Sunday, May 31, 2015

May 31, 2015

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7

Doesn't it seem like our culture tends to over value knowledge and under value wisdom? In fact, I think we often equate knowledge with intelligence as though just learning something makes you wiser.

Solomon wrote in the Proverbs that knowledge begins with knowing God and wisdom results in knowing how to apply the knowledge to daily living. Applying your knowledge of God in daily spiritual discipline is the essence of faith.

The first thing wisdom knows is that God is the Creator of the universe. We saw from Hebrews 11:1-3 that Creation and God as Creator is knowledge that led the Patriarchs to faith. It should inspire faith within you! The appropriate response to the knowledge of God as Creation should be hoping in Him!

But not only must you fear Him as the Creator but know that He is also the Controller of everything as well!

Again, we turn to Hebrews 11 to make the case!

"But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a Rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith." Hebrews 11:6-7

Noah is honored for his faith because he agreed to do something that had never been done before. Never had it rained before and he likely wasn't sure what rain was but God told him so he believed without seeing! That is faith, isn't it?! And who knows if he had seen a boat before since he was a farmer who lived inland. Since he probably hadn't seen one he most likely hadn't built one. He agreed to do it because of his knowledge that God is sovereignty in control of His universe! His fear of God was stronger than his fear of the unknown.

Noah's knowledge of God plus his obedience to God's sovereign plan turned his knowledge into wisdom! It turned his fear into faith!

Is there an area of disobedience in your life? If so, it is evidence that you don't have a proper fear of God. Either you fear man more than you fear God or you don't have faith that God is truly in control of the unknown.

Friday, May 29, 2015

May 30, 2015

"Then He said to them all: "If anyone would come after me......." Luke 9:23a

I am so encouraged to read the call of Jesus to those who would desire to be disciples!
Notice whom He addesses:

"He said to them ALL".

"If anyone will......"

Anyone can be a follower of Jesus Christ. You don't have to be wealthy or well educated or well adjusted. You just have to be willing! Consider this story from Brooklyn Tabernacle, a great church in metropolitan New York City:

Jim Cymbala preaches at a church in the slums of New York. He tells the following story: It was Easter Sunday and I was so tired at the end of the day that I just went to the edge of the platform, pulled down my tie and sat down and draped my feet over the edge. It was a wonderful service with many people coming forward. The counselors were talking with these people. As I was sitting there I looked up the middle aisle, and there in about the third row was a man who looked about fifty, disheveled, filthy. He looked up at me rather sheepishly, as if saying, “Could I talk to you?” We have homeless people coming in all the time, asking for money or whatever. So as I sat there, I said to myself, though I am ashamed of it, “What a way to end a Sunday. I’ve had such a good time, preaching and ministering, and here’s a fellow probably wanting some money for more wine.” He walked up. When he got within about five feet of me, I smelled a horrible smell like I’d never smelled in my life. It was so awful that when he got close, I would inhale by looking away, and then I’d talk to him, and then look away to inhale, because I couldn’t inhale facing him. I asked him, “What’s your name?” “David.” “How long have you been on the street?” “Six years.” “How old are you?” “Thirty-two.” He looked fifty- hair matted; front teeth missing; wino; eyes slightly glazed. “Where did you sleep last night, David?” “Abandoned truck.” I keep in my back pocket a money clip that also holds some credit cards. I fumbled to pick one out thinking; I’ll give him some money. I won’t even get a volunteer. They are all busy talking with others. Usually we don’t give money to people. We take them to get something to eat. I took the money out. David pushed his finger in front of me. He said, “I don’t want your money. I want this Jesus, the One you were talking about, because I’m not going to make it. I’m going to die on the street.” I completely forgot about David, and I started to weep for myself. I was going to give a couple of dollars to someone God had sent to me. See how easy it is? I could make the excuse I was tired. There is no excuse. I was not seeing him the way God sees him. I was not feeling what God feels. But oh, did that change! David just stood there. He didn’t know what was happening. I pleaded with God, “God, forgive me! Forgive me! Please forgive me. I am so sorry to represent You this way. I’m so sorry. Here I am with my message and my points, and You send somebody and I am not ready for it. Oh, God!” Something came over me. Suddenly I started to weep deeper, and David began to weep. He fell against my chest as I was sitting there. He fell against my white shirt and tie, and I put my arms around him, and there we wept on each other. The smell of His person became a beautiful aroma. Here is what I thought the Lord made real to me: If you don’t love this smell, I can’t use you, because this is why I called you where you are. This is what you are about. You are about this smell. Christ changed David’s life. He started memorizing portions of Scripture that were incredible. We got him a place to live. We hired him in the church to do maintenance, and we got his teeth fixed. He was a handsome man when he came out of the hospital. They detoxed him in 6 days. He spent that Thanksgiving at my house. He also spent Christmas at my house. When we were exchanging presents, he pulled out a little thing and he said, “This is for you.” It was a little white hanky. It was the only thing he could afford. A year later David got up and talked about his conversion to Christ. The minute he took the mic and began to speak, I said, “The man is a preacher.” This past Easter we ordained David. He is an associate minister of a church over in New Jersey. And I was so close to saying, “Here, take this; I’m a busy preacher.” We can get so full of ourselves.

The call to discipleship is to "all" or to "anyone who will". 

That means even people like David can follow Jesus! Or, people like you and me.

May 29, 2015


History begins with worship and it will end in worship – so what should we be figuring out in the meantime?

It seems to me we should be figuring out how to do worship in a way that pleases God. The problem is that congregations can't seem to figure out the best way to do that and in fact, often spend too much time and energy fighting over what style of worship is best.

While Christians are fighting over hymns or praise songs, choirs or worship teams, or piano and organ over guitars and drums, we have lost touch with the essence of worship.

The 67th Psalm reminds us that the style of worship God prefers and desires is - LIFE-STYLE!  He wants His people to love Him completely and live like it. Worship must be understood as something to be lived every day through thought, word and actions. When a group of people who have been loving God and living worship all week long come together on a Sunday to corporately worship God - that is world-class worship! That worship changes people and change places and changes cultures.

WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE? – V. 1 -   May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us,”

When the Psalmist prayed for God to be gracious and to show His favor on him he was essentially praying to enter into an intimate worship experience with God. He is describing what worship ought to be for the one who loves God.

Worship should:

Celebrate God’s Grace and Seek God’s Face.

If this defined worship on that side of the Christ and the Cross, think how much more it should mean to us on this side of Calvary!

Celebrate His Grace

Grace is the unlimited and undeserved kindness God extended to you and me when He sent Jesus to offer Himself on the cross so He could take the guilt and penalty of our sins.

As Romans 5:8 declares, "God demonstrated His love for us in this way - while we were still sinners Christ died for us."

Grace means that when we deserved His judgment for our wretched sins, God put those sins on Christ's account and extended a pardon to each of us. He agreed to die and allow us to live.

We should never get over our amazement over the grace He extended to us. Every morning it should capture us and every day we should  contemplate it and celebrate it. His grace should ignite our spirits daily. It should control our thinking and energize our actions. Grace should be evident in all our attitudes.

God's gracious gift to us redeemed us and it regenerated us and it adopted us into His family. His grace justified us allowing Him to declare us "not guilty"! He brought us into a personal relationship with Him!

Do you celebrate His amazing grace every day? Do you express it in your attitudes and actions daily? Do you extend His grace to others you meet each day? Do you treat them with the graciousness He extended to you?

World-class worship, world-changing worship, is expressed most powerfully through one style of worship - LIFESTYLE - His grace lived out humbly and passionately through your life.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

May 28, 2015

"May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us, that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations. May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you. May the nations be glad and sing for joy,  for you rule the peoples justly and guide the nations of the earth. May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you. Then the land will yield its harvest, and God, our God, will bless us. God will bless us, and all the ends of the earth will fear him."   Psalm 67:1-6

One of the interesting things about the Holy Land is you've got the Jordan River going right down and on either end you have large bodies of water. On one end you have the Sea of Galilee. On the other end you have the Dead Sea. And you can't imagine two bodies of water that are more different than one another. The Sea of Galilee is the place that we always think about the fishermen with their nets. From all the stories in the New Testament, a place of abundance where people can earn their living by catching the fish there. They provide for their families and provide for others, because of the life that's in Lake Galilee. But, you go to the other end of the Jordan River and you find the Dead Sea. A place that has so much salt content in it that large life, life that we would consider useful and part of our abundance, just doesn't even exist. It's dead in that regard. They both receive the same water. They both receive the same abundance, but the key difference is, Lake Galilee receives, but it also has an outlet and the water flows through it. But in the Dead Sea there is no outlet and so the water just accumulates, year after year, century after century, getting more and more salty and less and less hospitable to life. I think that is a good image for us to ponder about our lives.

Which are you like, Lake Galilee or are you like the Dead Sea? God is pouring all this abundance into your life. How much of it leaks out? How much of it is passed on? Because one of the things that you can't escape is that a basic rule of life is that you have His life in you and as you receive abundantly and as you pass that abundance on in some measure to others that life is the blessings of that life is shared by other.

So when God looks at your life, what does he see? Does he see something that's full of life, where his blessing to you pass on through and become blessings in the lives of others or is there something stopping it up and making it become more and more inhospitable to the life of the Spirit? You are blessed to be a blessing. So as you focus on this what worship means and as you thank God, will you recommit yourself to being a channel, a channel of good things to the incredible variety of people that God has put around you? Because even as you share this life with others, you receive it more abundantly in your own life.

That is the central truth of this great Psalm! It elevates the role of worship in your life and the life of your church. Worship done right will change your world!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

May 27, 2015

Rarely do I post articles by other writers but I came across this today and was very impressed by it for three reasons: (1) It was written by a young pastor, (2) It was written by a young pastor from a non-holiness tradition, (3) His church is right across the street from Michigan State University so he is challenging college kids with this message. See what you think!

I have a growing concern that younger evangelicals do not take seriously the Bible’s call to personal holiness. We are too at peace with worldliness in our homes, too at ease with sin in our lives, too content with spiritual immaturity in our churches.

God’s mission in the world is to save a people and sanctify his people. Christ died “that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” (2 Cor. 5:15) We were chosen in Christ “before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.” (Eph. 1:4) Christ “loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her…so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” (Eph. 5:25-27) Christ “gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.” (Titus 2:14)

J.C. Ryle, the Bishop of Liverpool from the nineteenth century, was right: “We must be holy, because this is one grand end and purpose for which Christ came into the world…Jesus is a complete Savior. He does not merely take away the guilt of a believer’s sin, He does more—He breaks its power (1 Pet. 1:2; Rom. 8:29; Eph. 1:4; 2 Tim. 1:9; Heb. 12:10).” My fear is that as we rightly celebrate, and in some quarters rediscover, all that Christ saved us from, we will give little thought and make little effort concerning all that Christ saved us to.

The pursuit of holiness does not occupy the place in our hearts that it should. There are several reasons for the relative neglect of personal holiness.

1) It was too common in the past to equate holiness with abstaining from a few taboo practices like drinking, smoking, and dancing. In a previous generation, godliness meant you didn’t do these things. Younger generations have little patience for these sorts of rules. They either don’t agree with the rules, or they figure they’ve got those bases covered so there’s not much else to worry about.

2) Related to the first reason is the fear that a passion for holiness makes you some kind of weird holdover from a bygone era. As soon as you talk about swearing or movies or music or modesty or sexual purity or self-control or just plain godliness, people get nervous that others will call them legalistic, or worse, a fundamentalist.

3) We live in a culture of cool, and to be cool means you differentiate yourself from others. That has often meant pushing the boundaries with language, with entertainment, with alcohol, and with fashion. Of course, holiness is much more than these things, but in an effort to be hip, many Christians have figured holiness has nothing to do with these things. They’ve willingly embraced Christian freedom, but they’ve not earnestly pursued Christian virtue.

4) Among more liberal Christians, a radical pursuit of holiness is often suspect because any talk of right and wrong behaviors feels judgmental and intolerant. If we are to be “without spot or blemish,” it necessitates we distinguish between what sort of attitudes, actions, and habits are pure and what sort are impure. This sort of sorting gets you in trouble with the pluralism police.

5) Among conservative Christians, there is sometimes the mistaken notion that if we are truly gospel-centered, we won’t talk about rules or imperatives or exhort Christians to moral exertion. To be sure, there is a rash of moralistic teaching out there, but sometimes we go to the other extreme and act as if the Bible shouldn’t advise our morals at all. We are so eager not to confuse indicatives and imperatives (a point I’ve made many times) that if we’re not careful, we’ll drop the imperatives altogether. We’ve been afraid of words like diligence, effort, and obedience. We’ve downplayed verses that call us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12) or command us to cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit (2 Cor. 7:1) or warn against even a hint of immorality among the saints (Eph. 5:3).

I find it telling that you can find plenty of young Christians today who are really excited about justice and serving in their communities. You can find Christians fired up about evangelism. You can find lots of Generation XYZ believers passionate about precise theology. Yes and amen to all that. But where are the Christians known for their zeal for holiness? Where is the corresponding passion for honoring Christ with Christlike obedience? We need more Christian leaders on our campuses, in our cities, in our seminaries who will say with Paul, “Look carefully then how you walk.” (Eph. 5:15)

When is the last time we took a verse like Ephesians 5:4—“Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving”—when is the last time we took a verse like this and even began to try to apply this to our conversation, our joking, our movies, our YouTube clips, our TV and commercial intake? The fact of the matter is if you read through the New Testament epistles, you will find very few explicit commands that tell us to evangelize and very few explicit commands that tell us to take care of the poor in our communities, but there are dozens and dozens of verses in the New Testament that enjoin us, in one way or another, to be holy as God is holy (e.g., 1 Peter 1:13-16).

I do not wish to denigrate any of the other biblical emphases capturing the attention of younger evangelicals. But I believe God would have us be much more careful with our eyes, our ears, and our mouth. It’s not pietism, legalism, or fundamentalism to take holiness seriously. It’s the way of all those who have been called to a holy calling by a holy God.

Monday, May 25, 2015

May 26, 2015

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!" Matthew 25:23

One of the big myths of Christian growth and church growth result from spectacular manifestations or major breakthroughs. Many of us tend to overlook the importance and the impact of small things, especially small things done consistently over time.

Remember the Challenger disaster? The official conclusion on the cause of that tragedy was the failure of a few small and inexpensive "o" rings. Just a couple of little things but one big failure.

I'm sure you recall the Columbia space shuttle tragedy. It was caused by a few missing tiles from the heat shield designed to protect the craft from the intense heat during re-entry to the earth's atmosphere. Again, small tiles but huge impact.

It would be hard to completely assess the impact the automobile has had on the modern American lifestyle. But Henry Ford, to whom we owe a great deal, made one small mistake in the design of his first Model-T - he forgot to build reverse into it. Correcting that seemingly minor error launched the ever-expanding love affair between Americans and their cars.

Those are just three examples of small things that made huge, even historic differences. So, why would spiritual growth be different? Should you sit around waiting for big things to happen? It that how it happens? Is that what you should expect? Or should you run around to gospel concerts and attend charismatic conferences until you experience and amazing breakthrough? Is that how it happens?

Not usually. It almost always happens one small victory at a time. A new discipline like starting a prayer journal, or finding a prayer partner can make a big difference. A new commitment to a ministry or conquering a negative attitude show significant growth. When you replace a bad habit with a good behavior, that's real growth. And the result of winning those little daily battles is often that big breakthrough others are chasing!

What is the growth point in your life right now? 

What little victory could you win that would make the biggest difference? When will you stop wishing and start winning?

Sunday, May 24, 2015

May 25, 2015

"Then he says, “I will never again remember their sins and lawless deeds.” And when sins have been forgiven, there is no need to offer any more sacrifices. And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place." Hebrews 10:17-20

"And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.”Hebrews 8:12

“I—yes, I alone—will blot out your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again."Isaiah 43:25

The first holiday of the Summer season, Memorial Day. Several things will be predictable, most people will overdo it and most will get sunburned.

It is great that we have a holiday set aside to remind us of the cost of our freedom and to remember those who gave their lives in the struggle for freedom. There have been a lot of wars and a lot of deaths. 25,000 in the Revolutionary War, 570,000 in the Civil War, WWI - 117,000, WWII - 408,000, Korea - 53,000 and Vietnam - 58,000. The Gulf Wars are 5,000 and counting.

Saturday night I went to a very moving ceremony at the Fredericksburg National Cemetery where 15,300 soldiers lie buried. It is a solemn place to visit any time of any day, but on Memorial Day moments after sunset with every grave marked by luminaries and a trumpeter playing taps - it was deeply emotional moment. That sight is etched on my memory forever.

You cannot drive past a cemetery this week-end without seeing decorated graves. It is important to remember.

Now that Memorial Day has come, I want to take a moment to comment not on what we should remember, but on something that has been forgotten. Not only do we focus on what has been forgotten but on Who has forgotten. God, Who is the all omniscient and everlasting God has chosen not to remember something - our sins. That is huge!

How can that be? How can God forget?

He has chosen to forget what is forgiven. Our Scriptures remind us that when we receive the forgiveness of sins through His Son Christ, He not only forgives those sins but He forgets about them!

So, during this week-end of remembering honor the memories of those who died for your freedom, also pause to be thankful for something that has been forgotten - your sins!

May 24, 2015

In yesterday's post I mentioned six things to remember about God's grace that will help you win in the battlefield of your heart and mind. Here are six more powerful things to remember about God's grace in Christ Jesus.

(7) HE PASSED OVER YOUR SIN - We now come to the 7th, 8th, and 9th things that God did with our sin, all of which are found in Micah 7:18-19.

“Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love. He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:18-19).

To “pass over” is to pay no heed; it is to ignore; it is to act as if whatever is passed over is no longer present. But this doesn’t mean God ignores or pretends that our sin never existed. The reason God passes over our sin is because he has laid it on Christ. He did not “pass over” Jesus when he hung on the cross. He lingered in wrath as the Son of God was exposed to judgment that we deserved. That is why now God always and forevermore will “pass over” our transgressions.

(8) HE TRAMPLED YOUR SIN UNDER HIS FOOT - To “trample” or “tread” underfoot something is to exert your authority over it. It is to put on display the victory you have achieved over whoever or whatever your enemy may be. For God to tread underfoot all our sins means that he has defeated it. Its power over you is done away. Its authority to rule your life is undone. God has conquered the threat sin poses. He has taken steps to remove its condemning power. It no longer has the capacity to steal your joy or rob your value or determine your eternal destiny. And the way in which God goes about making this point and driving it home is by asking you to envision in your mind your sin on the ground, in the dirt, beneath God’s feet as it were, as he treads upon it, stomping it into oblivion.

(9) HE CAST YOUR SIN INTO THE SEA - The prophet Micah here draws upon Israel’s history to make his point. Nothing weighed more joyfully on the minds of God’s people than the story of how he delivered Israel from bondage in Egypt and then conquered Pharaoh and his armies by drowning them in the Red Sea. Listen carefully to the language of Exodus 15:4-5 that describes this incredible event: “Pharaoh’s chariots and his host he cast into the sea, and his chosen officers were sunk in the Red Sea. The floods covered them; they went down into the depths like a stone” (Exod. 15:4-5).

There is simply no escaping the fact that Micah is appealing to this victory of God over the enemies of his people to portray what God does in defeating and subduing and forever setting us free from the guilt and punishment of our sin:

How much more graphic must God be before you enter into the joy of his forgiving love? All vestige of condemning guilt is gone. Again, “just as God said He put our sins behind His back, so here He says He will hurl them into the depths of the sea. He wants them to be lost forever, because He has fully dealt with them in His Son, Jesus Christ” (Jerry Bridges, Transforming Grace, 40).

(10) HE BLOTTED OUT YOUR SIN - “I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud and your sins like a mist; return to me, for I have redeemed you” (Isaiah 44:22).

“Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities” (Psalm 51:9).

In ancient days debts were hand-written with ink in books. When a debt was paid by the debtor his name and the amount of the debt was blotted out by one holding the debt. All that remained was an ink blot where once a debt was recorded.

That's what the blood of Jesus did to your sins once you trusted Him for salvation!

(11) HE TURNED HIS FACE AWAY FROM YOUR SIN - We know this to be true because this is one of the requests made by David when he repented for his transgression: “Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities” (Psalm 51:9).

Don’t look any longer on my failures! Let not your eyes gaze on my wickedness! Perhaps the best way to understand this is to consider its opposite. When people do not repent and trust God’s provision for forgiveness, he doesn’t turn his face away; in fact, he looks intently and angrily at their sin: “For my eyes are on all their ways. They are not hidden from me, nor is their iniquity concealed from my eyes” (Jeremiah 16:17).

But for those whose trust is in Christ, God forever and finally has turned away his face from all our transgressions. He cannot see them. He does not catch so much as a passing glance at our sin.

(12) HE SIMPLY REFUSED TO REMEMBER YOUR SIN - “I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins” (Isaiah 43:25).

“For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more” (Heb. 8:12; cf. 10:1).

·       But how can this be true if God is omniscient………….

·       How utterly different that is from us………

God, on the other hand, promises never to remember. He will not brood over our sin. He will not reflect upon it, think about it, contemplate it, analyze it, or ever again bring it up to himself, to you, or to others.


The power of remembering is the power to remember His grace instead of your disgrace!

Friday, May 22, 2015

May 23, 2015

One of the great gifts God gave us is the gift of remembering AND the ability to NOT remember!

Learning what to remember and what not to remember is a huge part of winning the battle of the heart and mind.

In this post and the next I want to remind you of several things you need to remember that God has chosen not to remember about you!

(1) HE LAID YOUR SIN UPON JESUS - “All we like sheep have gone astray,” said Isaiah the prophet; “we have turned – every one – to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” - Isaiah 53:6

Three important doctrinal terms come from this verse:

·         Substitution – God substituted His Son for your sin. Your penalty was placed upon Him on the cross.
·         Justification – Sin brings the penalty of death but Jesus’ substitutionary death for you paid the penalty and justified you in the eyes of God.
·         Penalty Imputed to Him/Righteousness to Us – Your sin was imputed to Him and His righteousness is imparted to you!

This is what we read in 2 Corinthians 5:21 “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

(2) HE FORGAVE YOUR SIN - Psalm 32:5 “I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.”

What does it mean for God to “forgive” our sin? It simply means that he promises never to hold our sin against us in order to justify our rejection or judgment. In other words, when forgiveness has occurred there no longer exists any legal or moral grounds on the basis of which God might condemn you or me. The punishment that sin requires is no longer a threat because it has been laid upon someone else, namely, our substitute Jesus Christ.

In other words, to have our sins forgiven means that when it comes to our salvation they simply no longer register or appear on God’s radar! They no longer factor in any relevant or meaningful way into our eternal relationship with him. If forgiven, our sins simply no longer exist in the mind of God to shape or determine or govern our ultimate eternal destiny.

(3) HE CLEANSED YOUR SIN - All through Scripture sin is portrayed as dark and ugly and dirty. It soils and spoils everything. It is like a deep, dark, seemingly indelible stain on our souls. It discolors and distorts everything. Yet God appeals to us in Isaiah 1:18 with these wonderful words: “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord; though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.”

So, do you “feel” dirty? Does your heart ache with the stain of sin? Does guilt darken your emotions and paralyze you in your relationship with God? It need not! For God has “cleansed” your sin!

So, God first laid our sin on Christ; secondly, he then forgave our sin; and thirdly, he cleansed our sin, making us pure and acceptable in his sight.

(4) HE COVERED YOUR SIN - In Psalm 85:2 we read about how God not only “forgave” the sins of his people but how he “covered all their sin”

Why do you “cover” something? It may be to keep it warm or to protect it. But in the case of our sins, God covers them in order to hide them from view, so that no one may see them, whether it be God, you, or other people. Your sins no longer exist out in the open for all to see. They have been forever covered over by God through the blood of Jesus Christ and they are never again to be visible or accessible or available for anyone to use them to condemn or judge.

(5) HE CAST YOUR SIN BEHIND HIS BACK - Hezekiah put it this way: “Behold, it was for my welfare that I had great bitterness; but in love you have delivered my life from the pit of destruction, for you have cast all my sins behind your back” (Isa. 38:17)

The imagery is vivid. It is as if God takes all our sin in hand and then throws it behind him, never to see it again, never to be influenced by it again, never again to take it into consideration when he deals with us or hears our prayers. He doesn’t cast it behind our backs but behind his. David said his sin was always “before him” (Ps. 51), but when he confessed and repented God put it behind his back. Such is the love of forgiveness.


The Hubble Telescope has given us breathtaking pictures of a galaxy some 13 billion lights years from earth. Yes, 13 billion light years! Remember, a light year is 6,000,000,000,000 (six trillion) miles. That would put this galaxy at 78,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 miles from earth! In case you were wondering, we count from million, to billion, to trillion, to quadrillion, to quintillion, to sextillion. So, this galaxy is 78 sextillion miles from earth.

If you traveled 500 mph non-stop, literally sixty-minutes of every hour, twenty-four hours in every day, seven days in every week, fifty-two weeks in every year, with not a moment’s pause or delay, it would take you 20,000,000,000,000,000 years (that’s 20 quadrillion years) to get there! And that would only get you to the farthest point that our best telescopes have yet been able to detect. If the universe is infinite, as I believe it is, this would be the mere fringe of what lies beyond.

My point, the point of the psalmist, is that the magnitude of such distance is a pathetically small comparison to the likelihood that you will ever be dealt with according to your sins or repaid for your iniquities! If you were ever inclined to pursue your transgressions so that you might place yourself beneath their condemning power, 78,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 miles is an infinitesimally small fraction of the distance you must travel to find them!

When you choose to remember what He has chosen not to remember about your sin, you will begin to win on the battlefield of your mind!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

May 22, 2015

"Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended; but this one thing I do, forgetting the things that are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:13-14
Four common ways people commonly deal with painful memories:

·         Curse It – Resignation
Job’s wife wanted him to just curse God and die. Sometimes the traumas, tragedies and disappointments of life can be overwhelming. It is easy to lose hope and resign yourself to fate. But when you do you will disgrace yourself and God.

·         Rehearse It – Resentment
Resentment is addictive. It is one of the greatest killers of careers, marriages and families because it causes you to focus only on the past and not on the present or the future!

Worst of all, you become more addicted to the feeling of resentment the more you rehearse it. So it’s crucial you put a stop to it before it destroys you and cause you to disgrace yourself and God.

·         Nurse It – Relish
It’s OK to be angry! Anger is a legitimate response to disappointment and hurt. But it becomes dangerous when you stay angry and start nursing a grudge. Don’t relish the feelings or the sympathy. That opens the door for Satan to torment you and keep you trapped in unforgiveness and bitterness! So get angry if you need to, but also get over it quickly!

·         Reverse It - Release
Resist the temptation to resign to the painful memories, or resent the painful memories or to relish the painful memories and release it to the grace of God. Refuse to dwell on past pain and focus on God’s presence, His power and His promises!

We are blessed to live in a Nation that has been successful on the battlefield when defending our freedom and security! That is what we are celebrating this long week-end!

I am also concerned that here at FredWes we learn to win the spiritual battles that are contested on the battlefields of our minds.

When you curse your painful memories and resign yourself to self-pity you are losing the battle! You are remembering what you should not remember and not remembering what you should.

Are you giving into self-pity? Have you resigned to your feelings rather than your faith?

When you rehearse your painful memories open the door to resentment and anger you are losing the battle!. That can lead to despair and depression by remembering what you shouldn’t remember and not remembering what you should.

Are you dwelling on your painful memories and giving into resentment? Have you given into your flesh rather  than standing firm in faith?

When you nurse your painful memories you get stuck in the pain and in the past. You are losing the battle for your heart and mind. Nursing your painful memories causes anger and anxiety to take control of your mind. You enjoy the sympathy and attention you get from others as you remain in your perpetual victimhood.

Are you stuck in suffering mode? Are you enjoying the sympathy and attention that playing the victim brings you?

If any or all of these are true for you, you are losing in the battlefield of the mind. You are remembering the wrong things and not remembering the right things! You need to reverse your remembering!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

May 21, 2015

“Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back.” Isaiah 38:17

One of the things that being involved in competitive sports taught me is how to put my mistakes behind me quickly.

If I got fooled on a pitch and missed the ball by a mile, I had to put it out of my mind and get ready for the next pitch.

If I missed a wide open lay-in in basketball I would hear the fans groan and the coach would shake his head and I knew I had let my teammates down, but I had to put it out of my mind and hustle back on defense.

If I let a pitch get past me when I was playing catcher and a runner advanced a base, I had to chase down the ball, get it back to my pitcher and get ready for the next pitch.

If I missed the first of two free throws I had to put it out of my mind and concentrate on the second one.

Indiana Wesleyan University lost its very first collegiate soccer game because of a hands penalty on me. That was a long ride home. But the next day I was back at practice working to get better

When I miss the green after I have hit a perfect drive in the fairway, it is aggravating but I have to put it out of my mind and focus on hitting the next shot.

I hated when I swung and missed and when I made an error or missed an easy shot or committed a dumb penalty, but I had a determination not to let one mistake beat me twice.

I have not forgotten the errors and mistakes I made playing ball. If I sat down and thought about it hard enough I could probably remember most of them. But I made a conscious decision not to be defeated or defined by my worst moments. I put them “behind my back”.

Those experiences have helped me understand this great truth about the mercy and grace and goodness of God in Jesus Christ! He Who knows everything always has chosen to not remember my sins against me, to put them behind His back so that I don’t have to be defeated or defined by my sin!

To me, it makes God’s mercy and grace more meaningful. And it makes the sacrifice of Christ more powerful to know He COULD remember but chooses not to because of what Jesus did! Think about that! Which takes more grace forgetting something or remembering it and choosing to extend grace and mercy instead of justice?

If you have ever been told to just forget something bad that you did or something hurtful that happened to you, that is well-meaning advice but it is also unrealistic. Don’t feel bad guilty because you can’t forget. You don’t forget, you forgive and you decide not to focus on it. You can choose to “put it behind your back”. You should refuse to allow yourself to be defeated or defined by your past.

When your infinite, Holy, omniscient God chooses not to remember your sins against you but rather graces you with pardon and forgiveness in Christ – who do you think you are to dwell in your pain and failure from the past?

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

May 20, 2015

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. What ever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me--put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:4-9

The greatest power God has given us is the power to choose!

In the context of this Scripture we have the power to choose our attitude. Attitude is the result of what we choose to believe about what we believe. Attitude is how we choose to perceive the events that unfold in our daily living. Attitude is adjusting to life as though you believe God is in charge!

You, and you alone are responsible for your attitude! You have the power to choose!

Rejoicing is a choice! Choose it!

Gentleness is a choice! Choose it!

Thanksgiving is a choice! Choose it!

Peace is a choice! Choose it!

Excellence is a choice! Choose it!

Obedience is a choice! Choose it!

If you are defeated or discouraged it is because you have chosen to be. You can chance your attitude and change your anxiety level!

Why not use the greatest power God invested in you – the power to choose!

In anticipation of the Memorial Day weekend, one of the keys to a good attitude is choosing what to remember and what to not remember.

Notice I didn’t say I didn’t say choosing to remember and choosing to forget. I put it that way because we never forget, we just choose how will we will remember.

Now, this very morning, is a great time for an attitude adjustment!

Monday, May 18, 2015

May 19, 2015

“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more." Hebrews 8:12

Then he adds: "Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more." Hebrews 10:17

"I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more. Isaiah 43:25

Think about this!

An eternal, infinite, omniscient God Who has perfect knowledge of everything always has chosen to not remember your sins once you receive forgiveness through His Son!

How amazing is that?

How amazing is He?

It is important to notice that God doesn’t forget He just chooses not to remember them against you no more. In other words, He forgives you. He chooses not to hold your sins against you once you have asked for forgiveness.

He looks at your sins through the grace of Jesus and no longer hold them against you!

God has the power to remember and He also has the power to remember not!

So do you!

You can make good memories and enjoy recalling them for the rest of your life! That is a gift God has given you!

You can also choose to not remember the hurtful or painful experiences! That, too, is a gift!

As you move closer to this Memorial Day week end, remember that a God Who cannot forget has chosen not to remember your sins against you.

Remember that if He no longer remembers them against you, neither should you remember them!

Remember that He can help you remember to not remember the sins of others against them no more.

Don’t forget how good and gracious God is!