Devotional – The God of the Impossible

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“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

Immediately after waking up this morning I was quickly engulfed by a dreadful torrent of fear. My heart started pounding… I even began to sweat as my mind raced though all of the items on my agenda.  “This is impossible,” I thought, “How can I ever face the day ahead of me!”

Amazing!  I was already defeated.  I had only been awake for a few minutes—I was still in bed!—and I wanted to give up.

Is this how God wants us to live?  Paralyzed by our own feelings of inadequacy and fear? Of course not!

God’s earnest desire for us is to abound in hope, fill us with all joy and give us His peace that surpasses all understanding!

How?  How can I possibly know hope, joy, and peace despite the seemingly insurmountable problems I face?  By believing!  By believing in the long promised Messiah—The Lord Jesus Christ.

Why was I filled with a paralyzing fear this morning?  Because I was looking at my problems!  I was looking at myself.  I had taken my eyes off of Jesus Christ and I began to sink in to a quagmire of self-pity and fear.

Lord, help me to keep my focus on you, to rely on you and to fill me with all hope, joy and peace that comes from believing in you.

———

 

Editorial note: Originally published March 2, 2015 at assemblyHUB.com

 

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Sermon Audio – Eternal Life and The Gospel of Jesus Christ

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“This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree. If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son. Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.” 1 John 5:6-16 ESV

 

Other verses referenced in this sermon include:
John 1:12
John 3:3, 7, 15, 16
John 17:1-3, 24-25
Acts 16:31
Romans 6:23

 


This sermon was originally recorded at the North York Gospel Chapel, York, PA on May 23, 2015.

 

 

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Jottings – Our Sins Were the Cause of His Sorrows

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On Matthew 26:47-56 ~

 

We see in these verses the cup of our Lord Jesus Christ’s sufferings beginning to be filled. We see Him betrayed by one of His disciples, forsaken by the rest, and taken prisoner by His deadly enemies. Never surely was there sorrow like His sorrow! Never may we forget… that our sins were the cause of these sorrows! Jesus was ‘delivered for our offenses.’ (Romans 4:25.)

 

J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Matthew. (New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1860), pp. 366f.

 

Thanks Keith!

 

 

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Wonderful Reminders of What it Means to Break Bread

Rethinking what church growth means. Is small the new big?Shane Johnson has an excellent post over at the assemblyHUB blog today entitled “How NOT to Break Bread.” If you have not seen his post yet, I suggest heading over there and checking it out.

In his post Shane beautifully expresses why the Lord’s Supper is precious to both himself and the Lord Jesus Christ. Shane writes:

The Lord’s Supper is precious – both to the Lord and to the believer. Most of what I have learned about the person of Christ, His peerless character, and priestly work on the cross I have learned during that joyous hour we call the breaking of bread.

 

The bread and cup re-fix my eyes on the Lord better than any sermon can ever do, re-anchoring my heart on the hope-filled empty tomb.

Shane also reminds us that the Breaking of Bread is not about us:

Whenever I attend a wedding, it also helps me appreciate the meaning of the breaking of bread in a greater way. The best man’s speech is always focused on the groom, never on anyone or anything else. The best man speaks of the groom’s qualities – his loyalty, his selflessness, his humility, etc. The best man does not speak about what he has done for the groom.

 

To center our attention directly on the groom is the best man’s job, to heighten our appreciation and evaluation of him, and to reveal things about him that we may not have known or have forgotten. The best man does not speak about other interesting things, facts about history, or his own personal interests, which only serve to take the focus off the all-important groom, but solely on the bridegroom’s glory. After all, it’s his day not ours.

The Breaking of Bread is really all about Him… The Lord Jesus Christ…

We should filter our thoughts. Only those thoughts that reveal, remember or refine our understanding of His character and work should receive “air time” at the meeting. All other thoughts should be kept to ourselves. The Holy Spirit seeks to glorify Christ (John 16:14) not us.

 

When we speak at the Lord’s Supper, we influence and direct the worship of the entire congregation and should be careful not to disrupt the incense of adoration being raised up to the Lord. Before we share we should ask ourselves: does this reveal something about His character? Does this cause us to remember or revisit what He did for us? How does this refine our understanding of Him?

I encourage you to check out the entire post over at assemlbyHUB.

Link: How NOT to Break Bread

 

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Jottings – Who’s Crying Now?

Like Jesus and Paul, Jeremiah wept over the sad spiritual condition of the people... it’s unusual today to find tears either in the pulpit or the pews.

Commenting on Jeremiah 9:1-6 ~~

“Like Jesus (Luke 19:41) and Paul (Rom. 9:1–5), Jeremiah wept over the sad spiritual condition of the people, and this is one reason he’s known as “the weeping prophet” (see Jer. 9:18; 10:19; 13:17; 14:17; Lam. 1:16; 2:11, 18; 3:48). It’s unusual today to find tears either in the pulpit or the pews; the emphasis seems to be on enjoyment. Instead of evangelists and revivalists, the church now has “religious comedians” who apparently have never read James 4:9–10.”

 

Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). Be Decisive (p. 48). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

 

 

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Jottings – Christ To All The World

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“Our responsibility is not to bring all the world to Christ, but our responsibility is to bring Christ to all the world.”

 

W.T.P. Wolston, “Jehoshaphat’s Victory (2 Chronicles 20:1-30), in Handfuls of Purpose Part 3 (Miscellaneous, chapters 15 – 30). Accessed on 7/6/14 here: http://www.stempublishing.com/authors/wolston/HAND318.html

 

Thanks Keith!

 

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Jottings – The Joy Of The Lord In Our Midst

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“Ah, my friends, it is a great thing to have the Name of the Lord as our centre, and to taste the joy of the Lord in our midst. To ensure this, what God wants is simplicity. He wants you just to be what you are. And what are you? If you are a believer in Jesus, you are a child of God, an heir of glory, and you are of the company of the sanctified. You belong to that blessed One on high. You are His, and He is yours. And all His heart, all His strength, and all that He is is yours; and ‘He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.’ So that we may boldly say, ‘The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear. What shall man do unto me?’ (Hebrews 13:6). The fact is, a saint that is right with God, goes through this dark world like a glow-worm. As you pass through this scene, you go with the exhilarating sense that you have no power save that which is of God, and that is infinite. You have, and are to count on all the resources of God being with you in the day of battle. What a wonderful thing it is to be a saint of God in the night of Christ’s absence.”

 

W.T.P. Wolston, “Jehoshaphat’s Victory (2 Chronicles 20:1-30), in Handfuls of Purpose Part 3 (Miscellaneous, chapters 15 – 30). Accessed on 7/6/14 here: http://www.stempublishing.com/authors/wolston/HAND318.html

 

Thanks Keith!

 

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Happy Independence Day America!

 

 

To all of my fellow Americans, Happy Independence Day! We certainly have much to be thankful for, not the least of which is the freedom we enjoy to exercise our faith. However, may we never allow our patriotism to overshadow our allegiance to Jesus Christ.

 

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Jottings – The Greater The Conscious Weakness The More Is He Clung To And Counted On

 

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Commenting on Romans 7:4 — “We are set in relation to One who is pledged in love to support us. It is not now a demand to which there is no strength to answer, but a Person in whom all the wealth of divine grace is embodied, and in whom there is a full supply of all that weakness needs for its support, It is not, merely that He is a storehouse of supply, but it is all made available in personal love. Our sources of supply and strength are realised in conscious nearness to One who loves us. How all hardness and legality would go from our spirits if we kept the company of Christ! With what certainty would our hearts be assured that we could count on Him for everything! Every true husband loves to support his wife and supply all she needs, but he also loves to give her what is nearer to his heart even than his support– his personal affection and companionship. What a new spirit is formed in one who companies with Christ! The greater the conscious weakness the more is He clung to and counted on. The more trying the circumstances one may be called upon to pass through the more is companionship in them valued, and what companionship can be compared with that of Christ? It is the consciousness of this that sets our spirits free from all legality.”

 

C.A. Coates, The Book of Romans, n.d.

 

Thanks Keith!

 

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Jottings – Life with Christ Never Ceases


 

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“Life with Christ, upon which the believer enters when he is born of God, never ceases. Its continuance rests not upon our efforts any more than salvation by grace does.”

 

W. E. Vine, Collected Writings of W.E. Vine: Romans. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1996).

 

Thanks Keith!

 

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