Monday, October 25, 2010

Can't preach the Gospel to Jesus.

So the other day I started thinking...

...and. These thoughts are still brewing around in my brain. They might not be well-put-together quite yet...but...I was thinking about the things we (as believers) usually encourage each other in when we're struggling.

We point to the cross and declare that we've been forgiven and are loved...and will never know wrath. No condemnation...even though we deserve it.

We preach forgiveness, and grace. Mercy and healing.

We are compassionate as we hear other's difficulties and consider similar struggles and temptations in our own lives.

We remember peace that is ours...because we're reconciled to God.

Once we were we are children.

And usually, we end reminding ourselves that no matter how bad it is, God is sovereign and He won't leave us. He is with us. And will stay with us through whatever we're walking through...

Then I began to think about Jesus. In the Garden of Gethsemane. The temptation to fear that must've lurked over him as He sweat blood.

I thought to myself, "What did Jesus comfort Himself with in those moments as He prayed the cup pass from Him?"

Did He say, "God is with me, and He won't forsake me." No. He couldn't. He was about to be forsaken...and He knew that. Gosh. How scary...that the One He'd known perfect communion with since eternity past...would reject Him. The Father wouldn't be with Him. Couldn't. He was becoming sin...and the Father is Holy. Christ couldn't look ahead to the pain He knew He was about to endure and think, "I can call upon the Father"...because the Father was going to punish Him. He actually WAS going to be all alone.

Did He remember, "Peace is mine because I'm declared righteous." No. He couldn't. Even though HIS righteousness was earned by HIMSELF (and mine is granted to me by another)...he didn't have that comfort. Peace wasn't His! There was nothing to "comfort" Himself with! this...He did not sin.

It's backwards.

We fear and we've been promised God's nearness.

Christ knew He'd be rejected and still...didn't fear. He trusted the Father's wisdom anyways. This...we will never experience. We will never be called to trust God AND be rejected by Him. We are called to trust Him and we are promised His nearness to us.

The Gospel is backwards to Jesus. If we were there in the garden with Christ...we could not encourage Him with the things we encourage our own hearts with.

He'd known (and deserved) only love from the Father, but got wrath instead.

He received undeserved condemnation.

He was perfect and was "unjustly" being punished.

Though He gave perfect mercy and forgiveness to those in His life, He was receiving anger.

He was a child, and now was being treated as a sinner.

And...He still obeyed. He still endured the wrath of God. All alone. So we wouldn't have to.

I'm amazed.

The Gospel is for every man that ever walked this planet...except for Christ. He is the only One who could not find comfort in the truths that we find comfort in. And is because of Him, and because of this...that we are able to have comfort at all.

Oh, may we respond in worship! He is King!

So...what do you think? Have you considered this? Is there something I'm missing? Something that needs to be added?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

If God loved me, He would... would you finish the sentence?

Give me a job. car. more money to pay the bills. Heal my family member. Reconcile my family. Bring peace to my marriage. Get me a spouse. Give me a child. Save my son/daughter. He would've given me a different past. or upbringing. He wouldn't've let ______ happen. What would you say?

The truth is. God does love you. And though He will continue to demonstrate His love, it HAS been demonstrated. And to its fullest degree...already.

The question is wrong.

God does love you. And He has given you His Son as a propitiation for your sins. He has adopted you and given you a beautiful inheritance...when you deserved separation from Him...and His wrath.

This week, as I've meditated on and studied Psalm 16, I have found my joy and freedom increasing. And. I've watched as God answers my prayer to grow my trust in Him more. As I talked with a friend tonight I felt like I was having an out of body experience. I listened to what I was saying and thought, "Wait. Where is this coming from? How come I'm having faith in what God will do? Why is it so easy to trust Him in this?" I deduced that friends must be praying for me...and I'm sure they are.

I then realized, "Oh! I've been studying this. WOW! It must be taking root in my heart- thank you, GOD!" Worship was the result of seeing God's faithfulness again: His Word does not return void.

This week, as I meditated on, "You hold my lot" and "I have no good apart from you"...many MANY helpful nuggets were concluded as "results" of these glorious truths. God's character is revealed here...let's not miss it.

HE holds my lot. I don't hold it. I don't even know it! I don't know what's ahead. I don't know what He's doing. But. I have a beautiful inheritance. No matter what I do...I cannot change God's plan for my life. eternity is secure. I can't manipulate Him. I can't "try harder" to fulfill my own desires in this life. Nope. It's in His hands. He's holding it. And He knows me. And my desires. And He's worthy of trust. ::Rejoice::

"I have no good apart from you." Oh my. This has been the sentence most demanding pause this week.

No good apart from you. Not, "...ya, this is probably what's best." or, "You give what's #1." No, not even that! NO GOOD APART. I don't just have "less good" apart from God. And blessings aren't just "better" because of Him. No. NO GOOD APART from Him.

IN Him contains all my good.

And then. It hit me.

That which He withholds, is equally as intentional and a demonstration of His love as that which He gives.

"Wow," I wondered. "Is that true? Is that Biblically sound?" He WITHHOLDS intentionally. On purpose. And He withholds as a demonstration of His love. It would be UNLOVING for Him to give me that which is not good for me. Amazing. helpful! This allows me such freedom to enjoy that which I DO have...and equally, to enjoy that which I do NOT have...and submit to His wisdom, love, care, and truth...because I have no good apart from Him.

So. What's your lot today? Do you see His love for you? In what you have...and in what you don't have. That which you do not have...that you you see that it's because He loves you that it is not yours? If something is good for you...I mean, really, for your soul...then, it is yours. He does not restrain His mercy from us. He loves to bless us. He delights to answer our requests.

Just as a father who bought a car for his son, would not give it to him when he was 8 years old...he has no use for it! It would be dangerous for him. The timing is not right. But at 16, oh, what a gift that would be! So much more appreciated and appropriate.

Sometimes, (who am I kidding?) MOST of the time, we don't understand "why not." Why is something not good now?

But that's where faith and trust come in. The very means that God chose to save us. We must exercise those muscles. Work them and let them grow.

Whatever our lot, would we take refuge in the Truth that we have no good apart from Him. He has planned good and not harm for us. He sees and we cannot. He knows and we do not. Why fight it? Why struggle with it? Submit to His will, and joy will be ours.

May you know this freedom and peace today...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Faithful God

Here is my favourite excerpt from probably my third favourite book ever. (That's a really big deal.) It's by Spurgeon and titled, "All of Grace." A friend from Wales, Emily, got it for me last Christmas.

"God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ."
1 Corinthians 1:9 (emphasis mine)

"The apostle does not say, "You are faithful." The faithfulness of man is very unreliable; it is mere vanity. He does not say, "You have faithful ministers to lead and guide you, and therefore I trust you will be safe." Oh, no! If we are kept by men we shall be badly kept. He says, "God is faithful." If we are found faithful, it will be because God is faithful. On the faithfulness of our covenant God the whole burden of our salvation must rest. On this glorious attribute of God the matter hinges. We are variable as the wind, frail as a spider's web, weak as water. No dependence can be placed upon our natural qualities or our spiritual attainments, but God abideth faithful."

Ok, if that's not good enough. Listen to how he gets specific.

"He is faithful in His love; He know no variableness, neither shadow of turning. He is faithful to His purpose; He does not begin a work and then leave it undone. He is faithful to His relationships. As a Father He will not renounce His children, as a Friend He will not deny His people, as a Creator He will not forsake the work of His own hands. He is faithful to His promises and will never allow one of them to fail for a single believer. He is faithful to His covenant which He has made with us in Christ Jesus and ratified with the blood of His sacrifice. He is faithful to His Son and will not allow His precious blood to be spilled in vain. He is faithful to His people whom He has promised eternal life and from whom He will not turn away." (emphasis mine)

Hallelujah. ::Rejoice::

Spurgeon later notes,

"The saints shall persevere in holiness because God perseveres in grace.

He perseveres to bless, and therefore believers persevere in being blessed."


Saturday, October 9, 2010

Personal Retreat October

I've been trying to go on a personal retreat about every 3 months. This weekend I stayed with some friends in an entirely cute apartment at the beach. It was glorious. What an absolutely precious time with the LORD-- meditating on Scripture, bathing in truth, having my favourite lyrics minister to me again and again on wonderful. And in addition to that, catching a few rays wasn't so bad either.

This (below) poem was such an encouragement to me this weekend. I've read it numerous times. A dear friend sent it to me in an email yesterday and I can't stop thinking about it.

When other people blog quotes or songs or poems, I normally don't read I don't expect you to either. But, in case your heart is hungry...

...feast here:

i know not what awaits me,
God kindly veils my eyes,
and o’er each step of my onward way
He makes new scenes to rise;
and every joy He sends me comes
a sweet and glad surprise.

where He may lead i’ll follow,
my trust in Him repose;
and every hour in perfect peace,
i’ll sing, “He knows, He knows”;
and every hour in perfect peace,
i’ll sing, “He knows, He knows.”

one step i see before me,
’tis all i need to see,
the light of heaven more brightly shines
when earth’s illusions flee;
and sweetly through the silence comes,
His loving, “Trust in Me!”

oh, blissful lack of wisdom,
’tis blessed not to know;
He holds me with His own right hand,
and will not let me go,
and lulls my troubled soul to rest
in Him who loves me so.

so on i go not knowing;
i would not if i might;
i’d rather walk in the dark with God
then go alone in the light;
i’d rather walk by faith with Him
than go alone by sight.

_mary brainard

Thursday, October 7, 2010

"Now on whom dost thou trust?"

My sweet dad emailed me this morning. A quote from Spurgeon on trust. I decided to disect it for my time with the Lord this morning.

Spurgeon beckons the Christian...- who do you trust? You trust a triune God.

who chose me from before the foundations of the world.
who provides for me in His providence.
who teaches.
will bring me Home.

The SON.
very God of very God.
Christ Jesus.
who takes away all my sins.
who is my sacrifice.
adorns me with His perfect righteousness.
my Intercessor. Pleading my cause. And my desires.
my Advocate on the Great Last Day.
justifies me.

"I trust Him for what He is, for what He has done, and for what He has promised yet to do."

saves me from my sins.
drives out my sins.
subdues my will.
enlightens my understanding.
comforts me.
helps my weakness.
illuminates darkness.

"I trust in Him to dwell in me as my life, to reign in me as my King, to sanctify me wholly, spirit, soul, and body, and then to take me up to dwell with the saints in light forever."

power will never be exhausted.
love will never wane.
kindness will never change.
faithfulness will never fail.
wisdom will never be nonplussed.
perfect goodness can never diminish.

[The foundation of this trust shall never be removed.]


We trust God...because of who He is. We see who He is by what He's said and what He's done. We also see what He's doing. And what He will do-- because He cannot be unfaithful to His promises. And here...we find hope. And hope is one of the things that separates us from the world. Unbelievers cannot hope. Only we can. Because we don't believe circumstances dictate our steps...but that a Holy, Sovereign, Loving, Wise God does. And we trust Him. The One who calms the storms with a word.