Thursday, 30 April 2009

How the Characteristics of Grace Appear

Day By Day By Grace
Bob Hoekstra
April 30, 2009

And we have such trust through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant. (2 Corinthians 3:4-6)

We have been considering some characteristics that God wants to develop in our lives by His grace: namely, triumphant living, a fragrance of Christ, godly sincerity, and becoming living letters of Christ. How do these appear in our lives in an ever-increasing manner? As Paul wrote on these wonderful descriptions of godly living, his heart was stirred to ask, "And who is sufficient for these things?" (2 Corinthians 2:16). Paul fully realized that man cannot produce these realities. Human resources are inadequate.

These heavenly traits grow in us as we live by the terms of the new covenant (humbly trusting in God, not in ourselves). "And we have such trust through Christ toward God." Paul's confidence in exhibiting these spiritual qualities of life was directed toward God, based upon the relationship that is available in Jesus Christ. This is not self-confidence; it is God-confidence. God must produce these characteristics.

There is no room for believers to trust in themselves. "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves." We are not the source of any of these wonderful traits of godly living. They must all come from God at work in us. "Our sufficiency is from God." When we live in humble dependency, the Lord's supply becomes our needed sufficiency. "Our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant."

Yes, new covenant servants live by the grace of God. Consequently, their sufficiency is what the Lord Himself supplies! This is precisely what God promised of old through His prophets. "I will make a new covenant …I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts" (Jeremiah 31:31, 33). God inscribes these spiritual traits upon the inner man (the heart and the mind) by His grace. The results are that these characteristics of godliness develop in our lives.

Again, we are looking at living by humility and faith. "God… gives grace to the humble" (James 4:6). Also, faith accesses grace: "through whom [the Lord Jesus Christ] also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand" (Romans 5:2).

O Holy Father, I long to grow in these godly traits. I am not sufficient to produce them by my resources. My only hope is to be changed by You from the inside out. I humbly bow before You. With confidence in You, I ask that You pour Your grace upon my heart and mind, as I seek You in Your word. Through Christ my Lord, I pray, Amen.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

God always there for us

Daily Promises
Blue Letter Bible
April 29, 2009

The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season. Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing. (Psalms 145:15-16)

The Lord promises to provide for all of our needs (cf. Matthew 6:26). He gives us everything that we ask of Him as long as it is according to His will (cf. Philippians 4:19 and James 4:3). He is our good Father and will ever seek our welfare!

Sunday, 26 April 2009

The Unknown Baptist

[Lord, help me to be the unknown baptist by Your wonderful grace!]

Who is the Unknown Baptist?

We know such a title could not belong to any of the denominational bigshots of the many so-called Baptist groups, because said bigshots get their names and pictures in their publications, and if one of them kills a fly, the world must know all about it.

The Unknown Baptist is not someone in the "fundamental" group. They have built churches as monuments to themselves. The Christian celebrities have built schools as "bastions of orthodoxy" that turn out "young champions for Christ". It would seem that the Lord could not get along without such "champions", and it seems their only message is the message of the horse¬leach's daughters ... "give, give". No ... nothing unknown about these boys.

No, the Unknown Baptist is not Falwell, Criswell, Wayne Dehoney, Rice, Robertson, Roberson, Broadus, Conners, Bob Jones III, Curtis Hutson, Robert Sumner, Ed Young, Archer, Martin Luther King, Ralph Elliott, Roy Stewart, Frank Stagg, Fred Hubbs, Penrose Santa Mont, Annie Armstrong, Duke McCall. No! None of these is "unknown" and it would stretch things to call some of them "Baptist".

So, who is the Unknown Baptist? There is more than one answer. The Unknown Baptist is the little guy with no greater desire than to be faithful to his church. The doors open and he is there. He absorbs Bible preaching like a sponge. He gives and gives. He is many times taken for granted because he is so faithful. He does not care if his name is ever mentioned in church. This guy prays for his pastor, and his church. He is the head in his home. He is the one his neighbors call when in need, and they know of his love for God, but you won't see his name in public or his picture in "The Gospel Gazette".

The Unknown Baptist is the sweet lady whose countenance cheers all that see her. She loves God's Word and reads it to her children. She knows the Scriptural place of women and accepts it with humility and desires to serve God all the more. She cries over her lost family members. She prays for God's guidance and holds up the sick in supplication.

The Unknown Baptist is that man of God who has faithfully proclaimed God's Book by preaching Christ's precious blood, by preaching the blessed hope, as well as all God's full countenance. This man's meager pay barely provides for his family. He must work a job where he is known, only to be ridiculed for his testimony. His stand for truth keeps him from the "mainstream". This man stands for God in spite of desertion by family and friends, false accusations, true accusations, financial reversals, physical ailments, unanswered prayer, mental stress. Yet, he asks no sympathy and humbly rejoices that God called him to service.

No one of this world knows or cares about these Unknown Baptists, but the God that they love loves them much more 'and He carefully watches all that concerns them. The God that listens to their prayers in His good time will change the circumstance of each.

Thank God for these obscure folk. Thank God for caring!

By Bill Farmer

Joy in the morning

Daily Promises
Blue Letter Bible
April 26, 2009

For his anger [endureth but] a moment; in his favour [is] life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy [cometh] in the morning. (Psalms 30:5)

You may weep and you may mourn over the troubles of this life, but know this you believers: your weeping will last only a night—for the smallest portion of your life. Once your joy is restored, those times of sadness and despair will seem only the briefest of moments. This life can be seen as a time of weeping; but when compared with the joy of eternity, our suffering seems slight and insignificant indeed. Praise the Lord that He is soon coming!

A Fragrance of Christ to Every Person

Now thanks be to God who…through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death to death, and to the other the aroma of life to life. (2 Corinthians 2:14-16)

The fragrance of Christ is one of the great characteristics that God wants to build into our lives by His grace. "Now thanks be to God who… through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge." This spiritual aroma, which results from getting to know the Lord, blesses the heart of God. "For we are to God the fragrance of Christ." The Father loves to see the life of His Son being expressed in and through our humanity, even though this requires our dying to self. "For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus' sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh" (2 Corinthians 4:11).

As we are getting to know the Lord more and more, our God is not the only one who is impacted. This spiritual aroma of Christ impacts every person we meet. "God…through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place." This includes both the saved and the unsaved. "For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing."

This fragrance affects those who know the Lord: "the fragrance of Christ…among those who are being saved." For those who are enjoying life in Christ, that heavenly scent in our lives is "the aroma of life to life." Christ's fragrance in us draws them to seek abundant measures of that life which they have already entered.

This spiritual scent also influences those who do not yet know our Lord: "the fragrance of Christ…among those who are perishing." To them it is "the aroma of death to death." They are dead in their sins, and this aroma makes them more aware of their deadness, more aware of their need for Christ.

When this fragrance is emanating from our lives, we are not the cause. God is the active agent, working in and through us to bring forth this heavenly scent. "Now thanks be to God who…through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge." This work of God's grace is available to us every day we live and every place we go: "the fragrance of His knowledge in every place."

Father God, I long to know You more and more. I want to have this fragrance of Christ emanating up to You and out to every one I meet. I praise You that this is a work You do by Your grace. So, I humbly bow, trusting You to work in me this way, through Christ, my Lord, Amen.

Friday, 24 April 2009

Meekness and salvation

Daily Promises
Blue Letter Bible
April 24, 2009

For the LORD taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation. (Psalms 149:4)

Who can measure the vast, unbounded love of the Lord? Ever is He swift to well up bountiful treasure unto His people! Though they be of the poor, the weak, the foolish, and the ugly, ever does He shower them with gifts unmerited. And even salvation! He makes such a humble people into His rich, powerful, wise, and beautiful bride! Hallelujah!

More than Conquerors Even in Impossibilities

Day By Day By Grace
Bob Hoekstra
April 24, 2009

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: "For Your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter." Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. (Romans 8:35-37)

When considering the triumphant Christian life, we may wrongly think that victory depends upon getting out of impossible situations. Actually, we are already "more than conquerors" even while we are in the midst of the impossibilities.

For us to be ultimately defeated, we would have to be separated from Christ's love for us. We would have to be cut off from the loving care of our victorious Lord. Can any foe or any situation accomplish that? "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" This question is answered in verses 38 and 39. "For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

No spiritual foe can enforce such a separation between God and His redeemed children. Neither can any circumstance of impossibility separate us from our loving God. Verses 35 and 36 list some of the impossibilities that make us feel as though we are being defeated. "Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: 'For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.'" When troubles and pressures arise, when we are attacked or are lacking resources, we may be tempted to think that victory is no longer available. When our experience is like a lamb being led to the slaughter, we may think that victory could never be ours. Nevertheless, the truth is that "in all these things we are more than conquerors."

Yes, right in the middle of the impossibilities of life, we are already more than a spiritual victor. Actually, we have already been made participants in a mighty, eternal, abundant victory, the victory that Christ accomplished on the cross and in the resurrection. "We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." Our victorious position in any situation is not circumstantial. It is relational. We are united by faith to the victorious one, the Lord Jesus Christ! "But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 15:57).

Dear Father, I praise You for the constant provision of victory through Your triumphant Son. Lord, help me to view spiritual victory as a relational matter and not a circumstantial one. I thank You that through Christ I am already more than a conqueror right in the midst of my present impossibilities, Amen.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

The One Necessary Thing

Day By Day By Grace
Bob Hoekstra
April 15, 2009

That I may know Him…Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do…"one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her." (Philippians 3:10, 13 and Luke 10:42)

Paul's goal in life was to grow in intimacy with the Lord: "That I may know Him." He wanted to know the Lord so well that his life would be transformed into "resurrected living" in this spiritually lifeless world. He humbly admitted that he had not yet reached such spiritual maturity. "Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended." Thus, in light of his own need to grow, coupled with the excellence of the goal, he had a single focus in his life: "one thing I do." This one thing was his ongoing quest to know the Lord more and more.

This focused quest is similar to the heart that Mary demonstrated, as recorded in the gospel of Luke. When Jesus visited the home of Mary and Martha, Mary "sat at Jesus' feet and heard His word" (Luke 10:39). Martha was functioning as a busy hostess, desiring to bless her Lord. However, her busy labors distracted her from the one she was attempting to serve. "But Martha was distracted with much serving" (Luke 10:40). The solution was obvious to Martha. She would insist that Jesus send her sister to help. "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me" (Luke 10:40).

How startled Martha must have been when Jesus indicated she was the problem, not Mary. "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things" (Luke 10:41). The many concerns of Martha's ministry were causing anxiety and inner turmoil. Her desire to serve the Lord had deteriorated to self-pity and irritation. Then, Jesus offered an astounding revelation that put everything into perfect spiritual perspective. "But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her" (Luke 10:42).

What an amazing truth: "one thing is needed." That one necessary matter is Jesus. Mary chose Jesus. She was at the feet of her master, getting to know Him, listening to His words of truth and grace. This was Paul's heart: "one thing I do…that I may know Him."

Dear Lord Jesus, shape in me a heart like Paul's, like Mary's. Stir in me a passion to know You better. May this become the consuming goal in my life. Forgive me for allowing busy service to eclipse You, the one I desire to please. Help me to spend frequent quiet times at Your feet. Then, when I rise up to serve You, may my heart always remain at Your feet, abiding in You, Amen.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

The cross of our Lord Jesus Christ

We listened to a good sermon from Brother Kelly Hinson on the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ this morning. I wanted to share it with you and inserted a button you can click on the left side.

What does it mean to glory in the cross (Gal 6:14)? What are the Greek words translated by cross? What did Jesus do on Mount Calvary?

You will find the answers if you listen to his sermon.

By His grace and for His glory.

Psalm 31:1-4

In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in thy righteousness.
Bow down thine ear to me; deliver me speedily: be thou my strong rock, for an house of defence to save me.
For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name's sake lead me, and guide me.

The Discriminating Message Of Jesus Christ

Randy Johnson, Pastor
Sovereign Grace Missionary Baptist Church
Texarkana , Texas

“Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” John 6:29

I titled this article as such because the Sovereign Grace of God is so hated in the very Liberal religious world we live in today. To preach that God is sovereign and that He has elected to save a only a limited number of sinners out of the world, that He will save all of that number, and that none except that number will ever truly have a desire to be saved, and all that are called will indeed come. This is said to be a discriminating message because it is exclusive of some and since God loves the entire population of the world He would never leave any out, but allows all people the chance to make a decision to be saved. God never said He loved the entire population of the world, but He did say in Psalms 5:5 "The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity". God also said Romans 3:11 “There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.” Man on his own will seek to worship a god of sort and a god that he (man) has total control over. When God said in Psalms 14:1 “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God…” He meant the fool would say “I will not have this God to rule over me,” that is in any matter, so to prevent God from being the true sovereign God He is, they simply deny His true power and proclaim that God loves everyone in the world and that He want all to come to Christ and that it is our decision, therefore stripping all power to save whom He chooses from God. Now please understand I never said some of these folks did not have a true desire to worship God, even God said they had a desire to worship Him but God proclaimed it was a worthless desire. Romans 10:2 “For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.”

We as sovereign grace Baptist teach the very same teachings that Jesus Christ did over two – thousand years ago and it is called the five points of sovereign grace also known as T.U.L.I.P. Now while so many today proclaim it to be a “doctrine from hell” lets not forget Jesus Christ also taught the very same message. Some people today want to take a few scriptures out of context and say Jesus taught the liberal message of today however that could not be further from the truth, Jesus taught His Father was sovereign and could do and did all of His pleasure and that included salvation. Jesus said in John 6:29 “…This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” It is the work of God not mans choice as so many teach today. Now let’s see what Jesus taught in John Chapter 6.

Total Depravity: That is that one cannot and will not choose salvation on their own. John 6:44 “No man can come to me …” It is not mans choice but the Fathers, man is depraved and will not on his own come unless he is drawn.

Unconditional Election: This means that God saves those that He has chosen and man has nothing at all to do with it. John 6:37 “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me…” Shall Come without a doubt. No man will come, EXCEPT the Father draw them, but all the Father draws SHALL come.

Limited Atonement: Means salvation will come only to the limited number that the Father has chosen before the foundation of the world. John 6:39 “And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing…”

Irresistible Grace: Means we will come without delay, there is no choice on our part, and the Lord makes us willing in his call. John 6:45 “It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.” The Father’s will is always done, Eph. 1:11. The only way God can promise the elect will come is that salvation is totally of God and man has nothing to do with it, and His wonderful grace makes us willing to do something against our nature.

Preservation of the Saints: This means He will keep us and we cannot fall from grace. John 6:39 “… which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.” The life given to us by the Father and thru the Son is everlasting, there is not maybe to it Jesus said “I should loose nothing” not one of them”

John 6:29 says “This is the work of God, that ye believe” but the liberal men of today simply will not believe nor teach that God and only God can saved the depraved lost sinner and all He chooses to save will come but would rather teach the false conception that man can do the work of God better. Beloved simply read the scriptures and you also will discover there is not choice in the matter of salvation except from the Father. Those that hate this message hates also what Jesus Himself also taught.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

I surrender all to Jesus

When I emigrated in Canada in 1993, I did because I was convinced that it was the will of the Lord. I had never dreamt of moving to Canada until a few months before I arrived in May, 1993. In fact, I didn't know anything about Canada.

I was finishing my studies and was supposed to go in an English speaking country for a placement. My first choice was going to England. I kept praying for God though to show me His will. On day as I was sitting in class, I was filled with an overwhelming sense that God did not want me to go to England but to Canada. The Holy Spirit filled me with that will and conviction. I submitted to the Lord and decided to trust Him to provide and help me do the impossible for a little nobody like me with not even financial means to back up that decision.

I left behind everything friends, family and many difficult struggles during my teenage years. I was filled with hope and some fears too. I knew I was going to do the Lord's will and live where He wanted me too. I had conscience of my "littleness" and my "sinfulness". I knew I didn't deserve the Lord's help and had no reason that He should help.

But I also knew that He had comforted me many times when I was struggling with the pains of a cervical sprain and other hurts to a deep sense of no fitting in.... There were lots of struggles inside of me and lots of hurts but I was hoping the Lord would help me heal and start fresh a useful life for Him. I was also filled with a deep sense that I would settle in Canada even if that seemed impossible for someone like me.

I was supposed to do a placement in business management. Due to the experience of the co-op students in Waterloo and the difference in curriculum between France and Canada, it was a very difficult task at hand for me.

The Lord answered my prayers in a very inusual way for a second time. I was looking at the job posting board one day and He directed my attention to a placement in a community of disabled people. Again I was filled with the Holy Spirit's conviction that it was where I was supposed to go. It was scary. I had no experience in that kind of work. It wasn't what I came to do. I wasn't sure I was up to the task. After praying for a while, I could get rid of the conviction it was God's will and decided to follow thru.

I started working there about two weeks after. I was quite reserved at that time and shy. I wasn't talking much at all. I worked in a day program with a lot of non verbal disabled (some even not able to feed themselves and using wheelchairs). Oh, how I loved them and loved being around them. The Lord knew exactly what I needed and I learned so much and had such wonderful times with them. I ended up staying for two years and was really sad to have to leave.
There I met someone and we got married. Our marriage was a very difficult one. We struggled a lot financially. There was still so much hurt inside of me and I was unable to express all these aches and pains. I knew only Jesus could make them better, had no word to share it with others because it just hurted too much. It didn't seem my husband cared in the least. I became very good at hiding how I really felt and pretending to be ok. I kept praying for the Lord to help and to heal.

Nothing seemed to work and yet I couldn't get rid of the conviction that Jesus did love me. I also couldn't see any reason He should. It seemed nobody cared how I felt...

I had a beautiful daughter and she was the joy of my life. But I was also really tired and the pregnancy had been hard.

When she was about eighteen months, I was pregnant again and going thru a very stressful time at work and at home. I was trying to get a doctor's appointment but with no success as my employer was not being cooperative.

A few months later, I ended up losing that baby and my heart was so broken that I couldn't talk about it and my husband seemed so indifferent and didn't understand at all what I was going thru. The way it happened was also so hard on me that I don't even want to talk about it even to this day. (God gave me a son a year later help me heal and I praise Him for that).

I think this is what put the last toll on our marriage as I became very depressive. I was still hanging on to the belief that God loved me despite all appearances. Around that time, I really felt lost though. I made some mistakes and was much ashame.

One day, God intervened again in my life. He made me willing to open my Bible. I read verses like John 14:6 "I am the way, the truth and the life". I asked Him to forgive me and asked Jesus to show me the way.

From that point on, my life started to change. The kids and I went to France for one year. There I started to seriously read and study the Bible. I learned about the need of a new birth (salvation) as the only way to go to heaven. I learned about repentance and faith as the way to heaven. That Jesus is our only mediator. That He died to redeem us from our sins. That we loved Him because He first loved us. That salvation is by faith and not works. This started to bring healing to my soul. I believed and trusted Jesus for salvation back then (even if just by baby steps).

I came back to Canada again to be baptized by immersion (the way Jesus said) and join a Bapist New Testament Church. I still struggled as I learned. I still had my trials. And I still do.

What have I learned from all these trials and sufferings in my life? That they are a work of love from God in my life. I used to wonder why God would want me to suffer so much and things that sometimes felt like I couldn't overcome.

When I first came to Canada, I was very anxious, scared, confused about many things... At times, things just seemed to get worse and worse as I prayed for healing, for help from God. But today, I know this is the way God worked His salvation in my life.

Now I have peace inside of me and faith in God. I have grown so much (and especially spiritually) by God's grace in my life during those very difficult time.

Lord, please keep on working in my life for Your glory, keep working in my heart and my life and my children's life by Your grace that I might be more and more like Jesus, like who you want me to be instead of what I am. I still have many trials and pains nowadays. Lord, I commit them all to You and want to surrender all to you with no reserve. Please give me the grace to overcome by the faith in Jesus, in You and in the Holy Spirit, you implanted in my heart. Please if I hold on in some parts of my life, help me to make a complete sacrifice in all for You by Your grace. Show me the way to live for Your glory, serve You and live a life pleasant to You in every aspect. I surrender all to You once more and know I can trust You to show me the way though it is not always the one I would chose.

1. All to Jesus I surrender;
all to him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust him,
in his presence daily live.

I surrender all, I surrender all,
all to thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.

2. All to Jesus I surrender;
humbly at his feet I bow,
worldly pleasures all forsaken;
take me, Jesus, take me now.

3. All to Jesus I surrender;
make me, Savior, wholly thine;
fill me with thy love and power;
truly know that thou art mine.

4. All to Jesus I surrender;
Lord, I give myself to thee;
fill me with thy love and power;
let thy blessing fall on me.

5. All to Jesus I surrender;
now I feel the sacred flame.
O the joy of full salvation!
Glory, glory, to his name!
PS: I am tired as I finish this post. Please forgive me if there are mistakes. I will try to read it again and correct them tomorrow.

Preserved to Work's End

A Thought By: C. H. Spurgeon:

"The LORD stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of Me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome" Acts 23:11

Are you a witness for the LORD, and are you just now in danger? Then remember that you are immortal till your work is done. If the LORD has more witness for you to bear, you will live to bear it. Who is he that can break the vessel which the LORD intends again to use?
If there is no more work for you to do for your Master, it cannot distress you that He is about to take you home and put you where you will be beyond the reach of adversaries. Your witness-bearing for Jesus is your chief concern, and you cannot be stopped in it till it is finished: therefore, be at peace. Cruel slander, wicked misrepresentation, desertion of friends, betrayal by the most trusted one, and whatever else may come cannot hinder the Lord’s purpose concerning you. The LORD stands by you in the night of your sorrow, and He says, "Thou must yet bear witness for me." Be calm; be filled with joy in the LORD.
If you do not need this promise just now, you may very soon. Treasure it up. Remember also to pray for missionaries and all persecuted ones, that the LORD would preserve them even to the completion of their lifework.

The cross

For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
1 Corinthians 1:18

Friday, 10 April 2009

The Lord is my rock!

Daily Promises
Blue Letter Bible
April 10, 2009

For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as [with] a shield. (Psalms 5:12)

The children of the Father of all mercy stand fair and strong. They are unchained and free to do well in His sight. Their protection is assured and the Lord will shield their heads forever. Their enemy has fallen by the wayside by the power of their God, Who is a consuming fire. Their lives are won. Their souls are assured. None may stand against these righteous for they are the Lord's. And those for whom the Lord stands cannot be stood against! Hallelujah!


The place which is called Calvary.
Luke 23:33

The hill of comfort is the hill of Calvary; the house of consolation is built with the wood of the cross; the temple of heavenly blessing is founded upon the riven rock--riven by the spear which pierced His side. No scene in sacred history ever gladdens the soul like Calvary's tragedy.
"Is it not strange, the darkest hour
That ever dawned on sinful earth,
Should touch the heart with softer power,
For comfort, than an angel's mirth?
That to the Cross the mourner's eye should turn,
Sooner than where the stars of Bethlehem burn?"
Light springs from the midday-midnight of Golgotha, and every herb of the field blooms sweetly beneath the shadow of the once accursed tree. In that place of thirst, grace hath dug a fountain which ever gusheth with waters pure as crystal, each drop capable of alleviating the woes of mankind. You who have had your seasons of conflict, will confess that it was not at Olivet that you ever found comfort, not on the hill of Sinai, nor on Tabor; but Gethsemane, Gabbatha, and Golgotha have been a means of comfort to you. The bitter herbs of Gethsemane have often taken away the bitters of your life; the scourge of Gabbatha has often scourged away your cares, and the groans of Calvary yields us comfort rare and rich. We never should have known Christ's love in all its heights and depths if He had not died; nor could we guess the Father's deep affection if He had not given His Son to die. The common mercies we enjoy all sing of love, just as the sea-shell, when we put it to our ears, whispers of the deep sea whence it came; but if we desire to hear the ocean itself, we must not look at every-day blessings, but at the transactions of the crucifixion. He who would know love, let him retire to Calvary and see the Man of sorrows die.

Charles Spurgeon

Christ Living in Us

Day By Day By Grace

Bob Hoekstra

April 10, 2009

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)

In these sublime words, we are given profound insight concerning the grace of God at work through our intimate relationship with Christ. This majestic statement begins with our spiritual death, that another might live in and through our lives. Finally, we are told how we are to respond, so this divine arrangement can proceed as intended.

First, our spiritual death is in view. "I have been crucified with Christ." If we are believers in the Lord Jesus, we died with Him upon that cross. The cross of Christ is now our testimony of rejoicing, for by that cross we escaped the dead world of unredeemed humanity. "But God forbid that I should glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world" (Galatians 6:14). Although the cross is the end of our old life in Adam, that is not the end of our story. "Even when we were dead in trespasses, [God] made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)" (Ephesians 2:5). By His grace, we were raised with Christ. We died with Him, that we now might live with Him. "Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him" (Romans 6:8).

The astounding consequence of these truths is that we are not the ones producing our Christian life. "It is no longer I who live." This reality is radically contrary to man's natural thinking. If we are not to manufacture our life with God, what other option could possibly be available? The wonderful answer is: "Christ lives in me." True Christian living is to be Christ living in and through our lives. How can this be accomplished? We still have an ongoing human experience in flesh and bones bodies: "the life which I now live in the flesh." Yes, but this life is to be lived by faith: "I live by faith in the Son of God." As we put our trust in Jesus day by day, He lives in and through our thoughts, our words, our choices, our priorities, our relationships.
Once again, this is God's grace at work through humility and faith. Humility is expressed by embracing this confession: "it is no longer I who live." Faith is expressed by counting upon this truth: "Christ lives in me."

Dear God of my salvation, what a magnificent plan! Thank You for providing a way out of the old life. Praise You for raising me to a new life. How wonderful that this new life is to be Christ living in me. Lord Jesus, please live in me as I depend upon You, Amen.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

The Lord is always faithful!

Daily Promises
Blue Letter Bible
April 9, 2009

[It is] a faithful saying: For if we be dead with [him], we shall also live with [him]: If we suffer, we shall also reign with [him]: if we deny [him], he also will deny us: If we believe not, [yet] he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself. (2 Timothy 2:11-13)

Take heart, O believer, for though you be of weak conscience and unsteady faith, your life is now hidden in Christ Jesus! And where you show weakness, He shows strength! Be comforted in your infirmity and take joy in the awesome power and unyielding faithfulness of the Lord.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Lord, show us the way!!

Snow, showel... Winter is back!! We had about 20cm of snow in two days (Monday, Tuesday). At least the sun showed his face today and quite a bit melted already.

Tamara and Joshua are busy. They started their first work. They are officially on their third week as newspaper carrier. I think it will help them learn a lot and it enables them to earn a bit of pocket money and also save for their studies later. I try to help them too but I am glad to see them take responsibilities. May the Lord bless them for it! They like it and it doesn't take them too much time. They are doing great so far at work, at school, with their music, Bible studies... I am proud of them and praise the Lord for the changes He has brought in their lives.

We put our house for sale and are praying and waiting for the Lord to show us His will. We would like to move to be closer to church and be able to attend more often and be busier in His service. May the Lord show us where we can be more beneficial to Him!!

We have hard times but the Lord is helping us mightly too and we praise Him for His wonderful work of grace in our lives.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

God never leaves us

Daily Promises
Blue Letter Bible
April 7, 2009

When thou passest through the waters, I [will be] with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. (Isaiah 43:2)

Sometimes the pressures of life threaten to overwhelm us and sweep us away like a strong river current. During these times God continues to be with us. He does not leave us to suffer alone. He does not promise to take us out of our trials. But He does promise to be with us and guide us every step of the way! Praise be to the Lord, our great constancy!

Friday, 3 April 2009

Jesus said love your enemies

Matthew 5:44-45
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

God Enlightening Us about Our Spiritual Resources

Day By Day By Grace
Bob Hoekstra
April 3, 2009

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ…the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling. (Ephesians 1:3, 18)

We have seen that all the grace resources God has for us to live by here on earth are already ours "in Christ." Now, our need is to have these comprehensive spiritual treasures revealed to us by the Lord Himself: "the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling." In order to draw upon these heavenly provisions, we need the Lord to enlighten our understanding concerning what is ours in Christ Jesus. "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit" (1 Corinthians 2:9-10). As the Holy Spirit uses the word of God to reveal these matters to us, our faith develops so we might access them by faith. "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17).
The Scriptures teach us to pray for such spiritual enlightenment. "Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law" (Psalm 119:18). In the word of God, we are told of the wonderful things that God has for His people. If we prayerfully seek the Lord concerning His insight into these blessings, the Lord will enlighten us. His willingness to respond is evident in His word. "Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know" (Jeremiah 33:3).
The Lord delights to give heavenly spiritual insight to the humble of heart, not to those who trust in their own wisdom and prudence. "In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, 'I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes'" (Luke 10:21). This picture of spiritual children humbly trusting in the Heavenly Father to reveal His ways fits perfectly God's pattern for living by grace. This pattern is humility and faith.
What God has given us in Christ are His grace resources. It takes grace at work for us to even see what is ours in Him. God gives grace to the humble (James 4:6), and faith accesses grace (Romans 5:2).

Dear Lord, fountain of every heavenly blessing, I humble myself before You. On my own, I could never discover the richness You have given me in Christ. Please enlighten me by Your Spirit, as I search Your Scriptures. Build my faith to draw upon Your grace resources day by day, through Christ I pray, Amen.

Lord, direct my steps!

Daily Promises
Blue Letter Bible
April 3, 2009

A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps. (Proverbs 16:9)

My Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for guiding me through all things despite my foolishness. You know all my sorrowful ways, and yet, You continue to love me in spite of them. Father, continue to touch my heart and bring me to a right understanding of Your gracious love! Direct my steps that I may give all honour and glory to Your name! Amen.