Bought by the Blood

October 9, 2011

Cast All Your Cares Upon God Because He Cares For You

Filed under: 2 Peter,A.W. Pink,God's love,Suffering — cubsfan1980 @ 9:15 pm
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“Casting all your care upon Him, for He careth for you.” (1 Pet. 5:7) what a perfect rest do we get when on coming to the Lord Jesus we take His yoke upon us, the yoke which He Himself ever wore, and which He now lovingly imposes upon all His people. O, it is an easy yoke and a light burden. Love joyfully accepts what infinite love imposes. We then are satisfied in knowing that every interest of ours is unspeakably precious to Him: that every hair is counted: every tear is put into His bottle, and that every sigh is noted. Nothing can harm those whom He keeps as the apple of His eye. Our one and only danger is that we begin to plan for ourselves and thus virtually take ourselves out of His hands. He will bring us at whatever cost of suffering to us, to commit ourselves absolutely to His loving and perfectly trusted hands.

– A.W. Pink

January 19, 2010

Evangelism Is Not Something We Do

Filed under: evangelism,Matt Chandler,Missions,Suffering,trials,Trusting God — cubsfan1980 @ 3:03 pm
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Matt Chandler recently preached on missions and evangelism.  His perspective on how missions relates to his recent diagnoses of brain cancer is really convicting.

Mission is about the reign and rule of God…Evangelism isn’t something we do, it is the lenses by which we see the entire world.  We don’t do evangelism, our whole lives are about the rule and reign of God almighty…Six weeks ago when I found out malignant brain cancer I began a whole new set of relationships that in the end are about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the rule and reign of God.  I met a neurosurgeon and I am not going in thinking, “This is a neurosurgeon,” but instead I think, “The Lord is crossing my path with a neurosurgeon.  If he is a brother I will try to encourage him.  If not, I will try to reveal faith in Christ and the cross of Christ to him.”

-Matt Chandler

November 29, 2009

Being Where Jesus Would Have Us to Be

“The place that Christians wish to be in, is not always the place which is best for their souls…What we like best is not always best for our souls, that the seed of grace needs winter as well as summer, cold as well as heat, to ripen it for glory…That place and position is most healthful for us in which we are kept most humble-most taught our own sinfulness-drawn most to the Bible and prayer-led most to live by faith and not by sight.  It may not be quite what we like. But if Christ by His providence has placed us in it, let us not be in a hurry to leave it.  Let us therein abide with God.  The great thing is to have no will of our own, and to be where Jesus would have us to be.”

J.C. Ryle

November 22, 2009

Compelled by love

The ground of all our comfort and holiness, and perseverance in both, is laid in the shedding abroad of the love of God in our hearts; it is this which constrains us, 2 Cor. 5:14.  Thus we are drawn and held by the bonds of love.  Sense of God’s love to us will make us not ashamed, either of our hope in him or our sufferings for him.

– Matthew Henry on Romans 5:5

November 9, 2009

My Grace is sufficient for you

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9

“God never allows pain without a purpose in the lives of His children.  He never allows satan, nor circumstances, nor any ill-intending person to afflict us unless He uses that affliction for our good.  God  never wastes pain.  He always causes it to work together for ultimate good, the good of conforming us more the the likeness of His Son (see Romans 8:28-29)…In this passage, God equates  His grace with His power as specifically displayed in our weakness.  This power infusing our weakness is a  concrete expression of His grace: His power comes to our aid through the ministry of His Spirit in our lives.  This is the mysterious operation of the Holy Spirit on our human spirit through which He strengthens us and enables us to meet in a Godly fashion whatever circumstances we encounter.
Notice I said that the Holy Spirit strengthens us and enables us to meet in a godly fashing whatever circumstances cross our paths.  God’s grace is not given to make us feel better, but to glorify Him.  Modern society’s subtle, underlying agenda is good feelings.  We want the pain to go aways.  We want to feel  better in difficult situations, but God wants us to glorify Him in those circumstances.  Good feelings may come, or they may not, but that is not the issue.  The issue is whether or not we honor God by the way we respond to our circumstances.  God’s grace – that is the enabling power of the Holy Spirit – is given to help us respond in such a way…
John Blanchard said, ‘So he [God]supplies perfectly measured grace to meet the needs of the godly.  For daily needs there is daily grace; for sudden needs, sudden grace; for overwhelming need, overwhelming grace.  God’s grace is given wonderfully, but not wastefully; freely but not foolishly; bountfiully but not blindly.” Jerry Bridges.

September 11, 2009

The Gospel and 9/11

Filed under: Gospel,Suffering,World — cubsfan1980 @ 1:36 pm

Though terrorism and extremism are real, so is the gospel. “We realize that the only solution for terrorism, really, is the gospel—there’s got to be reconciliation in Christ,” he says. “That has probably intensified our commitment—not just to bringing the gospel to Muslims—but our commitment to the gospel, period.”

via | Community | Blog Archive | Changed.

August 17, 2009

It Is Well With My Soul

You prepare a table before me
the presence of my enemies;
anoint my head with oil;
cup overflows.

-Psalm 23:5
Satan and our flesh are tied in the top spot for enemy number one.  They want us to leave the flock of God’s sheep, deny Him and bow the knee to God.  If we take our focus off of the cross, then that is exactly what will happen.  When our lives are centered on the cross, then our perspective can be the same as the Psalmist.  Satan will come, trial will prove as temptation and our flesh will attempt to lure us away, but God has prepared a table before us in the presence of our enemies, this table has the blood of Christ as the table of cloth to keep us safe.

Horatio Spafford, the author of the hymn, “It is Well,” can attest to this truth.  Spafford penned this hymn not at a time of great prosperity or earthly blessing, but shortly after the trial of losing of real estate investments in the Great Chicago Fire which was followed by his four daughters dieing at sea.  The peace that Spafford had was found in te redemptive work on the cross.  Without the hope of Christ return Spafford would have been knocked over by the billows of sorrow.  His anchor was not in this world, but in the unshakeable rock of Christ which says that the cup is not half full or half empty, but that the cup runs over.

When trials comes, we have two options, they can either break us or strengthen us.  God’s purpose in trials so that we may be annointed as instruments of righteousness and reflect the light of His glory.  When we encounter trials and satan’s attack, we do not have dread or fear, but we can count it all joy knowing that God is using it to promote steadfastness in our lives.  This is not steadfastness for steadfastness sake, but instead so that we may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing (James 1:2-4).  Moses in the wilderness, David running from Saul, Joseph sold into slavery and sent to prison; all of these people needed trials to wean them from this world and teach them to lean on God.  The Bible is full of people who faced trials so that they can be strengthened to fulfill God’s calling.

June 24, 2009

God Suffers for your sins

Filed under: Gospel,parenting,Suffering,Tim Keller — cubsfan1980 @ 5:54 am
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Today’s parenting quote is taken from “Take Your Vitamin Z.” If I were to ever update the links on my blog this guy would definitely be included.  A great mix of quotes, funny videos, music recommendations and thoughts on parenting.  This is my first time using a Tim Keller quote on this blog and I really appreciate how he points out the connection between the gospel and parenting.  God suffers for our sins because we are His children, therefore as parents, we also suffer when we see our children in sin or feeling the effects of this sinful world.

“You need to get used to this reality. Once you become a parent, for the rest of your life, you’ll never be happier than your unhappiest child, because your heart is tied to your kids. That is a way of learning the gospel because before you have kids you don’t really know what it means that God suffers for your sins. He has to. He has to suffer for your sins, because when you have children you suffer for their sins. Your heart is tied up to them.”

– Tim Keller, quoted from this Q and A session at The Gospel Coalition

June 22, 2009

Parenting & Prayer

Filed under: parenting,Prayer,Suffering — cubsfan1980 @ 9:05 am
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This is a quote from an excellent book by Paul Miller called, “A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World” on how we do our best parenting by prayer.   If you didn’t know, welcome to parenting week here at the blog.

When our kids were two, five, eight, twelve, fourteen and sixteen, I wrote this in my prayer journal:

March 19,1991. Amazing how when I don’t pray in the morning evil just floods into our home.  I absolutely must pray!  Oh, God, give me the grace to pray.

It took me seventeen years to realize I couldn’t parent on my own.  It was not a great spiritual insight, just a realistic observation.  If I didn’t pray deliberately and reflectively for members of my family by name every morning, they’d kill one another name.  I was incapable of getting inside their hearts.  I was desperate.  But even more, I couldn’t change my self-confident heart.  My prayer journal reflects both my inability to change my kids and my inability to change my self-confidence.  That’s why I need grace even to pray.

God answered my prayer.  As I began to pray regularly for the children, he began to work in their hearts.  For example, I began to pray for more humility in my eldest son, John.  (As my wife says “The apple didn’t fall far from the tree.”)  About six months later he came to me and said, “Dad, I’ve been thinking a lot about humility lately and my lack of it.”  It didn’t take me long to realize I did my best parenting by prayer.  I began to speak less to the kids and more to God.  It was actually quite relaxing.

If we can do life on our own, we will not take prayer seriously.  Our failure to pray will always feel like something else – a lack of discipline or too many obligations.  But when something is important to us, we make room for it.  Prayer is simply not important to many Christians because Jesus is already an add-on.  That is why, as we’ll see  later, suffering is so important to the process of learning how to pray.  It is God’s gift to us to show us what life is really like.

April 23, 2009

Jehovah Jirah

The first small group discussion I ever led was on Genesis 22.  Without a doubt this is one of my favorite Bible passages.  With a rare opportunity to create a discussion I jumped at the opportunity to use this passage again for a discussion topic.  I actually didn’t lead the discussion, but I passed the outline off to my friend Dave to lead as I was home with my dear newborn daughter Miya.  Dave made some edits and improvements to the outline, so I can’t take 100% credit for what you see below.

In  light of Easter Sunday we are discussing Genesis 22.  There are two questions that Lew wants us to consider.  Actually, three questions, but we be providentially blessed to make it through two questions.  The two questions are:

  1. How does this passage foreshadow the cross?
  2. what do we learn about God from this passage?
There are many things that we learn about God from this passage, to get us headed in the direction that Lew wants our conversation to go, we are going to play a little game.  At this point, split the group up in half for the game.  Tell them that the group who wins get an ultra special prize.  The point of the game is to have them list out all of the names of God that they can think of in five minutes.  They can use a Bible if they want to.  After the time limit have one group read their list, if the other group has that name then they need to both cross  it off.  Next, have the other group read their names that were not crossed off.  Each group gets a point for each unique name.  At this point, before you announce the prize, hype it up as something ultra special.  The group with the most points gets a pat on the back.

Ask them to look at the list of names they have and ask if based on the list what specifically I want them to discuss about God’s character.  The correct answer is the name “Jehovah Jirah,” this name means that “God will see to it.”

  • Read Gen 22:1-14

1. How does this passage foreshadow the cross?

Before we discuss how this passage foreshadows the cross, I want to read a quote from James Montgomery Boice: “Genesis 22 is the first passage since Genesis 3:15 in which we are pointed to the love and provision of God for guilty sinners through Christ’s crucifixion.”  There are some obvious and some not so obvious ways that we see the cross.  Since some of these ways are not so obvious, I have included questions that you can ask the group to give them clues.  I have listed out 7 ways, there might be more that people find, but try to get them to find at least these seven ways.  If any of these are unclear let me know, the second one will probably be the toughest for the group to get.

  • Answer: Sacrifice of beloved Son
    1. Question:  How are the sons being offered viewed by their fathers John 3:16 and Genesis 22:2
  • Answer: Mt. Moriah is Jerusalem, where Jesus went to die
    1. Question: what is the significance of the location 2 Chronicles 3:1
  • Answer: There is a confidence in the ressurrection
    1. Question:  Why can these sons be offered up Hebrews 11:17-19
  • Answer: The father initiated
    1. Question: What is the role of the father
  • Answer: The son was willing
    1. Question: what was the role of the son
      1. Important note: Many commentators and scholars believe that Isaac was in his late teens/early twenties.  He willingly let Abraham tie him up as the sacrifice because he could have easily overpowered his father and not allowed himself to be tied up.
  • Answer: a lamb was provided for us
    1. Question: what did God provide Genesis 22:8 and John 1:29
  • Answer: There three days of uncertainty
    1. question: Length of Abraham’s journey and Christ time in the tomb Genesis 22:4 and 1 Corinthians 15:4/Matthew16:21
      1. Important Note:  The difference between this and number 2 is that Abraham didn’t know what the resurrection would be and there was doubt to the outcome of his and Isaac’s journey.  Christ didn’t have any uncertainty, but when we look at the disciples and the woman they had uncertainty as they surely thought that the crucifixion was the end.

Encourage them to get into the habit to look for the promise of Christ, the cross and ressurrection on every page of the Old Testament.  the Old Testament isn’t just history, a book of rules, but it is God speaking to us about the salvation that He is preparing through His Son.  It is a love story that finds its resolution in the New Testament.  Let me know if you want more info on this to share with the group.

2. What do we learn about God from this passage?

  • Why do you think Abraham choose the name, “God will see to it” instead of “God has seen to it.”?
  • Ask for volunteers to read Philippians 4:19 and Romans 8:32

19And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

  • How does knowing about Christ’s sacrifice for us enable us to say “God will see to it?”

[God’s provision isn’t just a one time thing, but He will always provide for our needs; furthermore, we can trust that because He has provided i) what is most costly to Him (His Son), and ii) what is most important for us (justification before God), we can have confidence that He will preserve us until the day we see Him face to face – in Piper’s words, we can have faith in future grace through experiencing God’s past grace]

  • What comfort do we find in this truth?
  • Does anyone have any testimonty of how God has met their needs?
  • How do we battle doubts about God meeting our needs? [look back to the cross]
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