Category Archives: God’s patience

I need such a friend

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Jesus knows all my wants and weaknesses; all my sin and misery. He knows the malice of my enemies, and the foolishness of my heart. He has power to subdue my whole nature to Himself, and to defeat the wiles and machinations of my foes.

His grace is all-sufficient.  His love is infinite.  His wisdom cannot be defeated.  His power cannot be resisted.  

He has all power and strength–and I am very weak. He has all the knowledge to understand my whole case, and all the wisdom necessary to direct everything concerning me. He makes no mistakes. He is never deceived. He is never outsmarted. He knows all things. He knows my weaknesses.  He knows my sorrows. He knows my heart. His wisdom never fails. He is never confounded or perplexed. He has as much mercy and kindness as I need. His loving-kindness is so great that we cannot fathom its top or the bottom–the length or the breadth of it. The ocean of the Divine love is boundless and inexhaustible! It is infinite!

I have no sorrow to which He is a stranger.  He sympathizes with me in all my sufferings and temptations.

I need just such a friend.

“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”   Hebrews 4:16

(William S. Plumer)

The Safe Place

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I went to Jesus with a prayer
Upon a suppliant’s knee;
Low at His cross I laid me down,
Nor asked His face to see,
Yet whispered in His ear the tale
No mortal ear could bear:
The story of a faithless heart,
And of its self-despair.

I told Him how my feet had slipped,
How often gone astray;
How oft my heart refused to love,
My lips refused to pray.
In stammering words that none but He
Hearing could understand,
I made complaint of careless work
Done by a careless hand.

Of wasted hours, of idle words,
Of love oft waxing dim,
Of silence when a warmer heart
Had testified of Him.
I owned my weak and selfish ways;
How often all day long,
Moanings and sighs had filled His ears
To whom I owed a song.
And what said He? What whispered words
Responded unto mine?
Did He reproach me? Did His love
On me refuse to shine?

Nay, thus He spoke, and bent Him low
To reach my anxious ear,
My child, thou doest well to lie
As thou art lying here ;
I knew thy human weakness, knew
Each lurking bosom sin,
Knew it, and yet in loving grace
Thy heart I stooped to win.

I knew that thou wouldst often fall,
Poor work for Me wouldst do,
Wouldst give Me only half thy love,
Give praises faint and few.
And yet I choose thee. Be content
And since thou canst not fly
To heights by dearer souls attained,
Let it suffice to lie

Here at My feet; it is the place
To which My loved ones flee;
They find it sweet, and so shalt thou;
‘Tis a safe place for thee.
Yes, it is sweet, and it is safe!
And here will I abide;
Sinful, and yet forgiven, sad,
And yet so satisfied.

Elizabeth Prentiss

is God angry?

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as i was walking into work this morning, i was thinking about how little of God I actually know.  as many of you know, the past few months have been very difficult for me, by far the hardest, darkest and most overwhelming season i’ve faced so far in my 27 years.  i’ve doubted God, been angry at Him, questioned Him, ran from Him, questioned His love and care and sovereignty and acted as the children of Israel who I in my pride thought should have “gotten it” time and time again.  But what He is opening my eyes to see is that through all of that, He is a God of steadfast love, mercy and compassion. 

I’ve feared approaching Him, aware of His holiness and hatred of sin.  But i’m missing the cross.  I’m missing the truth that when He sees me, what the Almighty Judge of the universe sees is His perfect Son.  He doesn’t see filth, He sees a pure bride.  I don’t see myself as that, and its hard to believe that God, who knows all, does.  A free gift is so hard to accept.

I’ve been meeting lately on a regular basis with one of my pastors.  A few weeks ago, he reminded me that I’m not God and that I can’t fix myself.  My first response (though i didn’t say it outloud) was “duh, i know that.”  But the more I started thinking of what He said, the more angry I got about it.  I want to fix myself.  I don’t want to need others.  I want to be self-sufficient.  I see weakness as a bad thing.  Yet God says “be weak… do nothing on your own… trust in my all-sufficiency to pay for your debts and heal your scars.”  He says “I don’t require sacrifice and offering, I require an empty cup, lifted up for me to fix and fill.”   its such an amazing offering… an amazing gift.  yet somehow, I still want to earn… I still fear to approach.

so back to my walk into the office today… my view of God is One who is angry at my sin, disappointed at my failures, disgusted at my lack of faith and turning His back from me as I mess up over and over again.  But the true God doesn’t demand performance or perfection… just a simple faith in Him… a pure trust in Him as my only source of salvation, hope, justice and redemption.

my meeting with Matt yesterday was very encouraging… He was pointing out many areas where God is at work in me… even right now as I doubt and question and get angry… He’s still working… still caring… still loving… still pursuing me.  That gives me hope.  Hope that maybe this incomprehensible scandalous love really is true… hope that maybe He will actually not give up on me… hope that the promises of God apply even for me… even now… even here.

what part?

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over at the New Attitude website, they have posted a portion of my testimony.  In that testimony, I mentioned a spontaneous song sung by Bob Kauflin… here is a link where you can listen to the version I heard that day.

 

Lyrics:

What part of your sin did I not cover?
What part of your guilt did I not take?
You have broken my commandments again and again
But I suffered in your place.

What part of your guilt have I not removed?
And what part of your soul did I not make clean?
Through my once and for all sacrifice
I wholly reconciled you to me.

And don’t let the temporary pleasures of sin
Keep you from what I created you for.
Neverending joy and lasting treasure
In the presence of your Lord.

And I’m the One you were created for.
I made you for myself.
My plans are perfect, my timing’s perfect
I know just where you should be and go
So why would you give yourself to anything else?

For my blood has set you free
Free to worship me
Free to resist the power of sin
That seeks to own your life

My blood has set you free
For you were made for Me.
So live in the good of all that I paid for
Live in the good of what you were made for
Live in the good of the blood shed for you.

a God of certainty

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“Wait on the Lord.”
Psalm 27:14

It may seem an easy thing to wait, but it is one of the postures which a Christian soldier learns not without years of teaching. Marching and quick-marching are much easier to God’s warriors than standing still. There are hours of perplexity when the most willing spirit, anxiously desirous to serve the Lord, knows not what part to take. Then what shall it do? Vex itself by despair? Fly back in cowardice, turn to the right hand in fear, or rush forward in presumption? No, but simply wait. Wait in prayer, however. Call upon God, and spread the case before him; tell him your difficulty, and plead his promise of aid. In dilemmas between one duty and another, it is sweet to be humble as a child, and wait with simplicity of soul upon the Lord. It is sure to be well with us when we feel and know our own folly, and are heartily willing to be guided by the will of God. But wait in faith. Express your unstaggering confidence in him; for unfaithful, untrusting waiting, is but an insult to the Lord. Believe that if he keep you tarrying even till midnight, yet he will come at the right time; the vision shall come and shall not tarry. Wait in quiet patience, not rebelling because you are under the affliction, but blessing your God for it. Never murmur against the second cause, as the children of Israel did against Moses; never wish you could go back to the world again, but accept the case as it is, and put it as it stands, simply and with your whole heart, without any self-will, into the hand of your covenant God, saying, “Now, Lord, not my will, but thine be done. I know not what to do; I am brought to extremities, but I will wait until thou shalt cleave the floods, or drive back my foes. I will wait, if thou keep me many a day, for my heart is fixed upon thee alone, O God, and my spirit waiteth for thee in the full conviction that thou wilt yet be my joy and my salvation, my refuge and my strong tower.”

 

“Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed.”
Jeremiah 17:14

“I have seen his ways, and will heal him.”
Isaiah 57:18

It is the sole prerogative of God to remove spiritual disease. Natural disease may be instrumentally healed by men, but even then the honor is to be given to God who giveth virtue unto medicine, and bestoweth power unto the human frame to cast off disease. As for spiritual sicknesses, these remain with the great Physician alone; he claims it as his prerogative, “I kill and I make alive, I wound and I heal;” and one of the Lord’s choice titles is Jehovah-Rophi, the Lord that healeth thee. “I will heal thee of thy wounds,” is a promise which could not come from the lip of man, but only from the mouth of the eternal God. On this account the psalmist cried unto the Lord, “O Lord, heal me, for my bones are sore vexed,” and again, “Heal my soul, for I have sinned against thee.” For this, also, the godly praise the name of the Lord, saying, “He healeth all our diseases.” He who made man can restore man; he who was at first the creator of our nature can new create it. What a transcendent comfort it is that in the person of Jesus “dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily!” My soul, whatever thy disease may be, this great Physician can heal thee. If he be God, there can be no limit to his power. Come then with the blind eye of darkened understanding, come with the limping foot of wasted energy, come with the maimed hand of weak faith, the fever of an angry temper, or the ague of shivering despondency, come just as thou art, for he who is God can certainly restore thee of thy plague. None shall restrain the healing virtue which proceeds from Jesus our Lord. Legions of devils have been made to own the power of the beloved Physician, and never once has he been baffled. All his patients have been cured in the past and shall be in the future, and thou shalt be one among them, my friend, if thou wilt but rest thyself in him this night.

from Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening (August 30th)

die to live anew

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God has been continuously reminding me of one thing this week… His unfailing, pursuing, incomprehensible, eternal, covenental love.

His death is the everlasting guarantee of that love. His gift of salvation to me… His soveriegn offering of union with Him proves to me His unfailing love and care. I long to explore the depths of that holy love. I am compelled to understand the richness in those depths.

“And as for your birth, on the day you were born your cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water to cleanse you … but you were cast out on the open field … “And when I passed by you and saw you wallowing in your blood, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ I said to you in your blood, ‘Live! … I made my vow to you and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Lord GOD, and you became mine.” Ezekiel 16

His is not a love that overlooks sin, rather a love that removes it. He did not merely forgive my debt, He paid it, wholly and completely.

Thanks Steve, for the reminder of what the cross did. I cannot think of your post without remembering the Crucifixion Narrative – a graphic display of the substitutionary full atonement achieved that day as the Perfect Man was cursed as He stood condemned in my place.
Thanks Josh (and Showbread), for the reminder through music that we cannot attain this life neither by peity nor by indulgence. Both lead to destruction.

But God… the Lamb…

He leads to life. He carries us to life. He redeems our life from the pit. He plants our feet on a Rock and breathes life into our dead soul. He opens our eyes and shows us His love.
I am loving these 2 albums. See Josh’s blog for a great review, for he is more concise than I could ever hope to be. :)

When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of glory died, my richest gain I count but loss, and pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast, save in the death of Christ my God! All the vain things that charm me most, I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet, sorrow and love flow mingled down! Did e’er such love and sorrow meet, or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were a present far too small; love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all. (Isaac Watts)

Father hear my voice, be it small. Here I am, though I am nothing at all. Dost thou still see something to love in me? If it be, You will carry me away that I might live today

To Christ, who won for sinners’ grace by bitter grief and anguish sore; be praise from all the ransomed race, forever and forevermore. (additional lyrics by Showbread)

By God’s grace, in union with Him, these thoughts will direct my life. This truth will provide light to my steps and hope to my often weary heart.

…but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5
… we were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. Romans 6

The Beginning – Showbread

Too Busy?

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The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love. Lamentations 3:21-25,31

I was reminded of these verses this morning. How I am grateful for the great faithfulness of my God and abundant mercies that are new every morning. If I were to describe this week as crazy, that would be an understatement. But I’m aware that the craziness is only beginning.

This week at work has consisted of long hours training my replacement for my current job, completing the tasks that have been on the “back burner” for months and finishing the training manual on how to do the tasks I do on a daily / weekly / monthly basis. It is a critical week for Monika (my replacement) because beginning on Monday, I will be swamped with learning my new job and will not have much (if any) time available for her training.

My relationship with God has slipped. Or better stated, plumeted off a cliff. To my shame, I’ve found myself “too busy” to read about God, “too tired” to pray and “too overwhelmed” to approach the only One who can assist me.

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42

As I’m sitting here, distracted by all the preparations that need to be made, I have, like Martha, forgotten the main thing. Though its true that preparations need to be made, they cannot be my main focus. In my desire to end my current position with excellence, I cannot forget that my ultimate responsibility is not to my manager. My ultimate goal is not to properly train Monika. My ultimate task is to look to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of my faith.

My coworker, Jay Tee, just walked by singing in his typical fashion. He either sings Christmas songs, or the good old-time-y gospel hymns. Today, He walked by my desk singing “all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.” (excerpt from “What a Friend we Have in Jesus”). Its exactly what I needed to hear.

I have a friend in Jesus.
He cares about my business.

He wants to reveal more of Himself to me through this time.
He gives abundant mercies to cover my loads of cares.

He is still my Refuge.
He is my Shield.
He bears my griefs.
He listenes to my prayers.

He strengthens in my weakness.
He patiently loves and simply reminds me to get back in line.

He reminds me what truly is necessary.