Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Lord's Prayer

This is so inspiring. Just thought I'd share.

The Lord's Prayer

Saturday, March 20, 2010


A very dear friend of mine sent this blog to me. I don't remember who made the quote but it says that a good writer is someone who does not give you new information or facts, but puts into words what you already knew to be true but were never able to verbalize. The writer of this article is one of those writers. This is a powerful message and I wanted to share it with all of you. The link to this blog is located the bottom of this page.

Zondervan Blog

Extreme Measures

Posted: 16 Mar 2010 06:29 AM PDT

Thoughts on Embracing the Cross

by Michael E. Wittmer, Ph.D.

If desperate situations call for extreme measures, then extreme measures are a sign that we are in a desperate situation. When a police car flashes its lights behind me, my wife turns to me and says in her disapproving voice, “What did you do?” If my car is surrounded by police cars and a television helicopter is hovering overhead, my wife’s tone will become more accusatory, “What did you do?” If a fighter jet joins the chase, dropping bombs in the direction of our car, my wife might scream like the leading lady in a Schwarzenegger movie, “What did you do?!”

Consider what God did to save us. He didn’t hand us a brochure or ask us to attend a seminar, as if our problem was merely ignorance. He didn’t hold an intervention or send us to boot camp, as if our problem was merely stubbornness. He answered our need with the cross, which can only mean that we have really messed up. If the cross is necessary to save us, then What did we do?

The cross is a dagger through the happy talk of “you’re okay, I’m okay” and through the belief that if we just try harder we can get past our issues and change the world. The center of history is a weapon of torture—imagine holding hands around a guillotine or electric chair and you’ll get the idea. The cross informs us that things have gone horribly wrong, and they won’t be right unless somebody dies.

That somebody is Jesus. It’s fashionable to deny that Jesus died to pay the debt which we owed to God (the penal substitution view of the atonement). I agree that penal substitution doesn’t explain everything that happened on the cross (Jesus also defeated Satan and left us an example), but it does express the most important thing. Take away penal substitution, and you can’t explain what happened there.

Consider William Channing, a Unitarian who said that his liberal friends “have no desire to conceal the fact that a difference of opinion exists among us in regard to an interesting part of Christ’s mediation,—I mean, in regard to the precise influence of his death on our forgiveness” (The Works of William E. Channing, 378).

Or Greg Boyd, whose Christus Victor view contributes a necessary aspect of the atonement. Nevertheless, without penal substitution, Boyd is forced to concede that “Obviously, this account [Christus Victor] leaves unanswered a number of questions we might like answered. E.g., precisely how did Calvary and the resurrection defeat the powers? …at the end of the day we must humbly acknowledge that our understanding is severely limited” (The Nature of the Atonement, 37).

Perhaps the reluctance to embrace penal substitution—despite its explanatory power—lies in part in an overly optimistic view of ourselves. We don’t think we’re really that bad, surely not bad enough to deserve God’s wrath, and so we are unable to say precisely why Jesus died.

Jesus died instead of us but not without us. We don’t get away scot free, but are called to take up our cross and be crucified with Christ (Matt. 16:24; Gal. 2:20; Rom. 6:1-14). Karl Barth explains: “That Jesus Christ died for us does not mean, therefore, that we do not have to die, but that we have died in and with him, that as the people we were we have been done away and destroyed, that we are no longer there and have no more future” (Church Dogmatics IV/2, 295).

Salvation is free but it’s not cheap. It cost Jesus his life, and if you accept his gift, it will cost yours.

About the Author:
Mike Wittmer's latest book Don't Stop Believing: Why Living Like Jesus Is Not Enough is an urgent call for both right practice and right belief. Wittmer's first book, Heaven Is a Place on Earth: Why Everything You Do Matters to God, gently but firmly strips away common misconceptions about the value of this world and the meaning of the Christian life. As of this writing, at he is blogging through the questions in Brian McLaren's latest book.

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Baby Woolsey now has a name. He will be called Evan Thomas Woolsey. I had the awesome privilege of attending the 20 week ultrasound with my son, Ryan, and daughter-in-law, Jennifer. This was the one they were waiting for, since the gender of the baby would be able to be determined. I watched the screen as the ultrasound began and just stared in awe at the images of a little life moving innocently about in the safety of mommy's womb. We saw his spine, that was perfect. It looked so strong. We saw his heart, beating with perfect rhythm, strong. We saw his little hands, legs, and feet, moving, moving, moving. The radiologist switched to the 3D mode, and the image we saw of his little face just did something inside me that I cannot explain.

When the radiologist announced and simultaneously showed us the gender of this little boy, I let out a scream. I would have done that no matter which gender the baby was, but it just came out of me. I did apologize for that, but the kids were gracious with this old grandma.

I had gone last weekend and bought a pink fuzzy lamb and a blue one and stuck them in my bag. When we knew that it was a boy, I pulled out the blue soft fuzzy lamb and put it on Jenn's shoulder.

Thanks for letting me share such a personal and deeply touching moment in my life. Now I gotta crochet that last section of blue on the baby blanket I'm making. Praise God for His miracle of conception and birth. Amazing!

Saturday, March 13, 2010


I was doing some Bible study and came across a thought provoking revelation. There are several symbols we use to denote our Christianity. Among them, and possibly the most popular is the cross necklace. I can't get away from the revelation I received that we have lost sight of the purpose of wearing that cross. Is it because we want to be bold in our witness and let others know we are Christians? Is it that we like the symbol of the cross, what it stands for, and want to wear it? Is it just a charming and popular thing to wear? After all, they can be quite fashionable and unique in style. Mine has open lines in it, somewhat decorative.

In Jesus' day, death by crucifixion was the most degrading and cruelest way to die. It was reserved for the lowest of the low. Who receives the death penalty in our day? The ones who commit the most heinous crimes.

My point here is, for Christians, wearing the cross is not something to be taken lightly. It not only symbolizes the horror Christ endured for our sins, but it signifies that we are willing to take up our cross and follow Him, even to death.

"Then He said to them all: If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." Luke 9:23 (NIV)

Sunday, March 7, 2010


How do I recover from a setback or traumatic experience? The Holy Spirit has revealed to me “the most excellent way” from 1 Corinthians 13, the love chapter, focusing on verse 13: “And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

When my faith receives a sudden, quick blow, it becomes shaken. In order to recover, I must reestablish or confirm my faith though the Word of God, as stated in Romans 10:17: “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” This is why many people fail to recover or continue to struggle in their recovery. Their faith was not set on the foundation of “the Word,” but was set on a person, place, or situation that has been changed or taken from them. Establishing my faith means I must put my total trust into the Lord’s will, away from my own selfish will. “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me,” Galations 2:20.

The next thing I need to do is shift my focus from my problem and myself to the Lord Jesus,whose ways are just. He has been waiting for me to get my faith renewed, so that He could plant seeds of hope within my spirit. It is then that I am able to have strength to “reverse” my loss. Isaiah 40:31 says, “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.” Hope assures me that my Lord will work things out for me.

But, you see, I am still thinking about myself. In order to rise above my situation, I must understand what is written in Genesis 50:20: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” I am obligated to share my faith and hope, in spite of my adversity and loss, by reaching out to others in love. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.”

The Lord has given meaning, then, to my adversity and as a child of His, I have the privilege and duty to obey in faith, hope, and love, with the greatest of these being love.

Bobbi J. Craigmyle, ©1999