Favorite Tunes

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Blessed Birthday - Regretful Reality!

Within a few hours my 27th birthday will be here. I have no problem with the idea of getting older so the numbers do not bother me. I am thankful to God for the chance to serve Him while on this earth and for another year to do so. I am not looking for gifts or "Happy Birthdays" from all whom I see, but I seek something of much greater and lasting value. Sadly I do not think that I will receive this gift this year. The title is Blessed Birthday but a Regretful Reality for me. I am not trying to be pessimistic but it is edifying to take a look at your own life to see what God sees and not just what you want to see. What I want for my birthday is for God to be able to say "Well done, good and faithful servant." Those words would be an unimaginable pleasure to hear but I fear that God would have other words for me - maybe questions: How much have you loved My Word? How many of My people have you served and loved? Who have you told of the gift (salvation) that I made for you? Is there less of you and more of Me showing in your life than last year? What kind of steward have you been of the resources and talents that I have given you? Where is your treasure - in Me or in the fading flowers of the field? I could go on but I think that you get the picture. Do not get me wrong, I am extremely thankful for the blessings and grace that God has given me to live this past year but I regretfully admit that I have not pleased God in the way in which He deserves. Do not pity me in this confession but use this as a plumb line for your own life. How would you be able to answer the questions of God? We must seek to die to ourselves daily and to glorify Him in all things. It is a life long process but complacency always seeks to hinder our progress. Self examination by the Word of God is one of our greatest weapons against it. "Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test?" (2 Cor 13:5 -NASB)

Friday, November 23, 2007

Living Magnifyingly!

1 Sing to the LORD a new song;
Sing to the LORD, all the earth.
2 Sing to the LORD, bless His name;
Proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day.
3 Tell of His glory among the nations,
His wonderful deeds among all the peoples.
4 For great is the LORD and greatly to be praised;
He is to be feared above all gods.
5 For all the gods of the peoples are idols ,
But the LORD made the heavens.
6 Splendor and majesty are before Him,
Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.

7 Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples,
Ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
8 Ascribe to the LORD the glory of His name;
Bring an offering and come into His courts.
9 Worship the LORD in holy attire;
Tremble before Him, all the earth.
10 Say among the nations, "The LORD reigns;
Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved;
He will judge the peoples with equity ."

- Psalms 96:1-10 (NASB)

Before I begin I must give credit where credit is due: I must thank and acknowledge John Piper as the originator of this illustration. It is a wondrous picture of the differences of how many of us reveal God to the world and how it ought to be done.

When we think of the word magnify, our minds tend toward the use of a microscope. In using, we place a tiny specimen underneath the eye of the microscope to bring it to the point of human comprehension. It is so small originally that the human mind cannot conceive of its attributes. For many of us (especially unknowingly - though not an excuse) this is how we portray God to the world. Our lives are tuned a microscopes because our view of and love for God is so small. So when the world looks through us (our lives) they see a small God not worthy of glory and praise. No wonder the world thinks followers of Christ are stupid and merely filling an emotional void. But there is another way in which we can magnify. The telescope accomplishes this purpose. When we aim a telescope at an unfathomably sized object in space, the object seen through the scope is seen in a comprehensible way. We are able to view gigantic planets and stars bigger than anyone could imagine and further away than technology can take us. This is how the Christian's life ought to be. Our lives should be as telescopes to the beauty and power of the God of the Bible whom no human mind can completely grasp. That is why we are to be telescopes - so that the lost world can see the God who created all things and is sustaining all things by His ultimate strength. When we act as though there is no hope the world sees God as small but when we live hoping in the wondrous promises of the Faithful Lord in all circumstances we reveal how truly amazing and worthy of all honor and praise God truly is. So I ask you: Is your life a microscope or a telescope revealing God to a lost world?

Why Is It Good News?

Paul declared to the Athenians:

"The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist , as even some of your own poets have said, 'For we also are His children.' "Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man. "Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead."
- Acts 17:24-31 (NASB)

What a beautiful presentation of the gospel! For ages past the word "gospel" has been portrayed as meaning "good news," and I agree with this definition. My problem lies in the way in which we have offered this "good news" to the lost. For so long we have sought to make the "good news" more desirable by adding to the message of the "gospel." We have attempted remove the wrath of God, that abides upon every unbeliever (Romans 2:1-11), from the "good news" and replaced it with the question of "don't you want to go to heaven, or don't you want to be happy or have joy and peace?" Where is the "good news" when there is no bad news. How can a person rejoice and embrace the "good news" if they had no idea that there was something bad awaiting them? The "good news" would not be good at all but merely strange or silly talk. Look at Paul's message: First, it begins by establishing who God is - the Creator of all things, the Sustainer of all things, the Sovereign over all things and Supreme God over all things. Secondly, Paul admonishes the Athenians to repent, but he does not stop there. He goes on to explain why - they must repent because God will judge all people everywhere according to righteousness through Jesus Christ. Then Paul finishes by establishing who Christ is and what took place. How dare Paul tell them that God is going to judge them. Would not that make them turn away from the "good news?" The fact that Jesus Christ died on the cross for us so that we could go to heaven would not be "good news" if we did not understand that the wrath of God was storing up against us because of our sin. That is key to the "gospel." It is not "good news" to a person that does not know that there is a problem. The problem is their sin, which is first and foremost against God. Once this is presented, which can be done through the presentation of the Law of God (Ten Commandments - Gal. 3:24) then the "gospel" of Christ's life, death and resurrection for our salvation to remove the wrath of God from us, will be such glorious news that they will cling to it as the most precious treasure (Matt. 13:44-46). That is the biblical way to present the "good news" and the only true way. Search the Word, see how Christ did it, and begin loving others enough that you deliver to them the true "gospel" of salvation.