Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Making It Up




HT: The Poached Egg

Devotion Struggles

Struggle with personal devotions? Here's some ideas from Tim Challies that may help.
One of my lifelong struggles has been finding freedom in the most basic part of the Christian life—personal devotions. It’s not that I don’t do them, of course, but that they rarely seem to come easily and naturally. I want to wake up longing to read the Bible and eager to pray. I want to get up in the mornings thinking, “I just can’t wait to hear from God and speak to God.” But so often I find myself reading and praying out of simple obedience. That duty is too seldom joined by delight.
It isn’t always that way. There are times—times I love—where there is tremendous joy and freedom. For weeks now I have been in one of those periods, and it has been a joy and a delight to spend time in the Word and to pray. And in this time I’ve been drawn to parts of Scripture that rejoice in Scripture. I was recently transfixed by Psalm 19 and David’s sheer joy at this great gift of God. After listing so many of the benefits of God’s Word he says,

More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb.
Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
David tells us that God’s Word is precious. David is king over his nation and has access to all of its wealth, yet he looks at it all and sees that it is nothing compared to the surpassing worth of God’s Word. Where other men’s desire is to enrich themselves with gold, David’s desire is to enrich himself with the wisdom of God through the Scriptures.
David tells us that God’s Word is pleasurable. I don’t think there is any natural substance more delicious than honey (though perhaps maple syrup could be a close contender), and yet David can proclaim that God’s Word is sweeter even than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb. As honey brightens the eyes, God’s Word brightens the soul.
David tells us that God’s Word is protective. He knows that the wisdom of God revealed through his Word will warn him and protect him away from sin and its consequences. David can look at his life and see those times he did not heed the warnings and receive God’s protection, and now he knows: God protects us through his Word.
David tells us that God’s Word is profitable. The Word of God does not only warn, but it also profits. Those who heed God’s wisdom and obey his law receive all the benefits that come from walking with God. They receive the greatest reward of all: they are with God and in God today and every day.
God’s Word is precious, pleasurable, protective, and profitable. What a gift it is!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Nothing Like No-Condemnation

"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.Romans 8:1

Now. Not five years from now when you are a better Christian. Right now. At this instant.

No. None at all. Not even a little. Zero. Gone. Poof.

For those in Christ Jesus. And only because we are in him. We provide everything that deserves condemnation. He provides everything that deserves acceptance.

This is the plain message of the Bible, because God not only does not condemn us, he also doesn’t want us feeling condemned. He wants us feeling freed. Nothing like no-condemnation to get us riled up for his glory!"

       — Ray Ortlund  "Freed"


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Right Side Up, Upside Down

"In turning everything right side up, Jesus is putting a great many things upside down. As we survey his message and ministry in the four Gospels, we learn that he is consistently subverting values and expectations, and yet he is simultaneously fulfilling the essence of the desires at the root of these values and expectations,"

From The Story-Telling God: Seeing the Glory of Jesus in His Parables, by Jared Wilson (Kindle version, location 456

Friday, October 17, 2014

Too Weak



From @jdgreear

Do You Want To?

From a great piece by Darryl Dash - God Wants Us to Want:
I used to think that God was happy with our grudging obedience. Do the right thing, grit your teeth, and everything is good with God. I’ve been increasingly learning that God doesn’t want us to do the right thing so much as he wants us to want to do the right thing. Big difference.


Two examples:
Peter writes to elders in churches that are experiencing some suffering. “Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight,” he writes, “not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you” (1 Peter 5:2). There’s a world of difference between elders who serve because they have to, and elders who serve because they want to. God, Peter says, desires the latter. God wants elders who want to serve him, even under the pressure of suffering.
Paul writes to the Corinthians to ask for money for the poor Christians in Jerusalem. He doesn’t tell them to dig deep until it hurts. “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7). There it is again, something to avoid: compulsion. God wants our willingness, our eagerness, and our cheerfulness.
C.S. Lewis was insightful when he wrote:
A perfect man would never act from a sense of duty; he’d always want the right thing more than the wrong one. Duty is only a substitute for love (of God and other people) like a crutch which is a substitute for a leg. Most of us need the crutch at times; but of course it is idiotic to use the crutch when our own legs (our own loves, tastes, habits, etc) can do the journey on their own.
The perfect man or woman acts not out of duty, but of delight. We're all in process, but this is God’s desire for us. 
God wants to change us not at the level of our obedience, but at the level of our affections. God wants us to want.