Tents & Houses

The house of the wicked will be overthrown, But the tent of the upright will flourish.

~ Proverbs 14:11

God is faithful to both the wicked and the righteous. Sound strange? Think about it. His promises towards both are sure and certain. The Lord’s Word stands as true to one as it does the other. In our passage before us, we are told the house of the wicked will be overthrown. The meaning is all the wicked do, all they establish here on earth, any accumulation of power or prosperity, even they themselves, will one day come to nought. While the tent of the upright will be blessed, it will flourish and ultimately prosper under God’s faithful care.

Consider one other caveat from this text, notice the contrast between the house of the wicked and the tent of the upright. A house may appear more stable than a tent. The house may give the resident a greater sense of safety and security than the one dwelling in a tent. But in the Lord’s plans, the house will fall while the tent shall stand. Though the upright may do with less in this world, and live by humbler means than the wicked, God is faithful to both, and it is the upright who will flourish while the wicked are fully and finally overthrown.

~ apl

Peace & Confidence

“Our peace and confidence are to be found not in our empirical holiness, not in our progress toward perfection, but in the alien righteousness of Jesus Christ that covers our sinfulness and alone makes us acceptable before a holy God.”

~ Donald Bloesch

Prayer Life Pause: Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for covering me with the perfect righteousness of Your Son, Jesus Christ. For His perfection alone is what makes sinners acceptable before a holy God. In Jesus’ name, amen.

The Gospel Demands

“For the gospel does not expressly demand works of our own by which we become righteous and are saved; indeed it condemns such works.  Rather the gospel demands faith in Christ: that He has overcome for us sin, death, and hell, and thus gives us righteousness, life, and salvation not through our works, but through His own works, death, and suffering, in order that we may avail ourselves of His death and victory as though we has done it ourselves.”

~ Martin Luther

Prayer Life Pause: Heavenly Father, thank you for accepting this sinner on behalf of Your Son. It is by His righteousness alone any lost soul has hope, redemption and forgiveness. Pour out His victory upon us all! In Jesus’ name, amen.

Walking In His Ways

“Who is wise? Let him understand these things. Who is prudent? Let him know them. For the ways of the LORD are right; The righteous walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them.”

~ Hosea 14:9

The Christian is called to be wise in the ways of the Lord. We are to exercise understanding – that is – we are to possess a working knowledge of God’s ways as presented in the Scriptures. Likewise, Believers ought to exhibit prudence in life and character. What is prudence? It’s living in the present with an eye toward showing consideration and thought for the future. The sinful lack this care and concern. Sadly, many wander aimlessly with little to no true purpose or plan. The transgressor stumbles in the ways of the Lord. To them, God’s ways are a hinderance not a help. But the righteous, those to desire to be in and follow God’s will, shall walk in the wisdom and prudence of the Lord.

~ apl

Prayer Life Pause: Heavenly Father, show me the paths of righteousness for Your name’s sake. Help me to live in Your wisdom, looking ahead in my life with full assurance of Your presence and control. 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.

Beauty Full Sight

The beauty of God,

it can’t all be seen.

His majesty high,

our sin between.

Thus came the Son,

arrayed as our Light.

That all may view,

God’s beauty full sight.

~ apl

Prayer Life Pause: Lord Jesus, You are the Light of mankind. Help me to reflect Your light to others that, through me, they may see Your loving hope and salvation. 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.

Planted In Him

“Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.”

~ Psalm 1:1-3

Prayer Life Pause: Father, keep my heart from the counsel, paths and seat of the wicked. Guard me and plant me firmly in the presence of Your tender love and priceless grace that I may bear fruit to Your glory. In Jesus’ name, amen.

All Are Welcome

“The cross of Jesus displays the most awful exhibition of God’s hatred of sin and at the same time the most august manifestation of His readiness to pardon it. Pardon, full and free, is written out in every drop of blood that is seen, is proclaimed in every groan that is heard, and shines in the very prodigy of mercy that closes the solemn scene upon the cross. O blessed door of return, open and never shut, to the wanderer from God! How glorious, how free, how accessible! Here the sinful, the vile, the guilty, the unworthy, the poor, the penniless, may come. Here too the weary spirit may bring its burden, the broken spirit its sorrow, the guilty spirit its sin, the backsliding spirit its wandering. All are welcome here.”

~ Octavius Winslow

Prayer Life Pause: Dear Lord, thank You for welcoming me into Your presence. I bring all my burdens, sorrows and guilt and lay them at Your feet of forgiveness. How glorious You are! In Jesus’ name, amen.