Category Archives: cross

the cross was not enough

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The implications of legalism are staggering in their arrogance. Legalism claims that the death of Jesus on the cross was either unnecessary or insufficient. It essentially says to God, “Your plan didn’t work. The cross wasn’t enough and I need to add my good works to it to be saved.”   C.J. Mahaney

from whence this fear and unbelief?

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From whence this fear and unbelief?
Hath not the Father put to grief
His spotless Son for me?
And will the righteous Judge of men
Condemn me for that debt of sin
Which, Lord, was charged on thee?

Complete atonement thou hast made,
And to the utmost farthing paid
Whate’er thy people owed;
How then can wrath on me take place
If sheltered in thy righteousness,
And sprinkled with thy blood?

If thou hast my discharge procured,
And freely in my room endured
The whole of wrath divine,
Payment God cannot twice demand—
First at my bleeding Surety’s hand,
And then again at mine.

Turn then, my soul, unto thy rest!
The merits of thy great High Priest
Have bought thy liberty;
Trust in his efficacious blood,
Nor fear thy banishment from God,
Since Jesus died for thee.

Augustus Toplady

she is ugly

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Wonder, O heavens! and be astonished, O earth! that this most glorious Immanuel, the Prince of Peace, whom angels worship, and before whom the seraphim bow–should from all eternity engage to come and seek His Bride from this poor world, and claim her for His own!

Yet so it is!

But she is filthy and polluted! (Ezek. 16:6; Job 15:14-16; Isa. 64:6) Then His own precious veins shall pour forth the rich crimson flood to cleanse her, (Rev. 1:5) and His Spirit shall open the fountain to wash her from her sin and uncleanness. (Zech. 13:1)

But she is naked and bare! (Ezek. 16:22) Then He will cast His skirt over her, (Ezek. 16:8) and will for her, weave in the loom of the Law (Rom. 5:19) fine linen–clean and white–a robe in which she shall be fit to appear at His court!  Moreover the Spirit shall bring near the righteousness of Jesus, (Isa. 46:13) clothing her with “the garments of salvation,” and covering her with the “robe of righteousness,” “as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”

But she is diseased! (Isa. 1:5, 6) She is a leper! (Ps. 51:5)  Yet will He bring her health and cure, for He says, “I am the Lord who heals you;” and He is actually made to be sin for her, (2 Cor. 5:21) that she might be made “the righteousness of God in Him.”  

But she has no personal charms—she is ugly!  Then He will put His loveliness upon her, and through it her beauty shall be perfect.

But she is poor! So He bestows Himself and His fullness upon her–and thus endows her with unsearchable riches!

But she is unwilling, and has no heart to the match, for she obeys a hostile prince! (Eph. 2:2,3) Her delights, too, are in the world and the flesh. A new heart will He give her, and a right spirit will He put within her. The Holy Spirit shall make her willing in the day of His power. “I will cause you to forget your images of Baal; even their names will no longer be spoken.” (Hosea 2:17) So that, prostrate at His feet, she shall say, “Lord, our God, other lords than You have ruled over us, but we remember Your name alone!”

And now that the Spirit has touched her heart, she feels she is diseased, and discovers her filthiness and nakedness, knows she is ugly and poor, and cannot think the Bridegroom’s heart is towards her, or that she can find favor in His eyes. And therefore she cries out, “I am black!” “Behold, I am vile! My loveliness has turned into corruption!” But He overwhelms her by responding, “You are all beautiful, my love, there is no spot in you!”

Then she exclaims, “Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death!” He replies, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are Mine! When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior!”

Now she ventures, with a captivated heart, to declare, “My Beloved is mine, and I am His! He is the chief among ten thousand! He is altogether lovely!”

“May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it!” Ephesians 3:19

(“The Marvelous Riches of Savoring Christ, The letters of Ruth Bryan” October 31, 1849)

at the cross

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i heard a “new” song today… i’m not actually sure how “new” it is, but as soon as I heard the truth in the lyrics, I was just freshly reminded of God’s amazing grace to me.

I wasn’t able to find a video of the song online, but here are the lyrics…  and here’s the link to the artist’s website: Pocket Full of Rocks (you can listen to song samples on their website).

Dark was the stain of my sin
Ever more guilty within.
Searching for rescue where none could be found
until from that hill I heard the sound.
of mercy that triumphs over judgment,
of grace abounding greater than my sin.

At the cross, at the cross, where there’s room for me.
At the cross, at the cross, I am finally free.
At the cross, at the cross, burdens roll away.
At the cross.

Oh what a glorious plan.
God reaching down to fallen man.
To all of us broken, lost and undone
Hear no as heaven bids us come.
Find mercy that triumphs over judgment
Find grace abounding greater than our sin.

At the cross, at the cross, where there’s room for me.
At the cross, at the cross, I am finally free.
At the cross, at the cross, burdens roll away.
At the cross.

Such beauty through tragedy,
You giving your life for me
Unspeakable reverence as I bow here
with those that You’ve redeemed
We sing hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, to our King.

At the cross, at the cross, where there’s room for me.
At the cross, at the cross, I am finally free.
At the cross, at the cross, burdens roll away.
At the cross I am finally free.  I am finally free.

the cost of forgiveness

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“The love of God is spelled out on the cross and nowhere else. The only basis for which God can forgive me is the cross of Christ.”   J. Oswald Chambers

“Forgiveness wasn’t free or easy. It was hard. It was costly. It was painful. We can’t fully comprehend the agony Christ suffered on our behalf. But it was required to rescue you and me.

We’re called to forgive as we’ve been forgiven. That means when we’re hurt deeply, when forgiveness seems impossible—we accept the suffering forgiveness requires.

If forgiveness seems out of the question in one of your relationships, you have a great opportunity to be like Jesus and forgive.”  Nancy Leigh DeMoss

the resurrection

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Our Lord has written the promise of the resurrection not in words alone but in every leaf at springtime.  Martin Luther

 

Our Savior’s resurrection is truly of great importance in Christianity, so great that His being or not being the Messiah stands or falls with it.  John Locke

 

the entire plan for the future has its key in the resurrection.  Billy Graham

 

Christianity in its very essence a resurrection religion.  The concept of the resurrection lies at its heart.  If you remove it, Christianity is destroyed.  John Stott

 

In the whole story of Jesus Christ, the most important event is the resurrection.  William Lyon Phelps

 

The resurrection of Christ is a fact.  BB Warfield

 

Prior to the resurrection, Jesus’ disciples were timid and fearful, even hiding when Jesus appeared to them.  Following the resurrection; however, they were all transformed into bold witnesses to what they had seen and heard,  even to the point of dying for their convictions

Had they not truly witnessed the risen Jesus they undoubtedly would have recanted of their teaching and opted for a simpler life free of suffering.  They certainly would have told the truth rather than dying for a lie.  Is it really plausible to assert that a group of scattered liars would remain loyal to one another and die for their lying in poverty and disgrace when riches and power could be obtained by their recanting?  Apart from the resurrection, is there any way to account for the transformation of Peter, a coward who denied even knowing Jesus before His crucifixion and resurrection, but afterwards became the fearless leader of the early church and was himself crucified upside down?  Mark Driscoll

 

It is impossible that the disciples could have persisted in affirming the truths they had narrated had not Jesus actually resurrected from the dead and had they not known this fact as certainly as they knew of any other fact.  Simon Greenleaf

 

 

 

not the way I would have chosen

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Though this would not be the way I would have chosen

And the night is often so dark I can’t see.

Even when my heart’s so cold I fear its frozen

This I know, you’re working what is best for me.

 

Through the valleys and the darkness that we travel

I will follow as you take me by the hand.

When I doubt your care and on this path I stumble

In my weakness on your righteousness I’ll stand.

 

There are days it seems this trial’s never ending

Yet you’ve promised in my need you will be there.

So I look to you with faith and hope my Savior

Trusting as your Spirit comforts all my cares.

 

 

Help me trust you in the darkness,

Help me look to you, My Guide.

Take my fears and give me peace

For you will never leave my side.

finally… some encouraging news!

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I’ve decided after 10 months of very little results to try to find another physician. So, yesterday i went to an internal specialist / cardiologist for my migraines.   It was by far the most encouraging doctors visit I’ve had in the past year. 

Here’s an update on what we discussed…

1. it appears I have a heart murmur.  The doctor mentioned that depending on how severe this is, it could be the cause of the migraines and everything else that’s going on in my body.  He did an EKG and an echocardiogram to test further.

2.  he was concerned about the spot behind my left ear.  its a spot that started hurting right after i started having migraines and has not gone away.  some days its worse than others.  but its always there.  The MRI in February showed no tumor, but just to be sure, the doctor requested a CT scan.

3.  he is doing a full blood panel – to test for vitamin deficiencies, virus or bacterial infections, hormone levels, etc.   If any of these are causing the migraines, it should hopefully be an easy fix.

4.  we scheduled a sleep test in a few weeks.  he was saying that another cause for chronic migraines could be sleep problems.  when i told the doctor that i rarely sleep through the night and go periods of time without sleeping at all, he said he wants to test me for sleep apnea and other sleep disorders.

 

Overall, we still don’t know what’s causing the migraines.  Not yet, at least.  But I am very optimistic about this guy because he wants to test and look for a cause instead of simply medicate the symptoms away.  His goal is to take me off the anti-seizure medicine as soon as next Friday (when I go back for the test results / follow-up).  Praise God for this… I hate taking these meds because of all the awful side effects (and I’m still having migraines while on it, so what’s really the point?).  I’m grateful to find a doctor who is willing to diagnose.  I’m glad his goal is not to simply make the symtoms go away.

 

For the past few weeks I’ve really been struggling with having no direction.  Do I continue to pursue finding a cause and a subsequent cure?  Or do I resign simply that this is my lot in life?  I think its a mix of both.  I believe God is calling me to continue to pursue the root of this.  But He wants my hope to be in Him, not a medical diagnosis.

I know ultimately, we may not find a cause.  It could be that there is no medical reason and that God has simply ordained this to make me rely more heavily on Him.  I know if that is the case, He will provide grace to endure with hope.  But I also want to thank God for this direction from a medical viewpoint for the first time in 10 months. 

 

If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.  Romans 8:11

do not be afraid

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Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you! I have called you by name–you are Mine! When you go through deep waters and great trouble–I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty–you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression–you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior!” Isaiah 43:1-3.

I read this verse this morning and was reminded of the reason we are not to fear.  It doesn’t say “fear not, your trials won’t hurt… fear not, I’ll make this easy for you… fear not, ease and luxury are waiting for you right around this corner.”  NO!  it says “fear not for I have ransomed you.” 

Once again, I find myself outside of my situation, looking at this verse and seeing it through the eyes of the gospel… Emily, don’t be afraid.  Why?  God has already saved you.  He ransomed you when you were running straight towards hell.  He captured your gaze and affection.  Remember all of His promises… He chose you before the foundation of the world… He called you to be His child… He saved you… He declared you righteous… now He is working to conform you to His image… and one day He will present you perfectly faultless and fully glorified.  yeah.  don’t be afraid.  The God who did / is doing all of that… uh huh… He hasn’t forgotten where you are.

That’s where the hope comes from… not “God, please, I beg you… take away this pain.”  but instead “God, I’m so grateful you will NEVER ever leave me, not through the deepest darkest pain.  Never ever!

Am I praying God heals me?  Absolutely!!  Do I want this awful season of migraines to end?  Of course!  But after all that has happened in the past few weeks in my life (sorry, too much to explain), I am more confident than ever that He will never leave.  I’m more aware of His goodness and mercy in my life and I’m more grateful for my wise Father, my loving Jesus and my compassionate Holy Spirit than I ever have been before.

by the way, here’s a link to a REALLY GREAT sermon called “How the Trinity comforts us in our suffering” by Lance Quinn. I listened to it twice yesterday. I’d encourage you to check it out too! :)