Is there anything MORE energizing than God’s love?

Perhaps, when I ask that, you’re response is one of being positive that you could make a list with plenty of things that might beat-out God’s love in the energy-producing department. But, let’s test that thinking. Your assumption may not be as secure as you think. God’s love may appear to have very little going for it in the competition for your heart, but perhaps this is because you don’t quite understand the worth of this treasure.

If you have thought for most of your life that including God in your life was supposed to be a drag, His love cannot possibly be a blessing to you. In fact, you will not even be able to KNOW His love if you perceive Him only as a drain to all your resources and ambitions. God never meant for you to see Him that way. His presence in our lives is meant to be a gift; more than that, because of what Christ did to make God’s presence in our life possible, it is a privilege. But this privilege is not to be equated with those thinly-veiled responsibilities that no one really wants to be given.

God’s presence is meant to be a pleasure; it really can be! The reality for you to consider today is that if you are not experiencing God’s presence as a pleasure, you cannot truly be experiencing His presence. To actually know God–for who He is according to His unchangingly perfect character–is to know boundless joy. Conversely, to regard all the negative and untrue press-releases that Satan manufactures about God is to know absolutely no genuine joy.

That’s a big deal. Don’t miss out on the implications here. In this debate concerning God being our Friend or Foe, His personal leaning is not the main focus; what you choose to listen to is. If you tune your heart into what the world tells you about how you should handle God in your life will never be in short supply, yet neither can it be trusted.

The world’s ambition is to get YOU to choose not to be God’s friend. The enemy of your love for God is not uncertain about the state of God’s love for and commitment to you. The person in question is you. And his goal is to “help” you decide that you don’t want to have any part of the God who pursues you–not based on what is True but on what he can get you to feel and think according to the lies he twists.

It is dangerous to not be aware that his words about God come to us through any voice that he can get to speak for him. Therefore, we should not take anyone’s word on God above God’s own Word on Himself. Find out what that says first. Ask God to make it sink into you and take up root, becoming a living part of you that shades your thinking and fills your heart with the fruit of His goodness. Then you will become acquainted with the unceasing, and energizing benefits of His love that cannot be equalled in all the earth.

When has God ever done something new in our midst?

Do you like starting something new–whether it be a new hobby, a new job, a new relationship, a new goal? Have you ever thought about whether or not God likes starting new things?

Well, you could answer, considering He started everything in the universe, I imagine there was a time that He enjoyed starting something new. But, that was a long time ago and He hasn’t done a new thing since.

It might surprise you to realize that God and new come together as themes in the Bible quite often, actually. Let me share a few verses with you.

God’s Word shows that He delights in and works out in us

A New Creation:

Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. (2 Corinthians 5:17, The Message)

A New Life:

Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:4)

A New Start:

And you will make a new start, listening obediently to God, keeping all his commandments that I’m commanding you today. God, your God, will outdo himself in making things go well for you: you’ll have babies, get calves, grow crops, and enjoy an all-around good life. Yes, God will start enjoying you again, making things go well for you just as he enjoyed doing it for your ancestors. (Deuteronomy 30:8-9, The Message)

A New Covenant:

Like a will that takes effect when someone dies, the new covenant was put into action at Jesus’ death. His death marked the transition from the old plan to the new one, canceling the old obligations and accompanying sins, and summoning the heirs to receive the eternal inheritance that was promised them. He brought together God and his people in this new way. (Hebrews 9:16-17)

A New Heart/New Spirit:

‘For here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to take you out of these countries, gather you from all over, and bring you back to your own land. I’ll pour pure water over you and scrub you clean. I’ll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you. I’ll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that’s God-willed, not self-willed. I’ll put my Spirit in you and make it possible for you to do what I tell you and live by my commands. You’ll once again live in the land I gave your ancestors. You’ll be my people! I’ll be your God! (Ezekiel 36:24-28)

After seeing enough of these verses, you would think that God actually liked the idea of new, even being involved in making things new. If you’ll notice, everything new that God has purposed in the passages above involves people–He wants to do things in and with you and me. He does not do new things merely for the sake of having new things to look at and show off. Instead, He sees the necessity of things in our world being made new. Thus, a new creation, a new heart (in us), etc. He chose to do these things because they were very good (and for us, very needful).

Perhaps, if you are feeling disappointed that God hasn’t done more new things in your life, you have not seriously investigated God’s policy on doing new things. You see, He has His own way of doing things. And if we want Him to do something, we must first find out whether our wish is, in fact, consistent with what He does and how He does it. If it’s not, we are not truly looking for a work of God when we expect it, but a work of some gene who grants our every wish–whether it be good or not.

You may be interested to know that some of the magic-like tricks that we long for God to display in our lives are really not very God-like at all. Rather than pull things out of thin air, He displays His affinity for newness by redemptively working with what He’s already made. He doesn’t like to see anything that He’s made get old or wear out or even become unusable. What He really desires is for us to lose the oldness that has come upon us by sin and gain the newness that comes into us by His Spirit, which reconsecrates our lives to God.

If you spend enough time with God, you’ll find that He just can’t seem to leave messed up things alone. It appears that He loves so much the things that He once made very new that He wants them to become that way once more. Apparently, He’s not too content with old things–maybe He’s just like we are in that way. Anyway, when you wonder what God’s doing new, just take a look at yourself through the eyes of His Word. Ask Him to reveal the new thing that He wants you to be a part of next. When you join Him in the new things He’s doing, you just might discover that some of your penchant for having and enjoying new things is a quality that shows your likeness to Him.

So, am I do for a lifestyle change?

Do you know one of my least favorite words? Lifestyle. There it is. A concise description of who I am. You look at what I do and you know me very well. When I look, I see where my policies on life don’t intersect with my practice. Why does the pattern of my life not match the blueprint I started with. Maybe it’s because I have two: the natural one that functions in my head and the supernatural one that often sits buried within the gold-rimmed folds of my Bible. I want them to be the same thing, but this requires that I become more and more faithful in choosing the one the Bible presents that it may transform the one already inside me.

O Lord, fix Your Word within me

convince my heart of Your ways

and endorse my days with Your signature

because You’ve lit my being with Your love!

And You’ll do this for me without end?

This Psalm breaks my heart with the weight of God’s unspeakable kindnesses, and then lifts my spirit from those fetters He has crushed so I can fly free in the wonder of who He is.

Thank you! Everything in me says “Thank you!” Angels listen as I sing my thanks.
I kneel in worship facing your holy temple
and say it again: “Thank you!”
Thank you for your love,
thank you for your faithfulness;
Most holy is your name,
most holy is your Word.
The moment I called out, you stepped in;
you made my life large with strength.

When they hear what you have to say, God,
all earth’s kings will say “Thank you.”
They’ll sing of what you’ve done:
“How great the glory of God!”
And here’s why: God, high above, sees far below;
no matter the distance, he knows everything about us.

When I walk into the thick of trouble,
keep me alive in the angry turmoil.
With one hand
strike my foes,
With your other hand
save me.
Finish what you started in me, God.
Your love is eternal—don’t quit on me now.

Psalm 138

Increasingly worthy of his calling

Below I have included two verses that have really stood out to me in the past few days; I pray that they bless you too!

“May God make you increasingly worthy of his calling and may he fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 1:11–12). Amen.

Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, 
for God can be trusted to keep his promise. --Hebrews 10:23, NLT

A Classic Character with A Climactic Claims

There is something about classic things — they just don’t die. No matter how old they are in our time, they never cease to be alive and authoritative to us. Their value is in their ability to portrey a moving portrait of the longings and behaviors of mankind. They affect how we see ourselves and what we believe to be true of the world around us — whether it is a novel, poetry, history, law or a futurist outline.

Perhaps a little surprising is that the Word of God is all these things. And yet it has a greater claim on our lives than any other classic held up against it. It has been written for one purpose and that is to reveal the Word (Christ) that came into the world to save men from the deceit of their character.

I don’t know about you, but I have a problem with what the Bible says. I can sit there with you and profess that it is a beautiful book that certainly has a perfect right to its particular status, but beneath what I say there is more that I don’t say.

I like the Bible, but I don’t want it to be right so long as it is discussing me. (I will admit that is highly convenient when I find a place where it slams an individual that I deem is worthy of it, but when I am its subject that is not the kind of treatment I want to get.)

I crave honor and exaltation and I believe that the Bible, of all things, ought to give it to me. You can tell me that I am a sinner and that I need saving — yes, even forgiveness — but don’t force me to accept all the features of this reality that I was once too dishonest to see.

I don’t care for the fact that every discussion of sin and wrong-doing that I find in Scripture is in some way a disortation on me and why I need Christ’s righteousness to stand in for my lack thereof. And the more I grow in god-like-ness — the more I reflect the beauty of God’s original design for me — the less I have a legitimate case for boasting in what I have done to make myself good.

Yet, all these problems show one glaring misconception of the text’s overall theme: Those beautiful words that begin Genesis and carry through the entire story of mankind and beyond, “In the beginning God…” In reading this I must ask myself, Where was I? Clearly this story contains me — missing nothing of who I am or what I was meant to be — but does not rely on me or revolve around me.

This is a problem if I live as though those things are the case: I risk never knowing who I truly am because I have missed the point of the tale into which I was so lately born. I must ask another question of myself at this point: “Do I truly love the Word (book) or its object the Word (the Person of Christ) if I live vigorously opposed to everything He speaks, everything He stands for, all that He is?”

This is the kind of life you’ve been invited into

I thought this is so beautiful in its presentation of Christ that I wanted to share it with you:

“This is the kind of life you’ve been invited into, the kind of life Christ lived. He suffered everything that came his way so you would know that it could be done, and also know how to do it, step-by-step. He never did one thing wrong, Not once said anything amiss. They called him every name in the book and he said nothing back. He suffered in silence, content to let God set things right. He used his servant body to carry our sins to the Cross so we could be rid of sin, free to live the right way. His wounds became your healing. You were lost sheep with no idea who you were or where you were going. Now you’re named and kept for good by the Shepherd of your souls.”
1 Peter 2:24