A humble heart is His home

For thus says the high and exalted One Who lives forever, whose name is Holy, “I dwell on a high and holy place, And also with the contrite and lowly of spirit In order to revive the spirit of the lowly And to revive the heart of the contrite.” – God (Isa. 57:15)

The central truth for the comfort of God’s people is that the infinitely Great One cares even for the infinitely little.” – Charles J. Ellicott

“A humble heart is His throne.” – Thomas Watson

From the highest height (Heaven), to the lowest depth (a sinner’s heart): God is there. His gracious and glorious presence is boundless.

Do & Teach; The Holy Knot

Knot on the ropeMy mom is a retired educator. My wife is an educator in a family of educators. So, I know firsthand the real life of teachers: the extra hours, the out of pocket expense, and the grading papers late at night. They have hilarious & heart-warming stories. Stories of triumph & defeat. Stories of devotion & sacrifice. Stories of life.

I also know firsthand the absolute LOVE they have for education and for the future of “their kids.” You see, they are like family.

I have had many wonderful teachers in my life. However, there is One that stands above them all; the greatest Teacher ever, the Master Teacher: Jesus.

“You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am.” – John 13:13

In Acts 1:1, Luke says that he is writing “of all that Jesus began both to do and teach.Calvin called to do and teach “a holy knot that cannot be untied.”

That’s a teacher, isn’t it? Do and teach. They not only give you the tools, but also show you how to use them! They get right in the trenches with you! They fight with and for you! Teachers get up every morning to inspire, encourage, and challenge.

Eternal wisdom is imparted from Jesus (John 7:16). Every word that falls from His lips instructs and improves. Abide in the teachings of Christ (2 John 1:9)!

Recently a co-worker was talking about how much his mom hated Latin. Yet Latin was never mentioned. The comments were all about the teacher. The teacher made it a bad experience. Ironically, my mother also took Latin… but loved it.

Same subject. Different teacher. You see, a good teacher can even make Latin come alive.

If you love a subject, thank the passion of a teacher. If you excel in a subject, thank the encouragement of a teacher. And in all things, thank the Teacher of us all, Jesus Christ.


Ref: http://biblehub.com/greek/1321.htm

https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/acts-1.html

Are You Getting Jesus or the CliffsNotes?

cliffs-notes

Remember CliffsNotes? I’m not sure if they still even have them now or not. Kids probably just use Google. But anyways for those too young (or for those who actually DID do their homework), CliffsNotes were the abbreviated version of literature classics. If you didn’t read the actual thing, you could buy the CliffsNotes and get the gist of it.

Are you getting Jesus or the CliffsNotes?

“The right understanding of Jesus Christ is essential to understanding many other vital truths, particularly the gospel and salvation. There’s no good news apart from Christ.” – John MacArthur

Let me give you just one verse. It is short and easy: “I and the Father are one.” – John 10:30.

I was at a restaurant once and they poured my Ginger Ale over a ton of ice. I could hardly taste it. It was gross, really. I have harsh words for anyone who waters down the Gospel to make it easier or more user-friendly.  Its gross, really.

MacArthur also admonishes those who make their faith a “private” matter: “If your faith is ‘a private thing,’ it’s not the Christian faith.” I have heard this defense as I’m sure you have too.

Nothing about the Great Commission sounded “private” to me.

“And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among people by which we must be saved [for God has provided the world no alternative for salvation].” – Acts 4:12 (AMP)

Don’t make that private. Make it public!

Don’t settle for an abridged rendition of Jesus. Demand the full version!

Don’t read the CliffsNotes. Read the original!


Ref:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CliffsNotes

MacArthur, John. Good News: the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Reformation Trust Publishing, 2018.

Like a Dog Licking Its Master’s Hand

dog licking hand

Jesus commanded us to: Worship the Lord your God, & serve Him only. – Matt. 4:10

In 60 of the 91 occurrences of “worship” in the NT, it is the Greek word proskuneo. It means “to kiss, like a dog licking his master’s hand.” Literally & figuratively, to proskuneo is to fawn over, crouch to, & fall down to kiss the ground before.

Our worship of the Lord is the metaphorical kissing-ground between we (the Bride) and Christ (the Bridegroom).

When my dog, Annie sees me, it doesn’t matter if I’ve been gone for 1 minute or 1 hour – she cannot contain herself! She goes completely spastic: she runs all over the place, she jumps up on me, & yes – she licks my hand. She is so excited, she just about explodes! Just like Olivia Newton John in Grease, Annie is hopelessly devoted to me.

When was the last time we got that excited worshipping our Lord & Savior, Jesus Christ? Are we hopelessly devoted?

– If this post blessed you please like and share!


Ref: http://biblehub.com/greek/4352.htm

Your Sins Have Been FIRED!


Let’s say someone comes up to you, removes your coat, and sends it away. Would you say you still had your coat?

No. It was removed. It was sent away. Literally, the coat is no longer here.

Jesus takes our sins away. (1 John 3:5). When John the Baptist saw Jesus he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:19)!”

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to FORGIVE US OUR SINS and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. – 1 John 1:9 (Emphasis mine)

Just like that coat; they’re gone. Now, of course we don’t miss the coat or go shopping for new coats, right?

“No one who is born of God [deliberately, knowingly, and habitually] practices sin,” – 1 John 3:9 (AMP)

Therefore, if we repent and turn to Him, Jesus forgives our sins (something only God can do, by the way).

The Greek for “forgive” carries the word picture of discharging something so as to leave.
I note it because:

  • It is so much fun to say: aphiémi (af-ee’-ay-mee).
  • Its roots are apó, “away from” and hiēmi, “send.”
  • Properly then, aphiémi means: send away; release (discharge).
  • By forgiving our sins, Jesus removes them and discharges them.

Therefore, because of Jesus’s wonderful Love & Grace, your sins have been:
Let go; fired, dismissed, sacked, axed, laid-off, and canned. They have been given their “pink slip” and “walking papers.” Like Elvis, your sins have left the building.

  • Stop re-living them.
  • Stop obsessing about them.
  • Stop beating yourself up over them.

Brother and sister, they are not even there! (Heb. 8:12, Rom. 11:27, Mic. 7:19, Psa. 103:12)

To pretend otherwise is to act like you still have that coat on that someone removed from you and sent away.

– If this blessed you, please like & share!

Villain Worship: A Dangerous Culture Shift For Our Children

villian

David Koresh led a cult in Waco, Texas wherein more than 70 men, women, & children died in 1993. Taylor Kitsch will be portraying him in a new 6-part miniseries.

Ted Bundy was a serial killer, rapist, & necrophiliac who murdered numerous young women and girls during the 1970s. Zac Efron is set to star in a new movie about him.

Tonya Harding was a two-time Olympian and Skate America Champion who was stripped of her title and medals when she allegedly conspired to have her competition assaulted in 1994. Margot Robbie is playing her in a new movie.

These are the monsters, people – not the heroes! These are the villains, not the victims!

This culture shift of presenting the bad guys as the good guys is very dangerous, particularly for our children.

Sadly, this is nothing new. Remember Angelina Jolie’s Maleficent (Disney, 2014)? In the original Sleeping Beauty she was a fairy who cursed a newborn to die. In our Post Christian society, she is the misunderstood hero!

There is even a show called Lucifer where the devil is bored of Hell and wants to help humanity by solving crimes. I know that sounds like a joke, but it’s not. Lucifer was nominated in 2016 & 2017 for “Choice TV: Breakout Star, Breakout Show, & Favorite TV Crime Drama” for the Teen Choice Awards. (Teen choice! TEENS are choosing this show!) Lucifer is currently filming its fourth season.

20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! – Isa. 5:20

Here’s why this is dangerous:

Yes, there are good and bad qualities in us all. Each is capable of good and bad. In this sense, we have all at one time been a villain as well as a hero. That much is true. I understand writing more interesting, multi-dimensional, and rounded characters in a story. I understand the concept of an anti-hero (someone who is not the traditional hero and may do bad things for a good purpose, like Batman). I understand offering a more realistic mixture to the stale dichotomy of the Good vs Evil tropes in movies and television.

However, the same cannot be said of our enemy, the devil. He is not multi-dimensional and rounded. He is boringly flat. He is a one-trick pony. He is not an interesting character with many layers. He’s never been the good guy and never will be the good guy.

If a child grows up seeing movies or reading stories where the bad guys are actually kinda good, then it is not too far of a leap for that child to think the same thing about the devil. Maybe he’s not all completely evil like the Bible says. Maybe he’s actually a good guy that’s just misunderstood. Maybe he got a bad rep. Maybe he’s not so bad after all!

NO!

  • He is always bad.
  • He is always evil.
  • He is always the villain.

We should never, ever have (like the Rolling Stones song) Sympathy for the devil. If you give him so much as an inch, he will take everything from you (Eph. 4:27)!

He is not the anti-hero. He is the anti-Christ!

There is never a day the devil isn’t trying to get you to doubt God. There is never an instant where he wouldn’t set you up and then pounce on you. The devil doesn’t go on holiday. He doesn’t ever “take it easy” on you. He is always, always, always, monstrously evil.

We know (and he knows) that Satan is going down (Rev 20:7-10). So he’s trying to take as many down with him that he can.

He is trying to convince our youth that bad guys are actually good. Don’t let him.

He’s a sly, sly devil. But his time is almost up.


Ref:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2481498/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2481498/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5580036/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1587310/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4052886/

Jesus Makes All the Difference

Metamorphosis

The Pharisees said, “If you change, you can join us.”

Jesus said, “You can join Me. You will be changed.”

That’s a big difference.

May God’s Love be with you

Joy Triggers the Holy Spirit

jumper-cables-926308_1920When Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth both were unexpectedly and miraculously pregnant (Mary as a virgin and Elizabeth because… she was old. Forgive me Elizabeth, but that’s what the Good Book says). When they greet each other for the first time, something extraordinary happens: John leaps for joy… in the womb! And not only that; Elizabeth is immediately “filled with the Holy Spirit.” (Luke 1:41)

Now, this raises 2 interesting points:

1. Luke (a doctor, mind you) considered the fetus to be a “babe.” We know this because he used the same Greek word (“brephos“) in 2:12, 16 – “You will find a baby lying in a manger.” [More on this subject Sunday Dec. 17th!]

2. John’s JOY triggered Elizabeth’s filling of the Holy Spirit. Let that sink in. John (who was given a full dose of the Holy Spirit in the womb, Luke 1:15) “leaped for joy” and THEN Elizabeth was filled.

Could it be that joy sparks the Holy Spirit? Does it help activate Him? Is joy a catalyst? Could it be that those who have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit can help ignite others by being joyful? It would appear so. After all, joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, is it not (Gal. 5:22-23)?

In this manner, joy can be like jumper cables infusing a dead car battery with life and energy! It does so by sharing that life and energy. We do likewise by sharing the joy that the Holy Spirit gives us to those who are dead (spiritually-speaking)!

Let us then be joyful. Who knows who we may vicariously jump-start in the process?

Victorious Limp

Genesis 32:24-32
Genesis 32:24-32

Are you wrestling with God over something? Who isn’t, right? Did you know that someone actually did wrestle with God? And I don’t mean “wrestle” metaphorically either. I’m talking literally. God wrestled Jacob in a straight-up, hand-to-hand wrestling match. The first-ever Smack Down occurred in Genesis 32:24-32.

In fact, God wrestled Jacob all night. They wrestled until daybreak and when God saw that He had not prevailed against Jacob, He touched Jacob’s thigh and dislocated it. Just a touch. That’s all it took. This showed that obviously God could’ve won at any moment. As dawn was breaking, God said, “Let Me go.” No one can see God’s face and live. But Jacob replied, “No. Not until You bless me.” Ha! Imagine that! The gumption of this guy! God then (I envision with a smile on His face) changes Jacob’s name to “Israel” which means, “he who wrestles/strives with God.”  Then He blessed him.

Why did God do that? If He wanted to challenge Jacob, He could’ve picked any kind of contest: a race, a riddle, or tic-tac-toe. Why wrestling? Well, any of those other contests are not interactive. They keep contestants separate. Wrestling is more intimate. God picked an activity that involved actual physical contact.

I’m not sure, but I figure Jacob had that limp for the rest of his days. I also imagine that he limped proudly. It became his badge of courage, his price for a blessing, and his evidence of a God that loves him.

We all wrestle with God, maybe not physically like Jacob here, but spiritually? You bet. All the time. It’s the “old man” in us rising up. It’s the rebellious tickle in our ear. Envy. Pride. Gluttony. Pick one. But here’s the thing, God will wrestle you right back. He will step into the ring. He wants to bless you.

Wrestling with God, however, does come with a price. You may carry a limp for the rest of your days. But you won’t view that hurt as loss. You will view that hurt as victory. You will want to tell everyone about your limp and what it means to you. You will want to tell everyone how much God loves you and how much God loves them.

God bless!

This post owes a lot to Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones‘s “Victorious Limp” via Tim Keller‘s “The Theology of the Cross and Walking with a Limp,” I encourage everyone to check out these incredible links!