A Heart of Humility

“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.”

~ Philippians 2:3

Prayer Life Pause: Heavenly Father, grant me a heart of humility which will always cause me to esteem others better than myself. Help me to be like Jesus, who came not to be served, but to love and serve others. In Jesus’ name, amen.

An Unfinished Work

“[B]eing confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ”

~ Philippians 1:6

Prayer Life Pause: Heavenly Father, my eternal hope and everlasting confidence lies solely in You and Your Beloved Son that You will finish the gracious work of salvation You have begun in me. Thank you for Your tender mercy. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Christ, Our Messiah

And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he said, Behold the Lamb of God!”

~ John 1:36

The Jews had long sought the coming Messiah. And a “lamb” in the Jewish culture had a deep, rich and symbolic meaning that symbolized the one who would come as their Deliverer. The promised Messiah would be likened to one who is “like a lamb that is led to slaughter” (Is. 53:6-7). When John the Baptist declares to the world “Behold the Lamb of God”, those there that day understood that John was saying here’s our Messiah, here’s our Deliverer, here’s the one who has been promised to save and deliver us, Jesus – the Messiah – the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!

Like the blood of the lamb that was used during Passover as a covering on the lintel and doorposts over the homes of the Hebrews in Egypt to protect them from God’s vengeance, so the blood of Christ, our Passover (1 Cor. 5:7), the Lamb of God, is the sinner’s covering from God’s just indignation against our sin. God sees us, not in ourselves, not in our own righteousness, nor according to our good deeds (as if there were any), but rather God looks at the faithful through the sacrificial blood of the Lamb, through Christ our Messiah.

~ apl

Prayer Life Pause: Dear Jesus, thank You for offering Yourself as my Passover. Though I deserve the punishment for my sins, by Your grace I am passed over and enjoy the blessings of knowing You as my Covering. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Of Pure Grace

“[T]here is nothing in us or done by us at any stage of our earthly development because of which we are acceptable to God. We must always be accepted for Christ’s sake or we cannot ever be accepted at all. This is not true of us only “when we believe,” it is just as true after we have believed. It will continue to be true as long as we live… It is always, on His “blood and righteousness” alone that we can rest. There is never anything that we are or have or do that can take His place or that take a place along with Him. We are always unworthy, and all that we have or do of good is always of pure grace.”

~ B.B. Warfield

Prayer Life Pause: Heavenly Father, thank You for accepting this humble sinner for Christ’s sake. His love and sacrifice are the only sufficient grounds for my salvation. Help me to always cling to Christ. In Jesus name, amen.

Endless Possibilities

“[F]or with God all things are possible.”

~ Mark 10:27b

This verse is the summum bonum of the Christian’s hope. Hidden deep in the truth of these seven little words is the greatest treasures of the Lord. Here lies the key that unlocks the power, glory and love of the living God – with Him all things are possible! There is no trial too great nor petition too small that God cannot affect. Nothing stays His hand. No need goes unnoticed. With God every concern can be comforted, every affliction assuaged, and every trepidation tamed. The real question is: Do we believe it? Does our faith carry us to the sure arms of a strong God with whom all things are possible? Do you rest in the assurance of this truth as one who belongs to Him? May we experience the hope, grace and love of the God of all things.

~ apl

Prayer Life Pause: Dear Jesus, may I take my every care and concern to You for in You lies all the grace, power and majesty of God to guide and strengthen m all my days. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Justified From All Things

“I was a sinner, less perfect than God. By conviction of the Holy Spirit I learned that my condition would incur the eternal condemnation of God if I did not submit to His grace. I acknowledged myself a sinner and threw myself on His mercy and grace, recognizing that He had brought salvation to earth through His Son Jesus Christ. After God the Father put God the Son to death on the cross, He could proclaim grace and pardon to all who would submit to Him. I came to the cross, believed His promise about His Son, and God declared me righteous even while I was ungodly and gave me authority to become His child. I ceased to be a child of wrath and became a child of God, justified from all things.”

~ Donald Grey Barnhouse

Prayer Life Pause: Heavenly Father, You sent Your blessed Son down from heaven to be our Savior, Redeemer and Friend. May You open the eyes of faith to those who need the Gospel that they might come to know and love the Lord Jesus Christ. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Only Sin To Give

“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

~ 2 Corinthians 5:21

When I was a young boy, I loved trading baseball cards. My friends and I couldn’t wait to ride our bicycles down to the local convenient store, head over to the candy and snack isle, find just the right pack of cards, buy them, only to rip them open, toss the rectangle piece of gum in our mouth, and start swapping those magical cardboard treasures. I can recall the happiness and satisfaction many of my childhood days brought trading simple baseball cards.

This passage in 2 Corinthians 5 speaks to another kind of trade, a swapping of sorts; to what theologians call double imputation. In the drama of redemption, Jesus doesn’t merely take upon Himself our sin, He gives us His righteousness. In other words, our sins are imputed (meaning they are accounted towards) to Christ, while His goodness, His righteous is imputed, or accounted, to us. We trade our sin for His goodness. This is the gracious trade-off in salvation.

Now when I traded those baseball cards as a youngster, I was always trying to get a good deal. I wanted to trade up. Each one of us, as we sat in those circles of intense negotiations, desired to trade our cards for better ones. But when Jesus Christ traded His righteousness for our sin, He certainly got a raw deal. While we get His goodness, He inherited, through imputation, our sin. Because of His great love, Jesus willingly traded with those who only have our sin to give.

And this alone should give all those who are trusting in Christ for our salvation pause. Here is the foundation of our reconciliation to God! Here is the sum and substance of Christ’s redeeming work on our behalf! He took our sin and traded that for His own righteousness. This should stir our hearts as nothing else. It should move the sinner to love, worship, and praise Him who traded everything glorious with those who had only sin to give Him in return.

~ apl

Prayer Life Pause: Dear Jesus, thank you for trading Your righteousness for my sin. Nothing but divine love and heavenly grace would allow You do such a wonderful thing for me. May I live faithfully in Your righteousness all my days. In Jesus name, amen.

There Is Need

“My chief desire should be . . . to be a man of prayer, for there is no want of speaking and writing and preaching and teaching and warning, but there is need of the Holy Spirit to make all this effectual.”

~ Andrew Bonar

Prayer Life Pause: Dear Lord, may I bathe all my ministry in prayer that You would be pleased to add Your blessed effectual grace to all that I do. In Jesus’ name, amen.

For Your Good

“You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good…”

~ Genesis 50:20

The story of Joseph’s rise to prominence in Egypt is filled with unlikely twists and turns. It begins when Joseph receives the covenant blessing of Jacob indicating his rise as the leader of God’s people, Israel. But because of the jealously and hatred of his brothers again him, Joseph’s life would take an unexpected turn towards violence, suffering, slavery and attempted murder.

Though his brother’s sought Joseph’s demise, he remained faithful to the Lord, and as a result, God favored and blessed him, even in a foreign land. Joseph rose to great power in Egypt. So that after the death of their father, and during a terrible famine, Joseph’s brothers went up to Egypt to plead for Joseph’s help. And oddly enough, Joseph was in the perfect place to assist.

What Joseph’s brother meant for evil against their brother, God meant for good. Their jealousy drove them to want to kill Joseph, to drive him away, and to prevent him from taking his rightful place as their leader. Yet God preserved Joseph and used him mightily despite them. Joseph remained faithful to God through it all and the Lord blessed him for it.

Sometimes everything can seem to be working against you. It can feel like God has let you go and the world is winning. Still remember, even in our darkest hour, God can bring good out of it. He can bring good out of pain, sorrow, and affliction. Maybe today you are in the pit of life, and like Joseph, with little reason to hope. Yet, be faithful; trust in the Lord. For what others mean for evil against you, your good and faithful God can mean ultimately for your good.

~ apl

Prayer Life Pause: Heavenly Father, when I feel the evils of this world pressing in on me and I can’t seem to grasp the meaning of it all, help me to know with a blessed assurance I’m still in Your hand and my goodness is You goal. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Peace

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”

~ Galatians 5:22-23

Like the other fruits of the Spirit, peace is not something we always experience outwardly, but it is something the follower of Jesus can cultivate inwardly. The kind of peace spoken of here is a result of ceasing the inner conflict in ourselves between sin and the Savior. There is always conflict when we are at odds with the Lord. And our peace comes when we yield to Christ and submit ourselves to His Word. Faithful obedience and grace-filled living leads to spiritual peace.

Prayer Life Pause: Lord Jesus, fill my heart with Your Word that it might chase out my sins and pour Your Holy Spirit in me that I might experience Your splendid peace. In Jesus, name, amen.