Tag Archives: the Gospel

Secret Church

Photo credit: anita

On Friday night, I spent seven hours at our church with a small but enthusiastic group who had gathered for a simulcast by author/pastor David Platt called Secret Church.

We were there for a six hour Bible study, as well as to learn about the harsh realities of the persecuted church around the world.

Pastor David has traveled all over the world to meet with Christians who live in hostile countries. He has met in  small apartments, homes, and even caves to share  God’s Word with those who are desperate to hear it taught. Their time is often limited and there is no time for fluff. Knowing that they could be interrupted at any time and would face certain arrest, these people want to learn as much as they can. Hearing God’s precious Word in all its beauty and power and life is worth any risk.No matter how long Pastor David teaches, they want to hear more. They come hungry and thirsty to hear from their risen Savior.

Would that we in America have that same passion and urgency for Jesus. That is  what He longs for. Who is he who will devote himself to be close to Me?” declares the Lord. (Isaiah 49:25).

I was so excited to dive into God’s Word for such an extended period of time that evening.

If someone had told the 15-year-old me that I would be jazzed about attending something like this, I would have not believed it in a million years. My first thought would have been “How boring!”

I have come a long way.

Life since then— while wonderful in so many ways— has shown me that His Word is my treasure, my solid rock when my world spins out of control, my constant source of comfort and strength, and a deep, never-ending well-spring of pure JOY. Above all, reading and living those words draws me deeper in love with Jesus. It is where He reveals Himself to me, guides me, speaks to me and shows me His beauty.

Pastor David’s topic was “Marriage, Family, Sex, And The Gospel.” Yes, they are all magnificently and spectacularly connected.

As author Jerry Bridges has written, “The gospel is not only the most important message in all of history; it is the only essential message in all of history.”      

Because of the good news of the glorious Gospel, there is:

*hope for the hopeless
*healing for the hurting
*peace for the storm-tossed
*restoration for the broken
*acceptance for the rejected
*open arms for the prodigal
*courage for the fearful
*beauty for ashes
*total and complete forgiveness for the repentant sinner
*rest for the weary
*strength for the weak
*light for those in darkness
*joy for the despairing
*dignity and honor for the shamed
*abundant fullness for hollow emptiness
*purpose for the aimless
*intimacy and friendship for the lonely
*guidance and direction for the confused
*love for the loveless
*LIFE for the dying

The Gospel is breathtaking and utterly transforming.

The Gospel joyfully proclaims that redemption is possible over every single area of our lives!

I will never get over it as long as I live and I will tell of its wonders as long as I have breath. I will celebrate it for all eternity.

By the time the simulcast ended at nearly 2:00 in the morning, the five of us who were left were utterly saturated in the beauty of His grace.

I loved every minute of it.

The next Secret Church simulcast will be on Good Friday, April 6. 2012.  Mark your calendars and check locations. You will be blessed!



Filed under Devotions

Closed Doors, Open Hearts

Yesterday, my husband and I found ourselves staring at yet another closed door in a season that has been full of them.

As followers of Christ, what do we do with those moments when He allows doors to close…and there is no sign that an open door is in the future anytime soon?

1) Allow yourself to feel the feelings that rise to the surface: disappointment, sadness, confusion, fear, even anger. Our feelings are powerful and it is pointless to deny them. So don’t try. Pour out your heart to your God who is always listening. (Psalm 62:8)

2) Remember that you don’t have allow your feelings to be in the driver’s seat. After acknowledging them, relegate them to the place they belong: in the background, not in the forefront.

It has taken me years to learn this. I used to live in a very reactive way; I allowed my feelings to dictate what my day would look like.

The result was a rollercoaster ride and that’s only fun for a few wild moments at an amusement park. It’s no way to live a life.

Then Jesus  taught me how to live by the truth of His Word…NOT by my circumstances, which could change on a dime.

It’s the difference between standing on solid rock and standing on quicksand.

I have become proactive in that I now prioritize His Word over my feelings.

For example, after getting that news yesterday, my feelings rose up and LOUDLY said, “I can’t do this anymore. It’s too hard. I’m exhausted. When will this end?”

And through the gift of  His Word, Jesus spoke truth and comfort to my heart:

“Susan, you have strength for all things through Me. I empower you. You are ready for anything and equal to anything through Me. I infuse inner strength into You…My grace is enough for you (sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble)…My strength and power are made perfect and show themselves most effective in your weakness…Remember, you are waiting for ME: not an event…expect Me. Hope in Me. Live close to Me and I will renew your strength so that you will run and not be weary…Your times are in MY hands… I am guiding you along these unfamiliar paths. I will  turn the darkness into light and I will make the rough places smooth. I will not forsake you…I will NEVER stop doing good to you.” (Philippians 4:13; 2 Corinthians 12:9; Isaiah 40:31; Psalm 31:15; Isaiah 42:16; Jeremiah 32:40).

3) Preach the Gospel–the Good News– to yourself every single day..especially when dealing with disappointment.

Our pastor in Florida taught us this and it is the KEY to living a victorious, peaceful, and incredibly joyful life, even in the midst of pain.

As a result of the Fall, I am sinner, saved by grace alone. Jesus absorbed the righteous wrath of the Father against sin on my behalf so that I might be forgiven and free.

I don’t ever want to get over that!

As Pastor Tullian so rightly declares, “Once God rescues sinners, His plan isn’t to steer them beyond the gospel but to move them more deeply into it.”

One way to do this is to read books on the subject of Christ’s radical sacrifice on our behalf. One of my favorites is  A Violent Grace by Michael Card. I read it prior to Easter every year and every single time, I am driven to my knees in worship to my beautiful Savior. Just mediate on  the following statements from this slim volume for a little while as a way to put whatever your current situation may be into perspective:

He was born to die so I could be born to new life.

He suffered temptation so I could experience victory.

He was betrayed that I might know His faithfulness.

He was arrested and bound so I could be rescued from bondage.

He stood trial alone that I might have an advocate.

He was wounded so I could be healed.

He endured mockery so I could know dignity and joy.

He was condemned so the truth could set me free.

He was crowned with thorns so I might crown Him with praise.

He was nailed to the cross so I might escape judgment.

He was stretched out between thieves so I could know the reach of Love.

He suffered thirst so I can drink Living Water.

He said, “It is finished” so I could begin my walk of faith.

He was God’s Lamb slain so I could claim His sacrifice as my own.

He was forsaken by the Father so I would never be rejected.

He chose the shame of weakness so I could know the hope of glory.

He shed His blood so I could be white as snow.

His heart was pierced so mine could be made whole.

He died and was buried so the grave could not hold me.

He rose again so I might experience eternal life.

He is known by His scars so I will take up my cross and follow Him.   —-Michael Card

I can trust a Savior like this with every closed door.

He has already opened the most important door of all for me: the door into His glorious Presence for all eternity. (John 3:16; John 1:12).

So, I will dry my tears.

I will move on from this closed door, knowing that no season lasts forever and that one day, the right door WILL open wide.

Until then, I will keep moving forward. I will trust Him with what I cannot understand. I will praise Him. I will celebrate His never-ending goodness to me.  I will thank Him for His many gifts. I will stay in His Word.

And I will hope.

“God is too good to be unkind and He is too wise to be mistaken. And when we cannot trace His hand, we must trust His heart.”—Spurgeon


Filed under Devotions