Tuesday, February 9, 2010

We are Not our Gift

This past Thursday in chapel, Dr. Russ Moore preached a very edifying, convicting, and encouraging sermon from 1 Kings 1

Saturday, February 6, 2010

God's Love for us in Christ

Yes, I'm starting my blog again...and I plan to update it at least twice a week (I'll try to post something every day, but we'll see...)

A wonderful quote from Richard Baxter's The Saints' Everlasting Rest on the love of Christ!

“Christian, believe this, and think on it: thou shalt be eternally embraced in the arms of that love which was from everlasting, and will extend to everlasting; of that love which brought the Son of God's love from heaven to earth, from earth to the cross, from the cross to the grave, from the grave to glory; that love which was weary, hungry, tempted, scorned, scourged, buffeted, spit upon, crucified, pierced; which did fast, pray, teach, heal, weep, sweat, bleed, die; that love will eternally embrace thee. When perfect created love and most perfect uncreated love meet together, it will not be like Joseph and his brethren, who lay upon one another's necks weeping; it will be loving and rejoicing, not loving and sorrowing. Yes, it will make Satan's court ring with the news that Joseph's brethren are come, that the saints are arrived safe at the bosom of Christ, out of the reach of hell for ever. Nor is there any such love as David's and Jonathan's, breathing out its last into sad lamentations for a forced separation. Know this, believer, to thy everlasting comfort, if those arms have once embraced thee, neither sin nor hell can get thee thence for ever. Thou hast not to deal with an inconstant creature, but with Him with whom is no variableness nor shadow of turning. His love to thee will not be as thine was on earth to Him, seldom, and cold, up, and down. He that would not cease nor abate His love, for all thine enmity, unkind neglects, and churlish resistances, can he cease to love thee, when he hath made thee truly lovely? He that keepeth thee so constant in thy love to Him, that thou canst challenge tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, or sword, to separate thy love from Christ, how much more will He himself be constant! Indeed thou mayest be ‘persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ And now, are we not left in the apostle's admiration: "What shall we say to these things?" Infinite love must needs be a mystery to a finite capacity. No wonder angels desire to look into this mystery. And if it be the study of saints here ‘to know the breadth, and length, and depth, and height of the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge’ the saints' everlasting rest must consist in the enjoyment of God by love."

My pastor just began a series on the Fruit of the Spirit, and he is spending several on love. Here are the first two he's preached:

The Centrality of Love in Christianity

God's Love for Us

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Treason of Lost Love- Christ's Letter to the Church at Ephesus

Of All the Million Precious Truths

Of all the million precious truths
That You reveal to men,
Your Gospel does exceed them all-
Their center and their end.

It tells of Christ the spotless Lamb
From earth’s foundation slain
And points to Christ the risen Lord,
Who shall forever reign!

In spite of all our wretched sin
That spits in mercy’s face,
We marvel how a holy God
Would show to us such grace!

That we who are unworthy dust
Should know Your Gospel’s worth
And sinners who deserve to die
Should undergo new birth!

What greater hope could He us give?
What freer offer made?
For all who call upon the Lord,
These surely shall be saved!

And, Lord, by Your free grace alone,
My sins dark though they be,
When Jesus died upon the cross,
I know He died for me!

I am that son who wandered far
In self-sufficient ways.
I am that sheep the Shepherd found,
And now His name I praise!

Your Gospel gives me daily strength
And guides me on my course,
The truths that first led me to Christ
Its ending and its force.

Should I the Gospel set aside
Or find no longer sweet,
These lungs of mine forget to breathe,
This heart refuse to beat!

- Marie Peterson, ©2009

Saturday, August 15, 2009

God's Grace is Sufficient!

We all, as Christians, have those seasons where we feel our weakness keenly. Whether it's distress, fierce temptations, physical ailments, persecution, you fill in the blank, we cry out like Paul and ask God to take it away. But have we learned yet to rejoice in these things, as Paul learned to do, as they are platforms for Christ to become more glorious and precious to us? What Satan means for evil, God means for our good, and as painful as it may be, part of that good is making us humble like Christ. Very convicting and comforting sermon!

2 Cor. 12:7-10
7 Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me--to keep me from exalting myself!
8 Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me.
9 And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness " Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Spurgeon on Psalm 139:17-18

Psalm 139:17-18- "How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You."

Verse 17. How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! He is not alarmed at the fact that God knows all about him; on the contrary, he is comforted, and even feels himself to be enriched, as with a casket of precious jewels. That God should think upon him is the believer's treasure and pleasure. He cries, "How costly, how valued are thy thoughts, how dear to me is thy perpetual attention!" He thinks upon God's thoughts with delight; the more of them the better is he pleased. It is a joy worth worlds that the Lord should think upon us who are so poor and needy: it is a joy which fills our whole nature to think upon God; returning love for love, thought for thought, after our poor fashion. How great is the sum of them! When we remember that God thought upon us from old eternity, continues to think upon us every moment, and will think of us when time shall be no more, we may well exclaim, "How great is the sum!" Thoughts such as are natural to the Creator, the Preserver, the Redeemer, the Father, the Friend, are evermore flowing from the heart of the Lord. Thoughts of our pardon, renewal, upholding, supplying, educating, perfecting, and a thousand more kinds perpetually well up in the mind of the Most High. It should fill us with adoring wonder and reverent surprise that the infinite mind of God should turn so many thoughts towards us who are so insignificant and so unworthy! What a contrast is all this to the notion of those who deny the existence of a personal, conscious God! Imagine a world without a thinking, personal God! Conceive of a grim providence of machinery!—a fatherhood of law! Such philosophy is hard and cold. As well might a man pillow his head upon a razor edge as seek rest in such a fancy. But a God always thinking of us makes a happy world, a rich life, a heavenly hereafter.

Verse 18. If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand. This figure shows the thoughts of God to be altogether innumerable; for nothing can surpass in number the grains of sand which belt the main ocean and all the minor seas. The task of counting God's thoughts of love would be a never ending one. If we should attempt the reckoning we must necessarily fail, for the infinite falls not within the line of our feeble intellect. Even could we count the sands on the seashore, we should not then be able to number God's thoughts, for they are "more in number than the sand." This is not the hyperbole of poetry, but the solid fact of inspired statement: God thinks upon us infinitely: there is a limit to the act of creation, but not to the might of divine love. When I awake, I am still with thee. Thy thoughts of love are so many that my mind never gets away from them, they surround me at all hours. I go to my bed, and God is my last thought; and when I wake I find my mind still hovering about his palace gates; God is ever with me, and I am ever with him. This is life indeed. If during sleep my mind wanders away into dreams, yet it only wanders upon holy ground, and the moment I wake my heart is back with its Lord. The Psalmist does not say, "When I awake, I return to thee", but, "I am still with thee"; as if his meditations were continuous, and his communion unbroken. Soon we shall lie down to sleep for the last time: God grant that when the trumpet of the archangel shall waken us we may find ourselves still with him.

from The Treasury of David

Saturday, March 28, 2009

God's Providence

An incident happened this evening that reminded me of how God's providence is always wise and purposeful, even if it appears to be a nuisance to us at the time. I wonder, how many times has God saved our lives by what we saw as an annoying traffic jam or a misplaced wallet? Not all His reasons need be that dramatic, of course. And of course, He doesn't ever to reveal them to us, as it is our job to follow His Word and trust in Him in all circumstances. But I do know that many things that seem insignificant to us are very significant in the plan of God. And I marvel at those times when God reveals at least some portion of those reasons!

I was cooking some spaghetti, and I was draining it into the sink. Except that, somehow, the noodles slid out from under the strainer lid and into the disposal! I was a bit frustrated and decided not to make more noodles but just eat the other food I'd prepared. I was about to put the spaghetti sauce back in the fridge when I decided I'd throw it out, since there was only a little bit left and my goal was to use it up tonight. The reason I needed to use it up was that it was opened. Then it dawned on me..."I wonder if this would have been good to eat anyway?" The expiration date was this coming September, but, after doing a quick Google search, I realized I should have thrown it out several weeks ago! (Don't worry, I make sure the stuff I bring to church potluck is extra fresh...) I probably would have gotten sick off of it! (Well, ok, only God knows, but this is just my educated guess as to what might have been the reason).

I'm reminded of a story Mark Chanski cited in a blog article:

The legend says that Genghis Khan, the Mongol king of the 13th century, was out hunting one hot summer day with his favorite hawk perched on his wrist. Parched with thirst, the king sought out a source for a cool drink. At last, to his joy, he saw some water drop by drop trickling down over the edge of a rock cliff. The king leaped from his horse, took a little silver cup from his hunting bag, and held it so as to catch the slowly falling drops.

It took a long time to fill the cup; and the king was so thirsty that he could hardly wait. At last it was nearly full. He put the cup to his lips, and was about to drink, when all at once the air whirred, and the cup was knocked out of his hands, spilling the precious water on the ground. It was his pet hawk who’d spoiled his drink! It flew back and forth a few times and perched on some high rocks. The king picked up the cup and again held it to catch the trickling drops. When it was half full, the thirsty king lifted the cup to his mouth. But before it touched his lips, the hawk swooped down again and knocked it from his hands. Now the king was angry. He tried again, and for the third time the hawk kept him from drinking.

This enraged the king. “How do you dare act so?” he screamed. Then he filled the cup again, but before he tried to drink, he drew his sword, and when the hawk swooped down, the king struck his bird with the blade. “That is what you get for your pains,” shouted the king. But this time his cup had fallen out of reach between two rocks. So the king climbed up the cliff to drink right from the source. At last, he reached the top and beheld a pool of water. But what was lying in the pool, and almost filling it? It was a huge, dead snake of the most poisonous kind. The king stopped, forgot his thirst, and thought only of the dead bird lying on the ground below him. "The hawk saved my life!" he cried, "and how did I repay him? He was my best friend, and I have killed him."

Praise God that He is sovereign over all things, even down to the last detail!