Monday, July 25, 2011

43 years of Amazing!!

John MacArthur decided 43 years ago to preach through the entire New Testament, verse-by-verse.

Watch the last few minutes as he accomplishes this goal, extolling his Amazing Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ:

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Can't Stop Love

"If there is anything I have learned in my life, it's that so very little is within our control. Our passions arise to surprise us. Our loves jump out at us like boogeymen as we round a dark corner or open the closet. We try and we try to make things fit, to steer the events of our lives a certain way, to create boundaries of experience and feeling, to wall ourselves off from one another, to stop love - which should never be stopped, ever - and my dears, it simply cannot be done." ~Quote from Sing Them Home by Stephanie Kallos.

We are miserable creatures, we humans.  We want to love and be loved, to feel good about ourselves, to see ourselves in the best possible light.  We tend to hang around with those who make us happy, and avoid those who make us uncomfortable.  If we could, we'd wall ourselves off from each other and live in mansions of ease,  interacting only with those who are invited to enter our hallowed halls.

But God designs families His way.  He puts into our lives exactly those people who will sharpen our rough edges and expose our hidden sins.  He causes the man at the gas station, the girl at the grocery store, the truck driver who cuts us off on the highway to behave in such a manner that we react, and spew out what is really inside our hearts.  Wickedness.  Spite.  Hatred.  Pride.  Self-centeredness.

We can't put up walls.  We can't steer the events of our lives a certain way.

All we can do is to flee to Jesus.  We can look to Him, and ask Him to show us where we need to change.  It's not about changing others - it's all about our hearts before God.

I asked the Lord that I might grow
In faith and love and every grace
Might more of His salvation know
And seek more earnestly His face
Twas He who taught me thus to pray
And He I trust has answered prayer
But it has been in such a way
As almost drove me to despair
I hoped that in some favored hour
At once He’d answer my request
And by His love’s constraining power
Subdue my sins and give me rest
Instead of this He made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart
And let the angry powers of Hell
Assault my soul in every part
Yea more with His own hand He seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Cast out my feelings, laid me low
Lord why is this, I trembling cried
Wilt Thou pursue thy worm to death?
“Tis in this way” The Lord replied
“I answer prayer for grace and faith”
These inward trials I employ
From self and pride to set thee free
And break thy schemes of earthly joy
That thou mayest seek thy all in me,
That thou mayest seek thy all in me.”

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

They have all the answers.

Smart people. 

There are lots of them out there.  They are the ones who can look at another and just know what they ought to do.

Job ran into some of them.  Zophar was one.  I've paraphrased his words:

"You're suffering, Job?  Oh, that's because you've sinned.  Consider the fate of the wicked.  They have a short life fraught with inevitable pain and poverty.  You must be wicked, too... look at the pain you're in!"

Job is weighed down by their words.  He seems to be at the end of his rope in Chapter 21, but he cannot let Zophar's simplistic view stand without refutation.

"Keep listening to my words. . . Bear with me, and I will speak, and after I have spoken, mock on."

Even though he fully expects his friends to keep mocking, Job cannot remain silent.  He gives many examples of the prosperity of wicked people, who have no fear of God.  He concludes that one man dies in full vigour, after a life of fun, food and song, while another dies in bitterness of soul.  Don't tell me the wicked don't prosper.

How then will you comfort me with empty nothings?  There is nothing left of your answers but falsehood.

What I know is this:  I serve an AWESOME GOD.  He really does know.

When I am confused, He knows the answer.  When I am lost, He knows the path.  When I am weak, He fights the battle.  When I am discouraged, He gives me strength.  When I am overwhelmed, He bows the heavens and comes down!

Psalm 144:1 Blessed be the Lord, my rock,

who trains my hands for war,
and my fingers for battle;
2 he is my steadfast love and my fortress,
my stronghold and my deliverer,
my shield and he in whom I take refuge,
You are my Rock, O Lord, and I know You design my trials to shape me so that I am a better soldier of Christ.  I know you love me steadfastly, never wavering, never taking Your eye off of me.  You are the One I turn to in all of my distress.   You are the One on Whom I depend.

You know the way that I take.  You plan out my days and order my steps.  I take refuge in You.  I trust You with all my heart, and I follow You fervently.

Everyone but me seems to know all of the answers.

I don't know.

I only know this.  I must love the Lord my God with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength.  I must love my husband, my children, my neighbour... preferring them above myself.
There are people in my life with all of the answers, too.  They know exactly why we are suffering, and they know what to do about it.  At least, they think they know.