Sunday, October 31, 2010

Appealing to God's Glory

Thoughts from my reading in Whiter Than Snow: Meditations on Sin and Mercy by Paul David Tripp. My thoughts in red.

Then you will delight in right sacrifices . . . ; then bulls will be offered on your altar.
Psalm 51:19

You're always in a safe place when you're appealing to God's glory. This is exactly what David does in Psalm 51:18-19: "In your good pleasure make Zion prosper; build up the walls of Jerusalem" (NIV). Why? "Then there will be righteous sacrifices, whole burnt offerings to delight you; then bulls will be offered on your altar" (NIV). David is essentially saying, "God, bless your people, because if you do, they'll live for your glory." This is what all truly biblical prayer will do. We often reduce prayer to a laundry list of self-focused needs in which we ask God to exercise his power for the sake of our comfort or for the purpose of self-glory. You know the requests:

"God, give me wisdom at work (so I can make more money and acquire more power)."

"God, alleviate my financial woes (so I have more money to spend on the pleasure and possessions that will make me happy)."

"God, help my daughter to be more respectful (so that my evenings will be more peaceful so I can get the things done that I want to get done)."

"God, work in the life of my husband (so I can finally experience the marriage of my dreams)."

"God, give me a better relationship with my neighbor (so he will like me enough to make his dog quit trampling my flower beds)."

"God, please heal my body (so that I can do the physical things that I love to do)."

This is a good thing to think about. It’s always good to pray but maybe the motivation isn’t always right. Things can get so mixed up that we may not see the motivation clearly. Is it for me or for the greater purpose of God’s kingdom and glory?

So much of our prayer has nothing to do with the glory of God. Regrettably, in much of our prayer we're actually asking God to endorse our pursuit of a whole catalog of self-focused false glories. For God to be willing to do that would not only mean a denial of who he is, but it would also mean our destruction.

It’s good that God doesn’t always answer prayer the way we want. We may not be self-focused but we may not be seeing the bigger picture. This is where trust comes in. If things aren’t going the way we want, we wait.

But perhaps you're thinking, "Paul, it doesn't seem loving for God to be so focused on his own glory. How does it help me to have God's zeal for his own glory be greater than his zeal for anything else?" This is a very good question and worthy of an answer.

First, don't fall into evaluating the character of God as you'd evaluate the character of a human being. God is not a man and cannot be judged by the standards that he has set for human beings. For a human to be obsessed by his own glory would be a horrendous spirit of pride and self-aggrandizement. But not so with God.

We mess up when we create God in our image. He is not the same as us. We need to remember that He is God and we are not.

So, it is right, good, and beneficial for God to find his greatest pleasure in his own glory simply because he is God. You see, in delighting in his own glory, calling us to live for his glory, and enabling us to do so, God frees us from our self-destructive addiction to self-glory and the endless catalog of false glories that comes with it.

There are a lot of things that fit in that catalog. We are always looking for something that puts us higher than others. It may be education, money, accomplishments, sports, Bible knowledge, game scores, cars, toys, words, etc.

So, God's unshakable commitment to his own glory is the most loving thing he could ever do for us. It's what redeems us from us and breaks our bondage to all the things in life that we wrongly think will give us life but lead only to emptiness and ultimately death.

So when I live for God’s glory I am the most happy, satisfied and content. I experience what I hoped to find in so many other things that proved to be disappointing.

A question from the meditation:

How much of your prayer is dominated by requests that have to do with your vision of glory? What changes in your prayer would take place if your prayer was shaped by an appeal to God's glory?

I am trying to keep this in mind as I go through my prayer list. It’s a subtle but true distinction. I may not even be me that I am praying for. I might be praying for someone else but not see how my prayer should be focused. Am I praying for comfort, promotion or help that simply benefits them or am I looking at the bigger picture? In praying right, I align with God’s will and glory.

Philip


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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fight or Flinch


If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the word of God except precisely that little point which the world and the Devil are at that point attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is tested. To be steady in all the battlefields besides is mere flight and disgrace, if the soldier flinches at that one point.

Martin Luther
This quote has been used a lot by the prolife movement to call pastors to speak out on abortion. I think that is a proper application as abortion must be viewed as one of the most crucial battles going on; not the only one, but probably close to the top of the list.

Sadly, most pastors seem unable to find their voice on abortion. In the past, a ministry I was involved with would prod pastors to preach a prolife sermon at least once a year but we didn't have much success. Of course, there are rare but notable exceptions.

The same thing is happening with homosexuality. Sermons on the truth of God’s Word relating to this subject are uncommon as well.

Why? Sometimes a pastor speaks out and then receives a firestorm of criticism. Sometimes he is not well versed on the arguments. He may view these as political issues and doesn’t want to taint his pulpit. He may look out at the people and figure that many of them are personally affected and he doesn’t want to hurt their feelings.

The same happened with divorce. So many in the church have been divorced so pastors can’t bring themselves to say it’s wrong. The sad result is the problem is compounded. People don’t know what God’s Word says so they end up doing what the world tells them to do.

All of us have our flinching point. It may be easy for me to speak on certain subjects but harder on others. I may have it together in certain areas but am a mess in many others. So it’s not an us verses them message. What we have to do is recognize where we have a hard time and move towards getting it right.

If your pastor speaks on a controversial subject let him know you support him and why. It’s a hard job he has to do in this culture.

If you are a pastor then know that your words can change lives. Your lack of words can do the same. Realize that most people in your church are deeply affected by the world and are not searching out these issues themselves. Do you know where the world and the devil are now attacking? Find out and then find your voice. Don’t give a surface sermon. Dig deep and preach deep. Don’t let criticism deter you. Be the man! Give a challenge to your people. They may squirm and complain but history will vindicate you.

Philip

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sermon on the Mount

Thoughts from my reading in Whiter Than Snow: Meditations on Sin and Mercy by Paul David Tripp. The devotional is indented and abbreviated.

Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. Psalm 51:6

Confession results in deeper personal insight. Further confession leads to greater insight. This is one of the graces of confession. You see this spiritual dynamic operating in the life of David in Psalm 51. This man, who was so completely blinded by his own lust that he wasn't able only to use his God-given position of political power to take another man's wife but also to put a contract out on her husband and have him killed, is now able to see not only his behavioral wrongs but the heart behind them as well.
I was thinking about the idea of confession leading to insight and more confession leading to greater insight. I’ve seen that working in my own life. At first there is usually denial – I didn’t do anything wrong. Then responding to the Holy Spirit I admit something and that admission leads to complete confession. It’s hard to admit that. I don’t want to think of myself as so devious, dishonest and deceived. Thank God for His mercy.

You and I will only ever be holy by God's definition if we put the moral fences where God puts them. We tend to put the fences at the boundary of behavior. For example, rather than telling our children the importance of a respectful heart and the issues of heart that cause us not to respect others as we should, we instruct our children to use titles of respect when they're relating to others. Now, there's nothing wrong with this as far as it goes; the problem is that enforcing certain behaviors won't create a spirit of respectfulness. A child who's mad at his teacher for an assignment she's given may say, "Whatever you say, Mrs. Smith!" in a tone that's anything but respectful. The teacher immediately knows that the child has used a title of respect to tell her that he doesn't respect her at all, but to tell her that in a way that won't get him into trouble!
I don’t completely agree with this. I know it can’t change the heart but certain fences can help. I remember a friend telling me he was reluctant to install a filter on his Internet because he knew that what was needed was a change in his heart. Without a heart change, the filter will end up being bypassed. That’s true but sometimes the fence will protect us in our moments of weakness. It makes it a little harder to take the action of sin.

This is where Christ's teaching from the Sermon on the Mount is so helpful. Christ draws the fences in much closer. He calls for us to fence our hearts because he knows that it's only when we fence the heart that we'll willingly and successfully stay inside God-appointed behavioral fences. So he says, "You have heard that it was said, `You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:27- 28).

Consider the importance of what Christ does here. He isn't adding to the seventh commandment. No, he's interpreting it for us. He's telling us what the intention and extent of the command has always been. God knows what lust lusts for. Lust doesn't lust for more lust. Lust lusts for the physical experience of the thing that's the object of the lust. A heart controlled by sexual lust won't be satisfied with better and more graphic fantasies. No, a lustful heart craves the actual experience and will only be satisfied when it has actually experienced the thing for which it lusts. This is why it never works to put the fences at the boundary of behavior. Even if I've placed clear fences there, I'll cut through them or climb over them if I haven't first fenced my heart.
As I said before, I think there is a place for the fence. I know it’s not enough in itself but it serves a purpose; maybe like training wheels on a bike. I hope to teach my children lessons that result in heart change but there are plenty of fences I put up to protect them until they are more mature.

Have you fenced your heart? Have you tried to stay inside of behavioral boundaries only to have climbed over them again and again? Go and read the wisdom of the Sermon on the Mount, which is found in Matthew 5 through 7, and ask God to "teach you wisdom in the inmost place." By God's grace, determine to fight the battle of thought and desire, knowing full well that it's only when you win this battle that you can be successful in the battle of behavior. And rest assured that when you fight this battle you aren't fighting alone, but your Lord wages war on your behalf.
I am thankful for the changes that have happened in my heart through the years. I’m thankful for the things that have lost their grip so an external fence isn’t necessary. I am thankful that the Lord does fight on my behalf and through grace changes my heart.

Take a Moment

What "fences of the heart" do you need to erect that are not there now?

Where is there evidence that you are stepping over God's "boundaries of the heart?" Stop and confess and receive God's offer of forgiveness.

Philip


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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pastoral Search Committee Report

In our search for a suitable pastor, the following scratch sheet was developed for your perusal. The list contains the names of the candidates and comments on each.

• Noah: He has 120 years of preaching experience, but no converts.

• Moses: He stutters, and the former congregation says he loses his temper over trivial things.

• Abraham: He took off to Egypt during hard times. We heard that he got into trouble with the authorities and then tried to lie his way out.

• David: He is an unacceptable moral character. He might have been considered for minister of music had he not "fallen."

• John: He says he is a Baptist but lacks tact and dresses like a hippie. He would not feel comfortable at a church potluck supper.

• Peter: He has a bad temper and was heard to deny Christ publicly.

• Paul: We found him to lack tact. He is too harsh, his appearance is contemptible, and he preaches far too long.

• Timothy: He has potential but is much too young for the position.

• Jesus: He tends to offend church members, especially Bible scholars, with his preaching. He is also too controversial. He even offended the search committee with His pointed questions.

• Judas: He seemed to be very practical, cooperative, good with money, concerned for the poor, and professionally dressed. We all agreed that he is just the man we are looking for to fill the vacancy as our Senior Pastor.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

God’s Pleasure

Thoughts from my reading in Whiter Than Snow: Meditations on Sin and Mercy by Paul David Tripp. My thoughts in red.

Then you will delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on your altar.
Psalm 51:19

I must admit
I am embarrassed
by
what gives me
pleasure.
It doesn't take
much
to make me
smile.
I get
real pleasure
from
a good steak
nice chocolate
a comfortable
bed.
I want the joy
of
cold soda
and
hot tea.
I want the bathroom
to
be empty when
I need it.
I want the streets
I drive on
to
be free of other
drivers.
I want people
to
respect my opinions
and
validate my plans.
I want my wife
to
be satisfied
with me as
I am.
I want
my bills all
paid
and plenty of money
to
do the pleasurable
things
that make me
happy.

It’s all about me and what I want. I have an idea of what would make me happy and I pursue it. I want to feel good. I want things to taste good and to smell good. I want comfort. But what if I am wrong? What if I’m looking at the wrong things in the wrong places? What if the pleasure I experience is a cheap substitute? What if I’ve been fooled?

But God
isn't like
me.
His pleasures
aren't a sad
catalog
of
low-grade
idolatries.
His desires
aren't shaped
by
ravenous self-focus.
He
doesn't.
live
in a perpetual state
of
self-absorbed
discontent.
His pleasures
are never
regrettable
ugly
or
unholy.
When
God smiles
His reason
is holy
and His purpose
is
pure.
He finds
great pleasure
in His glory
and
great joy
when
the repentant
turn
from the pursuit
of
their own glory and
turn
toward His.
He has
great pleasure
in
the success
of
His plan
and finds
satisfaction
in seeing
His children
turn
from their pleasure
to
live for
His.

If we don’t understand God, the above would seem incredibly self-centered. Why does everything have to be about Him? Why do I have to do everything He wants me to do? Why do I have to live for His pleasure? But to know Him is to realize that when I live that way, everything falls into place. I experience the highest pleasure and contentment.

Someday
by His grace
the pleasures
that give me
pleasure
will be
the things that
please God.
Until then
my
hope is in the
fact
that He finds
delight
in rescuing those
who
have been led
astray
by their pleasures
because
once more today
I'm
going to need
that rescue.
And I'll need
it
every day until
my
deepest pleasures
are nowhere to be found
in
the creation
and only to be found
in
the Creator.

Isn’t it great that He works in us? I don’t have to muster the strength to change myself. He shows me what is wrong and gives grace and strength to change. He lets me taste what true pleasure is and a longing for it is planted in me.

A question from the meditation:

How close is what gives you pleasure to what gives God pleasure?

It’s something I know in my head but it’s not something I live everyday. The world is so good in pushing its stuff. Every day it’s in my face. Something to buy, eat, look at or listen to; another hollow promise. But I have tasted the true pleasure, the experience of knowing I am doing exactly what God wants; I have felt His smile. So to answer the question, it depends on the day.

Philip


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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Righteous Judgment

Thoughts from my reading in Whiter Than Snow: Meditations on Sin and Mercy by Paul David Tripp. The devotional is indented and abbreviated.

. . . so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.
Or as The Message says, You’re the one I’ve violated, and you’ve seen it all, seen the full extent of my evil. You have all the facts before you; whatever you decide about me is fair. Psalm 51:4

What an interesting thing for a man who's confessing sin to say! Why would David be talking about God's justice? Now, it makes sense, when you have the sense to confess, to remind God of his mercy, but to stand before him and remind him of his justice is another thing all together.

Let me suggest that there are two ways that the justice of God should comfort us sinners. First, his justice means that his assessment of us is accurate. It isn't colored or slanted by prejudice or bias of any kind. It isn't shaped by any kind of hidden personal agenda. God's assessment isn't weakened by favoritism or the cynicism of previous experience.
He loves us and that is how He filters everything about us.

Unlike my experience in this broken world, I don't have to fear that God will wrongly associate me with some group, or have his view of me colored by a grudge, or have his perspective on me colored by irritation or impatience. I can rest assured that God's view of me is trustworthy in every way. And because God's view of me is untainted by sin, it's clearly more reliable than any view that I'd have of myself.
That’s what makes it easier to take God’s scrutiny of us. It’s the opposite of what makes it hard to accept the same scrutiny from some people.

Second, the way that God as Judge responds to me is right and pure as well. God's discipline of me is without personal bias. It isn't weakened by anger or impatience. His justice is never distorted because he's lost his temper or has tired of dealing with me. To add to this, since he isn't only just, but also merciful, loving, and kind as well, God's justice is always restrained and tempered by these things.
I know I am less than beneficial many times when helping other people see their faults. If we are angry, exasperated or annoyed we treat people differently. We hang things over their head and magnify their imperfections to make our own look smaller.

So, I can place myself in the hands of the justice of the one who sees me with accuracy and deals with me righteously. We stand before God unafraid, not because we're acceptable to him, but because his justice has been satisfied by the death of Jesus. So, God is to us both the One who's just and the One who justifies!

  • I don't have to manipulate God's view of me.
  • I don't have to run from him in fear.
  • I don't have to rationalize away my wrongs.
  • I don't have to work to shift the blame to someone else.
  • I don't have to put forward false pretenses.
  • I don't have to marshal arguments for my acceptability.
  • I don't have to try to buy my way into his favor.

    No, I can be who I am and what I am and stand in the light of his righteousness without fear, because Jesus has taken my sin and suffered my stripes. So the One who is my Judge is also my Justifier. There is rest. There is hope.
    We don’t have to pretend with God. He knows what we are and is working to change us. He knows we fail and it doesn’t change His emotional love for us.

    Take a Moment

    Stop and consider how sweet it is that you stand before a God whose assessment of you is not colored by ugly prejudice or self-serving bias. Think of how comforting it is to know that his view of you is always accurate and true.

    It's beyond sweet but it's still sad that I run and hide. What is there to fear?

    Philip


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    Saturday, October 9, 2010

    Deceptive Peace

    “It must have been the right thing to do because I feel such peace.”

    In a world guided by subjective emotions, objective truth is easily discarded. The guiding principals are gems such as, “Follow your heart” or “If it feels good, do it.” The conclusion, “It can’t be wrong because it feels so right.”

    A basic definition of peace is a state of tranquility without disturbance or agitation. So I guess if you are in a coma, we might describe you as peaceful but most outside observers wouldn’t think all is well.

    How about the calm before the storm? Maybe the peace someone feels is a brief, deceptive moment before the coming consequences.

    I think using peace as a judge of good or bad decision making is very dangerous. As Christians, we speak of the peace from God as a good thing. Philippians 4:6-7 has this to say, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” I don’t see peace here as a sign of good decision making but as a result of prayer. When I pray for my prodigal children instead of worrying about them I receive peace from God. That peace lets me rest in the knowledge that God loves them and is working in them. Even with that peace I still have an unsure turmoil in wondering what part I played in their messed-up lives.

    Probably the strongest argument for peace in decision making is this: “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.” (Colossians 3:15)  Rule in this verse means to arbitrate or to act as an umpire. An arbitrator or umpire has to act according to the rules. So the same here; the rules are the Word of God. That’s where everything has to start and end.

    It’s good we have Scripture to guide us because we are reminded in Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” Without external objective guidance our internal compass gets out of calibration.

    We also need other people to help guide us. Good friends can give perspective; they can see what may be unclear to us. We may be wrapped up in emotion and they bring clarity. Of course, the wrong voices can be destructive. If their lives are not guided by God’s Word then it may be the blind leading the blind. I heard an alcoholic talking about this recently. He realized that his friends were not going to help him out of his bondage; they didn’t see a problem. He recognized that he was going to need new friends before he was going to be successful with recovery.

    Sometimes, the opposite of peace may be present when we are doing the right thing. Paul realized this in Acts 20:22-23 where he said, “And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me.” Of course there was a peace but not the way we may look at it. If Paul wanted to avoid hardship he could have said, “I just don’t feel a peace about going.”

    So what it all comes down to is if God’s Word says something then our feelings don’t matter. If we are disobedient then the peace we feel may be God’s absence or maybe the calm before the storm He is about to unleash.

    Philip

    Tuesday, October 5, 2010

    Loss

    Have you ever lost something very important? I guess all of us have. Some have lost things greater than others, or at least we think so. Have there been things you lost that after the passage of time didn’t really seem like a big deal?

    I lost my hair and I am trying to lose some weight. I lost my mother twice. My birth mother was gone after my birth and my adopted mother died when I was 16.

    I have lost children. I would have four more children if death hadn’t snatched them away before birth.

    I’ve lost many years and moments that could have been shared with my family if I hadn’t been lost in the little world of me.

    I lost most of my tools when my work van was broken into. Many of them were passed down from my Dad.

    I have never lost a fortune although I have never had one to lose. I have never lost a wife through death or divorce. I have never lost the contents of our house in a fire. I have never lost my wallet or the car keys.

    I found out yesterday that I lost something that was very important me. Partly through my error and partly through bad programming every comment left on this blog for the past four years is now gone. I don’t think there is anything that can be done to bring them back.

    There were comments that told me I was stupid or misinformed. There were even some that said what I wrote was meaningful. It stings that all of these are gone because many times they filled-out or balanced something I wrote. Now all that is left is me and some of the time that’s not a good thing.

    As I think about all of this I am reminded how often I get things backward. I value and spend time on and am anxious for so many things that don’t really matter. I also neglect many things that have eternal value. I wish confession meant getting it right; it doesn’t so I know I will continue to mess up. I will trudge along or speed along; fully convinced I’m on the right path. I thank God for people along the way whose comments help set me straight.

    Philip

    Sunday, October 3, 2010

    The Grace of a Clean Heart

    Thoughts from my reading in Whiter Than Snow: Meditations on Sin and Mercy by Paul David Tripp. The devotional is indented and abbreviated.

    Create in me a clean heart, O God.  Psalm 51:10

    Could there be a more fundamental prayer request than this? Could there be anything more essential than this? Could there be any hope more beautiful than to believe that someday your heart and mine will be totally free from impurity of any kind? This is the most radical claim of all the claims of the gospel. This is the epicenter of what the cross of Jesus Christ alone can produce. This is the thing that the keeping of the law could never do.
    This is the hope of every true Christian – to be pure before God. We keep the rules but we know it’s not just about the rules. We keep the rules because that’s what is in our heart.

    Let's think about the theology of the heart that's behind David's request. Human beings have been made by God in two parts, the inner man and the outer man. The outer man is your physical self, your body. The body is the house you've been given for your heart. The inner man is given many names: mind, emotion, will, soul, spirit, to name a few. All of these terms are collected into one big basket term, heart. The heart is the control center of the human being. It's the center of your emotions, cognition, and desires. Essentially, what the Bible says is that the heart is the steering wheel of the human being. The heart controls, shapes, and directs everything you choose, say, and do. What controls the heart will therefore exercise unavoidable control over your behavior.
    As a parent I’m always reminded (by my wife) that what’s important is the heart. We can force kids to do “right things” but what we really want is obedience from the heart. If the kids have right hearts the right behavior will follow. Now if only I could make their heart change.

    What does this have to do with David's courageous request? David understands something that's fundamental to repentance. It's that sin isn't first a matter of behavior; it's first a matter of the heart. That's why Jesus said that to look at a woman and lust after her carries the moral value of the physical act of adultery. You see, since your heart guides your actions and words, if you allow your heart to lust, it won't be long before you commit the physical act.
    Which comes first, the chicken or the egg? In the same way it’s hard to understand heart versus behavior. Speaking of lust, you may innocently come across an image in a magazine or billboard. To look away and keep looking away may signify a pure heart or it may show incredible discipline when all inside wants to look. To take a second look may lead to lust. Where did the lust start? Was it already in the heart or did the behavior of a second look bring it about?

    Or we could look at the other side of the coin. Worship is not first an activity. No, worship is first a position of the heart. It's only when my heart esteems God above everything else that I'll serve him with my time, energy, money, and strength. Impurity of the heart is not primarily about bad thoughts or bad desires. No, impurity of the heart is really about love for something in the creation replacing love that I was only ever meant to have for the Creator. And when I love something in creation more than I love God, I'll think, desire, say, and do bad things.
    Again, there are many times we may have all the outward appearance of devotion to God but it may all be for show. We have to be careful how we look at other people. Do we judge them by the outward? I am surprised how many times people are elevated to various positions such as elder and deacon in churches because they are successful in business and wear a nice suit. In some cases their personal and home life are a mess but having them on the board looks good and may bring in some contributions. And many times the better qualified are overlooked because they don’t fit the image of success.

    Now, what all of this means is that our biggest, most abiding, most life-shaping problem exists inside of us and not outside of us. What we actually need to be rescued from is us. What needs to be transformed in our lives is not so much our situation and relationships (although they need transformation as well). What really needs to be transformed are our hearts.
    This is where we need to examine ourselves. With the help of God and good friends we can discover what our hearts are like.

    Here's the gorgeous message of the gospel: even though I've bowed again and again to an endless catalog of God replacements, even though I've loved myself more than I've loved God, even though I've rebelled against God's kingdom and sought to set up my own kingdom, God comes to me in grace and wraps arms of love around me and begins a process that will result in the total transformation of the core of my personhood, the heart.
    It’s encouraging that He pursues us and doesn’t give up. Sometimes it is a long, hard road.

    So we wake up every morning knowing that by his grace our hearts are purer than they once were, and by his grace they'll be purer than they are today. So with thankfulness for the transformation that's already taken place and with the courage of hope of the transformation that's yet to come, we wake up, look to heaven, and say with David, "Create in me a clean heart."
    Each day can be a little better than the one before.

    Take a moment:

    Celebrate the reality that your heart is purer than it once was as you pray for a further cleansing from the impurities that are still there.
    Sometimes it’s hard to see change from close up. It’s easy to think that no progress is being made. Failures sap us of hope. The reality is that God is doing a work in us. I know I can look back through time and see the work He has done.

    Philip


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    Friday, October 1, 2010

    Sunrise Celebration

    I was driving across town this morning to a business meeting. It was a little before 7 am. The eastern sky was ablaze with orange and red. The sun was rising and a camera could never capture what my eyes were seeing.

    I felt sad for people who are not awake at this time of morning. I thought how amazing that God brings in each new day with a celebration.

    Isn’t that how we should live? The Bible tells us that God’s mercies are new each morning. He is ready to start each day fresh.

    Let the sunrise be a reminder of the amazing grace, mercy and forgiveness of God.

    Philip

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