Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Covenants. Some are beautiful and promising like the gracious covenant God has made with His people through the atoning work of Christ on the cross. Or, like the hopeful binding of two souls becoming one in sickness and in health, forsaking all others. But some are devastating. Some rob us more than they serve us. The "I will never let that happen to me..." or "I will never be like that..." covenants are simply dangerous. They fetter us to our own pride and self-reliance. Who has successfully kept these covenants with themselves without deep-seated resentment or just plain exhaustion?

I haven't. And let me tell you, I have made covenants. In fact, I made one such covenant about a month ago just after my second miscarriage. To give you some history, a month after my first miscarriage (this past November) I entered into a spiritual numbness. The numbness eventually melted but only after coming to terms with the utter depravity in my heart: the fact that I wanted to rule my universe and everyone else's around me.

So my covenant looked something like this: I will not let myself enter into a spiritual coma this time.

I was determined to keep my spiritual senses alive and sharp. Though this desire seemed right and good, the Lord revealed its true root: pride. I could go on and describe in detail how He graciously answered my covenant but the Puritan John Newton does a much better job. Thank you to my sweet, dear friend who gifted me with these verses.

I Asked The Lord

I asked the Lord that I might grow
In faith and love and every grace
Might more of His salvation know
And seek more earnestly His face

Twas He who taught me thus to pray
And He I trust has answered prayer
But it has been in such a way
As almost drove me to despair

I hoped that in some favored hour
At once He'd answer my request
And by His love's constraining power
Subdue my sins and give me rest

Instead of this He made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart
And let the angry powers of Hell
Assault my soul in every part

Yea more with His own hand He seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Cast out my feelings, laid me low

Lord why is this, I trembling cried
Wilt Thou pursue thy worm to death?
"Tis in this way" The Lord replied
"I answer prayer for grace and faith"

"These inward trials I employ
From self and pride to set thee free
And break thy schemes of earthly joy
That thou mayest seek thy all in me,
That thou mayest seek thy all in me."

Friday, May 16, 2008

A Post By Paul Tripp

I found this post on Paul Tripp's blog and couldn't figure out how to link directly to the post. So here it is. It really resonated with me this morning.

"...that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and seek him in his holy temple." (v.4b)

Now, admit it, you love you and you have a wonderful plan for your life. Somehow someway we all are too focused on our own lives. All of us get captured by what we want, what we feel, and what we have determined we need. Everyone of us is a dreamer. We've all been given the amazing capacity to envision the future and to plan toward it. A dream is imagination, coupled with desire and projected into the future. There are things that you'd love to have as part of your life. There are things that you'd like to accomplish. There are locations you'd love to experience. There are relationships you'd like to enjoy. There are situations you'd like to avoid. Every day you get up and you work toward some kind of dream.

But dreamers don't just dream their dream, they also dream to be sovereign. In some way, at some time, all of us have wished that we'd enough control over our lives to guarantee that the things we've dreamed, we'd be able to experience. We'd like to control people and situations just enough to ensure that the "good things" we've dreamed would actually come true. What does the Bible call all of this? The Bible calls it worship.

You see, you and I are worshippers. This is one of the things the separates us from the rest of creation. As worshippers we're always living for something. Something is always laying claim to the affection and rulership of our hearts. There's always something that commands our dreams. There's something that we look to to give us identity, meaning and purpose, and that inner sense of well-being that everyone seeks. Now, Scripture says that there are only two choices (Romans 1:25). You're living in pursuit of the creation or the Creator. You're looking for your satisfaction and meaning in the physical created world, or you're finding it in the Lord.

What this means is that there's a war of dreams that rages in our hearts, and in the middle of the fog of this war it's so easy to get it wrong. It's so easy to think that because I have my theology in the right place, because I am biblically literate, and a functioning member of a good church, that my life is shaped by worship of the Lord. But, that may not be the case at all. On closer inspection, it may actually be the case that underneath all of those things is a life that's driven by personal success, or material things, or the respect of others, or power and control, etc. I am deeply persuaded that there's a whole lot of idolatrous Christianity out there. The most dangerous idols of all are those that fit well within the culture of external Christianity.

It's here that Psalm 27 is so helpful and convicting. What's David's dream for his life? What's his plan? Well, it sounds so spiritual as to be impractical, but it gets right to the heart of why we were created in the fist place. David says, in Old Testament language, "I want to spend my life in worship of the Lord. I want to dwell in his temple and gaze upon his beauty." The shekinah glory presence of the Lord filled the holy place of the temple, like a cloud. It was a physical picture of God dwelling with his people. David was saying, "I want to be where God is. I want to do what I was created to do."

No, David isn't some super-spiritual mystic. David gets it right. His quest is for a life that's shaped and directed by a daily worship of the Lord. David knows who he is: a creature created for worship. David knows who God is: the only "thing" in the universe that's truly worthy of worship. His dream is the best dream that you could ever dream. Far from being impractical, this dream, if lived out at street level, will bring purity and peace to your life.

What's your plan for you life? How close is your plan to the plan God had for you when he gave you life and breath? Is there, perhaps, something in your plan that competes for the place that only God should have?

May your plan for you be identical to his plan for you!

See? Wasn't that great??

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Growing Hurts

When I was a kid, I experienced some intense "growing pains" in my legs. I remember tossing and turning in bed trying to fall asleep wrestling with the pain. It hurt.

Things really haven't changed all that much. Growing still hurts.

And I still wrestle with it.

Last night, a sweet friend delivered a note to me that I believe was from the Lord. It said something to the effect of "be patient...I am growing your roots strong and deep." So strange to feel two seemingly conflicting emotions at one time: comfort of knowing the Lord knows and is in control but also a "soul sigh"...a things-are-going-to-sting-for-a-bit sigh.

He won't let me settle for shallow roots. He knows as soon as a stiff wind blows through the plain that I would be uprooted, lifted from the soil and taken away. He loves me more than that.

Just as I love my children more than that. I don't rejoice in the painful discipline that I enact upon them. However, I do rejoice in the fruit that painful discipline brings. Obedience leading to joy.

"My child, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives."

Hebrews 12:5 - 6

Father, You desire truth in the inmost parts. And, I must truthfully say that this discipline hurts. This growth isn't as joyful in the process. However, I trust You. I believe You are good and that You do good. I believe that You love me and therefore discipline me. You draw my roots further and further down, breaking hardened earth and pushing back dirt lacking proper nutrients. You beckon me deeper to rich, fertile soil that I may be an oak of righteousness, a planting for the display of Your splendor. Lord, sustain me in the growing, in the stretching, in the groaning. You are good and You do good.

Monday, May 5, 2008


It's about time I got some pictures on here. They date back as far as Easter. Notice anything different?