Thursday, February 28

Daily Light - February 28

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

John 3:16; 2 Corinthians 5:18-21; 1 John 4:8-11

Wednesday, February 27

Live in Love :: The Love of God

2 Thessalonians 3:5
May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ.

Live in the Love of God.
There is a vast difference between understanding that God loves sinners, and actually making your home in His love. Most of us believe that God loves us and sent His Son to die for us. But some of us have yet to get up out of our pitiful make-shift shanties and laid down to rest in the immense love of God. We are still trying to prove to ourselves or to others that we are capable of being satisfied on anything but God. We are still spending our inheritance on what doesn’t satisfy. We are still living in miserable conditions disappointed with ourselves because we are uncertain of God’s love.

Today could be a moving day. Today could be the day you fold up the cardboard box and make the journey home. Today could be the day you throw your sins and self-reliance in the dumpster. Today could be the day you leave your unhappiness and uncertainty in the back alleys. Today could be the day you come empty-handed to a Father who loves you and will welcome you home. Today is the day to move in and set up house in the love of God.

Live in Love...Live today and forever in the Love of God.

Tuesday, February 26

"The song that my soul still sings with joy"

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness seems to hide His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

His oath, His covenant, His blood,
Support me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh may I then in Him be found.
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

Edward Mote

Monday, February 25

From Amber's Pen :: Concerning Her Conversion

The following was taken from the journal of conversions at our Church. Amber recorded her account in Spring 2003.

I first came to Christ Community Church in a miserable condition. Though most of my past consisted of morality and religion, I had spent the months prior to coming in open rebellion to the commands of Jesus Christ, which I had claimed to know so well. Therefore, when we came to the church I was already asking the question, “Is it possible to sin in such a way and really be a Christian?” As I kept asking this question I realized that I only wanted God to answer me with a simple “yes” and to allow me to move on with my new life at a new church in a new town, away from all that tempted me before.

However, God chose not to answer me in such an easy way. Instead, He increased my anxiety by giving me glimpses into my own heart and by showing me that my problem was much deeper than I had first imagined. I began to see evil in everything I tried to do. My terrible state before God was not a result of my outward sins, but of my evil heart that sought to satisfy self in every action. The lives of others at the Church also troubled me as I saw a real humility and selflessness in their walks with God.

God also used Richard Owen Roberts’ book Repentance to deepen the anxiety I already felt. In one chapter Mr. Roberts exposes seven myths of repentance, stating clearly that sorrow over sin, self-preservation, and reformation did not equal repentance. Upon finishing the chapter I thought, “If repentance is not summed up in those seven points, then I have no idea what it is.” As I continued to seek, I began to understand further that my problem was not merely my actions but my heart and I began to agree that I was fully deserving of hell with no right to expect mercy from God on the basis of myself.

Feeling some of the danger of my condition I began to seek counsel from my pastor. Through his counsel and teaching, God showed me that repentance and faith are gifts and that I could do nothing to earn them. I read the following hymn by Horatius Bonar daily to remind me of this:

Not what these hands have done
Can save this guilty soul;
Not what this toiling flesh has borne
Can make my spirit whole.

Not what I feel or do
Can give me peace with God
Not all my prayer, and sighs, and tears
Can bear my awful load.

Thy work alone, O Christ
Can ease this weight of sin;
Thy blood alone, O Lamb of God
Can give me peace within.

Thy love to me, O God,
Not mine, O Lord to Thee,
Can rid me of this dark unrest.
And set my spirit free.

Thy grace alone, O God,
To me can pardon speak;
Thy power alone, O Son of God,
Can this sore bondage break.

I began to pray this hymn to the Lord and to ask Him for these gifts, believing for the first time that I did not deserve them and that He did not owe them to me just because I asked. Suddenly I was overcome with the fear that God would choose not to grant these gifts.

I turned again to my pastor who kept pointing me to the One who was able to rescue my soul from death. I can still hear him say, “Look to Christ.” He told me that I was spending too much time looking inward to weigh my thoughts and motives. He once said, “If you are seeking to know Christ, do you really think that God will allow you to miss salvation?”

That thought was freeing to me, and God used it to shift my focus from myself to Him. Not long after that he recommended the book The Inner Life of Christ by William Blakey, wherein I saw the beauty of Jesus. I was caught up in His humility and perfections yet still doubting that He was willing to save me.

One morning I awoke in desperation and fear, and I begged God to use the books that I was reading to help me. The chapter that I was reading in The Inner Life of Christ pointed me to Luke 5 where the man with the leprosy looked to Jesus and said “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus responded, “I am WILLING, be cleansed.” The Holy Spirit spoke these words to my soul to erase my fears of being rejected by Christ. The same day I also read the chapter on faith in The Anxious Inquirer by John Angell James, which again confirmed God’s willingness to save me because of the righteousness of Christ.

That afternoon God put in my heart the song that my soul still sings with joy:

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ Name.

Saturday, February 23

Divine Sovereignty vs. Human Responsibilty

In the mind of Ellie: a 4-year old.

What does this age old question look like in her little mind?

Yesterday, while we were on our lunch 'date', and discussing some of the details in our life right now, she said...

"Daddy, is God going to give us a car OR are we going to buy one?"

We have been praying about a vehicle, and she knew that it was close to coming to fruition. She wanted to know exactly how this answer to prayer was going to happen.
---Was God going to answer the prayer by 'giving' it or by 'providing' for it?---

So, did God 'give' us a car or did we 'purchase' one?

Here is my answer to Ellie: YES!

Friday, February 22

Remember Lot's Wife (4th & Final)

You may be tempted to say:

"I am convinced of the danger that hangs over me"
Lot's wife was convinced, and it was NOT enough.

"I am escaping the danger, I am fleeing the wrath to come"
Lot's wife was escaping too, she was fleeing, yet it was NOT enough.

"I am near the place of refuge. I can see it in the near distance."
Lot's wife was quite near to Zoar and could see the mountains. It was NOT enough.

You must not be content with mental knowledge of the danger, with some past experience of escape (like the sinner's prayer or baptism), or even with the sight of hope in the foreground. You must not stop. Do not halt. Don't even slow in your pace. Definitely do not rest now, and please do not consider ever looking back.

Surely you are not willing to live and die as living proof that sinners may be almost saved, yet NOT really saved at all.
Surely you are not willing to starve to death at the threshold of the feast that has been offered to us in Jesus Christ.
Surely you are not willing to die of thirst and the base of the fountain of salvation because you would rather turn away and dig broken cisterns that can hold no water.

This is what letting up will get you!
Not finishing well and pulling up short will earn for you eternal perishing. Nothing less.
If this is the end you want, the death you long for, then look back to Sodom, stretch out your hands to the world around you. Turn back now to become a lifeless, white, shiny, column of salt.

But, if this is not the end you desire, then...

Escape for your life! Do not look back! Do not stay anywhere in the valley!
Escape to the Mountains, or be consumed!

When the temptations arise and the urge to look back comes...Do not yield to it.
Let memory do the work of sight. Instead of looking back to perish without hope...

Remember Lot's wife.

Thursday, February 21

Remember Lot's Wife (3)

Having considered Lot's wife, her history, and her frightful end, we must now turn to the question that really ought to be plaguing us all. WHY? Why remember this no-named sinner from several thousand years ago?

Because we, like Lot's wife may also merely be 'almost saved'. Sure, you may have fled the outright Atheism of our day. You may not dwell in the land of the Sodomites. It may even appear that you are hand in hand with your family and friends escaping the 'apparent' destruction to come.
Do you feel 'safe' from the heathens and 'soundly secure' from the pagans among you? If this completes your spiritual resume then you are indeed lingering in the valley just like Lot's wife, and it is NOT SAFE. God said to them, "do not stay anywhere in the valley". He says to you as well, "you must not stay anywhere in the valley".
It does not matter one iota how 'safe' you feel. You must not hesitate in this journey through the valley. Yes, you do have to enter the valley called life, but it is safe for traveling only, not for lingering. You must press on through the valley, press in to the mountains of refuge that we have in Jesus.

"Run in such a way as to obtain the prize"

Lot's wife was almost saved, but perished ultimately in the end. She was following safe guides. She was headed in the correct direction. BUT, she hesitated, and looked back, and she was no more! It will be the same for you if you attempt to set up a comfortable camp here in this valley. If you stop, yield, or linger, you too will perish. No matter with what motive you 'look back', you will perish.

"Do not look behind you"
"Do not stay anywhere in the valley"

Both of these commands are required. Not one or the other. Not one to a greater degree. Both.

Remember Lot's wife!

Wednesday, February 20

Remember Lot's Wife (2)

The first thing that we ought to remember about Lot's wife is that she was 'almost' saved.
The second thing that we ought to remember is that she perished.

1. She experienced extraordinary deliverance. She had undergone an unexpected escape. She was in certain safety. In expectation and probability, she was in fact saved already. In actual experience she was even almost saved. The burning city was behind. She had been led out by angelic hands. Her husband and children were at her side. The assigned refuge was in clear sight ahead of her. Consider what she had in her favor: her family one side and the Savior on the other...Sodom behind, and Zoar ahead...who would not consider her 'saved'? She could have been left in Sodom a suicidal victim of her own unbelief, but the Lord was merciful to her and was slow about his anger with her. Think of the mercy extended to her: the cry of the angel in one ear, the crackling of the flames in the other...both impelling her onward, to that refuge in the mountains. All these incentives and still she was ONLY almost saved.

2. She perished, that is certain, but the major issue for us to take note of is where she perished. If we could ask her she might say that she perished from absolute safety. She had indeed escaped the obvious danger, right? Yet, in the very moment of deliverance, she perishes and is no more!

Remember Lot's wife.
Remember that she was 'almost' saved.
Remember that she was NOT.

More thoughts forthcoming.

Tuesday, February 19

"Jesus was with us in the wreck"

This is 'new' information that was divulged to me today by Ellie.

We were in the car, and many times these days in the car Ellie inquires about 'tumping' over or another car 'hitting' us. In answering her each time I try to assure her that no matter what happens Jesus is with us. Well, today I had only completed half of my 'usual' answer and then she chimed in with her own rendition of the second half.

Ellie said, "We will not tump over, the other cars will not hit us, and Jesus is with us. Jesus was with us in the wreck. Mommy didn't even cry, because Jesus was with us. Mommy even went to be with Him after that, because He was with us in the wreck. But me and Isaac did not go to be with him. But when God says it is time for us to leave earth, we will go to be with Jesus too, and then we can hug our Mommy again. will have to help Isaac hug her because he is just a baby, he it too little to hug her by himself. But I can hug her."

What can I say? But, thank You Jesus, for being there in the wreck, for being here even now, and for being You forever. Thank You.

Remember Lot's Wife

Jesus, the King of the universe, says "Remember Lot's wife". He never suggest commemorating any other figure in history. Only this nameless sinner from a half forgotten age. He skips over Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He fails to mention David, Isaiah, or Daniel. He doesn't even point out His own disciples. Yet, this obscure, seemingly unimportant woman gets singular prominence, when Jesus commands us to remember her.

What should we remember about her? She has no name. We no nothing of her birth. Her lineage is not listed. There are no extraordinary achievements recorded for us to grant commemoration to her as a result. She is referred to as 'wife' three times in a few verses and outside of that the only time she is mentioned is when Jesus Himself says to remember her.
What should we remember about her? Her history consists of these events: Genesis 19:15ff

When morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, "Up, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away in the punishment of the city." But he hesitated. So the men seized his hand and the hand of his wife and the hands of his two daughters, for the compassion of the LORD was upon him; and they brought him out, and put him outside the city. When they had brought them outside, one said, "Escape for your life! Do not look behind you, and do not stay anywhere in the valley; escape to the mountains, or you will be swept away."

But his wife, from behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.

She appears in history just long enough to disappear again.
A remarkably brief history, yet Jesus says "remember Lot's wife".
Specifics about what we ought to remember and why are forthcoming.

Saturday, February 16

Thoughts from a previous post

In a prior post I wrote this:

With this type of kindness being experienced rather than just mentally agreed upon, there comes a real thief into the situation. In order for that thief not to rob God of His honor, humility before Him consistently is of utmost importance for me. For His honor, but also for my sustenance, to not lean on my own understanding or 'strength', is an absolute must for me during these days.

I want to specify the reference I made to a 'thief'. I do wish I had taken this opportunity before now to delve in more so than I did in the above quote, but now is better than later.

This is the thief that threatens: PRIDE. I know, you're thinking even in this situation. Pride? Are you kidding me, or yourself? Our hearts are so incredibly bent towards honoring self they will take any and every occasion to do so. It does not take much apparent strength for our self-absorbed hearts to cling to things like, "you are so strong", "I don't know how you do it", and really any other statement, no matter how true it may be or from what genuine motive it was derived.
God is strong. And He has held me and mine during these days. He will be ultimately committed to doing so, I am sure. However, I am just as sure that any attempt to stand in my own strength will result in a kind display from the Lord that He is strong and I am not.
The thief of pride longs more than anything to rob God of His unimaginable honor, and to steal from Him that glory which belongs only to Him. Because our hearts are not much more than idol factories with the one idol of self being the most prominent, it is utterly crucial that Christ be continuously seated there on the throne of our hearts and that our own plans, strength, etc. be cast down doing proper homage to Him.

Wednesday, February 13

"Love to the loveless shown"

My song is love unknown,
My Savior’s love to me;
Love to the loveless shown,
That they might lovely be.
O who am I, that for my sake
My Lord should take, frail flesh and die?

He came from His blest throne
Salvation to bestow;
But men made strange, and none
The longed for Christ would know:
But O! my Friend, my Friend indeed,
Who at my need His life did spend.

Sometimes they strew His way,
And His sweet praises sing;
Resounding all the day
Hosannas to their King:
Then “Crucify!” is all their breath,
And for His death they thirst and cry.

Why, what hath my Lord done?
What makes this rage and spite?
He made the lame to run,
He gave the blind their sight,
Sweet injuries! Yet they at these
Themselves displease, and ’gainst Him rise.

They rise and needs will have
My dear Lord made away;
A murderer they saved,
The Prince of life they slay,
Yet cheerful He to suffering goes,
That He His foes from thence might free.

In life, no house, no home
My Lord on earth might have;
In death no friendly tomb
But what a stranger gave.
What may I say? Heav’n was His home;
But mine the tomb wherein He lay.

Here might I stay and sing,
No story so divine;
Never was love, dear King!
Never was grief like Thine.
This is my Friend, in Whose sweet praise
I all my days could gladly spend.

Samuel Crossman

Providentially in The Love Chapter this Morning

1 Corinthians 13

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.

Is 'love' really all that big of a deal? That even in my speaking, if it is done while lacking love then my words are just a racket and of no value whatsoever? Is 'love' so crucial that even if I know all things and possess all faith, yet without love then "I am NOTHING"? And if I gave ALL my possessions to the poor...even my own life to be burned, then there is zero profit if done apart from 'love'?
This chapter is really something for us to ponder. We are familiar with it, we have heard it read at weddings, but I fear many of us have failed miserably at living in light of the realities that are posed here.

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

God is Love. This passage describes Him perfectly. The Levitical Law as well as Peter's first letter command that we be Holy as God is Holy. Included in His Holiness is His Love, so the implication for me in this description of 'love' is the expectation for me to love like this...Patiently, with kindness, without jealousy, not boasting, unselfishly, forgiving, righteously, with joy in truth, with all hope, faith, and perseverance.
To quote Ellie in recent days when I encourage her to be obedient, "But, it is hard Daddy". Yes Ellie, it is very hard, but we have more Help than it is hard, right? "Yes", she says. Who is our help? "Jesus, He will help us" Ellie responds, resigned to hope in His help yet again.

The familiar hymn begins with this wonderfully helpful line:
"Our God, our Help in ages past, our Hope for years to come..."

Love never fails...For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Again, God is Love. Therefore, God never fails. No matter what! We are seeing 'dimly' now...Oh, but then...then....then we will see face to face, see Him face to face. We will see Him and be made like Him. We will know Him fully, we will fully know...Him, Who is Love and all Love to and for us.
Now faith, hope and love are present, but the greatest is Love? How so? What is it about love that will outlast hope and faith?

Hope becomes Reality when we see Him!
Faith becomes Sight when we are present with Him!
But Love endures forever, both now while we do not see Him, yet we love Him, and for all of eternity as we worship Him in unveiled glory!

Tuesday, February 12

Hebrews 4:14-16

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Consider Jesus– in Loneliness

Jesus, for the most part, lived a lonely and solitary life. It was of necessity so. There was much in His mission, more in His character, still more in His person, that would baffle the comprehension, and estrange from Him the interest and the sympathy of the world; compelling Him to retire within the profound solitude of His own wondrous Being.

The TWOFOLD NATURE of Jesus contributed essentially to the loneliness of His life. The 'great mystery of godliness, God manifest in the flesh,' would of itself confine Him to an orbit of being infinitely remote from all others. Few could sympathize with His perfect sinlessness as man, fewer still with His essential dignity as God.

As it was with the Lord, so, in a measure, is it with the disciple. The spiritual life of the renewed man is a profound mystery to the unregenerate. Strangers experimentally to the New Birth, they cannot understand the 'divine nature' of which all believers are 'partakers.' Nor this only. Even among the saints we shall often find our path a lonely and solitary one. How much may there be in--the truths which we hold, in the church to which we belong, and even in the more advanced stages of Christian experience we have traveled, which separates us in fellowship and sympathy from many of the Lord's people. Alas! that it should be so.

Our Lord's WORK contributed much to His sense of loneliness. How expressive His words--"I have food to eat that you know not of. My food is to do the will of Him who sent me, and to finish His work." And so may it be with us. The Christian work confided to us by Jesus may be of such a character, and in such a sphere, as very much to isolate us from the sympathy and aid of the saints. It has concealed temptations, hidden trials, unseen difficulties, distasteful employments, with which we can expect but little sympathy and pity; compelling us, like our blessed Lord, to eat our 'food' in solitude. But, oh, sweet thought! the Master whom you serve knows your appointed sphere of labor, and will, by His succouring grace, soothing love, and approving smile, share and bless your lonely meal.

The TEMPTATION of Jesus rendered His path lonely. He was alone with the devil forty days and nights in the wilderness. No bosom friend, no faithful disciple, was there to speak a word of soothing sympathy. And are not our temptations solitary? How few are cognizant of, or even suspect, the fiery assaults through which we, perhaps, are passing. Of the skeptical doubts, the blasphemous suggestions, the vain thoughts, the unholy imaginations transpiring within our inner man they know nothing--and this intensifies our sense of loneliness. But the Tempted One knows it all, and will not leave us to conflict single-handed with the tempter, but will with the temptation make a way for our escape. "The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation."

The SOUL-SORROW of Jesus rendered His path lonely. Prophesying of Himself, He said, "I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me." How lonely may be your grief, O believer! None share your sorrow, few understand it. You are 'as a sparrow alone on the house-top.' There are none to watch with you in the garden of your anguish--your wounded heart, like the stricken deer, bleeds and mourns in secret. But your sorrow is all known to your loving, compassionate Savior; whose wisdom appointed it, whose love sent it, whose grace sustains it, and who will soothe and strengthen you with His tenderest sympathy. Let your labor of love, your lonely sorrow, throw you more entirely upon, and bring you into closer, more believing, and more loving relations with, the Savior; wean you more from the creature; separate you more from the world; and set you more supremely apart for God. Oh! then you will thank Him for the discipline of loneliness as among the holiest and most precious blessings of your life!

O. Winslow

Valentine's Day is Thursday?

Here is something REAL for us to think about.

While thanking God for those whom He has given to us to Love, and blessing His Name even for those that we love whom He has taken, there are yet still amazing realities for us to ponder during this season.

Monday, February 11

CD's and DVD's

Many of you have made inquiries about copies of the Funeral audio as well as the video of Amber speaking on the past year in her life.

These are now available for you.

You may request a CD copy of the Funeral audio by emailing your request to and including your address and pertinent information.

For a DVD copy of Amber's talk on the Lord's kindness to her, send an email to and include your address and pertinent information.

1 Corinthians 9.23

I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it.

I have been in First Corinthians devotionally of late. The Lord has been kind to meet me there. This verse has been the dominating theme in the past week, and I pray will be a dominating theme in my life. Kurt has posted recently about the two words all things. One of the most amazing truths about all things is that it leaves nothing out. Not a morning devotion, not reading to Ellie, not giving Isaac a bottle, not any of the mundane daily tasks...nothing escapes the all inclusive 'all'.

So if everything is included in 'all things', then there is a major questioned posed. Namely, HOW?

How do I do 'all things' for the sake of the gospel? How do I live each moment in light of the gospel realities that hang over the situation? The day I came to chapter nine verse twenty-three, was the same day I had an appointment at the Social Security office for an interview. As I sat there, I thought to myself "How?, How do I handle this situation for the gospel's sake?" This lady cares little to zero about me and my situation. She does this all day, everyday and I am just another 9 digit number to her and Amber is merely the same. I had to sign a form agreeing that several facts on it were accurate. One in particular was hard to see. I haven't considered it at all evidently, but these people are matter of fact to say the least. I don't think I was quite ready to read and sign something that stated, "My marriage ended on January 22, 2008". Those words in that order you just don't want to ponder. But there I was with no choice, but to read it, accept it, and sign that it was true. I 'know' that legally it is a reality, for sure, but emotionally I was just unprepared I suppose.

As you can imagine this produces another twist internally for doing all things for the sake of the gospel. Does all things include when you don't feel like it, or when times are tough? All means all no matter how we slice it. I would even go so far to say that in times like this and so many others that I find myself in these days, it is even more crucial to do ALL things for the gospel's sake. People are watching closer, listening more attentive, and the gospel is just as real in times like these.

If the verse ended with the first part it would be splendid indeed, but God is so wonderfully kind to offer us so much more. As I/we do all things for the sake of the gospel, I/we become partakers of that very gospel. We benefit infinitely from doing all things for the gospel's sake. We get God. We are joined forever to God. We play a part in the gospel of God.

Thursday, February 7

Atoning Blood

I just came across a small piece of paper that I found in Amber's bible. She has a quote jotted down for frequent referencing. I don't know where she got the quote from, so I am unsure of the author.

Let no man dream of true mortification of sin,
of real sanctification of heart,
who does not deal constantly, closely, and
believingly with the atoning blood of Jesus.

Addendum: The eldest of my elders has notified me of the author. Not surprisingly, it is Octavious Winslow in his book The Work of the Holy Spirit. Amber read this book this past Spring in Ethiopia, actually outlining it as she read, so that I could use the outline in the class I was teaching on the Doctrine of the Holy Spirit.
Thanks Lanny.

Isaac A. Mathenia

Resilient - that is the best way I know to describe him.

I haven't mentioned much about what is going with him in recent days, but that is because not much is different in him...that he realizes anyway. Of course, there is the same life altering reality for him as for us all, but at 6 months (7 on Sunday the 10th), he is doing quite well.

Last night for example: He slept 15 and a half hours. That is the amount I have slept in the past week it seems. He is really a content, good natured kid.

The Lord has been and continues to be, so wonderfully merciful in all His ways.

Wednesday, February 6

God Moves in a Mysterious Way

I want to encourage you to read the hymn below. Really read it. Notice the wonderful truth. Pay close attention to how applicable it is. Allow God to minister to your soul in it. I would like to commentate on it, but desire not to take away from the poetic beauty that exist in it.

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.

William Cowper - late 1700's

The songs on Ellie's lips

In the past half hour Ellie has been playing with her dolls. I have heard her singing two different songs. One, not surprisingly, is Jesus, I am Resting, Resting. She was putting her baby night-night singing that song to her. The other...well I don't know where it originated, but trust it is something the Lord is working in her. These were the words of the first verse...

Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful
The Lord is so wonderful to us,
He gives us His Son, Jesus Christ.
Now don't ask for anything else.

Maybe she heard this somewhere recently? Wherever it originated, may God make it real in all of our hearts!

Tuesday, February 5

Amber--on the past year.

Just 5 weeks prior to Amber being made like Him, because she now sees Him as He is, she shared with our local church on the past year of her life. What the Lord had shown her. What her struggles were. How the Lord had shown her mercy.

It is absolutely amazing that we have it on video. I hope you benefit from this, and that you too will find the Love of God to be a primary theme in your life and experience.

Daily Light

There have been some requests for how to get the Daily Light that I have referenced recently.

You can access it electronically here.

You may be interested in purchasing one, and you can do that here.

You will benefit from this book, because it is nothing but the Bible.

I whole-heartedly recommend it to you.

Enjoy it and Him.

Thoughts about Love...Ephesians 3:14-19

I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

My language is strained to accurately portray the immensities of the love of Christ. And every effort fails in weakness before this amazing theme. If all the vocabularies of earth were completely exhausted they would still give insufficient insight to His unfathomable Love. It is enough to fill the endless ages of eternity. Paul in his prayer for the church makes the effort to exhibit an object that has four dimensions—breadth—length—depth—height. In the realm of our nature no such object can be found—no discoveries of science can reach it—no flights of imagination can conceive such immensity.
But the Love of Christ is all reaching...His love's breadth-infinite. His Love's length-infinite. His Love's depth-infinite. His Love's height-infinite.

We are therefore prepared for the concluding assertion the Paul makes in his prayer for us, "It passes knowledge." It is not only unspeakable—it is unsearchable—it is inconceivable. BUT we may know the reality, though we cannot know the fullness. We may know the spring, though we cannot measure the full flood. We may know the dawn, though we cannot gaze on the unclouded sun. We may know in part, though we cannot know in full extent. So, let us daily and hourly strive to advance in this pursuit. With this object of His Love before us, let us search and ponder its records in the Scriptures. Let us meditate on all its evidence in the work of Christ—His assumption of our nature—His birth into our family—His death in our stead—His rising for our justification—His present work as mediator at God's right hand on our behalf—His many precious promises, which are all yes and amen in Him—His willingness to receive us unto Himself forever—to enrich us with the glories of salvation—to put us in possession of the purchased inheritance.

Oh, the Love of the Most Lovely...Christ, the King of all Glory!

A Prayer Often Repeated by Amber

O Sovereign Lord, Let those that are united to me in tender ties be precious in thy sight and devoted to thy glory. Sanctify and prosper my domestic devotion, instruction, discipline, and example, that my house may be a nursery for heaven.

Quoted from The Valley of Vision

The Love of Christ

The infinite ocean of Christ's love! 
The mind has often been sensible of a feeling 
of awe as we have stood upon the shore, and 
gazed upon the vast expanse of the ocean. 
With a similar, yet far transcending emotion, 
we approach the infinite ocean of Christ's love! 

Like the eternity of God, we cannot fathom 
where His love begins, or where it terminates. 

There is no other solution to the marvelous 
mysteries of His Incarnation and Sacrificial 
Death but this: Christ has loved us.

Love originated all, explains all, illustrates all. 

Love is the interpreter of every Divine mystery. 

There is not a circumstance of our Lord's history 
which is not another form or manifestation of love. 
His incarnation is love stooping. 
His sympathy is love weeping. 
His compassion is love supporting. 
His grace is love acting. 
His teaching is the voice of love. 
His silence is the repose of love. 
His patience is the restraint of love. 
His obedience is the labor of love. 
His suffering is the travail of love. 
His cross is the altar of love. 
His death is the burnt offering of love. 
His resurrection is the triumph of love. 
His ascension into heaven is the enthronement of love. 
His sitting down at the right hand of God is the intercession of love. 

Such is the deep, the vast, the boundless ocean 
of Christ's love! The soul muses in silent awe as 
it gazes upon this fathomless, limitless sea!

O. Winslow

Monday, February 4

Daily Light - February 4 - Morning

“The Lord has said to you, ‘You shall never return that way again.’”

If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one . . . choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt.—“But my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.—“No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.—“Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you.”

He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

Deut. 17:16; Heb. 11:15, 16, 25, 26; Heb. 10:38, 39; Luke 9:62; Gal. 6:14; 2 Cor. 6:17; Phil. 1:6

One year to date...from Amber's Journal

Amber writes to a friend, then records it in her journal:

I just wanted to tell you that I am really loving Communion with God. I am not very far into it since I have only been reading a few pages at a time, but today I read the first part of chapter 3 about how our communion with God is founded in His love. Wow...I don't even know what to say. I don't know if I have ever seen it that way before. Usually I feel like I am scrambling around looking for the love of God and trying to believe it, but through His explanations and lists of verses I felt like I was drowning in it. I found myself frantically flipping to all the Scriptures listed saying, "Tell me that you love me again, God...tell me again...tell me again." It IS so wonderful. Even John 3:16 is especially sweet to me today. I cannot explain how I see the love of God as so rich and abundant and not this little thing that He is reluctant to bestow on me. Owen explains how the love of God is the 'discovery of the gospel' we see God as angry with us, a consuming fire, full of wrath and hatred toward our sin...and then in the gospel the “kindness of our God and Savior” appears to us. After all of the expressions of love in His Word it does seem such a sin and a dishonor to Him to doubt that love.
God help me not to doubt it.

Saturday, February 2

7 Days : Heavy Hearts : Christ's Sufficiency (2)

Saturday, January 26, 2008.

This day would be the most difficult thus far. The funeral was planned for the afternoon, and how in the world do you 'plan' for your wife's funeral. What does preparation look like? What does it entail? What emotions are to be expected? And on top of that, in my orchestrating the funeral itself, I had given myself quite an immense responsibility.

I awoke at 4 a.m. having slept six uninterrupted hours. I grabbed a scratch piece of paper and began to jot down a few things. Christ, in His Word, was oh, so precious. He was so Kind. So Filling. So...Enough. I still lacked the confidence and ultimately faith in Him to do what I felt like would be most pleasing to Him during the service. Nonetheless, I ventured on. Hoping. Praying. Soliciting pray-ers.

From my perspective, there is very little I would have changed, if anything at all. It is so comforting to me, that God was/is so interested in His own renown that He held me up, keeping me from being a distraction from Him. What kindness He showed to me that day, and each day since.

With this type of kindness being experienced rather than just mentally agreed upon, there comes a real thief into the situation. In order for that thief not to rob God of His honor, humility before Him consistently is of utmost importance for me. For His honor, but also for my sustenance, to not lean on my own understanding or 'strength', is an absolute must for me during these days.

On Sunday, a good friend, rode with me to my church in New Albany, MS. Psalm 116 was expounded upon at a greater length than on Saturday afternoon. The prayer time, sermon, and the singing of hymns were all so wonderful for my soul, and I trust for all others who were present.

Monday, January 28, I turned 31. Seems old to me really. But still too young for these circumstances to be a reality. It was a good day. Ellie played her guitar and sang Happy Birthday to me probably a dozen times. She made me a chess pie, with a little help of course, and gave me the gift that Amber had ordered for my birthday.

That evening I had the opportunity to spend time with three great friends. The conversation was helpful. The laughing was beneficial. Their friendship is invaluable.

And Tuesday catches us up to the 7 day mark.
The heaviness of heart is understandable.
The sufficiency of Jesus...inexplicable!

Pray with me that the sufficiency of Jesus would dominate all other feelings, emotions, and experiences.

Friday, February 1

Transparency :: How Beautiful!!

From Amber's Journal:

Speaking of self-love, yesterday was a hard day for me. I was SOOOOO bored, which is really just part of living here. (for now at least) I said things that I knew I shouldn't have said to Anthony (loving myself more than him) about how I didn't understand why we have to live here. It seems that we are doing nothing on a day to day basis and that everything we are doing we could be organized from the states while attending church there and being near our friends and our family. I know this isn't true, but in the moment it felt so real. This morning in my Daily Strength for Daily Needs book I read a quote about God's guidance and shepherding of us. The writer said that no matter where we find ourselves we can trust that it is a green pasture for us where we will grow and thrive. And regardless of the circumstances around us we can trust that they are 'still waters' for us as long as we lay down beside them and drink of Christ. What a gentle rebuke! I even thought this morning that being bored is a lot better than being a lot of other things. I thought that God could be choosing so many other circumstances or emotions or whatever for us and may someday, but for today it is boredom. How small!
I want to learn to rejoice in the Lord in it.