Sunday, December 30, 2012

Where Was God in All of the Goodness of 2012? ~A great perspective!

by John Piper on Desiring God blog

As this year ends, the question I am asking is: Where was God when so many good things happened this past year?
How can God be a God of justice, yet allow so much good to happen to people who dishonor him by disbelieving in him, or giving lip service to his existence, or paying no more attention to him than the carpet in their den, or rejecting the kingship of his Son, or scorning his word, or preferring a hundred pleasures before him?
How can God be righteous and do so much good to us who are so unrighteous?
Where was God in 2012?
  • Where was God when nine million planes landed safely in the United States?
  • Where was God when the world revolved around the sun so accurately that it achieved the Winter solstice perfectly at 5:12 AM December 21 and headed back toward Spring?
  • Where was God when the President was not shot at a thousand public appearances?
  • Where was God when American farms produced ten million bushels of corn, and 2.8 million bushels of soybeans — enough food to sell $100 billions worth to other nations?
  • Where was God when no terrorist plot brought down a single American building or plane or industry?
  • Where was God when the sun maintained its heat and its gravitational pull precisely enough that we were not incinerated or frozen?
  • Where was God when three hundred million Americans drank water in homes and restaurants without getting sick?
  • Where was God when no new plague swept away a third of our race?
  • Where was God when Americans drove three trillion accident free miles?
  • Where was God when over three million healthy babies were born in America?
Here are a few of the answers given by God himself in his word.
1. God was reigning from his throne to do his sovereign will.
“Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.” (Psalm 115:3)
“He works all things according to the counsel of his will.” (Ephesians 1:11)
2. God was reigning from his throne to prevent much sin and harm in the world.
“God said to [Abimelech, the king of Gerar], it was I who kept you from sinning against me. Therefore I did not let you touch her.” (Genesis 20:6)
“You know what is restraining [the man of lawlessness] now.” (2 Thessalonians 2:6)
3. God was reigning from his throne to give a witness to his goodness and his patience.
“God did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.” (Acts 14:17)
4. God was reigning from his throne to summon the world to repentance.
“Do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4)
So as the year ends, I bow my head as an undeserving sinner, amazed that I have not been swept away. And even more, that because of Jesus, I am forgiven, adopted into God’s family, and destined for eternal life.
God has been good to us. And his best gift is the one that will be there when all the others fail. Jesus, crucified, risen, reigning.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

If an alien came to your home today wanting to see a glimpse of what God was like, what impression of God would he get from you?

Imagine that far out in space, in another galaxy, there is a planet inhabited by intelligent creatures.  These creatures and their planet and galaxy were of course fashioned by the God who created everything.  But they do not know what God is like, though they possess an insatiable appetite to find out more about Him. 

Then one day they detect, through their highly developed forms of intergalactic surveillance, the existence of a planet called Earth.  They also make initial discoveries about the human beings who dwell there.  Immediately, and with intense excitement, they mobilize their resources to build a spaceship capable of sending a delegation to faraway Earth with the specific goal of going there to learn about God.

Why Earth? Because their initial findings have disclosed the record of what God said when He first created human beings on this planet-that He was making them in His own image and according to His own likeness.  Such a revelation is absolutely the most thrilling news that these alien beings have ever heard.  By getting a close-up view of humanity, they will be getting their first-ever glimpse of God. 

With the spaceship completed and a carefully chosen delegation ready to embark, great crowds gather to see them off and wish them well.

After a long voyage across several galaxies, the hearts of every member of this delegation beat faster as Earth comes into view.  This beautiful blue planet grows larger and larger as they come closer.  “Soon we will see man,” they tell each other, “the creature God made in His perfect image.  We will be able to return home with eyewitness knowledge and understanding of what God is really like.”

Slowly and softly their spacecraft makes its landing on Earth…and the alien creatures step out. 

They have landed on a vacant lot in a city (much like whatever city you know best).  They leave their spacecraft and walk down the nearest street.  The first human being they lay eyes upon is a body sprawled on the curb that they have to step over, a drunk (though the aliens do not know about drunkenness) who is lying there in his own vomit.  The aliens try talking to him, but the man only moans and rolls over.

Leaving the drunk behind, they turn a corner and suddenly confront two rival groups of young men threatening each other with knives.  They have scarred arms and a lifeless stare in their eyes (though the aliens have not learned about drug abuse).

Stunned by this unexpected danger, the aliens turn quickly in a different direction and hear sounds from an open door under a tavern sign, and they enter the safety inside.  The few people there ignore them.  They have sullen faces as they sit in booths at the room’s shadowy edges. 

The sound the aliens were hearing is coming from a television set above the bar, and on the screen someone is announcing the “world news”.  The aliens crowd closer to catch a summary of what is happening all around this Earth.  The “news” they hear is about terrorist bombers and murderers.  It is about corruption in business and government.  It is about childish and foolish behavior by celebrities in the realms of entertainment and sports. 

The aliens stare in shock at the screen, until one of them turns to the others and says, “Let’s get off this planet.  This place stinks.”

With heavy steps they make their way to the spaceship, weighed down by revulsion and disillusionment over this display of God’s character.  And on their long, sad journey back, they wrestle with their total loss at knowing how to convey this tragic discovery to their loved ones at home.

Of course, you and I know that what they actually learned was not what God is like, but what sin is like.  Was there anything wrong, however, in the logic behind their expectation of seeing God on our planet?

No, their thinking was entirely correct, as we see more clearly when we carefully read the Scriptures. 

~What does it fully mean to you that you have been created in God’s image and likeness?

~What things should logically be expected from someone who is made in God’s image and likeness?

~ This was the first chapter from the book The Indwelling Life of Christ by Marjor W. Ian Thomas, Finding God on Earth

“In the day that God created man, He made him in the likeness of God…
...In the image of God He made man.” 
~Genesis 5:1, 9:6

Thursday, December 27, 2012

“But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.”  –Jude 1:20-21

The grace of faith is most holy, as it works by love, purifies the heart, and overcomes the world, by which it is distinguished from a false and dead faith. Our prayers are most likely to prevail, when we pray in the Holy Ghost, under his guidance and influence, according to the rule of his word, with faith, fervency, and earnestness; this is praying in the Holy Ghost. And a believing expectation of eternal life will arm us against the snares of sin: lively faith in this blessed hope will help us to mortify our lusts.
–Matthew Henry’s Commentary

Monday, December 24, 2012

Why Did Christ Have to Come as a Baby?

 I could not help but to ponder this thought as I read Charles Spurgeon's Morning and Evening Devotional this morning.  What a sad malignity it is to present Christ as a mere poor baby in a manger.  Because of the preciousness of a baby, the world tends to like this image of Christ.  What a tragedy!  The power is in the Cross not in the manger.  Let us never fall into idolizing that image of Christ as a poor helpless babe.  We are told to remember His death and resurrection!  Are we faithful at this? 

For your sakes he became poor.”
- 2Co_8:9
The Lord Jesus Christ was eternally rich, glorious, and exalted; but “though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor.” As the rich saint cannot be true in his communion with his poor brethren unless of his substance he ministers to their necessities, so (the same rule holding with the head as between the members), it is impossible that our Divine Lord could have had fellowship with us unless he had imparted to us of his own abounding wealth, and had become poor to make us rich. Had he remained upon his throne of glory, and had we continued in the ruins of the fall without receiving his salvation, communion would have been impossible on both sides. Our position by the fall, apart from the covenant of grace, made it as impossible for fallen man to communicate with God as it is for Belial to be in concord with Christ. In order, therefore, that communion might be compassed, it was necessary that the rich kinsman should bestow his estate upon his poor relatives, that the righteous Saviour should give to his sinning brethren of his own perfection, and that we, the poor and guilty, should receive of his fulness grace for grace; that thus in giving and receiving, the One might descend from the heights, and the other ascend from the depths, and so be able to embrace each other in true and hearty fellowship. Poverty must be enriched by him in whom are infinite treasures before it can venture to commune; and guilt must lose itself in imputed and imparted righteousness ere the soul can walk in fellowship with purity. Jesus must clothe his people in his own garments, or he cannot admit them into his palace of glory; and he must wash them in his own blood, or else they will be too defiled for the embrace of his fellowship.
O believer, herein is love! For your sake the Lord Jesus “became poor” that he might lift you up into communion with himself.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

My God, My Strength

"I will strengthen thee."—Isaiah 41:10.
God has a strong reserve with which to discharge this engagement; for He is able to do all things. Believer, till thou canst drain dry the ocean of omnipotence, till thou canst break into pieces the towering mountains of almighty strength, thou never needest to fear. Think not that the strength of man shall ever be able to overcome the power of God. Whilst the earth's huge pillars stand, thou hast enough reason to abide firm in thy faith. The same God who directs the earth in its orbit, who feeds the burning furnace of the sun, and trims the lamps of heaven, has promised to supply thee with daily strength. While He is able to uphold the universe, dream not that He will prove unable to fulfil His own promises. Remember what He did in the days of old, in the former generations. Remember how He spake and it was done; how He commanded, and it stood fast. Shall He that created the world grow weary? He hangeth the world upon nothing; shall He who doth this be unable to support His children? Shall He be unfaithful to His word for want of power? Who is it that restrains the tempest? Doth not He ride upon the wings of the wind, and make the clouds His chariots, and hold the ocean in the hollow of His hand? How can He fail thee? When He has put such a faithful promise as this on record, wilt thou for a moment indulge the thought that He has outpromised Himself, and gone beyond His power to fulfil? Ah, no! Thou canst doubt no longer.
O thou who art my God and my strength, I can believe that this promise shall be fulfilled, for the boundless reservoir of Thy grace can never be exhausted, and the overflowing storehouse of Thy strength can never be emptied by Thy friends or rifled by Thine enemies.

"Now let the feeble all be strong,
And make Jehovah's arm their song."

Charles Spurgeon's Morning Meditation, December 22nd

Thursday, December 20, 2012

My Testimony

After recently taking the time to write out my testimony to share with a dear friend, I thought I would share it here as well.  I always enjoy hearing how the Lord has worked in the lives of His children to draw them to Himself!  I hope some of you will be blessed by it!

We were in a very liberal church when I was a young child.  The Lord has taught and grown us so much since then!  Anyway, that was where I ‘prayed the sinners prayer’ and was baptized.  Looking back, I know for certain I was not saved at that point.  As I got a little older, I remember very vividly thinking that I knew I didn’t know how sinful I was.  Everyone knows they’re a sinner, but I knew I didn’t see my sinfulness.  After all, I was a “good kid”.   As the years went on, I began to really struggle and the true sinfulness of my heart started to come out.  Not many people saw it though.  I was very passive.  Everyone still thought I was the “good kid”.  I was a terrible liar, extremely rebellious, prideful, jealous of the good I saw in other people, and very unkind to my siblings.  I couldn’t begin to count the hours of time Mom poured out talking to me and pointing me to Christ.  It was to no avail.  I hated being that way, but I was stuck, and couldn’t change myself.  And I felt like I couldn’t repent, because I knew I wasn’t sorry enough.  I tried to pray, but it never worked, and felt like such a hypocrite.  I was so miserable!  Finally, after a few years of deep spiritual struggle, the Lord broke through my hard heart.  One day, it was like He had lifted the blinders from my eyes, and out of despair, I cried out to Him.  I wept, confessed my sinfulness, and pleaded with Him to forgive me and change my heart and save me.  It was a cry of total desperation and of surrender.  After that, the Lord gave me such a peace, and filled me with such a joy that I had never felt before.  It was truly amazing!  The Lord worked restoration for me with my family, and has continually been purging me of my sinful flesh ever since.  Giving me a growing tender conscience, and giving me a greater love and desire for Himself.  Looking back, I am amazed, because I know it was all Him!  I’m so grateful for His grace and mercy in my life!  I only hope that in the years to come I can look back to now and see how much more He has sanctified me and is using me for His glory!

~Posted by Brittany

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

"Rend your heart, and not your garments."—Joel 2:13.
GARMENT-RENDERING and other outward signs of religious emotion, are easily manifested and are frequently hypocritical; but to feel true repentance is far more difficult, and consequently far less common. Men will attend to the most multiplied and minute ceremonial regulations—for such things are pleasing to the flesh—but true religion is too humbling, too heart-searching, too thorough for the tastes of the carnal men; they prefer something more ostentatious, flimsy, and worldly. Outward observances are temporarily comfortable; eye and ear are pleased; self-conceit is fed, and self-righteousness is puffed up: but they are ultimately delusive, for in the article of death, and at the day of judgment, the soul needs something more substantial than ceremonies and rituals to lean upon. Apart from vital godliness all religion is utterly vain; offered without a sincere heart, every form of worship is a solemn sham and an impudent mockery of the majesty of heaven.
HEART-RENDING is divinely wrought and solemnly felt. It is a secret grief which is personally experienced, not in mere form, but as a deep, soul-moving work of the Holy Spirit upon the inmost heart of each believer. It is not a matter to be merely talked of and believed in, but keenly and sensitively felt in every living child of the living God. It is powerfully humiliating, and completely sin-purging; but then it is sweetly preparative for those gracious consolations which proud unhumbled spirits are unable to receive; and it is distinctly discriminating, for it belongs to the elect of God, and to them alone.
The text commands us to rend our hearts, but they are naturally hard as marble: how, then, can this be done? We must take them to Calvary: a dying Saviour's voice rent the rocks once, and it is as powerful now. O blessed Spirit, let us hear the death-cries of Jesus, and our hearts shall be rent even as men rend their vestures in the day of lamentation.

-Charles Spurgeon's Morning Meditation, December 18th

Friday, December 14, 2012

Hope ~ Romans 5:2-5

In interesting word study from my personal reading this morning. :-)

“Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”  -Romans 5:2-5

This list of steps in the growth of our Christian walk is sandwiched with hope.

Hope is:
(to anticipate, usually with pleasure); expectation (abstract or concrete) or confidence: - faith, hope.

To foretaste or foresee; to have a previous view or impression of something future.

The act of expecting or looking forward to a future event with at least some reason to believe the event will happen. Expectation differs from hope. Hope originates in desire,and may exist with little or no ground of belief that the desired event will arrive. Expectation is founded on some reasons which render the event probably. Hope is directed to some good; expectation is directed to good or evil.

A trusting, or reliance; an assurance of mind or firm belief in the integrity, stability or veracity of another, or in the truth and reality of a fact.
Safety, or assurance of safety; security.
Boldness; courage.

“Courage is fear that has said its prayers.”  -Michael Lederman

“Hope is a gift of God's grace, and is implanted in regeneration, but abounds, increases, and becomes more strong and lively by experience of the love, grace, mercy, power, and faithfulness of God.”  - John Gill’s Commentary

Another mess . . .ahh . . . these kids!

Ever feel like that?  This morning I was reminded of a precious verse that has carried Seth and I through many years of parenting.

 Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox.
(Pro 14:4)

What a blessing each of those little "oxen" are!   May there be much increase in the kingdom of God as we are faithful in the day to day parenting of our children. 

The Most Terrifying Truth of Scripture . . . God is Good!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Do you struggle with Fear and Worry?

Image courtesy of Tom Curtis at
What a blessing the body of Christ is!  This mornings message by Brother Lederman was very piercing and encouraging.  His main text was in Philippians 4:4-8.

Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
(Php 4:4-8)

- paralyses us spiritually, emotionally, physically
- God did not give us a spirit of fear
- If we are looking to anything other than Christ we should be afraid!
- Fear and worry are first cousins.

We need to rejoice. - This can only be done if we have a correct focus.
It is not about me! It is ALL about CHRIST!

- the things we think about tend to consume us
- God said not to worry; therefore worry is a sin.
- When we are anxious and worried be assured trouble is coming. 

We overcome fear and worry by . . .  PRAYER!
Not being anxious means that we have prayed and are praying. 
Courage is fear that has said it's prayers.
Prayer= addressing God
Focus on the truths of who God is and what He has said.

Replace worry with . . . CHRIST!
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.
(Isa 26:3)

There once was a man who wanted to come to America.  He saved and saved until he had enough money to buy his ticket to board the ship.  Only problem was he had no money for food.  After three days someone said to him that he needed to go get something to eat or he would never make it to America.  The man then proceeded to say that he did not have money for food.  The person with whom he was talking then shared with him that the ticket he had bought included three meals a day. 

What do we have in Christ?

Has He not provided our meals too?!

So why is it that we are worrying?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

New movie from the makers of the 180 movie~ GENIUS

 Chilling New John Lennon Movie
Los Angeles, CA. "Genius" is a new and chilling movie based on the life and tragic murder of John Lennon. The Producer of the Los Angeles-based film company, Ray Comfort, said, "It's chilling because it reveals what people will do for money. There are ordinary people out there who would kill you. All they need is the right amount of money and the belief that they won't get caught."

Just before he was murdered, John Lennon told Playboy magazine that he didn't want to die at 40. Ironically the famous singer was gunned down at the age of 40 by a man who killed him just because he wanted to become famous.

Comfort said, "Many think that John Lennon was a musical genius. His music has crossed cultures and even generations--the Beatles have sold more than 2,303,500,000 record albums, and in June of 2012 they hit number one on iTunes. They are as big now as they ever were and they're half dead--with the tragic loss of Lennon and Harrison."

Ken Mansfield, the former U.S. Manager for Apple Records said, "Genius will open your eyes." Other reviewers have called it "fast-paced, thought-provoking and compelling." It is being promoted as "33 minutes that will rock your soul." Comfort's last movie "180" received more than 3.7 million views on YouTube and aired on television around the world. "Genius" has been released for free viewing on to coincide with the December 8th anniversary of the death of John Lennon.

Comfort added, "Abraham Lincoln said, 'Towering genius disdains a beaten path. It seeks regions hitherto unexplored.' That's what John Lennon did. He pushed the musical envelope of creativity."

We Have But to Knock

"Ask, and it shall be given you."—Matthew 7:7.
We know of a place in England still existing, where a dole of bread is served to every passerby who chooses to ask for it. Whoever the traveler may be, he has but to knock at the door of St. Cross Hospital, and there is the dole of bread for him. Jesus Christ so loveth sinners that He has built a St. Cross Hospital, so that whenever a sinner is hungry, he has but to knock and have his wants supplied. Nay, He has done better; He has attached to this Hospital of the Cross a bath; and whenever a soul is black and filthy, it has but to go there and be washed. The fountain is always full, always efficacious. No sinner ever went into it and found that it could not wash away his stains. Sins which were scarlet and crimson have all disappeared, and the sinner has been whiter than snow. As if this were not enough, there is attached to this Hospital of the Cross a wardrobe, and a sinner making application simply as a sinner, may be clothed from head to foot; and if he wishes to be a soldier, he may not merely have a garment for ordinary wear, but armor which shall cover him from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. If he asks for a sword, he shall have that given to him, and a shield too. Nothing that is good for him shall be denied him. He shall have spending-money so long as he lives, and he shall have an eternal heritage of glorious treasure when he enters into the joy of his Lord.
If all these things are to be had by merely knocking at mercy's door, O my soul, knock hard this morning, and ask large things of thy generous Lord. Leave not the throne of grace till all thy wants have been spread before the Lord, and until by faith thou hast a comfortable prospect that they shall be all supplied. No bashfulness need retard when Jesus invites. No unbelief should hinder when Jesus promises. No cold-heartedness should restrain when such blessings are to be obtained.

-Charles Spurgeon's Morning Meditation, December 5th

Monday, December 3, 2012

We don't drift toward holiness...we drift towards sin

People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; we drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; we drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated.

- D.A. Carson

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Our Holiest Example

I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. (Psalm 16:8)

This is the way to live. With God always before us, we shall have the noblest companionship, the holiest example, the sweetest consolation, and the mightiest influence. This must be a resolute act of the mind. "I have set," and it must be maintained as a set and settled thing. Always to have an eye to the Lord's eye and an ear for the Lord's voice—this is the right state for the godly man. His God is near him, filling the horizon of his vision, leading the way of his life, and furnishing the theme of his meditation. What vanities we should avoid, what sins we should overcome, what virtues we should exhibit, what joys we should experience if we did indeed set the Lord always before us! Why not?
This is the way to be safe. The Lord being ever in our minds, we come to feel safety and certainty because of His being so near. He is at our right hand to guide and aid us; and hence we are not moved by fear, nor force, nor fraud, nor fickleness. When God stands at a man's right hand, that man is himself sure to stand. Come on, then, ye foemen of the truth! Rush against me like a furious tempest, if ye will. God upholds me. God abides with me. Whom shall I fear?