Monday, April 28, 2008

...Thou has caused me to hope.

Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope. (Psalm 119:49)

Whatever your especial need may be, you may readily find some promise in the Bible suited to it. Are you faint and feeble because your way is rough and you are weary? Here is the promise-"He giveth power to the faint." When you read such a promise, take it back to the great Promiser, and ask him to fulfil his own word. Are you seeking after Christ, and thirsting for closer communion with him? This promise shines like a star upon you-"Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled." Take that promise to the throne continually; do not plead anything else, but go to God over and over again with this-"Lord, thou hast said it, do as thou hast said." Are you distressed because of sin, and burdened with the heavy load of your iniquities? Listen to these words-"I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions, and will no more remember thy sins." You have no merit of your own to plead why he should pardon you, but plead his written engagements and he will perform them. Are you afraid lest you should not be able to hold on to the end, lest, after having thought yourself a child of God, you should prove a castaway? If that is your state, take this word of grace to the throne and plead it: "The mountains may depart, and the hills may be removed, but the covenant of my love shall not depart from thee." If you have lost the sweet sense of the Saviour's presence, and are seeking him with a sorrowful heart, remember the promises: "Return unto me, and I will return unto you;" "For a small moment have I forsaken thee, but with great mercies will I gather thee." Banquet your faith upon God's own word, and whatever your fears or wants, repair to the Bank of Faith with your Father's note of hand, saying, "Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope." (Charles Spurgeon)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

By Testing You May Discern...

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2)

Have you ever tripped in public? I remember the first time that happened to me. I was in high school. I had my first boyfriend. I was wearing the new pink sweater and cross and chain I got for Christmas, and then I was falling...falling...falling. I'm sure it was a fraction of a second in real time, but in emotional time, that trip and fall was about a month long. It felt like I just kept falling and grasping at something to keep me up, and stumbling and frantically hoping that balance would return to me and all would be well...and that I wouldn't be embarrassed in front of the vultures and hyenas (also known as high school students) that surrounded me.

That interminable fall is kind of what my life has felt like for the past month. It's like everything that can be poked, twisted, messed up, failed, broken, confused, irritated, threatened, tested, shaken and made just plain hard IS. And I just keep falling and grasping and stumbling and frantically hoping that balance and order will return and all will be well again.

In times like this, it is so easy to focus on all the things that are being poked and irritated and tested and hard and pray against those things, but as I read the verses above this morning, I realized that those things are what brings real balance and order. Paul tells us here that it is "by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." It is by having our stuff poked and irritated and tested that we learn to obey, to walk in the will of God, and be set aright.

The very things we think will hurt us are meant to train us to do what is good and acceptable and perfect. Those things are for our building up and protection. The testing, when it is met with discernment by the Spirit and the Word of God, will bring balance and order to any matter how pokey or irritated or shaken it becomes.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Faith is not in itself a meritorious act; the merit is in the One to Whom it is directed. Faith is a redirecting of our sight, a getting out of the focus of our own vision and getting God into focus. Sin has twisted our vision inward and made it self-regarding. Unbelief has put self where God should be, and is perilously close to the sin of Lucifer who said “I will set my throne above the throne of God.” Faith looks out instead of in, and the whole life falls into line. -- - A.W. Tozer

HT: Of First Importance

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Eating correctly is hard.

Profound, right? And, yes, a bit whiney, but that's another topic for another day.

But really, it is: eating correctly is hard.

Either I'm thinking about my level of hunger in relation to its nearness to the regularly appointed mealtime, or I'm thinking about the potential phanthom hunger that might be a clever disguise for sinful cravings, or I'm trying to determine if what I have available is a wise choice in relation to what I've already eaten today or my propensity for food-induced headaches or my activity level or its caloric content or it's probability to induce future cravings, and, oh yes, whether I actually like the food item or not. Then there's the thinking about grocery
shopping, planning meals in advance to avoid splurge eating on the fly, and constantly evaluating my motives for eating...or repenting for not even bothering to evaluate my motives...or for evaluating said motives, determining that I am likely craving food for sinful reasons and eating it anyway.

Getting a bag of Chee-tos out of the vending machine for breakfast or stopping by one of the 75 Popeye's Fried Chicken places I pass on my way home is SO much easier.

At least in the short term.

And in the long term...well...easy is not even close to a word that would describe that.

In Darkness.
Close to Despair.

Those words come closer.

Sounds about a good as a basket of onion rings or a slab of chocolate cheesecake, don't it? Well it's not...and there's the kicker...the deception of it all.

That's also a topic for another day.

'Nother Quote

Have you been waiting upon God, dear troubled one, during long nights and weary days, and have feared that you were forgotten? Nay, lift up your head, and begin to praise Him even now for the deliverance which is on its way to you. -- Anonymous

Monday, April 14, 2008


The beginning, the middle, and end of your course must be dissatisfaction with self, and satisfaction with Christ. Be content to be satisfied with faith's glorious object, and let faith itself be forgotten. Faith, however perfect, has nothing to give you. It points you to Jesus. It bids you look away from itself to Him. It says, "Christ is all." It bids you look to him who says, "Look upon me;" who says, "Fear not, I am the first and the last; I am he that liveth and was dead, and behold I am alive forevermore." -- Horatius Bonar

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

No Deceit

Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. (Psalm 32:2)

No one who practices deceit shall dwell in my house; no one who utters lies shall continue before my eyes. (Psalm 101:7)

As soon as my friend's front door closed behind me, I knew I would have to go back.

"It's getting late, though" I reasoned. "I need time to read a bit before bed and I really did want to put some clothes to wash. I don't need to say anything right now. If it comes up again, I'll fess up. It's not like this is a daily thing. It's not like I don't grieve over my sin and ask God for forgiveness and fight temptation...most of the time. I've had victory and responded to conviction. And the fact that I just lied to my friend...well..."

Then I broke.

I tried to shake it off and just go ahead and read as I'd originally planned. But, when I picked up my bible, I heard "blessed is the man in whom there is no deceit."


My master weasling skills continued to rule and I opened the bible anyway. I landed at Psalm 101. "No one who practices deceit shall dwell in my house; no one who utters lies shall continue before my eyes."

I think I actually said "OK!" outloud.

I looked in the mirror and replayed what had just transpired in my head, with tears welling up in my eyes:

As I was visiting with my friend, I felt a urging to ask her for observations about my life in light of the most recent sermon at church on hinderances. She thought for a moment and then, instead of offering observations, asked a question. She said she had been praying for me and she felt the Lord lead her to pray about a specific area of sin. "Is this something you struggle with?", she asked. The area in question wasn't anything I'd ever mentioned to her. I told her that it had been an area of struggle in the past but it wasn't anymore.

I lied.

We talked a little more about some other issues and observations, I helped
her clean up the dinner dishes and then headed home.

My chest throbbed.

I lied.

Why did I lie? I asked for her input, the Lord gave her insight and I just shut it down.

How could I lie? How could I do so without even blinking? It is almost impossible for me to even say the "nice" thing when it is not also the "honest" thing. How could I opt for self-protection at the expense of more sin, and in a way that did nothing to build up the faith of my friend.

I knew I had to go make it right. I had to confess. I had to ask forgiveness. And, I had to come clean about the fact that she had heard correctly. This was God's grace to me. I had to humble myself and accept matter how it made me feel right at that moment.

So I did. With tears in my eyes, I went back to my friend. I doubt she was completely surprised. Regardless, she welcomed me in and we plopped on her bed and I spilled both confessions and tears.

Even today it is an emotional thing for me.

But I am trusting that this is the beginning of the end for this most recent season of struggle. I am trusting that God gives grace to the humble. I am trusting that He is for me and determined to bless me. I am trusting that He is kind and will give more grace, and strength, and sufficiency. I am trusting that His will, which is freedom and righteousness, will be done.

And now I wait...not just feeling bad about my disobedience, but endeavoring all the more to walk in obedience, trusting that He will bless my efforts to submit to His word and that His word will be written on my heart and I will be changed. It has to happen. It can't not because He has said "blessed is the [wo]man in whom there is no deceit..."

And to that I say: "Amen."

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

"God is totally for us now and forever"

"Our only hope for living the radical demands of the Christian life is that God is totally for us now and forever. Therefore, God has not ordained that living the Christian life should be the basis of our hope that God is for us...Christ has performed for us, in his perfect obedience to God, all that God required of us as the ground of his being totally for us forever..."(John Piper "The Future of Justification" p. 184)

HT: By Every Word

Unlimited Mercy.

“What we all desperately need to see is that the love of a holy God is manifested covenantally at the cross. In the sacrifice of the Lamb of God, the Father promises to receive contrite sinners on a daily - no, hourly - basis. The cross says, ‘No matter what your sins, unlimited mercy is available to those who turn to God through Jesus’ merits.’

Having satisfied the demands of His own holy law, the Father must open His mighty arms and embrace every returning son. And he must do it every day. He has promised to do it (Luke 15:11-32, 1 John 1:8-10), and God cannot lie (Heb 6:13-20).” - John Miller, Repentance and the 21st Century Man

(from Of First Importance)

Being Known

“What matters supremely, therefore, is not, in the last analysis, the fact that I know God, but the larger fact which underlies it - the fact that he knows me. I am graven on the palms of his hands. I am never out of his mind. All my knowledge of him depends on his sustained initiative in knowing me. I know him because he first knew me, and continues to know me. He knows me as a friend, one who loves me; and there is no moment when his eye is off me, or his attention distracted from me, and no moment, therefore, when his care falters. This is momentous knowledge. There is unspeakable comfort - the sort of comfort that energizes, be it said, not enervates - in knowing that God is constantly taking knowledge of me in love and watching over me for my good….”

“[and] his love to me is utterly realistic, based at every point on prior knowledge of the worst about me, so that no discovery now can disillusion him about me, in the way I am so often disillusioned about myself, and quench his determination to bless me.” (J.I. Packer in "Knowing God")

HT: Erin (

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

"...your lovingkindness informs my life."

Your lovingkindness,
not my abilities,
not my circumstances,
not my expectations,
not my experience,
not my faithfulness,
not my learning,
not my reason,
not my size,
not my sinfulness,
not my success,
not my unfaithfulness, informs my life...
and the choices I make and the joy I have and the hope I cling to.

Your lovingkindness informs my life.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Day 16 - Tender Affections

This morning I woke up late. I read Romans 8 on the potty. It felt like old times.

Way back when I first started having daily quiet time that is where it began...with a bible in the bathroom. This change of pace and sort of going back to the beginning was very sweet. Though it wasn't intense or lengthy and didn't include journaling or notes or additional devotional material...or even coffee...I left with a strong sense of God's presence and an abundance of tender affections toward God. It continued in the car as I worshipped all the way to work to a song called "Count it all Joy." And it continues now.

This is quite a sharp contrast from yesterday when, for the better part of the morning, discouragement ruled the day. What God showed me, aside from the Gardening Parable was that my focus was off. When I was discouraged, my focus was on what I could and could not eat, what I was doing without and the results I thought I should be seeing. But He says:

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of
righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
(Romans 14:17)

Eating a certain way is not going to manifest the Kingdom of God in my life. Following a plan perfectly or weighing a certain amount isn't going to make me righteous or bring peace and joy. If I don't settle this one point, I can go no further. The heart and motives are the real battlefield here.

I believe it is true that everything we do is either righteous or unrighteous, lawful or unlawful, God-glorifying or self-glorifying. Truly, everything we say, do and think either says something about God or something about us. The question is...who do we want to say something about? Or better, who should we say something about?

In repenting of gluttony, I am saying "God is enough. God is holy and God is my strength. God demands my all and God is kind. He IS the bread of life. He IS my satisfaction. He is my maker and my Savior." In following a diet, all I say is "This plan is great." or "Check out my self control."

Only one is worth saying or will edify or help others.

This morning, with stirring heart and re-kindled affections, I wanted with everything in me to only say things about God. I wanted to say, to anyone who reads this blog or observes my life to hear: I am an instrument for His use; perhaps to bear burdens, as of pain, sorrow, or shame; perhaps to convey messages, writing, speaking, conversing; perhaps simply to reflect light, showing His mind in the commonest of all daily rounds. In only one way can I truly do anything of these; in the way of inner harmony with Him, and peace and joy in Him. (H. C. G. Moule)

So whether I am successful or not, remain single or not, whether circumstances are fun or foul, or find myself in feast or famine, my prayer is that these tender affections will go undiminished and I can say with all that is within me:

This is the LORD'S doing; It is marvelous in [my] eyes. (Psalm 118:23)