Listen to John Piper explain it. Then stop looking at your sin as evidence that you're not saved. If you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, you have life in His name.
Sunday, February 28, 2010
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
And I don't mean dizzy.
Daniel tried (and failed, more's the pity) to get his DZ license to drive his dad's truck a couple of weeks ago. He had to wait 10 days to reschedule, which meant the earliest he could reschedule his test for was the 15th of February. He went online and made his request. Success! Only trouble was that he'd have to do it in Woodstock, which is an hour away. We're down to the wire, because Rick has surgery scheduled for this Wednesday, and he won't be able to drive. So, we took the appointment for the 15th. Or so we thought.
Got a call from DriveTest Matt, who asked if we wanted an appointment for a DZ test on the 16th of Feb. NO, we said...we already have one scheduled for the 15th. Why delay a day?
DriveTest Matt called back a few minutes later. "I took the liberty of checking Daniel's test time," he said. "Turns out it's for MARCH 15, not February 15. Do you still want the appointment for the 16th?"
"YES!" I stated categorically. Inside, my emotions were fluctuating between death (oh, no, we almost made a terrible mistake which would have meant driving the truck an hour to find out that the place was closed for Family Day) and thankfulness (thank God He prompted Drive Test Matt to call us and ask us if we wanted the appointment, and thank God the guy who HAD the appointment decided to cancel)!!
So, Daniel has an appointment to get his DZ license tomorrow afternoon. Prayers would be appreciated. Rick has his surgery on Wednesday. More prayers would be nice. I have to go to St. Thomas on Thursday. Life is very busy.
But God is Good. All of the time, in every way.
Even to dizzy people like me. Especially to me.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
I'm reading through the book of Job again. There is no better book to understand the Sovereignty of God in all things.
Job's friend were truly his friends. When they heard about his plight, they came and sat with him day after day, saying nothing. I have no doubt that they grieved over his suffering, but it didn't take long before they began to wonder why God chose to allow Job to suffer so much. It didn't take long for the accusations to fly.
Eliphaz is particularly merciless. He tells Job point blank that it's his own fault that his kids were killed, that his branch is no longer green, that there is no future for him. How quick he was to judge and condemn his friend.
Let us be careful, dear ones, not to be like Job's "miserable comforters". There are ten Americans imprisoned in Haiti right now, because they were attempting to take some children from Haiti to the Dominican Republic. From what I have read, I believe their intentions were noble. Let's not be too quick to judge.
Go to Tim Challies' blog to read an interview with a mom and wife of two of the prisoners, and pray!
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
The man was born blind. There wasn't a thing he could do about it. He spent years and years and years sitting by a pool, begging for food. He couldn't work. He couldn't do anything to help himself, or his family. He likely didn't have a wife. He was taking up space. Unproductive.
Then along came some crazy dude who talked about him with a bunch of other guys. He's sitting there, begging, hopeful for a few shekels so he can buy himself some supper, and they talk about him like he's not even there. Like he doesn't exist. Like he's worth nothing, or less than nothing.
Hey," he thinks, "I'm sitting right here. What d'ya mean, I sinned? Just who do you think you are?" He must have been bristling with the thought, then he heard the guy say...
"Neither! Not my folks. Not me. But that the works of God might be displayed. What is he talking about?" The blind man is puzzled. He sits there, wondering, and hears the guy spit. Ugh.
The next thing he feels is wet, gooey muck being put on his useless eyes. Gross!!! What is this guy doing?
“Go, wash in the pool of Siloam.”
I wonder what went through his mind. I'm sure he wanted to wash the muck off his face. But what was he thinking as he stumbled along, muddy, blind, pitiful. Was he hopeful? Did he have any idea of what would happen next?
So he went and washed and came back seeing.
Wow! He went. He washed. He obeyed. And he came back, SEEING!
Sometimes the Word of God is so nonchalant about these things that blow me away. This guy was blind. He wasn't having a great day. People were talking about him. Some guy he didn't know spat on the ground to make mud, and smeared it onto his EYES. He was told to go and wash the mess off.
Then he came back, seeing.
It turned into a pretty good day.
But did it?
The neighbours started questioning him. He told them what happened, but they didn't believe him. "Where is this guy?" they asked. "I don't know," he replied.
They grabbed him and made him go and stand before the Pharisees. What should have been a day of rejoicing turned into a day of harassment. "How'd you get your sight? Where is this man? Were you really blind? What do you think of the guy who healed you? Don't you know it's the Sabbath? Where are your parents?"
The harassment continued. When his parents feared the Pharisees, they said their son was of age, ask him. So, the questions began again. "What did he do to you? How'd he open your eyes?"
By this time the man was exasperated. He could SEE! All he wanted to do was to CELEBRATE. So he said to them,
Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?”
That ticked them off! The Word of God says they reviled him. Then they cast him out.
Things are not as they seem.
This man's day started badly. He had to beg. People he didn't know talked about him as if he could not hear, as if he were mentally deficient. Some fellow he never met before put mud on his eyes, then told him to go and wash it off. He must have been indignant.
But then, his eyes were opened.
One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.”
But then, he could finally see.
And then it didn't really matter that the people questioned him, and brought him to the Pharisees. It didn't really matter that they mocked him, then threw him out of the synagogue.
He could SEE.
It seemed as if he was having a bad day, but Jesus had a plan. All of those years of blindness were gone in a flash. He could SEE.
35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36 He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” 37 Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.”38 He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.
God opened his eyes, and made him see.
It was the best day ever!
How about you? Are you having a bad day? A bad week, or month, or year? Is the world crashing in on you as you struggle to keep your head above water? Are you discouraged with your progress? Are you defeated with your laziness and the ever-present selfishness you deal with every day? Are you having a bad day?
Things are not as they seem!
God is at work. Jesus is still opening the eyes of the blind. He is still spitting in the mud and rubbing it on your eyes, orchestrating the events of your life with a great and holy purpose. Don't bristle at the thought. Just wait on Jesus. He is working! He will bring it to pass.
Monday, February 8, 2010
Revelation 1:12 Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, 15 his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.
The first chapter of Revelation describes Jesus as this:
- the One who IS
- the One who WAS
- the One who IS TO COME
- the faithful witness
- the firstborn of the dead
- the ruler of kings
- the One who loves us
- the One who frees us
- the One who made us a kingdom
- the One who made us priests
This Jesus is the awesome, glorious, ruling king, the rider on a white horse who is described in the 19th chapter of the book of Revelation. This Jesus is no meek and mild-mannered, gentle Jesus. He is the risen, glorified Christ. See Him standing among the lampstands, clothed in white, girded about with a belt of gold. See His white hair and head (Daniel 7) which signifies His great age, His sinless purity, His pre-existence. He declares with a great voice, "I am the first and the last. Beside me there is no God!"
His eyes are a blazing fire (Jeremiah 25:34) and they miss nothing. There are no secret sins. Nothing can be hidden from the scrutiny of God. You may think you got away with looking at that dirty magazine that's hidden under your mattress, but you didn't. You may think nobody saw your rendezvous with the lover you can't stay away from, but those eyes of flame were watching. Nothing is hidden from God.
His mouth has a sword that protrudes - a sharp, double-edged sword, used for close fighting. This God is up close and personal as He holds us accountable for our sin. He is wrestling with us, just as He wrestled with Jacob, reaching out and touching the sinew of his thigh to humble him and make him see the truth.
He is here, in the midst of our churches. He knows our deeds. He knows. Everything.
Not only is He here, now, right with us, but He's coming again physically, in power and great glory, and every eye will see Him.
Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen
All the tribes of the earth will wail. They will all weep and mourn. Like John, they will cast themselves to the ground in utter terror.
17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead.
Wouldn't you? If you saw Jesus, eyes ablaze, with a sword coming out of His mouth, dressed in glistening robes, hair and face shining brightly, wouldn't you fall at His feet in awe? This is the reaction of a sane man who knows his sinfulness and sees perfection. Woe is me. I am undone.
Yet look at Jesus again. What he does next is astounding.
The hand on the shoulder. The comforting words. Words we never deserve to hear.
What we deserve is judgment and accusation. What we deserve is the Wrath of God. What we deserve is to have our deeds exposed, laid bare before all the world to see, so we are shamed and filled with sorrow.
Yet Jesus, our glorious Judge, the One who holds the keys of Death and Hades, the One who is alive forevermore, says "Fear Not."
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Some days, the love is so amazing that it takes my breath away.
Today, God blessed me with glimpses of His love.
This morning my big kids sat with me and sipped their coffee or tea while chatting. That may seem like an ordinary thing, but it was special. They could have been checking email. They could have been reading or eating or chatting online or doing a myriad of other daily tasks that occupy their minds and time. But they chose to sit with ME. And I felt loved.
I got a long, lingering hug from my youngest. Nothing like that. Nothing at all.
I drove my new (used) van to church. We all sang songs together as we listened to Casting Crowns and talked about the lyrics and our similar experiences. Nothing like shared struggles.
I was blessed by the reading of the Word of God before the sermon. Rick put just the right emphasis, tone, inflection and seriousness into his reading to bring the passage to life. I was blessed.
I listened to an amazing sermon about our amazing God, who has eyes of fire and a mouth with a sword that convicts men of sin and exposes the darkness. This same God, this Jesus with white hair and shining face (signifying purity) told John not to fear. All men will wail when he returns, yet we are not to fear. He loves us. Nothing in all of the universe compares to that.
Then, something happened that made me all "bright and shiny". My husband prayed in response to the sermon. And what a prayer! He spoke about how, when he was first married to me, he would spend a lot of time just gazing at me, loving me. He spoke of his longing to do the same, some day, with Jesus, the lover of our souls. Oh, there was more, and all of it blessed me. But to know that in some small way our marriage -with all of its flaws and struggles and tears and heartaches and joys and sorrows- ... in some small way, it reflects the glory and love of God. My husband relates his love of me to the love he has for God. Wow! That is a sentiment, nay, a reality, that I will cherish all of the days of my life.
And now I am bright and shiny. Glowing with love and grace. Basking in thoughts that took my breath away.
I love you, Rick. I'm glad you love me, too.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
It's so easy to do well at what I do, and swell with pride. It's also easy to do a rotten job, and despair. I've often found myself fluctuating between those two polar opposites. The problem is, I'm forgetting about the gospel. I'm falling into the trap of thinking that God sees me, as Russell Moore says, in "terms of some cosmic scale of my good deeds and sins."
Russell Moore makes a valid point regarding vengeance:
I love my country. I hate terrorism. And I’m hawkish on the war against radical Islam. But I sometimes act like a jihadist too. Every time I believe that God’s vengeance ought to be administered by me, rather than by the Cross or the Judgment Seat, well, that’s something other than the gospel (Matt. 26:52).
Go here to read the full story.
Then, don't forget to preach the gospel to yourself!