High Esteem

mood-faces2In Day Four of the study, Jennifer Rothschild is hammering home the point that our feelings are not reliable guides in life.   When I think of the many moods of any one my days I know she has hit the nail on the head in this lessonThe principle that I want to hold onto from this lesson is:

What we hold in high esteem will eventually govern us, but what we hold in low esteem, we will govern.

The encouragement not to bow to feelings but to enlist God’s grace to have them bow to His Word was faith strengthening this morning.  I am reminded once again that feelings are real but they are not always in line with reality!  I often say to my kids, “Just because you think a thought does not make it true!”

O, Taste and See…

This morning in Day Three of the “Walking By Faith” study we were encouraged to consider that God invites us to taste and see that the LORD is breadgood“.

Tasting often begins by thinking about what we are hungry for. I know myself well enough to know that thinking about tasting is not the same as tasting! Could it be that our experience of God is flat and unsatisfying because we never go further than just thinking about Him.

Tasting is defined as becoming acquainted with by experience–it is an engaging of the senses and ingesting in order to answer a craving. To identify a food craving I consider–am I hungry for salty or sweet, is this gnawing just a desire to snack or am I ready for meat and potatoes? If my heart gets set on cheese cake — an apple is a huge disappointment and does not satisfy! cheesecake

Substitutes just don’t cut it! Isn’t it wonderful to think that we were created by God with soul craving, appetites that only He can satisfy? While I try to satisfy my craving with other things, the disappointment I feel is evidence that I am trying to substitute!

Just like Nutra Sweet is not the real thing–but is a diminutive experience that approximates but does not meet the standard of the real thing–trying to answer my soul hunger with God’s gifts rather than meeting and feeding on God misses the mark. Isn’t it wonderful to know that as we taste His goodness it not only delights our hungry heart but nourishes us for the journey of living?

Lord, today–increase my appetite for you. Let me know by experience that you are the bread of life–the staple food. Don’t allow my taste buds to become accustomed to artificial substitutes–give me a craving for the Real Food that is you! Amen

My Greatest Temptation!

open armsIf I am understanding Galatians 2 rightly,  it is a stunning correction to one of my deepest inclinations! 

According to Paul–and my heart agrees, my greatest temptation is the strong inclination to reject grace in favor of rule-keeping, moral behavior as a basis of relationship with God.  I can not ponder this too often or make too much of it. 

When I seek to make my behaving the basis of my relationship with God I have torpedoed the glorious gospel of grace.  In fact, if my arms are not open wide receiving then I am rejecting Christ’s perfect and complete work by offering.  Do I really think I have any thing to offer to the gift of salvation?  He said “It is finished!”  To reject grace is to substitute self effort!  

Sinclair Ferguson reminds me that the glory of the gospel is that God has declared believers to be rightly related to Him in spite of our sin. That is the amazing part of amazing grace!  But our greatest temptation and mistake is to try to smuggle some of our faulty, blemished character into His complete and perfect work of grace. 

My greatest need is to be reminded daily that I contribute nothing but my sin to my relationship with Christ and He graciously and freely covers my weakness with His perfection!  That is a great and amazing gospel.

My attempt to achieve acceptance or forgiveness or approval from God through any effort of my own is really a twisted form of self worship.  Thomas Schreiner put it this way, ” The desire to obey the law, though appearing commendable is actually an insidious way to gain recognition before God”.   Sounds serious enough that I want to REPENT and RECEIVE!   My arms are open and ready to receive today’s grace gift Lord!

I am under the heady influence of C.J. Mahaney’s sermon, “Enjoying Grace and Detecting Legalism”.

Quote of the Day

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:2-3)

gazing bride“Faith is occupied with the object upon which it rests and pays no attention to itself at all. While we are looking at God, we do not see ourselves–good riddance! Faith looks out instead of in and the whole life falls into line. ”

A.W. Tozer

But my eyes are toward you, O God, my Lord; in you I seek refuge; leave me not defenseless!” (Psalm 141:8)

Walking By Faith Study

“These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.” (Hebrews 11:13)

This week I am beginning to work through the Jennifer Rothschild Bible Study entitled “Walking by Faith”. My heart is smiling as Walking By FaithI consider the implications of following a blind woman in a walk! I suspect this servant of the Lord who has learned to walk by faith not by sight in two realms has much to teach me! “Walking by faith means taking a risk…” Jennifer said. I guess from our perspective it seems like a risky lifestyle, but how could it be risky to entrust your life to an all powerful, all knowing, perfectly loving God? It seems more risky not to walk by faith!

Quote of the Day: The Religious Sinner

PhariseeThe “religious sinner” scorns outward acts of wickedness and drives his sin inward to the sanctuary of his soul where it remains in a state of high compression. The notorious unloveliness of many religious people can be explained in this way.              A.W. Tozer

Quote of the Day

“When we walk by sight, all we can see are the price tags of life;but when we walk by faith, we discover the values. Outlook determines outcome.”

Warren Wiersbe