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Grace More Abundant

“But where sin increased, grace increased all the more” (Romans 5:20). My extra-biblical reading does not follow any pattern, but there is a lot of history in it. The history includes ancient and modern, Asian and European, African and South American. Whenever or wherever history occurs, it is a story of increasing sin. This would be depressing if it were not for our assurance that grace increases all the more. A history book can glorify the actions of men so the sin does not sound as bad. That, however, is only sugar-coating the story. The real blessing is that God assures us that grace is more abundant than sin . In addition to reading history, I find another reminder of the increase of sin. That is my daily contact with people who are in sin or affected by the sin of others. Again, I am grateful for the over-abundance of grace. It is this over-abundance of grace that gives us victory and triumph. “But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumph, and through us s
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He Calls the Stars by Name

“He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit” (Psalm 147:4-5). These are two of many verses which speak in a limited way of God’s unlimited power and knowledge. Here are a few more: “By the word of the LORD were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth. For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm” (Psalm 33:6, 9). “He replied, ‘You of little faith, why are you so afraid?’ Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, ‘What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!’” (Matthew 8:26-27). God commanded the inanimate. There were no ears to hear, no volition to decide, no reason to consider, and yet the stars, the wind, and the waves obeyed. This post coordinates with today's reading in the To the Word! Bible Reading Challenge . If you are not in a daily reading pl

Let the Redeemed of the Lord Say So

“Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom He hath redeemed from the hand of the Enemy” (Psalm 107:2). “And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will” (2 Timothy 2:24-26). “When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life” (Romans 6:20-22). “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death

Declaring God's Glory

“Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth. Sing to the LORD, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples” (Psalm 96:1-3). Sing, praise, proclaim, and declare. In order to declare His glory, we have to know what it is. Words alone will not do it. Experience will be part of it. “Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and glory are in his sanctuary. Ascribe to the LORD, O families of nations, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering and come into his courts. Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness; tremble before him, all the earth” (Psalm 96:6-9). Splendor, majesty, strength, glory, worship, and holiness are a few of the words. Ask for the experience. This post coordinates with today's reading in the To the Word! Bible Reading Challenge . If you are not in a daily reading plan, please join us at To

More Life (Are You Afraid of Death?)

Are you fearful of death? Or ready for it? Or glad for it? Most people just ignore it, knowing it’s going to happen, but not now and not soon. Sometimes we don’t have a choice. On September 26, 1950, when I was 22 years old, I was with the Navy in the Sea of Japan off the coast of Korea. The gunnery officer spotted some box cars on a railroad siding near the shore. The captain decided to close the range and destroy them with gunfire. We were at battle stations. My battle station was in the gunnery plotting room one deck below the main deck on the port side of the ship. I was the officer in charge of gunnery plot. I received a telephone call from my boss, the gunnery officer. He ordered me up to the main battery director above the bridge, where he was stationed with the range finder. I objected, because we were at general quarters (preparing for battle), and it is a court-martial offense to leave your battle station when the ship is at general quarters. He ordered me to come up anyway

Simplicity

“ Oh, that you would bear with me in a little folly—and indeed you do bear with me. For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (2 Cor. 11:1-3). St. Paul was concerned about people deceiving other people away from the simplicity that is in Christ. All (or at least most) denominations of the Christian church have made salvation in Christ a little more complicated than the Bible makes it. Rather than drawing attention to all of these complications, I thought I would go through the Gospel with simple, biblical words. God God is . God is love. God so loved the world. The world was the object of His love. The expression of His love is giving. What He gave was His only-begotten Son. He gave what was most valuable to Him. Sin came into

Come, Lord Jesus

“Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure” (1 John 3:2-3). “After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:17-18). “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20). You may have wondered what my eschatology is. I do not often speak about it. These few words summarize my anticipation: hope; purifies; encourage; “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.” This keeps me from differing with the saints on the order of events at the end time. This post coordinates with today's reading in the To the Word! Bible Reading Challenge . If you are not in a