Thursday, 30 September 2010

I suck.

Contrary to what the popular psychology and plenty of self-help books tell me, I suck.
I suck at soccer, tennis, or any sports really.
But not just sports, but I also suck in my interpersonal, social skills. I'm often awkward around people.
So, I might qualify as a "nerd" except I am not smart either. You might think I am fairly intellectual, but someone very close to me could tell you that I am really not that smart. I actually suck at that too.
You might think I'm at least a good person (or not), but God knows I suck in morality and ethics. Big time. Big big time.
And I suck at knowing God even. (How many times have I misrepresented You and distrusted You, O God? I cannot count...)

But I'm okay with that.

I'm okay with that because contrary to the popular beliefs, God is not like me.
God is not like us.
God does not suck.
God IS great.
He is the holy, sovereign Lord who is gracious.

How do I know that?
God sent Jesus.
Jesus completed what I could never do, and He received condemnation that I should've received.
So I am now complete in Him.
God will bring me (and you also if you are in Jesus) home safely and there is absolutely nothing in this world that can stop Him from doing what He promised.
Not even this little sucky me.
For our sake [God] made [Jesus] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in [Jesus] we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Cor 5:21
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Rom 8:1
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Rom 8:38-39
(picture HT: TwentyTwoWords)

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards: #65

65. Resolved, very much to exercise myself in this all my life long, viz. with the greatest openness I am capable of, to declare my ways to God, and lay open my soul to him: all my sins, temptations, difficulties, sorrows, fears, hopes, desires, and every thing, and every circumstance; according to Dr. Manton's 27th Sermon on Psalm 119. July 26, and Aug.10 1723.

I don't know what JE heard from Dr. Manton, but I agree with what JE says here with all my heart. If God is so gracious with me, there is nothing I need to hide from Him, nor is it wise to do so.
(Source: A Puritan's Mind)

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

His mercy is great.

Then David said to Gad, “I am in great distress. Let us fall into the hand of the Lord, for his mercy is great; but let me not fall into the hand of man.”
- King David, 2 Samuel 24:14

When I sinned against God, when I rebelled against God, when I scorned and rejected God's love and rule, I will run to Him and submit to Him whose mercy is great. No man can be as merciful as God, no man can execute justice on earth like Him. Find forgiveness and comfort in Him who is abundant in mercy.

Jesus is Lord

Glen Scrivener says:
Well first of all, "Jesus is Lord" literally means "'Yahweh-to-the-rescue' is Yahweh"

Have you thought about what the common phrase, "Jesus is Lord" lately?
Read the this blog post by Glen.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

How could there be anything that I did not want?

'What you have made me see,' answered the Lady, 'is as plain as the sky, but I never saw it before. Yet it has happened every day. One goes into the forest to pick food and already the thought of one fruit rather than another has grown up in one's mind. Then, it may be, one finds a different fruit and not the fruit one thought of One joy was expected and another is given. But this I had never noticed before that at the very moment of the finding there is in the mind a kind of thrusting back, or a setting aside. The picture of the fruit you have not found is still, for a moment, before you. And if you wished - if it were possible to wish - you could keep it there. You could send your soul after the good you had expected, instead of turning it to the good you had got. You could refuse the real good; you could make the real fruit taste insipid by thinking of the other.'
Ransom interrupted. 'That is hardly the same thing as finding a stranger when you wanted your husband.'
'Oh, that is how I came to understand the whole thing. You and the King differ more than two kinds of fruit. The joy of finding him again and the joy of all the new knowledge I have had from you are more unlike than two tastes; and when the difference is as great as that, and each of the two things so great, then the first picture does stay in the mind quite a long time - many beats of the heart - after the other good has come. And this, O Piebald, is the glory and wonder you have made me see; that it is I, I myself, who turn from the good expected to the given good. Out of my own heart I do it. One can conceive a heart which did not: which clung to the good it had first thought of and turned the good which was given it into no good.'
'I don't see the wonder and the glory of it,' said Random.
Her eyes flashed upon him such a triumphant flight above his thoughts as would have been scorn in earthly eyes; but in that world it was not scorn
'I thought,' she said, 'that I was carried in the will of Him I love, but now I see that I walk with it. I thought that the good things He sent me drew me into them as the waves lift the islands; but now I see that it is I who plunge into them with my own legs and arms, as when we go swimming. I feel as if I were living in that roofless world of yours when men walk undefended beneath naked heaven. It is delight with terror in it! One's own self to be walking from one good to another, walking beside Him as Himself may walk, not even holding hands. How has He made me so separate from Himself? How did it enter His mind to conceive such a thing? The world is so much larger than I thought. I thought we went along paths - but it seems there are no paths. The going itself is the path.'
'And have you no fear,' said Random, 'that it will ever be hard to turn your heart from the thing you wanted to the thing Maleldil sends?'
'I see', said the Lady presently. 'The wave you plunge into may be very swift and great. You may need all your force to swim into it. You mean, He might send me a good like that?'
'Yes - or like a wave so swift and great that all your force was too little.'
'It often happens that way in swimming,' said the Lady. 'Is not that part of the delight?'
'But are you happy without the King? Do you not want the King?'
'Want him?' she said. 'How could there be anything I did not want?'

- p. 80-82 Perelandra by C. S. Lewis

When our hearts are regenerated by God, when our hearts are sanctified by God, finally being freed, we, out of our own hearts, rejoice and choose, yes, willingly and joyfully choose God and follow Him, trusting God and gladly receiving whatever is given to us, because we have come to know the infinitely wise, just, sovereign, and loving Father.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35-39)

You can get your copy of Perelandra from Amazon, BookDepository, or Koorong.

Friday, 24 September 2010

A battle for clear conscience

I used to think that when I am presented with various competing options for action, I could easily make use of my conscience. Although I maintained that the conscience must first be "educated", or trained in godliness, it was more a matter of using this conscience or not in deciding what to do. Or so it seemed...

I'm coming to realise that it isn't so easy or simple to discern whether I am really using God-given conscience, or only still being deceived by some other vices of my sinful nature.

A question I now must ask myself frequently is:
Am I doing this to keep up my reputation before people so I won't be haunted in my mind by the imaginary or real accusations from them?
OR am I doing this knowing that God approves my course of action and since my reason for action is God, I can face people's accusations or even praises with no resentment or pride within my heart?

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards: #63, #64

63. On the supposition, that there never was to be but one individual in the world, at any one time, who was properly a complete Christian, in all respects of a right stamp, having Christianity always shining in its true luster, and appearing excellent and lovely, from whatever part and under whatever character viewed: Resolved, to act just as I would do, if I strove with all my might to be that one, who should live in my time. Jan.14' and July '3' 1723.

64. Resolved, when I find those "groanings which cannot be uttered" (Rom. 8:26), of which the Apostle speaks, and those "breakings of soul for the longing it hath," of which the Psalmist speaks, Psalm 119:20, that I will promote them to the utmost of my power, and that I will not be wear', of earnestly endeavoring to vent my desires, nor of the repetitions of such earnestness. July 23, and August 10, 1723.

(Source: A Puritan's Mind)

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards: #60, #61, #62

60. Resolved, whenever my feelings begin to appear in the least out of order, when I am conscious of the least uneasiness within, or the least irregularity without, I will then subject myself to the strictest examination. July 4, and 13, 1723.

61. Resolved, that I will not give way to that listlessness which I find unbends and relaxes my mind from being fully and fixedly set on religion, whatever excuse I may have for it-that what my listlessness inclines me to do, is best to be done, etc. May 21, and July 13, 1723.

62. Resolved, never to do anything but duty; and then according to Eph. 6:6-8, do it willingly and cheerfully as unto the Lord, and not to man; "knowing that whatever good thing any man doth, the same shall he receive of the Lord." June 25 and July 13, 1723.

Ehpesians 6:6-8 says:
not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.

(Source: A Puritan's Mind)

Monday, 6 September 2010

Love that is genuine

My wife and I are reading through the Desiring God together. Last week, we concluded the chapter on Love. In it, I've learned that you should seek your joy in loving others. That can be misunderstood very easily, but when understood properly, and pursued and practised carefully, I know my life would honour God by genuinely loving other people.
This short video can help.

(See the original Desiring God entry.)

Oh, grant me this genuine love that seeks good of other people. Let me rejoice in others being saved, blessed, prospering and flourishing. Oh, grant me, Lord, this change of heart.

Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards: #59

59. Resolved, when I am most conscious of provocations to ill nature and anger, that I will strive most to feel and act good-naturedly; yea, at such times, to manifest good nature, though I think that in other respects it would be disadvantageous, and so as would be imprudent at other times. May 12, July ii, and July 13.

I used to think that I was good with little children. Over the years, through serving at various ministries at church, and also through engaging with relatives and friends with children, I've learned that I am always more impatient and less gracious than I supposed.
I do think, that this resolution of JE would be of some benefit for me too.
Oooh... it's hard... Hopefully I will develop more spiritual muscles in regards to being gracious towards those who provoke my ill nature and anger before I have my own children (God willing).

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards: #58

58. Resolved, not only to refrain from an air of dislike, fretfulness, and anger in conversation, but to exhibit an air of love, cheerfulness and benignity. May27, and July 13, 1723.

Oh, I wish the same. How easily my temper can be worked up! How easily I can be displeased and dislike someone I am called to love?

(Source: A Puritan's Mind)

Friday, 3 September 2010

Unless God draws me

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.
-- John 6:44

Draw me closer to you, Lord, my sin clings on.