Sweet Reunion

robinahwilliam-custom.jpgWhile roaming YouTube videos from Uganda, Mike ran across this one of dear Mama Robinah’s boys’ cottage.  It was so great to see how the children had grown since we left.

Jovan in the white striped shirt still does not like to dance.  Charles in the dark blue shirt and pink sandals really does break loose!  I could see Samson tall and lean in the yellow polo and Robert in the yellow t-shirt missing his front teeth! How my heart soared to see how little William had grown when his face came front and center in the greyish white polo near the end of the song.  Best of all was to hear Mama Robinah’s strong voice praising again–that is an experience I have missed greatly.

Say What?

cross“Self-exalters have to avoid the cross because the splinters of the old rugged cross always pop the balloon of self exaltation.”  (John Piper)

Prayer is not conquering God’s reluctance but taking hold of God’s willingness.”  (Phillip Brooks)

“In all Christ’s people He is present–in some He is prominent–in a few He is pre-eminent.”  (F. B. Meyer)

“The Cross is the beginning of the Gospel.  What we sinners need is not merely a pattern, but a pardon, not merely a Pathfinder, but a Sin Bearer; not merely instruction, but salvation.”  (Sidlow Baxter)

“To speak of the deeper life is not to speak of anything deeper than simple New Testament religion.  The “deeper life” is deeper only because the average Christian life is tragically shallow.”  (A. W. Tozer)

Create in me a clean heart, O God

cave1.jpgMan, made more like God than any other creature, has become less like God than any other creature.  Created to reflect the Glory of God, he has retreated sullenly into his cave–reflecting only his own sinfulness.

A.W. Tozer

“Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man!”  This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: “I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. 

I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more.  Why did you despise the word of the LORD by doing what is evil in his eyes?

You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites.   Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.”
This is what the LORD says: “Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity upon you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight. 

You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.”
Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.”

2 Samuel 12:7-13

It was the mercy of God that pursued David and did not allow his sin of arrogant self-centeredness to have the last word! 

What a horrible thing it would be if God allowed us to sin successfully!  How tender is our Father who would send the Nathan’s into our lives so that we might acknowledge the truth–a truth that sin’s lies blind us to.

David’s awareness of his sin occurred when there was a clash between 2 narratives.  He was writing his life story differently than God intended.  His story line had him at center stage, allowed to grab and possess anything he wanted without regard to any authority outside himself. 

The story gets radically redirected when God’s prophet Nathan corrects David’s plot line!  He brings to bear on David’s story a greater, truer narrative.  His story is supremely God centered and highlights the great generosity of God. 

It seems clear in this clash that God called his anointed back into right relationship–back into the reality that God and His word will rule!  It is glorious when David agrees with the correction and says, “I have sinned against the LORD”!

Father, I see in your Word that when I believe the words of my sinful mind–the thoughts that suggest that I need to grab and possess and consume– that you receive that activity as if I am despising you.  I cringe at the thought of how little I weigh my self centeredness and how much you are grieved by it. 

I write my story line as though there is no cost to writing you out and sending you off stage.  I yield my thoughts and embrace your truth once again.  Help me feel the weight of that moment by moment today so that my love of comfort, my desire for ease and convenience and immediate gratification would not have the last word.  Lord, I want the last word to be “I love 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”.