Messy Christians on the Go

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Remember The Truth

Your salvation is in Christ.

Your right standing with God is in Christ.

Your total and complete acceptance is in Christ. 

Your merit is all in Christ.

Your wholeness is in Christ.

So what does this mean to you?

It means your imperfect obedience, lukewarm love, and stumblings are swallowed up in Christ’s perfect life of obedience.

Remember, his perfect record is yours.

God loves you because of him.

As believers, our default position is now the full and complete life of Jesus.

That’s pure joy!

How To Thrive After Being Crushed by the Church – Part 1

Are you someone who has grown up in church where performance defined who you were?

Where most days you were a miserable failure?

And love and acceptance were foreign concepts?

I have good news for you.

You didn’t grow up with the gospel.

You grew up with moralism (law).

The law is harsh. It beats you up. It tells you what you must do in order to please God (and others), but has no power to help you get there.

So you looked at your life and said, “I can’t do this,” and got depressed.

Or you admitted your failure, got furious, and walked away.

Here’s what happened to you.

You came into the church by faith in Jesus. He loved you so much he died for you. And you accepted his gift of salvation with gladness.

Then week after week you listened to preaching about moral behavior and living, and in a flash you plunged into despair because you didn’t measure up.

Your joy in Jesus went up in a puff of smoke. You even went so far to say that this Christian thing doesn’t work.

If you can relate to this, then here’s a question to ask yourself:

Is the cross and blood of Jesus sufficient to save you even while you are still sinful? Even while you continue to fail at living the Christian life?

You know what?

Heaven is filled with Christian failures! There aren’t any other kind of people there!

Jesus’ death on the cross and his shed blood for you is all you need.

Jesus himself will welcome and embrace you!

How’s that possible? It’s because God has given you the gift of the righteousness of Jesus. You had it the moment you came to faith.

It’s the only performance that counts!

Grab a hold of it and never let it go!

How To Rid Yourself of Doom and Gloom

Today I woke up with a long list of grievances I compiled through the night of all the things that were wrong in my life.

Instead of realizing this was a tactic of the devil, I indulged in my black mood.

I vented all over my husband. I criticized the condition of our home. My children weren’t living up to my expectations. Even the cat was wrong today, if we had a cat.

I had no desire to pray on my way to work. Truth is, I was going to continue grumbling and enjoying my well-deserved pity party of one.

But then I reached into my book bag and pulled out an article on the doctrine of our Union with Christ. It was written fifty years ago by noted English bible teacher, Arthur Pink.

God met me there because when I finished it, my gloom was gone and I was rejoicing in the gospel.

Here’s what I learned that changed my heart:

1) Those old saints knew their stuff and preached it. The deep truths, mostly forgotten today because they might offend, are the only prescription for a healthy heart.

2) The doctrine of the Union with Christ is central to our understanding of who were are as Christians. Without it, we see ourselves as individuals tied to a lifeline to Christ, much like an astronaut twirling in space who is attached by a cord to the space capsule.

3) We view Christ as a solo act, independent of the Father and the Holy Spirit, and separated from the people he came to save. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

4) Christ and his people are inseparable – it is an eternal union that began before the foundation of the world and made known and enjoyed in time.

5) It is the foundation for all the other blessings we enjoy in Christ – the new birth (regeneration), the forgiveness of sins (justification), the remodel of our lives (sanctification), and our new bodies (glorification).

6) This union is so real and vital and intimate that God has never viewed us apart from Christ! And God never sees Christ apart from his church. He is the head of the church.

4) We are told in Scripture that Jesus became flesh for us; when he died on the cross, we died with him; when he was buried, we went into the tomb with him; and when he was resurrected, we were raised with him.

We have never been alone!

We are never alone now.

And we will never be alone in heaven. We belong to Jesus and that union is secured for an eternity.

All of these blessings come to us through the gospel and by faith in Christ.

He secured them. He merited them for us. He has given them to us.

Ephesians says we are seated with him in the heavenly places. That’s because Jesus is there, and where he is, that’s where we are, too.

Go out and tell somebody you have a new address!







How To Stop Digging Your Own Grave

I read C. H. Spurgeon’s devotional entry this morning in Morning and Evening. (If you don’t have a copy, buy one. It will make your soul smile.)

It was so stunning I am paraphrasing it here:

For he has made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. – 2 Corinthians 5:21

Why are you depressed?

Are you flogging yourself over your sins and failures?

Look to Jesus and remember you are complete in him. You are in God’s sight as perfect as if you had never sinned; actually more than that, the Lord your Righteousness has wrapped you in his perfection, which is none other that the perfection of God himself.

You have learned to hate sin, but you have also learned than your sin is not yours anymore – it was placed upon Christ at the cross.

Your acceptance is not in yourself but in Christ. God completely accepts you today as he will when you stand before his throne in the last day. There you will be free of all corruption, as you are now. Grab a hold of this truth – you are perfect in Christ.



Whose Virtue Are You Trusting In?

There are three levels of authentic faith:

1) you start with the historical facts and the creeds concerning Jesus

2) you believe these facts to be true

3) you cast yourself dead on the floor, trusting solely in Christ; his death on the cross will save you.

The moral plan is bankrupt!

The difference between law & gospel:

law = your obedience in order to win God’s acceptance – self-righteousness

gospel = Jesus obeyed for you and died for you; believe that and you have God’s approval

Your daily “spiritual” experience is captive to your diet, sleep habits, health, & emotional state. None of these is to be trusted for your salvation, or your nearness to God, or his love for you.

The apostles had first-hand experiences of Jesus. If there was ever a group of people who could tell their stories, relate their personal experiences with Jesus, it was them. With the exception of Paul, who was compelled to defend his ministry to the Corinthians, none of the apostles spoke of themselves. They spoke only of Christ and his saving work. (See the sermons in the book of Acts.)

When the apostles did speak of their experience with Jesus, they spoke of their doubts. They highlighted their weaknesses. (See Paul in 2 Corinthians 12.)

You have no virtue of your own, so don’t count on it to gain God’s approval.

The only virtue worth having is Christ’s virtue. And he gives it to you as a gift.

Have you received it?


Have you noticed an increase of motivational speakers lately?

The more the world unravels the more upbeat these guys seem to be. (Most are men. I think women know better.)

You know the type.

They challenge you to make your life count.

They tell you to change the world and make an impact for God. And then give you a zillion pointers. They call it a blog.

What about the super-godly who want to die with their boots on? (I don’t have boots. What does that say about me?)

How do you respond to these calls for excellence?

I’m a cynic at heart so my reaction is: Oh yea? Show me what you’ve done lately
to stop the rotation of the planet.

I hate these guys.

They’re appealing to the flesh. My flesh. Of course I want to be great and important. Who doesn’t?

Don’t misunderstand me. I’m all for excellence. I ripped a new play apart last week because it could have been so much better. (And I wished I had written it.)

I’m all for success. My success. I really don’t care about anybody else’s except maybe my children’s.

I know that these things in themselves aren’t bad. There’s a lot of mediocrity that passes for excellence, like that play, and so a slap on the head is a good thing.

But the question is: is this where God is calling us?

I know he tells us to be perfect as he is perfect, and that without holiness we will never get to hang out together. That’s quite a standard to live up to. It pales in comparison to the motivational mantras of becoming rock stars.

However, I’m not sure, given all the right resources, that we can even live up to being mediocre.

Even mediocrity has its standards that are hard to achieve.

I have a motivational poster in my office that says: “Ineptitude: If you can’t learn to do something well, learn to enjoy doing it poorly.”

I’m learning to follow Jesus poorly. I don’t get it right. My motivations are wrapped in me, myself and I – my favorite trinity.

I need a Savior. That’s why Jesus died for me.

My rock-star status doesn’t exist. It’s a lie.

My real status is bound up with his. God captured me, subdued me, and extracted me from the world and put me into the kingdom of his Son. Don’t look at me like that. It was God’s idea.

So maybe the challenge is not so much what I can do for God that is so great, but what God has already done for me which is enormous. I need to focus on that.

And then tell somebody else so he can wipe the sweat off his brow and know he’s not alone.

Bug Off!

God wants us to find our primary joy in our objectively declared justification, not in our subjectively perceived sanctification. — Jerry Bridges

I spent an afternoon visiting a Christian friend who was making herself sick remembering the failures, sins, and mistakes of her past. She was living in guilt, because as she said, “I see the consequences of my actions in the lives of my children every day.”

How many times a day do you do this?

How many times a day does the devil drag you there? This is one of his favorite  darts in his quiver.

Next time this happens pray like this:
“Devil, you’re going to have to do better than that. The blood of Jesus, my Savior, has paid the price of all of my sins, failures and mistakes. I stand firm in Him and I am as perfect as He is because I am robed in his righteousness. So go bother somebody else.” Then pray for your children. Remember the lives of the patriarchs, the life of David, the lives of countless others in the Scriptures that show their weaknesses, failures and sins, and yet God used them for his glory in spite of those things because they had faith in Christ. Take a look at the genealogy of our Lord’s in the gospel of Matthew if you need to be encouraged.

Oh, one more thing: there are no perfect people, only a perfect Savior.


Holiness = Progress in obedience happens only when our hearts realize that God’s love for us does not depend on our progress in obedience.

Approval = You are already qualified. You don’t have to make the grade on your own or seek more approval from anyone. In Christ, you’re in! You’re accepted, affirmed, & validated. This also includes an inheritance that can never diminish, or disappear or be stripped away. You will be inheriting the new heavens and the new earth!

Power-Recognition-Fame = You are one of the saints in light. You’ve been united to Christ. You will always have his name, his presence, his character, and his reputation overshadowing and filling all that you are in your inmost being. Because Jesus was Someone (God of the Universe, God of Creation, God of Salvation and you are in him!), you’re free to be no one.

Security = You have been liberated out of darkness’s grip and transported into the kingdom of Jesus. You now are, and forever will be, safe and sound in Jesus-all because of what he long ago accomplished for you by his perfect obedience to God’s law for you and by his death on the cross for you.

Jesus + Nothing = Everything by Tullian Tchividjian

Look To Jesus and Nobody Else

by Octavius Winslow, 1856 (edited for
today’s reader by Larry E. Wilson, 2010)

Bible Verse

“Sanctify them in the truth; your Word is truth” (John 17:17).


“How may I know that sin is being mortified in me?” is the anxious inquiry of many. We reply: by a weakening of its power.

When Christ subdues your iniquities, he does not eradicate them, but rather he weakens the strength of their root. The principle of sin remains, but it is impaired.

See it in the case of Peter. Before he fell, his easily besetting sin was self-confidence: “Even though they all fall away, I will not” (Mark 4:29). Behold him after his recovery, taking the low place at the feet of Jesus—and at the feet of the disciples too—meekly saying, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you” (John 21:17). No more self-praise, no more self-confidence—his sin was mortified by the Spirit and he became as a different man.

In this way, often the very outbreak of your sins may become the occasion of their deeper discovery and their more thorough subjection.

As well, do not overlook the power of the truth, by the instrumentality of which the Spirit mortifies sin in us: “Sanctify them in the truth.” The truth as it is in Jesus, revealed more clearly to the mind, and impressed more deeply on the heart, transforms the soul into its own divine and holy nature. Therefore, your spiritual and experiential acquaintance with the truth—especially with him who is essential Truth—will be the measure of the Spirit’s mortification of sin in your heart.

Is the Lord Jesus becoming increasingly precious to your soul? Are you growing in poverty of spirit? Are you growing in a deeper sense of your vileness, weakness, and unworthiness? Is your pride more abased? Is your self more crucified? Is God’s glory more simply sought? Does your heart more quickly shrink from sin? Is your conscience more sensitive to the touch of guilt? And do confession and cleansing become a more frequent habit? Are you growing in more love to all the saints—even to those who, though they do not adopt your entire creed, yet love and serve your Lord and Master? If so, then you may be assured that the Spirit is mortifying sin in you.

But oh, look away from everything to Jesus. Do not look within for sanctification; look up for it from Christ. He is as much your “sanctification” as he is your “righteousness” (1 Cor. 1:30). Your evidences, your comfort, your hope, do not spring from your fruitfulness, your mortification, or anything within you; they come solely and entirely from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Looking unto Jesus by faith is like removing the covering and opening the windows of a conservatory, to admit more freely the sun, beneath whose light and warmth the flowers and fruits expand and mature. Draw back the veil that conceals the Sun of Righteousness and let him shine in upon your soul. Then the mortification of all sin will follow, and the fruits of all holiness will abound.