The American Independence Day is a reminder of how the lesser over comes the stronger. It is a place of determination and persistence. It is what God was willing to do for you and for me in order to call us His own. I celebrate as an American and celebrate freedom because of a gracious God.
This is a great video to remind us how the American Revolution changed the world.
1 Corinthians 4:6 – “For
God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our
hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of
shined a light in the darkest reaches of the heart of a follower of Jesus. The
God of light therefore acts quite differently from the god of this world, who
blinds people, flings them into utter darkness, and hardens their hearts (4:4).
Paul alludes here to the creation account in Gen 1:3–4: “God said, ‘Let there
be light.’ ”
teaching us that the same God who created light in the midst of chaos at the
beginning of creation beamed that supernatural light into the heart of the
The image of light shining
reminds most interpreters of the account of Paul’s own conversion experience
recorded in Acts. In Acts it is described as a light from heaven and connected
with glory and “brilliance” of Jesus. Acts does not portray this event as some
internal awakening but as an external reality. What Paul makes
clear here is that the external reality became an internal reality. Paul was no
longer defined by his sin, he is defined by his relationship with the light.
God offered new possibilities. We have new opportunities as well.
The new possibilities are the
strength discovered in Christ’s love.A
Little girl was holding two apples; Her mother asked for one. The girl quickly
bit one apple and then bit into the other… the mother was disappointed … Then
the girl handed one to her mother and said, “Here this is the sweeter one.”
My friends, the strength we gain
in knowing the bitter taste of the world verses the sweet and everlasting taste
of God’s strength is what we are showing those around us.
We show the love of Jesus when we
show our strength discovered in Jesus.
grandmother overheard her 5-year-old granddaughter playing "wedding.” She had her teddy bear and dolly ready for to be man and wife. The
wedding ceremony went like this: "Dear Friends. We have gathered here to
join this man and this woman in marriage. The man goes first… Repeat after me.
“You have the right to remain silent, anything you say may be held against you,
you have the right to have an attorney present.” Now, you may kiss the bride.
Christian live as if being a Christian is a death sentence. Following Jesus is
not like being arrested … it is an opportunity to get beyond the hell of sin
and into the strength, the love and the light of living.
it mean to SHOW? – To SHOW that love of Christ is to allow or cause the love of
Christ to be visible. We make Jesus visible (or reveal Jesus) when we show the
world His strength in us, His heart in us, and His light in us.
So, lets get beyond our pride, stop remaining silent and get out to show we love Jesus!
1:14: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his
glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of Grace
I love the thought that you and I are to be FULL of both grace and
truth. Jesus and the N.T. does not suggest a balance between grace and truth,
but the full embodiment of grace and
truth. Jesus did not come to strike a balance between grace and truth, but He
brought the FULL MEASURE of both.
So what is
Grace and Truth?
is generous, free and totally unexpected and undeserved acceptance.
is is that which confirms reality, fact, or actuality. We don’t have time to
debate the philosophy, the historical, or even the age-old question, what is
truth. This definition will work for our purposes … In other words, what Jesus
is teaching and revealing is that the confirmation of my faith is when I live
it in reality, as fact, and in actuality.
The church is the embodiment of BOTH Grace and Truth. Now listen,
the only group Jesus consistently condemned were graceless religious people –
those who misused truth to control through guilt, fear, and condemnation.
The bible is the ultimate truth which is filled with the ultimate
of grace. The church (You and I) is to be characterized by a full dose of truth
… calling sin what it is and pointing to the purity and holiness that comes
through believing, accepting, and uniting with Jesus … AND characterized by a
full does of grace. THIS IS A CHALLENGE!
It takes boldness, commitment, and to move beyond yourself! How do
we do this?
First, We confront sin! In our own lives and in the lives of those
Second, We don’t ostracize the person, including ourselves … Jesus
always looked beyond the sin, to the person and helped them to see a greater
possibility through living the truth.
I want to commit to having soft hearts of grace and calloused hands from serving! You know I love ya, Don
wonder, if we were to ask the person in the street, “Why is the church important?” …
we would get a wide range of answers. Some would laugh at the question, because
for them the church has no importance.
Others might see the church in the same category
as museums:The church preserves things from the past… They’re a nice place to
visit on rainy days, where you can observe how quaintly people used to live,
but they’re out of touch with our modern world.
Others might couch their answer in political terms: They view the church
as a powerful voting block to oppose the erosion of morality and to preserve
some might respond to our question by saying that they see the church’s
importance as a social institution.It helps
meet the physical needs of the poor and the emotional needs of the lonely and
distraught. It ministers to people at the pivotal times of life: birth,
marriage, death …
For many American churchgoers, the church is important because
it meets many of their personal needs. They shop around for a church that makes
them feel good each week…when they feel good, they is no reason to go. It is a weekly
boost that enables them to cope with life.
we come to a short, balding man with a beard, who looks decidedly Jewish. Somewhat
hesitantly, we ask him,“Sir, we’re
asking people the question,‘Why is the
church important?’ Would you care to comment?”
says, “I believe the church of Jesus Christ is the most important force in the
world today. Its task is more important than all the governments and
universities of the world combined. There is nothing to compare with it!” We
reply, “That’s a pretty strong statement, sir! Why do you say that?”
leans forward and says,
most significant event in human history was when the living God took on human
flesh and lived among us as the Lord Jesus Christ to bear our sins. And since
He ascended into heaven, His church now reveals Him on earth, even as He
revealed God when He was on earth.” So, The church is important because it
reveals Christ, even as Christ reveals God in human flesh.”
believe this statement with all my heart, even more today that ever before. The
church is the unified assembly bearing the embodiment of Grace and Truth. You know I love ya, now go out and be Jesus to somebody! Don
There’s an example of God’s kind of mercy in Mark 1:40-42. There
we’re told that a leper came to Jesus, and knelt before Him and said to him,
“If you will, you can make me clean.”
Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him and
said to him, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him, and he
was made clean.”
“The amazing part of this
healing is how Jesus did it - Jesus TOUCHED him!” You didn’t touch lepers. They
were unclean! If you touched them, you became unclean and no one wanted that!
But Jesus TOUCHED this man.
Isn't it great to know that Jesus is willing to touch our deepest guilt, shame, sin, sorrow, and heartache? Jesus loves us enough to touch us right where we are.
Philip Yancey tells the story of Dr. Paul Brand who devoted his
life to treating leprosy patients in India. In the course of one examination
Brand laid his hand on the patient’s shoulder and informed him through a
translator of the treatment that lay ahead.
To Dr. Brand’s surprise the man began to shake with muffled sobs. Brand
turned to the translator “Have I said something wrong?”
She questioned the patient and then replied: “No, doctor. He says
he is crying because you put your hand around his shoulder. Until
you came here no one had touched him for many years.”
How is God's mercy being experienced in your life? Have you touched the heart of anyone lately?
I once read the true story of a preacher was organizing an
evangelistic outreach using small acts of kindness to demonstrate Christ's
love. He phoned several neighborhood grocery stores and Laundromats for
permission to do specific services.
On one call, the employee who answered the phone hesitated, then
said, "I'll need to ask the manager, but first, let me make sure I
understand: You want to clean up the parking lot, retrieve shopping carts hold
umbrellas for customers, and you don't want anything in return."
"Yes, that's right," the preacher replied.
After a few moments the employee returned to the phone.
"I'm sorry," he said, "we can't let you do that
because if we let you do it, we'd have to let everyone else do it, too!"
(Ann Jeffries, Kansas City, KS Christian Reader, "Lite
why did that store respond like that? Because NO ONE does stuff like that!
This church was obviously out for something… an ulterior motive.
And the grocery store was right. The church did have an ulterior motive - they
wanted to reach their world for Christ and the tool they were using was
something called “showing mercy.”
What exactly IS mercy? Mercy is: a blessing that is an act of divine favor or compassion (that’s what God does) and
it is also … compassionate treatment
of others because of his divine favor (that’s what Jesus-followers do).
Basically, mercy is the act of getting your hands dirty helping
others. Mercy is where a person visits the shut-ins, feeds the hungry, clothes
the naked. This is giving your offering first and making a point to give over
and beyond. Mercy is when is follower of Jesus is doing the love of Jesus. And
they do this act without expecting to be paid to do it or recognized.
Thank You for taking a look at my blog page. Feel welcome and ask questions.
I am married to Karen, we have five children. Matthew, Alice, Nicholas, Kendyll, & Nathan.
Matthew and Alice are our biological children and Nicholas (passed away from Heart Surgery complications at 2 months old), Kendyll, and Nathan were adopted. I do not believe biology makes a parent...it helps you get there, but parenting takes work and dedication covered in Prayer!
I am love My God, my Wife and Children, and Spiritual Formation. Acts 2:42 states that Christians are "devoted." I may never be famous, but I will be famous in my home and in my world as one that is devoted to God, Family, and Growing in Jesus.
I like to close with, "You know I love ya" ... because it is true.
The Crane Family March 2016
Always fun to live with an extra Chromosome...Try living with three!
I Am A Courageous Dad!!!
Being a dad is the greatest job God ever created!!!
Dirty God : Jesus in the Trenches
A great read on grace for a struggling modern society.
Deep & Wide by Andy Stanley
Creating Churches Unchurched People Love to Attend