Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Thoughts

Who could possibly deserve our life-long, soul-felt thanks more than the One who laid His life down in abject sacrifice for worms such as us...?

"He was despised, rejected, and like one from whom men hide their face... He was despised and we esteemed Him not..."

"Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!"

The greater one's sense of sin, the holiness and wrath of holy God, and the eternality of sin's punishment, the greater the gratitude for Jesus' sacrifice.

Astonishing is the inexplicable love that He would show toward hardened enemies, intent in rebellion, shaking tiny fists in the face of almighty God.

Some are dismayed that He has not elected all for salvation... I am amazed that He set His heart upon any!

So much of the blame-shifting of man, in faulting God for his lostness, stems from underestimating the heinousness of sin in the light of God's holiness. We are so comfortable with sin, so accustomed to its velvet vice-grip, its subtle strangulation, we easily forget His perfect righteousness.

At the foot of the cross, we again see what our sin cost the Son of God... and sense afresh the awesome holiness of the living God.

Thank You, Lord Jesus. Thank You, Thank You, blessed Lord, for doing what we could never have done for ourselves, being dead in our transgression and sin. Praise to your Name for such condescension, such compassion, such submission to Your Father's will.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Ephesians: All of Grace (1:17)

"...that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him."

In interceding for the Ephesian believers, Paul prayed for two things: (a) wisdom, and (b) knowledge of God. We could do no better than to pray the same for one another.

Wisdom, true wisdom, is the ability to view life from God's vantage point. This is possible only for the one who has been changed by the Lord Jesus Christ, who has the mind of Christ (I Corinthians 2:16), enabled by the Spirit of God in spiritual discernment. As with every facet of the Christian life, the Bible is the key tool in gaining and maturing in godly wisdom. While reliance only upon observing circumstances can cause one to wonder as to the Lord's perspective, His Word reveals His will in no uncertain terms. The one who lives wisely, lives within the parameters of Scripture.

Closely akin to the prayer for wisdom is Paul's requesting the Lord to grant revelation in knowing Him. Paul clearly understood that, for anyone to know God He must reveal who He is. In this issue of learning the Lord of the universe I'm reminded again of the life principle: If it isn't revelation, it's speculation. God does not want His children to guess who He is. And in the inspiring, protecting, and preserving of His Word He has graciously provided the flawless disclosure of Himself. If we would please Him, then we would increase consistently in our knowledge of Him and our love for Him, by learning Him through His blessed Book.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Selah (Pause & Consider)

"Oh, Father... Praise to Your Name for the faithfulness You show in preserving and protecting my life. I'll know only in heaven the multitude of ways that You've shown Yourself strong on my behalf. When I reflect on the number of times through my years that You providentially engineered circumstances, ensuring my safety when in such danger, I'm touched afresh with Your compassion and care.

Forgive for times when I complain (even if only inwardly), chafing in my spirit at what You've allowed in my life.... call again to mind the precious and magnificent promises You've so generously made (and have unfailingly kept!).

Forgive for times I take You for granted, times I fail to thank and praise You, times I presume upon You... allowing You to slip from my attention. You are so faithful to call me back, bidding me taste again the sweetness of Your fellowship, the joy of Your smile, the deep security Your Spirit gives in confirming I'm Yours.

In the Lord Jesus' Name,

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Needed Reminder

"In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch," (Psalm 5:3).

*Prayer permeated David's experiencing of God, and here he touches on the "when", the "what", and the "how" of his praying.

(a) When: in the morning.

Starting in the sixth grade I learned to play the B flat Clarinet, and became skilled to the point that I went to college on a music scholarship. By the time I went to Seminary, I hadn't played it in several years, but had strong memories of all the concerts, etc. in which I had had a part. When a brother who was discipling me at Seminary asked about my prayer life, I quickly pointed out that I was a "night" person, unable to follow the Lord's example in Mark 1:35. His response was a penetrating question: Back when you played the clarinet, did you warm up before the concert, or afterwards?
No doubt he noted my wince, and said, "The discipline is not in getting up in the morning, it's in going to bed the night before."

(b) What: You will hear my voice, I will order my prayer to You.

Being up in the morning is but the beginning. The enemy of our soul knows that prayer is the place of power. He cares not what is used, i.e., fatigue, distractions, family, etc., as long as he can keep us from praying. We must ask the Lord to increase our wanting Him, to deepen our desire for time with Him, and put on the provided armor of Ephesians 6.

(c) How: eagerly.

No one enrolled David in a prayer workshop, requiring him to keep a quiet time notebook, or preached guilt-producing sermons on prayer, or called him to account for how many hours he spent in prayer.
His attitude was that of one who is in love. No outer coercion was required... his inner love for God resulted in eager seeking. So too, when our hearts are in love with the Lord who bids us come to Him, we say, "Yes, yes, and evermore, yes!"