Thanks Be to God

(This devotion is day fifteen of a 30-Day Thanksgiving Challenge. Each day includes a daily reading that will be accompanied by a post on this blog.)

Read Romans 6

Sometimes we ignore giving thanks because we’ve become used to something, or someone. My wife does many things for our family, including cooking delicious meals. Sometimes I make the meal, but I’m more of the sous-chef and taste-tester than the master chef she is. While I’m grateful for her loving our family through a home-cooked meal, anytime something becomes common there’s a danger of overlooking it. Or maybe we feel thankful, but we show our gratitude a little less because we’re accustomed to it. This happens in the home, the office, and in the church. But it also happens in our spiritual life.

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Are You the Nine or the One?

(This devotion is day four of a 30-Day Thanksgiving Challenge. Each day includes a daily reading that will be accompanied by a post on this blog.)

Read Luke 17:11-19

I grew up on the classic books, The Berenstain Bears. Since I’m forcing my toddler to relive many of my experiences, including my favorite childhood books and shows, we’ve watched episodes of The Berenstain Bears online. One of my favorites is “Say Please and Thank You.” Brother and Sister Bear (the children) forget to say “please” and “thank you,” but they don’t realize it until they see it in others. They do favors for their friends, but feel unappreciated when those friends never say thank you.

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First We Confess, Then We Cling

(Below is a Communion Meditation I shared at my local church. This was one way to remember and rejoice in Christ through Communion, not a detailed explanation of it.)

Follow the logic of 1 John as we think about how confession of our sin should lead to clinging to our savior.

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A Missing Part of our Theology of Jesus

If you’ve been in the church for a while, no doubt you’ve heard a lot about Jesus as Savior, Lord, King, and Teacher. All these glorious truths are essential and should be held up. But there is a core reality of who Jesus is that doesn’t get nearly the attention it deserves. There is a benefit to the gospel and believing in Jesus even deeper than forgiveness. There is a key truth motivating our walk with Christ just as important as viewing Jesus as our Lord. And this wonderful biblical truth is that Jesus is our friend.

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How to Read the Bible with Identity in Mind

 

After rising earlier in the morning than we wanted, identity questions invade our mind as we look in the mirror, think about the upcoming day (or breakfast), and decide what to wear. Do I want my clothes to be the casual me, the dressed-up me, the outdoorsy-me, the stylish-me, or the “life beat me down so I didn’t care” me? We don’t realize we’re thinking in terms of identity, but the questions of “Who am I? Who do I want to be? How do others view me?” shape us all day long.

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Gospel Riches: What’s His is Mine

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.” 2 Corinthians 8:9

Paul puts together two seemingly opposed descriptions. The believers in Macedonia live in “extreme poverty” and yet have an abundance of joy. Their pockets and houses might be empty but their hearts are overflowing.

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Celebrating Ascension Day: 4 Things Jesus is Doing Right Now

The Ascension of Jesus has become a forgotten doctrine in most churches. We think of Jesus in terms of his past work at the manger, cross, or empty tomb but neglect his ongoing work from the throne. Jesus has not kicked up his feet to enjoy the retired life until his return. Reclaiming our understanding of the ascension helps us answer what Jesus is doing right now, and why his reign gives us rest.

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Fresh Air in the Atmosphere of Trinitarian Grace

“To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion…according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood.” (I Peter 1:2)

Throughout his first letter, Peter reminds his readers their suffering, rejection, and experience as exiles is normal. The kingdom of light is no more welcome to a kingdom of darkness than the bedroom light being flipped on while I’m sleeping is welcomed. And yet, as exiles they are God’s people, and are called to reflect Him. Though kicked to the curb by the world we are called into a new family and given a sense of belonging by our Triune God. Even as we struggle in a world that’s against us we are empowered by a God who is for us. Only this God-given grace, not the weight of duty or demands, can motivate  maturity and obedience when we’re constantly swimming upstream.   Continue reading Fresh Air in the Atmosphere of Trinitarian Grace

The Past, Present, and Future Realities of the Resurrection

We each have a story that includes a past, present, and a future. The Bible also tells a story; a narrative of historical events full of significance for all of humanity.

As those united to Jesus, we are made participants in God’s story and cast as characters in the drama of redemptive history. The resurrection of Jesus is one of those climactic moments in both Jesus’ life and the Bible’s story of God redeeming a people and restoring His corrupted creation. When we think of Jesus’ resurrection we should consider the past accomplishment, the present effects, and the future realities dawning upon us. As participants of the story through union with Christ, we must see how the resurrection rewrites our past, remakes us in the present, and reshapes our future.

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The Cross is Central but Incomplete

Jesus’ sacrificial death and triumphant resurrection stand at the center of the “good news” Christians stake their lives upon. The Bible joins the bloody cross and empty tomb as two distinct but inseparable events. And yet, many of our gospel presentations and theological conversations refer to the cross as the place where salvation was fully accomplished and the deal was sealed. Christ’s resurrection is either left out or tacked on as the cherry on top. I’m thankful evangelicals have been “cross-centered” but it’s unfortunate we’ve moved the resurrection to the periphery.

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