More Precious Than Gold

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The Japanese art of Kintsugi (“golden joinery”) is where cracked or broken pottery is mended with gold.  The finished result is beautiful, functional, and increases the vessel’s worth.  Such is the same in our lives when we allow God to take the gold of His Holy Spirit to the trials, problems, and broken pieces of our lives and bring restoration, healing, and beauty from the ashes.

Smith Wigglesworth once said, “To be molded by the hand of God must become our everything, our all-consuming desire.  When it is, every trial is a blessing, because in everything we see the opportunity to trust Him to purify us further.  As we are able to discern the truth and live as melted gold, as moistened clay, as softened wax, with broken and contrite hearts, we are pliable in the Potter’s hands, as He conforms us to His image.

  • Only melted gold is minted;
  • Only moistened clay is molded;
  • only softened wax receives the seal;
  • only broken and contrite hearts receive the mark as the Potter turns us on His wheel, shaped and burnt to take and keep the mark, the mold, the stamp of God’s pure gold.”

“So that the genuineness of your faith — more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire — may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

~ 1 Peter 1:7

A Prayer for Thanksgiving

“Give us enough trials to keep us strong,

     enough tears to keep us tender,

     enough hurts to keep us humane,

     enough failure to keep us humble,

     and enough faith to keep us confident in You

     O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer.”

~ Taken from Being Still With God, by Richard and Henry Blackaby

photo by Donna Bannister

Settle it on the Front End

I received a prayer request recently from a friend whose loved one needed prayer.  He was having difficulty believing that God could love him.  He felt that he was “too bad” and had “sinned too much”.  But Scripture tells us that God loves us and that He pursues us.  This can be a difficult concept for us to believe and understand when so much in our life is based on the conditional.  It can be especially difficult for those whose earthly father was not as loving as he should have been.

In Experiencing God, Dr. Henry Blackaby says, “The cross, the death of Jesus Christ, and His resurrection are God’s final, total, and complete expression that God loves you.   Never allow your heart to question God’s love.  Settle it on the front end of your desire to know Him and experience Him.  He loves you.  He created you for a love relationship.  He has been pursuing you in that love relationship.  Every encounter He has with you is an expression of His love for you.  God would cease to be God if He expressed Himself in any way other than perfect love!” 

Charles Spurgeon put it this way in his book, Morning and Evening:

“It is ever the Holy Spirit’s work to turn our eyes away from self to Jesus; but Satan’s work is just the opposite of this, for he is constantly trying to make us regard ourselves instead of Christ.  He insinuates, “Your sins are too great for pardon; you have no faith; you do not repent enough; you will never be able to continue to the end; you have not the joy of His children; you have such a wavering hold of Jesus.”  All these are thoughts about self, and we shall never find comfort or assurance by looking within.  But the Holy Spirit turns our eyes entirely away from self: He tells us that we are nothing, but that “Christ is all in all.”  Remember, therefore, 

  • it is not your hold of Christ that saves you–it is Christ; 
  • it is not your joy in Christ that saves you–it is Christ; 
  • it is not even faith in Christ, though that be the instrument–it is Christ’s blood and merits; 

Therefore, look not so much to your hand with which you are grasping Christ, as to Christ; look not to your hope, but to Jesus, the source of your hope; look not to your faith, but to Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith.  We shall never find happiness by looking at our prayers, our doings, or our feelings; it is what Jesus is, not what we are, that gives rest to the soul.  If we would at once overcome satan and have peace with God, it must be by “looking unto Jesus.”  Keep your eye simply on Him; let His death, His sufferings, His merits, His glories, His intercession, be fresh upon your mind; when you awake in the morning look to Him; when you lie down at night look to Him.  Oh! let not your hopes or fears come between you and Jesus; follow hard after Him, and He will never fail you.   “My hope is built on nothing less Than Jesu’s blood and righteousness: I dare not trust the sweetest frame, But wholly lean on Jesu’s name.”

Flowers in My Heart

~ music by Shane Henry, “Amore” from the Album “Beauty in the Struggle”

Recently I saw a quote on Pinterest that said, “I don’t need someone who sees the good in me, I need someone who sees the bad and still wants me.”  Thankfully, there is such a One!  God knows us inside and out.  He sees the bad and still wants us.  He remembers that we are “but dust” and “doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve” or “repay us according to our offenses”.  (Psalms 103:10 & 14)  He is patient, longsuffering, and loves us with a perfect love that can only come from Him.

See wise words below from Tim Keller and remember, God will never leave you or forsake you.  “He who began a good work in you WILL carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”  (Phil. 1:6)

 

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“The gospel is this: we are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.”

– Timothy Keller

Trusting When We Don’t Understand

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I just happened to be reading Tim Keller’s book Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering while recovering from severe burns from a grease fire in my kitchen.  I stumbled upon the powerful piece of wisdom below that was a terrific reminder for me during this time of healing, but is also important to remember no matter what difficult or confusing circumstances we might find ourselves in life.

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Tim writes:

“When my son was around eight years old, he began to exert his will and resist his parents’ directions.

One time I told him to do something and he said,

“Dad, I’ll obey you and do this – but only if first you explain to me why I should do it.”  

I responded something like this:

“If you obey me only because it makes sense to you, then that’s not obedience, it’s just agreement.  The problem is that you are too young to understand most of the reasons why I want you to do this.  Do it because you are eight and I’m thirty-eight – because you are a child and I’m an adult and your father.”

We can easily see why children need to trust their parents even when they do not understand them.  How much more, then, should we trust God even though we do not understand Him.  It is not just that the differential in wisdom between Him and us is infinitely greater than the difference between a child and a parent.  It is not just that He is sovereign and all-powerful.  We should also trust Him because He earned our trust on the cross.  So we can trust Him even when He hasn’t shown us yet the reason why.  He is good for it.”

~ Taken from Pages 153-154 of Walking With God Through Pain and Suffering by Timothy Keller

“I have calmed and quieted myself as a child, like a weaned child with its mother; I am like a little child.”

~ Psalm 131:2

This Frequent Oozing Out of Contamination

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Some days I am much more conscious of my sin than others.  Oh, I am certain that my sinfulness is there and  that I am just as sinful on the days when I am not conscious of my sin.  But one particular day,  a day when I was more aware of my sin, I read the following excerpt from page 285 of “The Gospel in Leviticus”.   May it bless you in the consciousness (and unconsciousness) of your sins as well.

“It is indeed melancholy, my brethren, that we, as Christians, still have so much impurity cleaving to us—that with all our efforts so much evil still works in us—that with all our penitence, prayers and resolves, there yet is this frequent oozing out of contamination—that with all the doings of God to cleanse us, we still have so much cause to hang our heads in shame, and humble ourselves in dust and ashes—that not one of us but would blush and be mortified almost to death to have all our thoughts and feelings suddenly laid open to the inspection of those around us.  But still it is not without its good effects.

  • We need something to keep us humble, to drive us continually to the throne of grace, and to keep us ever mindful of our dependence upon the mercy of God.
  • If we were not troubled with these secret flows of sin, we would be in great danger of growing spiritually proud, negligent, and over-confident. But this keeps us down at the foot of the cross, and ever prompts to more earnest prayer, and keeps the soul from stagnation.
  • It makes us feel the presence and power of the foe, that we may be stirred up to ever-renewed zeal, and be strengthened the more by our trying encounters with the enemy.
  • It helps to soften us towards the failings of others, and to make us charitable in our judgments of offenders.
  • Though it is painful, and keeps us in constant peril of making shipwreck of our faith, I do not know whether I would have it otherwise if I could. I fear that we should be too much at rest and satisfied in this present world, if we were not thus made to feel the inconvenience of living in the flesh.
  • It helps greatly to reconcile us to the idea of dying. It contributes to make our dying day, a blessed day; because it will put an everlasting end to these vexations. Then we shall be delivered “from the body of this death…..

Egypt may pursue us to the sea, and its men of war go with us into the waves, but there shall the oppressor cease. From that flood he shall never rise again.  He shall never reach the other shore, or set foot in heaven.  God shall there take off his chariot-wheels, and he shall pursue and oppress us no more. Oh, happy, happy day! that thus lays all our tormentors forever with the dead…

  • And then, again, this constant consciousness of sin assists in endearing to us the cross and righteousness of Jesus. Though evil ever works within us, we have a remedy.
  • We have an Advocate in heaven ever interceding for us. Though uncleanness clings to us, life and purity flows down through him to cover our unrighteousness and to help our infirmities.
  • With all our weaknesses, in Him we are strong.
  • Let faith but touch the hem of His garment, and healing is at hand.
  • Let the poor sinner but press to Him, and all these disgusting issues shall be as though they were not.

Blessed Physician, that God hath sent to us from the heavens! How precious the virtue that goeth out from him! He healeth all our diseases. His blood cleanseth from all sin.

Allow me, then, my dear friends, to commend this Savior to you. He is what you need; and He is ready to become everything to you that is necessary to complete your peace. You may find yourself full of sin; but He is able to cleanse you. You may be poor and friendless; but He sympathizes with you, and proposes to you eternal riches. In more than angelic meekness, He spreads out His hands to you, and says, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are Heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

Only accept that call, and you shall be blessed forever.”

 “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”

~ Isaiah 1:18

Vast, Unmeasured, Boundless, Free

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I’ve heard it said before that more often than not we won’t remember the words to a sermon, but we WILL remember the words to a song.  I believe this is true and exactly why God told Moses and Joshua:

“I am going to give you the words to a new song. Write them down and teach the song to the Israelites.  If they learn it, they will KNOW what I want them to do…”   (Deuteronomy 31:19)

Because the truth of the song below is important and is something that God wants us to know, I’m sharing it in my blog post this week so that perhaps we will all learn it, remember it,  and know what God wants us to do…

(Click title to hear a beautiful rendition.)

O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!

Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy love
Leading onward, leading homeward to Thy glorious rest above!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, spread His praise from shore to shore!
How He loveth, ever loveth, changeth never, nevermore!
How He watches o’er His loved ones, died to call them all His own;
How for them He intercedeth, watcheth o’er them from the throne!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, love of every love the best!
’Tis an ocean full of blessing, ’tis a haven giving rest!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, ’tis a heaven of heavens to me;
And it lifts me up to glory, for it lifts me up to Thee!

Words:  S. Trevor Francis, 1875