Wednesday, January 30, 2013

"The God to Whom I belong"

...the God to whom I belong... - Acts 27:23, NKJV
The Apostle Paul was able to say that he belonged to God.  That is, God owned him; he was His property.  In his epistles, he would often refer to himself as a "prisoner" or say that he was "bound".  He would use terms like "slave" to refer to himself and other believers.  Remember in First Corinthians when he says that we were bought with a price and we are not our own?  The Apostle Paul realized that Christ purchased him at the cross, and He therefore had rights to do with him as He saw fit.

Do we have this same attitude?  Do I?

I am no less a "purchased possession" than the Apostle Paul, if I am truly a believer in Jesus Christ.  I, too, was purchased at the cross.  There was a transaction--a price paid.  Now Jesus has exclusive rights to me.  He gets to call the shots.  I, however, can choose to resist His claim to authority over every aspect of my life (thereby incurring His discipline)--or I can submit in humility to my Savior, Creator, Lord, and Master.

Which will I choose?  Which will you?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Leave All...And Follow

I have been considering lately the question of whether I have left everything to follow Jesus.

It's an important question.  We are all called to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him.  We are all called to love Him more than the world, more than those dearest to us, and more than our own lives.  But how far have we been tested?

Single Christian, if God called you to leave friends and family (or the hope of family) and go to the mission field, would you?

If God took away your wealth, your health, and your prosperity, would you still love Him?

If you were staring down the barrel of a gun and you had to choose...renounce Christ or die...what would you do?

How much am I willing to give for Christ?  Will I give it all for Jesus--the One Who gave it all for me?

If you're like me, you're thinking...I can't!  As desperately as I want to, there is no way I am strong enough or pious enough to be able to give it all for Jesus--to give Him everything He deserves.  I cannot do it!

So, what do we do?  What do we say?  It's impossible, so God can't possibly expect it of me?!  No indeed!  Which one of God's commandments is possible for the sinner to carry out?  None of them!  Yet, God commands us to be holy, for He is holy.  He commands us to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength...and our neighbour as ourself.  But we can't!  We can't do it!

Exactly!

Just as salvation is a supernatural work of God, so is sanctification.  By God's grace, we aren't unwilling participants (He works in us to will and to do His good pleasure), but we are powerless in ourselves.  He alone has the power!

With men it is impossible, but not with God.  With God, all things are possible.

Apart from [Christ, we] can do nothing!

But with Christ...I can do all things, for He strengthens me!


Father, I know that there is nothing good in my flesh.  I know that there is no strength in myself to carry out Your will.  I also know that there is all strength in You.  You never tire, nor do You grow weary.  With You, all things are possible!  You who are able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we can ask or imagine!  Lord, do a mighty work in us, that we--in the power of Your Holy Spirit--may have the courage to give Christ everything that He deserves!  For He is worthy of it all and so much more!  Allow us to abide in Him and so bear much fruit for Your glory!  Amen.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

What Greater Gift?: a poem

What greater gift could the Father give than what He gave to us--
That Jesus Christ, His only Son, should bleed and die for us?

For blameless, spotless, innocent, He--the Lamb of God--was slain,
Taking upon Himself our sin--bearing all our guilt and shame.

O that He who knew no sin should become sin for me;
That He should bear the wrath of God and hang condemned upon a tree;

Tell me, what greater gift could Love give than what Calvary's Cross describes?
O that I may know its depths--this Love--and in this grace abide.

Yet I shall spend all of time and still, after eternities at His side,
Never shall I know the fullness of this gift--this Love--this sacrifice
Nor shall I begin to comprehend His matchless price.

Sadie Daniels, 2013

Friday, January 25, 2013

Humility, Dessert & The Gospel

Humility.  It's something I need more of.  Without humility I can't pray; I can't read my Bible in a submissive spirit; I can't love people as I ought because I can't put them before myself.  Without humility I can't live the Christian life.  Jesus said that unless we enter the kingdom of God as little children (that is, with humility) then we will by no means enter it (Matthew 18:3,4).

I don't have much humility, but God is always working to build humility in me.  He often uses the mundane (what better way) to do it, too.

Today I wanted to make a dessert to take to my college group.  (If any of them are reading this, they'll be saying What dessert?  Well, that's kind of the point of my story.  haha.)  I got out our Hershey's cocoa powder and there were recipes on the container.  I thought I can't bake anything--I don't have eggs.  But there was a recipe for a no-bake treat.  I thought Great!  Let's do it!

So I went to making those little chocolate-covered oat chews (or whatever they're called).  Except that I didn't know that's what I was making.  I didn't have any oats, so I thought I'd just make the chocolate part.  In my mind, I was seeing the chocolate holding together to make little chewy candies.  No way!  There was nothing I could do to make that chocolate hold together.  What I got was a kind of frosting...but nothing to put it on.  And what was worse...I'd laid it out on a cookie sheet (on wax paper) so to get it into a bowl was near impossible (plus it had cooled to where it was like molasses).  Anyways, it was a mess.  I ended up washing it down the sink.  Fail!

I was rather upset about it.  The recipe used up an entire stick of margarine, 2 cups of milk, and 2 heaping tablespoons of peanut butter.  My family isn't exactly poor, but we can't really afford to waste food like that.  And it was just that--a waste.  I don't like wasting things.  I thought I'd go to the Lord in prayer about it.

While I was praying, I thought of other things I feel I've wasted...time, opportunities, gifts, money, resources...  I've wasted a lot of things.  Do you want to know what's the biggest waste, though?  ME!  Apart from Christ, I'm an absolute waste--a waste of the image of God I was created in; a waste of the gifts that God has generously bestowed in His grace; a waste of a life, really.  There is nothing valuable in me!  If I have any value in the eyes of God, it is because He has chosen to value me apart from anything He can see in me!  And yet, He loves me!  Jesus Christ died to save sinners--wasted lives--just like me!  And He did it in spite of us!  While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us!

Behold...the Gospel.

And you know what happens when God sets His love upon us--in spite of us?  He makes something beautiful--He redeems the waste.

Thank You, God!