Goose Bumps Moment

Psalm 103:10 (ESV) ~ He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.

Just think about that above verse.

Go ahead and think about it. I’ll wait…

[cue Jeopardy theme]

Did you think about it?
Are you blown away by it?
Did you get goosebumps?

Let’s review…

God the almighty. God the Creator. God the holy, holy, holy One. This God does not deal with you according to your sins. He does not give to you as you deserve. You sin and thus deserve death. You sin and thus deserve condemnation. You sin and thus deserve hell. God does not repay you according to your sins because someone already paid the price…

JESUS

Jesus took the full wrath of God and thus received what you deserved for your sins.
He suffered
He was crucified
He died
He was buried
But…Jesus rose victorious FOR YOU and thus, through faith in Jesus, you receive what you do not deserve.

That’s AMAZING grace 🙂

WOW! Got goose bumps yet?

The Pastor -|—

Known

Psalm 71:5–6 (ESV) ~ For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O LORD, from my youth. Upon you I have leaned from before my birth; you are he who took me from my mother’s womb. My praise is continually of you.

Psalm 139:13–14 (ESV) ~ For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

Jeremiah 1:5 (ESV) ~ “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

In Galatians chapter 4, the apostle Paul talks about not just KNOWING God but being KNOWN by God.

Wow, just reflect on those texts for a moment. You are KNOWN by God. You are KNOWN from the very moment your life began…in the womb. God KNEW you then and KNOWS you now. God has a purpose for your life. Scripture talks about our hairs being numbered. You are KNOWN better by God than you KNOW yourself.

God KNOWS your shortcomings. God KNOWS every skeleton you are trying to hide. God KNOWS every dark secret; every single sin. God KNOWS. The psalmist reflects in Psalm 139 that there is no where he can hide from God. Even darkness is as day to God. Nothing can conceal you.

You are KNOWN.

And it is because God KNOWS you that Jesus was born. It is because God KNOWS you that Jesus was crucified and raised for you. God KNOWS you yet offers forgiveness through Jesus Christ.

You are KNOWN

WOW!

Just think about THAT.

You are KNOWN by God…from the moment of conception. God formed you and wove you together. Everything is ordained by God. And why? Because you are precious. Life is precious. EVERY life is precious. And if it is important to God, then it ought to be important to you.

You are KNOWN
The unborn are KNOWN
ALL life is precious to God

The Pastor -|—

Faithful

Oh God,
Your Word is faithful and true,
Your Word is enduring and timeless,
Your Word is changeless and trustworthy,
You have never failed to follow through.
You have never let me down.
Oh God, so
How could I be so faith-less?
How could I be so trust-less?
How could I be so impatient?
You have never given me reason to doubt You, yet I did.

I confess.
I repent.

Hear my prayer and heal me.
Hear my prayer and strengthen me.
Hear my prayer and empower me.
In Jesus name, forgive me.

And now, oh God…

May I shine a light unto Your faithfulness
for all to see.
May I reflect Your glory,
for all to bask in.
May I proclaim Your love,
for all to know.

Satan wielded his sword against me.
Your sword is stronger for Your Word will never pass away.
May I always trust in Your faithfulness.
In Jesus name I pray,
Amen.

The Pastor -|—


From Where?

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord , who made heaven and earth.” [Psalms 121:1-2]

Oh sinner;
weak,
and foolish,
and pride-filled;
from where does your help come?
Does it come from your self-determination?
Does it come from your wisdom?
Does it come from your advanced degree(s)?
Does it come from your many acts of service?
Does it come from your many friends?

From where does your help come?
Be honest, oh sinner;
from where does it come?
If it comes not from the Lord Jesus,
then you have no real and true help.

As for me;
a weak and foolish and pride-filled person?
My help comes from…

The Lord!

It is HE who made the heaven and the earth.
It is HE who knows my very frame.
It is HE who has every hair of my head numbered.
It is HE who knew me before I was born,
and knows me now.
It is HE from whom I have forgiveness through Jesus Christ.
It is the Lord.
My help comes from Him.

The Lord!

So I ask again, oh sinner;
weak,
and foolish,
and pride-filled;
from where does your help come?

The Pastor -|—

You Are

You are holy,
we are not.
You are perfect,
we make mistakes.
You are love,
we are anything but that.
You are strong,
we are weak.
You are right,
we are wrong.

We have good intentions,
but Your plans always succeed.
We think we’re in control,
but You sit on the throne.
We try to take control,
but You rule over all.
We look to our knowledge,
but You have all wisdom.
We plot out our course,
but You are the Way.

Oh God,

We fall short.
We hurt one another.
We go astray.
We forget about You

On our own we are lost…

[Father God, in Jesus name, forgive us]
[My child, you are forgiven]

Oh God,

YOU are…

AWESOME!

The Pastor -|—

Announce!

Loving Father,
You sent Your Son,
Jesus Christ,
to die and rise for us that we would have forgiveness of sins
and thus the hope of the resurrection.
And now we wait
excitedly and
patiently
for Jesus’ return;
knowing that at any moment the trumpet will blast,
and our Savior will ride in triumphantly,
and bring us into the great wedding feast.
May we not be found wanting when he returns,
but also,
may we not be quiet until then.
Therefore,
may our preparations also include
announcing to all that Jesus WILL return.
In Jesus name we pray,
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Understanding Repentance Rightly

I am working through a devotional series in my YouVersion Bible app called Acts of Repentance. The first two days were great, but day three really bothered me and thus I wrote a correction for them.

Day 1 focused on Psalm 51 where David is writing following his affair with Bathsheba and subsequently being called out on it. The devotion gave a list of four things we should do: (1) Acknowledge our sin, (2) Ask for forgiveness, (3) Ask for renewal, and finally, (4) Ask God for help to use your sin to teach those who are engaged in sin and are in need of repentance. I thought that list was helpful.

Day 2 focused on Luke 13:1-8…
There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”And he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?’ And he answered him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure.

The take away from this devotion was: (1) What fruit are you bearing in your life currently? (2) What sins do you need to repent of in order to start bearing the kind of fruit God desires. Once again, helpful.

But now, day 3…

From 1 John 1:5-10
This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Here’s the beginning of the devotion that followed this text:
Repentance results in forgiveness. We repent and God forgives. Repentance and forgiveness are not difficult concepts. Repentance is our action and forgiveness is God’s reaction to us out of His perfect love for us.

NO, NO, NO!!!

What this is saying is that forgiveness is dependent on our action. True, we need to make a confession of our sin but repentance is not something we do in order to curry favor with God so that we can be forgiven, but rather repentance is something we do BECAUSE we are forgiven. Repentance is something we do to honor God because God is worthy. When we make repentance a work, then God’s grace is taken out of the picture. Remember the woman caught in adultery? The Pharisees wanted to stone her for her offense but after Jesus silenced the crowd he turned to the woman and said, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” The forgiveness came first and the call to repent came next. True, there was no confession on the woman’s part (at least nothing that was recorded) but the point is that Jesus didn’t wait for her to clean up her life first.

God acts first. We respond.

Thus the devotional should have read:
Forgiveness results in repentance. We repent because God forgives. Repentance and forgiveness are not difficult concepts. Forgiveness is God’s action and repentance is our reaction to God because of His perfect love for us through Jesus Christ.

There, that works. I wonder of the author of this devotion will humbly accept my correction 🙂

The Pastor -|—