a time of jogging your memory of God’s goodness to us as His people and then to be thankful for living in this free country.

Have a nice weekend. A fantastic day of worship. A time of memorial on Monday. But in all your celebration, please don’t forget WHO is behind it all.

Holy

Sunday, May 20th, 2018

Every day I live I am reminded of Isaiah’s words in chapter 6: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips, for my eyes have seen the king, the Lord of hosts!”

What could possibly have gotten Isaiah so worked up and so “slain” that he admits to having unclean lips and living in the midst of unclean people? Only one thing really:

He. caught. a. glimpse. of. the. holiness. of. God.

It must have been an earth-shattering sight for him. A “take me to my knees” sight. A “rock my world” sight. Words fail me when trying to find the words to describe it. This sort of thing happened once to me. I was on a much-needed personal retreat of 4 days of fasting and praying. I needed to clear some things in my head, but more importantly, in my heart.  I was walking the property I was staying at and praying when I found myself on my knees. Overwhelmed and overcome by the weight of it all. For once I felt like I was standing in God’s presence. So began my journey out of legalism and into freedom. But it all started with catching a glimpse of God’s holiness. I didn’t froth at the mouth. I didn’t convulse. I didn’t have any ecstatic experience. I was just overwhelmed.

Here is a song I’d like you to listen to. It is long (a little over 9 minutes) because it is a medly of two songs. They are both good alone. Combined they are powerful. Hope you enjoy. More: I hope it brings you a reality of God’s holiness and helps you focus this week on Him.

GraceLadies

Sunday, May 13th, 2018

In my last post I said I would be preaching on Rahab, a subject which seemed out of sorts for Mother’s Day. I gotta agree but that was not the reason for my changing heart Saturday night.

After a 21+ ride and a quick run to Walmart with Jo we started talking on the way back to the house. She expressed a concern about the source of my topic for Mother’s Day. So even though I was planning a fairly relaxing evening, I worked until almost 9:30 on a sermon and an outline for the Sunday bulletin.

It was still on Abounding Grace but I decided to use Jesus’ genealogy in Matthew 1:1-16 as my Scripture. I’m sure most, if not all of you, know the story behind this passage. There are 5 woman in the lineage of Jesus who are anything but pristine and represent God’s grace in spades.

Tamar– Her complete story is in Genesis 38. Dressed up as a prostitute to seduce her father-in-law, Judah.

Rahab– Her complete story is in Joshua 2 and 6:22-25. A prostitute.

Ruth– a Moabitess (they came from an incestuous relationship between Lot and his daughters after Sodom & Gomorrah). Also a Gentile.

Bathsheba– an adulteress.

Mary– a teenager carrying a baby out of wedlock, one in which the man she was “married” to, was not the father.

Not a very “clean” lineage. Lots of black marks in those five ladies. But God showed them incredible grace and used them in bringing to pass Jesus’ birth.

Grace abounding. For them. For me. For you. Makes me appreciate His grace even more. I’m glad I serve a God of such magnanimous grace.