Hello December 12: Freedom

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Glory Be

I make it no secret that I have two favorite Christian Christmas CDs: Andrew Peterson’s Behold the Lamb of God and Sojourn’s Advent Songs. I went to Sojourn when I lived in Louisville and loved singing the Advent songs. I could listen to both of these albums year round all the time!
I also have a favorite guitar lick ever – it is found in Glory Be, the second song on the advent cd.
This year, in thinking of the sins that beset each of us, and the reason that Jesus came to earth in the first place, I love this line in that song:
Sing for joy, all the earth, Messiah’s come to set you free.

It is amazing that Jesus, the eternal Son of God, who was the spoken Word of God at creation – came to earth to set me free from the bondage of sin. As Elyse Fitzpatrick says in her new book Found In Him, “He is not shocked or surprised by your weakness or sin.” (pg 30). Isn’t it amazing that this statement is true – and yet God still loves us. And sent Jesus?

What sin do you need Jesus to set you free from this Christmas? Let us rejoice!  And all for His glory.  GLORY BE!

“Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Romans 7:24-25a

W&BT #1: Name Above All Names (week 6)

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This was another impactful chapter from Begg and Ferguson’s book Name Above All Names.  I have learned that what I am experiencing in life helps determine how I will read a book – this one is no diferent.  Here are some highlights from the “Suffering Servant” chapter:

1.  Isaiah 53: “He carried our sorows” – Sin plays a harsh role in this world.  Our sorrows are born from the sin in this world.  But, we don’t need to carry them all by ourselves.  We have communities: friends, blog readers (y’all), pastors, family members (some), but most of all we have a willing Jesus who already has born all of our sorrows and will continue to do so until He returns – (then we won’t have any because we’ll be perfect) – as He intercedes for us next to the throne of the Father.  This is such a reassuring thought!

2.  “How is it possible for the purpose of God to be at the heart of all this?  How can Isaiah say – however reverently – that God is in control of it all, that it “was the will of the Lord to crush Him” (pg 140).  This is an important doctrinal lesson to know and believe. If you can’t believe this fact – that God the Father was in charge of the darkest moment of history – then why would you believe that God is in charge of the darkest moments of your life?

3.  “Our Lord’s outward posture here is expressive of the passion within” (pg 144).  Though this quote is not talking about musical worship – I think the same principle applies.  If we are passionate about God within – won’t we come to worship and participate in worship in an outward manner?  That may mean different things like singing with a smile on our faces – singing loudly and expressively.  It may mean getting on our knees or lifting our hands as far they can go and not caring about who sees (and also not being distracted by those who choose to worship in this manner).  It may mean lifting our hands in prayer giving up our private worship to the God who sees.  It will look different for different people – but we are all worshipers.

4.  “All three persons would always be involved in everything God was doing.  The Father would plan salvation, the Son would come to procure it, and the Spirit would be sent to apply it” (pg 144).  Another important doctrine is the one of the Trinity.  We can’t forget one of the persons of the Trinity in the work of salvation.  I’ve learned a lot of this from Dr. Bruce Ware, a professor at SBTS, a gentle, humble, and brilliant father, husband, professor, and author.  Our prayer life will change when we learn and love this doctrine.  Our prayers of thanksgiving will change when we know and live this doctrine.  Our corporate will worship will change when we see the magnificence of all the persons of the Trinity.

5.  “My soul is overwhelmed” (pg 146).  Jesus was a vulnerable Savior.  He didn’t hide His true feelings.  He was real with the disciples at the hardest moment of His life (up to this point).  He wasn’t pithy or unreal with His disciples.  He said He was overwhelmed.  He ultimately knows that it is the will of His Father to crush Him – but He doesn’t hide His emotions (real, true, honest, not sinful) from those around Him.  This is part of what makes Him the perfect Suffering Servant.

6.  “It is this theology of the cross that we find here.  God grant that in seeing Christ as the Suffering Servant we will be done once and for all with the superficial triumphalism that sadly emanates from too many Christian organizations and churches” (pg 155).  How are you real and vulnerable with those in your church?  How do you show compassion and true life with those in your church?  Does everyone think you have it all together?  I hope not.  Because we are all sinners and have damaged lives but who are greatly redeemed by a compassioned Savior.  Let us not diminish the work of Christ on the cross by having others think we have it all together.

Join me next week as we finish up the book!  It’s been a great one for me!

W&BT#1: Name Above All Names (Week 1)

I hope you have all enjoyed reading this week’s first chapter in Alistair Begg’s and Sinclair Ferguson’s new gem of a book on the person of Christ.  It has been a blessing to me and I’ve been learning much from their study and have thrilled at their writing and teaching style.

How these weekly studies will go, for the next 7 weeks, is this:  I hope you will come to each Monday having read the chapter for that week, but if you haven’t, feel free to join in anyway. I guarantee you will get more out of this blog each week if you have read the material.  I won’t walk through the chapter, but more offer my gleanings and what I’ve learned in light of the author’s writings.  In the comment section, you can either comment on what you’ve read in the book, on the blog, or something else you’ve read in pertaining to the subject matter at hand.  Everyone will interact with each other.

Here are some of my reflections on Chapter 1:

1.  Why study Jesus?

“They (the names of Jesus) express the incomparable character of Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord.  Reflecting on them better prepares us to respond to the exhortations of Scripture, to focus our gaze upon Him, and to meditate on how great He is.” (pg 15)

The study of Jesus greatly enhances our worship.  True worship, if you remember John 4, has to be through Jesus. If you look at the hall of faith in Hebrews 11, they were worshiping the Yawheh God through the future faith in the coming and reign of Jesus. My husband has been reading a Dennis Johnson book in preparation for his DMin class on preaching – the entire book is on how the entire Bible points to Christ.  The Old Testament, New Testament, the 400 years of silence in between.  Jesus has everything to do with our yesterdays, todays, and forevers.  According to Sinclair in another sermon, God is a speaking God – and through the person and work of Jesus is one of the primary ways God chose to speak.

There are many types of religious affiliations in the world, that is an understatement.  However, one distinct person separates true Christian, gospel-centered worship from every other religion in the world: Jesus.  Others have works, ladders, lists, and good deeds, but as a former pastor of mine said, Christianity doesn’t equal DO, it equals DONE.   Does your worship, both daily and on Sunday among other believers, center on the person and work of Jesus?  If not, something is most definitely missing.

This is what gets a lot of us women in trouble on a daily basis.  We are seeking to do everything we need to do: whether our jobs, schooling, motherhood, being a wife, serving others, being a homemaker, etc. in our own strength.  However, knowing Jesus and what He has done for us as believers, and daughters and co-heirs, will enable to us to free our minds from a perfectionist mindset and set our hope and our calling on Him.

2.  Scripture is more than knowledge, it is doing.

As my husband and I studied the book of James for most of 2012, I read weekly or daily the verses about doing the Word of God, not just listening, reading or knowing it (James 1).  This was so convicting.  Often times we ourselves, or others in our presence, will spout Scripture, but often times we fail to do what we know.

As the authors talk about Jesus being the Seed of the Woman, the reason the Seed was needed was because of sin.  And the action of sin in the garden was not listening and obeying the Word of God.  God has spoken very clearly as to what Adam and Eve were to do and not do – however, they both chose to turn away from the spoken word of God and do their own thing.  “The distinctive feature of this tree is what God had said about it.” (p 16).

Sweet friends, how do we fight this battle daily – the battle of our minds?  We fight this battle daily with some of the following (and think for yourself what some of yours might be): putting our hope in status, a clean house, happy kids, a husband, a successful career, etc. (other than putting our hope in Jesus); worrying and being fearful (this only tends to get worse in our sinful nature once we have children); fighting our own battles (wanting to be the justifier instead of waiting for God to act on our behalf), etc.  We need to memorize and act upon the Scriptures that God has so graciously spoken to us.  We only do this by choosing to believe in the Gospel every minute of every day.

3.  Conflict Resolution.

I once had the opportunity to hear Ken Sande speak at Southern Seminary.  A gracious man, he taught his listeners about means of being a peacemaker.  There are some helpful resources on his website, so if you aren’t familiar with his ministry, I would encourage you to “google” him.

We have conflict in our lives (between friends, church members, spouses, children, bosses, family) because of a great conflict that was started in the Garden of Eden.  This ultimate conflict will eternally be won by Jesus, but there are daily ramifications of conflict for us in this world.  “When Christ appeared, he came to undo what the Serpant had done.  By His life and ministry and ultimately through his death and resurrection, he destroyed all the works of the Devil.”  (p 20)

Oh, isn’t this a happy thought?  When there is conflict in our lives, we can rest assured that we know who will be the Victor.  I really don’t know anyone who loves conflict; I certainly don’t.  In our marriage, we strive to resolve conflict as soon as possible.  But this conflict between the Seed of the Woman and Satan has been going on for centuries.  And the outcome is still secure – Jesus wil be victorious.

So dear one, when you find it hard to battle the conflict daily – that battle of sin and of the flesh and of the war that Paul speaks about in Romans 6-7  – please take heart that this is not an eternal battle – but one that Jesus has already won!

4.  There will be pain.

Since everyone knows this…I can move on from this point.  Wait.  As I think about the ladies I know who are doing this book study with us here on the blog – I know their stories (most of them).  I know the pain in their lives – pain today, pain yesterday, knowing that pain will certainly come in the future.  Lost jobs, lost loved ones, unsaved loved ones, difficult family circumstances, family members with lifelong disabilities or illnesses, betrayal of friends, etc. – pain is so real in our lives.

I found much hope in this statement by the authors: “We must not allow ourselves to be tricked into thinking that if things are going well with us, then we can be sure of God’s love.  For life can often seem dark and painful.  Things do not always go well for us.  Rather, we look to the sacrifice of the cross and the demonstration God gave there of His love.  This is the proof I need.  This is the truth I need to hear if the lie is to be dispelled” (p 33).

This last month of my life has been a very hurtful one.  But, I’ve actually had much comfort that has come from friends speaking the Gospel truth into my life – words of hope and life that have dispelled (somewhat, honestly, at this stage in the game) lies.  I’ve had a husband and close friends who point me to what God has said about me in His Word and that has given me much hope.

Ladies – there will be hurt.  There will be pain. But, as the authors of this book and the glorious Bible has said, Jesus gets the victory.  Pain will one day lose all of its sting.  Pain can no longer have the victory if we believe in Jesus.  That is a great HOPE!  In your hurt – where do you find hope?

What have you gained from the book this week?  What was your most applicable takeaway?  What thoughts have you read here that have triggered some new thoughts in your understanding of this truth about Jesus?

Join us next week as we reflect on chapter 2!


W&BT: Name Above All Names

A new month and a new feature on kd316.  As I’ve lived in many places there are many women whom I would love to have the ability to sit down in my living room and study this book together (or any other).  But, that can’t happen.  So, that’s why we have technology right?

Women from all over are going to join up and study Crossway Book’s new release (June 2013) of Alistair Begg and Sinclair Ferguson’s readable, applicable book on Jesus: Name Above All Names.  This has been an outstanding book in my opinion and I’ve been enjoying getting to know Jesus better, getting to know the authors better, and getting to know myself better (as you inevitably will when you study Jesus).

So, join us.  We will be starting on July 15 and the comments will be how we dialogue.  If you don’t necessarily want to comment via the comment section, you can always use facebook or email to dialogue.  But, I’d love to hear your thoughts (whether you are here in Little Rock or halfway around the world).  You have plenty of time to order your book.  The chapters are not long and they are very readable even for the average woman who has never been to seminary or anything. Jump on in!  Everyone needs to learn more about Jesus!

I’ll post the study from each chapter each Monday, starting with chapter 1 on July 15 (so if you have time, please go ahead and read it).

Name Above All Names (Review and Book Study Coming)

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Jesus.  What’s in a name?

This is the most important name to us Christians – the one that our entire Hope lies in.  Begg and Ferguson, some of my favorite preachers, have teamed up to write a fabulous and readable book that studies some of the positions/names of Jesus.

I chose this book from Crossway this month because of the authors, but I was afraid it was going to be over my head or not really readable and applicable.  I was wrong on both acccounts.  They have made this book not only applicable but funny in places.

One of the underlying messages throughout this book is that Jesus is the center message of the entire Bible – and Jesus needs to be the center of your life.

So what about this special book study coming?  In the past I’ve had a full-time job writing curriculum for a church.  This is the book we are starting with!  This will be a 7 week series, so it should finish by the time some schools/home schools start back.  It will begin JULY 15 so it gives you plenty of time to get the book.  We’ll read a chapter per week and then have study questions here, some thoughts from my reading, and opportunities for you to comment on the blog and join in on the study.  This is sort of like Tim Challies’ Reading the Classics together.  I hope to have a blog button up soon so you can have it on your blog or facebook.  I’m really looking forward to studying this book together with yall and see how we grow in our knowledge of the Savior.  Oh, and this will be geared toward women only).

So, go buy the book and get ready to learn more about our Great Savior!