Friday, December 28, 2012

Continuous Conversion | My Utmost For His Highest

Continuous Conversion

These words of our Lord refer to our initial conversion, but we should continue to turn to God as children, being continuously converted every day of our lives. If we trust in our own abilities, instead of God’s, we produce consequences for which God will hold us responsible. When God through His sovereignty brings us into new situations, we should immediately make sure that our natural life submits to the spiritual, obeying the orders of the Spirit of God. Just because we have responded properly in the past is no guarantee that we will do so again. The response of the natural to the spiritual should be continuous conversion, but this is where we so often refuse to be obedient. No matter what our situation is, the Spirit of God remains unchanged and His salvation unaltered. But we must “put on the new man . . .” (Ephesians 4:24). God holds us accountable every time we refuse to convert ourselves, and He sees our refusal as willful disobedience. Our natural life must not rule— God must rule in us.
To refuse to be continuously converted puts a stumbling block in the growth of our spiritual life. There are areas of self-will in our lives where our pride pours contempt on the throne of God and says, “I won’t submit.” We deify our independence and self-will and call them by the wrong name. What God sees as stubborn weakness, we call strength. There are whole areas of our lives that have not yet been brought into submission, and this can only be done by this continuous conversion. Slowly but surely we can claim the whole territory for the Spirit of God.
Continuous Conversion | My Utmost For His Highest

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A Prayer about Living at the Pace of Grace > Christ Community Church

A Prayer about Living at the Pace of Grace
     Simeon took him [Jesus] in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.” Luke 2:28–32
     Dear Lord Jesus, it’s just a few days after Christmas and already many of my neighbors are taking down their lights and trees. It seems like we’re always in a hurry for the next thing. Traffic never moves fast enough, waiters don’t bring our food soon enough, and the mail isn’t delivered quick enough. I’m no exception to this harried and hurried way of doing life.
     I guess this is one of the reasons I’m drawn to Simeon, a man who seemed to live at a different pace than I do. We know so little about this “righteous and devout” man, but we do know he was “waiting for the consolation of Israel”—that is, longing for the arrival of the Messiah—anticipating the fulfillment of promises God alone can keep; hoping to see you, Lord Jesus, though he didn’t know your name.
     Eight days after your birth, Simeon took you in his arms—you, by whose arms all things have been made and are sustained. Whether or not he expected to die soon, the peace that resulted from that embrace changed everything.
     Lord Jesus, it’s only because you have embraced us in the gospel that we have the same peace Simeon experienced; for you are God’s promised salvation for Israel, for Gentiles, and for us. There is no other name under heaven by which we can and must be saved.
     In you we find the consolation which can be found nowhere else. You are our forgiveness, our righteousness, our sanctification, our sanity, our hope, and a whole lot more. Hallelujah, for such an all encompassing, all consuming, every-need-meeting salvation!
     Lord Jesus, as we stand on the verge of a new year, I very much want the peace of your grace to help me live at the pace of your grace. Slow me down—center me; settle me; focus me on the things that matter the most. If I’m going to be in a hurry about one thing this year, may it be to linger longer in your presence. Everything else will take care of itself. So very Amen I pray, in your glorious and loving name.
A Prayer about Living at the Pace of Grace > Christ Community Church

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Monday, December 24, 2012

And the Word became Flesh....

This baffles all our comprehension!

(John MacDuff, "Clefts of the Rock" 1874)

"And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us!"
John 1:14

What a transition!

What a stoop for that Infinite Being who proclaimed
Himself the Alpha and the Omega--for "The Ancient
of days" to assume the nature and take the form of
a cradled infant, sleeping on a virgin mother's bosom!

We have no plumb line to sound the depths of that
humiliation. We have no arithmetic by which it can
be submitted to any process of calculation.

If we can entertain for a moment, the shocking
supposition of the loftiest created spirit in Heaven
abjuring his angel nature, and becoming an insect
or a worm--then we can, in some feeble degree,
estimate the descent involved in Jesus' humiliation.

But, for the Illimitable, Everlasting Jehovah,
Himself to become incarnate . . .
the Creator--to take the nature of the created;
the Infinite--to be joined with the finite;
Deity--to be linked with dust;
this baffles all our comprehension!

We can only lie in adoring reverence, and
exclaim with the apostle, "O the depth!"

"Wonder, O heavens, and be astonished, O earth!"
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The Recipe Critic: Slow Cooker Cinnamon Almonds

The Recipe Critic: Slow Cooker Cinnamon Almonds

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A Prayer for Christmas Eve - Scotty Smith

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A Prayer for Christmas Eve
     In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. Luke 2:1–7
     Dear Lord Jesus, on our calendars, it’s Christmas Eve—the date we’ve set aside to remember and reflect upon your nativity. Luke took much care to fix your birthday in the context of real history and a real world, but whether or not you were born anywhere close to December 25 is irrelevant. That you were born—that you actually came from eternity into time and space—that’s what’s important.
     Promises of redemption and restoration, we’re backed up behind the dam of God’s providential timing, awaiting the day of your arrival; that the cascading waters of salvation might be released and overwhelm us with mercy upon mercy, grace upon grace, love upon love…
     Because you have come, Lord Jesus, we have come alive. Because you were born, we have been born from above. Because of your nativity, we will live in eternity. How can we keep from singing! “Born that man no more may die, born to raise the sons of earth, born to give them second birth.”
     But for all the care Luke took to detail the circumstances of your birthday, it’s the quietness of your birth which astounds us. Any other king would’ve come with great fanfare and a royal entourage. But you came into our world in utter stillness and profound humility. “No room in the inn” wasn’t an insult to you. It was your choice, your plan, the way of the gospel.
     For you didn’t consider your equality with God something to be selfishly hoarded. Rather, you made yourself “nothing,” taking the very nature of a human servant—the “Servant of the Lord.” From cradle to cross, you showed yourself to be a most wonderful, merciful Savior—living in our place and dying in our place…
    “Mild he lays his glory by; veiled in flesh, the Godhead see; Hail, the incarnate Deity, pleased, as man, with men to dwell, Jesus, our Emmanuel! Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!”
     Of all people, we are the most beloved, Lord Jesus, most enriched, most to be envied—the people upon whom God’s favor abides forever, all because of what you have done for us. Hallelujah, many times over, Lord Jesus. So very Amen we pray, in your great and gracious name.

My Biscuits are Burning: Peanut Butter Popcorn

My Biscuits are Burning: Peanut Butter Popcorn

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