The Word: Psalm 32

I’ve been thinking a lot about forgiveness lately and given that today was communion Sunday when we remember the forgiveness we Christians have been shown by God, this Psalm seems like the perfect thing to share today.

Psalm 32

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

Blessed in the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through the groaning all day long.

Ford day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.

I acknowledged by sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity;

I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.

Therefore let everyone who is godly offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found; surely in the rush of great waters, they shall not reach him.

You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance.

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;

I will counsel you will my eye upon you.

Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you.

Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the LORD.

Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

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Things I Learned About Myself, When I Wasn’t In Church

33496411294_898d69b221_zPerhaps this sounds like a strange admission, but there have been times in my life when I had no church home. While I believe those were legitimate absences, upon reflection, I may have learned more about the need to be part of a church when I didn’t have one than the many years I did.

When I first moved to Washington, D.C., finding a good church was a challenge. It took many visits to find and settle in a church I thought was committed to the truth. Then, after roughly a year there, God opened my eyes to some serious false teachings entrenched there. I was devastated. After trying and failing to make any headway against the teachings, I left.

It was painful and discouraging time in my life. I missed the fellowship, the community, I missed hearing the Bible taught regularly. I missed singing praise aloud to God with other people. But church visit, after church visit, I kept spotting the same problems. And it wrecked me. The discouragement got the better of me and I gave up for awhile.

I was judged by some Christians during that time, which made it even harder to want to find a church again. I want to be clear – I never gave up my faith in Jesus. I didn’t somehow lose my Christianity because I wasn’t attending church on Sundays. During my absence, I also read my Bible and listened to podcasts and sermons when possible. Thankfully, that season did not last forever, and I eventually found churches I could regularly attend again and eventually even consider my home church.

But I learned some things during that season that I think are important and sharing them could help others. Continue reading

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Church of Wimps

I read Luke chapter 9 this morning where Jesus reacts to three people who claim they would “follow him” anywhere. A modern mindset would probably expect a reaction along the lines of “Great you have you, buddy!” Jesus instead lays each one of them bare and exposes where their true hearts lie — whether it is in comfort or loyalty to family or something else.

As I continued my morning routine I thought on this. It struck me that the first one in particular chafes against an American mind.  Continue reading

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Compassion – Pillar Number Nine

Working through the Pillars of Christian Character series from Grace to You, the next character trait Pastor MacArthur examines is compassion.

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The Word: Galatians 6:7-10

“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” 

Galatians 6:7-10 NIV

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Sermon: Character Trait – Thankfulness

This week’s sermon from Grace to You is focused on thankfulness. This is sermon eight in the series on the “Pillars of Christian Character.” Just two more to go!

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Joy!

Sermon number seven from the Grace to You series I’ve been working my way through, “Pillars of Christian Character,” is about joy. We know from Galatians that joy is one of the fruits of a spirit-filled and spirit-controlled life. It also may be my favorite character trait.

This sermon looks at how it should be a part of church life, the command to rejoice regardless of circumstances, what sin does to joy and other biblical passages about this essential character trait.

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