Tag: Gospel

When Less Doesn’t Feel Like More

Loss sucks. Or does it? Life is so simple and yet so layered that to define anything leaves the description wanting.  Perhaps that’s because everything is supposed to point to the manifold glory and wisdom of God.

This morning I woke up and saw something that instantly reminded of some of the deep losses I have experienced.  My eyes filled with tears as my chest ached with deep sorrow.

“God, why?” I thought.

I was reminded of deep truths. Truths that didn’t settle my restless heart in the least. It only shed light on the direction I was to go. And I didn’t want to go that way. I didn’t feel like accepting the truth.  The truth didn’t feel right or good. And quite frankly, I was mad at the Truth. But I have fought the Truth and found it to be as successful as a gnat banging his head against a brick wall. The Truth always wins.  I can suppress it, fight it, or run from it. I have.  But Truth always prevails.

Truth is like the Sun that is always shining brilliantly whether I close the blinds and hind under my sheets or not. Truth is also living and active. Truth is like a hunter that seeks you and finds you. Truth is the reality that our sinful hearts does not want to accept. And the reality is, I do not reign sovereign over my life….Truth does.

Knowing that my warring would be futile I gave in to the Truth.  But not without stalling as long as possible.  Let me make a nice cup of coffee.  I could justify it in my head because that is what I normally do. Even though I wasn’t even desiring a cup, I made one.  Then I made a really big breakfast that I didn’t need. Oh and the project left unfinished in the garage I should finish that real quick and then I will sit down and listen to hear what God’s Word has for my empty heart.

By this time, not even I could deceive myself from what I was doing. “Just sit down and read God’s Word.” I said out loud.

So I did.

As I read, the blinds began to open and the light began to brighten the sheets over my heart. One by one sheets were removed as the light continue to penetrate and pull the dark sheets of pain away. I found myself grabbing a box of Kleenex so that I could blow my nose and remove the tears from my eyes so that I could continue to read these life giving Words.

Psalm 119 speaks of God’s Word being a means to giving life 6 times. And as I read the Psalm that is exactly what it did.  My losses are not erased.  But the presence of God has been put in its place.  The hope of Glory has been promised.  And the Holy Spirit revealing to me the Eternal Glory of the Father in the person of Jesus Christ was enough.

And though the war has been won, I know many battles like this will ensue til I my faith shall be sight.

What I saw that were losses were truly gain.  My sinful heart had turned the good things God had given me into fat that kept me from feeling and knowing that the LORD is good. And my loving Father took out the scalpel and trimmed away the fat around my heart that I would once again seek Him with my whole heart.

Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word. It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.

-Psalm 119:67,71

The continuity of the this truth is found in the New Testament.  Although it shouldn’t be surprising that the focus in the Old Testament on the Word and Promise of God finds its fullest expression in the New Testament in the Word that took on flesh and dwelt among us in the person of Jesus Christ. So the Apostle Paul can confidently say,

Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh— though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ. -Philippians 3:2-8

Loss can certainly feel like it sucks.  But when we have tasted the all surpassing goodness of God our Father in the person of His Son by the Spirits revelation and illumination.  Those losses are gain because it is only in those losses that we can taste and know more fully of the glory, power, and worth of having Jesus!

Jesus is Better?

Today I woke up with the same aching in my heart that I fell asleep with in the night. Loneliness. The pain seems to feel like a void that hungers to be filled. Often I can go through a day not consciously aware that it is there. But today was not one of those days.

And I thank God for that.

On the days when my heart is hungry and thirsty unawares are the days I am most prone to wander.  I wander and don’t even know I’m wandering. I pursue pure things with corrupt reasons. And when they don’t seem to meet the itch.  I often go to impure things seeking a thrill, joy, and satisfaction that will further numb the emptiness.

To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work. -Titus 1:15-16

Typically we contrast believing with unbelieving. But Paul contrast pure with unbelieving in Titus 1:15. Sometimes authors use a word that is unexpected to give further meaning to the expected word.  In this case, Paul seems to be giving further meaning to what it means to be believing by substituting the word pure. He also gives further meaning to the word pure by placing where we would expect the word “believing.”

The word believe in Scripture is a word rich with meaning and understanding all the nuances of its usage in Scripture is crucial to understanding what it is to believe in God and His Word.

Throughout the Scriptures faith is used as a word that is closely associated with appetite (Deuteronomy 8:3 , Isaiah 55, John 6, Philippians 3:19). How we appease our appetites reveal our desires and character. A man that desires pleasure with no labor reveals that he is a glutton and a sluggard.  A woman that desires glory by mere outward appearance is vain and a harlot.

My heart is like a stomach that must be fed.  And what I seek to put in it to satisfy reveals to me my character and my functional gods/God.

Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the Lordfor 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.  -Jeremiah 2:13-14

The great reformer, Martin Luther, taught it was impossible to sin and break any of the Ten Commandments without first breaking the first.

And God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.  -Exodus 20:1-3

When we seek for a created thing to satisfy our heart rather than the Creator we are guilty of idolatry.  We are saying with our heart, “I believe my heart can be satisfied if I have this one thing,” With our heart we are declaring what we are putting our hope and trust in for what only God can give.

Jeremiah prophesied that Israel had committed two great evils.  What were they?  The breaking of the first two commandments; idolatry and making graven images. They committed idolatry by rejecting the worship of God and sought satisfaction in another thing.  And that other thing was something of their own creation, “…and hewed out for themselves…” They thought they could make something that would deliver them from their thirst.  But only God is self-sufficient.

These “two great evils” are the source of all sin. And it has everything to do with our appetites.

This is why it is so important I be aware of what my heart is feeling and desiring (Proverbs 4:23; Philippians 4:7). Loneliness is a hunger pain of the heart.  And when I seek Netflix, food, work, success, people, etc. to satisfy that hunger I am acting as an impure unbeliever. But Jesus holds out this promise to us:

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

When I am feeling the deep aching pain in my heart of loneliness, it is a loving call from my Abba Father welcoming me to come and commune with Him. He has made a way for us to be reconciled to Him through His Son Jesus Christ.  He is the true Bread that gives eternal life (John 6:25-36).  He is the True Water that our quenches our thirst (John 4:10-14). The Spirit is the Fountain that pours out the Living Water through the revelation and illumination of the Word (2 Corinthians 13:14).

Are you hungry?  Are you thirsty? Hear the call of the Loving Father through His Eternal Word by the Holy Spirit,

 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” -Matthew 5:6

 

Jesus: A Man of Sorrows

Jesus: A Man of Sorrows

I started this blog to process my thoughts and feelings.  Jesus being the Great High Priest is one who can sympathize with my every weakness and yet without sin.  He is like me.  And not like me.  He knows what it is like to feel deep pain and helplessness though he is also one I can come to in my time of need and receive grace and mercy.  He is a beautiful mystery and paradox.  Knowing weakness but being all-powerful.  Acquainted with deep disappointments yet sovereign over everything. The eternally blessed God but has felt grief even to the point of death. Suffered a wretched evil sinners death tasting the full weight of the wrath of God while always being the sinless Holy One!

Who is this God-man?

He is my refuge and fortress.  My comfort and joy.  My life. My all. My God.

I have decided to remain anonymous because it doesn’t really matter who I am.  God knows me and because of that, I know Him!  I am the chief of sinners yet redeemed, cleansed, justified, and made a son of God.  And if you read any of these post, I hope you will come to treasure Him more for He is worthy of all our worship!