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Enriched Affections- Mystery of Mercy

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Mystery of Mercy by Joshua Huff
In eternity past, before time was made You started a plan to bring glory to Your name You would create a world, both captive and free Where creation would declare Your holy majesty Then sin entered in, enslaving mankind; Making men blind to you, loving the night. But You promised grace and mercy would come Even though we, your enemies, deserved none
Chorus Mystery of mercy, it is Your sovereign plan. Mystery of grace, we will never understand How You could send Your own Son to die For depraved enemies of Your name, such as I To adopt us as children of life Oh, mystery of mercy Mystery of mercy

As time wandered on, Your plan was revealed You would send us a savior whose wounded hands would heal He would live in our world, as a babe enter in The man, fully God, who would free us from sin But He was despised, rejected by men. He suffered Your wrath as the payment for sin. As a dead lamb He lay, ‘til the third morning came When He conquered death as He rose from the…

Enriched Affections- Jesus Lover of My Soul

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Jesus, Lover of My Soul Verses 1-3 by Charles Wesley | Verse 4 & Music by Joshua Huff
Jesus, Lover of my soul, let me to Your bosom   fly. While the nearer waters roll, while the tempest still is high; Hide me, O my Savior hide, ‘Till the storm of life is past. Safe into the haven guide; O receive my soul at last!
You, O Christ, are all I want; More than all in You I find; Raise the fallen, cheer the faint, Heal the sick and lead the blind. Just and holy is Thy name, I am all unrighteousness; False and full of sin I am, Thou art full of truth and grace.
Endless grace with You is found, grace to cover all my  sin; Let the healing streams abound; make and keep me pure with - in: You, the fount of life do flow, freely let me drink of Thee; Spring Thou up within my heart, rise to all eternity.
Heav’nward I lift up my eyes, Christ is on the mercy seat. There I may receive the prize for He intercedes for me. Sin’s dark curse of death has died, Christ the Lamb is all I see; Joys eternal f…

Christian Deconstruction

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My latest morning live session gave some insights into my own experience with Christian Deconstruction. If you aren’t familiar with this phraseology, think of it like tearing down a house in order to see what the foundation is made of. Many Christians go through this process once they are confronted with a crisis of adversity or prosperity. Jesus spoke about this directly in his parable of the different soils in Matthew 13. While only one of the plants in this parable bore fruit and proved to be genuine, two others looked like legit plants until they were confronted with trials, adversity, or the pleasures of this world. When those came around they were shown to be what they were, a fake plant.
Personally, I went through this deconstruction process at the end of 2017. I was very suddenly without a spouse, job, or church. My roles of husband, pastor, ministry leader, and churchman were removed and I was left to consider what my faith really rested on. Was it based on what I was doing …

No Condemnation- Wed. Study

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No Condemnation. That was the theme from today's time in the word. It was strange to go live in front of... 2 people? I was just glad to teach again. I love the lesson planning and study. Teaching others always causes me to know my subject matter more deeply. I'm not sure what will come of these times together on Wed. morning, but I'll leave that in God's hands as I take it a week at a time.

In case you missed it, I was mostly in the book of Romans after a singing "Come Ye Sinners". That song is a great reminder of the grace of God and that He calls us just as we are: weak, weary, sick, and sore. Jesus is the one that saves us, not our works. If we try to save ourselves then we'll never come to Him at all. Praise God that He has done the work of salvation!

As we think about God's grace, there is always the temptation to rely too much on it. I don't mean at all that we shouldn't trust in grace alone for our salvation. I more mean that we may p…

Happy Anniversary?

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One year ago, on May 15, 2018, I enjoyed a great day at the beach with my family. My wife and I watched the girls play in the water at the park near our house. The sun was out. Things were starting to look up for my family. Yes, my marriage still needed a lot of work and I needed a better job, but things seemed to be stabilizing a bit.
One year ago, on May 17, 2018, I was driving home from dropping the kids off at school in the morning. My wife hadn’t come home the previous night, saying she spent the night with one of her girl friends who wasn’t sober enough to drive herself. But I guessed at what happened. After some halting conversation and a few questions, the truth came out. She had done it again, and I knew our marriage was over.
That was a confusing morning for me. I don’t think I had honestly considered divorce a real option until that moment. I hoped the fear of it would keep us together if nothing else would. Divorce wasn’t just about ending our marriage. It would mean ripping…

A Song for Mother's Day

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Nothing too long today. I'm working through a few things personally, and hope to get back to regular posts this coming week. However, with Mother's Day coming I wanted to share an old original I listened to recently.
In my daily reading I'm just getting into 1 Samuel. It took me back to many years ago, reflecting on the goodness of God and writing this song based on 1 Samuel 2:

And Hannah prayed and said,

“My heart exults in the Lord;     my horn is exalted in the Lord. My mouth derides my enemies,     because I rejoice in your salvation.
“There is none holy like the Lord:     for there is none besides you;     there is no rock like our God. Talk no more so very proudly,     let not arrogance come from your mouth; for the Lord is a God of knowledge,     and by him actions are weighed. The bows of the mighty are broken,     but the feeble bind on strength. Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread,     but those who were hungry have ceased to hunger. The barren has borne seven,

Lord From Sorrows Deep I Call

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These past few weeks I've been wrestling with loneliness. It's been a difficult transition; moving from having someone to talk to about everything to... well, to sharing that with a journal, and maybe a few highlights for my friends. The huge positive is that I talk a lot more with God. I know He's always known me, but I'm feeling like we're communicating better, and more often, than I ever have in the past. However, the loneliness still remains.

I know I'm not alone in this life situation. My mother-in-law (how does that work now?) who will always be my second Mom lost her husband several years ago, and I know she's wrestled with this. I have friends who have been single all their lives, seemingly content with their friends and their God, but go through seasons of doubt and discouragement all the same. I know others who have lost a spouse through death or divorce. Still others who simply feel alone even within their marriage and outwardly perfect life. Wh…

In the Valley

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I come to this song in a very different place than when I first heard it. This was released way back in 2006, back when I had two kids and was just getting my feet wet in full-time youth ministry. It's another one of those tunes that's become an old friend. We don't talk every day, but she's there when I need her, ready to remind me of her simple, poetic, and paradoxical message.

I love how it begins. "When you lead me to the Valley of Vision..." This must be the foundation for the Christian as we walk through the valley. Valleys don't happen by chance. We don't stumble into them. We are led there, sometimes gently by the hand, other times with a bit more force, like dragging a dog by his collar to the vet.

As I look back at the valleys I've walked through I must say I've come to love them. That may sound strange, but it's true. Granted, it's a lot easier to say that on this side of a deep one. I know a few friends that are traveling …

Not In Me

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In October of 2017 I was on the threshold of the valley. At the time I didn't know all that God would give and take away, all that He would lead me through. But one thing He was certainly doing was breaking down my pride. You see, humility has always been a struggle for me. Too often I am enthralled with my own gifts and abilities, forgetting the One who gave them to me. Why is that?

Today's song helps with this struggle. It finds the space where the Christian should walk, between utter brokenness over sin and the joy of being made righteous. It's a healthy place where I can honestly say "I am a sinner through and through" while simultaneously praising God that "My righteousness is Jesus life." This is summed up well in the phrase I have tattooed on my arm: Simul Justus et Peccator (Simultaneously Justified and a Sinner). A Saint and a Sinner. That's me. For some reason God really impressed this on my heart, and now I'm reminded of this truth d…

Resigned: Part 2 - The Other Side

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I enjoyed a great evening with my former pastor last night. He did what I should've done before posting about my resignation. He saw a brother had something against him, sought him out, and tried to make peace. I would like to think he succeeded.

One of the things I took away from that meeting was the truth that I still have a lot to learn about being a Christian, but what else is a true Christian if not someone that must consistently align and realign with the Word of God? Our time together ended with asking forgiveness, praying together, and the hope of some kind of relationship in the future.

I wanted to start with that because I think it's important to know peace can be found, even through a situation like the one I came through. There was much that was clarified, and much that we had to agree to disagree on. But we still parted as brothers, bound by the blood of Christ. We're going to be together for eternity, after all. Why not start now down the journey of reconcil…

Christ Is Mine Forevermore

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This has been a crazy week. Since my previous post I've had the opportunity to reconnect with so many old friends that have reached out to me. I've been so encouraged by your comments and messages. You would think this feeling of community would energize and motivate me, but the reality is I've been dealing with depression again for a little over a month.* I think it's getting better. Maybe it's all the rain or difficult circumstances. I don't know. Having gone through this before I'm seeing the same old signs, but dealing with it very differently.

I think you know you're depressed when you can watch How to Train Your Dragon 2 with your kids and almost start crying when you see Hiccup and Astrid talking... just talking. The mind starts to wander... Will I ever have someone like that again? It sure would be nice to have someone, just to talk to about everyday life, the future, silly goals, a funny thing that happened while flying on your dragon. Of cour…

Resigned: Making Sense of Why I Left My Church

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I've had a good amount of time to process my departure from my previous church. In the middle of all that happened I wasn't able to really think deeply about the circumstances and all the consequences that followed. There is much that didn't sit well with me, but I didn't really know why. I had guesses, but now I think I have a big piece of it figured out. Perhaps my journey there will help some of you as you process your own why's for your situation.

Let me start by saying my old church was amazing. I had five great years there. Sure, there were difficulties and struggles, but the victories far outweighed the defeats. The church was so generous in taking care of my family as I left. They asked me to take some time off, which I appreciated, back in December of 2017. For the next five months I received full pay as I transitioned into another career and moved on with my life. God used them to provide for me financially and that was no small thing.

Yet, the nagging q…

Worship Wednesday- A Christian's Daily Prayer

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This post was a bit of a struggle to be honest. A week of wet basement, which is now just moist and musty, repair estimates, band prep, Dadding... I feel kind of distracted. I wish I'd spent more time in the Word, wish I'd spent more time doing lots of things, but that's not how things worked out. And you know what? That's ok. Even when I'm feeling pulled all over the place and anything but profound, which is most of the time, it's so good to listen to my song of the week and reflect back on what God has done. Up today is A Christian's Daily Prayer.

This is the perfect song for me in the morning, or before bed, or really any time. So often I awake with little to no energy to face the day. Rather than feeling refreshed, I feel lethargic and ready for a few more hours of sleep. In the early months of 2018 this was particularly pronounced while I went through depression. As I awoke, I'd have a few blissful seconds of hazy semi-consciousness where the real…

Worship Wednesday- The Lord is My Salvation

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I was hoping to post this morning after spending some time blogging last night. But I never got to blogging last night. Real life kicked in a bit. I'm sure you know what I mean. You plan to work out, get your gym bag all ready, and then you get sick that morning, or a child gets sick, or a work meeting goes late.

I used to beat myself up a bit about missing those self-imposed deadlines. I'd feel terrible for missing a morning quiet time or not blogging when I meant to. But you know what I've learned? You probably already know this, but salvation doesn't lie in checking off everyday of McCheyne's "Read the Bible In A Year" calendar. It doesn't lie in posting on your blog and getting tons of hits. It doesn't lie in being a pastor or having the wife, 2.5 kids, and a dog. Salvation is found in the Lord alone.

excuse me...be right back  ...    ...    ...    ...

Sorry about that. You see, my basement is flooding. If you live down here in Chattanooga, y…

Worship Wednesday- River of Grace

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I don't remember when I first came across this song. It was probably one of those suggested songs that Spotify played once my playlist was over. I'm so glad it came on. It has become a regular listen and a consistent encouragement. "River of Grace" has one of those melodies that gets stuck in my head... way better than Baby Shark or that awful Selfie song (both of which were gifted to me from my daughters and took a solid week to clear out of my head... thanks girls). Anyway, this song comes from an album of "Lullabies for the Beloved", so don't read anything unintended into the baby reference. When I first heard it, I needed the comfort of a lullaby.
We all bear burdens, some which we place on ourselves; some which are forced upon us. Everyone's burden is different, but no less important or difficult. I texted with my brother a bit about that today, and I think it may be helpful for me to put a few of my thoughts down regarding these burdens (help…