Archive for May, 2011

Romans 3:23 is a familiar verse, at least I hope it is – “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

At a Bible study on Romans this week, the relationship between our sin and God’s glory (the two major themes of the verse) seemed to jump out at me as never before.

“Glory,” as it relates to God, is an umbrella term that refers to His attributes, character, and nature as a whole. We, as sinful human beings, don’t measure up to God’s perfect standard (His own character and law). In fact, we fall far short of it. These two themes are connected. If we fail to understand God’s perfect, righteous character, we won’t know the depths of our own sin. If we think of ourselvees more highly than we ought, the glory of God will be severely diminshed. Not only that, as our vision of God as He really is grows, we grow in our realization of how sinful and depraved we remain.

The bad news that we’ve all sinned and fall short of the glory of God is good news, too. Without it, we’d never know our need for a Saviour or God’s grace.

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I’ve always thought of myself as a patient person. I was wrong! I’m not saying I’m a “zero” on the patience scale of 0-to-100, but I’m far from 100, too. As time goes by, I’ve become more aware of the impatience that resides in my heart. It’s in your’s, too.

Patience is a willingness to wait. It’s not the desire, yes even the demand, to have what we want exactly when we want it and how we want it. impatience is exemplified by Veruca Salt, the character in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. She knew what she wanted and she wanted it “now!” No waiting for her and no waiting for us, either.

We have a hard time waiting in line at the post office or the grocery store. Delaying “instant gratification” by saving our money until we have enough to buy something seems to be a relic of a bygone era. Even waiting for something to download on high-speed Internet drives us crazy. Remember dial-up anyone?

But God is patient. Psalm 145:8 says, “The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promises as some count slowness, but is patient toward you,” the apostle Peter wrote in 2 Peter 3:9. Several verses later, he exhorted his readers to “count the patience of our Lord as salvation” (verse 15). God’s patience  is perfect, infinite, and eternal.

You and I are to imitate the moral character of God by being patient. We reflect His character and nature by being willing to wait. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law,” says the apostle Paul in Galatians 5:22-23. Notice that patience is a fruit of the Holy Spirit and not a result of our own effort, even our best efforts. Patience flows from the gracious work of the Holy Spirit in us to empower and enables us to be slow to anger rather than “quick on the trigger” and willing to wait.

I’m not as patient as I should be, but by the grace of God and the strengthening of His Holy Spirit, I’m more willing to wait than I used to be, even for the virtue of patience. Praise God!

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This morning I had the privilege of preaching on Ephesians 3:1-7. In one sentence, my sermon was: The “mystery” made known to Paul, and us, is that believing Jews and Gentiles are members together of the same body (the church) by God’s grace through the work of Jesus Christ, and it’s our responsibility is to get the message, get it right, and get it out.

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Fake Quotes

The quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. we’ve been reading over and over again the past few days is fake. King said some of it, but not all of it. You can read the excellent detective work of a writer who got to bottom of the story here.

I love this kind of work from journalists. You have to have a little bit of detective and researcher in you to do it. Maybe that’s why I was interested in it when I was younger, and still am today. By the way, after yesterday’s post, I should say that I try hard to verify any quotes I use. I don’t always succeed, but I try.

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There seems to be some Internet, or at least blog, chatter these days that is uncomplimentary regarding quoting other people. “Don’t quote people – it’s unoriginal,” they say. Or, they contend that we should beware of people who quote other people – they may be on the verge of worshipping the ones they quote.

For the most part, that’s nonsense. If all someone ever does is quote other people, “Houston, we may have a problem,” but that’s rarely, if ever, the case. I quote other people because I think they’ve made an excellent point, usually in a concise and memorable way. As to unoriginality, the writers of Ecclesiastes says, “there is nothing new under the sun” (1:9). There are very few truly original thoughts. As to the issue of idol worship, it’s a possibility (to be honest), but simply quoting someone is a far cry from violating the first two commandments.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, there are two quotes to pass along – the first on contentment and the second on the intercessory ministry of Christ on our behalf.


If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled. (Charles Spurgeon)

Christ’s Intercession

If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room, I would not fear a million enemies. Yet distance makes no difference. He is praying for me.” (Robert Murray M’Cheyne)

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I had the privilege of preaching on Ephesians 2:19-22 this morning. Here is the summary of my sermon in the space of one sentence: Through God’s grace and the work of Christ, believers in Jesus Christ are no longer strangers or aliens, but rather fellow citizens of His kingdom, and members of His household.

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