Sunday, January 30, 2011

Christ Has Conquered All

Heavy laden, weary soul,
Bearing up a heart of stone,
His Spirit comes to dwell in you,
And Christ, the weight of sin assume.

All my guilt is cast on Christ,
And His righteousness is mine.
What guilt should weigh upon my head?
For Christ has cleared it all!

The sum of all my sacrifice,
Though joyful, fails to justify.
I cannot pay for grace that's free,
Nor add to work that is complete.

Jesus paid it all for me!
This my ransom and my plea.
What debt I labor to repay?
For Christ has paid it all!

Through the law comes sin and death,
But faith is counted righteousness.
So I will trust in Christ alone,
My debt to pay, my sin atone.

And I stand in confidence,
Covered by His righteousness.
What shall become of boasting tongues?
For Christ has done it all!

Where O death is now thy sting?
Swallowed up in victory!
The Lord of glory reigns on high,
Sov'reign over earth and sky!

Yes, He triumphed o'er the grave,
And He comes again one day.
What lesser name shall draw our praise?
For Christ has conquered all.

Christ has conquered all!

by Kristie Braselton

Friday, January 28, 2011

Nothing but Christ and Him crucified - 1 Cor 2:1-2

And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified (1 Cor 2:1-2). (NASB)

And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified (1 Cor 2:1-2).

You'll remember, friends, that when I first came to you to let you in on God's master stroke, I didn't try to impress you with polished speeches and the latest philosophy. I deliberately kept it plain and simple: first Jesus and who he is; then Jesus and what he did—Jesus crucified (1 Cor 2:1-2).
(The Message)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

It is the function of the law to condemn, not to justify. Obviously, if everyone did what was right, we would not need law. This is why the Apostle Paul wrote by inspiration: “… the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient” (1 Timothy 1:9).

The function of law is to put the finger on sin and condemn it. Remember, we don't have to break the whole law to be law-breakers. 'For whosoever shall keep the whole law and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all' (James 2:10).

This makes sense. How many links must you break in a chain to break the chain? Just one. How many murders do you have to commit to be a murderer? Just one. How many sins do you have to commit to be a sinner? Just one. And we have all committed one, and keep on committing more every day.

But praise be to God that "...the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness" (Rom 4:5).

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Interesting tidbit - 7 (Philippians 1:18 and Galatians 1:8)

Q:  Doesn't Philippians 1:18 contradict Galatians 1:8?

Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will; the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel; the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice (Phil 1:15-18).

But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed (Gal 1:8)!

A:  In Philippians 1, Paul was speaking of some who were preaching Christ "from envy and strife" (v 15).  These preaching envied the great number of people Paul had reached with the gospel of Christ.  Consequently, they preached Christ from envy and strife, which the dictionary defines as "competition between rivals," and "of contention" (v 16), which is defined as "a striving to win in competition."  Like many preachers today, these men thought that reaching the lost was a competition among preachers, one in which Paul could no longer be engaged due to his incarceration in a Roman prison (v 13).

With Paul thus sidelined in prison, these brethren continued to preach Christ, "thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment" (v 16).  That is, they supposed Paul also viewed reaching the lost as a competition, and that it would just eat him up inside to hear his rivals were out gaining converts while he could not.  It is in this context Paul rejoices that Christ is being preached, for while these brethren were preaching Christ with a faulty motive, they were at least preaching the right message.

That's quite different from Galatians 1:8, where Paul pronounces a curse on all who preach a faulty message, even if their motive is pure and good.  God can bless and use the right message when it is preached with an envious spirit, but He cannot bless and use a faulty message, regardless of how pure and sincere the motivation behind it.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Penguin Colony

Aren't these the cutest little guys you've ever seen?  So what exactly does one call a group of penguins?  A flock?  A herd?  A rookery?  Well, according to a list I found on line, it's called a colony.  I don't know if that's right or not, but I'm going with it.  Thanks so much to my friends Karen and Bonnie for introducing me to these adorable h'orderves!

Drain one can of extra large and one can of small pitted black olives.

Make a vertical slice in the extra large olives from the criss-cross at the top to the hole at the bottom.

Fill each extra large olive with cream cheese. I cut a block of cream cheese into rectangular chunks that looked to be about the right size. Then I opened the slice and stuffed in the cream cheese piece smoothing a 1/4 -1/2 inch wide line of cream cheese between the two sides of the slice. When the olives are stuffed refrigerate them until you are ready to assemble the penguins.

Peel a carrot and cut it in 1/4 inch thick slices. Cut a small pie shaped wedge from each slice and set them to the side.

Gather the small olives, the stuffed olives, the carrot pieces and some round toothpicks. Pierce a small olive sideways with a toothpick. Push the toothpick through and thread one of the cream cheese stuffed olives lengthwise beneath it. then push the bottom of the toothpick into the center of a carrot slice, lining up the opening where the wedge was cut away with the stripe of cream cheese above.

Set the stack upright balancing on the carrot slice. Position the small olive so that the hole faces forward in line with the cream cheese slice and place a small carrot wedge in the hole to form a beak.

If desired, take a fresh chive and slit it in two lengthwise. Wrap one piece around the penguin's "neck" and arrange it like a scarf. Trim away any excess. Arrange penguins on a plate to serve as appetizers or use as a garnish for other dishes.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

When Speaking Has Ceased

When speaking has ceased and the room has grown still,
When solitude creeps over valley and hill,
The Spirit of God finds a place to alight
And puts our vain fears and our trembling to flight.

O Spirit of God, fill the earth with Your joy,
Give voice to our song that our praise may employ
Your well-spring of peace to fill ev'ry bare space
With sweet notes of gladness and fair tones of grace.

When clamor and noise fill the world with their sounds,
When harmony flees and loud tumult abounds,
The Spirit of God is not driven away;
He quiets our heart and forever will stay.

O Spirit of God, rising lighter than air,
Lift high to the Lord all the weight of our prayers,
No burden we carry is ever unknown;
No friend of the Spirit is ever alone.

Never alone.

by Johanna Anderson and Craig Courtney

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Acts - a rough timeline

(timeline of Acts and beyond)

30 AD - Ascension of Jesus Christ (Acts 1:9-11)
32-33 AD - Ananias and Sapphira put to death (Acts 5:1-11)
34-37 AD - Stephen martyred; Paul's conversion (Acts 7-9)
42-50 AD - Book of James (half-brother of Jesus Christ) written (because of its content, I'd put it closer to 42 AD)
44 AD - 1st of the Twelve — James (brother of John) — martyred (Acts 12:2)
46 AD - Famine in Judea
47 AD - Ananias becomes high priest
47-48 AD - Paul's first missionary journey (Acts 13:1-14:28)
49-50 AD - Jerusalem Council (Acts 15:1-35); Galatians written
49-52 AD - Paul's second missionary journey (Acts 15:36-18:22)
51 AD - 1 & 2 Thessalonians written
54 AD - Nero becomes Roman emperor
56-58 AD - Paul's third missionary journey (Acts 18:23-21:26)
57 AD - Paul's fourth and last visit to Jerusalem (Acts 21-23)
56-57 AD - 1 & 2 Corinthians written
56-58 AD - Romans written
58-60 AD - Paul imprisoned at Caesarea (Acts 23:11-26:32)
59-60 AD - Porcius Festus appointed governor of Judea; Paul taken to Rome for trial
60-61 AD - Paul under house arrest at Rome (Acts 28:11-31)
61-63 AD - Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon written
62 AD - James (half brother of Jesus Christ) martyred
63-66 AD - 1 Timothy, Titus, and 1 & 2 Peter written
64 AD - Fire at Rome
64-68 AD - Hebrews written
67 AD - 2 Timothy written; Peter and Paul martyred
68 AD - Roman emperor Nero dies
70 AD - Destruction of Jerusalem

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The mystery

What we say is wisdom to people who are mature. It isn’t a wisdom that comes from the present day or from today’s leaders who are being reduced to nothing. We talk about God’s wisdom, which has been hidden as a secret. God determined this wisdom in advance, before time began, for our glory. It is a wisdom that none of the present-day rulers have understood, because if they did understand it, they would never have crucified the Lord of glory! But this is precisely what is written:
God has prepared things for those who love him that no eye has seen, or ear has heard, or that haven’t crossed the mind of any human being. God has revealed these things to us through the Spirit.  The Spirit searches everything, including the depths of God (1 Cor 2:6-10).