Bought by the Blood

August 28, 2015

The Fear Of The Lord and Purity (Based on Proverbs 7)

Filed under: Fear of God,lust,marriage,pornography,purity — cubsfan1980 @ 6:34 am
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If we are truly wise and fear God in all of our ways then we will stay away from women that God has not allowed us to call our own.

Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” and call insight your intimate friend, to keep you from the forbidden woman, from the adulteress with her smooth words. (Proverbs 7:4-5 ESV)

The woman who wants me to forsake my vows will use smooth words to make me forget God’s Word, but if I fear God I will remember His calling on my life to live worthy of His calling.  He has called me friend and accounted Christ righteousness onto me, so therefore I should live rightly and seek to be pure in all my ways.

If I read further in Proverbs 7 it describes the ways of someone who does not fear God and how that leads to the trap of impurity:

For at the window of my house I have looked out through my lattice, and I have seen among the simple, I have perceived among the youths, a young man lacking sense, passing along the street near her corner, taking the road to her house in the twilight, in the evening, at the time of night and darkness. (Proverbs 7:6-9 ESV)

In the passage above you will notice that the person that Solomon is referring to is someone simple and not wise, young and not mature, but most importantly they have a sense that is in tune with their flesh instead of with God.  This leads them to walk in the darkness of the night instead of in the light of the gospel.

And behold, the woman meets him, dressed as a prostitute, wily of heart. She is loud and wayward; her feet do not stay at home; now in the street, now in the market, and at every corner she lies in wait. She seizes him and kisses him, and with bold face she says to him, “I had to offer sacrifices, and today I have paid my vows; so now I have come out to meet you, to seek you eagerly, and I have found you. (Proverbs 7:10-15 ESV)

Not walking in the light leads him into a trap.  He meets a prostitute, but she doesn’t seem like a prostitute.  She appears religious because she has made her sacrifices and paid her vows.  She is a wolf’s in sheep clothing.  More importantly is a lion on the prowl seeking who she can devour because she is at every corner laying in wait for those not on guard.  This is the co-worker showing cleavage, the old acquaintance on facebook and who ever else Satan will use to find you.  She has a heart not focused on God, she does not care for that you are a son of the King.  She is loud and wants to distract you from the way that you have been called because the path is narrow.

With much seductive speech she persuades him; with her smooth talk she compels him. All at once he follows her, as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as a stag is caught fast till an arrow pierces its liver; as a bird rushes into a snare; he does not know that it will cost him his life. (Proverbs 7:21-23 ESV)

for many a victim has she laid low, and all her slain are a mighty throng. Her house is the way to Sheol, going down to the chambers of death. (Proverbs 7:26-27 ESV)

She will make a compelling argument.  She may even be more seductive and offer to give you a delight that you do not normally receive and take a fill of love that you so eagerly long for (7:18), but know that this is a trap that will cost you your life.  What you reap you will sow.  A moment of indiscretion leads to destruction.  You are not her first victim and she is an expert at destroying the lives of men.  You cannot fight her on your own and should not over estimate your strength.  If she can slay a mighty throng she can surely slay you.  Involve yourself in a community of transparency, confess where your heart is prone to wander and turn from any thing that will lead you down the path of the adulterous woman so you can see the Gospel having more beauty and joy than anything she can offer.  Cling to the hope that you are powerless to resist on your own, but God’s spirit can you empower you with the help of others to live for Him.

July 29, 2015

For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the LORD, and he ponders all his paths. (Proverbs 5:21 ESV)

Filed under: christian,lust,marriage,pornography,purity — cubsfan1980 @ 6:54 am
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When it comes to battling lust and pornography it is important to keep in mind three things: the good, the bad and what it means to be godly.  Here are some reflections taken from Proverbs 5 on this topic.

The Good:

As men we have a sex organ that is literally a fountain.  That fountain can either be frustrated (Proverbs 5:16-17) or it can be blessed.  The way it is blessed is by rejoicing in the wife of your youth (Proverbs 5:18).  I have been particularly struck by v. 19 in this Proverb, “be intoxicated always in her love.”  A beer does not make me intoxicated, but being intentional to drink the beer makes me intoxicated.  It isn’t just one drink either, but it’s going back to it continually.  It is the same way with my wife, I have to be intentional about setting her above all else and looking to her as what I find intoxicating and delightful at all times.

Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; – Proverbs 5:19

The Bad:

It may be easy to place blame on the wife and say she has a lower sex drive and isn’t interested having her breasts fill you.  That is blame shifting and we can still control what we desire.  The dire consequences of looking elsewhere to fulfill our fountains are extreme as well.  The one who looks to either breasts for delight will find himself saying, “I am at the brink of utter ruin (Proverbs 5:14).” The woman who wants to tempt you with her breasts online (or in real life) or in a friendship that doesn’t honor God or your marriage is one whose “feet go down to death; her steps follow the path to Sheol; (Proverbs 5:5)” and she wants to take you with her.

The Godly:

If you are not married it can be easy to find this passage depressing because you don’t have a wife to delight in and our society and culture makes lust and pornography look not that wrong.  One of the things that I enjoy about this passage is that the reason for avoiding lust and pornography isn’t ultimate to protect marriage.  The motivating factor for purity isn’t your current spouse or future spouse, but it is God:

For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the LORD, and he ponders all his paths. (Proverbs 5:21 ESV)

When you are tempted to flirt with that co-worker God’s eyes are on you and he knows the path your mind is going down.  When you are about to click on that link to the inappropriate website God’s eyes are on you and he knows the path your mind is going down.

When you look at the woman dressed inappropriate and start to undress her with your mind God’s eyes are on you and he knows the path your mind is going down.

This verse is why youth pastor’s would always say, imagine God is with you in the room/car/movie theater when you are on a date.  If you aren’t married and on a date God’s eyes are on you and he knows the intentions of your heart in regards to if you want to guard her purity or use her for sexual fulfillment even if you don’t have sex.

July 7, 2015

Deliverance From Sexual Sin

Filed under: lust,marriage,pornography,purity — cubsfan1980 @ 7:02 am
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Not every man has to be enslaved to sexual sin. Proverbs 2:16 warns what happens if deliverance does not come which means that there must be a way to be delivered. Here are some of my notes on the first part of Proverbs 2 about where deliverance is found:

1)”knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.” deliverance comes from allowing yourself to be known, not having any areas hidden from others. Others should have full knowledge of your temptations and what the battle looks like including victory and defeat. (v. 10)

2)”he is a shield to those who walk in integrity” this is a life and death battle and we must cling tightly to the shield of faith. We can’t be too overconfident in our abilities without it. My God will guard me from every attack if I choose to not walk directly in the line of fire, but instead to walk in integrity by choosing the good path of righteousness and justice (v. 7-9)

3)”discretion will watch over you, understanding will guard you.” it is imperative to use common sense. Choose boundaries with relationships of the opposite sex. If you know there is a mine field do you walk in it. Understand what your temptations are and ensure you have hedges of protection. Remember, this is not a harmless matter, but life or death, so go into no situation blind to the dangers it may present. Always have a plan, for example, I am very tempted in the early morning so I need to have a concrete plan of things I want to accomplish when I wake up early because idle hands are typically seek out the forbidden woman for me (v. 11)

If you read this far I’d love to hear you find deliverance from sexual sin.

July 6, 2015

The Danger of Lust and Pornography

Filed under: lust,marriage,pornography,purity — cubsfan1980 @ 7:57 am
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DEATH

So you will be delivered from the forbidden woman,
from the adulteress with her smooth words,
who forsakes the companion of her youth
and forgets the covenant of her God;
for her house sinks down to death,
and her paths to the departed;
none who go to her come back,
nor do they regain the paths of life.

(Proverbs 2:16-19 ESV)

The porn star, the woman in skimpy clothes and the one who flirts inappropriately all lead to death. The time spent investing in her never come back. The scars that affect others because of her never fully heal. She is called forbidden for a reason, she only comes to steal and destroy.

None who go to her come back. On my own strength I cannot leave just like how Lazarus could not leave the tomb until Jesus called him out. There is a deliverance that can be found because there is power in the blood of Christ. Despite that there is still a cost of sin that must be paid. Jesus paid the price for freedom, but there are still consequences. Contemplate your relationships with others are damaged by lust and pornography and magnify that by infinity and that is the grief that is given to the Holy Spirit.

Thanks be to God that there is a deliverance that can be had as referenced in v. 16. Next I will blog on Proverbs 2 about the deliverance it references.

June 24, 2011

What I Will Tell My Kids About Gay Marriage

Here I Stand

The problem with the way that many conservatives, including evangelicals, defend marriage is that they’ve dumbed it down to a point where when it is stood up against society’s current redefining of marriage there is hardly any recognizable difference.  Marriage, as God designed it is to be a picture of Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:31-32). In a secular society, that is not always the case especially since everyone does not have the same worldview. Marriage, in America is quickly deteriorating from what God intended, with many people living together and having sex outside of marriage, the growing popularity of no-fault divorce and how pornography and infidelity run rampant.

In light of all of this, is it correct to say “anything goes”? Because of the separation of church and state should we just take the mindset that marriage is a state institution and it is up to individual states to decide? My fear is that if I do that, then I won’t be salt and light, which is why it is important to know what I believe and why.

The Bible is the solid ground on which I stand and form my convictions, all else is sinking sand. These convictions may make me sound judgemental and condemning, but my hope is that any judgement or condemnation someone sees me passing is the same judgement and condemnation that I deserve, but because of Christ free grace and rich mercy that all who seek to be crucified with Christ and find their life in Him may be free from any judgement or condemnation.

What’s Love Got To Do With It

Many people believe that marriage should be for two people who love each other and it doesn’t matter their gender.  I am not going to argue with that statement, because it is a great proposition.  Instead, ponder this, what does it matter if a person gains marriage, but loses their soul (Mark 8:36).  If we think that a couple, straight or homosexual, having the right to marry will complete them then we have set the bar far too low.  To quote C.S. Lewis “We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”  If someone doesn’t have the opportunity to marry the person they love, then they may be momentarily missing out on something.  Ultimately, marriage is nothing compared to knowing Christ. “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ (Philippians 3:8).” By promoting any marriage not built on Christ, whether straight or homosexual, it does not matter how much love there is, there will be no eternal value in it.

The Culture Wars

Obviously, I would not stop a non-Christian couple from marrying.  I can imagine your reaction being that if a homosexual is born that way, then it is unfair that I would support laws that would stop them from marrying someone they loved.  In all honesty, I have trouble supporting laws that outlaw same-sex marriage because legislation is not the answer.  The law has no power to bring a person to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and without a relationship with Him how can I expect them to deny their desires?  I have friends that are homosexual and in same-sex relationships and marriages.  I have never told them that what they are doing is wrong.  Also, I have never outright supported their choice.

The media, our society and the political machine wants us to believe that a culture war is going on right now.  I believe that Jesus would scoff at the idea of a culture war.  I am not at war with any homosexuals who choose that lifestyle.  They do not need me telling them that they need to change.  They need to see the love of Jesus and that His grace is greater then all their sin.  If Jesus was walking the earth right now, it would probably be the homosexual couples and not the conservatives that He would spend His time with.

Jesus does not see people as straight or homosexual, but he sees all people as sinners who need a Savior.  Rules and laws will point out that we are sinners.  Rules and laws can go no further then bringing about shame and I fail as an ambassador of Christ if all I do is point to people’s sin without pointing to the Savior.  No one who comes to Jesus has to make a drastic life change before they come and as His representative I do not have to force people to change instantly when they come to Jesus.  The result of coming to Jesus is crucifying the flesh and no longer walking according to its passions and desires, but that always comes after faith and never as a condition (Galatians 5:24-25).  Straight people, homosexuals, all are free to come to Jesus and and find the satisfaction their soul has been longing for.

Does It Really Get Better

Many of you reading this, are probably familiar with the “It Gets Better” campaign.  Part of me wholeheartedly agrees with that campaign, with the ideal that people will grow up and mature so that others don’t have to fear being bullied, have the ability to visit a loved one in the hospital and not be ostracized by family and friends for being who they are.  Even if that day comes, things may temporarily be better, but ultimately there will be a day where we will all have to stand before God and give an account.  Hell is a real place, it is a place of eternal destruction (2 Thessalonians 1:9), a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 25:30), and torment (Luke 16:23).  Any human rights that homosexuals gain to make this life better will not compensate for God’s holy wrath that He will pour out on sinners in the life to come.

It isn’t just homosexuals worthy of burning of eternally, but it is everyone. No one does good, no one chooses God (Romans 3). Every single person is born with a heart that is sinful and no one deserves to go to Heaven, except for Jesus who lived a perfect and righteous life and died on the cross to atone for the sins of gays, straights, liars, murderers, thieves, gossips, etc. Yes, that is condescending and judgmental, but it is filled with hope. It is gloriously beautiful because it means that salvation is not up to us and that we don’t go to Heaven because we do good things or live a “right lifestyle” but it is only because of the merits another.

Former homosexual and current evangelist Sy Rogers once said, “People doesn’t go to hell because they’re gay; they go because they’re separated from God.  Heterosexuals don’t automatically go to heaven; they go to hell too.  The opposite of homosexuality is not heterosexuality; it’s devotion to God and a holy lifestyle.”

In the book, “An Arrow Pointing Towards Heaven,” about the life of Rich Mullins, Rich tells the following story and I believe it truly gets to the heart of the matter.

I remember one time Beaker and I were hiking on the Appalachian Trail, and he met some friends of his, so I walked into town.  It was about a five-mile walk from the campsite down the trail…,down into town.  And when I got there I went into a restaurant and I was having a steak, and this guy started talking to me and we had this great conversation.  We were having a good time, and he said, “Hey look, it’s dark and it’s five miles up to your campground. Why I don’t I drive you up there?”
And I said, “Hey, Great!”
And so we got in his car, and just as we pulled out from under the last light in that town, the guy said, “You know what, I should probably tell you that I am gay.”
And I said, “Oh, I should probably tell you that I am a Christian.”
And he said, “Well, if you want out of the car…”
And I said, “Why?”
And he said, “Well, I’m gay and you’re Christian.”
I said, “It’s still five miles and it’s still dark.”
Then he said, “I thought Christians hated gays.”
I said, “That’s funny, I thought Christians were supposed to love. I thought that was our first command.”
He said, “Well, I thought God hated gays.”
And I said, “That’s really funny, because I thought God was love.”
And then he asked me the big one. He said, “Do you think I will go to hell for being a gay?”
Well, I’m a good Hoosier, and I puckered up to say, “Yes, of course you’ll go to hell for being gay.” I got ready to say that, but when I opened up my mouth it came out, “No, of course you won’t go to hell for being gay.” And I thought to myself, Oh my God, I’ve only been in New Hampshire for one week and I’ve already turned into a liberal! What am I going to tell this guy now?
Then I said to him, “No, you won’t go to hell for being gay, any more than I would go to hell for being a liar.  Nobody goes to hell because of what they do.  We go to hell because we reject the grace that God so longs to give to us, regardless of what we do.”

What Will I Say

I titled this post, “What I Will Tell My Kids About Gay Marriage.”  Some time in the future my children will ask me about gay marriage and human rights.  I can’t tell you today what I will say, most likely I won’t repeat all 1,800+ words to them that you just read (if you did read all of this, thank you and I’d love your thoughts). I know that it will be a message of grace because that is what everyone deserves even when we don’t see eye to eye.  It will be a message of acceptance because homosexuals are not second class citizens.  It will be a message of love because “we love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19).” It will be the message of the cross because homosexuals need the cross just as much as I do.

[9] Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, [10] nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. [11] And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)

November 25, 2009

John Stott On Leadership And The Home

Here are a couple of quotes from “The Cross of Christ” that should be the anthem of every Christian husband.

“The symbol of an authentically Christian leadership is not the purple robe of an emperor, but the coarse apron of a slave; not a throne of ivory and gold, but a basin of water for the washing of feet.”

“Christian homes in general, and Christian marriages in particular, would be more stable and more satisfying if they were marked by the cross.”

August 14, 2009

Friday is for Fathers

Filed under: divorce,Ken Sande,marriage,reconciliation,Romans,The Peacemaker — cubsfan1980 @ 6:20 am
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“give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. (Romans 12:17)  This verse is true for both mother’s and father’s, but especially father’s as we are called to be leaders and our children will be looking to our example as we lead.  As father’s we are called to do what is right and worthy of honor as that is a great witness to Christ.  Our children will learn much about who God is through out actions.  As I read the following story from “The Peacemaker,” by Ken Sande, I found myself praying for the Gosselin family from “Jon and Kate plus 8” and wishing they could read this.

When John’s wife, Karen, divorced him and moved in with her high school sweetheart, John was devastated, especially when his church refused to do anything to try to save their marriage.  But he drew on God’s grace and resisted the temptation to give in to self-pity or bitterness.  He refused to criticize Karen, especially in front of their children.  He bent over backwards to accommodate their ever-changing visitation schedule.  Most of all, he continued to pray for Karen, and whenever they talked with each other, he asked God to help him speak to her with genuine love and gentleness.

After about a year, Karen and her boyfriend were fighting continually.  As she compared his behavior to John’s unfailing kindness in the face of her betrayal, she began to realize what a terrible mistake she had made.  With great trepidation she asked John if there was any chance they could get together again.  To her amazement, he said yes and suggested they start counseling with the pastor at his new church.  Eight months later, their children had the joy of seeing their parents renewing their vows and reuniting their family.

Whether Karen came back to him or not, John’s decision to keep doing what was right honored God.  His behavior was also a powerful witness to his children about the love of forgiveness of Crhist.  And he later learned that his example had helped some other divorced people respond to their ex-spouses graciously, even though none of them came back.  As John showed, doing what is right – even inthe face of unjust reatment – is always the safest path to walk.

April 24, 2009

“Porn Again Christian” discussion

I am having the men in my small group read Mark Driscoll’s book “Porn Again Christian.” This is something that I’ve been wanting to do with them for a while since this book was made available for free online.  Below is the discussion that I prepared for them on the book.

At the end of Chapter 1 Driscoll says:

“God is honest and forthright about the truth and his people must not be so prudish as to try and speak in ways that are holier than their God. In our age of lewdness and perversion we, like our Father, must avoid crassness, while wisely and boldly speaking frankly about the joy and beauty of sexual intimacy when it is confined by the loving directions of the God who created both us and our desires. And, we must refuse to speak in sanitized clinical euphemisms like calling adulteries “affairs,” fornication “dating,” and perverts “partners” because God uses frank words for deplorable sin so we will feel its sickness without anesthesia.”

-Do you see lust as deplorable and sickning as God does? What does it look like to have a right reaction toward this sin?

-Do you view yourself as committing adultery against your future wife when you look lustfully at a woman?

In chapter 3 Driscoll states:

“However, throughout history men have been prone to obey the letter of the law on these matters, while violating the spirit…Practically, this all means that only you and God truly know your heart and, rather than trying to obey legalistic rules, you must be honest about the lusts in your heart and reduce those triggers that stimulate you.”

-very specifically, what does it look like for you to violate the Spirit of God’s commands about lust?

-What are your triggers and how do you fight them?

-Did chapter four change or inform the way you think of the dangers of pornography?

-How did chapter four help you think of what “beauty” is?

-Driscoll says in chapter four “In creation, we see the wise pattern that for every man his standard of beauty is not to be objectified, but rather it should simply be his wife. ” Since you guys are single, what does that mean for your standard of beauty?

-Can masturbation be separated from sexual thoughts? Why is this question important?

-What do you learn from chapter 7 about why and how to fight lust and sexual sin?

-in chapter 2 Driscoll talks about fear of the Lord and uses many verses to help us view sexual sin the way God wants to view it. Does anyone have any questions about these verses? Pray through each verse for greater conviction for ourselves and the singles ministry at CLC

These are the verses that Driscoll uses in chapter 2:

  • 1 Peter 4:3
  • 1 John 2:15-17
  • 1 John 3:9
  • 1 Corinthians 5:9-11
  • 1 Corinthians 10:8
  • 1 Corinthians 6:9-10

February 25, 2009

Links

Last week I posted a video of a 12 year old girl giving a speech on abortion.  You can read her story here.

Christina points out that in American culture today parents want to know if their kids get a tattoo, but not if their teenager commits murder.

Unfortunately I can’t afford the Logos Bible Software, but I am getting the word out to help Mark Driscoll with sermon transcription.  Read more about their efforts here.

John Piper calls Romans 8 “The Great Eight,” find out more here about how it contains “The Himalaya’s of the Bible.”

This website appears to have some great resources for marriage.  I look forward to digging into it more.

Zach has posted some great tips from Mark Driscoll on how to do family devotionals.  I look forward to implementing these in the future.

Ray Ortlund has some excellent points on what we should do if we want to be used by God.

I am curious if baseball reference dot com will modify their stats pages to reflect the steroid era, so we can see a player’s career average for their career and then also for years when they have confessed or are under suspicion of steroid use.  I wonder what this page would look like if they did that.

As always, don’t forget to check out Koinonia on Wedensday’s for their review of “The God I Don’t Understand.”

January 13, 2009

By grace we have been saved

I first heard this story on Thursday. I was at the barbershop getting my haircut, when I heard the following on the news:  “Now that Dawnell Batista has filed for a divorce, Richard Batista wants his kidney back as part of his settlement demand. Or, Barbara said Wednesday, his client wants the value of that kidney: An estimated $1.5 million.”  You can read the rest here.

After thinking about this story, it brought to mind the story of Hosea and God’s unrelenting love that He freely gives to His children.  God called Hosea to marry Gomer.  Gomer was an adulterous woman and God knew that she would not be faithful to Hosea.  Despite the fact that Gomer left Hosea and sold herself as a prostitute, God sent Hosea to buy Gomer and continue to have her as his wife.  James Montgomery Boice calls this the second greatest story in the Bible.

Hosea was not like the man in the article above who is bitter and hurt.  Hosea knows that God’s purpose in marriage isn’t our comfort and ease.  Hosea is willing to sacrifice his reputation to glorify God and follow God’s commands.  When Gomer does wrong, He does not seek vengeance or retribution, but is eager to be compassionate.  His compassion isn’t based on Gomer’s worthiness or Gomer coming and asking for compassion, but he is compassionate because God is compassionate.  God shows mercy freely, so Hosea can show mercy and love freely.

God’s purpose in the story of Hosea is to show us a picture of His faithfulness and love.  We are all Hosea’s wife, we have all sinned and committed spiritual adultery.  All of us have hearts that are idol factories and prone to wander and leave the God we love.  None of us can claim complete and perfect faithfulness to our husband who has purchased us and redeemed us with His blood.  Even before He called us to be His own, we were not good enough to be His bride.  We were His enemies and had nothing good to give, but He gave His all for us, to bring us into relationship with Him.

“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy,  because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even  when we were dead in our trespasses,  made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and  seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in  kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For  by grace you have been saved  through faith. And this is  not your own doing;  it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:1-9

I have been saved by grace, by unmerited favor.  It is nothing that I deserve.  I was created to be in relationship with God and I rebelled against him.  Even before my first sinful action, I was born in iniquity (Psalm 51).  God still choose me as His own.  It is only because of His unfailing love.  Even now, as I commit sin, I can only cling to and put my hope in grace.  It is His steadfast love that preserves me and gives me assurance that I am forever His!  His love allows me to know perfect love.  Because of His love I know what it looks like to love my wife.  By His love I am empowered to show my family love.  Nothing compares with the depths of His love.

For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love towardthose who fear him; (Psalm 103:11)

“He will gave man the trees of the forest and iron in the ground.  Then he will give to man the brains to make an axe from the iron to cut down a tree and fashion it into a cross.  He will give man the ability to make hammer and nails, and when man has the cross and the hammer and the nails, the Lord will allow man to take hold of Him and bring Him to that cross; He will stretch out His hands upon it and will allow man to nail to Him to that cross, and in so doing will take the sins of man upon Himself and make it possible for those who have despised and rejected Him to come unto Him and know the joy of sins removed and forgiven, to know the assurance of pardon and eternal life, and to enter into the prospect of the hope of glory with Him forever.  This is even our God, and there is none like unto Him.” Donald Gray Barnhouse on Hosea

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