The other day I viewed part of a pastor’s message which encouraged believers to be responsible for their spiritual health. He was concerned that believers were being too reliant on their weekly visit to their local church and then blaming the church for not feeding them spiritually. He reminded his listeners that if they were not being satisfied in their spiritual lives, then maybe that was simply the result of their not taking personal responsibility for times of spiritual nourishment the other six days of the week.
It has been awhile since I've posted a Tuneful Tuesday entry. This past Sunday I was studying Psalm 121, so this song is a wonderful reminder - that my help comes from the Lord!
I was standing by the toaster oven preparing some breakfast when this song came across the radio:
It's a wonderful hymn, and some great words. But the final line of the bridge started me thinking:
"Jesus we will be faithful till You meet us
Give us Your courage as we finish
We want to hear well done"
And the thought entered into my mind - "What if I don't hear Jesus say to me 'Well done'?"
So I went looking for an answer, and found it at Got Questions, one of my favorite Bible study sites. Essentially it is a matter of doing the things that God has asked me to do - being faithful in the little; making them daily chores, and doing them with delight in order to glorify Him.
I have much to do.
"Why is this powerful, majestic, forest-stripping, lightning-bolt voice so hard for us to hear? How does it radically transform the environment, yet fall ever-so-subtly on our ears? Perhaps we’re listening with the wrong ears. God’s voice is an intense and immensely powerful force, rather than a series of sound waves. Perhaps He issues loud commands to nature’s obedient instruments but whispers His love and guidance to those whose spirits can choose and must relate to Him by faith. Perhaps if He dictated everything to us clearly and decisively, it would be the end of a relationship and the beginning of rote servitude — a condition for which He did not design us. Regardless, we need to understand that the voice we strain to hear isn’t weak. Just one word from God can change any situation at any moment. He may whisper to us, gently guide us, tell us about His plans for us, and counsel us in the midst of our circumstances, but when He issues a command, it’s done. We must never mistake His quietness for reluctance or weakness. We can depend on the power of His voice — even when we aren’t hearing it clearly."
Tiegreen, Chris (2014-09-01). The One Year Hearing His Voice Devotional: 365 Days of Intimate Communication with God (p. 16). Tyndale Momentum. Kindle Edition.
For devotions, I use the YouVersion application on my cell phone. I usually open it and read the selected devotional reading provided for the given day. The other day, the scripture provided was Isaiah 6:3:
"And one cried to another and said
'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
The whole earth is full of His glory.' "
Dr. Stanley Toussaint passed away earlier this week. Dallas Seminary posted one of his messages he shared in chapel. This is a great example of his teaching/preaching.
Another of the great professors I encountered at Dallas Theological Seminary has passed away.
Dr. Toussaint was passionate about the Word of God, but he also deeply cared for the students who sat in his classes. He was firm but fair. He knew the Word and it was a challenge just to hear him speak with such deep familiarity of and love for what God has given me in the pages of my Bible.
I know I shall never attain to levels of spiritual life or Christian influence that men such as Dr. Toussaint achieved. But I am so very glad I had the opportunity to witness real godliness in so many men and women of God - both at Dallas Seminary and at Washington Bible College.
As I was driving home from FCP (the First Church of Panera), the Lord had me consider something.
It's interesting that as the country was dealing with waves of national hatred and an idiotic mindset that considers memorial statues as objects of racism and "white supremacy" (along with associated violence and destruction), God decided to bring about "the storm of a century". In a matter of days, destruction and flooding in one of the nation's largest cities caused the nation to turn from foolishness to a determination of what really matters -- caring for one another.
"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)
As the United States prepares to witness the glorious dance of our sun and moon across our skies, I keep thinking how amazing God is showing us His glory and power in such obvious ways. He truly is one true God, and I love Him.
Jesus said to them, "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but by me." (John 14:6)
My sister and I reminisced the other day about the summer storms we used to have.
They would boil up in the west of our house with dark clouds and the thunder could be heard from miles away. We knew how bad one was going to be just by observing how dark the clouds were coming. We haven't seen storms like that in many years...
“As long as the earth endures,
seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat,
summer and winter,
day and night
will never cease.”
Genesis 8:22 (NIV)
Yet what is mentioned in passing captured my imagination. Here’s the verse:
“Greet Apelles, the approved in Christ.” (Romans 16:10)
One of my favorite passages of scripture from one of my favorite pastors. Psalm 1 is a spiritual goldmine, and Irwin Lutzer does a wonderful job of explaining some of its riches.
He is for me the ideal Hercule Poirot - Agatha Christie's unflappable Belgian detective. And yet many do not know that he is also a Christian with his conversion experience beginning in the late 1980's with a reading of the book of Romans from a hotel Bible.
Now he has a complete reading of the New International Version of the Bible to present; "Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ." (Romans 10:17)
In dealing with the past, I remind myself of the lessons I have learned. I regularly employ such questions as “What if…?” and “So what…?” in finding a way forward. But just as I find a sense of satisfaction with the resolution I have found for the tension within, a verse plucked from God’s Word threatens the calm I thought I had found:
Hebrews 10:25 – “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”