Running despite the odds

“I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” Acts 20:23-24

“Trust Him. Admire Him. Follow Him.”

A little something that I thought you all might enjoy reading… soak it up and live it out.

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One reason to admire and trust Jesus above all other persons is that he knows more than anyone else. He knows all people thoroughly, their hearts and their thoughts. “He knew all men” (John 2:24). “You, Lord, . . . know the hearts of all men” (Acts 1:24). “And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, ‘Why are you thinking evil in your hearts?'” (Matthew 9:4). There is no one who perplexes Jesus. No thought or action is unintelligible to him. He knows its origin and end. The most convoluted psychotic and the most abstruse genius are open and laid bare to his understanding. He understands every motion of their minds.

Jesus not only knows all people thoroughly as they were and are today, he also knows what people will think and do tomorrow. He knows all things that will come to pass. “Jesus, [knew] all the things that were coming upon Him” (John 18:4). On the basis of this knowledge, he foretold numerous things that his friends and enemies would do. “[Jesus said] ‘There are some of you who do not believe.’ For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him” (John 6:64). “From now on,” he said, “I am telling you before it comes to pass, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am” (John 13:19). The reason he foretold these things, he explains, is so that we might know that “he is” – is what? That he is the divine Son of God. “I am” is the name for God in Exodus 3:14 and the designation of deity in Isaiah 43:10. Jesus knows all that will come to pass, and, to help our faith, he says, “Behold, I have told you in advance” (Matthew 24:25).

Jesus simply knows all things. Thus his disciples said, truly, “Now we know that You know all things, and have no need for anyone to question You; by this we believe that You came from God” (John 16:30). The extent of Jesus’ knowledge was a compelling warrant for faith in his divine origin. At the end of his time on earth Jesus pressed Peter, “‘Simon, son of John, do you love Me?’ Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, ‘Do you love Me?’ And he said to Him, ‘Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You’ (John 21:17). Peter did not conclude from Jesus’ knowledge of his heart that he knew all things; rather he concluded from the omniscience of Jesus that he knew his heart. “You know all things,” is a general and unqualified statement that John’s gospel presses on our minds.

The greatest thing that can be said of Jesus’ knowledge is that he knows God perfectly. We know God partially and imperfectly. Jesus knows him like no other being knows him. He knows him the way an omniscient Person knows himself. “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him” (Matthew 11:27). No one but Jesus knows the Father immediately, completely and perfectly. Our knowledge of the Father depends wholly on Jesus’ gracious revelation; it is derivative and partial and imperfect.

Nothing greater can be said about the knowledge of Jesus than that he knows God perfectly. All reality outside God is parochial compared to the infinite Reality that God is. What God has made is like a toy compared to the complexity and depth of what God is. All the sciences that scratch the surface of the created universe are the mere ABCs compared to Christ’s exhaustive knowledge of the created universe. And this knowledge of the created universe is as a dewdrop on a blade of grass compared to the ocean of knowledge that Jesus has of the Being of God himself. God is infinite. The universe is finite. Knowledge of the infinite is infinite. Therefore to know God, as Jesus knows God, is to have infinite knowledge.

Therefore let us bow down and worship Jesus Christ. If we are impressed with the scholarship of man and the achievements of scientific knowledge, then let us not play the fool by trumpeting a tiny chirp and ignoring the thunder clap of omniscience. Jesus alone is worthy of our highest admiration. Jesus alone is worthy of our trust. He can show us the Father (Matthew 11:27). He can give us irresistible wisdom (Luke 21:15). He can see how to make all things work together for our good (Romans 8:28). None of his judgments about anything is ever mistaken (John 8:16). He teaches the way of God with infallible truthfulness (Matthew 22:16). Trust him. Admire him. Follow him.

In awe of Jesus,

Pastor John

(Courtesy of John Piper via Desiring God)

My Nymphios

I have daily “God emails” sent to me and one of my favorites talks solely about the many names of God that are scattered throughout scripture. The history dork in me loves it so much! Anywho, today’s name meant a lot to me and reminded me of some things that He has been teaching me recently…

The Name
God is not content to be known merely as Creator, Lord, or even Father. Incredibly he reveals himself also as Bridegroom or Husband. The Hebrew Scriptures contain numerous allusions to Yahweh as Israel’s divine Husband, and the New Testament presents Christ as the church’s Bridegroom. He is the Holy One who did not cling to his divinity but left his Father’s house to dwell among us, calling us to become one with him in the most intimate way possible. To all of us, male and female, Christ offers himself as our provider and protector, the one who has forever pledged himself in faithfulness and love.

Key Scripture
“Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” Revelation 19:9

Praying the Name

Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting:

“Hallelujah!
For our Lord God Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and be glad
and give him glory!
For the wedding of the Lamb has come,
and his bride has made herself ready.
Fine linen, bright and clean,
was given her to wear.”
(Fine linen stands for the righteous
acts of the saints.)

Then the angel said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’ ” And he added, “These are the true words of God.” Revelation 19:6 – 9

Reflect On: Revelation 19:6 – 9.

Praise God: Whose love endures forever.

Offer Thanks: For Christ’s intimate love.

Confess: Any distrust of God or his ways.

Ask God: To help you perceive his faithfulness.

***

I sometimes wonder why I am so easily frustrated, so quick to complain. My computer breaks down, my call is routed to the wrong person, my car won’t start. Admittedly these are petty annoyances. But they feel so constant, like a stone in my shoe that I can’t shake out. I tell myself my outsized response to such things is not merely a symptom of immaturity but a sign that I may be suffering from a hidden condition. I call it paradisus absconditus, otherwise known as the “paradise lost syndrome.”

You won’t find it listed in a medical dictionary, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

Let me explain. You may have heard of something called “phantom limb syndrome,” a condition in which a person feels sensation in an amputated limb. Maybe paradise lost syndrome works in a similar way. But rather than experiencing sensation in a body part we no longer possess, we experience sensation about a state of being we no longer possess. My theory is this — that whether or not we know it, each of us has some kind of primeval memory of paradise. We have an instinct that tells us we belong there, and when that instinct is thwarted, as it always is, we feel frustrated, cheated, and disappointed. Everyday life contradicts our secret or not-so-secret belief that we were meant to live as the fairy tales tell us — happily every after. And happily ever after often involves our longing for the perfect relationship, one guaranteed to make us happy.

Our instinct for paradise will serve us well if it leads to the realization that our true happiness lies neither in perfect circumstances nor in finding the perfect relationship here on earth. Instead, it lies in restoring the most important relationship we will ever have, one fractured in Eden and one whose brokenness has spread to every other relationship in our lives.

Over and over, the Hebrew Scriptures present Israel’s relationship with God in the most intimate terms possible. He is not just Maker and Lord but also Israel’s Husband. But it also describes this as a troubled marriage because even though God is a perfect Lover, his people are not. Instead, they are broken, infected by sin, unable to trust, seduced by other gods. But still the Lord persists in loving them. Intent on restoring the relationship, he sends prophets to call them back and troubles to bring them home. But nothing works for long. So in a final act of mercy he sends his own Son.

This is why the Bible is best understood, neither as a book of rules nor as a compendium of wisdom, but as a love story, prolonged and painful but one that ends on a tremendous note of joy with the greatest of all celebrations: the wedding feast of the Lamb. This is also why the New Testament reveals Jesus as the Bridegroom whom the church awaits with longing. He is the promise we hope for, the purpose for which we were made. He is the One who is able to deal with our brokenness, to heal our sin, and to woo us back to himself through his powerful, self-sacrificing love. He is the paradise we seek.

Today as you suffer life’s small indignities, don’t allow them to become a source of continual frustration; instead, let them remind you of your longing for something more. Ask the Lord to help you turn your frustrations into occasions for praise as you express your desire to take part one day in the greatest of all celebrations, the wedding feast of the Lamb and his bride, the church.

(Courtesy of Crosswalk.com)

Home for the summer

I was offered a job at Camp Green Cove!! 😀

I can’t wait for a summer full of beauty, adventures, and growth with these young women… will write when I can!

One of my favorites…

Come, thou Fount of every blessing,
tune my heart to sing thy grace;
streams of mercy, never ceasing,
call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
mount of thy redeeming love.

Here I raise mine Ebenezer;
hither by thy help I’m come;
and I hope, by thy good pleasure,
safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
wandering from the fold of God;
he, to rescue me from danger,
interposed his precious blood.

O to grace how great a debtor
daily I’m constrained to be!
Let thy goodness, like a fetter,
bind my wandering heart to thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
prone to leave the God I love;
here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
seal it for thy courts above.

“Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” by Robert Robinson, 1735-1790

Hebrews 11:6

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.