Sunday, March 30, 2008

A Gracious Home--Gracious Speech, Sweet as a Honeycomb

In the book, *Becoming A Woman Who Pleases God*, by Pat Ennis and Lisa Tatlock, graciousness is defined as the attribute of being kindly disposed or showing favor and mercy to someone, usually by a person of superior position and power. Some scriptural examples of this type of graciousness is seen as Potiphar is gracious to Joseph in Genesis 39 and of King Ahasuerus' gracious treatment to Esther in Esther 2:17; 5:2. Of course scripture shows our God as the ultimate gracious One in Psalm 86:15 as it portrays God as "full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in mercy and Truth."

God's Word speaks clearly on having gracious speech, which is one way a wise woman should be gracious in her home. The authors of *Becoming A Woman Who Pleases God* list these scriptures as ones to memorize and meditate upon regarding gracious speech.

Proverbs 10:19-20--"When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise. The tongue is as choice silver, the heart of the wicked is worth little."

Proverbs 15:1--"A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."

Proverbs 16:24--"Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones."

Proverbs 17:27--"He who restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding."

Proverbs 29:20--"Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him."

Proverbs 25:11--"Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances."

Psalm 19:14--"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer."

Dr.John MacArthur says this in His sermon on The Excellent Wife:
She guides her family daily in wisdom. I believe the father is to be a teacher in the home. I believe he is the family priest. But I do not believe for one moment that that precludes the reality that it is the mother who day in and day out, hour in and hour out is teaching wisdom to the children. Not formal classes, but instruction in the flow of life, she's the teacher. Men, we may give the formal lessons but day in and day out she's the teacher.

And in what attitude does her teaching come? Proverbs 31,verse 26, "The wisdom of God comes out of her mouth and the law of kindness is on her tongue." The attitude in which she teaches all of this is a dominant attitude of loving kindness. What a challenge. What does that mean? Gracious speech, kind speech, tender speech, pleasing speech, compassionate speech, ministering grace to the hearers, as Paul said, edifying, building up. That which comes out of her mouth is the wisdom of God in tender and compassionate gracious kind words. What a teacher. The greatest teacher because the character of life makes her so believable, because the wisdom of God is true and because the attitude is compassionate and teacher like that. What a portrait. Believe me, women, this is a challenge of a life time.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Living In Hope

“Each morning that greets me is full of hope,
not because I am successful at what I am doing,
or because the people near me appreciate me,
or because circumstances are easy,
but because God is and He is my Father.
To look at the morning in any other way
is to believe a lie.

To live in hope is to live in truth;
To live in truth is to bring Him glory;
to bring Him glory in my daily living
is the highest form of worship.”

~Paul David Tripp

Are you living in hope? Who or what is the object of your hope? Is your hope determined by the Truth from God's Word? Does your hope bring God glory today?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Sweeter, Holier Life

A Sweeter, Holier Life

"Cast all your care upon Him; for He cares
for you." 1 Peter 5:7

A sweeter, holier life we cannot live, than
a life of daily, childlike reliance upon the
providential care of our Heavenly Father.

From: Octavius Winslow, "The Overflowing Cup"

Friday, March 21, 2008

Thoughts on Christ Crucified....

John Piper so eloquently says this about Christ crucified:
Christ crucified is therefore both the means and the end of God’s purpose in the universe. Without his work, that end to reveal the fullness of the glory of God for the enjoyment of God’s people would not have happened. And in that very means-work he became the end—the one who forever and ever will be the focus of our worship as we spend eternity seeing and savoring more and more of what he revealed of God when he became a curse for us. Jesus is the end for which the universe was made, and the means that makes that end possible to enjoy.

Spurgeon says in his sermon to encourage believers.
The longer you live, the more powerful will you find the gospel to be; the more deeply Christ-taught you are, the more you live under the constant influence of the Holy Spirit, the more you will know the gospel to be a thing of power, and the more also will you understand it to be a thing of wisdom.

"But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God."—1 Corinthians 1:23-24.

JC Ryle says this about Christ crucified:
By “Christ crucified,” I mean the doctrine that Christ suffered death on the cross to make atonement for our sins,-that by His death He made a full, perfect, and complete satisfaction to God for the ungodly,-and that through the merits of that death all who believe in Him are forgiven all their sins, however many and great, entirely, and for ever.

He goes on to say this about Christ and His death:
The doctrine of Christ crucified is the foundation of a Church’s prosperity. No Church will ever be honoured in which Christ crucified is not continually lifted up. Nothing whatever can make up for the want of the cross. Without it all things may be done decently and in order; without it there may be splendid ceremonies, beautiful music, gorgeous churches, learned ministers, crowded communion tables, huge collections for the poor; but without the cross no good will be done. Dark hearts will not be enlightened, proud hearts will not be humbled, mourning hearts will not be comforted, fainting hearts will not be cheered. Sermons about the catholic church and an apostolic ministry, sermons about baptism and the Lord’s supper, sermons about unity and schism, sermons about fasts and communion, sermons about fathers and saints,-such sermons will never make up for the absence of sermons about the cross of Christ. They may amuse some, they will feed none.

A gorgeous banqueting room, and splendid gold plate on the table, will never make up to a hungry man for the want of food. Christ crucified is God’s grand ordinance for doing good to men. Whenever a Church keeps back Christ crucified, or puts anything whatever in that foremost place which Christ crucified should always have, from that moment a Church ceases to be useful. Without Christ crucified in her pulpits, a Church is little better than a cumberer of the ground, a dead carcass, a well without water, a barren fig-tree, a sleeping watch­man, a silent trumpet, a dumb witness, an ambassador without terms of peace, a messenger without tidings, a lighthouse without fire, a stumbling-block to weak believers, a comfort to infidels, a hot-bed for formalism, a joy to the devil, and an offence to God.

If you know God and are living for Him, then praise God for His beautiful gospel. What joy we can find in Christ crucified...what sorrow, what gratitude, and what ultimate joy at the same time.

JC Ryle has something very important to say to those who do not know the Lord:
Are you living in any kind of sin? Are you following the course of this world, and neglecting your soul? Hear! I beseech you, what I say to you this day: “Behold the cross of Christ.” See there how Jesus loved you! See there what Jesus suffered to prepare for you a way of salvation! Yes: careless men and women, for you that blood was shed! For you those hands and feet were pierced with nails! for you that body hung in agony on the cross! You are they whom Jesus loved, and for whom He died! Surely that love ought to melt you: surely the thought of the cross should draw you to repentance. Oh, that it might be so this very day! Oh, that you would come at once to that Saviour who died for you and is willing to save! Come and cry to Him with the prayer of faith, and I know that He will listen. Come and lay hold upon the cross, and I know that He will not cast you out. Come and believe on Him who died on the cross, and this very day you shall have eternal life.

His entire sermon can be found here.

Let us all meditate on Christ's suffering and death as we understand that it was all God's beautiful plan for us..."In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." (1 John 4:10) Our ultimate true worship must be a result of Christ crucified.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Word For Wednesday

Isaiah 53
Who has believed what he has heard from us?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
stricken for the transgression of my people?
And they made his grave with the wicked
and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
and there was no deceit in his mouth.

Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.
Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his soul to death
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors.

We must all praise God for His indescribable gift of the Lord Jesus Christ to us...through Him we have forgiveness of sins which leads to peace with God and eternal life. May He be praised forever! Have a blessed week meditating on what Christ did for you.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Sunday Hymn

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Words: Thom­as O. Chis­holm, 1923. Ac­cord­ing to Chis­holm, there were no spe­cial cir­cum­stanc­es which caused its writ­ing—just his ex­per­i­ence and Bi­ble truth. The hymn first ap­peared in Songs of Sal­va­tion and Serv­ice, 1923, com­piled by Wil­liam M. Run­yan. It is the un­of­fi­cial “school hymn” of Moo­dy Bi­ble In­sti­tute in Chi­ca­go, with which Run­yan was as­so­ci­at­ed for a num­ber of years.

William M.Run­yan wrote the mu­sic spe­ci­fic­al­ly for these words; it ap­peared in the 1956 Bap­tist Hymn­al:

This par­ti­cu­lar po­em held such an ap­peal that I prayed most ear­nest­ly that my tune might car­ry its mes­sage in a wor­thy way, and the sub­se­quent his­to­ry of its use in­di­cates that God an­swered prayer.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Word For Wednesday

Titus 2:3-5 says:
Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the Word of God may not be reviled.

The following excerpt from John MacArthur's sermon,*God's High Calling for Women* is very helpful. He elaborates on Titus 2:3-5 and explains some cultural problems and lies we all are exposed to and tempted to believe.
God has a magnificent and wonderful design for women. It is a design which will fulfill their created purpose, maximize their uniqueness, make them a blessing to the world, and bring fulfillment to their own lives and glory to the name of God. That design is briefly stated there in those two verses. The instruction there is God's design for women--women in the church, so that the church can have a powerful witness, and so that God can be glorified and His Word honored.

There are times and places in human history where this particular section of Scripture would be commonly believed, even in the culture, where there would not be a reaction to any of these things that would be the accepted norms for society; but ours is not such a time, nor is it such a place. In our culture, what is being said in these verses to young women is the very opposite to what young women are being taught. Young women today are being taught to:

"Love whoever they want"
"Farm their children out to somebody else"
"Don't worry about what is sensible"
"Do whatever pleases you"
"Don't worry about being pure"
"Fulfill your physical and lustful desires"
"Don't work at home--work outside the home"
"Don't worry about being kind--you do whatever you want"
"Grab your moment in the sun"
"Take care of you, not somebody else"
"By all means--Don't be subject to your own husband!"

When this comes into the church it, therefore, dishonors the Word of God. I mean, even an unbeliever can read those verses. The most unschooled non-believer can read that the Word of God says young women are, "to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, and being subject to their own husbands," And if he can read the Bible and look at the church he can make a very simple conclusion: "You Christians say you believe the Bible--why don't your women live like this?" You see, it brings discredit on the Scripture to say we affirm the Scripture but we live however we like, or worse: we live however the culture (being basically controlled by Satan, the "Prince of the Power of the Air") dictates us to live.

Friday, March 7, 2008

A Challenge to Women

John Piper has listed some excellent challenges for women. I thought it was worthy of a way of exhorting us all to keep a Biblical perspective on how we live.

1. That all of your life—in whatever calling—be devoted to the glory of God.
2. That the promises of Christ be trusted so fully that peace and joy and strength fill your soul to overflowing.
3. That this fullness of God overflow in daily acts of love so that people might see your good deeds and give glory to your Father in heaven.
4. That you be women of the Book, who love and study and obey the Bible in every area of its teaching. That meditation on Biblical truth be the source of hope and faith. And that you continue to grow in understanding through all the chapters of your life, never thinking that study and growth are only for others.
5. That you be women of prayer, so that the Word of God would open to you; and the power of faith and holiness would descend upon you; and your spiritual influence would increase at home and at church and in the world.
6. That you be women who have a deep grasp of the sovereign grace of God undergirding all these spiritual processes, that you be deep thinkers about the doctrines of grace, and even deeper lovers and believers of these things.
7. That you be totally committed to ministry, whatever your specific role, that you not fritter your time away on soaps or ladies magazines or aimless hobbies, any more than men should fritter theirs away on excessive sports or aimless diddling in the garage. That you redeem the time for Christ and his Kingdom.
8. That, if you are single, you exploit your singleness to the full in devotion to Christ and not be paralyzed by the desire to be married.
9. That, if you are married, you creatively and intelligently and sincerely support the leadership of your husband as deeply as obedience to Christ will allow; that you encourage him in his God-appointed role as head; that you influence him spiritually primarily through your fearless tranquility and holiness and prayer.
10. That, if you have children, you accept responsibility with your husband (or alone if necessary) to raise up children who hope in the triumph of God, sharing with him the teaching and discipline of the children, and giving to the children that special nurturing touch and care that you are uniquely fitted to give.
11. That you not assume that secular employment is a greater challenge or a better use of your life than the countless opportunities of service and witness in the home the neighborhood, the community, the church, and the world. That you not only pose the question: Career vs. full time mom? But that you ask as seriously: Full time career vs. freedom for ministry? That you ask: Which would be greater for the Kingdom— to be in the employ of someone telling you what to do to make his business prosper, or to be God's free agent dreaming your own dream about how your time and your home and your creativity could make God's business prosper? And that in all this you make your choices not on the basis of secular trends or yuppie lifestyle expectations, but on the basis of what will strengthen the family and advance the cause of Christ.
12. That you step back and (with your husband, if you are married) plan the various forms of your life's ministry in chapters. Chapters are divided by various things—age, strength, singleness, marriage, employment choices, children at home, children in college, grandchildren, retirement, etc. No chapter has all the joys. Finite life is a series of tradeoffs. Finding God's will, and living for the glory of Christ to the full in every chapter is what makes it a success, not whether it reads like somebody else's chapter or whether it has in it what chapter five will have.
13. That you develop a wartime mentality and lifestyle; that you never forget that life is short, that billions of people hang in the balance of heaven and hell every day, that the love of money is spiritual suicide, that the goals of upward mobility (nicer clothes, cars, houses, vacations, food, hobbies) are a poor and dangerous substitute for the goals of living for Christ with all your might, and maximizing your joy in ministry to people's needs.
14. That in all your relationships with men you seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit in applying the Biblical vision of manhood and womanhood; that you develop a style and demeanor that does justice to the unique role God has given to man to feel responsible for gracious leadership in relation to women—a leadership which involves elements of protection and care and initiative. That you think creatively and with cultural sensitivity (just as he must do) in shaping the style and setting the tone of your interaction with men.
15. That you see Biblical guidelines for what is appropriate and inappropriate for men and women in relation to each other not as arbitrary constraints on freedom but as wise and gracious prescriptions for how to discover the true freedom of God's ideal of complementarity. That you not measure your potential by the few roles withheld but by the countless roles offered. That you turn off the TV and Radio and think about...

You can read the rest of the article here.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Word for Wednesday

A sermon excerpt from John Piper:
Haven't you all had experiences like I have in which you feel the goodness and faithfulness of God so intensely that you leap in the air and shout and hug your kids or hug somebody and say, "O God, how could I ever doubt you after this? How could I ever again despair of your help?" And then some short time later you find yourself doing just that--discouraged, and feeling no confidence in the goodness and greatness of God. Why? Because we are so prone to forget the evidences of God's goodness which we ourselves have experienced, not to mention the evidences in Scripture.

Isn't that why David preaches to himself:

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless His holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits (Psalm 103:1,2).

Soul, do not forget what God has done for you. Instead, soul, do what Asaph does in Psalm 77:11.

I will call to mind the deeds of the Lord; Yea I will remember Thy wonders of old. I will meditate on all Thy work. And muse on Thy mighty deeds. Thy way, O God, is holy. What God is great like our God?

We are called to be telescopes: people who make the greatness of God seem as great as it really is. This is what it means for a Christian to magnify God. But you can't magnify what you haven't seen or what you quickly forget. Therefore, our first task is to see and to remember the greatness and goodness of God. So we pray to God, "Open the eyes of my heart," and we preach to our souls, "Soul, forget not all His benefits!"

Let us think on these words from Scripture today (Psalm 103):
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.

The Lord works righteousness
and justice for all who are oppressed.
He made known his ways to Moses,
his acts to the people of Israel.
The Lord is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always chide,
nor will he keep his anger forever.
He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
For he knows our frame;
he remembers that we are dust.

As for man, his days are like grass;
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
and its place knows it no more.
But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
and his righteousness to children's children,
to those who keep his covenant
and remember to do his commandments.
The Lord has established his throne in the heavens,
and his kingdom rules over all.

Bless the Lord, O you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his word,
obeying the voice of his word!
Bless the Lord, all his hosts,
his ministers, who do his will!
Bless the Lord, all his works,
in all places of his dominion.
Bless the Lord, O my soul!

Let us all bless His Holy Name and magnify the Lord together! Have a wonderful day serving Him.