Magnifying the Love of Christ

There’s a project I’m working on that will sooner or later make it to this blog.  It has been on my heart lately to just write about the Surpassing Greatness of Jesus Christ – to spend time writing and reflecting on His glory, His character, His work – for no other reason than just to praise Him.  The problem is, every time I sit down to write it, it just keeps getting longer and longer; there’s just so much to say.  I don’t want to do this half-heartedly, so I suppose it will have to wait.

Instead, let me share a prayer this morning from The Valley of Vision:

O Lover to the Uttermost,
May I read the meltings of thy heart to me
in the manger of thy birth,
in the garden of thy agony,
in the cross of thy suffering,
in the tomb of thy resurrection,
in the heaven of thy intercession.
Bold in this thought I defy my adversary,
tread down his temptations,
resist his schemings,
renounce the world,
am valiant for truth.
Deepen in me a sense of my holy relationship to thee,
as spiritual Bridegroom,
as Jehovah’s Fellow,
as sinners’ Friend.
I think of thy glory and my vileness,
thy majesty and my meanness,
thy beauty and my deformity,
thy purity and my filth,
thy righteousness and my iniquity.
Thou hast loved me everlastingly, unchangeably,
may I love thee as I am loved;
Thou hast given thy self for me,
may I give myself to thee;
Thou hast died for me,
may I live to thee,
in every moment of my times,
in every movement of my mind,
in every pulse of my heart.
May I never dally with the world and its allurements,
but walk by thy side,
listen to thy voice,
be clothed with thy graces,
and adorned with thy righteousness.

From The Valley of Vision (Carlisle, PA, The Banner of Truth Trust, 2009) pg. 18.


How Big Is Your God?

“Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!
Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble”
Psalm 107:1–2 (ESV)

Have you ever felt that you’ve gone just a little too far for God?  Like maybe he was able to save you before, but now, well, now you’ve just gone and done it.  The words you said to your spouse, you can’t take those back, the damage is done.  What happened last weekend, you’re still learning about all that happened, and only now beginning to realize the consequences.  You’ve messed up your life beyond the point of no return.  You’ve dug yourself into such a deep pit financially, it would take three lifetimes to repay the debt.  God might have been able to fix things before, but not anymore.

Maybe you’ve sat in church your whole life; you’ve heard the promise of forgiveness, the talk about the power of God, you know all the Sunday school answers.  But the pastor really never knew just how bad things could really get, right?

Listen, even pastors have been there.  Sure the church has existed for 2 millennia, but the problems we pastors face today, we’re not sure if God himself can sort these things out.

We’ve heard the promise of God in Jeremiah 29.  God says, “I know the plans I have for you… plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”  But we know better.  We know the extent of what We’ve done.  We are overwhelmed by the problems we face, and underwhelmed by the potential of God to save us.  We hear the voice of God sighing in dismay, “I know the plans I had for you… but then you went and did this, and said that; I just don’t know if those plans are possible anymore.”

Friends, that’s not the voice of God, that is the voice of Satan, trying to discourage you as you cling to the false image of God you have labored so long to create.

My question for you is, “Just how small is your God?”  I’m not trying to kick you when you’re down, but really.  Is your situation so great that the Almighty God, creator of the universe, could not have provided deliverance?  Is the cross of Christ not sufficient for even this sin, this guilt, that you’re struggling with today?  Is the God who sees blind to your plight?  Is the God who hears deaf to your prayers?  When you’ve resigned from trusting in the providence of God, when you say that God cannot save you this time, you have essentially said that you can create a rock that God cannot move, that you and your situation are stronger than God himself.

Psalm 107 is a Psalm of deliverance, a psalm for you.  God is saying to you today, “you got yourself into this mess, you may feel overwhelmed, but turn to me, trust in me, and I will get you out of it.”

Verses 4–7 (The Message)
Some of you wandered for years in the desert, looking but not finding a good place to live,  Half-starved and parched with thirst, staggering and stumbling, on the brink of exhaustion.  Then, in your desperate condition, you called out to GOD. He got you out in the nick of time;  He put your feet on a wonderful road that took you straight to a good place to live.

Verses 10–11, 13-14 (The Message)
Some of you were locked in a dark cell, cruelly confined behind bars,  Punished for defying God’s Word, for turning your back on the High God’s counsel – Then you called out to GOD in your desperate condition; he got you out in the nick of time.  He led you out of your dark, dark cell, broke open the jail and led you out.

Psalm 107:17–20 (The Message)
Some of you were sick because you’d lived a bad life, your bodies feeling the effects of your sin;  You couldn’t stand the sight of food, so miserable you thought you’d be better off dead.  Then you called out to GOD in your desperate condition; he got you out in the nick of time.  He spoke the word that healed you, that pulled you back from the brink of death.

Let God be God; robust, strong, mighty, able, and willing to save you. Abandon this false god that you have clung to in desperation, the one who isn’t strong enough to carry your burden, the one who couldn’t foresee this trial and make a way through it. Turn to the one, true, living God who is mighty to save.

Our God is greater, our God is stronger
God You are higher than any other
Our God is Healer, awesome and power
Our God, Our God…

And if Our God is for us, then who could ever stop us
And if our God is with us, then what can stand against?
And if Our God is for us, then who can ever stop us
And if our God is with us, then what can stand against?

Our God (is greater) – Chris Tomlin

Grace and peace,