The Truth

“Those who follow the Truth need not fear the truth.”

Amen!

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Wasted Time

The sobering reality of how much time I tend to waste/have wasted has hit me this year.  I am saying no more, in Jesus’ name.  God has shown me clearly that if I would hear him more clearly, I need to weed out the many voices in my head that are clamoring for attention.  In His grace, He has reassured me as only God can that He has a wonderful plan for my life.  But I must no longer squander the time I’ve been given on worthless pursuits (which, thank God, I am now recognizing as worthless).  Time to focus the time and gifts He has given me on that which is most important–seeking Him with abandon, like my life depends on it…because, it does!!  Loving others–really loving others, in practical, godly ways.  And helping others to do those two things as well.  (A meditation on the motto of my home church before I move…Hilltown Baptist.)  Dear Lord, give me the grace and strength to persevere and live this year well.

The Beauty of Scripture Memorization

We’re only in the month of May, but I have a strong suspicion that my “Most Influential Book of the Year” for 2016 will be The Spiritual Disciplines of the Christian Life by Donald S. Whitney.

Many in the Church today may cringe at such a title and immediately cry, “Legalism! Legalism!” but the truth is that Whitney takes great pains from the beginning to reveal that that is NOT the book’s purpose, saying, “It’s crucial–crucial–to understand that it’s not our pursuit of holiness that qualifies us to see the Lord.  Rather, we are qualified to see the Lord by the Lord, not by the good things we do” (3).

A few pages later, he emphasizes: “the Spiritual Disciplines are means, not ends.  The end–that is, the purpose of practicing the Disciplines–is godliness.  I define godliness as both closeness to Christ and conformity to Christ, a conformity that’s both inward and outward, a growing conformity to both the heart of Christ and the life of Christ.  This Christlikeness is the goal…”  Who among us, as Christians, doesn’t want that?!  I certainly do…

And finally, perhaps my favorite illustration on pg. 13: “Think of the Spiritual Disciplines as ways by which we can spiritually place ourselves in the path of God’s grace and seek Him, much like Zacchaeus placed himself physically in Jesus’ path and sought Him.  The Lord, by His Spirit, still travels down certain paths, paths that He Himself has ordained and revealed in Scripture.  We call these paths the Spiritual Disciplines, and if we will place ourselves on these paths and look for Him there by faith, we can expect to encounter Him.”  Again, who among us doesn’t want an encounter with the Living God?  So instead of being legalistic and Pharisaical, then, which are burdensome, the Spiritual Disciplines are freeing, opening ourselves up to experience God.

So, that brings me to my point–Scripture Memorization.  Whitney lists this as a sub-discipline of “Bible intake.” This is one that recently I have been seeking to implement into my personal life in recent months, and although I’m still a beginning Scripture-memorizer, I can TOTALLY see why people go on and on about the benefits of it.  Once a verse is in your head, it is stuck there, and the Holy Spirit can use that to convict, comfort, counsel, correct in the precise moment that you need it.

Recently I was contemplating about and praying about the concept of forgiveness. God, how can I truly forgive? What is forgiveness, even?  Incidentally I was working on memorizing 1 Corinthians 13, and it came to me, “Love keeps no record of wrongs.”…That’s it!! I thought esctatically.

Another recent example is from some weeks ago when I was feeling so incredibly lonely.  I cried out to God, and my heart was reminded, I will never leave you or forsake you.  That gave me just the peace I needed in that moment of near desperation.

So, although it is definitely work, and definitely requires discipline, I’m learning that it’s not work for the sake of work.  We also don’t (or shouldn’t) do it for the sake of knowing x number of verses–that is more likely to result in us being prideful and therefore not Christlike.  But if our purpose is to open ourselves up, availing ourselves to Him by giving Him a means to speak into our lives, He can use that!  And another bonus is that if we are hungry for His Word but don’t have access to a Bible at any given moment, we can tide ourselves over with the parts of His Word that we already have stored up inside our hearts and minds.  I am wondering why I waited so long to start!

Here’s to a lifetime of Scripture memorization, and all the blessings that come with it! 😀

Because He Lives

This song makes my heart sing.  I first heard it/sang it in Spanish at the church I have been attending in Cholula, México, and it touched my heart with the mercy of God in a moment that I so needed a reminder of it.  Afterwards, I promptly looked up the English version and asked myself, “Where has this song been all my life?!?”  The chorus of the hymn floods my soul with peace while simultaneously serving as a victory cry.  Life is worth the living just because he lives!!

God sent His Son, they called him Jesus.

He came to love, heal, and forgive,

He lived and died to buy my pardon

An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives!

 

BECAUSE HE LIVES, I CAN FACE TOMORROW

BECAUSE HE LIVES, ALL FEAR IS GONE

BECAUSE I KNOW HE HOLDS THE FUTURE,

AND LIFE IS WORTH THE LIVING JUST BECAUSE HE LIVES

 

How sweet to hold a newborn baby

And feel the pride and joy he brings

But greater still the calm assurance

This child can face uncertain days because He lives.

 

And then one day, I’ll cross the river

I’ll fight life’s final war with pain.

And then as death gives way to victory,

I’ll see the lights of glory and I’ll know He lives.

Before the Throne of God Above

Absolutely love the music of the Gettys…this hymn is wonderful all around, but the second verse is especially meaningful for me, as I daily struggle with feelings of condemnation.  But then the third verse shows that Jesus was and is victorious! 😀

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea.
A great high Priest whose Name is Love
Who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on His hands,
My name is written on His heart.
I know that while in Heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart.

When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin.
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free.
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.

Behold Him there the risen Lamb,
My perfect spotless righteousness,
The great unchangeable I AM,
The King of glory and of grace,
One in Himself I cannot die.
My soul is purchased by His blood,
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ my Savior and my God!

Fairest Lord Jesus

Fairest Lord Jesus, Ruler of all nations, O Thou of God and man the Son.  Thee will I cherish, Thee will I honor, Thou my soul’s glory, joy and crown.

Fair are the meadows, fairer still the woodlands, robed in the blooming garb of spring. Jesus is fairer; Jesus is purer, who makes the woeful heart to sing.

Fair is the sunshine, fairer still the moonlight, and all the twinkling, starry hosts. Jesus shines brighter, Jesus shines purer, than all the angels heaven can boast.

Beautiful Savior! Lord of all the nations! Son of God and Son of man! Glory and honor, praise, adoration, now and forever more be Thine!