Monday, February 25, 2008

God is All

Let not cares, riches, pleasures of this world, choke the heart, which was formed to contain the love of God. Pray, and all is thine. Thine is God Himself...E.B. Pusey

Recently I had a bit of a shaking, eye-opening, disappointing experience. A person that I thought I knew well turned out to be someone else alltogether. A circumstance that I thought would turn out for the best after some face time went the opposite. And, I was left very unsettled, confused, hurt and questioning plans and hopes for my future. What I thought was real wasn't. What I believed in my heart seemed a lie. What I believed about my future crumbled before my eyes. I had nothing and I didn't know what to do with that but feel stupid and deceived ... and then cry.

In that moment, fleeting though it was, knowing that God promised to never leave me nor forsake me felt like a consolation prize. Like, His love was somehow owed me because I didn't have anything else.

Again, I say (thankfully) that moment was fleeting...painful, but fleeting.

This painful, fleeting moment, however, was the only way for me to start walking towards a place where God is not just "all", He is ALL!

These aren't the same thing, ALL and least not always.

First, we have the "all"...the disappointment or loss or pride-busting moment when that person, that job, that friend, that position, that security is taken away and the idea of ourselves or our life is gone. We have nothing...but God...but we still want what was lost. The choice in that moment is not so much where to go from there but how to go to God. Will we go to him bitter and angry that He is "all" we have now or will we take the humbling and see Him as ALL? Will we go to Him grateful that He is still there and will always be there and is all we will ever truly need? The choice in that moment will determine future happiness, to be sure, if not success.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Quote from Packer

Have you been holding back from a risky, costly course to which you knowin your heart God has called you? Hold back no longer. Your God isfaithful to you, and adequate for you. You will never need more than Hecan supply, and what He supplies, both materially and spiritually, willalways be enough for the present. -- James I (J. I.) Packer

Thursday, February 21, 2008

"He hath said."

"He hath said."—Hebrews 13:5

IF we can only grasp these words by faith, we have an all-conquering weapon in our hand. What doubt will not be slain by this two-edged sword? What fear is there which shall not fall smitten with a deadly wound before this arrow from the bow of God's covenant? Will not the distresses of life and the pangs of death; will not the corruptions within, and the snares without; will not the trials from above, and the temptations from beneath, all seem but light afflictions, when we can hide ourselves beneath the bulwark of "He hath said"? Yes; whether for delight in our quietude, or for strength in our conflict, "He hath said" must be our daily resort.

A long stretch of road spread out before me, my lungs fought for air and tears streamed down my face. I knew I was driving toward the end of something and could not see the beginning of anything else. Though I’d prayed and begged the Lord for over a year that this thing might be done, somehow…this “somehow” was choking me. I was afraid. I was sad. I was uncertain. And my only solace was what “He hath said.”

What he hath said to me is sort of irrelevant, that it was all I had to cling to, to stem the flow of tears and restore my normal breathing patterns is what is significant. Looking back now, though I’d asked the Lord for this to be done, and I was now mere day or so from that prayer being answered, what I know now is that I really didn’t want it done. I wanted the pain and struggle gone but would have preferred that to be accomplished by the Lord changing the circumstances to my liking. However, as with all “wrongly” answered prayers, hindsight brings clarity.

In the days and weeks preceding this end, the Lord reminded me that he was good, trustworthy, withheld no good thing, and that he was with me. He told me that he knew my name and heard the voice of my supplications.

Today…I am glad His answer was an end and not a change. But I am most glad for what “He hath said” to me in preparation for this end.

And this may teach us the extreme value of searching the Scriptures. There may be a promise in the Word which would exactly fit your case, but you may not know of it, and therefore you miss its comfort. You are like prisoners in a dungeon, and there may be one key in the bunch which would unlock the door, and you might be free; but if you will not look for it, you may remain a prisoner still, though liberty is so near at hand. … Should you not, besides reading the Bible, store your memories richly with the promises of God? … so that you may be able to quote them readily when you would solve a difficulty, or overthrow a doubt? (Charles Spurgeon)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

In the Valley

When You lead me to the valley of vision
I can see You in the heights
And though my humbling wouldn’t be my decision
It’s here Your glory shines so bright
So let me learn that the cross precedes the crown
To be low is to be high
That the valley’s where You make me more like Christ

Let me find Your grace in the valley
Let me find Your life in my death
Let me find Your joy in my sorrow
Your wealth in my need
That You’re near with every breath
In the valley...

In the daytime there are stars in the heavens
But they only shine at night
And the deeper that I go into darkness
The more I see their radiant light
So let me learn that my losses are my gain
To be broken is to heal
That the valley’s where Your power is revealed

Let me find Your grace in the valley
Let me find Your life in my death
Let me find Your joy in my sorrow
Your wealth in my need
That You’re near with every breath
In the valley...

(By Bob Kauflin. These lyrics accompany the song "In the Valley" from the Valley of Vision album released through Sovereign Grace Music.)

Monday, February 4, 2008

You shall never return that way again!

“The Lord has said to you, ‘You shall never return that way again.’”

If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one . . . choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt.—“But my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.—“No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.—“Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you.”
He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

‘You shall never return that way again.’(Deut 17:16)

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Phil 1:6)

What promises and what a balm for the soul these words are for those who struggle with sin and weakness!

Think of the moment when your eyes were first opened to the sin you are fighting against today. Remember how it consumed you? Remember how deep and impenetrable it seemed? So you still fight the good fight and still sometimes you fail, but isn’t it less now? Isn’t it less “darling” or enslaving now? Doesn’t it rear its ugly head less? Aren’t it’s talons far less deep now than they were then? This is the grace of God to you! He who revealed the sin and continues to deal promises “You shall never return that way again” and that He will “bring it to completion”! Draw strength from His. Let His confidence replace your own and press on. Failure does not equate or necessitate retreat. Don’t shrink back! Let your present weakness underscore your need of Him, not push you away from the source of aid! Repent and move forward. He will bring it to completion and ensure that you never return to this place again!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Fire...and gold!

I will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried. -- Zechariah 13:9

AS the purifying process is carried on, "the refiner watches the operation, with the greatest earnestness, until the metal has the appearance of a highly polished mirror, reflecting every object around it: even the refiner, as he looks upon the mass of metal, may see himself as in a looking-glass, and thus he can form a very correct judgment respecting the purity of the metal. When he is satisfied, the fire is withdrawn, and the metal removed from the furnace." See Jesus, as the Refiner, watching "with the greatest earnestness" the purifying of thy soul in the furnace of earth. His hand has lighted the fire which is now separating the pure metal of holiness from the dross of sin in thee. His loving eye is ever eagerly watching for the moment when the purifying work is done. Then, without a moment's delay, He withdraws the fire, and the purified soul is removed from the furnace. See, again, when it is that the purification is completed; it is when the Image of Christ is reflected in us, so that He can see Himself in us as in a mirror. Raise your eyes, then, amidst the flames, and see the Face of Jesus watching you with the tender pity and intense interest of His love. -- George Body

...everything that can stand the fire, you shall pass through the fire, and it shall be clean, ... -- Numbers 31:23