Colossians 1:15-20

Christ Is Supreme

15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.
He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,[e]
16 for through him God created everything
in the heavenly realms and on earth.
He made the things we can see
and the things we can’t see—
such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
Everything was created through him and for him.
17 He existed before anything else,
and he holds all creation together.
18 Christ is also the head of the church,
which is his body.
He is the beginning,
supreme over all who rise from the dead.[f]
So he is first in everything.
19 For God in all his fullness
was pleased to live in Christ,
20 and through him God reconciled
everything to himself.
He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth
by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Church Discipline: A Loving Act?



As I write this, I'm listening to John MacArthur give the most beautiful, most comprehensive explanation of church discipline I've ever heard. He's framing it as a great act of love. We know the Good Shepherd goes after that one lost (straying, also?) lamb, but through church discipline, administered according to the Scriptures with compassion, humility (for none of us are without sin), love, and truth, Father allows us to be a part of that act of drawing the wayward lamb to repentance and restoration. He does not simply let His sinning child wander farther from the Savior. That would be cruel.
Why does He let us have a part in the reclaiming and restoring of that person from our faith community? I think it gives each member of the body opportunity to closely examine his own spiritual condition. We're not to exercise church discipline to make ourselves feel self-righteous, for we have no grounds for such arrogance. We're all wretched sinners, even on our best days.
Of course, the one being disciplined may refuse to accept it. The Bible also instructs us on how to respond to that circumstance. Whatever the outcome, we cannot cease to pray.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Note: Type "The Gospel According to Joe" in the blog search window to read previous epistles.

The Gospel According to Joe: HOME AT LAST!


O, GLORIOUS MORNING!
I'M HOME AT LAST!

I'm looking upon His Face, the One Who saved me by His GRACE!

("Joe" entered the presence of our Saviour and Lord at 3:16 a.m. this morning.)

Monday, March 21, 2016

A View Toward Calvary




At the Cross
© 2007, 2014, and 2016 by Sharon Kirk Clifton

I huddle at the foot of the Cross.
My arms stretched to grasp it,
my head bowed,
eyes pinched so tightly they hurt.
Silent sobs wrack my being.

The men are gone.
The Brotherhood, save one, has forsaken the Master.


Other women stand,
bow,
lie prostrate nearby,
each alone,
forsaken,
desperate,
desolate.
I hear their weeping off in the distance,
at the perimeter of my own sorrow.

Roman soldiers stand silent,
stone-faced,

trying to understand,
yet bound merely to duty.
Scribes, 

Pharisees, 
Sadducees
cluster together and mutter into their self-righteous beards,
rehearsing their excuses.
Their mumbling blends, segues 

into the rumbling of a gathering storm.

Messiah, on the Cross, lifts His head to Heaven.
With one last lingering remnant of strength,
He pushes against the spike that impales His feet,
pulls up on the nails that pierce His wrists,
draws in a gurgling breath,
licks His lips to moisten them, to make speech possible,
And cries out to the Father Whose Face is turned away.

"It is finished!"

A pronouncement that will echo throughout Eternity.

I look up as His weary, abused head
sinks to His bosom,
where so many children had rested their heads
and received His blessing.

A drop of His vermillion Blood
rolls down one of the thorns
that comprises a crude crown.
In one interminable moment,
I watch it
fall;
I tip my face downward in shame,
knowing my own unworthiness,
yet yearning for His anointing.
That Sacred Drop
Splashes on my head and covers me o'er.

A mourning veil shrouds the sky.

Night invades midday

The Earth shakes.