Paul Washer takes 1 minute 51 seconds to tell us to repent and fall upon Christ and His cross-work.
Paul Washer takes 1 minute 51 seconds to tell us to repent and fall upon Christ and His cross-work.
Submission to God is focused in its obedience and it is intentional in its faith. Christians must not be aimless in their obedience to God, or vague in their faith in Him. Aimlessness is not a Christ-like quality. Biblically speaking, aimlessness is condemnable; not commendable. We should think about where we have come from, where we are going, and all that we have in Christ; then we will be free to get busy doing God’s will for our lives. Jesus was focused in His obedience and intentional in His faith as He approached the cross. In the twelfth chapter of John we read that as the time for Jesus’ crucifixion drew near, He said, “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour” (v.27). We also read in Luke 9:51 that “When the days drew near for him [Jesus] to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.” Just like our Lord, we should set our faces to go where God is calling us. We should remember that the circumstances of our lives are not happenstance, they are divinely ordained by God for our good and for His glory. Intentional faith in God is imperative for the Christian life; we must believe that God loves us and that He is at work in our lives; making us holy and transforming us into the image of His Son Jesus. In the same way that Jesus did, we also must choose to believe God and be focused in our obedience to Him, even in the most trying circumstances and the most trying relationships in our lives. Holiness is not a result of the process of osmosis; it is a result of sweat, blood, and tears (Luke 22:39-46; Hebrews 5:7). Therefore, we should be intentional about taking up our crosses and following Jesus – in a life lived in the obedience of faith.
An excerpt from Walking in Newness of Life:Experiencing the Power of God in Resurrection by Identifying with Christ in His Death and Burial. (p.86)
The Lord calls all believers to take up a cross by giving up their sin, denying their own selfishness, and living in obedience to God. Cross-bearing will take on different forms at different times in our walk with the Lord, but until glory we must all bear a cross for the sake of sanctification, for the sake of our holiness. But, what does this mean in 21st century America? Well, principally cross-bearing means the same thing that it meant in 1st Century Rome. It means that we have to die to ourselves by living a life of self-denial and obediently following our Lord Jesus in a life of humble submission to God’s will. After all, Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). SO, 21st Century American cross-bearing is about denying self, taking up our personal crosses, and following Jesus- it is that simple.
However, the particulars of cross-bearing in 21st century America are so radically different than what they were in the day and time of Christ (and what they are in other places in the world today) that it almost seems inappropriate (to me, perhaps to you, as well…) to speak of our comfortable “American Living” as a cross to be borne. How can we even recognize the cross that Jesus is calling us to in such an extravagant and, for lack of a better word, “soft” culture? We know that cross-bearing is about self-denial and following Jesus- but what defines self-denial to a 21st century American- only going out to eat on Friday nights? (Maybe…) Only owning one pair of jeans? (Perhaps…) And, where should we follow Jesus? To the church discount day at an amusement park? (I do not think that is what the Lord had in mind.) How about to the church pot-luck and hymn sing on Friday night? (I know. Now I am meddling.) I think you get my point. Our 21st American Century American Crosses are not quite as easily discerned as the 1st Century Roman torture device that was used for crucifixion. None, the less, Christ, said that we must deny ourselves, take up our crosses, and follow Him.
Yesterday, I said the things that were keeping us up at night were our crosses to bear. (By the way, I am not talking to those blessed individuals that are awake at night because they do not need more than 4 or 5 hours of sleep- praise God- if you are blessed to be one of them.) What I meant by writing that was that when we are up fretting, or full of vexation, or dealing with a faith-stretching and soul-trying circumstance we are quite possibly faced with a 21st Century American cross. The reason that I said that was because it is usually the sorts of things that keep us up at night, which the Holy Spirit uses to reveal and destroy the believer’s remaining sin, indwelling selfishness, and shallow love. It is the testing events in out lives that reveal to us our lukewarm tendencies and innate weaknesses; those sorts of things make us recognize our need to experience the power of God in resurrection. It is the things that bother us, that we feel afflicted with and that we are upset about that the Lord uses to kill our flesh, humble us, and teach us how to follow Him in submission to His will.
So, when we find ourselves struggling with an affliction (i.e., a difficult situation, trying circumstance, or painful relationship) we can look for a cross that God has providentially ordained in our lives. By this, I do not mean that the affliction itself is a cross to bear- it may not be. But, that the Biblical Christ-honoring, God-exalting response (which the Lord requires of us) to a particular affliction may feel like a cross to us. We may recognize the need to deny ourselves, or an act of obedience that our faith in the Gospel requires of us that is difficult, or we may become aware that Christ is calling us to go somewhere we would prefer not to go. If any of this is the case- it is quite probable that the particular affliction we are dealing with is a 21st Century American Cross.
The Lord said, “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:27). If you think about it, that is a frighteningly emphatic statement. If we don’t bear our own crosses and follow after Jesus, we cannot be His disciples; not being Christ’s disciple means dying in our sins and going to hell. None of us wants that. No. We do want to be found living the American Dream- only to wake-up in the middle of an eternal nightmare. So, when last call comes; (or in the Christianese language- when the last trumpet sounds), we want to be found with a cross on our backs and Christ in our sights.
So this is what I think about when I am up at night. It’s what all Christians think about when they are up at night. It is just that sometimes I do not always (we do not always) realize that it is a call to the cross, which is keeping us up at night. But, it is. When we are awake with anxiety over the fight that we had with the husband, or we are up with sick babies and aging parents, or we are being kept awake by the awareness that the mortgage is due – but we don’t have the money to pay it, the call to the cross is keeping us up at night. That is; the call of Christ on our lives to die to ourselves and follow Him in humble obedience is keeping us up at night; the call to give up our desire to be right or to feel like we are in control of everything is keeping us up at night (both practical aspects of the call to the cross). The thing of it is- those things just don’t look like a wooden stake with a cross beam (at least, to most of us-they don’t). They look like an unkind, and unfair accusation by our husbands, a typical night for a mom of young kids, and the normal monthly battle to keep the house and maintain good credit. But, they are crosses- they are just the 21st century American version of the call to the cross.
Crosses, which Christ calls His disciples to bear.
Sometimes, though, the call to the cross isn’t waking us up at night, at all. It is not waking us up- because the Lord’s call to the cross is so loud that we can’t even get to sleep.For example, when we are wound-up tighter than a drum thinking about the huge life changing decisions that American women must make- like, should I marry this guy? (Even though, I know that he isn’t passionate about Jesus Christ); or, is divorce actually unbiblical? (…what designates abandonment and unfaithfulness, anyways?). Or, maybe we are up thinking about the lesser things in life; like, writing papers or doing calculus problems (that is, at least-maybe- we are up at night trying to do calculus problems). Any number of circumstances that require a midnight rendezvous with our minds can keep us up at night. But, is that really a call to the cross keeping us up at night?- Or is that just life- keeping us awake at night? Well, for the believer in Christ- it is both a call to the cross and life that is keeping us up at night. The call to the cross is our life, and our lives consist of answering Christ’s call to the cross.
So then, Christ calls His followers to bear the cross.
And, the things that keep us at night are very often the personalized crosses that Jesus Christ has called us to bear. Wayward children, unfaithful friends, tight financial squeezes, and even hot-flashes and term-papers are our God-ordained crosses. For the Lord has ordained all of the painful events, overwhelming circumstances, and frustrating relationships in our lives to the end that we wake up from our American Dream life-styles, and answer the call of Christ to bear our own crosses and follow Him. I guess we could say that the things that keep us up at night are divine wake-up calls. Wake-up calls which are intended to help us- the people of God- open our eyes to our own remaining sin, indwelling selfishness, shallow love, lukewarm tendencies, innate weaknesses, and everything else that makes us aware of our need to experience the power of God in resurrection. In the end, the things that keep us up and wake us up at night are by divine intention supposed to keep us up at night- contemplating Christ, contemplating His call to the cross, and contemplating the truth that “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.”
“Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.” Jude 1:24-25
Page CXVI does some blessed remixing of hymns. A while back (a year or two ago?) my husband got the tip on this band from Challies.com (one of his Free Stuff Fridays posts- very cool); now their music is a family favorite. Anyways, as I was thinking about posting the following hymn, I kept thinking if deliverance from depression had a sound- it would be “JOY” by Page CXVI.
About an hour after posting this- the thought came to mind that I had misspelled a word (actually, I thought I had used the wrong ‘there, they’re, their’ in a sentence), so I came to check and I found that a friend (and fellow blogger) had just posted this comment to me, via email:
“I woke up with this very song in my heart so I sang it to my 2 year old and 7 month old. Reading this post confirmed to me that God was bringing me His promise of joy in my trial. Praise be to our Lord Jesus that we have this joy. It is His Word of promise that is hidden in our hearts that give us this joy. He is our rock , He is in the boat and onlookers are perplexed when the storms come and we are not shaken. So let your Joy run over.” (Read more from Erin at erribecca | A Life Set Apart)
I decided to share this quote with everyone because the Lord wants us all to know (deep in our souls) that when we are going through trials, difficulty, and hardships- we are not alone. Our merciful, faithful, and benevolent Father is always holding us in the palm of His all-mighty, sovereign, and omnipotent hand- carrying us through the tumultuous storms of our lives, seeing that we make it to Jordan’s shore- i.e., we make it home- full of glory and full of joy.
Here is a 2 minute and 32 second reality check for the American Christian that tends to fret over the rulers of this world. Pastor and brother David Platt preaches on the sovereignty of God. Much thanks to ‘identity313’ for the upload.
Elisabeth Elliot on Leaving Self Behind by Forgiving Others
Yesterday, I wrote that we can forgive those that have hurt us- because our God is sovereign.
This link will take you to an Elisabeth Elliot message on the topic of forgiveness. It is a great word for any woman that needs to hear a straightforward word on the necessity of forgiving the people that have offended us. I found this encouraging exhortation to be very helpful in my own life, perhaps you will too.
6 minutes and 7 seconds worth of the predetermining power of God. He even addresses the question has God predetermined our sin? Well worth the time and brain power necessary to view.
10 Ways that Modesty Fulfills the Law of Love
Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:37-39). And, the Apostle James wrote, “If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well” (James 2:8). This week we have been focusing on the issue of immodesty. It, therefore, seems only fitting to me to end the week focused on how being modest fulfills the royal law of love. But, before we can do that we need to know the definition of modesty. According to the Merriam Webster’s Online Dictionary, the definition of modesty is the quality of not being too proud or confident about yourself or your abilities: the quality of behaving and especially dressing in ways that do not attract sexual attention.With that in mind, here are 10 ways that practicing modesty fulfills the Royal Law of Love.
Also, I have listed supporting Scriptures after each statement. I have done this so that you can check them against the truth of God’s Word. If you feel as though I have gone beyond what is written please feel free to share that with me through the “What readers say about Boasting In Weakness” section of this blog.
1. It is loving towards God when we believe and obey His Word, in which He has clearly called us to practice humbleness of mind and humility’s subsequent fruit of modesty (Heb. 11:6; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; Phil. 2:1-5).
2. It is loving towards our sisters in Christ to practice modesty because it is a way that we communicate to them that we are their allies in life, not their rivals in life (Philippians 2:3; Colossians 3:12; See also the trial that living with a “rival” was for Hannah 1 Samuel 1: 1-11).
3. It is loving towards your brothers in Christ to practice modesty because it is a way that we aid them in their battle for holiness of heart and purity of thought life (1 Timothy 6:11; Hebrews 12:14; Romans 14:13).
4. It is loving towards your little sisters (daughters and other young girls) in Christ to practice modesty because it sets a Christ-like example for them to follow (Titus 2:3-6).
5. It is loving towards our little brothers (sons and other young boys) in Christ to practice modesty because it aids them in their godly pursuit to “…flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22).
6. It is loving towards our husbands to practice modesty because it is one way that we keep our vows of faithfulness to them; honoring them with exclusive viewing rights to our bodies by not wearing clothes in public that are, by design, meant to communicate a subtle invitation to bed. We should always remember that our vows to our husbands were oaths and promises that we made before God (Ecclesiastes 5:4-6).
7. It is loving towards our parents (where this applies) to practice modesty because it is one way that we honor them and show them respect (Proverbs 20:11; Exodus 20:12; Ephesians 6:1-2).
8. It is loving towards the lost world (the unregenerate) to practice modesty because it is one way that we use our outward behavior to substantiate the truth of the Word of God (Titus 2:5, 10).
9. It is loving towards ourselves to practice modesty because it is one way we can prepare our souls for a pleasant experience on judgment day when we give an account to God for all that we have done in our bodies, and said with our lips (Romans 2: 6-11; Hebrews 4:13; Revelation 20:11-15).
10. Most importantly, modesty is in and of itself an expression of love for the glory of God’s redeeming grace, which was shown to us in the cross of Christ:
a. Modesty of thought (i.e., a humble opinion of ourselves) results from a right understanding of how ugly the pride of our hearts really is that Christ had to endure the horrors of Roman crucifixion to atone for it (Matthew 27:32-56; 1 Corinthians 15:3-5).
b. Modesty in our behavior (i.e., a humble demeanor towards our family in Christ) results from understanding how incomprehensibly valuable the bride of Christ is to Him (1 Peter 1:17-21; 1 Timothy 3:15; Revelation 21:9-27).
c. Modesty in our dress (i.e., the humble beauty of an appropriate level of adornment) is the ‘wrapping paper’ of our souls. It is the first thing people see when they meet us; the last word on what we really think is valuable in our appearance, and we can use our clothing as a means to reveal our love for the glory of God’s redeeming grace if we want to use our clothes in this manner. Finally, we can use our clothing as a tool which draws the eyes of men to look away from our temporal, quickly fading physical beauty, and towards the eternal Christ-exalting meek and humble behavior of women who have been forever changed by God’s glorious grace as expressed in the cross of Christ (Proverbs 31:30; 1Corinthians 1:18; Ephesians 4:17-24; Titus 3:4-8). Therefore, in the words of Paul, “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).
I was praying about some music to post, and the Lord brought the hymn When I Survey The Wondrous Cross (Words: Isaac Watts, 1707) to mind. This hymn has been loved by believers for over 300 years, and Charles Wesley author to some 8,889 hymns, liked this hymn so much that he supposedly said that he would give up all the hymns that he had ever written to have penned this one. Wow. Anyways, I found this great version of Brother Isaac Watts’ powerful hymn. It has an unusual tune, though; it is sung to the tune of No Woman- No Cry, which was released by Bob Marley (reggae singer-songwriter) in his 1974 Natty Dread Album. The song itself is about a guy entreating a woman not to cry over the difficulty and hardship of growing up in the ghetto. What is kind of interesting to me about the song is that there was a demo version of it (which was never released) done by a man by the name of Peter Tosh, on a Gospel album in 1973. If you love the lyrics of the hymn and you ever got into Bob Marley (and, of course, all the cool kids did); than you will probably like this 4 min. and 1 sec. version of it. Lastly, this was arranged by David Rowe and posted by the thecornishhymnal. Thank you much, to both!