Don’t Put a Preposition Between Me & My Lord

Don’t Put a Preposition Between Me & My Lord

In his sermon a pastor misquoted 2 Timothy 1:12 by saying, “But I am not ashamed for I know IN whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me.” 

Old saint interrupted & said, “Sir, don’t put a preposition between ME and MY Lord. That’s not ‘I know IN whom    I have believed’ but ‘I know WHOM I have believed.’”

Do you know WHOM you have believed?

But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me.

2 Timothy 1:12

 

A Grief Observed

A Grief Observed

Some have called it one of the greatest devotional books of our time. I say it is a book every grieving individual should read. Originally published in 1961, A Grief Observed, under the pseudonym N.W. Clerk, by C.S. Lewis, is a must read.

The book is a collection of longhand journal entries Lewis wrote for a time after the death of his bride, the American-born poet Helen (“H”) Joy Davidman.

A Grief Observed is a tender book. It is a book written in love and humility by a man nearly crippled by his grief.

A Grief Observed is also a raw book. It is raw because the author is willing to confess his doubts and his weakness as a child of God.

I re-read C.S. Lewis’ book recently, after purchasing a copy for a friend who is grieving. If you are grieving, I recommend A Grief Observed. If you know someone who is grieving, especially someone who is grieving the death of his or her spouse, I suggest you purchase a copy for them.

The following are just a few quotes from this great work.

The writer of the foreword and the author of the introduction, Lewis’ stepson, offer two insights early in the work:

The death of a beloved is an amputation (Foreword, xii, Madeleine            L’Engle).

For the greater the love the greater the grief (Introduction, xxii, Douglas H. Gresham).

On how grief challenges your faith, Lewis writes:

You never know how much you really believe anything until it its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you (22).

On the easy answers of religion, he responds:

Talk to me about the truth of religion and I’ll listen gladly. Talk to me about the duty of religion and I’ll listen submissively. But don’t come talking to me about the consolations of religion or I shall suspect you don’t understand (25).

Regarding the pain his wife encountered in death, the author summarizes:

Why should separation (if nothing else), which so agonizes the lover who is left behind be painless to the lover who departs (27).

With regard to the testing of his faith, Lewis expounds:

God has not been trying an experiment in my faith or love in order to find out their quality. He knew it already. It was I who didn’t. In this he makes us occupy the dock, the witness box, and the bench all at once. He always knew that my temple was a house of cards. His only way of making me realize the fact was to knock it down (52).

Describing grief, he writes:

Grief is a long valley, a winding valley where any bend may reveal a totally new landscape (60).

Perhaps one of the more poignant thoughts came toward the end of his book:

It you’re approaching Him not as the goal but as a road, not as the end but as a means, you’re not really approaching Him at all (68).

Again, I recommend A Grief Observed, even if you are not grieving.

Do Not Substitute Anything for Being Born Again

Do Not Substitute Anything for Being Born Again 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…                                              1 Peter 1:3

You may be a member of a church. Church membership does not substitute for being born again.

To be saved, you must be born again.

You may be a deacon. Being a deacon does not substitute for being born again.

To be saved, you must be born again.

You may be a Bible study teacher. Being a Bible study teacher does not substitute for being born again.

To be saved, you must be born again.

You may serve in a church nursery. Serving in a church nursery does not substitute for being born again.

To be saved, you must be born again.

You may serve in the Student or Children’s Ministry. Serving in a Student or Children’s Ministry does not substitute for being born again.

To be saved, you must be born again.

What Is It Like Being Married to the Same Beautiful Woman for 31 Years?

What Is It Like Being Married to the Same Beautiful Woman for 31 Years?

For the nearly or newly wed, you have no idea. For the couple married less than 15 years, neither do you have a clue.

What’s it like to be married to the same woman for 31 years?

First, there is no pretense. I know her. She knows me. We know each other. There is no deception, and no hiding our flaws or foibles. And that is a good thing. We are honest and forthright with each other. We are partners. We are a team, and by acknowledging our weaknesses we are much stronger.

Second, there is very little conflict. I say very little because she can be stubborn at times (pray for me, because I will pay for that one). Seriously, when you are married to the same woman for 31 years, you learn how to argue. And the best way to argue is to say, “Yes, dear. You are right, and I was wrong.” Trust me, I know.

Also, there is a lot of convenience. If you want to stay home on a Friday night, you stay home. If you want to go out, you go out. Your schedule is based on what you feel like doing, not what others think you should do. What is even better is controlling your schedule now that the kids are grown and gone.

I would add being married to the same woman for 31 years creates confidence. I know marriage is hard. I know we still have our battles to fight and our mountains to climb, but the longer we are husband and wife the stronger we have become as husband and wife. A three-decade marriage is a great accomplishment in today’s terms. And each year we add hereafter is just another point or place to glorify God.

Finally, there is a deep sense of satisfaction. We are satisfied in one another. We do not have unrealistic expectations we impose on one other. She is the way she is, and I like that about her. And I am the way I am, and I think she likes that about me.

I could write more, but I think you get the picture.

So, thank you, Vonda. You are the love of my life. You always have been. You always will be. Thank you for loving me so deeply.

Rejoice With Joy That is Inexpressible

Rejoice With Joy That is Inexpressible

Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.       1 Peter 1:8-9 

What does “joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory” look like?

Suppose you were in a debtors prison and could not pay your debt. Then a Man shows up to pay your debt it in full and sets you free.

Would you have inexpressible joy filled with glory?

Suppose you were sick and dying, with no known cure for your sickness. Then a Man shows up to cure you and makes you well.

Would you have inexpressible joy filled with glory?

Suppose you were blind and helpless. Then a Man shows up to heal your eyes and restore your sight.

Would you have inexpressible joy filled with glory?

Suppose at your daughter’s wedding you run out of wine for your guests. Then a Man shows up and fills six water jars and then converts the water into the finest of wine.

Would you have inexpressible joy filled with glory?

Suppose you have the responsibility of feeding 5000 people, and yet you have no food or money to feed them. Then a Man shows up and takes four loaves and two fish and feeds them all, with plenty of leftovers.

Would you have inexpressible joy filled with glory?

Suppose you were lost in your sins, and could not save yourself. Then a Man shows up and shows you He is the way, the truth & the life, and saves you.

Would you have inexpressible joy filled with glory?

Suppose you were dead and buried in a grave for three days. Then a Man shows up and says, “I command you to come out of the grave” and you are resurrected back to life.

Would you have inexpressible joy filled with glory?

Suppose you are evil, ungodly, sinful and an enemy of God, never to be reconciled to Him. Then a Man shows up to declare you forgiven and reconciles you back to God.

Would you have inexpressible joy filled with glory?

That is what “joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory” looks like.

Because of Our Salvation We Know

Because of Our Salvation We Know

We know that … blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, not stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers (Psalm   1:1).

We know that… surely goodness & mercy shall follow us all the days of my life & we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever (Psalm 23:6).

We know that… the Lord is near to the brokenhearted & saves crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18).

We know that… God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble     (Psalm 46:10).

We know that… before we call He will answer, while we are still speaking He will hear (Isaiah 65:24).

We know that… we can call to Him and He will answer us, and will tell us great and hidden things we have not known (Jeremiah 33:3).

We know that… the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is His faithfulness   (Lamentations 3:22-23).

We know that… we should seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to us (Matthew 6:33).

We know that… Not everyone who says to him, “Lord, Lord,” will enter into the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of His Father who is in heaven (Matthew 7:21).

We know that… We shall love the Lord our God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our mind and with all our strength (Mark 12:30).

We know that… Anyone who would come after Him, must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Him (Luke 9:23).

We know that… He is the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6).

We know that… There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12).

We know that… There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).

We know that… That for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according his purpose (Romans 8:28).

We know that… For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen (Romans 11:36).

We know that… No eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined what God has prepared for those who love him (1 Corinthians 2:9).

We know that…He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6).

We know that… we can do all things through Him who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13).

We know that… in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For we are sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:37-39).

Gospel-less Christianity

Gospel-less Christianity

We live in a day of gospel-less Christianity

Where gospel-less churches

Led by gospel-less pastors

Preach gospel-less messages

No gospel

No cross

No death

No burial

No blood

No redemption

No forgiveness

No salvation