Author Archives: christiancourier517

2Chron.32; Rev. 18; Zech.14; John 17

Recently I’ve been digging me some A.W. Tozer Knowledge of the Holy, a survey of the character of God. Yeah, it’s a light read. Tozer’s two main assertions are 1) What you think about God is the most important thing about you and 2) that God can’t be fully known. It stands to reason that our concept of God would inform our actions, our character, our very being as we are derivative creatures. We would only know ourselves in relation to our knowledge of our Creator. How can a creature know itself in any other way?

Tozer’s second point is more perplexing. God can’t be fully known. He’s too big. He’s infinite. The finite can never fully know the infinite. Only the infinite has the capacity to know itself. This sort of magnitude resonates in the scripture:

The LORD will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one LORD, and his name the only name.

Only the infinite, all powerful, all present God has the right to be king over the whole earth. Only He can be one.  He’s big.

But Tozer makes a third assertion and here’s where things get tough for me: All of God’s qualities are one. His traits are inseparable from one another. It is incorrect to speak of his love, justice, mercy, holiness, faithfulness, wisdom, as separate and distinct things. They are no different from one another because God himself is One. We must simply pull them apart because we are only familiar with distinct qualities. God is not that way.

Here’s my snag: How could God be big, infinite, all powerful and also be my friend?

I don’t need to unload the barrel of scripture about God knowing me, my innermost being; thinking good thoughts towards me. A high priest who knows our struggles; who empathizes.

But how can God’s infinitude and intimacy be one and the same?

Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.

Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you.

All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them.

John 17 makes it indelibly clear that the fullness of God dwells in Christ. Jesus reveals that his glory and the Father’s glory are co-dependent. There is no distinction between the Father’s glory, the Son’s good nor in the either direction. There is astounding intimacy. Infinite intimacy.

But the glory of the trinity does not stop short of the Father-Son relationship: “And glory has come to me through them.” This glory extends out towards us–in us.

 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity.

The unity that exists in God is offered and available today through Christ.

Hallelujah, brought near to the heart of God through the blood of the Lamb.

Glory and honor be to Him who has severed the tie between God and man.

Thank you, Jesus, friend. Lover. Who dwells within me, and in whom the Father dwells. May the truth of your life in me leak its way out today.

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2 Chron.14,15; Rev. 4; Haggai 2; John 3

“Attempts to make the holidays brighter tend to give them a certain darkness.”

Cynically quipped Joel McHale’s character ex-lawyer Jeff Winger in NBC’s hit Community in their latest holiday episode.

I’ve found that beneath this lump of disenchanted coal lies a nugget of truth.

I’m gradually trying to slowly depress this inflated sense of childhood awe and wonderment surrounding the Christmas season; this high expectation of magic and mystique that must be found beneath the wrapping and lights.

The crusting of my cynicism towards Christmas iced over my first trip Black Friday shopping. Nothing really squelches a spirit of joy and giving like commercialism, materialism, and good old fashioned greed. My heart saw the gap between what I thought the season was supposed to be about and mobs of angry shoppers close to the point of homicide over the latest Tickle-me-Elmo, and shrewdly withdrew.

I think that I am not alone. Rates of stress, depression, and suicide ironically sky rocket around a time of year intended too foster love, generosity, and grace.

So what’s the disconnect?

For me, the disconnect happened when I expected the “attempts” to brighten the holidays to deliver joy and some resurrected sense of childhood nostalgia. I looked to the gifts, the lights, the songs, the weather, the ornaments, the people, the parties, the atmosphere to set my heart in a state of peace and goodwill towards men. Instead, I found darkness and disillusionment.

But Santa didn’t come to save the world.

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Jesus did.

It’s almost diabolical that a season created solely for the purpose of remembering the sweet life and sacrifice of Christ would be the easiest to lose sight of this amazing, spectacular occasion.

This year, I’m not interested in blessing others with gifts, I don’t want to try to re-enact some “feelings of Christmas”, I don’t want to be filled with joy and good tidings, if I can’t have my mind and heart set on Jesus at the center. I’d much rather skip the whole ordeal and keep my heart from cynicism and withdrawal than miss the central point of Christmas:

I was broken. Jesus came down, undeserving as a child, to replace my sin with His righteousness. And now I’m whole.

If I can’t give with my heart coming from this place, I don’t want to give at all.

Thank you, Jesus. Thank you. 

I will look to you to give whatever gifts you want this year. Make less of me during this time, let me see more of you. I don’t want to miss you, Jesus. I just want your presence. 

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1Chron.26,27; 2Pet. 1; Micah 4; Luke 13

“Partakers of the divine nature” is

my favorite phrase in all of scripture. I’m in. 

I’ve been picked for the winning team. I’ve been invited along for the most epic adventure of all time. I get to participate in the process of my own spiritual growth through the miraculous revamping of the Holy Spirit. 

We’ve discussed the majesty of God in nature, the magnanimity of His creation and what this speaks towards His character and power.

The Psalmist (8) captures this sentiment:

3 When I consider your heavens, 
   the work of your fingers, 
the moon and the stars, 
   which you have set in place, 
4 what is mankind that you are mindful of them, 
   human beings that you care for them?

When the enormity of God and His glory are glimpsed, the next logical thought is, “Who am I?”

Who am I that You would make the heavens, make me, care for me, and invite me to participate in the renewal of my soul? I would be crazy to say no. I would have to be out of my mind to miss out on the opportunity to see my existence turned from life to death, from sin to  victory, from ugly to beautiful by participating in God’s mysterious and wonderful divine nature.

Jesus, I’m in. 

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1Chron.7,8; Heb. 11; Amos 5; Lk.1:1-38

Thanks, Amy, for the truth that “faith isn’t timid or unsure.It is bold and certain.”

Indeed, the faith that Jesus exalts, the faith of the centurion, the bleeding woman, the man who wants to see his daughter healed, is bold faith. It acts forward. It reaches out.

This kind of faith is based upon expectation.

Recently I had the privilege of exchanging a few words with a friend about God’s faithfulness. Her mother had passed away a few years ago and she spoke now of a situation with her father undergoing surgery to remove a potentially cancerous tumor.

“I asked some of my friends to pray for him,”

“Certainly, ” I replied, engaged.

“But not to ask that it wasn’t cancer.”

I lifted an eyebrow, just as confused as her friends must have been at the remark.

“Not that I want it to be cancer, but I know that it will be okay. Because you see, even if it is I know that God is still in control. He’s taught me in the past to rely on him, through my mom. I know He will still provide.”

God is our Provider. He has promised us all that we need. This is guaranteed.

When I come home to sit at my parents table, I am not surprised to see food in front of me. It’s expected. Yes, I am thankful for the food set before me but it was not altogether unwarranted. I know them, historically, to be providers. They will continue to provide as long as I know them. Food, support, love.

The more I come to know and love my Heavenly Father, the more I come to expect things to come of Him for who He is. And yes, often I am surprised by the favors He chooses to grace me with.

Then, I ask “why?”

Why does this take me by surprise? Doesn’t it just make sense that a God who is “gracious and compassionate” (Psalms 145) continue to show me grace and compassion? Shouldn’t I simply expect these things?

-christiancourier517

Gracious Father,

Thanks for the good gifts of my life, for You are good. Give me the grace to remember this tomorrow.

 

A post from the archives, originally published November 16, 2010.

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1Chron.5,6; Heb. 10; Amos 4; Ps.148-150

Sketchy.

A former art student, I used to hate the planning process. Our professor would give us an assignment for some design project, a logo for an imaginary company or an advertisement layout, and it would be my first impulse to jump straight to work itself. I would open a new document and go at it. 

My professors, in their wisdom, knew this was the inclination of most aspiring artists. Before jumping into the work, they would require a series of thumbnail sketches to help us conceptualize where we were headed. Begrudgingly, I obliged, still choking on the excitement of getting to the master work I would produce.

The language of Hebrews 10 portrays precisely the same picture:

” A shadow, σκια, signifies technically, a sketch, rude plan, or imperfect draught of a building, landscape, man, beast, etc.”

The law was simply God’s outline, his first stroke in a masterpiece of grace and blessing. The law was completely necessary to a) foreshadow the work of Christ and b) contrast for us the riches that are ours in Him.

In the masterpiece of the Gospel we have:

– Confidence to enter the Holy of Holies

– A permanent mediator interceding for us

– Full assurance of faith

– Hearts and bodies cleansed from the effects of sin

In drawing studio our professor would bemoan the “sketchiness” of our drawings. Many of us took the safe route of drawing lines one hash mark at a time. It was safe because we had complete control over the destiny of the line, we knew where it was going precisely one dash at a time. Pushing us to abandon this method completely, our teacher would stand in front of the white board, take one glance at a still life, and with a rush of his arm, throw down thick white bold lines. He called this “letting the line live.” The effect was a noticeably more confident and vivacious rendering than our hesitant attempts. 

In Christ, I am coming to a realization that I can let the lines of my faith live because I’m taking a class that I can’t fail. My grade isn’t dependent on my performance but on the completed masterpiece of the Teacher. With that kind of security, I am free to minister to others and encourage them onto good works. Let loose from the fear or failure, I am free to live and be a light to others. 

christiancourier517

 

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2Kings 14; 2 Tim. 4; Hos. 7; Ps.120-122

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? 

I take my small-world problems, my “insurmountable” challenges to the Lord. I look at the mountains in front of me and ask Him to move them and my gaze is lifted even further up.

My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.

When I bring my mountains to Him, I am reminded that He is the maker of much greater things. He authored my salvation, my life, my days, and allowed for these mountains to be in my path. Why wouldn’t He be able to move them?

By seeking the Lord with my mountains, I am reminded that He is capable of moving far greater things. In the midst of prayer, I am tapping into the divine power and strength of the Maker of the universe. I am moving from my limited power source to His unlimited supply of strength.

Father, You are limitless. You are not limited by my doubt. And this makes You most worthy of my faith. I will bring You my mountains, for You are able.

christiancourier517

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1Kings 21; 1Thess.4; Dan. 3; Ps.107

Three big-G God men oppose a small-g god king.

Small-g god king, infuriated, cranks up the heat.

Three big-G God men end up in a furnace with a big-G God.

Small-g god king is astounded and acknowledges big-G God.

Daniel and his friends would agree with the words of Tozer about a big-G God today: “He shows Himself not to reason but to faith and love.”

They knew a God big enough to save their souls, and bodies, from the flames. Their God wasn’t merely married to the pages of scripture or tied up in theory. He was a God that was real.

So, in faith, they put their knowledge to the road. And He showed Himself. To them and to everyone watching that day.

Infinite God,

I want to road-test my faith for you in action, not in theory because You are a God of faith and love, not just reason. 

– c

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