Saturday, May 31, 2008

His Joy is in Us

It is the consciousness of the threefold joy of the Lord, His joy in ransoming us, His joy in dwelling within us as our Saviour and Power for fruitbearing and His joy in possessing us, as His Bride and His delight; it is the consciousness of this joy which is our real strength. Our joy in Him may be a fluctuating thing: His joy in us knows no change.

James Hudson Taylor

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Our Hope is in Him

The best-equipped army cannot save a king, nor is great strength enough to save a warrior. Don’t count on your warhorse to give you victory—for all its strength, it cannot save you. But the Lord watches over those who fear him, those who rely on his unfailing love. He rescues them from death and keeps them alive in times of famine. We put our hope in the Lord. He is our help and our shield.

What can we say about all this? If God is on our side, can anyone be against us? God did not keep back his own Son, but he gave him for us. If God did this, won't he freely give us everything else? If God says his chosen ones are acceptable to him, can anyone bring charges against them? Or can anyone condemn them? No indeed! Christ died and was raised to life, and now he is at God's right side, speaking to him for us. Can anything separate us from the love of Christ? Can trouble, suffering, and hard times, or hunger and nakedness, or danger and death?

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. "The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in him." The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.

Taken from Psalm 33, Romans 8, and Lamentations 3

Monday, May 26, 2008

Quote of the Week

Constantly practice the habit of inwardly gazing upon God. You know that something inside your heart sees God. Even when you are compelled to withdraw your conscious attention in order to engage in earthly affairs, there is within you a secret communion always going on.

A. W. Tozer

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Three Things

Three jobs I have had in my life
1. Pizza Delivery Man
2. Draftsman
3. Mechanical Engineer

Three movies I watch over and over
1. Star Wars
2. Raiders of the Lost Ark
3. Sling Blade

Three places I have lived
1. Huntsville, AL
2. Hazel Green, AL
3. Denial

Three shows that I watch
1. House
2. Bones
3. Two and a Half Men (Sorry to say)

Three places I have been
1. San Diego, CA
2. Boston, MA
3. Washington, DC

Three people who e-mail me regularly
1. Sherry
2. Junk
3. Spam

Three of my favorite foods
1. Pizza
2. Steak
3. Ice Cream

Three places I’d rather be right now
1. Beach
2. Coast
3. Waterfront

Three friends I think will respond
1. Moe
2. Larry
3. Curly

Three things I am looking forward to this year
1. A deeper revelation of God's love
2. Some time off
3. Another year together

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Quote of the Week

Dear Lord, grant me the grace of wonder. Surprise me, amaze me, awe me in every crevice of Your universe. Delight me to see how Your Christ plays in ten thousand places, lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not His, to the Father through the features of men's faces. Each day enrapture me with Your marvelous things without number. I do not ask to see the reason for it all; I ask only to share the wonder of it all.

Joshua Abraham Heschel

Monday, May 19, 2008

Accepting Our Humanity

I have to admit that my flesh isn't a very pretty thing to behold. It's impatient, short-tempered, selfish, covetous and fearful. I could probably think of a few more things to add to the list if I took some time. My wife could probably come up with a sizable list without having to strain too hard.

Isn't the grace and mercy of God such an awesome thing that Jesus would stoop down and drag such a filthy thing as myself out of the mud and wash me white as snow. He accepted me and adopted me as His son just the way I was. I didn't have to clean myself all...not one speck of mud did I have to scrape off for Him to accept me and to receive me as His own.

Now that I am His child am I to think that this same God now somehow doesn't accept me when I act like I did before my adoption? Does He withhold the grace and mercy from His children that he freely gives to those who don't yet know Him? If you're His child I hope you can answer NO to both questions. Yet, isn't that how many of His children live their lives? In fear and depression because they believe that God doesn't accept them just the way they are...warts and all.

Now don't get the idea that I am saying that sin is OK or that sin is acceptable to God. I am also not saying that Father will not work in our lives to turn us away from the things in our life that will harm us and others (sin). He loves us too much to let us play with matches around a gas can. I think Dan Stone said it better in his book, "The Rest of the Gospel"

Every one of us has something about our humanity-our personality, or for some of us our body-that we wish God would change so that we'd look better for Him, at least from our perspective. We think, "God, if you'd just take that thing away, I'd look better for You." That "thing" may be with us until they plant us six feet under.

We come to a place where we say, "Lord, even though that thing is still in my humanity, I'm going to praise You for it." You know what I discovered? The minute I started praising God for my impatience, I didn't see it anymore. I don't mean it disappeared, but I didn't have a fixation on it. I wasn't anxious about it any longer. That's the way God moves on in us, when we accept ourselves as He does.

I'm not advocating sin, by any means. I am saying that when we shift our focus from ourselves-some neutral aspect of our personality that we don't like, or, yes, even some flesh pattern that keeps recurring-and instead focus on Christ in us, God does His work in us. We are transformed into His image as we behold Him, not as we behold ourselves (2 Corinthians 3: 18).

God takes those things that are fixations in us when we're flesh-oriented and turns them into blessings when we're spirit-oriented. What I despised became a blessing in somebody else's life. Those things become the years the locusts ate that God restores, the dung that God makes into a compost pile. He lets it sit there until it's done a work in us. Then we can take our humanity back and say, "It's perfect to God right now. If He wants to do any altering of it, He is at work in me to will and do of His good pleasure. If He wants to change it, He who began a good work in me will bring it to pass. He can finish what He started."

I'm not going to take my humanity back on my own terms. I don't want it back that way. It took me long enough to get rid of it-as the source of my life. When you see it's no longer the starting point of your life, but rather the means by which God's life is manifested, you can take it back. You can accept yourself as you are. You can accept yourself as God's asset.

Finally we are able to say, "Lord, through my family tree and all of the circumstances I've come through, You've made the outer person that I am. You live in that person, and you set that person in the world in a way that's going to attract some people to You. I'm not going to attract everybody. The ones You don't attract through me, You'll catch through someone else."

We don't have to be anybody else; we don't have to submit to anyone trying to make us like anybody else, either. We are free to be ourselves. God is pleased to manifest His beautiful variety of expression through each of us in our uniqueness.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Point of Reference

Matthew had a great post over on his blog, which set me to thinking about grace. Many Christians embrace the grace of God, which is freely given, but are content to feed on (rely upon) that grace to see them through even while they live their lives mostly in the flesh. They can do that, but as Dan Stone pointed out in his book, "The Rest of the Gospel," why would they want to? Here is an excerpt:

It is impossible for a person to know their union with Christ, and live out of that union, if they don't know that they have died with Christ. If I think that the old me is still alive, I am still my point of reference. If I am still my point of reference, I am still trying to correct me, straighten me up, make something out of me, or do something to change me. As long as my emphasis is upon me, it can't be upon Christ in me. So I am a divided (double minded) person.

You know what the Bible says about double minded men...

When Paul asks the question, "Shall we continue to sin just to prove the grace of God?" He concludes, "People who go on living like that don't really know they have died in Christ." In other words, their point of reference hasn't been changed. Their point of reference is still themselves, and they think they are no good and want to sin. Consequently, they are excited about all of this grace of God that they can keep drawing on. Paul would say, "Yes, you can keep drawing on the grace of God for everything you ever do, for every sin you ever commit. But WHY? Why not instead draw on the LIFE of God?"

Monday, May 12, 2008

Quote of the Week

The root of all virtue and grace, of all faith and acceptable worship, is that we know that we have nothing but what we receive, and bow in deepest humility to wait upon God for it.

Andrew Murray

The Blessings of Righteousness

Lovingkindness and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. Truth springs from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven. Indeed, the LORD will give what is good, and our land will yield its produce. Righteousness will go before Him and will make His footsteps into a way.

For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD gives grace and glory; no good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly. O LORD of hosts, how blessed is the man who trusts in You!

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

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, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.

Taken from Psalm 84 and 85, 2 Corinthians 5, Ephesians 1

Saturday, May 10, 2008


A man can counterfeit love, he can counterfeit faith, he can counterfeit hope and all the other graces, but it is very difficult to counterfeit humility. D. L. Moody

The only humility that is really ours is not that which we try to show before God in prayer, but that which we carry with us in our daily conduct. Andrew Murray

The meek man will attain a place of soul rest. As he walks on in meekness he will be happy to let God defend him. The old struggle to defend himself is over. He has found the peace which meekness brings. A.W. Tozer

Whatever makes us feel superior to other people, whatever tempts us to convey a sense of superiority, that is the gravity of our sinful nature, not grace. Phillip Yancey

Humility and love are precisely the graces which the men of the world can understand, if they do not comprehend doctrines. They are the graces about which there is no mystery, and they are within reach of all classes... The poorest Christian can every day find occasion for practicing love and humility. J. C. Ryle

Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less. Unknown

The man, full of himself, can never proclaim the Christ who emptied Himself. Jacquelyn K. Heasley

A heart that understands what is implicit in God's tenderness is humbled beyond any hope of goodness or worth in itself. Marian Scheele

God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. 1 Peter 5:5

Monday, May 05, 2008

Computer Heaven

I had someone ask for a picture of my monitor setup at work, so here you go.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Quote of the Week

When the living Lord Jesus resides in and is vitally active within a Christian, He cannot and does not overlook the selfishness and sinfulness of a person's motivations, attitudes, and behavior. To do so would be to deny Himself, His character, the essential purpose of His Being. Since the personal relationship the Christian has with Christ is a relational union that establishes our spiritual identity as a Christ-one, the indwelling Christ must be allowed to express Himself in the Christian individual by overcoming all selfishness that is contrary to His character. "All things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do" (Heb. 4:13), and He will lovingly expose and root out all that is not consistent with Himself. Christianity is Christ, and true to Himself He will counter and overcome all that is contrary to His absolute character until He is "all in all" of the Christian's life.

Jim Fowler

Friday, May 02, 2008

Grace, Grace, God's Grace

Grace that is greater than all our sins. Where would we be apart from the grace of God; where would we be without the completely undeserved favor that has been lavished on us through His Son, Jesus Christ? For...

  • We have received grace upon grace. (John 1:16)
  • Grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. (John 1:17)
  • Grace encourages us to remain true to the Lord. (Acts 11:23)
  • We are justified by Grace. (Romans 3:24)
  • We stand in His grace. (Romans 5:2)
  • The abundance of grace causes us to reign in life, in Christ Jesus. (Romans 5:17)
  • Where sin abounded, grace much more abounded. (Romans 5:20)
  • Sin is not our master, because we are under grace. (Romans 6:14)
  • The grace of God leads us to be thankful. (2 Corinthians 4:15)
  • We were made rich by His grace. (2 Corinthians 8:9)
  • Grace provides abundance for every good deed. (2 Corinthians 9:8)
  • Grace causes us to yearn for each other. (2 Corinthians 9:14)
  • His grace is sufficient for us. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
  • We have redemption and forgiveness according to the riches of His grace. (Ephesians 1:7)
  • The riches of His grace is kindness toward us. (Ephesians 2:7)
  • We are saved by grace. (Ephesians 2:8)
  • By grace, we have eternal comfort and good hope. (2 Thessalonians 2:16)
  • We have a holy calling, according to His purpose and grace. (2 Timothy 1:9)
  • Grace brought salvation to all men. (Titus 2:11)
  • Grace instructs us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly. (Ephesians 2:11-12)
  • By the grace of God, Jesus tasted death for everyone. (Hebrews 2:9)
  • Grace helps in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)
  • We are strengthened by grace. (Hebrews 13:9)
  • Grace is given to the humble. (James 4:6)
  • Our hope is completely fixed on the grace of God revealed in the person of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:13)
  • We are stewards of the manifold grace of God. (1 Peter 4:10)
  • We are to stand firm in the grace of God. (1 Peter 5:12)
  • Grace is multiplied to us in the knowledge of God and Jesus. (2 Peter 1:12)
  • We are to grow in grace. (2 Peter 3:18)


Pretty Amazing Grace

I don't know if any of you watch American Idol, but I this week was Neil Diamond week. I can usually take him or leave him...I like some of his older stuff, but in general, meh. He sang one of his new songs and I really enjoyed it. I thought I would share it for those who didn't get a chance to hear it.

Here are the lyrics:
Pretty amazing grace is what You showed me
pretty amazing grace is who You are
I was an empty vessel
You filled me up inside
and with amazing grace restored my pride.
Pretty amazing grace is how You saved me
and with amazing grace reclaimed my heart
love in the midst of chaos
calm in the heat of war
showed with amazing grace what love was for.
You forgave my insensitivity
and my attempt to then mislead You
You stood beside a wretch like me
Your pretty amazing grace was all I needed.
Stumbled inside the doorway of Your chapel
humbled in God by everything I found
beauty and love surround me
freed me from what I fear
ask for amazing grace and You appear.
You overcame my loss of hope and faith
gave me a truth I could belive in
You led me to a higher place
showed Your amazing grace
when grace was what I needed.
Look in a mirror I see Your reflection
open a book You live on every page
I fall and You're there to lift me
share every road I climb
and with amazing grace You ease my mind.
Came to You with empty pockets first
when I returned I was rich man
didn't believe love could quench my thirst
but with amazing grace You showed me that it can.
In Your amazing grace I had a vision
from that amazing place I came to be
into the night I wandered
wandering aimlessly
found Your amazing grace to comfort me.
pretty amazing
pretty amazing
pretty amazing
pretty amazing
pretty amazing
pretty amazing
pretty amazing
pretty amazing
You overcame my loss of hope and faith,
gave me a truth I could believe in.
You led me to that higher place
showed me that love and truth and hope and grace were all I needed.
(arrrgh...sometimes the formatting on blogger drives me crazy...the text above is supposed to be divided into paragraphs, but blogger refuses to cooperate.)

Quote of the Week

Creation discloses a power that baffles our minds and beggars our speech. We are enamored and enchanted by God's power. We stutter and stammer about God's holiness. We tremble before God's majesty...and yet we grow squeamish and skittish before God's love.

Brennan Manning