Thursday, January 15, 2015

God our Anchor

"So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek."
~Hebrews 6:17-20

How is knowing this verse a comfort to the believer? First, it shows that God's character is unchanging and that he keeps his promises. God's promises fill the scriptures and knowing them can encourage us in every circumstance. When we are having a good day it is an encouragement to know that God is in control and has blessed you with the good days. It is encouraging to know that God cares for you enough to give you the little things in life, like the good days. Then, during the hard times or the trials you can look back and see that God was faithful and brought you through your last struggle. Meaning he will be faithful to bring you through this struggle as well. Knowing the promises of God will give the believer strength to cling to those promises during the hard times. God is your anchor through the storm. Corrie ten Boom once said, "In order to realize the worth of the anchor, we need to first feel the stress of the storm." Our trials show us God's strength and ability to steady us as an anchor steadies a ship. If you know that your anchor can withstand any storm, then you will have confidence that your anchor will keep you safe in the storm. When you are going though a hard time, don't look at the fierceness of the storm, all that will do is drive you to fear. Instead, look at your anchor, know the strength that holds you. If you look at the anchor and remember the storms he has held you through in the past, he will get you past the fear and into his ever encouraging, ever sustaining, strong arms. Is God the anchor you look to in times of trial, or do you look to the things of this world to keep you? Only one anchor is sufficient. Look to God in the storm christian, and he will keep his promise by keeping you.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Courtroom Scene

The Courtroom

The scene starts with an opening door, the prosecutor and Judge are discussing my case. I have no hope for the Judge's laws I've disgraced. I'm brought before the Judge, he reads me my crimes, I have no defense, I'm doomed in a sense. I look up with tears in my eyes because I hear someone say, "I died." I listen close and hear, "I died in her place, Prosecutor, Judge, this is now my case." I'm overwhelmed with gladness when I see this man before me. He's clothed in white and truly is worthy to take my plea before the Holy Judge. He stands up and says, "In her place I stood. I took Your wrath, now her innocent plea is good. My blood has covered all her sin, my righteousness is now hers. This case is at an end."  Just then the prosecutor stands up and says, "I'm not yet finished, I still have a case. This girl sins day after day, she is mine, you can't take her away. She's a filthy creature. To sin she is a slave." As the prosecutor is about to continue, the defense cries, "Objection, my blood is good for all sin: past, future, and present. Her bonds I cut and freed her from sin. I gave her a new heart and cleansed her from within." The Judge then stands and says, "This case is now closed." He turns to the defense and says, "Come sit by me my son." I was given a new robe that was spotless, woven from the righteousness of the perfect God-Man who is seated on the throne in Heaven above interceding for me and reminding me of His blood. There is no way for anyone to take me out of His hand, because of the gift He gave when in my place He did stand. The scene closes with my Lord in Heaven on high, raised from the dead and never again to die.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

This is War!

As I have stated before, I struggle with depression. Some days it is almost nonexistent and then there are others where the feeling of hope is almost nonexistent. Today is one of those days without light. One of those days where as hard as I try, I find absolutely nothing. I feel empty and worthless. Today is war. The Christian life is filled with conflicts and attacks from the devil and his demons. Sometimes it feels like he is winning, but there is victory in knowing that Christ has already won. When in war, it is important to A) know who it is you are fighting, B) know fywhat it is you are given to fight with, and C) know who it is that fights with you.
A) Who are you fighting?
Ephesians 6:12 "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."
In other words, we aren't fighting each other. God gives you brothers and sisters to help you through this. I was told recently that if you keep it to yourself you deprive yourself of the blessing of having someone to share your burden, but you also deprive them of the blessing of sharing your burden with you. Our fight is against the rulers, authorities, and powers of this dark world, the devil's allies. However, it is in this PRESENT darkness. Meaning that the present will become the past and Christ's eternal reign will end the battle forever. The darkness only lasts for so long. The fight will end and Christ will reign and the devil will be defeated. This is an encouragement to all Christians. God will defeat the enemy and he will be a foot stole.
B) What do you have to fight with?
Ephesians 6:11 "Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil."
God doesn't just save us and throw us out into the middle of a war. He equips us with armor so that we may stand and fight. We are not under law, if we were under law we would not have what it takes to fight but rather a greater burden to carry into the fight. John Bunyan put it this way, "Run, John, Run the law commands, but gives me neither feet nor hands; Better news the Gospel brings, it bids me fly and gives me wings."  God will never desert one of his children. He will always give them everything they need for a battle. God give us the WHOLE armor. Not just a defense but an offense as well. God tells us to fight and then gives us His word, the sword of the spirit, to fight with. If you meditate on God's word and read his word, when these times come you will have something to fight back with.
C) Who fights with you?
Hebrews 12:1-2 "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God."
First of all, we have this great cloud of witnesses with us. These are saints of the past who have already tread the path we are on. The devil likes to use the same old tricks he used on saints of the past to try and ensnare saints right now. Whatever you may be going through, someone else has gone through it and won. This is an encouragement to Christians everywhere. We also have believers all around us who can help us through this. God gives us brothers and sisters in Christ and they can help you and pray for you, but you must let them know how to pray for you. They have the Holy Spirit but they are not psychic. Will God get you through it without you sharing with others? I can't answer that one, God can do anything but he delights in working through his children. So share what you are going through with someone else and it will only make your offense that much stronger. Remember Moses on the hill fighting as Israel was fighting Amalek. As long as Moses raised his arms to God Israel would win, but when Moses' arms were down, Israel would lose. Moses had Aaron and Hur to help hold up his hands. God gives help to His children. God also gives you His Son to fight along side you. In fact, God gave you His Son to win the battle. You are not alone in your fight. So fight the good fight of faith, pray to God for help during this time, share with fellow believers what you are struggling with, and trust in the Lord with all your might for He will bring you through this.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

For Good

Lately Romans 8:28 has been on my mind.  "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."  I've been reading a book Stonewall Jackson's Verse by H. Rondel Rumberg and it focuses on this verse since it was Stonewall's favorite Bible verse.  In the book, Rumberg pulls this verse apart and exams it in two parts. We know God works all things for good but to whom?  The answer to this question is found in this verse, the first part of the answer is to those that love God.  If you are a child of God you will love him for the work he has done in your life.  God initiates this love, "We love, because He first loved us." 1 Jn 4:19  However, not only is God the initiator, God also gives us the ability to love Him back.  When we receive the Holy Spirit, we receive the ability to love God.  If we love God, He will work everything together for our good.  The second part of this verse says that He works for the good of those he has called.  If God has called you, He will be working everything for your good.  One of the most encouraging things I found in this book so far is Stonewall Jackson's  trust in God even through the trying times in his life.  Stonewall Jackson trusted in the sovereignty of God even when it seemed that everything was against him.  When Jackson was a child, his father and sister died of typhoid fever. His mother remarried, however because of financial issues Jackson and his sister were sent to live with their uncle.  Later, Jackson's mother and stepbrother died.  When Jackson was older, he married Elinor Junkin.  However, a year after they had been married she died in childbirth.  Jackson's child was a stillborn.  Jackson remarried and his new wife gave birth to a daughter who died less than a month later.  Even through all this Jackson clung to Romans 8:28 and trusted the words he read.  Through the midst of all this tragedy Jackson trusted in the sovereignty of God.  Jackson may not have understood why these things happened but he did understand that God was working it for good.  This knowledge gave him a security so that he could rest in the knowledge that Christ was in control and not himself.  If we truly believe that Scripture is the inerrant word of God, then verses such as Romans 8:28 can give us such a calm resting through trials in the knowledge that God is in control and working this for our good.  If we never understand why we have to go through the trials we are going through, we should be confident that God will get us through it and will work it out.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Divine Sovereignty: The Fuel of Death-Defying Missions

These are just my notes from David Platt's sermon. Sorry if they are confusing.

A high view of God's sovereignty fuels a death-defying passion for missions.
1) Local ministry and local mission in the community is necessary.
2) Global missions is tragically neglected
       Unreached people means that they have NO access to the Gospel therefore someone must go.
       You cannot have an indigenous pastor where no one knows the Gospel.
3. Pastors have the privilege and responsibility to lead the way to global missions

Revelation 5
1. Our sovereign God holds the destiny of the world in the palm of his hand.
       v. 1
God holds all the rights.  You have no rights but those that God has given you.  God has all the rights!!!!
God invites us into his sovereign plan, not because he needs us, but because he loves us.
2. The state of man before God, apart from Christ is utterly hopeless. 
       v. 2-4,  Col 1:21,  Rm. 5:12,  Jn 8:34,  2 Tim. 2:24,  Eph. 2:3,  Mk. 9,  Lk 16,  2 Thes. 1,  Rev 14        Rm 1:18 
There are over 2 billion people in the world whose knowledge of God is only enough to damn them. But there is hope. The hope is found in the slaughtered Lamb of God.
3. The slaughtered Lamb of God reigns as Lord of all.
      v. 5
The LION of the tribe of Judah appears as a LAMB that was slain!!!!! 
All who hide under the banner of the slaughtered Lamb of God WILL saved!!!
Christ is God and therefore his glory is sought by God.  God only shares the spotlight with himself!
4. The atonement of Christ is graciously, globally, and gloriously particular 
     v. 6-14,  Eph1
God PURPOSED to save you!!
    Mt 28:1 is a specific command to make disciples among every people of the world.
What drives passion for unreached people is not guilt, it is glory!!

4 implications for pastors
1-lead churches to pray confidently for the spread of the Gospel (God ordained the prayers of his people for the coming of his kingdom)
2-lead churches to give sacrificially
3-lead our churches to go intentionally
4-lead our churches to die willingly

Friday, April 6, 2012


Easter is the time of the year when a lot of people take time out of their live to look and see that Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead. More times than less, I think we fall more into tradition than into awe at the sacrifice Jesus made on that cross.  It becomes more about Easter egg hunts, bunnies, and putting kids in cute outfits than it does about Christ coming to earth, living a perfect life, dying in our place on the cross and taking the wrath of God from us and upon himself and then raising from the dead to secure a place in Heaven for those who trust Him.  Is there anything wrong with all the fun things we do at Easter?  Absolutely not.  The problem comes when you make them priority over Christ.  This isn't just Easter however, it is throughout the entire year.  But Easter is when more people are looking at how Christians live their lives and what we put our importance on.  If your importance isn't on Christ and the glory in His death, burial, and resurrection, why do we expect others to respect this day and look to Christ on this day?  My challenge for you this Easter is to make your focus on Christ and the glory He deserves and less on the other traditions and rituals we have every year.  To God alone be the glory, not just on the "Christian" holidays but on every day. Soli Deo Gloria.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Dragons of Depression

One of my favorite quotes is the quote by G. K. Chesterton that says, "Fairy tales are more than real, not because they tell children that dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children that dragons can be beaten."  Obviously the dragon is anything that you suffer with that seems too big to be beaten on your own. Truth be told, it probably is. However, what you may not see is that you are not in fact the valiant knight fighting this dragon. You are the damsel in distress that has already lost to the dragon and your only hope is the knight fighting to rescue you. Now here's the fun part, the knight already won two thousand years ago when he died on the cross for your sins.  That doesn't mean that the damsel will not be tormented by the dragon still. That won't stop until Christ's return when he calls his children to him. But it does give the damsel hope that her dragons will someday end, she just has to put her faith and hope in the knight who will rescue her and bring her out of her tower to a new place.

Now you may be asking yourself, "Why all this talk about fairy tales, damsels, knights, and dragons?"  Well truth be told I'm a bit of a nerd and enjoy using fairy tales as an analogy and that is that.

One of the dragons that I struggle with is depression, I know from all the TV commercials you see and all the talk you hear it is fairly common. But that doesn't make it any less painful for someone going through that time.  It takes a lot to admit when you are depressed and it takes even more to admit just how depressed you get.  When I am depressed all I can think of is how worthless I am and how much of a burden to my friends I am. All these thoughts crowd into my head and it terrifies me and I feel like running but my feet are stuck to the ground.  It's in those moments when trusting in the knight is vital because without him, it is hopeless.  Without the knowledge that Christ loves me and values my life, I have no hope to fight back this dragon.  I've had days when the depression has been so bad that if I were not leaning on Christ and if he was not helping me keep my mind clear, there is a possibility I may have harmed myself to try and end it.  Praise God that he did not and will not let me fall that far. Because he is watching over me I will push through those circumstances however tough they may get.  I am grateful to God for giving me such loving and patient parents who have helped me through this who knows how many times.  Without them constantly pointing me to scripture and prayer there is no telling where I'd be today.  If you struggle with depression or with anything else that you just can't seem to push out of your mind I urge you to run to God and to throw yourself on him because he will guide you and keep you safe. God will never leave you and he is working everything for the good of those who love him.  If you're like me you may be asking "how can my depression be worked for good?" And to tell you the truth, I don't know. What I do know is that God is faithful and true and if he promises to never leave you, he won't.  And if he promises that he is working all things for good, you may just have to say "Okay God I'm trusting you and if you choose never to show me how this was worked for good then so be it but I will trust in your faithful promises and I will believe that you will bring good through this."  I hope and pray that if you are reading this it will encourage you and you will be blessed.  I want to share a poem I wrote when I was in a deep depression, I hope it will give you the encouragement to endure as it has me.

My hear is deceitful, it whispers me lies.  It tells me everything would be better if I would just die. It tells me there's no point in living, I'm unloved by all.  However, Christ's song is different.  He tells me He loved me enough to die.  To Him my life has meaning, He helps me fight off Satan's lie.
As the pain sets in and the tears well up, I feel friendless and empty, my life I should give up.  The feelings close in and my mind is a blur, but in all this my life You still deserve.  I am not my own so it's not mine to take.  I was bought with a price that I should not forsake, because You washed me and made me whiter than snow.  Your love is amazing and Your grace I now know.  I am Your bride and You are my groom.  So please Lord, help me by healing this wound.