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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Rivers and Oceans

From my daughter, Kim . . .

Rivers and Oceans

To drown in the deepest ocean of grace, springing from rivers of love and mercy would be the greatest way to die. When you die, you find that all that is dead is the sin in your life and the power death had over you. Through the love of God, the new heart that reflects Christ is living in you and will never die. You find yourself no longer drowning but swimming in this ocean of grace and drinking from the rivers of love and mercy.

Christ gives you new robes that He wove with His righteousness. When these new robes you have soiled, you can plunge head first into the river of love, where Love Himself washes you clean. The river of love flows red with blood, blood that man alone could not claim. Only the blood of the one who is both God and man could clean my soiled robes. The river of mercy washes away my shame and guilt, it purifies me within. The deepest part of my heart is by mercy made clean and my sin can no longer reclaim it.

The ocean of grace my sins forgot, my slate is clean and fresh. I have no righteousness of my own, but grace gives me His. Without these rivers and this ocean deep, my sin would beat me to the grave. My glorious Savior came and took it all, my guilt, my pride, my shame, from Him flows these rivers of love and mercy. The ocean fills from His veins. He took my sin and the wrath of God. If I do not my worship bring, what good is each breath I breathe. Glory goes to God alone, no earthly thing my glory should receive. As I drink from love and mercy, it propels me to give Christ my glory, and as in grace’s depths I swim, my love and glory goes only to Him.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Labor Day Dad

I've asked permission to re-post a tribute written by one of the young women in our church to her dad. I thought it was excellent and well worth passing along.


September 6, 2010

Today is Labor Day - the holiday in honor of the hard-working American citizens who labor day after day throughout the year. It is a day when many choose to relax. If you google Labor Day, the fully reliable source known as Wikipedia (yes, that’s sarcasm) states it so profoundly as to say that, “the holiday is often regarded as a day of rest and parties.” Some go fishing, others go camping, and many do other types of leisure activities. Is there anything wrong with these? No. Our bodies are designed to work, but we are also dependent on rest. In fact, God commands us to rest (Ex 31:15). Resting reminds us (as I learned from my new friend C.J. Mahaney) that we dependent creatures and we are not self-sufficient.

God has used this Labor Day to remind me what an awesome earthly father He has given me. I have always looked up to my Dad. He never missed one of my basketball or volleyball games in school. He would practice with me and push me to be my best. More importantly, he constantly displays patience, humility, and wisdom. He leads and guides our family, as he is the head of our home. He works hard to provide for us. He would be the first to admit that he is not perfect, but he is the most selfless man I know.

Let me just give you a small glimpse into his Labor Day. He wakes up to a demanding list of tasks that are waiting to be completed. Between our house and 3 rental houses, there is always something to be done. Alright, let me just pause right here to say that is one example of his selflessness. He is always willing to give up his time to help others, even when there’s something better or more fun to do. That’s a Colossians 3 type of love right there! Okay, back to his day. The past couple days he has been working on fixing my sister’s ceiling fan (They live in the rental house next door to us). This normally wouldn’t have taken that long, but one thing went wrong and then another and he ended up having to buy a new ceiling fan for their rental house. During this time, one of the neighbors backed their car into my sister’s mailbox. So today, Dad is working on fixing that. Some men may look at these repairs as inconveniences in the road to what they want to do. Not my Dad. He uses these “fix-it” times as teachable moments. My oldest brother (almost 11 yrs) loves helping Dad with whatever task is at hand. The younger bro (9 yrs) loves to tag along too, but he does tend to be more easily distracted. Both of my brothers have learned so much just by being with my Dad and helping him out. They each have their own little tool set and love being able to use them. They probably have more tools than most guys my age!

Back to the mailbox dilemma- Dad and the boys worked on that most of the morning. During the process, Dad got sawdust in his eye, which is obviously not the most preferable circumstance. This can actually be quite painful and caused him problems the rest of the day. Despite this, they are all working hard to get this thing fixed when who decides to grace our streets with their presence? The Jehovah Witness clan. Does Dad complain about this? No. Does he shrug them off or ignore him? No. He uses this as an opportunity to proclaim the Gospel truth to these men who are wrapped up in their false religion. I’m afraid my natural tendency would be to say, “No thanks. I already have the real Christ!” and walk away or simple try to ignore them. He talked to them for around half an hour sharing the true Gospel. I think he ended up doing more witnessing than they did! During the course of that half an hour, we discovered that our basement had flooded. So Dad comes inside after talking to the Jehovah Witnesses’ and being out in the sun working on that mailbox with sawdust in his eye to hear all of us exclaim that our basement flooded and we couldn’t use the water. He has a servant-like attitude and doesn’t complain (ahem, Phil 2 yes, I was feeling convicted). Why doesn’t he complain? He knows that this is what God has called him to be – a man! It sounds so simple, but this is exactly what is lacking in our culture. Men who are bold enough to stand up and lead their wives (Eph 5:23). Men who work hard to provide for their families (Gen 3:17-19). Men who train their children up in godliness (Proverbs 22:6, 23:13-14 and yes, this includes DISCIPLINING them). Men who deny themselves and live according to God’s standard (Luke 9:23). It is not easy to give up pleasures, material things, or conveniences, but that is the cost of following Christ.

So my Dad will probably go into work tonight feeling exhausted, somewhat irritated (that sawdust is still really bothering his eye), and like he has accomplished little. He’ll sleep when he gets home in the morning. He’ll wake up with a new day full of new challenges. Despite this, he won’t forget to wrestle with his children (that’s his favorite way of expressing his fatherly love) and make them laugh/scream and then shout, “Dad’s the Champion!!!” He’ll lead his children in studying the Word of God and prayer. He’ll try to get what needs to be done accomplished, but if not, that’s okay. He’ll go into work that night and repeat it the next day all while echoing the words, “’My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

I apologize now for the A.D.D format of this note and for any grammatical errors (writing was never my thang!).This isn’t in anyway meant to come across as depressing or anti-fun. My family and I have lots and lots of fun memories together especially if it involves the word, “free.” If you know us, then you know we’re goofy and even kinda weird. =) But as one of my favorite quotes by JohnnyMac goes, "Following Christ isn't rooted in spectacular events, juiced-up conferences, or continual mountaintop experiences. It's found in loving Him, obeying Him, thanking Him, and glorifying Him in the most mundane daily details of life."

So Dad, thank you for your example of humility and self-sacrifice, which is a portrait of Christ. Thank you for showing me the qualities of a Godly husband through your daily living. I LOVE YOU!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Good Health

Here is an insightful journal post from Bro Bob Jennings, a dear friend of mine who has pancreatic cancer. Please keep him in your prayers, but also, gain the value of the things the Lord is teaching Him during his fleeting days here "under the sun" as Ecclesiastes tells us.


Good Health

Acts 4:10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead–by this name this man stands here before you in good health.

3 John 1:2 Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.

Good health, apart from the welfare of the soul, is a supreme blessing. If you are in bad health, you can scarcely enjoy any material blessings – a fine house means so little. If you are in bad health, service for God can be hindered – Trophimus was left at Miletus sick, 2 Tim. 4.20. Peter’s mother-in-law was healed and was able to serve again, Mat. 8.15. It is astonishing that so much attention is given to car maintenance and house maintenance, but often the body is neglected and abused.

Our bodies are very important, very close to home. The devil knows that and told God that Job would compromise if his health were stripped, Job 2.5. Demons, even religious demons, want to destroy the body, Col. 2.23. The medical industry is enormous. In about any society it is big. The medicine man or witch doctor is the big man in primitive tribes. God speaks loudly to the non-Christian through his body, Rom. 1.24. That applies for the Christians too, 1 Cor. 11.30. The fact that all are returned to dust is a powerful sermon as to the awfulness of sin. For the non-Christian, God will put body and soul in hell, Mat. 10.28.

For the Christian, though our body is dust, yet, what a mercy, what a full salvation it is that the Lord has redeemed our body too, Rom. 8.23. Our bodies are even now called members of Christ, 1 Cor. 6.15. They are the temple of Christ, 6.19. The body is for the Lord and the Lord is for the body, 6.13. We are called to continually present our bodies to God as a living sacrifice, Rom 12.1.

It is a blessing to die in a ripe old age, Gen. 25.8. But our times are in God’s hand, Psa. 31.15. So we press on and work with what we have and seek to glorify God in our body, whether by life or by death, 1 Cor. 6.20, Php. 1.20.