The Gospel is My Hope

Billy Graham had a great impact on the world. I said that right he impacted the world and not just the USA. His words ring true even now. Jesus never changes. The Good News of Jesus never changes.

Another version of the same message…

Makes sense? Well maybe not. But there are answers. Comment of this post and I will get back to you.

Living Your Life Before God and His World

Below is the conclusion to the story. You might want to read the rest of the story here.

The reason we can be content in the small place, in the role spurned by the world but to which we know God has called us, is the gospel.

After all, the second person of the Trinity was significant. He was, from time immemorial, on the social mountaintop (Phil. 2:6). And he descended to the valley (Phil. 2:7). He became insignificant. And he did it so that you and I, in ourselves insignificant, can be vested with true significance, real glory, not through strategic geographical positioning but through the unmerited love of the Father.

A long life of loving your neighbor in Nowheresville is not insignificant. It is glory, a glory that will one day be trumpeted before the nations as the Lord himself puts his arm around you and introduces you to an ignoring world.

The Woods – A Circle Of Life

I love the woods — ask my wife. The LORD “planted” us by the woods. The woods have one beautiful message of life and death.

Life: tree life is so beautiful in all seasons — even in the dead of winter. Death: trees fall! They lay. They die and there is no life left. Remaining life uses them for food, warmth and shelter. Trees are a vital part of creation–they are a vital part of the created order. As with all living things they die and lay on the ground. Other life takes over, including beautiful majestic trees.

We are so much like trees. We are born, grow, develop, mature, flourish, give back, peak, slow down, coast, are insulted by sickness usually, deteriorate, sigh, lay down, and finally die. But humans may have a far greater experience in death in seeing an unimaginable life beyond which satisfies and fulfills and completes far greater than the current broken life could.

Thank You Lord for all the hints you’ve given me in this life for what awaits me. I can patiently rest in knowing where I’m going. I am going up yonder to be with my Lord forevermore.

That end is undeserved; but more glorious than a mind can comprehend.

I best be getting up and moving on because a spider just attached his web to me. I’m not ready just yet to fully lay down and leave here.

Trees are so distinct yet they are a community. They support one another. They are grounded in the earth–tied to a solid foundation. Their roots go deep and wide. They produce fruit that feeds other living things. Thank You, Lord for this lesson from the trees.

Trees by Joyce Kilmer

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth’s flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

Trees by Joyce Kilmer

I think that I shall never see
a poem as lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

Source

God’s Omniscience: “Trees” is a poem that gives God the full glory. Kilmer calls the human “fools” because art made by man is just art. It is not is living and functioning like God’s beautiful art of nature. The poem is a proclamation that there is a God. God is seen in nature. In the poem Kilmer says, “A tree that looks at God all day”. This statement declares that nature is a reflection of God and when humans look around them, they may be reminded that God is everywhere and true. A tree can also reflect on God’s creation of men.

Kilmer Biography

Only God can make a tree’ – the fate of Kilmer

Gospel Transformation

A great guy of the Christian faith came up with the term, “gospel transformation.”   The power of the Gospel is to change human life into its full potential, into the life designed by our Creator. 

How does gospel transformation happen?  How does it relate to life on earth? How does the gospel change us?

Jack Miller, the man who coined the term gospel transformation came up with some sayings that help me retain what happens in gospel transformation.   The first is “Cheer up!  The gospel is far greater than you can imagine!”  The gospel of Jesus Christ has His power to transform life and relationships.  It touches and creates communities and even impacts nations.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the best news we will ever hear!  This gospel gives us a new identity that is not based on race, social class, gender, theology, or a system of rules.  Our identity is based on faith in Jesus.  The gospel gives us an identity that invades every aspect of life.  Because of this, we no longer have to hide from our sin and pretend that we have it all together.  We admit our own brokenness.  We have a new way to live and relate to God and others.  The good news continues to work in us as we continue to believe and visibly expresses itself in love.

“Cheer up! You are worse than you think!”  A great hindrance to Christian growth, healthy relationships, and strong communities is a life of pretense.  We pretend that we don’t struggle with self-righteous attitudes, foul tempers, nagging anxieties, lustful looks, controlling and critical hearts, and a multitude of other sins. We generally believe that we are better than other people.  Part of the good news is that  God knows all this.  He knows us intimately.  He wants to be the one who changes us.  Because sin blocks intimacy with God and others, we need God’s Spirit to show us our many fears and prideful and offensive ways.  We need the insights of others to encourage us and speak into our lives.

These two points work together in a cyclical fashion.  On the one hand, none of us wants to look at our sin without knowing the good news of forgiveness and deliverance from it.  On the other hand, our view of the gospel is severely limited if we do not *continually* see the depths of our sin.  The g o s p e l cannot s o a k deeply into us unless we allow it to address our ongoing need for it. 

“Cheer up!  God’s Spirit works in your weakness!”  We not only have a new identity, but we have been given the Spirit who is more than sufficient to lead, guide, and most importantly empower us in our new life.  The power that raised Jesus from the dead is at work in our new lives as well (Eph. 1:19-20).  Nevertheless, the power of the Spirit does not work automatically, but through repentance and faith.  Also, this power is made evident through our weakness (II Cor. 12:9; 13:4).  Along with the Apostle Paul, we delight in our weakness, for then we are strong, and God is glorified.  The result is a wonderful freedom to forget about ourselves and stop wondering whether we have enough ability–we don’t.  But we can rejoice in the knowledge that God uses and empowers the weak.  Because we are weak and we admit our weakness, we have hope!

“Cheer up! God’s kingdom is more wonderful than you can imagine!”   The kingdom of God is the new and final age that began with Jesus’ coming.  It is the age of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom. 14:17,18).  The kingdom of God is about the renewing of all things, and about the reconciliation of relationships, about the restoration of justice and equality, about freedom from every lord except Jesus, about forgiveness, and about the defeat of Satan.   It is about compassion for the poor and powerless, about helping those who are marginalized and rejected by society, and about using our gifts and resources for the advancement of others.  It is about new communities and the transformation of society and culture.  For Paul, to preach the gospel is to preach the kingdom, and therefore to preach the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:24-27).

Even If

See YouTube comments on Even If — Heart Warming!!   See Håvard below!

Kenneth     Our 14 year old son passed away last July. It has been blinding, soul crushing, murky dark. He had a lot of medical problems but still nothing prepares you for the loss. I was with him until his final heartbeat. I know with everything in me that God’s mighty hand could have saved him, made him whole, but God said no. It’s a hard no to understand. My son was the sweetest, most loving child I have ever seen. He smiled from the time he woke up until he fell asleep at night. But Even if, Even though, He didn’t answer my prayer the way I wanted, my hope is in him alone. This song has put into words what I could not.
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Niger: Coated W/ Martyrs Blood

2,200 Nigerian Christians ‘Hacked to Death’ in 2020; 34,400 Since 2009

According to a new report by Nigeria’s International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law, thousands of Christians are being martyred for their faith while the country’s government are stating other reasons for their deaths.

The report, which was published on Wednesday, found that 2,000 Nigerian Christians were hacked to death throughout 2020 (Jan 2020 to Dec. 13), with an estimated 34,400 since 2009.

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