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Archive for the ‘Live it out’ Category

There may be circumstances in your earthly lot which at this moment are peculiarly trying. You look around and wonder how this or that circumstance will terminate. At present it looks very dark–clouds and mists hang over it, and you fear lest these clouds may break, not in showers upon your head, but burst forth in the lightning flash and the thunder stroke! But all things are put in subjection under Christ’s feet! That which you dread cannot take place except by His sovereign will–nor can it move any further except by His supreme disposal. Then make yourself quiet. He will not allow you to be harmed. That frowning providence shall only execute His sovereign purposes, and it shall be among those all things which, according to His promise, shall work together for your good. None of our trials come upon us by chance! They are all appointed in weight and measure–are all designed to fulfill a certain end. And however painful they may at present be, yet they are intended for your good. When the trial comes upon you, what a help it would be for you if you could view it thus, “This trial is sent for my good. It does not spring out of the dust. The Lord Himself is the supreme disposer of it. It is very painful to bear; but let me believe that He has appointed me this peculiar trial, along with every other circumstance. He will bring about His own will therein, and either remove the trial, or give me patience under it, and submission to it.”

Source: J.C. Philpot

(The Subjection of All Things Under the Feet of Jesus)

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joy

 

Did you know that God commands us to be glad?

“Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4)

 

1) God created us for his glory.

“Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth,… whom I created for my glory” (Isaiah 43:6-7)

God made us to magnify his greatness – the way telescopes magnify stars. He created us to put his goodness and truth and beauty and wisdom and justice on display. The greatest display of God’s glory comes from deep delight in all that he is. This means that God gets the praise and we get the pleasure. God created us so that he is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.

 

2) Every human should live for God’s glory.

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

If God made us for his glory, it is clear that we should live for his glory. Our duty comes from his design. So our first obligation is to show God’s value by being satisfied with all that he is for us. This is the essence of loving God (Matthew 22:37) and trusting him (1 John 5:3-4) and being thankful to him (Psalm 100:2-4) It is the root of all true obedience, especially loving others (Colossians 1:4-5).

 

3) All of us have failed to glorify God as we should.

“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

What does it mean to “fall short of the glory of God?” It means that none of us has trusted and treasured God the way we should. We have not been satisfied with his greatness and walked in his ways. We have sought our satisfaction in other things, and treated them as more valuable than God, which is the essence of idolatry (Romans 1:21-23). Since sin came into the world we have all been deeply resistant to having God as our all-satisfying treasure (Ephesians 2:3). This is an appalling offense to the greatness of God (Jeremiah 2:12-13).

 

4) All of us are subject to God’s just condemnation.

“The wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23).

We have all belittled the glory of God. How? By preferring other things above him. By our ingratitude, distrust and disobedience. So God is just in shutting us out from the enjoyment of his glory forever. “They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction and exclusion from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might” (2 Thessalonians 1:9).

The word “hell” is used in the New Testament twelve times – eleven times by Jesus himself. It is not a myth created by dismal and angry preachers. It is a solemn warning from the Son of God who died to deliver sinners from its curse. We ignore it at great risk.

If the Bible stopped here in its analysis of the human condition, we would be doomed to a hopeless future. However, this is not where it stops…

 

5) God sent his only son Jesus to provide eternal life and joy.

“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners…” (1 Timothy 1:15)

The good news is that Christ died for sinners like us. And he rose physically from the dead to validate the saving power of his death and to open the gates of eternal life and joy (1 Corinthians 15:20). This means God can acquit guilty sinners and still be just (Romans 3:25-26). “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). Coming home to God is where all deep and lasting satisfaction is found.

 

6) The benefits purchased by the death of Christ belong to those who repent and trust him.

“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out” (Acts 3:19). “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).

“Repent” means to turn from all the deceitful promises of sin. “Faith” means being satisfied with all that God promises to be for us in Jesus. “He who believes in me,” Jesus says, “shall never thirst” (John 6:35). We do not earn our salvation. We cannot merit it (Romans 4:4-5). It is by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). It is a free gift (Romans 3:24). We will have it if we cherish it above all things (Matthew 13:44). When we do that, God’s aim in creation is accomplished: He is glorified in us and we are satisfied in him – forever.

 

Does this make sense to you?

Do you desire the kind of gladness that comes from being satisfied with all that God is for you in Jesus? If so, then God is at work in your life.

What should you do?

Turn from the deceitful promises of sin. Call upon Jesus to save you from the guilt and punishment and bondage. “All who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13). Start banking your hope on all that God is for you in Jesus. Break the power of sin’s promises by faith in the superior satisfaction of God’s promises. Begin reading the Bible to find his precious and very great promises, which can set you free (2 Peter 1:3-4). Find a Bible-believing church and begin to worship and grow together with other people who treasure Christ above all things (Philippians 3:7).

 

The best news in the world is that there is no necessary conflict between our happiness and God’s holiness. Being satisfied with all that God is for us in Jesus magnifies him as a great Treasure.

“You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” (Psalm 16:11)

 

Source: Desiring God Ministries (www.desiringgod.org)

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ladies

Each year, the Shawnee Lodge hosts a retreat for Joni and Friends. This is a time for special needs families to come together and be ministered to through interaction with families in similar situations while provided lodging, meals and activities for all participants. The women of Grace Community Church at Bigelow have been blessed enough to be able to participate in serving dinner to the mothers that attend, in hopes of providing them a time of prayer, relaxing discussion with friends and a delicious meal prepared by the GCC@B women.

We were blessed to serve roughly 20 mothers who say that they look forward to this meal every year. So much so, that they request the same menu of chicken salad with fruit each year. Dinner was served and the GCC@B women were able to connect with some of the mothers as we joined them for dinner. Many of the mothers are local Ohio residents, but others come from as far away as Illinois and New York.

ladies2  ladies3 ladies6

After dinner and dessert, April Chaffins began our focus on worship by leading us in songs, followed by a brief message from Ginny Cook on prayer and trusting God. As a fitting close, we opened up a time of prayer requests from the mothers and were overjoyed to listen to many of them also had praises for what God had done or was doing in their lives.

ladies4 ladies5

We closed with a circle of prayer, but as is common when women and mothers gather, the evening discussions went on for a while after. Many of these mothers only see each other when they attend Joni and Friends, and as many only see the GCC@B women at this time as well, much catching up was to be done. It was a wonderful opportunity to serve those who give so much of their time to their special needs families. As is often the case, both those serving and those being served were ministered to through our time together.

Update provided by  Sarah Johnson

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My most gracious Beloved,

I am now going from a prison to a palace: I have finished my work, and am now going to receive my wages.  I am going to heaven, where are two of my children, and leaving you on earth, where there are three of my babes.  These two above, need not my care; but the three below need thine.  It comforts me to think, two of my children are in the bosom of Abraham, and three of them will be in the arms and care of such a tender and godly mother.  I know you are a woman of sorrowful spirit, yet be comforted, though you sorrows be great for you husband going out of the world, yet your pains shall be the less in bringing your child into the world; you shall be a joyful mother, though you be a sad widow; God hath many mercies in store for you; the prayer of a dying husband for you, will not be lost.  To my shame I speak it, I never prayed for you at liberty, as I have done in prison.  I can write much, but I have few practical counsels to leave with you, viz.,

1. Keep under a sound, orthodox, soul searching ministry. Oh! There are many deceivers gone out into the world, but Christ’s sheep know His voice, and a stranger they will not follow.  Attend any minister that teacheth the way of God in truth; and follow Solomon’s advice, Proverbs 19:27.

2. Bring up your children in the knowledge and admonition of the Lord.  The mother ought to be a teacher in the father’s absence, Proverbs 31:1, “The words that his mother taught him…”  And Timothy was instructed by his grandmother, 1 Timothy 1:5.

3. Pray in your family daily, that yours may be in the number of the families who call upon God.

4. Labor for a meek and quiet spirit, which in the sight of God, is of great price, 1 Peter 3:4.

5. Pour not on the comforts you want, but upon the mercies you have.  Look rather at God’s ending in afflicting, than to the measure and degree of your affliction.

6. Labor to clear up your evidence for heaven when God takes from you the comfort of earth, so that as your sufferings do abound, your consolation in Christ may abound much more, 2 Corinthians 1:5.  Though it be good to maintain a holy jealously of heart, yet it is still ill of you to cherish fears and doubts touching the truth of your graces.  If ever I had confidence touching the grace of another, I have confidence of grace in you; as Peter said of Silvanus, I am persuaded that this is the grace of God wherein ye stand, 1 Peter 5:12.

7. O, my dear soul wherefore dost thou doubt, who heart has been laid upright, whose walking has been holy, &c.  I could venture my soul this day in they soul’s stead, such a confidence I have in you.

8. When you find your heart secure, presumptuous and proud, then pour upon corruption more than grace: then look upon your grace without infirmities.

9. Study the covenant of grace, and merits of Christ, and be troubled if you can; you are interested in such a covenant that accepts purposes for performances, desires for deeds, sincerity for perfection, the righteousness of another, viz., that of Jesus Christ, as it were your own alone.  Oh! My love! Rest thou in the love of God, the bosom of Christ.

10. Swallow up your will in the will of God.  It is a bitter cup we are to drink, but it is the cup of our Father which has been put into our hands.  When Paul was to suffer at Jerusalem, the Christians said, “The will of the Lord be done!” Oh! Say ye so, when I go to the Tower-Hill, “The will of the Lord be done!”

11. Rejoice in my joy.  To mourn for me inordinately argues, that you either envy or suspect my happiness.  The joy of the Lord is my strength; Oh! Let it be yours also!  Dear wife, farewell: I will call thee wife no more: I shall see thy face no more: yet I am not much troubled, for now I am going to meet the Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus, to whom I shall be eternally married.

12. Refuse not to marry, when God offers you a fair opportunity; but be sure you marry in the Lord; and one of a good disposition, that he may not grieve you, but give you a comfortable livelihood in the world.

Farewell dear love, and again I say farewell.  The Lord Jesus be with your spirit, the Maker of heaven and earth be a husband to you; and the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ be a father to your children – so prays your dying,

Your most affectionate friend till death,

Christopher love

The day of my glorification.

From the Tower of London, August 22, 1651

Source:  www.sounddoctrine.net

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Nine Characteristics of Biblical Prayer:

  1. An Understanding of Your Own Insignificance and Sinfulness.
  2. The Knowledge that Jesus is Your Only Access to the Father.
  3. Adoration for God because of His Character and Attributes.
  4. Joyful Praise for God’s Work in Creation and Redemption.
  5. Thankfulness for God’s Kindness in Giving Every Good Thing.
  6. A Sense of Your Need of Strength to Fight against Specific Sins.
  7. Humble Trust as You Ask the Father to Meet Every Need.
  8. A Selfless Burden to Pray for Others.
  9. A Thirst for Increasing Spiritual Wisdom and Understanding.

-Daryl Wingerd

(Nine Characteristics of Biblical Prayer, Christian Communicators Worldwide, www.CCWtoday.org.)

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JFST

“When God Commands, we are to obey. When he asserts, we are to believe him. When he promises, we are to embrace and trust those promises. Thus, we respond to the sheer authority of God’s word.

Adam and Eve had no way of testing what God told them about the forbidden fruit. They couldn’t work any experiment that would show them whether God had rightly predicted the effects of the fruit. They simply had to take God at his word. Satan interposed a contrary interpretation, but the first couple should not have taken his opinion seriously. They should simply have believed God. They did not, of course. They sided with Satan rather than God–or, perhaps better, they claimed that their own authority transcended God’s. That is to say, they claimed autonomy. They claimed that they themselves were the highest authority, the ultimate criterion of truth and right.

The NT praises Noah (Heb. 11:7), Abraham (Rom. 4:1-25; Heb. 11:8-19), and many others because of their faith, and their faith was grounded in God’s word. They simply believed what God said and obeyed him. So for new covenant believers: if they love Jesus, they will do what he says (John 14:15, 21, 23; 15:7, 10, 14; 17:6, 17; 1 John 2:3-5; 3:22; 5:2-3; 2 John 6).

So we should think of God’s word as a personal communication from him to us. In DWG, I presented this as a general way of thinking about the word of God: the personal-word model. Think of God speaking to you as a real person would–as directly as your parents, your spouse, your children, your friends. Many in Scripture heard such speech from God, such as Noah, Abraham, and Moses.

And when God speaks, his word carries authority. This means that it imposes obligations. When God commands, he expects us to obey. When he brings information, we are to believe him. When he promises, we should embrace his promises.

If God really talked to you, as he did to Abraham, you would not (if you know what is best for you) criticize his words or disagree with him.

No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. (Rom. 4:20-21)

Abraham was strong in faith even though God’s words to him were hard to take. God told him to leave his home and go to a place he did not know (Gen. 12:1-3), to believe God’s promise that he would beget a son in his old age (17:15-21), and later to sacrifice his son Isaac on a mountain altar (22:1-2). Often God’s words to us pose problems that we cannot solve. But God expects us to be like Abraham, not like Adam and Eve, to hear what he says, to be strong in faith, without wavering.”

 

Source:  Frame, John M. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Christian Belief. Phillipsburg, N.J.: P&R Publishing, 2013.

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Joseph’s brothers sold him as a slave to some passing traders (37:19-21), who in turn sold him to Potiphar in Egypt (37:36), where he was falsely accused and imprisoned (39:11-19). While in prison, Joseph earned the favor of Pharaoh, who appointed him Prime Minister (41:39, 40). At this time, a famine forced Joseph’s estranged brothers to Egypt (42:1, 2), where Joseph dutifully cared for them (42:4-7). Joseph’s father and brothers moved to Egypt and lived under Joseph’s provision (47:11).

After the death of their father, Joseph’s brothers are concerned that Joseph will seek revenge (50: 15). But Joseph reassures them saying, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today” (50:20).

I have often heard this verse interpreted to mean, “You meant it for evil but God turned it around for good”, or even “You meant it for evil but God was able to work it out for good”. However, that is not what Joseph meant when he said, “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good”. “It” refers to the evil action of his brothers, their “transgression” and “sin” against him (50:16). According to Joseph, God meant for him to be sold into slavery. God intended, planned, purposed, and plotted for His servant Joseph to be sold as a slave by his brothers. But while his brothers meant it for evil, God meant the same event for good. The word translated “meant” here is a Hebrew word that literally means “to weave.” God masterfully wove together every detail of Joseph’s life, including his brother’s wicked hearts, to accomplish His own divine purpose.

The second half of the verse explains God’s purpose. He had Joseph sold into to slavery, in Egypt, by his brothers, in order to “bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today”. Joseph explains it this way:

…do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life (Genesis 45:5).

And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt. Hurry and go up to my father and say to him, ‘Thus says your son Joseph, God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me; do not tarry (Genesis 45:7-9).

God’s plan for Joseph culminated with Joseph being a ruler over Egypt and being in the position to deliver his brothers when the famine came. Looking back over Joseph’s life, this means that God orchestrated more than his slavery. God also meant for Joseph to be falsely accused, and imprisoned. All of these details contributed to Joseph’s position, and God infallibly wove them together. God meant it, every detail.

God meant good for Joseph and Israel, but He accomplished it through suffering. It is the same for you, dear Christian. God means good for you, and He will accomplish it through suffering. Indeed, the greatest good that was ever meant for you was purchased by suffering. Jesus said, “it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations” (Luke 24:46-47). God meant it when Joseph suffered, God meant it when Christ suffered, and God means it when you suffer.

-Rick Appleton

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