Category Archives: GRACE

Silence . . .

silence

Four hundred years of it to be precise.

No prophecy.

No revelation.

Nothing.

Did HE forget about US?

I know we have forgotten Him many times. But, did He finally give up on us?   We are living as captives in our own country, it is occupied territory. Did He forget His promise? We are supposed to have a KING, not some emperor in  far away land.

Which reminds me, aren’t we supposed to be the nation others look to for hope? Because, right now, I can’t remember the last time I had hope. I remember being taught the songs of our people. Songs of hope, songs of joy, songs of expectation, songs of exultation,  and songs of lament. Lately it is one of those last ones that springs to mind. You know the one, it starts out, “How long, O Lord? How long?”

Indeed, how long? . . .

AND THEN! . . .

Then, an angel of the Lord  stood before  us,  and the glory of the Lord  shone around us, and we were terrified.   But the angel said to us, “Don’t be afraid,  for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people:  Today a Savior,  who is Messiah  the Lord,  was born for you in the city of David. This will be the sign for you:  You will find a baby wrapped snugly in cloth and lying in a feeding trough.”   Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying:

Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth  to people He favors!

Wait, what?

A Baby?

No, not just a baby, a savior. Finally! A Savior! Descendant of Kings.

Can it be?

Dare we hope?

I have to see this for myself.   And there He is! So tiny, so frail, so ordinary. Wait! No, not ordinary. Just normal, like me. But He is so much more too. He is special. The angel called Him a Savior, our Savior. My Savior.

Wow! Now my soul is reminded of another song. This one is at the end of the book. It goes like this (in case you don’t remember it),

Praise the Lord

Hallelujah!

Praise God in His sanctuary.

Praise Him in His mighty heavens.

Praise Him for His powerful acts;

praise Him for His abundant greatness.

Praise Him with trumpet blast;

praise Him with harp and lyre.

Praise Him with tambourine and dance;

praise Him with flute and strings.

Praise Him with resounding cymbals;

praise Him with clashing cymbals.

Let everything that breathes praise the Lord.

Hallelujah!  

Indeed, Hallelujah!

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Filed under Christmas, Doxology, GRACE, Joy, Psalms

Corruption

Corruption. It  is not a word that just applies to politicians and bad cops. The old King James Bible uses the word to talk about our mortal bodies ( 1 Corinthians 15:35-58). I love that it uses that word because it describes our current condition perfectly.

God created us to be perfect. No flaws no sin. But sin we did. We became corrupted. We were drawn in by the darkside, sucked in by pride, overcome by evil. This problem is so pervasive that only One has escaped its curse. The problem cannot be solved by modification. It cannot be solved by regulation. Only the power of almighty God can overcome our corrupt nature. By grace we have the means of resisting temptation and overcoming the corruption in our bodies.
But God has a far more extensive solution planned. God’s plan is to give us new bodies altogether. Not just modified bodies, new ones! Bodies devoid of pain? Yes! Bodies devoid of sin? Halelujah, yes! But more than that. God has planned for us bodies that are not simply missing corruption, but incorruptible.

Did you catch the difference?

Not just without corruption, but unable to be corrupted. Only Jesus, in the power of the Spirit of God, was able to live in these mortal bodies without succumbing to their innate corruption. But there is coming a day when those who believe in Jesus will be like Him because we shall see Him as He is. We will no longer struggle to believe fully enough so that we don’t sin, but instead our faith will be made sight and this old body will cease to be. Instead we will have bodies that will allow us to behold His glory as He truly is.  I cannot wait for THAT body.  How about you?

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Filed under General Thoughts, GRACE, SIN, The Gospel

The Babe and The Lamb

Sorrow.  It is an emotion we feel too little of.  Why sorrow?  Because there is blood on our hands.  Blood?  Yeah, blood.  Innocent blood at that.  I am a murderer.  I killed the Son of God.  I am guilty.

 

There is no sugar coating it.  There is no downplaying possible.  The Holy One,  Jesus, the Righteous.  That is who I killed.  I pointed my finger at God and cursed Him.  I drove nails through the hands and feet of His son and I mocked His death.

 

And then God spoke.

 

He did not speak words of wrath or condemnation.  He spoke words of love, and forgiveness.  He spoke of reconciliation.  He spoke of adoption.  He spoke of peace.

 

You see I live in the 21st century.  Jesus lived in the 1st century.  But God knew me (the real, evil, wicked, wretched me) before He spoke the universe into existence.  And still He decided that He would send Jesus, His only Son, to be born of a woman and to live upon the earth He Himself cursed because of my sin.

 

He did nothing wrong!  Not a single solitary thing.

 

But we killed Him anyway.  Because if we didn’t we would have to admit that we were sinners.  We would have to look Him in the eye and see reflected there the sad truth.  The truth that His very presence was evidence that we were (and are) in desperate need of a Savior.  Maybe if we silenced Him we could stop hearing the silent accusation of our conscience — GUILTY.

 

But even at His execution we condemned ourselves.  We drove the nails and with each blow we proved our depravity.

 

The amazing part is that God knew what we would do.  Jesus knew that to be born was to ultimately be tortured and executed in the most horrendous way we could possibly imagine.  And yet He chose to come!  He chose to die.  And today He chooses to forgive.

 

You see, just as Christmas proves our guilt, it also provides hope.  Jesus came to earth because we needed a Savior, and that is why His birth is to be celebrated!  But His birth would give little hope if it were not for His death.  And His death would have nothing but terror for us if not for His grace and mercy.

 

We are, all of us, guilty.  Yet in spite of our guilt God chooses to love and forgive us.  We cannot forget, especially at this time of year, that we should look to the manger with hope and joy, but with sorrow too.  For if in the stall we do not see both a babe and a lamb we have missed the point.  He who brings us life and joy and peace bought it with His blood.  We, the guilty, are made righteous.  He the innocent is made The Passover Lamb.

 

So, please, this season worship the babe in the manger, but don’t forget He is also the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world, and that He was slain for you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Christmas, GRACE, Joy, SIN, The Gospel, Worship

A little dose of reality!

For those of you who know me well you know that I have one sin in my life that pretty much kicks my tail on a consistent basis.

 

What is it?

 

Fear.

 

Wait a minute!  Fear is a sin?  Yep, fear is a sin.

 

For me it is not fear of physical safety.  I love dangerous activities.  I have free climbed 1000 foot cliffs, I have taken dives from rock cliffs, and done many stupid and dangerous things.  But I actually thrive on these kinds of activities.

 

So, what scares me?  Failure.  Yep just one simple thing.  But it is more than that too.  You see failure is only possible when you have something to lose.

 

I fear failing as a father because I want my children to know that they are loved, not just by me, but ultimately by God.  I fear failing as a husband because I know that my heart is sinful and wicked.  I know I am not above failure in my relationship with my wife, and it scares me to death.

 

But there is a bigger fear that hounds me.  I fear that at the end of my days, when I stand before God, that I will not hear what I would like to from my Savior.  I am afraid that when I stand before the Judge of all men that I will have fallen short.  I fear that I will have kept too much from Him.  I fear that I will have been timid where I should have been bold.  In short, I fear failing the One who died for me.

 

But this fear is not rational.  This fear is part of the spiritual warfare I am in.  My fear leads me to paralysis.  It leads me to inaction, to uselessness.  My enemies (the flesh, the world and the devil) know that if they can make me afraid then they can make me insignificant for the Kingdom of God.

 

Fear is a sin for me because it blinds me to the power of Grace.  It distracts me from the purpose of the cross.  Fear prevents me from living a life filled with faith.  It is a struggle that I face daily.  But it is a struggle that can be won!

 

I share this with you because I think we need to be reminded that sin is a part of this life.  It is a fact of this world.  But it CAN be overcome.  I fight fear daily.  What do you fight?

 

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Filed under General Thoughts, God's Faithfulness, GRACE, SIN, The Gospel