Posts Tagged ‘Law’

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QUOTE (John Berridge) – May 14

May 14, 2014

English: Cover portrait of Rev. John Berridge ...

“Run, John, and work, the law commands,
yet finds me neither feet nor hands,
But sweeter news the gospel brings,
it bids me fly and lends me wings!
~ John Berridge

In honor of John Berridge, Anglican evangelical revivalist and hymnist,who preached his first outdoor sermon on this day in 1759.

Resources:
Today in Christian History
John Berridge

 

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“STRENGTH TRAINING” – April 5

April 5, 2013

“…O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you, in heaven or on earth, keeping covenant and showing steadfast love to your servants who walk before you with all their  hearts,…” 2 Chronicles 6:14

English: Cycling towards Thorverton. good leve...I am a little sore and fatigued this morning.  Yesterday, I did my own little triathlon throughout the day.  I started the day with a 3 mile run and ended it with a 1,100 yd swim, followed by a 33 mile bike ride.  This morning, I am reminded that building and conditioning muscle can be a bit uncomfortable.

However, we all know what happens to muscles that are not worked.  They become weak.  If your muscles are weak, then you cannot do all of  the things that your mind may want to do.  Therefore, I do not regret yesterday, even though it has made this morning uncomfortable.  I know that my discomfort will pass and I will be stronger for the exertion.Finally

As I try to find a comfortable position in my chair, I wonder how similar muscles are to faith.  The Bible describes faith in ways very similar to muscles – it can be strong or weak; it can grow or stagnate; it can be small or large.

When I read Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the temple, I was encouraged by his faith.  It seems like he got it but then we know the rest of the story.  Solomon did not finish well.

I don’t think that Solomon’s manner of finishing is wholly unique.  I know of older believers who seemed to have had a very active faith when they were younger but are finishing in a very weak and indifferent manner.  It seemed like their faith was strong and dynamic when their kids were in their home but now that their nest is empty that strength is not as evident.  Their Sunday mornings are now spent in relaxation and recreation when they previously would have insisted that the family go to church.  Their affinities for vices appear more pronounced now that watching eyes are not as evident.  Their discussions span a vast array of interests and experiences but interest in the things of the Spirit seem lacking.

I wonder how well they are finishing.

I wonder because I see the opposite in others.  I see many with gray hair and grandchildren who speak often of their Lord.  I know of some whose bodies have failed them but they are faithful in every prayer ministry that is available.  I see bent backs supported by walkers mingling on Sunday morning being an encouragement to all who they can reach.

They seem to be finishing very well.

I think that they are finishing well because their faith is strong.  A weak faith will not result in a strong finish.  I want to finish strong. I want to grow old like those brothers and sisters I see who are finishing well.  They are the example of who I want to be when my hair is gray and my body cannot follow the commands of my mind.

Paul wrote, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” (Ephesians 6:10-11)  Spiritual strength comes from continually building the muscle of faith.  Just like muscles, we build our faith by exercising it.  Faith is exercised when we:Armour IMG_5687

Fasten on the belt of truth;

Put on the breastplate of righteousness;

Put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace;

Take up the shield of faith;

Take up the helmet of salvation;

Take the sword of the Spirit;

Pray at all times in the Spirit;

Keep alert with all perseverance;

Make supplication for the saints;

Proclaim the mystery of the gospel;

Strength in the Lord comes from action.

All of the activity of putting on the armor of God builds our faith.  It is when we stop putting on the armor of God when we become susceptible to the schemes of the devil and we don’t finish well.  Putting on the armor of God is going to cause some discomfort and maybe even some spiritual soreness.  That discomfort is evidence that you are exercising your faith, which should be encouraging because that means your faith is getting stronger through the power of the Spirit and that means you are finishing well.

You will never regret the effort that you expend in suiting up in the full armor of God; the discomfort will pass and your faith will be stronger due to the exertion.  It is that strength, through the Spirit, that will carry us to the end in a manner pleasing to our Father.

That is how the good and faithful servants will hear – “well done”.

PRAYER: Lord, I want to finish well.  I want to hear, “well done, good and faithful servant.”  Lord, give me a heart that desires the discomfort and fatigue of faith building.  Build my faith through your Spirit.  Make it strong in order that I may persevere well unto the end of my days.  Lord, keep my hope in You and You alone, for your glory alone.  Amen

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“THE LAW IS THE LAW” – April 4

April 4, 2013

“Then Paul said to him, “God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall!  Are you sitting to judge me according to the law, and yet contrary to the law you order me to be struck?” Acts 23:3

Scales of Justice Brisbane Courts-1=A week ago, I participated in a mediation process on behalf of my company to try and settle a dispute.  Mediation is a strange process.  The adversaries are isolated in separate rooms and the mediator moves back and forth between the rooms in an attempt to resolve the dispute.  However, there is no real resolution.  The core of mediation is an attempt by the mediator to find a compromise at which both parties are willing to let go of the dispute.  There is no determination of right or wrong.  There is no judgment rendered.  There are a variety of issues that come into play; the strength of the case, what can be proven, the cost of litigation, the provable damages, the duration of litigation, etc.  There comes a point in the mediation when you are no longer talking about the issues of the dispute.  You are merely talking about money.  Mediation is the calculation of tangible and intangible costs measured against risk.

Mediation is not justice.

I am not an attorney and I have never pondered very deeply about the law.  However, I have always correlated the law with justice.  I have held that somehow the laws passed by representative governments ensure justice for its citizens.  My latest experience with injustice (from my perspective) and the law has caused me to take a slightly more jaded view of the law.  One of my attorneys told me, after a particularly eloquent rant about the injustice of my whole situation, that I was trying to get the law to be something that it is not.  The law is not justice.

The law is the law.

The law is a tool.  There are some things that the law can be used for.  There are some things that it cannot be used for.  The law can be used with good intentions and it can be used with bad intentions.  The law can be a shield and it can be a sword.

I think that many people have a similar misconception about God’s law.

They think that their justification is in keeping the law.  The law is not justification.

They think that their sanctification is in keeping the law.  The law is not sanctification.

The law is the law.

God’s law is a tool.

“Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary.” (Galatians 3:19)

So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.”  (Galatians 3:24-25)

God’s law was given to us as a guardian to train us, pointing out sin and punishing it.  The condemnation that the law was pointing out is now removed from those who are in Christ Jesus.  There is no punishment from the law for those in Christ.  We still have God’s law to help train us.  It still points out sin.  However, the law is the law.  The law does not save.  The law does not remove our condemnation.

“For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do.  By sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:3-4)

We get into trouble when we start to expect the law to be something that it is not.  We get into more trouble when we use the law in ways that it was never intended.  Paul was struck by a man who was wielding the law like a sword.  Yet, he violated the very same law in his zealous effort to protect the law.  The “whitewashed wall,” as Paul called him, believed that the law was something that it was not.

Obey the Law of God and State

Obey the Law of God and State (Photo credit: Frank DeFreitas)

I wonder how often we are similar whitewashed walls when we live in accordance to our stringent list of “do’s and don’ts.”  Are we living as if our pious performance is achieving something that it can never do?  Many people believe that they will make it to heaven because they hope that their “good deeds” will out-weigh their “bad deeds” on the grand scale of God’s law.  That is a false hope because it is expecting the law to be something that it is not. The law is the law.  It is a tool to point us to the true source of salvation, Christ Jesus.

We need to examine why we are living in obedience to God’s commandments.  Is your obedience coming from a heart that wholly loves your Lord and Savior as a gift or is it coming as an obligation from an unwilling mind that is doing what it must?

Obedience from a grateful heart is an expression of love. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)  Obedience is an expression of love.

Obedience as a duty has an expectation of the law that it can never be.  That sort of obedience leads only to other sins – pride, not loving our neighbor, gossip, hate, coveting, etc.

The law is the law. Jesus Christ fulfilled the law.  Our hope is in Him and Him alone.

What are your expectations of your adherence to the law?

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for freeing us from the law.  Thank you for using it as a tool to show me my sin and my need for a Savior.  Lord, may my obedience be a pleasing fragrance to You.  Examine my heart and my motivation for all that I do.  May my keeping of your commandments be a demonstration of my love for You.  Keep me from sinning in my obedience.  Grant me a heart that is undivided and a willing mind that serves You in gratitude and love.  Amen

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