Tag Archives: salvation

The One Who Rescued…

the one who rescued

The One who rescued and redeemed me…

The One who set me free,

The Word of God in the flesh,

The Gospel Himself,

Jesus Christ,

…sustains me still.

“…since you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable,
through the living and abiding word of God.”
1 Peter 1:23 (ESV – emphasis added)

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Tragedy & the Hope of the Gospel

This is a conversation that I would much rather have with each one of you over coffee. While listening to your story and sharing some of mine. And interjecting a healthy dose of encouragement throughout what would no doubt be a rich discussion. But although it doesn’t seem complete enough in this limited format, although there’s so much more I could say, the message is far too important to not share at all. And maybe for today, simple is best.

tragedy & the hope of the gospel

Tragedy is hard. The fallenness and sinfulness of humanity is painful.

In the wake of recent events such as the shooting in Newtown, CT, the unrest in North Korea, the bombing at the Boston Marathon, and the earthquake in Pakistan (just to name a few…), it becomes obvious that we are not guaranteed tomorrow.

But on days like today, I want to say in no uncertain terms that in Jesus Christ there is a foundation that is solid and a hope that is secure.

He is an immovable, unshakable anchor. He is the only guarantee in this uncertain world full of hurt and pain and heartache.

He alone fills the emptiness for more and satisfies the longing for different.

His victory is secure.

He’s hope. He’s peace. He’s salvation.

Eternally.

Do you know Him?

Do you trust Him?

Do you follow Him?

If you do, then would you acknowledge His presence and lean into Him even closer today? Would you pour out your heart before Him and unashamedly trust in His faithfulness, in His goodness, in His sovereignty? And would you pray for those affected by the horrors and tragedies of this world?

But if you don’t, would you pause for a moment and consider that you’re not guaranteed tomorrow? Would you consider that there is a greater purpose and a greater peace for this life? Would consider your urgent need for Jesus Christ and that through His sacrifice there is forgiveness for sins and the promise of a perfect eternity with Him? Would you consider that He’s extending an invitation for you to draw near to Him and all you have to do is call on His name?

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
– Jesus Christ (John 16:33, ESV)

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If I can answer any questions, suggest resources, or simply listen to your story, it would my privilege to do so. You can contact me via email at theinnerharbor(at)gmail.com.

Fully His

“…rescued by hands bleeding grace. Are we ready to see His face? On the great day.”
The Great Day, from The Story

fully his

As I entered this holiest of weeks, it was from a place of mental and physical exhaustion. The last few weeks have been over-scheduled, and I have been running on near empty trying to tackle the commitments and responsibilities competing for my time and attention. And truthfully, being pulled in so many directions has left me feeling more than a little defeated … as if I’m failing at almost everything.

My calendar is filled with some really great things, and while in some ways I’m noticing a lack of discernment when it comes to commitments, in other ways, there’s just not much I can realistically say “no” to in this season.

Under the weight of it all, even my times of rest seem rather ineffective.

I have a lengthy list of things to-do at all times, but don’t have the energy to address most of it, so I do the bare minimum of what’s required to get through the next day, and instead of acknowledging that something is better than nothing, I then continue to feel guilty for all of the things left undone … the areas where I’m failing.

The cycle is endless.

But the words from the song that struck me in such a fresh and powerful way on Sunday morning seem even more powerful now:

“No guilt in life, no fear in death, this is the power of Christ in me. From life’s first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny.”

No guilt in life.

THIS is the power of Christ in me.

Even if I have failed at much (and I have), the resulting pervasive feeling that I am a failure … it’s not of Him. It’s not living in the Spirit, walking by faith, or claiming the truth that I am His child.

“For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.”
Romans 8:6 (ESV)

So in this Holy Week, as I reflect on the cross, the suffering, the death, the burial, and the resurrection of my Lord and Savior, I will be imperfectly purposeful in remembering that He is my peace and my freedom.

“For the words of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
1 Corinthians 1:18 (ESV)

Freedom is mine not because of anything I’ve done, but because of Who He is and what He has done.

“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.”
Galatians 5:1 (ESV)

So I let go of the failure. Because I am free.

It doesn’t make my schedule instantly manageable, it doesn’t make a shift in priorities easy, and it doesn’t make my responsibilities disappear.

And because it doesn’t come easily or naturally, it’s a message of truth that I must preach to myself over and over again.

It’s the truth of the Gospel.

I am free from the guilt and free from the failure because this life is mine by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

I don’t have to prove my worth. I am simply free to stand in it.

Fully alive. Fully justified. Fully His.

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself up for me.”
Galatians 2:20 (ESV)

Reflecting on The Messiah

As the day approaches, knowing that I hope to somehow express the weight and the glory of this holiest of days, I find myself humbled by my own emptiness.

As I sit with the Lord, pouring out the thoughts and emotions that run deep, I boldly ask Him to clarify the message that He would have me write in this space. I ask that it would be loud and obvious … yet instantly, I know that’s not right.

Today is not a loud day. It is quiet.

“Easter is for shouting. But Good Friday is for not much talking.” – Jon Bloom (Desiring God Blog)

And as I reflect on Christ’s sacrifice in the quietness, all I have is not enough.

Christ gave all. ALL. On that cross.

And in return, all I have is emptiness and brokenness and not enough. Even all of me seems inadequate.

So as I’ve spent a considerable amount of time listening to Handel’s Messiah this week, reflecting on the beauty of the music, but much more so reflecting on the beauty, the weight, the glory of the message, I urge you to reflect with me on HIS words:

Part One

“Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill made low; the crooked straight, and the rough places plain.” (#3 – Isaiah 40:4)

“And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” (#4 – Isaiah 40:5)

“Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call his name Emmanuel, God with us.” (#8 – Isaiah 7:14)

“His yoke is easy and His burden is light.” (#21 – Matthew 11:30)

Part Two

“Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sins of the world.” (#22 – John 1:29)

“He was despised and rejected of men: a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” (#23  – Isaiah 53:3)

“Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him.” (#24 – Isaiah 53:4-5)

“And with His stripes we are healed.” (#25 – Isaiah 53:5)

Part Three

“Since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (#46 – 1 Corinthians 15:21-22)

Jesus Christ came … Emmanuel, God with us … as a servant and humbled himself to death on a cross. The ultimate sacrifice. For You. For Me. For All.

He knew the cross would be His cup and He chose it anyway. Because He knew it was the only way.

“The Cross did not happen to Jesus: He came on purpose for it. He is ‘the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.’ The whole meaning of the Incarnation is the Cross.” – Oswald Chambers

And so although we know that Sunday is near, that the victory has already been won, and that great rejoicing will soon commence, in the quietness of this Good Friday, with a sense of both great hope and deep sorrow, we reflect on The Messiah and on His sacrificial death on the cross … in our place, to cover the sins of this world – our sins – once for all, leaving a veil torn, granting us access to the Father, for our salvation, that through Him we might have life eternal.

The Miracle and Mystery of the Incarnation

It began well over a month ago with lyrics from a choral piece, “The Mind of Christ”, based on Philippians 2:5-11:

“He laid aside his crown, from glory He came down. Divinity within a human soul. God in the form of a man.”

Words that gripped my every emotion, words that prompted intense theological discourse within me, words that registered in the depths of my soul.

It came softly … yet it was all-consuming in the way that only Truth can be … until it overwhelmed every song, every Scripture, every message. It hasn’t been far from my mind ever since.

A recognition that this Truth should have even deeper roots, should be even more significant, should have an even greater impact on everyday life.

Then after reading this post written by Melissa with a translation of The Mystery of the Incarnation: A Scriptural Tapestry of Jesus as Man and God by Gregory of Nazianzus on the Living Proof Ministries Blog, the beauty and the weight of this Truth was fully exposed:

The miracle and the mystery of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ, the only Son of God (John 3:16) and God Himself (John 1:1), became incarnate man (John 1:14). The promised one (Matt. 1:22-23). Fully man, yet fully God.

Jesus Christ became man for us. To be Emmanuel, God with us. To be love in our hatred. To be light in our darkness. To be peace in our chaos. To be strength in our weakness. To be rest in our weariness. To be Savior in our sinfulness.

Jesus Christ became man in the form a baby, humbly born in Bethlehem. He grew and lived and walked among us, yet He was sinless … perfect and blameless … so that He could humbly and obediently approach the cross to be our Salvation.

And this Truth about the Incarnation, this gift of God becoming man in the person of Jesus Christ … for humanity, for us … though it seems to be most often remembered and most eagerly discussed at this time every year, it’s Truth eternal.

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” – Isaiah 9:6 (ESV)

Let us worship Christ, the Lord! Merry Christmas!