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Archive for April, 2011

If God were to speak to you what would he say?  By this time anyone who is reading this blog will likely say, God has spoken to me and he still speaks to me.  Fair enough, I too believe God has spoken and is still speaking.  I believe his primary and preferred means of communication is His Word.  I also know God can and does speak to the conscience and spirit of individuals.  Where I would likely disagree with most is God’s topic of choice while speaking.  Most who claim to have heard God speak almost always tell of God speaking to them about them.  Rarely, have I heard another (John Piper not withstanding)  say that when God spoke to them, he spoke of himself.  Almost always “God-speak”  is centered on and around the individual who heard from God.  In Isaiah 6, when Isaiah receives is call from the Lord to beProphet to God’s people, God shows himself in a vision in which his own holiness and person were on display.  When God gives Moses and his covenant people (though not all were God followers) the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai from Exodus 20, God’s character are the point of emphasis.  The Law, is meant to show us the holiness of the Lord.  Without the knowledge of his holiness, we would never even begin to understand our own sinfulness.  I’m not saying God does not speak to people about their own lives.  I am simply stating that far to often people would rather hear a word about themselves than a word about God.  We need look no further than the state of preaching that exists in the vast majority of pulpits on Sunday’s…sermons saturated with “ME”, and “I”, and “YOU”.  The church as a whole is suffering from a lack of reverence for God in his holiness.  We need far less sermons that deal with personal application, and far more that deal with the glory of God.   I hope we can see the connection, we are so accustomed to hearing sermons each week that focus on the individual what else should we expect to hear from God through prayer and his word then something pertaining to our own lives.  Also, if God does speak to you outside of his word, be careful.  It is not as though I doubt God’s ability to speak, but rather, our own ability to hear and interpret in light of his word.  When someone declares they have received a word from God and share that word, it is not “Thus Sayeth The Lord”.  The word of God is our complete and final authority on all matters without exception.  It is my hope that we would all seek daily to hear the voice of God, not so that we might learn more about ourselves and our own lives (we all do enough of that already).  Rather, that we might be awe-struck by his person and wonder as Isaiah was during his vision of the Lord.  We would all do well to focus on God more and make less of our selves and our own lives.

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Jesus did not chiefly die to save sinners.  Nor, was Christ’s greatest accomplishment keeping sinners from an eternal hell.  If you were to ask most in the church today what is the primary purpose in God sending his own son to die in the place of sinners, most would say to save them.  Well, if that is the case, then God is an idolater.  If God sent Jesus into the world with the chief end being to save sinners like you and me, then God has just placed something/someone else above himself.  Likely, no one has radically/biblically shaped my view of God more than John Piper.  During my time reading portions of Desiring God, and The Pleasures of God, I was introduced (rightly so) for the first time that God was chiefly about God.  As Piper writes, “God is upper-most in his own affections” (DG).  Some will argue, well, God is an ego-driven maniac.  No, he is the most supremely valuable and important being in existence.  If God does not value himself above all others, then he puts something else above himself and he becomes idolatris.  Simply, God must value himself above all else and all others because of who he is.  Secondly, many in the church believe that Christ’s greatest effort on their behalf in salvation was saving them from an eternal hell.  While I’m quite happy that I will not ever taste the death and despair of eternal hell, the real prize in salvation is God himself.  The great benefit we receive in Christ’s death is being reconciled to God by Christ in a way that is both pleasing and acceptable to God.  It is right of no man to say, I was saved because I did not want to go to hell.  Fear of hell is a good thing, and God can use that fear to lead us to himself.  But, the primary reason we should desire to come to God is, we see him as he is meant to be seen (though with still fallen eyes), as the greatest, most beautiful, most satisfying being in all the cosmos.  We come to God in Christ because we want him, all of him for all of eternity.  We have tasted and seen the cheap tricks and gimmicks of the world, and now we long for true pleasure and satisfaction.  As John Piper will often say, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.”  The very purpose of our existence is to worship, glorify, and enjoy the ultimate and supreme being of the universe, God.  God wants us to enjoy him and find our deepest level of satisfaction and happiness in his very person.  Piper call this Christian hedonism.  A hedonist pursues his/her pleasure as the chief end of their existence.  A hedonist does whatever it takes to be happy and pleased here and now.  It is a path of all pleasure and minimal pain.  We as Christians should pursue our greatest pleasure in God, and find our only and ultimate satisfaction in him.  We should not however strive to lead a painless life, nor should we go looking for pain…it will come.  But, we should expect pain and suffering and see it as  a way of drawing near to God and trusting in his person all the more.  Our God is great well  beyond our ability to comprehend.  His salvation is great because it leads sinners to himself and we are to enjoy his person here and evermore.

Revelation 7:9-11

9After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with(palm branches in their hands, 10and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they) fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God,

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