Archive | June, 2011

Grace grace God’s grace…

30 Jun

Charles Spurgeon once said, “The limitless fullness of His [Christ] all-sufficiency is as free to the believer as the air he breathes.”  What a great way to describe the grace of Jesus that He gives to us.  It is a completely free gift that we are given if we will only receive it.  Jesus is so good to us in the since that we are freely offered this all-sufficient grace when we in no way deserve it.  This fact should inspire us to worship each time it enters our mind.  Jesus is worthy of everything that is within us, because He gave us everything within Him.

One thought that enters my mind, however, as I think of Spurgeon’s quote is how easy it is to take Jesus all-sufficiency for granted.  When was the last time that you intentionally thanked God for the air you breathe?  Not that we are ungrateful for it, but we just don’t acknowledge it.  And the fact of the matter is that Christ’s all-sufficiency, just like air, is too big and great of a gift not to intentionally thank God for.  I say this simply to remind us all, myself included, that everything about Jesus is a catalyst for worship.  I not only talking about singing songs of praise, but rather we can worship Jesus by showing others the grace that we have been shown in Him.  We can worship through service for the Kingdom of God.  We can worship through writing about God’s grace.  It is important to open your understanding of worship past simple songs.

Therefore, today let Jesus’ all-sufficient grace compel you to worship, and let that worship take on more facets than just songs.

I will never be the same again…

28 Jun

This time four years ago my life was about to very rapidly change.  It was a change that I new was coming, but I had not yet sensed the gravity of the change.  Today is Wee-Wood 1’s birthday, and I cannot believe that she is actually four years old.  So much has changed in the past four years for us as a family.  We bought our first house, we have gotten two new to us cars, we have had a second child, we have started to adopt a third child, we each, She-Wood and I, gone through job transitions, and other various things.  However, one thing has remained exactly the same.  I love this little girl within everything that is in me.

I’l never forget the first time that I saw her.  As she was born the umbilical cord was around her neck, so she was a little blue as she came out.  The nurses and doctors were working like crazy on her and on She-Wood.  It was an incredibly hectic several moments.  There was a point where I thought for a few seconds that I might lose both She-Wood and Wee-Wood 1.  Wee-Wood had fluid on her lungs and she was having trouble breathing, and She-Wood hemorrhaged and was losing a lot of blood.  It was a hard situation for a 23 year old guy to handle, but by the grace of God I was able to make it through.  The funny thing was that during the entire hour long craziness the only thing that kept coming into my head was the Steven Curtis Chapman song, “This Is A Moment Made for Worshiping,” and truly it was.  The first time I got to hold her I was changed forever.  I instantly knew that I would do absolutely anything for this beautiful, helpless little girl.  It was during our first few days at home that the words of God came to realization in my heart from Deuteronomy 6.  God states, “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” (Deut. 6:6-7).  God wants us to constantly have Him and His commandments on our minds and hearts.  It was at that point, as I held my newborn child, that I knew what I had to do as a spiritual leader of my children.

I love what one commentator wrote regarding this passage.  He says, “The image is that of the engraver of a monument who takes hammer and chisel in hand and with painstaking care etches a text into the face of a solid slab of granite.  The sheer labor of such a task is daunting indeed, but once done the message is there to stay.”  Therefore, as a father I am resigned to daily take up my hammer and chisel and etch the commands of God and love for Him onto the hearts and minds of my children.  I love them too much not to.

I am sure that today will be awesome as we celebrate Wee-Wood 1’s birthday, and I cannot wait to watch her grow and develop into a godly young woman.  I love you sweetie and happy birthday!

Greater things have yet to come and greater things are still to be done…

24 Jun

I am finding great encouragement this morning in the book of Isaiah.  Chapter 43 begins with one of my two favorite passages in the whole Bible.  God reminding Israel of the fact that He is their one and only Savior, and He intends to protect and guide them brings me great encouragement and insight into the character of God.  In conjunction with that truth, this morning I am also being encouraged and challenged by verses 18-19.  In which, Isaiah reports God as saying, “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.  Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?”  I read a commentary on this passage that made a statement that struck me as quite profound, but very true.  The writer said, “God intends our past to be a guidepost not a hitching post.”  How true is that statement!

God had done amazing things in Israel’s history, and the nation look to those things to keep them going.  Who can blame them for remember the things that God had done up to that point in history?  He had brought them out of slavery in Egypt.  He had led them to conquer the Promised Land.  He had sent them judges, kings, and prophets to guide them through daily life.  God had done amazing things in and through Israel.  But, God did not want the old things that He had done to become the driving force and focus of the people of Israel.  I believe the same can be said for us.  God is my one and only Savior who has done amazing things both in and through my life.  However, I can’t hold to those things of the past simply because they were great in the past.  God still has great things to do in and through me: great, new things.  He has called me as a witness (Is. 43:10) for Him in my context.  I have been entrusted with a message that must be proclaimed.  I cannot let my remembrance of the former things He has done prevent me from doing the new things He is calling me to.  While what God has done in the past was, and is, great and awesome, I cannot pine for the old things.  I must press forward knowing that God has great things in store for His glory.

Only God can judge me…

17 Jun

Thank you Tupac for those profound words.  You know that almost all of us would ascribe to this mantra, but the fact of the matter is that God is not the only one who judges others, especially in the Christian world.  The human race is a judgmental group of people, and unfortunately, in the general sense, Christianity usually leads the pack.  Jesus knew that this would be the case at some point, and that’s why He addressed the subject directly in The Sermon on the Mount.  Matthew 7:1-6 is the famous passage concerning judgment in which Jesus teaches that we should “remove the log from our own eye before we point out the speck in another person’s eye.”

The fact of the matter is that if we are living with a judgmental spirit it will be nearly impossible to experience true intimacy with God.  If you are living with this kind of attitude, you are so focused one what is wrong with everyone else and you cannot focus on what God is trying to say to you.  Having this type of attitude also puts a person in the unwarranted position of superiority when in reality you are no more superior than the next person.  This is an especially strong temptation when you are in church leadership.

In an attempt to be completely transparent, I can say that I have been in this position more than once.  The position that I currently find myself in is allowing my family and I to visit other churches on a weekly basis.  I have found myself being rather judgmental of certain aspects of the services that we attend.  I hate that I have found myself doing this this.  These people are doing what God has called and gifted them to do, and who in the world am I to judge their skill level or ability.  Jesus tells us to cultivate an uncritical attitude so that we are not placing ourselves in the position of superiority.

Therefore, I encourage you today to live in the light of the fact that you are not ultimate in this world.  People will make mistakes and will do things not quite as good as you might think you would have done them.  Have a gentle spirit that can be engaged and molded by God rather than one that is hard and judgmental.

There goes my Hero watch Him as He goes

16 Jun

Oswald Chambers once wrote, “The sense of our duty is only realized by our sense of the heroic.”  This morning in my devotion time I was reading John 15, and in verses 13-15 Jesus says, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.”  In our culture the hero is an individual who is looked upon as a greater individual.  Webster defines a hero as, “a person who admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.”  This would definitely describe Jesus, and if we adhere to the words of Jesus, it should describe us as well.

Jesus laid down His life so that we might have salvation.  There is a big difference between laying down your life and simply dying.  Implicit in laying down your life is a willingness to make a sacrifice.  This is not the case when simply dying.  Jesus is the ultimate hero in that He laid down His life for humanity.

In turn, we as Christ followers must live with the understanding that we are called to lay down our lives everyday.  We should act as little heros each day and strive to follow Christ example of being the ultimate hero in laying down our lives for our friends.