Tag Archives: loving God

Love So Amazing, So Divine | Poured Out, Overflowing

17 Jan

 lovegodloveothers

“We love because He first loved us” 1 John 4:19

“God chose the moment…He sat His love upon you…He sent His Spirit to open your eyes to see the beauty of Christ…[to] take you for Himself” (Pastor Burris, The Affection of God in the Soul of the Church).

When the dank dark corners of our heart are flooded with the light of the knowledge of the glory of God we see in the face of Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6) and the hidden corners are illuminated as we are chosen to Him; the goodness, kindness, faithfulness, and graciousness of the Lord shines through; made visible to a heart no longer blind. His Word ceases to be unintelligible, revealing cogent scripture we can examine and savor; a feast for a newly awakened palate. 

“…a mighty power from God coming upon their souls, conforming them to God, addicting them to God, uniting them with God, making them center on God,…The Spirit that is from God suits us to God and to divine things and makes us savor the things of God and take delight in them.” (John Howe, via Ray Ortlund, Has He Given You New Life).

As believers filled with the Lord’s love from everlasting to everlasting (Psalm 103:17) our desires change. We become preoccupied with the Gospel and crave spiritual sustenance with hunger pains welling up from the soul only the Word can quell. 

“I can’t stop thinking about it, talking about it, writing about it, reading about it, wrestling with it, reveling in it, standing on it, and thanking God for it. For better or for worse, my focus has become myopic. My passion has become singular.” (Tullian Tchividian, I’m Addicted).

As God’s own possession filled with love poured out, the scope and magnitude of His love via propitiation spectacularly displayed upon the cross creates a spiritual affection for Him and those who belong to Him. We cannot remain comfortable, complacent, apathetic, and outside of community in the shadow of such enormity nor can we not love fellow Christians deeply and intensely. Seek revival; transform and renew your mind; immerse yourselves in the Bible memorizing, meditating, reading, studying and praying scripture so as to truly know the love of God. Ache to love Him more; you cannot love too much. 

The following article offers a love expository and posits love is the most important pursuit:

Love Is Not a Verb, by Jon Bloom

Based on the following statements by Jesus, I would say that love is the most important thing to pursue this year.

[The greatest commandment:] You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:37–39

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. John 15:12

By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:35

However, we must be clear on what love actually is or else we will find ourselves lost in the pursuit of it and lose our resolve. Love Is Not Only a Verb…

Keep reading here: Love Is Not a Verb | Desiring God.

Additional Resources:

The Affection of God in the Soul of the Church

Love So Amazing, So Divine | Poured Out, Overflowing

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Verbal Backspacing: It’s Not A Filter Issue »

29 Oct

Shut Mouth

“There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing” –Proverbs 12:18 (ESV)

Have you ever blurted out something and before your sentence was completed realized you should have said nothing instead?  It is as difficult to recall words better left unspoken as it is to un-ring a bell once the clapper has clanged dissonantly. The following article explores the link between our heart and our tongue recognizing a heart in need of change is the most likely culprit for the lack of internal editor (Matthew 15:18). There are times when ugly thoughts surface verbally to audibly remind us of the need for the ongoing sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit.

“There is such a supernatural work created in believers by the Holy Spirit which always abides in them. This work of the Holy Spirit inclines the mind, will and heart to deeds of holiness and thus makes us fit to live to God. This work also gives power to the soul enabling it to live to God in all holy obedience. This work differs specifically from all other habits, intellectual or moral, that we may achieve by our own efforts, or by spiritual gifts that we might be given” (John Owen, “The Holy Spirit”).

Verbal Backspacing: It’s Not A Filter Issue

Last week while standing around with some friends, I carelessly commented on something I should have kept my mouth shut about. I criticized someone’s work without knowing it was actually the work of one of my friends. One who was standing right there. Of course I immediately felt like a first-class jerk. In hindsight, my words were idle, self-exalting, and proud, but what initially struck me about the situation was not my sin. It was how foolish I felt knowing I could have prevented the faux pas. Blame it on that faulty brain-to-mouth filter.

I fell all over myself apologizing. I tried to backtrack. I tried to put the comment in a less-offensive context. Ultimately, I tried to prove I really wasn’t such an insensitive and rude friend. All the while, I continued to dig a deeper and deeper hole for myself.

It’s easier to blame biting criticism or flat out rudeness on slow thinking or tiredness, than it is to take personal responsibility for accidentally exposing how you really feel – whether or not it’s socially appropriate. Let’s just call it an editorial problem, one we meant to delete and instead let fly. That’s the beauty of writing, if I type out something obviously foolish, offensive, or bad, I can backspace a few times and it’s like it never happened. But with my mouth, there is no backspacing. My words have “gone to print” so-to-say, too late to retract. If only there were such a thing as verbal backspacing, a delete button for the words I regret publicizing.

Excerpted from: Verbal Backspacing: It’s Not A Filter Issue » Worship Rejoices.

The Ultimate Meaning of True Womanhood| Do Not Shy Away from Theology

17 Sep

dusty-bible-600x345“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” –Matthew 7: 24-27

“Great are the works of the LORD; They are studied by all who delight in them” –Psalm 111:2

Immerse yourself in His Word that you may know Him and build not upon the shifting unpredictable sand but on the rock solid granite foundation of truth. The more you learn about Him the more you will love Him and know why you believe what you believe. The more you learn the more solid your theology becomes and standing unshakably in His truth takes on a new meaning. The more you discover about His character the more you understand why He allows trials, suffering, discouragement, and temptation. The more you read the more you grasp His sovereignty, omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence. The more you grasp the better you understand how to glorify God. Sit at the feet of your redeemer Jesus Christ; dive into the meat of the Bible and glean sustenance, joy, meaning, understanding, gratitude, and a love so deep it is immeasurable. 

Wimpy theology makes wimpy women.

I don’t like wimpy women. I didn’t marry one. With Noel, I’m trying to raise Talitha, who turns 13 on Saturday, not to be one. The opposite of a wimpy woman is not a brash, pushy, loud, controlling, sassy, uppity, arrogant Amazon.

Marie Durant

The opposite of a wimpy woman is 14-year-old Marie Durant when in the 17th century in France was arrested for being a Protestant, put in prison, and told, “You may get out for one phrase: I abjure.” She wrote on the wall of her cell, “I resist,” and stayed there 38 years until she was dead doing just that (Karl Olsson, Passion, [New York: Harper and Row Publishers, 1963], 116-117). That’s the opposite of a wimpy woman.

Gladys and Esther Staines

Another opposite of a wimpy woman is Gladys Staines. In 1999, remember the story? After serving for three decades with her husband Graham in India, to the lepers, heard one day that her husband Graham and little Phillip (10) and Timothy (6) had been set on fire, burned alive in the back of their car. She said to the newspapers, “I have only one message for the people of India. I am not bitter, neither am I angry. Let us burn hatred and spread the flame of Christ’s love.”

The opposite of a wimpy woman is her daughter, well named, Esther. When asked by the reporters, “How do you feel about your father’s murder?” She said (she was 13), “I praise the Lord that He found my father worthy to die for Him.”

Krista and Vicki

The opposite of a wimpy woman is Krista and Vicki who together, in my church, have had 65 surgeries for so-called birth defects from Apert Syndrome and Hypertelorism. They write, “I praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, and I know them right well (Psalm 139:14).” Krista says, “Even though my life has been difficult, I know that God loves me and created me just the way I am. He has taught me to persevere and trust Him more than anything.”

Joni Eareckson Tada

The opposite of a wimpy woman is Joni Eareckson Tada, who would give her right arm to be with you. After forty-one years in the wheelchair she prays, “Oh thank You, thank You for this wheelchair. By tasting Hell in this life, I have been driven to think seriously about what faces me in the next. This paralysis is my greatest mercy.” (Christianity Today, January, 2004, 50)..

Suzie

The opposite of a wimpy woman is Suzie. Four years ago her husband (59) was taken, then a month later she found she had breast cancer, and then her mom died, and then a miracle happened. She wrote to me, “Now I see that I have been crying for the wrong kind of help. I now see that my worse suffering is my sin-my sin of self-centeredness and self-pity. I know that with His grace, His lovingkindness, and His merciful help, my thoughts can be reformed and my life conformed to be more like His Son.”

Wimpy theology makes wimpy women. That’s my assumption as I begin this message.

Wimpy theology does not give a woman a god big enough, strong enough, wise enough, good enough to handle the realities of life in a way that enables her to magnify Him and His Son all the time. He’s not big enough.

Wimpy theology is plagued by woman-centeredness, or as we usually call it, man-centeredness.

Wimpy theology doesn’t have a granite foundation of God’s sovereignty underneath. It doesn’t have the steel structure of a great God-centered purpose for all of human existence, including the worst of it.

Excerpted from: True Woman | Pastor John Piper.

Joy in His Presence – Worship in Spirit and Truth

22 Jul

worshipjoy“These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules”–Matthew 15:8-9

“The purpose of God in sending His Son to die and rise and live and be at the right hand of God the Father was that He might restore to us the missing jewel, the jewel of worship; that we might come back and learn to do again that which we were created to do in the first place – worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness, to spend our time in awesome wonder and adoration of God, feeling and expressing it, and letting it get into our labors and doing nothing except as an act of worship to Almighty God through His Son, Jesus Christ” (A.W. Tozer, Worship The Missing Jewel).

Prepare our hearts Lord that we may honor and praise you with awe and astonishment; magnifying your worthiness.

“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand”–Psalm 16:11

“God created me—and you—to live with a single, all-embracing, all-transforming passion—-namely, a passion to glorify God by enjoying and displaying his supreme excellence in all the spheres of life. Enjoying and displaying are both crucial. If we try to display the excellence of God without joy in it, we will display a shell of hypocrisy and create scorn or legalism. But if we claim to enjoy his excellence and do not display it for others to see and admire, we deceive ourselves, because the mark of God-enthralled joy is to overflow and expand by extending itself into the hearts of others. The wasted life is the life without a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples” (John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life).

Prepare our hearts Lord; fill them with the indescribable glorious joy found in the promise and hope of the cross.

“God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth”–John 4:24

“Having the Holy Spirit residing within does not guarantee that we will always worship in spirit and truth, but it does mean we can. To worship God in spirit is to worship from the inside out. It means to be sincere in our acts of worship. No matter how spiritual the song you are singing, no matter how poetic the prayer you are praying, if it isn’t sincere then it isn’t worship, it’s hypocrisy. The balance to worshiping in spirit is to worship in truth. We are to worship according to the truth of Scripture. We worship God as He is revealed in the Bible, not as we might want Him to be. We worship Him as a God of both mercy and justice, of love and wrath, a God who both welcomes into Heaven and condemns into hell. We are to worship in response to truth. If we don’t, we worship in vain” (Donald Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life).

Prepare our hearts Lord for worship; that we may genuinely come before you.

 

Joy in His Presence

Joy is referred to not once, but 422 times in the Bible. A simple word, it packs a powerful fruit of the Spirit punch.

Joy begins with fellowship in Christ — loving Him and His presence.

The seeds of joy are Holy Spirit planted, rooted, and find life when we spend time in intimate prayer and worship of God. When His Word is rooted in our lives and our hearts find completion in Him alone, joy flourishes.  Simply, when God is bigger than the largest mountain in our lives, joy blossoms.

Need some joy today? Take your Bible, ponder His scriptures on joy and spend time in His presence praying. Fall in love with Christ anew today and allow the joy of the Lord to become your strength.

The remainder of this article can be viewed here: Joy in His Presence – Mentoring Moments.

 

 

 

 

How We Define Ourselves | Today’s Christian Woman

29 May

gods story What is our place in God’s story? Where do we fit in? How can we acknowledge God as the chief character in our lives and what does it look like when we do?

At TACC this past Sunday we heard Rev. John Howe’s words from 1694 paint a vivid portrait of what our new Christian lives can look like, “. . . a mighty power from God coming upon their souls, conforming them to God, addicting them to God, uniting them with God, making them to center in God, taking them off from all this world. . . . It is a great thing to be a Christian!”

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” Ephesians 4:22-24

The following article discusses how parents can focus on internal transformation and other-centeredness while guiding their children towards a life featuring God. It can also be viewed from an adult perspective and applied to our own lives as we seek to live a God authored life for His glory.

How We Define Ourselves (excerpt)

What would it look like if we parented a generation of young people to define themselves by what they did do? What if they were defined by their actions of justice and mercy, forgiveness and love, strength and courage, generosity and humility and faithfulness?

The danger in merely focusing on our children’s outward behavior without the inner transformation is that sometimes our children will align their behavior to our mandates to please us or receive approval. They can end up doing or not doing these things without true spiritual healing inside. Without this supernatural transformation, we may have moral or obedient children, but we don’t necessarily have spiritual children.

Before long, after the external motivations for obedient behavior are eliminated, our children will grow up and determine life for themselves: They will have been transformed by God’s Spirit, or they will have chosen to live sinfully without any desire to change, or they will hide their sin and live a double life. But a spiritual life is one that is transformed and out of hiding.

As children, our world is very small. We see everything from our vantage point and how it affects us directly or indirectly. It’s only as we mature (hopefully) that we begin to see the world as much more complex, and we begin to see our role as servants addressing the needs of those around us. Therefore, one role of the Christian parent is to train our children to shift from self-centeredness to other-centeredness.

Of course, this selflessness comes from knowing Jesus personally and committing our very lives to the power that is available to us from God.

While today’s culture is telling our children that life is “all about me,” we can direct them to think about the fact that life is really “all about God.” God’s Word is basically a love story—a story of the lover pursuing his created ones in order to have a personal relationship with each one of them. In his story, he is the main character; he is the perfect Lover and the perfect Redeemer.

Sometimes I am tempted to believe that I am the main character, that the story is really about me—because after all, I am in every scene. But that’s a lie.

Can you see how dangerous Satan’s lie is? If he can get me to believe that this life is a story centered around me and my happiness, then I will see life as a series of events that allow me either to succeed or fail in this endeavor. I begin to subtly make decisions that will be to my own benefit.

The entire article by Michelle Anthony can be viewed here:How We Define Ourselves | Today’s Christian Woman.

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