Categories
Theology

This I Believe: The Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit

God the Father
I believe in God the Father, an infinite, personal spirit, perfect in holiness, wisdom, power and love. I believe he infallibly foreknows all that shall come to pass, that he concerns himself mercifully in the affairs of men, that he hears and answers prayer, and that he saves from sin and death all who come to him through Jesus Christ.

Matt. 23:9; Luke 10:21, 22; John 3:16; 6:27; Rom. 1:7; 1 Tim. 1:1,2; 2:5,6; 1 Pet. 1:3; Rev. 1:6

Jesus Christ
I believe in Jesus Christ, God the Father’s only begotten Son, conceived by the Holy Spirit. I believe in His virgin birth, sinless life, miracles, and teachings. I believe in His substitutionary atoning death, bodily resurrection, ascension into heaven, perpetual intercession for His people, and personal visible return to earth.

Matt. 1:18-25; 20:28; Luke 1:26-38; John 1:1; 20:28, 30; Acts 1:11; Rom. 5:6-8; 6:9-10; 8:46; 9:5; 2 Cor. 5:21; Eph. 1:4; 1 Tim. 3:16; Heb. 7:25; 9:28; 1 Pet. 2:21-23

The Holy Spirit
I believe in the Holy Spirit who comes forth from the Father and Son to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment, and to regenerate, sanctify, and empower all who believe in Jesus Christ. In all that the Spirit does, he glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ. I believe that the Holy Spirit indwells every believer in Christ, and that He is an abiding helper, teacher and guide.

John 14:16, 17, 26; 15:26, 27; 16:9-14; Rom. 8:9; 1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19; Gal. 5:22-26

Categories
Theology

Morning Prayer

Here is a prayer I wrote that I will start to pray each morning to remind myself of the gospel.  It is a prayer that I’m sure will change slightly over time and it is not meant as a “be all, end all” prayer. It is also not meant to produce “religious gibberish” that is merely repeated with the mouth and not meant in the heart.  It is meant as a template, if you will, so that my mind and heart get into the daily (hourly?) rhythm of confessing Christ as my sole righteousness.

Please feel free to pass this along or re-post or even continue to add paragraphs in the comment section below.

Father in Heaven,

This new day I come not to ask that my slate would be “wiped clean,” for it was wiped clean when your Son cried, “It is finished.”  Today, I acknowledge and rejoice in the fact that my righteousness is solely based on the perfect person and work of Jesus Christ. I am accepted by you because of him. By grace through faith I look outside of myself to Jesus and wholly lay claim of the alien righteousness that he gives as the only ground for my acceptance.  Only this active faith in Christ will increase my sanctification today.  No amount of good works, kept disciplines, hallelujahs, prayers, sighs, or tears will improve my heart or get you on my side. For in Christ, you are already 100% for me.

I am perfectly loved in the gospel. Your grace has broken into my life through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Only through the Spirit’s application of his redemptive work am I able to experience relationship with you and so become your child, your servant, and your friend, and am no longer a son of disobedience, a slave of sin, and your enemy.

You welcome me this morning not because I rise early to read your word and pray. You welcome me not because I try to love you, my family, and those around me. You welcome me not because I try to live purely and righteously in a broken world. You welcome me because you welcome your Son, with whom you are well pleased. Because your Son, who knew no sin, became sin on my behalf I have become your righteousness. This righteousness is not my own, but it is a righteousness from you that depends on faith. Now when you see me, an unworthy sinner, you see Jesus, for my life is hidden in him.

Thank you for the gospel, O glorious Father.  Thank you for Christ, my substitute Savior.  Thank you for the Spirit who gave life to my dead heart and is active in me as the guarantee of my inheritance. Thank you for your gracious love for and acceptance of me. Because of your love and acceptance, cause me to walk in a manner worthy of this calling that I might be fully pleasing to you and put Christ on display to show the world how marvelous he is.

In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Categories
Life

Wrestling with an Angel

Greg Lucas writes on a blog that I was introduced to today.  Greg has a son, Jake, with severe disabilities and now, after 17 years, Jake is out of the home, receiving greater care as he tries to prepare for independent living.

Greg’s passion for Christ, holiness, and living they atypical American life is convicting.  God has used Jake’s life to push Greg in this direction.

A recent birthday letter to from Greg to Jake especially gripped my heart:

Then, just after your first birthday, you got sick and had to spend a lot of time in the hospital. Your mom and I were young and scared and didn’t know what to do when you stopped breathing and had seizures. We spent that entire year in hospitals and doctors offices trying to figure out what was causing you to be so sick. No one could give us any answers. No one could help you get better. We cried a lot that year. It was one of the most difficult times of my life.

Then, just as we were about to give up, we found someone who could help. He picked us up off the floor of our hopelessness, held us up with His strong arms, wiped away our tears with His gentle hands, and healed your seizures with His mighty power. He changed our lives forever. His name is Jesus, and you know Him well—for it was you that introduced us to Him

Categories
Theology

Symphonies and the Trinity

The Trinity — the fact that God exists as three persons in one — is the most mysterious and glorious truth about God.  The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all the same in their deity, attributes, and being, yet different in their function, office, and purpose.  I love that our God is a Trinitarian God.  It illustrates unity and diversity functioning together in perfect union, harmony, peace, love, respect, and a thousand other things.

In music, especially symphonies, we see a small reflection of this truth. I am not the musician in our house: Carly get’s that title.  She is gifted with a number of instruments and can sing beautifully.  What I do know is that a a full-size orchestra consists of about 100 people, and that they are all unique in their talents, functions, and purposes. In order for an orchestra to master a symphony, the musicians must not all be playing the flute.  They all have their own instruments; they fulfill their role and responsibility and trust that the others will do the same.

As one person plays, he is one part of a greater whole. As one person plays, there are a hundred other musicians who are playing their own notes, with their own sheet music, with their own purpose. Yet as each musician performs, the music comes together in perfect harmony, and art and beauty is created.

This is true of all music, not just the orchestra. When we listen to music, we must embrace the reality, and appreciate the harmony, of unity and diversity functioning together. Whether it is Coldplay or Skillet or the Boston Symphony Orchestra , music performed skillfully should lead us to worship the God who is diverse, yet unified and three, yet one.