God Is On The Throne

I was given a new devotional for Christmas. It's Tim Keller's, The Songs of Jesus, a year of daily devotionals through the Psalms. I'm only day two into it, but am already deeply encouraged and challenged. I encourage you to buy this little devotional and allow it to help you soak deeply in the Psalms. To encourage you, I will share what I read this morning. The way the devotional works is there is a Scripture, a brief commentary, and then a prayer. 

Psalm 2:1-4. Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the LORD and against his anointed, saying, "Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles." The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the LORD scoff at them.

No Intimidation. Each day the media highlights new things to fear. The "powers that be" in society tell us that obedience to God shackles us, limiting our freedom. In reality, liberation comes only through serving the one who created us. Those people and forces that appear to rule the world are all under his Lordship, and one day they will know it. God still reigns, and we can take refuge in him from all our fears. So to be intimidated by the word (Psalm 2) is as spiritually fatal as being overly attracted to it (Psalm 1).

Prayer. Lord of the world, people resent your  claims on human lives. I fear to speak of you for fear of ridicule of anger. But you are not intimidated by the world "powers," nor should I be. Help me to know the joy of obedience and the fearlessness that goes with it. Amen.

May the reality that God is on the throne encourage you to live fearlessly this year!  

Thinking About The Wrath Of God

The wrath of God is not a subject to be taken lightly. It's not something we should ever laugh about and it isn't something that we should see as a joking matter. 

It also isn't something we should ignore. The wrath of God is a truth that every Christian should think about on a somewhat regular basis. Doing so will radically transform your view of God, your own salvation, and the lost. 

The writer of Hebrews says that "our God is a consuming fire" (Hebrews 12:29). In light of this, he is to be worshiped with reverence and awe. All too often my worship is lackluster in its quality. I'm not in awe of the consuming fire that God is–his holiness, majesty, splendor, and glory. 

Arthur Pink wrote a little book called The Attributes of God. In his chapter on the nature of God's wrath, he gives three reasons why the Christian should meditate on this particular attribute of God.

The wrath of God is a perfection of the Divine character upon which we need to frequently meditate. First, that our hearts may be duly impressed by God's detestation of sin. We are ever prone to regard sin lightly, to gloss over its hideousness, to make excuses for it. But the more we study and ponder God's abhorrence of sin and his frightful vengeance upon it, the more likely are we to realize its heinousness. Secondly, to beget a true fear in our souls for God: "Let us have grace whereby we may serve acceptably with reverence and godly fear: for our God is a consuming fire" (Heb. 12:28-29). We cannot serve him "acceptably" unless there is due "reverence" for his awful majesty and "godly fear" of his righteous anger; and these are best promoted by frequently calling to mind that "our God is a consuming fire." Thirdly, to draw out our souls in fervent praise for our having been delivered from "the wrath to come" (1 Thess. 1:10).*

So though it isn't a popular subject to talk or think about, it's a healthy one. Think for a moment today about this God, the creator of all things, who is a consuming fire. Behold his majesty and glory, be in awe of him, and praise him for his wonderful grace upon your life. Furthermore, praise Jesus for his finished work. He took upon himself the wrath of God in our place. What a wonderful Savior he is.

*Quoted from The Attributes of God by Arthur W. Pink (pg. 109).

 

A Wretched Bastardization Of Goals

As Christians, why do we do what we do? With the New Year fast approaching, I've started to think and pray about goals. I ask questions like, What do I want to see done in 2014? And, how is that going to happen? But the most important question I think we can ask is, Why? Why are we setting certain goals and why do we want them achieved?

D.A. Carson has some helpful insights in his book A Call To Spiritual Reformation.

The Christian's whole desire, at its best and highest, is that Jesus Christ be praised. It is always a wretched bastardization of our goals when we want to win glory for ourselves instead of for him. When we arrange flowers in the church, or serve as an usher, or preach a sermon; when we visit the sick, or run a youth group, or attend prayer meeting–when we do any of these things, and more, with the secret desire that we might be praised for our godliness and service, we have corrupted the salvation we enjoy.*

None of the things that we do or accomplish, no matter how great they might be, can do anything to save us or even make us look any better in the sight of God. Jesus has already done that for us. The implications of this reality are huge. This means that we now set goals with an entirely new mindset and motivation, namely, that Jesus would be glorified. And oh how this lifts a weight off of a persons shoulders. When setting goals or resolutions in light of the desire to glorify Jesus, the weight of performance is lifted off of ourselves because Jesus has already performed for us. Now we can set out to accomplish what we think God wants us to, but without fear of failure or receiving accolade for a job well done. 

So as you begin to think and pray about what you want to get done next year, ask yourself the "Why" question. If the glory of Jesus is not your motivation, reassess your goals. But, if the glory of Jesus is your motivation, move forward joyfully and freely, knowing that you might succeed or fail, but in the end, with a heart set on honoring Christ, he is glorified, and therefore you are successful!

*Quoted from A Call To Spiritual Reformation, pg. 57.

Cowardice

I am often cowardly. I find Spurgeon's words to be encouraging. 

May you also possess the grand moral characteristic of courage. By this we do not mean impertinence, impudence, or self-conceit; but real courage to do and say calmly the right thing, and to go straight on at all hazards, though there should be none to give you a good word. I am astonished at the number of Christians who are afraid to speak the truth to their brethren. I thank God I can say this, there is no member of my church, no officer of the church, and no man in the world to whom I am afraid to say before his face what I would say behind his back.