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If I Really Listened to and Followed . . . Hebrews 12 —

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2021 in Hebrews 12

 

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Ruminating on ROMANS! (Some Thoughts on Paul’s Great Epistle) #21 “Eight Blessings of Belief” (A Study of Romans 5:1-5) Blessing #8

Many of you know that my New Jersey friend Frank and I are reading through God’s Word together (described here). We’re now in the book of Romans and are reading chapter 5 each day this week. Here is something that I noticed in reading this chapter:

Here are the eight blessings that I see in this passage:

1. Justified through faith (v. 1)

2. Peace with God

3. Gained access into this grace (v. 2)

4. Boasting in the hope of the glory of God

5. Glory in our sufferings (vv. 3-4)

6. A hope that does not put us to shame (v. 5)

7. God’s love poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit

8. The Holy Spirit has been given to us

We will think about each of these blessings — one by one — in subsequent posts. Let’s consider the eighth blessing: THE HOLY SPIRIT HAS BEEN GIVEN TO US!

What an incredible gift! The Third Person of the Divine Trinity — the Spirit of God — has been given to us!  What does that mean? [I just finished producing four videos on the topic “Developing a Biblical Relationship with God the Holy Spirit.” We will be posting those videos on this blog].

Pastor John Piper makes the point in his little book God Is the Gospel that when you trusted Christ, you got GOD! Here Paul makes the point that having been justified by the finished work of Christ, you and I got the Holy Spirit!

What a conclusion to this list of blessings here in Romans 5!

Thank God today for this incredible gift — the Holy Spirit Himself!

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2021 in Romans 5

 

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Ruminating on ROMANS! (Some Thoughts on Paul’s Great Epistle) #20 “Eight Blessings of Belief” (A Study of Romans 5:1-5) Blessing #7

Many of you know that my New Jersey friend Frank and I are reading through God’s Word together (described here). We’re now in the book of Romans and are reading chapter 5 each day this week. Here is something that I noticed in reading this chapter:

Here are the eight blessings that I see in this passage:

1. Justified through faith (v. 1)

2. Peace with God

3. Gained access into this grace (v. 2)

4. Boasting in the hope of the glory of God

5. Glory in our sufferings (vv. 3-4)

6. A hope that does not put us to shame (v. 5)

7. God’s love poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit

8. The Holy Spirit has been given to us

We will think about each of these blessings — one by one — in subsequent posts. Let’s consider the seventh blessing: GOD’S LOVE HAS BEEN POURED OUT INTO OUR HEARTS THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT!

What a wonderful way of expressing the gospel! God’s LOVE. That was His motivation in sending His Son. And that love has been POURED OUT! Not doled out in small doses. But an abundant POURING OUT into our lives. And this is through the Holy Spirit. [I’ve been working on a series recently entitled “Developing a Biblical Relationship to God the Holy Spirit.” I’ll post those four videos in the near future.]

Thank the Lord today for the Holy Spirit’s action in pouring out the love of God into your heart. But ask yourself, “How can I show God’s love to people who haven’t experienced that ‘pouring out’?”

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2021 in Romans 5

 

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Ruminating on ROMANS! (Some Thoughts on Paul’s Great Epistle) #19 “Eight Blessings of Belief” (A Study of Romans 5:1-5) Blessing #6

Many of you know that my New Jersey friend Frank and I are reading through God’s Word together (described here). We’re now in the book of Romans and are reading chapter 5 each day this week. Here is something that I noticed in reading this chapter:

Here are the eight blessings that I see in this passage:

1. Justified through faith (v. 1)

2. Peace with God

3. Gained access into this grace (v. 2)

4. Boasting in the hope of the glory of God

5. Glory in our sufferings (vv. 3-4)

6. A hope that does not put us to shame (v. 5)

7. God’s love poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit

8. The Holy Spirit has been given to us

We will think about each of these blessings — one by one — in subsequent posts. Let’s consider the sixth blessing: WE HAVE A HOPE THAT DOES NOT PUT US TO SHAME (v. 5)!

Pastor Tim Keller has a great statement about HOPE in his book The Reason for God. Please take a few minutes and listen . . .

What would be a HOPE that does put one to shame? A hope to win the lottery only to find that one has wasted $3 on a Pick-Six? A hope to get a promotion even though one doesn’t have the experience to do that next-level job? A hope to win another’s heart even though there is no chance that other person would have any interest in one’s overtures?

Biblical hope is not wish-fulfillment or a gritting one’s teeth and believing really hard. Biblical hope is a certainty about the future promised by God Himself. And that kind of hope does not — and never will — put the child of God to shame!

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2021 in Romans 5

 

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Ruminating on ROMANS! (Some Thoughts on Paul’s Great Epistle) #18 “Eight Blessings of Belief” (A Study of Romans 5:1-5) Blessing #5c

Many of you know that my New Jersey friend Frank and I are reading through God’s Word together (described here). We’re now in the book of Romans and are reading chapter 5 each day this week. Here is something that I noticed in reading this chapter:

Here are the eight blessings that I see in this passage:

1. Justified through faith (v. 1)

2. Peace with God

3. Gained access into this grace (v. 2)

4. Boasting in the hope of the glory of God

5. Glory in our sufferings (vv. 3-4)

6. A hope that does not put us to shame (v. 5)

7. God’s love poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit

8. The Holy Spirit has been given to us

We will think about each of these blessings — one by one — in subsequent posts. Let’s continue to think about the fifth blessing: WE CAN NOW GLORY IN OUR SUFFERINGS (vv. 3-4)!

In the West we suffer from a poor theology of . . . suffering! We do. We need to get back to the Scriptures and recover a biblical glorying in our suffering!

We listed several clear, biblical statements about the believer’s suffering in our last post. But how do we GLORY in our suffering?

Here in Romans 5 Paul explains a bit more what glorying in our suffering involves. He writes, “we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Suffering is productive! It is not wasted. There are results that can come about, presumably only by suffering. Want to persevere more? You need to do some suffering! Want to have your character built to be more like Christ? You’re going to have to go through some suffering! Want to have some biblical, not worldly, hope? Apparently that kind of hope can only come through suffering!

Please don’t misunderstand me. I don’t believe Paul is saying that we pursue suffering or that we take a psychologically-twisted joy in suffering. No! But suffering is inevitable as a believer. And the real question is — What will you and I make of our suffering?

May I ask you — how are you suffering right now? The death of a loved one? A struggle at work? Covid-fatigue? Financial challenges? Use your suffering to become more like Christ! And glory in that!

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2021 in Romans 5

 

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The Theology of Calvin . . . and Hobbes (The Fine Print)

What’s the “fine print” in our presentation of the gospel to others? Do we understate the absolute demands of the divine Son of God on their lives IF they trust Him as their Savior? Are we guilty of a kind of spiritual “bait and switch”? Jesus didn’t hesitate to challenge listeners to “count the cost” of following Him. Shouldn’t we?

 
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Posted by on November 6, 2020 in Calvin & Hobbes

 

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DON’T TELL ME HOW TO LIVE! (A Study of 2 Peter 3)

We might use less confrontive words, but all of us need to be TOLD how to live, right? By nature we run away from the Lord, make our own choices, allow less-than-biblical priorities to govern our daily lives. As Frank and I are finishing up our reading of 2 Peter, I was impressed with the commands in this chapter about how to live one’s life. Here’s the chapter, followed by the list of commands telling us how to live.

That’s a lot to work on, don’t you think? You might consider taking one of these commands and fleshing it out, figuratively and literally! Have a great day.

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2020 in 2 Peter 3

 

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The Theology of Calvin . . . and Hobbes (Change)

“This is the way God made me,” I once heard a relative say. Do people change? We certainly can choose not to change. But for the believer in Jesus, there is the process of sanctification in which God changes us to become more like Christ! Are you and I co-operating with God the Holy Spirit in that process?

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2020 in Calvin & Hobbes

 

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CLEAR COMMANDS FOR THE BELIEVER (I PE. 1: 13-25)

As my friend Frank and I are working our way through I Peter, I couldn’t help but notice the very practical instructions that Peter gives in this first chapter. Here is the text —

Have you found that sometimes we just simply need to obey some commands? Our culture seems to demand explanations for everything. But the believer in Jesus learns — maybe very slowly — that our God doesn’t always explain the WHYS to His children.

In chapter 8 of The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis has Screwtape give the following advice to Wormwood, his understudy demon: “Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger, than when a human, no longer desiring, but intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.”

Here are five very clear commands which are for all believers at all times in all cultures facing any circumstances in life:

1. Set Your Hope on What’s Most Important! (v. 13)

2. Don’t Give in to Your Pagan Desires! (v. 14)

3. Be Holy in All You Do! (vv. 15-16)

4. Live Out Your Life as Godly Foreigners Here (vv. 17-21)

5. Love One Another Deeply! (vv. 22-25)

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2020 in I Peter 1

 

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Self-Purification (2 Corinthians 7:1)

Friends: If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that my friend Frank (in New Jersey) and I have been doing an email Bible study for over a year. We read the same chapter every day for a week — and then send a brief email of encouragement to each other. We’ve completed most of the epistles of the New Testament — and it’s been a great discipline for both of us.

Let us continue our study of several verses in chapter seven:

Self-Purification (2 Corinthians 7:1)

I. The Motivation for Self-Purification

“since we have these promises . . .” — What promises? Logically, the promises of the presence of God from the previous chapter: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people” (6:16). Note also 6:18- “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”

II. The Invitation for Self-Purification

“let us purify ourselves, dear friends”

III. The Explanation of Self-Purification

A. Negatively: “from everything that contaminates body and spirit”

B. Positively: “perfecting holiness out of reverence for God”

 
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Posted by on June 23, 2020 in 2 Corinthians 7

 

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