Monthly Archives: February 2012

The Place of Healing . . .

 . . . Is Found at the Foot of the Cross

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

Healing from the Cross is a deep and abiding restoration of the soul which transforms our emotions, brings joy to our hearts, and renews our minds. Cross-healing frees us from the penalty of sin, the tragedy of sin, the power of sin, and the pain of sin.

Psalm 51: 10

The way to resurrection is ever through brokenness of the cross; and the place of healing is the place that David found–which foreshadowed the eternal place of healing for all men: the place of of brokenness of heart, at the foot of the cross. And the cross is the answer to the psalm and to the need of David’s heart, and to the need of my heart and your heart. It is through death and brokenness that a resurrection into healing and health and newness of life comes. And God seeks to lead us to that place.

Eric J. Alexander, “A Heart-Cry Concerning Sin,” Daily Thoughts from Keswick: A Year’s Daily Readings, ed., Herbert F. Stevenson (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1980), 293.

He Loved Me in My Sin

For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world- our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

1 John 5:4-5

Jesus loves us as we are, but also loves us not to leave us as we are. He loved us in our sin, he loves us and forgives us of our sin, he loves us to deliver us from our sin , he loves us to give us victory over our sin, and he loves us to empower us to live apart from sin. Thank the Lord for his continual grace and patience in our fallenness.

The Savior did not love me that I might continue in my sin: He loved me in my sin that He might rescue me from my sin. From my sins, yes; from the penalty due to my sins, yes. But that is only half of the Gospel: from my sin. He died that I might live a life of holiness, delivered from my sin. He did not only die that my past might be forgiven and forgotten, and that I might go to heaven when I die; He died that the period in between forgiveness and heaven might be crammed with all the glory that our almighty Savior can pour into it.

Leith Samuel, “Grieve Not the Holy Spirit,” Daily Thoughts from Keswick: A Year’s Daily Readings, ed. Herbert F. Stevenson (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1980), 260.

Crown Him!

You must worship Christ as Lord of your life.

1 Peter 3:15 NLT

Lordship of Christ means joyfully bowing to God’s will without hesitation or reservation while doing without question the Holy Spirit’s desire, direction, and purpose.

Crown Him [Christ] King in your life; do it intelligently, deliberately, definitely, throughly, joyfully, immediately. Do not wait. This your hour of opportunity. You know Christ as your Saviour; He comes and claims to be your Lord. He is your safety; He wants to be your satisfaction;’ He is your righteousness; He wants to be your holiness. He wants to lead you on, and lead you out, and lead you up. Cannot you trust Him? Won’t you go with Him?

W. Graham Scroggie, “Now, Then, Do It!”, Daily Thoughts from Keswick: A Year’s Daily Readings, ed., Herbert F. Stevenson (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1980), 304.

Be Alone with the New Testament

The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.

Ps. 119:130

Perspicuity of scripture is the belief that the Bible is sufficiently clear for open-hearted and spiritually-seeking individuals with some degree of faith to understand the Bible’s intent enabling them to come to faith and repentance in Christ. Evangelicals affirm that a man or woman with some measure of literacy can pick-up the Bible and understand it sufficiently to come to saving faith in Christ.

In fact, Evangelicals believe that the difficulty with the Bible is not understanding it, but obeying it. This is the rub, do we make the Bible complicated because we want to avoid the obvious truth of the Word? Do we avoid Scripture study because of the conviction of the Holy Spirit and his desire to conform us to Christ? Are we afraid to be alone with the New Testament?

The matter is quite simple. The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand we are obliged to act accordingly. Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. My God, you will say, if I do that my whole life will be ruined. How would I ever get on in the world?

Herein lies the real place of Christian scholarship. Christian scholarship is the Church’s prodigious invention to defend itself against the Bible, to ensure that we can continue to be good Christians without the Bible coming too close. Oh, priceless scholarship, what would we do without you? Dreadful it is to fall into the hands of the living God. Yes, it is even dreadful to be alone with the New Testament.

Søren Kierkegaard, Provocations: Spiritual Writings of Soren Kierkegaard , ed. Charles E. Moore (Rifton, NY: The Plough, 2011).

HT: Scott Howard

Godly vs. Worldly Sorrow

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.

2 Cor. 7:10 NIV

Godly Sorrow:

1. Godly sorrow begins with the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

2. Godly sorrow is pain over breaking God’s heart.

3. Godly sorrow is remorse over hurting and disappointing others.

4. Godly sorrow is heartfelt grief over violating God’s law.

5. Godly sorrow receives Christ’s forgiveness from the Cross.

6. Godly sorrow produces hope knowing that God’s grace is sufficient for our sins.

7. Godly sorrow hungers for a deeper relationship with God and burns with the desire to please the Holy Spirit.

Worldly Sorrow:

1. Worldly sorrow begins with having gotten caught.

2. Worldly sorrow is pain over having to suffer the consequences of my actions.

3. Worldly sorrow is anger and frustration that life will be more difficult.

4. Worldly sorrow is grief that I did not get what I wanted.

5. Worldly sorrow attempts to earn God’s approval through doing better and trying harder.

6. Worldly sorrow produces despair, I can never be good enough.

7. Worldly sorrow wants God to fix things and make life better.


When sorrow for sin has swept over your heart, and you have been deeply convicted of that which you have done and you have cried like David of old, “Against thee , thee only have I sinned”; when you have seen your sin not simply as an offense against the law of the land or a rejection of the voice of conscience, but as sin against God; when it is all over and your heart has been broken about it, will you then still be facing the same way?

Is it right-about-turn or is it as you were? Has there been a right-about-turn and a complete switch around and now an upward look into the face of the Lord Jesus? This the reality of repentance–something that has led you to His feet that has changed the direction of your life, that has caused you to turn right around, and with a broken heart come to Him for cleansing and forgiveness.

Alan Redpath, Blessings Out of Buffetings (Old Tappan, NJ: Revell, 1965), 137. [paragraphing mine]

What of Lent and Ash Wednesday?

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

Ps 51:10 KJV

Ash Wednesday is the service and Lent is the season for repentance from phony Christianity, pretend spirituality, and words without works Christian living. The Holy Spirit uses the Lenten focus as a tool to open our hearts which have grown calloused through selfishness and pride. Throughout the busy year, we become spiritually dull and unapologetically self-absorbed. Our attitudes and actions are insensitive to others’ needs and disobedient to God’s call to life and holiness.

Ash Wednesday stops us in our tracks and reminds us that we are but dust and to dust we shall return. Dust can’t demand, dust can’t argue, dust can’t exalt itself, and dust can’t boast. Dust needs God to have life and only in God can these “jars of clay” minister life (Gen. 2:7, Job 42:6, Eccles. 3:20, Ezekiel 37:4, 2 Cor. 4:7).  Ash Wednesday reminds us that we are nothing but dust, dirt, and mire without the crucified and risen Jesus.

We too easily forget our Maker and Redeemer; replacing God with things and ambition. Lent is the season that does something about this situation. It calls us back to God, back to the basics, back to the spiritual realities of life. It calls us to put to death the sin and the indifference we have in our hearts toward God and our fellow persons. And it beckons us to enter once again into the joy of the Lord–the joy of a new life born out of a death to the old life. That is what Ash Wednesday is all about–the fundamental change of life required of those who would die with Jesus and be raised to a new life in him.

Robert Webber, Ancient-Future Time: Forming Spirituality through the Christian Year(Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2004), 99.

Ash Wednesday is Feb. 22, 2012.

Only One Christ

Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.

Acts 2:38

Several years ago there was a controversy about whether a believer needed to receive Christ as Lord and Savior to be saved. Some said Savior only and others declared that Christ needed to be Lord of every area of our lives as well as Savior of our souls.

I asked Anglican theologian, J. I. Packer, what he thought of the Lordship Salvation Controversy, “You can’t have half of Jesus, Jesus is both Lord and Christ (i.e., Savior).” Dr. Packer was quoting from Peter’s sermon in Acts 2, “Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified” (v.36) [emphasis mine].

Lordship of Christ means joyfully bowing to God’s will without hesitation or reservation while doing without question the Holy Spirit’s desire, direction, and purpose. Lordship means allowing Jesus to have his way in us no matter our fears, hesitations, anxieties, or doubts. Lordship means following the Lamb wherever he goes.

It is not logical or reasonable to speak of Him as Lord, and then to disobey him, because His Lordship implies an unquestioning bowing down to His will, and unhesitating and an unquestioning doing of His will.

Francis W. Dixon, “The Lordship of Christ,” Daily Thoughts from Keswick: A Year’s Daily Readings, ed. Herbert F. Stevenson (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1980), 261.

There are not two Christs–an easygoing one for easygoing Christians, and a suffering, toiling one for exceptional believers. There is only one Christ. Fruit-bearing involves Cross-bearing.

J. Hudson Taylor

His Part, Our Part

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Phil. 2:12-13

When Evangelicals and other communions debate the nature of justification by faith alone, the Apostle Paul’s singular phrase, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12-13) is much discussed. Did Paul mean that our salvation is faith and works? Paul’s use of the word, “work,” is often sighted as proof that salvation is not “by faith alone” (Rom. 4:5). According to some, faith with works following achieve our acceptance before God on the Last Day.

However, the Apostle Paul’s use of “work” is not a work of accomplishing or earning our salvation: an attempt to achieve through our own efforts acceptance with God. No, this “work” is a living out of the life of faith: the indwelling Christ empowering us to make righteous choices and to live selfless lives.

How do we know what the Apostle Paul meant by “work”? In the writings of Paul, he never used justification (i.e., our acceptance with God) synonymously with the word, “salvation.” [Frank Thielman, The NIV Application Commentary: Philippians (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1995), 137] Salvation for Paul is not acceptance with God; but sanctification, our growth in Christ.

How are justification and sanctification different? Justification is a looking to God that receives Christ death as our death, his righteousness as our righteousness, and his life as our life. By grace through faith, we stand accepted before God.  Sanctification is progressively grasping Jesus’ victory over our sin by applying that victory in our daily attitudes and actions. Sanctification is living a life that is pleasing to God by being transformed into the image of Christ. Justification is a past event. Whereas, sanctification is an ongoing process.

The “fear and trembling” of which Paul speaks is a fear of the Lord. The fear of the Lord is not a fear of punishment, but the dread of hurting or breaking God’s heart by disappointing his plans and purposes for us. Our responsibility according to Paul is to pursue holiness of heart knowing that one day we must give an account to God for our life choices.

In turn, God promises divine enablement, “For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13). “Work” here in the Greek means to energize and this energy produces the desire and ability in us to delight in God’s will and obey God’s word.

In summary, Philippians 2:13-14 teaches that human responsibility and divine empowering simultaneously cooperate together with the Holy Spirit to enable us to obey the words and do the works of Jesus.

Will you begin now? He may be working in you to confess to that fellow-Christian that you were unkind in your speech or act. Work it out. He may be working in you to give up that line of business about which you have been doubtful lately. Give it up. He may be working in you to be sweeter in your home, and gentler in your speech. Begin. He may be working in you to alter your relations with some with whom you have dealings that are not as they should be. Alter them. This very day let God begin to speak, and work and will; and then work out what He works in. God will not work apart from you, but He wants to work through you. Let Him. Yield to Him, and let this be the day when you shall begin to live in the power of the mighty Indwelling One.

F. B. Meyer, The Epistle to the Philippians (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 1979), 110.

God’s Power Is Available Power

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.

Acts 1:8

On this blog, I have shared my experiences of fresh fillings of the Holy Spirit. I can say without hesitation and equivocation that without these very personal and deeply intimate encounters with the Holy Spirit, I would not have stayed in Christian ministry for over thirty years. Ministry is a hard-fought, supernatural battle: preaching the gospel, encouraging others to trust Christ, standing against Satan’s schemes, etc. I need, we all need, God’s power to see hearts changed, souls encouraged, and Satan defeated.

Ministry requires that we walk in supernatural power to fight and win a supernatural war. Our Heavenly Father gives us spiritual tools and supernatural weapons for the battle—the spiritual gifts.  These weapons are concrete expressions of grace, charismata, which enable and empower us as believers to do the words and perform the works of Jesus. This power, God’s power, is available to everyone of us, all need to do is ask (Luke 11:13).

God’s power is available power. We are supernatural people, born again by a supernatural birth, kept by a supernatural power, sustained on supernatural food, taught by the supernatural Teacher from a supernatural Book. We are led by a supernatural Captain in right paths to assured victories.

J. Hudson Taylor, Hudson Taylor on Spiritual Secrets: A 30 Day Devotional Treasury, compiled by Lance Wubbels (Lynnwood, WA: Emerald Books, 1998), Day 2.

My Favorite Books

In your light do we see light.

Psalm 36:9

“My Favorite Books”  is a new page that I have added to The Glorious Deeds of Christ blog. All the books listed have stretched my theological thinking, deepened my love for Christ, or expanded my understanding of Holy Scripture. Some titles I read as a young Christian serving in the Agape Force ministry, others as new Charismatic just experiencing the spiritual gifts, and still others, I read this past year after thirty years of ministry.

I have been helped by many Evangelical, a few Roman Catholic, and some Eastern Orthodox writers. Within Evangelicalism, I have read Wesleyan, Reformed, and Charismatic works. My list is an on-going project: I will be adding more titles and sections throughout the coming year. Also, I hope to annotate the list in the near future.

If you would like to add a book of notable influence in your Christian life to my discussion, go to the comments section, leave the name of the book, its author, and the reason why that book blessed you.

May the Holy Spirit continue to encourage us through the writing ministry of others.

Commit your life to the serious reading of books, and your life will be enlightened.

Tony Reinke, Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading Books (Crossway, 2011).