Thursday, January 30, 2014

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Jesus, Our Reconciliation

"God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation." (2 Corinthians 5:19)

"Reconciliation" can be defined as follows: “Brought back together after being forced apart. Two beautiful pictures illustrate this truth:

First, God and man stood face to face with each other. Adam turned his back on God when he sinned, so God turned His back on Adam. Christ’s death satisfied the justice of God and God turned his face toward man again. It remains for man to turn and face God. God has been reconciled by the death of Jesus; now man is asked to be reconciled to God.

Second, consider the "Door of Reconciliation." This door is on display in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin, Ireland. Note the peculiar rectangular hole hacked out of its center. In 1492, while Columbus sailed the ocean blue (sorry, could not help myself) Sir James Butler, Earl of the Ormonds holed himself up in the Cathedral for protection during a feud against Sir Gerald Fitzgerald. After several weeks of waiting, Sir Gerald decided he wanted to end the feud so he went to the cathedral and requested entry, promising he would do no harm to Sir James. Sir James was suspicious, and refused him. Sir Gerald used a spear to hack through the wooden Cathedral door a hole just big enough to put his arm through. He then offered his hand as a gesture of peace. James shook his hand, the two were reconciled, and the feud ended. This is how we gained the term, “chancing one’s arm.”

 Jesus said, "I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” [John 10:9]

This is what Jesus did, chancing both arms (as it were) when He died on the Cross paying the penalty for our sins. He “chanced his arm” to reconcile you to God. Do you refuse His offer of peace and remain His enemy, or will you be reconciled? 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Jesus Is Our Judge

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” [2 Cor 5:10 NASB]

Buildings under construction require inspections at different stages. Specialists representing the government who carry State certification or specialists representing the International Code Council (the people who set the codes) check to make certain the plans match the workmanship.

  • Is the foundation sound, secure and is the structure properly attached? 
  • Are the right materials being used? wood, hay, stubble?  
  • In the process of building, has any damage occurred? 
  • Is the mechanical equipment in place and working properly? 
  • Is the electricity & Plumbing connected? Does it flow properly?
  • Is this a place of safety, functioning as intended by the Master Builder? 

Judgment Points to the Divine Position of Jesus, The Builder of the Church, as judge. He has every right and responsibility to look us over because often-times, damage occurs in the building process. The final construction cannot be completed around damages.

 “For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son . . . and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man.” (Jn 5:22, 27)

“But even if I do judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone in it, but I and the Father who sent Me.” (Jn 8:16) 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

"How To Stand When Misunderstood" (2 Corinthians 1:12-2:4)

It's dreadful what little things lead people to misunderstand each other.” (L.M. Montgomery)

Jesus was misunderstood, even by His own family (#John 7:5).
Paul was misunderstood by an entire church (#2Corinthians 1).

Stream the 11:00 Bible Study in 2 Corinthians 1:12-2:4 at Calvary Chapel Blythewood as we learn "How To Stand When Misunderstood." Archived messages available.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Randoms

The Problem With Facebook.

Physics Student Rickrolls His Professor.Genius.

Evolution Is A Matter of Belief--And So Is Christianity!

"Attention, Please!" What Every Man Ought To Know About Focus.

Theological Education as Stewardship.

I can see it now--Sci-Fi Channel's new movie: "The Hill, The Day After Leg Day"

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Jesus Is Our Light

“For God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” [2 Cor 4:6 NASB]

“Science” comes from mid-14th Century Latin word (scire) meaning “to know” or “acquire by study.” One reason science is so enjoyable is that human knowledge is always playing catch-up to what God has already said and done. Take for example the surprising results of exploring light.

Science found that light consists of three rays, or groups of wavelengths, and each ray is distinct from the other. There would be no light if any one of these rays or wavelengths were missing as each ray has its own separate function that affects the whole:
  • The first ray, “invisible light” is neither seen nor felt yet this first ray is the origin of light.
  • The third ray or wavelength is also invisible, but is felt as heat.
  • The second ray makes light both seen and felt.
Again, science discovers nothing new. Science only confirms what scripture already teaches:
  • God (immortal, invisible, the only wise) in light inaccessible, hid from our eyes commanded light with a word at creation.
  • He is the same who shines in our dark hearts (we can feel His Spirit move with the heat of conviction) for the purpose of giving us knowledge (“science”) that among other things, the Creator and the Savior are the same person.
  • John affirms with the eyewitnesses Jesus as being both seen and felt as He lived here on earth! He is not the one who brings light--He is the light.
Jesus, The Church Builder, does not have us groping about in darkness trying to figure things out about spiritual matters, nor does He leave us groping about the in which we live. The Master Builder installed LIGHT, so we can see what is plainly before us! Nothing is hidden, secret when it comes to Him.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Preaching Christ Jesus the Lord

"For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus' sake."  (2 Cor 4:5)

Mention "church" to most people and they respond with some thought regarding preaching. Almost never the music, fellowship or even the food. Always the preaching. Why is preaching a central feature of the way we do church?

We preach because of John 3:16. God keeps no secrets, requires no secret knowledge, no hidden wisdom. Preaching is the open proclamation of heavenly matters, the beginning of the legislation of heavenly matters here on earth. Paul reminds us in his letter to the Corinthians that preaching is not mere demonstration of eloquence but a demonstration of the Spirit’s power for the purpose of establishing faith not on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God!

What is the message we proclaim? “Christ Jesus the Lord!” If this is not the message of the church, there is no message at all and neither is the church the church. The concept of "church" has been hijacked by the culture--anyone can have a church, even atheists. This is an attempt to cheapen what Christ has been building for centuries.

Notice what Paul says of our founder:

First, He is Christ, and His role is to be the anointed agent of deliverance, the Messiah, the one Chosen by God. He is our Divine and Spirit-filled King, the centerpiece around whom we gather as an identifiable people. He is the founder of the laws of the land, of our customs and culture. He is the defeater of our enemies.

Second, He is Jesus. This is His name. (Mt. 1:21) “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” Literally: “The LORD is Salvation”.

Third, He is the Lord, the Master, the Possessor, the One Who Decides, the Controlling Sovereign, the Prince, the Chief, our object of Reverence, Respect and Worship. Many will not have Jesus as their Lord, but what they want in no way demotes Him. He is not the Lord because we make Him Lord; rather, He is the Lord because He is the Lord. This is not a NT idea.

Romans 10:13 “For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved” is a quote from Joel 2:32, “And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance, as the LORD has said, among the remnant whom the LORD calls."

Can you name the NT passage that sounds like this one?“I have sworn by Myself; the word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that to Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall take an oath.” (Isaiah 45:23).

The glory of preaching lies not in the church “building”, but in a church “built”.  T.M. Moore (with the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview) said: “We preach the Word of God [Christ Jesus the Lord] to the people of God for the building-up of the Church of God unto the advancement of the Kingdom of God. Preaching is for God’s sake, and unto the fulfillment of His purposes, or it is not true preaching at all. True preaching requires ‘laborious and persevering diligence’ and a clear and constant focus on the ends for which we preach.”

In other words, “Christ Jesus as Lord.” It's all about Him.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Diffusing Fragrance

“Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life.” (2 Cor 2:14-16)

Christ is building His church, a feature not to be kept hidden in a personal showroom but always on display, a demonstration of yet another great thing He has done. Triumph cannot be contained--it must be spread. Notice the text, saying: “God . . . through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.”

Interesting that the triumph of Christ is described in the context of the five senses, specifically, the sense of smell. Smell is the way we tell people apart. You can tell a clean person from an unclean person by smell. Anything fresh, clean is appealing, has a good smell while others bear smells that bring about unquestionable avoidance.

The smell of Christ’s triumph is like death to those who are perishing and life to those who are being saved.  A while back I gave some gospels tracts to men gathered around the back of a pick-up truck outside a grocery store one evening. When they began to hear the gospel, I was strongly encouraged to carry on with my business, so found my way into the store. Ten minutes later, one of those men found me in the dairy section because he wanted to talk about the gospel.

You do smell, don't you? Make certain you smell; that is, spread the fragrance of God all around.  

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Photoblog: Assurance

After a 4.5 mile run, I was flat on my back catching my breath when I noticed this circular cloud directly above my head--as if God was telling me I was going to be "ok."

Or He was blowing smoke rings . . .


Monday, January 13, 2014

Jesus, Our Triumph

 "Now thanks [be] to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place." (2 Cor 2:14 NKJV)

February 7, 2013, the Carnival cruise ship “Triumph” set sail from Galveston, TX for a four day cruise to Mexico. The third day, the ship suffered a fire in the aft engine room. The fire was immediately extinguished, but the ship lost power and propulsion and remained adrift 150 miles off the Mexican coast. For the next five days the 4,200 people on board had to endure unsanitary conditions, food shortages and camping out on deck until the ship was towed into Mobile, Alabama.

Not much of a Triumph, was it? It was big ship, massive, loaded with all the amenities for a good time; but, it was crippled, a failure--a barge of unhappiness. The good ship Lolly-pop, dropped--with fuzz stuck all over it. The perfect picture of what the world has to offer. So many shiny things distract our attention that we forget what really matters--we become shallow, drifting from one entertainment to the next, to things that will burn and be destroyed at the end of this earth.

Many passengers on that ship were able to overcome the difficult conditions of the good ship “Triumph” thanks in part to an impromptu Bible study that brought them closer to each other and closer to God. It started out with about 25 people, and they met on the upper deck running tracks. One passenger said this: "The Bible studies were great. We did it for four days. . . It put our minds and our hearts at ease. We felt peace the whole time. We knew that there was a Mighty Power out there that would get us home and keep us safe so we could get home and see our children." Participants shared testimonies, prayed and sang songs like "Amazing Grace," "How Great is Our God" and songs in Spanish. They read Psalm 29:3 "the voice of the Lord is over the waters"--and Psalm 91 about taking refuge in God. They were able to experience peace in the most trying of circumstances.

What causes the faithful to come joyful and triumphant?

He causes us to triumph! The nature of the word is that a conquest has occurred. What has been defeated? (Col 2:13-15) “And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.”

I just have to ask: What makes you shout? The cross of Christ has achieved life over death for us. We were trespassers, stepped over the fence, crossed the line onto property not our own; but, the cross of Christ has given us access to life because our sin was wiped out, taken out of the way, nailed to the cross!
We were indistinguishable as ungodly sinners but now unmistakable as adopted children. The principalities and powers against us are disarmed! Publicly disgraced because of the finished work of Christ on the cross!The work of the cross was complete success!

The root of the word is “to shout, to cry out.” I want to give you a three word reason to raise your voice, in triumphal praise: “It is finished!”

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Randoms

How's the new year of Bible reading and fitness coming along?

"How Much Exercise Do You Really Need For Weight Loss?"

The Mount of Olives: the place of God's Coming, and Going . . . and Coming

They are not twins . . . AND they've never met!

**gasp**

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Perspective

"It seemed to Kunta that older people always could remember something worse." (Haley, Alex. Roots. New York: Doubleday, 1976).

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Monday, January 06, 2014

Jesus, Comfort for the Church

(2 Cor 1:3-5) “Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ.”

Someone said that when Jesus was born, his first cry was God’s way of saying, “I got this. Everything’s gonna be alright.”

I read a story recently of a 15 year old boy who was admitted to the hospital due to a high fever. Turned out the young man had leukemia and endured blood transfusions, spinal and bone marrow tests, and chemotherapy. Then he developed pneumonia. For five days his mother stayed in his hospital room. The only words they heard from the doctors were in the plain terms and seriousness of his disease.

Though he had never been in the hospital before, he looked around his room then finally said, “I thought you get flowers when you're in the hospital.”  One of his aunts called a floral shop to order a flower arrangement and as she placed the order, his aunt described her nephew’s condition.

The flowers came and the arrangement was beautiful. He found the card from his aunt, but when he opened it, discovered another smaller envelope inside the first. A smaller card read: “Douglas--I took your order. I work at the Florist. I had leukemia when I was 7 years old. I’m 22 years old now. Good luck. My heart goes out to you. Sincerely,  Laura.”

According to his mother, the boys` face lit up and all he could say was, “Oh!”

Here is his mother’s report: “For the first time since he had been in the hospital, he had gotten some inspiration. He had talked to so many doctors and nurses. But this one card, from the woman at the florist`s who had survived leukemia, was the thing that made him believe he might beat the disease.”

Someone tracked down Laura (the florist) and she said: “When the woman on the phone told me that the boy had leukemia, my head dropped into my hands. I felt tears coming into my eyes. It reminded me of when I first learned that I had it.”

Because Laura took the time to care, Douglas was comforted and gained hope.

Do you remember Barnabas, in the book of Acts? Can you recall what his name means? It means “son of encouragement.” Encouragement is building someone up.  This is the word Paul uses here of Jesus. (v. 5) “our comfort also abounds through Christ.” Jesus is the very essence of comfort.

If we were discussing food, Jesus is not the waiter who brings food--He is the food. He is not a waterboy, but the stream. Those in distressed are comforted by Him because He Himself is the comfort. When we are comforted, encouraged, something happens in the heart.

Comfort is what God gives in Christ Jesus so that when He builds His church then discontent, displeasure, dissatisfaction, need, pain, sadness, sorrow is removed. He builds up living stones into a living body that is not to spend energy and time nursing it’s own wounds but carrying out a living ministry of comfort, encouragement, building up.  

Friday, January 03, 2014

"Does Everyone Die? Did Enoch Die?"

Answer: two different questions--seemingly related, but different. The answer to the first is, “yes, everyone dies.” The answer to the second question is “no, Enoch did not die.” Everyone dies because death has been the paycheck for sin since Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the garden--and for them, death was spiritual before it was physical. The same remains true for us, as we come in to the world spiritually stillborn in sin.

The reasons Enoch did not die is explained in the New Testament. “By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, ‘and was not found, because God had taken him’ for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” (Hebrews 11:5)

Genesis 5 records a fact about Enoch we should not miss. The text says Enoch was 65 years old when his son, Methuselah, was born (Genesis 5:21). The next verse says that it was not until after Methuselah was born that he started walking with God (Genesis 5:22).  In other words, Enoch only walked with God for 300 of his 365 years. Enoch should have died in his sin, but was rewarded with life. And he was not the only one to cheat death . . .

Enoch did not die because his faith was pleasing to God. God granted Enoch the same deathlessness that was to be enjoyed by Adam and Eve because he believed God. That belief included the faith that God had a remedy for the sin problem in the Messiah to come.

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)


“ He will swallow up death forever, And the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces; The rebuke of His people He will take away from all the earth; For the LORD has spoken. And it will be said in that day: "Behold, this [is] our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us. This [is] the LORD; we have waited for Him; we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation." (Isaiah 25:8-9)

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Randoms

It's not too late to set up your Bullet Journal, an analog system for the digital age. This completely changed the way I journal. Highly recommended.

Still working on your resolutions? Here are Jonathan Edwards Resolutions. Here are Woody Guthrie's. Nice, concise and artsy! @Rick Higgins

That's about all.


Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Bible Reading Plan for 2014

Here is your plan to read through the Bible in a year, arranged by Robert Murray M'Cheyne (1813-1843).

Print this pdf front and back, make a bookmark and enjoy the unchanging Word of God all year long!

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