So Hard

“The hardest thing in the world is to take Christ alone for salvation and then to return to Christ alone every day of the Christian life.” – Tony Reinke

Our human nature wants to manipulate our salvation. It goes something like this: Christ did the hard part (dying on the cross) so now we’ll take it from here.

Everyone of us desires glory. We were build for it, and one day we’ll experience it, but not here. And yet, every time we use self-salvation strategies to keep God liking us and thinking we’re terrific, we end up in self-worship and self-glory.

We hate, absolutely hate, admitting we can do nothing apart from Christ. We pay lip service to that truth.  photo (36)

We long to be something apart from him.

Have you noticed how burdened we feel most days with the many pressures and layers of life?

We’re addicted to living that way. We don’t understand any other kind of life.

But what would happen if we truly knew ourselves from God’s vantage point and realized we are nothing? And then be glad that Jesus is all we ever need or want?

What would our lives look like with that mindset?

“When our self-evaluation is emptied, Christ’s glory weighs heavier in our lives.” – John Newton

We need to be people like those who go to AA meetings. We need to say to ourselves in the mirror every morning, “My name is Bub, and I’m a sinner addicted to myself.”

I think we need to confess that everyday to the Lord.

He might even say to us, “Now you’re getting it. I’m here to help.”

What do you think?




You’re Perfect

If you are in Christ, you are loved, washed and cleaned up.

You walk around in the perfection of Jesus.

Since he never sinned, neither have you!

Not only that, God sees you as never having had a sin nature!

Meditate on that for a while.  photo (90)

Even in your worst moments when your life is in chaos, and all you know is failure and weakness, you are still in Christ and perfect!

Where you fail, he has obeyed perfectly for you.

Where you sin, he has paid for it on the cross.

When you are embarrassed and feeling ashamed, he has succeeded for you.

Barbara Duguid writes in her book, Extravagant Grace, “That means you are free to struggle and fail; you are free to grow slowly; you are free at times not to grow at all; you are free to cast yourself on the mercy of God for a lifetime.”

While obedience makes God happy, loving and delighting in Jesus, who has given you his perfect record even in the middle of your messy life, makes him happier.

Duguid goes on to say, “Repeated failure does not mean you are unsaved or that God is tired of you and disappointed. It does mean he has called you to a difficult struggle and that he will hold on to you in all your standing and falling and bring you safely home.”


That’s breathtaking.

Take that with you this weekend.

And the rest of your life.

Talk to me.



The Sympathy and Tears of our High Priest

I took notes on a sermon I heard recently on that two word description of our Lord’s  in John 11:35 –  “Jesus wept.”

Christ’s goal at Lazarus’ tomb was to glorify God. See verses 38-44.

Jesus in life and death lived for the glory of God. I exist for the glory of God.  photo (53)

My life is custom made in the wisdom of God to conform me to the image of Christ.

God’s no’s in my life are a comfort to me if my goal is the glory of God. 

The dead man obeys the voice of Christ, sometimes better than those who don’t come to Christ.

Why did Jesus weep at Lazarus’ death? He’s not a cold, distant God. He is a compassionate Savior who sympathizes in my grief and sorrow, and in my trials and distresses.

I cannot understand my blessings any more than I understand my trials.  

Jesus burned with anger in his spirit at Lazarus’ death, and he wept. (verse 33) Why? Lazarus reflected a spoiled creation that wasn’t meant to be. The nations were destined for Christ. He was deeply offended. Sin ruined everything. He was angry at sin and Satan.

Death is a disturbing, shocking interruption against the natural process of life. Death always puts an end to life.

Praise God that for the Christian death is a gateway into eternal life where there is no more sin and death.

Be encouraged by the future, read Revelation 21.





Have You Repented Today?

Your biggest problem in life is not your suffering, but your sin.

The Christian life is one long repentance on your way to heaven. Real repentance goes down to the heart. It’s recognizes the depth of sin, the depravity of the heart, the unwillingness to bend to God’s will. Even as Christians.

True repentance confronts your idols. What are you really trusting in? Your earning power? Your youth? Your intellect? A good reputation? Your personality? Your body? Your talents?

Religion is about performance and performance is about changing bad behaviors.

Life in Christ is putting your hope in him. He is the changer of hearts. He is committed to your heart transplant. And the way to an intimate relationship with him is to keep short accounts. Repent often. Repent daily. And your love for God will increase.

Don’t settle for a cosmetic makeover.

Is There Any Hope?

Q: Are you saying then that we’re destined to live lives of spiritual defeat with only little respites along the way, and that’s as good as it gets?

A: Not at all!  God’s goal for us is to be like Christ.  At the moment, Jesus is triumphant and glorified at God’s right hand, and God’s guarantee to us is that we will someday share in this magnificent image.  But when Jesus lived where we do, His life was not the glittering thing it is now.  It was marked by weakness, suffering, and by a genuine and daily dependence on His Father in Heaven.  Not even He could rise from the dead until He first died.  The road to Glory runs through the Cross, both for the Lord Himself and all who want to be His disciples.

Q: What about the verses that say we are more than conquerors in Christ, that we can do all things through Him, etc.?

A: We believe the verses, of course, but the success and triumph they promise look a lot like failure and loss: ‘tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, sword, being killed all day long and accounted as sheep for the slaughter’.  In this life God does not give us victory over these things: He gives us victory in and through them.  Just as He did for His Son who learned obedience through the things He suffered.