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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Galatians and the Message

These passages in the Message's interpretation of Galatians got me thinking about attitudes, heart, and actions that sadly too often characterize those of us in the church (think ego; think exchanging the freedom we have in Christ for the yoke of fearing/pleasing other Christians and/or not upseting non-Christians; think living for the wrong thing; think not keeping the main thing the main thing; think living for what is seen instead of what is unseen; think of living out of selfish ambition/performance rather than love; think an unwillingness to risk that stems from a lack of love for God and others, etc.).  It's convicting.

Gal 1:10... Do you think I speak this strongly in order to manipulate crowds? Or curry favor with God? Or get popular applause? If my goal was popularity, I wouldn't bother being Christ's slave. Know this—I am most emphatic here, friends—this great Message I delivered to you is not mere human optimism. I didn't receive it through the traditions, and I wasn't taught it in some school. I got it straight from God, received the Message directly from Jesus Christ.

Galatians 2:6...As for those who were considered important in the church, their reputation doesn't concern me. God isn't impressed with mere appearances, and neither am I.

Galatians 2:19-21 What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn't work. So I quit being a "law man" so that I could be God's man. Christ's life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not "mine," but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that. Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God's grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Another Cool Post from and Paul Tripp

Forgiveness is an Investment: What it Costs

Published by Molly Friesen at 9:59 am under Forgiveness

Following up on my Monday post about the dark “benefits” of unforgiveness, Paul Tripp goes on to explain that “forgiveness is an investment in your relationship with God and in your relationship with one another. As with all investments, there is cost involved. In any investment you make, your concern is that the return will be greater than the cost” (95).

So, what are the costs involved? Tripp lists a handful of costs, along with a full paragraph of explanation for each. I’ll include an excerpt of each explanation, but it’s certainly worth reading in full.

Forgiveness requires humility. ”When we stand in the center of our own universe with nothing more important to us than ourselves, we find nothing more offensive than a sin against us … Nobody gives grace better than someone who is convinced he needs it as well.”

Forgiveness requires compassion. ”Compassion is being moved by the plight of another, coupled with action to help him or her. Husbands and wives, does compassion ever grip you when your spouse sins against you? … You forgive [him or her] because, by God’s grace, you look at [him or her] through tender, rather than judgmental, eyes.”

Forgiveness requires trust. “Forgiveness is not so much an act of faith in your spouse as it is an act of faith in God.”

Forgiveness requires self-control. ”If you are going to forgive your spouse for committing a sin against you, you must say no to yourself, exercising the self-control that only God is able to give you. To forgive, you have to say no to bitterness… to the desire to lash out with angry words and actions of vengeance … [and] to the impulse to share your anger with a relative or friend.”

Forgiveness requires sacrifice. “Forgiveness requires that we be willing to let go of our desire for safety and comfort and the surface peace of silence, and, as an act of faith, that we endure what we do not want to face in order for the other to be helped and our relationship to be reconciled.”

Forgiveness requires remembering. “Perhaps a lifestyle of unforgiveness is rooted in the sin of forgetfulness. We forget that there is not a day in our lives that we do not need to be forgiven… When you remember, when you carry with you a deep appreciation for the grace that you have been given, you’ll have a heart that is ready to forgive.”

From Paul Tripp "What Did You Expect: Redeeming the Realities of Marriage", pages 95-97

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Extraordinary Cakes

My friend Leigha made this beautiful delicious cake for a bridal shower I threw recently.  I told her what the shower decoration theme would be and she designed this perfect cake to match.  It was a hit.  To top it all off, Leigha is just the best, and we have been friends for 20 years!  If you are interested in ordering a cake from her, you can reach her at: