Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Submission for the best single Law-Gospel Bible verse of them all . . .

Just reading Hosea. I know, I know . . . "why Hosea, of all things? You mean you just really had to hear a story about a guy marrying a prostitute?"

Yeah, I know. Seems kind of odd. But I stumbled across a verse I knew but hadn't thought of in a long, long time.

Hosea 6:1 "Come, let us return to the LORD. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds.

He has torn us to pieces . . .
Amazing that God has the power to strike terror into our hearts . . . and that at times He actually uses it. Forcing us to recognize our utter dependence upon Him. Demonstrating clearly that He is God and we are not. Shredding every last ounce of the false reality of self-reliance. God's vicious mercy.

But He will will us . . .
Despite the agonizing blows of life, despite the fact that God has struck us so hard our ears are ringing . . . we look to Him in faith. Realizing that He has orchestrated events in order to call us back to Him. We confess that He is God and that in Him alone we find true peace.

Is God a sadist? No, no, of course not. Is He an abusive husband, beating His wife into submission? Again, the answer is clearly "No." So how to explain Hosea's words that God has torn us to pieces, that He has injured us?

It is a severe mercy. A mercy that uses the only language we will at times understand: the language of pain. Pain rouses us from our self-satisfied slumber to full awakening. Alert with newly-sharpened senses still sizzling like alcohol poured onto a cut, we at last see God for the majestic, awesome God that alone is worthy of our worship. We turn at last from our selfish selves to Him . . .

. . . and He binds our wounds and in Him we find peace.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

It's not often . . .

It's not often I like to be up at 2:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning.

But tonight I go to a few hours of blessed sleep, confident in God's love for me in Jesus Christ. I have had the privilege of meditating upon Him and His great works for the past few hours. I feel no stress about what the morning may bring. I feel no anxiety over my qualifications as His servant. I am satisfied in the quiet hours to hear His voice and rest in Him.


I could sing of your love forever.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Duty . . . or doody?

So my wife has to run into town to go to an OB/GYN appointment, and I agreed that I could come home and watch after the children while she and the older two kids went to the appointment and then ran some errands.

So I'm just getting settled in, set up my laptop and arranged my books that I'm using to prepare for my new sermon series. Just as I'm ready to begin work in earnest, the baby approaches me. He's got something in his hands, which isn't unusual as in a family our size there's always something on the floor for him to find.

As he gets nearer to me, however, I jump back, realizing I don't want what he's got to offer. Yes, that's right . . . he had been digging in the back of his diaper and was bringing me the rather soiled fruit of his efforts.

Quickly steered him to the bathroom, dumped him in the tub, rinsed him off, washed him off, and then had to scrub out the tub as well. New diaper, new clothes, and now I'm finally back to work.

And people say ministry doesn't have it's occupational hazards!