Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Grace upon Grace: A Heavenly Hope

Beloved brothers and sisters,

I wanted to share with you my top song at the moment. We can't always be sure about what this life will bring or which way to go with decisions to make, but my dear brothers and sisters, if we are SAINTS we can always be: HOPEFUL. 

Wherever you are, whatever choices or challenges, joys or sorrows you are facing, I encourage you with these words: 

"Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal". - Thomas Moore (1779-1852)

Christian, fix your eyes on the eternal hope of eternal glory that is YOURS in Christ and is in fact more CERTAIN than your plans for tomorrow! 

Freed from sin's temptation and effect on our perception of Christ, we will SEE the One who died for our souls! We will SEE the One to whom we have prayed! We will SEE the One who we have long strained to see through the eyes of faith... FAITH will be SIGHT, and in this glorious sight, we will somehow be marvelously transformed as grace's work of sanctification is perfectly COMPLETED! 

"Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is." (1 John 3:2) 

Think of the sweetness you have tasted in those moments of sanctification here on earth when you were revived, and satisfied in Christ in a moment of spiritual growth... Aren't those the sweetest, most joyful times you have had? These are only samples of this glorious day that is both CERTAIN and SOON for us as saints

"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" (Ephesians 1:11) 

"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28 ) 

"Beloved, 'All things' means ALL things!" - Pastor Don Green

Because God is in control of everything, and His purposes are always accomplished, EVERY trial and struggle you face today is working toward and will culminate in THIS loving purpose of God for you, namely, eternal GLORY. 

Take heart dear Christian!

Grace in Christ,

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

About Modesty - About the Heart

Beloved brothers and sisters,

It is incredibly interesting to look around and see the wide chasm of difference that exists between one Christian's idea of "modesty" and another Christian's.

Hey, I understand... modesty is tough, because the Bible doesn't say exactly how long sleeves or shorts should be, how many pieces a bathing suit should have, or how tight is too tight.

Either someone has it right and everyone else is wrong... or they are all right.... right? Or maybe modesty goes deeper than what we wear or what we do with our eyes... maybe, like everything else, it's always really been ABOUT THE HEART.

Certainly there ARE lots of good principles found in the pages of Scripture that help us in establishing those specific convictions, but right now, I want to think about the heart. I believe that if we can attain the HEART for modesty, then working out those details will be much easier and more joyful.

Look, if we are more worried about wearing or not wearing the right thing than we are about LOVING CHRIST, LOVING HIS CHURCH and BEING LIKE CHRIST, then we are doing it wrong. Now, I'm not saying "anything goes", but just think about how the Christian who seeks to have the HEART OF CHRIST would act and think AS A RESULT in the area of modesty!

Here are 4 attitudes with which a Christian with the HEART OF CHRIST thinks about the issue of modesty:
  • Sinless: "How can I best keep myself from sinning with lust or pride?" (Modesty goes beyond the sensual aspect of dress and action)

  • Selfless: "How can I best help my brothers and sisters in their walk with Christ and their battle with sin, even if it means sacrifice for me? (By the way, modesty is not just for the ladies.)

  • Gracious: "How can I be loving, long suffering, humble, and helpful toward my brothers and sisters who have different convictions than me on modesty?

  • Glorifying: "How can I point attention to the glory of CHRIST who is Preeminent, rather than to myself with the way I dress and act? How can I decrease so that Christ may increase?" (I think this is where we ALL struggle the MOST.)

I see many of you, my brothers and sisters, all striving to honor God with modesty and it really encourages me and challenges me to press on in this area as well! I hope this helps us as we pursue together our high calling of HOLINESS.

So my beloved brothers and sisters, I COMMEND YOU, I ENCOURAGE YOU, and I CHALLENGE YOU: 


Grace in Christ,
- Cody

Sunday, January 13, 2013

2013: Time to be Men

Beloved Brothers,
This year, in 2013, resolve with me to be MEN. Our culture has seen enough of “grown-up BOYS” who are selfish and immature; wanting the rewards of manhood without the responsibility of manhood; wanting the recognition of manhood without earning the right - acknowledgement without honor. Those who desire satisfaction over self-control, and indulgence over integrity. Friends, let us rise above these!

The desperate cry of my heart is that God would make each one of us a MAN; A GODLY man...

  • A man who in every way is marked by and saturated with Gods word

  • A man who is humble, looking to the interests of others, esteeming them more important than himself

  • A man who is unashamed of the gospel and bold in proclaiming it
  • A man who listens

  •  A man who speaks wisdom and life and encouragement with thought-out-answers

  • A man who accepts reproof and instruction

  • A man who is generous with his money both to God and men

  • A man who is quick to confess and apologize and take responsibility for his mistake
  • A man who is honest and genuine at all times
  • A man of wisdom and discretion in every situation

  • A man of compassion, kindness and mercy

  • A man who teaches his sons how to be men, and how to fear the Lord BY HIS EXAMPLE

  • A man who is consistent, earnest, and victorious in prayer

  • A man who is sensitive to the whispers of the Holy Spirit and led by the Spirit in every single thing

  • A man who is the same in front of God alone or in front of a thousand of the most important people in the world

  • A man who loves his wife as Christ loved His bride the church and gave his life for her

  • A man whose heart BURNS with passion for the Glory of the Name of God

  • A man whose heart BREAKS over sin

  • A man whose heart LONGS for the lost
  • A man who KNOWS God like Isaiah or David or Paul, not simply knowing ABOUT Him
  • A man who TREMBLES in worship of God

  • A man who is diligent and faithful in his work… not as unto men but unto God

  • A man who doesn’t act like, think like, look like or love the world in any way but is dead to the world

  • A man whose only desire is to know Christ, and counts everything as loss compared to that one thing

  • A man who LOVES God, TRUSTS God, SEEKS God, and SERVES God with his WHOLE HEART, ALL his mind, soul and strength, so that there is no part of his existence that is not applied to that, no part that is not worship, no part that is given to anything else....


“Until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to MATURE MANHOOD, to the measure of the stature of the FULLNESS OF CHRIST”
(Eph. 4:13)

Grace in Christ,

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Incarnation: HOPE of Christmas

Beloved brothers and sisters,

If red-nosed reindeer, pumpkin pie, jingling bells, snowmen, hot chocolate, wonderful lives, white Christmases, Santa coming to town, and "hippopotamusases" are what Christmas is about, I submit to you that we as Christians are better off not celebrating it at all. 

Further, if the HOPE, JOY, and PEACE of Christmas is being with "those you love", family and friends, then we have utterly lost Christmas altogether.

I know, I know, call me scrooge, but bear with me.

While we should certainly and rightly enjoy and be thankful for the blessings of family and provisions, if THIS is what Christmas is about, then the "hope, joy, peace and love" of Christmas applies to a very small audience. 

Tell someone to "have a merry Christmas" on this basis. 

Go ahead and say that "Christmas is wonderful because of the memories and time spent with all those you love" to the couple that has tried unsuccessfully for years to have children; to the widowed woman whose husband has been dead for years. Tell it to the parents of the recent school-shooting victims, who will never again see their beloved children. Tell it to the foreign missionary who is miles away from anyone that they know and love, or to our dear brothers and sisters around the world who spend this Christmas in chains, enduring cruel torture and separation.  Tell it to the homeless man who doesn't even have daily food.

All these things people celebrate as "Christmas" offer NO hope to the hurting, dying, HOPELESS world at large. We are, in effect, saying, "Merry Christmas! Well, to all the middle and upper-class Americans in the world, that is!"

The glorious truth is this, that the message and hope of Christmas is more awesome and applicable than any of these things. The TRUE hope of Christmas is not limited by cultural, ethnic, social, economic, or situational differences. The true hope of Christmas is relevant and reaching to ALL people of ALL time!

There is one thing all people have in common, and it is this,  
ALL HAVE SINNED. In Adam came sin - we ALL sinned -  in Adam, we ALL died. 

    as it is written:
    “None is righteous, no, not one;
        no one understands;
        no one seeks for God.
    All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
        no one does good,
        not even one.”
(Romans 3:10-12 ESV)
Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—
(Romans 5:12 ESV)

All men have this in common, that we all are naturally dead in sin, enemies of God, guilty of lawlessness before a Holy, Just God. Further, we have no ability in ourselves to change this! Essentially, we all share in a common HOPELESSNESS.

We are all GUILTY SINNERS by nature and by act, violators of God's moral law, expressed in the Ten Commandments. God is a JUST JUDGE who by no means will clear the guilty. (Exodus 34:7, Numbers 14:18) He is GOOD to punish the evil, and yet, GRACIOUS beyond our comprehension, for in LOVE, He sovereignly devised a plan to REDEEM sinful men to Himself before the ages began.
    For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 ESV)
 ...without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.
(Hebrews 9:22 ESV)
The guilty blood of all of guilty man could never right us with God, and here we get to Christmas!

God the Father put forward JESUS CHRIST, the SECOND ADAM (fully God - fully man) as a propitiation (the sacrifice which turns away the wrath of God) for sinners! (Romans 3:23-25)

How can this be? 
God who is immortal and invisible cannot die and cannot bleed! 

How can this be? 
The righteousness of God who is entirely different in being and essence than man cannot represent us who are human!

Here is the glory of Christmas, that the IMMORTAL, INVISIBLE GOD became a PHYSICAL, MORTAL MAN, named JESUS CHRIST. Born of Mary as a humble baby. BORN TO BLEED AND DIE IN OUR PLACE.

He lived a perfect life AS A MAN and then bore the wrath of God and died on the cross for sinners AS A MAN.  

This was proved when he ROSE from the dead 3 days later! 


     the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
(Romans 3:22-26 ESV)
     because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
(Romans 10:9-13 ESV)
     Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
(John 14:6 ESV)
    Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out,
(Acts 3:19 ESV)
This, dear friends, is the gospel. This, dear friends, is CHRISTMAS. 

     For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.
(1 Corinthians 15:21-22 ESV)

Love, celebrate, sing of, and HOPE in  
the INCARNATION - God becoming man -
SALVATION for those who believe! Give THIS hope to all men this Christmas, preach the gospel at all times!

Grace in Christ,

Friday, March 23, 2012

HUNGER GAMES: Hungering and Thirsting

Beloved brothers and sisters:

This is something we urgently need to consider. I am applying this to a specific item right now, but I believe that the concept applies to every single part of our life.

I'm assuming all of you know what "The Hunger Games" are. (books and movie) When the books started becoming such a huge deal, I became aware of them and a bit concerned. I was concerned because although I didn't know even the plot of the books at that point, I knew that they were wildly popular in SECULAR circles AND Christian circles. As Christians, we have been made dead to sin, ALIVE to Christ and have the Holy Spirit indwelling us and causing us to love God and His Word. Unbelievers on the other hand, according to Scripture, are still entirely in sin, DEPRAVED, and ENEMIES OF GOD who are HOSTILE in mind to Christ and the gospel. In fact, 1 Corinthians says that the message of the cross is FOOLISHNESS to them. That being said, there really isn't a whole lot of things that unbelievers and true, Scripture-filled saints have in common and enjoy... So when I see them all linking hands around something and embracing it side by side, it tips me off to be concerned and look into things. 

I read a review of the plot of the books and it didn't sit well with me. I couldn't exactly put a finger on it but I think this guy (Doug Wilson) kinda nailed it. I encourage you to read his review which is both short and direct.

(Click here to read his review at http://credenda.org/index.php/Reviews/what-did-everdeen-ever-do.html )

Im not trying to be "oh so spiritual" or point fingers. Honest. I just have been PERSONALLY challenged more and more these days to not settle for "it's not really that bad" but to seek and understand "Taste and see that THE LORD is good".

This is really what I want to get at with this post; simply to encourage my brothers and sisters to start humbly thinking BIBLICALLY and to HUNGER and thirst for RIGHTEOUSNESS.

I think we don't know God, experience His power and love his Word like we WANT TO because we are so filled with things that arent spiritually nourishing.  Weights that hinder and entangle, things that might not be CLEARLY BAD and EVIL, but certainly not BEST.

Loved ones, I am convinced of this and am trying to grab a hold of what it should look like in my life: There can be NOTHING more THRILLING, EXCITING, FULFILLING or DELIGHTING - nothing more SATISFYING, SANCTIFYING or SWEET - there is nothing more PURE, more PEACEFUL, or more POWERFUL than this: TO KNOW GOD through Jesus Christ in a PERSONAL, INTIMATE, TANGIBLE way and to be FILLED with the Holy Spirit. 

"I say to the LORD, 'You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.'”
(Psalm 16:2)
"Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
Oh, fear the LORD, you his saints,
for those who fear him have no lack!
The young lions suffer want and hunger;
but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing."
(Psalm 34:8-10)

"But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ"
(Philippians 3:7-8)
 You might say, "what will I miss out on if I live fully surrendered to God, seeking Him with all my heart, soul, mind and strength? Think of the friends I wouldn't get to hang out with, the movies I wouldn't get to watch, music I wouldn't get to listen to, all those 'good times'! I'd have NO LIFE!" 
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly."
(John 10:10 )

I want for myself, and for you my beloved brothers and sisters to hear "WELL DONE, my GOOD and FAITHFUL SERVANT".... and not "I had SO MUCH MORE for you!"

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God."
(Hebrews 12:1-2)

"Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation"
(1 Peter 2:2)
LET US SEEK GOD IN HIS WORD WITH ALL OUR STRENGTH. With every single second of song, movie, book, conversation, relationship, money-spending and time-spending, let us choose only that which furthers us toward the all-surpassing glory of knowing CHRIST.

Let us repent of our seeking after worthless idols and turn to the Lord who is MERCIFUL. Read this last passage and take hope if you have been convicted of your faithlessness as I have.
"Take care, lest you forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which he made with you, and make a carved image, the form of anything that the LORD your God has forbidden you. For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.
    “When you father children and children's children, and have grown old in the land, if you act corruptly by making a carved image in the form of anything, and by doing what is evil in the sight of the LORD your God, so as to provoke him to anger, I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that you will soon utterly perish from the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess. You will not live long in it, but will be utterly destroyed. And the LORD will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the nations where the LORD will drive you. And there you will serve gods of wood and stone, the work of human hands, that neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell.

But from there you will seek the LORD your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you are in tribulation, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, you will return to the LORD your God and obey his voice. For the LORD your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them."
(Deuteronomy 4:23-31)

-Cody †

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Heart and... Eyes: Take Care

 "And Moses summoned all Israel and said to them, “Hear, O Israel, the statutes and the rules that I speak in your hearing today, and you shall learn them and be careful to do them."
(Deuteronomy 5:1 ESV)

Beloved brothers and sisters,

I was reading in Deuteronomy 4 and 5 this morning in my chronological reading, and found the charge here very similar to my previous post.
"See, I have taught you statutes and rules, as the LORD my God commanded me, that you should do them in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. Keep them and do them, for that will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’
For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the LORD our God is to us, whenever we call upon him? And what great nation is there, that has statutes and rules so righteous as all this law that I set before you today?"
(Deuteronomy 4:5-8 ESV)
 What we have is VERY, VERY GREAT!

Our God is a GREAT GOD.
“There is none holy like the LORD:
for there is none besides you;
there is no rock like our God."
(1 Samuel 2:2 ESV)
 And His words are EXCELLENT WORDS.
"I have seen a limit to all perfection,
but your commandment is exceedingly broad."
(Psalm 119:96 ESV)
 But even so, our hearts, reasoning, and affections are still very much under the corrupting influence of sin. We are quick to stray from what is GOOD for what is worthless. This IS true of us as I have said, and we need to recognize this. Moses certainly recognized this, take a look:
“Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children's children"
heart and eyes again...)(Deuteronomy 4:9 ESV)
As I read through chapters 4 and 5, I saw Moses - a faithful shepherd - urging the people of Israel (and us) over and over with words like, "take care" (4:9, 23) "beware" (4:16, 19) " be careful" (5:1, 32) and "watch yourselves very carefully" (4:15). Actually, the phrase "take care" is used 10 different times in the book of Deuteronomy alone. It is a much needed reminder I'd say.

With this post I have somewhat followed the flow of chapter 5, which starts with a command to "be careful", filled with who God is and with His law, and ending with a command again: "Be careful!" 

"You shall be careful therefore to do as the LORD your God has commanded you. You shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. You shall walk in all the way that the LORD your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land that you shall possess."
(Deuteronomy 5:32-33 ESV)


Monday, March 5, 2012

Heart and... Eyes: Remember.

Beloved brothers and sisters,
"The LORD said to Moses, “Speak to the people of Israel, and tell them to make tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a cord of blue on the tassel of each corner. And it shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the LORD, to do them,
not to follow after your own heart and your own eyes, which you are inclined to whore after. So you shall remember and do all my commandments, and be holy to your God. I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God: I am the LORD your God.
(Numbers 15:37-41 ESV)
It is entirely important that we understand the nature of our sinful hearts. I find that I am so quick to forget; so quick to think I am "getting pretty spiritual these days" or something like that. Thankfully, my God mercifully, graciously, faithfully and often painfully shows me, through the mirror of His word, (James 1) that my heart - though it has been regenerated and is being sanctified - is still quite a far cry from the heart of God. My eyes as well are all too swift to lead me not to God's but to so many "desires of the eyes" which are "passing away" according to  1John 2.
"The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately sick;
who can understand it?"
(Jeremiah 17:9 ESV)
"Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things;
and give me life in your ways."
(Psalm 119:37 ESV)
 LET US REMEMBER our weaknesses, remember our inclinations, and MAKE WAR AGAINST THEM. Let us daily be in desperate prayer for God's grace to CHANGE our hearts and our eyes; for His word to be the thing that leads us!

Brothers and sisters, WE HAVE A MIGHTY, GOOD, POWERFUL, LOVING GOD, and He has given us HIS WORD as a weapon with which we can "put to death the old self"!

"The precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the LORD is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
(Psalm 19:8 ESV)
I don't care if it's tassels or a 3x5 card in your pocket, we need to "REMEMBER ALL THE COMMANDMENTS OF THE LORD, TO DO THEM" 
"O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above."

-Cody  †