Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Easter Fever

If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.
- 1st Cor. 15:19

Easter's on it's way and as far as I'm concerned it can't get here soon enough.   A friend told me a slightly corny saying (no offense, brother!) just the other night.   When anyone asks if he likes rock and roll, he replies, "Yes I do!  I love that that rock was rolled away!"
I laughed when he relayed the saying to me but the phrase has "stuck to my bones" as I await once again the celebration of the resurrection of Christ as the pinnacle of the Christian faith.   I am indeed forever changed because of the revelation of Christ's resurrection.

The Resurrection of the Son of God is the crux of the Christian Faith.   Echoing Paul's sentiments above, Pastor Timothy Keller says, "If Jesus rose from the dead, then you have to accept all that he said; if he didn't rise from the dead, then why worry about any of what he said? The issue on which everything hangs is not whether or not you like his teaching but whether or not he rose from the dead."

Perhaps that's why so many seem intent on de-legitimizing Easter.  Who's already tired of seeing advertisements for Hop?  As a parent I'm more aware than ever of Hollywood's seemingly constant barrage of attempts to cast a shadow over what is the undeniable brightness of Easter.  

But who could blame them? A lot of us buy tickets.   Many a Christian effectively says "come in Savior but stay out Lord".   In a sense we sub-consciously attempt to roll the rock back into place turning away from the Spirit's power to reconstitute our identities in Him.   Refusing to acknowledge the necessity of resurrection lives lived for God's glory we prefer a type of self-help gospel that encourages us to be more like Jesus (WWJD?).   But without our death, there's no life in Him.

For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live - Rom. 8:13

The  Christmas holiday is much easier for our culture to digest than the paradigm-shifting reality of Easter. Surely the church is in a way intertwined with our life-obsessed culture that wishes to turn away from the supposed disaster of the cross.  Better to focus on Christmas, the beautiful baby and the life before him to live, love, heal and revolutionize the world. 

 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. - 1st Cor. 1:18

Without Christ's death and resurrection, his life was a total waste.  The Christian Faith's power is in the resurrection.  In conquering death He is the hope of our salvation (Psalm 33:20).  Death is no longer the end.   But the beginning of real life.....

"The resurrection completes the inauguration of God's kingdom. . . . It is the decisive event demonstrating that God's kingdom really has been launched on earth as it is in heaven...The message of Easter is that God's new world has been unveiled in Jesus Christ and that you're now invited to belong to it." - N.T. Wright, Surprised by Hope

Thus to the degree I participate with Him in His death, I may be raised again by His holy spirit power to walk NOW hidden in His resurrected life.  In The Normal Christian Life, Watchman Nee makes a divine delineation between the blood of Christ and the cross of Christ saying "the blood atones for our sins while the cross kills our sin-nature".

"Jesus' resurrection is the beginning of God's new project not to snatch people away from earth to heaven but to colonize earth with the life of heaven. That, after all, is what the Lord's Prayer is about." - N.T. Wright, Surprised by Hope

To Nee there seems to be two pieces of true salvation that occur concurrently - the eternal and the present.   The death of Christ (the blood) achieves our eternal salvation while His resurrection (the  cross) provides the power to walk in His holiness and righteousness now freed from slavery to our sin-nature (Rom 6:22). 

If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.  - John 15:10-11

The writer of Hebrews tells us that "for the joy set before Him" Christ endured the cross.  He endured what we deserved that we might enjoy His reward.     May we all await and receive His coming with fresh perspective as to our undeniable present need for Him this Easter.

Christ's Blessings,


ps - noticed this and thought it worth posting.....

This Week

* Tyler Men's Gathering - 7am Wednesday AM
   The Obedience Option - Chapter 6    2 American Center, 5th Floor (Ritcheson Law Firm)

* The Magills @ East Texas Baptist University Chapel - 10am Wednesday, Marshall, TX
   The Magills @ ETBU Concert Series - 12pm & 1pm Wednesday, Marshall, TX

* Azleway Boys Home Charity Event - Thursday Night, Tyler, TX


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Path to Paradise

The way of a fool seems right to him but a wise man listens to advice. 
- Proverbs 12:15

A good friend recently equated the problem of sin to a vacation he once endured some years back.   To hear him tell the tragically humorous story is to feel for him....  

It's a long way down from Holiday Road 
- Lindsey Buckingham, Holiday Road

A long time videographer, Jed was asked to film a wedding on a beach in Hawaii.   The bride and groom told him they would take care of the cost of the flights if he could handle the expenses once he arrived in Kauai.    He thought, "how much could it cost?  I'll grab a hotel room once I arrive and eat on the cheap.  There will a little bit of work but then again I'll get a great free vacation thrown in!" .....WRONG!

Outlandish hotel costs depleted all his extra spending money.   The logistics of the wedding were a nightmare.   The people he went with were far from easy traveling companions and in the long run he lost a lot of money on the deal.   He had a few days left in Kauai when he realized, "I cannot wait to get out of this paradise!".

Sin will take you further than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay and cost you more than you want to spend!  
- Pastor Tim Chaddick, Reality L.A.

In The Obedience Option David W. Hegg writes that "the deceptive mechanics of sin are such that we overestimate it's benefits while at the same time underestimating it's devastating effects on our lives".

By the time we've realized that we are in error it's typically too late and we're already suffering the consequences of our sin.  Paul warned the church in Galatia, "do not be deceived.  God cannot be mocked.  Whatsoever a man sows he shall reap" (Gal 6:7) .  Life can be a school of hard knocks learning one way or another, either with wisdom or through consequences, that we need wisdom that is beyond our natural ability to grasp. 

There is a way that seems right to a man but in the end it leads to folly.  
- Prov. 14:12 

Researcher have concluded that only 10% of our mind is conscious to us.   Thus it's easy to conclude that a major slice of our decision making process must be driven by our subconscious mind?

Consequently it's supremely important that we seek God's wisdom throughout our day in an effort to make decisions that are fueled by His objective truth rather than making decisions tainted by our subjective experiences, fleeting emotions or compulsive passions.

How many times have I made inner declarations or outer proclamations about my future intentions only to be disappointed in myself as I fail to live up to my own self-imposed expectations?

Do not boast about tomorrow for you do not know what a day may bring forth. 
- Prov. 27:1

Tilling the soil was a big part of first century life.  Goads were used to exert influence over rebellious oxen pricking them to follow the farmer's lead.  If the ox "kicked against the goads" the prick would drive deeper into his flesh creating more suffering for the oxen.   In Acts 26:14 Paul hears a voice essentially telling him that submission to God brings blessing while "kicking against the goads" brings suffering.

I must decrease that He and His will might increase in my life.  Ultimately, He will have His way with me either way.   So what sense does it make to choose to suffer the consequences of disobedience by kicking against the goads?

Paul learned that "having it your way", as the long-running Burger King advertisement preaches, only leads to suffering and confusion in our lives....

But Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. 
- Prov. 3:5-6
Did you notice the "lean not on your own understanding bit"?  The human heart deceives itself.  Jeremiah 17:9 says that no human can even understand the extent of the heart's deceitfulness. 
In Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, The Cheshire Cat tells Alice, "if you don't know where you're going any road will take you there".  Because we cannot see where certain choices will lead us, trusting an all-knowing God who has our best interests at heart is the only wise choice.   Obedience and faith grow simultaneously and snowball into the holiness that glorifies God and brings us into a deeper knowledge of Him.   This is His path for us.

In his heart a man makes his plans but the Lord determines his steps.
- Prov. 16:9 

Jed did not understand the expenses, the complexities of the work or the relational dynamics of his "free" vacation to Hawaii.   Thus he was blind to the difficulties that lay ahead.   We only know ourselves to the degree that we know the one whose image we bear.   Jesus Christ has made a way for us; in Him we have "Sonship" with God (Eph 1:5). 

So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven.
- Matthew 10:32 

Resting in the Father's wisdom does not keep us from difficult choices or suffering but it will put us on the path towards righteousness paved with Spirit-led obedience. The sinner who hung on the cross to die beside Jesus recognized Jesus for who He was and believed.  Christ then told him, "today you will be with me in paradise" (Luke 23:43).  Even during his last breaths of life Christ pointed the way to paradise and absorbing our debt offered all the key to the kingdom of Heaven.

In knowing Jesus we know the way.

Blessings and Happy Trails,

This Week

* Tyler Men's Gathering - 7am Wednesday AM

   The Obedience Option - Chapter 5
   2 American Center, 5th Floor (Ritcheson Law Firm)

* Please pray for us this week as we meet with several couples whose marriages need Christ's healing and redemptive touch.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Thunder and Thievery - A Biblical Connection?

God's voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding. 
- Job 37:5

It had been a wonderful but tiring weekend when Megan and I settled into bed for a long night's sleep on Sunday evening.   We'd played at a local bar and grill on Saturday night only to wake up 6 hours later and lead two full services at a church just south of Tyler that next morning.   Suffice to say we were ready for bed. 

The rain was beginning to fall outside when we began to sleep hard....that is until around 4 am when what sounded like the very hand of God splitting open the earth like a watermelon.  The sound literally shook our home causing us both to pop up out of our deep sleep and into a moment of sheer terror.

It was only thunder and lightning you might say.    Most definitely, but going from peaceful sleep to what sounded like a bomb outside our bedroom window is no way to be awakened.  There were no smaller strikes to prepare us just silence then one devastatingly loud BOOOOOOOM!

All electricity cut off immediately, Megan grabbed my hand and said, "check on the girls".   I moved clumsily like I'd just absorbed a blow to the face from Mike Tyson and Megan breathed heavily thanking God it was only thunder.  The next morning Megan and I agreed that for a split second we'd thought that God was coming for us!   It was terrifying! 

I saw that the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying, as with a voice of thunder, "Come and see!" - Revelations 6:1
It's not hard to understand why John the Revelator would use thunder to describe the voice beckoning God's return.   What is more striking (pardon the pun!) in all of nature than a bolt of lightning shooting down from the heavens with all of nature's authority and direction?  

Suddenly, in an instant,  the LORD Almighty will come with thunder and earthquake and great noise, with windstorm and tempest and flames of a devouring fire.  - Isaiah 29:5, 6

Nearly everyone I knew had a basement in their home on the "Tornado Ally" flat plains of Western Oklahoma where I grew up.  We were all quite accustomed to reacting to weather patterns in the Spring.    There was always a strange excitement when the lights would go out and we'd grab candles and get burrowed downstairs to wait for the storm or tornado to pass.  There was a sense that something was happening that none of us could control in any way.   

We were at the mercy of something much bigger and stronger than our entire town - something destructively out of control.  Some prayed and others worried but everyone watched the weatherman's forecast.   If he gave us hope the storm would pass around our town, we were relieved.  If not, then we'd "batten down the hatches".  We always wanted to be prepared.

...for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.  While people are saying, "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.   But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:2-4

Our surprise at that lightning the other night caused me to consider the connection between lightning and thievery.    Now I'm not nearly well-versed enough in eschatology to take a position on how the "end days" will come and none of us could describe the when, where,  and what of Christ's second coming but this much I can say:  I'm eternally grateful that by His grace I will be found ready in Him.  

"Behold, I come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed." - Rev. 16:15

Why would the Son of God compare himself to a thief?  Thief terminology definitely denotes a threat, an unknown hour and an "all-of-a-suddenness"; we have negative connotations of all three.   A real thief would never come when his thievery is anticipated and when he does strike it will be without warning.  Christ is clear in both Matt 24:43-44 and Luke 12:39-40 that no one will know when He's coming.  This ought strike fear in the heart of all who are to be judged  (that's everyone!) yet once again for the Christian there's a completely counter-intuitive perspective. 

As Paul writes to The Thessalonians, because we are not in spiritual darkness we know that one day, should we still be living, we will be stolen away from this world by Him who sits on the throne and is making all things new (Rev. 21:5).   Thus in reconciling all things to himself (Col. 1:20 Christ promises to even revolutionize and purify the act of thievery and as swiftly as lightning strikes we will be rescued by Him from this world.

Notice Christ's juxtaposition between Satan and Himself.... 

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. - John 10:10

We can await Christ, the good thief, with open arms because of the confidence He's given us by the power of His death, resurrection and ascension.  Paul reckons that because of Him who has captured us by His grace we are justified before the Father.....
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.  God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. - Rom. 3:23-25

We have been clothed in His righteousness.   Those who have believed in Christ cannot be found to be naked in their sin like Adam and Eve.  Instead, like the newly "found" Prodigal Son who is clothed in his father's finest garments,  Christ's righteousness has been imputed to us that we might walk in Him with blessed assurance. 

"What believest thou concerning the forgiveness of sins?"
 "That God, for the sake of Christ's satisfaction, will no more remember my sins, neither my corrupt nature, against which I have to struggle all my life long, but will graciously impute to me the righteousness of Christ, that I may never be condemned before the tribunal of God."
- The Heidelberg Catechism, Question and Answer 56

For the guys.....couldn't help it.....

This Week 

* Tyler Men's Gathering - 7am Wednesday AM
   The Obedience Option - Chapter 4
   2 American Center, 5th Floor (Ritcheson Law Firm)

* Sunday - The Magills @ Grapevine First Baptist Church, Dallas, TX

* Join me in praying for the people of Japan who are experiencing horrible devastation after the Tsunami.   Pray that our God who's always in control would win countless hearts to Himself through this disaster.   God works all things together for the good of those who love Him and who have been called according to His purposes (Rom. 8:28).

* Please pray for us this week as we meet with several couples whose marriages need Christ's healing and redemptive touch.


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Extra! Extra! Read All About It! Love Letters

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. - Rom. 15:4

There's not a gift, dinner or trip that will ever delight my wife as much as a hand-written card or letter from me to her.   Megan simply loves to see my words written with patience, honesty and vulnerability.   The letters seem to her to be such a pure and lasting expression of my love.  There is a permanence and thus, a deeper meaningfulness, to the written word that transcends much of our day to day chatter.  It means so much to her that I can't help but include a card or letter with nearly every gift on anniversaries, her birthdays and most Christmas' (Even on the rare occasion that the gift is a bust, the card is always a home run!).   And she keeps all of them!

Consequently one of her favorite things to do is re-read these old love letters from time to time.  In doing so she revisits her earliest emotions about me, her past hopes for our future and my descriptions of the circumstances and activities that made our "pre-child" lives together so special.

Conversely one of my least favorite things to do is look back at those same letters.   It's embarrassing to behold the young romantic that I used to be.   Desiring to read my 21-year-old former self wax poetic about love, commitment and his favorite songs is tantamount to a butterfly desiring to return to his caterpillar youth.   Thanks, just not interested.

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. - Phil. 1:6
However, my past scribblings, endearing to Megan and slightly embarrassing to me, do serve as a reminder of the future hope we have in Christ.   Thank God my mind and heart have matured and continue to mature.  They reveal that being married has helped me to express myself as God shows me more clearly who I am in Him by His covenant grace as the years pass by.  They are evidence of the way God continues to transform my heart into the likeness of His Son day by day and year by year.  What's embarrassing might be the revelation that just like He had work to do then, He has work to do now!

Redeemer Presbyterian Preacher/Teacher Tim Keller held up a New York Times during one memorable sermon explaining how to most New Yorkers it, not The Bible, is the beacon of truth.  A truth so sturdy that most cling to it more dearly than any religious book waking in the morning first to read it and get dialed in to what's happening in the world of politics, news, sports etc...

He went on to explain that studies have concluded that up to 80% of what was contained in said newspaper would be proved false in only 100 years.   For instance in the field of medicine - isn't it interesting how what once was considered bad for us is now recommended by doctors?   There are new findings all the time that are disproving what once were the "new findings".   The medicine we take one year is found to have tremendously dangerous side-effects in the years to come rendering it's reward not worth it's risk.  Science is, in the end, ever-evolving theories based on new evidence and increasingly sophisticated technology.

In sports for instance consider the game of Baseball.  How shocked were folks to find that The 1919  Chicago White Sox, re-named The Black Sox, threw the World Series.  How about Pete Roses' gambling on the very games he played not to mention the rampant steroid use in the 90's?  All of these scandals in a way falsify what were the games' outcomes because the variables most thought were in place giving them a sense of "realness" were being manipulated all along.  The sports pages turned out to be, in a way, false.

Political newspapers, blogs and magazines  are filled with only slivers of the full truth about back room negotiations between elected officials that compromise in one area in order to gain traction in another.   To be sure the news we read is often only a reporters subjective interpretation of the facts or the tiny fraction of the real story that has been allowed to be known by people in "high places".  In short, confusion continues to run rampant even in the highest echelons of the written word.

Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the LORD 
- Psalm 102:18

By contrast The Word of God never changes.  It has never been disapproved.   Through it God brings clarity where confusion exists and shines a light of hope into our darkest hours.  It is alive - breathing life into dead situations and relationships.  Though it was written by imperfect men, it was inspired and protected by a perfect God perfectly.  

Then the Lord put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth. - Jer. 1:9

In considering The Bible's divinely-inspired completeness and perfection I was reminded of the sinister Salieri's apt description of Mozart's God-given musical inspiration in the 1984, Academy Award winning Best Picture, Amadeus.  

But they showed no corrections of any kind. Not one. He had simply written down music already finished in his head. Page after page of it as if he were just taking dictation. And music, finished as no music is ever finished. Displace one note and there would be diminishment. Displace one phrase and the structure would fall. 
- Salieri, Amadeus, 1984 

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness - 2nd Timothy 3:16

In those early days of our courtship my ability (or lack-there-of) to express in letters who I really was and what Megan meant to me depended on my understanding of myself and my ability to make sense of my emotions at that time.    These letters are undoubtedly marred by my immaturity and humanity.  Yet in contrasting my limited understanding of myself and my imperfect love for Megan to God's understanding of Himself and His unchanging love for us all, it's easy to see that The Bible is an immeasurably more valuable, more perfect gift to us.   

Your word is a lamp to my feet and light to my path - Psalms 119:105

Megan treasures my words to her even in their imperfection but The Bible, "The Word made text", is God's perfect love letter to us that is indeed a treasure of inestimable value.   It is also eternally relevant and unlike the subjective nature of our every periodical The Bible clues us into God's objective, unchanging nature and truth.  Oh that our eyes would be open to that fact more regularly.

Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My Words shall never pass away – Matthew 24:35

The Bible is both THE perfectly intimate, imminent love letter and the most transcendent, all-encompassing Good News for all of humanity! 

Oh the lonely days are gone.  I'll be right home.  My baby she wrote me a letter.
Said she couldn't live without me no more!
- The Letter, Wayne Carson Thompson, 1967 The Box Tops


This Week 

* Tyler Men's Gathering - 7am Wednesday AM
   The Obedience Option - Chapter 3
   2 American Center, 5th Floor (Ritcheson Law Firm)

* The Magills featuring The In-Laws & Out Laws @ Ben Wheeler's The Moore's Store Saturday Night @ 7pm - 13 and older show 

* The Magills @ Whitehouse First Baptist Church - 9 & 10:30 Services


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Take a Load Off Fanny....

Come all you broken, come all you helpless, bring your troubles - come lay 'em down 

Our eccentric Maggie (2 and a half) loves her purse, her doll, our cell phones, her bag of rocks, her juice cup and her blanket just to name a few things and she wants to carry them all around with her.   She drops one thing, bends over to pick it up and drops something else.   Watching her manage her desire to carry prized possessions makes us laugh but also provides us an opportunity to teach her.   The other day I tried.

Me: "Sweetheart, you can't carry everything.   You won't be able to use your arms to do anything else.   Why don't you put everything right here and choose one thing to carry?  Then later you can grab something else."

Maggie: "Nooooooo.  I want it to carry it alllllllllll!"

Me: "Suit yourself Maggie but it's just impossible for you to carry it all!"

She walked off in to the other room leaving a trail of things behind her only to stop momentarily to consider what item she should turn back for.

I couldn't help but think of Steve Martin's over-the-top character Nathan Johnson in The Jerk who comes from nothing, makes millions and then loses it all again.   On the way back down, while being stripped of everything in a lawsuit, he pathetically grabs at each thing he sees in his foreclosed mansion saying, "and this thermos, this is all I need....except for this chair.   This chair and this thermos - that's all I need.....except for this fan.  This chair, this thermos and this fan - that's all I need....except...."

You get the picture.  Everything he saw he tried to carry with him.    This fool believed that he knew all he needed and that each item could bring him wholeness and happiness.   This is so often sad but true of us.   Though we be weary and burdened we grasp at everything except that which will really give us rest and true satisfaction.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” 
- Matthew 11:29-30

The Ideal

Jesus taught His disciples that the ways of the world were oppressive and impossible for the human soul to bear.   Keeping the rules, keeping up with "The Joneses'", even keeping yourself happy eventually destroys hope as exhaustion leads to desperation which leads to foolish choices which, ironically, lead us to exactly the opposite condition we started out to achieve.  But Jesus rescues us from our seemingly endless and painfully difficult game of serving self.

When I try to carry my own righteousness I either become proud thinking so highly of my "righteous achievements" that I'm blind to my own sin or I become ashamed of my inability to do the right thing and focus on all my faults and shortcomings becoming blind to the power of God in my life.   Either way my righteousness is useless to God and I'm a blind man searching in the dark.  (Is. 64:6)  When there is the truth of God's word staring me in the face, "there is no one righteous, not even one" (Rom. 3:10).

When I try to keep up with The Joneses I find that coveting leads me to the doorstep of spiritual death.  It's then that I find myself lost seeking buying power (read money) instead of God's power (read faith).  Jesus taught that "No man can serve two masters.  Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money (Mat. 6:24).  When I focus on what others have, I'm instantly aware of what I do not have or how what I have does or does not measure up.   At this point I become blind again consciously or sub-consciously despising God for what He has not done in my life and consequently,  I become a slave to the almighty dollar in an attempt to purchase the momentary desires of my unbelieving heart.  

For many years I did "hard time" laboring under the false assumption that I was in charge of my happiness.   But believing that I've got to stay happy all the time denies Solomon's wise teachings that there is an appointed time for everything.  A time to weep and a time to laugh (Ecc. 3:1,4).   Struggling to keep ourselves happy denies that there's an ordained process of pain, suffering, healing and rejoicing which leads to a deeper faith in the creator of us all.   As I actively engage in that process I place myself in the hands of Him who suffered that I might no longer  suffer under the oppressive yolk of "my happiness" but might find in Jesus a joy that supersedes my darkest hours and a peace amidst life's uncertain circumstances.

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. 
- Isaiah 26:3

Lately I heard someone say that "if self-help books really helped anybody they'd never have to print another one".  Our righteousness is not the goal, our possessions are not the goal, our happiness is not the goal.   His Glory is the goal and in order to achieve that He's changing the world one heart at a time by His grace.  Having given Himself up for us that we might always have Him within us.

Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus,  by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God,  let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.  Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. - Heb. 10:19-23
The Reality...ouch!

I believe that Maggie will slowly begin to understand that there is only so much she can carry.   Every adult is just a child unfolded and we, like Maggie, need to understand our limits knowing what we can carry and what we quite simply cannot carry on our own.  Praise God that the author and perfecter of our salvation (Heb. 12:2) has freed us and declared once and for all on the cross "put the load right on me"......


This Week 

* Tyler Men's Gathering - 7am Wednesday AM
   The Obedience Option -  Chap. 2
   2 American Center, 5th Floor (Ritcheson Law Firm)

* Saturday - The Magills are keynote speakers and entertainers for "The Super Legit Sure Enough Shin Dig" at The Crossbrand Cowboy Church.  It will be a state-wide gathering of youth who'll come for fun, teaching, a rodeo and a concert with The Magills at the end of the day.   Please pray for open minds and fertile hearts at this event.   Most of these kids are really on the fringe of society coming from broken homes at best and totally abusive situations at worst.  We all need Jesus - pray that these kids would come to realize it sooner than later!

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