Friday, July 23, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job 1:21
Job did not say, “Blessed be the Lord” but “Blessed be the name of the Lord.” At issue in his life was not only his own reverence for God but also the name of the Lord in the world, how God would be thought about and spoken about and felt about. Job was expressing his own trust and also instructing and admonishing all others, including us, who watch him suffer at the Lord’s hand.
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb.” I came into the world with nothing. I’m not entitled to anything. Everything I’ve received has been of grace.
“Naked shall I return.” When I die, I’ll take nothing with me except what’s in my soul. I will cling to nothing in this life except what prepares me to die.
“The Lord gave.” He has been so good to me, so generous. I am astounded at his bounty toward me.
“The Lord has taken away.” Why not? When he gives, he doesn’t give away. He gives on trust. I am a steward, not an owner. And I don’t need to understand more than that. He doesn’t have to consult with me about what he does with his own property.
“Blessed be the name of the Lord.” God has done nothing wrong. He has been good in his giving and in his taking. Self-pity is an uncomprehending response. What’s happening here is, God’s name is being made more obvious in my life. I’m part of a drama, displaying who God really is here in this world of false appearances. That’s the true meaning of my life, and it’s a privilege to be involved. So I don’t want merely to acquiesce to God; I want to praise God, and I want you to praise him too.Blessed be the name of the Lord is a post from: Ray Ortlund
Thursday, July 8, 2010
I was reminded today that when we fear there is room for little else. I'm not sure if I am ready to hope for things not promised, but I am feeling just brave enough to dwell on the "party in Heaven" as my friend puts it. The greatest thing I hope for, and it has already been given.
One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. – Revelation 21:9-10"What began in a garden will end in a city. God’s glory will be shown as a place where diversity, density, and culture will meet. There is a city coming that we are called to live in. A place where relationships will not be burdensome but a joyful experience. A place that will redefine our views of what city living is like. Once again, God is calling us to Himself, for in that final day we will be gathered together in an urban environment that goes beyond all comprehension!"
Today’s commentary by:
Dave Whitehead, Senior Pastor, GraceNYC.org
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
you have removed my sackcloth
and clothed me with joy,
that my heart may sing to you and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever!
"I'm not sure we will ever be fully released to "dance" before the Lord until we've learned to wail. You'll never know the experience of being clothed with joy until you've allowed Him to remove your sackcloth."
Today I was watching the second episode of season one and God comes to Joan's house as a mail lady. Mail Lady God delivers a package to Joan and charges her $12...
Joan: What are You going to do with $12?
Mail Lady God: It's not what I am going to do with it. It's what you are going to do without it.
Isn't that how God reveals His glory in us? He gives and takes away. When He takes away, it gives us the opportunity to either glorify Him (by His grace) or ourselves (by our own strength). So substitute the $12 for something that God has taken (keeping in mind that everything you have is His and given by Him). What are you going to do without it.
Friday, July 2, 2010
and take away all my sins.
As Peter tells us in his first letter, the fire of trial brings our hidden sin to the surface. It is brought forth and we have the opportunity to either indulge ourselves or repent of this sin brought to light. Verse 18 of Psalm 25 has always been (and by always I mean my five short years with Christ) a special place to me. I readily see how trial brings sin to light. I see how valuable trial can be to our faith. I see why David would ask God not to take away his suffering but to take away his sin. Unfortunately in these fallen bodies our sin is endless and so can our suffering be. In God's sovereignty, He has made a way for one to seek out the other that we may repent and be forgiven.
Up until a week ago I thought my health was getting better. I thought God was in the process of healing my broken body. This of course pleased me but there was a part of me that would miss the pain. Not the pain itself, but the result of the pain. The times that I was in the most pain were the times that I felt closest to God. So many nights all I could do was lie still, breathe and allow God to carry me through. This week I found that I will probably not get better. I will continue to have physical pain. I would never say that it doesn't hurt to hear this news - I am grieving to be sure - but there is so much sweetness to it. This thorn in my flesh will glorify God and keep me close to Him far more abundantly than if it weren't there. The pain shows me where my hope is and, when it is not in Christ, the Holy Spirit tells me (directly or indirectly through my dear friends).
These trials have come so that our faith may be purified and proved genuine to result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Since this is the case, Lord purify! Look upon my affliction and distress. Do not take them, but take away my sins.