Category Archives: gospel

Known

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Along the same lines . . .  (as my previous post)

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/scottysmith/2012/03/13/a-prayer-about-the-joy-of-being-completely-known-and-loved/

A Prayer about the Joy of Being Completely Known and Loved

by Scotty Smith

“Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” John 4:29

Lord Jesus, I wish I could have been present to watch this liberated Samaritan woman recount the tale of her collision with the gospel—her story of meeting you and coming alive to the transforming power of grace (John 4:1-42). Water from Jacob’s well was superseded by the water you alone can give—the living water that alone can slake our death-doling thirst.

You exposed her sequential affairs—her penchant to look to men to satisfy the deepest longings of her soul. Yet instead of ridiculing her, you redeemed her; instead of condemning her, you cherished her; instead of shaming her, you saved her; instead of sending her away empty, you sent her on her way full—full of peace, hope and love.

En route to the nations, you brought the gospel to the dark continent of this broken woman’s heart. I wonder if some of the six men with whom she’d been heard her proclaim, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” Standing vulnerable in the public square of her community, she’d never been so free. The gospel dealt a fatal blow to her need to pose or pretend.

I want more of that freedom, Jesus, much more. Freedom from the approval of men. Freedom from wanting to look better than I am. Freedom from minimizing and marginalizing my present need of you.

Nothing but the gospel can free us for being thoroughly known without fear. Jesus, your love is unlike anything else we can experience in this life. In fact, your love is better than life itself. We adore and praise you this day as the Christ—the Messiah, our Lenten Lord, the heart-knower, our holy lover, our righteousness from God, our only hope of glory!

You know every vain, foolish, and evil thought we’ve ever conceived; every lustful, greedy fantasy in which we engage. Only you hear every grace-robbing, grandstanding, gossipy word we speak. Only you know the broken cisterns of our choices—our idols, the many things to which we turn to find life other than in you. Yet you pursue us, you welcome us, and you love us… and you are changing us.

What a wonderful, merciful Savior you are, Jesus. Life—temporal and eternal, can only be found in you. So very Amen we joyfully pray in your transcendent and transforming name.

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ingratitude

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A great prayer from Scotty Smith, posted on his blog today.  You can check out his blog here  http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/scottysmith/

SCOTTY SMITH|4:00 AM CT

A Prayer about the Grossness of My Ingratitude

[The older brother] was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, but he answered his father, “Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!” And he said to him, “Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours.” Luke 15:28-31

Heavenly Father, unlike the older brother, I’d never boast about my many years of serving you and I’d never even think of boasting in my record of obedience to your commands, nevertheless, there are times when my ingratitude matches his. I’m in one of those seasons and I want to repent before it gets any worse.

I do my best repenting not by groveling and beating myself up; not by ratcheting up my ill power and rededicating myself to you. No, my deepest repentance comes from preaching the gospel to my heart—remembering who you are and every good thing you give us in Jesus, so here goes.

Father, you are constantly running to us in the gospel—welcoming us to the dance floor of your grace, inviting us to enjoy the music of your mercy, imploring us to make merry to the glory of God. It’s a rich relationship, not a set of rigid rules, into which you’ve called us. To avoid you is to avoid oxygen, for you give life. To hide in my pouting, rather than Son-bath in your presence is the definition of crazy. I am so glad that you’re just as tenacious as you are tender. You incessantly say to our grumbling, discontented, self-righteous faces,

“My son, you’re always with me because I’m always with you. Nothing will ever separate you from the everlasting love I have for you and all my children. I greatly delight in you. I rejoice over you with singing. With my love I intend to quiet your restless heart.Everything I have is yours.

All your sins are forgiven, including your gross ingratitude. I’ve declared you to be righteous in Christ. I’ve hidden your life in his. I’ve begun a good work in you that I willbring to completion. I’ve made you a co-heir of the new heaven and new earth. You are destined for an eternity of perfect relationships—perfect everything. Come, let us rejoice and be glad.”

Father, I do repent this morning, but don’t relent. Keep beating down my ingratitude with love offensives of the gospel. By the Holy Spirit, compel me to delight in you today and dance to your glory. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ peerless and praiseworthy name.

gospel-impacted relationships

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I’ve been reading a lot of blogs and books on marriage recently as I’ve been growing in my own marriage and encouraging the many newly married couples Jon and I interface with regularly.

A friend recently posted this excerpt from Justin Taylor’s blog and I found it very powerful, for the married and unmarried, I like how it applies to all relationships ..

JUSTIN TAYLOR|10:13 AM CT

How the Gospel Can Transform a Marriage

Gary and Betsy Ricuchi, Love That Lasts: When Marriage Meets Grace (Crossway, 2006), pp. 22-23:

  • Because of the gospel, Christians have become new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17). Therefore, in our marriage, our past does not define us, confine us, or determine our future.
  • Because of the gospel, we are forgiven (Ephesians 1:7). Therefore we can live free of all guilt and condemnation for every sin, and we can trust that God, in his mercy, will be gracious to us.
  • Because of the gospel, we can forgive, just as Christ forgave us (Ephesians 4:32). Nothing done against us compares to our sin against God. Therefore all offenses, hostility, and bitterness between Christians can be completely forgiven and removed.
  • Because of the gospel, we are accepted by God (Romans 15:7). Therefore we are not dependent on a spouse for who we are or what we need.
  • Because of the gospel, sin’s ruling power over us is broken (Romans 6:614). Therefore we can truly obey all that God calls us to do in our marriage, regardless of any circumstance or situation.
  • Because of the gospel, we have access to God through Christ (Hebrews 4:14-16). Therefore we can at any time take any need in our marriage to the One who can do all things.
  • Because of the gospel, we have hope (Romans 5:1-4). Therefore we can endure any marital difficulty, hardship, or suffering, with the assurance that God is working all to our greatest good (Romans 8:28).
  • Because of the gospel, Christ dwells in us by his Holy Spirit (Galatians 3:13-14). Therefore we are confident that God is always with us and is always at work in our marriage, even when progress is imperceptible (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).
  • Because of the gospel, we have power to fight and overcome remaining sin, which continues to dwell and war within us (Romans 7:19-2124-25Galatians 5:16-17). This indwelling enemy represents the essence of what is called the doctrine of sin.

These are just a few of the ways the gospel can transform a marriage. Sometimes it’s not easy to live in the reality of these truths. But it is always possible—and not because of our strength or determination, but because of God’s empowering and enabling grace.

savoring the final days

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I’ve been savoring the final days with Evangeline at home.  She ‘graduated’ from preschool last week and her sisters have a few weeks of school yet, so, it’s just her and I for a few weeks with a nice, open schedule.

Running an errand today, I made a point to savor her passionate singing in the car … as she sings along with whatever song is on the radio.  It’s amazing that she knows most of the words to most of the songs … but even if she doesn’t, she fakes it well.  The passion, the facial expressions … priceless!

So, today at lunch I had the Getty’s kids cd playing, (Words Jesus Said), which is basically scripture put to song.  The song about Zacchaeus came on and she  says, “I know about him … he stole money from people!  I’ll go get my bible, you can read it!”  And she did … and I did.  We read Zacchaeus, the Prodigal Son and the story of the woman anointing Jesus’ feet with perfume.

The Jesus Storybook Bible is such an amazing bible story book that captures the story and highlights Jesus on every page.  I was hit fresh today with each of these familiar stories as I was forced to look again at the Truth of the Gospel.

“Jesus loved Zacchaeus when nobody else did.  He was Zacchaeus’ friend, even when no one else was.  Because Jesus was showing people what God’s love was like – his wonderful, never stopping, never giving up, unbreaking, always and forever love.”

From the Prodigal son …

“Jesus told people this story to show them what God is like.  And to show people what they are like.  So they could know, however far they ran, however well they hid, however lost they were – it wouldn’t matter.  Because God’s children could never run too far, or be too lost, for God to find them.”

And the woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and spilled precious perfume on his feet …

Jesus said of her, “This woman knows she’s a sinner, She knows she’ll never be good enough.  She knows she needs me to rescue her.  That’s why she loves me so much.”

“You look down on this woman because you don’t look up to God.  She is sinful on the outside, but you are sinful on the inside.”

“The more Jesus loved people and helped them, the more Important people and Leaders hated him.  They were afraid people would follow Jesus instead of them.  They were jealous.  And angry . . . Angry enough to kill Jesus.”

Wow!  Quite encouraging words for me today.  Thank you Evangeline for leading mommy to the Word today . . .

discipleship and parenting

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Our sermon series at church continues in Matthew … this Sunday we looked at what it means to follow Jesus by looking at His calling of the disciples to follow Him.

Our church doesn’t do holiday messages  … so there was not an overarching  ‘mother’s day’ theme.  I appreciate that.

However, application was made to parenting  with the emphasis that applies to all followers of Christ that, at the end of the day, it’s really just all about our walk with the Lord.

I’ll just share some of my notes … it was a sobering and encouraging message for me.

We were in Matthew 8 and 9.

Jesus goes at the heart of discipleship … our allegiance is to be to Him.

We were challenged to not let our hearts elevate family over Christ, which we can be easily tempted to do.

He talked about how raising kids in a Christian home can easily lead them to not feel so much like sinners … after all, their behavior may appear better than some of their peers who don’t know Christ.  I relate to that.  I feel like at 40, I’ve finally come to understand my sinful heart for what it really is.

As parents (or adults of any kind who influence children in any way), we can model that we know we are sinners and to be open (appropriately) about our sin.

Some application questions:

Is your walk with the Lord fresh?

-what is God teaching you right now?

-are you excited about it?

-do others see the fresh wind and fire in your life?

Raising kids isn’t about the kids, it’s about our walk with the Lord.

I am sinful and I need the gospel … daily.

My kids will catch way more about the way I live than about what I say.

What’s most important is, “Am I walking with Jesus?”

-if I am, grace will spill out and others will see it!

Here’s a great link our pastor posted on the topic that gives some great perspective

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2011/05/10/parenting-001

window of opportunity

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Matthew 8 continues our church’s sermons  in the book of Matthew.

This chapter begins with the healing of the leper …

Our pastor describes this as ‘human desperation colliding with the power and compassion of God.’

We will have times in our lives where our needs will collide with the power and compassion of God.

His power and compassion are always available, but WE are not always acutely aware of our need.

We coast along in life with low-grade suffering until we hit the crisis and cry out for mercy.

Windows of opportunity in our life are spikes of suffering and pain when our need is ‘out there’.

-when we have that opportunity to cry out for help.

but . . . we often don’t, we just coast on.

he challenged us to ‘make the most of our pain’!

‘Don’t waste your struggle, turn to jesus!’

We just finished the Sermon on the Mount and all throughout it, we saw Jesus rebuking the Pharisees … instead of coming to God for mercy, they turned to ‘religion’

-they had the window to turn to God, they didn’t take it!

We believe, that if we just get more ‘religious’ the problems and pain in our life will go away.

-it’s all about the structure, we believe

In windows of suffering, we often turn to things that really don’t help us ..

-what are those things?

-how do they fail?

When we look at these healings in Matthew 8, he is showing us that they are connected to the atonement Jesus made for our sins.

I Peter 2:24

24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.


The cross is a picture of human desperation in sin colliding with the compassion and power of God to heal and forgive.

We should, therefore, when we have need, run fast into his arms for healing.

Don’t waste your suffering . . turn to Christ . . God is using your pain right now to draw you to Himself!