Archive | March, 2012

Hands

30 Mar

I took this picture when Amanda was only two days old. We were on our way home from the hospital and I was sitting nervously beside her.  I wanted to capture the moment when our two hands were entwined together, knowing that this was a picture that was literally worth a thousand words.

I have always been fascinated with hands (I know, it’s a strange fascination). Growing up I used to love walking with my grandfather hand in hand. His hands were so strong and so protective, that even as a teenager I enjoyed placing my hand in his. Looking back I think “What tasks were his hands used to accomplish in his life time? What difficulties had they sought to resolve? What hurts had they been used to sooth? For what needs had they been lifted up in prayer?”

I look down at my hands and it’s difficult to believe they are the same ones that were used to draw all those funny little pictures that my mother still keeps in her drawers.  These were the anxious fingers that scribbled down the answers during countless math exams and that answered the telephone the first time I saw Shady’s name on call display.  It was with these hands that I first flipped the pages of scripture, marvelling at the truths that were being revealed to me, and with these hands I have wiped away my tears when God’s answers were not what I had hoped for at the time.  These are the hands that placed the ring on Shady’s finger as we declared our wedding vows. And now, years later, it is with these hands that I prepare meals for my family and comb back Amanda’s hair as I kiss her delicious cheeks!

Did you know that the Bible has a lot to say about the hand of the Lord? You may be surprised if you do a study of all the places where this is mentioned in scripture. In fact, we can learn so many wonderful truths about the character of God simply by reading about the work of his hands.

“In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.”  Job 12:10

“The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy.” Psalm 111:7

“The king’s heart is [like] channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes.” Proverbs 21:1

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will never forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palm of my hand.” Isaiah 49:16

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. “ John 10:27-29

What truths do we learn about the Lord from these passages?

  • God is the author of life. The breath that I take at this moment is a gift from His hand.
  • We can be assured that God is consistently faithful, just and trustworthy (is there anyone on earth for whom the same can be said?)
  • God is sovereign over the affairs of this world. The universe is under His ruling hand.
  • As believers we are eternally secure within His protective hand. Unlike the love we receive from our family and friends, there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus.

And What About My Hands?

I am compelled to think – to what tasks do I busy my hands?  How do the works of my hands bring glory to the Lord? 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 exhorts us to ensure that our lives are devoted to working not for what perishes and fades (though these works do have a temporal purpose, they are not what we should ultimately strive for) but for that which is eternal.

Not only am I challenged to reflect on what I am “building” with my hands, but also the attitude with which I am working and building. As humans our lives are prone to declare “See what wonderful works I have accomplished with my own two hands!”  May that never be. May our boasting never be in the work of our hands, but in the God for whom our hands must work.

“Oh for a thousand hands to raise in honour to the King!”

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Living Sacrifice (Part 2)

29 Mar

The prologue (which we went through last week), ends with Dr. Roseveare reflecting of Mark 12:29-31 where Jesus reminds us of what the greatest commandments are:

“…’Hear O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment than these.”

The rest of the book is essentially a more detailed reflection on what it will actually cost us to love God in this way, the first chapter dealing with what it means to love God with all of our heart. Again, the chapter is packed with stories, beginning with her arrival in the Congo. She was thrilled to be there and “couldn’t wait to become one with the people,” no matter what the cultural or dietary barriers were (30).  And those never seem to be a problem for her (she attributes that to her upbringing during WWII). In each and every situation Dr. Roseveare draws our attention to the reality that the problem was primarily with her heart. I will share one story with you in this post (though it is really hard to choose…she draws such amazing lessons from them all!).

She recalls the time when she felt God was re-emphasizing a particular lesson in her life – a lesson in dying to self. She was ill with Malaria and Jaundice (and probably just mere physical and emotional exhaustion), but was informed that another missionary was now in need of her medical services (I believe she promised them her services at a previous time, before she was very ill). The woman in need was about to deliver a baby, and because their only vehicle was not working and because of past complications, they needed her to come to them as soon as possible. Dr. Roseveare responded to them with a letter explaining that she would come as soon as she was able to travel and suggested that they try to make their way to a nearby hospital. The couple received the letter, but in an abrupt almost annoyed response “practically demanded” that she go immediately. She agreed to go, but was angry. Her leader at that time saw what she was going through and attempted to counsel her by reminding her of the couple’s situation – alone in the forest with no readily available transportation about to give birth in very dangerous circumstances, circumstances which could result in the death of both mother and child. They were not thinking of her sickness, and if they were, it paled in comparison to their needs at that moment. Dr. Roseveare heard what he was saying, but was “nursing [her] own grievance, and [her] right to be hurt by their apparent selfishness.” (39) Assuring her that he respected her decision to go and help them, her leader then asks her to do something remarkable (I think), and to do it for Christ’s sake:

…Just die to yourself, Helen, and the Lord will bless you….You are going there to help them. Don’t waste your time justifying your delay, or underlining your virtue in going at all. You are going as Christ’s servant. You’ll only regret anything you say in hast or in anger: and most probably it would only be in self-defense or self-justification. Can you no trust God with all that? The Lord, when he was reviled, reviled not in return, but He trusted Him who judges rightly (1 Pet. 2:21-24). If you can accept that to these two your delay has cause distress and anxiety, God will help you to go to them in humility and to ask their forgiveness for it. (40)

Can you imagine! Being asked in that situation to humble yourself and be the one to ask for forgiveness. I know what a struggle it would be for me. But Dr. Roseveare looks back on that situation and sees how God was teaching her…and she was “slowly learning.” Learning that to love God with all of her heart meant that she would have to forgo her rights in some situations so that, as she saw it, God could love others through her. It was a higher goal that she found herself dimly groping towards (41).

I feel challenged when I read this story and Dr. Roseveare’s subsequent reflection on it. Am I willing to love others this way? Am I willing to hand my heart over to God in this way? It seems so painful and counterintuitive. But perhaps this is the way of the Christian life. I hear often that we are to do what at times feels like death, and I think that is a very helpful thought. It may feel right to defend yourself and stand up for your rights (and sometimes it is). But what will come of it? Who will get the glory? Whose name are you really concerned about? It is not our feelings that should guide us, but rather a commitment to give ourselves over to one who gave himself for us, even if it means death.

A Tiny Taste of Wisdom

28 Mar

This week I thought I’d share sections from one of my favourite chapters in one of my favourite books. The book is called Knowing God, by J.I. Packer and the chapter is titled, God’s Wisdom and Ours. If you’re ever looking for a challenging book that is jam-packed with sound doctrine and sound direction for Christian living, this is a must read. Every now and then life throws something at me that reminds me of the ideas presented in this chapter; it’s usually a conversation with someone, a circumstance, or just some of my own thoughts.  This reminder is the exact kind of wake-up call we probably all need at times. I think you’ll see what I mean as you read on.

“Not till we have become humble and teachable, standing in awe of God’s holiness and sovereignty, acknowledging our own littleness, distrusting our own thoughts and willing to have our minds turned upside down, can divine wisdom become ours. 

It is to be feared that many Christians spend all their lives in too unhumbled and conceited a frame of mind ever to gain wisdom from God at all. Not for nothing does Scripture say, ‘with the lowly is wisdom’ (Proverbs 11:2).”

“To live wisely, you have to be clear-sighted and realistic – ruthlessly so – in looking at life as it is. Wisdom will not go with comforting illusions, false sentiment, or the use of rose-colored glasses. Most of us live in a dream world, with our heads in the clouds and our feet off the ground; we never see the world, and our lives in it, as they really are. This deep-seated, sin-bred unrealism is one reason why there is so little wisdom among us – even the soundest and most orthodox of us.”

Packer paints a pretty bleak and scary picture for us, and basically says that none of us are exempt from this faulty thinking. Imagine he ended the chapter there? Thankfully, he goes on to dig into the book of Ecclesiastes to draw out some basic principles for us to live by. He advises us to,

“Live in the present, and enjoy it thoroughly (Ecclesiastes 7:14; 9:7-10; 11:9-10); present pleasures are God’s good gifts. Though Ecclesiastes condemns flippancy (7:4-6), he clearly has no time for the superspirituality which is too proud or too pious ever to laugh and have fun.” 

I love that! Wisdom doesn’t mean men walking around in robes, stroking their long beards, and slowly nodding at all of life’s experiences. We don’t need to walk around with serious faces on, almost in tears about life and its difficult existence, but for some reason many of us associate wisdom with a pattern of solemn living. Having fun and enjoying all of God’s current blessings such as, our families, friends, jobs, all of your pinterests (without striving to become Jack ;)), sports, the Leafs (except last night), it is all a part of living wisely.

We do not have to know it all, in fact we can’t, and there is trouble in thinking that we’re even close. I’ll end off with my favourite quote in this chapter, and I hope you find it as encouraging as I did.

“…it is not a sharing in all his knowledge, but a disposition to confess that he is wise, and to cleave to him and live for him in the light of his Word through thick and thin.”

Nesting for Glory

27 Mar

You know that saying about Jack? The one that goes something like this….”I’m a Jack of all trades, but master of none”. Yeah, that one. We hear that and we’re supposed to think, poor Jack, he’s not a master of anything. That poor guy!

Well, that’s not me. I don’t think that about Jack and I’m not Jack. In fact, being Jack sounds pretty great to me. Sadly, I’m more like Jack’s friend. I see all the cool things he can do, and I like them, all of them, and I want to do them too. I want my cupboards to look like this, and I want to be able to decorate like this and dress like this.  So I try, quickly realize I can’t manage and then I’m sad.

So what is this? What is it in me that longs to be good at these things or even just do these things? I get so easily caught up in the hustle bustle of this world.  I look here and think “wow”, and I look there and I think, “amazing”.  I want to do that! I want to be like Jack!

There’s nothing wrong with that right? Nothing wrong with trying to better myself and accomplish more right?  Well maybe not. But maybe just maybe the problem is that I’m looking for comfort in this world to a degree that would only be appropriate if this world were all there was—if this was it.

And that’s exactly why this is an issue for me. This world isn’t all that there is. And here I am attempting to store up treasures, as though it were. It’s like I’m a pregnant woman, and I’m “building my nest” in someone else’s home. 

Jack and all his abilities distract me. They make me forget that this isn’t my home. In his book, Adopted For Life, Russell Moore reminds us that this “terrestrial orphanage” that we like to think is our home is a pit compared to what awaits us. Living in North America can do that. We can forget that we’re suffering and just strive after making ourselves all cozy like here on earth.

1 Peter reminds us too that we are exiles and sojourners in this land and we have an imperishable, undefiled and unfading inheritance awaiting us in glory. The God of all grace will be there to welcome us to our true and eternal home and yet I insist on longing for more organized shelves, more than I long for that.

Maybe I don’t need to be so jealous of Jack …

A Birthday Prayer

26 Mar

If this isn’t a Psalm for reflection on one’s birthday, I don’t know what is!

Psalm 39: 4-8

O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am! 

Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is nothing as nothing before you.

Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath!

Surely a man goes about as a shadow!

Surely for nothing they are in turmoil; man heaps up wealth and does not know who will gather!

And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.

Deliver me from all my transgressions. Do not make me the scorn of the fool!

If I can claim your attention for just one minute on my birthday, I’d love to share a few things. Birthdays and special days are occasions that give us a chance to remember. We think back over the year and focus on regrets, successes, ways that we want to improve. We pray that the coming year will be better than the last and that we’ll be able to make better use of our time, our resources, our lives. But within that, do we stop and think that like this Psalm says, “my lifetime is nothing before you [God]”? Do we really know “the measure of (our) my days”, or that “all mankind stands as a mere breath”? In a world that encourages us to focus on ourselves, to have “your best life now”, and “be all we can be”, how would a dose of wisdom from this Psalm put silence to thoughts like that? The fact is, if we’re honest with ourselves, we won’t be here for long. Maybe with all the talk of health, prosperity, better living, and whatnot, we feel like things are just going to keep on going forever, so we better enjoy the ride. But they won’t! Lest you think I’m being unnecessarily downcast on my birthday, hear me out for a bit longer. It matters that we live with feet grounded in reality. The reality that is found in the truth of God’s word, which says that life here does matter, but not because this is all that there is. We will one day pass from this life into eternity. There will be no more birthdays or special occasions for reflection, contemplation, and planning on how we can do better next time around. Just like the tag line for our blog says, “Only one life, ’twill soon be passed. Only what’s done for Christ will last.”

We have the chance to live here, in the light of then. We can stop, and realize that the word of God is true when it says that “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:12). If today, you feel alive because you have breath in your lungs, have you stopped to think who put it there? If today, you enjoy a meal, will you stop and think about who created it? If today, you’re for a moment amazed at something genius some person wrote or said, will you attribute that power to think to the God who made the human mind with all it’s complexity?

If a birthday is anything, it’s a moment to stop and take stock of who you really are. You, and I are just a breath. We will not be here in a hundred years (maybe much less!). And what will remain? Will you have come to believe before it is too late that true life (physically and spiritually) comes only in knowing Jesus as your Saviour? Will you have passed from death into life? Will you realize that although we are nothing, and we are like grass that withers and fades away, God has made you for a purpose and has given you today to come to Him and enjoy the hope that comes from knowing that life does truly matter and finds it’s meaning in Him?

My prayer is this. That we may all know Him, and in knowing Him know ourselves. Then, each of can live life, numbering our days and remembering that one day we will pass from this life to the next, and that what will matter won’t be the wealth we acquired, our personal accomplishments, whether or not we were popular, well-like by others, or successful in the eyes of the world. What will matter is that we would come to know Jesus as our only hope. Then, if He grants us one more day, one more year, we would seek to have a heart of wisdom that truly numbers it’s days and can say with the Psalmist, “And now, O Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in you.” That will be peace and joy enough to go on with direction and purpose, and live in a way that truly matters and truly realizes that although we’re a breath in this life, He is our hope and we wait anxiously for the day that we’ll be with Him. I want to be ready for that. Do you?

I Have An Idea

23 Mar

I really want to write a book for my daughter! In this book I would include all the lessons I’ve learned through my childhood, adolescence and early adult life.I would probably include advice on being a student, friend, wife and a mother. I’m giving myself a strict deadline…she needs to have it in her hands for her thirteenth birthday.

She’s six months old, so I’m not feeling incredibly pressed for time.

I want to share so many stories with her, in the hopes that she will get to know me, her father, and her family  members better. I’ll start with my favorite childhood memory… the time that I was five and my favorite teddy bear accidentally got thrown down the garbage chute of our apartment building. Knowing how much my teddy meant to me my father brought me down to the superintendent’s apartment and asked to be let into the garbage room so that he could sort through the garbage that had fallen from the chute. There he stood inside the dump, searching for my long lost best friend. She should definitely know this story about her grandfather.

I want to tell her about the dog walking business I ran when I was in elementary school. My mother warned me not to walk the St. Bernard across the street – she knew that dog was trouble just by looking at him. Of course I insisted she didn’t know what she was talking about and that I knew way better. When the dog bit me in the leg and I had to be taken to the hospital, my  mother hugged me tight and affirmed that no, the dog bite did not mean that I was going to die. I think there’s a lot for Amanda to learn from that story.

I’ll also tell her about the five dollar diets that my sister and I would go on regularly (that should be a good indication of how successful they were). Whoever ate junk food owed the other person five dollars for each and every offense. Hopefully this story will be a good segue on the wise use of her money.

And her father. Ohhhh her father. I pray that through my shared stories she will love and respect him as much as I do!

But even more than sharing these stories, I really want to share my heart with her. I need to articulate the Gospel to her in writing, so she can go back to it time and time again and hear my voice pleading with her to give her life to the Lord. I want this book to answer her questions. Questions like: How should I choose my friends? What do I do when I’m disliked? What does it mean to be pure? How do I pursue wisdom? What should I look for in a husband? What is expected of me as a wife? How can I love the Lord with all my heart, soul, strength and mind?

I don’t want this to be her favorite book. I want His Word to be her favorite book. But I hope to capture how her mother sought to apply the words of God to her own life, and in some way, encourage her to know how to do the same.

I also don’t want this book to be mere opinions. She’ll get enough of people’s opinions on a daily basis. No, this book needs to be different. It must be grounded in Biblical truth – every word of advice, every piece of wise counsel,  must spring from the all sufficient word of God. That’s ultimately the purpose of this book – to help her to know the All Sufficient God, through His All Sufficient Word.

Maybe she will read it when we she is too embarrassed to ask me the direct questions herself (though I hope that never happens). Maybe she’ll read it when she is far away in another country and cannot hear my voice directly. Maybe she will read it when she is angry at me, and will remember my heart towards her…perhaps it will explain why I am being so hard with her when all of her friend’s mothers let them do whatever they want.

Can I share something else with you? I hope she will read it long after I am gone…I hope it will remind her of the words I lived to engrain in her mind. I hope it will consistently draw her back to the ultimate Book, written by the ultimate Author and Perfector of our faith.

I’d love your contributions….any ideas for a title? Any suggestions on what else our daughters need to hear from their mothers? We have thirteen years…but I’d really like to get started!

Living Sacrifice (Part 1)

22 Mar

I learned in the forward of this book, that Dr. Roseveare was asked to write this book for students. Her comments in this section also capture the spirit of the book when she says,

...the word sacrifice could only truly be employed in direct reference to our Lord Jesus Christ, who suffered “death upon the cross for our redemption….” We, God’s children by adoption, have the privilege to respond, in overwhelming gratitude and love, by rendering to Him “spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God” (1 Pet. 2:5). (Pg 6)

Did you notice that word  privilege show up again. It is everywhere in her writing. As you read through the book you will notice how willing she is to give of her entire self to serve the one who died in her place. Talk about applying the gospel to all of you life! It is such a simple and life altering truth – give all of yourself to the one who gave himself for you. Simple, but not easy. At times, as we see in the life of Dr. Roseveare, giving of yourself comes at a great cost. And God has the right to demand those great costs from us, right? I won’t answer that question for you, but I would encourage you to read the prologue to this book entitled ‘His Right to Demand’ (I guess we know what her answer would be!).

There are several stories in the prologue that will capture your attention. One in particular, which I won’t share much of, is about a little boy name Paul who was willing to endure beatings from rebel solider in light of what Christ did for him. What I will share as I close this post is the analogy Dr. Roseveare uses to drive home her point that we are to be willing sacrifices in the hands of God, or as she puts it in her subtitle, that we should be willing to be whittled as an arrow. The story basically goes that there were these birds in the village they lived in that were causing major issues, so they paid the kids in the village to shot them down! They used arrows to shoot them, and to make the arrows they needed to pull the branches off of some of the most beautiful trees in the village (the trees did not serve any other purpose, other than being beautiful and attracting tourists). “This wanton act of destruction might seem a senseless waste of God-givien beauty” says Dr. Roseveare, but listen to the way she applies to God’s work in her life in the midst of some very difficult circumstances,

Could I see that God wanted to transform my life from a somewhat ugly, useless branch (once all the flowers and leaves were ripped off!) to an arrow, a tool usable in His hands, for the furtherance of His purposes?…To be thus transformed, was I willing – am I still willing – for the whittling, sandpapering, stripping process necessary in my Christian life? The ruthless pulling off of leaves and flowers mights include doing without a television set or washing machine, remaining single in order to see a job done, re-evaluating the worthiness of the ambition to be a “good” doctor….The snapping off of thorns might include drastic dealing with hidden jealousies and unknown pride, giving up prized rights in leadership and administration. The final stripping of the bark might include lessons to be learned regarding death to self – self-defence, self-pity, self-justification, self-vindication, self-sufficiency, all the mechanisms of preventing the hurt of too-deep involvement. Am I prepared for the pain, which at times may seem like sacrifice, in order to be made a tool in His service? My willingness will be a measure of the sincerity of my desire to express my heartfelt gratitude to Him for His so-great salvation. (Pg 26-27)

An arrow in the hand of an Almighty God. It is a glorious thought, but as we shall continue to see in the life of Dr. Roseveare (and in our own lives), it comes at a cost. Are we willing?

A Quick Reminder to Remember

21 Mar

Lately I’m finding that I’m a little more forgetful than I should be. I think we all suffer from a little memory loss every now and then. No matter how old we are or what type Omega 3 fatty acids (what is a “fatty acid” anyway?) we take, it still happens.

I’m reading through Exodus right now, and as I read I wonder how the Israelites could so quickly forget all the miraculous events that surrounded their escape from Egypt. I find myself thinking, “How could they watch the Red Sea split open as they walked through it, and then shortly after be grumbling about food? Seriously?” They were no longer oppressed slaves, and yet still felt the need to question God, the One who saved them. I have all these thoughts about the Israelites as I read, and then realize that lately I’ve been doing the exact same thing. Just because I don’t directly question God when things don’t go as planned, doesn’t mean I’m innocent when I grumble about my circumstances.

Being frustrated and complaining about circumstances shows a lack of understanding who God is as the Creator and Master of the Universe. Either that or I’ve forgotten the millions of things that God has done in my life, in the lives of those around me, and throughout history. So, this is just a quick reminder to remember.

“Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day.” Deuteronomy 8:17-18

Remember the wondrous works that he has done, his miracles and the judgements he uttered.” 1 Chronicles 16:12

Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” Ephesians 2:12-13

Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound!” 2 Timothy 2:8-9

Back to the Leafs

While we’re on the topic of remembering, let’s take a look back and remember what our team is really capable of doing, because we haven’t been fortunate enough to see any of that lately. Enjoy the video; I know I sure did!

Stuffed

20 Mar

I just stumbled upon an interview with some health food guru yesterday.  I have no idea who she was, but she was discussing a new method to “healthify” your life!  I think it was some crazy vegan diet, but regardless, I found myself intrigued by what she said.  This probably isn’t revolutionary, but for the purpose of my post let’s just roll with it.

The challenge/diet or whatever you want to call it, basically requires you to introduce some new things into your lifestyle, before you are required to take anything away. So for example, on day one, you would just add drinking water to your diet, a lot of it. On day two, you would then need to eat an apple and also drink your water.  On day three, you would add two tablespoons of flax seed to who knows what, and eat your apple and drink your water.

That’s as far as I listened.  I can only take so much health food talk.  From what I gathered, the point of this was that you are starting to fill your stomach on those things that take up a lot of room and that will keep you feeling full.  So by the end of this challenge you’ve added so many new things into your diet that you just don’t have room for a lot of the old ‘junk’.  You won’t feel like eating other things because your belly is satisfied. And apparently apples and flax seed and water do some special magic in that belly and make you feel full longer. Blah blah blah. Enough about healthy eating.   But to be fair, in theory, this makes a lot of sense.

Now hold that thought.

I’ve been feeling very spiritually dry lately.  Sin has been gripping me more…fear, worry, discontentment, covetousness and I’ve found myself seeking joy and peace in things that I find fun or that I like or want. Like Pinterest or cooking, or having a cleaner house or decorating my home or getting thinner.  Depends on the day.

With all of the social media that surrounds us, it’s extremely difficult not to get consumed with the myriad of ‘hobbies’ or ‘causes’ that are presented to us on a daily basis..  I see people running crafty businesses or making amazing food or fixing up their homes and I want to do all of that. I think I should, or I need to. That would serve my family wouldn’t it?  And I would enjoy it.  I’ve been hungering for these things and seeking to fill myself with them and I haven’t been satisfied.

Different things might tempt each of us, and I was reminded by John Piper in his book, A Hunger For God that “the weakness of our hunger for God is not because he is unsavory, but because we keep ourselves stuffed with ‘other things’”.  A lot of times, these are not even bad things, but because we are stuffing ourselves on them, we have no room for that which is best for us, yet we are left still wanting more.

And just like that diet above, we need to start by adding those things that will awaken our appetite and hunger for God.  We need to make sure we’re doing those things that are best for our souls.   If we’re filling up on those things, we’ll stop seeking our joy in counterfeits but we will find it, in the only true joy, Jesus Christ.

The greatest adversary of love to God is not his enemies but his gifts. And the most deadly appetites are not for the poison of evil, but for the simple pleasures of earth. For when these replace an appetite for God himself, the idolatry is scarcely recognizable, and almost incurable…… These are gifts of God. They are your basic meat and potatoes and coffee and gardening and reading and decorating and traveling and investing and TV-watching and Internet-surfing and shopping and exercising and collecting and talking. And all of them can become deadly substitutes for God. (John Piper, A Hunger For God, 14-15)

So what are you filling up on?   I pray that God would give us an appetite for Him.  I want us to find our rest, our hope, our joy and our peace in Him alone, for our good and His glory.

Here’s a song that I love from the latest Sovereign Grace Music worship album that is on the same theme and hopefully will help you yearn for more of Jesus.

We Hunger and Thirst – Sovereign Grace Music from Sovereign Grace Music on Vimeo.

A Little Insight

19 Mar

One thing I’ve really enjoyed at past Resolved conferences is the Q&A’s. For those of you who don’t know what Resolved is, click on the link. NOW. And maybe come join us this June? Actually, I am still a maybe but I sure hope that it works out.

If you read, listen to, or have benefitted in some way from the ministries of some of the greatest reformed preachers of our day, then listening to these men and their families share a little bit of their personal lives is so encouraging. For me, hearing people like John MacArthur talk about his struggles and difficulties in the ministry, for some reason serves as a great encouragement. I think it’s easy to assume that people who have very public ministries, and are such strong examples to other believers, don’t go through regular pains and suffer through difficulty. This makes them all the more personable and brings a sense of fellowship and commonality that might be missed otherwise.

I watched this clip of the Q&A at this year’s Shepherd’s Conference and Phil Johnson did a wonderful job of asking some very relevant and insightful questions. Take a look!

And finally, I stumbled upon this great interview with Mary & Katie Mohler, Al Mohler’s wife and daughter. This is a great listen for women more specifically. Especially if you happen to be married to someone in the ministry, or are just interested in learning more about this family, this Q&A was quite enjoyable.

Happy Monday!