November 20, 2011

The Heart of Worship – Lyrics, Michael W. Smith

Posted in Devotionals, Hymns / Songs / Lyrics tagged , at 11:32 pm by Sarah Bosse

Verse 1:
When the music fades
All is stripped away
And I simply come
Longing just to bring
Something that’s of worth
That will bless Your heart

Bridge:
I’ll bring You more than a song
For a song in itself
Is not what You have required
You search much deeper within
Through the way things appear
You’re looking into my heart

Chorus:
I’m coming back to the heart of worship
And it’s all about You,
It’s all about You, Jesus
I’m sorry, Lord, for the thing I’ve made it
When it’s all about You,
It’s all about You, Jesus

Verse 2:
King of endless worth
No one could express
How much You deserve
Though I’m weak and poor
All I have is Yours
Every single breath

Bridge:
I’ll bring You more than a song
For a song in itself
Is not what You have required
You search much deeper within
Through the way things appear
You’re looking into my heart

Chorus:
I’m coming back to the heart of worship
And it’s all about You,
It’s all about You, Jesus
I’m sorry, Lord, for the thing I’ve made it
And it’s all about You,
It’s all about You, Jesus

Just read the lyrics. You probably already know the tune if you’re reading it here on my blog. So just slow down for 120 seconds and really READ the lyrics. Doesn’t this song resonate with many of us? We get so busy sometimes and forget that it’s not about the music and the noise…its something simpler, yet more profound, that God is after – a heart that loves Him.

Lord, help us to love you more. Let there be more of You, less of us. It is all about You. Everything we have is Yours. We love you, Lord.

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August 17, 2011

My Bible Swallowed Up My Food Journal! :D

Posted in Devotionals, Disability at 2:35 am by Sarah Bosse

This post is about applying the Bible to real-life problems.  Here’s how I did it this week…

My G.I. psychologist gave me some homework last time I saw him, which was our first meeting. He wanted me to start yet another food journal. But the journal he wanted had some different questions to answer each day than the normal journal that I am used to using for tracking the food I eat and what symptoms I have. This one asks me what I ate when having GI symtpoms, what I was doing, what I was thinking about and how much I believed the thoughts (on a scale from 0 to 10), a description of my symptoms (again, with a scale of 0 to 10), and a description of how I felt (and 0 to 10).

Being me, and having large handwriting, there is absolutely no way that I was going to fit all of that on the one piece of paper he gave me, so I added it to my pH notebook. Like any journal I start, I have been painfully honest when I write. For several days, I literally felt like poop (but I used a more colorful word for it). On the days when I was so exhausted that I felt like I might pass out, my mood was about equally bad, and I had several days where I just wanted the day to be over – make it go away! On Sunday I have a pity party, and again God was not in the picture. On Monday I did get a few things done around my home, but my mind was wrapped up around food food food food food.

I tend to see food is the enemy rather than recognizing that Satan and my own flesh is my enemy, though they may take every opportunity to whisper to me that it is actually the food and not them against which I wage this battle. Sounds like deception’s clarion voice to me. It’s time for me to bring the Bible into the most frustrating parts of my life, not only the most painful.  Perhaps my Bible will eat up my food journal like Moses’ snake ate the Egyptian’s serpents? …maybe?…

Please forgive the lack of formatting to differentiate Bible verses from my babble in between.  In my personal journal on my computer it’s color coded, but WordPress wouldn’t allow me to copy and paste any text formatting. Go figure.

Psalm 139:1 O Lord, you have searched me and known me!

In light of my distrust of verses 13-16, this takes on more meaning – cleanse me of my anxious thoughts, my fears, expose my ways and thoughts because they are already known to You. There’s an interesting use of tense here.  The psalmist says that God HAS ALREADY searched him and known him – in the PAST.  But by the end of the psalm, you can see the psalmist ASKING for God to search him and know him in the present, and to reveal such things to him for his growth in spiritual maturity.

2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;

You know when I stay in bed too long, when I wear out and have to rest, when I rise and how I use my limited energy for YOU (not just me).

you discern my thoughts from afar.

My thoughts matter to You.  They either glorify or dishonor You.

3 You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.

Because You know all my ways, all my habits, all my thoughts, all my fears…and You know all things in my life (past, present, future) and how they will work out in the end (Rom 8:28), You are in the unique position of guiding me.

4 Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.

You know the full measure of my words both spoken and silenced.

5 You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.

Even when I feel sick, Your hand is upon me; even when I’m worn out, You are behind and before me, protecting me and guiding me.

6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.

But it is the glory of kings to seek out a matter (Prov 25), and I’m honored to be able to try to understand even a part of these truths.

7 Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!

If I am sick in bed, You are there.

9 If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

If I am lonely and alone, unable even to be around other people for weariness…

10 even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;

You can find me there – it’s not dark to You, so I’m not lost – You still see me even when I cannot see anything and I’m blinded by weariness and/or depression.

the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.
13 For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.

Am I to be angry at You for how you made me? Is the clay to complain to the potter because the potter didn’t give it a long handle? Is not some for honorable and other for dishonorable use?  What should my response be to knowing that God Himself made me for His glory, even when it hurts?  I will praise Him…

14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.

And when my soul doesn’t know it very well, that’s where faith comes in and trusts.

15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

I imagine You smiling as You carefully, “intricately,” form one You love, as you enjoy the secrecy of it, the inability of man to imitate Your works which You have kept for Yourself.

16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.

That’s the days of pain, joy, sorrow, gratitude, a time for every season under the sun.  You already knew them and how my life would play out before I was born.

17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.

If He thinks so many thoughts that I cannot fathom, how likely is it that He’s worked out all these things (written about my life) so that they will glorify Him even when I don’t understand HOW – the He DOES comprehend what I see as a mystery? Very likely!

I awake, and I am still with you. ….

Doesn’t matter if I’m awake or asleep.  Night terrors can’t separate us.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!

Do I really want Him to “try me”?  Sure feels like that’s what He has been doing lately.  I feel stretched thin in so many directions.  The psalmist is actually ASKING for this, so that He might know God more and Honor Him more and be Lead in the way everlasting – it’s an exercise of growth for the psalmist and me too.  *Wink to self.*

24 And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!

God’s way is the only everlasting way, the only way that will have a glorious eternity.

Romans 8: 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, When I am thinking about my challenges, I’m thinking about the flesh, about things that will end and pass away, and I am not looking to spiritual realities but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit I need to trust God for His purposes and seek to glorify Him through my attitude about suffering in light of the cross and the suffering Jesus bore for me. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace Life and peace sounds better to me and definitely a better gift to others!. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God I don’t want to be hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you Yay!. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him L. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness Whose righteousness? Christ’s Righteousness!. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you The ability, through the Spirit, to do what in the body (mind included) is impossible due to weakness and the flesh.

8:23b we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons It drives me to the cross and the Word of God, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Am I being patient and exercising faith and trust in the promise? Am I claiming the promise as my own? Am I seeing this suffering as temporary and God’s glorification through my attitude as eternal? 26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. Thank Goodness!  For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. Thank You, God, for praying for me.

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? If God is for me, what disease can be against me? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?…35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Do I doubt the love of God when the list below is dished out in my life? I have no Biblical reason to, yet there have been many times that I’ve accused God of not loving me BECAUSE He allowed the following.  I often forget about verses 37-39. Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword, or weariness, or depression, or fear, or sickness, or difficult relationships, or lack of finances, or malnutrition, or hunger…? 36 As it is written,37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. I am a conqueror BECAUSE He loved (and loves) me. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, (not ONLY all the things in the previous list (verse 35), but also all the other things listed here!…can separate me from the love of God) nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

It Hurts, But He Has Not Forgotten.

 

August 14, 2011

It Hurts, But He’s Not Forgotten

Posted in Devotionals, Poetry, prophecy, Stories at 11:32 pm by Sarah Bosse

I had an encouraging vision tonight while writing a poem for a friend who is enduring extremely challenging times.

I saw the tears my friend was crying as she prayed, and Father God looking lovingly and gently into her face. And though she could not see Him clearly through all the tears, He was taking each tear as it came down, onto His fingertip. He inspected each tear closely and as He looked into each beaded teardrop, He saw His own reflection in that tear. He knew that He would be reflected in each tear, yet He didn’t neglect to inspect each and every one. After inspecting a tear, he let the tear roll off the side of His fingertip and into the top of a large, dark blue teardrop-shaped bottle that He carried with Him at all times to collect the tears of the saints.

Then I saw the tears of Jesus as He prayed for those He was to save. And in His tears, our faces were reflected so that if we inspected His tears, we would see ourselves, and remember from whom these tears came. His tears would glorify God, His Father, whom He was making known to us.

Then I saw Jesus lifted up on the Cross and His blood was dripping down from his side where the whips had broken open His flesh. The blood dripped down his chest, his side, spiraling down his leg and from his heel it flowed down the trunk of the tree on which he hung. I clung to that old rugged cross, and I looked and saw the drops slide down further still until they soaked into the dust around my feet. “We are made of dust,” I thought, as I realized how far those drops of blood had traveled for me – from Heaven’s highest place…to be soaked up by the dust, poured out upon a sinful mortal people to save them from their sins and God’s holy wrath. How great was His humiliation for us!

Jesus’ tears and blood plead forgiveness for us so that we can fully enter the Father’s presence without hesitation. He forgave us so that we could forgive and live for His purposes, to make more of Him and less of ourselves.

I had this sense that God takes prayers and tears seriously. He cherishes them. He holds them for the proper time. He doesn’t forget them or push them away and pretend they aren’t there; He doesn’t cast them as far as the east is from the west or add them to the ocean as just another droplet of water; He knows their depth, each tear’s cry. And He listens to the tears of His saints just as He listened to the tears of His Son and the cry of His Son’s blood spilled for us.

At the appointed time, I saw Father take His bottle into the throneroom of Heaven and pour it out so that it became a river. The bottle kept pouring out more tears than it seemed it was possible it could contain. It made a crystal clear river of life in the New Jerusalem and splished and splashed joyously throughout all of heaven. The sounds of its splashing and gushing were like choirs of heavenly music which sung praises to God.

I saw the Samaritan woman by the well whom Jesus had asked to draw water for Him. When she questioned Him, He told her that he could give her living water. I saw the tears of Jesus again and knew that God notices every tear His Son or His children have ever cried, and that all will glorify God in the end, though now it’s still a mystery. We know that He sees His reflection in our tears.

———————————————————————————–

I am not posting the full poem, but what is relevant to the above is here:
It Hurts, But He’s Not Forgotten
….
God sees and knows and feels each blow you take.

His Son’s tears plead a testimony of salvation for us
As His blood poured down from his side,
Down his leg, Down the wood of that old rugged cross;
The friend to which I cling,
As I confess that His blood made its way to sink
Into the dust around my feet
To redeem people like you and me who are just such,
And make us clean.

These tears and this blood pleads forgiveness for you and me,
That we may be forgiven and by forgiving others be set free
To love Him more, to become lesser still,
To serve Him fully and yield our hearts to His will.

So your prayers and tears are in Father’s big bottle,
Not forgotten, not pushed aside, not thrown away, not belittled.
He dropped each one in there Himself after looking intently to see
His own reflection in the bead.

Jesus’ tears reflected us and our tears reflect Him now.

Perhaps the tears of the saints cause the crystal river of life to flow
Through the courts of the heavenlies with newfound boyancy and vigor,
Understanding their purpose.

Perhaps the waters that make us thirst not are the forever-powerful
Prayers of our savior’s tearful intercession on our behalf,
For the Father’s glory.

————————————————————————————

Rev 21:3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

Rev 22:1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.

John 4:7 A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8 (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”

Sarah M. Bosse 8-14-11  10:55pm

May 25, 2011

Marvelous Light – Charlie Hall – Lyrics – Out of darkness, out of shame.

Posted in Devotionals, Hymns / Songs / Lyrics at 9:37 pm by Sarah Bosse

One of the themes that have been going through my mind of late has been the theme of light. Especially, God’s light and its place in the Christian life. Following a word study I did on every occurrence of the word “light” in the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit reminded me of this song that I had not heard or sung since probably 2006. I remember singing that song at a singles group I was attending, but the meaning of the song just didn’t really impact me. Perhaps I didn’t feel that my sin was real enough, or that God’s grace was needed enough. But certainly now, his love is awakened me from my sleep and it beckons me to come and die so that he may take my life and use it for his glory. The darkness and the shame are very real, but Christ’s victory over death, over sin and darkness and shame, is even more real. And it informs my new life in Christ. I know that I am not the same person I was before Christ became my recognized Savior in 2005. And God has brought, and is bringing, the freedom that I long for. But when one has stood in a dark room for a long time, one’s eyes will hurt when first exposed to the light of the noon day.
The lyrics of this song are now alive to me, when once they made little sense and I didn’t have the interest to try to understand. God’s light is like that sometimes. We don’t always invite it and seek out God, but he is faithful to bring his light nonetheless, so that we may be sanctified and walk around, as during the day, rather than groping around in the dark and fearful of hidden things.

Marvelous Light – Charlie Hall

Into marvelous light I’m running,
Out of darkness, out of shame.
By the cross you are the truth,
You are the life, you are the way!

I once was fatherless,
a stranger with no hope;
Your kindness wakened me,
Awakened me, from my sleep

Your love it beckons deeply,
a call to come and die.
By grace now I will come
And take this life, take your life.

Sin has lost it’s power,
death has lost it’s sting.
From the grave you’ve risen
VICTORIOUSLY!

Chorus
Into marvelous light I’m running,
Out of darkness, out of shame.
By the cross you are the truth,
You are the life, you are the way!

My dead heart now is beating,
My deepest stains now clean.
Your breath fills up my lungs.
Now I’m free. now I’m free!

“It Is Well With My Soul” and the sea billows of brokenness and restoration

Posted in Devotionals, Hymns / Songs / Lyrics at 9:10 pm by Sarah Bosse

I’m walking through an intense journey right now where God is shining light on many hidden, locked-away areas in my life. What’s being made known is often painful just by its nature, other times the result of sin – my own sin and/or the sin(s) of others, filled with guilt and shame. And the whole process is, at times, both humbling and bewildering.

Hopefully, in time, I will find it to be comforting as well – that the God who calls for my personal sanctification brings about the means of its accomplishment through the Holy Spirit, and that He is the One at the root of it all. My friend asked me today if I was saying, “Ouch, Hallelujah!” to the Lord yet. At the moment, I think I’m still in the “Ouch” stage.

But I am encouraged to see how the Holy Spirit speaks to me as I bring my sin, my guilt, my pain, to the Throne of God. One of the ways God often encourages me is through hymns and music. My mind is like a perpetual tape player, always recording soundbites (if only I could remember when your birthday was or what you told me to do 30 seconds ago!), especially music and commercials (one reason I don’t watch TV – I don’t want to be singing “Like a good neighbor State Farm is there” insurance jingles for 36 hours straight in my mind). So songs I sang or heard 10, 20 years ago, are lodged in the deep sulci of my brain. Some of those, however, require the Holy Spirit to retrieve.

Anyways, “It Is Well With My Soul” has always been one of my favorites. It’s helped me weather so many storms, both physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. But now I hear a few more notes and melodies ring true through these beloved verses that I’ve never heard before.

I often saw the sea billows and sorrows as external circumstances, which they very well may also be. But now they take on a new meaning to me. They may be sea billows of grief or pain, sorrows for sins committed and the effects of the sins on God, others, and myself. And these waves and sorrows may be as deep or deeper than any external circumstances. Satan’s buffet’s attack God’s character and my identity in Christ. The trials are doubts. How will I stand? Firm, in God’s grace, in faith, despite fears and doubts, in the armor of God? God’s word is available and it really does teach me that my soul’s security is sure and as steadfast as the Lord’s own faithfulness (as it is rooted in the same).

Regardless of the Enemy’s arrows and the pains I have taken to add to my own life through sin, there is a blessed assurance that Jesus is mine and that he knew me fully from the Beginning, in my wretchedness, in my inability to help myself or improve my situation in the slightest. And knowing all of this fully, from the Beginning (before He created me or anything which He has created), He planned and then actually did spill His blood for me until death. (Isn’t it amazing that BEFORE I was created in 1980-something, He loved me so much that He died before I was even born, for me?…and you?) And being helpless, as I am, He paid for every bit of my rebellion.

It is no longer mine to bear. Indeed, if there is not one thing in all creation over which God does not cry “MINE!” then that absolutely includes my sin, because Jesus BECAME sin who knew no sin — He became MY sin. And it is his to keep.

But rather than keeping it, rather than holding onto my sin as a token of my idolatry and asking me to pity the God I hated; ….oh! instead! He PAID for it, then CAST IT AWAY as far as the East is from the West, and in its place He established a covenant of love and protection over my soul, a promise that I may enter into the most holy place and be in the presence of my King. Therefore, it is truly WELL with my soul and I can praise the Lord, O my soul!

It Is Well With My Soul

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Refrain:
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life,
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul.

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

Horatio Spafford

What Is Repentance?

Posted in Devotionals at 3:47 pm by Sarah Bosse

What Is Repentance? Copied and pasted from http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/what-is-repentance

Charles Spurgeon writes:

Repentance is a discovery of the evil of sin, a mourning that we have committed it, a resolution to forsake it. It is, in fact, a change of mind of a very deep and practical character, which makes the man love what once he hated, and hate what once he loved.

J. I. Packer writes:

Repentance means turning from as much as you know of your sin to give as much as you know of yourself to as much as you know of your God, and as our knowledge grows at these three points so our practice of repentance has to be enlarged.

John Piper writes:

Repenting means experiencing a change of mind that now sees God as true and beautiful and worthy of all our praise and all our obedience.

September 9, 2010

Real Lasting Rest / Struggling With God’s Sovereignty – Desiring God – Paul Tripp

Posted in Devotionals tagged , , , , , , at 4:24 pm by Sarah Bosse

Do you ever struggle with God’s sovereignty? Do you wonder why he has ordained for you to face the things you face? Are you ever tempted to doubt his goodness or question his love? Or do you experience rest of heart even when your relationships are messy and your circumstances are difficult? The following words are about where the rest can be found.

I did it again and again when our children resisted our instruction and correction. I did it again and again when they debated a command or questioned our plans. I did it again and again when they opposed our authority and quested for self-rule. I did it again and again for two good reasons.

To begin with, my wife and I had brought children into this world who thought they didn’t need us! Like us, each of them at some point fell into believing they were far more knowledgeable and capable than they really were. Like us, they often assumed that their intentions were noble and their plans were sound. Like us, they tended to think they were capable of determining what was best, even when they lacked important information and experience. Like we often do, they simply felt they were in possession of a better way.

But there was a second reason I did it again and again. Our children were too young to grasp the abstract, strategic, and often theological purposes underlying my instruction. Even if I explained everything in as age-appropriate a way as I could, they would still have no actual understanding. They just did not yet have the categories or the capacity to grasp the parental logic behind the plan or command.

So I did the same thing again and again. I would kneel down in front of them at eye level and say, “Please look at Daddy’s face. Do you know how much I love you? Do you know that your Daddy is not a mean, bad man? Do you know that I would never ask you to do anything that would hurt you or make you sick? I am sorry that you can’t understand why Daddy is asking you to do this. I wish I could explain it to you, but you are too young to understand. So I am going to ask you to do something—trust Daddy. When you walk down the hallway to do what Daddy has asked you to do, say to yourself, ‘My Daddy loves me. My Daddy would never ask me to do something bad. I am going to trust my Daddy and stop trying to be the Daddy of my Daddy.'”

God does the same thing with you, over and over again. He meets you in one of the difficult hallways of your life, kneels down before you in condescending love, and asks you to trust his loving and wise rule, even though you don’t have a clue what he is doing.

He knows there are many times when your life doesn’t look like there is anyone ruling it, let alone someone wise and good. He knows there will be times when you will wish you could be the author of your own story. He knows that at times you will be overwhelmed by what is on your plate. He knows that his plan will confuse and confound you. And he knows that real rest cannot be found in understanding, because, like my children, there are things, as a limited human being, you simply do not have the capacity to understand.

Real rest is found in trusting the Person who is in control of the things you don’t understand.

He is willing to have the conversation with you again and again, and he has made sure that his Word assures you of his rule again and again. (For just a few examples, see 1 Chronicles 29:11-12Psalm 103:19Psalm 115:3Proverbs 21:1Isaiah 46:9-10Daniel 4:35, and Ephesians 1:11.)

August 23, 2010

Lest I Forget Thy Love For Me, Lead Me To Calvary

Posted in Devotionals, Hymns / Songs / Lyrics, Prayer Request tagged , , , , , , , , , at 10:35 pm by Sarah Bosse

Sometimes I walk through some deep and dark valleys that probably only those who have walked the same paths could understand.  I can hardly say that I “understand” them; “familiar” may be a better word.  Despair, darkness, dryness, death.  That’s what resides in those valleys.

Yet there’s something else that resides there as well.  And it may take a while to dig down to hit that Bedrock, yet it exists.  How the Spirit of God could speak to me through the darkness is a mystery to me.  When I feel like I don’t even WANT God, He can break through my hardness and anger.  All glory to Him for that.

Through my most recent valley, the words that the Spirit keeps speaking to me are short and simple, yet full.  “Lest I Forget Thy Love For Me, Lead Me To Calvary”.  That’s it.  Yet it means so much.  There are at least two angles from which to view this phrase; how it illuminates our human condition, and how it gives glory to God’s perfect condition.

I’m forgetful, I’m lowly, unworthy, rebellious, sinful, debase, detestable.  I both CAN and DO forget my Savior’s love for me.  I CAN and DO get distracted by every thought and wave, sweeping and tossing me to and fro.  I CAN and DO get angry with God, my Creator, and the Lover of my soul.  Whether I’m in the mood to admit it or not, I need a Savior.  I need a Calvary.  I needed Him to die for me.  And I need to die to my sin.

From the perspective of God’s perfection and – glory be to God – His grace; I can also rejoice in the fact that He has provided all that I need and more.  He is humble, but holy.  He became my substitute and took the wrath that I deserve.  He loves me, regardless of what I think of myself and my human condition or circumstances.  What’s amazing is that He also LEADS me.  There’s no reason He should, but He chooses to.  Even when I want nothing to do with Him, nothing to do with life or living or fighting or or or…He’s there with open arms.  He’s both my Bedrock and my Comforter.

And this one line, of this old hymn my parents used to sing in harmony during our long car rides to Maine and back as a young child, came back to me and has pierced a shaft of light through what feels like unbearable gloom.

“Lest I Forget Thy Love For Me, Lead Me To Calvary”

Sometimes the lights are turned out and it’s so dark I can’t process Scripture; Scripture feels overwhelming.  But God’s Spirit is still with me in the deepest depths, and He speaks.  Just a few words.  And what He says that surpasses words is still understood.  The Spirit says, “This is what you are to pray right now; “Don’t let me forget Your Love, God!  Hold me!  And lead me by the hand to the place where You showed your great Love for me – take me to Your cross, so that I can smell the rough and splintered wood, see the blood that ran in a continuous stream from Your head to Your feet, still fresh, feel the tremors of the very earth below my feet on the day that You died as the earth quaked and the tombs of the dead were opened as the dead were raised, feel the strong and gusting wind pushing against my body as the sky darkens and the terrifying storm rolls in, causing the centurions to quake in their armor.  Its as if the foundations of all creation are about to come undone in testimony to Your divine love, all loves eternally excelling.  Satan is defeated and his roaring is silenced for a time as the heavens watch in awe, only to be deafened again by the rejoicing in heaven and loudest praise of all the heavenly hosts in chorus.  Lead me, God, to THIS Calvary.   The Calvary of Satan’s defeat and God’s victorious love, displayed as the greatest Sacrifice ever to be made.  Don’t let me forget this Calvary, this Savior, this Love.  Help me, Lord!”

Lead Me To Calvary

Words: Jennie E. Hussey, 1921     Music: Wil liam J. Kirk Patrick

King of my life, I crown Thee now,
Thine shall the glory be;
Lest I forget Thy thorn crowned brow,
Lead me to Calvary.
Refrain
Lest I forget Gethsemane,
Lest I forget Thine agony;
Lest I forget Thy love for me,
Lead me to Calvary.
Show me the tomb where Thou wast laid,
Tenderly mourned and wept;
Angels in robes of light arrayed
Guarded Thee whilst Thou slept.
Refrain
Let me like Mary, through the gloom,
Come with a gift to Thee;
Show to me now the empty tomb,
Lead me to Calvary.
Refrain
May I be willing, Lord, to bear
Daily my cross for Thee;
Even Thy cup of grief to share,
Thou hast borne all for me.
Refrain

August 3, 2010

The Hideous Nature of the Prosperity Gospel

Posted in Devotionals tagged , , , , at 9:13 pm by Sarah Bosse

The “Prosperity gospel” is being shared by many missionaries coming from the USA traveling to the rest of the world.  But THIS IS NOT THE TRUE GOSPEL.  GOD Himself should be our treasure, and we must treasure the Giver and not His gifts.  EVERYTHING ELSE will burn up and we cannot take it with us when we die.  God is most glorified in you when you are most satisfied in Him… especially in the midst of loss.

I honestly believe that within 1 or 2 decades in the USA, we will begin to see missionaries from other parts of the world come to us and teach us the true Gospel again.  And I pray that their understanding of the Gospel is much more Bible-rooted than that which is touted in many churches in the USA today.

1 Timothy 6:6-21

6 Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, 7 for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. 8 But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. 9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

11 But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, 14 to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.

17 As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19 thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.

20 O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,” 21 for by professing it some have swerved from the faith.

Grace be with you.

July 18, 2010

There Is A Way To Be Happy Even In Sadness – John Piper, Desiring God

Posted in Devotionals tagged , , , , at 10:19 pm by Sarah Bosse

There is a Way to Be Happy, Even in Sadness

Godly Sorrow: Jesus’ and Ours
By John PiperMarch 23, 2005

Christian Hedonists embrace necessary sorrow for the glory of God. On the one hand, we are utterly committed to pursuing joy in God at all times. But on the other hand, we know there is more to the emotional life of godly people than joy. Joy is not the only good emotion. But without delight in God, no emotion would be good. Either as component or the concomitant of all godly emotions, it is joy in God that makes them good.

Consider sorrow. Neither Jesus nor the Holy Spirit has ever sinned. But both have grieved. Both have been sorrowful. Therefore, godly sorrow is possible.

Not only that, godly sorrow is possible also for sinners. It is possible precisely because of our sin. One form of sorrow is sorrow for doing something wrong. So Paul writes to the Corinthians:

For even if I made you grieve with my letter, I do not regret it. . . . I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. 10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. (2 Corinthians 7:8-10)

At least two things govern what makes sorrow good. One is the cause, the other is the outcome. The cause of godly sorrow for our own sin is the spiritual perception of its moral ugliness, not just its negative consequences. We see it as morally repugnant. This repugnance is owing to our spiritual preference for the taste of the truth and beauty of God. Therefore our sorrow for sin is rooted in our savoring of God. Sin is a revolting flavor in the feast of godwardness. Therefore, sorrow over this is a signal that we delight in God. That is what makes the sorrow good.

The outcome of good sorrow for sin is repentance and holiness. In fact, repentance includes sorrow for sin and extends it to a more durable experience of holy living. This holy living is the outward form of delighting in God above all sin. Therefore delight in God is what makes the sorrow and repentance good.

But what about sorrow that is not for our own sin, but for the way we are sinned against or the way we are hurt by calamity and loss? Jesus sorrowed like this. For example, when he saw the Pharisees murmuring about his healing on the Sabbath, “He looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart” (Mark 3:5). And in the garden of Gethsemane, he said, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch” (Mark 14:34).

Jesus’ sorrow was not owing to his own sin, but to the sins of others. This is the way it is with the Holy Spirit as well. Paul calls us to put sin out of our lives so that we do not grieve the Spirit: “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:29-30).

In the same way believers embrace godly grief not only for our own sins but for the sins of others and for the pain that loss brings us. For example, Peter speaks of our grieving over trials: “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, as was necessary, you have been grieved by various trials” (1 Peter 1:6). Paul speaks of our grieving over lost loved ones: “We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13). And Paul refers to his own grief over the lostness of his kinsmen: “My conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit—that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart (Romans 9:1).

Nevertheless Paul makes the astonishing statement in 2 Corinthians 6:10 that what marks his life and should mark ours is “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing.” This is what makes our sorrow godly. I do not claim that this experience is simple or that we can even put it into adequate words—what it means to be joyful in sorrow. Heaving sobs at the loss of a loved one does not look like joy. Indeed is not joy in its fullness, as we will know it when “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

Rather the joy that endures through sorrow is the foretaste of that future joy in God which we hope for in the future. When Jesus was “very sorrowful, even to death” in Gethsemane he was sustained by “the joy that was set before him” (Hebrews 12:2). This does not mean that he felt in the garden or on the cross all that he would feel in the resurrection. But it does mean that he hoped in it and that this hope was an experienced foretaste of that joy.

Therefore, we groan here, waiting for the redemption of our bodies and for the removal of all our sins (Romans 8:23). This groaning and grieving is godly if it is molded by our delight in hope of glory (Romans 5:2-3). The delight is muffled by the pain. But it is there in seed form. It will one day grow into a great vine that yields wine of undiluted delight.

So let us embrace whatever sorrow God appoints for us. Let us not be ashamed of tears. Let the promise that joy comes with the morning (Psalm 30:5) sustain and shape our grief with the power and goodness of God.

© Desiring God

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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

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