Tag Archives: Shame

Insights Into The Heart Of God

 

It happened more than 40 years ago.  I was at university, sitting on a bench on campus talking to God.  I wanted more, wanted to understand God’s love.  I prayed, “Lord, let me see people the way you do.”  In a moment a friend, Evelyn, walked by.  We didn’t exchange a word, but my heart began to break as I saw how much God loved her.  I began to weep with the weight of God’s love for her.  It was more than I could bear, more than I could imagine.  It was too much and I prayed, “Lord, stop, I can’t take any more.”

I think of that moment often.  It was a life changing moment for me to see others the way God sees them.  His love for us is more than we can understand, more than we can bear, it’s wonderfully overwhelming.  I could only see a small glimpse into his love and it broke me, it changed me.  I think of that park bench and Evelyn often and remember the sense of God’s love for her and for others as they walked by.

But only recently did I get the full meaning of that moment more than 40 years ago (yes, I’m slow). During this time of sabbatical it suddenly struck me that God loves me the same way he loves Evelyn!  I don’t know why I never put those pieces together, but I didn’t.  I suddenly realized a message meant for me more than 40 years ago finally got through- God loves me!

Yes, yes…I know all about that from the bible.  I know God loves me, but to really know it, to really understand how he feels about me, the emotion of it…even if it’s just a glimpse….has changed my walk with him.  It’s a shame that it took 40 years for me to “get it”.

There’s no way to describe the depth of this love of the Father, this overwhelming love he has for us.  There’s no words for it other than what we can see in the cross.  The cross tells us all we can bear about the love of God.  God loves us so much that he gave the eternal son to redeem us, to make us his children.  This love isn’t just actions, but it’s rich with emotions.  It’s a love with a depth we could never fully understand.  It’s a love that is overwhelmingly wonderful.

God loves you, he loves me, he loves Evelyn more than you could possibly imagine.  It’s this love that has made it possible for us to be his children.  A love wonderfully beyond words.  A love so grand that the cross is only a glimpse of how glorious it is.  A love that would overwhelm you…..a love for you that is more than you could bear or even imagine.

God loves you.

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

The 70 Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards

“Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do humbly entreat him by his grace to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ’s sake.” ~ Jonathan Edwards

Jonathan Edwards, one of the greatest theologians of his time, wrote these resolutions during the winter of 1722 through the summer of 1723. He faithfully resolved to read these resolutions weekly in order to help him humbly stay in the will of God.

As representatives of Christ in the world, these timeless resolutions can still be applied to our walk today.

The Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards (1722-1723)

Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do humbly entreat him by his grace to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ’s sake.

Remember to read over these Resolutions once a week.

  1. Resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God’s glory, and my own good, profit and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriad’s of ages hence. Resolved to do whatever I think to be my duty and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved to do this, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many and how great soever.
  2. Resolved, to be continually endeavoring to find out some new invention and contrivance to promote the aforementioned things.
  3. Resolved, if ever I shall fall and grow dull, so as to neglect to keep any part of these Resolutions, to repent of all I can remember, when I come to myself again.
  4. Resolved, never to do any manner of thing, whether in soul or body, less or more, but what tends to the glory of God; nor be, nor suffer it, if I can avoid it.
  5. Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.
  6. Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live.
  7. Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life.
  8. Resolved, to act, in all respects, both speaking and doing, as if nobody had been so vile as I, and as if I had committed the same sins, or had the same infirmities or failings as others; and that I will let the knowledge of their failings promote nothing but shame in myself, and prove only an occasion of my confessing my own sins and misery to God.
  9. Resolved, to think much on all occasions of my own dying, and of the common circumstances which attend death.
  10. Resolved, when I feel pain, to think of the pains of martyrdom, and of hell.
  11. Resolved, when I think of any theorem in divinity to be solved, immediately to do what I can towards solving it, if circumstances don’t hinder.
  12. Resolved, if I take delight in it as a gratification of pride, or vanity, or on any such account, immediately to throw it by.
  13. Resolved, to be endeavoring to find out fit objects of charity and liberality.
  14. Resolved, never to do anything out of revenge.
  15. Resolved, never to suffer the least motions of anger to irrational beings.
  16. Resolved, never to speak evil of anyone, so that it shall tend to his dishonor, more or less, upon no account except for some real good.
  17. Resolved, that I will live so as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.
  18. Resolved, to live so at all times, as I think is best in my devout frames, and when I have clearest notions of things of the gospel, and another world.
  19. Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if I expected it would not be above an hour, before I should hear the last trump.
  20. Resolved, to maintain the strictest temperance in eating and drinking.
  21. Resolved, never to do anything, which if I should see in another, I should count a just occasion to despise him for, or to think any way the more meanly of him.
  22. Resolved, to endeavor to obtain for myself as much happiness, in the other world, as I possibly can, with all the power; might, vigor, and vehemence, yea violence, I am capable of, or can bring myself to exert, in any way that can be thought of.
  23. Resolved, frequently to take some deliberate action, which seems most unlikely to be done, for the glory of God, and trace it back to the original intention, designs and ends of it; and if I find it not to be for God’s glory, to repute it as a breach of the 4th Resolution.
  24. Resolved, whenever I do any conspicuously evil action, to trace it back, till I come to the original cause; and then both carefully endeavor to do so no more, and to fight and pray with all my might against the original of it.
  25. Resolved, to examine carefully, and constantly, what that one thing in me is, which causes me in the least to doubt of the love of God; and to direct all my forces against it.
  26. Resolved, to cast away such things, as I find do abate my assurance.
  27. Resolved, never willfully to omit anything, except the omission be for the glory of God; and frequently to examine my omissions.
  28. Resolved, to study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive myself to grow in the knowledge of the same.
  29. Resolved, never to count that a prayer, nor to let that pass as a prayer, nor that as a petition of a prayer, which is so made, that I cannot hope that God will answer it; nor that as a confession, which I cannot hope God will accept.
  30. Resolved, to strive to my utmost every week to be brought higher in religion, and to a higher exercise of grace, than I was the week before.
  31. Resolved, never to say anything at all against anybody, but when it isperfectly agreeable to the highest degree of Christian honor, and of love to mankind, agreeable to the lowest humility, and sense of my own faults and failings, and agreeable to the golden rule; often, when I have said anything against anyone, to bring it to, and try it strictly by the test of this Resolution.
  32. Resolved, to be strictly and firmly faithful to my trust, that that in Prov. 20:6, “A faithful man who can find?” may not be partly fulfilled in me.
  33. Resolved, always to do what I can towards making, maintaining, establishing and preserving peace, when it can be without over-balancing detriment in other respects. Dec.26, 1722.
  34. Resolved, in narration’s never to speak anything but the pure and simple verity.
  35. Resolved, whenever I so much question whether I have done my duty, as that my quiet and calm is thereby disturbed, to set it down, and also how the question was resolved. Dec. 18, 1722.
  36. Resolved, never to speak evil of any, except I have some particular good call for it. Dec. 19, 1722.
  37. Resolved, to inquire every night, as I am going to bed, wherein I have been negligent, what sin I have committed, and wherein I have denied myself: also at the end of every week, month and year. Dec.22 and 26, 1722.
  38. Resolved, never to speak anything that is ridiculous, sportive, or matter of laughter on the Lord’s day. Sabbath evening, Dec. 23, 1722.
  39. Resolved, never to do anything that I so much question the lawfulness of, as that I intend, at the same time, to consider and examine afterwards, whether it be lawful or no; except I as much question the lawfulness of the omission.
  40. Resolved, to inquire every night, before I go to bed, whether I have acted in the best way I possibly could, with respect to eating and drinking. Jan. 7, 1723.
  41. Resolved, to ask myself at the end of every day, week, month and year, wherein I could possibly in any respect have done better. Jan. 11, 1723.
  42. Resolved, frequently to renew the dedication of myself to God, which was made at my baptism; which I solemnly renewed, when I was received into the communion of the church; and which I have solemnly re-made this twelfth day of January, 1722-23.
  43. Resolved, never henceforward, till I die, to act as if I were any way my own, but entirely and altogether God’s, agreeable to what is to be found in Saturday, January 12. Jan.12, 1723.
  44. Resolved, that no other end but religion, shall have any influence at all on any of my actions; and that no action shall be, in the least circumstance, any otherwise than the religious end will carry it. Jan.12, 1723.
  45. Resolved, never to allow any pleasure or grief, joy or sorrow, nor any affection at all, nor any degree of affection, nor any circumstance relating to it, but what helps religion. Jan.12 and 13.1723.
  46. Resolved, never to allow the least measure of any fretting uneasiness at my father or mother. Resolved to suffer no effects of it, so much as in the least alteration of speech, or motion of my eve: and to be especially careful of it, with respect to any of our family.
  47. Resolved, to endeavor to my utmost to deny whatever is not most agreeable to a good, and universally sweet and benevolent, quiet, peaceable, contented, easy, compassionate, generous, humble, meek, modest, submissive, obliging, diligent and industrious, charitable, even, patient, moderate, forgiving, sincere temper; and to do at all times what such a temper would lead me to. Examine strictly every week, whether I have done so. Sabbath morning. May 5,1723.
  48. Resolved, constantly, with the utmost niceness and diligence, and the strictest scrutiny, to be looking into the state of my soul, that I may know whether I have truly an interest in Christ or no; that when I come to die, I may not have any negligence respecting this to repent of. May 26, 1723.
  49. Resolved, that this never shall be, if I can help it.
  50. Resolved, I will act so as I think I shall judge would have been best, and most prudent, when I come into the future world. July 5, 1723.
  51. Resolved, that I will act so, in every respect, as I think I shall wish I had done, if I should at last be damned. July 8, 1723.
  52. I frequently hear persons in old age say how they would live, if they were to live their lives over again: Resolved, that I will live just so as I can think I shall wish I had done, supposing I live to old age. July 8, 1723.
  53. Resolved, to improve every opportunity, when I am in the best and happiest frame of mind, to cast and venture my soul on the Lord Jesus Christ, to trust and confide in him, and consecrate myself wholly to him; that from this I may have assurance of my safety, knowing that I confide in my Redeemer. July 8, 1723.
  54. Whenever I hear anything spoken in conversation of any person, if I think it would be praiseworthy in me, Resolved to endeavor to imitate it. July 8, 1723.
  55. Resolved, to endeavor to my utmost to act as I can think I should do, if I had already seen the happiness of heaven, and hell torments. July 8, 1723.
  56. Resolved, never to give over, nor in the least to slacken my fight with my corruptions, however unsuccessful I may be.
  57. Resolved, when I fear misfortunes and adversities, to examine whether ~ have done my duty, and resolve to do it; and let it be just as providence orders it, I will as far as I can, be concerned about nothing but my duty and my sin. June 9, and July 13 1723.
  58. Resolved, not only to refrain from an air of dislike, fretfulness, and anger in conversation, but to exhibit an air of love, cheerfulness and benignity. May27, and July 13, 1723.
  59. Resolved, when I am most conscious of provocations to ill nature and anger, that I will strive most to feel and act good-naturedly; yea, at such times, to manifest good nature, though I think that in other respects it would be disadvantageous, and so as would be imprudent at other times. May 12, July ii, and July 13.
  60. Resolved, whenever my feelings begin to appear in the least out of order, when I am conscious of the least uneasiness within, or the least irregularity without, I will then subject myself to the strictest examination. July 4, and 13, 1723.
  61. Resolved, that I will not give way to that listlessness which I find unbends and relaxes my mind from being fully and fixedly set on religion, whatever excuse I may have for it-that what my listlessness inclines me to do, is best to be done, etc. May 21, and July 13, 1723.
  62. Resolved, never to do anything but duty; and then according to Eph. 6:6-8, do it willingly and cheerfully as unto the Lord, and not to man; “knowing that whatever good thing any man doth, the same shall he receive of the Lord.” June 25 and July 13, 1723.
  63. On the supposition, that there never was to be but one individual in the world, at any one time, who was properly a complete Christian, in all respects of a right stamp, having Christianity always shining in its true luster, and appearing excellent and lovely, from whatever part and under whatever character viewed: Resolved, to act just as I would do, if I strove with all my might to be that one, who should live in my time. Jan.14? and July ’3? 1723.
  64. Resolved, when I find those “groanings which cannot be uttered” (Rom. 8:26), of which the Apostle speaks, and those “breakings of soul for the longing it hath,” of which the Psalmist speaks, Psalm 119:20, that I will promote them to the utmost of my power, and that I will not be wear’, of earnestly endeavoring to vent my desires, nor of the repetitions of such earnestness. July 23, and August 10, 1723.
  65. Resolved, very much to exercise myself in this all my life long, viz. with the greatest openness I am capable of, to declare my ways to God, and lay open my soul to him: all my sins, temptations, difficulties, sorrows, fears, hopes, desires, and every thing, and every circumstance; according to Dr. Manton’s 27th Sermon on Psalm 119. July 26, and Aug.10 1723.
  66. Resolved, that I will endeavor always to keep a benign aspect, and air of acting and speaking in all places, and in all companies, except it should so happen that duty requires otherwise.
  67. Resolved, after afflictions, to inquire, what I am the better for them, what good I have got by them, and what I might have got by them.
  68. Resolved, to confess frankly to myself all that which I find in myself, either infirmity or sin; and, if it be what concerns religion, also to confess the whole case to God, and implore needed help. July 23, and August 10, 1723.
  69. Resolved, always to do that, which I shall wish I had done when I see others do it. Aug. 11, 1723.
  70. Let there be something of benevolence, in all that I speak.

Written Aug. 17, 1723

“I Just Wasn’t Being Fed”

My friend, James, wrote this wonderful post in June. I simply hadn’t read it until we talked about it this morning over coffee and so I had to go back and read his thoughts after our visit. These are great insights from a good friend and shine a bright light on our need for maturity. Thanks, James.

___________________________________________________________________

 

Balanced Diet  

Several times recently I have heard the comment, usually made to justify changing churches, “I just wasn’t being fed.” Considering the fact that I have said this in the past myself, my reaction to hearing it lately is interesting to me.“I just wasn’t being fed.” By that do you mean that there was no [spiritual] food made available? Or was the portion set before you too meager to satisfy? Was it there, and you merely did not “eat?”When I was an infant, I of course depended on my mother to feed me. As I grew, increasingly I fed myself but my mother still specified and provided the food that I ate. As time went on, I could choose more and more what I ate, but largely it was still provided by someone else. Finally, in maturity, I’m largely responsible for feeding myself, even though there is almost always someone else involved in the provision of food.

One might initially be drawn to a local church because of a hunger to know the Lord; by feeding on the Word, one can learn who God is, who man

really is, what God has accomplished to reconcile man to Himself, etc. As a [spiritual] infant, a person does not know what or how to eat, and the church, through the preached word, Bible classes, etc. can feed such a person until that person begins to learn to feed directly on the Word. From passages of Scripture such as Hebrews 5:12-14, we see that there is an expectation for the Christian to grow to maturity, but not every one does, and as Theodore Epp said,

It is a shame for a person to have been a Christian for years but not to have advanced beyond the knowledge of his salvation.


That aside, is occupying a seat and listening to sermons the reason ultimately for church attendance? The passage in Hebrews, as well as many others, points at our maturing to 
love one another as Christ commanded and to serve one another as Christ demonstrated. This is not at all to diminish the value or importance of the preached word, but the church is a family where we each have a responsibility to one another, and “eating” once a week will obviously not sustain us in our love and service to each other, much less to a needy world. We must daily see to our spiritual sustenance by making our mind available to God’s Word. Viewed in this way, “I just wasn’t being fed” seems a pretty selfish cop-out.

Last weekend, my wife and I were visiting the town where I grew up. As we drove by the church where I went as a child, we noticed the sign out front which carried this stinging rebuke:

Christians often expect the world to respect the book which they neglect.

Visit Mike at Finishing Well and James at And I Quote.