May 21, 2010

Who am I? … I will be with you…

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  (Matthew 28:18-20)

Jesus said to go into all the nations, make disciples of them, baptize them, and teach them to observe all that he’s commanded. This would be a discouraging commission, except for one thing – the one who has all authority on heaven and earth has promised that he will be with us, even until the end of the age. This presence is the bedrock of our confidence and our only assurance of success. Like Moses, who said, “Who am I to lead this people?” and God’s response was, “I will be with you” (Ex. 3:11-12)  Who are we? Christ Jesus is with us.

This is echoed in Philippians 4:6-9, where Paul says, “The Lord is near.” Therefore, we need not be anxious but give our cares to him. The peace of God will guard us in Christ. Let us dwell on the good, doing what we have been taught by the apostles and prophets, and “the God of peace [not just the peace of God, but the God of peace himself] will be with you” (Phil 4:9).

Father, this is your mission first and foremost. You sent your Son and to him will be the gathering of all nations. Lord, equip us to be a part of this great work, and to experience the joy of serving you for achieving the obedience of all nations for the sake of Christ’s name. And grant more grace, knowledge, wisdom, comfort, boldness, and opportunity to those who are already out there, who have already committed to the task you’ve given us. Thank you Father for permitting us to share in the glorifying of you Son among all the peoples of the earth.

May 20, 2010

Anti-Psalm 50

After reading an article from the Journal of Biblical Counseling, I learned a technique for meditating on and applying the Psalms. It is to take the Psalm and invert it to play out the implications of the opposite perspective. You can see examples of this by David Powlison with Psalm 23 and Psalm 131. This is an anti-psalm I wrote for Psalm 50:16-22.

Psalm 50:16-22 – God’s message to the wicked (Me)

But to the wicked God says:
“What right have you to recite my statutes
or take my covenant on your lips?
For you hate discipline,
and you cast my words behind you.
If you see a thief, you are pleased with him,
and you keep company with adulterers.

“You give your mouth free rein for evil,
and your tongue frames deceit.
You sit and speak against your brother;
you slander your own mother’s son.
These things you have done, and I have been silent;
you thought that I was one like yourself.
But now I rebuke you and lay the charge before you.

“Mark this, then, you who forget God,
lest I tear you apart, and there be none to deliver!

Anti-Psalm 50:16-22 – God’s message to the righteous (Jesus)

But to the righteous God says:
“It makes sense for you to speak of my statutes
and teach other of my covenant.
For you love discipline,
and my words are continually before you.
You are pleased with those who give charitably and do not steal,
and you keep company with the faithful.

“You control your tongue and speak that which is good and edifying,
speaking the truth at all times to all people.
You stand and speak in defense of your brother,
you answer every accusation against him.
These things you have done, and I will declare it:
You are a son after my own heart, and with you I am pleased.
Now I commend you and will vindicate you against your enemies.

“Know this, you who remember God,
I myself will hold you together,
and I will deliver you with my own hand.

At the cross, God dealt with Jesus as if he were Psalm 50, so that at the resurrection we might stand with him as Anti-Psalm 50.

May 19, 2010

Praying Philippians 4

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:4-7)

Lord, Giver of light and fountain of everlasting joy
Creator of heaven and earth, the seas and all that is in them
Merciful and gracious sovereign,
Who works all things according to the counsel of your immutable will,
Who stoops to comfort the lowly and brings low the haughty,
Who took my curse upon yourself, my sin,
Who works all things together for good for those who love you,
Who is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love,

Forgive me for not rejoicing at all times and in all circumstances.
Your mercies are abundant every day, and all that I enjoy is a gift from you. You teach me to walk in your paths and be humble before you.

Forgive me for fear and unreasonableness which I put on display for all men.
You are the light of the world and you commanded us to let our light shine among men – cause me to shine!

Forgive me for anxiousness, for hinting to others of my own sacrifice.
Lord, I’ve never made a sacrifice, and I have no grounds for boasting except in your sacrifice for me.

Forgive me for not coming to you with every need,
As if I could do anything apart from you. Take all my cares and help me, for I know you are mighty.

Forgive me for living with an ungrateful grumbling rather than a mesmerized thanksgiving.
You delivered me from Pharaoh with your mighty hand, and now I’m grumbling though you lead me toward the Promised Land.

Father, forgive me for these hidden faults, cleanse them from my heart by the blood of your Son Jesus, and fill me with your Spirit that I may taste and see and savor the peace of God which surpasses all understanding.