More Readings From the Pastor’s Desk

Following last weeks blog, I thought I’d share more of what I’ve been reading, what I’ve stumbled upon while studying, or what’s randomly arrived in my inbox.  Enjoy!

  • Update on Notre Dame
    It was shocking to see the massive fire in the attic and roof of the beautiful Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. To think that such a structure which has stood for 850 years could be lost so quickly was astonishing.  But as this article from the Gospel Coalition points out, while tragic, we shouldn’t be quick to say that this fire is not a moral lesson.
    This is another excellent articlefrom PCA Ruling Elder and writer for National Review, David French on how the Notre Dame fire affects all Christians, and the hope we can find in the midst of the ashes.
  • The Love of God
    I’ve been doing research on 1 John 4:19, “God is Love,” and found two interesting articles I wanted to share.  The first is from A.W. Pink’s book, The Attributes of God. If you click here, it will take you to the chapter on the Love of God, but the entire book is available on the website for free. It is a great read and I highly recommend it.
    Second, I love the hymn by Frederick Lehman, “The Love of God,” particularly the final verse

Could we with ink the ocean fill
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Tho’ stretched from sky to sky.

In researching the hymn at Hymnary.org, I came across this note:

The first two stanzas are Lehman’s own work. The third, by his own account, he added based on lines “found written by a demented man on the wall of his narrow room in the asylum where he died”; those words are a translation of an Aramaic poem, “Haddamut”, written ca. 1050 by Rabbi Meir of Worms, Germany. They hearken back to the 31st Sura of the Qur’an, where one reads
If all the trees on earth were pens, and the ocean were ink, replenished by seven more oceans, the writing of God’s wonderful signs and creations would not be exhausted; surely God is All-Mighty, All-Wise.

If you read the hymn in its entirety, it is undoubtedly Christ-centered and God-honoring, but it is interesting to note the source of the material.

  • Sunday’s Coming
    If you’re not familiar with S.M. Lockridge’s Good Friday message, make sure to take a moment and listen. I listen to this each year as I prepare for the celebration of Good Friday and the Resurrection. I find the video distracting, so turn up the volume, and just listen.
  • Daily Dose of Greek
    In case your thinking to yourself, “I wish I had a way to learn to read and understand Biblical Greek” (and let’s be honest, who isn’t thinking that), here’s a great, free, website to help you out. They even have apps for your smart phones and tablets. If you’re serious about learning, I’d even be willing to start a Greek New Testament reading group.
    I anxiously await your calls.
  • Pastors are Special
    At the risk of seeming self-serving, I share this article that I read today. I don’t share this to garner your pity, but because I would agree with everything he has said here, and seek your prayers for the effectiveness of my ministry, and my diligence for the work before me.
  • I Miss B.C.
    Finally, I came across this old comic strip and it reminded me how much I miss reading Johnny Hart’s B.C. comic with my dad on Sunday mornings.easter comic

God’s Love Song

“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.”
(Zephaniah 3:17, ESV)

Those of you who read yesterday’s post know this has been a busy week.  Christi’s slowly getting better following her concussion on Monday, and we appreciate your prayers. 

I wrote last week that I usually have my sermons finished on Thursday so I can spend the rest of the weekend praying for and over the message.  Well, its 12:30 Friday morning and still nothing is written.

Here’s the thing: There’s too much in this passage for me to even begin to preach it fairly.  I weep just thinking about it.  That my God loves me so much, he would come to the middle of my messed up life – where my priorities are so out of whack, my affections are all centered around myself, where my pride and selfishness try to quench every flame of the Spirit – that God should show me such love is unimaginable. 

I don’t deserve this.  I don’t deserve that God should remove the injustice I have done and the deceitful tongue from my mouth, that He should cover my sins with the righteousness of His beloved Son.

I don’t deserve the joy I know in His peace and forgiveness.  Too often, I abuse His peace with a lazy and slothful devotion to God, I treat His forgiveness as license to sin even more.  Other times, when overcome by a new sense of committment to the Lord, I fall deeper into despair because I know that I cannot possibly live up the standards of rigorous service before the Lord (inspired by Baxter, Edwards, McChayne, even Piper, and Chan) and I am racked with guilt over how I have let God down with my life.  I should be doing more, right?

Yet the Lord is with me in this mess, in the middle of all my misplaced affections and misfiring devotions.  My savior is mighty to save, mightier, even, than myself and all of the obstacles I seem to want to throw in His way.  God’s even able to support me as He weans me from the things I thought were so important: the need to feel validated, important, right; the struggle to appear strong, unmoved, self-reliant.  Instead, I am learning to be content in all things, because in all things I know that the Lord is with me.  I am learning to delight in the Lord, and have found Him (not all the other trappings of religion, politics, or success) to be the desire of my heart.

I delight myself in God, and find Him rejoicing over me!

He is rejoicing over me – exulting over me (and not just me, all who call upon Him) with singing.  Not how about that.  God is singing over me.  I like to sing.  I like to sing to God.  I like to, when no one else is listening (or at least not close enough for me to hear them complain) pull out the guitar and sing my praises to God.  But God is already singing over me.  How often do I stop to listen, to revel in, to soak up, God’s love song over me?  How often do you?

His love will quiet you – His love will quiet me.  Just dwelling on His love for me in Christ, how He rescued me when I was lost in sin, how He cleansed me from my guilt by His precious blood, how He delivered me from death by dying for me, how He gave His Spirit that I might trust in and walk in holiness with Him – that love, before it makes me sing – quiets my soul.  It moves me to tears, tears of joy and I rejoice in the love of God, as I delight in Him who delights in me.

Brothers and sisters, may you to know this love.  “Delight yourselves in the Lord, and He will give you (He will be) the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).

SDG