Terri Kraus
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Wednesday, September 16, 2009


100 Most Beautiful Words









#5  beautific
Befitting an angel or saint.

#6  bealeaguer
To exhaust with attacks.






Meditation: Thomas Watson (England)

A true christian grows in beauty. Grace is the best complexion of the soul; it is at the first plantation, like Rachel. fair to look upon; but still the more it lives, the more it sends forth its rays of beauty. Abraham's faith was at first beautiful; but at last it did shine in its orient colours, and grew so illustrious, that God himself was in love with it; and makes his faith a pattern to all believers.
     A true Christian grows in sweetness. A poisonous weed may grow as much as the hyssop or rosemary, the poppy in the field as the corn, the crab as the pearmain; but the one hath a harsh sour taste, the other mellows as it grows: an hypocrite may grown in outward dimensions, as much as a child of God—he may pray as much, profess as much—but he grows only in magnitude, he brings forth only sour grapes, his duties are leavened with pride; the other ripens as he grows: he grows in love, humility, faith, which do mellow and sweeten his duties, and make them come off with a better relish. The believer grows as the flower; he casts a fragrance and perfume.


Sermon Snips: John MacArthur—'How to Get in the Game"

When I played college football, my coaches constantly drilled our team with the admonition: "Play your position!" They had to repeat it often because when we saw the play develop toward another place on the field, we were tempted to dash over and try to tackle the guy with the ball. About that time the play would reverse direction to the spot we had just left.

One of our best players was very aggressive and often strayed far from his position. He was all over the field tackling people, and invariably the wrong ones. Finally, he was benched. Though he was a good athlete, he proved worthless to the team because he wouldn't stick to his position.

Since we all tended to make the same mistake, the coach would take us back to the locker room to draw the plays on a chalkboard. He would first make everyone's position plain to see, and then he'd explain how the plays were supposed to run. There's a parallel to that in Christian experience. God has put you on His team and given you both the resources and the obligation to "play" your position in the Body of Christ. He has given you spiritual gifts for carrying out your assignment.

Your first obligation as a Christian is to learn about your position in the Body of Christ. You've got to study the chalkboard, so to speak, and see where you stand; see who's on either side of you, who's behind you, who's in front of you. Unfortunately, many Christians don't know how to live, partly because they don't know their position. I want to draw your position on the spiritual chalkboard so you can be an effective player in the game.

Basically, God's gift of salvation in Christ brings a believer into a position of righteousness. God imputes the perfect righteousness of His Son to the believer, and thereby declares him righteous positionally. But as you know full well, believers still have sin in their lives--Christians are not practically righteous, 100 percent of the time. However, it is on the basis of our positional righteousness, that we are exhorted to strive for practical righteousness in our daily lives.

If you can set your personal struggle with sin aside for a moment, I want you to consider what the Bible says about your position in Christ. As a Christian you are: spiritually alive unto God, dead to sin, forgiven, declared righteous, a child of God, God's possession, an heir of God, blessed with all spiritual blessings, a citizen of heaven, a servant of God, free from the Law, crucified to the world, a light in the world, victorious over Satan, cleansed from sin, declared holy and blameless, set free in Christ from the power of sin, secure in Christ, granted peace and rest, and led by the Holy Spirit.

You're probably thinking, "The Bible may say all that, but I sure don't always live up to those descriptions." That's why in the New Testament, for every one of those statements about your position, there is a corresponding practice you're to follow. For example, the New Testament tells you:

- Since you are spiritually alive to God, live according to that new life.
- Since you are dead to sin, don't give sin any place in your life.
- Since you're forgiven, count on that and don't go through life feeling guilty.
- Since you've been declared righteous, live righteously.
- Since you're a child of God, act like one of God's children.
- Since you are God's possession, yield to Him in humble submission.

I'm convinced that if you will honestly study your position in Christ, your life will change. You'll understand that failure in some aspect of Christian living doesn't mean you lose your position. The position of a true Christian is settled forever--it's unchanging and permanent. And on the other hand, just as stumbling won't change your standing for the worse, growth won't add to it for the better either. God's favor doesn't depend on your works. God "has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity" (2 Timothy 1:9).

Positionally, you cannot increase or decrease in the favor of God. As a genuine Christian, nothing you do, or fail to do, can change to the slightest degree your perfect standing before God--for "in Him you have been made complete" (Colossians 2:10).

Thankfully, that completeness does not mean that when you understand your position you will remain as you are--no, you will see changes in your life. The New Testament continually emphasizes your identity as a believer and urges you understand and apply your spiritual resources. As you continue to mature in Christ, you will not only come to a greater understanding of who you are, but you'll also rely more consistently on your resources--those granted to you as a result of your position in Christ--to handle the practical aspects of Christian living. That's the thrust of Paul's appeal in Ephesians 4:1: "Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called."

So what about you, Christian--do you know your position? If not, go back to the locker room and study the chalkboard--your Bible--and you'll discover afresh the joy of who you are in Christ. If so, get in the game, play your position, and become in practice what you already are in position.





Passages:  From Cold Tangerines:  Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life, by Shauna Niequist




Shalom
“There is a way of living, a way of harmonizing and hitting a balance point, a converging of a thousand balance points and voices, layering together, twisting together, and there are moments when it all clicks into place just for a split second— God and marriage and forgiveness and something deep inside that feels like peace—and that’s the place I’m trying to get to.
I have glimpses every once in a while of this achingly beautiful way of living that comes when the plates stop spinning and the masks fall off and the apologies come from the deepest places and so do the prayers, and I am fighting, elbowing to make more of my life that life.  I want that spirit or force of happiness that is so much deeper than happy—peace that comes from your toes, that makes you want to live forever, that makes you gulp back sobs because you remember so many moments of un-peace. I search for those moments the way I search for beach glass, bits of glitter along a desolate expanse of sand, and I want those moments to stretch into hours, into days.
            The word I use for it is shalom, It is the physical, sense-oriented, relational, communal, personal, ideological posture that arches God-ward.  That’s the best way I can describe it.  It’s an equilibrium and free-fall, balance and shake.  It’s a new dance, and new taste, the feeling of falling in love, the knowledge of being set free.  It’s that split-second cross between a d fact and a feeling, something you would swear on in a court of law but couldn’t find words for if you tried. 
To get there, I’m finding, is the hardest work and the most worthwhile fight. Shalom requires so much, so much more than I though I would have to sacrifice, and it scrapes so deeply through the lowest parts of me, divulging and demonstrating so many dark corners.  It’s something you can’t fake, so you have to lay yourself open to it, wide open and vulnerable to what it might ask of you, what it might require you to give up, get over, get outside of, get free from.  I feels sometimes like running farther than you thought you could run, legs shaking and lungs burning, feeling proud and surprised at what little old you can do…
Shalom is about God, and about the voice and spirit of God blowing through and permeating all the dark corners that we’ve chopped, locked down.  It’s about believing, and letting belief move you to forgive.  It’s about the whole of our lives becoming woven through with the sacred spirit of God, through friendship and confession, through rest and motion, through marriage and silence.
            Shalom is the act of life lifting up and becoming an act of worship and celebration, a sacrament, an offering….
            I have been surprised to find that I am given more life, more hope, more moments of buoyancy and redemption, the more I give up.  The more I let go, do without, reduce, the more I feel rich.  The more I let people be who they are, instead of cramming them into what I need from them, the more surprised I am by their beauty and depth.
            When we can manage to live this way of shalom, even for a moment, we pull each other up toward something bigger, wider, more beautiful, because left to my own devices, chances are, I will spiral down until life is nothing more than the mildew smell on my kitchen towels and the guilt I feel about all the things I thought I’d be.
            The truest thing, it seems, is the biggest:  the big idea of making a life with God, with honor, with honesty and community and beauty and the fragile delicate recipe of those, searching for the place where they all come together, where hope and struggle and beauty and tears swirl together into the best, brightest moments of life.  That’s wheat I believe about God. 





Quotes:  A. W. Tozer


Many ordinary treasures may be denied the man who has God, or if he is allowed to have them, the enjoyment of them will be so tempered that they will never be necessary to his happiness.  Or if he must see them go, one after one, her will scarcely feel a sense of loss.


A generation of Christians reared among push buttons and automatic machines is impatient of slower and less direct methods of reaching their goals.  We have been trying to apply machine-age methods to our relations with God.  We read our chapter, have our short devotions, and rush away, hoping to make up for our deep inward bankruptcy by attending another gospel meeting or listening to another thrilling story told by a religious adventurer lately returned from afar.  The tragic results of this spirit are all about us.  Shallow lives, hollow religious philosophies, the preponderance of the element of fun in gospel meetings, the glorification of men, trust in religious externalities, quasi-religious fellowships, salesmanship methods, the mistaking of dynamic personality for the power of the Spirit; these and such as these are the symptoms of an evil disease, a deep and serious malady of the soul. 



Book Review:  A Thread of Grace, Maria Doria Russell


This extraordinary historical novel is the kind of book that I found myself thinking about long after finishing the last page. It is the little-known story of a group of Italian citizens that sheltered more than 40,000 Jews from the horrors of the work camps and executions during the Italian resistance to the Germans in the last two years of WWII. Three cultures mingle uneasily in Porto Sant'Andrea on the Ligurian coast of northwest Italy—the Italian Jews of the village, the Italian Catholics, and the occupying Germans invited by Mussolini. While there are several narrative threads, the book moves swiftly, and we come to know a cast of vibrant characters, set against meticulously researched historical detail. The intensity and intimacy of Russell's storytelling, her sharp character writing and fierce sense of humor bring fresh immediacy to this riveting wartime saga.
     The book is extraordinary in that, unlike other dark novels about this era that leave one with a feeling of hopelessness, it reminds us that even in the worst of times, there are good people who willingly sacrifice themselves when they see the suffering around them.  We witness with the characters both the heartbreaking journey they will make in their struggle for survival, and the grace extended to them by the Italian people, which crosses the boundaries of faith and ethnicity.  An incredibly compelling read.  I highly recommend it!  P.S.  Let's hear it for the Italians!!!


Song Lyrics:  I Know My Redeemer Lives, Nicole C. Mullens

Who taught the sun where to stand in the morning
Who told the ocean you can only come this far?
Who showed the moon where to hide 'til evening
Whose words alone can catch a falling star?


Well I know my Redeemer lives 
I know my Redeemer lives
All of creation testify
This life within me cries
I know my Redeemer lives


The very same God that spins things in orbit
He runs to the weary, the worn and the weak
And the same gently hands that hold me when I'm broken
They conquered death to bring me victory


Now I know my Redeemer lives
I know my Redeemer lives
Let all creation testify
Let this life within me cry
I know my Redeemer, He lives


To take away my shame
And He lives forever I'll proclaim
That the payment for my sin
Was the precious life He gave
But now He's alive
And there's an empty grave
And I know my Redeemer, He lives


I know my Redeemer lives
Let all creation testify
This life within me cries
I know my Redeemer lives


Watch the video of this song:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5cwoXr27XGY&feature=related


Scripture:  Psalm 19:1—4 (NLT)

The heavens declare the glory of God.
The skies display his craftsmanship.
Day after day they continue to speak;
night after night they make him known.
They speak without a sound or word;
their voice is never heard.
Yet their message has gone throughout the earth.
and their words to all the world.








































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