Friday, April 25, 2008

Brief Thought

There is coolness for my soul in the stillness of Your voice. The night's heat is replete with turmoil, yet time with You restores the peace my weary spirit cherishes.

No wonder the world, my flesh, and the one who hates my soul so oppose quiet times of meeting with You. For it is here, unlike any other place for any other purpose, that Your power is perfected in weakness; that Your presence is expressed with memorable impact, so that who You are is all that matters, and what You provide is enough.

Thinking It Through

Isn't it a shame that so many of God's children are ashamed of Him in His sovereignty? Speak of His love, and the reception is warm and welcoming; preach on His power, and there is grateful awe; mention His mercy, and praise is raised to the heavens!

Yet present God in His absolute sovereignty, in His eternal determination of the destinations of men, His kingly right to exercise justice in the damnation of many as well as grace in the salvation of some, and the response can be quite different..... and telling.

Upon my referring to Romans 9:13 during the course of a conversation concerning God's sovereignty, the angry reply was, "I don't think that ought to be in there!" (Stunned as I was, I couldn't decide which was more grievous: the impugning of God's character, or the implying that Scripture was fallible).

Yet, the more I've mused upon it, I've come to believe they are inseparably linked--- questioning the trustworthiness of the Scriptures is to cast doubt upon the integrity of the sovereign God who inspired them.

And that really is a shame...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


The stability of a believer's life, especially in times of adversity, is immeasurably strengthened by settling forever two key issues:

(a) All Scripture, every bit of it, is God's flawless Word; and,

(b) God is absolutely sovereign, period.

So many concerns used by the enemy to cause so many Christians such consternation would melt into resolution if/when God's sovereignty is unquestioned and His Word is trusted as true.

To the extent either of these positions is compromised is exactly how much access Satan is given for sowing seeds of unbelief--- questioning God's goodness, doubting His power, mocking His promises, and staying man-centered. While these qualities characterize a believer's life, the blessed Holy Spirit is quenched and grieved, and the Savior's Name is reproached.

Father, it is a deep mystery why You are allowing the wheat of your elect and the tares of the lost who look saved to dwell together in this age. As the days darken, may the children of light shine unashamedly. As the cost to claim Your cause increases, let it be paid gladly. For, anything You would ever ask of Your children pales in comparison to what You have given in Your Son, the Lord Jesus!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Putting On the Armor

May my rebellious thoughts be taken captive now, Father, to Your obedience, brought into submission by the blessed Holy Spirit, centered upon the Savior, protected by the helmet of salvation. The enemy of my soul is a master of distraction, caring nothing for what he uses, so long as he keeps my thoughts away from You. Thank You for the sword of Your Word, by which I can be neither ignorant of his schemes, nor defeated by his designs. Teach me to wield it with great effect, Father, bringing verses to mind when most needed. Cover my heart with the breastplate of righteousness, too, that it may be shielded in holiness. For, it is more deceitful than all else, and is desperately sick (Jer. 17:9). You know my need to be protected by Your truth in the tenderest areas of my life; thus, I would ask that my loins be girded with Truth. And be pleased to restore a sensitivity to those around me, Father, by having my feet shod with the preparation of the gospel, so that wherever I travel today, I may be usable for sharing a word of good news concerning the Savior.
In His Name I ask,

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

O Father

I would plea for prayer. Far too often I rush into Your presence, and then find myself talking at You instead of with You. Forgive such arrogance. I would sit at Your feet now, as Mary did (Lk. 10:39, 42), listening to You, learning You, loving being loved by You. In such stillness You satisfy the waiting heart with Your sufficiency. Yes, in the quiet I sense afresh what too often I let slip away: You are my soul's deepest satisfaction.
I would come closer, Father, for I have drifted from You. It's both a comfort and conviction that You never change. For, if our fellowship is broken, it is on my side. If our communion is disrupted, it's my doing. If sin is in the camp, it is mine. And I am keenly aware I can hide nothing from Your holy gaze (Hebrews 4:13). There really is no such thing as secret sin, in the light of Your knowledge. So, I plea Your restoring, Your healing work, whereby repentance is granted, fellowship regained, joy returned, and Your Name glorified.
Thank You, Father. Be pleased now to anoint this day with Your Holy Spirit's unction, having Your perfect will in the lives of Your children as You see fit.
In the Name of Your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, I pray,

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Focus Fear Can't Stand

"'Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.'" (Isaiah 41:10)

What strong commands of encouragement from our God! He who knows our distracted hearts better than anyone, and the nameless fears that rob us of rest and joy, bids us fix our focus where peace of mind and spirit are restored: upon Himself and His provision.

*His Presence "I am with you" When the downcast disciples were so demoralized because their Master had told them He was leaving them, going where they could not follow, they were experiencing the sense of abandonment. Few feelings are more devastating. Little wonder that the Lord comforted them time and again with words of His return to receive them to Himself, that they would be where He was. Someone has well said that heaven is not so much a place as it is a Person. And wherever we sense His presence, His nearness transforms that place into a heavenly one.

*His Person "I am your God" In times we are afraid, we tend to look in every direction except the right one: inward, leading to self-absorption; downward, leading to despair; at the circumstances, increasing our anxiety; at other's situations, prompting comparison, leading to self-pity, anger, or envy; at imagined solutions, leading to inaction, procrastination, and unbelief. All such idols are illusions, tools of the enemy to keep us from giving our full attention to the living God. "Be still, and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10) When that is obeyed, fear cannot abide.

*His Power "I will strengthen you.... help you.... uphold you...." For the one who knows His presence and Person, there is no need to persuade or convince concerning His power. Jeremiah was one such individual. He knew his God in presence as well as character, and states confidently, "Ah Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You, " (Jer. 32:17).

Forgive, Father, for how often I take my eyes from You, distracted by the lusts that the enemy of my soul tantalizingly places before me. Forgive, too, for the directions to which I look for help & wisdom when I should look to You, the only true and living God. You know the rest my agitated heart so desperately desires, and the fear that haunts my nights. Restore, Father, the determination to seek You, You alone, Your will, Your way, beyond any and all other.
In the Lord Jesus' Name,