Monthly Archives: November 2013

AND YET

Lord

I have doubted 

    and acted like one who does not believe

I have ignored you

    and pushed you away

I have heard your voice

    and closed my ears

I have chased after things I know you hate

    ugly things which brought sorrow to your heart

I have obsessed over what does not matter

    and minimized you who are everything

Failure and weakness have been my offering

    my best has been coarse

My shame has been as consistent as ocean waves

    my foolishness as bountiful as rain

And Yet

You have never ignored me

    or had me anywhere but in your eyes

You have never rejected me

    or erased my name from Your heart

You have never let go of me

    not for a moment have you loosened your grip

Your love has been lavished on me

    grace has been my fixed companion

I have you always because you chose me

    a mystery, who can comprehend

From eternity you have known me

    despite all, all my sin, you pursued me

For eternity you will always love me

    for you have made me your own

  Kyle Huber 2011

THANKSGIVING FEAST

Nothing presents us with more reason for thankfulness than the gospel of Jesus Christ!

And no other passage in Scriptures captures the glory of what Christ accomplished for us than Ephesians 1. Consider reading these verses as a family when you gather for Thanksgiving. Or simply read them to yourself and be inspired in your thankfulness to God.

In these verses we will find our true Thanksgiving feast!

Ephesians 1:3-14

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,

Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.

In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,

To the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight

Making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,

So that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.

In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it,

To the praise of his glory.”

IT’S A RESPONSIBILITY

Thankfulness to God is our responsibility

“Although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him” Romans 1:21

This verses describes how mankind abandoned God. Nothing in this verses should still bear true for the Christian

Thankfulness is part of what we owe God as our creator. While thanklessness to God is sinful considering we exist by His glory and every good thing we enjoy is from God.

Of course we all have complaints about life and this world, and most of those complaints are valid. However, we need to blame the right culprit for our sorrows and burdens – which is sin! God created everything “good”. It was not until sin entered creation that the mess began.

How much more then, does the responsibility for thankfulness rest upon those who are saved by Christ sacrifice for us?

Because of Christ’s death there is “no condemnation” left for us

Jesus paid in full the debt we owed for our sin

Jesus loves us as much as the Father loves him (John 15:9)

God adopted us and made us “joint heirs” with Christ”

Everything that happens will be for our eternal “good”

We get new perfect and eternal bodies as we will live in an perfect and eternal kingdom

Each breath brings us closer to perfect “rest”

If you are having difficulty being clear about why you should be thankful to God, read Romans 8 and Ephesians 1 slowly, with pen and paper in hand to record the “riches of His grace, which he lavished upon us” (Ephesians 1:7-8). Then spend a little time responding to God for each item.

Our thankfulness is right for us, it is deserved by God, and it is needed by the world as part of our witness to the glorious gospel. Why should people listen to our testimony if they don’t regularly see we are thankful to our God?

It is not enough to be thankful in a generic “life is good” way. Unbelievers routinely make that profession. We specifically owe the Lord God gratitude for His grace

We owe Him lavish gratitude

We owe Him continuous gratitude

What are basic evidences that we have some depth in our thankfulness toward God?

1.  We will be contentment in Him

Ephesians 1:3 says “God has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places”

We simply have no room for discontent. Everyone who trust in Christ is totally and forever saved. FOREVER SAVED!  Discontent rests on a dis-connection between our perspective and the reality of the magnitude of God’s grace. 

2.  We will be confident in Him

Confidence in what God is doing around us, shows God that what He has already done is worthy of complete trust.  Doubt and complain about temporal issues, places them above what He has eternally done for us

3.  We will have joyful in Him

We live amidst continual reasons for praise. Our eternal reasons for joy are always greater than the frequent reasons for disappointment.

Oh, may we be a thankful people, to our deserving God!

NOW THAT’S LOVE!

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My favorite biblical declaration about love was made by Jesus and is recorded in John 15:9

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love”

What an extraordinary reality! Jesus loves us exactly the same as he is loved by the Father. We cannot adequately define such a love, but we can draw a few helpful implications from it

This is a love only God is capable of giving

It is impossible to be loved more

No one in the universe is loved more

This love will never change

This love is big enough to fill our heart and saturate our life

This love should overflow our lives and splash up against anyone near us

Despite these realities of love in our life, we often and incorrectly do not feel loved. The fault in this is never some lack on God’s part, it is our failure to clearly see what Christ has wonderfully shown, on the cross most of all.

Doug Plank, who is a pastor at Crossway Church in Millersburg, PA wrote this article on the Sovereign Grace blog entitled “What does Jesus really think about me?”. Doug provides some helpful thoughts and reminders for us.

Jesus is deserving of our having an accurate perspective of his love for us. A love so big, it should impact how we live every day, because every day we are loved to the fullest degree possible – by God!

Jesus ended his statement in John 15 saying “Abide in my love”. This means we walk in the recognition of Jesus love for us. Since Jesus never stops loving us, we should remain secure and comforted by his love.

 

WHAT CANCER CANNOT DO

Ray Ortlund shared that a Christian oncologist in his church has a plaque mounted in his office with this message, which may speak to your life at this time.

What Cancer Cannot Do:

Cancer is so limited –

It cannot cripple love,

It cannot shatter hope,

It cannot corrode faith,

It cannot destroy peace,

It cannot kill friendship,

It cannot suppress memories,

It cannot silence courage,

It cannot invade the soul,

It cannot steal eternal life,

It cannot conquer the Spirit.

From “Supernatural Living for Natural People: The Life-Giving Message of Romans “ by Ray Ortlund

WE LOSE NOTHING

 

Andrew Murray wrote,  

“Jesus lost nothing by giving his all to God”

 

 

 

Do you believe this?  I mean do you really, truly, think this is absolutely true?

If the answer is yes, then how will it affect your today?

What will God receive from you that has been withheld?

Your time, your giving, your attitude, your forgiveness, your coveted sin, your praise, your relationships, or your cherished plans?

Whatever God receives from us, He already deserves.

There is no better way for life to be used then for God to have it all.  Do we really think our holding onto some is better?!

But there is also the reality that God will not be indebted to us. He will reward us forever far beyond all sacrifices made.

How much of you does God have?

“REDEEMING LOVE” Women’s Retreat

Redeeming Loveby Debbie Huber

“To me, Gods Word is a treasure to be mined, the deeper I go, the more I see its wisdom, the more it authenticates itself, the more it reveals to me the amazing mystery of God. He’s given me a mind that wants to figure out the big picture of who he is and what he is doing in the world.”

These are the words of author and Bible teacher, Nancy Guthrie. I had the privilege to hear Nancy teach at conferences. She has a testimony of pain and loss that gives her a compassion for hurting people and a passion for applying God’s Word to real life.

Nancy experienced the loss of two of her children in infancy from a rare genetic disorder called Zellweger Syndrome. From the moments they were born she knew that their time on this earth would be short. She celebrated monthly birthdays because she knew they would never see their first year birthday. She fought to focus on each day of their lives rather than watching for the day of their death. The sorrow was deep, the grief was intense, but God’s presence was strong. “I’ve had to dig into God’s Word in search of answers to hard questions about God and how he works.”

God has used Nancy’s love for the Bible and her testimony to prompt her to a greater desire for the study of God’s Word.  She has written books on sorrow and suffering and more recently is writing a series, “Seeing Jesus in the Old Testament.”

For the Greentree Women’s Retreat this year, we have the exciting opportunity to hear Nancy Guthrie teach at a women’s conference at Covenant Fellowship Church in Glen Mills, PA.  Nancy will be teaching on “Redeeming Love” from the lives of Ruth, Esther and Gomer: 

“Three women very far away from God: a pagan widow with nothing but need, a compromised queen addicted to comfort, a pathetic prostitute no one wants anymore. What they all need is a redeemer. And so do we. We need a Redeemer who will go outside the gates of the city to purchase our redemption. We need a Mediator who is willing to perish so that we will not perish. We need a Holy Husband who will choose us and woo us and love us in the way we most need to be loved. As we look in on the lives of Ruth, Esther, and Gomer, we’ll see in broader strokes a portrait of the redeeming love of Christ.”

There is a hotel booked just for the Greentree women, the lovely Brandywine River Hotel.  This year, you must register for the conference on the Covenant Fellowship Church website.  There is an early registration rate of $25 if registered by December 1. 

You must then get your roommates together and book your own hotel rooms directly with the Brandywine River Hotel, referencing Greentree Church, no later than December 31.  There will also be a luncheon session just for Greentree women following the conference at a local hotel.

All of the information and link for registration is on the Greentree Church website at this link 

IS GOD FAITHFUL?

Why would we think God is anything less than faithful?

One reason is because the faithfulness in ourselves and everyone we know has many gaps and inconsistencies, so we expect and make allowances for inconsistency even when it comes to God.

 “If we are faithless, (God) remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself” 2 Timothy 2:13

2 Timothy reminds us that God unlike us, “remains” faithful. Whenever we might think God is less than faithful, we don’t see whole picture or we simply don’t grasp the character of God. If God is perfect, then He must be always and only perfect.

Another reason for lacking implicit trust in God’s faithfulness is that circumstances are not always what we want. Since we don’t see God’s good and eternal purposes, we doubt they exist. We mistaken think God being faithful means God should always treat us the way we want Him to.

The fact is we may be looking for a faithful servant rather than the faithful God.

 “I know, O Lord, that your rules are righteous, and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me” Psalm 119:75

Once we recognize that God is perfect and that He is not so shallow as to limit His labors to our happiness, we can agree with the Psalmist, “in faithfulness you have afflicted me”. Is God great enough to you that He can be trusted even to afflict us?

All That God is, He always is. As 2 Timothy reminds us, “He cannot deny himself”. This means God is never out of character. He will not become unfaithful:

His love for us doesn’t lessen because we failed

His goodness has not dried up because it is leading us down a difficult path

His standards don’t change because people don’t like them

His promises have not failed because we cannot see how they will work

Because God is never lacking in unfaithfulness toward us, we can become increasing faithful to Him

SERMON LEFTOVERS 11.18.13

“Our Biggest Problem” Romans 8:1-8

“Romans 8 answers the question, ‘What does God provide for Christians with real problems?’”  Ray Ortlund 

“To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace” (Romans 8:6)

Where do problems come from?

Since God is perfect in all he does, that includes the world and people he created  

Since God’s wisdom is perfect, his guidelines didn’t misdirect us

Since God’s power is absolute, he didn’t fail to hold up his purposes

So what went wrong?

Humanity doubted and disobeyed God

We tried to take charge and everything imploded

Sin has bred every pain, sorrow and problem

Most seriously the human condition has been corrupted, so even the good things we do are affected by sin

The good news is that through Christ our sin problem can be solved (vs 1-4)

Jesus took the guilt of our sin and paid its penalty on the cross (v1)

God gives us a spiritual birth and frees us from the bondage of sin (v2)

The Holy Spirit dwells in us, to be our strength and to lead us

Why do Christians still have problems?

The world as a whole lives in rebellion against God

Until all sin is removed, there can never be peace around us

This is why we hope for the coming kingdom that will never be marred

Yet, none of the world’s problems present any difficulty for the Holy Spirit who lives in us

He has no fear or questions; he is never intimidated or burdened

Right now He is fulfilling God’s un-improvable plan in us

Of all the people in the world, we have an immeasurable advantage

Our biggest problem is not the world of sin; it is when we live in the flesh (vs 5-8)

The ‘flesh’ is our human nature that has been corrupted

v 7 tells us the flesh does not “submit to God” and v8 adds it “cannot please God”

When we think, talk, act and respond by our will; that is living in the flesh

When try to make life work by our own abilities; that is living in the flesh

The biggest issue we face throughout each day is what we are living by?

All Christians are “in the Spirit”. The question is do we live this reality?  

Just as I am married to Debbie, but do I live like it?

Each day, we make choices to live by the Spirit or the flesh

We pursue time with him, or we pursue our to-do list

We either say “Father not my will, but your will be done”, or the reverse

We rest in the Lord, or we seek comfort in food, alcohol, pornography or fantasy etc

We follow behind God, or we try to fix life’s problems on our own

This choice is most the serious issue each day, because there are consequences (v6)

The flesh can only produce “death”. 

All labor by the flesh will end in nothing

All achievements outside the Holy Spirit will die forever

As believers who have the Holy Spirit, this would be a monumental waste of life

The Spirit brings “life and peace”

This is not maybe or sometimes

Life in the Spirit makes our labors last beyond the grave

He brings peace, because God is eternally sovereign and good

The Holy Spirit is not reluctant to bring life and peace

He is ready to be our sufficiency against sin and for godliness

He is ready to use our life well in the ordinary details of life and in the most important issues of life

What is our level of urgency about living in the flesh or the Spirit?

John 6:63 warns us

‘It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all’

Do you have any urgency about starting the day with God?

Do you consider God’s agenda in your decision-making to be essential?

Are there parts of God’s word that you are suppressing?

How do you assess how your life is going?

In all these things we have a great encouragement

Every true Christian will live for all eternity fully in the Spirit

What we will have forever, we can grow in today

DAILY MIRACLES