Wednesday, January 29, 2014

#POTUS, #SOTU, & other acronyms

After spending some time reading twitter updates & facebook statuses (stati?) about last night’s State of the Union speech I’ve got a couple observations of my own. 
If President Obama’s speech left you in the throes of despair, if you’re certain that we’ve finally stepped over the edge and that we are, in fact, heading to hell in a handbasket—take heart. King Jesus is greater than any President, any Premier and any King. He rules and reigns in sovereign splendor over all things. He holds the hearts of kings in His hand and can turn them in whatever direction He so chooses. The nations of the earth are but a drop in the bucket compared to His greatness. Take heart, fellow believer—our King outranks and supersedes all others and He is bringing all things to a conclusion that will brilliantly shine the light of His glory for all eternity. There is nothing—and no one—who can stop that. Rest in the power and rule of Jesus.
If President Obama’s speech left you enraptured and enthralled, if you’re filled with joy at the clear leadership, the obvious compassion and the measured, wise response to the crises that are faced by our nation and by the world—look to King Jesus. Our greatest joy and highest hope is found not in a man but in the Son of Man. Give God thanks and glory for the leader he’s given to our nation but give Him greater thanks and glory for His divine leadership over every area of our lives. Rejoice that in His sovereign goodness and grace He’s blessed us with a compassionate leader, but let your heart swell to the bursting point as you meditate the greater goodness and eternal compassion found in Jesus. Give thanks that God has given us a Solomon—but rejoice that in Jesus a greater than Solomon has come. No matter where you fall in the political spectrum, you can know with confident assurance that Jesus is Lord over all. You can rest in His sovereign care and rule. And you can rejoice knowing that no matter who is in the Oval Office, King Jesus is on the throne. Pray for our leaders, but trust in Jesus. Thank God for good leaders, and thank Him even more for His perfect leadership.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Reading in Psalm 5 this morning, and verse 7 really jumped out. David says, "But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love, will enter your house. I will bow down toward your holy temple in the fear of you." David has just spoken of God's judgment of those who live in rebellion against God. In contrast to that, David maps out a different path for himself. 3 things stand out about this path.
First, David Knew Where He Was Going. David had a clearly defined path for his life. Now before you think that this is a post about having a strategy for where you're going in life, complete with 5 year plans and flow charts, understand that if I can plan something two weeks ahead I call it long-term planning. The point isn't having a specific time frame in mind-the point is having a specific destination. For David, that destination was the presence of God. His goal, his aim, his plan was to get into the presence of God. In Psalm 16:11 he would write, "You make known to me the path of life;  in your presence there is fullness of joy;  at your right hand are pleasures forevermore." David's path was set towards the presence of God because he realized that his highest joy and greatest fulfillment would be found not in sin but in God. His joy, his treasure was Christ! Do I recognize Jesus as the treasure of my life? Am I willing to sell everything to gain Him (Matt. 13:44)? Or do I chase after the passing pleasures of sin? As my friend Dylan Watson preached last night, "The fleeting pleasures of sin give us no lasting benefit." Am I wasting my life in the pursuit of that which won't last? Or am I chasing after the only thing, the only One who can offer true fulfillment?
Second, David Knew How He Would Get There. David's heart was to be in God's presence. But there was something that would keep him from God. In verse 4 he says, "For you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil may not dwell with you." This is extraordinarily bad news for people who are guilty of wickedness, who are condemned by their sin as evil people. No matter how badly we want to be with God, our sin keeps us from Him. That's what makes what David says in verse 7 so incredible: 'But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love, will enter your house.' David's path was set towards the presence of God-but he acknowledged that the only way he would get there would be the abundance of God's steadfast love. The Bible makes two facts abundantly clear--we are great sinners, and Jesus is a great savior! There is no way we can bridge the gap between our sinfulness and God's holiness. The astoundingly good news of the gospel is that God bridges the gap for us. Jesus has taken our sin on Himself , borne the wrath that our sins deserve, and granted us His righteousness. God's holiness is satisfied and I am forgiven. I can enter God's presence, and I can do so by through the abundance of God's steadfast love to me in Christ.
Thirds, David Knew Why He Was Going. David's desire was to enter God's presence-why? Verse 7 says, "I will bow down toward your holy temple in the fear of you." David's desire to see God was for the purpose of worshipping God. This is a crucially important truth for us. God's desire is not to make much of me! I'm not the aim of the Bible. God is. All of history is being brought to an ordained end. And when that end arrives I will not be at the front of the victory parade. All things are being brought to the end that God has ordained, and that end is the praise of His name for all eternity. As I chase hard after Jesus, may it always be for His glory and not for my own.