The Gospel for my messy life …

Posts tagged ‘Freedom’

Video

There Is No Sin That I Have Done – By David L. Ward (Music Video)

There Is No Sin That I Have Done

On the Album “Merciful to Me” by Reformed Praise
Written by Eric Schumacher & David L. Ward
© 2008 ReformedPraise.org
http://www.reformedpraise.org/songs/m…

—- LYRICS —-

There is no sin that I have done
That has such height and breadth
It can’t be washed in Jesus’ blood
Or covered by His death.
There is no spot that still remains,
No cause to hide my face,
For He has stooped to wash me clean
And covered me with grace.

There is no wrath that I will know,
No wormwood and no gall;
For though such wounds and grief I earned
My Savior bore them all.
There is no work that I must add
To stand before His throne.
I only plead His life and death
Sufficient on their own.

There is no love that I desire
But Jesus’ warm embrace.
While now I know His love by faith
I long to see His face.
There is no song that I will sing,
No melody but this,
That my Beloved, He is mine,
For He has made me His.
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Video

The Bible Is Not About You

The Bible is not about you and me, is about Christ FOR you and me! Christ the Savior for sinful humanity! Christ for the failing and sinful Christians. Christ for the messy Christians who don’t live a perfect life, but a continuous broken life. Christ for preachers who still recognizes their own sinfulness and their continuous need for the Gospel. Again, the Bible is not about your personal morality, legalistic spirituality, your so-called personal “revelations” or your pietism! The Bible is about the Person and Work of Jesus Christ throughout the whole Bible in prophecies, shadows, types, and fulfillment.

Christ is the Vine and I am the branch!

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In the midst of my messy spirituality, God’s Grace always remains sufficient towards me. I reflect upon this quote and John Chapter 15 … “For my holiness, righteousness and purity do not grow from myself, nor do they rest upon myself, but are in Christ alone and come from Him, into whom I am rooted through faith, as the sap passes into the grapes, and I have been made like Him, that He and I are not of one nature and substance, and through Him I bear fruit, which is not mine, but the vine’s. Thus Christ and the Christian become one loaf, and one body, and the Christians bear the proper fruit, not Adam’s and not their own, but Christ’s! – Martin Luther, Day by Day, p. 330.

JOHN CHAPTER 15

15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servantdoes not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.

18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. 21 But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin,but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. 25 But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’

26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. 27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.

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Mercy & Compassion Triumphs Over Judgment

Mercy & Compassion Triumphs Over Judgment

Are you part of a christian community that is characterized more on condemnation (legalistic or moralistic) then on compassion, grace, mercy, freedom, joy and truth?

2 Corinthians 3:6 > “He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant–not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”

Psalm 145:9 > “The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.”

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 > “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.”

Mark 1:41 > Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!”(NLT)

Mark 6:34 > “When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.”

1 Peter 3:8 > “Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.”

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Excerpts from The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming

Excerpts from The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming

An Excerpt from The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming by Henri J. M. Nouwen (1932-1996)

The Return of the Prodigal Son is an oil painting by Rembrandt. It is among the Dutch master’s final works, likely completed within two years of his death in 1669. – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Return_of_the_Prodigal_Son_%28Rembrandt%29

In this extraordinary book, Henri J. M. Nouwen offers his rich treasure trove of insights into Rembrandt’s painting The Return of the Prodigal Son.  Here is an excerpt on love.

Searching Where It Cannot Be Found

“At issue is the question: ‘To whom do I belong? To God or to the world?’ Many of my daily preoccupations suggest that I belong more to the world than to God. A little criticism makes me angry, and a little rejection makes me depressed. A little praise raises my spirits, and a little success excites me. It takes very little to raise me up or thrust me down. Often I am like a small boat on the ocean, completely at the mercy of its waves. All the time and energy I spend in keeping some kind of balance and preventing myself from being tipped over and drowning shows that my life is mostly a struggle for survival: not a holy struggle, but an anxious struggle resulting from the mistaken idea that it is the world that defines me.

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“As long as I keep running about asking: ‘Do you love me? Do you really love me?’ I give all power to the voices of the world and put myself in bondage because the world is filled with ‘ifs.’ The world says: ‘Yes, I love you if you are good-looking, intelligent, and wealthy. I love you if you have a good education, a good job, and good connections. I love you if you produce much, sell much, and buy much.’ There are endless ‘ifs’ hidden in the world’s love. These ‘ifs’ enslave me, since it is impossible to respond adequately to all of them. The world’s love is and always will be conditional. As long as I keep looking for my true self in the world of conditional love, I will remain ‘hooked’ to the world — trying, failing, and trying again. It is a world that fosters addictions because what it offers cannot satisfy the deepest craving of my heart.
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” ‘Addiction’ might be the best word to explain the lostness that so deeply permeates contemporary society. Our addictions make us cling to what the world proclaims as the keys to self-fulfillment: accumulation of wealth and power; attainment of status and admiration; lavish consumption of food and drink, and sexual gratification without distinguishing between lust and love. These addictions create expectations that cannot but fail to satisfy our deepest needs. As long as we live within the world’s delusions, our addictions condemn us to futile quests in ‘the distant country,’ leaving us to face an endless series of disillusionments while our sense of self remains unfulfilled. In these days of increasing addictions, we have wandered far away from our Father’s home. The addicted life can aptly be designated a life lived in ‘a distant country.’ It is from there that our cry for deliverance rises up.

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“I am the prodigal son every time I search for unconditional love where it cannot be found. Why do I keep ignoring the place of true love and persist in looking for it elsewhere? Why do I keep leaving home where I am called a child of God, the Beloved of my Father? I am constantly surprised at how I keep taking the gifts God has given me — my health, my intellectual and emotional gifts — and keep using them to impress people, receive affirmation and praise, and compete for rewards, instead of developing them for the glory of God. Yes, I often carry them off to a ‘distant country’ and put them in the service of an exploiting world that does not know their true value. It’s almost as if I want to prove to myself and to my world that I do not need God’s love, that I can make a life on my own, that I want to be fully independent. Beneath it all is the great rebellion, the radical ‘No’ to the Father’s love, the unspoken curse: ‘I wish you were dead.’ The prodigal son’s ‘No’ reflects Adam’s original rebellion: his rejection of the God in whose love we are created and by whose love we are sustained. It is the rebellion that places me outside the garden, out of reach of the tree of life. It is the rebellion that makes me dissipate myself in a ‘distant country.’

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“Looking again at Rembrandt’s portrayal of the return of the younger son, I now see how much more is taking place than a mere compassionate gesture toward a wayward child. The great event I see is the end of the great rebellion. The rebellion of Adam and all his descendants is forgiven, and the original blessing by which Adam received everlasting life is restored. It seems to me now that these hands have always been stretched out — even when there were no shoulders upon which to rest them. God has never pulled back his arms, never withheld his blessing, never stopped considering his son the Beloved One. But the Father couldn’t compel his son to stay home. He couldn’t force his love on the Beloved. He had to let him go in freedom, even though he knew the pain it would cause both his son and himself. It was love itself that prevented him from keeping his son home at all cost. It was love itself that allowed him to let his son find his own life, even with the risk of losing it.

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“Here the mystery of my life is unveiled. I am loved so much that I am left free to leave home. The blessing is there from the beginning. I have left it and keep on leaving it. But the Father is always looking for me with outstretched arms to receive me back and whisper again in my ear: ‘You are my Beloved, on you my favor rests.’ ”

Book available @ http://astore.amazon.com/stressfreel07-20/detail/B00G8ELSM6

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Quote By Henri Nouwen (1932-1996)

Quote By Henri J.M. Nouwen (1932-1996)

“Aren’t you, like me, hoping that some person, thing, or event will come along to give you that final feeling of inner well-being you desire? Don’t you often hope: ‘May this book, idea, course, trip, job, country or relationship fulfill my deepest desire.’ But as long as you are waiting for that mysterious moment you will go on running helter-skelter, always anxious and restless, always lustful and angry, never fully satisfied. You know that this is the compulsiveness that keeps us going and busy, but at the same time makes us wonder whether we are getting anywhere in the long run. This is the way to spiritual exhaustion and burn-out. This is the way to spiritual death.”
― Henri J.M. Nouwen, Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World

REAL TALK: Note From A Messy Christian – Awesome!

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“I once described faith as something I got on my shoe and can’t kick or wash off. I’m stuck with it. My poems are the trespasses and blasphemies of a malpracticing Christian, one who can’t stop ogling an attractive leg, or wanting to be first, who is venial, foolish, seldom at peace, horny and lonely, and so far from the kingdom of God that his whole life becomes the theme of that distance, someone knowing he is in deep shit. It’s the perfect place to be, where you can’t fool yourself into thinking you’re on the right track… The only thing I have to offer God is my sins. I am interested in mercy when it appears in places where you would never expect it. I am interested in love that shovels shit against the tide. I am interested in grace… It is better to be annihilated and crushed by God, if you are in love with God, then it is to have no relationship at all. Better God smite you than merely be absent. God does not ‘tolerate’ me. God loves me.” — poet  Joe Weil, He is an American poet. He currently teaches undergraduate and graduate creative writing classes at Binghamton University. @ http://www.joeweil.org/ 

( Original source: http://blog.prodigalpaul.com/2010/01/05/just-a-little-reminder-of-my-life/ )

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