Monday, April 29, 2013

Fearless Faith in the Promise of God



Genesis 15:1-21               April 28, 2013            Link for audio/video/document    

The true depth of our faith, the lack of our faith, the reality of our faith, is always revealed during times of difficulty and crises. Even though Abram had graciously been given the gift of faith by God, he still needed hear the promise of God through the Word of God - so that God’s truth could penetrate his heart beyond his feelings. Abram was declared righteous by God because he trusted in Him Who was righteous. The fearless faith in the promise of God is that we need not fear when time seems short and life becomes difficult. God is at work; He is with us. His promises will come to pass.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Here is Love, Vast as the Ocean



. . . but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners,
                                      Christ died for us.  Romans 5:8

The Sovereign God of the Heavens



"Pray."

NASA chief Charles Bolden’s advice for addressing the potential threat of a large asteroid hitting Earth. Bolden spoke at a congressional hearing on the threat after an asteroid recently hit Russia, injuring more than 1,500.

World Magazine, April 20, 2013



Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. Psalm 115:3

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Call to Faith



Genesis 12:1-20                     April 21, 2013                Link for audio/video/document

The call to faith is a process of growth in grace. When our faith does fail us, God will bless us and keep us when humbly turn back to Him. By God’s grace His purposes and plans and promises will always come to pass in our lives. God is the initiator of our faith and the keeper of our faith – when we humbly look to Him. The reality of our faith in God is that we desperately need God to empower us to live out our faith – which God will do for us when we respond to His call to faith with humble obedience. The faith to which God calls us is not a faith in a place or a people or a plan, but a faith in God through Jesus Christ.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Deeps


Lord Jesus,
give me a deeper repentance,
a horror of sin,
a dread of its approach.
Help me chastely to flee it and jealously to resolve that my heart shall be Thine alone.

Give me a deeper trust,
that I may lose myself to find myself in Thee,
the ground of my rest, the spring of my being.
Give me a deeper knowledge of Thyself as saviour, master, lord, and king.
Give me deeper power in private prayer,
more sweetness in Thy Word,
more steadfast grip on its truth.
Give me deeper holiness in speech, thought, action,
and let me not seek moral virtue apart from Thee.

Plough deep in me, great Lord, heavenly husbandman,
that my being may be a tilled field,
the roots of grace spreading far and wide,
until Thou alone art seen in me,
Thy beauty golden like summer harvest,
Thy fruitfulness as autumn plenty.

I have no master but Thee,
no law but Thy will,
no delight but Thyself,
no wealth but that Thou givest,
no good but that Thou blessest,
no peace but that Thou bestowest.
I am nothing but that Thou makest me.
I have nothing but that I receive from Thee.
I can be nothing but that grace adorns me.

Quarry me deep, dear Lord,
and then fill me to overflowing with living water.

Puritan Prayers & Devotions. Monergism Books. Kindle Edition.

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Pride of Man and the Praise of God



Genesis 11:1-9                   April 14, 2013                Link for audio/video/document

There is no confusion in God - and His plan and purposes will not be stayed by any human hand. In times of our own confusion we must remember that God is with us. Though we might not understand what is going on, He knows exactly what is happening. Even the most prideful sinful act of evil is under God’s sovereign authority, and He will work out all things according His plan and purpose - that people from every tongue, tribe and nation would come know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Who Created These?

Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these?
He who brings out their host by number,
calling them all by name, by the greatness of his might,
and because he is strong in power not one is missing.
Isaiah 40:26
"Venus moves across the Sun" from Big Picture

Monday, April 8, 2013

Health-Food Heresy

from “Health-Food Heresy: When Eating Healthy Becomes Your God” by Lindsey Carlson at www.ibelieve.com/
Growing up in my family “eating healthy” meant there’d be a tiny dry chicken breast and a plop of plain rice on the dinner plate that night. I groaned every time my parents announced a new health kick. Instead of Pop-Tarts, there’d be plain Cheerios and I could bet within the week they’d try pushing “fruit” as a dessert. My brother and I prayed for the day they’d fall off the dieting bandwagon and we could go cheerfully back to consuming a diet rich in processed sugar and high fructose corn syrup.

I’ve never been the kind of girl who craves raw veggies and experiments with hummus, sprouts, or quinoa. I’m the kind of girl who breaks a sweat saying no to carbs and avoids cupcakes by closing my eyes and counting to ten. Eating healthy is a challenge for me and most of the time it takes a conscious effort to run the race at all, let alone with endurance.

I’m not thin and I don’t have the freakishly active metabolism my husband and children seem to have. I’ve struggled with my weight all my life and participated in dozens of diet plans. I can tell you how many Weight Watchers points are in almost any food, how many calories I can burn with each of the aerobic DVDs on my shelf, and I can calculate your personal daily caloric intake needs with my eyes closed and my hands tied behind my back.

I’m not a dietician; I’m recovering from a lifetime of disordered eating.

I’ve spent most of my life swinging like a pendulum between seasons of careless eating followed by seasons of hard-core health kicks. In the fall of my freshman year of high school my daily lunch consisted of a slice of greasy cheese pizza, a Mr. Pibb, and a candy bar. Then at some point in the spring, consumed by unhealthy-eating-guilt, I replaced the routine with a new one: four saltine crackers, a slice of cheese, and an apple. And though I’m sure my healthy choices seemed an improvement to the girls at my lunch table, my heart was unhealthier than ever as I obsessed over every bite and calorie.

As an adult, it’s easier than ever to obsess about food; I grocery shop and I plan the meals. There are whole television channels devoted to everything food. Label yourself a “foodie” and you’re considered hip. Websites and online communities offer a wealth of tips and tricks making it possible for me to waste limitless amounts of time on meal prep, different taste combinations, and nutritious substitutions for less healthy foods. I can call my fixation a hobby or justify my passion by claiming it serves my family.

What if healthy eating is actually unhealthy?

We can most likely agree that overeating or obsessing about food is sinful idolatry. But could I also be sinning while I’m eating a well-balanced diet, low in carbs and high in protein and losing weight? Or, what if you’re a girl who has never struggled with over-eating but has always been overly cautious about her eating habits?

Have you ever thought that as you’re eating pesticide-free, chemical-free, dye-free, calorie-free, fat-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, or carb-free, you may also be eating Jesus-free?

I can nail my calorie intake day in and day out, exercise three to five times a week, and keep of food journal and still be more in bondage than ever before.

Instead of dreaming of Belgian waffles, maybe it’s greek yogurt and granola I long for. Instead of wondering what I’ll eat next, I think about how my lunch calories changed my dinner plans. I go hungry for the better part of the week to bank calories for a weekend out with my husband. I over-exercise to free up calories.

Even when I’m shedding pounds, I live and die by the numbers on the scale each morning.

Not all healthy eating is idolatry. You may be naturally health-conscious; watching your weight, eating the right number of fruits and veggies and limiting carbs may be second nature to you. But if you are living a life consumed by crazed calorie counting, mealtime manipulation, and weigh-in worries, you are most likely staring into the face of your idol.

A heart idolizing food looks the same on the inside whether it’s the overweight gas-station customer snatching up the last box of Twinkies, or the suburban mom driving across town to shop exclusively at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s.

Whether or not you battle weight, be aware of the battle for your worship. What you may call a healthy lifestyle may actually be Health-Food Heresy. No healthy way of eating is worthy of all your time, devotion, and attention.

Jesus didn’t die for you to be a size two or have low cholesterol, but to forgive your wicked lusting after things of this world.

So how do I battle the idol of healthy eating?

Call it what it is. Admit if you know your eating isn’t simply your preferred way of life. If healthy living is demanding every ounce of your affection, surrender your strivings and confess your idolatry. Ask God to help you pinpoint the idol you’re serving; it could be pride, greed, vanity, or approval of man. Ask the Holy Spirit for specific conviction regarding your struggle.

Stand on His grace. God is righteous and just and requires all sin be accounted for. But for me, by God’s grace, my debt has been paid through Jesus’ death on the cross. I no longer stand on my own righteousness and sin-free eating, I stand on the grace of His unmerited favor. I am forgiven because Jesus was punished in my place.

Walk by faith. I depend fully on the Holy Spirit for moving forward. I ask him to grant me wisdom to make good choices, self-control to obey, and merciful conviction for the times I stumble.

I have often wished I could give up eating altogether. It would be easier if I didn’t have to struggle with food problems at all. Unfortunately, this will never be a viable option. God has purposed food to sustain us with nutrients necessary for survival. Food will always be a part of God’s perfect plan of provision, for our sustenance in this world. Instead of giving up on the battle, I must learn to interact with food in a way that praises the Creator without idolizing the food He created.

Slaying my inner Health-Food Heretic isn’t an overnight accomplishment. It will take time, prayer, surrender, and dependence. In Christ, it is possible to live a life free from bondage to food; both junk-food and health food alike.

Believing in the Risen Christ



John 21:1-25                     April 7, 2013                     Link for audio/video/document

A true encounter with the risen Jesus Christ will powerfully transform our hearts, lives and souls. To be transformed by the risen Christ not only means that our sins are forgiven and we are redeemed and we are restored back into the relationship with God we were created for, so we might live with Him in the glory of heaven forever - it also means that our hearts, lives and souls on earth are powerfully transformed into the image of the risen Christ, so we might bear the fruit of obedience, love and following Jesus to the cross. And because this is all of God’s plan and purpose for us – our obedience, our love and our following Jesus to the cross will not be defined or derailed by circumstances, people or our own will - when we keep our eyes on Jesus!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Come Praise and Glorify



Come praise and glorify our God
The Father of our Lord
In Christ He has in heav’nly realms
His blessings on us poured
For pure and blameless in His sight
He destined us to be
And now we’ve been adopted through
His Son eternally

To the praise of Your glory
To the praise of Your mercy and grace
To the praise of Your glory
You are the God who saves

Come praise and glorify our God
Who gives His grace in Christ
In Him our sins are washed away
Redeemed through sacrifice
In Him God has made known to us
The myst’ry of His will
That Christ should be the head of all
His purpose to fulfill

Come praise and glorify our God
For we’ve believed the Word
And through our faith we have a seal
The Spirit of the Lord
The Spirit guarantees our hope
Until redemption’s done
Until we join in endless praise
To God, the Three in One

Music by Bob Kauflin, words by Tim Chester © 2011 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI)

Monday, April 1, 2013

Seeing and Believing



John 20:1-31                  March 31, 2013                Link for audio/video/document

Jesus has risen from the dead! And while we cannot physically see Jesus has risen from the dead, we can see him resurrected from the dead in the lives of those who have truly received him as their Lord and Savior – for we see him not with the eyes in our head but with the eyes of our heart. The truth is we can only see what we are looking for and believe in what captures our hearts. May you see the risen Christ in all of his glory, and believe in him as the resurrected Son of God who sacrificed his life on a cross, so Jesus would capture your hearts as you receive forgiveness of sin and a new resurrected life!