Saturday, October 3, 2009

An excerpt

Lord, may I be forever reminded of all your miraculous deeds,
It would be better that I forget my own name,
Yes, even all that I've accomplished,
than to forget just one your glorious works!


The Cross, Part 6: Substitutionary

"Meanwhile, the leading priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas to be released and for Jesus to be put to death" [Matt 27:20]

So I'm going to attempt to make somewhat of an analogy here for explaining why it was necessary for Christ to actually die for us, and sorry if I take my usual long & round about way of getting to the point :)

If we begin with the premise that God is holy; completely pure in thought and deed [1 Sam 2:2, 1 John 1:5], which also causes him to be completely set apart from sin [Is 59:2], it becomes clear that it is impossible for Him to do wrong [Ps 145:17]. Because of this, He is the only one qualified to judge between right and wrong since He Himself is not a doer of the things he judges [Job 8:3]. God is also the only one who is even capable of creating any laws for governing the universe since He alone has ultimate rule over all the things He's created. If then the lawgiver Himself is Holy and just, then its implied that "the law itself is holy, and its commands are holy and right and good." [Rom 7:12] God, being both lawgiver and judge of the universe, also has the final say on what the penalty will be for anyone who transgresses his law. So when He says, "the wages of sin is death" [Rom 6:23] then there should be some real concern of having to stand before Him to be judged by every deed "as recorded in the books." [Rev 20:12] No doubt, I'd be in a more than a lot of trouble if God had done nothing to bail me out of such a desperate situation.

It is here that Barabbas provides a great illustration of our spiritual condition. We were all considered to be "a notorious prisoner" against whom countless acts of breaking the law may be rightfully charged. And again, God is Just (much more than the Roman government) and he must uphold His justice because He is holy and not willing to allow sin to go unpunished.

So what does he do??? How is it possible for Holy God to forgive sinful Man???

The Father showed His great love and compassion for our desperate situation by ordering "Barabbas(us) to be released and for Jesus to be put to death." [Matt 27:20] The death of Christ on the cross provided a way for God to carry out His just punishment of sin by sending His one and only Son to recieve the condemnation which we deserved! Chirst's death was substitutionary! It was also much much more, though this alone provides much hope to us who had noooo way of getting to God based on any good works. A sacrifice had to be made.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Dennis Mays: Bible in a year [09_03_Hosea_7-8_Rebellion in Israel]

Chapter 7:
Half-baked Commitment....7:1-10
Halfhearted Confession......7:11-16
Chapter 8:
Halfhearted Kings..............8:1-7
Wholehearted Conquest....8:8-14

Read Passage Online

Visual aids and interesting metaphors abound in the section
you will read today. Hosea describes the nation as a dying man,
a flaming fire, a half-baked cake, a silly dove, a deceitful bow,
a pleasureless vessel, and a forgetful servant.
With such overwhelming evidence there can be only one verdict:
Guilty! For centuries the nation has sown seeds of wickedness;
now it is time to reap the terrible harvest of judgment.
Try this personal preference survey:
How do you like your eggs cooked?
How do you like your meat cooked (rare, medium, etc.)?
How do you like our favorite beverage served?
Now suppose someone invited you over for breakfast
and served you overcooked (or undercooked) bacon,
runny (or hardboiled) eggs, and lukewarm coffee, tea, or milk.
How would you respond to their “hospitality”?
Would you want to come back for more?
Back in the early days of the nation of Israel,
the people promised to follow God in wholehearted obedience
(Exodus 19:8).
But now as Hosea surveys the scene, the nation resembles
a half-baked cake (7:8). Impure motives, incomplete obedience,
and spiritual indifference characterize the people.
Little wonder God’s heart is grieved over the condition of
His covenant nation.
Think of your Christian life today as a cake,
and the difficult circumstances you are facing as the heat
God is using to prepare you. Where are you tempted to
“hop out of the over” before the transformation is complete?
Why not bake a special (and hopefully, edible) cake today,
or surprise the family by bringing one home tonight.
As you enjoy it together, share with each other areas
in your life that are still “in the oven,”
becoming what He wants them to be.
The Sowing and Reaping Principle:
Hosea 8:7 is one of the best-known verses in the book,
and contains a principle found at least two other places in the Bible:
2 Corinthians 9:6 and Galatians 6:7-8. Can you state what it is?
=======> ___The_Soulfood Menu___ (real food for your soul)
study the day's outlined chapters to get the entire bible in your heart
every 365 days.
study the Proverb chapter of each day's date
(31 proverbs for 31days each month)
(ie...on the 3rd day of the month study Proverbs chapter 3).
meditate on 5 Psalms each evening
(5 psalms a nite x 30 days each month=150 Psalms)
(ie......on the 3rd day of each month meditate on Psalm 3,
+30= Psalm 33,
+30= Psalm 63,
+30= Psalm 93,
+30= Psalm 123

~by Dennis Mays

The Cross, Part 5: Fruits of Repentance

"And Peter remembered the saying of Jesus 'Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.' And he went out and wept bitterly." Matt 26:27

The difference between Peter's Denial and Judas's betrayal in the next chapter is that the former led to repentance while the latter was merely sorrow over the consequences of sin. Though the outward appearance of these two emotions may be similar, the Bible makes it clear that something rather different is really occurring in the heart. "Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death."[2 Cor 7:10]

Everyone has a conscience, and sorrow is really the result of violating the law God has placed within the heart [See Rom 2:14,15]. The purpose of our sorrow when we violate our conscience is to produce a turning away from sin in repentance and a turning towards God in faith. And while we may be able to fool one another by giving off the appearance of sadness and remorse over our sin, God knows whether or not the sorrow is genuine. At the moment Peter is found weeping bitterly and in sorrow for denying Christ, there is no real way to outwardly judge whether his heart is really repentant. The only way to assert that true repentance occurred is to evaluate his Life and how he would later, "Bear fruit in keeping with repentance." [Matthew 3:8]. I'm not advocating that works prove a person has repented, but rather that they are an expected by-product of true repentance.

When studying the cross, I suppose it's easy to be filled with sorrow and grief over what Christ suffered, but is this grief alone enough to save us? Even though Judas himself was saddened and filled with remorse over his own sin, he merely internalized the sorrow and acted on it with self-punishment. Ultimately, it's only by the grace of God that Peter too didn't take the same path, and that he instead externalized the sorrow he felt by placing it on the cross where it would be forever crucified with Christ!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Cross, Part 4: Our disgrace

"Then they spit in his face and struck him" [Matt 26:67]

"I gave my back to those who strike,
and my cheek to those who pull out the beard;
I hid not my face from disgrace and spitting." [Is 50:6]

In what appears to be a fist fight that Jesus is clearly losing, God's sovereignty seems to shine so brightly in the backdrop, reducing this to but a minor scuffle when compared to the real battle being fought in the heavens for the souls of men. So as men boxed with God, God boxed with sin. Though it is natural to have seen this abuse and disgrace and to have "esteemed him stricken," Jesus was doing a work so great that we would've cheered him on had we been there and understood that, "he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed." [Is 53] !!!!!


I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. John 15:9

When Jesus asks you to remain in His love, He is asking you to obey Him completely. Not some of the time, not only on those things that you like or that are easy, but in all areas. Now, I know that may seem hard to do, but the good news is that your first step is just to be willing. Be willing to ask for His help. Pray, sing a hymn, sit in quiet, take a walk and talk with the Lord-do anything that illustrates your willingness to the Lord, and do it as often as you can. Your willingness turns into His opportunity to use you for His loving purpose on this earth. It is truly amazing to realize that you were loved by God even before you were born, because God knew you and wanted you from the start. That kind of complete and unconditional love is beautiful and exciting. Thank the Lord for loving you more than life itself.

~By Sherana Harris

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Cross, Part 3: Alone

"Then all the disciples left him and fled" [Matt 26:56]

Even after the abundance of love Christ displayed among his followers, a realization of His unpopularity along with fear for their own safety, causes the disciples to "flee from the Lord." "For it is written, I will strike the Shepard, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered."

Among these disciples was Peter himself, who boldly exclaimed, "I will never fall away." Yet, the love of God is fully expressed, for we all(like the disciples) "left him and fled" in our hears with sinful desires and still the Lord was gracious and loving enough to pursue us as we fled. "All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;" So there is no use in supposing that there was some sort of innate goodness within the hearts of men that motivated Christ to be dragged away by His betrayers. It was not for any good works that we'd done, but instead because we were incapable of doing anything good at all, that He is willfully led away "like a lamb that is led to the slaughter." And standing all alone without any companion or fellow worker to aid him in this great act of redemption, "his own arm brought him salvation, and his righteousness upheld him."

"Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded." "For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly." The betrayed is crucified for the betrayer, the one who remained faithful died for we who "left him and fled." How is this not the greatest act of love and the most amazing display of grace?

"For one will scarcely die for a righteous person - though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die - but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

Soli Deo Gloria!