Wrestling Sin

6 05 2011

Every person struggles with sin. Whether the sin be lust, jealousy, greed, impatience, discontentment, anger, or one of the countless other sins that we commit against God. Unfortunately, our battles with sin rarely end with the decisive victory we desire. The struggles with sin seem to be an endless wrestling match where once we pin sin to the ground with apparent victory, sin deftly sweeps its arm under our legs and leaves us lying flat on our backs. Needless to say, the ongoing fight against sin produces many moments of frustration. Many times my heart resounds with Paul’s words in Romans 7:24 “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?” When will victory over the flesh finally arrive? We know complete victory comes with our glorified bodies. But what do we do in the present? What can I do to wrestle sin?

I am amazed at how I can simultaneously hate and love sin so much. I wish I could put sin to death permanently. But for now, here are some of my current thoughts on the daily wrestle with sin.

1. Daily confession. I need to realize that this is a daily battle that will not be won with a single victory. Therefore, I need to humble myself before God and confess my sin knowing that He is faithful to forgive. (1 John 1:9)

2. Enjoy God’s promises. Cling daily to the numerous promises God has made to His children. Anticipate with great desire the fulfillment of His covenants. Use these promises to forsake the sin which provides little/temporary satisfaction for God who provides eternal satisfaction. (2 Peter 1:4)

3. Reflect on daily expressions of grace. God bestows grace upon me in an abundant way every single day. Writing out a list of that grace has been helpful for me. But I want to constantly remind myself of the little and large ways God shows His grace to me. May I never forget His lovingkindness. (Lamentations 3:22-23)

4. Remember the cross. I must never forget what Christ did for me on the cross and the salvation I now experience. “The Power of the Cross” was our church hymn of the month in April. I love this stanza:

Oh, to see my name
Written in the wounds,
For through Your suffering I am free.
Death is crushed to death
Life is mine to live,
Won through Your selfless love.

May I always remember what love God showed me on the cross and the redeeming power of that act. (1 Corinthians 1:18)

This post is the message that I desperately need to preach to myself all the time. I pray that I will wrestle sin with an understanding that the victory has already been won through Jesus Christ, my Lord.


Hair Counter

16 01 2011

I have been reflecting on the topic of faith recently. How do we grow in faith? How do I battle those fears and anxieties that grip my soul as I take each step? Something I have been thinking about since reading a recent blog post (I can’t remember from which ministry) and going to the Christian Medical and Dental Association retreat is who or what do I place trust in.

In medicine, we are taught to trust in studies that have more comprehensive information because they ought to provide us with the most accurate facts. Thus, systematic reviews and meta-analyses are typically the most reliable publications. When I am seeking an answer to aquestion I will trust the person that I know to be most knowledgeable. So in medical school I trust the well-trained lecturing physicians who have been teaching for decades. Then comes the younger professors and then the bottom of the totem pole of lecturers would be those with a master’s degree. No offense, but that’s how my mind works during lecture. I am most skeptical of answers that my classmates have to offer since we, as medical students, have a very limited knowledge base and have a tendency to make up answers to sound smart.

In terms of seeking spiritual wisdom, I tend to trust those people who I believe have the greatest knowledge and understanding of the Bible. They have thoroughly studied the Scriptures and wrestled through different theological issues. I know that they will give me the most biblically sound answer they can provide. Wouldn’t it be amazing to combine all their knowledge into a super knowledgeable entity that could answer all my questions with all the knowledge in the world. (I’m picturing something like Zordon from power rangers, but a lot smarter) There are some people I know that seem to know everything (you know who you are- except if you admitted it you’d be prideful haha), but think about if all of them could combine their knowledge. How much more would I trust that person?

All of this to say that all of this earthly knowledge pales in comparison to the omniscient God we worship. The knowledge we possess is a drop in the bottomless bucket of God’s knowledge. If I sincerely believed that God knows all that He truly does know, I would have no doubts. My faith would be solid. Yet, I don’t. I trust people more than God. I trust myself more than Him. God numbers the hairs on my head (Luke 12:7) and possesses all knowledge. Still, my faith is weak. If some scientist wanted to know the hairs on someone’s head they would have to constantly follow that person around keeping track of every hair that fell off. I can imagine how frustrated he would be when he had to start over after getting distracted or going on vacation. Or if it was a girl’s head I would tell him to give up, they shed hair like crazy. (It’s true, look at the carpet in their apartments). Anyway, think about all the effort someone would have to put in to know just that one fact. But God knows EVERYTHING. A passage that portrays his knowledge well is Psalm 139, penned by David. I have to tell myself, “Daniel, read this passage with fresh eyes and a humble heart. Read these Scriptures with the understanding that they are the true, inspired words of the Spirit.” How amazingly reassuring they are to my anxious soul.

“O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, You know it all. You have enclosed me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it.”

Psalm 139:1-6

Those words ought to make me be humbled and repentant in my foolish pride. They ought to give me peace when I am anxious. I pray that they would always pierce my heart. So how am I to grow in faith in such a glorious God? I will risk everything for Him. I will surrender everything and die to self. How do I do that? By daily reminding myself with His truth. I hold in my hands the very inspired words of God which proclaim His omniscience and sovereignty. He knows my steps and I have no cause to be anxious. I pray that I will let go of the control I think I need and place the plans, anxieties, and burdens in God’s control. I know that I will need to daily die to self and inundate myself with the living Bible. But that is what sanctification requires. Perseverance as we fix our eyes on Christ, the author and perfecter of faith (Hebrews 12:1-3). May I do so with joy and honestly pray with David “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.” Psalm 139:23-24 Maranatha.

Pursuing Humility

8 01 2011

On my flight back to St. Louis I started re-reading Humility: True Greatness by C.J. Mahaney. If I needed to pinpoint one area of my life that I most obviously and consistently struggle with, that area would be pride. I am constantly amazed at how easily pride manifests itself in how I speak and act. Even when I am convicted of my sinful pride, I seemingly instantaneously forget the truths I know about God and man as I allow my pride to once again rule my heart.

There are many areas of my Christian walk that I want to grow in through this year, many of which have been longstanding goals since I have been saved by the grace of God. One of these is humility. I do not simply want to speak kindly or serve willingly, although these are good things. I want my heart to be completely humbled by the majesty God and the humility of the Son, Jesus Christ, that I would live out Philippians 2. My desire is that I would so understand the humility of Jesus in His incarnation and sacrifice on the cross that I would pursue that same humility in my life. Also, I want my soul to grasp the truth that Jesus Christ is Lord and that every knee will bow and every tongue will confess this truth. That I would have no reason to boast in anything but my God.

Through contemplating my desire to grow in humility, I have come to realize that many of my previous goals to grow in different areas of my faith have quickly faded. In reading Humility: True Greatness, I realized I am all too often guilty of a dangerous sin. Complacent acknowledgement of truth. I find it easier to appreciate truth than to be transformed by truth. I hear a convicting sermon and resolve to pursue that spiritual discipline, but the next week I cannot even remember that conviction. I may hear an amazing testimony of a Christian missionary taking up their cross for Christ or hear of persecuted Christians giving up everything to proclaim their faith. Sometimes it may be reading the biographies of incredibly faithful heroes of the faith. Whatever the conviction, I easily fall into the trap of being satisfied with knowing. Yes, I will say I want to live for Christ, but there is no pursuit. One of the reasons why I appreciate C.J. Mahaney’s books so much is because he doesn’t let us off that easily. His books are filled with the truths of Scripture, and he ensures that we understand why he is telling us these truths. There is both teaching and application. A few sentences from his first chapter on applications:

“Here’s a scary thought: It’s possible to admire humility while remaining proud ourselves…And at this moment you may be deceiving yourself into thinking that you are making progress against pride simply because you are reading a book about humility. (Though I hope that’s not true!)”

“Merely being inspired by the promise of humility or the meaning of true greatness is not sufficient; nor is it enough to also be educated about the perils of pride. If there’s ever to be meaningful transformation in our lives, if we are to make progress in restraining pride and manifesting humility, there must be the purposeful application of truth– an effort and pursuit on our part that God will use for sanctifying transformation in our lives.”

So as I seek humility before God and man, one of the things I resolve to do is to preach truth to myself. In the same chapter on humility C.J. says, “Sin doesn’t wake up tired, because it hasn’t been sleeping. When you wake up in the morning, sin is right there, fully awake, ready to attack. So rather than be attacked by sin in the morning I’ve chosen to go on the offensive. From the moment I awake, I’ve learned to make statement to God about my dependence upon God, and in this way I’m humbling myself before God.” I do not want my conviction over my pride to become a fleeting feeling. I know that it will be an active battle and I fight the war with God’s word. So two of my spiritual goals this year are aimed at actively fighting pride and cultivating a heart of humility. 1. I will memorize a Bible verse every week 2. I will pray for someone from St. Louis and someone from California everyday. I think it comes down to one of my favorite passages in Scripture that I’ve quoted before in a post…

“So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”

Philippians 2:12-13

I will do my best to be faithful in pursuing holiness and pray that God will do His work in using what little I offer to produce fruit in my life and do great things for His glory. (I will refrain from any exegesis since this was supposed to be a “short” post. But I guess it’s all relative, since it is shorter than many of my other posts) Also, if you have read this far, I would definitely appreciate prayer for everything I’ve written. Thanks.

Nuclear Fission and Worship

6 09 2010

Making sure my relationship with God is a priority over everything else, including medical school, has not been easy. I’m thankful that Amos advised me to make a list of spiritual disciplines and goals that I would not compromise for anything. I now understand what he meant about medical school taking over people’s lives and never being able to know all the material. The week prior to my first midterm was especially challenging since everyone was in super saiyan study mode (instead of blond hair imagine white hairs springing up from stress).

On Wednesday night at 2AM, I felt like my brain was filled to capacity and I could not memorize anymore origins/insertions of muscles or arterial pathways. So I decided to spend some much needed time in the Bible. To preface, I’m the type of person that completely identifies with Rick Holland in that I do not have Piper-esque devotionals normally. I do not think I could even use half of the words John Piper uses to describe his walk with God. But there are those sweet times of reading and prayer where I wish my times with God were always that good. There is an understanding in my soul that this is a small taste of the satisfaction described in Psalm 63:5 “My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness, And my mouth offers praises with joyful lips”.

So on Wednesday, I opened up my key passage that I always read before midterms, Psalm 23. Almost everyone has heard this passage at some point in their lives. Some of us hundreds of times. But so much of God’s sovereignty is displayed there along with our frailty. Reading that chapter still amazes me. There is amazing comfort in the passage, and this time my eyes were drawn to the word shepherd. Yes, the comforting imagery of the Great Shepherd over David was apparent. But my mind made a connection that for some reason I had never really thought about previously. Maybe it was from studying Hebrews 11 in small group this past year. David is able to call the Lord his Shepherd because of the sacrifice of the Lamb. My mind immediately jumped to Isaiah 53, an incredibly humbling chapter prophesying the sacrifice of the Suffering Servant. I could go into a whole description of my thoughts when I read that chapter, including the thought about kenosis in Philippians and the humbling thought of Christ giving up His position to come to earth as man. But I need to keep this post to some reasonable length.

I think what struck me the most were the descriptions of Christ as a lamb who willingly died for those sheep that had gone astray. Even though we went astray, the LORD caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him. And then v.7 “He was oppressed and he was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its sharers, So He did not open His mouth.” So although the Lord, who is the Great Shepherd, is sovereign over all things, He allowed the Lamb of God to be slain. Why? To redeem His sheep. The same sheep that purposely went their own way in rebellion against God. The Father easily could have prevented the Lamb from death, but He chose to allow Jesus to die for our sins. And Jesus went willingly in complete obedience and humility. What amazing love! So refreshing to think that the exact moment that Satan thought he had victory at the cross was when there was actual victory over sin and death, all under the sovereign hand of God.

That thought provoked another jump to 1 Corinthians 1:18-31, our memory verses from freshman year SG. I love these verses because they show the complete foolishness of the gospel to man. No man could ever think to put together a plan of redemption such as this, but God’s ways are infinitely greater than our ways. The main part of the passage I focused on were vv. 27-29 where Paul states that God chooses the foolish and weak things of the world to shame the wise and strong in order that no man may boast. What are we as Christians to boast in except the Lord our God? God did not choose me based on my merit, but purely by His grace. And that is reason to praise Him forever.

Thinking about God’s grace in salvation brought me to Deuteronomy, the book that I’m going through in my daily reading. Again and again God reminds Israel that they were not chosen based on who they were, but because of who God is. Because of this they are warned to beware pride in their success and are called to fear the Lord. Deuteronomy 7:7-9 shows Israel that it was the Lord’s faithfulness in His covenant and lovingkindness that delivered them from Egypt into the Promised Land. I especially like v.7 because it states, “The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples”. It totally reminds me of 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 because not only did God not choose the greatest for His people, He chose the least so that all glory would be given to Him.

All of this reminded me of something that I was trying to emphasize during one of our cabin times during family camp this summer. The Old Testament is important. We cannot limit our reading of God’s word to the NT only. I think that’s why I wanted to do a survey of the OT with Hebrews 11 this year, my understanding of the OT was weak. God’s redemptive history spans the complete word of God. And the God of the OT is the same God of the NT. How can we limit our understanding and worship of God by refusing to read the majority of God’s inspired word? Our God is a small God if we do not fully appreciate the God of the whole Bible.  To grasp Jesus Christ, we need to grasp the OT. We need to understand that He fulfilled prophecy, that God is sovereign from the first day of creation to the return of Christ, that salvation is through Christ alone for all people…and there is so much more I could say.

The last thing I was drawn to was the book of Revelation. I think it was very fitting that the guest preacher at Journey spoke on Revelation on Saturday. One point he emphasized was that we get so caught up in our eschatology and understanding things like the beast, that we lose sight of the fact that Revelation is about the Lamb. If we figure out all our eschatology and neglect the Son of God, then we have lost sight of why John penned this letter. My mind went from the Lamb who was slain for our salvation in Isaiah 53 to the same Lamb in Revelation who is worshiped at the throne by the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders (Revelation 4:5-11). The same Lamb who will be praised on Zion by the 144,000 (Revelation 14:1-5). The same Lamb who will prepare His bride for the marriage supper of the Lamb and who will come with a sharp sword from His mouth to judge (Revelation 19). All of this is under the sovereign plan of God. How can I ever doubt His purposes? My final thoughts were on how amazing that all of this is contained in a book. Which I think is the ideal, and it’s crazy to think about how all these letters came together to form the Bible I now hold in front of me. The church fathers who gathered the texts, the blood of the martyrs who died to safeguard the Bible, and the translators who were faithful to the truth.

So why nuclear fission and worship? Well a nuclear fission reaction basically involves a radioactive element, in this case Uranium-235, absorbing a neutron which then fissions into smaller fragments while releasing binding energy. One of these fragments then collides with another Uranium-235 atom to proceed with the reaction, with each subsequent reaction releasing more binding energy. As more atoms fission, more fragments are available to react and cause further energy to release. (I love being a south campus major, our illustrations are so much cooler and nerdy). This is what came to my mind that night. That first neutron of being overwhelmed with studying collided with Psalm 23, causing multiple thoughts of worship and praise to result. Some of these thoughts were small instances of doxology and others led to long rabbit trails of multiple reactions. Each reaction resulted in worship of our great God. Soon, all of those reactions resulted in an overwhelming awe of who God is and what He has done and continues to do. Instead of a huge amount of energy, that small stimulus resulted in a huge amount of praise. It’s incredible to think that we hold in our hands a nuclear reactor waiting to be released and for us to enjoy. And all of these thoughts happened in a span of 45 minutes. Pretty crazy. I think those times are so precious and a sweet foretaste of heavenly worship. Today I opened my hymnal and was reminded of this again in reading the words to one of my favorite hymns- Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing. It says “Jesus sought me when a stranger, Wandering from the fold of God; He to rescue me from danger, Bought me with His precious blood“. How incredible are those words and what a reminder of God’s sovereign sacrifice of His Son for our salvation. And I like the final lines of that same hymn “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love; Here’s my heart, O take and seal it; Seal it for Thy courts above. Amen.” Even though I am so prone to wander, may God take my heart and seal it for His courts above. And may there be many more nuclear fission reactions in the future. (I guess this turned out to be another epically long post. I guess I can only write in those lengths. This was supposed to be a shorter one.)

Child-like Wonder of Creation

5 09 2010

I have a bunch of posts in my mind as always, and hopefully I’ll get one down tonight after some studying. I really like this quote that I saw on the Desiring God blog about the possible exultation God has in what we see as the monotonous ongoing of daily life.

A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony.

But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.

The repetition in Nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical ENCORE.

— G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, p. 42 (paragraphing added)

Thinking about creation as a theatrical encore helped add a new depth to the act of marveling at God’s wondrous work. I can imagine the Grace Church orchestra playing for us when Clayton Erb says, “the instruments now play for us.” All while God orchestrates the miraculous act of sustaining the world. How crazy does Hebrews 1:3 “And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high” become to us when we think of the world with that view?

Permeating Presence of Grace

20 02 2010

It has been such a long time since I posted. I have had all these ideas for posts floating in my mind, but because I have been busy nothing has really resulted from those thoughts. This post has been in my mind since this past June, and I finally decided to sit down and write it. I actually put down the title of the post in August. I guess it takes a lot of motivation for me to sit down write anything. (Warning: I may go on a few tangents just because there are a lot of things I just wanted to insert into this post)

I was in lab working on my transfections in the hood when my mind started thinking about grace. C.J. Mahaney’s sermon from Resolved 2009 called “Who’s Really at Work?” was playing on my phone, and as I heard him preach on Philippians 2:12-13 I was struck by God’s amazing grace. (By the way, I love the book of Philippians, especially as God revealed Himself through it in so many appropriate ways last year. Ahh the epistle of Philippians is so crazy good.)

“So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”

Philippians 2:12-13

Back to grace. How often I talk about grace and fail to understand what grace truly means. Not just defining it in the Greek or doing a biblical survey of the word, but truly how grace impacts my life and my worship.  Do I simply utter the word grace without thought? Or am I humbled and grateful at the unmerited favor God bestowed unto me in my salvation? Do I see how grace continually affects every area of my life?

How to write about such a broad topic as grace? I thought back to a Sunday school lesson James Szeto taught on worship. I remember at the end he recommended to write down how we can worship in every aspect of our life. To write down how we can worship with our attitude, in schoolwork, with parents, and in so many more areas. Going back home and seeing how many ways I could worship really convicted and stuck with me. Side note: I find it interesting that the people we teach often grasp the things we do not emphasize, yet many times we have to endlessly repeat the ideas we want to emphasize. A thought or reflection we brush over quickly in our conversations can impact a small groupie or friend so much. I guess it is just one of the joys of teaching, and a reminder that our lives teach in far greater ways than our words. Anyways, I thought the practice of writing how I can live out 1 Corinthians 10:31 in my life was super helpful. So my thoughts on grace will be more of a list of how marvelous grace is and how it truly does permeate into every nook of my life. Thinking about how God displays grace in my life is pretty amazing because one thought connects to another and then to another, and pretty soon I see His grace everywhere.

The grace of God in my salvation is the most evident working of grace, yet is often the most under appreciated. O how I fail to preach the gospel to myself daily. What grace there is in the work of the cross. I remember thinking in high school how boring my testimony was as I wrote it out for my baptism. I wondered how I might spice it up a bit. But salvation is a miracle of God. A miracle! Do I realize that heaven rejoices over the salvation of a sinner (Luke 15:10)? Hearing a testimony is witnessing God’s miraculous work of salvation in someone’s heart. So many times I lose sight of what grace there is in salvation. The grace of God in regenerating our hearts so that we could be convicted of and repent of our sin. The grace God demonstrated in offering His Son for me, a wretched sinner. The grace of saving me through faith, a faith which is given by grace. I think the only proper response to that type of grace is to be humbled and worship.

The grace of God in giving me faith. Often I wonder why God chose me? Why should I believe, while my friend hardens his heart to the gospel? I cannot answer that question, except by saying because God willed it that way. And I can only respond with thanksgiving. I have been reading through Hebrews 11 a lot for small group, and I appreciate Hebrews 11:1 so much. The second part says faith is the conviction of things not seen. As humans, we look out at creation and typically respond with awe. The unbeliever feels their smallness and admires the power of nature. This is because as Romans 1 says, all of creation testifies of God. The believer, likewise, is humbled in their smallness. Yet, there is a drastic difference between the believer and unbeliever. As we sit on the beach, hear the crashing waves pounding on the shore, observe the reflection of the moon on the ocean, and see the expanse of the heavens with the glittering stars, we cannot help but see God’s hand in all of creation. And what allows us to see God’s sovereignty in His creation? Grace.

The grace of God that allows me to recognize sin and fight sin with the Spirit. I can easily get discouraged battling the same sins over and over. Why can I not be content in God? Why do I allow pride to manifest itself in my thoughts, words, and actions? Why am I anxious? Yet, the very fact that I see sin and desire to remove it from my life is God’s grace. The struggle of Paul in Romans 7:14-25 over his own sin is not something that happens in an unbeliever’s life. God has given us the Spirit of God, so that we would fight against temptation and sin. What grace there is in simply being able to abhor sin in our lives. A further outworking of grace is in being able to take off sin and put on righteousness. Why are we no longer slaves to sin, and now slaves to righteousness? God’s grace in our lives in salvation. We have victory in Christ over sin because of grace! We may wrestle with sin, we may be discouraged, but we ultimately have victory in Christ.

The grace of God in our sanctification. Going back to Philippians 2:12-13, Paul describes the process of sanctification. We are called to do our part in working out our salvation with fear and trembling, and God is at work in us simultaneously. So sanctification requires us to work, while God works in us. The fact that God is sanctifying us is an act of grace. But even greater is the fact that this work is not 50:50. It is not as if I put in half the share of the work and God decides to chip in the other half. God takes the meager offering of my pursuit of holiness and multiplies it a billion-fold to sanctify me. What grace there is that God does the greater part in my sanctification. Also, God removes our guilt of sin so that we can battle sin, and pursue sanctification. It is His grace that allows me to have the hope to pursue holiness.

The grace that God is sovereign over all things and we can trust that He is causing all things to work together for the good of those who love Him. Romans 8:28

The grace that allows us to care for one another, bear others’ burdens, and confess sin to one another.

The grace that God changes our hearts and our lives.

The grace of God toward Israel in promising future restoration.

The grace that we can learn from all the instances of our lives, both big and small.

The grace of being able to take communion and recognize both the weightiness of our sin and Christ’s shed blood.

The grace that God disciplines us in our faith. Hebrews 12:4-13

The grace of trials to strengthen our faith and cause us to give praise to Him. 1 Peter 1:6-9

The grace that the Father provided His Son as an example for us to follow.

The grace that God sent the Spirit to help us live.

The grace that we may have foresight to see the consequences of sin and instead turn toward the immensely more satisfying Christ.

The grace to depend on God.

The grace everyday to deal with the trouble we encounter each day.

The grace that He can take our inadequacy and use it to bring Himself glory.

The grace of God’s promises revealed in Scripture that allow us to anticipate with faith and live with an eternal perspective.

I wish I could expand on all those. There are so many other evidences of grace in my life. I did not even get to the “small” examples of grace in my everyday life e.g. enjoying food with friends ahh KBBQ. I should stop, though, because this post is getting long and I have sound team.

One last thought is related to a hymn we have been singing at GOC, “There is a Fountain Filled with Blood.” (Such a good song) The first stanza goes

There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.
Lose all their guilty stains, lose all their guilty stains;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.

The richness of salvation is so well captured in those words. Yet, those words are just a shadow of the greatness of God’s grace worked out in our salvation. I love the words “plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.” Relating this back to grace, I feel like I commonly narrow my view of God so that I only see a slow trickle of His grace in my life. O that my eyes would be opened anew to see and experience the full blown flood of grace in my life. That as I stand under that massive flood of grace I could honestly declare how awesome is my God!

Sovereignty over Phenomena

11 11 2007

I have long thought over the creationist versus evolutionist debate and seen so much evidence for a universe under the sovereignty of a Creator.  Yet, there are many times I am so engrossed in my Science studies that I begin to forget the power of an amazing God over the phenomena of this world.  I begin to honor creation over Creator and rob God of the glory that He ultimately deserves.  There are a lot of tangents that are related to my worship of creation over Creator, areas of sin I have seen in my life.  I just wanted to share something that encourages me and refocuses my heart when I get caught up in the “laws of Science” and forget my purpose in glorifying God.  A sort of side note, when I was first struggling with these issues as a new believer I finally came to accept the Creationist viewpoint not because of all the scientific evidence, which does help.  Rather, I realized as a believer I accept the Scriptures of God and that means I believe every word of the Bible as part of my faith, despite my comprehension of it. So this verse has always encouraged me when I have times of doubt or questioning,

“But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”

2 Peter 1:20-21

Anyways, as I went through the last few weeks, sometimes in frustration with the wrong motivations, I once again got caught up in my studies.  I began to forsake my understanding of the gracious God who has made all creation from nothing and separated God from nature, as though He had no part of it.  I was encouraged when I read a quote Jess Sum sent me a while ago from A.W. Tozer’s Knowledge of the Holy.  It speaks of a true understanding of nature, one in which we see God instead of seeing the laws of nature.  Where we see His majesty displayed instead of a set of laws that govern our lives. It goes…

“Where the sacred writers saw God, we see the laws of nature. …God ruled their world; ours is ruled by the laws of nature and we are always once removed from the presence of God. ”
“And what are these laws of nature that have displaced God in the minds of millions? Law has two meanings. One is an external rule enforced by authority, such as the common rule against robbery and assault. The word is also used to denote the uniform way things act in the universe, but this second use of the word is erroneous. What we see in nature is simply the paths of God’s power and wisdom take through creation. Properly these are phenomena, not laws, but we call them laws….”
“Science observes how the power of God operates, discovers a regular pattern somewhere and fixes it as a ‘law.’ The uniformity of God’s activities in His creation enables the scientist to predict the course of natural phenomena. The trustworthiness of God’s behavior in His world is the foundation of all scientific truth. Upon it the scientist rests his faith and from there he goes on to achieve great and useful things….”

Every time I read this quote I am encouraged because I know that nature is not a random conglomeration of events of chance gathered together.  Rather, God is behind every action and everything that occurs is due to the purposeful sovereignty of my Father, my God.  How can I not bow before such an amazing God when I see His glory revealed in all creation?  How can I ever place corrupt forms of creations in place of a perfect and holy God?  What we see as the consistency of the universe ought to cause us to rejoice in knowing the immutability of a wondrous God.  I pray that God would ultimately be glorified by all people as they come to the foot of the cross, while knowing and worshiping the God of the universe, the God of our salvation.

“O LORD, how many are Thy works!  In wisdom Thou hast made them all; The earth is full of Thy possessions…Let the glory of the LORD endure forever; let the LORD be glad in His works.”

Psalm 104:24, 31