Friday, November 20, 2009

Faith in God’s Faithfulness

"There are seasons in the lives of all when it is not easy, no not even for Christians, to believe that God is faithful. Our faith is sorely tried, our eyes bedimmed with tears, and we can no longer trace the outworkings of His love. Our ears are distracted with the noises of the world, harassed by the atheistic whisperings of Satan, and we can no longer hear the sweet accents of His still small voice. Cherished plans have been thwarted, friends on whom we relied have failed us, a professed brother or sister in Christ has betrayed us. We are staggered. We sought to be faithful to God, and now a dark cloud hides Him from us. We find it difficult, yea, impossible, for carnal reason to harmonize His frowning providence with His gracious promises. Ah, faltering soul, severely-tried fellow-pilgrim, seek grace to heed Isaiah 50:10, "Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of His servant, that walketh in darkness and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God." A.W. Pink

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

God’s Faithfulness and Dependability

In John Bunyan's classic book, "Pilgrim's Progress", our heros depart from the path and become prisoners, locked in the dungeon of Doubting Castle which was ruled by the merciless Giant Despair. Pilgrim and his companion are beaten daily and deprived of all sustenance. When they are at their wits end, suddenly Pilgrim remembers that in his pocket he has a key called "promise" that will open any lock! Sure enough, the key opens the cell door, the dungeon door, and the castle door. Pilgrim and his companion run to freedom!

Nice story- what's the point?

God's faithfulness can be defined as his commitment to be 100% faithful to his word. God's faithfulness and his Word are linked together in scripture. That means God's faithfulness is seen in his promises. God gives us many promises – things he pledges to do or be for his people. And God is absolutely faithful to keep his word!

But those promises do us no good if they stay in our pocket. God has given us promises for eternal life, for help in trouble, for guidance and wisdom, for protection and refuge. But they don't do us any good if they stay in our pocket. When we are trapped in doubting castle, abused by a giant despair (ever been there?) we've got to take the promise out of our pocket!

We glorify God when we take him at his word. Let's lean on him and lean into him. He is faithful, we can depend on him. Let's honor him like little children who trust and rely on their father (fathers really dig that!)

"The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold." Psalms 18:2

The well wisher of your soul's happiness,

Pastor Tom

(Click here for passages to meditate upon this week)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

God’s Grace and Sufficiency

"This is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it" 1 Peter 5:12

A lie has entered the hearts of many sincere believers. It goes like this, "Yes, you are saved by grace alone, but now it is your turn. You begin the Christian live by grace, but staying 'in' and moving forward is up to you". This lie, which contains a kernel of truth, inevitably leads to disease and despair. From this lie springs legalism, self sufficiency, performance based religion, spiritual pride and presumption, as well as spiritual depression.

The truth that sets us free is this: we not only begin our Christian lives by grace (saving grace) – we live our Christian lives by grace (sustaining grace). It may seem counter intuitive, but the way to stay connected to the grace of God is to stay connected to your sin and weakness. As my awareness of the depth of my sin and the frailty of my weakness increases, so also increases my need for and dependence on the grace of God.

Happy is the man, despairing of his own efforts, finds himself shipwrecked on the shores of grace! He needs saving grace, sustaining grace, empowering grace, forgiving grace, consoling grace, restoring grace, encouraging grace, helping grace, and, well, you get the idea.

Q: To whom do we turn for such grace? Who would give stumbling, faltering, stubborn, weak children the grace they need?

A: "The God of all grace" 1 Peter 5:10

The well wisher of your soul's happiness,

Pastor Tom

(Click here for passages to meditate upon this week)

(Click here for "Grace by Which I stand" by Keith Green)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

God’s Sovereignty

Sometimes we may think of God's sovereignty as an "in-over-our-heads" bit of theology best left to the theologians to hammer out. But every promise, grace, and consolation given to us is based on the sovereignty of God. Consider what might be the best promise of them all:

"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28)

Paul assures us that God is a worker with a purpose. And his purpose is to work all things for the good of his beloved. And the foundation that makes this promise secure is the sovereignty of God.

Sovereignty is God's ability to do all that he will. It is God's power, purpose, and will all coming together. Without a sovereign God, this promise is hollow. Only a God in control of all things can assure us that he is working all things for our good.

That is especially precious when "all things" don't look so rosy. Colds, car wrecks, congress, conflicts, and even cancer are part of "all things". And God is at work in "all things." No, I won't even try to sort that all out, I'm not that smart.

All I know is that God is great and God is good. And he is working all things according to the counsel of His will (Eph 1:11). There is not even a rogue molecule in the universe outside of God's sovereignty. And He can bring even the horrendous evil of the crucifixion of Christ to become the greatest good of mankind.

Rather than theologize, I will (try!) to honor Him as king, submit to His Lordship, and rest in his care.

"When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul." (Psalms 94:19)

The well wisher of your soul's happiness,

Pastor Tom

(Click here for passages to meditate upon this week)