Wednesday, February 23, 2011

bless the Lord, O my soul

Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
The LORD works righteousness
and justice for all who are oppressed.
He made known his ways to Moses,
his acts to the people of Israel.
The LORD is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always chide,
nor will he keep his anger forever.
He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.

As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.

For he knows our frame;
he remembers that we are dust.

As for man, his days are like grass;
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
and its place knows it no more.
But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
and his righteousness to children’s children,
to those who keep his covenant
and remember to do his commandments.
The LORD has established his throne in the heavens,
and his kingdom rules over all.

Bless the LORD, O you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his word,
obeying the voice of his word!
Bless the LORD, all his hosts,
his ministers, who do his will!
Bless the LORD, all his works,
in all places of his dominion.
Bless the LORD, O my soul!

Psalm 103

I am weak... but He is strong. His power is made perfect in my weakness, and His grace is sufficient for me. More than enough. His love is incomprehensible--as high as the heavens are above the earth. He has washed me clean and removed all my iniquity from me--as far as the east is from the west. And he shows compassion to me--like a father.

What a wonderful Father we have.

And to think, "now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." (1 Corinthians 13:12).

I hope this passage of Scripture is as encouraging to you as it has been to me...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

a post about scripture

Please, please watch. I was so challenged and encouraged by this. I know it is 45 minutes long, but it is way worth it.

The Lord has been teaching me lately about Scripture. Just like food sustains my physical body, His Word, along with time spent in prayer and fellowship with Him, sustains my spirit. It is that important. It is just as fundamental and essential to my walk with Him, as nutritional sustenance is to my physical body.

His Word is truth, and I need truth every second of the day--to fight temptation, to discern what it is right, and to be satisfied in my Father and not seek other things to satisfy me. One of the primary ways God communicates to and sanctifies his children is through His Word. My mind and heart are prone to distraction and discontentment, and His truth is the one antidote. It is pure, satisfying, and sanctifying.

Write it down. Memorize it. Meditate on it. Surround yourself with it. Let it move you, captivate you and change you.

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Hebrews 4:12

How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to your word.
With my whole heart I seek you;
let me not wander from your commandments!
I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.
Blessed are you, O LORD;
teach me your statutes!
With my lips I declare
all the rules of your mouth.
In the way of your testimonies I delight
as much as in all riches.
I will meditate on your precepts
and fix my eyes on your ways.
I will delight in your statutes;
I will not forget your word.
Psalm 119:9-16

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


I am heavy today. Heavy with my sin and with my past and with things that I regret. Shame is constantly there to steal my joy and lie to my heart. The gospel is always sweet to me but on days like today I am reminded that it is the one thing that is certain, the only thing I can cling to and the only thing that satisfies me.

In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
Colossians 2:11-14

God made me alive. God forgave all my trespasses. He completely cancelled my infinitely large debt of wickedness that stood between me and Him--all the sins I would commit before I trusted Him as my Savior, and all the sins after. My whole life of sin was nailed to the cross and set aside. A just God put all of His righteous wrath that should have gone towards me, onto His beloved Son, who was perfect and without sin.

"For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."
2 Corinthians 5:21

Jesus, who knew no sin, became my sin for me.

And because of this and only this, can I stand justified before a perfect and holy God; clothed in the righteousness of His Son, because of His great mercy and steadfast love and because He is good.

Clinging to the cross is all I have, and all I need.

"Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!"
Romans 7:24-25b

I am His, and praise God, that is enough.

“There is simply no other way to compete with the forebodings of my conscience, the condemnings of my heart, and the lies of the world and the devil than to overwhelm such things with daily rehearsings of the gospel.”
–Milton Vincent, A Gospel Primer

Saturday, February 5, 2011

...With all of your heart, soul and mind.

I was having a conversation about singleness, dating and marriage with my mentor today and I realized a lot of things (Chelsea you are great) but most of all I was reminded of something really important: I already have a first love. The Lord of heaven and earth is my first love.

I feel like God has laid this verse on my heart today:
Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.
Matthew 22:37-38

Its humbling to think that I have and can become apathetic to this verse and its implications. It is a verse that many people can quote quickly, almost mechanically. But this verse is not mechanical at all. It describes how my relationship with God should be; it is real, living and dynamic. I must love Him with all of my heart (my emotions, passions and pursuits), all of my soul (who I am at my innermost being), and all of my mind (my thoughts, intelligence and decisions). With my entire being that He created, I must love Him.

And He loved me first before I loved Him.

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience--among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved--and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 2:7

The gospel changes everything doesn't it? Ultimately, I am fully justified, fully loved, and fully secure in Jesus Christ. May I never look elsewhere for any of those things... and may I rest in the perfect character of my God and trust that He holds my future. Singleness, dating, or being married is not what defines me, and it is completely secondary to my relationship with my first love.

In C.J Mahaney's words:

‎"Your greatest need is not a spouse. Your greatest need is to be delivered from the wrath of God-and that has already been accomplished for you through the death and resurrection of Christ. So why doubt that God will provide a much, much lesser need? Trust His sovereignty, trust His wisdom, trust His love."

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Beloved, let us love one another.

First, read this blog post. I'll be here when you get back.

Did you read it? If not, go back and read it. It is worth it I promise.

Last semester, the Lord began stirring my heart. He began to open my eyes to physical and spiritual need. The world is full of it, and my selfish heart had been looking the other way. Africa, in particular, was a place that I felt burdened for and my mentor, knowing this, told me to read through the Kisses for Katie blog. So, one night I decided to check it out. It was just me and the Lord in my apartment that night, and He used this post to reveal deep-seated things in my heart that didn't look like Him.

It is times like these where the Lord chooses to reveal Himself and His heart to me in such a deep and overwhelming way that all I can do is be still, worship and most of all, repent. It is during these times that He convicts me in a painfully loving way of the sin that exists in my wicked heart. Do I look on others with the compassion and love of Jesus? Do I give of my treasures, time and myself to the least of these? Do I really count the cost? He is a Perfect Father--a Good Dad. Because of the love and mercy that I don't deserve, I am one of His kids. And because His love is perfect, He is determined to rid me of sin that leads to destruction and make me more like His Son.

The God of the universe loved me and pursued me when I was unlovable.

"For God, who said, Let light shine out of darkness, has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."
2 Corinthians 4:6

I love the way John explains it.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
1 John 4:7-12

Literally, "Because you are loved by God and you know what love is, love others."

I can only truly love others when I am fully and completely satisfied by His real, perfect love for me displayed in His Son.

Christians, if we truly have fallen in love with this perfect God who loved us first even when we cared nothing for Him, shouldn't our lives look like it? Shouldn't we love the things that He loves, hate the things that He hates, and hurt for and minister to a world that is lost and dying?