6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Several years ago, one of my favorite songwriters/singers had a song that referred to the “reckless, raging fury that they call the love of God”. There were quite a few people at the time that took exception to characterizing God’s love as reckless. For many it seems the idea of recklessness goes against what we think God’s character should be like. But in reflection, it is a wonderful way to picture the love that God lavished on us. Think about it. Who in their “right mind” if you will would be willing to die for their worst enemy. Yet, God willingly sent His Son and His Son willingly laid down His life for you and for me, “while we were still sinners”. Even those who choose to spit in God’s face and curse His name, like the Roman soldiers and those who crucified Him, experienced the depth of this reckless love when He said from the cross, “Father, forgive them.”
Sorry for the lack of posting lately. It seems like things just get really chaotic and nothing gets done some days. We signed the boys up for baseball this week. Jeremiah is going to play Tee ball and Jonathan is going to be playing Pee Wee. And through a strange twist of fate, I have been volunteered to be a coach for Jonathan’s team. A couple of the homeschool families were talking about it last week and voila; I’m a coach.
In other news, keep praying for Amelia’s upcoming surgery. We are now just over a month away from the surgery date and my parents and Amelia’s mom are planning to travel up to help. It is going to be quite a time.
In church news, things are going well. We have had two people make personal decisions to ask Christ to be their Lord and Savior so we are starting to see the fruit of preparing for a harvest. AWANA is over as of tonight. We have a parent night planned and one of the girls who helps with Sparks has put together a DVD of pictures taken at AWANA. She did an exceptional job and it looks really great. We are going to use my laptop and a projector to show it to the parents. I will try and get some of the pictures that we took up in the near future.
1 John 4:7-8
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
Did you know that we were given a litmus test for ourselves? This is not the only place in Scripture that tells us this, but we are defined primarily by our loving attitude and behavior. The world has even been given permission by Jesus Christ to judge our Christianity by the way we show love. You know that song that goes, “they will know we are Christians by our love”? There is a lot of truth in that statement. God loved us, and that in turn enables us to love others. First our brothers and sisters in Christ and then the rest of the world.
1 John 4:10-12
10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
I have been doing a lot of thinking the past few days about God’s love. I have a feeling that we really never have a very firm grasp on the love that God has for us and what it does in our life. Sometimes I think I have it, and I know I am continuing to grow in this, but then I see that there is so much more to learn and to understand. I asked my son, Jonathan, about 1 John 4:10 Sunday morning before church. It is his favorite verse and I asked him why that was. He told me that it was because this is the verse that led him to want to ask Jesus into his heart. Imagine that. As a four year old kid, he heard about the love of God and responded to it. Jesus said we have to come to Him as little children ourselves. Could it be that sometimes we just need to hear and understand the love of God and respond to it?
19 Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these.
Did you ever stop to consider what Jesus said here? He said that He did nothing by Himself; He did only what the Father did. The funny thing is a lot of times, I have convinced myself that I can do this small little thing that I know would please God on my own. I mean it is just a little thing. But then I remember that Jesus said He could do nothing by Himself. You know nothing as in no thing. Makes you stop in your tracks when you think about it. If you are trying to do something, even something small, for God on your own, it is destined to fall short.
16 He saw that there was no one,
he was appalled that there was no one to intervene;
so his own arm worked salvation for him,
and his own righteousness sustained him.
17 He put on righteousness as his breastplate,
and the helmet of salvation on his head;
he put on the garments of vengeance
and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.
This passage speaks of Christ and what He did for us. Does the language look familiar? Paul used some of this same imagery when he wrote about the armor of God that we are to use each day. This passage tells us what Christ did and shows us that we are to fight our spiritual battle in the same way that He did. He set a pattern for us to follow. So today, as the old song says, put on the gospel armor; each piece put on with prayer. See what the Lord does in your life when you are ready for the battle.
19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. 20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.
Have you ever been around someone that wouldn’t stop talking? You find yourself thinking that you would give almost anything just to get a break from the incessant babble. This isn’t quite the same thing, but this passage says that God’s Word, specifically His law, can stop the mouth. I have actually seen this in practice a few times. God’s Law is able to work in a person’s life to stop them from justifying themselves and helping them to understand where they truly stood before God. His Word is like that in all of our lives. It shines a beacon of light inside to help us see our true self, the way God sees us.
3 You will keep in perfect peace
him whose mind is steadfast,
because he trusts in you.
4 Trust in the LORD forever,
for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal.
I have written before about our need for something unshakeable to place our trust in. This passage from Isaiah speaks to that as well. We can experience peace when we trust in the Lord. Jesus Christ is the Rock of Ages and He is steady when all around us may be shaking. Hebrews says He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Place your trust in Him today and forever.
It has been a busy week or so. We had a guest here at the house the last few days. Bro. Mike, our former pastor in Arkansas, does a Bible teaching ministry now and we scheduled him to come here to our church. It was such a blessing for us and for the church as a whole. Our whole group really enjoyed the studies and I believe the Lord will use this as a springboard for us in our ministry. We had a lot of fun spending time with him these last few days as well. We took a side trip into Canada yesterday just for fun.
The kids are really doing well. I will post some more pictures soon. We were taking pictures tonight at AWANA to put together a slide show for parent’s night in two more weeks. It is hard to believe that we are done with AWANA for the year after just two more weeks.
I am trying to get more involved in things around the community. I have been trying to sign up for a Tuesday night golf league (it will give me a good reason to play regularly) which will be good for excercise and getting to know more people.
It is definitely starting to warm up here. Yesterday we hit the 70s for the first time in a while and the snow has almost completely melted from around town. Only the really big piles have any snow left now.
9 “The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius. 10 So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 11 When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12 ‘These men who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.
13 “But he answered one of them, ‘Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? 14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’
16 “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
Have you ever gotten a little bit jealous or upset because you felt you didn’t get your fair share? When Jesus told this parable, He hit on an attitude that occurs all too often in our lives. I know that the quickest way to get me angry is to show me an unfair situation. Here the workers who came and worked all day suddenly raised their expectations based on the pay given to someone else. Jesus quickly corrects them and tells them that they are getting exactly what they agreed to work for that day. This parable is a tough one for many to understand and I can understand why. We all feel slighted when we think we deserve more. But the point of the Gospel flies against our self-deserving notions. The good news of the Gospel is that we don’t get what we really deserve from God. Instead, we get a whole lot of good that we could never earn on our own.