“Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, You are very great: You are clothed with honor and majesty, Who cover Yourself with light as with a garment, Who stretch out the heavens like a curtain. He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters, Who makes the clouds His chariot, Who walks on the wings of the wind, Who makes His angels spirits, His ministers a flame of fire. You who laid the foundations of the earth, So that it should not be moved forever,” – Psalm 104:1-5
“Mercy (hesed) & truth have met together; Righteousness & peace have kissed.” – Psa. 85:10
Where did they meet? In Christ Jesus.
These four virtues, once lost with Adam, are now found in Jesus. All the attributes of God rest perfectly in Him. They lovingly kiss.
When did they kiss? When He poured out His life on Calvary.
We are all guilty. The Law requires justice (TRUTH/RIGHTEOUSNESS). But the Judge wants us to be free (MERCY/PEACE). So He punishes sin (in the person of His Son) and releases the sinner. It is the only way God can judge us and save us at the same time. It is the only way God can be both Just & the Justifier (Rom. 3:26).
Why?Because He loves you so.
“This is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us & sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” – 1 John 4:10
Sound too good to be true, but it gets even better: it’s a free gift. All you have to do is accept it in FAITH Rom. 10:9). You can’t earn it. If you could, it would become “payment for services rendered” (Rom. 4:4). It is HILARIOUSLY WRONG to think we have anything to do with our own salvation. God could never, ever (ever ever ever) be “in debted” to Man (Rom. 11:35).
Have you ever gone to the laundry mat? You are able to get your own clothes clean with your own detergent.
With Jesus, you don’t bring your own detergent. He cleans you.
We are not redeemed by our own efforts, but by the precious blood of Christ (1 Cor. 6:11). I know its odd to think of being cleansed with blood, but that’s exactly how it is (1 Peter 1:18-19).
We are filthy in our own sins. Christ comes in and washes us.
Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. – Isa. 1:18
Whiter than snow? (Psa. 51:7) I’m not sure of any laundry detergent that claims to do that!
Trying to maintain your own goodness through works, deeds, or rituals is like bringing your own detergent to Jesus. It would be like going to the laundry mat and trying to wash your clothes with dirt (Isa. 64:6).
Dirt cannot remove dirt. Dirt makes things more dirty. Only Living Water can remove stains.
Don’t forget to pray for your Pastors throughout the week as they wrestle with the message they are preparing just for you. You can start by praying Eph. 1:15-19.
The cook presents the finished meal.
What he doesn’t present is the stack of old cookbooks he sifted through to find just the right recipe. He doesn’t mention the multiple trips to the market to find just the right ingredients. He doesn’t show you all the burnt attempts that didn’t work out quite right. He doesn’t bring out the shiny new mixer he is so very proud of that has all the bright new features.
No, the cook presents the finished meal.
The cook knows he is just the cook. Its the Farmer who produces the food (John 15:1). Its the Husbandman who gave the cook something to cook. It’s the Vine-dresser who raised the crop. And from sunrise to sunset, the divine Creator seeks to create fruit through us as we abide in Christ (1 John 2:5-6).
For He satisfies the longing soul, And fills the hungry soul with goodness. – Psa. 107:9
No, the cook doesn’t do any of this. He just presents the finished meal to the best of his ability and prays you brought your appetite.
With one hand He is holding yours and with His other hand, He is clearing your path.
One of the most beloved of David’s poetry is Psalms 23. It describes God as the caring Shepherd and the dependable Guide.
He leads us beside quiet waters and refreshes our soul. With one hand He gently guides us along the right path and with the other, he makes a banquet. Even as enemies approach, we have nothing to fear for God is with us.
By allowing Jesus to guide us, we trail in His goodness and love and we dwell in His house forever.
Every night at around 10 o’clock, I let my dog out for one last time. The first thing I do is look up to the sky and see if “the stars are out.” I’ll tell my wife, “Man, the stars are really out tonight!” or “No stars out tonight!” Now, I know full well that the stars are not precarious things that are sometimes there and sometimes hiding. It’s just that on certain nights, I cannot see them. I can thank Miss Grewe at East Dale Elementary for that.
There are times when you feel like God is not there. Saint John of the Cross called it “The Dark Night of The Soul.” You walk out into that night and there are no stars. The sky is black. Your gut sinks as you peer into the cold vast nothing. You are unprotected, alone and forgotten.
God has gone out of His way to let you know how ridiculous that is: Deut 31:8, Heb. 13:5, Joshua 1:9, Phil. 4:6-7, and Psa. 55:22 just to name a few. Over and over He tells us we are not alone, He will never forsake us and He protects His children. So when your flesh is weak and when your heart fails, remember – God is there, He has not left you and He alone can get you where He needs you to be.
The stars are ALWAYS out there, it’s just sometimes you can’t see them.