Keep the main thing the main thing…

Justine picture 8-2013

“Work is not all there is to life. You will not have a meaningful life without work, but you cannot say that your work is the meaning of your life. If you make any work the purpose of your life—even if that work is church ministry—you create an idol that rivals God. Your relationship with God is the most important foundation for your life, and indeed it keeps all the other factors—work, friendships and family, leisure and pleasure—from becoming so important to you that they become addicting and distorted.”

Tm Keller, Every Good Endeavor – get it on Kindle

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Heartache is not to just be endured. It actually is producing something…

Photo. Justine Blick, Okoboji 2013

WOW. Heartache is not to just be endured. It actually is producing something. I love how the Bible argues – SEVEN key reasons NOT to lose heart in heartache.

The Apostle Paul says: Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison

First, heartache is producing something.

“What is coming to Paul is not momentary, but eternal. It is not light, but weighty. It’s not affliction, but glory. And it is beyond all comprehension. Eye has not seen nor ear heard what God has prepared for those who love him (1 Corinthians 2:9).

And the point is not that the afflictions merely
precede the glory; they help produce the glory. There is a real causal connection between how we endure hardship now and how much we will be able to
enjoy the glory of God in the ages to come. Not one moment of patient pain is wasted. I do not lose heart . . . FOR all my troubles are producing for me an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison (see Piper link below).”

Second, 7 key reasons not to lose heart in heartache.

“This text (2 Corinthians 4:7-18) is one lavish invitation from God for you to look at all the reasons why you don’t have to lose heart—all the reasons why you can be renewed day by day.

  1. Look! The power of God and the life of his Son are manifested in your weakness.
  2. Look! The life of Jesus is flowing through your suffering into the lives of other people.
  3. Look! God sustains you in your afflictions and will not let you be destroyed.
  4. Look! Your afflictions will not have the last word; you will rise from the dead with Jesus and with the church of God and live in joy forever and ever.
  5. Look! Your afflictions are momentary. They are only for now, not for the age to come.
  6. Look! Your afflictions are light. Compared to the pleasures of what is coming they are as nothing.
  7. Look! These afflictions are producing for you an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.

So LOOK! Focus! Meditate! Think on these things! Believe what God says. And you will not loose heart, but your inner person will be renewed day by day.”

http://www.esvbible.org/resources/piper-sermons/article-called-to-suffer-and-rejoice-for-an-eternal-weight-of-glory/

Psalm 5 – Kyle McClellan


Lake Okoboji, 2013, photo by Justine

IntroEvery emotion we feel is in the psalms – from anger to grief to despair to joy to tears and back again. It is safe to feel all this before God believe it or not. however, in our culture we often wrongly tend to think we can only bring God happy, happy, happy. It is okay to bring God grief and despair and anger. It is clearly what the Psalmists do. It is not okay, however, to indefinitely stay there, but we move to rejoicing. But how?

How do I get from despair to rejoicing? Do I have to try harder to get there or what? No.

The big idea: it is only the character and work of God that can move his people from distress to rejoicing.

I. Give voice to your distress in the right direction. V1-2

A. Not to your circumstances or your ability to think you can get through.

B. David is not running to others first either. He runs to God.

There are going to be things in our life that will cause us to groan like David. Don’t think it won’t happen to you in this broken world. What will you do?

How can I fix it, and who can I call? Is that our first default, or is it to go to God like David does first? Do we really know him or do we want to tell others and try to fix it first?

II. Go about your business with confidence. V3-10

What does David do after he cries out in prayer? He prays then he is going to watch. He is not taking it back. He is absolutely confident that God hears him and acts on his behalf.

A. David is confident about what God opposes. See the list here on these verses. V4 why pray? Because God is not delighting in evil.

B. Confident in what God blesses and what God is for. V7. He has confidence to enter God’s house because of hesed – the hebrew word for God’s covenant faithfulness and love.

God’s grace not David’s performance is the basis for his confidence to enter before God with his despair. God has promises to keep to Abraham et al. So he can’t fail on you as a follower of Christ!

Someone is going to pay for our rebellion. Who is going to bear your guilt for rebelling against God – will you or the one God sent to die in your place? He died to bear my guilt.

III. Encourage others and yourself with rejoicing. V11-12.

David learned this family song of Psalm 5 he is singing from his grandparents. In the book of Ruth, Boaz ends with the song of Ruth taking refuge in God her savior.

Conclusion. As GOD’S people, there must be room for both grief and rejoicing. We don’t stay there. We like David move over time from grief to rejoicing.

Do you know God in this way? Run to him in your raw grief then watch. Do not get yr act together first or your emotions sorted out first. Run to your loving father who is safe to hear all the raw, unpremeditated prayers of his own. Because he DID turn his face on his own son for our sin, he will never turn his face on you because of your raw prayers that he loves that the Psalmists model so brutally for us. Run to him.

Psalms 27:13-14

13 I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living!
14 Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!

Photo by Grace Blick, Outside the Sign Shop, Arnolds Park, IA

– I love that she can hardly pass something beautiful like this without calling for me to borrow my phone and capture this moment. There are millions of flowers – there could have been just one but God made them all to show just how special he is.

Hosea 6:3

Let us know; let us press on to know the LORD; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.”

In Christ, we have this now and for all eternity. That’s good news.