7.29.2012

True Delight

Thou lovely Source of true delight,
Whom I unseen adore;
Unveil Thy beauties to my sight,
That I may love Thee more. 
Thy glory o’er creation shines;
But in Thy sacred Word,
I read in fairer, brighter lines,
My bleeding, dying Lord. 
’Tis here, whene’er my comforts droop,
And sins and sorrows rise,
Thy love with cheerful beams of hope,
My fainting heart supplies. 
Jesus, my Lord, my Life, my Light,
O come with blissful ray;
Break radiant through the shades of night,
And chase my fears away. 
Then shall my soul with rapture trace
The wonders of Thy love;
But the full glories of Thy face
Are only known above.
Anne Steele

A few things:

1. If you aren't naturally a happy-go-lucky person in most of life, reading Anne Steele's hymns and poems will probably help you see Jesus and bring your pains to Him. They helped me.

2. Love of Jesus should be the only motive for the Christian's obedience. All other motives are faulty and miss the mark. The Christian life is wrapped up in Divine Love for a reason.

3. Reread the second stanza. We rightly ascertain God's glory in the realm of creation (Psalm 19:1-2), but there is a higher realm where we comprehend and see God - his Word - i.e. the Living Word, Jesus, and the written word, the Bible, of which we receive Spirit-wrought revelation. The "sacred Word" alone contains the "fairer brighter lines" that speak of the Word of God, who was with God and who is God.

4. It is ok to pray and sing to God in the midst of pain. I would think that if we are not bringing our pains in our personal and corporate communion with God, we are betraying the reality of sin and suffering in the normal Christian life. Sing your sorrows and live in reality. An overhyped spirituality of dominant victory in Christian living betrays reality. As Matt Chandler wisely said once, "It's ok to not be ok, but it's not ok to stay that way."

5. One day, soon, we will see the "full glories of Thy face". Let that fuel hope.

6. Go listen to a great version of this hymn by Indelible Grace here and buy the album. You can thank me later.

7.26.2012

The Intimate Sacrifice

Ed Welch, on how Jesus expresses the physical symbols of the OT sacrificial system in spiritual realities:
If this sounds technical and ritualistic, you are missing the story. It is all very intimate. 
We are brought into the temple, the place of God's presence. 
We lay hands on the Lamb of God. Our sin and shame are transferred to him as he identifies with us. 
When the sacrifice is completed, the Priest sprinkles cleansing blood on us, and the temple curtain that separated us from the most holy areas of God's presence is torn from top to bottom (Matthew 27:51). The final barrier between God and us is gone. 
We are invited to a fellowship meal, which we now call the Lord's Supper (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). 
Once you lay hands on the Lamb, everything changes. 
— Ed Welch, "Shame Interrupted", p. 191

7.19.2012

A New Property of Great Price

Thomas Chalmers tells us how hard it is for man to give up the things in the world he loves:
To estimate the magnitude and the difficulty of such a surrender, let us only think that it were just as arduous to prevail on him not to love wealth, which is but one of the things in the world, as to prevail on him to set wilful fire to his own property. This he might do with sore and painful reluctance, if he saw that the salvation of his life hung upon it. But this he would do willingly, if he saw that a new property of tenfold value was instantly to emerge from the wreck of  the old one. 
 – Thomas Chalmers, "The Expulsive Power of a New Affection"
"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field." Matthew 13:44 
 

7.18.2012

Remember Your Baptism

This is another engagement of the truth, and faithfulness, and holiness of God, so that we cannot be deceived in this matter. "There is," says God, "forgiveness with me." The soul says, "How, Lord, will I know, how will I come to be assured of it? For, by reason of the perpetual accusations of conscience, and the curse of the law upon the guilt of my sin, I find it a very hard matter for me to believe. Like Gideon, I want to have a token of forgiveness." Why, look, says God, "I will give you a pledge and token of it, which cannot deceive you. When the world of old was overwhelmed with a flood of waters because of their sins, and those who remained, though they had just cause to expect the same judgment would again befall them or their children, because they saw the same cause of it still remained, the thoughts and imaginations of the hearts of men being still evil, and that continually. To secure them against these fears, I told them that I would destroy the earth no more with water; and I gave them a token of my faithfulness therein, by placing my bow in the cloud. And have I failed them? Though the sin and wickedness of the world has been, since that day, unspeakably great, yet mankind are not drowned again, nor ever will be: I will not deceive their expectation from the token I have given them. Wherever, then, there is a word of promise confirmed with a token, never fear a disappointment. But so is this matter. I have declared that there is forgiveness with me; and to give you assurance thereof, I have ordained this ordinance [baptism] to confirm my word, and take away all suspicion of your being deceived. As the world shall be drowned no more, so neither shall they who believe come short of forgiveness. 
 – John Owen, "The Forgiveness of Sin", pp. 169-170, language updated 
The pledge and token of God's forgiveness for the Christian is baptism. Do not forget your baptism. Remember your baptism and union with Christ. If guilt and shame attack, remember your union with the once dying and now forever living Lord. And if you have been born-again and have not been baptized, what are you waiting for?