May 31, 2011
“Listen! The LORD is calling to the city –and to fear Your name is wisdom– ‘Heed the rod and the One who appointed it.'” (Micah 6:9) Yes, you are that city, you are that house. And as you well know, He has been calling to you for a very long time. He says, “I warned you when you felt secure, but you said, ‘I will not listen!’ This has been your way from your youth; you have not obeyed Me.” (Jer. 22:21)
“So now the LORD is about to strike… everything that is yours with a heavy blow.” (2 Chron. 21:14) “For the LORD has given the command, and He will smash the great house into pieces and the small house into bits.” (Amos 6:11) “Therefore, I have begun to destroy you, to ruin you because of your sins.” (Micah 6:13)
“Listen, O royal house! This judgment is against you.” (Hosea 5:1) “Therefore, O king, be pleased to accept my advice: Renounce your sins by doing what is right, and your wickedness by being kind to the oppressed. It may be that then your prosperity will continue.” (Dan. 4:27)
“Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall… Why will you die, O house…? For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!” (Ezek. 18:30-32) When people repent, the Lord turns His anger away; so… you may yet have hope. Be wise, fear God, and take note:
“Because Rehoboam humbled himself, the LORD’s anger turned from him, and he was not totally destroyed.” (2 Chron. 12:12)
“When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, He had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction He had threatened.” (Jonah 3:10)
“Then the LORD relented and did not bring on His people the disaster He had threatened.” (Ex. 32:14)
“If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned.” (Jer. 18:7,8) But the converse is also true. (v. 9,10) Therefore, “Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the LORD’s anger.” (Zeph. 2:3)
But “Ephraim boasts, ‘I am very rich; I have become wealthy. With all my wealth they will not find in me any iniquity or sin.’ …The LORD used a prophet to bring Israel up from Egypt, by a prophet He cared for him. But Ephraim has bitterly provoked Him to anger; his Lord will leave upon him the guilt of his bloodshed and will repay him for his contempt.” (Hosea 12:8,13,14) Don’t forget that hatred, unrighteous anger, and contempt are as murder in God’s eyes. (Matt. 5:21,22 & 1 John 3:15)
“How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel? (Hosea 11:8) –Or “give you over to ruin”? (Micah 6:16) “This is what the LORD says: ‘A voice is heard… Rachel weeping…’ This is what the LORD says: ‘Restrain your voice from weeping… for your work will be rewarded… They will return from the land of the enemy… I have surely heard Ephraim’s moaning: ‘You disciplined me like an unruly calf, and I have been disciplined. Restore me, and I will return, because you are the LORD my God. After I strayed, I repented; after I came to understand, I beat my breast. I was ashamed and humiliated because I bore the disgrace of my youth.’ Is not Ephraim my dear son, the child in whom I delight? Though I often speak against him, I still remember him. Therefore My heart yearns for him; I have great compassion for him,’ declares the LORD.” (Jer. 31:15-20)
Must you bear more humiliation and disgrace? It’s unnecessary –if you’d but turn and be healed.
with much love,
May 30, 2011
Sadly, many in the pulpit (and elsewhere) are preaching what is not the doctrine of God’s Word, and because of this many are being indoctrinated in gospels that will not save them from eternal condemnation. God’s Word is not unclear. Yet it’s core message is the exact opposite of what most of these teachers are insisting upon. Therefore if we do not read the Scriptures for ourselves, but instead rely on men’s interpretations of it, we are in for the dismay of our lives –of our eternal existence.
It is shocking to realize how unwise so many people are as to rely on teachings that could possibly be (and are) mirages and false maps of salvation’s way –that which is given out by those who say, “Trust me. This is what the Bible says, and this is how you can be saved from Hell.” And what are almost all of them teaching? They are teaching that God will grant eternal life to everyone who believes Jesus died to pay sin’s penalty, who confess that they are sinners and ask God to forgive them, and who then trust Him to save them.
Yet is this what God’s Word actually teaches? It does not. God’s Word teaches that we must repent and believe the Good News. (Mark 1:15) This means that we must turn completely away from sin, turn to God and cry out to Him for forgiveness (in deep contrition from the heart) while trusting in Christ’s atonement for us, and then follow after Jesus (which means obeying His words in Scripture and being led and controlled by the Spirit —John 14:15 & Rom. 8:9). This part of the Gospel is what most leave out, and they do so because it means that one’s life must be a life of holiness which daily aims for perfect perfection –that is, the perfection that is a duplicate of God’s perfection (1 Peter 1:15 & Matt. 5:48 & 1 John 2:6)– and they sure don’t want to have to strive for this. But, if someone does not believe this, then they are ignoring numerous verses in God’s Word –like these:
~~ “He [Jesus] appeared so that He might take away our sins.” (1 John 3:5) Not “cover”, but “take away”. Let’s try to understand plain English here.
~~ “He will save His people from their sins.” (Matt. 1:21) This means what it says: Jesus will save His people (those who belong to Him because they obediently follow Him –John 10:3,4,14-16), from their sins; not from their sin’s penalty. The word penalty isn’t there. For that happens only if the sinner stops sinning! (Luke 13:3)
~~ “He who does what is sinful is of the devil.” (1 John 3:8) If we lie, if we have sex outside of marriage, if we slander, if we despise someone, etc., then we sin. If we sin we are of the devil. If we are of the devil, we are not of Christ. If we are not of Christ, we do not belong to Christ. If we do not belong to Christ, we are not going to go to Heaven. If we, being the eternal souls we are, are not going to Heaven to be where God dwells, we are going to go where God is absent. Being absent from God forever and ever and ever, is going to be a place with no hope and absolutely nothing good. If we go to dwell in a place forever where there is absolutely nothing good, then we are going to be in torment. This is the place Jesus refers to in Matt. 25:46 as “eternal punishment”, and the place He refers to in verse 30 as “the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” What is not understood about this? If someone doesn’t believe these words, then they should just say so, but not pretend they believe Scripture!
~~ “But he who disowns Me before men, I will disown him before My Father in heaven.” (Jesus in Matt. 10:33)
~~ “If we disown Him, He will also disown us.” (2 Tim. 2:12)
~~ “They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny Him.” (Titus 1:16)
~~ “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will save it.” (Jesus in Luke 9:23,24)
~~ “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.” (Gal. 5:24 & see Rom. 6:6,7)
~~ “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” (Gal. 2:20 & see 6:14)
~~ “…if they fall away… they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting Him to public disgrace.” (Heb. 6:6 & see 10:26-31 & Jude 1:4)
If we compare just these verses which use “disown”, “deny”, and “crucified”, we can see that they essentially mean the same thing. We are being commanded to deny, disown, and crucify Self so that Christ can live His life through us. We do this in practicality by continuously following and obeying Jesus and His words. (John 15:1-7 & Luke 14:26-33) Furthermore, we are also being told that, no matter what we claim (what we say), if we follow Self and cater to Self, then we’ve denied, disowned, and crucified Jesus all over again through our actions of sin. If we do such a thing, we are worse off for it (2 Peter 2:20-22), Christ’s sacrifice no longer covers us (Heb. 10:26), and we’ve inherited for ourselves “only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire.” (v. 27)
~~ “A person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.” (James 2:24)
~~ “But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” (Luke 13:5) Repentance does not mean a one-time prayer. It means a turn forever from sin and a complete and final crucifixion of Self.
~~ “I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.” (Acts 26:20) Deeds, actions, behavior, words, thoughts… –these prove repentance… or the lack thereof. This is why, contrary to the teachings of the false teachers, deeds will indeed determine one’s final destination –as Jesus makes crystal clear in this next verse:
~~ “Those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.” (John 5:29) Many people think they are not evil. However, God’s Word says they are; for one sinful act, one stumble, is to be guilty of breaking the whole law (James 2:10), and “sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4), meaning sin is rebellion against God. This is why Jesus so often warned of these words He will say to believers: “Depart from Me, you evildoers.”
~~ “No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s nature abides in him; he cannot go on sinning because he has been born of God.” (1 John 3:9) If the Spirit of God and Christ reside inside a person (John 14:23), then that person has been “born from above” (John 3:3) and is a totally “new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17) with a new nature –the divine nature (2 Peter 1:3,4)– the old nature completely gone. (See 2 Cor. 5:17 again.)
Scripture makes the true Gospel abundantly clear: Men must believe in Christ, repent of sin completely and with finality, and walk in a cleansed condition, doing so by eating the Word and being whole-heartedly (fully and completely) devoted to One King, Boss, Master, Lord –Jesus. For “No servant can serve two masters.” (Jesus in Luke 16:13)
It is imperative that we study God’s Word for ourselves and quit relying on men to interpret it for us and bring us into the Truth. Jesus said that it is the Spirit who is the one who will lead us into all Truth. (John 16:13) And He does this by teaching us through the Word of God. (14:26 & 1 Cor. 2:13 & 1 Peter 1:23 & Heb. 4:12)
May 29, 2011
Earlier this week while out for lunch with someone, we had as our waiter a young man who said he’d been a missionary for two years. When he pulled out a card that said, “Elder _____”, I said, “Oh, a Mormon missionary.” We had a lovely conversation with him, and truly, I find Mormons to almost always be very likable individuals. However, I’ve also often found that if a Mormon has been a missionary, it is next to impossible to make a dent in convincing him that he has been misled and is not in Christ’s truth at all. A nominal Mormon can be persuaded, but aside from a miracle, one who has been thoroughly indoctrinated, cannot. For they seem literally brainwashed. Yet these people are often highly intelligent, have successful careers, and do know how to be cordial and winsome. In fact, our waiter said he planned to finish his college degree in another certain city and then run for mayor of that city. “To run for president of the U.S. is my future goal,” he said, and he was serious.
Well, I mention this because later during the week, I began to take note of how many times I heard John Calvin’s statements mentioned, either on the radio or in conversations. And I thought, how is this different from Mormonism which takes Joseph Smith’s teachings over the Bible? Why are “Christian” theologians who claim to be interpreters of Scripture often quoting John Calvin? And how is this much different from Mormons quoting Joseph Smith? Yes, the Mormons believe Smith received visions and divine tablets of instructions, etc., but “Christian” theologians claim that Calvin was writing the truth in his “Institutes” and in his other manuscripts and letters. But was he? Should Calvin really be quoted as if he is an authority on God and his Word? Who said he’s an authority? Is he to be quoted right up there with Paul, Peter, and Jesus? We quote Scripture when we quote the words of these three. But no one, including Calvin (or Smith), should be quoted as a pope-like authority on God’s Word –especially when it contradicts God’s Word!
Some people laugh to think that anyone would think Smith, who was merely a cunning scoundrel and polygamist, has anything to say of value. Yet many “Christians” think that Calvin, though he was a cruel tyrant who ordered people imprisoned or killed on account of their theological beliefs being different than his, has correctly interpreted Scripture for the rest of us! I find this preposterous! Yet our “Christian” theologians and preachers go on unashamedly exalting this man and referring to his writings as if we must believe what he wrote –just because it was John Calvin who penned it! Such people are apparently no less brainwashed than Mormons.
John Calvin was a man who was power-hungry and evil, one who defamed God by stating that God commands all men to repent yet withholds from most of them the ability to repent, and this so that He can receive more glory in sending them to Hell. Calvin also taught that God is the instigator of evil since He has predestined all events from eternity past. Yes, Calvin wrote some things that are true, just as Joseph Smith and other numerous false teachers down through the ages intertwine the false with the true. But of course! Do we actually think that Satan, the father of lies (John 8:44) who is behind it all (Eph. 6:12), would not make the poison look edible?
Let’s quit tolerating these quotes of Calvin’s as if they are Scripture. They are far from it. Calvin built his false TULIP religion on Augustine’s many false doctrines. The whole foundation is false, thus the whole concoction a sham. It pretends to be Christianity, but it is not. Those of us who know the Truth, who know the Word, who know God personally and closely, need to speak out against this false “Christian” religion. When a glass of pure water has been contaminated by even one drop of arsenic or feces, the whole glass must be thrown out. Calvin’s religion is not the Truth at all and it needs to be completely thrown out –all of it.
If we do not throw Calvinism’s teachings out, then we will reap eternal consequences for not having taken Jesus’ warning to heart: “Every plant that My heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. Leave them; they are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” (Matt. 15:13,14) And who were these blind guides Jesus was referring to? Were they the heathen who worshipped Zeus or Baal? No. Though these He would consider blind also, Jesus was referring to those who claimed to worship the Lord. “They worship Me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.” (v. 9 & Isa. 29:13) Jesus’ words “in vain” mean here that the teachings of men bring the worshipper no benefit whatsoever, certainly none that will bring him eternal life.
May 28, 2011
Don’t forget to put on the full armor of God as found in Eph. 6:10-18:
–the belt of Truth (which keeps us from lies that discourage us or bring guilt),
–the breastplate of righteousness (which keeps us from sin),
–the helmet of salvation (which we keep tightly on so as to endure till the end),
–the feet shod with the preparation that comes from the Gospel of peace (with which to evangelize and bring men to the reconciliation with God which we’re offered by being found in Christ),
–the Sword of the Spirit (which is the Word of God –Jesus, as John 1:1,14 & Rev. 19:13 reveal– and at which the devil flees when it’s used by the Spirit),
–the shield of faith with which to extinguish ALL the fiery darts of the enemy (–those temptations, lies, fears, etc.), and
–the prayers of intercession (defensive and offensive) by the Spirit through our mouths.
It is only when we put on the full armor of God that we stand equipped to resist the devil’s schemes during days of evil. (Eph. 6:11,13) In so doing we’ve actually “clothed ourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ” (see Rom. 13:14), He who is “greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4) and who has, in fact, already “overcome the world.” (John 16:33) This is wonderful news; a marvelous gift which we put on by our repentance and belief, by reading and obeying the Word, and by our simple statements, saying, “I am now, in the name of Jesus, putting on this piece of armor…”
Putting the whole armor on daily, and keeping it on and using it, is how we continually advance as victorious warriors until we are giants of the faith.
May 27, 2011
Jesus says, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal.” (Matt. 6:19,20) And what is another reason Jesus gives for this command? He says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (v. 21)
Does it matter where our heart is? Absolutely! God judges us according to what is in our heart. (1 Sam. 16:7) –If it is devoted to Him, or if it is devoted to Self-gratification. The former will inherit for us joy and eternal life, the latter –misery and Hell. (Luke 9:23-25)
How do we lay up treasures in Heaven? 1 Tim. 6:18 tells us: “Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.” Isn’t this what we tell elementary kids? Yes, for it’s basic. Verse 19 then says, “In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age…” Jesus Himself is The Foundation, so we are to build on Him (1 Cor. 3:11), putting our treasures in Him –where they will last. “But each one should be careful how he builds.” (v. 10) For “his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light.” (v. 13) This “Day” refers to “Judgement Day”, and the quality of each person’s work will enable the work (the treasures –gold, wood, straw, etc. –v.12) to either withstand the test of fire or be burned up. (v. 13-15)
If someone’s heart went after worldly treasure, then this person was not devoted to God, for Jesus taught, “You cannot serve both God and Money.” (Matt. 6:24) This very statement recorded also in Luke 16:13, reveals that Jesus was not referring just to money itself, but to whatever is highly valued in the world’s eyes. For when the “Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus” (v. 14), “He said to them, ‘You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.'” (v. 15) Detestable. To God. What is? Things that are highly valued among men. But what does God value? He values what is in the heart, namely, the pure heart, the blameless heart, the heart that fears Him and is fully committed to Him and to following His commands. (Dt. 18:13 & 1 Kings 8:61)
So, when Christ comes to judge the living and the dead “according to what they had done as recorded in the books” (Rev. 20:12), “He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise [or lack thereof] from God.” (1 Cor. 4:5) “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” (2 Cor. 5:10) And as Jesus says in John 5:29, “Those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.”
What causes people to do good or evil? The heart. (Mark 7:21-23) It doesn’t matter if people honor Christ with their lips (v. 6), for if their hearts are far from Him, their worship is in vain. (v. 6,7) Their treasure of straw will be burned up, and they themselves thrown into the fire (John 15:6) –the “eternal fire” (Matt. 25:41) of “eternal punishment”. (v. 46) There they “will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord.” (2 Thes. 1:9) Who will be punished this way? Verse 8 informs us that Jesus Himself “will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.”
Knowing and obeying… the two requirements… the two ways in which we “lay up treasure for ourselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that we may take hold of the life that is truly life.” (See 1 Tim. 6:19 again.) This true life is Eternal Life –Jesus. Yes, “He is the true God and eternal life.” (1 John 5:20)
Let us, therefore, be sure that our heart and our treasure are found, on That Day, to be in Him. For as Jesus asks in Luke 9:25, “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet forfeit his very self?”
May 26, 2011
Yesterday while downtown evangelizing at the train and bus stops, I walked several blocks up to a corner I haven’t stood at since at least last Fall. I was holding my sign that says, “God’s Word brings freedom”, and when a particular guy crossed the street toward me, he started ranting about how much he hates this country. I asked him why he hates it and he told me. And he told me a lot of other things too, his heart filled to the brim with seething anger.
What are we called to do when we encounter someone like this? We love. We say words that will make such a person feel they are being listened to and understood. We speak quietly and we speak tenderly. We let them vent, and depending on the leading of the Spirit, we even tolerate some foul words that we wouldn’t tolerate in an average conversation. In fact, later I met a guy in a wheelchair with both of his legs missing, and he too was so angry about something, that he was using swear words. I felt led to just let him vent as well. After a bit, when I mentioned the Bible, he then switched to telling me about how wretched church people are too. I merely agreed with him again –that yes, they often are. “But,” I said, pointing to the Bible in my hand, “This Word of God is beautiful. It is the Truth and it is our comfort and peace, our guidance and our wisdom and our joy.” This guy’s angry face actually softened and he said, “Yea, you’re right about that.” So we then started talking about how wonderful God’s Word is in spite of all the abusive and rude people in the world, including in churches.
Well, back to the first guy, which is the encounter that has especially stuck in my mind today… I’ll say his real name in case anyone who reads this will pray for him, –this very, very lost soul. He said his name is Lewis. So… I listened to Lewis, I agreed where I could, I encouraged him in a better Way than the way of hatred. I said that hatred is of the dark realm and God offers us the way of light and love. Whenever Lewis talked, he covered his mouth, for his teeth were truly hideous, though he couldn’t have been older than 30 or so. He said several times that he’d been mistreated repeatedly, that he’d never had a girl-friend, and that he was realizing that he should never hope that a girl would ever love him. I knew what Lewis was telling me and I get tears even now as I write it, for he was screaming from the depths of his spirit, “THERE’S … NOT … ONE … PERSON … IN … ALL … CREATION … WHO … WILL … EVER … LOVE … ME ! ! ! ! ! ! ” It was heart-breaking.
“Lewis,” I said, as tenderly as I could. “God can bring love to you –His love and others’ love. But you’re shutting it all out. And you’re right: No girl wants to try to love you at this point in time. But it’s because your extreme anger is scaring them all away.” (He’d already admitted that he was consumed with hatred and was destroying himself by it.) “You must let go of that anger and hatred. If you don’t, you will spiral down further, and one day you may never be able to come out of that pit.”
At several points Lewis looked like he was going to yell at me and leave, at several other points he would stare thoughtfully at the ground –or at me. “Jesus can cleanse you of all of it,” I said. “He can wash it right out of your darkened spirit and give you a spirit full of His light and love and joy.”
“It’s a struggle,” Lewis said.
“Yes,” I answered. “But the first step is to ask. The asking is just one sentence away.”
Lewis raised his voice and started saying weird angry things again.
“Yes, that is wretched,” I agreed. “But we must accept that we live in a very fallen world. And how we respond to this fallen situation we all find ourselves in, is a choice. If we choose to turn from the anger and sin, asking Jesus to cleanse our hearts, then we can walk like this sign says –in freedom. Free, Lewis. Don’t you want to be free?”
Lewis kind of nodded.
Very softly I said, “Lewis, can you say, ‘Jesus, help me’?”
Lewis wouldn’t answer. He just looked down at the ground.
I usually don’t ever pressure people to make decisions on the spot, but I felt this was one time to make an exception. It was like, if he couldn’t say this one small thing, he was choosing to allow the evil side to ensnare him forever.
“Lewis… say, ‘Jesus, help me.'”
Lewis wouldn’t say it. I asked a couple more times, but he would not. My heart cringed inside. My spirit wept inside. I attempted one last venture: “Could you maybe try to say it tonight when you’re alone?”
“Yes,” Lewis did actually reply. “I’ll do it in my own time.”
“Okay,” I said. I’d already prayed with him earlier in the conversation, so I told him I’d be asking my mom, a prayer warrior, to pray for him and that I would continue to pray also. “Lewis,” I said, and looked straight into his dark, sad, frightened eyes. “The Lord loves you. He sent me up to that corner just for you. You know that, right?”
Lewis said he did indeed believe that.
“Good-bye, Lewis,” I said and gave him a hug. And in faith, I added, “Now when you get stronger spiritually, and you see me down here, you be sure you come and tell me how well you’re doing, okay?”
“I will,” he said. “Good-bye.”
My heart is so heavy as I recall, to the best of my memory, my encounter today with Lewis. Yet there are many more just like him. –Caught in sin… caught in anger, hatred, un-forgiveness, deception, lust, substance-addictions, fear… the list goes on… They know they are caught and they desperately want to be free, yet they are too strongly attached to the thing that holds them in bondage. It’s like the phenomenon of someone kidnapped who latches on in admiration and love to her kidnapper. Or like a prostitute grateful and loyal to her pimp –the very one who perpetuates the situations that make her feel degraded and used while knowing her soul is being torn right out from within her.
There is freedom. His name is Jesus. If we but say His name, the name by which “every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth” (Phil. 2:10), He will come to our rescue. But we must cry out to Him; we must ask for His help. And for those who are too caught to lift a shred of faith, too bound to have one ounce of spiritual goodness inside by which to whisper a prayer, too shackled to reach up and take their own blinders off, we must pray for them. For only the Lord can perform the miracle it takes to save a soul from his own deep depravity.
However, the Lord tells us to do our part, for as the Father sent Him, so Jesus sends us. (John 20:21,22) Therefore, God says, “Say to the captives, ‘Come out,’ and to those in darkness, ‘Be free!'” (Isa. 49:9) “Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter.” (Prov. 24:11)
We must make the effort. We must go –our going forth bathed in prayer and with the courage, love, guidance, and filling of the Holy Spirit. And this, even though we recognize that many will turn aside from accepting our message.
May 25, 2011
The last two evenings after jogging through our pasture, the first night full of a red sunset, the second with a spectacular lightening show, I glorified the Lord for how awesome He is. And I kept thanking Him that even though He is the Almighty God and King over the universe, He stoops to commune with any human who reaches out for Him, and that He actually delights to have us do so. But truly, I say along with the psalmist, “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place, what is man that You are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?” (Ps. 8:3,4)
Last evening, watching the weird clouds overhead, the lightening criss-crossing through them, the red and yellow glow just over the trees to the west, I asked quietly, “You want my fellowship, God?” I breathed in the privilege, for I already knew His answer. And because yesterday I’d been meditating for a while on Ps. 66:3 which teaches us, “Say to God, ‘How awesome are Your deeds! So great is Your power that Your enemies cringe before You”, I said suddenly, “Heart! Say, ‘I love You, God!'” So I did, and I continued, and below is what I can best remember that I said in adoration to God:
“Heart! Say, ‘You, God, are majestic and powerful! You perform marvelous things! Look at Your glory in the skies!’
Heart! Say, ‘Thank you, God, for stooping to commune with me, a mere ant compared to You… I am so, so grateful.’
Heart! Say, ‘I love You, God… I want to do Your will… I want to always please You… Thank you for guiding me, protecting me, providing for me.’
Heart! Say, ‘You, God, are worthy of all our praise and adoration and worship and service and obedience and love.’
Heart! Say, ‘Lord, may all the peoples of the earth ascribe to You the glory due Your name (Ps. 29:2), and ascribe to You honor, beauty, holiness, riches, wisdom, power, strength, and splendor.’
Heart! Say, ‘Oh Lord, You are full of splendor, full of majesty… yet You stoop down, from on high, to extend to us Your tender compassion, Your mercy, Your loving-kindness. You are always faithful and eager to do good things for us. Thank you…’
Heart! Say, ‘Oh, Lord, You are the Creator of all this… I see only a fraction of Your power. I know nothing of the atoms, the electricity, the voltage, in those flashes. I think of crashing waves, the power of water, its weight… You know all about these things, and You created them. You know about every molecule everywhere… yet You, Lord, see me, love me, know all about me… and still want me.’
Heart…, whisper, ‘Great and marvelous God…, I so… so very, very much… love… You… Thank you for being my God… my Shepherd… my Best Friend…'”
Something like this is what I said to the Lord last evening… as I stood in the wind… out at the far end of the pasture.