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 Re: Whatever is admirable...

The Lord Jesus often withdrew "to a lonely place", to commune with his Father. Why? I believe for the exact reason of the spirit of your post.

In ministry, attack can be continuous, and very straining on the mind, body and spirit. Being a mother with constant nurturing, activity and service; responsibilities that never go away, and constant giving of yourself, can even be more stressful.

I have used these analogies because they are similarly related, They are both ministry of equal importance, and pressure. In this world, our attackers are the World, the Flesh, and the Devil, and they never go away, no never.

We must overcome them. When we take our eyes of trust off of Jesus, and direct them to our struggles, the state of the church, or our wife or husband, or friend who betrayed us, our sickness, or [b]ourselves[/b] , we lose. Every time...Our natures will always betray us. It is a bottomless pit, for our redemption does not lay there.

When moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, he gave us a model for prayer, and overcoming. Yet, the trek began again, the next day.....

The lesson is that we must always walk by faith looking to Jesus, the Finisher, and spare no expense to attain and maintain that relationship, even if it means leaving the bustle and committments, to spend Sabbath devotions to Him alone.

"That I may know Him, and the fellowship of His sufferings.............." Sitting at his feet.

 2008/5/22 19:55
roadsign
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Joined: 2005/5/2
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 Re: The Naked God or the Clothed God

The following excerpt by Martin Luther relates to this topic, I believe:

Have mercy on me O God according to your steadfast love. According to your abundant mercy, blot out my transgression.” Ps. 51:1

David is talking to the God of his Fathers, the God who promised. The people of Israel did not have a God who was viewed absolutely. Human weakness cannot help being crushed by the majesty of the absolute God, as scripture reminds us over and over. Let no one, therefore, interpret David as speaking with the absolute God. He is speaking with God as he is dressed and clothed in his word and promises.

When speaking of God we cannot exclude Christ whom God promised to Abraham and the patriarchs. We must take hold of this God - not naked, but clothed as revealed in his word. Otherwise certain despair will crush us.

This distinction must always be made between the prophets who speak with God and the pagans. Pagans speak with God outside of his word and promise, according to the thoughts of their hearts. But the prophets speak with God as he is clothed and revealed in his promises and word. This God - clothed in such a kind appearance and dressed in his promises - this God we can grasp and look at with joy and trust.

The absolute God, on the other hand is like an iron wall against which we cannot bump without destroying ourselves. Therefore Satan is busy day and night making us run to the naked God so that we can forget his promises and blessings shown in Christ and think about God and the judgment of God.

But David speaks with the God of his fathers, with the God whose promises he knows and whose mercy and grace he has felt. He could depend on God’s promises as he prayed because the promises include Christ.



We thank you that you have clothed yourself in word and promise. We pray that you would help us in our thinking not to clamor after the absolute God – you in your naked power, but help us to seek you as you have revealed yourself in your promise, spoken of by the prophets, the apostles and confessed by the church.

Amen, so be it!

Quote:
The lesson is that we must always walk by faith looking to Jesus,



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Diane

 2008/5/24 19:15Profile
ChrisJD
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 Re:

Diane,


"David is talking to the God of his Fathers, the God who promised."



This stood out to me on the train ride home tonight...


"O my people, remember now what Balak king of Moab consulted, and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him from Shittim unto Gilgal; that ye may know the righteousness of the LORD."


- Micah 6:5(KJV)


Seems to really fit here. Balak wanted to curse them, but



"...God said unto Balaam, Thou shalt not go with them; thou shalt not curse the people: for they [i]are[/i] blessed."


- Numbers 22:12(KJV)


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Christopher Joel Dandrow

 2008/5/24 23:07Profile
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 Re:

Quote:
We must take hold of this God - not naked, but clothed as revealed in his word. Otherwise certain despair will crush us.



An experience yesterday reminded me of the need to heed these words by Luther.

While walking home, I came across two preschool boys in the street. Even though it was a chilly day, the younger one was barefoot and in shorts. He was crying, obviously because he had injured his toe which had a flap of skin hanging from it. The older boy was trying to drag him home.

I quickly realized that something was terribly wrong with this picture: No adult was in sight. So I approached them, asked a few questions, checked the bleeding toe, and then picked up the crying child. I asked the older boy to direct me to their house.

The house was a good-sized block away. In the driveway was a car with the trunk open. The older boy said, “Just leave him in the trunk”. I said, “No”, he needs to go into the house and get a bandaid for his toe.” I was soon to find out why the boy had made such an absurd suggestion.

When I let the boys through the door, I could see a young man (Dad, I assume) at the top of the stairs. But instead of running down to the crying child, as any concerned parent would, he remained distant, and showed no empathy or warmth.

As I walked away (with no “Thank you”) I could hear Dad blasting the boys for wandering off. It suddenly occurred to me that I had led those boys right into the hands of a “naked, vengeful god” – an authority who’s first and foremost desire was judgment and punishment – mainly by withholding tender mercies. No doubt that’s why the 4 y.o suggested the car trunk. It was safer.

True, the boys had foolishly wandered off, and got hurt as a result. But isn’t it that way for sinners too. They have wandered far from Home, and many are suffering the consequences of life in the “far country” – wounded hearts, grief, sorrow, broken relationships, and so forth. And yet, what is far more grievous, is the fact that these sinners have no concept of a compassionate God who awaits them, one who wants more than anything to have them come Home to him where they can receive his love, forgiveness, and healing. No wonder sinners resort to the “car trunks” in the world – those means that may feel safer than judgment. However, those devices merely shield them from the blessed hope.

What kind of God do others see portrayed through us? Oh, sure, we may articulate the doctrines of redemption with great eloquence. But the God that emanates from our being is the one that is real to us day by day, moment by moment. And that is the one others will see.


Diane


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Diane

 2008/5/28 6:27Profile
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 Re:

Quote:
When we take our eyes of trust off of Jesus, and direct them to our struggles, the state of the church, or our wife or husband, or friend who betrayed us, our sickness, or ourselves , we lose. Every time...Our natures will always betray us. It is a bottomless pit, for our redemption does not lay there.



Brothertom, your words cannot be underscored enough! I find it a perpetual temptation to gaze more intently at my/our/their inadequacies than upon the mighty love and mercy of God through Christ. This is such a grievous sin – because it dulls the Image that aught to be reflected through me.

Quote:
that ye may know the righteousness of the LORD."



Quote:
Drink of joy…


Chris, your posts remind me of the value of strengthening one another with the message of hope as portrayed in the Word and in song - such as Bach's "Jesu Joy".

Of course, there is nothing like example - and you have been a consistent good example here in SI.

Diane


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Diane

 2008/5/28 6:34Profile
ChrisJD
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 Re: the one others will see

Hi everyone.


Dear Diane,


What a story. Thank you for sharing it!





It seems to me that there is a principle in the scripture: that we become like whatever we worship. Or set before us, or gaze upon.

Or also, that we should be carefull of what we put before us, to do the same.


Remember for instance how Jacob got his flock in Genesis 30? I do not understand this story altogether, or even very much, but it stands out how he put the rods before their eyes.


Or remember how David writes

"I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes..."


Or how the Psalmist says


"Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity..."



By eyes, could'nt this mean our natural eyes or the eyes of our heart and mind?




In the second commandment it says we are not to make any graven images... That is, [b]we[/b] are not to make them [b]unto ourselves[/b].

But, isn't it true that God has made images of a sort... That is, were'nt we made in His image?

And didn't He even command that there should be
[i]cherubims of gold, of beaten work[/i] to be placed at either end of the Mercy Seat upon the ark of the Covenant(see Exodus 25:18)?

And weren't these things that were in Heaven?





The second commandment says then, that [b]we[/b] are not to make graven images [b]unto ourselves[/b].


We are not to make an image for ourselves, [b]to worship[/b].




In Psalm 45 it says


"Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father's house; So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he [i]is[/i] thy Lord; and worship thou him."

- Psalm 45:10-11(KJV)

[i]...and worship thou him[/i]



Do you know, that according to Strong's, this word translated worship here, is the same word that in Exodus 20 and verse 5 is rendered in the KJV [i]bow down thyself[/i]?




When Moses met the Lord at Horeb and he asked Him what he should tell the children of Israel, if they asked what His name was, it says that the Lord replied



"And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you."


- Exodus 3:14(KJV)



Names can be descriptive of who or what we are. Or they can communicate such to others. But what could God point to, here, in sending Moses to a people that were captives in a land where many gods were worshiped? What could God point to, in order to give an adaquate representation of Himself, or to say for instace, that He was like this...or like that? What in all of creation, what created thing could adaquately represent God? To them?



What could God point to, to show any of us for that matter? How can God, Who is so infinite, so transendent, so beyond anything created, how can He be made known to us, in a full and adaquate way?




John the Apostle of Christ, in introducing us to Christ in the Gospel record, says



[i]...and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.[/i]



Moses had asked God also, to show him His glory. And God had said to him


"...Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live."


- Exodus 33:20(KJV)



And John also says that no man has seen God. But he says


"the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared [i]him[/i]."

- John 1:18(KJV)



[i]...he hath declared him[/i]



What Moses could only see the hinder part of, is seen in Christ Jesus.


The Lord Jesus told Phillip


[b][color=660000]he that hath seen me hath seen the Father[/color][/b]



In the book of Hebrews He is called [i]...the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person[/i].



We were forbiden to make an image unto ourselves, to worship. But of the King in Psalm 45 it says


"...and worship thou him"











"But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, [i]even[/i] as by the Spirit of the Lord."


- 2Corinthians 3:18(KJV)


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Christopher Joel Dandrow

 2008/5/31 8:03Profile
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 Re: More on the "naked" God

Quote:
What a story. Thank you for sharing it!



But I forgot to top it off with my main point! – from Luther’s meditation:

"Satan is busy day and night making us run to the naked God so that we can forget his promises and blessings shown in Christ and think about God and the judgment of God."


Just as I took two distressed children to a “naked god” so to speak, we might inadvertently do the same thing – present sinners to a cold, distant God who is stingy with mercy. How might this happen? I think that the answer relates to Chris’s comment:

Quote:
The second commandment says then, that we are not to make graven images unto ourselves.



Might I suggest that one of the most insidious temptations is to carve out for ourselves a life that attempts to appease a naked God: It is a life of works and self-effort. It keeps us from seeing God through the blessed hope of Christ. It is a self-focused life.

Quote:
We are not to make an image for ourselves, to worship.




If we know only a naked God, then we will make our “self” into an idol.

If we worship a naked God that is the kind of God that will emanate from us. We will put pressure on others, including ourselves, to “shape up” – to do better in order to avoid divine wrath. We will be critical. We will become behaviour-focused, legalistic. We either become proud of our achievement or we become discouraged over our failures. Either way, we foster a self-absorbed kind of life. Chirst is not the center.

But above all, we will be unable to lead others to the God of promise.



“Whatever is admirable………”…. This is Christ and our blessed hope through him.


What kind of God enters your mind most readily? That is the God you worship.

“Grace be with you” Col. 4:18


Diane



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Diane

 2008/6/2 12:23Profile
ChrisJD
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 Re: mercy and truth

Diane,



I thought of how God presented Himself to Moses in Exodus 34:5-7.





But how can mercy and truth meet together?





"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth."


- John 1:14(KJV)


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Christopher Joel Dandrow

 2008/6/2 21:38Profile
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Posts: 3776


 Re: Whatever is lovely....

“ Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the gloom that you have. 1 Pet. 3:15

Did you catch my misquote? (“Gloom” should read as “hope”). My error here reminds me that God does not require us to give account to others for our negativity, but instead, for our hope – that is a hope experienced and expressed through deep inner joy. This joy emanates from us and draws the attention of others. But, oh, there are so many forces that block us from living in that joy.

Today a friend came over to fellowship with me over tea. During our chatting we confessed to each other our struggle with negativity. She then began to pray that God would cut off all sources of negativity from us – be it generational habit we learned early in life, or any influence from sources around us or within us. As she was praying I “saw” what seemed to be a glorious river of joy flowing deep down under the surface of the earth. I “saw” what were like many roots straining to reach the river, but never quite able to get there. I pleaded with God to show us the barriers to the river of joy.

Then suddenly our prayers became flooded over with all kinds of “inner truths” (Ps. 51) as if God shone the floodlights on dark spots in our hearts. There was, first and foremost, the desire to be in control; then there were various fears. There was simply our own unwillingness. (Why, good Christians aren’t supposed to be happy!) We became aware of the constant nagging voices on our conscience that put ungodly demands on us from ourselves and from others to try to change circumstances or people. Then there was the idolatrous desire to be useful for God – as if our happiness depended on our productivity as Christians. This illusive dream leaves us perpetually feeling like we are falling short. A habit of putting constant pressure on ourselves gives us a hopeless and gloomy outlook. It also causes us to do likewise to others: we put pressure on them - the very thing that repels them.

My friend has plenty of reason to be gloomy: She is married to an alcoholic. Today she realized that she didn’t have to live with gloom. She could chose to be happy in Christ – with the joy of the LORD – regardless of her circumstances.

Funny, we had begun by praying that GOD himself would remove our negativity. In the end, it was clear that he had thrown the ball back into our court. He has already offered to us his river of joy, and it is our decision to chose it or to reject it. We don’t have to stay gloomy or negative, cynical or critical. But we need God’s enabling.

The prophet Habakkuk CHOSE to make this decision too:


Habakkuk Declares His Confidence

When the fig tree does not bud,
and there are no grapes on the vines;
when the olive trees do not produce,
and the fields yield no crops;
when the sheep disappear from the pen,
and there are no cattle in the stalls,

I will rejoice because of the LORD;
I will be happy because of the God who delivers me!

The sovereign LORD is my source of strength.
He gives me the agility of a deer;
he enables me to negotiate the rugged terrain. Hab. 3:16-19 NET Bible

Habakuk reminds us that the prophetic mandate is neither that of whitewashing the flimsy “walls” in our world (Ez 13:10,11) NOR that of blackwashing them.

Quote:
But how can mercy and truth meet together?



Maybe we find the answer in the "river of joy".


Quote:
we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father …full of grace and truth."




Diane


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Diane

 2008/6/11 14:23Profile
tjservant
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 Re:

Quote:
What kind of God do others see portrayed through us? Oh, sure, we may articulate the doctrines of redemption with great eloquence. But the God that emanates from our being is the one that is real to us day by day, moment by moment. And that is the one others will see.



Thank you for this Diane. It has spoken to me on many levels. What kind of God radiates from us while we are on this site? The world is watching. Thanks again for posting your insights. I needed it.


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TJ

 2008/6/13 8:53Profile





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