A Kingdom of Conscience

Radical Kingdom Conscienceness

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A Christian Hope.

A Christian Hope

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. (Romans 15:13 ESV)

Hope is that feeling, that emotion rumbling inside us as we lift our heads every morning. Hope lives. Hope breathes. Hope beats in the hearts of us all.

More than we like to admit, all of us live either in the past or the future. Few of us live in the present. It is our memory or it is our hope that keep us grounded. Perhaps the one passion that all of us indulge most in is hope. Hope serves all kinds of people, from the lowest of the low to highest of the high. The peasant or the prince. None can go too deep or out of reach of hopes grasp or none can be elevated too high to be above its influence. We are all alike under the influence of HOPE. Its beams of light shine in the darkest dungeons adding life to the lifeless.

How to do we give hope to the hopeless? As ministers of the gospel, we need to ask ourselves this.

At worst the hopeless are slaves - like child soldiers - at best, a teenage love broken at a school dance. Or perhaps hopeless like an over-worked single mother of two, an army vet, home and desensitized by war, or the dad that tells his family he’s lost his job. Hopelessness is not without strings - we are attached, it is our plight.

Paul, reminds us that unfortunately, being a slave is the plight of every human being born. Slavery is a part of life, whether we like it or not. Yes, we know about sin - that we are all slaves to it. Paul was a slave to sin and to pharisaical law-keeping his profession required. Legalism. We are slaves to technology, to love, to the idea of love, or to the idea of being a perfect parent. We are slaves to our possessions. It was the very wise, eccentric, soap manufacturer, Tyler Durden in the movie Fight Club who said: “Things you own, end up owning you.” This character in this film knew he was right, because he witnessed it, as you and I know when we look in own hearts and to others. We are all slaves to something.

Then what is it that frees us? It is the Christian hope. I say Christian hope because it has something very distinctive about it. It is different than hope offered elsewhere. We need to know this. What makes us “Christian”? What makes our hope “Christian”?

Freedom is precisely why Christian hope exists. Freedom from chains unwanted and even unnoticed. It is hope in another that frees us from slavery. It is hope in another because we know we cannot break free by our own merit. This hope is an anchor for the soul the writer of Hebrews tells us. So how do we obtain it? The same writer tells it was Jesus who obtained it for us, that we might be partakers in it. The distinctive of Christian hope is gospel of Jesus. This is precisely why Paul can write: “That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe” (1 Timothy 4:10 NIV).

Let’s remember something…

God, in his infinite glorious splendor, is the author of such emotion. He created it. He knows something of hope. He gives it graciously. His people too, were slaves at one point. Taken from their families, homes, comfort and thrown into slavery, the Israelites were under the command of the Egyptian Pharaoh. There was little hope from broken promises. Feeling abandoned, forgotten, tired and lost, the Israelites cried out to God for help.

“During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the people of Israel—and God knew.” (Exodus 2:23-25 ESV)

There is something to highlight of God’s character in this passage. God’s goodness is displayed here in these verses.

God heard…remembered…saw…and knew.

No one, no such event, no such cry for help was or is now, outside of God’s eyes and ears. Trust this to be true. Trust in the grace given everyday you live. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob lived in full assurance that the God of grace would fulfill his promises to them. It was a covenant of grace. It is the hope weaving throughout the history of God’s people. It is the plan that God has put in place to redeem a people in dire need of help. Forged to forget their history and commissioned to lose hope, the Israelites found hope in the God of their ancestors, in the hope of a redeemer. A messiah. They lived in grace by faith for the hope of a coming Savior. And he came.

Justin Holcomb in his book, Rid of My Disgrace: Hope and Healing for Victims of Sexual Assault wrote:

“Grace is available because Jesus went through the valley of the shadow of death and rose from death. The gospel engages our life with all its pain, shame, rejection, lostness, sin and death. So now, to your pain, the gospel says, “You will be healed.” To your shame, the gospel says, “You can no come to God in confidence.” To your rejection, the gospel says, “You are accepted!” To your lostness, the gospel says, “You are found and I won’t ever let you go.” To your sin, the gospel says, “You are forgiven and God declares you pure and righteous.” To your death, the gospel says, “You once were dead, but now you are alive.”

Solomon, the wise king says what we all should in times of hopelessness: “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: the steadfast love of The Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:21-23

The hope, the Christian hope we offer can be built on nothing less than Jesus, his righteousness, his death and resurrection, and his substitution for the lost, the rejected, the slave.

Prayer:

“God, You’re faithful in your love because you know me. You know everything about me. You know when I rise and when I fall. By your mercy I am alive. I may weary. I may be in trouble, but you know my name and you sustain me this very moment by your grace. Your word tells me “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book” (Psalms 56:8 NLT). No father on earth can say that, only you, my father in heaven. May I never stop ceasing to be amazed by your love for me. May I never stop being thankful for the breath in my lungs and the sight in my eyes. Even without those, Lord, you are still beautiful. My heart cries out: thank you! It is because of your love I endure. It is because of your grace I will be sustained until you come again. Amen. ”

Filed under Hope Jesus gospel Christian

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Head & Heart

Head knowledge of the things of Christ is not enough; this following Christ is primarily a matter of the heart. If your heart is not fixed in its purpose, your principles, as good as they may be, will hang loose and be of no more use in the heat of battle than an ill-strung bow. Half-hearted resolve will not venture much nor far for Christ.
- William Gurnall

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"And let us not take it into our heads either to seek out God anywhere else than in his Sacred Word, or to think anything about him that is not prompted by his Word, or to speak anything that is not taken from that Word."
- John Calvin, Institutes, Book 1

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[In 2012] Walk more closely with God, get nearer to Christ and seek to exchange hope for assurance. Seek to feel the witness of the Spirit more closely and distinctly every year. Lay aside every weight, and the sin that so easily besets you. Press towards the mark more earnestly. Fight a better fight, and war a better warfare every year you live. Pray more, read more, mortify self more, love the brethren more. Oh that you may endeavor so to grow in grace every year, that your last things may be far more than your first, and the end of your Christian course far better than the beginning!
J. C. Ryle

Filed under new years resolutions 2012

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Closing paragraph of Chesterton’s ‘Orthodoxy’ is brilliant

In G.K. Chesterton’s Orthodoxy - his intellectual quest by a spiritually curious person - his final chapter is entitled Authority and the Adventurer. After he penned the previous eight chapters he is convinced that ‘orthodoxy’ - that stemmed from the Apostle’s Creed - is the most logical and coherent answer to life’s questions. He concludes this magnificent book with this: 

Joy, which was the small publicity of the pagan, is the gigantic secret of the Christian. And as I close this chaotic volume I open again the strange small book from which all Christianity came; and I am again haunted by a kind of confirmation. The tremendous figure which fills the Gospels towers in this respect, as in every other, above all the thinkers who ever thought themselves tall. His pathos was natural, almost casual. The Stoics, ancient and modern, were proud of concealing their tears. He never concealed His tears; He showed them plainly on His open face at any daily sight, such as the far sight of His native city. Yet He concealed something. Solemn supermen and imperial diplomatists are proud of restraining their anger. He never restrained His anger. He flung furniture down the front steps of the Temple, and asked men how they expected to escape the damnation of Hell. Yet He restrained something. I say it with reverence; there was in that shattering personality a thread that must be called shyness. There was something that He hid from all men when He went up a mountain to pray. There was something that He covered constantly by abrupt silence or impetuous isolation. There was some one thing that was too great for God to show us when He walked upon our earth; and I have sometimes fancied that it was His mirth.

Brilliant.

Filed under G.K. Chesterton Orthodoxy

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Quotes from R.C. Sproul

We fail in our duty to study God’s Word not so much because it is difficult to understand, not so much because it is dull and boring, but because it is work. Our problem is not a lack of intelligence or a lack of passion. Our problem is that we are lazy.

I can’t make the Bible come alive for anyone. The Bible is already alive. It makes me come alive.

The issue for Christians is not whether we are going to be theologians but whether we are going to be good theologians or bad ones.

Filed under rc sproul knowing scripture bible

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Hold Firmly To The Gospel.

Trouble or no trouble—pains or no pains—controversy, or no controversy—one thing is very sure: that nothing but Christ’s Gospel will ever do good to our own souls. Nothing else will maintain our Churches. Nothing else will ever bring down God’s blessing upon our land. If, therefore, we love our own souls, or if we love our country’s prosperity, or if we love to keep our Churches standing, we must remember the Apostles words, and “hold fast,” hold firmly the Gospel, and refuse to let it go!

J. C. Ryle

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The Glory of God

 

Not to us, not to us
But to Your name be the glory!

Let us begin: How should we start?
Brightness shining out of the dark
It shines in our hearts, providing a spark
His might incites the light to impart
Takes us back to Genesis 1
Angels clapped, and hymns- they were sung
Face the facts- He’s second to none
In the beginning positioned the sun
Up in the sky, hovering high
The light’s too bright, cover your eyes
Type of sights that none can devise
This Righteous Knight is lovely and wise
It’s seen in the stars
Seen in the galaxies, seen in quasars
Neptune, Uranus and Pluto and Jupiter
Mercury, Saturn and Venus and Mars
Back to the earth, it shows in the trees
Each of the leaves blows in the breeze
Locusts and bees, ocean and seas
All the result of Jehovah’s decrees
Observe the way His Word creates
Preserves and shapes, determines fates
Reverberates at urgent rates
The earth- it shakes with fervent quakes!
Imagine it
I can’t explain the half of it
Our brains can’t even fathom it
And language is inadequate
To characterize the Lord on the throne
With spiritual eyes, His story is known
From Him and through Him and to Him is everything
Surely to God be the glory alone!

Not to us, not to us
But to Your name be the glory!

Let us consider the God who is there

Possessing a glory that’s not to be shared
God versus anyone- not even fair
How could you dare to try to compare
The Self-existent, Self-sufficient
Omnipotent, Beneficent
Faithful God whose Word we can trust
Perfectly Holy and perfectly just
His beauty, there’s no end to it
Transcendence is infinite
Knowledge and wisdom- intricate
Steadfast love is intimate
We see in His laws- He is the Boss
Nothing about Him is evil or false
Pure perfection, zero flaws
All of His attributes meet at the cross!
The place where Jesus Christ was smashed
To satisfy God’s righteous wrath
Rose from the grave on my behalf
Through faith in Christ, He lights our path
Makes believers part of His fam
How does a Holy God pardon a man?
Perhaps even harder to understand:
From the beginning was part of His plan!
Imagine it
I can’t explain the half of it
Our brains can’t even fathom it
And language is inadequate
To characterize the Lord on the throne
With spiritual eyes, His story is known
From Him and through Him and to Him is everything
Surely to God be the glory alone!


Not to us, not to us
But to Your name be the glory!

 

- Shai Linne, Attributes of God, released on Lamp Mode Recordings, 11.1.11.

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"Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice." - 1 Samuel 15:22

The sentence before us is worthy to be printed in letters of gold, and to be hung up before the eyes of the present idolatrous generation, who are very fond of the fineries of will-worship, but utterly neglect the laws of God. Be it ever in your remembrance, that to keep strictly in the path of your Saviour’s command is better than any outward form of religion; and to hearken to His precept with an attentive ear is better than to bring the fat of rams, or any other precious thing to lay upon His altar. If you are failing to keep the least of Christ’s commands to His disciples, I pray you be disobedient no longer.

Spurgeon

Filed under obey God Spurgeon

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We are apt to say that because a man has natural ability therefore he will make a good Christian. It is not a question of our equipment but of our poverty, not of what we bring with us, but of what God puts into us; not a question of natural virtues of strength of character, knowledge and experience - all that is of no avail in this matter. The only thing that avails is that we are taken up into the big compelling of God and made his comrades. The comradeship of God is made up out of men who know their poverty.
Oswald Chambers