CHRIST

PRE-EMINENCE OF CHRIST

JESUS was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times (1 Pet 1:20).  “The story of Jesus doesn’t begin with Jesus.  God had been at work for a long time.  Salvation, which is the main business of Jesus, is an old business. Jesus is the coming together in final form of themes and energies and movements that had been set in motion before the foundation of the world” MSG Intro to Matthew (ref#262, p9).

“…from the beginning I [CHRIST] have not spoken in secret, from the time it came to be I have been there.” And now the Lord God has sent me, and his Spirit”(Isa 48:16 ESV, brackets mine).

“…everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled…’Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations…” (Luke 24:44,46-47 ESV).

“God has given to Him all power and all authority.  As the Son of Man, He is now Head over all things to His church, and He reigns over heaven, earth, and hell with the keys of life and death” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, April 27thPM).

“As we are ordained to salvation, so Christ is ordained to be the head of all that shall be saved.  He was chosen eternally, and chosen in time.  He was singled out to the work by God; and all others that are chosen are chosen in Him.  There has been no choosing of men but in Him; for God saw us so defiled, lying in our filth, that He could not look upon us but in His Son.  He chose Him, and us in Him” Richard Sibbes (ref#225, April 25th).

“…we see all God’s creation and salvation completed in Jesus, and all the parts of our lives—work, family, friends, memories, dreams—also completed in Jesus.  Lacking such a context, we are in danger of seeing Jesus as a mere diversion from the concerns announced in the newspapers.  Nothing could be further from the truth” MSG Intro to Matthew (ref#262, p9).

FATHER, grant me a fuller understanding of You.  In awe I wish to contemplate Your efforts to bring me to salvation through CHRIST and to honor CHRIST properly as my Priest, Savior, and King.

GOD

MY FATHER

My precious FATHER…”my precious”—that sounds like I own Him.  But I do.  He is my FATHER and my FATHER is love—.  My precious LOVE who completely gives Himself—all of Himself, to His lover—me. Me!

“You could do nothing more important than to wake up every morning of your life and remind yourself that the One who created and controls everything that exists has been made, by grace, to be your Father.  He thinks of you with pure and faithful fatherly love.  He acts toward you with the giving, providing, instructing, patient, and forgiving love of a perfect father.  He is always with you.  His hand is always upon you.  He never stops watching you.  His heart is always for you.  He is always at work accomplishing his plans for you and through you.  He lifts your burdens and lightens your load.  He is your God, your Savior, your Friend—your Father. Nothing can ever be the same again because you now live in the Father’s house, where glorious grace decorates every room” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, May 4th).

“It may well be, in fact, that human beings in aggregate and through the centuries have given more attention and concern to divinity than to all their other concerns put together—…But that God is here right now, and on our side, actively seeking to help us in the way we must need help—this qualifies as news….” The MESSAGE (ref#262, p87, [Introduction to Mark]).

“Nothing pleases our Lord better than to see His promises put in circulation.  He loves to see His children bring them up to Him, and say, ‘Lord, do as You have said.’…It is His delight to bestow favors” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Jan 14thAM).

“…He doesn’t abandon me.  He sees how much joy I take in pleasing him” (John 8:27-29 MSG).

GOD

GOD IS LOVE

“…search and rescue impulse is in the very center of God’s heart” Doug Newton (ref#166, p35).

GOD is love (1 John 4:8). He is not just loving.  Love is not one of His attributes, it is what influences His attributes.  Yet, GOD does not love to glorify Himself, His focus is on His people.  “…love does not look at itself—it is absorbed in the object of its love” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#211, p116).

“In enriching us with his gifts, God gains nothing for himself, yet he would have the splendor and beauty of his character manifested in bountifully dealing with us….” John Calvin (ref#164, March 7th).

“I will dwell among the people of Israel and will be their God. And they shall know that I am the Lord their God, who brought them out of the land of Egypt that I might dwell among them. I am the Lord their God”(Ex 29:45-46 ESV).

“…God searches passionately for people who are lost, finds them and does whatever He must to make them His possession” Doug Newton (ref#166, p36).

FATHER, You are absorbed in the objects You love.  And not only in loving me but all Your human creation that I, privileged as Your helper, search also to bring to You.

GOD

GOD, OUR HOST

“God is a ‘host’ who deliberately creates His own parasites; causes us to be that we may exploit and ‘take advantage of’ Him.  Herein is love.  This is the diagram of Love Himself, the inventor of all loves” C. S. Lewis (ref#227, p176).

“The idea that God was under any obligation or necessity to reveal Himself to man cannot be seriously entertained,…such a revelation to fallen creatures of Himself, His mind, and His will, having been made, must be regarded as an astounding act of His sovereign mercy…” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, July 19th).

Think about it; a parasite cannot live one minute without a host.  FATHER, sober me today as I contemplate my inabilities.  My knowledge of You overwhelms me with a sense of Your love.  Unlike created hosts, You are eternal and artesian—never losing Your fullness.  No matter what we parasites take from You, You overflow in continued abundance.

“…God is reconciled and one with the believer; all His feelings are love, all His thoughts are peace, and all His dealings are parental…” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, July 19th).

GOD, You can be described with action verbs: (A sample taken from the first chapter of Luke.)

You remember mercy and help me (Luke 1:54).

You visit and redeem me (Luke 1:68).

You save me from the hand of all who hate me (Luke 1:71).

You deliver me from my enemy that I might serve You without fear (Luke 1:74).

You show me the mercy; You promise and remember Your covenant (Luke 1:72).

You fill me with good things (Luke 1:53).

You speak with me forever (Luke 1:55).

You guide my feet in the way of peace (Luke 1:79).

You cause me to serve You in holiness and righteousness all my days (Luke 1:75).

 

 

GOD

SUMMARY OF GOD’S INTENTIONS

“God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him. After God made that decision of what his children should be like, he followed it up by calling people by name. After he called them by name, he set them on a solid basis with himself. And then, after getting them established, he stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what he had begun” (Rom 8:29-30 MSG).

“…the biblical story is…the story of rebels who not only don’t desire a relationship with God, but who could not possibly earn it even if they did.  This is a story of divine intervention, of divine substitution, of divine sacrifice, and of divine grace.  It is a story of God sending his Son to live as we were meant to live, to die the death that each of us deserves, to satisfy God’s righteous requirement and placate his anger, and to rise out of the grave, conquering sin and death” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Dec 27th).

“There had to be a Savior because we have no ability whatsoever to save ourselves.  We can escape situations, locations, and relationships, but we cannot escape ourselves.  We cannot run from who we are, what we have done, and what we deserve. The only hope is that God in redeeming love and glorious grace will move toward us, doing for us what we cannot do for ourselves” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Sept 30th).

“But as amazing as the grace of forgiveness and the acceptance of God are, there is still more amazing grace…God knew…we would need daily help….He came to us and made us the place where he dwells…By grace, we are the temple of the Most High God” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Dec 27th).

“…And this is the real and eternal life: That they know you, The one and only true God, And Jesus Christ, whom you sent”(John 17:1-5 MSG).

FATHER, Your actions are all to the praise of Your glory!  How joyous is our praise!

CREATION

MANHOOD AND WOMANHOOD

“The fact that God first created Adam, then after a period of time created Eve (Gen 2:7, 18-23), suggests that God saw Adam as having a leadership role in his family.  No such two-stage procedure is mentioned for any of the animals God made, but here it seems to have a special purpose” Wayne Grudem (ref#63, p461).

“…the curse brought a distortionof Adam’s humble, considerate leadership and Eve’s intelligent, willing submission to that leadership which existed before the fall” Wayne Grudem (ref#63, p464).  “Differentiated roles were corrupted, not created, by the fall. They were created by God” John Piper, Wayne Grudem (ref#274, p35).

“God made Eve for Adam…I will make him a helper fit for him” (Gen 2:18)” Wayne Grudem (ref#63, p461). Before the Fall, Eve’s role was to assist Adam in his endeavors.  But after the Fall GOD informed Eve of her now deprived nature:

“…Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you” (Gen 3:16 ESV).

“These words from the Lord indicate that there will be an ongoing struggle between the woman and the man for leadership in the marriage relationship…” ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p56, [Gen 3:16]). “Eve will have the sinful ‘desire’ to oppose Adam and to assert leadership over him, reversing God’s plan for Adam’s leadership in marriage. But…Adam will also abandon his God-given, pre-fall role of leading, guarding, and caring for his wife, replacing this with his own sinful, distorted desire to ‘rule’ over Eve” ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p56, [Gen 3:16]).  “…the word…has nuances of dictatorial or absolute, uncaring use of authority, rather than considerate, thoughtful rule” Wayne Grudem (ref#63, p464).

“This is the way God meant it to be before there was any sin in the world: sinless man, full of love, in his tender, strong leadership in relation to woman; and sinless woman, full of love, in her joyful, responsive support for man’s leadership.  No belittling from the man, no groveling from the woman.  Two intelligent, humble, God-entranced beings living out, in beautiful harmony, their unique and different responsibilities…” John Piper, Wayne Grudem (ref#274, p52).

 “We are not sinless any more.  But we believe that recovery of mature manhood and womanhood is possible by the power of God’s Spirit through faith in his promises and in obedience to his Word” John Piper, Wayne Grudem (ref#274, p52).

The discerning HOLY SPIRIT within us proves the authenticity of His Word.  To discover the Truth we must ask ourselves: Is our viewpoint a rebellion against GOD or is our stance affirming Him?

CREATION

MAN IS IN THE IMAGE OF GOD

“The fact that man is in the image of God means that man is like God…”Wayne Grudem (ref#63, p442).  “The expression refers to every way in which man is like God” Wayne Grudem (ref#63, p444).

“…when God originally created man, the reason, the emotions, and the will all worked in perfect harmony. Reason led the way in understanding the will of God, the will consented to God’s will, and the emotions delighted in doing it” Jerry Bridges (ref#244, p125).

“…we are still in God’s image—we are still like God…but the image of God in us is distorted;…” Wayne Grudem (ref#63, p444).

“…with the entrance of sin into man’s soul, these three faculties began to work at cross-purposes to one another and to God.  The will has become stubborn and rebellious and will not consent to that which reason knows to be the will of God.  Or, more commonly, the emotions get the upper hand and draw away both reason and will from obedience to God” Jerry Bridges (ref#244, p125).

“These faculties were all implanted in man’s soul by God, but were all corrupted through man’s fall in the Garden of Eden.  Our reason (or understanding) was darkened (Ephesians 4:18), our desires were entangled (Ephesians 2:3), and our wills perverted” (John 5:40) Jerry Bridges (ref#244, p124).

“…the goal for which God has redeemed us is that we might be ‘conformed to the image of his Son’ (Rom 8:29)” Wayne Grudem (ref#63, p445).  “…redemption in Christ means that we can…progressively grow into more and more likeness to God…(Col 3:10)…” Wayne Grudem (ref#63, p445).

“With new birth our reason is again enlightened, our affections and desires redirected, and our wills subdued.  But though this is true, it is not true all at once.  In actual experience it is a growing process.  We are told to renew our minds (Romans 12:2), to set our affections on things above (Colossians 3:1), and to submit our wills to God (James 4:7)” Jerry Bridges (ref#244, p124-225).

FATHER, thank You for the opportunity to work out all Your redemption has put in me. You give all I need, through CHRIST’s work, to gain back more and more of Your image.

“God’s highest aim in dealing with His people is in developing Christian character” E.M. Bounds (ref#64, p64).

CREATION

PROVIDENCE

“In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind” (Job 12:10 ESV).

FATHER, It is so good to remind myself of who is in control of all the situations that I face.  I have such a tendency to forget the greatness of You.  You make Yourself so approachable I forget Your eminence.

FATHER, remind me of Your eminence.  You sit above the circle of the earth and all us inhabitants are like grasshoppers to You.

You bring anyone easily to nothing.  You blow on us and we wither, and the tempest carries us off like stubble (Isa 40:22-24). Yet, for those who wait for You, though we be faint, weary, and exhausted You renew our strength (Isa 40:30-31).

“’Providence is that continued exercise of the divine energy whereby the Creator upholds all His creatures, is operative in all that transpires in the world, and directs all things to their appointed end’” David Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Aug 25th).

“…the plan of God comprehends and determines all things and events of every kind that comes to pass….A little sparrow drops dead and falls to the ground.  Accident…Chance.  Not at all!…There are events that appear to be quite accidental, but they are controlled by God” David Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#233, p 11-12).

“What are God’s works of providence?  A: God’s works of providence are His most holy, wise, and powerful preserving and governing all His creatures and all their actions. (Spurgeon’s Catechism, Q. 11) Arthur W. Pink (ref#231, p2).

“…even the hairs of your head are all numbered”(Matt 10:30 ESV).

CREATION

GOD’S PURPOSE IN CREATION

“…this original creation—the ‘wind-hovering-over-the-water’ creation, the invisible moving the visible,…” (John 3:5-6 MSG).

GOD created.  “God’s purpose for the earth is that it should become his dwelling place; it is not simply made to house his creatures….The concept of the earth as a divine sanctuary…runs throughout the whole Bible…” ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p52, [Gen 2:1-3]).

Scripture exudes GOD’s passion to live with His creatures.  He chose a nation and poured His blessings upon them.  To announce to the whole world His love for His people He provided supernatural acts to save and keep them (Example: the plagues of Egypt.)

He sent another cluster of supernatural acts to the world when He sent His Son to earth.  He constantly keeps His chosen as a holy people to Himself (Deut 28:9) though we are obstinate and rebellious.

 “In all their affliction he was afflicted…in his love and in his pity he redeemed them;  he lifted them up and carried them…”(Isa 63:9 ESV)

We are in a special and in a peculiar relationship to GOD.  We are His people.  “…We have no being, we have no existence apart from our relationship to God” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#265, p 282-283).

“…They will call upon my name,   and I will answer them.  I will say, ‘They are my people’;  and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God’”(Zech 13:9 ESV).

“This blessing finds fulfillment in the church…but it finds its greatest fulfillment in the new heaven and new earth…” Wayne Grudem (ref#63, p520).  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God’”(Rev 21:3 ESV).  “…we will be in the presence of God and enjoying unhindered fellowship with him” Wayne Grudem (ref#63, p1164).

FATHER, For no other reason than Your love do You care for and desire to be close to the created creatures You have chosen. Such a fact elicits my praise to You.