Love the LORD

God is amazing, breathtaking, spectacular beyond our wildest dreams. To neglect His glory, splendor and excellence in any way violates the first and great commandment: to love God with our whole heart (Mt 22:37-38); it’s a vast insult to God, “the infinite outrage in the universe, that human beings prefer somethingMountainBeauty else to God.” (John Piper; Why Hell Exists)  Not loving Him supremely is the greatest of our sins; it’s the root of all sin. (Ro 1:21)

How ought we to glory in God? By rejoicing in and enjoying Him. Our ability to perceive beauty is given us by Him so that we can enjoy Him; any glimpse of His glory in Creation should move us to worship. We can also see in His dealings with Man that He’s all-powerful, infinitely wise, merciful, loving, and supremely just. It’s joy unspeakable to delight in His ways, in the inexpressible infinitude of God.

But it’s not primarily in worship that we love God; He’s associated love for Himself with keeping His commandments (Jn 14:21), particularly the parts of His Law that seem the least self-serving to us. (Mt 5:19) We cannot value Him in disobedience (1Jn 2:4), only in obeying can we walk worthy of Him. We do so dimly appreciate Him, seeing through a glass darkly (1Co 13:12), yet knowing that He’s infinitely precious. (1Pe 2:7)

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God Is Just

The human heart longs for justice, to see evil punished: we say, “Don’t get mad; get even!” We demand that wrongs against us and our loved ones be righted, that sin be paid for, that the crooked be made straight. Our sense of injustice, that evil goes unpunished in this life, can be maddening, driving us to bitterness.Lightning

Our instinctive longing for justice is beautiful; it’s God’s image at work in us, even proving His existence, but there’s a problem: we’re unjust. We seldom see our own sins rightly, and our response to evil is usually warped; we exact more than we should.

So God says, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay.” (Ro 12:19) He wants perfect justice more than all the rest of us combined, but only He knows what it looks like.

God is perfectly just, and only God is perfectly just; He will make all the crooked places straight (Is 40:4); He will right all wrongs … even our own. It’s an awesome mystery how God’s justice and mercy work together (Ps 89:14), how He can offer eternal salvation to sinners, His own Son taking our place and satisfying His own indignation against us. We do well to receive His mercy rather than the second death, and to rejoice when others do … especially our enemies(Mi 6:8)

How and when God makes everything right is up to Him; when He does it will be supremely satisfying, beautiful beyond thought! (Re 15:3-4) Enjoying it now in hope, before He does, glorifies Him and gives us peace.

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Man of Sorrows

Our Lord is a man of sorrows (Is 53:3); grief is His companion. He weeps over our sin and stubbornness (Lk 19:41-42) and He’s looking for us to be afflictedManOfSorrow with Him. (Ez 9:4)

Does human brokenness move us to grief, sorrow and weeping? (Ps 119:158136) Or does a certain smugness, contempt or disdain pollute us? When we sense someone’s in error, is our first instinct to triple-check ourselves, hoping we’re missing something? Or do we jump too quickly to find fault? When we must discuss another’s brokenness, is it reluctantly … with tears? (Php 3:18-19)

ManOfSorrowsLoving our neighbors as ourselves means being as grieved in others’ failings as we are in our own. In seeking holiness and truth we often find ourselves confronting and exposing brokenness, but enjoying and feeding off of this is ugliness, enmity and pride. (Php 2:3) As C.S Lewis so elegantly observes, we must not wish black was a little blacker, for soon we’ll be wishing grey was black … and in the end inherit darkness.

The high calling of God is perfection (Mt 5:48), so through Christ we strive after it by faith. (Col 1:29) Christ’s love shines through holy sorrow (Ec 7:3); without it we’re nothing. (1Co 13:1-3) Let’s fellowship with Him in His suffering (Php 3:10), giving all diligence to add this virtue to our faith. (2Pe 1:5-7) It may not seem possible to get there from here, but God is willing and able to help us. (Ep 3:20)

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The Second Death

EtnaEruption
Mt. Etna, Sicily

Yeshua uses unmistakably graphic language to describe Hell. (Mk 9:43-44, 45-46, 47-48) He’s warning us to do all we can to avoid it. Who among us will go there? (Is 33:14) What would it be like do die the second death?

Before coming to faith I dwelt here, meditating on the terror of the Lord; it moved me to repent and seek God until I found salvation. This is, in fact, God’s norm in evangelism. (Jud 1:22-23)

The Lake of Fire is the dreadful fate of all who fail to find their eternal home in Christ. (Re 21:8) Fear of spending eternity in Hell drives the wise to ensure their election, until they’re as sure of Heaven as Christ Himself. Take no chances: perfect assurance of eternal salvation is available; nothing less is acceptable.

Only a few diligently secure their place in Heaven; whatever it takes, strive to enter, be one of them. (Mt 7:13)

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God Is Faithful

RainbowDoubleGod is faithful (1Co 1:9): true to His word, keeping His promises, trustworthy, dependable; we can safely trust Him to do what He says He’s going to do.

We can see this both in Scripture (2Th 3:3) and in Nature: for every need He’s designed fulfillment. YHWH is good; we need Him to be faithful, and He is, more than we can know. (Je 17:7-8)

But the enemy lies to us about God’s nature, twisting God’s promises and promoting wrong expectations so when God doesn’t meet them we’re tempted to mistrust Him. Falling for his lies steals our joy and traps us in bitterness; it’s too painful.

So God set His bow in the clouds to remind us of His faithfulness (Ge 9:13); scientists still don’t fully understand how He does it. Jehovah’s gone out of His way to assure us that He’ll never break His Word; He makes no promise lightly; He puts His reputation on the line in every single one. God’s promises are exceedingly precious gifts, open doorways inviting us into His nature. (2Pe 1:4) 

As we wait on the Lord, expecting Him to be faithful, we’re saved by hope; it’s an abundant life of faith rooted in the character and nature of God. (Jn 10:10) 

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Too Painful

When I lose sleep over injustice, and recently it seems to be often, I know I’m not handling it well — it’s too painful for me (Ps 73:16); I’m letting the enemy steal my joy. (Php 4:6) It’s time for a little reminder: God is just. (Pr 2:8)

What if God always rewarded good and evil with immediate pleasure or pain,BarnStorm training us like Pavlov’s dogs? We’d never know the depravity of the human heart … or the goodness of God.

In order to fully reveal Himself God must allow evil to go unchecked for a season; this exposes the human heart, and provides Jehovah a venue to glorify Himself. (Ro 9:22-23) The season may be longer than we’d like, but it’s a necessity.

I remind myself that God is faithful; He will bring every secret thing out into light; all will be revealed (Mk 4:22), dealt with and straightened out. (Lk 3:5-6) He may not be as prompt we’d like, but He’s perfectly just (Ro 2:2) and His timing’s always best. (Ps 104:31) My focus is to walk worthy of Christ, in intimate fellowship with God, and leave the rest to Him. (Ro 14:4)

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The New Month

Since the moon is central in the timing of God’s feasts, celebrating each new Eclipsemonth is natural in God’s kingdom. (Is 66:23)

YHWH doesn’t tell us exactly how to do this, but it’s easy for saints to come together under an open sky to worshipfully enjoy each new moon. Like anything else, the more familiar we are with lunar phases the easier this will be.

Monthly worship rhythms keep us aligned with God’s calendar in community, and encourage us to anticipate and prepare for each biblical feast as it approaches, keeping us in touch with God’s prophetic timeline(Col 2:16)

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The Sword of the Spirit

The Word of God is the Holy Spirit’s sword (Ep 6:17) … so God’s sword is also ours, our primary weapon in spiritual warfare. Without it we’re no threat to the enemy, more a target than a soldier. (2Ti 2:3)

Hawk_Fishing
Osprey by Bill Doherty

And this weapon, the Word of God, is alive … powerful(He 4:12) To be effective it must be an extension of our hearts and minds, interconnected with us (De 6:6-9) … it’s Christ Himself in us (Jn 1:14); both spirit and life. (Jn 6:63)

So how do we wield this supernatural sword? Get it into the Spirit’s hands, interconnect with it?

Christ’s example when Satan attacked Him was to quote the Word, saying repeatedly, “It is written.” (Mt 4:4, 6, 7) By hiding God’s Word in our heart we arm the Spirit for war, equipping Him to defend, protect, feed (De 8:3) and heal us, cleansing us of our lies and strongholds. (Ep 5:26) It’s hard to wield this particular sword unless we can quote it, but merely memorizing scripture won’t do; we must be constantly meditating on it (Ps 1:2), saturating ourselves with God in His written Word. (Jos 1:8)

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