Sin Crouching but Defeated

Reflection on Genesis 4…

Sin is crouching, eyeing it’s prey.
Sin is couching, waiting each day.
Sin is crouching, longing to devour.
Sin is crouching, seeking the right hour.
Sin is crouching, wanting your very soul.
Sin is crouching, winning, it’s only goal.

Therefore…

I must be ready to fight;
To fight with all of my might.

But…

I am weak;
in defeat.

Wicked
Convicted

And lost

BUT…

My Savior wins the fight,
With all of HIS strong might.
And thus my faith is in Him,
For through Jesus’ name I win.

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 -|—

Soaking In

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
[Romans 3:23-24]

Did you notice that above verse? Please don’t tell me you skipped it just to get to the “good stuff”. Read the verse. Now, read it again and this time include yourself in the word “all“. Now, read the verse again, keeping yourself in the word “all” and now, soak in the words “are justified by his grace as a gift“. Are you feeling silly for skipping that verse the first time?

My point is that YOU are a sinner, but through the grace of God in Jesus Christ, you are justified; made right in God’s eyes, as a GIFT.

GIFT!

GRACE!

No strings attached
No fine print
No bait and switch

Through faith in Jesus (which is a gift) you are justified by his grace.

Wow, I mean, WOW!

Soak that in.

A sinner saved by God.

Justified.

Wow!

The Pastor -|—

Our Muddy Glory

Holy God,
the beauty of your glory is something to behold,
yet we seek after a glory that is dim in comparison;
a glory that only reflects from the muddy water of our sin.
And we have no idea how bad it is
until we drink from the water
and taste that we are drinking unto our death.

May we come to the well that is pure and life giving.
May drink that we may never thirst again.
May we seek to know Your Law better and better.
May we soak in Your precepts that we may shine forth Your glory.

Oh God,
You are the holy law giver
but you are also the glorious one
who redeems our lives through Jesus Christ.
May we taste and see that You are Good
and may we ever seek Your ways.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, we pray,
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

To Think of You

To think of You,
oh God,
is to be reminded of my sinful estate;
my fallen nature;
and my constant disobedience.

To think of You,
oh God,
is to run to You in confession;
to seek Your mercy;
and to fall at Your feet.

[Enter Jesus]

To think of You,
oh God,
is to hear forgiveness;
to know grace;
and to feel Your love.

To think of You,
oh God,
is to know peace in chaos;
hope in despair;
and tranquility in upheaval.

To think of You,
oh God,
is to know everything will be alright;
to be reminded that You are in control;
and to be filled with joy.

To think of You,
oh God,
is to know that I am Your child,
wrapped in Your arms,
and keep safe for all eternity.

To think of You…
🙂

The Pastor -|—

Standing

I stand.

I stand condemned under the weigh of my sin,
with no logical defense to make.
I stand condemned as a violator of Your holy law,
oh God.
I stand condemned.

I stand condemned as glory-stealing,
honor-withholding sinner.
I stand condemned as an non trusting kingdom builder,
oh God.
I stand condemned.

And as I stand condemned I see my Savior,
my Lord,
my advocate,
my Jesus.

Jesus stands with me.
Jesus intercedes for me.
Jesus takes the judgment for me.
Jesus dies for me.

And…

Jesus rises for me.

I now, through faith, I stand liberated,
I stand free,
I stand hopeful,
I stand forgiven.
For Jesus, my Lord, took the weight of my sin
and made my defense before You,
oh God.

And now I no longer stand,
rather,
I fall on my face to worship You,
oh God.
I fall on my face to honor You,
oh God.
I fall on my face to praise You,
oh God…

as I stand on Your promises.

The Pastor -|—

To Silence Satan’s Laugh

And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.[John 17:11]

I listened to a sermon recently where the pastor talked about oneness as the Father and the Son are one; using the above text. But something he said really caught my attention. He said that when we, as a church, get caught up in disputes or controversies or anything that takes our eyes off of Christ, Satan laughs.

He laughs.

Why?

Satan laughs because he won as he managed to get the church to take their eyes off of Christ. And ultimately that is what Satan is trying to do with all people. For you see, sin is a turning inward to see yourself as god; trusting oneself over God almighty. And when we look inward, we see only our agenda and our will. And let me tell you, our agenda and our will is not God’s.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. [Isaiah 55:8-9]

And Satan knows this and thus tries get us to focus on ourselves. For if Satan can divert our attention away from Jesus, then the church is not going to be the church as God wants. In scripture, the relationship of Jesus and the Church is like that of a husband and a wife, but only better. But if a wife (the Church) is not focused on her husband (Jesus); or worse yet, looking for another, the marriage is in trouble. And therefore, as the Church, we need to be one with Christ. For it is only by looking to Christ that we see his purpose and will for our lives. And that purpose? Is to be one as the Father and the Son are one. And when we are in one accord with the Father, the Kingdom of God is advanced. We are called to glorify God through the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ whereby letting the Holy Spirit add to “the numbers”.

But that won’t happen if the church is turned in upon itself. The Church MUST be Christ focused. The Church MUST humble itself before the throne of God. The Church MUST lay it’s burdens down and trust God to care for it’s needs. The Church MUST remain focused. The Church MUST be one as the Father and the Son (and the Holy Spirit) are one.

And so my prayer for the Church; the congregations I am leaving and the one I am heading to shortly, is that we are one; one in purpose. May our eyes remain fixed on Jesus, so much so, that we give no occasion for Satan to laugh.

All praise, honor, glory and worship be unto God our Father through Christ Jesus our Lord.

The Pastor -|—

P.S. If you want to listen to the sermon I referenced at the beginning, follow the below link.

Sermon by Pastor Gary Jepsen, May 1