My Life Right Now

I finally managed to flip the last page of Francis Chan’s book Crazy Love this afternoon. After almost 3 months of being convicted at every sentence, I am now just a little bit more aware of what it means to truly love God. I hope that as I marinate on the simple and radical ways in which Chan defines the life of a true believer, I might begin changing both inwardly and outwardly to resemble someone who loves God in a crazy way.

In one of the chapters, there was a question that sticks in my mind especially well:

“What are you doing right now in your life that requires faith?”

Yeah, got nothing. That hurts.

I study, I serve in my campus ministry, I hang out with friends, live a peaceful, loving life with my family, participate in Bible study, go to church, prepare for what is coming after graduation…nothing! There is not a single moment I can think of in which I throw myself into something that I can’t handle on my own. All my hours are controlled, limited to what I can handle. I can study, I can hang out with friends. These things do not NEED the strength of God. There is no boldness, no faith in the God who made me and plans my every step.

In the end, I am merely fearful. Rejection, hardship, and a constant battle await the ones who throw themselves into the fray, armed with nothing but faith in God.

I think I need to realize that “faith in God” is the only thing I need, because from that comes every blessing, providence, support, and love from the creator of everyone and everything. When I take a leap of faith, God will reveal His crazy love for me by catching me and attaching wings to my back.

How crazy is that?

Pic credits to fineartamerica.com
Pic credits to fineartamerica.com

East from the West

“As far as the east is from the west
So far have You taken our sins from us
And as high as the heavens are over the earth
So great is Your steadfast love toward us”

– Chorus from Sovereign Grace Music “Psalm 103”

First, you must listen to this wonderful song at this site: click here.

Inspired by Psalm 103, this song caught my attention a few weeks ago, and has been officially stuck spinning around in my brain ever since…(help)

Singing this song always reminds me of a snippet of a sermon I heard a few years back. Though I sadly can’t remember who the preacher was, something he said really struck me (paraphrased):

“The Psalmist who wrote this song meant precisely what he said when he compared the distance between our forgiven selves and our past sins to that of the distance between “East” and “West.” Imagine for a moment if the Psalmist sang “As far as the North is from the South” instead. A look at the world globe reveals that the distance between North and South is finite – we can locate the exact positions of the North Pole and the South Pole, and measure that length. It would be something like half the diameter of the planet Earth: approximately 12,430 miles.

globe

However, things like the “East Pole” and the “West Pole” don’t really exist. You can continue traveling East, or West, and ever actually hit that point where you can say, “Hey, I’m at the East Pole now!” This is different from the North Pole, which was discovered, flagged, and drawn onto an Atlas hundreds of years ago.”

The distance between East and West is literally immeasurable.

And that’s how far our sins have been taken from us.

Pretty incredible. Especially since the Psalmist back in the Old Testament probably didn’t even know the geometric dimensions of the Earth, or even that a North Pole existed. Here’s proof that these Psalms are divinely inspired. Here’s proof that the Bible contains God-breathed Words, even down to the little metaphors and details.

Here’s proof that our Lord Jesus Christ paid the price for a result that remains infinitely immeasurable and unfathomable. How’s that for a reason to sing a praise song to our God?


Pic credits: http://www.geolounge.com/absolute-relative-location/

In Weakness, Fear, and Trembling

Today is Valentine’s, and everyone is blogging about one of three things:

1. his or her significant other

2. his or her lack of a significant other

3. his or her unique approach in not talking about either #1 or #2

In any case, it’s Valentine’s. I’m ashamed to say I fall in the 3rd category. But I’m not ashamed, because this reminder has been good for me.

In 1 Corinthians 2, Paul reveals how he and the Corinthian church first met. Paul was weak from the physical and mental hardships he had been put through by his persecutors. He trembled, and feared…..but not because of the Corinthians, or his enemies. Yes, he had been put through some grinders, and those Pharisees were hot on his trail, but Paul trembles and fears the might of the God who is leading him more than the sufferings that trail along behind Him.

Of course, Paul was human too. He felt his own fear and the suffering acutely. But this did not stop him! His inability to get a coherent word out of his mouth (verse 3) or his foolish, jumbled speech did not stop him from telling the gospel to those Corinthians straight.  Paul confronts the people of one of the most religiously depraved cities this side of the continent, makes no effort to hide the fatigue in his bones and the absolute wreck that is his mind, because he knows: God’s in control.

And it works. The Corinthians come to know the Lord. I’m sure that the entire city didn’t just up and convert overnight. But some did. The audience of Paul’s letter here, they are the ones who came to believe in Jesus as their Lord, not because they were impressed by how good the Gospel sounded coming from this smart guy named Paul. No, it’s because God allowed them to see the beauty and love of the Gospel right through the Paul’s exhausted speech.

Missionaries go out when they have had enough training and have been spiritually prepared through personal devotionals, a thousand prayers both from their own hearts and the hearts of a 10,000-strong congregation, and handbooks that prepare them for the cultural differences to come. But Paul had none of these and he still managed to start the first Christian boom. His faith was solid, and God never fails. I may be weak, and I may fear man, but more so do I fear the Lord and tremble in His presence. And even more so is He able to convert one or a thousand through the stuttering words of some random dude, if He chooses to do so.

Now there is a general who can make the most of His soldiers, even the frailest one.

consider the lilies

“Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.” -Luke 12:27 (NASB)

Yes, lilies are very pretty flowers.

But Jesus doesn’t talk about pretty flowers just because they happen to be there. All his stories lead us to a profound truth about the goodness of God.

Here he compares lilies to King Solomon: the wealthiest man in Biblical history, the one who completed the constructions on God’s temple, the king whose wisdom was such that the Queen of Sheba gifted him with enough spices to last Israel quite a while.

This great, wise, filthy rich king, who probably bathed in the spices that Queen Sheba brought, and afterwards put on robes of finest velvet inlaid with gold, cannot even compare to a single flower. The point isn’t that lilies are just that amazing. That beautiful, marvelous, stunning, gorgeous.

It’s that the lilies “neither toil nor spin,” yet they are still able to grow, flourish, and be beautiful.

God’s providence is so clearly set out before us in this passage, that His overwhelming generosity and kindness hits us like a slap in the face. In Matthew 6:25-33, which also describes this same moment, Jesus asks his disciples, “why do you worry?”

Why do you worry, when you can see how well these flowers grow even without working for themselves?

Why worry, when God will allow you to thrive even more than these puny little plants?

“if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!” (Matthew 6:30)

Yes, we are of so little faith. Always fretting about those finals to study for, projects to finish, the keys that got misplaced. Worrying about how to make up after the fight with your friend, or when you’ll find the money to pay for Christmas gifts. Daily troubles, weekly chores. Social obligations and job commitments. Too many things in this life weigh down on our foreheads until the stress gets etched into our premature wrinkles.

But no, God calls us to trust in Him, in ALL of these things and more.

The lilies of the field do not worry; they simply do what they have to do – be planted, gather sunlight, and grow. So too, we should remember that God only requires that we be planted with the seeds of His Word, bask in the light of His presence, and grow in the love of Christ Jesus our Lord. Even in this, God will be our helper and provider. And everything else? Though they seem pressing and worrisome, though they seem like emergencies, at the end of the day you will still bloom like a flower and God will array your life with bounty you could not have garnered on your own.

Let us live in thankfulness and joy each new day. Celebrate, because God is our ultimate gardener and provider in all things. Rejoice, because He loves us so much more than a single flower in the fields.