“Seeking the Spirit”–Excerpts from Pastor John Piper at the BCP&L

“you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.”1 Peter 4:14 (CSB)

In times of difficulty and trial will I turn against God in anger or praise Him with joy. In this hour the critical question on our mind always becomes, “Where is God?”

Seven things to remember that the Spirit of glory and the Spirit of God does.

  1. He is the Spirit of truth and He will bring to mind what ever you need for theIMG_2779 2 time. He will give you the measure of truth that you need to be faithful.
  2. The goal of the Spirit is to bring and to expose the beauty of Jesus Christ.
  3. The Spirit rests upon us to sustain the love of Christ.
  4. He causes us to feel that the glory we are losing isn’t worth keeping. The glory that we are gaining is worth infinitely more. A taste of eternal glory will come.
  5. In the hour of doubt the Spirit will give you preservation from faith destroying doubt.
  6. The Spirit will bring to mind the things to say to those around you. If you need to say nothing that will be His prompting.
  7. In your hour of trial the Spirit will give you Himself, the Father, and the Son.

Be filled with the Spirit. God wants you to be.

Meditate on what God has said in His Spirit filled scriptures. Believe what you hear and read in the word. Really believe it! Hold Fast in obedience to what you have heard and believed. In all your meditating, believing, and holding fast, desire all that God is for you. Thirst for God.

Prayer: Lord give me a deeper relationship with the Spirit.

“And don’t get drunk with wine, which leads to reckless living, but be filled by the Spirit” Ephesians 5:18 (CSB)

Bethlehem Conference for Pastors and Leaders: Olivia, Riddley, and I

Tomorrow Olivia, Riddley, and I will be heading to Minneapolis on the annual trek to the Bethlehem Conference for Pastors and Leaders. It will be my 13th year in a row. I am always excited about what God will do as a result of these three days.

IMG_2769This years speakers include Francis Chan, Kevin DeYoung, Miguel Nunez, Sam Storms, Jason Meyer, and of course John Piper. The theme is, “Gospel Power: The Christ-Exalting Work of the Holy Spirit.”

As usual it will be deep in spiritual growth, worship, networking, and learning how we all work together for the gospel to be spread with a joy and passion for all people.  I will be writing here on my blog three times during the conference. Tomorrow night, Tuesday afternoon, and Tuesday night. Thursday after I return home I will give a summary blog of the conference.

In the meantime please pray for safe travels, an open and soft heart to what the Holy Spirit has for me, and a refreshing time of worship and fellowship with like minded believers. AMEN!!

God’s Word in Our Hearts Will Guide Us Through This World of Strife

“Instead, his delight is in the Lord’s instruction, and he meditates on it day and night. He is like a tree planted beside flowing streams that bears its fruit in its season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers”.                      –Psalms 1:2-3 (CSB)

The current state of our world is in constant upheaval. Fighting, sexual perversion and harassment, world powers taunting each other, folks on Twitter and Facebook toying with each others feelings and desires, churches and church members doing whatever they can to one up each other. Its crazy, its disturbing, its disgusting, but most of all its blowing our faith to pieces.

We must all take a strong look at ourselves and stabilize our foundation. In some cases we will need to rebuild our foundation. The foundation of our faith. The foundation that puts Jesus Christ as the cornerstone and keep Him there.

How can this be done? One very simple answer. By relearning, or in some cases just learning, how to follow God by meditating on His Word. Its hard work but it will be worth it for the peace, joy, and understanding that comes from knowing the Bible. Spend time reading the Bible and thinking about what you have reaIMG_2737d. It will cause you to ask yourself tough questions in regard to how you are living your life. It will reveal how you should change and live as God wants you to live. Knowing and thinking about God’s Word is the first step toward applying its principles to your everyday life. In order to rebuild and shore up the foundation and be able to follow God more closely you must know what the Bible says.

The more we know God’s Word the more resources we will have at our disposal to make wise, Biblical decisions and walk in a manner worthy of His calling. The more we come delighting in obedience to God and the Bible the more peace and joy we will experience in our lives.

Trust me there will be days of failure and difficulty but when you know God’s Word those days will be much easier to navigate. When we apply God’s wisdom to those difficulties the result will be good fruit. The fruit of the joy and peace that comes from knowing Jesus Christ.

Just as a tree soaks up water and bears much fruit, we are to soak up God’s Word. When we soak it up and apply it to our lives then we will produce actions and attitudes that honor God and can be world changing.

“I rejoice in the way revealed by your decrees as much as in all riches. I will meditate on your precepts and think about your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.” –Psalms 119:14-16 (CSB)

 

Wartime

WARTIME

Walking this life

we will encounter great strife

Around every bend

could be the ultimate end

Reaching for hope

allows us to cope

Turning to the word

we can wield a sure sword

Inflicting the enemy

with wounds for the world to see

Making clear the path

that we might avoid His wrath

Expecting to move toward

His loving grace and future reward

—Timothy W. Ketcham, December, 27, 2017

What is Christmas? Jesus Your Savior Born This Day!

“Then she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and she wrapped him tightly in cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.” –Luke 2:7 (CSB)

May we be able to recognize Christmas for what it truly is. The birth of our Savior Jesus Christ.

Our first picture of Jesus is as a baby in a manger. His family forced to stay in a stable, or perhaps a cave that served as a stable, because there was no other room available for them in Bethlehem. I am sure it was dark and dirty and not what we would expect as the birthplace of the Messiah. But God by His own choosing, in our sin darkened and dirty world chose this humble place, a stable, dark and dirty, with a small wooden manger as the place where the Savior of the world would be born.

IMG_2726.jpgOur first picture of Jesus in this place, a stable, lying in a manger must not be our last picture.  We must not leave Him there. This tiny, helpless baby Jesus came and lived an amazing life, died for our sins, rose on the third day, and is now preparing a place for us to one day reign with Him. One day He will return as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

The greatest event in history had just happened. The Messiah had been born! The good news about Jesus is that anyone can accept Him as their Savior. You don’t have to be anybody special. Rich, poor, tall, short, beggars, rebels, prodigals, humble, weak, misfit heroes, sinners just like me, anyone can receive Jesus. You see we are all really just beggars in the presence of the King. But if we will humble our hearts, confess and repent of our sin and turn to Him in faith, believing that He is the Savior, our lives will be changed forever. Whoever you are and whatever you do, you can have Jesus in your life.

“Today in the city of David a Savior was born for you, who is the Messiah, the Lord.” –Luke 2:11 (CSB) 

 

 

The Gift of Gifts

Taken from The Valley of Vision, Puritan Prayers and Devotions. Pages 28-29. Banner of Truth Publishers.

O Source of all Good,
What shall I render to thee for the gift of gifts,
thine own dear Son, begotten, not created,
my Redeemer, proxy, surety, substitute,
his self-emptying incomprehensible, 
his infinity of love beyond the heart's grasp.

Herein is wonder of wonders:
he came below to raise me above, 
was born like me that I might become like him.

Herein is love;
when I cannot rise to him he draws near on 
wings of grace,
to raise me to himself.

Herein is power;
when Deity and humanity were infinitely apart 
he united them in indissoluble unity,
the uncreated and the created.

Herein is wisdom;
when I was undone, with no will to return to him,
and no intellect to devise recovery, 
he came, God-incarnate, to save me
to the uttermost, 
as man to die my death,
to shed satisfying blood on my behalf,
to work out a perfect righteousness for me.

O God, take me in spirit to the watchful shepherds,
and enlarge my mind;
let me hear good tidings of great joy,
and hearing, believe, rejoice, praise, adore,
my conscience bathed in an ocean of repose,
my eyes uplifted to a reconciled Father;
place me with ox, ass, camel, goat,
to look with them upon my Redeemers's face,
and in him account myself delivered from sin;
let me with Simeon clasp the new-born child
to my heart,
embrace him with undying faith,
exulting that he is mine and I am his.

In him thou hast given me so much
that heaven can give no more.

 

Glory, Peace, and Favor Come Through Jesus the Savior

Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people he favors! –Luke 2:14 (CSB)

“Glory to God in the highest”. When we give glory to God we are not giving Him something that He lacks but rather we are confessing of the wondrous glory He alone forever possesses. Here the angels are giving glory to God by proclaiming the news of Jesus birth. The eternal and omnipotent Son of God who, “When the time came to completion, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” –Galatians 4:4-5 (CSB) May we glorify Him with thankful hearts.

IMG_2152 2

All of this in order that “peace on earth” might be found. Not the universal peace that our world so desperately desires, but peace with God that can be found through faith in Jesus Christ. “Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” –Romans 5:1 (CSB)  Earlier in Zechariah’s prophecy he put it like this, “Because of our God’s merciful compassion, the dawn from on high will visit us to shine on those who live in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” –Luke 1:78-79 (CSB) That peace can only be found through faith in Jesus Christ. The peace that comes from the salvation that God gives through His Son, the “Prince of Peace”. This gift of peace came only through the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Throughout this entire process we can find favor with our Savior. He favors us with underserved favor. God favors those who have found grace through Jesus Christ. Oh that we might not take this for granted. To obtain this favor is to have become someone in whom the Lord delights and whom He blesses.

“For the one who finds me finds life and obtains favor from the Lord,” –Proverbs 8:35 (CSB)