We would be so totally lost had Christ not become one of us, putting on our flesh, taking on our trials, sufferings, everything that we endure. We would be so absolutely ruined had Christ not stepped down from His heavenly throne, taking on our form, living a perfect life, without error, without blemish. Thank God that Christ became one of us, that He should become the atoning sacrifice for any who would believe on Him for salvation. Praise God that He Himself took on the Sin and its deserved penalty for any who would believe in Him, that we could even have a relationship with Him again at all. Lord, You are so magnificent and wonderful to have stepped down into this wretched world, that You would become one of us and die for our wretched, rotten, no-good souls that spurned You to Your face in unbelief and unrighteousness. You are wonderful and mighty. Nothing, no one compares with You. You are the great King ruling from above and what a mystery it is that You would even consider us at all, that You would even give Your own life for us when we wanted nothing to do with You. It’s because of Your death Lord Jesus and its application on my life that I am even able to believe in You. O Father, thank You so much for the incarnation of Your Son. What a wonderful gift, the best ever! You are amazing …
Month: December 2005 Page 1 of 2
“Thus says the LORD: ‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool; what is the house that you would build for me, and what is the place of my rest? All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the LORD. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.'”
– Isaiah 66:1-2 (ESV)
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!”
– Psalm 111:10 (ESV)
Something that hit me in particular in verse three of Isaiah 66 was the person that God hears or listens to. And having just posted on moralism and stating that if you’re in Christ, there’s nothing that you can do to make yourself any more or any less acceptable in the site of God because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, how is that God only hears the one who is humble and contrite in spirit? If we cannot attain it on our own merit, works, or effort, how do we get there? Very simply, look at Christ on the cross. Let’s observe for a minute, not look at ourselves at all for just a moment, and simply look at the cross. We have the Son of God, existing from all eternity at the right hand of the Father; perfect, without blemish, the Lamb of God; the One through whom creation came to be; He is the prophecied Messiah; the beginning and the end, the alpha and the omega; Jesus is the one who defines reality; there is no reality apart from what He has set forth; He is the sovereign King over all His creation; all things are subject to Him; not even a sparrow falls in creation apart from His command; His power is infinite and the words from His mouth are as sharp as a double-edged sword; He is the great lion of Judah, the one who will display His anger in great fury against all wicked people on the day of His glory.
And yet willingly, He set aside His heavenly realm and divine power to dwell amongst us; He became a person, just like any one of us. He suffered all the things we do so that He can make intercession on our behalf. And though He set aside His heavenly dwelling and powers, He was still God, existing fully as God and man at the same time; He was absolutely sinless, living a perfect life, without blemish; He came to save any who would believe in Him, and yet we killed Him. We killed, murdered even, the Son of God! With our sin and wickedness we drove the nails into the King of the Universe; we beat, mocked, scorned, insulted, humiliated and murdered the Son of God, the King of the universe.
Now let’s turn and look at ourselves based on the things spoken above: if we did this to the Son of God, what does it say about our nature as humans? I believe it speaks volumes. It says that even the morally best of us are wicked and corrupt, without hope of being saved on any merit of our own, any merit at all. It speaks things that cannot even be conveyed in words, mainly that we are so desperately blind, sinful, and wicked that we cannot even understand a fraction of our nature until we look at what we did to the Son of God.
When we consider this, that we/I/you murdered the Son of God, the Creator of the universe, we should all mourn and fear for our souls of being tormented in hell forever because of this great God’s wrath against sin (i.e. the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom). God is just, and to act out in any way other than pure wrath against people who trample on His glory constantly, would be to not consider Himself the most important being in the universe, something He cannot do, because He is the most important being in the universe. But what else happened at the cross beside us murdering Him? Jesus Christ, by the will of the Father, was submitted to the cross where He suffered, died, and rose from the grave, for the sins of any who would believe in Him, for the purpose of saving them from His awful and terrible wrath, raising them to eternal life.
How do we obtain a contrite spirit? How is it that we come to a point where we’re truly repentant for our sins against Him? It is through looking away from yourself, throwing away your righteousness, giving up on your works, your deeds (both positive and negative), or looking to any other thing to save you or do anything for you spiritually, and looking to Christ as the great sufficient One. He has fulfilled all righteousness by His work at Calvary on the cross, and having risen from the dead, we can have true life in Him. “He must increase, but I must decrease.” We look to Him as our God, Savior, Lord, and King, and seek for Him to change our hearts, knowing that in our deadness, we can do nothing to create an affection for Him apart from Him. In my flesh, I desire nothing of God, but in Christ I am made new and renewed by the Holy Spirit every day. But it is a continual process of sanctification by the application of Christ’s work of redemption in my life on a constant basis. Every day, I must recite the Gospel to myself, lest I forget Him and His work, and slide back into moralism, becoming sinfully prideful because of any self-righteousness I may have or loathing myself because of my wrong-doing. The whole point of the Gospel in this regard is that we come to an end of ourselves, forget ourselves, lose ourselves in the light of the glory of Christ and His love very clearly displayed on the cross. We turn to Him because He is glorious and has shown so much love to us through the cross. A contrite spirit is born in you by the Holy Spirit by comparing yourself to the glory of Christ. Fear the Lord in His glory and yet know that You are perfectly accepted by Him because of Jesus Christ, not anything within you.
Within our “Christian culture,” more and more there seems to be a rise in the number of people believing in a moralistic, worldly version of Christianity instead of a Christ-based, Biblical version, abandoning belief in Him as the only Savior and Lord, and instead relying on their own behavior change. They simply view Christ as a good teacher or good example of how a person should be devoted to God. In addition, they believe their works in some way get them in better with God somehow, as if the death and resurrection of the Son of God were not payment enough that they would have to add something to it. This couldn’t be further from what Christianity is all about. The point of the commandments is not for us to show our moral strength and superiority, but to show our inability, that we can never fulfill the law of God to the T, just as John Hendryx says in this blog entry. It’s about taking your eyes off yourself, what you can do or what you can’t ever live up to, and seeing that Christ is the one who has fulfilled all of this. He is the Son of God, the Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament, come in the flesh, born in a filthy feeding trough. He lived a perfect life, submitted Himself in obedience to the Father, where He was beaten and ultimately crucified for the sins of any who would believe in Him. And He then rose three days later, conquering sin, death, and hell. If you think you can give God something comparable to Christ and His work, you are putting the finite up against the infinite. Our works don’t even begin to compare to Christ’s work on the cross and nothing we could ever do would ever be enough to satisfy the wrath of God as the death and resurrection of His own Son. It’s all about Jesus Christ, taking our eyes off ourselves, our spirituality, our works in both the positive and negative sense, forgetting about ourselves altogether, and fully looking to Christ as our all in all, our great King, Savior, wondrous maker, the one who desires to give you life, eternal life in Him, offering pardon from the wrath of God that we all deserve because of our sin. Consider these things and look to see if you are falling in the trap of a moralistic endeavor to win God’s favor, and turn to Christ, leaving yourself and your works behind, embracing the Son of God as your Lord and Savior.
A much better firmware now exists for this router called Tomato. Check it: http://www.polarcloud.com/tomato
A friend of mine has a Linksys WRT54G v4, and there is some new hacked firmware out for it (hacked in a benevolent, legal way :). So we decided to upload this hacked firmware and give it a whirl. It worked with no problems and you can now boost the transmit power up to 251 mw (my WAP54G with hacked firmware goes up to 84 mw and I still get a connection from 6 houses down if that tells you anything). Theoretically, without any electronic interference between the router and your wireless card, you should be able to connect from quite a far distance (not sure exactly how far though as I have not tested it). This firmware will work for v1-v4 and seems to be really stable from what I can tell. So check it out and download it from here …
Well, I had my first successful dryer cable replacement. Basic problem was that I initially had a three-prong 240V cable on my dryer and I have a 4 prong socket in the wall. I took the old one off (which was the easy part) and then hooked up the new one (which took way too long). For one, I dropped one of the major screws down inside the dryer, and 2) I was very carefully trying to follow instructions so that I didn’t shock the junk out of myself. The dryer worked well though after some nervousness about turning it on (i.e. starting a fire, electrocuting myself, or something else). I figured that in the worst-case scenario, I would trip the breaker, but you never know … whew.
Well, I made it, finally. Though it’s not technically official because I don’t have the diploma in my hand, I’m done with my classes. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with myself after all that. I’ll probably catch up on some movie’s, read a lot, study some more computer stuff, and other random things like finally cleaning out my closet. Man, praise God that by His strength, I was able to get through it. For those of you who are wondering, my degree will be a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology (BSIT). Praise the Lord, He’s deserving of all the credit for me completing this. He gave me the abilities, the schedule, the job, and the will to get through it. Thanks to everyone for all their support, especially my sweet wife, Courtney. She’s been awesome through this as it has inevitably cut into time we could have been spending together. She has been totally understanding, loving, caring, supportive, and just what I needed to get it done. Praise God for His grace!
In this passage, at the very beginning, it is shown the Lord’s willingness to save any who call upon Him in the sincerity of their hearts, and that he has the strength and sovereignty to accomplish it. It goes on though to describe in detail why it is that we are separated from Him and what keeps us from being saved. Of course the easy, textbook answer is that our sin has caused that separation. But expanded and reflected upon, the blame is clearly placed on us, not on God deciding or not deciding to save us. He does choose who He will save, but He cannot be blamed for your sinful actions. In no way will He ever be blamed for whether or not you were saved in the end. That’s the point of this passage, to show where the blame lies and why. It describes the condition of our hearts before the Lord and why it is a person is not saved. Indeed, in the first verse, the Lord’s hand is not shortened that it cannot save you. But after that truth is stated, it then shows what holds us back from salvation: to put it bluntly, it is all our fault; and more specifically directed to you, the reader, it is all your fault. “For your hands are defiled with blood and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies; your tongue mutters wickedness,” the passage states. This is all of us, not just the “worst” of us from the world’s perspective. We all have blood on our hands, we are all guilty of murder before the eyes of the Lord. In our hearts, when we are simply indifferent toward another person, we have committed murder in our hearts. Men, Jesus stated that if you even look at a woman lustfully, you have already committed adultery with her in your heart. It states in God’s word that if you break one law, you are guilty of breaking the entire law. It’s all or nothing, you keep it all, or break one law and you are done for. What’s the point? We are all spiritually bankrupt, and until you see the utter desperation of the human condition (more specifically, your own personal desperation and inability to anything right[eous] in the eyes of the Lord apart from His grace, you will never understand, appreciate, or attain salvation. To be poor in spirit is to rightly understand your spiritual condition before the Lord and mourn because of that condition. You have no hope in and of yourself. To be really honest, this passage is quite a downer to man apart from the grace of God. It is extremely negative and no one wants to admit their condition to be this bad. In fact that world takes the opposite approach, attempting to build up self-worth within you, which only lasts for a time and is dependant upon your actions. If we view ourselves as anything better than this state, we’ve missed the mark on understanding where we stand before the eyes of the Lord. All of us have blood on our hands. We are all murderes, adulterers, liars, filthy, wicked sinners. All of us have broken the law of God many times over, more than can be counted. All of us speak lies everyday, and our tongues are always muttering wickedness. It may not be the type of wickedness people consider wickedness in the world (like a serial killer, rapist, child molester, etc.), but other people’s opinions don’t matter in this context, only the Lord’s decree matters here. He defines the reality of right and wrong. When it all comes down in the end, it’s between you and the Lord and what He deems righteous in His eyes. And He has deemed that before His eyes, all of us, even you, are so desperately wicked that if you were to see the rottenness and decay of your soul, it is my speculative opinion you would die from shock. So again, what’s the point here? You cannot save yourself by any willing of your volition, or rolling up your sleeves and “gettin’ it done (morally speaking) for Jesus.” God does not help those who help themselves because we can’t help ourselves, scripture is very clear on this; this is what it means to be dead in our sins (Ephesians 2:1, speaking about the state of believer’s prior to their conversion); we are totally morally unable to do anything right before the Lord. To express the attitude toward Christianity that, “God helps those who help themselves,” is to show a complete lack of understanding of the Biblical nature of man (morally dead and decaying) and the Biblical nature of God (sovereign, just, righteous), and what it cost God to save anyone at all; namely the precious blood of the Father’s Son. So where’s the hope for any of us? What do we see here? We are at out wits end before God, we have nothing to offer Him, so what can we do? Nothing, that’s the point. God has to change us first before we can even see or hear God spiritually. The hope comes in though with Jesus Christ. He is calling, even commanding everyone to believe in Him for salvation. Because everyone is so desperately wicked, and being that no one can save themselves, someone has to do it for us with the strength to carry it out. That person was Jesus, God in the flesh. Jesus, being God, became one of us, putting on flesh just like the rest of us, living as we do. The only difference here is that Jesus was both fully man and fully God. In order for us to be saved, someone had to live the life we couldn’t live. Jesus lived that perfect life, fulfilling all righteousness before the eyes of the Father. Because of the great chasm between man and God, our sins have to be atoned for, wiped away, cleansed, before we can even have a relationship with God again at all. Jesus was perfect, and because of this, He became the perfect, spotless sacrifice for sinners. By the will of the Father, Jesus was beaten, whipped, cut, His back ripped apart, insulted, humiliated, strung up on a cross. Nails pierced His hands and feet, a crown of thorns driven into His skull. He hung on that cross until satisfaction was made for the sins of any who would believe in Him. The thing that struck Jesus to the core more than all of that though was the wrath of the Father. He drunk deep of the full wrath of God, stirred in all of its fury, all for a bunch of wicked, viper-like sinners who rejected Him in their sin, even killing God on the cross! What amazing love. Jesus made satisfaction for sins on the cross, bled, and died. He died the the death we should die, even now, for our awful sins. But this Savior, this wonderful God who became one us was not defeated by death, but by the power of God was brought back to life, and he reigns in heaven above, over all things. All things have been handed over to Him by the Father in heaven and on Earth. This is where our hope is in all this negativity about man. Our hope is completely rooted in Christ and His work alone, not in our work and what we can give to God. We can give nothing to God in return for the death of His Son. Nothing would ever match up to an infinitely perfect gift as Jesus. For those of you who think you’re pretty good, moral people, look at the cross where Christ died. Consider what it took to atone for sins. If you’ve believed on Christ for salvation, it took the death of the Son of God to atone for you! What a clear indictment of your infinite guilt before the the Father. Is your separation from God not just as bad as the mass murderer or the child molester? Did it take that ultimate sacrifice to cover pretty good, moral people? Absolute not! It took the death of Christ to cover wicked sinners, all of us are included, there are no exceptions to this. That’s the point here, even you are wicked beyond measure. Jesus made this very clear to the Pharisees in the Gospel’s. He stated that unless your own self-righteouess surpasses that of the Pharisee’s, you will never see the kingdom of God (Matthew 5:20). Even they, in their own self-righteousness, fell infinitely short of the glory of God, and they were the moral best of all of us! For those of you though who think you are totally beyond the reach of God’s grace to save you because of the things you’ve done in the past, look at the cross where Christ died. If His blood is of infinite worth (which it is), can it not cover an infinite number of sins in your life, no matter how big or small? Repent from your sin, turn from your ways of wickedness, and believe in Him, trust Him as your Lord and Savior, the great Messiah, and He can rescue you no matter where you are at spiritually. He has the infinite power and strength to save you and He will if in the sincerity of your heart you ask Him. “The Lord’s hand is not shortened that it cannot save.” You are never beyond the reach of God’s grace, no matter what you’ve done. I don’t know how much clearer I can make that.
Though I typically don’t like using movie quotes as illustrations, especially from this movie, this one applies here from the movie Fight Club (Tyler Durden): “It’s not until you lose everything that you are free to do anything.” Until we’re bankrupt spiritually before God, we cannot fully appreciate what Christ has done on the cross. If you think you have it all together, consider the things I’ve said. Even our best works are like filthy rags before the eyes of the Lord (Isaiah 64:6). Our only hope is in Jesus Christ, His death and resurrection for sinners. My plea to you is to believe in Jesus Christ and He will wipe away all of your wrong-doing, all of your sin and wickedness. We have nothing to offer God, but He offers us everything in Christ, even His own righteousness, the only thing God will accept as payment for your sin; paid for through Jesus’ blood.
I installed the new AIM today and I am not impressed at all. First of all, it won’t even let you download the actuall install file. Rather, you download an executable that downloads it for you, and then runs the install. The download seems rather bulky as well and took way too long to download because of its size. Once I launched the application after a rather lengthy install, I came to see how much has been changed. For one, they took away the ability to add SSL certificates to encrypt your conversations. But the most annoying they they’ve done is made it to where AIM installs the AIM Toolbar install Internet Explorer without asking you, and changes your homepage to www.aimtoday.com. That really ticked me off, so I removed it went back to the version right before this latest one. I am not impressed at all. I don’t like the new layout, it’s bulky, they took away features and added newer, more annoying one’s. AOL, GoogleTalk is looking better everyday.
^^ Iced-over window – webcam shot ^^
Finally, it’s icing over and they’re saying it will probably snow later tonight. Sweet. Time to bust out the firewood for a good fire, spend time with Christ, read some scripture, hang out with my wonderful sweet wife, Courtney, and just chill. Man praise God for His blessings and how He loves to give gifts to His children! Praise God for hard times as well though and how He uses them to shape us more into the image of Christ! Praise God for all that He does in our lives to draw us to Himself. Everyone be safe out there …
In studying this piece of scripture again, something stuck out to me that has been there, but I haven’t focused on. In particular, the portion speaking of putting on your feet “the readiness given by the gospel of peace” is what got my attention. It occurred to me this comes from a daily preaching of the Gospel to yourself. It’s rather obvious but it’s one of those things that you can kind of read over.
On a daily basis, along with all of the other pieces of our spiritual armor, remember and consider our glorious Savior, that He became one of us, lived a perfect life in submission to the Father, suffered and died a brutal death, bore the wrath of God in Himself, and rose from the grave, in order that we might live. This has to be apart of our daily walk with Christ and cannot be forgotten. This is the hope of all life and the centrifuge upon which all other aspects of Christianity hinge.