“I Will Trust God Anyway”

An encouraging post for difficult times. Please pray for me and my family. My dad is in ICU. Lots of visits to hospital and waiting on the Lord.

when you are disappointedSometimes life is just not fair.

Bad things happen to good people.

Unexpected tragedies take place.

Dreams are destroyed.

Loved one’s walk away.

Or that one thing you’ve been waiting for never comes.

And we find ourselves standing at a crossroad with two roads in front of us that we can choose to travel.

One road is disappointment and despair.

The other road is healing and hope.

Each one of us has the power to choose which one we will take.

When darkness closes in.

When people walk out.

When dreams are shattered.

When all hope seems lost.

Just yesterday I felt like something I longed for was taken away.

Something I’ve been praying for.

Something I’ve been setting my hopes up for.

And more than anything all I wanted to do was hide myself from the world and cry.

I wanted to throw my hands up to the sky…

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Book Review: ‘One Forever’

One Forever‘ by Rory Shiner (Matthias Media 2012) One forever2

When you think of yourself being “in Christ” what do you think of? How would you explain this gospel truth? It is much easier to understand Christianity in terms of believing in Christ, or following Christ or knowing Christ. Yet this “in Christ” terminology is favoured by the New Testament writers, Paul especially. It is also packed with the wondrous grace of God shown in the gift of His Son.
If you want to understand better what it means to be IN Christ then this book is for you.
Published in 2012 and written by Australian pastor Rory Shiner One Forever: The Transforming Power of Being in Christ explores so many facets of what this phrase means, in just seven chapters. His writing is conversational and friendly, accessible to most adults and probably many youth. His illustrations are easy to understand, yet the concepts are deep and his pastoral heart is clear. Rory wants us to have the confidence and certainty of being IN Christ, even if our faith is small.
Here are some of the main ideas he explores:

1. To be a Christian is to be in Christ.
“To be a Christian is to put on the Lord Jesus Christ. It is to believe into him. It is to clothe yourself with him.” p40

2. The size of your faith does not matter. The power of the one you have faith in does.

3. Justification is not up to us or our efforts.
Justification is objective. “Justification was not achieved in my heart but on a cross outside Jerusalem”.
“Justification is one of the great joy factories of the Christian life”.
P46

4. We are united with Christ in his death and his righteousness and his resurrection.
If we only think of ourselves as following Christ or knowing Christ or being near Christ then we don’t capture what union captures. p58. “Union with Christ is our defence against the playground bullies of sins and temptation.” p56

5. We are right before God because we are in Christ and HE is right before God.
“To stand in Christ is to stand in a place where the wrath of God will never be felt because wrath of God has already been there.” p36

6. Christians aren’t just ‘not perfect but forgiven’, they ‘forgiven and they are united to christ . . . indwelt by the Spirit of God, and they are empowered by God to live a new life. p 62

7. Christ identifies so closely with the Church, His church is His body, He is the Church. When his church is persecuted Christ is persecuted p.70, 68, “Church is the most concrete expression of your union with Christ.” p.73.
“The distinction we make between how we treat Christ and how we treat his gathered people is not a distinction that Jesus makes” (p74).

8. In the case of the weakest and most broken members of our churches, their very brokenness is their gift to the church. They gift to the church their brokenness, and as we are drawn out of ourselves to serve them, we learn how to be the body of Christ. p.72

Now if that has not whet your appetite to better understand the treasure of what it means to be “in Christ”, check out the video below which is designed to explain a little more. And you can find the book at Matthias, Koorong, and Amazon. I hope it will be a blessing to you!

You may also like: 
https://sevennotesofgrace.com/2013/03/04/holding-on-to-what-we-already-have-in-christ-philippians-316/
and
https://sevennotesofgrace.com/2012/09/06/stones-or-bricks-god-lives-in-us-together-1-corinthians-316/

Living in 10000 little moments of change

defining-momentsOver at Paul Tripp Ministries he has been discussing the possibility of life-changing change, something we all entertain every January as we consider our resolutions! Sometimes we even have some success with such changes, but as Tripp says, it takes 10000 moments to create lasting change. As you look ahead, consider if you are able to create more opportunities for those little, quiet “moments” where change takes place:

“Is change important? Yes, it is for all of us in some way. Is commitment essential? Of course! There’s a way in which all our lives are shaped by the commitments we make. But biblical Christianity – which has the gospel of Jesus Christ at its heart – simply doesn’t rest its hope in big, dramatic moments of change.

The fact of the matter is that the transforming work of grace is more of a mundane process than it is a series of a few dramatic events. Personal heart and life change is always a process. And where does that process take place? It takes place where you and I live everyday. And where do we live? We all have the same address – the utterly mundane.

Most of us won’t be written up in history books. Most of us only make three or four momentous decisions in our lives, and several decades after we die, the people we leave behind will struggle to remember the events of our lives. You and I live in little moments, and if God doesn’t rule our little moments and doesn’t work to re-create us in the middle of them, then there’s no hope for us, because that’s where you and I live.

This is where I think “Big Drama Christianity” gets us into trouble. It can cause us to devalue the significance of the little moments of life and the “small change” grace that meets us there. Because we devalue the little moments where we live, we don’t tend to notice the sin that gets exposed there and we fail to seek the grace that’s offered to us.

10,000 Little Moments

I don’t want to discourage you from making a resolution or tell you to throw away what you’ve already written, but I do want to challenge your way of thinking. You see, the character of your life won’t be established in two or three dramatic moments, but in 10,000 little moments. Your legacy will be shaped more by the 10,000 little decisions you make in 2014 rather than the last-minute resolution you’re about to make.

How can you establish a godly character and lasting legacy in 2014?

  • With 10,000 moments of personal insight and conviction.
  • With 10,000 moments of humble submission.
  • With 10,000 moments of foolishness exposed and wisdom gained.
  • With 10,000 moments of sin confessed and sin forsaken.
  • With 10,000 moments of courageous faith.
  • With 10,000 choice points of obedience.
  • With 10,000 times of forsaking the kingdom of self and running toward the kingdom of God.
  • With 10,000 moments where we abandon worship of the creation and give ourselves to worship of the Creator.

That’s a lot of moments. Too many, in fact, to accomplish successfully on our way. No wonder we settle for one big resolution instead of a day-by-day resolutions. But here’s what makes 10,000 little resolutions possible – GRACE. Relentless, transforming, little-moment grace.

You see, Jesus is Emmanuel not just because he came to earth, but because he makes you the place where he dwells. This means he is present and active in all the mundane moments of your daily life. In these small moments he is delivering every redemptive promise he has made to you. In these unremarkable moments, he is working to rescue you from you and transform you into his likeness.

By sovereign grace he places you in daily little moments that are designed to take you beyond your character, wisdom and grace so that you’ll seek the help and hope that can only be found in him. In a lifelong process of change, he is undoing you and rebuilding you again – exactly what each one of us needs!

Yes, you and I need to be committed to change in 2014, but not in a way that hopes for a big event of transformation, but in a way that finds joy in and is faithful to a day-by-day, step-by-step process of insight, confession, repentance and faith.

As 2013 gives way to 2014, wake up each day committed to live in the 10,000 little moments of your daily life with open eyes and humbly expectant hearts.”

You may also enjoy:
Try these New Life Resolutions
SYD0037  New Year's Eve Fireworks Sydney NSW _DSC2336

2013 in review

Thanks everyone for reading, following, sharing and commenting on Seven Notes of Grace in 2013. It has been great to interact with people both near and far away as we share our common hope in God’s great grace!
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for my blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 13,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

FREE E-Book: The Best of WorshipMatters.com

http://www.sovereigngraceministries.org/blogs/sgm/post/free-ebook-worshipmatters.aspx

Check out this free e-book from Bob Kauflin on Music Ministry

Happy New Year

image

This is the view I’ve been enjoying for the last week. We are here once again camping by the creek on my parents’ farm just outside of Murwillumbah, NSW, Australia, with two other ministry families. It is a refreshing time! There are 6 adults and 9 children aged 8-17, and Mia the Maremma (dog). We have been exploring the book of Esther and devotional treasures from John Piper. Swimming, cards, reading and puzzles are the regular activities, as well as eating! We even have a shower operated by a car battery and a flushing real toilet!

Wherever you are I pray that your future hope lies not in the resolutions you make or keep, or in the happiness of circumstances that come your way. Rather may your hope lie in the good news of Jesus Christ and the salvation he won for you.

I pray (in the words of Larry Crabb):
“You will see Him clearly to the degree you clearly see your need for him, not for the blessings of a good life now but for the forgiveness that guarantees you your best life forever.”
(66 Love Letters, p.186)