Archive for the month “April, 2015”

Quotes Worth Pondering – Jeremiah Burroughs

QuotesWorthPondering“Now this is a mystery to a carnal heart. They can see no such thing; perhaps they think God loves them when he prospers them and makes them rich, but they think God loves them not when he afflicts them. That is a mystery, but grace instructs men in that mystery, grace enables men to see love in the very frown of God’s face, and so come to receive contentment.”

Pondering Paul’s Epistles – Ephesians 5:15-20

EpistlesVerse 15-16 sets the stage for what Paul says in the next few verses: “Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity because the days are evil.”

Two things stood out to me this week as I pondered this passage.

1) We should make the most of every opportunity in the way we talk with others (v.19) – Have you ever noticed how boring our conversations are sometimes? We talk about the same old mundane stuff. How was your day? What do you think about this weather? How’s your health these days? What if we were to be a little more intentional in our conversations and talk about God stuff. When is the last time someone asked you one of the following questions:

  • So, tell me about what you have been reading in the Word lately?
  • How has God been working in your life lately?
  • What is the biggest spiritual battle that you have been dealing with lately?
  • What are the questions that you have been wrestling with as you seek to live a life of faith?

It just seems to me that our conversations could use a bit more spice in them.

2) We should make the most of every opportunity in the way we talk with the Lord (v.19-20) – Likewise, as with people, our conversations with the Lord are often characterized by the mundane, by selfishness, and by lack of faith. What if our prayers were largely God-focused instead of me-focused? What if we sang to the Lord – what if we crafted our own hymns and “made music in our hearts to the Lord”? What if in our asking we were more kingdom oriented? What if gratitude was the primary language of our prayers?

Let’s take advantage of the opportunities we have when we speak with people and with God. Let’s make our conversations decidedly different than the conversations that everyone else is having. Let’s begin to speak in ways that bless others as well as blesses the Lord.

With Reverent Awesome Wonder

With reverent awesome wonder I look upon God’s world
And see resplendent glory everywhere.
The Lord could not contain Himself or veil His Excellence,
His beauty and His worth beyond compare.

I see Him in a gentle rain and in a hurricane
As both reveal His might and majesty.
I see Him in the gentle breeze and in tornadic winds
Which clearly show His robust sovereignty.

The eagle and the butterfly both lead me to marvel
At the way that He displays His great renown,
The creatures of the sea all magnify His fame
As they dwell beneath the water covered shroud.

But through the incarnation His glory was revealed
In ways in which it had not been before.
The Son of God stepped into time to walk upon the earth
To show that God’s love could not be ignored.

With grace and truth, with joy and love with mercy and compassion.
He came to seek and save that which was the lost.
By taking on our sin with a wild display of love
He manifest God’s glory at the cross.

It was upon that rugged cross God’s wrath was satisfied.
And salvation was secured once and for all
When Jesus claimed “tetelestai” all heaven did rejoice
Because He finished what was started at the Fall.

With reverent awesome wonder I think about that cross
And how my Savior gave His life for me.
His glory was ablaze with divine illumination
On the darkest day in human history.

God died upon that cross and believers ran to hide
While they tried to hope though feeling such despair.
They felt like they were trapped with no place that they could turn
It seemed like they were left without a prayer.

But then, O happy day, Jesus rose up from the dead
And everything He’d said made perfect sense.
Doubt turned into hope and confusion into joy
When they understood exactly what He’d meant.

So now the Church triumphant marches on in victory
Using nothing for a weapon but His Word.
Valiantly we dare to penetrate the darkness
Pressing onward as the army of the Lord.

Quotes Worth Pondering – David Platt

QuotesWorthPondering“Being a member of a church means so much more than standing next to someone else and singing some songs once a week. Being a member of a church means realizing that we are responsible for helping the brothers and sisters around us to grow as disciples of Jesus. In the same way, they are responsible for helping us. We desperately need each other in the daily fight to follow Christ in a world that’s full of sin.”

Pondering Paul’s Epistles – Ephesians 5:3-14

Epistles1) We are God’s holy people – When we believed and were born again our unrighteousness was exchanged for Christ’s righteousness. We went from being sinners who would receive the wrath of God to being saints who would enjoy the presence of God. We became His holy ones – yes still prone to sin but now with a Savior who takes our sin away.

2) We live in a world of unholy people – Unless you live in a monastery you know this to be true. And this passage makes it clear. Every day we face sexual immorality, greed, obscenities, vulgar talk, etc. It is tough to live in an unholy world and not be tainted.

3) We enjoy dabbling in unholiness – It’s kind of like going to the ocean when their is a rip tide warning in effect. We know that we should not go in but that doesn’t stop us from playing in the shallow water. Every year I hear of people who drown because they got sucked into a rip tide – when they knew better than to flirt with danger. That’s what we do – we dabble, we flirt – not even aware of the danger that is waiting to suck the life right out of us.

Paul pleads with us in this passage to REMEMBER and REFLECT on what our life was like prior to Christ. It was darkness! And to REJOICE in the fact that now we are children of light. And to live as children of light. To stop playing with the darkness – experimenting with it to see how much we can get away with and still be okay with God – but instead to do EVERYTHING to find out what pleases the Lord.

Quotes Worth Pondering – Samuel Francis

QuotesWorthPonderingOh the deep, deep love of Jesus
Vast, unmeasured, boundless, free
Rolling as a mighty ocean
In its fullness over me
Underneath me, all around me
Is the current of Your love
Leading onward, leading homeward
To Your glorious rest above

 

Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus
Spread His praise from shore to shore
How He came to pay our ransom
Through the saving cross He bore
How He watches o’er His loved ones
Those He died to make His own
How for them He’s interceding
Pleading now before the throne

Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus
Far surpassing all the rest
It’s an ocean full of blessing
In the midst of every test
Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus
Mighty Savior, precious Friend
You will bring us home to glory
Where Your love will never end

Pondering Paul’s Epistles – Ephesians 5:1-2

Epistles“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

So much to ponder in that one sentence.

Being loved by God is something that Paul keeps coming back to in Ephesians. We saw it in 1:4, “In love He predestined us….” We saw it in 2:4, “But because of His great love for us….” We saw it in 3:17-18, “I pray that you… may have power to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.”

Again we see here how Paul grounds our practice of the Christian life with solid theological truth. Why are we to live a life of love? It is because we have been so dearly and clearly loved by Christ – who died to prove how much He loved us. To say it the way that John says it: “We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)

Reflecting on the deep deep love of Christ regularly is imperative to living a life that models what Christ did for us. Why? Because it is easy to forget. It is easy to stop remembering  as the Ephesians well know. In Revelation 2:4, Jesus is addressing the church in Ephesus, after commending them on many things He says, “Yet I hold this against you. You have forsaken your first love.”

Never forget the depths of His great love. Perhaps you might ponder the words of this great hymn to help you remember and then listen reflectively as it is sung.

VERSE 1
Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus
Vast, unmeasured, boundless, free
Rolling as a mighty ocean
In its fullness over me
Underneath me, all around me
Is the current of Your love
Leading onward, leading homeward
To Your glorious rest above

VERSE 2
Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus
Spread His praise from shore to shore
How He came to pay our ransom
Through the saving cross He bore
How He watches o’er His loved ones
Those He died to make His own
How for them He’s interceding
Pleading now before the throne

VERSE 3
Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus
Far surpassing all the rest
It’s an ocean full of blessing
In the midst of every test
Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus
Mighty Savior, precious Friend
You will bring us home to glory
Where Your love will never end

 

Quotes Worth Pondering – Charles Colson

QuotesWorthPondering“Genuine Christianity is more than a relationship with Jesus, as expressed in personal piety, church attendance, Bible study, and works of charity. It is more than discipleship, more than believing a system of doctrines about God. Genuine Christianity is a way of seeing and comprehending all reality. It is a worldview.”

“Christians who understand biblical truth and have the courage to live it out can indeed redeem a culture, or even create one. This is the challenge facing all of us in the new millennium.”

Pondering Ephesians 5:1-14

EpistlesWhat we believe should dictate how we behave. To say it another war – our theology shoild inluence our practice.

And then the corollary goes like this: How we behave REVEALS what we really believe!

This essentially is what Ephesians is about. The first 3 chapters provide a theological framework upon which to base the way that we are to live our lives. But then, even in chapters 4-6 Paul discusses why we should act the way that we do.

For example:

  • Why should we speak truthfully with one another? Because we are all members of one body. (4:25)
  • Why should not let the sun go down on our anger? Because we don’t want to give the devil a foothold in our lives. (4:26)
  • Why should we not steal? Because we are to be generous givers who have worked for what we have. (4:28)
  • Why should we be careful about what we say , especially to others? Because we do not want to grieve the Holy Spirit. (4:29-30)
  • Why should we forgive others? Because we have been so greatly forgiven. (4:32)
  • Why should we live a live of love? Because Christ has loves us and gave Himself up for us. (5:1-2)
  • What should we avoid sexual immorality? Because we are God’s holy people. (5:3)
  • What should we avoid any type of idolatry? Because we know God’s wrath will deal severely with idolators. (5:5-7)
  • Why should we have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness? Because God will expose everything by His light. (5:8-12)

This is what Paul is saying to the Ephesians… and to us: Know what you believe an then behave in a way that is consistent with what you believe.

 

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