22081 Hidalgo, Mission Viejo, CA 92691 Sunday 10AM

Morning and Evening: 01/16

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As I write this devotional blog, I am burdened with a prayer request for my sister-in-law who has been in random but chronic pain for much of the past 3 or so months. My brother has come to me petitioning my prayers that God would heal his wife and/or equip and prepare them for drastic news. They need help. Sometimes the help we need is material but right now in their case it is help in the form of alleviation from pain. “I will help you, says the LORD.” (Isaiah 41:14 NKJV) How can God help in a situation like my brother and sister-in-law are currently facing? He can completely wipe away whatever is ailing her. He is able. He is the Great Physician. He may not cure her at this time but he can provide the medicine necessary to curb the suffering that the pain has caused. And if it is serious pain that requires treatments, he can turn this situation into an opportunity for his name to be exalted and someone to come to know Christ. He can most definitely help! If you are in need of ministry please reach out to one of the elders in the church or submit your need to the prayer chain so that the church body can be used by God to help. Help, after all, “is the least thing [God] could ever do for [us].” (Spurgeon, p.32)

Ephesians 3:20-21 NJKV

Now to him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think… to him be glory in the church.

We are in constant need of help because we live in a fallen world and occupy fallen bodies. Our sin has caused us to require something far greater than assistance. When the coroner washes the body at the morgue, it may be clean but it is nonetheless dead. Unless that man has ability to raise the body back to life, the cleaning can do no long term good. The body is presentable for the funeral but it will decay in the earth. The help we need is not breaking addictions or better church attendance or even less sin in our lives (though those things may evidence Christian growth). What we need is atonement for our very own sins that we have committed ourselves. How amazing is it that God is both just and the justifier in one action? He has placed the condemnation of which I alone am guilty upon the innocent and perfect Christ (Isaiah 53:5) and removed it in full from me (Ezekiel 11:19, Isaiah 43:25). Remember, God never excuses sin. He executes the guilty and pours out wrath for sin. He does not allow us to simply slide by because he’s nice. God is not a “Santa Claus for adults” (to quote Morgan Freeman’s character in the film, The Big Bounce). No, he is fearful (Hebrews 10:31) and we cannot stand before him as sinners. God in his infinite grace and mercy took all of my sin and looked away when Christ died for it. Jesus took it all– all of it. The Father accepted the sacrifice and then forever looked on me and declared me guiltless. Forgiven. Justified. God is both just (because sin was paid for) and the justifier (because I am perfect in Christ) of the one who has faith in Jesus (me). Wow. That is why my single favorite verse in the Bible is Romans 3:26

to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”

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