Wednesday, 31 July 2013

You Have Promised

Sovereign LORD, you are God! Your covenant is trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant. (2 Samuel 7:28)

Monday, 29 July 2013

In the End

I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end, He will stand on the earth. (Job 19:25)

I have been working long, late hours with my debate students, preparing for an important and difficult competition. One of the biggest jobs of a coach is convincing tired, discouraged, scared kids that their work will pay off in the end. No, we can't see the future. It may not be this competition, or the next. But in the end, they will get somewhere. It will be worth it. I remind them not to judge things by the fears that swarm them, nor by their past failures. I tell them that failure precedes success. Always.

Sometimes I am the tired, discouraged, scared kid. I struggle to remember that this is not the end. My Redeemer lives. He knows where I am, and He will not leave me. He leads to light, in the end.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Getting What You Want

"What you want a nanosecond before you even knew you wanted it...Modern luxury." So goes the ad for Celebrity Cruises. If you've ever had to wait too long to get something you wanted, you might be tempted to book yourself a cruise. 

The ad writers are wrong, though. Sometimes God, like Celebrity Cruises, gives me what we want before I know I want it. It doesn't feel good. Getting what you want before you know you want it isn't as comfortable as it seems like it should be. Satisfaction corresponds to desire. Nobody looks for hardship when they are on vacation, but the reality is that you appreciate things to the degree that you've had to go without them.

But unlike Celebrity, God reads my deep heart. He knows, even when I don't, what I really desire.

This life is not meant to be a cruise, and God is not about providing us with modern luxury, but the real luxury is that the God who is Good has promised to make everything in my life work together for Good. Everything. The hard things, and the uncomfortable things, and the things that make me cry and want to run far away.

That's luxury.
Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
Fear the Lord, you his holy people,
for those who fear him lack nothing. (Psalm 34:8-9)

Saturday, 20 July 2013


You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy... (Psalm 16:11)

Thursday, 18 July 2013

A Thank Offering

Sacrifice thank offerings to God,
fulfill your vows to the Most High,
and call on me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you will honor me. (Psalm 50:14-15)
He has promised to come in response to my call, but time goes on, and I am shaken in the silence. Round and round the questions go... Have I been mistaken?

No. I know whom I have believed.

Then why this emptiness, this silence? 

I don't know. I don't know.

Has He failed to keep His promise? 

I feel just now that His grace is not, after all, sufficient. My heart sinks when I call and hear no answer, know no comfort, feel no steadying hand. And yet I know, more assuredly than I know anything that I can see or touch or even understand - know beyond all doubt - that my Father cannot lie. He cannot.

It seems so impossible, so incomprehensible, so incongruent. How to reconcile the reality I know and the reality I experience?

Once before has God withdrawn Himself. I remember His silence; His absence. It destroyed and re-made me. I trace the pattern of it in my mind, and I am reminded that it was not random. He did not turn His back on me. He did not forget. His leaving was for a limited time, and it was for a specific purpose.

This void, too, has borders. It has meaning. Where? How? Why? I don't know.

I will call on Him. He will deliver me, and I will honour him.

Father, this is my thank offering to You. Here I am. I give my heart, my hope. I will lay the truth of my questioning and my hurt here beside the incontrovertibility of You who are Merciful and True. Thank You for everything I cannot feel thankful for just now. Someday I will say it with better understanding, but not with more sincerity. Let me honour You a little now, before You deliver me.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Looking For Your Salvation

You are my refuge and my shield;
I have put my hope in your word. (Psalm 119:114)
My eyes fail, looking for your salvation,
looking for your righteous promise.
Deal with your servant according to your love
and teach me your decrees.
I am your servant; give me discernment
that I may understand your statutes. (Psalm 119:123-125)

Monday, 15 July 2013

Here I Am

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will ishis good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1,2)
I will sacrifice a thank offering to you and call on the name of the Lord. (Psalm 116:17)
...when Christ came into the world, he said:
Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
but a body you prepared for me;
with burnt offerings and sin offerings
you were not pleased.
Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll—
I have come to do your will, my God.’ ” (Hebrews 10:5-7)
 Father, this is my thanks to You, who delight not in burnt offerings - myself. Here I am. Help me to offer all that I have, all that I am - a living sacrifice. Let me know and approve Your good, pleasing, and perfect will. Show me the way.

Friday, 12 July 2013

How Unsearchable His Judgments

...the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:26-28)
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”
The Lord said to him, “...Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.” (1Kings: 19:11-15,18)
Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!

“Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?”
“Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay them?”
For from him and through him and for him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen. (Romans 11:33-36)
There are so many things I don`t know. God knows them all. I don`t even know myself. God searches my heart. From him and through him and for him are all things. He is good and in all things he works for the good of those that love him. To him be the glory forever.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

His Story

“Now when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep..." (Acts 13:36)
I don't know what God is doing. I don't know how His purpose is served in me. But this life is not the story of me. It is the story of Him. I am not the main character; He is. He who is Love must triumph in the end.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Jesus Loves Me, This I Know

Jesus loves me, this I know
For the Bible tells me so.
Lord, I bow to You. You give Good. You give Good. I will believe it. You who let Your precious Son be beaten in my place - You I can trust. I do not understand Your way. I am cold and tired and I want to go home now. I don't know why you brought me here. I don't know why you let me feel like this - so betrayed and lost and left. But I know that You love me. You are not lacking either power to help or care for my hurt. Neither can You forget. I am graven on the palms of Your hands. And so, I am left with a seeming contradiction - my pain and Your omnipotence and love. This is the root of the whole world's groaning and sighing, Father. It is not hard to understand why they choose the lesser lie, rejecting Your existence, since the apparent alternative (Your lack, either of power or of love) is too hideous.

Who are You, then, God? You are not the One I have imagined. Great mysterious Creator, Giver, Lover. What moves You? Why are You so inscrutable? How is it that You can love so deeply and yet remain so silent in my pain and my confusion? Yet I will trust You. Yet I will let You hurt me. I would give You my best, Lover of my soul. I have no one else but You, neither in heaven nor on earth. I am Yours to hurt or to save. I surrender to You. Slay me or lift me up. I know nothing except Your love for me, shown in the giving of Your Son.

YHWH. I call your name with every breath. Without understanding, I bow. Without feeling, I choose. Come and save me, above all, from myself. Let me honour Your name.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Here I Am

Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said:
“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
but a body you prepared for me;
with burnt offerings and sin offerings
you were not pleased.
Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll—
I have come to do your will, my God.’ ” (Hebrews 10:5-7)
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10:23)
O God, I have been confused and disappointed by You. I am often tired and joy eludes me. Yet I believe Your promise - not what You will do, but who You are. You  are Jesus who died. You are the Good Shepherd, who goes out into the storm to gather in lost sheep. Sometimes it is so hard to see You. Sometimes everything in my life just feels empty and aimless and cold and lost. Sometimes I am an overtired and undisciplined child...or a wandering sheep. Have mercy on me. Call my name, and when I cannot find my way to You, then come out into my dark storm and find me, and lift me onto your shoulders, and carry me home. 

Speak kindness to me, Man of Sorrows. I know what You have done,and I know that You love, but I long for Your words. Help me to hold unswervingly to hope, and so honour Your name.