Psalm 43:5

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.

Cross found on all donkeys' backs?

Some donkeys (often called Christian donkeys) have a narrow strip of dark hair that runs down their backs and each of their shoulders. These markings are in the shape of a cross. Like the color traits of other animals (such as zebras), we don’t know exactly why these donkeys have this cross. But, it does show the wonderful variety among God’s creatures.

There is legend that the crosses on these donkeys appeared after Jesus rode one into Jerusalem (read Matthew 21:1-11). There is no evidence that this is true. The dark stripe in the form of a cross was a trait in these donkeys long before Jesus lived. However, the fact that Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem is very important. It fulfilled a prophecy that was spoken 500 years before Jesus lived, and showed He was the Messiah (read Matthew 21:5 and Zechariah 9:9).

Dear Prayer Partners

Please remember the following needs and requests in prayer:

1} President Obama and his advisors

2} the men & women serving in our armed forces and their families

3} Bobby- a missionary in Haiti who was flown back to the states with a broken back

4} Holly- recently gave birth to a son

5} Hailey- has Hodgkin’s lymphoma and is unable to work due to it

6} Margo- recovering from a stroke

7} Dan- has Leukemia & an inoperable brain tumor, the tumors in his stomach and lung have been removed successfully

8} Christine- recently gave birth by an emergency C-section and her new son is in critical condition

9} Living Waters A/G looking for a youth pastor with a vision to reach the youth

10} Dennis- having problems breathing

11} The Holm Family- death of a loved one from cancer

12} The DeRien Family- death of a loved one

13} The Fraley family- death of a loved one

14} Eugene- is battling cancer

15} Schimmica- husband is having an affair

16} Kevin- has some serious dental problems and is recovering from emergency oral surgery

17} Faith- is hospitalized after a heart attack and partial amputation of right foot, has a serious infection in heart, lungs and kidneys and is back on dialysis

18} Chantella- is expecting her 1st baby in the spring

19} Julianne- having difficulty with her pregnancy

20} Marc- family problems

21} Tom- problems with weight control

22} Achan- has HIV, an infection in her lungs and gall bladder is shutting down

23} Rick- has bulging disc in his back

24} Noah- a toddler having complications from heart surgery, has a very high fever

25} Frank- fighting depression

26} Gloria- hospitalized after passing out at work

27} Chaplain Sam- recovering from eye surgery

28} Chaplain Jay- preparing for a missionary trip to Uganda next year

29} For all the unspoken and personal requests that people have

30} For us at Highway Mission Outreach that we will continue have the doors opened to share the gospel and the needed finances to carry out the ministry of the mission and as we plant The Cross-Roads Chapel

31} For Michael Frankland, Gill Ainsworth, Mark Ainsworth, Tracy Ainsworth, Tony Wood, Eileen Walsh, and Elaine - break down strongholds in their lives

"Hold Us Together" - Matt Maher

Opening Our Hearts to God

Psa. 19:14 - May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable before You, O Jehovah, my rock and my Redeemer.

Acts 13:22-23 - And when He had deposed him, He raised up David for them as king, to whom also He testified and said, I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man according to My heart, who will do all My will. (23) From this man's seed, God, according to promise, brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus.

~~~~~ Words of Ministry ~~~~~

Both of the above passages are related to David. Psalm 19:14
is a prayer of David, while Acts 13:22-23 is a description of
David. In David's prayer, there are the “words of my mouth”
and the “meditation of my heart,” or the thoughts of the
heart. He prayed that he would not only be kept in his words
outwardly, but also be acceptable to God in his thoughts
inwardly. The words of the mouth are an expression of the
thoughts of the heart. The heart is the root problem.

Whether or not one outwardly says the right words is not the basic problem. Whether or not one has an outward attitude in his speaking that is right is also not the basic problem. The
thoughts of the heart are the basic problem. The thoughts of
the heart constitute the root problem and cannot be overlooked. David did not merely pray, “God, may the words of my mouth be acceptable before You.” He added to the prayer, “May the meditation of my heart be acceptable before You.”

David's prayer was for the thoughts of his heart to be
acceptable before God. This is why Paul could later testify
that David was a man according to the Lord's heart. A person
who is according to God's heart allows God to touch his heart. If you will not allow God to touch your heart, it will be hard for you to be one who is according to His heart.

Many Christians ask, “Why is it wrong for me to do this? Why
is it wrong for me to say this? Why is it wrong for me to
express myself this way?” Brothers and sisters, whether or
not you are doing the right thing, saying the right thing, or
expressing yourself the right way is not the real problem.

Rather, is your heart right when you are doing such a thing,
saying such a word, or expressing yourself in such a way?
What is the condition of your heart? What is the condition of
the root? Even if you are right in every outward thing, it is
still possible for your heart to be wrong. God is touching the condition of your heart and asking about it. He allows many winds and waves to beat upon His children for this very reason.

He uses these things to touch your heart and to expose the condition of your heart.

Why was God harsher in O.T.? - by John Piper

Thy Redeemer

By C.H. Spurgeon

"For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called" (Isaiah 54:5).

JESUS, the Redeemer, is altogether ours and ours for ever. All the offices of Christ are held on our behalf. He is king for us, priest for us, and prophet for us. Whenever we read a new title of the Redeemer, let us appropriate Him as ours under that name as much as under any other. The shepherd's staff, the father's rod, the captain's sword, the priest's mitre, the prince's sceptre, the prophet's mantle, all are ours.

Jesus hath no dignity which He will not employ for our exaltation, and no prerogative which He will not exercise for our defence. His fulness of Godhead is our unfailing, inexhaustible treasure-house. His manhood also, which he took upon him for us, is ours in all its perfection. To us our gracious Lord communicates the spotless virtue of a stainless character; to us he gives the meritorious efficacy of a devoted life; on us he bestows the reward procured by obedient submission and incessant service. He makes the unsullied garment of his life our covering beauty; the glittering virtues of his character our ornaments and jewels; and the superhuman meekness of his death our boast and glory. He bequeaths us his manger, from which to learn how God came down to man; and his Cross to teach us how man may go up to God. All His thoughts, emotions, actions, utterances, miracles, and intercessions, were for us.

He trod the road of sorrow on our behalf, and hath made over to us as his heavenly legacy the full results of all the labours of his life. He is now as much ours as heretofore; and he blushes not to acknowledge himself "our Lord Jesus Christ," though he is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords. Christ everywhere and every way is our Christ, for ever and ever most richly to enjoy. O my soul, by the power of the Holy Spirit, call him this morning, "thy Redeemer."

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FREE Book: “Desiring God” by John Piper

Prison Ministry:

On Monday evenings, I have the unique priveledge of visiting the Greenville Detention Center. Scripture, bible lessons, tracts, bibles, Daily Breads, bible studies, testimonies, and prayers are shared. Please keep these men in your continued prayers as we continue studying Paul's letter to the Romans: Jonathan, Lenita, David Anderson, Luke Elmore, Eric Hall, Leslie Mashburn, Keith Rollins, Billy, Jared Rhines, Quinton Brown, Jeremiah Hendrix, Chris Osbourne, Jermain Cheech, Quincy Massey, and Leo Clarence.

Thank you for your support and continued prayers for these new believers and this ministry!

In His vineyard,

We Shall Worship the Lord!

By John Piper

Do you delight more and more in the majesty and glory of God? Does your heart incline to worship God more consistently and intelligently and earnestly and intensely today than it did five years ago?

Is your love for your brothers and sisters in Christ abounding more and more so that you use your gifts more and more effectively to strengthen their faith and stir them up to love and good works?

And do you feel a greater burden for the lost? Are your prayers for unbelieving relatives and friends more consistent and earnest? Are your efforts to give a reason for the hope that is in you more bold, less ashamed? Are you becoming a world Christian with a zeal for the final mission thrust of the church to reach the hidden peoples?

If you can answer yes, we are making progress as a church. If not, we are failing in those areas. But at least we have goal and a definite Biblical theology behind it.

But it is not new. Listen to the way another pastor and teacher describes the meaning of membership in the church:

Membership, therefore, involves a personal obligation to promote the objects of the body as expressed in the covenant.

These objects are three:

1. The social, united worship of God...
2. The perpetuation and diffusion of the gospel...
3. The sanctification of its own members...

The church, thus comprehensive in its scope, looks upward to God, outward upon the needs of a lost world, and inward to the processes of sanctification in the souls of its own members; the neglect of any one of these grand objects of its organization imperils its whole design.

This is our philosophy of ministry. The quote is from Hezekiah Harvey, who was born in England in 1821 (The Church, 1879, reprint 1982, pp.35-36.). There is nothing modern or trendy about the priorities of our church. They have been around for two thousand years. They are tried and true, and it shouldn't bother us at all that they are not new.

Over 200 Free Resources for Church Leaders:

Saturday, July 3, 2010

SIN Handout: Part 2 of 5

What Does John Mean by "Sin"?

Now let's go to our text and look at it against this bigger backdrop. When 1 John 3:6 says, "No one who abides in him sins; no one who sins has either seen him or known him," and when verse 9 says, "No one who is born of God practices sin," the key is to realize that the present tense verbs used here in Greek for "sins" (verse 6) and "practices" (verse 9) imply ongoing, continuous action. This probably means that, in John's mind, what is impossible for the Christian is a life of unchanged continuation in sin the same as when he was not born of God. In view of all his insistence that Christians do sin, we can't take these verses to mean Christians don't sin at all. We should take them to mean that Christians don't go on sinning without conflict and confession. Christians see it, hate it, confess it and fight it. And they do so with increasing vigilance as they grow up into Christ.

Look at this carefully. Verse 6 says that "David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works." But the quotation from Psalm 32:1-2 doesn't say that – that God "credits righteousness" to us. It says that God does not credit sin to us.

Here's the quote from Psalm 32:1-2 in verse Romans 4:7-8. "Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, and whose sins have been covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account." You see that last phrase: "the Lord will not take into account." The word there is the same as the word for "credit" or "reckon" in verses 3, 4, 5, and 6. So verse 8 is saying, "Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not credit – will not reckon, will not lay to his account, will not impute to him.

So to see the surprising connection boil the text down to verses 6 and 8: "David speaks a blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works" and here's the blessing that David speaks (verse 8): "Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not credit." One thing is sure from this surprising connection: Paul does not see justification as the imputation of righteousness alone or as the forgiveness of sin alone. For him forgiveness of sin must include the positive imputation of God's righteousness. And the imputation of God's righteousness must include the forgiveness of sin. And the blessedness of both conditions is that each is "apart from works."

Forgiveness is not obtained by works, and righteousness is not obtained by works. Both are obtained by faith alone "apart from works," as verse 6 says: the blessing that David speaks is "apart from works." Where in Psalm 32 does Paul see that sin is forgiven and righteousness is credited "apart from works"? He does not say. But it may be verse 10, "Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but he who trusts in the LORD, lovingkindness shall surround him." The opposite of being wicked is trusting the Lord – depending on the Lord. So the righteousness of the Psalmist is by faith. However Paul sees it, this is his teaching, and we may rejoice in it.

The Law . . .

• Romans 3:21, "But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested."
• Romans 3:28, "We maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law."
• Romans 4:13-14, "The promise to Abraham . . . was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if those who are of the Law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise is nullified."
• Romans 5:20, "The Law came in so that the transgression would increase."
• Romans 7:6  The Law hinders life in the Spirit. You must be released from it, "so that you may serve in the newness of the Spirit.
Galatians 5:2-4,

Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you. And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law. You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.

Three observations: 1) If you want to claim that your partial lawkeeping in, say the act of circumcision, is part of your justifying righteousness, then you have to realize that you are indebted to keep the whole law (verse 3). If you want to provide any of your righteousness as the basis of your right standing with God, you must provide all of it. That is what it means to be “under law.” Christ did it. We can’t. We need his righteousness, not ours.

2) In verse 4 “seeking to be justified by law” is the same as “wanting to be under law” in 4:21. That is, wanting to be “under law” is the same as wanting lawkeeping to be part of our righteousness before God. That is what “justified by law” means.

3) If you try to provide any or all of your own righteousness before God, Christ will be of no advantage to you. Verse 2: “If you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you.” In other words, Christ will be all your righteousness or none of it. If you try to provide some of your righteousness alongside Christ’s righteousness as the ground of your justification, you nullify grace (Galatians 2:21). Or, we could say, you are not “under grace.”

If we fix our eyes upon the ends (not breaking the law), then (in our ignorance) are opposed to the means (Christ). Consider first Galatians 4:4-5, “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under [the] Law, (5) so that He might redeem those who were under [the] Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” The word “the” is not there in the original. The phrase is identical to what we have here in Romans 6:14. Christ was born “under law” to redeem those “under law.”

Being “under law” is something that we sinful creatures want to avoid at all costs if we can, but that Christ embraced to rescue us from it. Being under law means that lawkeeping is the way we will provide a righteousness that lets us stand before God. If we treat the law in such a way that lawkeeping provides the righteousness that justifies us, then we are under law. And this is true whether you are trusting God to enable you to keep the law or trusting yourself. It doesn’t make any difference when the issue is: What provides the righteousness that justifies me? If it is lawkeeping, I am “under law.”

It is people whose Christianity is a group of ideas about Christ, not an experience of the preciousness of Christ. Their Christianity is all truth and no treasure. All “choices” and no cherishing. All logic about Christ and no love for Christ. All “decision” and no delight. And O how many people there are who come to church and are in this category!

When a saved person commits sin, that sin is already under the blood in reference to eternal life. Colossians 2:13 states, "And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses." All trespasses (or sins) have already been forgiven us. You see, before God saved you, He knew every sin you had ever committed but He also knew every sin you would commit. He gave you eternal life with that knowledge and forgave you of all your sins at that moment.

This goes back to the method by which we are saved. God does not save us by giving us a clean slate that we now must keep cleaned up in order to make it to heaven. God saves us by making a switch. He puts our sin on Christ and He puts the righteousness of Christ on us. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." Christ was made sin for us so that we might be made righteous in Him. [By the way, what if God only put your past sins on Christ? He would have to put each new sin on Him as you confessed it. Certainly, this did not happen. Christ paid the entire debt for sin on the cross. Each person who believes in Him enters into forgiveness through Him.]

You may recall that the New Testament often speaks of the believer as being in Christ or in Him. You see, when the Father looks on us concerning our eternal condition, He does not see us as standing in our own righteousness, but in the righteousness of Christ. Concerning Christ, Paul said that he wanted to be "found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith" (Philippians 3:9). When we trust in Jesus Christ by faith, we are placed into Christ and are seen by the Father as having His righteousness.
Now, you may ask, why do we need to ask for forgiveness of sins at all if they are all forgiven? The reason is that the present forgiveness of sins which we seek on a continuing basis deals with something entirely different from salvation. Though we are saved eternally by our position in Christ, we have a walking relationship with God in this life that is based on obedience and submission to His will. Even though we can never cease being saved, we can cease to be in a good present relationship with God.
Let me give you an example. When my children were little, they would sometimes disobey me and get in a wrong relationship with their father. I might even be angry with them and use some form of correction with them. However, there was nothing they could do, no matter how bad, that would make them cease to be my children. They were flesh of my flesh. To deny them would be to deny myself. Their family relationship to me was based on their birth (just as our eternal relationship to God is based on the new birth). Yet, they (just as us with God) could be my children and still not have all things right with me. They never ceased to be my children and I never had to make them my children a second time, but there were many times that we had to work out a right relationship that had gone sour. This is the way it is with God.

Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross pays that person’s sin-debt in full—past, present, and future wrongdoing is forgiven and removed. Since sin was the barrier separating mankind from holy God, the new believer is now welcome in His presence.

By trusting in Jesus, we each become a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17). Yet, since the body and mind don’t change automatically, self-serving habits developed before salvation can remain ingrained and tempting. Though we may sometimes give in, we aren’t suddenly unsaved because we sinned. Once God’s grace is bestowed, it can’t be removed—salvation cannot be lost, nor can the Spirit’s power be revoked. Our relationship with God remains intact. It is our fellowship with God that is interrupted by our sin, but that fellowship can be restored through confession and repentance.

Being saved is not about keeping a perfect record of behavior. If we could do that, we wouldn’t need the Father’s grace. He knows we are human and prone to making selfish choices contrary to His will. When we do, Jesus Christ acts as our advocate, because His sacrifice is what makes possible our relationship with the Father.

***14 years after Paul’s conversion:

1 Timothy 1:15 - Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.

Romans 7:15-20 - 15I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[a] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

Paul is still sinning? But God’s GRACE is STILL SUFFICIENT!!