July 30, 2009

Praying with King David

I've been reading over David's prayer in Psalm 86, saying "Amen" and praying it for myself over and over again. I thank the Holy Spirit for inspiring this prayer for our instruction and hope (Romans 15:4). 

What I love about this Psalm is how it is a reminder of the God to whom David called to, and who I call out to everyday for help. The Lord who alone is God (v10), who is my God (v2), and the Lord who is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness (v15). 

We need to be often reminded of the character of the God to whom we pray and rely on. And such is the God in whom I confidently trust by His grace and through His Son!

Psalm 86 (ESV)

A Prayer of David.

1 Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me,
for I am poor and needy.
2 Preserve my life, for I am godly;
save your servant, who trusts in you—you are my God.
3 Be gracious to me, O Lord,
for to you do I cry all the day.
4 Gladden the soul of your servant,
for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
5 For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.
6 Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer;
listen to my plea for grace.
7 In the day of my trouble I call upon you,
for you answer me.
8 There is none like you among the gods, O Lord,
nor are there any works like yours.
9 All the nations you have made shall come
and worship before you, O Lord,
and shall glorify your name.
10 For you are great and do wondrous things;
you alone are God.
11 Teach me your way, O Lord,
that I may walk in your truth;
unite my heart to fear your name.
12 I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,
and I will glorify your name forever.
13 For great is your steadfast love toward me;
you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.
14 O God, insolent men have risen up against me;
a band of ruthless men seek my life,
and they do not set you before them.
15 But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
16 Turn to me and be gracious to me;
give your strength to your servant,
and save the son of your maidservant.
17 Show me a sign of your favor,
that those who hate me may see and be put to shame
because you, Lord, have helped me and comforted me.

July 29, 2009

What is Grace? The Bible's Perspective on Painful Grace

When we talk about grace, what do we mean?

It often depends on the context of our conversation. If we are talking about music, grace means one thing, but when talking about how people interact in relationships, grace means something else.

What do we mean when we talk about God's grace?

Often, we guess at this, because our understanding of grace has been shaped, for the most part, by the culture we are brought up in.

At the church I participate in, we often talk about the grace of God in salvation. We speak of Ephesians chapter two, and how we are brought from spiritual death to spiritual life, and made heirs of the Kingdom of Christ by the Sovereign work of God's grace, given to us through the death and life of His dear Son.

But now, I want to take a look at a passage of Scripture that teaches me to think of grace in a way most of us are not familiar enough with. Which is that the worst pains in our lives, according to the Bible, are actually the grace of the our Lord Jesus Christ being worked out in our lives. Christians who experience hardship, are experiencing it for completely different reasons than unbelievers most of the time. What happens to you or to me is never an accident, but is part of the Sovereign grace of God.

Take a look at 2 Corinthians 12:7-10:

Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations [Paul had seen visions and received revelation in heaven from the Lord], for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me--to keep me from exalting myself!
Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me.
And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. (NASB)

That is not an unfamiliar passage to me. I've heard that last line quoted all my life, "for when I am weak, then am I strong." However the concept is what is radically contrary to our natural way of thinking, even if we've been familiar with it for a long time. The concept that grace gives us pain so that we may not glory in ourselves, but in the power of Christ.

For this reason, let us exalt in our lowly positions that we find ourselves in. Whether it is pain, persecution, distress, difficulties, insults, weakness, heartache or whatever situation you find yourself in by the Sovereign Providence of God.

What I say to you, I say to myself here: Be well content with it my friend. The power of Christ will dwell in you for the glory of God and for your joy in Him.

July 28, 2009

Paul Tripp's Podcast Audio Free

I think anyone who listens to Paul David Tripp will find it extremely helpful. Go ahead and take a listen on the link below!

Paul Tripp Ministries Inc. audio

July 27, 2009

"Your life is always shaped by desire"

This post by Paul Tripp about Psalm 73:25 on his blog spoke directly to me, right where I'm at. It is worth a few minutes of your time to read:

"...And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you." (v.25b)

You and I are creatures of desire. There is nothing you ever choose, do, or say that is not the product of desire. Desire not only directs your choices, it shapes your dreams. Desire forms your moments of greatest joy and darkest grief. Desire makes you envious of one person while being glad you're not another. Desire keeps you awake at night or puts you soundly to sleep. Desire makes you willing to get up in the morning or causes you to be frustrated at the end of the day. Desire makes you expectant and hopeful in one moment, and demanding and complaining in the next. Desire sometimes makes you susceptible to temptation and at other times is the thing that defends you against it. Desire can lift you up to God or it can make you a willing friend of the devil. Desire can make you a celebrant or drive you to the pit of depression. Desire can make you the best of friends or cause you to drive people away. Desire can cause you to lovingly edit your words or make you willing let it rip with little regard for the damage your words will do. Desire will make you willing to give or cause you to hoard everything you have. Desire will cause you to submit to the King or to set yourself up as king. Desire can cause you to fight for freedom or can be the very thing that causes you to be addicted. Desire can give you power or rob you of the power that could be yours. Desire is your biggest problem and one of God's sweetest graces. But there is one thing for sure; your life is always shaped by desire.

The great spiritual war that is being fought for control of our hearts is a war of desire. (See James 4:1-4 and I Peter 2:11). Remember this biblical principle; whatever rules your heart will control your words and behavior. You and I are human beings. We do not live by instinct. We have been designed by God with the capacity to desire. This means that everything you do or say is done or spoken out of the want for something...

Jesus, Doctor of Sinners

(This is another repost from August 23, 2008, originally published under the title: Jesus Came to Save Sinners [go to the link to see previous comments])

As I read through Luke, a chapter a day, I pray to the Holy Spirit that He would teach me to understand it rightly. I have been noticing that there is a common theme throughout the gospel of Luke, there is a certain emphasis, it seems. Luke makes it clear that Jesus came to seek and to save sinners. The parable of the Lost Sheep, the parable of the Prodigal Son, the Good Samaritan, the Rich Young Ruler, all these stories and much more emphasize that people are sinners who are lost and need the right Shepherd to come and find them. Consider Zacchaeus from Luke 19:1-10 ESV:

"He [Jesus] entered Jericho and was passing through." [I remember another famous story about a sinner saved in Jericho, her name was Rahab the prostitute.] "And there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich." [Of course, being a tax collector in those days was as low as scum, but Zac was a chief tax collector and was rich.] "And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small of stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way." [It is interesting how lowly sinful people were drawn to Jesus in the gospels.] "And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today." [Zacchaeus only wanted to see Jesus pass by, but Jesus wants to see Zacchaeus face to face. The Lord said he must stay at Zac's house. Wonder why?] "So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, "He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner." [Zacchaeus received Jesus with joy. It makes me wonder that there are people who say they are Christians, but do not react with joy when receiving Jesus. Desperate sinners always find joy in the one and only Savior of sinners. On the other hand, the others could not equate themselves as low as this vile sinner, and so they had no lasting joy in the Lord.] "And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, "Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold." [Zacchaeus was not ashamed to stand before the Lord and call Him "Lord." He acknowledged Jesus as his Lord, Master, King, God, Judge. 'Lord' means Jesus rules over my life. I belong to Him and submit myself to His rule and judgment. He must be our Lord if he is to be our Savior. This shows that Zacchaeus repented. Jesus had taught in Luke 13 that unless we repent, we will perish (Luke 13:2-3). Zacchaeus showed his repentant heart by what he did. Money was no longer his treasure - Jesus was.] "And Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham." [Salvation came to Zacchaeus, Zacchaeus did not come to salvation - it was Jesus who came to his house. Jesus called him a son of Abraham, which meant he belonged to Jesus, was an heir of the promise, a believer (see Galatians 3:29).] "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost." [Jesus, the Son of Man (God became a man - John 1:14), came to seek and to save the lost. Abraham's children are lost sinners, and here we see a wonderful example of the Savior seeking those He came to Save. Jesus said in John 10:28, "I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand." Romans 5:8 says, "but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."]

As I read through Luke, it strikes me how much this theme is carried through. That Jesus saves sinners. What a hopeful message to wretches (such as myself)! It is the lost children of Abraham, who are lost sinners, whom Jesus came to save. We must repent when we receive Jesus with joy. Repentance is a positive two-fold action granted to us by the Holy Spirit. When we repent, we turn from treasuring sin to treasuring Christ (like Zacchaeus when he heartily gave away his riches, because he had a better inheritance in the Savior). Faith always sees more value in Christ than in the fleeting and damning pleasures of sin. As I walk with my Lord and Savior, my prayer is continually, "Lord, turn me from my sin, cause me to do what you command." I know that anything wrong I do is from my own evil heart, but anything good is a gift granted by my Lord, who came to save sinners - even the worst of them (1 Timothy 1:15). It always amazes me... Jesus came to seek and save the lost... and He never fails!

All I can say is, what grace! What a Savior! Can you relate?

July 24, 2009

Things I Was and Continue To Be Thankful For

(This is a repost, originally published November 27, 2008, under the title Things I'm Thankful For: just sharing from my heart.)

First, I am thankful to YHWH (Jehovah, the LORD) because He is goodand His steadfast love, His lovingkindness and mercy endures forever:"Give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth forever." (Psalm 136:1). And also Psalm 138:2"I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted your word above all your name."

I am also thankful that He chose me, loving me forever, even though I am the least worthy of the smallest dirt-crumb of loving kindness from the King of all ages. He loved me by giving His Son to die for me and rise so that I am accepted in His presence, not just for a little while, but forever and ever and ever! (I already feel humbled to the floor just by this thought).

I am thankful for the Bible in English, because that is my language, and people were literally hunted down, arrested, imprisoned, tortured, murdered, strangled and burned for translating the Bible into this language.

I am thankful for everything because I have eternal life, and so everything, whether good or bad is working out for good in eternity according to God's purpose (
Rom. 8:28).

Therefore, I am thankful for grass, and for the sky, for stars, and for family.

For frogs and for salamanders, for water, for the internet, for self-control, for the Holy Spirit in me doing His work by God's grace.

For friends, and for enemies.

For disease, hurts, broken relationships, emotional pain, mental confusion, the misunderstandings and slander of people who do not love the truth.

For wearisome toil, for traffic, for Satan's opposition, for my own temporary humiliation, for God's grace that works through faith which works by love.

For God's promises, and for the birth from above.

For being separated from the world.

I'm thankful for my mother and father, for my niece and nephew, for my brothers and sister.

Even more, I'm thankful I have true brethren in Philly, Pittsburgh, and all around the world who are my eternal family in Christ (we'll be together forever). I'm also thankful for sugar, and insulin too :)

Honestly, I don't 
feel very thankful right now, but I truly am, and I am thankful that God will flood my heart again and again with thanksgiving at the right time... Oh, Lord, make me a thankful man!

How about you?

God bless to all who are resting in the righteousness of our King Jesus!

July 22, 2009

But He Gives More Grace

(This is a repost, originally published June 18, 2008, under the title He Gives Grace to the Humble.)

I have been thinking a lot about grace as a result of writing these blog posts. So when I read what James chapter four says, it touched my heart deeply and made me see more clearly the wonder of the grace of the Lord Jesus.

James 4:1 says, "What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your pleasures are at war within you?" (ESV). It goes on to say that these desires cause us to murder (hatred is murder in the heart), covet, fight and quarrel. "You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your pleasures." (4:2,3). So there are two problems that our sinful nature leads us to fall into; 1) not asking God for things, and 2) asking with selfish and sinful motives. This causes all kinds of evil to bubble up within us.

James has a name for the people he described, "You adulteresses!" This is not referring to physical adultery, but to spiritual adultery, because it says, "Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God." Friendship with the world is enmity with God. That is strong language! The enemies of God are his enemies because they hate Him. "For behold, your enemies make an uproar; those who hate you have raised their heads." (Psalm 83:2). They do not want to love Him or obey Him. They would rather have God serve them by giving what they ask for in prayer, so they can use it to satisfy their own evil desires. "Your enemies take your name in vain." (Psalm 139:20).

Verse 5 says, "Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, 'He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us'?" This is why spiritual adultery is so horrible, because God is jealous over the spirit of His people. God wants our spirit to be set on Him. He is the only One who can truly satisfy us. Our worship and love must be for Him only, or else we are idolators. And after I read these verses, my heart broke. I knew that I'm guilty of these things. I know I still sin, even after He has given me His Holy Spirit to be with me. As A. W. Pink said, "I am vile." I feel this deep within me. But I have hope, and it is no small hope, but hope that is confident, joyful and full of expectation. Here's why:

"But he gives more grace." What?! That's crazy! "More grace"? To those who hate Him? To those who turn from Him to spiritual adultery? Yes, "Therefore it says, "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble." Spiritual adultery is a pride issue. Every person on earth is guilty, and God is opposed to them because of their pride and resistance to His will. God opposes the proud. He does not allow them to get what they want, but gives them what they deserve, ultimately, hell. But there is hope for the humble, because He gives them grace. Those who are humble are the same who are guilty of cheating on God. They are humble because they know they are guilty and are at His mercy. Yet, He has grace for them. Not for the unrepentant, but for those who are humble. Humble because of their guilt. Humble because of their shame and because they now see what they have done to God. To them, "He gives more grace." Unbelievable!

I don't have time to go on about the rest of the verses in James four, but will end with this thought: How does God give grace to the humble and why? The answer to that question is one verse in Romans five: "For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life." (Romans 5:10). God opposes the proud, but gives grace to those who humble themselves in repentance, drawing near to Him and fleeing from sinful pursuits, because His Son died to reconcile them. Much more shall we who are reconciled, be saved by the life of the Son of God, who gave Himself for our sins and overcame our death by rising from the dead, so that we might live to God through Him.

If you are humbly trusting in Christ, will you join me in giving thanks to our God for His awesome grace? Praise His wonderful name!

July 20, 2009

Practical Christianity 2

Another very encouraging sermon from my pastor on Romans 12 about how Christians are to relate to one another. The body of Christ is made up of believers with different gifts and different levels of faith, yet they are all members of one another and are called to serve one another in love as Christ first loved us.

(Click here to go get the mp3, or listen to the player below.)

July 18, 2009

We have to die with Christ in order to be raised with Him

It is painful to die, especially the kind of death that Jesus Christ our Lord died when they beat Him, mocked Him and hung Him on a tree. However on the third day, Jesus resurrected and appeared to His disciples who were astonished with great fear and great joy.

Death is painful and hard and brings many tears, while resurrection is joyful and happy and brings tears of relief.

Let us remember, that as followers of the eternal Son of God, we are going to suffer and die with Him in order that we may share in His great resurrection joy.

Our death is to self, to sin and to this evil world, yet our life will be forever to God. Oh, even the most hurting Christian can praise Him for that! Hallelujah! Amen.

And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. (Mark 8:34).

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him. (John 12:24-26).

For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. (Romans 6:10-11).

...that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:10-11).

The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; (2 Timothy 2:11).

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, "Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. (Revelation 1:17-18).

July 15, 2009

What Matters Most? Why Misfortune Happens to the Righteous

In Psalm 73, Asaph struggled with the thought that wicked people were more blessed than those who spent their lives seeking to do what is right. He saw that good people suffered, while those who disregarded God's ways seemed blessed and fulfilled all their lives.

Asaph was about ready to give up, thinking his struggle to be pure was all in vain. He said, "When I pondered to understand this, it was troublesome in my sight until I came into the sanctuary of God; then I perceived their end."

Asaph saw that though misfortune happens often to the righteous in this life, while good and plenty often fills the unrighteous, that the end of the unrighteous would be disaster. That is, they would be punished forever in hell. 

All this turmoil greatly troubled Asaph in his mind, but it led him to write these words:

"When my heart was embittered and I was pierced within, then I was senseless and ignorant; I was like a beast before You.
Nevertheless I am continually with You; You have taken hold of my right hand. With Your counsel You will guide me, and afterward receive me to glory.
Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."
(Psalm 73:21-26 NAS).

What a challenge Psalm 73 is for us today, who want things to go well for us, and we wine and complain when it goes bad. But if we have been washed pure by the blood of the Son of God, made righteous by faith in Him, given new life through His resurrection and have His Spirit dwelling within our hearts, then we need to learn to speak to God like Asaph did. But it is sufferings and trials that lead us to say, as he did:

"Oh God, there is nothing in heaven or on this earth that I desire more than to be near You."

Oh my Lord, help me know this desire deep within and express it in all I do and say. Amen.

July 13, 2009

Grace Gems: May He add to me the crowning mercy of a thankful heart!

I am still sadly deficient in practice!

(Letters of John Newton)

Who that had seen me as a slave in Africa, could have expected what has since taken place! How unworthy am I of all that I have received--and most unworthy of the honor of preaching the Gospel, which I too long despised and blasphemed! The language of Psalm 40:5 suits my soul well, "Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders You have done. The things You planned for us no one can recount to You! Were I to speak and tell of them--they would be too many to declare!" There is no end to the inventory of my mercies! May He who has given so much to me, and done so much for me--add the crowning mercy of a thankful heart! Though I can talk of thankfulness, I feel much insensibility and hardness of heart; but, I know that, while sin dwells in me, it will have such effects.

Alas! though I know in theory what a Christian should be--I am still sadly deficient in practice! I am a poor creature, and see much to be ashamed of every day, and in every circumstance. Yet, though sin will distress--it cannot condemn, those who believe in Jesus! "There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus!" Romans 8:1

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July 12, 2009

Practical Christianity - How God's love relates to ours for one another

Practical Christianity 1 by Pastor Mark Loeffert
(to get the Mp3 Link)

Practical Christianity can only work when Christians deal properly with their relation to God, to the love of Christ and to ourselves. Then we will be filled with God’s love for our fellow believers in a right way.

We are called to love true brothers and sisters in Christ, as the Lord Jesus loved us, by suffering for them. True obedience to God must be motivated out of His love for us, then demonstrated by our love for other Christians, and in all our relationships to other people.

July 11, 2009

Grace Gems: From Health to Death in Three Days

He became sick on Saturday--and died on Monday!

(Letters of John Newton)

Dear friend,
Two people who were well the day you left us--have since died. One of them has already been buried--he was a poor ungodly creature, suddenly cut off in the prime of life! The other man was young, jovial, jesting and thoughtless. He became sick on Saturday--and died on Monday!

Oh, my friend, what do we owe to the grace of God--that we were not cut off in the days of our ignorance--as so many others have been!

Blessed be God for Jesus Christ--He is exalted to "save to the uttermost!" That word 'uttermost' has an extensive meaning--it includes a conquest over all difficulties, and a supply of all that is necessary! How totally, and how often, would I have been lost--had not Jesus engaged to save me to the uttermost! And many a time I would have given up all hope--but for that text, "He is able to save to the uttermost!" "To the uttermost" reaches to all possible circumstances. He can . . .
enlighten the most ignorant,
soften the most obdurate,
support the most tempted,
comfort the most distressed,
pardon the most guilty!

Oh, may His precious name be engraved upon our hearts, and sound sweeter than music to our ears--for He has loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and will save us to the uttermost--in defiance of . . .
all our sins,
all our fears and
all our enemies!

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July 9, 2009

Hymns that Communicate Grace

Sometimes pain is too much for words, other times peace escapes us, and even burdens laden us while we are crying out to God in prayer. Yet, is there no wonder to the reason why God has orchestrated songs to comfort us in hard times? It is a wonder, and I am thankful that my grandmother knows so many of my favorite songs, because now we are singing them together every Thursday night after we spend a little time talking, reading the Bible, meditating on God's wonders and praying for people. Here are some songs we love to sing, and did sing tonight as we comforted one another with the words and our voices:

1. Great is Thy Faithfulness
2. What a Friend We Have In Jesus
3. Teach Me Lord to Wait
4. Just and Right is He

Here are the lyrics with some presently meaningful lines highlighted (and below are the You Tube videos):

1. Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.


Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.


Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!


2. What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!

What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.

Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge, take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do your friends despise, forsake you? Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield you; you will find a solace there.

Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised Thou wilt all our burdens bear
May we ever, Lord, be bringing all to Thee in earnest prayer.
Soon in glory bright unclouded there will be no need for prayer
Rapture, praise and endless worship will be our sweet portion there.

3. (This song is one my grandma taught me)

They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength
They shall mount up with wings as eagles
They shall run and not be weary
They shall walk and not be faint
Teach me Lord, teach me Lord to wait.

Teach me Lord to wait, down on my knees
'till in your own good time you've answered my pleas
Help me not to rely on what others do
but to wait in prayer for an answer from you

4. (This one I was also taught by her, but she learned it from an old pastor who would sing it every Sunday in front of his congregation before he preached. I had the privilege of seeing him do this one time on resurrection Sunday. This song is from Deuteronomy 32:4).

He is the Rock, His work is perfect:
for all His ways are judgment:
a God of truth and without iniquity
just and right is He
Just and right is He
Just and right is He
A God of truth and without iniquity
Just and right is He.



July 7, 2009

Grace Abounding in York this evening

I hit the streets of York with Matt this evening, after having a brief chat and study on sin together at McDonald's. I was asked, "Do you struggle with sin?" How could I answer "No"! Of course I do, and my biggest struggle is S-E-L-F, which is simply an acronym for self. My prayer is to be led by the Spirit and put this enemy to death, as we focused our attention back to our great Savior of sinners.

After we left McDonald's, we first prayed, then started walking. We offered tracks to those who passed by. The first man seemed like a possible true believer, although he really didn't stop to talk with us much.

We walked around the block, and as we passed by the Market court, we saw a group of homeless guys sitting around. So we went to them and recognized some of them. I sat with one guy and talked loud enough for the others to hear. We covered heaven, hell, the law, repentance, the cross, faith in Christ, grace, the Holy Spirit in salvation, the resurrection of Christ, judgment. This conversation set the stage for all the rest I had tonight. There was also a woman there trying to have a ministry to these guys, and another lady with a squirrel tattoo on her arm feeding squirrels.

The guy was drinking a little, so after shaking hands about three times, we left them and walked up the street. There we met someone sitting on a bench in high 80 degree weather with winter socks on and a winter coat. He was younger than most homeless guys, and seemed a little mentally slow. So I talked with him about salvation for a while. He listened patiently but wouldn't accept a New Testament from me.

That was when two young fellows came strolling by, occupied with thoughts of smoking weed. I caught them as they were passing and began asking them questions. They were stunned as we went through all the things I mentioned above, and were clearly at the dividing line. Either repent and leave all behind to find eternal life in Christ, or perish forever in hell for every sinful deed whether bad or good.

"I want to trust God so I'll have a good life," one said. I replied, "If you trust Christ, your life will become worse, not better." He was shocked and didn't understand at first, asking, "Why?" I said, "Because God promised that you would suffer with Christ if you trust in Him."

We talked long, and I went on to explain that it would not be easy, but that there would still be joy, there would still be peace with God, eternal life, glory with Christ, but this life would be harder. They could not understand that, and soon after this they left. But the message was clear, "Jesus said, 'Repent and believe the good news." And I explained clearly why it is called "Good News", because salvation is freely given to those who have no righteousness of their own, nothing good in themselves, but who trust in Jesus Christ and submit to His Lordship, receiving Him for all that He is, their Life, their Prophet, Priest and King.

They got the message and left. Oh, that my compassion for the lost might be more like my Lord's, who wept for them. I feel very inadequate for this, but thankful for grace.

July 4, 2009

Grace Abounding: 4th of July, 2009 and Answer to prayer for a muslim

I am so glad that my relationship with God is real!

What do I mean? I mean, I know God and He knows me, and He continually reminds me of this everyday. His mercy toward me is greater than any earthly father or mother or friend.

God is my God, my Maker and my Savior. I know the Father, because I know His Son and the love He has shown. I know His Holy Spirit, who is working in me to know Christ Jesus. This is a supernatural thing, a work begun by God about 7 years ago, which has continued on till today. Praise be to the only God and my all in all!

I just wanted to say all that. (You can read John, Romans, Ephesians, Philippians and 1 John if you need to know where I'm coming from).

Ok, now on to the news.

Today had its ups and downs, but the Providence of God was clearly seen in it. When I arrived at 69th Street and saw pastor Mark witnessing to a guy, and Herman Lee handing out tracts, I went up and greeted brother Herman. He told me his son Andre was with him, but he was up the street window shopping.

When Andre came back, I said hello and exchanged a few greetings then I gave him one of my tracts, which I wrote here (we had met once before in the same spot). Andre is with the sunni muslims, but his dad has been witnessing to him when he can. I also think he's had some hard experiences and is searching for the answers or the truth.

After we spent an hour handing out tracts and meeting people on 69th Street, we went back to pastor Mark's place. There Andre spent an hour letting us talk to him about the gospel and the Bible. He asked a few questions, but we did a lot of sharing the good news. He was very open to it all. I gave him a Greasy the Robber booklet and an Is the Bible Reliable (Piper) pamphlet. He accepted them and seemed eager to read them in his search for truth.

I praise God for this, because we have prayed for him. Herman has prayed for him a lot and requested our prayers, and now we had this opportunity. Praise be to the Lord!

I drove home after that and spent the evening with my family and grandmother, who we call Gram. We were at her house in the woods, eating together and setting off fireworks, with the Amish neighbor's watching. The Amish girls that came to watch lost their dad a number of years ago, so I think I should begin praying much more for them as well. Their brothers did not join us for whatever reason, and the other farm neighbor's were away on vacation. But the sunset was beautiful and the fireflies were just as amazing as all the fireworks we saw.

There was also an incident with two young cows at home, that happened later, but that was brief. The dog was excited to see us arrive home, and when I got on my computer, I read some questions a friend had for me about God's Sovereignty and Christ's return. We as believers need to be ready and excited for Him to return at any time.

The Lord is in control of the hardest times as well as the good, and I am certainly glad to be one of His. Are you?

This is grace abounding today, which is now Sunday, July 5th. Grace and peace!

July 1, 2009

Hope to Endure

As born-again Christians, we have many responsibilities to be obedient and loyal to our loving Savior who called us and forgave us and made us His own. (Romans 1:6,7). 

We still struggle intensely in the flesh, and so it will never be easy to endure during these last days (Galatians 5:17; James 5:11; 1 Peter 2:19). But if we have been tested and found to be true believers, bearing the fruits of repentance and of the Holy Spirit, then we have a strong hope that nothing will be too much for us (1 Corinthians 10:13; Matthew 3:8; Galatians 5:22-23; Ephesians 5:9). God is with us in the darkest and hardest sides of life (Psalm 112:4; Hebrews 13:5). His promises still hold true. (Hebrews 10:23; James 1:12)

Whatever condition you are in today, I want to encourage anyone who reads, to be humble before our Father in heaven, be strong in the Lord and take courage, don't be afraid of the future and live in obedient submission to Christ in everything. Always loving and bearing with the saints, building each other up in the Lord and always abounding in His service. The Lord will strengthen you with His might and strength. And let's never forget to pray for one another.

"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!

Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

(Philippians 4:4-7 NAS).

Grace to all who endure with hope in Christ!

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, 

Love never ends.

(1 Corinthians 13:4-8a)