Beauty

God Sings

GS

Been feeling really frustrated lately…as I’ve looked at the world around us, a feeling of heartbreak and even disgust has taken hold of me. This morning these feelings were especially heavy on my soul as I went to get my two year old daughter out of bed. As we walked down the stairs my daughter said, “Daddy, God can see!” I said, “Yes Baby, he sure does. Did you know he can see you right now?” She said, “God sees me and he sings!”

Wow…

Zephaniah 3:17 is one of my favorite and one of the most powerful verses in all of Scripture in my eyes…It says this: “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”

My daughter has never heard this verse and I’m not sure where she got this statement or why she said it…but what a powerful reminder as she brought this verse to my mind this morning. As God dwells in the midst of his people, those whom he has redeemed…he will rejoice to the point of singing over us. If that doesn’t encourage and lift our spirits I don’t know what will. We have a mighty God who is at work redeeming his people and his creation. It is in him that we hope. It is on him we put our focus…Not the troubles of this present world.

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Simple Faith, Simply Beautiful

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I’ve spent the better part of the day with my family at the hospital. My step-dad had a procedure, nothing too major, but major enough that several family members felt the need to join us to offer their prayers and support.

I don’t come from a particularly well educated family. I don’t say this in an insulting way, it’s the reality. This doesn’t mean they are unintelligent, in fact in real world smarts it is actually quite the opposite. Most of my family grew up very poor, and in an area that most people would call ”the country”. I often refer to my family members as “simple” people. Again, some would see this as an insult. I do not.

Along these same lines, if I were to describe the faith of my family members, I would say that they have a very simple faith. Again, for some this would not be seen as a compliment. In fact, I myself have looked down on people who only exhibited this type of “simple” faith. Today however, I was struck by the beauty of a faith so simple. Don’t get me wrong…I love discussing theology. I love learning about the “deep” things of God. I think there is tremendous value in this. I think it is important to discover as much about God as one possibly can. This happens in a variety of ways including spending much time reading books by the great theologians past and present. It includes discussion of the deeper and perhaps even controversial theological issues of the day. I love doing this, and I don’t intend to stop. Yet, today…these things didn’t seem to matter that much.

Today my family didn’t care about the current debate about the relationship between grace and the law. They didn’t care about progressive sanctification. They didn’t care to discuss predestination, election, and free will. Today what I saw was my family simply trusting in the God they read about in the Bible. I saw them trusting, and resting in the promises of God. And you know what? God was faithful, and he delivered. God comforted and brought peace. God granted strength where it was needed. For our part, the throne of grace was approached boldly, and God was praised and worshiped as faithfully as we knew how. I’m not sure that God really asks for much more than that.

Simple faith…today I found it simply beautiful.

 

The Choice Seems Easy…

As surely as my new heavens and earth will remain, so will you always be my people, with a name that will never disappear,” says the LORD.All humanity will come to worship me from week to week and from month to month. And as they go out, they will see the dead bodies of those who have rebelled against me. For the worms that devour them will never die, and the fire that burns them will never go out. All who pass by will view them with utter horror.” Isaiah 66:22-24 NLT

The choice seems pretty easy doesn’t it? Life or death. Eternity as one of God’s beloved worshiping Him forever…Or we can choose death. We can choose rebellion. We can choose an eternity apart from God. When put in these terms the choice seems rather clear…well obviously you would choose life.

The truth is though, apart from God we always choose death. We will always choose rebellion.

“Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.” Romans 8:5-8 NLT

Thus, we see our need for Jesus. We need the very life of God to live within us, for apart from the life of Christ there is nothing but death.

“For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.” Colossians 1:19 ESV

“For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him…” Colossians 2:9-10 ESV

The grace of God in granting me life boggles my mind. If you have been given that life it should boggle yours too…for it is only grace. I know that it has nothing to do with me, because I know exactly how wretched I am apart from Christ. Apart from Him, we are all wretched and swimming in our own death. That is the beauty of grace. From that wretchedness beauty arises…and that beauty is nothing less than Jesus himself.

If you don’t know that you have this life, but feel that you want it…that you need it…you desire this beauty…Perhaps it is God telling you that you are indeed his. Is he calling you? Is he showing you how beautiful Jesus Christ is? I pray that perhaps he is.