Monday, February 24, 2014


A description of Javert when he is gloating over the discovery of Jean Valjean.

“Erect, haughty, brilliant, he flaunted abroad in open day the superhuman bestiality of a ferocious archangel.”

Hugo, Victor. “Les Misérables.”

Bitter and Sweet

O most merciful Father, we pray that You would be pleased in this Supper where we celebrate the bitter death of Jesus, to work in us the sweet fruit of Your Holy Spirit, that we may daily, with more and more confidence, give ourselves wholly to the Lord Jesus, and that we may be truly comforted, fed and strengthened in Him, no longer walking in our former sins but embracing the new life of the Spirit that we have received through Jesus Christ. Amen.


Our Great God in Heaven, we thank You that You have sent Your only begotten Son to Earth to revive, redeem, and restore, lifeless, guilty and broken man. We acknowledge that all good things come from Your hand; life for our mortal souls, sustenance in our daily bread, increase through our busy hands, new life through regeneration, protection from evil, perseverance in the faith and life everlasting. All glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Corporate Confession

Our Father, we confess that we sometimes resist the Spirit and find ourselves opposed to the Truth, not keeping the Word of Jesus. Forgive us, O Lord, and grant us ears to hear Your Word and the will to resist the world, the flesh and the devil. Amen.

Confession- Secret Sins

Our Father, we seek Your grace and mercy For we are brought to an end by Your anger; by Your wrath we are dismayed. You have set our iniquities before You, our secret sins in the light of Your presence. Do not let us continue in secret sins, for we know that they will be revealed. Rather, lead us to confession and repentance at Your throne of mercy. Amen.

Praise- Father of Lights

Our Father, You are the Father of lights. In You, there is no darkness at all, for You called to the darkness and there was light. You spoke and it was done. As Your Word has filled the world with light, so Your Spirit has filled Your people with light. May Your light so shine that the world will be illuminated with the light of Christ, from East to West, as far as the sun rends his course, and from North to South, from pole to pole, and from the river to the sea, that all the world will know that the light has come, the darkness fades and the Word of the Lord abides forever. Amen.

Hear the Word of the Lord!

Although Saul was not the first choice of God to rule in Israel, he was the rightful king. God allowed the people to select Saul instead of waiting for David. This premature selection by Israel was a grievous error. But God is very gracious. He did not condemn Saul to the fates. Saul could have followed hard after God and led the nation righteously. But that is not what he does.
          He repeatedly chooses to be disobedient. His disobedience leads to a judicial blindness. With the justification of protecting his own kingdom, he turns against those most loyal to him. He attacks God’s anointed and in doing so, spirals out of control. He is the king of Israel, whose God is Yahweh, but Saul becomes the enemy of God.
         When we see Saul’s latter end, we are astonished at how someone who started out so promising has devolved into such a beast. But this should not surprise us. Sin does that. Little by little, it entangles and enslaves until you become the very opposite of what you had hoped to be, or even what you think you are.
         This is the senselessness of sin. This is the power of self-deception. This is the telos of disobedience, that those who were once friends of God, set themselves up as enemies.
We should pay attention to Saul’s demise. He was not God’s first choice but God gave him every opportunity to do that which is right. Through jealousy, envy, and then paranoia, Saul drove himself crazy. We do not know that he was literally insane. It seems as if he is still able to carefully plot his plans. If he were fully insane, someone would have relieved him of his duties. It is not so much that Saul is crazy but that he is crazy with envy, with power, with fear.
He did not get to this point overnight. He fed his own fears and he refused to heed the wise in his midst. David was loyal and wise and Saul would not hear him. Samuel was loyal and wise and Saul would not hear him. Jonathan was loyal and wise and Saul would not hear him. Ahimelech was loyal and wise and Saul would not hear him.
At each point, Saul systematically refuses to hear and heed the Word of God. The result is that he becomes an enemy of God, striking out against God’s people, God’s priests. He is literally striking out against God, Himself.
Saul, the anointed of the Lord. Saul, the one the people asked for, has now become Saul the enemy of God.
The lesson is all too clear. Hear the Word of the Lord. Today, if you will hear His voice, harden not your hearts. For today is the day of salvation. Today, God is speaking to you. If you refuse to hear His voice, one day His voice of friendship will end and you will be God’s enemy. So, do not refuse to hear Him. Be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ the Messiah.
How do we keep ourselves from becoming like Saul, a man who would not and then could not hear God?
         The key is to hear. Listen. Get the spiritual wax out of your ears.
Young men, can you hear me speaking now? Can you hear the Spirit of God when you are being lazy? Or grumpy? Or Lustful?
Young ladies, are you paying attention to God before you get distracted by stuff? By looking good? By attracting men? By being popular? Can you hear God speak through all that chatter?
Ladies, can you hear the voice that says not to complain about your husband? Not to worry about what people think? Can you hear the voice that tells you that your work as a wife and a mother is honorable in the Lord’s eyes? Are you pleased with pleasing the Lord?
Men, do you know the sound of God speaking? Do you hear the voice of reproof from a friend? From a Son? From your daughter? From your wife? Men, do you know the grace of the voice that says, “Thou shalt not!”
All of you must hear while you still have ears. Hear while the preacher is preaching. Hear while your teachers are teaching. Hear while your parents are speaking. Hear while you can still hear because if you stop your ears the voice will go silent.
Therefore, hear the voice of God and so prove to be His disciples. Grow in the strength of God because your hearing is trained to hear Him whenever and from whomever He speaks. Hear the Word of the Lord! Amen.

Immense Grace

What immense grace we have received. We are God’s people. We are the redeemed of the Lord. Though our sins were scarlet, they are now white as snow.  Where sin abounded, grace bounded higher and higher still. What a gracious God we serve.
         The Table of the Lord is a dividing line. It separates the wheat from the chaff. Both come here to eat. We have a hard time discerning the difference. But the wheat is nourished to life from the root who is Christ and the chaff is dried up and blown away. But the Table of blessing is open for blessing to all that call upon the Lord in Spirit and in Truth. So, be truthful.
         The Lord says to come and eat. Let all those who are weary and heavy laden come unto Jesus. In Him there is abundance of grace. But God also reveals the thoughts and intentions of the heart. “Uh-oh,” you might say, “If God reveals the truth, then I will stay in the shadows. I will not come to that dangerous Table.”
         But the Lord, and we elders, do not give you that option. You cannot opt out and save yourself. If you opt out because you want to retain sin, you are damned. If you come to the Lord without discerning His body, you grow sick and die. Then what shall you do?
         Come to Him, humbly, seeking His favor, in the beauty of holiness, through the power of the cross for forgiven sinners, to the only safe place, the arms of the Almighty God of the universe, your Father. Come honestly, gladly revealing that you need Jesus, the Savior of sinners, the friend that sticks closer than a brother, the risen Lord who lives to make intercession for your soul. Come to Him, giving thanks, and be saved from this perverse generation. Amen.

Hear, Repent and Be Saved

If you have been a Christian for very long, you have been surprised a few times by the level of sin that a Christian friend or family member has fallen into, even though you once knew them as a godly person. Also, if you have been a Christian for very long, you may have stopped being surprised by this. It happens with some regularity. It is always sad and somewhat shocking but not so surprising anymore.
         The spiral of sin happens by degrees. A man rarely cheats on his wife at the first opportunity. A woman rarely leaves her husband given the first chance. A teen does not usually  fall into great mischief with his friends on the first night. The husband falls into discontentment and sin a little bit at time, one lie at a time, one justification at a time, and then it is done. The wife spins the record in her head of the perfect husband, which is not her own, long before she ever acts on the fantasy. She may read a book, talk to her friends, complain until she is a martyr in her own eyes and then she is gone. A teen plays with sin before he rides away in its car.
         I’ve seen this play and it always starts with a seemingly insignificant act. But sin is like yeast. It grows. It must be beaten down or it gets out of control. And the way you know it is out of control is when the word of God comes to slay it and you find yourself at odds with God’s Word, God’s people, God’s ministers. If you refuse to hear them, your last state will be worse than the first. You fight grace with excuses that you like to call reasons. 

Wake up. Stop deceiving yourself. Hear, repent and be saved.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Holy Loaves

King David ate five holy loaves. The Lord Jesus fed five thousand with five holy loaves. And Jesus now feeds us with holy loaves. The bread is bread. On its own, it has no magical power. But the Lord Jesus has consecrated the loaves. He has pronounced a blessing to those who eat in faith, trusting Him for resurrection, rescue and salvation. The loaves provided David and a few men a time of refreshing, a way to escape the clutches of His enemies. Jesus fed the five thousand in a desert place. They came to hear Jesus and they were all filled.
         Now the Lord has seated us in His presence. He has provided the means of grace for us, the forgiveness of sins through the foolishness of the cross. But to us who are being saved, the cross is the power of God. The power of God, the bread of life, the Lord Jesus, Himself, is here offered to you. It is not merely an offering of bread but of Jesus, Himself, Christ crucified for sinners.
Let us eat in faith, as we honestly approach the Lord, believing Jesus for blessing as He covers our sins with His own precious blood. In this way, by faith in Jesus, we are saved by the Holy Loaves.

Merciful Lord

It is true that the Lord is merciful. He is slow to anger and quick to forgive sins. It is a lie about the character of God if we retain our sins and refuse to confess them to Him, if we think that He will somehow not forgive us our sins.
         It is also true that if you fail to confess your sins, you will systematically harden your heart, deceiving yourself that you have no sins to confess. Your heart will grow hard and the Lord, who is gracious and kind and quick to forgive, will not grant you that provision of forgiveness and freedom from sin. Even the saints of God can grieve the Holy Spirit through sins if they will not come to the throne of grace. It is a throne of grace, abundant grace, but only to those who lay down their sins at the foot of the cross.
Your secret sins will find you out. This is a proverb worth noting. It is better to confess and be forgiven than to retain sins and have them held against you. The Lord is merciful and just to forgive sins. Let us all confess, especially those secret sins we are nursing along, so that the Lord can kill them once and for all.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Closer Than A Brother

The story of Jonathan is a good one for us to contemplate. We know that Jesus is the one who sticks closer than a brother. For many of you with close brothers, this is an encouraging thought, for your brothers are close and will stand by you, even unto death. And you know that even if your friends or your family or your brother, were to forsake you, there is One, the Lord Jesus, that is even closer than Your brothers. He will not refuse to die on your behalf because He has already done so. He has not only died but He has risen again. He has faced death and won. This brother lives to make intercession for you now and always.
         Jonathan was a Christlike man because he was willing to take his life in his hands for the sake of his ‘brother’ David. Because he believed in God’s promises, he was able to lay aside his will, his fame, his power and his glory for the sake of another.
         So, we have our champion Jesus and we see in the story of Jonathan, and all the subsequent faithful saints and martyrs for the faith, that we are empowered by God’s Spirit to lay down our lives for others. Jesus is our first fruit, our first example of the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace and then we, ourselves, follow in that glory. We are not afraid of death because, in Jesus, we have already won the victory and so because of our elder brother, Jesus, we, too, can stick closer than a brother.

Freedom From Sin

Jesus said that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Furthermore, He said that if you believe in the truth, the truth will make you free.
You have all struggled with sin and know that it is a bondage of slavery. But in Christ, we have been set free from that bondage. We are no longer under the tyrranic rule of sin. Instead, we have been set free to serve Jesus in a new and living way. We are no longer slaves but freeborn children. The sin which so easily entangles us has been slain by the victory of the cross. Your sins have been nailed to the cross. You have been forgiven and justified in Christ. There is no debt that you owe to sin and even the penalty of death has been fully paid.
You believe and know Jesus and Jesus has set you free.