Tuesday, January 09, 2018

To find ourselves we first must find Christ

“But there must be a real giving up of the self. You must throw it away "blindly" so to speak. Christ will indeed give you a real personality: but you must not go to Him for the sake of that. As long as your own personality is what you are bothering about you are not going to Him at all. The very first step is to try to forget about the self altogether. Your real, new self (which is Christ's and also yours, and yours just because it is His) will not come as long as you are looking for it. It will come when you are looking for Him. 

Does that sound strange? The same principle holds, you know, for more everyday matters. Even in social life, you will never make a good impression on other people until you stop thinking about what sort of impression you are making. Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it. 

The principle runs through all life from top to bottom. Give up your self, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favourite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end: submit with every fibre of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. 

Nothing that you have not given away will ever be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.”

C S Lewis, Mere Christianity 

Monday, January 08, 2018

Grace: nothing but acceptance

Grace strikes us when we are in great pain and restlessness. It strikes us when we walk through the dark valley of a meaningless and empty life. … It strikes us when our disgust for our own being, our indifference, our weakness, our hostility, and our lack of direction and composure have become intolerable to us. It strikes us when, year after year, the longed-for perfection of life does not appear, when the old compulsions reign within us as they have for decades, when despair destroys all joy and courage. Sometimes at that moment a wave of light breaks into our darkness and it is as though a voice were saying: “You are accepted. You are accepted, accepted by that which is greater than you, and the name of which you do not know. Do not ask for the name now; perhaps you will find it later. Do not try to do anything now; perhaps later you will do much. Do not seek for anything; do not perform anything; do not intend anything. Simply accept the fact that you are accepted.” If that happens to us, we experience grace. After such an experience we may not be better than before and we may not believe more than before. But everything is transformed. In that moment, grace conquers sin, and reconciliation bridges the gulf of estrangement. And nothing is demanded of this experience, no religious or moral or intellectual presupposition, nothing but acceptance. Paul Tillich, Shaking the Foundations

Friday, January 05, 2018

Sweeter than honey

“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.” ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭19:7-11‬ ‭ESV‬‬ 

Our relationship with the Holy Spirit breathed Word of God for the follower of Christ is not a routine exchange of information but a supernatural ecstatic experience that touches our whole being.
  • It revives the soul
  • It enlightens the eyes
  • It emparts wisdom
  • It enlivens the heart
  • It captures our desires
  • It enriches our lives
John Piper sums it up like this:

“God is wiser than any wise writer. God is more caring than any counselor. God is more creative than any artist. It simply stands to reason that what God says will be more useful to us than what anyone else in the universe has to say. Not to sit at his feet and soak our minds with his wisdom is sheer craziness.”

Let’s stop being crazy and let God’s, perfect, sure, wise, right, pure, true, righteous, fine, sweet & rewarding Word do it’s supernatural work in our lives.

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Steadfast Hope

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. - ‭‭Romans‬ ‭15:4‬ ‭ESV‬‬ 

The Amplified version adds, that...we might have hope...and overflow with confidence in His promises!

Or to put it another way through the encouragement of scripture we discover the steadfast love of our God towards us, placing hope in our hearts to endure any and every situation.

We have a confidence that, “ALL the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies”. - Psalm 25:10

To us, who are all too familiar with wavering love and disloyalty, in ourselves and others, our cynicism shouts it can not be so. However in reading scripture God takes on our cynicism head on and defeats it time and time again, drawing us closer and whispering to us “steadfast love”.

In 150 songs recorded in the Psalms, many of which were songs of lament by individuals walking a difficult path, God’s steadfast love is mentioned 132 times. 

As we we walk through 2018 we do not know where the path will take us, but we do know that as we are encouraged by scripture, that it will be characterised by steadfast love, faithfulness & hope.

Draw me nearer!

Consecrate me now to Thy service, Lord, 
By the pow’r of grace divine; 
Let my soul look up with a steadfast hope, 
And my will be lost in Thine.

- Frances J Crosby