Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Paul Tripp Quotes Part 6

It's called grace, meaning you'll never earn it, there's nothing to do to achieve it, you won't ever deserve it. You can quit trying.

The fact that the Son of God was found lying in a manger tells you volumes about the divine love that is your only hope of rescue.

Our need is so desperate an idea, a thing, a law can't help us. It took one thing, the gift of gifts, God in the flesh, to rescue us.

In Jesus' coming, sin would be defeated, life would be given, that's why the angels sang that glory song to the shepherds.

God greeted real life-destroying sin with real life-giving grace, in the person of the Son of Man, Son of God, Jesus.

Creation (God makes beautiful things), Fall (Sin messes them up) Redemption (God in grace restores) is the plot of the Bible and your life.

Whenever you defend what God says is wrong, you tell yourself that you're smarter than God and that you don't need the grace he offers you.

Our rebellion is so deep and our inability so comprehensive it's only the transforming grace of a powerful Redeemer that can rescue us.

Your job is to obey, God's promise is to enable, so get up with joy and get at it.

Friday, December 23, 2011

What Keeps Us Going?

Around a week ago I had a friend ask me, how do you stay happy in a world like this? His point was in the midst of all the chaos in this fallen world it sure is hard to stay afloat. I basically said to him that he was right, this world is fallen. Its not going to be perfect. We are sinners, rebels against God, so this world will not give us complete happiness.

On the other hand, I explained to him what keeps me going in the midst of the chaos. And it is this: The fact that Jesus, the eternal God, came to live on this earth for me. The fact that he lived a perfect life to give me righteousness that I so desperately need, that he died for me and rose again for me. (2 Cor. 5:21, Philippians 2:6-8, 1 Peter 1:24).

Every day we must come back to the gospel for encouragement. It is seeing and savoring the objective truth's of the gospel that keep us going. When we sin or when we see sin around us we must remind ourselves of our sinfulness, but also delight in the fact that there is a Redeemer-Jesus God's son. And put our trust in him, for he will come back to this earth again to judge unrighteousness.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Book Review: Everyday Prayers by Scotty Smith

I received Everyday Prayers: 365 Days to a Gospel-Centered Faith by Scotty Smith unexpectedly. It's funny how life works sometimes. Let me explain. I found a gift card in my dresser from a local Christian book store in my town. I figured it didn't have any money left on it, but to my surprise I found out I had $13 on it! After looking around the bookstore I decided to get this book. I'm so glad I did!

Everyday Prayers is also a book that Scotty did not intend to write. He started writing these prayers as a new way to do his "quiet times". Scotty then began to share his prayers with his friends, then some members of his church family asked him about his prayer devotionals, then he started a small email distribution list, and then a blog. Now we have this book.

The main point of all these prayers is what Scotty calls, "praying the gospel". This book is a passionate plea to understand and experience more of the gospel of God's grace. While many devotional books focus on what we need to do for Jesus, this book focuses on what Jesus did for us. To quote Scotty, "I intentionally always come back to who we are in Christ and who he is in us. Like Luther said, we need the basics of the gospel every day because we forget the gospel every day."

What I also loved about this book was that his prayers came out of meditating on a specific passage of Scripture. At the top of every page is a passage from God's word and then the prayer follows. I have benefited the most from this book when I actually get my Bible out and read the passage for myself first and then read the prayer.

I so agree with the other reviewer who said this book is a gift for the church. I have gone through Spurgeon's Morning and Evening devotional and it was a blessing, but I believe this book has the potential to do greater things.

I know we all live busy lives. But reading one of these prayers everyday will only take you 15 to 30 minutes depending on how deep you go with it. You will be encouraged in the gospel of Jesus, you will treasure Jesus more, and you will long for Jesus to come back triumphantly to reign forever with his bride!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Paul Tripp Quotes Part 5

Why would you look to others for your identity when Jesus has purchased your acceptance as a child of the Father?

Will you set your heart today on things that cannot satisfy or rest your heart on the eternally satisfying love of Jesus?

The DNA of joy is thankfulness. Have you noticed that entitled, complaining people don't happen to be very joyful?

Envy denies grace. The assumption of envy is that you deserve what another has been given, when in fact you and I deserve nothing.

If the story of your life is the chronicle of underserved favor, why would you boast or act like you're better than someone else?

If you look into the mirror of God's Word and see someone in need of grace, why would you be impatient with others who share that need?

Where is hope to be found? In six life-altering words, "I will be with you always."

Hope is not a thing, not a location, not a situation, not an experience. Hope is a person and his name is Jesus.

Today you can give way to fear producing "What ifs...?" or rest in the sovereign care of your wise and gracious Savior King.

If you underestimate the power of remaining sin, you'll under value your need for forgiving, rescuing, transforming grace.

By yourself you don't have what it takes to live in this broken world, that's why God hasn't left you to yourself.

Corporate worship is designed to expose your false hope and introduce you to the true hope that is Jesus.

Being a sinner means you have the perverse ability to look at what God says is horrible and see something attractive-for this there's grace.

Friday, December 9, 2011

My Early Mistake

When I first became a Christian I was so excited to learn and read anything I could get my hands on about the Christian faith. I was very hungry for the gospel. Thankfully God gave me (and he continues to give me) many great resources by faithful men of God: sermons, books, and blogs to learn the truth about the gospel of Jesus Christ. And most importantly a biblical church in town that proclaims the truths of the gospel every single week.

Looking back on that time in my life is very encouraging, however, there were some dangers in learning truth for a young Christian like me with no older mature Christians around to shepherd me. The biggest danger for me was pride. It was a tendency to look down on other Christians who did not agree with my convictions about what Scripture taught.  It was a tendency to have no patience whatsoever with people. It was a tendency to silently put down others in my own head. It was so bad. But the worst thing about it was I had no idea of my own sin. I thought that I was proclaiming truth and proclaiming what the Bible says. And that is good, but the problem was my wrong attitude.

It took about four or five years for God to slowly take away my pride with this issue. It started with my parents encouraging me to go to a local college group in town. They explained to me that it would be good to get to know some more Christians my own age. For about a year I resisted. I thought that the college group would be filled with professing Christians who had said the sinners prayer, but were not really following Christ.

I finally did end up going because a friend not involved in the group invited me to go. When I first went I had my doubts and I was closed-minded. I visited a couple more times, but never really got involved. During the next spring semester God used this college group to change my life in a way I never expected. I realized that these young people were true Christians, desiring to follow Christ with their whole hearts. Even if the doctrine or worship was not exactly as I would like.

God has been pleased to show me my sin and struggle in this area. Hopefully the following list will be helpful if you are struggling with pride.

1) We cannot expect everyone to be where we are. If we have come to a place in our Christian lives where we have learned some great truth (election, sovereign grace, gospel centeredness, etc) we should be thankful. We should be thankful that we can better serve Christ and others with that truth. However there is a tendency to totally despise other people because they do not understand it. Listen, we cannot expect everyone to understand these things at the same rate that we have. God works at different times and different levels with his people and he is a patient God. I'm afraid we don't imitate our God very well with being patient with others.

2) We cannot give ourselves any credit for what we learn. This is especially true for us who believe in God's sovereign grace. Meaning, that God rescued us when we were spiritually dead! Now that's funny that we affirm the sovereignty of God in conversion and totally forget it when we learn spiritual truth in sanctification! God has done this great work. Not us! We have learned to be gospel centered because God has been pleased to reveal that to us. We have no capacity to receive anything spiritual in our flesh.

3) We cannot be the final judge, only God is. I want to be careful though in this post. I don't want it to seem like there is no place for judging or correcting people who are in error. There is. We are to proclaim the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). However we are not the final judge in determining how other Christians are in learning truth or doctrine. I wonder if people who show no desire or rarely to learn the truth's of the Bible are Christians, but I must not pronounce a final judgement upon them. That is God's job. I must approach them humbly with the gospel and correct them lovingly. 

I remember watching a video of R.C. Sproul talking about reformed doctrine and the danger of becoming prideful. He basically said that shouldn't be the case at all. Reformed doctrine is in no shape form or fashion pride lifting. It is pride smashing! May God help us to continue to grow in humility with others Christians who may not look exactly like we would like them to be.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Jesus, Thank You!

This song called "Jesus, Thank You" by Sovereign Grace Music is one of my favorite songs. It helps to bring me under the gospel with a thankful heart. The lyrics are below. Enjoy!

The mystery of the cross I cannot comprehend
The agonies of Calvary
You the perfect Holy One, crushed Your Son
Who drank the bitter cup reserved for me 

Your blood has washed away my sin
Jesus, thank You
The Father’s wrath completely satisfied
Jesus, thank You
Once Your enemy, now seated at Your table
Jesus, thank You

By Your perfect sacrifice I’ve been brought near
Your enemy You’ve made Your friend
Pouring out the riches of Your glorious grace
Your mercy and Your kindness know no end 

Lover of my soul
I want to live for You

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Father's Bargain

This might be my favorite couple paragraphs ever written by any man. This is a conversation between the Father and the Son about the people of God. Amazing!
Here you may suppose the Father to say, when driving His bargain with Christ for you:
Father: My Son, here is a company of poor miserable souls, that have utterly undone themselves, and now lie open to my justice! Justice demands satisfaction for them, or will satisfy itself in the eternal ruin of them: What shall be done for these souls? And thus Christ returns.
Son: O my Father, such is my love to, and pity for them, that rather than they shall perish eternally, I will be responsible for them as their Surety; bring in all thy bills, that I may see what they owe thee; Lord, bring them all in, that there may be no after-reckonings with them; at my hand shall thou require it. I will rather choose to suffer their wrath than they should suffer it: upon me, my Father, upon me be all their debt.
Father: But, my Son, if thou undertake for them, thou must reckon to pay the last mite, expect no abatements; if I spare them, I will not spare thee.
Son: Content, Father, let it be so; charge it all upon me, I am able to discharge it: and though it prove a kind of undoing to me, though it impoverish all my riches, empty all my treasures, yet I am content to undertake it!” (Works, Vol.1, p.61).
John Flavel