Monday, April 23, 2012


Love through me, Love of God,
  Make me like thy clear air
Through which unhindered, colours pass
  As though it were not there.

Powers of the love of God,
  Depths of the heart Divine,
O Love that faileth not, break forth,
  And flood this world of Thine.
     ~Amy Carmichael

What does a life of love look like?  The sins of pride, selfishness, or cowardice are, at the root, simply a lack of love.  Christians who have been forgiven so much and loved so incredibly by our Beautiful, Merciful God must learn what it is to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge.  

The love of God was demonstrated on a hill called Calvary.  God sent His Son, His Only Begotten Son, to die in my place and to pay my debt in full.  This is A.MAZ.ING.  This ought to colour every one of my thoughts, my words and my deeds.  This Calvary love should move me to love others with a pure heart, fervently.

Years I spent in vanity and pride,
Caring not my Lord was crucified,
Knowing not it was for me He died
  On Calvary.
Mercy there was great, and grace was free;
Pardon there was multiplied to me;
There my burdened soul found liberty,
    At Calvary.
By God's Word at last my sin I learned;
Then I trembled at the law I'd spurned,
Till my guilty soul imploring turned
  To Calvary.
Now I've giv'n to Jesus everything,
Now I gladly own Him as my King,
Now my raptured soul can only sing
  Of Calvary.
Oh, the love that drew salvation's plan!
Oh, the grace that brought it down to man!
Oh, the mighty gulf that God did span
  At Calvary!

What do you know of Calvary love?

Amy Carmichael wrote a little book with the help of others at the Dohnavur Fellowship. It was simply called "If".  

If I can easily discuss the shortcomings and the sins of any; if I can speak in a casual way even of a child's misdoings, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
How often I comment on a child's rebellious attitude, or the lack of integrity in a family member.  I know nothing of Calvary love. 

If I can write an unkind letter, speak an unkind word, think an unkind thought without grief and shame, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
I don't have to look back a long time to remember an unkind word, and an unkind thought.  I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I do not feel far more for the grieved Saviour than for my worried self when troublesome things occur, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
I was interrupted today and had to deal with something I'd rather not be involved in.  Just today I worried about money, about relationships, about children.  Instead of thinking about what my Saviour feels about these troublesome things, I was self-centered.  I know nothing of Calvary love.

If, in dealing with one who does not respond, I weary of the strain, and slip from under the burden, then I now nothing of Calvary love.
Someone in my life does not respond.  He's slow to speak, and not great at communication.  I weary of the strain.  I want to run from the burden.  I know nothing of Calvary love.

Oh, Lord, teach me to love.  Remind me that each person who crosses my path is an image bearer.  Remind me that I do not know what You are doing in the life of another.  Help me to remember the grief You feel when You see people casually disregard Your way.  Give me patience, Dear Lord, and perseverance to continue pressing on for Your glory.

May the Love of God constrain me.  May I learn what it is to love.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Hope in spite of pain.

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? 
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.  
— Psalm 43:5 (ESV)

I helped some loved ones move last week.  I was careful to do only the easy things, like cleaning and packing without lifting any heavy boxes.  I did a tenth of what I would normally do, had I not suffered whiplash accompanied by soft tissue damage and myofascitis due to the accident of February 8, 2007.

The pain hasn't let up since the weekend.  Oh, it's lessened enough that I can sit at the keyboard, but as I sit I can feel my neck tightening, my shoulders spasming, and my head aching.  I won't be sitting here for long, so I'll type fast.  

It would be easy for someone with chronic pain to fall into the depths of despair.

But I have a God who loves me.  

Yesterday, He reminded me of two things:

1.  His mercies are new every morning.
2.  My Saviour is praying for me.

Paul Tripp reminded me that even though everything around me is wearing out, breaking down, and failing, simply because we live in a world that has been affected by sin, and we are accustomed to things that never last long.

He says, 

"But, if you are one of God's children, there is something in your life that will not wear out. In fact, it has the amazing capacity to be new day after day after day. Scripture says that God's mercies are "New every morning." Now, you know you need mercy, because you know you need forgiveness and help. Almost everyday you mess up in some way. Almost everyday you face things that are bigger than the size of your personal wisdom and strength. You and I constantly need the mercy of forgiveness and the mercy of enablement.And so, it is very encouraging to know that God's mercy is new every day! God's mercy never grows stale and it never loses it's transforming power. God's mercy is brand new morning after morning after morning.

This also means that God's mercy is form-fit for the problems that you are facing right here, right now. Each morning you are given new mercies for the particular things that you will face that day.

So, you can wake up tomorrow with courage and hope. And you can do this, not because of your strength and wisdom, but because you know that the most important thing you have ever been given will never wear out. You can also have hope because you know that the God who has given that new mercy, knows exactly what you are about to face." ~Paul Tripp, "It Won't Wear Out".

Erik Raymond reminded me that even though we have a real enemy preying on our souls, we have a glorious Saviour who never ceases to pray for us.    

It was Satan's desire to have Peter.  He doesn't worry too much about those on the broad road that leads to destruction, because he already has them.  But Peter, the Apostle, was destined for great things.

Erik writes, 

"But notice what the Lord says, “but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail…” What a blessed thought to chew upon. The Savior, who has Calvary on his mind and in his sights, is praying for Peter! Consider the blessing of having Jesus pray for you!? Perhaps this is some insight into why and how Peter did in fact return after his denials. Can you imagine how these words would have resounded in the Apostle’s ears in the decades that passed? Jesus Christ prayed for me. Jesus made intercession for me. This is incomprehensibly glorious.
Believer this is not a reality that is limited exclusively to the time of the Apostles. We know in Scripture that Jesus has prayed for all believers (Jn 17.20) and is now interceding for us as the successful advocate (Rom. 8.341 Joh 2.1). Mark it down, Satan is still the accuser (Rev. 12.10) and Jesus is still the intercessor (Isa. 53.12Heb. 7.25). He is able to intercede for us as he pleads the merits of his own righteousness; he pleads his obedience of life unto death.
Do you thank Jesus for his intercession? Do you thank him for his glorious righteousness? Do you thank him for his commitment to you? Oh, it is true indeed, he is a far better Savior than we think him to be."~Erik Raymond, from "Satan is Preying So Therefore the Savior is Praying". 
Why would I be cast down, ever?  I hope in God!  I remind myself that His mercies are new every morning.  I am in awe of the fact that He lives to make intercession for me.  He never forgets me.  He knows my frame.  He knows I fail to live up to my own expectations.  

And, He loves me.


Saturday, April 7, 2012

Wisdom from Paul

Tomorrow is the day that we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Saviour.  It boggles the mind that Someone would choose to die in my place. 

I used to hate the term "Good Friday", because when I read of the unimaginable suffering that Jesus, the Only One Who NEVER sinned, endured on my behalf, it brought me to tears. 

I didn't always react like that.  When I was a teenager, I had no idea what the gospel meant, or why Jesus came to die.  I went to an elite boarding school, and I saw others with their designer jeans and fancy cars, and was filled with envy.  I'd try to do things on my own, to be better, faster, stronger, smarter than the next girl, so I could swell with pride over my accomplishments. I'd seek out friendships and try to be popular, wanting others to like me, to realize how awesome I was.

Then I began to understand the gospel. It is the good news that declares that although I am a helpless sinner, lost and undone, without hope, under the wrath of God, dead in sin, there is a way out.  Jesus is the Way.  He paid the debt I could not pay, satisfying the wrath of God, and giving to me new life.  He paid for my sins in the past, and He gives me hope for the future.  But there's more...He also gives me abundant, joy-filled life for TODAY.

Some quotes to ponder from Paul Tripp:

Does envy preach to you a false gospel that tells you that God hasn't been as faithful and good to you as he's been to others?

Does pride preach to you a false gospel that tells you you're righteous and able on your own, not needing God's forgiving, enabling grace?

Does fear preach to you a false gospel that tells you you're alone and left to the resources of your own wisdom and strength?

By the power of the Spirit opening my eyes, I began to understand that I deserved the wrath of God to be poured out on me, because every intention of the thoughts of my heart was only evil continually. I began to understand the wickedness of envy, because God is the provider who gives us exactly what we need, and to be envious of others is to not be thankful, trusting in God's provision.  I began to understand the selfishness of pride, because I wanted to be someone special, rather than trusting in the One who is everything.  I began to see that courage comes from trusting God, relying on His Omnipotence and Goodness. As I began to understand the gospel, I understood why they call Good Friday "good" - because it was on the cross that my debt was paid and I was given new life, and set free from death.

The gospel teaches me that God is good, that He is faithful, and that He gives me everything I need for life and godliness.

The gospel teaches me that I am a sinner, that there is no righteousness in me apart from the Righteousness of Jesus Christ who indwells me, and that His grace is sufficient for an abundant life in Him.

The gospel teaches me that I am never alone, that my God will never leave me nor forsake me.  It teaches me that I can rely on Him for wisdom, and love others freely by His strength.  It teaches me that I am His workmanship, and that my life has purpose as I serve the people He sends my way.

Do you understand this gospel?  Do you understand present grace?  Or do you have a gap in the middle of the gospel?

Do you think the good news covers the sins you've committed in the past, and gives you a blessed hope for eternal life, but that you must work very hard and be very obedient and rely on your own resources here and now to live a righteous life?

Take the time to listen to Paul Tripp as he explains how the gospel applies to the situations of everyday life:


May Resurrection Sunday remind you of the glories of the Gospel and the Grace of our Beautiful God!

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Jerseys

We have calves, two of 'em.  They are Jersey steers, and they are A-DOR-A-BLE.  They have great big eyes and cute little faces and I always wonder how an animal can be so cute.

Today, we mucked out their stall.

Elena, the beef rancher of the family, was not feeling well, so she stayed indoors and worked on her Jeremiah 17 project.

Tiana cleaned the (VERY messy) kitchen.

Christopher, Quinlan, Nathan and Jared were my (not so) willing helpers.  Elena moved the calves out to a pen, and the boys mucked out the stall.  It was hard work, because for some reason unbeknownst to me, we could not find a pitchfork.  Moving straw laden with manure is hard at any time, but it is WORSE without a pitchfork.   We used rakes and a hoe to separate chunks from the main pile, and Jared, MUSCLE MAN that he is, lifted great big shovels full of manure onto the bucket of the tractor.

We got it done.  There were plenty of comments and much teasing about wimps and wooses and whether or not the boys were working hard.

But the point is, they stuck to it, and they got it done.

I am thankful for strong young men with willing hearts and a good work ethic.

Our calves now have a clean pen.  And I have a thankful heart.

Sunday, April 1, 2012


Just imagine how the disciples felt that last week they spent with their Master here on earth.  It was a confusing time.  He was telling them all sorts of things they didn't really want to hear, and could not understand.  "I'm going to die, and the third day rise again."  What?

Jesus was preparing them, and He told them that the Holy Spirit would bring the things He was saying to them back to their remembrance.  They would remember, and they would understand.

The message is the same for me, today.

Don't worry.  Just believe in Me, and remember that I am preparing a wonderful place for you, and I'll be back to get you.  I am the Way.  I am the Truth.  I am the Life.  I am God.  

I've given you great work to do.  You must pray, and believe that I am working.  Obey Me.  Trust Me when I tell you that the Holy Spirit will be in you.  

You're not orphans, left to yourselves without resources.  I'll keep loving you and providing for you.  You have the peace that passes understanding, so don't be afraid.   I've told you everything you need to know before it happens, so don't be afraid. 

Jesus told them:  "Satan is coming, and I won't be able to talk to you much longer, but he has no claim on me, because I have been the Perfect, Obedient Son." We know this is true, because He arose!

Keep these words in your remembrance, Christian:

Do not worry.
Do not be afraid.
You'll have a Helper.
I won't leave you alone.
You'll have work to do.
I'll come again and get you, 
& take you to live with me 

                                                                                                              ~From John 14