May 29, 2012

Is This the Testimony of God in Your Life?

Recently, while following my bible reading plan for the year, I read 1 Timothy, chapter 1 and verse 16 really made me stop and think a bit about what Paul was addressing to his young protege and the likely concern he had about some of the most difficult people he was trying to win to Christ.
But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. 1 Timothy 1:16, ESV
As I read this, I noticed these 3 characteristics that the Apostle Paul felt were certainly undeserving for him, especially since he was such an opponent of those following Jesus Christ.  They are, I believe, intended to be an encouragement to us regarding some of the most difficult people who think they don't deserve to be saved by God at all.  But we are examples too, for them to see that God's mercy, grace and forgiveness is as effectual for them as it is for us.

1) God's Mercy - Received
The display of God's mercy involved a light so bright that it caused Paul to be blinded only for a short period of time. Jesus didn't strike Paul dead while on his way to Damascus because he was on his way to persecute and arrest Christians.

Look over your life and examine the times when sin was willfully present and God did not cause you to suffer a sudden death only to then find yourself immediately in His presence to face His judgment. Those times may be too numerable to mention, but God's mercy is infinitely greater.

Have you received God's mercy? How grateful are you for His mercy?

2) God's Perfect Patience - Displayed
This example of patience is unlike anything that we could humanly conceive. Imagine the span of time in Paul's life that God remained unchanged in His attitude toward Paul. It's astonishing!

Only a perfect God could exemplify such a level of patience that would never change and all because of the acceptable atonement of His Son for the sins of Paul, for the sins of the world.

Our only example of the perfect patience of God that can be seen today, is each day that is set before us and the 24 hours that it is made of.

How often have we not acted like God in this respect? I know I'm guilty. Are you? How will you reconcile this?

3) God's Example of Salvation - Seen
Paul was willing to allow himself to be used as an example, to show any person that regardless how opposing or distant they may be to God, He is willing to show how great and merciful He was through Paul's life.

How merciful has God been, even today that it should cause us to be in awe of the greatness of these characteristics of God!

The Christian is the recipient of these good things about God and should exemplify them as much as possible to those around us. Sadly though, sometimes we don't and we need to seek the forgiveness of others, which thereby becomes an example of God in our lives that is seen by others.

The apostle knew that he would justly have perished, if the Lord had been extreme to mark what was amiss; and also if his grace and mercy had not been abundant to him when dead in sin, working faith and love to Christ in his heart. This is a faithful saying; these are true and faithful words, which may be depended on, That the Son of God came into the world, willingly and purposely to save sinners. No man, with Paul's example before him, can question the love and power of Christ to save him, if he really desires to trust in him as the Son of God, who once died on the cross, and now reigns upon the throne of glory, to save all that come to God through him. Let us then admire and praise the grace of God our Saviour; and ascribe to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, three Persons in the unity of the Godhead, the glory of all done in, by, and for us.  Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

Is the Gospel of Jesus Christ truly alive in your life?  How much do you admire and praise the grace of God our Savior and the forgiveness of your sins?

For myself, not enough, I dare say. Not enough.

May 25, 2012

I confess to live and die in this faith

The Last Will and Testament of John Calvin.

In the name of God, I, John Calvin, servant of the Word of God in the church of Geneva,...thank God that He has shown not only mercy toward me, His poor creature, and...has suffered me in all sins and weaknesses, but what is much more, that He has made me a partaker of His grace to serve Him through my work...I confess to live and die in this faith which has given me, inasmuch as I have no other hope or refuge than His predestination upon which my entire salvation is grounded.  I embrace the grace which He has offered me in our Lord Jesus Christ and accept the merits of His suffering and dying, that through them all my sins are buried; and I humbly beg Him to wash me and cleanse me with the blood of our great Redeemer, that I, when I shall appear before His face may bear His likeness.  Moreover, I declare that I endeavored to teach His Word undefiled and to expound Holy Scripture faithfully, according to the measure of grace which He has given me.

John Calvin died at age 54 on May 27, 1654, in the arms of Theodore Beza, his successor.  Looking back on Calvin's life, Beza concluded:

Having been a spectator of his conduct for sixteen years, I have given a faithful account both of his life and of his death, and I can now declare, that in him all men may see a most beautiful example of Christian Character, an example which it is as easy to slander as it is difficult to imitate.

It is appropriate that Calvin's last words - "How long, O Lord?" - were the words of Scripture.  He literally died quoting the Bible he preached, having expended himself in the work and will of God, faithful to the very end.

From the book, The Expository Genius of John Calvin

In The Expository Genius of John Calvin, Dr. Steven J. Lawson delves into the practices, commitments, and techniques that made John Calvin, the great Reformer of the sixteenth century, such an effective preacher during his long pastorate at Saint Pierre Cathedral in Geneva, Switzerland. Dr. Lawson identifies thirty-two distinctives of Calvin s preaching, providing comments from Calvin s writings, quotations from Reformation scholars, and examples from Calvin s own sermons to reinforce his points. In the end, Dr. Lawson finds in Calvin a strong model for expository preaching and calls on modern pastors to follow the Reformer s example.

May 3, 2012

TAPS: Marine Corps League Member - Frederick P. Johannsen, Verplanck, NY

The Chaplain of the Westchester Detachment of the Marine Corps League, regrets to announce the death of LIFE Member - Frederick P. Johannsen of Verplanck, New York.  He died on Monday, 30 April 2012.

He is survived by his wife Molly Johannsen, his son Einar Johannsen, brother Dennis Johannsen, sister Peggy Anne Hennessy, daughter in law Melissa Johannsen, and four beautiful granddaughters, Kami, Paige, Emma, and Maggie.

His obituary is listed here.

Pastor Kurt Michaelson

Chaplain, Westchester Detachment
Marine Corps League

May 2, 2012

TAPS: Arnold Edson, Major, USMC (Ret).

The Chaplain for the Westchester Detachment of the Marine Corps League, regrets to announce the death Arnold Edson, Major, USMC (Ret).  He passed away on 1 May 2012 and was a resident of New Rochelle, New York.

Edson is a World War ll veteran who served in Guadalcanal, Saipan, and various other locations too.

He was a LIFE Member of the Westchester Detachment of the Marine Corps League.

A Jewish Memorial Service is scheduled for Sunday, 06 May 2012 beginning at 1415, at Friends Meeting House, 133 Popham Road, Scarsdale, NY.

Pastor Kurt Michaelson
Chaplain, Westchester Detachment
Marine Corps League

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