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Paid In Full

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When I stand before the Throne

Dressed in beauty not my own;

When I see Thee as Thou art,

Love Thee with unsinning heart;

Then, Lord, shall I fully know—

Not till then…how much I owe.

-Robert M. McCheyene


I have this excerpt from Robert M. McCheyene’s poem posted on a bulletin board next to my desk.  I read it and reread it because I can’t imagine what it will be like to love the Lord with an unsinning heart.  I am so aware of my own sinful heart that I often question how the Lord can love me and desire fellowship with me when I fail so very often.  When feelings tell me I am a failure and unworthy of forgiveness, I am thankful to know the truth of God’s forgiveness. My faith is not in my worthiness but in His mercy.

Romans 4:4&7 says, vs. 4 When people work, their wages are not a gift, but something they have earned.  But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners.

 David said, vs. 7 Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sins are put out of sight.  Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of sin.

I have a debt of sin that I could never pay but I have a Lord who paid it all.  In Christ, all my sins past, present and future are paid in full.  I will never have an unsinning heart here on earth but one day I will praise my Lord with a pure, unsinning heart.  Psalm 115:1 Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Your name goes all the glory for Your unfailing love and faithfulness.



Satisfaction Guaranteed

Is your life filled with satisfaction? I was challenged in reading an article by Jason Todd called “Socially Acceptable Sins.”  The following is an excerpt . . .

At its simplest, gluttony is the soul’s addiction to excess. It occurs when taste overrules hunger, when want outweighs need. And in America, where upsizing has always been part of the American dream, it’s often difficult to distinguish what is hard-earned achievement and what is indulgent excess. In this sense, even the most athletic and toned among us can be gluttons. Any of us can be.

All desire for excess stems from a lack of satisfaction. I’m not satisfied with my portion—be it the portion on my plate, in the marriage bed, or in my bank account. Because I’m not satisfied with my portion, I then seek a greater portion. But because every portion is a finite part of a finite whole, I am constantly chasing an excess that can never satisfy.

When we cease to be thankful we automatically become discontent. We don’t say we are discontent but our actions and attitudes reveal that we are.  May God help us to strive for what will count in eternity instead of a greater portion of that which will never satisfy. In Christ, my satisfaction is guaranteed!

Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits-Psa. 103:1-2

Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days-Psalm 90:14

Living Life Without Regrets

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I have taught the story of Manasseh from II Kings 21 many times and I am always amazed at how God lavished His grace on Manasseh when he repented.  Manasseh was the Stalin of Bible times.  He built the idol Molech and worshippers threw their children into the fire that burned in the belly of Molech to try to gain favor of this pagan god.  He killed so many innocent people (probably Christians) that blood ran down the streets of Jerusalem. And yet, when he repented God forgave him. He faithfully served God in the last years of his life, tearing down all the false idols and admonishing the people to worship only God.  He must have looked back with regret at the wasted years and the wickedness of his past.

It reminds me of the 81-year-old lady who came to Prasso many years ago. God spoke to her heart about her own bitterness as she worked through the lesson on anger/bitterness.  When she returned to class she shared with her discussion group that she had been bitter all of her life.  She said that she blamed everyone else for her bitterness…they didn’t meet her expectations; they disappointed her; they didn’t show her the attention she thought they should; they left her out when she thought she should be invited…

She looked at her discussion group and, with tears of regret, she said that God pointed his finger at her and told her that she was the problem, not them. What she wanted from them was something that only God could give.  She blamed others for her unhappiness. She wept as she said, “Oh, the wasted years!”

Our lives are but a vapor that soon vanishes away. “What is your life?  For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” (James 4:14)  Is there something you need to change?  Is there someone you need to forgive?  Are you living each day in obedience to Christ? “Do not be deceived:  God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that shall he also reap.” (Gal. 6:7)

Do You Spare The Agags In Your Life?

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Do you remember the story in I Samuel 15 where God told Samuel the prophet to tell King Saul to go to war against the Amalekites? God gave very specific instructions to King Saul. God said, “Now go and completely destroy the entire Amalekite nation – men, women, children, babies, cattle, sheep, goats, camels and donkeys.” God gave this order because the Amalekite nation opposed the nation of Israel when they came from Egypt.

King Saul mobilized his army and went against the Amalekite nation. His army destroyed all the people but captured King Agag, the Amalekite king. They also kept the best of the sheep and goats, the cattle, the fat calves, and the lambs—everything, in fact, that appealed to them. They destroyed only what was worthless or of poor quality.

Samuel met King Saul and asked him, “Have you obeyed the Lord?” King Saul, without hesitation said, “I have carried out the Lord’s command.” Samuel then asked, “Then what is all the bleating of sheep and goats and the lowing of cattle I hear?” King Saul admitted the army spared King Agag and kept the best of the animals to sacrifice to the Lord but they destroyed all the weak and sickly animals that they counted as worthless.

Samuel said to King Saul, “What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to His voice?”

Do you find it easy to condemn and judge King Saul? I wonder if we are as quick to judge the evil, the Amalekites in our own lives…the secret sins, the disobediences, the unforgiveness, the grudges we hold? How do you treat your personal vices and lusts? Have you crushed out the little Amalekites that you don’t particularly love but kept the big Agags that are your favorite sins. Have you, like King Saul, made excuses or blamed others for your disobedience? Do you see yourself in this story? Are you, like Saul, guilty of partial obedience? Disobedience cost Saul his throne. Have you counted the cost?


I Could Be Different, If Only…

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“If I just had a different family I could be different!” This statement came from a nineteen year old girl who was trying, albeit unsuccessfully, to convince me that her rebellious spirit was not her fault. In our society today blame-shifting has become a national pastime. The spirit of rebellion never says, “I was wrong.” It always shifts blame to others and ultimately back to God. There are many things in life over which we have no control, but we do have control over our personal choices. We must accept responsibility for those choices. To fail to do so is a form of rebellion.

We rebel when we resist the authority God has placed over us. Authority might be defined as a person or agency designed by God to do three things: to exercise responsibility, to maintain order, and to create character in those under them. We must remember that authority is the mark of God’s ownership of our lives. God says we are not our own “for we are bought with a price.” God raises up God-ordained authority both to direct us in love and to chisel out character by challenging our will. If our will hardens beneath His hand we miss the blessing, prolong the process, and increase the temperature in which the Master Craftsman must work.

Rebellion can also arise from circumstances that we regard as unfair or in response to perceived mistreatment by others. Pitying ourselves, blaming others for our sad state, we feed rebellion and forget that God is over every circumstance. A difficult family, a disagreeable boss or unfair circumstances are not the causes of a rebellious heart. Pride is at the center of rebellion. Pride is preoccupied with self. Self at the center is never satisfied. It always demands more…of God and of others.

James Smith wrote in 1856, “Whatever may happen in the future, into whatever circumstances we may be brought—we should exercise confidence in God, hope still in His mercy, and plead earnestly at His throne of grace, believing that He has…

ordered all things in His love,

arranged all in His infinite wisdom, and

will overrule all for our ultimate good!”