Quips and Quotes
"We do not earn or merit anything by taking refuge in God. Hiding in something makes no contribution to the hiding place. All it does is show that we regard ourselves as helpless and the hiding place as a place of rescue." John Piper

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Jesus Came to Abolish Religion!

 This video is thought provoking, at least it was for me.


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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Think On These Wondrous Things! And Have a Joyous Christmas!

"But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart." (Luke 2:19)

Mary Had a Mindset Beyond Her Difficulties

Regardless of the stigma society placed on Mary for having been pregnant out of wedlock, and the shame that others connected to her as the babe grew within her, regardless of the scorn she received from onlookers, she choose not to think on those things. 

Rather Mary treasured in her heart what was true - she had given birth to Messiah and was now seeing God confirm for her, through the shepherds, that it was indeed so. She was thrilled at what God was bringing to pass. She thought on these miraculous and marvelous happenings which were unfolding before her very eyes.

What About Me?

Should it be any different in my own life? Should I not ponder and treasure how God is at work within me to sanctify me, to change me daily into the image of His Beloved Son? Everyday, every moment, Christ is abiding in me. The Holy Spirit teaches me the things of God and comforts me in any affliction. Everyday, my Triune God speaks truth into my life. Everyday He walks with me and tells me that I am His own. He is actually my Father; Jesus is my friend, brother, Savior and Lord; the Holy Spirit dwells in me and reveals these glorious details to me. Everyday He is proving Himself to be more than I ever dreamed or imagined.

A Mindset That Leads to Worship

These are the things that I should be thinking on and when they are, worship just happens. With every thought that Mary treasured, her mind was taken upward to behold her amazing God. This is worship. This is adoration. This is pure delight in the Lord's presence!

A Mindset That Reveres Scripture

And this treasuring of the things of God as they unfold in my life is exactly what I am commanded to think on in Philippians 4:8. "Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is just, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things."

Certainly we can say, "God is truth (John 14:6). He is just, Who died for the unjust (1 Peter 3:18). He is right and righteous altogether (1 John 3:7). He is pure and holy without any taint of sin (Habakkuk 1:13; 1 Peter 1:15-16). He is the loveliest of ten thousand and more (Psalm 135:3). He is of the most glorious repute, having been bestowed with the Name which is above every name (Philippians 2:9). He is excellent in greatness (Psalm 150:2) and in name (Hebrews 1:4). And is there anyone or anything more worthy of praise than our gracious and kind God (Psalm 146:1)? Absolutely not!

A Mindset That Becomes a Way of Life

The command in Philippians tells us to dwell on these things, to let our minds be governed by what is true, etc. So when are we to think in this way? Is it to be just at Christmas time? We see Mary dwelling on these things at her Son and Savior's birth, but did that mindset change once Jesus was walking, growing older, becoming a man? 

In Luke 2:51-52 we see Jesus at the age of 12. He had grown and was now considered a man by Jewish culture. He had gone with His parents to Jerusalem for Passover. When they left to go back home to Nazareth, He stayed behind at the temple, unbeknownst to them. Luke 2:46 tells us, "...after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions." 

After finding their Son, they left with Him to travel back home. Once more in Luke we read, "And He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and He continued in subjection to them; and His mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men."

Twelve years after His birth, we find Mary still pondering on the wonderful workings of her God as they unfolded in her life. This mindset had become her habit. 

This mindset would be the very thing that would enable Mary to face the crucifixion of her Son and continue to trust God when her life would otherwise have fallen apart.

A Mindset That Speaks of the Very Heart Of Christmas

And so it should be for me and anyone else who knows the Savior. He is so very personal to His beloved ones, to those who trust and revere Him. How can we fail to let our minds think on those things He shows us? And then how can we not worship this precious One who came, as a lowly babe in human flesh, the Just One, Who died for the unjust so that we might know and love Him and be loved by Him?

Surely this is the true meaning, the very heart and essence of Christmas!

"Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on the earth." (Colossians 3:2


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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

God is Not Only Able, He is Also Willing

"Prayer is not overcoming God's reluctance, but laying hold of His willingness." 
A. W. Pink

Matthew 15:21-28, is an account of a woman who refused to give up asking Jesus to rescue her daughter, who suffered greatly. We read, "And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, 'Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.' But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, 'Send her away, for she is crying out after us.' He answered, 'I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.'  But she came and knelt before him, saying, 'Lord, help me.' And he answered, 'It is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs.' She said, 'Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table.' Then Jesus answered her, 'O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.' And her daughter was healed instantly."

Who was this woman?

This woman was not a Jew. In fact, she was a Canaanite, a people who, historically in the Old Testament, were bitter enemies with the Jews. These gentile people were idolaters, known, in the Old Testament, for sacrificing their children to their gods. But this woman was pleading for her child to be made whole.

How and what did she know about Jesus?

It is quite amazing then that she would even approach Jesus. In reading the story, Jesus seems to be very reluctant to respond favorably to her and her request. She seems to be a bother to Him, in fact. But this is simply not the case, as we shall see.

Somehow this woman knew some very basics facts about Jesus. She must have seen Him healing others and heard the many accounts about Him that swirled about the region - accounts of those who had not been refused by Him. 

She knew He was the "Son of David", a title that acknowledged Him as the Messiah, for she cried out to Him by that name. She also called Him "Lord" indicating that she regarded Him as her master. She implored Him for His mercy, knowing that she needed that for her soul and for her life. She knelt before Him in worship, recognizing Him as One who was sovereign over her.

What made this woman so confident in approaching Jesus?

This woman knew who Jesus was. And in knowing who He was, she also knew His character. She knew He never refused those who came to Him. She knew and believed that He would not refuse her either, even though she was a gentile of the most vile reputation (being a Canaanite) and even though she was a woman (regarded by men at this time as mere chattel with no rights whatsoever). Above all else, she knew and believed that Jesus delighted in giving to those who loved Him the deep longings of their hearts. She knew how very good and willing He was and so she approached Him with great confidence.

This Canaanite woman knew Christ was willing and therefore would not give up asking of Him even when it appeared that He was refusing her. She was not seeking to overcome His seeming reluctance, but was undertaking to lay hold of His gracious willingness. 

Am I as confident and persistent as the Canaanite woman?

Our understanding of the Lord's willingness is crucial to actually receiving what we ask for. In this story, it is a foregone conclusion that if this woman had not persisted in her asking, had she walked away dejected because of what seemed to be a refusal by Jesus, she would not have been commended for her faith, nor would her daughter have been healed. 

So, how willing are we to persist in prayer? Are we as determined as this woman, desperate for Christ? We must not give up asking what we know God is willing to give, which is just another way of thinking about what it means to pray according to His will (1 John 5:14-15). He is able and willing to give when we pray in this way. 

Moving Mountains

We don't believe You're able.
We don't believe You would.
We don't think You are willing.
Don't think that You're that good.
"All things are possible", said Christ.
"Through Me, so just believe."
"A mountain moves because you ask
And know that you'll receive."

So why do we not ask of You?
Your promise to fulfill;
We think, "Yes, God is able,
But is this thing His will?"
We might think You are able.
But we don't believe You would.
We don't think You are willing.
Don't think that You're that good.

Today, like every yesterday,
Lord Jesus, You're the same.
You preached Good News, healed all the sick
Who called upon Your name.
Of those who came and asked of You,
Not one was turned away.
Is mountain moving harder now"
Is God not good today?

Yes, we believe You're able.
We think You surely could.
But we don't think You are willing.
Don't know that You're that good.
Our God moves mountains with great ease.
He's done it from the start.
He moves a mountain every time
He tames a rebel heart.

No, mountain moving is not hard;
It causes God no grief.
The thing that's hard is my own heart.
Lord, help my unbelief!
O, I believe You're able.
And I want to know You would.
I want to know You're willing -
To know that You're that good.

O, move this mountain in my heart -
This mount of unbelief.
Through You all things are possible.
Please, Lord, help me believe.
O Savior, may I from this day,
Yes, from this very hour
Trust fully and completely in
Your mountain moving power.

O, yes, I know You're able.
And I know You surely would.
You are so very willing.
You are so very good.
If I could simply comprehend
The goodness of the Lord.
I'd understand His willingness
And prayer would be out-poured.

He'd answer each petition
For His glory, then I would
See that He is so willing,
That He is so very good!
It's not that You are willing, Lord;
Nor even that You would.
But that You do move mounts each day
For Your glory and my good.


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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Teach Me, My Lord, to Pray! Yes, Teach Me to Pray!

"And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the holy Spirit to those who ask Him!" (Luke 11:9-13)

What an invitation! What an opportunity!

And the book of James tells me, "You do not have because you do not ask" (James 4:2b). There is far too much truth in that. So once again, this morning, I am asking of the Lord, as did the disciples, to teach me to pray (Luke 11:1). Notice that they did not ask Jesus to teach them "how to pray", but simply "to pray". I am asking Him to increase my faith so that in my asking, I know He will answer since He is not only able, but also so very willing because of His great goodness, mercy and love.

I am asking Him to burden me with His purposes and call me to pray for those very things that He has determined will be accomplished through prayer (Matthew 6:10). I am asking Him to call me to pray without ceasing (1Thessalonians 5:16-18) so that I may see Him and His answers also without ceasing and be filled with joy in glorifying Him in those prayers (John 16:24; John 14:13).

Yes, and I am asking Him to teach me to pray so that I may behold His beauty (Psalm 27:4). Sitting at my Savior's feet I am thereby made rich all the day with His presence and His unbounding joy. I am asking Him to teach me to pray so that, by beholding Him, I may become transformed into His likeness and be less like myself (2 Corinthians 3:18). I am asking Him to teach me to pray because, most of all, I want more of Christ, I want more of my kind Father and I want more of the sweet Spirit filling me with their fullness each and everyday.

I want more of this incomprehensible Triune God, who, out of His great heart of love, mercy and grace has poured out upon me such a kindness that can never be known apart from Him. It is not possible to describe the love I find in His presence when I commune with Him. He is love! So my heart swells with great waves of His affection heaped so generously within me and upon me that I am filled to overflowing with Him and all that He is.

But distractions abound when I ask Him to teach me to pray!

And yet, with this effusive beneficence found at my Savior's feet, I can actually get so distracted in the wee hours that I miss out on Him. I can listen to the demanding needs of the day and forsake time spent at the throne of grace for the sake of doing some menial task, which is soon undone, only to have to be done again. And can I not do that task after I meet with the Lord? Will it not be there for me then? Of course it will!

By neglecting time with my Lord, I remain in my poor, forgetful, drowsy state for the remainder of the day. I am not rich with His love or kindness toward others, especially in my thoughts. Since I have not partaken of His wisdom (James 1:5), I will be prone to my own discretion, which is simply moral and so ordinary and most of the time just plain wrong. Any ethical unredeemed man or woman could produce and does produce this lowly wisdom. But I want the wisdom from above that "is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere" (James 3:17). This is not ordinary earthly wisdom, which is all I am capable of without having invited Wisdom Personified into my day.

And what else will I lack having had no time for my Lord? When temptation confronts me, I may not even be aware (sleepy, as were the disciples in the garden with Jesus) for I have not watched and prayed with Him. I will cave in or at best, I will crave that which is set before me (though I will probably say "no" to it), instead of possessing a passion and love so significant for my Savior that nothing touches my joy in Him. Temptations loose their power when I abide with Christ and He with me.

Of course joy will be absent, as will peace, contentment, patience, a soft answer, assuming the best of someone, thoughts that honor Christ. But most of all, I give up the sense of His sweet, empowering presence and my overarching love for Him.

So I continue to ask, "Lord, teach me to pray!"

Obviously, I must continue to ask Him and never cease to ask Him to teach me to pray (this is a request that can never end for me). And in my asking of Him, often that sounds like, "Dear Father, keep my heart focused on You. Help me to not be drawn away from You right now." 

And herein, I believe, is the key to learning to pray - to never come to a place in which I think I've learned to keep this divine and divinely appointed communion. For, reiterating, every morning, without exception, I am assaulted with the demands of the day, which, if I heed them, will rob me of the one essential thing - meeting with my God.

Father, how good You are! You give Your child Your ear so graciously and freely. You have nothing but good ordained for me. And as You said, Lord Jesus, as a parent, I delight to give my children what they ask for. How much more, then, do You delight in giving me that which I request, for You are completely free of any heart defect. You are perfect and holy and the very definition of LOVE. It is to You that I pray; it is to You that I come; it is in You that I trust; it is You that I want.

Teach me, my Lord, to pray! Yes, teach me to pray!


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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

"If I am Being Perfected in Christ, Why do I Keep Sinning (So Often)?" Or, "I Just Keep Getting So Dirty While Camping Here Below!"

So, I am beginning to understand (after much perplexity), why I just cannot seem to get this Christian life together. After all, I’ve been a Christian now for 39 years. By now, I should have figured it out - you know, “practice makes perfect”, right? WRONG!!! 


Camping in the Dirt 

Before I go any further, you must know about a camping trip I went on with my entire family 31 years ago. This story will help both of us (you and I) sort out the spiritual truths I’ll be referring to later in this post.

First, let me set the scene for the camping trip. Our youngest child was 2 years old at the time. My husband and I had four children in tow. Also, camping with us were both of my siblings - my sister, Kate, her husband and their three children and my brother, Richard, his wife and their three children. Our parents also joined us. As an added point of interest, all three of us siblings had daughters, all three of them born in 1980, who were now two years old (or very close to being 2).

We camped up in the mountains, surrounded by beauty. You know the scene - an infinity of pungent pine trees in countless shades of green, a beautiful glassy indigo lake, big billowy white cotton-like clouds. You’ve been there, right? But there was more dirt, more fine brown powdery, yet clingy earth than there was anything else. Dirt was absolutely everywhere - on the ground, in our tents, in the trees hanging over our heads, in our shoes, on our picnic tables, and all too often on us as well.

The three two-year olds had a ball. Laura, my brother’s daughter, was the oldest. The next oldest was our daughter, Bethany, and the youngest was my sister’s daughter, Stephanie.

Can you imagine three toddler girls, all dressed in pretty pastels, looking so cute, hanging close to their mommies in this new, unfamiliar and strange place? Well, imagine again. Two of the toddlers did just that. Two of the three barely took a single step away from Mom. Two of the three stayed clean because they didn’t venture out.

But one of the three decided she wanted to explore. Can you guess which one? Of course, it was my munchkin! Bethany was all over the place. As a result, dirt followed her everywhere. Cute, demure little thing - blond hair, blue eyes, button nose, sweet smile, dressed in pink - covered in dirt!

So I gave her a bath, as difficult as that was in a place that had no showers. But scrubbing the dirt off only gave her new opportunity to redecorate herself with grub all over again. Off she’d go, tumbling to the ground, and of course that meant the front and back of her clean clothes, her hands, face and other surrounding body parts were once again gritty and grimy. She reminded me of “Pig Pen”, the Peanuts character that has the “air” of dirt always floating about him whenever he walks. Dirt followed my toddler too. It hung like a dark cloud above her. But she had fun, and she also had so many baths!

Bethany and I got to know each other more on that camping trip than in the previous two years since her birth. She was continually in my arms as I scrubbed her clean all over again. She loved to explore and discover and I wanted that for her as well. But I also wanted to her to be clean, though I knew a little dirt wasn’t going to hurt her. After all, we were camping and dirt happens when you camp. It is just so very prolific.

Living Below in This Old Sinful World  

Now that you have that picture of my toddler daughter, you’ll also have a picture of me, here below in this sinful world. Not only am I surrounded by sin (dirt), but I still have a remnant of sin within me - a propensity to sin, buried deep in the recesses of my heart that is inextricable. Though Christ has delivered me from a lifestyle of sin, which I loved, I do still sin. And I sin everyday.

My Sin is Different Now That I Know Christ 

My sin is different now, however. No longer am I running after sin and embracing it. I now run after Christ and embrace Him. No longer do I love my sin. I now hate it and I adore my Savior. I want so much to bring Him glory. I want so much to do His will and be used of Him. I want so much for His love through me to impact others so that they too can know Him and His extravagant grace. And how I long to worship Him!

My sin is different now. Though I sin as much as I did before, my sin is much more inward than outward. (Of course, lest you get the wrong idea, I also sin outwardly. Just ask Robert. No don’t, on second thought!) Now my sin consists mostly of grumbling about some silly thing that has annoyed me; or an attitude toward my husband that is disrespectful (there, I said it); I am ungrateful; and pride rears it’s hideous head everyday in my heart. When I am obedient, I congratulate myself - pride. When I worship in song with the saints, my thoughts are elsewhere, not on the Lord. Or, worse, I am thinking how others, hearing me sing, must be so blessed. (Oh! I said that too - so prideful and blasphemous!). Oh, how I hate that! So even my obedience is tainted with sin. (As I write this post, I must continue to confess the pride that tells me how admired I will be by those reading it. Yuk!)

My sin is different now. It seems so much worse than ever before. Shouldn’t I be sinning less and less? I always thought so, but my experience tells me otherwise. So am I not a Christian? These kinds of thoughts can even become sinful when I choose to focus on me, instead of on my redeeming Savior.

My sin Is different now. Though it seems like I sin more than ever, I also confess more than ever and quicker. Quick to sin, quick to confess and be cleansed from all my unrighteousness. Then, clean, like my two-year old munchkin camper, I go and get dirty again. Ugh!!! It seems like the cleansing I experience is just a new opportunity to get dirty all over again. Oh, may it never be!

But my sin is different now. I no longer make so much of my sin, though I take it seriously. My sin never has the last word. My Savior and his matchless grace always have the last word to my heart. Where sin abounds, God’s grace much more abounds! How that gladdens my soul! I make much over His grace, not over my sin. My sin simply points me all the more to God’s love, patience, mercy, forgiveness, grace and compassion for me. 

Sinless Perfection - Not God’s Will for His Child 

 When He saved me, my Heavenly Father could have transformed me in an instant to be sinlessly perfect. But He did not. He allowed that remnant of sin to remain deep down in my heart, never to be extricated by me in this life (or by Him). But why? Because God uses our sin to demonstrate His superfluous grace to us sinners. I keep on discovering how deep and dark my sinful tendencies are, how depraved I really am and how I need the Savior. And that is exactly what God wants so that I can continually be rediscovering His grace toward me - so much more encompassing than my sin, so much more startling than my sin, so much more abounding than my sin. In continuing to come to grips with these two opposing realities - my sin and His grace - God has made it clear that all glory rightfully goes to Him. Without Christ, I literally can do nothing of any eternal value! There will be no bragamonies in heaven.

So What Hope Do I Have of Freedom From Sin? 

Oh, I am just a camper here below. God continues to bathe me, clean me, and show His glorious, compassionate face to me in those cleansings. And then I get dirty again. And again my Savior cleanses me. He is so precious. He is so close. 

Like Paul said in Romans 7:24–25a: “I am absolutely miserable! Is there anyone who can free me from this body where sin and death reign so supremely? I am thankful to God for the freedom that comes through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One!”

Freedom comes through our Lord Jesus Christ! Freedom from the guilt of sin. How I used to beat myself up over my sin, so depressed because I could not change. But each time I sin, His grace for forgiveness shines and I see Him more clearly. I do not sin because of that, but when I do sin and confess my need for Him, He becomes even more precious to me. Seeing Him in that way, I apprehend more grace and strength by His Spirit to combat my sin. In that “depending” process of leaning on the Everlasting Arms, I am becoming more like Him. He is my hope alone! And He is working my sin together for my good (Christ in me) and for His glory.

Second Corinthians 3:18 says it so well: “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” 

Humility, Dependence and Gratitude

So, obedience or the “victorious Christian life” is not what I am focusing on now, or more importantly, that is not what God is focusing on for my sanctification. How proud I would be if, setting my mind to be obedient, I actually was (fat chance!). No, God’s broader desire for me is humility, and a greater and greater sense of my dependence upon Him, and a heart of gratitude. That comes by me beholding my Savior.

Obedience isn’t my focus for when it is, I simply find that it evades me. And if I do somehow manage to obey Him outwardly, I will have a heart full of pride. When, instead, I focus on God’s grace and mercy because I so desperately need it, I see more and more of Jesus and, by His Spirit, I will be more and more transformed into His likeness. Obedience then becomes a byproduct, not something I accomplish because I set my mind on it.

Set Free to Worship Without Disturbance  

One day, when I see Him face to face, His glory will permanently cleanse me from all remaining sin. He will wash me whiter - inside and out - than any garment can be bleached in my washing machine. Oh, oh, oh, what a glorious day that will be! No more will the hindrance of sin interrupt worship! No longer will obedience be a struggle. No longer will I sing, “I long to worship Thee”. I will worship without any disturbance to my soul. Never again something I long for, worship will be realized - effortless and glorious when I behold His precious face. What a Savior!!!

But for now I am camping here below, keeping my eyes up, off the dirt and on the beautiful scene of my Savior’s love, grace, mercy, compassion and forgiveness for me at the cross. And oh, what a magnificent view it is!

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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Be Thirsty! Be Satisfied!

Here is a beautiful truth expressed beautifully by John Piper. Please be encouraged.
God is a mountain spring, not a watering trough. A mountain spring is self-replenishing. It constantly overflows and supplies others. But a watering trough needs to be filled with a pump or bucket brigade.

If you want to glorify the worth of a watering trough you work hard to keep it full and useful. But if you want to glorify the worth of a spring you do it by getting down on your hands and knees and drinking to your heart’s satisfaction, until you have the refreshment and strength to go back down in the valley and tell people what you’ve found.

My hope as a desperate sinner hangs on this biblical truth: that God is the kind of God who will be pleased with the one thing I have to offer — my thirst. That is why the sovereign freedom and self-sufficiency of God are so precious to me: they are the foundation of my hope that God is delighted not by the resourcefulness of bucket brigades, but by the bending down of broken sinners to drink at the fountain of grace.

But what I've found, as I am sure you have too, is that though I am satisfied when I drink, it isn't long before I am thirsty again. So, I come to drink, again and again.

Jesus said that if we embrace Him, He will be a spring of living water and we will never thirst again, which is true. We will have discovered what quenches our thirst - the thirst that made us run after a thousand watering troughs that we found empty and stagnant and that could not come close to satisfying our thirst.

Now, we no longer thirst like that. We know the One Who satisfies. Yet we remain thirsty for Him, so we drink Him in over and over. We must, for we live in a lowly, barren land. But now we know where that Mountain Spring is and have become springs of water ourselves - Christ overflowing through us - to those around us who are still so desperately thirsty.

"...whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14)

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Saturday, May 25, 2013

This Morning With the Lord in Prayer - A Ballad of the Soul

This poem tells the story of a bit of digging that the Lord did in my soul recently. First, a brief history. It is important but should also bring a bit of a smile to your face, as it did mine:

Some weeks ago, my dear husband and I were working in the yard together. I did not like an idea he had concerning an element that we were changing there. So what did I do? I defaulted to the flesh and criticized him. It was so unkind of me. 

Convicted of this immediately, I confessed it. But as I sat the next morning in prayer, the incident came back to my mind. I confessed it again, but what the Lord wanted was for me to see the depth of that "little" sin. So the digging began. 

He revealed that my harsh reaction indicated that the garden was way too important to me. My heart was still tied up with earthly things. Had this not been so, I would have responded kindly to Robert. After all, when things are not important to us, we have no problem letting go of them to prioritize what is eternal.

God opened my eyes to see that I had not yet counted all things loss as Paul had when he wrote in Philippians 3:8: Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ...

The word that Paul used for "rubbish" actually means "dung". I had not yet considered all things to be "dung" in comparison to knowing Jesus. And to show you how appropriate and timely it was for the Lord to convict me of this, I'll let you in on the fact that it was the compost bin that I criticized Robert about - the housing for the compost, which is just a pile, mostly of chicken dung (we keep chickens)! The Lord wanted me to count our garden dung as "dung" (as well as every other created thing) so that I would be freed up to have more intimacy with Christ, one result of which will be to display Him more authentically in my living. 

The Lord not only convicts us, but He does it in such creative ways! 

This Morning With the Lord in Prayer - A Ballad of the Soul

This morning with the Lord in prayer,
My soul was laid before Him there.
His tenderness brought to my mind
Some words I'd spoken - so unkind.

So I confessed my need for grace
And asked the Savior to replace
My harshness with His tender ways
So Christ would reign and Him be praised

With sin confessed, God then revealed
A problem that had been concealed
From my poor dull and careless heart.
"Please show me, Lord. Your light impart."

Then light He gave and to me showed
My treasure was still here below,
In this dark realm with things unworthy;
Not Christ above and His great mercy.

Just then Paul's words came to my head.
He yearned for Christ and this he said,
"The loss of all things I've sustained
So more of Christ will be my gain,"

On this I thought with new conviction.
And then I saw a ghastly vision - 
A life the opposite of Paul's:
No sacrifice for Christ at all!

No sacrifice for Him, I fear
Is not more earthly things revered.
But less of Christ and more of me...
If "things" I crave and to them cling. 

Oh dreadful thought, from me depart! 
Not more of my poor wondering heart.
No! Less of me, so often failing.
More of Christ, His grace availing.

More of Christ, my refuge here.
More of Christ, my heart to cheer. 
More of Jesus, precious friend;
More of Him to apprehend.

More of Christ, who loves the rebel;
Less of me, may I not wrestle
Against His grace so full and free.
Just give me Christ, my heart's one plea.

He is my joy, my strength, my song.
He paid my ransom. I belong
To Him, the One who loves my soul.
The Lamb, who died to make me whole.

If not for Jesus, life would be
Hopeless, heartless, dismal, bleak.
Sin would reign in days so grim.
My heart would follow every whim.

But give me Christ! His mind within;
And I will be much more like Him.
For He transforms my heart's desire.
His love is my consuming fire.

So let it all be sacrificed,
Since this will gain me more of Christ.
Yes, loss of all things, just like Paul;
My soul, with Jesus, be enthralled!

Yet this, my sacrifice is naught,
Compared to Christ's, with blood He bought
My forgiveness on the Cross.
Yes, it is nil, what I count loss.

So! Idols from my soul depart!
Please, more of Thee, Oh, Christ impart.
It's You I want, You are my life.
And death is gain, much more of Christ!


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