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Archive for May 4th, 2008

Just in time for college commencement exercises:

Imagine a university commencement in which you are the sole participant: noble architecture, colorful regalia, flying banners, stirring music, and you, all by yourself, conferring and receiving degrees. What loneliness. What emptiness. To pursue self-discovery and self-fulfillment while snubbing people is to prepare for just such a commencement.

We can put things a happier way. If we leave the awarding of our degrees—defining of our lives—in the hands of the coming King, and give our attention to people, then commencement will be worth attending, and full of happy surprises. This applies to every human encounter, but especially to our encounters with those who are outside the gospel and its benefits. We will find to needy people in glory, nor will we find any nonbelievers. If we are ever to extend the love and truth of the coming King to such folks, now is the time.

From a Journey Worth Taking

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Anxiety meets grace

I am back to reading Ed Welch’s new book Running Scared: fear, worry, anxiety and the God of rest. In chapter 12 he makes this insightful comment:

Anxiety asks for more information so it can be prepared for the coming apocalypse. It also asks for more information so that it can manage the world apart from God.

Worry and anxiety think that more information will help. The truth, of course, is that it won’t

God gives grace for today, for tomorrow, and for the future. God promises us in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that he gives us enough grace for every worry. And he gives us this grace when we need it–not necessarily beforehand. For example, if you get in the car accident that you are always worrying might happen, God will give you the grace to handle that and even grace to bear fruit in that difficult situation. If, as a missionary I know is facing, you work hard for a number of years toward a specific goal, and something you hadn’t even been worrying about happens occurs, God will give you the grace for the detour. If your loved one dies before you do, God will give you the grace then to keep going and reflect your Father’s glory. If you experience a real financial downturn, even poverty, God will give you grace to remember that this in no way affects your status as one of his ambassadors.

God always gives grace for every hardship. But grace never promises the absence of hardship. Welch writes,

If our child is very sick, we want to believe that grace means that God will heal the child. If we have just been laid off from a job and have no financial cushion, we want to believe that grace means we will be hired tomorrow by an even more stable company, and that the old company will apologize for its egregious mistake with a huge severance package. But that is not the promise. God does not promise that earthly life in his kingdom will be easier than life in our own kingdom. Instead, he indicates that in the kingdom of heaven we will be familiar with the sufferings of Christ. We will experience hardships. We will not be spared the difficulties of life.

Welch reminds us that “tomorrow’s grace means more.” More than you can imagine. Think of everything that we receive when we receive grace: the gifts of the Spirit, the Spirt of grace, the kingdom, love, joy, patience, gentleness, adoption as God’s children, power to fight sin, goodness, self-control, fruitfulness, peace, the mind of God, freedom, faithfulness, no condemnation, truth, unity, power to serve others, presence of God, promise of future perfection, wisdom, and life.

So, here is the challenge. Don’t limit God or God’s grace to the size of your imagination! Rather remember that He is the one who gives “grace upon grace!” Start each day by asking, “God, help me. Give me your grace! I am a person in need of your grace today!” And end each day saying, “Thank you, Lord!”

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Married to ???

“No spouse is married to marriage; he or she is married to a particular person and must learn to love that particular person. “

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Our God is incomparable

  • He measures the seven seas in the hollow of His hand
  • The measure of the entire heavens is the span of His hand
  • All the dirt of the earth is like one-third of a bushel compared to God’s hugeness
  • He can weigh all the mountains and hills in a scale!

Five question from Isaiah 40:12-17

  • Has anyone ever understood God’s mind?
  • Has anyone ever instructed or counseled God?
  • Has anyone enlightened the Lord on any matter?
  • Has anyone taught the Lord the proper way to go?
  • Has anyone taught him knowledge, or did he go to any of our schools?

If the power and wisdom of God were more deeply impressed on our souls, what a difference it would make as we face all sorts of tests, crises, and alarming situations in our lives.

But if after reading Isaiah 40:9-31, you still want to make an idol, make sure you do three things according to verse 20: choose wood that won’t rot (that would be such a waste), make sure you get a skilled craftsman to make it (don’t ask me), and by all means nail it down to the floor (what a pity to wake up in the morning and find it knocked face down on the floor–nothing worse than a god who is unstable).

In conclusion

If God is such an incomparable God, why are we so hesitant to commit ourselves and all that we have to Him? Why don’t we just lay at his feet all that we are and all that we have and magnify His Name in all things?

Why are we so intimidated, frightened, and anxious by the circumstances of our lives if God is incomparable in his Person, power, and loving care of us?

Adapted from Walter Kaiser’s The Majesty of God in the OT

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