Wednesday’s Words

Some random thoughts on this first day of July:

  1. If you claim to be a follower of Jesus Christ, where is He leading you?
    1. How well are you following – reluctantly, enthusiastically or not at all?
    2. If you don’t know where He is leading you, why not?
  2. Do you love Jesus Christ for who He is, or what He does for you?
    1. If He withdrew His blessings, would you still praise, worship and honor Him or withdraw yourself?
      1. He is worthy to be honored, praised and worshiped because He is the King of Kings, not a genie.
      2. We owe Him all, He owes us nothing.
      3. Any blessing He gives is out of mercy and grace but not because we somehow deserve it.
    2. Peter’s declaration should ring true with us. In John 6:68, when the crowds stopped following, Jesus asked the disciples if they would leave also. Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.  We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”
  3. Is Jesus, alone, enough for us or are we still looking for something extra?

The Impact of a Song

Many followers of our blog will have noticed that there are a lot of song lyrics that get posted here. There is good reason for that. Each song whose lyrics have been used are ones which have personally impacted my life. Today, there will be another song’s lyrics posted, this one written by Steve Green. When I first heard this song, many years ago, I was a young man. It impacted me then and has continued to impact me to this day. I have tried to live my life in such a way that God would not be ashamed of me (though I am positive I have shamed Him many times) and in a way that would not cause His name or reputation to be impugned (although I am positive I have sometimes failed in this also). At any rate, this song continues to challenge me to be faithful, and I hope it challenges you as well. Enjoy the lyrics, find a CD of Steve Green and buy it — he has many songs that are inspiring and that give glory to our God.

We’re pilgrims on the journey
Of the narrow road
And those who’ve gone before us line the way
Cheering on the faithful, encouraging the weary
Their lives a stirring testament to God’s sustaining grace

Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses
Let us run the race not only for the prize
But as those who’ve gone before us
Let us leave to those behind us
The heritage of faithfulness passed on through godly lives

Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
May the fire of our devotion light their way
May the footprints that we leave
Lead them to believe
And the lives we live inspire them to obey

Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful

After all our hopes and dreams have come and gone
And our children sift through all we’ve left behind
May the clues that they discover and the memories they uncover
Become the light that leads them to the road we each must find


Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful

Thoughts on Repentance

As work continues on The 180º Project, research into the topic of repentance continues to yield many treasures. There has been a lot of things written on this topic over the centuries and we hope to coalesce this into a work that will benefit many leaders. One such treasure that we have found comes from Scott Hafemann, from his theological primer. If you find any such gems that you feel might help us in our research on biblical repentance, send them our way at Enjoy his:

Jesus’ gospel of forgiveness is not unrelated to the Bible’s demand for holiness. Obedience is not a “second step” added to our faith, so that “accepting Jesus as Savior” must be supplemented by “accepting Jesus as Lord.” We are not saved by grace and then sanctified (made holy) by our own works. Being a Christian is not a matter of adding our will to God’s, our efforts to His. Rather…”putting away sin,” which is faith in action, is the means to persevering, which we do by depending on Jesus from beginning to end. In other words, repenting from the disobedience of disbelief, and the life of persevering faith that this brings about, which entails obeying God, are all one expression of “looking to Jesus.” One cannot exist without the other… There is only one thing, not two, that we must do to be saved: trust God with the needs of our lives. This one thing in God’s provision (now supremely manifested in Christ) will show itself, from beginning to end, in our many acts of repentance and obedience.


Scott Hafemann

The God of Promise and the Life of Faith. Crossway Books, 2001, p. 191-192.

Excerpt From “Consequences” – a resource coming in summer 2013

Abraham, the great patriarch, stands as an example of what it means to follow God by faith. He was a person who experienced God’s grace repeatedly. As wonderful as Abraham was, though, he was not perfect. There were some major sins in his life, which created repercussions that lasted for a long time.
God called Abram to leave his home and go to a place that God would show him and he did (Genesis 12:1). He left behind the idol worship of his family and followed the directions of the true God. When he arrived in Canaan, the first thing Abram did was build an altar to God. He journeyed further into the land and built another altar to the Lord. He has followed the call of God, been blessed, and in return offered thanks.
While Abram was obedient to God in leaving Ur and traveling to Canaan, it would seem from the biblical records that he was not completely obedient. Abram did not leave the pagan influences of his family behind. His father, Terah, traveled with him as far as Haran, where Abram lingered for awhile. After his father’s death, Abram continued on his journey but allowed his nephew, Lot, to tag along. These decisions would lead to trouble later on.
Abram is to be greatly commended for his faith in following God on a journey across the Arabian Peninsula. It is even more impressive when you realize that he was apparently the first person in his family to believe in Yahweh. It is easy, then, for us to excuse his lingering in Haran, or his failure to distance himself from his family’s influences. To do this, though, would be to make a mistake. While Abram did many great things for God, he compromised his beliefs more than once, developed a pattern of partial obedience, and through selfish actions caused others to suffer. The Bible is quick to write of its hero’s strengths and weaknesses, their victories and their defeats. By taking an honest look at Abram, we will see that even the greatest of men are flawed and in need of God’s forgiveness, power and grace.
After Abram has spent some time establishing himself in Canaan, a famine came and Abram left the Land of Promise and journeyed to Egypt. There is no record that he consulted God about the move. The events that follow seem to show that his lack of asking God for advice was a failure on Abram’s part. He shows a lack of trust in God by making the move. Surely, the God who had led and sustained him on the journey from Ur through Haran to Canaan could have sustained him there. Why would God lead him to a place without having a plan to bless him in spite of the circumstances?
Wouldn’t it have greatly strengthened Abram’s faith to see God blessing him with food in the midst of a famine? Wouldn’t it have confirmed that this is, indeed, where he was supposed to be? However, Abram goes to Egypt. He stops walking by faith and begins to walk by sight. He knows that there is food in Egypt so he picks up and moves on. By doing so, he places himself and his family in a life-threatening situation.
It seems Abram has married a very attractive woman in his wife Sarai. Since the Bible rarely comments on a person’s physical features, Sarai must have been a strikingly beautiful woman. She is so beautiful, Abram is afraid that she will catch the attention of Pharaoh when they go to buy food. He reasons that if Pharaoh sees her and desires her for his harem that he will kill Abram to get her. Therefore, Abram lies about his relationship to Sarai.
Sarai was Abram’s half-sister , but she was also his wife. That relationship should have taken priority in his mind. It also would not be the last time Abram used this deception, as we will see later on. Can you imagine how this must have made his wife feel? He was willing to subjugate her to a humiliating experience, just to save his own skin. Can you see her face, read her emotions, as she realizes that he is not the protector she has grown to depend on? One of a woman’s greatest needs is to see her husband as her champion – a lot of her security is tied up in this. Abram’s treatment of Sarai will have repercussions later on, in how his son Isaac treats his wife Rebekah, as we will see in a later chapter. It would seem that some lessons are passed on, albeit unintentionally.
Abram intended to deceive the Egyptians so he is guilty of lying. Is it ever right to lie? Even a “white” lie? God gives His opinion on the subject in many places, including Exodus 20:16. How many times do we try to justify our actions by rationalizing them away like Abram did? If we are called to be holy people, representing the character of God to a watching world, then we need to make sure we are not guilty of speaking with lying lips.
Because of Abram’s lie, Sarai was taken to the harem of Pharaoh to become one of his wives. This would of placed Sarai in the position of becoming an adulteress. God intervened, and Pharaoh and his household were afflicted, by the Lord, with severe diseases before he could bed Sarai. This begs the question, based on this account, how does sin affect others?
Pharaoh and his house are being punished. He does not know Sarai is anyone’s wife. He has been lied to. Certainly, his household is not guilty of anything. Yet because of Abram’s cowardice and lying, they are being afflicted. Abram is displaying an incredible lack of faith or trust in the Lord. Lack of faith in God’s being able to provide food in Canaan. He is showing a lack of trusting that God will protect him and Sarai in Egypt. Abram is not acting like the father of the faithful right now.
What do you believe would have been Pharaoh’s response, if, after Abram had been caught in his lie, he then would have tried to witness to Pharaoh concerning the goodness, protection and value in worshipping Abram’s God? Could it be that unbelievers may choose to remain unbelievers because of the lack of truthfulness among God’s people? How do we remedy a situation like that of Abram, so that unbelievers will receive our testimony?
Abram did not completely obey and his bringing Lot with him to Egypt would lead to no end of problems. Lot would see Abram’s cowardice on display. Is it any wonder that Lot grows up willing to sacrifice his daughters to save his own skin?
In leaving the land of Canaan and going to find security in the land of Pharaoh, instead of in the Lord God, Abram makes a colossal mistake. Called on the carpet by a pagan ruler, Abram has no defense. He has traded his wife for wealth, his helpmate for possessions, and has been chastised severely. Only by the grace of God is he not put to death by Pharaoh. In addition, he is allowed to keep all that he had received in trading Sarai to Pharaoh.
Abram is kicked out of Egypt and wanders back to Bethel. It is there that problems between Lot and him come to a head. Abram has journeyed a long way but has been unwilling to completely obey God. It will not be until years later that Abram comes to the point where he is willing to be completely devoted to God. His story is lot like ours. We wander for years, sometimes decades, on our spiritual journey before we completely turn our lives over to God’s leadership.
Many people, unfortunately, never reach the point of complete obedience. In fact, if we were brutally honest with ourselves, we would have to admit that none of us is completely obedient to our God.

From Isaac We Learn …

Isaac is one of those patriarchs of the Old Testament who is revered, along with Abraham and Jacob, over and over. For many people, the question is, why? Isaac is not recorded as having won any great victories, spiritual or physical. He seems content to lean on the accomplishments of his father. A cursory reading might lead one to believe that his greatest claim to fame is simply becoming the father of Jacob.

Isaac is non-confrontational. He allows others to walk all over him. He is a pretty poor parent (witness the tension and favoritism between Jacob and Esau) and didn’t even pick pick out his own wife. Why is Isaac held in such high esteem? I think the answer comes from the story of Genesis 22, where God tells Abram to sacrifice Isaac. Isaac is close to 9, 10 maybe even 12 years old. Abram is well over a hundred. Isaac is conscious enough to realize there is no lamb for a sacrifice. He is willing to be bound by Abram and laid on the altar. He could have easily outran Abram, probably even been a physical match for him at his advanced age.

As Abram pictures for us God’s love, being willing to sacrifice His Son, Isaac pictures for us Christ, loving his father so much he is willing to lay his life down. As Abram shows us complete obedience to God our Father, so does Isaac – in his complete obedience to his father. We know from Hebrews that Abram believed God could raise Isaac from the dead. No such statement is made about Isaac. Even not knowing if he would come back to life or not, Isaac was still willing to undergo this trial for the sake of his father.

That is the lesson we learn from Isaac. Are we in love with God so much that we are willing to obey Him completely, even at the cost of our life? Jesus was. A good question to ponder as we begin another week of service to our Heavenly Father.

Great Quotes From Ages Past #5

This, from John Newton (of Amazing Grace fame) is great:

“If two angels were to receive at the same moment a commission from God, one to go down and rule earth’s grandest empire, the other to go and sweep the streets of its meanest village, it would be a matter of entire indifference to each which service fell to his lot, a post of ruler or the post of scavenger; for the joy of the angel lies only in obedience to God’s will.”

What a fantastic attitude towards service to God! May each of us rejoice in the fact of God deigning to use us at all to bring glory to His name.