January 15, 2017

In Christ Alone – Blake Edwards

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

The powerful words of “In Christ Alone” make it arguably the most popular hymn written over the past couple decades. When I sing this song I feel encouraged and it causes me to look in the mirror. It is a beautiful song musically and lyrically. The song conveys the appreciation we should have for Christ. It focuses on all He has done, continues to do, and will do for His followers. I want to share the lyrics and discuss a few parts of this song.

In Christ alone my hope is found,

He is my light, my strength, my song,

This Cornerstone, this solid ground,

Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.

What heights of love, what depths of peace,

When fears are stilled, when strivings cease,

My Comforter, my All in All,

Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone, who took on flesh,

Fullness of God in helpless babe,

This gift of love and righteousness,

Scorned by the ones He came to save.

‘Til on that cross as Jesus died,

The wrath of God was satisfied,

For every sin on Him was laid,

Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay,

Light of the world by darkness slain,

Then bursting forth in glorious Day,

Up from the grave He rose again.

And as He stands in victory,

Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me,

For I am His and He is mine,

Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt of life, no fear in death,

This is the power of Christ in me,

From life’s first cry to final breath,

Jesus commands my destiny.

No power of hell, no scheme of man,

Can ever pluck me from His hand,

’til He returns or calls me home,

Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand

-Keith Getty and Stuart Townsend

Let’s focus on the last verse. The power of Christ compels us to live guilt free and not fear death. We can have this innocence because the blood of Christ was innocent and washes our sins away. Yes, we are guilty if we stand alone, but in Christ alone we can be relieved of guilt. When we are in Christ, death has no power over us (Romans 6:14). Since Christ overcame death, what is there for us to fear? The blood of Christ commands our life as long as we live. It was shed long before any of us were even born and is still in effect. “For you were bought with a price” is a passage in 1 Cor. 6:20 that comes to my mind. We are now in servitude to Him because He paid the price for us.

There is no person, teaching, or force that has the ability to muscle you away from God. There is stability, protection and comfort in Christ. Remember that as you reach out to Him and draw closer each day. The thought in James 4:7 is so comforting. The devil will flee as long as we draw close to God. We will draw closer to God the more we know Him by His word and the more we strive to demonstrate the godliness and holiness He exhibits. Finally, there is a declaration that we will stand in the power of Christ until our days on this Earth end. We will not be carried away by the powers of the world, but rather stand firm on the foundation of Christ, our Savior. “Or calls me home,” is an amazing and yet subtle encouragement to Christian ears. We do have a house not made with hands and we will live in the presence of God for eternity if we walk by faith eagerly awaiting Christ’s return (2 Cor. 5:1-8).

If we were to sing this song today, would you be able to confidently sing it? Can you proclaim that you are living in Christ alone?

 

 

 

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January 8, 2017

I Will Hope In Him – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“Though He slay me, I will hope in Him. …” (Job 13:15).

God, who is the judge, concluded that of all the people on earth, Job was the best.

“…there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.”

But, Job endured horrible ordeals. He had so much; incredible wealth and a large wonderful family which he loved dearly. He lost it all in a single day. Then he was afflicted for months on end with a loathsome and painful disease. He lost the respect of all who had once honored and followed him. He was even accused by some of his closest friends of being a wicked sinner and arrogant, self-righteous hypocrite. Worst of all, the God whom he had loved and faithfully served all his life, had apparently completely ignored his prayers for deliverance. God did not respond with answers when he prayed for understanding. It is revealed to us that his suffering was from the Devil, but evidently, it was not revealed to Job. He was left in the dark.

Job responded perfectly, for a while.

“…he fell to the ground and worshiped. He said, Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.’ Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God.” (Job 1:20-22)

Job’s perfect response, eventually turned bitter.

“I will give full vent to my complaint; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul. “I will say to God, ‘Do not condemn me; Let me know why You contend with me. ‘Is it right for You indeed to oppress, To reject the labor of Your hands, And to look favorably on the schemes of the wicked?” (Job 10:1-3). “As God lives, who has taken away my right, And the Almighty, who has embittered my soul,” (Job 27:2). “’I cry out to You for help, but You do not answer me; I stand up, and You turn Your attention against me. ‘You have become cruel to me; With the might of Your hand You persecute me.’” (Job 30:20-21).

We understand Job’s response. It is not revealed that he ever understood the why of what was happening to him, but he did learn that his thinking was wrong and sinful.

“Therefor I retract, And I repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:6).

But, in spite of his intense pain, physically and mentally, in spite of his sinful bitterness, he never lost his faith.

“Though he slay me, yet will hope in him,” he insisted. “As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives,(Job 19:25).

At least one reason for this indomitable faith was the obvious hand of God demonstrated in nature.

“’But now ask the beasts, and let them teach you; And the birds of the heavens, and let them tell you. ‘Or speak to the earth, and let it teach you; And let the fish of the sea declare to you. ‘Who among all these does not know That the hand of the LORD has done this,’” (Job 12:7-9).

The apostle Paul said the Gentiles who had not received the revelation given to the Jews, nevertheless, should be able to see the hand of God.

“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20).

James reminds us of “the endurance of Job,” one of the greatest example of all “the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord,” (James 5:10-11). We can, like Job, know that He knows all the answers, even when we are in the dark. He who spoke the vast universe into existence justifies our patient hope.

Adapted from an article by Henry Morris.

 

 

January 1, 2017

God Is Not A Liar – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:55 am by sranderson0103

“What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written,

                        “That you may be justified in your words,

                        and prevail when you are judged.”

                        (Romans 3:3-4 ESV)

Let God Be True.” I can understand the reaction, “What in the world does that mean? What do I have to do with God being true or not true?” Of course, we cannot cause God to be untrue, no matter what we do, but we can act as if we believe He will not actually do what He says. We may not express the conviction out loud, but the implication of our attitude is, “Yea, I know what He said about what He will judge, but surely not…not really…that couldn’t be true.”

The arrogant unbelief of the so-called intellectuals is intimidating. The truly brilliant minds behind the ivy walls are so absolutely sure that we are ridiculous, enduring the world’s animosity, foolishly hoping for a world no one has seen.

They blindly, dishonestly ignore the overwhelming evidence so that they can be among the intelligentsia, so that they do not have to submit to an all-wise Creator who knows infinitely more than they do. Enticed by “the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life…” (I John 2:16), they esteem the esteem of the world to be more valuable than truth.

Whether we speak of the haughty professors, or the condescending “reverends,” sinner comforting mega-churches, we see the world bowing, yielding to the powerful influences. “But God said…” begins to shrink in significance to the point that it is no longer carries weight.

The Jews considered themselves the most important, significant people in the world. They were Gods chosen, truly blessed. Yes, God said they would be judged if they did not love their God with all their heart and their neighbor as themselves, but…the really intelligent, influential leaders know better.

Such individuals may say they believe God, but effectively they call Him a liar. We know lots of people who lie, but God is different.

“it is impossible for God to lie,” Hebrews 6:18

When we know what He said, but believe others instead, we “make” God a liar. Paul rebukes the attitude. “Let God be true.” All of God’s “sayings” are “justified” and He will surely “overcome” all those who presume to “judge” Him and His Word.

Truth is not determined by “counting noses,” by the impressive opinions of skeptics, or by metaphysical speculation. It is determined by God Himself, and no other.

“For the word of the LORD is right, And all His work is done in truth.” (Psalms 33:4 KJV)

“The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever.” (Psalms 119:160)

Jesus Christ said “…your word is truth.” (John 17:17)

Therefore, “…let God be found true, though every man be found a liar.” (Rom.3:4)