Thursday, December 22, 2016

An Interview with God

    Also draw out the spear,
    And stop those who pursue me.
    Say to my soul,
    “I am your salvation.”
Psalm 35:3

When I am in trouble, and especially when I am under attack, I need the Lord to act upon more than my situation, to bring it to a close. I need the Lord to act upon more than those who attack me, to thwart them and to bring them to justice.

I need the Lord to act upon my own soul. I need for Him to remind me of what I know--that He is my salvation. I need this bedrock truth reaffirmed as the central operating principle of my life. I forget the gospel so easily. I feel the truth of the gospel so superficially.

And yet, it is the gospel that I need. How does the Lord "say to my soul"? How does He breathe out those words? He has done so already on the pages of Scripture (2Tim 3:16), which He has given me not only to read, and hear, but also to pray, and sing. And His Holy Spirit does the work of writing those truths upon my heart.

Oh blessed fellowship of divine conversation! This is what I need more than the removal of any distress or defeat of any enemy: an interview for my soul with the Living God.

Mercy for Ministers

"Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord." 1Ti 1:2

The apostle commonly greets his readers with grace and with peace, but in addressing his true son and ministry protégé, he adds mercy.

God's grace and peace are always merciful, but for us for whom the calling and task seem always too high, too holy, and too hard, this is a necessary reminder.

As the opening lines of Ps 51 have it, "God be merciful to me; on Thy grace I rest my plea."

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Christ Is Our Hope

1Timothy 1:1 "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ, our Hope."

Like Timothy, I need reminding this morning that God's call upon me as an elder is not merely an offer or a suggestion but a commandment.

A commandment from God, my Savior, whose call is part of His marvelous and merciful work to prepare me for glory.

A commandment from God, His church's Savior, who is pleased to employ  such earthen vessels for his work in every member.

A commandment from Christ, who is my and their hope. We hope in Him, not in ourselves, so let us obey Him rather than ourselves. This hope is sure, so let us persist cheerfully and diligently in what He has commanded.