Bought by the Blood

February 19, 2010

Teaching A Toddler Scripture Memory

Filed under: communion with God,Family,John Piper,parenting — cubsfan1980 @ 10:02 am
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Traffic in the DC area is still pretty bad due to Snowpocalypse.  While driving in today I decided to listen to an old Piper sermon.  In the message I listened to Piper was talking about teaching his two month old daughter scripture memorization.  Prior to listening to this I had not thought about when to teach Miya Scripture verses, but Piper makes a good point about the sooner the better.

Talitha is now two. She is beginning to learn Bible verses by heart. She is also learning the forms of prayer. Why? Why go to the trouble of taking time and effort to repeat over and over the Bible to her? Very simple – when she is a teenager I want her to be godly and pure and holy and loving and humble and kind and submissive and wise. And the Bible says, as plain as day, this comes by treasuring up the Word of God in your heart. “Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against you.”

Jesus put it like this in his great prayer for us in John 17:17, “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.” “Sanctify” is a Biblical word for making a person holy or godly or loving or pure or virtuous or spiritually wise. And these things I want for myself and for my children and for you. So what then should we do this year? If we are sanctified by the truth, and the Word of God is truth, what should we do?

If a doctor says, “You’re very sick and may die of your sickness, but if you will take this medicine, you will get well and live,” and you neglect to take the medicine – too busy, the pills are big and hard to swallow, just forgetful – you are going to stay sick and you may die. That’s the way it is with sin and spiritual immaturity. If you neglect what God tells you will sanctify you and make you mature and strong and holy, then you will not be mature and strong and holy. Reading, and meditating on and memorizing and cherishing the Word of God is God’s appointed way of overcoming sin and becoming a strong, godly, mature, loving, wise person.

via Open My Eyes That I May See :: Desiring God Christian Resource Library.

December 30, 2009

What All Parents Should Resolve To Do

“The goal of parenting is to teach your kids to be independently dependent on God.  Their relationship with God isn’t all about us, but somehow we release them and tell them “You know you need to depend on God.  You understand you don’t need me anymore. You’ve got His Word, you’ve got His Spirit, now go!”

-Francis Chan

December 29, 2009

Character Vs. Comfort

Filed under: communion with God,Francis Chan,Sanctification,trials — cubsfan1980 @ 12:14 pm

In a recent sermon by Francis Chan he is talking about character qualities that are born by the Spirit’s work in us and he makes the convicting statement that we are too often more concerned with our circumstances that we are with our character.  He then goes on to this present this scenario that really challenges us on where our hopes and desires are.

2010 is coming up.  Let’s say, Jesus came in the room today and said, “2010 is coming, I’m going to give you an option. Plan A or Plan B.

Plan A: I can make 2010 a very easy and comfortable year for you.  Everything will go your way.  You want a great marriage, it will be there.  If you’re not married, the perfect mate will come.  You want a new job where you make three times as much as last year, you will get it.  You want everyone in your family not to get sick, you don’t want to get sick and have a six-pack, it will all supernaturally happen.  It is all going to be there.  At the end of the year you won’t be any stranger then in 2009.  You’re not going to be any closer to me, we won’t be any more intimate.  But it will have been a fun year.

Plan B: I am going to have you go through some hardships and it won’t be an easy year.  But during those times you and I are going to grow so close.  You will experience me like never before.  At the end of the year you will be this man or woman that is so far beyond where you are today.  You will have a steadfastness and strength you have never had before.  I am going to get you through it, but it will be tough.”

Which plan will you choose?

-Francis Chan

November 20, 2009

J.C. Ryle on the secret of Spiritual Prosperity

Filed under: communion with God,grace,J.C. Ryle,Sanctification — cubsfan1980 @ 6:09 am
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Image courtesy of

All that believers have is undoubtedly of grace.  Their repentance, faith, and holiness are all the gift of God.  But the degree to which a believer attains in grace, is ever set before us as closely connected with his own diligence in the use of means, and his own faithfulness in living fully up to the light and knowledge which he possesses…Attention to this great principle is the main secret of spiritual prosperity.  The man who makes rapid progress in spiritual attainments — who grows visibly in grace, and knowledge, and strength, and usefulness — will always be found to  be a diligent man.  He leaves no stone unturned to promote his soul’s well-doing.  He is diligent over his Bible, diligent in his private devotions, diligent as a hearer of sermons, diligent in his attendance at the Lord’s table. And he reaps according as he sows.  Just as the muscles of the body are strengthened by regular exercise, so are the graces of the the soul increased by diligence in using them…the more we do for our souls, the mow shall we find God does for them.

-J.C. Ryle

October 5, 2009

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” Proverbs 9:10

If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
that you may be feared.
-Psalm 130:3-4

“What does this mean?  It means that filial fer, the fear of a son for His father, is produced by God’s love for us.  More exactly, it is the result of discovering that the God whom we thought of with slavish, servile fear, the holy righteous, terrifying God of judgment and majesty, is also the God who forgives us through Jesus Christ.  He is just, yet he justifies the ungodly (Romans 3:26; 5:6).  He is righteous, yet he counts sinners as righteous.  One reason why we know so little of such filial fear is that we do not appreciate the Gospel!  If we would grow in grace so that we fear God like this, we must first return to the Gospel, and to the meaning of the cross…Filial fear is always the grateful response of sinners who have become saints.”  Sinclair Ferguson on the above verse.

There are two kinds of fear that we can experience.  The first kind of fear is one that we typically think of when it comes to fear, that of dread and worrying of if we can measure up to God’s approval.  This is servile fear, from servile we get servant or slave, this is a fear for those that are working to pay off someone they are underneath.  The other kind of fear is filial and it means reverence and awe.  The latin of filius is “son” and that is where this type of fear comes from.  It is in reference to how a child fears their father and because we have been forgiven through the blood of Christ, this allows us to experience filial fear with God.  Sinclair Ferguson says about this kind of fear:

“It is that indefinable mixture of reverence and pleasure, joy and awe which fills our hearts when we realize who God is and what he has done for us.  It is a love for God which is so great that we would be ashamed to do anything which would displease or grieve him, and makes us happiest when we are doing what pleases him.”

Yesterday I talked about how our standing with God never changes.  The way we walk in fear of God can change our experience of God.  We were created for intimacy and communion with God, but sin brings a barrier between us and God.  Through Christ death on the cross that relationship has been restored, but it won’t be fully realized until we are in Heaven.  While in this life, our walk with God will have varying degrees of closeness based on how we fear Him and if we choose closeness with God or closeness with the world.  The more I fear God the closer my friendship with Him. “The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him,” Psalm 25:14

We were not given grace to remain stagnant in it, but we were given grace to grow in it (2 Peter 3:18).  As we grow in grace we will be made more like Christ and our intimacy with God will increase.  Experience is very subjective and not always the best measure of if we are growing in the fear of the Lord.  Some effects of fearing God that we can be on the lookout for that will positively impact our experience of knowing God are as follows:

If I am fearing God I will grow in my desire to live a life of obedience.  “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him. (John 14:21)”  My life will be characterized by wanting to bring pleasure to God.  Ultimately I will place my hope in finishing the race well and hearing “Well done good and faithful servant.”  The smile of God will be more important to me then the praise of the world.  Children are called to respect and obey their parents and I am called to respect and obey God.  “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. (Ecclesiastes 12:13).”

On the flip side of that, fearing God will mean not wanting to displease God or grieve the Spirit (Ephesians 4:30).  I will desire to put death to sin as sin blocks my view of God and feeds me lies about God’s love for me and who He is.  If I believe the promise of God and what He has done for me through the cross then I will seek to lay aside everything that hinders me from knowing Him more fully (Hebrews 12:1).  Fearing God means fiercely doing battle with my sin so that I can make my Father proud and give Him no reason to grieve over me.

Fearing God changes how I view the circumstances of this world.  If I fear God then I have nothing to fear in this life.  He is my stronghold and refuge, if He can save me from the hopeless situation that my sin had me in, then I can have hope no matter what I am facing.  “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1).”  When I fear God my perspective is changed and I see that if God is worthy of awe and reverence then He is also worthy of my trust.  Just a child trust their parents for everything, I can trust God for all that I need.  “In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge. (Proverbs 14:26)”

We have the privilege of being considered sons and daughters of God because of His awesome and unconditional love.  We were orphans with nothing good to contribute to God’s family and no merit of our own, but God freely chose us to be His own.  Our status before God saved us was dead in sin with nothing desirable to offer, but God didn’t bring us to life because of what we could bring to the table, but only by His grace did He regenerate us.  The reality of what God has done for us should transform how we view our blessing of knowing and communing with Him because we are completely undeserving.  His praises should ever be on our lips because He has given us everything.  My fear of God should be evident by how I proclaim His love for sinners because of what He has done for me.  As a child likes to look up to and brag on their parents I should do the same thing with God .

Psalm 111
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart,
in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
2 Great are the works of the Lord,
studied by all who delight in them.
3 Full of splendor and majesty is his work,
and his righteousness endures forever.
4 He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered;
the Lord is gracious and merciful.
5 He provides food for those who fear him;
he remembers his covenant forever.
6 He has shown his people the power of his works,
in giving them the inheritance of the nations.
7 The works of his hands are faithful and just;
all his precepts are trustworthy;
8 they are established forever and ever,
to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
9 He sent redemption to his people;
he has commanded his covenant forever.
Holy and awesome is his name!
10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
all those who practice it have a good understanding.
His praise endures forever!P
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart,
in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
2 Great are the works of the Lord,
studied by all who delight in them.
3 Full of splendor and majesty is his work,
and his righteousness endures forever.
4 He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered;
the Lord is gracious and merciful.
5 He provides food for those who fear him;
he remembers his covenant forever.
6 He has shown his people the power of his works,
in giving them the inheritance of the nations.
7 The works of his hands are faithful and just;
all his precepts are trustworthy;
8 they are established forever and ever,
to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
9 He sent redemption to his people;
he has commanded his covenant forever.
Holy and awesome is his name!
10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
all those who practice it have a good understanding.
His praise endures forever!

October 4, 2009

I Come Running

“You will enter Heaven as fully by grace as if you had never lived a godly life, nor had practiced a single virtue.” Charles Spurgeon

I have read this Spurgeon quote several times over and the first time it really shook me.  It definitely flies in the face of the legalistic tendency that we can be so prone to.  Spurgeon is not saying that there is no place for works.  Instead he is referencing what it takes to enter into Heaven.  Our entrance into Heaven is not based on anything that we do.  It is based on grace and not anything we do.  This statement by Spurgeon is in reference to Luke 18:16 “But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.”  The way that parents unconditionally love their children is the same way that God loves us.  The Kingdom of God belongs to those who know that they can’t earn God’s favor.
Grace should motivate my obedience.  I follow God not out of obligation, but out of thanksgiving, as an overflow of how He has changed my heart.  I don’t obey God to earn His favor, because I am His adopted child, I can’t help but to want to live for Him.  My obedience can’t bring me any closer to God, so that frees me to live for Him without fear.

“The little child receives Christ humbly, for he never dreams of merit or purchase.  I do not recollect ever having met with a child who had to battle with self-righteousness in coming to Christ.” Spurgeon

If I am to be like a child I am to come empty handed.  When a child comes running to their father’s arms when the father comes home the child does not do it out of duty or out of believing they have earned the chance to be with the father, instead it is out of delight and a free relationship.  That is what it is like with communing with God, we come running to him excited to be with Him.  We don’t dread our sin impeding our relationship with Him because He sees us like He sees His only begotten Son because of Christ imputed righteousness through the cross.  This frees us to come not based on good we have done.

A child’s confidence for food and shelter isn’t in what they do and what they can provide.  Every child finds their hope for all that they need in their parents and what they provide.  The same goes for us.  Just as Miya is dependent on me, I am dependent on my Heavenly Father.  I can run to God as my refuge and ever faithful Father who gives my weary heart rest from all my troubles.

I Come Running
By: Mark Altrogge

Jesus, I am blind, be my light
Darkened in my mind, be my wisdom
Bend my stubborn will to Your own
Open up my ears to hear Your Spirit
Melt my conscience once again
Help me hate the slightest sin
And when Satan comes to tempt me

I come running to You, when I fear, when I’m tried
I come running to You, to Your blood, to Your side
And there my soul finds rest
There my soul finds rest in You

Shepherd of my soul, lead me on
To the pastures green in Your Scriptures
Make me to lie down by waters still
Fill me with Your peace in the tempest
I take my refuge in Your cross
By your sacrifice I’m washed
And when Satan comes accusing

Once I was Your foe, a slave to sin
A stranger to Your love, a hopeless outcast
But You have brought me near, I’m bought with blood
Now I’m Your precious child, an heir with Jesus
You pour heaven into my soul
Your wondrous love, it overflows
And I marvel how You love me

© 2005 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI).

September 29, 2009

When God Seems Distant

Filed under: Charles Spurgeon,communion with God,cross,Psalms — cubsfan1980 @ 2:17 pm
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For you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you – Psalm 9:10

“The Lord may hide his face for a season from his people, but he never has utterly, finally, really or angrily, forsaken them that seek him.  Let the poor seekers draw comfort from this fact, and let the finders rejoice yet more exceedingly, for what must be the Lord’s faithfulness to those who find if he is so gracious to those who seek.” Charles Spurgeon

September 2, 2009

God made dirt and dirt don’t hurt

I am starting something new on this blog called, “Three Truths.”  Basically, in this section I take a section of Scripture and give three bullet points of wicked awesomeness that can be found in the Scripture.  Consider it a condensed version of the devotional that I usually write.

And when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. 7 And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah, and God struck him down there because of his error, and he died there beside the ark of God. – 2 Samuel 6:6-7

  1. I am so sinful that it would be better for dirt to touch the ark of God instead of me touching it.  How wretched and unclean I am if it is a greater offense for me to approach God then for the symbol of His presence to fall into the dirt.
  2. He is just and holy in all His ways.  When he struck Uzzah no one could bring a charge against Him and he has to answer to no one.  His ways are above ours and He  never does wrong.
  3. In Jesus God has come near so that man can touch Him and have our our sin done away with.  Through the cross there is a mean by which we can approach God and not ear his holiness destroying us.  By Christ sacrifice I am made holy and able to commune with God.

August 11, 2009

A Missional Life

He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake. – Psalm 23:2-3

In these two verses we see a progression happening with God’s actions with the Psalmist.  God provides peace and rest for our weary souls by making us lie down in green pastures.  In the trials and circumstances of life He renews our eternal perspective by leading us besides still waters.  When we are under attack by satan and our flesh He restores us.  We are able to walk in righteousness because of His Holy Spirit working in us.  This is all possible because of the cross where Jesus died for our sins.  He does this to make His name great and to bring glory to Himself because of He is rightly deserving of all glory, honor and praise.

If we are truly God’s sheep, we will not make assumptions about our status in the flock (Philippians 2:12).  Instead, we will be diligent to make sure that we are counted among the sheep and not the goats.  This means making the choice of seeking God instead of the things of this world (Philippians 3:7-9).  When we make our time with God a priority we come to the green pastures and still waters that our souls were meant for.  Nothing can restore and make us whole like communing with God (Psalm 63:1-3).

Spending time with God will transform our lives and make us delight in the paths of righteousness.  Choosing righteousness is not supposed to be something we do begrudgingly, but only comes by God’s grace working through us as we exercise the spiritual disciplines.   By delighting in righteousness we become missionaries and ambassadors for God.  A life led in the path of righteousness is a life with a missional attitude that seeks to display the character of Christ to all (2 Corinthians 5:18-21).  Our salvation isn’t primarily for us, it benefits us directly, but it is for the purpose of benefiting others so that they may know the God who has saved us and so that we can be a blessing to them (Genesis 12:3).  That is why the sheep are called to clothe the naked, feed the hungry and visit the lonely; by doing these things God’s name is made much of us and the Gospel is made real to an unbelieving world (Matthew 25:31-40).

June 11, 2009

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. – Matthew 7:22

There are many people who based on outward appearances act like Christians. They can prophesy, know the Scriptures, do healing and call Jesus “Lord,” but none of those things guarantee that a person is a Christian. A profession of faith or a baptism does not make a person a Christian. Jesus is not considered about our resume of deeds. What makes us Christians is how we abide, how we live as sinners who are continually reliant on God’s grace. Jesus isn’t looking for people who can do great things for the Kingdom, He is looking for those that seek him and count Him as their highest good.

Abiding isn’t about what we can do for God and what He can gain from us being in His service. If our goal in abiding is to gain God a more comfortable life then we miss the point of coming near to Him. The purpose of our abiding is to commune with God and grow in our relationship with Him. He needs nothing from this relationship and there is nothing we can give to Him that He doesn’t already have. We do not abide with God to make Him into our genie in a bottle that will take all of our troubles away. We abide with God because we love Him and our soul longs to see Him more and more.

In abiding with God we are made more like Him. Our act of abiding prepares us for Heaven where we will always see Him and never be separated from Him. We truly are the beneficiaries in this abiding relationship because we gain salvation and the hope of eternity. Through abiding, although we are weak, He makes us strong. By abiding we are brought closer and closer to the glorious state that we will day be made into. No greater is joy found except through abiding in Christ.

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