Monday, April 20, 2015


   On Saturday as I was trimming some of the shrubs in my yard, I was reminded of the grace and mercy that God daily bestows on us. Not only does trimming bushes help me relax and enjoy the creation, it paints a picture into some of the wonders of our Savior. Shrub trimming can be the absolute perfect analogy for how God shelters, disciplines, and causes us to grow. Not only can we see the ways that He does this for us, we can see the results and the measures by which we bear fruit.
   Sometimes a shrub needs to be given a "haircut" and lightly trimmed in order to help it to keep it's shape and continue to flourish. This is not really noticed on the part of the shrub and it continues to grow and flourish without a struggle. However, sometimes a shrub needs to be cut way back. To be brought low, in order to give it a chance to regain some strength and fullness. Not only do you cut off the amount needed to reshape the plant, but instead you cut it back so far as you can without killing it.
   So it is with us sometimes. God sanctifies us and makes us holy by giving us a small pruning and keeping us growing strong and healthy. In other times we need to be either disciplined or corrected in our theology and cut back so far that in that moment it hurts tremendously. Yet, as we begin to recover from this drastic trimming of all the excess in our life, we begin to grow anew. Not only do we put forth new shoots of growth, but the ones that have been left continue to grow more full and healthy. Sometimes, the only way that God can lovingly care for us, is to cut us and cut us deeply. He does not do this in order to hurt us, but in order to love us to the fullest.
   If I were to leave the shrubs in my yard alone, and only occasionally trim them lightly, they would grow into monstrous, ugly, and stringy bushes that are an eyesore. However, if I occasionally give them a hard trim, cut them way back, they will continue to grow and flourish and be something that is beautifully created. How then can we blame God for anything? Does He not use both the good and the bad to grow His children into the people that He has called us to be? We are called to be holy, therefore should we not then rejoice instead of curse when we receive a hard trim and are forced to rely more wholly upon Jesus for our daily needs? Often, we think that we are better off sending out shoots, showing off something that we think we have done well or that we boast in, and instead of it being beautiful, God looks at it and says that it needs to be cut off.
   Our beauty and majesty is only found in Christ. If we claim anything else, may we receive these hard, deep cuts of sanctification. And then in the good times when we are portraying the majesty of Jesus, let us grow into a person who oozes forth the holiness of our God and continues to grow in every aspect in the Lord.

Thursday, April 2, 2015


   Today as I was reading a book by Andrew Murray, he began to talk about the creation and the way that God's holiness was so intertwined with it. As I read, I was reminded of the time of Jubilee from the Old Testament. This was designed to be a time that people of God were to follow His example and to rest, every seventh day, and every seventh year. The people of Israel never did this. Not once did they trust God enough to rest from their work for an entire year. Sure, they rested for the Sabbath, but really how hard is it to do something for one day? If we really look at what it meant to rest for an entire year, we can begin to see the overwhelming nature of what it would mean to truly rest.
   Well, as I was reading Murray's book, "Holy in Christ: Thoughts on the Calling of God's Children to be Holy as He is Holy", this one line hit me; "Where God rests in complacency and love, He makes holy." Wow, what an amazing thought. That maybe sometimes when we think that God isn't doing anything that we can see the results of right away at our fingertips, it's because He is using that time to work on us, to mold us, to shape us into the people He has created us to be. Not only then do we need to see the value in being patient and listening to God, but are we not also then called to the same? In an earlier chapter in his book, Murray mentions the verse over and over again, "be holy as I am holy". This has got me thinking. So much of the time people refuse to rest, to take time to search scripture and other theological writings for truth, and to merely absorb God. How much more rested, both physically and spiritually, do you think we would be if we truly took time and set it apart for just God?
   I think we would be blown away by the results. If we truly believe that God sanctifies us and makes us holy throughout our walk of faith, then why don't we ever just take the time to just be with Him and to soak in the glorious majesties that He so desires for us? Sure, some people would say that this is what they do by attending church services. To that, I say hogwash. It is the same excuse that the nation of Israel used in the Old Testament. "We don't want to take hold of all of you blessings Lord, we would rather work and toil for something else." This is the same thing that those people who claim merely going to church services is their way of setting apart time to be made holy as He is holy.
   I don't think that there a set time that God calls every one of us to set apart. But if the only time that we are setting apart is one or two services a week, what a horrible way to seek after the Lord. We need to daily seek His face and I also think that we periodically need to step away from the busyness of life and to drink deeply from the fountain that God will indeed meet us with. Maybe it's a long weekend once a month, a week every couple of months, or maybe even a whole month once a year. Whatever it is that you feel God calling you to, do it. Do not put it off.
   If someone were to say to you, "here, I am freely giving you one million dollars." Would you not drop everything that you are doing to accept that million dollars? It is the same with Christ, He is calling to His children. Beckoning to them, saying, "Come child, drink from My cup which runneth over with new mercies and grace." Why are we so afraid of letting God take hold of our hearts and minds, even for the smallest period of time? I think that it has to do with our enjoyment of sin and it's pleasures. We are afraid that by being alone with God, just like Adam and Eve were after they sinned, that He will somehow then condemn us. Children of our Lord and Savior, wake up!! He already knows everything that you have ever said, thought, or will do! Why do you think that you know better than your Savior? Run to Him for comfort and peace. Run to Him for sanctification and new mercies. Run to Him for refreshing, everlasting joy that will never cease!
   Those of you who believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior, take joy in knowing that you are God's chosen child. Beloved from before the foundation of the world. Run to Him for rest, peace, and the warmth comfort that only a Father's embrace could bestow.