Friday, February 25, 2011

daily meditation: by the blood

"For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross."

Those that deny the necessity of Christ's blood have misunderstood the Gospel. He shed his blood so that we could be reconciled to God. Without it we don't get to be called sons and daughters of God. Don't gloss over it.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

daily meditation: new heart

The gospel in the book of Ezekiel:

"And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh."

And he does that when we believe. Rips it out. Replaces it. By his death and resurrection we die and rise again.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

daily meditation: the crucifixion

From John's account:

"After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said ( to fulfill the Scripture), "I thirst." A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, "It is finished," and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit."

It is finished, my friends. Completed and done. Rest in the finished work of Christ.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

daily meditation: Christ's death

To quote one of my favorite bands, "redemptive ends through tragic means," is a short summary of the good news of the gospel. Christ's death is nothing less than tragic. But, it was necessary and good and gives us much in the way of hope.

"What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?"

Of the many things that Christ's death accomplished, here is one to think on today: You died, too. Your old self is dead. Your sinful, fleshly, worldly, hard-hearted, disobedient self is no longer. Christ's death accomplished your death.

When you feel the presses of sin welling up, remind yourself that you were baptized into death. That stuff is gone. Reckon it to be true and live with newness of life today.


Monday, February 21, 2011

predicting the argument

Argument starters:






Roman Catholicism.


You mention any of those things in mixed company (mixed being those of varying political, religious and social leanings) and you will inevitably find yourself embroiled in a tasty little debate.

I am, unfortunately, one of the worst culprits of this disease. By God's grace, I am beginning to win the battle more and more and someday, hopefully, I will no longer engage in fruitless debates.

More and more I continue to turn the conversation back to the realities of Scripture and the truth of the Gospel. It's not that I don't have thoughts about the truths of predestination, the goodness of creation, the abuses of the Roman church and the horrors of abortion. I have lots of things to say about them. But not in a barely coherent "conversation" about such things. No one ever goes away from those things renewed in the Gospel.

I saw the inklings of one yesterday and attempted to calm the breaches by encouraging the folks to turn to Scripture and the church fathers for their opinions rather than simply stating that God could "never" do this or that. Some of those things are stated clearly in Scripture as something God does, in fact, do.

The discussion bore on past the comment and my advice will likely be unheeded. But, for their sake, I hope they do spend more time in the Word than in arguments. I know what it has done to me and I hope it does the same for them and you.

Be quick to listen and slow to speak. Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.


daily meditation: the resurrection

A few weeks ago my life group leader, Josh, gave me a short book, A Gospel Primer, and assured me that it was one of the better books out there. And, though there is nothing especially "great" about it, I had to agree. It's simple. It's concise. And, it is convicting.

It is those things because it is just the Gospel, spelled out in three different ways. It urges those who read it to daily meditate on the Gospel and so here I have decided to provide short, daily meditations on different aspects of the Gospel so that we might better live in light of it. (It will also force me to be disciplined in my own daily meditations.)

So, without any further ado, today's meditation on the resurrection:

"But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ."

The implications and good news that result from the fact of Christ's resurrection are far-reaching but perhaps the two greatest things that come from it are that Christ is now seated at the right hand of God and we have been given newness of life.

Christ finished the work and conquered death so completely that he rose again and lived. He came alive to show us the image of our own deaths and resurrections in him. He sat down to give us a view of the rest of God that we will one day enter.

We are alive, together with Christ, and the same spirit that raised him is at work in us. That is an unbelievable thing. The same exact spirit that had the power to raise the Son of God is working in us to live lives worthy of the gospel.

The resurrection is essential because death without life would be useless. But, Christ has been raised and we have been raised with him. Rejoice in this today. Live in light of it and look to the risen Savior today.


A Gospel Primer for Christians: Learning to See the Glories of God's Love

Thursday, February 17, 2011

our complacency towards Scripture is solved by...

"In the beginning was the Word..."

Christ, the magnificent word of God.

The complacency towards Scripture in the church is unsettling to me (actually, it is frightening) and that small snippet of the Word (about the Word) makes my case.

The Bible is the written word of God, recorded for us so that we can know God to the fullest extent possible on this side of eternity. And yet, we spend so little time with it. We spend so little time reading and meditating and praying through it that our vision of Christ cannot be a very big one.

I lump myself in this mess. It scares me how little I cherish my time in the Scriptures. And it makes me nervous that the Word doesn't make me tremble in awe more often.

When people saw a vision of God, as recorded in the Bible, they were terrified. They were awestruck. And yet, here we sit with a perfect portrait of Christ in our little, sinful hands and we barely even glimpse at it.

What is the solution? What is the answer to our dilemma?

The most obvious is to read and study and pray the Word more often. But me saying that doesn't do as much as me quoting this:

The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the LORD are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever.
The decrees of the LORD are firm,
and all of them are righteous.

They are more precious than gold,
than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
than honey from the honeycomb.
By them your servant is warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
But who can discern their own errors?
Forgive my hidden faults.
Keep your servant also from willful sins;
may they not rule over me.
Then I will be blameless,
innocent of great transgression.

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

The answer is more than simply telling ourselves (and others) to read more. Much of the answer lies in our speaking the Word into each others lives. So, this week, make it a goal to speak Scripture to each other.

It doesn't even matter how much you know. You might only know a tiny part of John 3:16 or the 23rd Psalm. You know what? Those are part of the definition of God. Speak them. Speak them often.

And, hopefully, our speaking the Word, which pierces to the soul and spirit, will do more for us than any amount of do-better-ism that we can muster.

And so, I urge you to consider how you can urge one another on toward love and good deeds by speaking the living and active Word (which is Christ in written form) to one another.

In Christ who sustains,


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

a new computer means

I finally broke down and bought a cheap little netbook so that I could get back into writing (and to prepare for finishing up my degree via WGU.)

That means that I will be back to regular blogging with all sorts of craziness from the road and from the Bible. Be prepared.

Odds are that it could get real crazy.

(Oh, and my friend Andrew Jones has a weird new blog that I found humorous: Expanded Vocabulary)

Merry February.