Musings on Christianity 4

Musings on Christianity 4

Can I Have Nothing In This Life?

In the previous chapter, we looked at happiness. An absolute mind might think that in order for one to have peace in heaven, that individual can’t have anything in this life. That’s not necessarily true either. Our Heavenly Father loves to bless his children. And those who seek his kingdom and righteousness will always be provided for. (Matthew 6:33)

There are indeed material blessings for those who follow his commandments. “Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your heads and the young of your flock. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out. The Lord will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before you. They shall come out against you one way and flee before you even ways.”  (Deuteronomy 28:3-8)

The danger becomes thinking of God like some sort of shopkeeper. First in His grace, God gave us forgiveness of our sins, removing the price of death. This is the kindest thing anyone could do. Even so, God still graciously provides for us. Even more so, God lovingly blesses us. These are, all of them, gifts that he gives in love, and can take for his reasons. (A very vague reference to Job.)

I mention this because too often we follow with a heart full of desire rather than devotion. And that’s the real trick. If you go to work, you expect to be paid for your work. If you make a trade, you expect to receive fair compensation. Who wouldn’t? But what service can you offer the Lord that deserves anything?

I don’t know about you, good reader, but I’ve certainly said something to the effect of, “After all I’ve done, I deserve (insert monetary desire)!” Here we go again. If our service and worship was for the sake of gain, it wasn’t real worship. 

We see this lesson most clearly in the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32).

Perhaps I bring this up, and you wonder, “Wait, wasn’t this the story about the guy who demanded his inheritance and then squandered it?”

Yep, that’s the one. Lots of people, heck, most children, can remember the story of the younger son. But do you remember the older brother? More importantly, do you remember how that son reacted when his younger brother was welcomed back with a feast?

Verse 29 carries that wonderfully insightful example:

“ … but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends.”

Here we see the motivation for that obedience. This son served his father only wanting what rewards he thought he was due.  Even so, this parable contains the loving truth:

“Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours.” (Luke 15:31)

Why covet a (in this case) goat when you already have everything?

We often get caught up in things. I sure do. But when I pull back for a moment and reset my focus on the correct source, things start to calm  down. Brothers and sisters, I’m not telling you that you have to live a life of poverty and famine to assure your place in Heaven. In fact, if you think you have to do something to get into Heaven, you’re woefully misguided. Our redemption, through Christ, is a gift.

So the things we do aren’t an effort to earn anything. Instead, what things we do are a result of what has been done for us.

I’m not asserting millions for “true believers,” and I’d caution you to look carefully at anyone proclaiming God gives money for faith. Again, the sovereign creator of the universe and everything in it frankly doesn’t need a darn thing. He gives, and he takes. He has his reasons.

Those who follow Christ faithfully, have already assured themselves a place in Heaven. The Lord may also grant you many blessings. Just don’t let the expectation of material, earthly things to become the God you serve. It’s that covetous nature that can tempt a person. It becomes a barrier.

So if we focus on Him, everything else will truly take care of itself. We may find trials and tribulation, but that’s why we’re told to learn to be content in whatever situation. (Paraphrase of Philippians 4:11)

God knows better than anyone how to give wonderful gifts. (Matthew 7:11)

For our panel: Should we be afraid for our souls if we get a big raise or a new high-paying job? What’s the secret to being content in any situation? How worried should we be about worldly provision and abundance? How do we claim God provides for us like is says in Matthew when we live in a world with homeless people? Are they without faith?

Sonnets For My Savior 36

Sonnets For My Savior 36

Reasons For Hope

Though my suffering is great,

My faith remains in You.

I man be in a horrible state,

but I know You’re faith remains true.

Every promise You made, encouraging or frightening,

You have kept.

So all situations, be they joyful or terrifying,

I will strive to accept.

Your steadfast love never ceases;

Your mercies never end;

Your faithfulness ever increases;

On Your sufficiency, I can depend.

In all suffering, be it old or new,

I can endure, oh LORD, because I have You.

 


Generous and Merciful

Glory be to our God, who always provides.

He is slow to anger and abounding in mercy.

He is the source from which every blessing resides.

He gives us more than any man can see.

I’m protected from hunger, for He is my daily bread.

I feel no cold, for He has placed a shirt on my back.

I don’t fear the elements, for He has put a roof over my head.

I’m more blessed than I have a right to be, for there isn’t a thing I lack.

Let us focus on all he’s given us,

rather than the excess we desire.

Times of both abundance and famine will come to us,

but He always gives us what we require.

When tempted to demand more in our greed,

let us repent and praise the God who always gives what we need.

 


 

He Who Makes Anything Possible

The quantity of fish was too much, 153.

Seven disciples couldn’t lift the net.

Then Jesus said, “Bring the fish to me.”

Suddenly the net wasn’t to hard for Simon Peter to get.

By himself, as one of seven,

Peter lacked the strength.

But by the will of the Son of Heaven,

Peter had no lack of strength.

Peter didn’t remind Christ of the weight;

he was too excited to please his Savior.

When one’s faith is that great,

he can perform any labor.

It may not seem at all plausible,

but through Jesus Christ, all things are possible.

 


 

A Heart For You

Lord change my deceitful heart.

Renew a right spirit in me.

Make me like David, a man after your heart.

Better still, make me like Christ, who died to set me free.

Too easily, you slip from my mind.

Too easily, I forget my promises to you.

I give my attention to temptations that make me blind,

Change me, lest comfort and entertainment turn me away from you.

Be not just an hour on Sunday

or a moment of reading.

Instead rule my heart and thoughts in every way,

for Your glory is the only thought worth keeping.

Take charge of my heart, and lead me in all that I do.

Posses my heart, and make it only for You.

 


 

Three

Three times He was denied.

Three times His disciple professed his love.

Three days after he died,

He arose and announced his return to the father above.

Three ways Satan tested.

Three times, He resisted.

Three days, the Israelites thirsted.

Three years, Paul was instructed.

Three nights, and God came down on Mount Sinai.

Jonah was trapped three days inside the whale.

There is no one who can deny

the significance of this detail.

But, the most significant use of three,

is the Father, Son, and Spirit, the Holy Trinity.

 


 

As I Grow

Walk with me.

Make me more like You.

Live in me.

Let my growth be seen through what I do.

Change me.

Help me put aside the man I was.

Guide me.

For I know a man is recognized by what he does.

Forgive me.

For all the things I hate are what I do.

Lead me.

Grant me the discipline to do as my changed heart wants to.

I am still far short of Your glory, I know.

Sanctify me, and have patience as I grow.

 


 

To Know God

I know God.

No, I know God.

No one who tries to Use God

Can claim to truly know God.

We do not use Him.

He uses us.

Insulting those who seek to honor Him

Isn’t very Christian of us.

Respond to cruelty with love.

Turn the misguided to His word.

The best way to honor our God above

Is to live in accordance to His word.

Share His word in love. 

Live with others in holy love.

Sonnets For My Savior 15

Sonnets For My Savior 15

He Is Both

He is faithful when His justice falls.

He is faithful when His grace abounds.

He is faithful to those who offer Him their call.

He is both justice and grace, and that truth astounds.

To us, His judgments are unsearchable;

His ways are inscrutable,

but through justice or grace, He is wonderful,

and His sovereignty is irrefutable.

We are all deserving of His wrath,

for us His grace is a gift.

Those who walk with Christ have found the right path,

for only He can, our burdens, lift.

For God provides justice and grace the same,

and He does so to glorify His own Holy Name.



 

Wisdom and Understanding

It was the command Joshua gave his people when they received their land.

Solomon left it as wisdom for his sons to follow.

Behold! The Lord’s wrath is something against no man can stand.

Better are those who stand in his light and wallow.

When one seeks wisdom,

there is one place to start.

Think what would please the ruler of the Heavenly kingdom,

what would one do if he would chase after God’s heart?

Moses said it was for our survival.

Those who do this receive great goodness.

Our sovereign God has no rival,

and those who see him correctly depart from foolishness.

Fear of the Lord is what wisdom is

For he who turns from evil, understanding is his.


 

Deliver Me Not Into Temptation

Save me, oh God and deliver me,

for my flesh is weak.

The standard Your Son sets is far from me,

and without Him all my hopes are bleak.

Temptation whispers in my ears.

I see them, though I gouge out my eyes.

Sin promises to remove my fears.

Evil promises to make me wise.

But I need fear nothing when You are with me.

Wisdom is simply a proper fear of You.

Be with me, God, and set me free.

Provide for me a way out, as Your word says You do.

Have mercy on Your creation,

Deliver me not into temptation.


 

Without Him

Without Him I would lay down, but never sleep.

Without Him fear ruled in my heart.

Behold the harvest I did reap

when my pride held You apart.

My enemies surrounded me;

each of them lived within my flesh.

My despair was as vast as the sea,

and I awoke every day with my suffering made fresh.

But my pain humbled me,

and I submitted to your Holy Will.

Now my heart is finally free,

for the giants in my heart, you did kill.

Now I sleep when I lie down and night,

and I wake up because of your sustaining light.


 

Trust In Your Grace

My spirit knows what it should do,

and it is willing.

Yet my flesh is weak, and I seek strength through You

to face the test that I am taking.

The memory of my former self calls

though that sinner was crucified with Your Son.

Let that that former me stay buried, oh Lord, lest temptation befall.

I take comfort, for Jesus faced sin and won.

I trust your grace is sufficient for my needs

and praise your Glorious faithfulness.

Though fleshly temptation still calls me to sinful deeds,

Your spirit calls me to righteousness.

My own evil desires seek to drag me away!
I seek the way out that I might stay faithful today.


 

How A Man Lives

Let us be filled by Your Spirit through Your scripture;

let this be our morning bread.

Your Word is our plentiful pasture;

your word is how we’re fed.

Our stomachs need protein and grain,

but our spirit’s need for You is greater still.

Those who seek to fill their flesh do so in vain,

but those who seek Your word shall always have their fill.

What good is it to sustain our flesh

if our spirits die of starvation?

Let the Word make our spirits fresh,

and help us grow in sanctification.

Since the time of the Exodus, it has been known

that man doesn’t live by bread alone.


 

Every Time

The people did what was evil in the Lord’s sight.

They forgot him and served others.

The Lord gave them to into brutal hands as was his right,

but then sent them a Judge from among their brothers.

The cycle repeated over and again,

Ehud, Shamgar, Deborah, and more,

were sent as prophets, both women and men.

Serve the Lord, God, they did implore.

Each time peace returned for a while.

But then their hearts would return to wicked ways.

So God would place them in circumstances most vile,

and His people would beg for a return to better days.

True, God pushed his people for every crime,

but, after they repented and called on Him, he saved them every time.

Sonnets For My Savior 14

Sonnets For My Savior 14

Because of His Grace

I was trapped by by sin.

I was lost and without hope.

I hid the pain deep within.

I was buried with more loneliness than I with which could cope.

No amount of money could bring me joy.

No amount of fleshly pleasures could bring me gladness.

Despite all of the effort I did employ,

nothing worked, I was still lost in sadness.

I questioned why he continued to deny me.

I questioned why he let me experience such pain.

Then His grace showed me what I couldn’t see.

Without Him, my life was in vain.

When I sought his grace, He made me new.

His grace saved me, and it can save you too.


 

Faithful

Our God remains faithful though we are faithless.

He cannot deny himself.

Even though our sins are countless,

He does not lie or change, nor will He slander himself.

He doesn’t tempt us beyond our ability,

He provides a means of escape for every temptation.

While He rules with unquestioned sovereignty,

His grace is sufficient for us and worthy of veneration.

His word is upright,

and His love never ends.

Even as the morning comes after every night,

His great reliability never bends.

He is just, upright, and without iniquity,

and His faithfulness abounds despite our impurity.


 

Adam and Jesus

His obedience

to counter his defiance.

His deference

to counter his noncompliance.

Adam’s rebellion was the root of our sin,

so Jesus’ submission became our salvation.

Because of the first man, evil lies within,

but through Christ, we each become a new creation.

Adam’s sin led him to hide,

but Jesus sought His father when His time drew near.

Adam tried to cast his guilt aside,

but Jesus, without guilt, had nothing to fear.

Adam’s trespass resulted in condemnation,

but Jesus’ act of righteousness resulted in justification.


 

Your Will

We accept Your Son as our Savior,

for you gave us the gospel, and we have heard it.

We seek Your word with great fervor

and ask that you fill our hearts with Your Spirit.

Let us be sanctified,

so that we might be more like Your Son.

Let our previous, selfish temptations be denied,

and let only Your will be done.

Let us submit to Your law, Your church, and the leaders you’ve appointed over us.

Let our hearts be like a servant most humble.

We understand that some might punish or persecute us,

so we glorify You, Lord, for we suffer but trust that your grace won’t let us stumble.

Let Your will live in the hearts of women and men,

for You are our God now and forever, Amen.


 

His Miracles

He made the leper clean.

He healed the centurion’s servant with a word.

He healed many, just as the prophet had foreseen.

He healed Peter’s mother-in-law, and she began to serve him after that occurred.

He calmed a storm.

He cast out demons.

Many great works did he perform

to show authority in his sermons.

He helped a paralytic to his feet,

and brought life to the dead.

He healed a woman on the street,

He never failed to do a single thing he had said.

The Son of God did all these wonderful things,

but the greatest work is the salvation that He brings.


 

His Favorite Method

He worked through David to make Goliath fall.

He worked through Moses to set the Israelites free.

He healed the sick through the mere handkerchiefs that touched Paul.

He worked through Elisha to help a crippled woman earn money.

He worked through Sampson to bring the house of the Philistines down.

He worked through Elijah to burn the captains and their host.

For Joshua the sun and moon stood still, and this increased the army’s renown.

Look at all the miracles, and how He performed them most.

Through Peter, he strengthened a man’s legs and feet.

Through Isaiah, he killed the Assyrian king in his own land.

Many a wondrous deed did our Lord, God, complete,

but he didn’t do them simply by his own mighty hand.

Indeed for most the wonders and tasks we have seen Him do,

have come through his servants, people just like me and you.


 

The Provider

He made bread rain down from the sky.

He used a log to sweeten Marah’s waters.

To those who are faithful, his is faithful and does not deny.

His generously gives to all his sons and daughters.

He is our provider.

With him, we never want for anything.

Even to Ruth, a Moabitess outsider,

He provided a redeemer, and made her a matron of the king.

He provided for Elijah in the wilderness.

He blessed Abraham with an heir.

Praise be to God for his love and kindness.

Blessed is he who gives when we are in despair.

If ever one doubts how loving and giving is He.

Simply look at the world He gave us; it’s there for all to see.

Sonnets for My Savior 6

Sonnets for My Savior 6

The Most Dangerous Temptation

“You will never attain His standard,” the tempter said.

“What is the point in trying?”

It is written, to sin, I’m dead,

if in Christ I’m relying.

“Where is the fruit you’re supposed to bear?

“Where is the sign of your Salvation?”

It is written, in every good work, my fruits are there.

We are first fruits saved through sanctification.

“You can’t be perfect;

“your every sin is accusatory”

It is written, God is perfect,

but all mankind falls short of his glory.

“Why would you believe you couldn’t fall after succumbing to my word?”

It is written, nothing can separate us from God’s love that is revealed in Christ our Lord.


 

My Lack, Your Grace

Your grace is sufficient for all who sin;

Your power is made perfect in weakness.

I’m humbled by the evil that is in my skin,

for without You, my life is bleakness.

My transgressions continue to mount;

these thorns prevent me from conceit.

These failings come more than I can count,

and there lies nothing in me to use to bring temptation’s defeat.

Even though you do not tempt me beyond my ability,

I sometimes fail to escape though you offer a way.

Yet you still provide for me faithfully,

so that next time I might not go astray.

Thank you, Lord, for giving me a way to endure,

Help me trust in your grace, so I won’t succumb to the tempter’s lure.


 

How He Resisted

He was not tempted by starvation;

He quoted how man lives.

Bread alone does not sustain creation,

but they survive by the word God gives.

He was not tempted by pride;

He did not put his God to the test.

Even though the tempter used scripture when he tried,

Jesus knew the correct words to seek to stand strong in the contest.

He was not tempted by any number of kingdoms for a bribe;

He did not waiver in his loyalty.

Again to God’s word did Jesus ascribe

the commandment to serve only God an not commit idolatry.

He was without sin even though he was tempted.

This teaches us to seek scripture so we might avoid being corrupted.


 

Merciful

We thank you, our merciful God;

Thank you for forgiving our iniquity, sin, and transgression.

I find comfort in your staff and your rod,

and You, O Lord, are a God full of Compassion.

Thank you, our High Priest, for you can sympathize with our weakness,

for you faced temptation and won.

You showed such great mercifulness,

by suffering for everyone.

Blessed be they who comfort us in our tribulation

so that we might be a comfort to others.

Jesus served as our propitiation,

so we can receive the spirit of adoption and become Christ’s brothers.

Through the Lords mercies, we are not consumed,

for he has granted us salvation even though our sins should make us doomed.


 

Gifts

Behold the gifts we have been given,

all so that we may use them.

Even in our sinful condition,

we have been blessed by God, from whom all good things stem.

Some can teach and other contribute;

others can lead while still others are merciful.

Use these gifts for God in an offer of tribute

so that faith in him will be shown incontrovertible.

Some exhort and others lead

all to bring glory to his name.

Let every action and ever deed

be pleasing to Him and no cause for shame.

We, though many, are one body in Christ,

Let each of us serve Him as is good and right. 


 

Always for Good

Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery,

but God called him to care for many.

Even an act of knavery

can be used by God to elevate nothing to plenty.

Judah believed he’d lain with a prostitute to sate his sinful desire,

but God used that deed to sow the seed of our Savior.

There is no deed that man could conspire

that God can’t use for a cause that’s greater.

The chief priests and scribes had Jesus crucified to silence his teaching,

but that great sin was used to grant our salvation.

Indeed all that happens, no matter how anguishing,

works out for the good of those who love the father of creation.

A man might do as much evil as he could.

but God will always mean it for good.


 

Do Not Be Anxious

Why worry about clothes and food?

Flowers don’t sew and birds don’t harvest.

Our creator provides for them, so what person would he exclude?

He alone knows what we need best.

Indeed don’t be anxious about anything;

instead pray to Him in every situation.

Offer our God, who created everything,

prayers of thanksgiving and supplication.

Trust in the Lord, not your own understanding;

submit, and He will make your paths straight.

Trust in Him in times, demanding,

for you are weak, but His power is great.

He will never leave of forsake us,

so there is no need to ever be anxious.