Love… Vast As The Ocean

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Love is amazing!

What moves a man and a woman to make a “til death do us part” vow to each other?

Or a mother to risk her life, without hesitation, to save her child from harm?

And, what moves the Creator of the universe to leave the comforts of heaven and take on the frailties of human flesh, live a perfect life, and die on that cross – for me… for you?

I am a sinner!

I need a Savior!

When I say, “I am a sinner”, I do not mean I have some flaws or I make some mistakes.  I mean… I am a sinner. And as a sinner, whose sins are against a Holy God, who has given me life, I deserve not love. Rather…. judgement.

I say it again, I need Savior! Love is Amazing. His love is beyond amazing!

Sometimes, I am too familiar with the truth of God’s love.  I lean toward being over familiar with the love of Christ on that cross.  Familiarity can be the death of worship or the stifling of service. It turns joy into duty and passion into formalism.

I say to myself today:

Tim, listen up – because you are dull, Tim – you need to hear this TODAY:

Christ came to die for my sins, taking the punishment my sins deserved, on the cross!  And this is LOVE, Tim! You did not earn this love. Be freshly reminded – this is the amazing grace of the Almighty God!

“The love of God is the spring from which the atonement flows”

John Murray

“Legalism says God will love us if we change. The gospel says God will change us because He loves us.”
Tullian Tchividjian

“The sin underneath all our sins is to trust the lie of the serpent that we cannot trust the love and grace of Christ and must take matters into our own hands”

Martin Luther

“We obey God’s Law, not to be loved but because we are loved in Christ.”
Jerry Bridges

God did not HAVE to redeem sinners.  He freely chose, out of His love, to shed his blood for my / our sins.

His Death / My Life

The cross is the love of God on display. This cross, this death is my life.  Amazing! Worship Him with your life, Tim.

Where would I be without this love? The cross of Christ shows us just how great is our need and how deep is the Father’s love to meet that need.  If Jesus could redeem us any other way, it would most certainly be a lesser display of His love.

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

(Romans 5:6-11 ESV)

Thirsty and Broke!

thirsty and broke

 

Isaiah 55

“Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.

It is beautiful isn’t it? God’s Word is exhorting us to come thirsty and come broke. Isn’t that the gospel? It is exactly how we come to God. We do not come to Him with full bellies and fat pockets. We are destitute.

  • No food
  • No money and
  • No way to purchase or eat in our own strength.

 

Reminds me of this:

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy wounded side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure,
Save from wrath and make me pure.

Not the labor of my hands
Can fulfill Thy law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and Thou alone.

Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to Thy cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress;
Helpless, look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Savior, or I die.

Don’t you love how the Word instructs us in our broken state to come and buy and eat.

We might ask:  How do we do that?

That, my friend, is the whole point of God’s Word.

You can’t do that in and of yourself! But, you can do that when you look away from our own self’s ability to save. We need a Savior! And we are not it!  Remember: we are hungry and broke.

It is in Jesus that we come to God and when we do, the hungry are filled and the broke are made rich in Christ.

Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and you labor for that which does not satisfy?

Isn’t that what we do in our sinfulness?

We foolishly buy that which does not feed us and that which does not satisfy.

Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.

God’s Word / The Gospel / The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David. Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples. Behold, you shall call a nation that you do not know, and a nation that did not know you shall run to you, because of the LORD your God, and of the Holy One of Israel, for he has glorified you.

Amazing!

“Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

Will you join with me and pray this today?

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

I am so glad this is true.

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

YES!

God sends His Word to accomplish His eternal purpose.

What is that purpose?

To redeem fallen man!

“For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle; and it shall make a name for the LORD, an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”

(Isaiah 55 ESV)

Ice Bucket Challenge And Life

ice bucket

I am not typically a “current events blogger”.  But, occasionally, I feel the need to do a current events post.  First, I want to state loudly and clearly what I LOVE about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

1.)  ALS Awareness:  Who can’t love the attention ALS is getting these days?  It is incredible!  Videos that are often funny, or failed miserably, done by people who are friends and close to you, and done by the comedians, actors, athletes, etc….  Seriously, what is there not to love about it?

2.)  Viral Generosity:  You got to love generosity that goes viral!  We need more of that in our world!

3.)  I have a long health history:  I have received so much from organizations and people!  Here is a shout out to the  Winn Dixie Hope Lodge – my home away from home when I was receiving radiation.  So, how can I NOT love this?!?

BUT,

As a matter of my conscience, I can not participate in the challenge. Please know, I am not trying to stand in judgement of those who have engaged in the ALS challenge nor am I trying to be a downer to the generosity displayed!!  Hang with me to the end of the post!

ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) is a progressive, neurodegenerative disease.  It is fatal and there is no cure.  My heart goes out to anyone who is facing this disease.  My cancer history (diagnosed at 25 – extensive treatments of chemo and radiation) is now in remission.  But, that and other diseases I have wrestled with causes my heart to go out to those ALS.

The Ice Bucket Challenge And LIFE:

1.)  Follow the money:  The ALS Association is the lead ALS organization.  (http://www.alsa.org).  Keep in mind – not all ALS charities are created equal.  But, the lead ALS charity gave a $500,000 to NEALS last year.  (Will that amount increase this year due to the current viral challenge?  I would assume….)  NEALS runs clinical trials for ALS.  (http://www.alsconsortium.org) And here is the problem:  NEALS uses embryonic stem cells.  Read More Here From Lifenews.com. and a slew of other sources you can easily research this!

I am pro- life.  All life.  ALS lives and babies in the womb lives.  If the heart is beating…. I believe in life!  And so, I have no category for donating to a group that sees no problem with ending a life.

Some, are reading this and they are angry with me.  Some may think I am overreacting.  You might be thinking – if you had ALS you might think differently.  Not true.

2.) My Health History

I also have Crohn’s disease.  Due to my cancer history, I have been unable to take what is considered the typical Crohn’s medications.  They carry a cancer risk and with my cancer history they carry too high of a risk.  So, Crohn’s has been quite the challenge for me.  Much to say…. but I will spare you the details.

My point is that at one time I was offered the opportunity to participated in a stem cell trial research.  Maybe this will be a source of relief!  Maybe this could be an answer!  The excitement and anticipation was incredible.  Thrilled with the news when my doctor told me what he was recommending.  A game changer?  A LIFE changer?  PLEASE!!

And yet, I swallowed hard and asked him – is it adult stem cell or fetus?

I am grateful that he replied it is adult because if it were fetus…. No!  How could I take a life in an effort to save mine?

3.)  My God:  Psalm 139:13-19

For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.

Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God!
O men of blood, depart from me!

(Psalm 139:13-19 ESV)

4.)  My Money

There are so many great organizations out there.  Research them and get involved. Consider how you might not only donate your money but volunteer your time.  Because of my convictions I enjoy supporting Pregnancy Resources.   You might want to look them up, and dump some ice water for them!  Or, if you want to donate for ALS research, my understanding is that Team Gleason is worthy of your donated dollars.

I hope some of the above helps.  Let’s pray for ALS victims today and consider how we might serve them!

 

Mallori Luna

italy map

 

The below is a letter from my friend Mallori Luna.  This fall she will be traveling to Italy for Missions.  Please read the below and consider supporting her.  THANKS!
My name is Mallori Luna.  I am a 20-year-old college student that recently graduated from Eastern Florida State College with my AA degree. Like many others, I was set to continue towards my bachelors at UCF in the fall.
However, I’ve found God’s plan for us can be much different and bigger than anything you’d think of yourself.

Continue reading Mallori Luna

Bridgeway Sarasota!

Bridgeway

 

Guest Blogger Day!  Friday’s are reserved for me to introduce you to friends who are passionate about the gospel!  Today that passion means:  Move across the country, leave what is familiar and comfortable, pack up your family, and plant a church for Gospel Advancement!  Meet Matt Slack! Recently Matt planted an Acts 29 church in Sarasota Florida.  If you live in Sarasota and you are looking for a home church, I hope you will check out Bridgeway Sarasota THIS SUNDAY!  Click on the picture above to learn more about Bridgeway Sarasota. Continue reading Bridgeway Sarasota!

6 Minutes With John Piper And The Gospel

I don’t personally know John Piper.  I have read a lot of his books, listened to many sermons, but… I don’t know him.  I have gained much from him over the years.  Sometimes…. I pull him off the shelf, grab a coffee, and start reading or listening.  I like to think of it as if I am sitting down with a friend.  So why not grab a coffee with John Piper and the gospel today?

Continue reading 6 Minutes With John Piper And The Gospel

The Gospel Song (With John Piper)

Typically, I plan to be posting on Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays.  But, given this weeks topic…. I can’t help it!  I am creating a few extra posts this week in light of yesterdays post: What is the Gospel?  Getting that question right is the most important thing we will do in this life!

Below is a favorite song of mine. It is one of the ways I preach the gospel to myself.  It is both profound and yet so simple.

Continue reading The Gospel Song (With John Piper)

What is the Gospel?

What is the Gospel?

 

If you are on vacation and your destination is a cabin in the Smokey mountains you better have clear directions as to how to get there! I live in Florida, I am a flatlander! Which means….. many times my family has been lost in those mountains! Funny isn’t it – many people today intend to arrive, when their times comes, in heaven. But they have no idea how to get there! Continue reading What is the Gospel?