>Who Killed the Son of God?

>Good Friday 2011 is a vague memory..but we dare not forget the Cross…and if God is sovereign (and He is), you can not argue this insight (though it’s trendy to try to water this truth down with human “christianized” psychology):

“The most important question of the twenty-first century is: Why did Jesus Christ suffer so much? But we will never see this importance if we fail to go behind the human cause. The ultimate answer tohttp://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=jacksjots-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=158134788X&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr the question, Who crucified Jesus? is: God did. It is a staggering thought. Jesus was his Son. And the suffering was unsurpassed. But the whole message of the Bible leads to this conclusion.”
— John Piper

>Wonderful Plan for Your Life?????


I’ve always disliked the phrase, “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.” The first phrase is wondrously true; the “for your life” part implies, “Come to Jesus and all will be well.” Yeah, right. “In this world you will suffer persecution” etc.

For the non-Christian God has, from our perspective, a terrible plan…for the repentant, this short-term life will have difficulties of varying degrees.

Trevin Wax offers this insight (from a great book, by the way)

– God’s “wonderful plan” for Christians may include times of suffering and persecution whereby we become more conformed to the image of Christ.

– The better, more biblical place to begin is to affirm that “God has a wonderful plan, period.” Salvation is not primarily about God’s plan for my life, but about God’s renewal of everything. It is only within the vision of the glorious new world that God has promised that we find the strength to cope with the fact that God may have a very difficult plan for our lives!

If you have ever looked at the backside of a quilt or a tapestry, you see that there seems to be no overall design or pattern. The quilt looks strange, without purpose or direction. But once you turn it around, you see how the individual patterns make up something that is beautiful.

Our lives do not always seem wonderful. But rather than trying to see what wonderful plan God has for giving us our best life now, Christians trust that the picture God is painting will be beautiful, so we look to experiencing our best life later. God has a wonderful plan, and because of his grace, we are part of that plan.

>THought About His Love For Us Lately?

>Yeah, it’s Valentine’s Day…but this is more important:

“There is no other solution to the marvelous mysteries of His Incarnation and Sacrificial Death but this: Christ has loved us.
There is not a circumstance of our Lord’s history which is not another form or manifestation of love.
His incarnation is love stooping.
His sympathy is love weeping.
His compassion is love supporting.
His grace is love acting.
His teaching is the voice of love.
His silence is the repose of love.
His patience is the restraint of love.
His obedience is the labor of love.
His suffering is the travail of love.
His cross is the altar of love.
His death is the burnt offering of love.
His resurrection is the triumph of love.
His ascension into heaven is the enthronement of love.
His sitting down at the right hand of God is the intercession of love.
Such is the deep, the vast, the boundless ocean of Christ’s love!”
—Octavius Winslowhttp://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=jacksjots-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=1150733314&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

>Ever Doubt His Love for YOU?


“When you’re tempted to doubt God’s love for you, stand before the cross and look at the wounded, dying, disfigured Savior, and realize why He is there. I believe His Father would whisper to us, ‘Isn’t this sufficient? I haven’t spared My own Son; I deformed and disfigured and crushed Him — for you. What more could I do to persuade you that I love you?’”

— C. J. Mahaneyhttp://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=jacksjots-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=1590525787&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

>How’s Your Love Life?


“What, after all, is the great secret of loving Christ? It is an inward sense of having received from Him pardon and forgiveness of sins. Those love much who feel much forgiven. He who has come to Christ with his sins, and tasted the blessedness of free and full absolution, he is the man whose heart will be full of love towards his Savior. The more we realize that Christ has suffered for us, and paid our debt to God, and that we are washed and justified through His blood, the more we shall love Him for having loved us, and given Himself for us. Our knowledge of doctrines may be defective. Our ability to defend our views in argument may be small. But we cannot be prevented feeling. And our feeling will be like that of the Apostle Peter – “You, Lord, who know all things, You know my heart; and You know that I love You.”http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=jacksjots-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0310219140&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

~ J.C. Ryle

>The Lord was the Guest of Honor!


I rarely read the KJV; but I like “the wind bloweth where it listeth.” It just sounds cool…the message being Holy Spirit shows up on His schedule, not ours…But we can invite Him…

Many must have been praying for the Teens For Christ North West Regional Tournament that began Thursday and concluded this (Sunday) afternoon. I had the distinct privilege of being invited to speak a few times as well as quizmaster. I’m grateful that Midland Ministries released me to attend.

I have waited a few hours to write, rode an exercise bike for 45 minutes, relaxed in the hotel hot tub (I fly home tomorrow) and reflected on the weekend.

After contemplating, I remain convinced of what I shared with the quizzers, staff, and onlookers earlier in the day. This event is the best quizzing I’ve ever seen (and we are talking about three decades of being involved in Bible quizzing either as a table official or, for about twenty years, directing the Family Life Network quiz leagues in New York and Pennsylvania).

For those readers who have no idea what Bible Quiz Fellowship quizzing is like, you may stop reading as you won’t understand fully.

When I write “best” I don’t mean these were the most proficient quizzers I’ve ever seen. There were several students who did exceptionally well in the competitive aspect. I mean “best” because every quizzer, coach, and “fan” displayed “sanctified sportsmanship” and tremendous attitudes. There was never a conflict, never a huffy sissy-fit, or anything else that occasionally mars such an event.

I can not put into words the sense of His presence we experienced particularly Saturday night. Several of the teams entertained us (by the way, it is okay for CHRISTians to laugh) with hilarious skits, and then a few graduating seniors shared what quizzing has meant to them. A few other students spoke of how the Lord has used this tool of Bible quizzing to shape and mold them. Many were transparent with their overemphasis on competition at times.

I wrapped up the time by tossing my sermon and talking about our adoption of Janelle and Jacob, and the guilt I once felt because it seemed I loved them more than my “natural” children Josiah and Joel. I went on to say that as I thought about and prayed about that “guilt” I the Lord allowed me to understand…

Though I do love Josiah and Joel like crazy; I sort of had to love them; after all, they were mine (and Jane’s!)
We didn’t have to love Janelle and Jacob; we chose to love them, and jumped through a lot of hoops to “get” them.

And then I reminded us that the Father did not “have” to love us; He chose to love us, and the “hoop” He jumped through was to send His Son to pay the penalty for our sins and to incur the wrath of a holy God as “He who knew no sin became sin.”

And He loves us with an “everlasting love.” He does not love us if we quiz well, or demonstrate good manners, or look good, or perform good. He loves us….period.

When’s the last time you reminded yourself of that fact? I fear too many claim to be “growing deep in the things of God” but their quest becomes a quicksand of apathy as they focus on “stuff” instead of resting in His amazing grace and never ending love. Please don’t misunderstand, spiritual growth should and must be pursued by the redeemed, but we must work to never lose sight of the love of God.Or, heaven help us, we slide into somehow thinking we deserve His love.

If this provokes you, or makes you a tad uncomfortable; first of all, pray that your heart might be softend; reflect on that which is of FIRST importance (“Christ died for us” 1 Corin 15) and, may I suggest, order a copy of “Loving God” by Chuck Colson (us ex-cons gotta stick together!)http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=jacksjots-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0310219140&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

>It’s Not "Just" How We Get Saved

“From start to finish, the whole Christian life is by grace through faith. A new life in Christ commences with faith, continues by faith, and will be completed through faith. To put this another way, the Gospel is for Christians just as much as it is for non-Christians. We never advance beyond the good news of the cross and the empty tomb…Therefore, the Christian always looks back to the Gospel and never to the law as the basis for his righteousness before God…There is no such thing as performance-based Christianity…Justification is a doctrine for the whole Christian life from start to finish. It is not simply a doctrine for coming to Christ in the first place…Justification is a doctrine to live by each and every moment.”
Philip Ryken, Galatians, pp. 90-92

>Those Great Theologians – John, Paul, George & Ringo (sorta) Got It Right!


Okay, the Beatles may not be everyone’s favorite (although they remain one of mine), but one of their biggest songs, “All You Need Is Love” does compliment the greatest commandment.

But this, by D. Martin Lloyd-Jones, (The Love of God, pp. 49-50) elaborates in a way I needed to read:

“The more I study the New Testament and live the Christian life, the more convinced I am that our fundamental difficulty, our fundamental lack, is the lack of seeing the love of God. It is not so much our knowledge that is defective but our vision of the love of God. Thus our greatest object and endeavor should be to know Him better, and thus we will love Him more truly.”