Light to Live By

"The unfolding of your words gives light ..." (Psalm 119:130a)

Month: March 2013

The God of Comfort

“Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins.” (Isaiah 40:1-2)

The enmity is over. The picture is a military one: ‘Cry to her that her warfare is ended.’ As God comes near, his hands are not rolled into fists. They are open, arms extended to you in an offer of warm embrace. Our sin has created enmity with God. As Paul would say, we ‘were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God …’ (Eph. 2:3b-4a) … The enmity is over–be at peace!

The guilt is gone. The picture is a judicial one: ‘that her iniquity is pardoned’ (40:2). God’s countenance toward you is not condemnatory. God wears a smile as he looks upon you … The guilt is gone–be at peace!

The payment is complete. The picture is a commercial one: ‘that she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins’ (40:2). … The picture here is of a lavish grace. A simple correspondence of the sacrifice to the sin would have been sufficient to set our hearts free. And Christ did indeed offer just what was needed for our sins. Yet the perfect sacrifice of the God-man Jesus Christ is not only sufficient, but abundantly sufficient for our debt … The payment is complete–be at peace!” (Pathways to Peace, pp.73-76).

 

Duty & Glory

“We all have our dreams, aspirations and ambitions. But has it ever struck you that the only glory you can ever bring to God is to do His will, in His way, in His time, by His strength? I can’t give God glory by doing your job. You can’t give Him glory by finishing my assignment. Neither one of us can glorify God by doing Billy Graham’s duty.

There is no greater glory you can bring to God than finishing the work He has called you to. I can only glorify God by knowing and completing His individual will for my life. Along that path we each will face resistance and suffer attack. If you are contemplating backing off, giving in or jumping ship, consider this—its not just self-protection you are considering, you are attempting to rob God of the glory due His name.” (p.143, Revival in the Rubble)

Clarity & Relevance

“When the Author of the Scriptures is released afresh on God’s people He delights to make His words clear to them as He wrote them. Clarity should be the goal of every preacher and every sermon. Clarity is different than relevance. I don’t aim to make the Bible relevant. It is already more relevant than I could ever make it. The Bible is the most relevant book in the world, because it has been written by the timeless, unchanging God. No teacher makes the Bible relevant. His highest aim is to clearly expose its relevance to those who are listening. That resulting clarity regarding relevance leads to changed lives. The people walked away from Ezra’s preaching and lived differently ‘because they now understood the words that had been made known to them’ (Neh. 8:12b). ” (Revival in the Rubble, p.167)

Book Give Away

Here’s your chance to win a free copy of my book Embracing Authority. The first three people to post an (honest, but not necessarily positive) review of one of my other books on Amazon.com and send me the link (along with their address) will receive a copy of the book. See my contact page for my email information.

Check back again for other opportunities to win one of my books.

UPDATE: Thanks everyone. The giveaway has closed. Watch for future opportunities!

Authority & Preaching

“Our authority comes from the text of Scripture, but it must be delivered under the empowering of the Holy Spirit to be biblical preaching. So, in once sense, there is experience necessary for authority in preaching–the experience of God the Holy Spirit pulling the preacher through the knot-hole of divine truth in Scripture and then pouring that truth of holy Scripture through the clean vessel of the preacher. Our every experience must be governed by the text of Scripture, and our every proclamation of the text of Scripture must be empowered by the Holy Spirit. When these two elements come together as we step into the pulpit the apostle Peter’s words come true: ‘Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God’ (1 Pet. 4:10-11a).” (Embracing Authority, p.157)

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