Archive for the ‘Devotions’ Category

Whoever covers an offense seeks love,

But he who repeats a matter separates close friends. 

– Proverbs 17:9

What are the 2 greatest commands in Scripture? The first would be to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and the second is like it; to love you neighbor as yourself. Now we are really good at loving ourselves right? I mean, everything we do, we do to make ourselves happy. Whether we eat or drink, we do all to bring ourselves joy. We need not work at loving ourselves. Daily though we struggle to live up to God’s command to love others just as we love ourselves. It’s hard right? It’s hard to love others, especially other sinners.

Our call here today in this Proverb is once again to love, and the way we love others is by covering one’s offense. So what is an offense? Simply put, an offense is any wrong done unto us. It’s something that causes a person to be hurt, angry, or upset. We often say, “I am offended that you would say such a thing”. Now obviously I think it’s safe to say that we have all been offended. And when you are offended, what is your natural tendency? What do you tend to do? Do you just cover it up? Doyou pretend that nothing happened? No, probably not. Not if you are like me. My natural tendency when someone wrongs me is to get even. To make sure justice prevails. “They will pay for this!” is my cry.

If I’m driving down the road and someone cuts in front of me, before I even know what I’m doing, I lay on the horn, speed up on their tail, and make some type of hand motion (hopefully without using any fingers). What naturally happens is that I seek revenge. Now what if this happens with one of our friends or family? Maybe one who is close to us offends us by some silly comment. We get offended and say something snarky back. What happens is that the offense is separating us, as sins of anger and bitterness creep in and take root. Before we know it the offense has separated us, fellowship is broken and God’s law is transgressed.

So the question is, “How do we cover an offense when we are full of rage?” I don’t know about you but I don’t have the magic button that I can push that just let’s me release all feeling. Well, we must look to God. We must look to Jesus Christ who became sin for us that we might become righteous in Him. We must look to the Gospel. God created us. We rebelled sinning against Him. We offended Him, yet He covered us with grace and forgiveness, with the blood of the perfect Lamb of God. If you think that the offense committed against you was big, and it very well might have been big, think again at how many miserable filthy sins you have committed against the Holy Creator God. Yet He still covers you. He still showers mercy and grace upon you! Meditate on the good news when you are filled with wrath; when you feel powerless to forgive your offender. God’s love will empower you to cover the offense and restore your relationship. “Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.”

I close with an exhortation from 1 Peter where the Lord’s people are surrounded by difficulty. Know that in times of trial it seems that our patience grows thin, and offenses are always on the rise.  In this situation Peter says “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” –1 Peter 4:8. Remember that it was Christ our Lord, our Savior who covered the multitude of our sins by taking the due wrath of God upon Himself. May we be filled with this love today, and may we cover those who offend us.

-J.C. Hahne

Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. (Psalm 63:3, ESV)

In Psalm 63, as in much of David’s life, he was under the constant threat of his enemies. Much like Paul in the New Testament, opposition surrounded him. Persecution, suffering, and trials were never absent, and there was no promise that they would escape them. Did these men shy away in their faith? Did they curse God? Did their light dim or fade? No! But why? Or how? How could these men keep on rejoicing in the Lord in the midst of such uncertainty? Their very lives could be taken away at the blink of an eye. How did they persevere?

Because His steadfast love is better than life. Paul said, “To live is Christ, and to die is gain” Our identity, being found as His beloved children, gives us power to press on. Being found in His love is better than life, so that whatever we pass through, we know to whom we belong. What can separate us from His love? We all know the answer to that. Nothing!

Paul sums up his life by saying “to live is Christ”. For him to live is to be have Christ as the center of all things; to rejoice in His presence and comforts. But there is one thing better than that! The one thing that is better than living for Christ is to live with Christ; to be with Jesus in heaven, the place of fullness of joy. So death was never an obstacle. Death was the gateway to fullness of joy at His right hand. It is our hope, the end for which we live. To live is Christ, but to die is gain. There is no greater position than to sit in His steadfast love.

So back to Psalm 63:3. David’s lips will praise God through any painful circumstance because God’s love is better than life itself. The things of this world can not compare to the steadfast love of God. Stop and think today that if you are in Christ, there is now no longer any condemnation. We are His sons, His beloved sons. Children of the King, the Creator, the one who governs all things. There is no sting in death. No, there is victory in death as we will live in His steadfast love forever. Therefore, take courage and press on for His glory.

– J.C. Hahne

A new friend of mine recommended that I read Calvin’s “The Necessity of Reforming the Church”. So, I am slowing going through it, reading and re-reading. Honestly it’s been a while since I picked up something that is so weighty, thus I see my need to retrain my attention span (or maybe it’s just that I’m reading at 12:30 AM). Anyway, there are some great quotes, and though I haven’t gotten too far into his appeal, I have been encouraged and am delighting in the doctrines of grace; the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Just thought I’d share a paragraph or two with you all… It really does produce a humble heart, thankfulness, and assurance which leads to true worship unto God.

Now, the knowledge of our salvation presents three different stages. First, we must begin with a sense of individual wretchedness, filling us with despondency as if we were spiritually dead. This effect is produced when the original and hereditary depravity of our nature is set before us as the source of all evil  a depravity which begets in us distrust, rebellion against God, pride, avarice, lust, and all kinds of evil concupiscence; and making us averse to all rectitude and justice, [it] holds us captive under the yoke of sin; and when, moreover, each individual, on the disclosure of his own sins, feeling confounded at his turpitude, is forced to be dissatisfied with himself, and to account himself and all that he has of his own as less than nothing; then, on the other hand, conscience (being cited to the bar of God) becomes sensible of the curse under which it lies, and, as if it had received a warning of eternal death, learns to tremble at the divine anger. This, I say, is the first stage in the way to salvation, when the sinner, overwhelmed and prostrated, despairs of all carnal aid, yet does not harden himself against the justice of God, or become stupidly callous, but, trembling and anxious, groans in agony, and sighs for relief.

From this he should rise to the second stage. This he does when, animated by the knowledge of Christ, he again begins to breathe. For to one humbled in the manner in which we have described, no other course remains but to turn to Christ, that through his interposition he may be delivered from misery. But the only man who thus seeks salvation in Christ is the man who is aware of the extent of his power: that is, acknowledges him as the only priest who reconciles us to the Father, and his death as the only sacrifice by which sin is expiated, the divine justice satisfied, and a true and perfect righteousness acquired; who, in fine, does not divide the work between himself and Christ, but acknowledges it to be by mere gratuitous favor that he is justified in the sight of God. From this stage also he must rise to the third, when instructed in the grace of Christ, and in the fruits of his death and resurrection, he rests in him with firm and solid confidence, feeling assured that Christ is so completely his own, that he possesses in him righteousness and life.”

Chew on that a few times. Praise be to Him who has overcome!

This morning I was reading from Bob Kauflin’s book Worship Matters and I came across this wonderful quote by John Piper on the the ever-existing, always-perfect God. So here ya go…

From all eternity the ever-existing, never-becoming, always-perfect God has known Himself and loved what He knows. He has eternally seen His beauty and savored what He sees. His understanding of his own reality is flawless and His exuberance in enjoying it is infinite. He has no needs, for He has no imperfections. He has no inclinations to evil because He has no deficiencies that could tempt Him to do wrong. He is therefore the holiest and happiest being that is or can be conceived…. To share the experience – the experience of knowing and enjoying His glory- is the reason God created the world.”

– John Piper

I praise God that He has redeemed me to learn of His greatness. I await the day when hope becomes reality and my eyes will see and my mind will conceive His glory. I await the day when sin and its deception are done away with as I behold the glory of the LORD.

Holy, holy, holy!

Though the darkness hide Thee,

Though the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see;

Only Thou art holy; there is none beside Thee,

Perfect in pow’r, in love, and purity.

– Reginald Heber

Oh that my eyes would see; that my mind would taste of the perfect nature of the triune God. You are Holy; perfect in power, love, and purity. Oh that I would know you LORD.

Amen.

I was reading this morning from the Psalms and this verse caught my eye and brought comfort and hope to me.

For you bless the righteous, O Lord;

You cover him with favor  as with a shield.” – Psalm 5:12

What a great peomise to hold on to. As you may know we have been going through some tough times as of late. Uncertainty clouds our thoughts and vision. It’s always easy to get discouraged when we fail to see the big picture; that Christ redeemed us, made us righteous, and showers us with His favor for His glory and our good.  May I count it all joy as we face various trials and setbacks. He is working in us for the glory of His great name. Blessed be His Holy Righteous name. Amen!

john-calvin1

There is nothing in which men resemble God more truly than in doing good to others.”

– John Calvin

It isn’t faithfully reading the Bible, praying, going to church, etc. No, it’s doing good to others. You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:39. This is the very way Jesus lived.

If Jesus Christ told us, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9), then when we love, doing good to others, as Christ did, we thus resemble God and bring glory to His name. Jesus continued saying, “The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.” (John 14:10) The Father living in Jesus did His work, namely laying down His life for sinners, through serving, healing, and dying. Thi is what it means to be Godlike… Loving others, doing good to others, for He is love. He is Good!