Light to Live By

"The unfolding of your words gives light ..." (Psalm 119:130a)

Month: February 2014 (page 1 of 2)

What Do You Say When You Pray?

“I say to the LORD, ‘You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.’”

(Psalm 16:2)

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We all know the story of the elderly couple whose love had grown both old and cold. She complained to him, “Do don’t tell me you love me anymore!” He replied, “I told you that I loved you the day I married you. If I ever change my mind I’ll let you know.”

She didn’t find it very funny.

Frankly, in my experience, women seldom laugh at that story. Men, foolishly, do.

Yet it gets retold again and again—mostly by men who never seem to notice (or maybe just don’t care) that the women are not laughing with them.

David was determined he would not treat the lover of his soul this way. In Psalm 16:2 David tells us what he prays when he bows before the heavenly lover of his soul.

The upper case (capitalized) “LORD” is the English translation’s way of telling us he is using the personal, covenant name of God: Yahweh. The lower case “Lord” is the translators’ rendering of the Hebrew Adonai.

The difference is not unimportant.

Yahweh designates God as the covenant-making, covenant-keeping God. He is the one who pursues us. He seeks us out. He establishes covenant with us—taking upon Himself the obligation of forming and keeping the covenant. He simply invites us into relationship with Himself. That, of course, ultimately and finally found expression through Jesus Christ and His redemptive work at the cross and in His resurrection. God is personal and personally seeks you in love.

Adonai, on the other hand, emphasizes God as “master” or “owner.” He is over us. He rules us. God has authority over us. He has the right to our submission and obedience.

Thus, “I say to the LORD, ‘You are my Lord,” is tantamount to saying “In view of your great redemptive love that sought and bought me for yourself, I gladly bow my entire life to you, I am glad to live under your rule and authority and to curb my life to fulfill your mission and to build your kingdom.”

I say to the lover of my soul, “You are my Owner, Master, and Lord.”

It is sacrificial and pursuing love that makes a life of submissive obedience both possible and delightful. Such love woos our submission and obedience and in so doing transforms it into an expression of our love to Him.

Indeed, David must add, “I have no good apart from you.” I can’t even enjoy life without sharing it with you, Lord! Good just isn’t good unless I can enjoy it in fellowship with you.

Oh great Lover of my soul, thank you for being the initiator, pursuer, and complete provider in our relationship. Thank you for making me your own through Jesus. I bless you for sending your Holy Spirit to make large in my eyes the magnitude of your love. Gladly and with my whole heart I say to you again today, “You are my Lord. Own this life. Rule me in every part. Walk this day with me, making all your good gifts scattered throughout these coming hours a fellowship of joy as we share them together.

The Life that is Life

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“The life that wins is an actuality, not just an aspiration. Its secret is simple, and yet profound.

It is plain to the heart filled with faith and obedience, but it is perplexing to self-will and self-effort. It is an obtainment, not an attainment; a gift to be received and not an achievement to be earned. It is from above and not from within ourselves; it is from heaven and is revealed on earth. Its life arises out of death to ourselves and not from deeds that we have done.

The details in individual experience differ appreciably, and are related to the personality and the circumstances of that life. Beyond the details, however, the pattern of the exchanged life is quite the same for each one. First, there is an awareness of our need, as expressed by the Lord Jesus, ‘If any man thirst …’ (John 7:37) …

Then there is agony of soul because of that awareness. One remembers the beatitude: ‘Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled’ (Matt. 5:6) …

Then follows wholehearted abandonment to the Savior. Sick of self and sin we obey the clear injunction of Romans 6:13: ‘… yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.’ …

There must be appropriation by faith of the Holy Spirit to fill life with the presence of the Lord Jesus. That obtainment is by faith, and not by works. Inquires the Scripture: ‘This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?’ (Gal. 3:2) …

Following appropriation there must be abiding by faith in the Savior. Did He not say: ‘Abide in me, and I in you …’

The exchanged life is one of abundance. The Savior promised ‘rivers of living water’ to flow from the Spirit-filled life (John7:38). There is provision for life more abundant (John 10:10). And that life is indeed one of constant adventure, for it learns the wonderful reality of John 10:4: ‘And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.'” (V. Raymond Edman, They Found The Secret, pp.186-188)

It was Him I wanted!

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“Now that my hindsight is 20/20 I can honestly admit that I was never a very good pastor. Perhaps I didn’t want to be one all that much. It was him I wanted, this exalted Christ, this perfect end of all my imperfections. This gentle Jesus was my quest.” –Calvin Miller (Life is Mostly Edges, p.228)

Riot or Revival!

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“Those were great days, and great victories were won. We always managed a riot or a revival. Sometimes a riot and no revival, but never a revival without a riot!” — William P. Nicholson, a.k.a., “the tornado in the pulpit” (Irish evangelist, 1876-1962)

The Modern Idolatry of Choice

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“… calling subverts the deadly modern idolatry of choice. Choice in modern life is central, powerful, unquestioned, and enshrined in how we think and all we do–so much so that it cannot be undermined merely by an appeal to another choice. Choice for modern people is a right that overwhelms both responsibility and rationality. … Arguments against choice need to recognize the special, godlike power of choice. But ultimately only one thing can conquer choice–being chosen. Thus, for followers of Christ, calling neutralizes the fundamental poison of choice in  modern life. ‘I have chosen you,’ Jesus said, ‘you have not chosen me.’ We are not our own; we have been bought with a price. We have no rights, only responsibilities. Following Christ is not our initiative, merely our response, in obedience. Nothing works better to debunk the pretensions of choice than a conviction of calling. Once we have been called, we literally ‘have no choice.'” (Oz Guinness, The Call, p.167, emphasis mine)

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