Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Blind Bart

I can hear the crowd
But I'm sitting here with blind men
Now I'm calling out
But they tell me to be silent
But I wanna see!
Son of David, Have mercy on me!

I wanna see the sun!
I wanna see the light of day!
Now to You I run
Though I trip and fall on my face
I come to you in faith

This darkness
Is all I've ever known
And my heart is
Starting to lose hope
That I'll ever see
Oh Jesus, rescue me!

I wanna see the sun!
I wanna see the light of day!
Now to You I run
Though I trip and fall on my face
I come to you in faith

I'm blind and I'm broken
I am poor and ashamed
But I hear the voice of Jesus
Calling my name
This man of whom
I have heard
He called me, I came
Then he spoke the word!
My ears have heard

Now I see the SON!
Now I see His glorious face!
Now to You I run
And I will follow you all of my days!
My eyes have seen your grace!

 "As he drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. And hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what this meant. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” And he cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” And those who were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” And Jesus stopped and commanded him to be brought to him. And when he came near, he asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, let me recover my sight.” And Jesus said to him, “Recover your sight; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God."
(Luke 18:35-43 ESV)

So often I feel just like Bartimaeus... blind, helpless, hopeless. Praise be to God for sending JESUS CHRIST who has saved me and redeemed me and has healed my blindness! 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Stubborn Sinners Vs. Merciful God

I read this morning in Genesis about Lot and the destruction of the wicked cities Sodom and Gomorrah. A brief synopsis of the story goes like this:

Lot - who, according to 2 Peter 2:6-8, was a righteous man - lived in the city of Sodom. (If you know what the word "sodomy" means then you can understand just how wicked the city of Sodom was.)

God sent two angels disguised as men to the cities to destroy them. As they are entering Sodom, Lot is sitting by the gate and invites them to be his guests. That night the men of the city surround Lot's house and try to break in and commit wicked crimes against these men, not knowing that they are angels. As the men outside are about the bust through the door, the angels strike them all with blindness.
"Then the men said to Lot, “Have you anyone else here? Sons-in-law, sons, daughters, or anyone you have in the city, bring them out of the place. For we are about to destroy this place, because the outcry against its people has become great before the LORD, and the LORD has sent us to destroy it.”
(Genesis 19:12-13)
(His sons-in-law-to-be didn't listen to him by the way.) But now check this out:
"As morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be swept away in the punishment of the city.” But he lingered. So the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the LORD being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city."
(Genesis 19:15-16)
And thus, Lot escaped the destruction that came on the city.

Now, I think to myself, "How many times am I like lot?" So often I find myself hearing the word of God calling me flee from sin and things that are spiritually killing me, and I find myself lingering. Full of good intentions but lacking commitment and hatred for sin - just kind of wavering and not willing to stand. Many times in my life I have seen God, in His mercy, painfully rip from my clenched fingers the worthless things that I have refused to leave. I am thankful that He is MERCIFUL to me, despite of me, and "seizes me". Sometimes carrying me, kicking and screaming, away from the very thing that will bring destruction on me.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Laughing at Their Laughing

I read today about Abram and Sarai being told by God in Genesis 15 through 18 that they would have a Son. In chapter 15, God comes to Abram and starts by saying, "Fear not Abram," and then says this: "I AM". After declaring Himself to Abram, God goes on to make a covenant with Abram and tell of the offspring he will have through a son that God is going to give him. Then, it says in verse six, "And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness."

But then we get to chapter 16 and see that Abram and Sarai aren't quite sure if God knows what He's doing, and so they decide to take matters into their own hands. Abram has a baby with Sarai's servant, Hagar, and thus, the whole Ishmael episode.

Come on dude! Just believe God!

In chapter 17 of Genesis we find God coming to Abram again and declaring who He is by the power of His name saying, "I AM GOD ALMIGHTY". (El Shaddai) God tells Abram (now Abraham) in verse 16 that He is going to give him a son through Sarai (now Sarah). When Abraham hears this, he starts laughing because he doesn't believe that he and his wife, in their old age, could ever have a child.


Chapter 18 tells us that God appeared again to Abraham and Sarah. God is sitting outside talking to Abraham and tells him, "A year from now, you guys are going to have a baby." Abraham is starting to get it, but Sarah, listening from inside the tent, starts laughing to herself because she thinks that there just aint no way her and her ancient husband are gonna have a kid.  


"The LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.” But Sarah denied it, saying, “I did not laugh,” for she was afraid. He said, “No, but you did laugh.”
(Genesis 18:13-15)
Yeah, don't try to hide stuff from God... come out with your unbelief and He increase your faith.

See, I read this and see all the stupid stuff that Abraham and Sarah do and it's just so easy when you look at the big picture to say "DUH. Just believe God!" or "DUH. Just do what He says!" It's like watching a football game, seeing one of the players do something wrong and shouting (as if he could hear you) "COME ON! WHY DID YOU JUST DO THAT!" If he saw the the field from the view you had, maybe his actions would have been different.

Then I'm humbled.

If someone were looking at a narrative / big-picture view of my life, how often would they be shouting, "COME ON CODY! Why did you just do that? ... And after God just showed  Himself to you like that? REALLY?" or "CODY! JUST BELIEVE GOD!" Might my story look a lot like Abraham's? Might it look a lot worse...

I need to daily be looking to the Lord, asking Him to increase my faith, to grow me, and give me strength and grace in my weakness. It gives me encouragement to see that despite all the unbelief, laughing, and even Ishmael; God still gave them Isaac. He is faithful when we are faithless, and for that, He is worthy to be praised!


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Job - Worst Case Scenario or Best Case Scenario?

I am reading through the Bible chronologically this year, and the past week or so I have been reading in the book of Job. Today I read through to the end of the book and the thoughts I could post probably would take up an entire blog. Instead, I wanted to share some thoughts about the entirety of the book of Job.

The story of Job seems like an absolute worst-case scenario if you look at it from a normal, realistic perspective. He was a spiritually revered man; blameless and morally upright. He had a pretty good hold on what it meant to fear God. Oh, not to mention he was ridiculously rich and esteemed, and he had a great family. What more could you ask for right? And then, tragedy strikes. Not simply losing a bunch of money in the stock market or even losing a child. He is literally stripped of EVERY SINGLE THING and brought to the point where his own health and life is hanging in the balance. His children all die, all of his wealth is destroyed in an instant, and even his reputation is lost. His closest friends ridicule and criticize him, and he is so distraught that he simply begs God to let him die.

The book of Job really starts to pick up near the end as a wise friend, "Elihu", talks to Job and his friends and gives them some insight into the POWER, MAJESTY, WISDOM, and GOODNESS of God. Then in chapter 38, God Himself  comes and speaks to Job from a whirlwind. Through the next 4 chapters God powerfully proclaims His own greatness, power, wisdom, sovereignty, goodness, majesty, strength and glory to Job in such a God-exalting, man-minimizing, sin-despising completely mind-blowing way that Job is led to say in chapter 42, verses 5-6: "I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes." The chapter goes on to tell how Job's family and riches and position was restored to him twice as much as he had before and he dies at an old age, having fully lived out his days.

Now, if it were up to Job, I don't think he would have chosen any of the things he went through, possibly even if he foreknew how the story would end. I think he would have been very much content to carry on his life with his family, his wealth, his reputation and the knowledge of God that he had. But through the things God allowed him to go through, he came out on the other side not only having twice as much physical glory and blessing than before, but a much deeper, wonderful, glorious, REAL understanding and knowledge of God. Were it up to him, he might have avoided the trials and hardship, but then he would have missed out on the greatest power and blessing in his entire life.

The entirety of the story of Job, and what I learn about God through it all gives me a lot more courage to say and believe what the Apostle Paul writes in Romans 8:18:

"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us."
And in verses 31-39:
"What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,
    “For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
        we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
    No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."
I heard John Piper say in a sermon one time (and this is not an exact quote, so pardon me for that) that "I've never heard someone say that they grew closer to God in the easy times in life when everything was going perfectly, there is something about suffering and hardships that refines us and causes us to run to God."

I completely agree based on my own life experience. So whether you are going through something difficult, or may have trials around the corner that you do not yet know about, take heart and be of courage brothers and sisters! Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Modesty Motivation - Legalism or Love?

I read an article today about modesty and his point was actually quite similar to something that I have been thinking about lately and actually taught on at church last week. Basically it is this: If, in our dressing modestly or living by any rule, our motivation is anything other than the pleasure and glorification of God, we have completely missed the mark and have fallen dangerously close (if not directly into) legalism.

You can click HERE to read this article. It's worth the time, I believe.
The article is by Jeff Bethke and it is found on his website CHISELSEASON.COM

I also wanted to highlight this paragraph that I believe is more true than I'd like to admit.

In his article, Jeff says:
"Imagine if men were subject to women’s “stumbling block” argument as much as women are to men? Imagine if a woman’s heart was cared for, cherished, and defended with the same tenacity that Christians defend men’s purity? You would certainly hear a lot less sermons about women having to dress a certain way, and more sermons about guys needing to repent of flirty text messages late at night with a girl he has no intention of pursuing. Maybe rather than girl’s having to pass the “skirt test” in the hallway, the teenage boys would have to pass the “text message test” by having their Christian teacher read through them everyday. Imagine that?"

Convicting? Was for me...

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A ministry of edification; A goal of glorification

In the past I have attempted to write blogs and have failed for two reasons.

1. I didn't like writing on them. Not so much that I don't like writing, but I didn't enjoy it. Why? Because my motive for writing was shallow. A shallow motive for writing lead me to a disinterest in the blog and probably the same is true for the readers.

2. I ran out of things to write about. I used to write blogs about me... my life, my thoughts and the like. As much as we all love to talk about ourselves... yeah, not good.

I intend on writing this blog with a motivation of seeing CHRIST exalted in the hearts of men, and also for the edification of His bride, the church of true believers. I also intend on writing this blog about God (and all things related). My goal is not to impress people with lofty writing skills or talking about myself, but simply to humbly to share what God has shown me, and to share whatever I come across that I find profitable for faith. He is an infinite, eternal God and I would hope that in my pursuit of knowing Him I should not quickly run out of things to say.

I hope that whoever reads this blog will be encouraged. To Christ be glory.  †