Next to the Gospel

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To have peace and love
in a marriage is a gift
that is next to the knowledge
of the gospel.

–Martin Luther

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Published in: on 11/06/2017 at 4:33  Leave a Comment  
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A Powerful Secret

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Compelled by Grace

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It is forgiveness that sets a man working for God. He does not work in order to be forgiven, but because he has been forgiven… An unforgiven man cannot work. He has not the will, nor the power, nor the liberty. He is in chains. Israel in Egypt could not serve Jehovah. “Let my people go, that they may serve Me” was God’s message to Pharaoh; first liberty, then service.” It is forgiveness that sets a man working for God. He does not work in order to be forgiven, but because he has been forgiven… An unforgiven man cannot work. He has not the will, nor the power, nor the liberty. He is in chains. Israel in Egypt could not serve Jehovah. “Let my people go, that they may serve Me” was God’s message to Pharaoh; first liberty, then service.”

A forgiven man is the true worker; the true lawkeeper. He can, he will, he must work for God. He has come into contact with that part of God’s character which warms his heart. Forgiving love constrains him. He cannot but work for Him who has removed his sins as far as the east is from the west.

―Horatius Bonar,
Holiness and Peace

Artwork by Vincent Van Gogh

Bewildering Grace

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In Christ, we are adopted by God, 
we are chosen without deserving,
loved without earning,
and saved without effort.

–Nick Lannon

Failures that Flourish

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Published in: on 10/16/2017 at 10:58  Leave a Comment  
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Unlikely Love

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The more unlikely it is
that He could love us,
the more His love is commended.
The less we could do,
the more He did for us.

–Thomas Goodwin
(1600 – 1680)

Published in: on 09/29/2017 at 15:18  Leave a Comment  
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The Good News about Wrath

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It is no mistake to say that the love of God and the wrath of God amount to the same thing, described from different points of view. Both constitute an emphatic “No!” to that which endangers His creation. God’s evil-eradicating, death-destroying wrath is indispensable to the well-being of the universe. It is not a counterpoint to His love but a vital expression of it.

Croatian theologian Miroslav Volf comments: “Though I used to complain about the indecency of the idea of God’s wrath, I came to think that I would have to rebel against a God who wasn’t wrathful at the sight of the world’s evil. God isn’t wrathful in spite of being love. God is wrathful because God is love.”

“To be truly good one has to be
outraged by evil and implacably
hostile to injustice.”
–Rebecca M. Pippert

The wrath of God is His firm opposition to all that is crooked, broken, oppressive, unjust, and evil. He loves people too much to allow them to be destroyed by sin. His deep hatred of sin is a reflection of the greatness of His love. He will go to any length, pay any price, and make any sacrifice to free people from this toxic poison of the soul.

This is the unmistakable message of the cross. The horrific death of Christ at Calvary reveals the intensity of God’s purpose to annihilate sin and rescue sinners. The Biblical record says that Jesus is “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (Jn. 1:29).

In his article “Prayer: Rebellion against the Status Quo,” David Wells contends that we have sadly lost our anger, but fortunately God has not lost His. “The wrath of God is His opposition to what is wrong … [it] seeks the triumph of truth and the banishment of Evil.” It is God declaring: “No, not in my universe!”

It would be appalling if the Divine Lord flew into a rage without warning. But it would be equally appalling if He never got angry. The evil of this world is damnable, sickening, horrendous. Someone needs to put a stop to it.

Someone will.

The wrath of God turns out to be very good news. This love-inspired hostility to all things hateful and harmful gives hope to a world afflicted by the curse of sin.

“It is not evil that will have the last word,
but good; not sorrow, but joy;
not hate, but love.”
–R. J. Campbell

This is cause indeed for celebration.

–Jurgen O. Schulz
What Jesus Wished People Knew About God

God-Indwelt Jars

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Wonderfully Attached

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Meeting God

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Absolute Ideals and Absolute Grace

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The Sermon on the Mount proves that before God we all stand on level ground: murders and temper-throwers, adulterers and lusters, thieves and coveters. We are all desperate, and that is in fact the only state appropriate to a human being who wants to know God. Having fallen from the absolute Ideal, we have nowhere to land but in the safety net of absolute grace.

–Philip Yancey,
The Jesus I Never Knew

Uniqueness of the Gospel

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We see that the uniqueness
of the Gospel is that when He who is
self-giving love takes over a human life,
the one who is taken over himself
becomes an other-lover,
and not just blessed but a blesser,
not just healed but a healer,
not just loved but a lover.

–Norman P. Grubb

An Uphill Climb

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You want to grow in virtue, to serve God, to love Christ? Well, you will grow in and attain to these things if you will make them a slow and sure, an utterly real, a mountain step-plod and ascent, willing to have to camp for weeks or months in spiritual desolation, darkness and emptiness at different stages in your march and growth. All demand for constant light . . . all the attempt at eliminating or minimizing the cross and trial, is so much soft folly and puerile trifling.

― Friedrich von Hügel

Leaning Back on God

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Prayer is not a way of making use of God; prayer is a way of offering ourselves to God in order that He should be able to make use of us. It may be that one of our great faults in prayer is that we talk too much and listen too little. When prayer is at its highest we wait in silence for God’s voice to us; we linger in His presence for His peace and His power to flow over us and around us; we lean back in His everlasting arms and feel the serenity of perfect security in Him.

–William Barclay,
The Plain Man’s Book of Prayers

A Strong Hope

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Published in: on 07/30/2017 at 18:52  Leave a Comment  
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Dangerous Heights

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Stronger Cords

Praying

Grace binds you with
far stronger cords than
the cords of duty or obligation
can bind you.

–E. Stanley Jones

The Gladdest News of All

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Christianity tells us we are part of a story that has an Author. It tells us He is good—indisputably, overwhelmingly, irresistibly good— and He is the source of everything that is beautiful and worthwhile and true. He created us to play a role in His story and placed within our hearts a deep longing to know Him. Christianity warns us there is a villain and dangers and distortions and perversions of the truth. It declares that tragedy, evil, and chaos have been defeated in Jesus Christ. It calls us to believe that the gospel is not only the greatest truth—but the most wonderful one of all. It invites us to become the beloved sons and daughters of the Writer of the story.

Could there be anything more astounding than that?

–J. O. Schulz
What Jesus Wished People Knew About God

Preposterous Grace

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Grace is the word that sums up the heart-grabbing essence of the gospel. And the illustration that stands head and shoulders above the rest is found in Jesus’ prodigal parable.

The rascal who did everything possible to break the heart of his father deserves flogging—but the red carpet is rolled out for him. Extravagant privileges are heaped upon him in what looks like a lottery win. The father can’t find enough gifts to shower on the boy.

Admittedly, it’s unwarranted. It’s ludicrous.

The kid is clobbered by kindness. It’s the scandalous peripety of grace.

Grace is divine prodigality gone wild. It is ridiculous generosity, reckless open-handedness, audacious extravagance. It is goodness on steroids.

Grace shows flagrant disregard for moderation, fairness, or bookkeeping. It dishes out in outrageous excess to those who don’t have it together and have nothing to give in return.

Michael Spencer put it like this: “Real grace is simply inexplicable, inappropriate, out of the box, out of bounds, offensive, excessive, too much, given to the wrong people and all those things.”

Grace completely abolishes any idea of merit. It floods the undeserving with blessing. Grace is love shown to the unlovely, favor bestowed upon the unworthy. It is indiscriminating, uncoerced, and delightfully gratuitous.

It doesn’t keep score.

–Jurgen Schulz
What Jesus Wished People Knew About God

 

Trustworthy

Why we trust

Outrageous Grace

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When people realize that they have received a gift they can never repay, they notify their faces and their actions, and the tenor of their lives becomes one of humble and joyful thanksgiving. They simply rejoice in the gift. “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, his love is everlasting” (Ps. 107:1).

–Brennan Manning,
Ruthless Trust

Published in: on 05/30/2017 at 16:59  Leave a Comment  
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The Critical Thing

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Published in: on 05/28/2017 at 14:44  Leave a Comment  
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We Need a Bucket

c943651e1b6ed8028509f66de7af2bd1There is no lack in us of the impulse to pray. And there is no scarcity of requests to pray. Desire and demand keep the matter of prayer before us constantly. So why are so many lives prayerless? Simply because “the well is deep and you have nothing to draw with.” We need a bucket. We need a container suited to lowering desires and demands into the deep Jacob’s Well of God’s presence and word and bringing them to the surface again. The Psalms are such a bucket.

–Eugene Peterson

Published in: on 05/25/2017 at 9:05  Leave a Comment  
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A fresh look at Jesus’ most famous story

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It finally happened! The book, “What Jesus Wished People Knew About God” has been launched and is now available on Amazon, Kobo, Chapters, Barnes & Noble, Apple ibooks, etc.

This book takes a close look at the stunning portrait Jesus painted of His Father in His famous Parable of the Prodigal Son. Jesus’ parable is loaded with spiritual dynamite that could seriously alter your concept of God. It may rearrange your theology. It may make your heart skip a beat. It may lead you to experience the extravagant embrace of the Father and bring you to a freedom and joy you have never known.

Find a comfortable spot, put your religious preconceptions on hold, and prepare for a heart-stopping journey into the heart of God.

The Most Creative Act

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The King’s Grace

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Published in: on 04/20/2017 at 8:35  Leave a Comment  
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The Gospel Storyline

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Out of the cross comes the resurrection.
Out of weakness comes real strength.
Out of repentance and admitting
you are weak comes real power.
Out of giving away and serving others
comes real strength.
Out of generosity and giving . . .
comes real wealth.
That’s the gospel storyline.

–Tim Keller

Published in: on 04/19/2017 at 9:59  Leave a Comment  
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C. S. Lewis on the Resurrection

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A Bold Statement

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The resurrection
is God’s triumphant
proclamation that
death is not the end,
that injustices of the past
are not forgotten,
that evil will not
for ever triumph.
     –David Gooding,
     & John Lennox,
     

What God is really like

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