Friday, December 17, 2010
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Friday, October 1, 2010
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
be shocked, be utterly desolate,
declares the Lord,
for my people have committed two evils:
they have forsaken me,
the fountain of living waters,
and hewed out cisterns for themselves,
broken cisterns that can hold no water.
Reading this today brought a conviction of the idols that are vying for my affections, challenging the place that Christ holds in my heart. These broken cisterns leave me dry and wanting. Repenting of these idols that don't satisfy, I am reminded that the Lord alone is the fountain from which life comes. And that I must go to this fountain for life.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
In college, I had the joy and opportunity to be discipled by a wise God-fearing woman who taught me so much about the Word, demonstrated how to live a holy life before me, and showed me how a godly woman should live in our culture. In looking back, the single most important thing she taught me was the absolute necessity of Jesus and the Gospel. Prior to that, the role of Christ in faith seemed more of a good story to me and not the key to my justification, redemption and hope.
Her friendship and counsel over the course of my college years was invaluable to me; her prayers and wisdom helped me through struggles in relationships, theological issues, challenges as a varsity athlete, career decisions and most significantly, my relationship with Christ. Sometimes it was merely the simple act of getting off the college campus for a hot meal and some good conversation that made an incredible difference in my week. Being able to vulnerably share the concerns and struggles in my life and to be pointed to Christ and holiness in a loving way was an immense blessing. Post-college, my mentor is still one of my closest friends and I know the Lord used her in a mighty way to call me to Him at a time of great turmoil and confusion in my life. Praise be to God!
She also demonstrated the Titus 2 mandate given to us women to care for the women who are younger than us. After experiencing this, I am all the more encouraged to share my life with younger women so that they may learn how to live for the Lord where they are in life. Here's a great article describing this challenge written by Susan Hunt:
I had spoken on the topic of biblical womanhood and a college-age woman asked me a thoughtful question: How can I think biblically about my womanhood when I am constantly told that independence is power and that I should seek my own fulfillment and determine my own destiny?
My answer: “Go to godly women in your church and ask them to speak the truth of biblical womanhood into your life. Ask them to show you how to live for God’s glory as a woman.” But then I wondered, “Is this young woman’s church preparing its women to answer her question?” Someone is teaching women and girls what it means to be a woman. Is it the church or the world?
Older women discipling younger women is not just a nifty idea someone concocted, and it is not optional. It’s a gospel imperative. The apostle Paul writes,
Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. (Titus 2:3-5)
In light of this passage, let’s consider some questions that will help the church sound the call for women to invest themselves in younger women. I pray that this brief article would challenge women to respond to this high and holy calling.
THE TITUS 2 MANDATE
The mandate of Titus 2:3-5 is that older women are to disciple younger women, teaching them how to grow in godliness in their distinct relationships and calling.
Some of the principles of discipleship embedded in this amazing chapter will help us to understand the specific directive to women in verses 3 to 5.
Principle #1: The church is responsible to encourage and equip women to disciple each other
In verse 1 Paul addresses his instructions on discipleship to Titus, the pastor. Since women training women is an integral part of the church’s ministry, Titus must equip the women in his church to do so. Therefore, it is the responsibility of every church leader to see that women are equipped for this calling.
Principle #2: The church should teach sound doctrine
In verse 1 Paul tells Titus to teach sound doctrine, doctrine that is healthy or whole. This shows us that women discipling women should flow out of and be consistent with the regular preaching ministry of the church. This discipleship should help women apply sound doctrine to daily life and relationships.
Principle #3: The communion of the saints
Yet verses 3 through 5 also tell us that discipleship is not just the responsibility of church leaders (see also Ephesians 4:11-16). As the Westminster Confession of Faith states: “All saints, that are united to Jesus Christ their Head… and, being united to one another in love, they have communion in each other’s gifts and graces, and are obliged to the performance of such duties, public and private, as do conduce to their mutual good, both in the inward and outward man.”
Biblical discipleship is relational. The content of the gospel should be taught in the context of relationships that validate the gospel. Our relationship with God is personal, but that relationship also brings us into community with his other adopted children.
Older men and women have the generational responsibility to share their gifts and graces with younger men and women. They are to tell the stories of their victories as well as their failures and show how their stories are part of God’s grand story of redemption.
The Titus 2 mandate is life-on-life discipleship that guides and nurtures to mature Christian womanhood. It is a mothering ministry. This mothering spirit is evident in Paul’s description of his own ministry to the Thessalonians:
But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us. (1 Thess. 2:7-8)
Principle #4: The gospel is our motivation
There are costly challenges in this chapter. Investing in the lives of others costs energy and time. It means taking relational risks. Why should we live so sacrificially?
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ (vv. 11-13).
Christ came and he is coming back. He appeared in grace as a babe and he will come in glory as the King. While we wait for that glorious appearing we are to make disciples. Unless we are motivated by the gospel we will become discouraged and weary.
Principle #5: The gospel is powerful
Paul concludes with an electrifying reminder of the power of the gospel.
[Jesus] gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himselfa peoplethat are his very own, eager to do what is good (v. 14).
Some discipleship is age and gender specific but all discipleship is to be gospel-focused. It is Jesus who redeems and purifies us. For a fallen sinner to become eager to do what is good is the radical work of the gospel. The result of our investment in the lives of others is not dependent upon our own power or experience. It is only the power of the gospel that can transform self-centered sinners into Christ-centered disciples. And one of the wonders of gospel-driven discipleship is that even if we do not see this transformation take place in the disciple, it will take place in us as we disciple others.
See more of the article here.
Saturday, August 28, 2010
I've almost chewed my way through Collin Hansen's Young, Restless, Reformed. The book is a journalists attempt to uncover the progress of the Reformed Christian movement by traveling across America and interviewing some of the key leaders who have influenced and shaped Reformed Christianity today. John Piper, C.J. Mahaney and Mark Driscoll are some of the big names the author gets to pick the brain of, but he also stops in at university campuses, theological seminaries and conferences to engage some of the twenty-somethings about why Calvinism has changed their hearts toward the Lord and thus, changed the way they live their lives evangelically and morally. I loved the way that, although there are differing perspectives held by a lot of these leaders on secondary theological issues such as the charismatic gifts, covenant theology versus dispensationalism, baptism, eschatology and the degree of cultural engagement a church should take, many of the leader's humility and love for the gospel creates a point of convergence that trumps all these disagreements. A love for the sovereignty of God, a knowledge of the fallen sinfulness of man and the enormous grace given through Christ's life and death and resurrection, a commitment to display and share His glory, an urgent call to evangelize to a fallen world...these leaders are like-minded about what matters most.
Charles Spurgeon sums this up well, as he often (always?) does:
The doctrine of election, like the great act of election itself, is intended to divide, not between Israel and Israel, but between Israel and the Egyptians- not between saint and saint, but between saints and the children of the world. A man may be evidently of God's chosen family, and yet though elected, may not believe in the doctrine of election. I hold there are many savingly called, who do not believe in effectual calling, and that there are a great many who persevere to the end, who do not believe the doctrine of final perseverance. We do hope that the hearts of many are a great deal better than their heads. We do not set their fallacies down to any willful opposition to the truth as it is in Jesus, but simply to an error in their judgments, which we pray God to correct. We hope that if they think us mistaken too, they will reciprocate the same Christian courtesy; and when we meet around the cross, we hope that we shall ever feel that we are one in Christ Jesus.
Amen, Spurg, amen.
Friday, August 27, 2010
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Monday, August 16, 2010
Friday, August 13, 2010
For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that by the endurance and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope.
This morning I am reminded of words of assurance that point us to Jesus and eternity, offering a hope in Christ and God's promises that is a firm foundation for every struggle in life. These truths fix my eyes on a coming Savior and an eternal inheritance that does not spoil, rust or fade. Is there any struggle or frustration or hardship or evil in life that cannot be combatted with the Word of God? I am convinced that there is nothing.
No, not the ups and downs of relationships and the pain of being distanced from those we love. Nor the pain of disappointment or failure in the plans we set for ourselves. Not even the turmoil of emotion or the lethargy that life's routine can bring. There is hope for all these things in Christ and truth to fight is given us in God's Word.
What encouragement we can find in the lives of those who have struggled and hoped in Truth before us.
Henry Martyn was a young missionary to India and Arabia and Persia in the early 1800's. He had left his fiancé Lydia Grenfell behind in England in 1806 and would never see her again—he died at 31.
On the boat he fought back self-pity and discouragement with the promises of God's Word. He arrived in Calcutta in May and two months later had a devastating experience. One of the veteran missionaries preached a sermon directed against Henry Martyn and his doctrines. He called his teaching inconsistent, extravagant, and absurd. He accused him of seeking only to "gratify self-sufficiency, pride and uncharitableness."
How could this lonely young man endure such a crushing experience, and not only endure but during the next six years have the perseverance to translate the New Testament into Hindustani, Persian, and Arabic?
We can hear the answer in his own journal:
In the multitude of my troubled thoughts I still saw that there is a strong consolation in the hope set before us. Let men do their worst, let me be torn to pieces, and my dear Lydia torn from me; or let me labour for fifty years amidst scorn, and never seeing one soul converted; still it shall not be worse for my soul in eternity, nor worse for it in time. Though the heathen rage and the English people imagine a vain thing, the Lord Jesus, who controls all events, is my friend, my master, my God, my all.
Henry Martyn fought the battle against discouragement and hopelessness with the truths of God's Word: "Jesus is my friend, my master, my God, my all!" And that is the way we must fight every day, and never stop until the war is over and the Commander puts the wreath of victory on our heads. -DesiringGod.org
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Colossians 3:2-4
Friday, August 6, 2010
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Last year I posted a few pictures from the old 70’s classic Soul Winning Made Easy by C.S. Lovett. Recently I came across another of his books, one titled Help Lord—The Devil Wants Me Fat! The book teaches how the devil is able to influence your eating, how to deal with your appetite and how to deprogram yourself from bad eating habits. It is an odd mixture of good and bad, useful information and outright legalism (not to mention poor medical advice).
I enjoy these books as a bit of a guilty pleasure, I’m sure. They’re old, they’re retro and somehow quite amusing.
Here’s how this one starts:
Lovett largely blames overeating and obesity on Satanic activity.
Here’s a great picture of a very Caucasian Adam and Eve. Adam is totally ripped.
One of the best parts of Lovett’s books is that he always has lots of photographs of himself performing the programs he’s come up with (again, see Soul Winning Made Easy). Here he is meditating upon Jesus to see if it’s God’s will for him to undertake a fast.
The heart of the book is a fast. And this isn’t a fast for wimps—it’s 10 days of nothing but water (and heespecially recommends it for pregnant women and says it will cure morning sickness). The purpose of this fast is to take complete control of the flesh. Lovett suggests that for two days you will be hungry but after that your hunger will fade and you’ll be just fine. In fact, you’ll have an increase in energy and certainly an increase in relationship with the Lord.
One strange thing about this fast is that he tells you to spend meal times away from your family. While your family is eating dinner, you are to spend time in prayer and Bible reading.
Here he is enjoying breakfast (or dinner or lunch).
And here he is demonstrating how to tell Satan to go away:
After the conclusion of the fast he introduces a whole section about New Age-style visualization. He says that in order to become thin you have to project an image of yourself at your desired weight into order to develop the faith to actually make it happen.
And then he closes out the diet portion of the book with a section about nutrition, stating that you’ll have to learn to always say “no” to fats and oils, sugars and refined carbohydrates.
The final section of the book talks about evangelism because your fabulous new body, he says, can be a fabulous provoker of conversation. As people declare how good you look, you are to take the opportunity of that conversation to share the gospel. And I guess that takes us full-circle, back to Soul Winning Made Easy.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
If your morning routine includes heading to Starbucks before 10:30 a.m. (this may not apply to the college peeps whose day usually begins around 11 or 12...) :) It's free pastry day with the purchase of a brewed or iced beverage at Starbucks if you get there before 10:30 and use this coupon.
Enjoy the freebie!
Sunday, March 14, 2010
“Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”
— 1 Corinthians 10:12
It is a curious fact, that there is such a thing as being proud of grace. A man says, “I have great faith, I shall not fall; poor little faith may, but I never shall.” “I have fervent love,” says another, “I can stand, there is no danger of my going astray.” He who boasts of grace has little grace to boast of. Some who do this imagine that their graces can keep them, knowing not that the stream must flow constantly from the fountain head, or else the brook will soon be dry. If a continuous stream of oil comes not to the lamp, though it burn brightly to-day, it will smoke to-morrow, and noxious will be its scent. Take heed that thou gloriest not in thy graces, but let all thy glorying and confidence be in Christ and his strength, for only so canst thou be kept from falling. Be much more in prayer. Spend longer time in holy adoration. Read the Scriptures more earnestly and constantly. Watch your lives more carefully. Live nearer to God. Take the best examples for your pattern. Let your conversation be redolent of heaven. Let your hearts be perfumed with affection for men’s souls. So live that men may take knowledge of you that you have been with Jesus, and have learned of him; and when that happy day shall come, when he whom you love shall say, “Come up higher,” may it be your happiness to hear him say, “Thou hast fought a good fight, thou hast finished thy course, and henceforth there is laid up for thee a crown of righteousness which fadeth not away.” On, Christian, with care and caution! On, with holy fear and trembling! On, with faith and confidence in Jesus alone, and let your constant petition be, “Uphold me according to thy word.” He is able, and he alone, “To keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.”
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Monday, March 8, 2010
I'm thankful for being able to worship with the saints at Veritas.
I'm thankful for my time in Australia which introduced me to Indian food (which is what I'm serving Mark tonight!...eee we'll see how that goes!)
I'm thankful that my natural inclination to discontentedness finds no grounds for existence when I am rooted in Christ and His promises.
I'm thankful for tennis! May the matches begin!
And I fear that there may be many hearing me who may know well that they are not Christians, because they do not love to give. To give largely and liberally, not grudging at all, requires a new heart. An old heart would rather part with its life-blood than its money. Oh my friends, enjoy your money. Make the most of it. Give none of it away. Enjoy it quickly, for I can tell you, you will be beggars throughout eternity.”
Robert Murray McCheyne, Works (New York, 1847), II:482.
Saturday, March 6, 2010
This song is performed by Sandra McCracken but it was written by Caedmon's Call.
Thy mercy my God is the theme of my song
The joy of my heart and the boast of my tongue
Thy free grace alone from the first to the last
Hath won my affection and bound my soul fast
Without Thy sweet mercy i could not live here
Sin would reduce me to utter despair
But through Thy free goodness my spirits revive
And He who first made me still keeps me alive
Thy mercy is more than a match for my heart
Which wonders to feel its own hardness depart
Dissolved by Thy goodness i fall to the ground
And weep for the praise of the mercy i've found
Great Father of mercy, Thy goodness i own
And the covenant love of Thy crucified Son
All praise to the Spirit whose whisper divine
Seals mercy and pardon and righteousness mine!
All praise to the Spirit whose whisper divine
Seals mercy and pardon and righteousness mine!
Friday, March 5, 2010
Friday, February 26, 2010
Philippians 4:8- Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
This week I am thankful for:
-the joy of making Mark and I's first home our own
-friends who care about my soul
-a new last name! :)
-Christ's righteousness counted as my own despite my sinful heart
-the hill I jog on that has the perfect amount of slope to make a jog challenging but not killer
-the quietness of mornings (having a husband who gets up at 4:40 makes the mornings seem a lot longer these days!)
-Mark, who makes me laugh more than I ever have before
-other bloggers who share knowledge and insight into a vast array of topics
-a new washer and dryer making life a lot easier these days!
-Mallory Peckels and her note-writing tendencies that always make me laugh
-remembering that every good and perfect gift is from above- our heavenly Father loves us!
Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth."
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
From Matt Chandler's blog: http://fm.thevillagechurch.net/blog/pastors/
All of my life I have wanted to be successful. The idea of success has driven me most of my days and the fear of not being successful has kept me on course as well. As I reflect on this, I find it interesting that not much has changed for me personally. I still desire success, but my definition of “success” has shifted drastically. Growing up in the thriving and prosperous suburb of Plano the mantra and allure of success was all around me.
Success equated to the various status symbols of the “American Dream”: expensive cars, expansive homes, exotic vacations and exclusive lives. The greater cultural system reinforced what most families modeled, and we were all competing for ways to get a slice of pie. The proverbial “Jones’” kept everyone running at breakneck speed and leaving carnage in our wake; people became a means to an end as “success” was the idol we chased. This is not isolated to Plano or the Dallas metroplex per se; rather, this ethos permeates the ghetto as much as Rodeo Drive. It is American to the core.
A biblically informed definition of success has almost nothing to do with the acquisition of material things or the achievement of personal comfort. Success for the believer is defined in relationship to Jesus Christ and His mission. Christ came to seek and save that which was lost; He calls a people unto Himself. We were once far off and have now been brought near through the blood of Christ. He creates a new humanity with transformed perspectives and ambitions.
The death and resurrection of Christ and the overall mission of God in the world now defines what success looks like for the believer and the Church. Simplistically, a believer’s desire for success should be in accordance with Romans 12:1-2. Do I look like the Savior? Have I been transformed by His grace to love radically, give generously, suffer willingly, walk humbly and engage missionally? Is the fruit of God’s Spirit evident in my heart: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22).
The hope in my life is that I would be successful, but success has been redefined as I have been transformed. Now, a prosperous life means an endowment of Christ-saturated thoughts, relationships and actions; not a certain tax bracket or health. Conformity to the image of Christ compels me rather than the creaturely comforts of a fading glory (2 Corinthians 5:14). The success I am now pursuing is not elusive; rather, it is eternally mine because it has been purchased by the sufficient blood of Christ and secured by the seal of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:7,14). The “American Dream” is a cheap substitute compared to the rich treasure of knowing Christ (Philippians 3:7-10). The gospel reality awakens us to pleasures evermore and causes us to abandon our prior delusions of grandeur to readily accept the inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled and unfading, kept in heaven for those who believe. (1 Peter 1:3-5).
Can I really be called a “success” if I waste my life chasing the wind? Maybe, but then I would also have to be called a “fool” as well.
Also, read Matt Chandler's wife, Lauren's blog, at http://www.themchandlers.blogspot.com/
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
This picture brings me great joy- Mark and I are so blessed by our wonderful friends! They're so full of life! The Lord's woven our paths together in ways that only HE, in all His sovereignty and wisdom, could make possible. To Him be the glory! Every good and perfect gift is from above. James 1:17
Monday, February 22, 2010
Martin Luther, in Theodore G. Tappert, editor, Luther: Letters of Spiritual Counsel (Philadelphia, 1955), pages 86-87.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
"This free love was not produced or purchased by Christ’s death. That love existed before in all its largeness and freeness. Christ’s death did not increase that love. It was wide as the heart of God, and could not be increased. Christ’s death did not make the sinner a more suitable object for that love. The sinner was loved before; and it was love to the sinner that made the Father send the Son: “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.” That love rested on the sinner before. His circumstances as a sinner, so far from quenching God’s love to him as a creature, increased it; for they added all the amount of misery, and gloom, and exposure to eternal ruin, which called up that profound and unutterable compassion which a father feels toward a prodigal child that has ruined himself. Nothing in us, nothing in the world, nothing in heaven or earth, nothing in man or angel produced the love of God. It was uncreated, unbought, undeserved, and unfathomable. God loved the sinner because He was God, and because the sinner was a sinner. That is the end of the matter." -Horatius Bonar
Monday, February 1, 2010
Click here to check out her wise words.
Friday, January 29, 2010
It was a big moment for me. I could empathize and have compassion on these people that sat around the table with me because I know that my own soul is in a daily battle to keep from being overtaken by the desires and addictions of my flesh. I fight with my addictions daily, and although the effects of surrendering to these desires may not look the way an alcoholic or crack addict looks when they give in to their urge to get drunk or high on drugs, I know that the effects for me are just as significant: internal, soul-wasting and heart hardening effects that separate me from my God. I am in a fight against sin that debilitates my communion and intimacy with Christ: pride, selfishness, anger, pride, self-righteousness, pride, using my emotions as justification for sin, worldliness, and I think I forgot to mention pride as well. The grossness of staying in my sin without battling it with vengeance each day is just as severe as the grossness of the addict's self allowance to continue killing himself with hits of cocaine. Both scenerios leave us empty, hurting and dissatisfied, only wishing we could fight our addictions so that our next need can be satisfied by something that is real and lasting. We weren't intended to be in bondage to anything but Jesus Christ, the Savior of our souls, who gives freedom and joy and in whom there is purpose and truth.
One of the ladies in my group who has been clean for 2 years and continues to battle her drug addictions, spoke words that deeply affected my soul yesterday. She shared about the shame of her addiction and her grief in the way she has treated her body for so many years. She shared that every morning, she wakes up and puts lotion on her body and quotes Psalm 103 as she praises the Lord for who He is and what He has done in her life. Repentance has moved her to freedom from her disease and healing through life in Christ as she battles her addictions. May we battle alongside her as well, as we fight the good fight and pursue righteousness for the sake of Christ.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
The LORD works righteousness
and justice for all who are oppressed.
He made known his ways to Moses,
his acts to the people of Israel.
The LORD is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always chide,
nor will he keep his anger forever.
He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.
Friday, January 15, 2010
As a child growing up, I can remember learning in Sunday school what the word "repentance" meant. My teacher showed us a big red STOP sign and told us that repentance means that when we do something wrong, we must stop, turn around, and go the other way. I remember thinking it was so simple and easy, and I was definitely the little blonde girl in the front who could answer all the questions correctly, feel good about it, and sit back with great satisfaction in my knowledge. I can see now that my current battles with pride and self-righteousness took root long ago when, as a young girl, I started believing that my own performance and knowledge and goodness was my justification and rightstanding before God. I lost sight of repentance almost immediately (apparently I knew what it meant, but not how it applied to my life, or why I really needed it) and have really only recently returned to it, and now wonder how I ever really functioned as a Christian without being in continual, daily repentance. My wandering from repentance throughout my youth and teenage years have to do with a number of ignorances, misconceptions and wanderings from truth.
Unless I believe that I am a sinful girl, filled with sinful desires and unable to do anything good apart from Christ, there is no realization of how miserably I fail and fall short of God's holiness. Thus, I can't see much of why I need to repent- I didn't kill anyone today, nor did I lie or steal or commit adultery. Thus, my convictions are small and my repentance is unnecessary. BUT if I truly believe in the doctrine of sin- that left to myself I can do nothing but sin (John 15:5); that my righteous deeds are filthy rags in the eyes of our holy God because He is THAT RIGHTEOUS AND GOOD (Isaiah 64:6); that everything that does not come from faith is sin (Romans 14:23); that whether I eat or drink or whatever I do, I must do it all for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 15:58)(and fail miserably at this daily);...then I MUST fall on my face and know that I am a sinner unable to do anything apart from God. And I MUST repent. Realization of our sin leads to brokenness, humility and repentance.
Somewhere along my journey, I lost sight of the holiness of God. This is mostly due to my loss of scripture as my only source of Truth and my conformity to worldliness in my thoughts. Arthur Pink puts it well when he states that, "As the Holy Spirit sets before me the loveliness of the divine character, as I am enabled to discern the exalted excellency of God, then I begin to perceive that to which He is justly entitled, namely, the homage of my heart, the unrestricted love of my soul, the complete surrender of my whole being to Him. As I perceive that from the moment I drew my first breath God has sought only my good, that the One who gave me being has constantly ministered to my every creature need, and that the least I can do in return is to acknowledge His abounding mercies by doing that which is pleasing in His sight, I am now over-whelmed with anguish and horror as I realize I have treated Him more vilely than my worst enemy." I must continue to pursue a knowledge of God that sees Him rightly, according to scripture, and sees myself as I am (from dust I came and to dust I will return). A right view of God and self leads us to do the only thing that is appropriate- worship Him.
Only since I've fully come to know and believe that my rightstanding before God comes not from what I do, but what Christ did through his death and resurrection on the cross, have I come to realize that my only hope is in the sovereign mercy of God. My hope does not lie in my actions but in the character of God and only that is sufficient to reconcile me from what my sins deserve (death) to the grace God freely gives through His Son (life).
My Sunday school teacher definitely got it right in saying that repentance is a turning from one thing, but I have to remember that it as I turn from my sin, I must turn to God, not to my own morality or self-will. How kind and merciful a Father we have, that all that He asks of us, He provides. "And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19). Christ has allowed us to come before the Father with confidence and receive the grace we need to live freely and without condemnation for our sin (Hebrews 4:16).
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (I John 1:9)
Sunday, January 10, 2010
only the mark and empty trace, which he in vain tries to ﬁll from all
his surroundings, seeking from things absent the help he does not
obtain in things present. But these are all inadequate, because the inﬁ-
nite abyss can only be ﬁlled by an inﬁnite and immutable object, that
is to say, only by God Himself.