Filed under: Devotions
by Caleb Hancock
What does scripture mean by “the fear of the Lord” or “fear of God”? Does it look like the frightened man up top there?
I think it can.
How often do you consider the attributes of God? How about the ones that you DO NOT share in measure with Him? He is eternal as seen in Genesis 1:1. He is completely sovereign as revealed in Daniel 4:35:
“all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing,
and he does according to his will among the host of heaven
and among the inhabitants of the earth;
and none can stay his hand
or say to him, “What have you done?”
Is this then not the one you should fear? As Jesus told his disciples in Matthew 10:28, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”
If we are to be men, if we are to be wise (Psalm 111:10), we WILL fear the Lord, recognizing his authority over every area of our lives. We should let this knowledge then dictate every aspect of our motivations, our words, our actions. Men are not those without fear, but those who fear what is worthy of true trepidation.
HOWEVER, as Christians, we are not to cower in condemnation or be dismayed. Rather, recognizing that this God who had the sovereign right to crush me for my sins, chose to place His precious, only-begotten, righteous, perfect, obedient, SON in my place! Why? Why would God pour out all of His holy wrath stored up because of my iniquities on His Son?
Here’s the amazing part…the God who I needed to be saved from, accomplished everything that was required for me, the offender, to be made right with Him. And He doesn’t simply tolerate me, but welcomes me to His table as an adopted son.
Oh God, may I ever fear you, in awesome reverence of your Power and Might and Justice and GRACE and MERCY!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Filed under: Man Cookin'
* Can of biscuits (more cans = more doughnuts)
Heat oil in a fryer (or in something else that is deep). Open the can of biscuits. Take a 20 oz. soda bottle lid and cut holes in the biscuits. Place the doughnuts and holes into the hot oil. Flip them when one side is golden brown. When the other side is golden brown, remove them from the oil (real men will use their fingers here). Let them cool. Cover them with powdered sugar, chocolate frosting, peanut butter, other cake frostings or whatever you want; heck, eat ’em plain! I don’t care.
(NOTE: If you cover the doughnut holes in powdered sugar, you have just made Chinese Doughnuts. Sorry to ruin the secret.)
Filed under: Devotions
by Caleb Hancock
55 Now the chief priests and the whole Council were seeking testimony against Jesus to put him to death, but they found none. 56 For many bore false witness against him, but their testimony did not agree. 57 And some stood up and bore false witness against him, saying, 58 “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.’” 59 Yet even about this their testimony did not agree. 60 And the high priest stood up in the midst and asked Jesus, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?” 61 But he remained silent and made no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” 62 And Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” 63 And the high priest tore his garments and said, “What further witnesses do we need? 64 You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?” And they all condemned him as deserving death. 65 And some began to spit on him and to cover his face and to strike him, saying to him, “Prophesy!” And the guards received him with blows.
It was a seemingly unimportant event in the process leading to the crucifixion of Christ. It seems like this trial was merely a formality. A mock-preceding with an inevitable conclusion.
But we see that the accusers had no case. Christ with his silence, and the false witnesses with their incongruent testimony had brought the trial to a halt. No progress could be made to condemn Jesus without a viable verdict.
Look again at verses 55 regarding their attempt to find charges against Jesus, “they found none”. And in the next verse, “For many bore false witness against him, but their testimony did not agree.” The last refrain is repeated again in verse 59.
We then see the chief priest seeking to bait Jesus into “blasphemy”. If Jesus answered the man, he knew that his words would be twisted and perverted. Not taken for what they were, the declaration of deity by their God, the ruling counsel would condemn him to death on public display.
And yet, Jesus spoke on your behalf! In his omniscience, he knew what awaited him. He knew that they would beat him and crucify him. He didn’t have to speak. And yet he did. He went on to endure the humiliation of being flogged and nailed to a cross, and even then to endure and exhaust the righteous wrath of His father. And he did this, speaking up and facing what followed not to prove his worth to anyone, and not mainly to set an example for his followers, but, Christ was crucified by his own allowance to pay for your (and my) sin.
And God is glorified, not when we seek to pay him back, but when we surrender to the fact that Christ has paid it all. To God be the praise and glory forever! How good he is to sinners!
Thank you Jesus for speaking on my behalf!
Filed under: Throttle Up Thursday
This is a modified quote from Shakespeare’s Henry V.
By Walt Alexander
Last week, I wrote that the gospel – the good news of forgiveness in Chirst – can become filler or rote. It can become meaningless and fail to produce the appropriate joy and hope and peace. To avoid this daily temptation, I wanted to offer some practical suggestions. I am no expert at this (so don’t expect anything novel) and this list is not exhaustive (so please offer us any insights you have).
1. Preach the gospel to yourself daily. There is simply no way to live in the good of the gospel (in the awareness that sin is forgiven and that guilt has been removed) without daily preaching the gospel to yourself. If the gospel is the most important message in all of history (which it is), then it is the only message your soul needs to hear every day.
2. Preach the gospel to yourself creatively. Don’t feel bound to preach the whole gospel (God – man – sin – Christ) in rote fashion to yourself. Preach it creatively. Address your soul specifically.
3. Preach the gospel to yourself through gospel truths. Try it for yourself. Pick one of these glorious truths – ransom, reconciliation, justification, union with Christ, adoption, etc. For example, some mornings when I am currently experiencing the faceplant of habitual, recurring sin, I will meditate on the precious reality that Christ has forever ransomed me from sin’s power and dominion. I am his child and sin has eternal threat to my soul. This frees me to experience the freedom from sin that the gospel promises!
4. Preach the gospel to yourself through the cries of Calvary. To be convinced of God’s love, Charles Spurgeon once wisely encouraged us to dwell where the cries of Calvary can be heard. They are: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do,” “I tell you the truth this day you will be with me in Paradise,” “Dear woman, here is your son,” “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me,” “I am thirsty,” “It is finished,” and “Father into your hands I commit my spirit.” Take these cries and dwell with them. Meditate on them and know the effects of the cross.
5. Listen to worship songs that explore the glories of Calvary. Again, use discernment here. Many worship songs are written today that do not truly explore the glories of Calvary. Search for songs packed with truth about the cross.
6. During corporate worship, engage with the truths of the songs and apply them to your heart. Corporate worship is not to be relaxing. It is to be engaging and we are to be actively calling our hearts to worship God.
Filed under: Devotions
William Wallace and Robert the Bruce were men that were opposed to each other in a much smaller degree than the Jews and Greeks, but this is still something that I think of when I read Ephesians 2:11-22.
One in Christ
11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
This passage shows us that, because of Jesus’ death on the cross, any hostility that the Jew and Gentile believers had between them was nullified. In the same way, this applies to believers of various ethnicities, denominations, ages, and socioeconomic statuses today. When you see a believer who is different from you, do you judge them in your heart self-righteously? Or do you see them as the blood-bought brother that Christ has made them?
May we be biblical men, not merely as our world sees masculinity; where it is often associated with pride, self-reliance, self-glorification, and contentiousness. Instead, may we be known for our unity in Christ. For through His blood, He has broken down the walls of hostility.
This passage brings to light the relevance and importance of conferences like Together for the Gospel. This conference brings together leaders from various Christian denominations and movements, in order to recount the unity that all Christians share in the Gospel of Grace, even while having biblical convictions that differ.
Praise God for great examples like this for us to follow as we seek to live out the biblical directive. We are informed and transformed by our merciful God’s atoning work on the cross on our behalf.
May we be men who are unified through Christ!
by Mike Plewniak
This is a spoof from the back cover of Salvo Magazine. It goes along with an article in the magazine and online by S.T. Karnick called “Girly Men: The Media’s Attack on Masculinity“. Listen to the conclusion of the article:
“Thus, the war against boys seems to have created three main character patterns for the adult male of our time: sensitive guys who want to please women; weenies and dorks who want only to be left alone to drink beer and play video games with their dork buddies; and thugs who, in rebellion against their unnatural education, are perpetually concerned with proving their toughness through increasingly loutish behavior. There are, of course, examples of decent, positively masculine males in the culture, but they are becoming increasingly overwhelmed by the products of educational and cultural feminization.
The fact is that people learn what you teach them. And the consequences of the war against boys—and the broader social war against masculinity in general—are increasingly evident in both the culture and the world at large. We should hardly be surprised that the results are anything but pretty.”
(HT: Justin Taylor)