If you’re like me, when I get sick I pray. When there’s an accident in the family, I pray. When someone is discouraged, I pray.
But when I sin badly, I don’t pray.
Why do I do that? I think it’s because my conscience tells me God is angry with me and I better not go near him. Just like Adam and Eve did in the garden when they sinned and then ran into the bushes.
As an aside, if you stop and think about it, that’s pretty funny because God is near to you and me all the time. He sees everything, hears every thought, knows every feeling.
And he doesn’t disengage and retreat! Just like he didn’t flee from Adam and Eve. In fact, the text tells us, he went looking for them. See Genesis 3:8-9.
So why don’t I run to God when I sin badly? Because at that moment I don’t believe the gospel. Instead I believe in the law, and the law tells me I’ve blown it, God is going to punish me, and I better get out of town.
But what does Paul say about the law? It’s meant to drive us to Christ! It takes us by the hand and turns us in the direction of our Savior, who bled and died precisely for those sins I committed. See Romans 7:4.
God hasn’t moved.
Are you ready to come back?
Posted in Adam, anxiety, conscience, depression, despair, faith, God, gospel, grace, Jesus, law keeping, life, new life, peace, trust, union with Christ
Tagged Christ, christian, communion, faith, Father, God, gospel, grace, Holy Spirit, Jesus, law, life, trust, union with Christ
I took notes on a sermon I heard recently on that two word description of our Lord’s in John 11:35 – ”Jesus wept.”
Christ’s goal at Lazarus’ tomb was to glorify God. See verses 38-44.
Jesus in life and death lived for the glory of God. I exist for the glory of God.
My life is custom made in the wisdom of God to conform me to the image of Christ.
God’s no’s in my life are a comfort to me if my goal is the glory of God.
The dead man obeys the voice of Christ, sometimes better than those who don’t come to Christ.
Why did Jesus weep at Lazarus’ death? He’s not a cold, distant God. He is a compassionate Savior who sympathizes in my grief and sorrow, and in my trials and distresses.
I cannot understand my blessings any more than I understand my trials.
Jesus burned with anger in his spirit at Lazarus’ death, and he wept. (verse 33) Why? Lazarus reflected a spoiled creation that wasn’t meant to be. The nations were destined for Christ. He was deeply offended. Sin ruined everything. He was angry at sin and Satan.
Death is a disturbing, shocking interruption against the natural process of life. Death always puts an end to life.
Praise God that for the Christian death is a gateway into eternal life where there is no more sin and death.
Be encouraged by the future, read Revelation 21.
Posted in blessings, christian, death, image of Christ, Jesus, suffering, trials
Tagged Christ, christian, death, glory, God, hope, Jesus, life, suffering
I spent an hour with a friend who was mourning the loss of a love in her life.
The pain she was experiencing was real.
She was also depressed because God did not give her what her heart longed for.
I’ve been through that many times.
It’s called discontent.
It resides in the heart, and only the gospel can change it.
Here’s the real truth about you and me in times like these:
We have God and having God we have enough.
We belong to God and God belongs to us.
Since we have everything in Christ, we are rich in companionship and love with Jesus by our side.
What is showing in my friend’s life and in mine are the sins of ingratitude for all the blessings God has showered us with in Christ.
Every blessing comes from his grace, not our works.
We are surrounded by God’s lavish gifts.
“Enlarge our hearts, Lord to know you better and love you more deeply! Amen.”
Posted in depression, disappointment, distress, feelings, God, gospel, grace, longing, love, relationship, sin, suffering
Tagged Christ, contentment, grace, Jesus, life, suffering
On the subway last week, I noticed a Hispanic woman get on, in her 50′s, sit down and pull out a book in Spanish with a kneeling picture of a praying Jesus on the cover. The title of the book was, “How To Move Away from Depression.” She read it with her lips moving. I began to pray for her. I was two rows behind her. The car was packed. I told the Lord if he wanted me to give her a gospel of John he’d have to clear the decks. We got through the tunnel and at the first stop in the city, everyone in my way got up and got off, leaving an empty seat right by her. I chuckled. I got up, sat in the empty seat, pulled out my gospel, leaned over and in Spanish said good morning, I have a gift for you. She looked at me, saw the booklet, took it, and smiled. I explained the booklet, especially the first three pages. I told her to read them and make that prayer of receiving Christ as her Savior. I asked her if the book she was reading was helping her. She said yes, that she had bought it at her church’s bookstore. I said the secret of getting rid of depression is knowing the Lord Jesus Christ as her Savior. She said she thought so, too. Then she got quiet. A few seconds went by. Then she leaned in and said, “My son was murdered three years ago. I have been depressed ever since.” I was stunned. I told her how sorry I was, and that God wanted to carry her burden, that she didn’t have to anymore. She thanked me. At that point I got up to get off at my stop. I’ve been praying for her ever since.
This is an example of what I am praying to do every day. We see and meet many people with wounds so deep that only God can heal them. So I ask God to make me alert to the needs of others, to give me the faith to engage them even if it’s risky, and to use me as his ambassador of hope and encouragement to them.
What about you? Would you join me this year? I hope to write my adventures here when I have them.
Posted in faith, fear, focus, forgiveness, gospel, grace, life, listening, problems
Tagged Christ, deliverance, faith, glory, God, gospel, grace, Holy Spirit, hope, Jesus, life, loving god, rescue
My husband and I celebrated a milestone anniversary this past week. Our children had a lot to say about it.
“Thank you for being imperfect parents. You have shown us God sticks around as He promised,” our daughter said.
At first I didn’t know how to respond, but then I laughed out loud.
That was the best compliment she could have given us.
“Your marriage is an amazing testimony of God’s faithfulness, love and perseverance in bringing you together and keeping you together all these years for His glory and your continued sanctification,” our son wrote in a text message.
When did he become the theologian? Oh wait. We pounded it into his head while he was growing up.
We told them the credit was all God’s. That we had done our share of sinning and fighting and getting angry, but God had always been there to dust us off, forgive us, and keep us going.
It humbled us to hear how God had shown his grace and mercy to us and to our children who have been watching all these years.
Perfect we’re not. Having it together – no way. Failing frequently, you bet. That’s really all we’re capable of doing. That’s why we cling to the gospel, knowing our righteousness is a borrowed righteousness from Another.
Thanks be to God!
Posted in Chistlikeness, christian, faith, forgiveness, glory, God, gospel, grace, Holy Spirit, husband, justification, life, lifestyle, marriage, problems, relationship, righteousness, sanctification
Tagged Christ, christian, Father, glory, God, gospel, grace, Holy Spirit, imputation, Jesus, justification, perfection, righteousness
The Christmas extravaganzas are in full bloom.
I can understand commercial hoopla to allure shoppers into stores.
But what makes me cringe is when churches produce musicals that rival something you’d see in Vegas.
Contrast it with what most people in the world have to celebrate the holiday with:
And now consider the lowly birth of Christ – the real historical narrative in all four gospels.
Where would you rather be?
The holidays are here.
And you know what that means.
Family. Drama. Heartache.
Isn’t it extraordinary that the people who should be our closest friends and cheerleaders are usually the ones that have hurt and rejected us the most?
We can thank sin for that.
There isn’t a family on the planet that isn’t plagued with shame or disappointment.
Just look at the families in the Old Testament.
We see every sin under the sun displayed in all its wretchedness.
Rape. Murder. Incest. Drunkenness. Treachery. Just to name a few of the ones that make headline news.
So why are we so surprised when we see it in our own families?
It’s why we need a Savior.
The beauty of receiving Jesus as our Savior is this: he washes us clean in his atonement and gives us his life in exchange for our filthy ones.
Do you know what that means?
It means our past is gone. Our consciences are wiped clean. And now we belong to a new family – with God as our Father and a whole clan of brothers and sisters who share the same image.
That’s who we truly are.
That’s who we belong to now.
So enjoy Christmas!
Posted in adoption, Christmas, conscience, depression, disappointment, distress, Father, happiness, longing, love
Tagged adoption, Christ, Father, gospel, Jesus, life