Seeing and Loving

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To be sure, God cannot be seen in this life, but he can be known and loved in this life in the one who comes from his bosom in the Spirit. Knowledge of the God that Jesus makes known is knowledge that yields love. Such love is coterminous with sight. So Thomas: “And this is the ultimate perfection of the contemplative life, namely that the divine Truth be not only seen but also loved.”

— Christopher Holmes, The Holy Spirit, 208.

 

 

Even Wrath Whispers

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“When mothers lay down their lives for children, when brothers die for sisters and sisters for brothers, when fathers die for wives and children, when heroes die for strangers on the street, they do not pour out their blood because the one they save deserves such a sacrifice. Nah, lad. Love burns hotter than justice, and its roar is thunder. Beside love, even wrath whispers. Not one of us snatching breath with mortal lungs deserves such a gift, and yet every day such a gift is given.” He thumped Cyrus in the shoulder with a heavy fist. “To love is to be selfless. To be selfless is to be fearless. To be fearless is to strip your enemies of their greatest weapon. Even if they break our bodies and drain our blood, we are unvanquished. Our goal was never to live; our goal is to love. It is the goal of all truly noble men and women. Give all that can be given. Give even life itself.”

— Boniface “Niffy” Brosnan (N.D. Wilson’s Empire of Bones (Ashtown Burials #3), 314.

Interrogation

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How have You loved us?
I chose you, not Esau.

How have we defiled You?
You offer worthless sacrifices on My altar.

How have we wearied You?
You accuse Me of winking at evil, doing nothing.

How can we return to You?
Stop robbing Me.

How do we rob You?
By not trusting Me with what is already Mine.

What have we said against You?
You say loving Me is useless.

Now, gird yourselves like men.
I will ask you, and you give Me answers.

1-11-2016

 

Lover and Beloved

Wherefore what we have under consideration, is so much the more to be taken notice of; namely, that a person so great, so high, so glorious, as this Jesus Christ was, should have love for us, that passes knowledge. It is common for equals to love, and for superiors to be beloved; but for the King of princes, for the Son of God, for Jesus Christ to love man thus: this is amazing, and that so much the more, for that man the object of this love, is so low, so mean, so vile, so undeserving, and so inconsiderable, as by the Scriptures, everywhere he is described to be.

But to speak a little more particularly of this person. He is called God (John 1:1). The King of glory (Psa. 24:10) and Lord of glory (1 Cor. 2:8). The brightness of the glory of His Father (Heb. 1:3). The head over all things (Eph. 1:22). The Prince of life (Acts 3:15). The Creator of all things (Col. 1:16). The upholder of all things (Heb. 1:3). The disposer of all things (Matt. 28:18). The only beloved of the Father (Matt. 11).

But the persons of Him beloved, are called transgressors, sinners, enemies, dust and ashes, fleas (1 Sam. 24:14), worms, shadows, vapours: vile, sinful, filthy, unclean, ungodly fools, madmen. And now is it not to be wondered at, and are we not to be affected herewith, saying, And wilt thou set thine eye upon such a one? But how much more when He will set His heart upon us. And yet this great, this high, this glorious person, verily, verily, loveth such.

— John Bunyan, All Loves Excelling, 47.

Sealed

The wife asked her husband to “set me as a seal on your heart.” A person’s seal, here the seal of the king, was extremely important and personal. Jack Deere notes, “In Old Testament times a seal was used to indicate ownership of a person’s valued possessions. So the beloved asked to be the lover’s most valued possession” (“Song,” 1024).

She wants to be a seal, but one placed in a very particular and personal location: “on your heart.” In the ancient world it was often the custom to wear a signet ring or cylinder on a cord or necklace around the neck and near the heart. Schwab notes, “To be imprinted as a seal on another is to be inseparable from that person. She wishes his life to be hers” (“Song,” 426). For the king to love his lady in such a way that she felt near and dear to his heart would speak personally of his undying devotion and lasting love. As long as his heart beats, she wants to know and feel his love.

Believers in Jesus have a King who has set His seal on us, emblazoning it on our foreheads (cf. Rev 9:4) as a personal pledge of possession and protection. And we did not even have to ask. Indeed, through salvation provided for us in Christ, our God has “sealed us and given us the Spirit as a down payment in our hearts” (2 Cor 1:22). We have His seal on our foreheads and His seal in our hearts. We are “double-sealed” by our great Shepherd-King. The personal and intimate love He has for those who belong to Him is a pledge and promise we should never doubt.

— Daniel Akin, Exalting Jesus in Song of Songs, Kindle Location 3629.

Glimpse of Empathy (Dorsimbra)

My wife and I have often thought and said,
When seeing our beloved daughter’s grief:
“I would gladly take this for you instead,
If only it might bring you some relief!”

Fear not! Good news is here!
Immanuel–it’s true!
God has come to us!
Glory to God indeed!

I see in my deep love for them a glimpse–
The Greater Father’s love that moves His heart,
The Greater Husband’s devotion and joy–
That blinds me by the wonder of it all.

12-15-2014

Book Review: John Wesley on the Christian Life

I recently finished Fred Sanders’ (@fredfredsanders) John Wesley on the Christian Life: The Heart Renewed in Love. I was doubly drawn to the book: having read Sanders’ The Deep Things of God, I had been acquainted with his rich devotion to the faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3) and his helpful, clear writing. The subject of the book also appealed to me; I knew very little about Wesley, other than scattered “facts” that were admittedly unverified and likely caricature. Since Sanders comes from a thoughtful Wesleyan perspective, I hoped I was in for a treat.

I was not disappointed.

Continue reading “Book Review: John Wesley on the Christian Life”

Prayer

Holy and holy-making Father,

You have made all things,
and You made them all very good.
In all the vast universe and everything in it that You made,
what is man, that You remember us?
Who are we, that You care for us?

You honored Adam so highly when You made him,
making him just lower than the angels for a short time.
You loved him beyond any other creature,
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You even gave him dominion and rule over all You had made,
subjecting everything under his feet.

Adam sinned against You, and we all suffer the reign of sin.
We know what we should see, but we do not yet see everything subjected to man.
But You did not abandon us to the curse of sin and the fury of judgment,
because we do see Your Son Jesus.

Jesus too was made lower than the angels for a short time,
but instead of sinning He tasted death for everyone;
dying for sinners to be forgiven,
He received a crown of glory and honor
because of the reward of His suffering of death.

It was perfectly fitting in Your plan to bring many sons to glory,
that the One who saves us would be made perfect for us through suffering for us.
You are His Father, and You have adopted us to become our Father;
Jesus is not ashamed to call us His brothers.

In fact, Jesus gladly leads us to worship You, Father.
He proclaims Your name to us brothers,
and leads us in singing hymns to You when we gather.
He shows us by His perfect life what it is to say,
“I will trust in You, Father.”
He is even proud of us, gladly associating with us:
“Look, Abba! Look at all the children You gave Me!”

Look at how great a love the Father has given us,
that we should be called God’s children.

And we are!

Hallelujah! Oh, hallelujah!

‘What is man, that You remember him,
or the son of man, that You care for him?
You made him lower than the angels for a short time;
You crowned him with glory and honor
and subjected everything under his feet.’

For in subjecting everything to him, He left nothing not subject to him. As it is, we do not yet see everything subjected to him. But we do see Jesus–made lower than the angels for a short time so that by God’s grace He might taste death for everyone–crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death.

For it was fitting, in bringing many sons to glory, that He, for whom and through whom all things exist, should make the source of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For the One who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one Father. That is why He is not ashamed to call them brothers, saying:

‘I will proclaim Your name to my brothers;
I will sing hymns to You in the congregation.’

Again, ‘I will trust in Him.’ And again, ‘Here I am with the children God gave Me.’

Hebrews 2:b-13 HCSB

 

Look at how great a love the Father has given us, that we should be called God’s children. And we are! 1 John 3:1 HCSB