I have a favorite T-Shirt that says: “This was supposed to be the future. Where is my jetpack?”
I’m a twenty-something and my generation is one that has seen many of the idealistic promises of the last century come largely unfulfilled (jetpacks? flying cars? world peace? freedom and justice for all?).This means we’ve turned out as a pretty cynical generation, and we’ve made it something to be proud about. We’ve realized that everyone is trying to sell us something, that everything is product placement,,,
But the problem is that this cynicism might just kill our generation.
I have to admit as a twenty-something myself that cynicism is pretty seductive. When you’re cynical you don’t get hurt easily because you assume that everything is hopeless to begin with. Cynicism is a shield protecting us from disappointment. We don’t want our dreams thrown out like New Coke or NASA’s Space Shuttle Program so we just don’t have dreams anymore.
When we cynically assume that every good venture will ultimately fail, we miss out on rejoicing where we should rejoice. We can be so guarded that when we see God at work, we think, “Well there are still a million things that can go wrong…” instead of simply seeing what God has done and rejoicing.
Though we live in a broken world, evidences of God at work are all around us and we glorify God when we rightly rejoice when we see him at work.
This seems to be the message that God is trying to get through to me lately.
“the duties that are required of us are not proportioned to the strength residing in us, but to the supply laid up for us in Christ”
John Owen, Works (Edinburgh, 1982), IX:109
From Ray Ortlund’s Blog
From Richard Foster’s book Celebration of Discipline pages 5 – 6:
Our ordinary method of dealing with ingrained sin is to launch a frontal attack. We rely on our willpower and determination. Whatever may be the issue for us — anger, fear, bitterness, gluttony, pride, lust, substance abuse — we determine never to do it again; we pray against it, fight against it, set our will against it. But the struggle is all in vain, and we find ourselves once again morally bankrupt or, worse yet, so proud of our external righteousness that “whitened sepulchers” is a mild description of our condition.
In Colossians Paul lists some of the outward forms that people use to control sin: “touch not, taste not, handle not.” He then adds that these things “have indeed a show of wisdom in will worship” (Col 2:20-23 KJV). “Will worship” — what a telling phrase, and how descriptive of so much of our lives! The moment we feel we can succeed and attain victory over sin by the strength of our will alone is the moment we are worshiping the will. Isn’t it ironic that paul looks at our most strenuous efforts in the spiritual walk and calls them idolatry, “will worship”.
The will has the same deficiency as the law — it can deal only with externals. It is incapable of bringing about the necessary transformation of the inner spirit.
When we despair of gaining inner transformation through human powers of will and determination, we are open to a wonderful new realization: inner righteousness is a gift from God to be graciously received. The needed change within us is God’s work not ours. The demand is for an inside job, and only God can work from the inside. We cannot attain or earn this righteousness of the kingdom of God; it is a grace that is given.
Romans 5:17 “… those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness [shall] reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.”
I know that Your eyes are like flames of fire
I know that Your head is as white as wool
And I know that Your voice it sounds like waters,
Jesus Your Beautiful!
Spirit of wisdom, open my eyes again
Spirit of revelation, open my heart again
Cause I want to see
Lord I want to see, see You rightly Jesus
There is no one like You, Lord
Jesus You’re Beautiful!
There is no one like You in the heavens or the earth
There is no one like You in the heavens or the earth
“God’s ways are not our ways and his thoughts are not our thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8
The text goes on to say that God’s Word and his ways are like the rain and snow that gently fall down and sink into the earth, which in time, brings forth life. Foster writes,
What a contrast with our ways, which involve wanting to open up another person’s head and tinker around in there for a bit! But you see, God’s ways are all patience and love, all grace and mercy. Our ways are domination and control, all manipulation and guile.
You see it’s one thing to love God; it’s quite another to love God’s ways.
-Richard Foster, Sanctuary of the Soul: Journey Into Meditative Prayer via Life Together
“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23).
Because your heart is extremely valuable. We don’t guard worthless things. I take my garbage to the street every Wednesday night. It is picked up on Thursday morning. It sits on the sidewalk all night, completely unguarded. Why? Because it is worthless.
Not so with your heart. It is the essence of who you are. It is your authentic self—the core of your being. It is where all your dreams, your desires, and your passions live. It is that part of you that connects with God and other people.
Just like your physical body, if your heart—your spiritual heart—dies, your leadership dies. This is why Solomon says, “Above all else.” He doesn’t say, “If you get around to it” or “It would be nice if.” No, he says, make it your top priority.
Because your heart is the source of everything you do. King Solomon says it is the “wellspring of life.” In other words, it is the source of everything else in your life. Your heart overflows into thoughts, words, and actions.
In Tennessee, where I live, we have thousands and thousands of natural springs, where water flows to the surface of the earth from deep under the ground. It then accumulates in pools or runs off into creeks and streams.
If you plug up the spring, you stop the flow of water. If you poison the water, the flow becomes toxic. In either situation, you threaten life downstream. Everything depends on the condition of the spring.
Likewise, if your heart is unhealthy, it has an impact on everything else. It threatens your family, your friends, your ministry, your career, and, indeed, your legacy. It is, therefore, imperative that you guard it.
Because your heart is under constant attack. When Solomon says to guard your heart, he implies that you are living in a combat zone—one in which there are casualties.
Many of us are oblivious to the reality of this war. We have an enemy who is bent on our destruction. He not only opposes God, but he opposes everything that is aligned with Him—including us.
Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it. Don’t indulge your ego at the expense of your soul. Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices. Then they’ll be won over to God’s side and be there to join in the celebration when he arrives. 1 Peter 2:11 (MSG)
From Seth Barnes: When cozy is no longer normal.
God is a Person, and in the deep of is mighty nature He thinks, wills, enjoys, feels, loves, desires and suffers as any other person may. In making Himself known to us He stays by the familiar pattern of personality. He communicates with us through the avenues of our minds, our wills and our emotions. The continuous and unembarrassed interchange of love and thought between God and the soul of the redeemed man is the throbbing heart of New Testament religion.
A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God, page 11
Question: What is your only comfort in life and in death?
Answer: That I am not my own
body and soul,
in life and in death—
to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.
He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood,
and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil.
He also watches over me in such a way
that not a hair can fall from my head
without the will of my Father in heaven;
in fact, all things must work together for my salvation.
Because I belong to him,
Christ, by his Holy Spirit,
assures me of eternal life
and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready
from now on to live for him.
The Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 1.
Via Ray Ortlund
“16 And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God said:
“I will live in them
and walk among them.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
17 Therefore, come out from among unbelievers,
and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord.
Don’t touch their filthy things,
and I will welcome you.
18 And I will be your Father,
and you will be my sons and daughters,
says the Lord Almighty.”
Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God.”
2 Corinthians 6:16 – 7:1 NLT