Bought by the Blood

February 6, 2011

Redeeming Love

For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God…For the LORD your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them.
(Deuteronomy 4:24 & 31 ESV)

The fire of Yahweh as a jealous God is the fire of an exclusive commitment to this people that demands an exclusive commitment in return.  It is, in short, the fire of redeeming love that had brought them out of the fires of bondage and would therefore tolerate no rival…It was the fire of God’s jealousy that protected the strength of God’s mercy and covenant faithfulness to this people.  In rebellion and idolatry they would find the God of verse 24.  In return and obedience they would find the God of verse 31.  This is the same unchanged God, responding to a tragically unchangeable people.

– Christ Wright

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November 13, 2009

Biblical Parenting

Filed under: Character of God,Deuteronomy,Family,leadership — cubsfan1980 @ 3:26 pm
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Great article on The Gospel Coalition blog on Biblical Parenting, how to do it and what it looks like.

The Purpose of biblical parenting: That the coming generations might put their hope in God.

The goal or purpose of biblical parenting is not mere Bible knowledge or well-behaved kids; the true goal of biblical parenting is that the coming generations may not forget God but instead, set their hope in God (Psalm 78:7). We should be painting such a large picture of God in our homes as we talk about Him and His strengths and His wondrous works and His glory, that our children would have confidence in God, not in this world or the things of this world. Note this well, our goal is not simply that OUR children would hope in God, but that the coming generations would hope in God-our grandchildren and great grandchildren. Can you imagine what a legacy we would leave if we passed on such truths to our children and their children.

You can read the rest here The Goal of Biblical Parenting – The Gospel Coalition Blog.

October 25, 2009

he rescued me, because he delighted in me.

Filed under: Character of God,Charles Spurgeon,Psalms — cubsfan1980 @ 9:31 am
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he rescued me, because he delighted in me. – Psalm 18:19

Free grace lies at the foundation.  Rest assured, if we go deep enough, sovereign grace is the truth which lies at the bottom of every well of mercy.  Deep sea fisheries in the ocean of divine bounty always bring the pearls of electing, discriminating love to light.  Why Jehovah should delight in us is an answerless question, and a mystery which angels cannot solve; but that he does delight in his beloved is certain, and is the fruitful root of favors as numerous as they are precious.   Believer, sit down, and inwardly digest the instructive sentence now before us, and learn to view the uncaused love of God as the cause of all the lovingkindess of which we are the partakers.  – Charles Spurgeon

May 12, 2009

pragmatism vs. principles

Filed under: 1 Thessalonians,Character of God — cubsfan1980 @ 12:18 am
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Laura and I decided to take a break studying Revelation.  With a newborn we opted for something that is lessing taxing on the brain.  The book of the Bible that we are studying now is 1 Thessalonians.  As I was starting to prepare for our discussion on chapter 4 I was thinking about how a portion of it isn’t as applicable to share our season of season of life.  I began to meditate on the passage and try to figure out how I could make it applicable to our current spiritual walk.

As I was praying I felt the Spirit of God speak to me and remind me of the truth that our times in the Word are not about us.  I don’t seek to find the whole Bible fits into my life or how I make it work for me and what I am walking through.  If that is what I am looking for I am missing the point.  Not every section of Scripture will be about me, can I get a book of Numbers.  What every verse in every book of the Bible talks about is God.  My primary concern as I study the Word should never be about application, but it should be about where do I see God in this passage and what do I learn about Him.

I don’t come to the Bible as this pragmatic how-to instruction for daily living.  I come to the Bible so that it can reveal to me my wonderful and amazing creator who loved me enough to send His Son to die for me.  As I see Him more clearly in every page, than I grow in adoration for Him.  I learn more of His character and who He is so that I can be transformed into His image.  I learn what matters to Him so that I can encourage others to see Him and fall more deeply in love with Him.

March 17, 2009

Entering into worship

This morning as I was spending time with Jesus I was reading in Isaiah 45 and was brought before the throne of the Lord above with a clearer of who He is and His calling on my life.

5 I am the Lord, and there is no other,
besides me there is no God;
I equip you, though you do not know me,
6 that people may know, from the rising of the sun
and from the west, that there is none besides me;
I am the Lord, and there is no other.
7 I form light and create darkness,
I make well-being and create calamity,
I am the Lord, who does all these things.

The Lord, who is thrice holy, that reigns and is enthroned with majesty and splendor in Heaven has equipped me to know Him.  He is truly self-sufficient and has no need for me.  I can add nothing to Him and he gains nothing from being in relationship with me.  I can not bring a sacrifice that will cause Him to gain anything new, but He has sacrificed His Son on the cross so that my sins may be paid for and I can be brought from death to life.   There is no one like Him with such fathomless grace and mercy.

He desires for all people to know Him.  In His patience, He has forebeared with the sins of the world so many may repent.  He has displayed His character in creation, so that many may see His glorious attributes.   There is not one inch of creation that is not His.  From the east to the west there is none that can compete with Him.  He is the only thing worth living for.  He has created a world with many mysteries and marvels to lead us outside of ourselves and see that one greater than us has created all of this.

Light and dark do not just exist, but those are created things.  The wealthy and the poor are not that way because of chance or pulling themselves up by their boot straps, but by God’s directing as He is sovereign over all things.  He does all things and we are called to come to be empty vessels to be used by Him.  If we see God as He is, then we should align our goals and visions to be the same as His.  To live a life of worship involves a continual dying  to self so that can live for the next world and the kingdom that is to come.

He will ask “who will go?”  I will say “send me” because He has equipped me to go.”

He will say “Who will go” and I will say “send me” because He has given me joy, life, health, hope and peace.

He will say “who will go” and I will say “send me” because someone else answered the call and they told me of His love for me, which led me to repent and believe.

He will say “who will go” and I will say “send me” because I would still be dead in my sins and if someone had not followed the call to bring the gospel to me.

He will say “who will go” and I will say “send me” because there is none like Him and no  higher calling that I can serve.

January 30, 2009

Tough Questions of Faith – Chapter 6

This section of the book deals with the cross, the why, what and how of God’s accomplishment for sinful man through Christ death and resurrection.  In chapter 6 Wright deals with why Christ died for the sinners and what God accomplished because of Christ finished work of the cross.  To summarize the why of God’s love for fallen man Wright states the following:

We will never understand why God has chosen to love us, other than the revealed truth that God is love.  It is simply and essentially God’s character and nature to love.  That states the truth, but it doesn’t explain it.  Or rather, it does not explain it in relation to anything  that we can state about ourselves, other than that we are the creation of this God whose being is defined by love. The love of God is generated and motived withing God’s own being, just as the light and warmth of the sun that we fill on planet earth is generated within the sun itself and owes nothing to anything the earth or its inhabitants can do – other than to be orbiting within reach.

I love this truth!  There is nothing I can do to merit God’s love.  He doesn’t love me because I am lovable.  I am a sinner deserving of wrath.  He loves me because he is love.

In this same section is found my favorite quote from the book so far:

Whatever life brings, nothing can top the unbelievable love of God and his constanct mery, goodness, and eternal saving grace.  Such gratitude is a richly cleansing, calming, refreshing emotion.  Indeed it is more than an emotion.  It is a whole worldvier, a whole philosophy of live, the universe and everything, for it is the only proper response to the very being of God, that he is love, amazing love.

Next, Wright elaborate what God has accomplished through his finish work on the cross.  Our benefits through Christ death in our place are as follows:

  • Nearness to God (Ephesians 2:11-13,19)
  • Mercy (Ephesians 2:3-7)
  • Redemption (Mark 10:45 and Ephesians 1:7)
  • Forgiveness (Acts 2:23-24, 38 3:15-19)
  • Reconciliation with God (Romans 5:10-11 and 2 Corinthians 5:18-21)
  • Reconciliation with others (Ephesians 2:13-18)
  • Justification (Isaiah 53:6, 1 Peter 2:24 and 2 Corinthians 5:21)
  • Cleansing (1 John 1:7-2:2)
  • New Life (Ephesians 2:4-5)

How is this all possible?  Only by Christ dieing for us.

God in Christ substituted himself in order to bear in himself what we would otherwise suffer because of our sin, and to gain for us what we would otherwise eternally lose…Substitution is not metaphor for what God did; it is what he actually did.  God actually did choose to put himself in a place where we should be, to do for us what we could not for do ourselves.

November 28, 2008

Psalm 40

Filed under: Character of God,cross,God's Faithfulness,Psalms,Will of God — cubsfan1980 @ 10:16 pm
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“I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart;
I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness
from the great congregation.” Psalm 40:10

One of the things that I want to get back into is writing poetry.  I used to write poetry quite often based on things that God had taught me through His Word.  One of the neat things about glorifying God throug poetry is that it is a chance for me to proclaim God’s deliverance and steadfastness love.  It is a written way for me to proclaim His faithfulness shown to me at the cross.  Recently I wrote a new poem about Psalm 40.

Mt trust is in God
And I wait patiently for Him.
When I cry to His throne,
I am assured He will hear.

My steps are firm because of His grace.
When I couldn’t help myself
He rescued me and gave me a new song
With words to praise and extol His name.

I will tell of all He’s done
For His deeds of love and faithfulness
Are more plentiful than the stars in the sky,
None can compare to Him.

He is my help and deliverance.
At the cross I rejoice and find my gladness,
Continually “Great is the LORD” is on my lips
As your law dwells in my heart.

Even when His will is not mine,
Doing my Father’s will is my delight,
So that many will see and fear
And put their trust in the Lord.

October 30, 2008

1 Chronicles 16:23-24

This is a prayer I’ve always loved.  I am not typically a big fan of the Chronicles.  It feels a lot like a rehash of the Samuel and the Kings.  For some reason during this time around of reading it I am getting more into it.  I recently came across this prayer which has always been one of my favorites.

23 Sing to the Lord, all the earth!
Tell of his salvation from day to day.
24 Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous works among all the peoples!
25 For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised,
and he is to be held in awe above all gods.
26 For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
but the Lord made the heavens.
27 Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and joy are in his place.

28 Ascribe to the Lord, O clans of the peoples,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength!
29 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
bring an offering and come before him!
Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness; [1]
30 tremble before him, all the earth;
yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.
31 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice,
and let them say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!”
32 Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
let the field exult, and everything in it!
33 Then shall the trees of the forest sing for joy
before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth.
34 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever!

In case you are wondering, here is why I love it

  1. V.23 it has a call to always be thankful for our salvation and never have a day where that isn’t our main blessing.
  2. v.24 and 28-29, it reminds me of God’s glory and that the things that our culture says is glorious is nothing compares to what will be revealed when we see Christ as He is at His return.
  3. v.25 any gods my heart my make are nothing in comparison to Him.  The truest sense of awe is what I feel when I marvel at His character
  4. v.26 He is the maker and creator of all things.  Compared to Him I am nothing.  That He would love a sinner like me and condescend to my level to be in relationship w/me is mind blowing.
  5. v.27 He needs to be my first priority every day because in His courts I am see true splendor and majesty.  In His presence I find strength to accomplish His will and joy in any and all circumstances.
  6. v.30-33 Creations bows before Him and proclaims His glory.  With our advanced technology we cannot forecast the weather, but the winds and waves obey Him.
  7. v. 34 He is good and does good.  The highest source of goodness and found and exhibited in the cross.
  8. v. 34 His love is unfailing and never ends.  He defines love because of Christ love which sought me out when I was His enemy.

September 10, 2008

Evanglism Prayer Points

Filed under: Character of God,evangelism,Holy Spirit,Jonah — cubsfan1980 @ 3:05 pm
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One of the things that our small groups is seeking to grow in for the upcoming year is evangelism.  Often times in the category of evangelism my mind immediately goes towards praying for the lost.   As we studied the book of Jonah, one of the things that we learned is that many times the biggest hindrance towards the gospel reaching the lost is ourselves.  For last I created a list of prayer points where we focus on our hearts and minds and way that we want God to change us to make us more effective to reach the lost.  I am excited about praying through this list on a regular basis because I know my heart needs it.

1)Faithfulness in spite of discouragement when we don’t see fruit
2)Boldness to take risk when we are fearing what they will think of us/do to us
3)Awareness of God’s sovereignty and power to draw the lost to Himself
4)Grace to die to self and desire for ease and comfort
5)Increased compassion and graciousness towards the lost
6)Greater heart to see more people saved
7)Diligence to look for opportunities to be involved in the lives of the lost
8)A greater realization for what Christ has done to save us
9)Acceptance of our call and duty to reach out to the lost
10)Increasing awareness of the Holy Spirit empowering us for evangelism.

May 26, 2008

Contentment

Filed under: Character of God,contentment,Psalms — cubsfan1980 @ 3:11 am
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I was meditating on contentment and I wrote this poem that borrows heavily from Psalm 16

Gracious Heavenly Father from Above,
I come to you aware of the treachery of my heart.
I am prone to lies of the enemy about your character.
I say to the Lord “You are my Lord;
I have no good apart from you.”

I run to you because you are my refuge.
Your truth will guide me and be my shield.
Fullness of joy is found nowhere other than your courts
And pleasures forever more are guaranteed when I come near to you.

When I look back to the cross
I see all you have done for me
And am reminded of my unworthiness,
With you I have a beautiful iheritance.

In you I have all I need.
There is need to question my lot.
You are wise and have given me what is best.
Since you are the Sovereign One, who is my portion and fills my cup,
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places.

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