Sorrowful Yet Always Rejoicing

I am preparing the new blog site to go live. With that, I find myself needing to write the most important things I have written yet. Therefore, I will temporarily be turning my energy away from the study of Hebrews, and towards the new blog project in order to give it my full attention.

This seems like the perfect opportunity to run a repeat of the most popular posts on this blog of all time. This updated post titled Sorrowful Yet Always Rejoicing was originally published on April 22, 2013:

“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while 
you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.” 1 Peter 1:6 NIV

If you know anything about me at all, you know that I am battling cancer and the reason I started this blog is to leave a footprint for my daughter. Not because I feel that I will not survive cancer, but because we all leave this earth one day.

Many parents write heartfelt letters to their children as they battle a dreaded disease, hoping to give them guidance and comfort in the event of their absence. However, the thing that remains most important to me is leading her to the fullness of the One who can be her everything in my stead. Fullness beyond anything she could ever imagine.

With the entire recent calamity in the present world, and with my last post suggesting that we deeply consider the call to mourn as a pathway to comfort, I feel it is necessary to highlight one of the sweetest graces of the Christian life.

If you have read many of my other posts, you know that I speak a great deal about joy. How is it that we can live out our lives mourning and rejoicing at the same time? How is it that I can be facing a life-threatening disease with its overwhelming physical, financial, and relational consequences and still have immense peace and joy?

The following illustration by F. B. Meyer titled Joy in Heaviness offers an explanation:

They say that springs of sweet fresh water well up amid the brine of salt seas; that the fairest Alpine flowers bloom in the wildest, ruggedest mountain passes; that the noblest psalms were the outcome of the profoundest agony of soul. Be it so.

And thus amid manifold trials souls which love God will find reasons for bounding, leaping joy. Have you learnt this lesson yet? Not simply to endure God's will, nor only to choose it, nor only to trust it, but to rejoice in it.

Of such joy there are two sources: first, the understanding of the nature and meaning of trial; second, the soul's love and faith in its unseen Lord. There is enough in these two for unsullied and transcendent joy; in fact, we may question whether we ever truly drink of Christ's joy till all other sources of joy are eliminated by earthly sorrow, and we are driven to seek that joyous blessedness which no earthly sun can wither and no winter freeze.

Selah.

Introducing Frank Viola

I am preparing the new blog site to go live. This is not my new blog design. I was forced to update the look here on Blogger due to technical difficulties, which is fine because I love the new look.

I find myself needing to write the most important things I have written yet. I will temporarily be turning my energy away from the study of Hebrews, and towards the new project in order to give it my full attention.

This seems like the perfect opportunity to run a repeat of the most popular posts of all time. This post titled Introducing Frank Viola was originally published on September 1, 2013:

If you have never heard of Christian author, blogger, teacher Frank Viola, then I would like this opportunity to introduce you to him. He is a strong presence in my life, and even though we have never met personally, I consider him not just a brother in Christ but also a friend.

Here is a little bit about Frank from his own website:

Most Christians know that something is wrong with contemporary Christianity. They want to break free from the tyranny of the status quo. The two alternatives that dominate Christian culture today is spiritual complacency on the one hand or performance-based religiosity on the other.

Modern-day Christianity is 10 miles wide and one inch deep.

You can read more about him here:


Here are a handful of his most recent popular blog posts:

Bono on Jesus


The Rick Warren tragedy


John Lennon on Jesus


Don’t believe everything you hear


An interview with N.T. Wright


And my personal favorite:

Why Calvinists live like Arminians & Arminians pray like Calvinists



You will now be able to find him on my links page as well.

True Love To Jesus Will Produce Obedience

I am preparing the new blog site to go live. With that, I find myself needing to write the most important things I have written yet. Therefore, I will temporarily be turning my energy away from the study of Hebrews, and towards the new blog project in order to give it my full attention.

This seems like the perfect opportunity to run a repeat of the most popular posts on this blog of all time. This updated post titled True Love To Jesus Will Produce Obedience was originally published on June 13th, 2012:

“He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me.
And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father,
and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” John 14:21

This is one of my favorite verses. Jesus promises to manifest Himself to the person who keeps His commandments, and loves Him. This word manifest, (in the Greek) is emphanidzo (em-fan-id-zoe). The term means:

to cause to shine
to appear, to come to view
to reveal, to exhibit
to make visible
to present oneself to the sight of another
to be conspicuous

A beautiful summary of this manifestation is found in an excerpt from Alexander MacLaren’s article titled Love to Christ:

The extraordinary boldness of that majestic saying: "If a man loves Me, My Father will love him." God regards our love to Jesus Christ as containing in it the germ of all that is pleasing in His sight. And so, upon our hearts, if we love Christ, there falls the benediction of the Father's love.

Of course, our Lord here is not beginning at the very beginning of everything. "We love Him because He first loved us" digs a story deeper down than the words of my text. That being understood, here is a great lesson. It is not all the same to God whether a man is a scoundrel or a saint. God's love is a moral love; and whilst the sunbeams play upon the ice and melt it sometimes, they flash back from, and rest more graciously and fully on, the rippling stream into which the ice has turned. God loves them that love Him not, but the depths of His heart and the secret sacred favors of His grace can only be bestowed upon those who love Christ and obey Him.

If, then, we seek to know that dear Lord, the path is plain. Walk on the way of obedience, and Christ will meet us with the unveiling of more and more of His love. To live what we believe is the sure way to increase its amount. To be faithful to the little is the certain way to inherit the much. He gives us His whole self at the first, but we traverse the breadth of the gift by degrees. The flower is but a bud when we get it, and as we hold it, it opens its petals to the light.

Selah.

Sanctification Produces Power

I am preparing the new blog site to go live. With that, I find myself needing to write the most important things I have written yet. Therefore, I will temporarily be turning my energy away from the study of Hebrews, and towards the new blog project in order to give it my full attention.

This seems like the perfect opportunity to run a repeat of the most popular posts on this blog of all time. This updated post titled Sanctification Produces Power was originally published on April 11th, 2012, and is the most popular post yet:

In Joshua 7:13 we read, “God told Joshua to sanctify the people, because if he did not, they would be defeated before their enemies.” Defeat is certainly one of the biggest reasons to seek the freedom that Christ died for us to have.

The following definition of sanctification is found in the Spirit Filled Life Student Bible:

Sanctification is a process in which God is invited to possess every dimension of your personality. For the NT believer it means completely opening yourself up to the cleansing stream of God’s delivering power in your life and allowing the Holy Spirit to make you completely His.

Sanctification is the pathway to release and power. We allow the Lord to sanctify us when we stop playing games with Him and say in our hearts, 'Okay, Lord, I want You to make me completely Yours.' We then give Jesus Christ full permission to enter every dimension of our personality and set us free.  

As a Christian, more than anything else our lives should be characterized by victory not defeat. Learning to live in victory is one of my goals for this blog.

The following excerpt is taken from the updated version of Oswald Chambers My Utmost for His Highest, titled Complete and Effective Divinity, and speaks of the process of sanctification in another way:

The resurrection of Jesus has given Him the authority to give the life of God to me, and the experiences of my life must now be built on the foundation of His life. I can have the resurrection life of Jesus here and now, and it will exhibit itself through holiness.

The idea all through the Apostle Paul’s writings is that after the decision to be identified with Jesus in His death has been made, the resurrection life of Jesus penetrates every bit of my human nature.

It takes the omnipotence of God— His complete and effective divinity— to live the life of the Son of God in human flesh. The Holy Spirit cannot be accepted as a guest in merely one room of the house— He invades all of it.

And once I decide that my 'old man' (that is, my heredity of sin) should be identified with the death of Jesus, the Holy Spirit invades me. He takes charge of everything.

My part is to walk in the light and to obey all that He reveals to me. Once I have made that important decision about sin, it is easy to 'reckon' that I am actually 'dead indeed to sin,' because I find the life of Jesus in me all the time (Romans 6:11).

Selah.