Friday, May 6, 2011

Trusting in the Promises of God: He is Faithful

Whenever troubles come into our lives, we naturally assume that we are being punished for something we've done wrong. With the help of the devil, our consciences remind us of past sins. We scrutinize our lives and wonder what offended God. This can even lead to blaming God for our problems. Eventually we can end up hating Him.

Perhaps Abraham had similar thoughts when God asked him to sacrifice his son: "Maybe I have become proud because God gave me a son." Perhaps I wasn't thankful as I should have been. Maybe the Lord regrets making his promise to me. It's difficult to silence anxious thoughts like these when we can't understand what God is doing. People can't comprehend how an unchanging God can change his mind. Inevitably, we come to one of two conclusions: either God is a liar, or God has become our enemy. Thinking of God as a liar is blasphemy. Thinking of God as our enemy leads to despair.

Often, serious doubts arise, such as "What if God doesn't want me to be save?" But when our consciences are troubled in this way, we have to continue to believe the promise of salvation- a promise we can trust in and depend on. When we doubt God's promise, we must pray and hang on to it, because if Satan can prevent us from believing it, then we have no where else to turn. God will test us, as he did Abraham. God doesn't test us because he enjoys it. He tests us to find out whether we love him above all things.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Guarding Against Judgement

Forgiveness of sins and tolerance for others are indispensable to the Christian life. We should bear with each other and forgive one another, as Paul taught "We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves." This is what Christ meant when He said, "Stop judging." No one should act superior to others, or think of themselves as better than those who don't have such gifts. Among believers, no one should try to dominate anyone else. Your neighbor receives as much of God's grace as you do. There is one God who creates people and gives everyone of us our own gifts. God is pleased by the least as well as the greatest.

Do not judge, or you too will be judge. For in the same way your judge others, you will be judged, and with the same measure you use, it will be measured to you. Matthew 7:1-2 

Friday, April 22, 2011

O Happy Fault of Adam's Sin!

Most holy night most blessed of nights
When Christ broke the chains of the darkness.
God's mighty love is stronger than death.
Christ our light shines forever.

Let every tear be wiped away, let every sorrow fade.
For Jesus the Christ, has risen from the grave.

How wonderful Your care for us.
How boundless is Your love?
To ransom a slave,You gave away Your Son.

O happy fault, of Adam's sin, O blessed day of grace.
Which gained for us, a Savior Christ the Lord.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A New Life

To whom does God give his beloved Son? God gives him to the world-the lost multitude who never deserved it. They could only expect to remain lost and condemned without him. God gave his Son to the lost so that they might be saved. Then what should you do for this loving God in return? Nothing! Don't go on pilgrimages. Don't do this or that good work for God. Instead, simply believe on Christ alone. 

You cannot take hold of this gift- the Son of God -with your hand. The Son of God cannot be contained in a jar. He is grasped only with the heart and by faith. When this gift enters into your heart, then you won't be the same person. Even if you once were a thief, an adulterer, or a murderer, you will become a new person, for you have the Light in your heart. 

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17

For God so loved the world that he grace his one and only Son, that whoever believes on him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

He Who Knew No Sin Was Made Sin For You

God made him who knew no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21

When you are made aware of your sin and frightened by it, you must not allow the sin to remain in your conscience. This would only lead to despair. Rather, just as your awareness of sin flowed from Christ, so you must pour your sin back on him to free your conscience.

So be careful you don't become like the misguided people who allow their sin to bite ate them and eat at their hearts. They strive to rid themselves of this sin by running around doing good works. But you have a way to get rid of your sins. You throw your sins on Christ when you firmly believe that Christ's wounds and suffering carried and paid for your sins. If you try to deal with your sin in your conscience, let it remain there, and continue to look at it in heart, your sins will become too strong for you. They will seem to live forever. But when you think of your sins as being on Christ and boldly believe that he conquered them through his resurrection, then they are dead and gone. Sin can't remain on Christ. His resurrection swallowed up sin and death.
Faith Alone by Martin Luther

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Looking Back On Life

We see the hand of God working in our lives no more clearly than when we reflect back on the years of our lives. Augustine said that if people had a choice of either dying or reliving their lives over again, they would certainly choose death because of all the danger and evil they so narrowly escaped. In one sense, this statement is certainly true.

Looking back, people can see how much they have accomplished and suffered without trying or thinking about it, even against their wishes and wills. They gave such little thought to what they were doing before it occured or when it was happening. Now, after everything has been carried out, they are amazed and say, "Why did these things happen to me when I never thought about them or thought something completely different could happen?" So Proverbs 16:9 is true: "In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps," even against his plan and will." So we must agree that our own cleverness and foresight don't guide our lives and actions. Instead, God's wonderful power, wisdom, and goodness guides us. Only as we look back do we fully recognize how often God was with us when we neither saw His hand nor felt His presence at the time it was happening. Accordingly, Peter said, "He cares for you" (1 Peter 5:7).

Even if there were no books or sermons to tell us about God, simply looking back on our own lives would prove that He tenderly carries us in His arms. When we look back on how God has led and brought us through so much evil, adversity, and danger, we can clearly see the ever-present goodness of God, which is far above our thoughts, minds, and perception.

                                Faith Alone Martin Luther

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Fellowshipping As Forgiven Sinners

We will be having a study at 7pm on Thursday, if you plan to come please email.  
We will continue reading from The Freedom of a Christian. Please read up to The Final Clarification (pg.89). See you then.

 Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything 2 Corinthians 6:3-10