Influences: What Else Can I Say? Psalm 16:11

The God who alone is awesome.

This is Love, Election, Calling, Atonement, Justification, Propitiation, Expiation, Adoption, Sanctification, and Glorification rolled into one.

Even typing these words, meagerly and fumblingly, is drawing away from the sheer beauty, breath snatching, eye-rubbing gorgeousness, ever-swelling joy, tear-pouring grace and heart-bursting love that is this one verse.

Psalm 16:11
You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

All of God’s precious love and promises wrapped up nicely.

No other gods promise such things.

No other philosophies can even possibly obtain.

The world has none of this.

Knowledge lacks the science.

Literature lacks the story.

Poetry lacks the verse.

Entertainment is dull in comparison.

Religions fall short.

Man is without.

God is my all in all.

Influences: He Saved Us, Titus 3:3-7

All of our sins are laid bare before us.

When we truly see who we really are, we see our shunning of God’s wisdom; ignoring of God’s word; our turning away from His lovely face; our insistence to the crap the world has offer; our addiction to the pains and sickness; and our desires fueled by the love for ourselves at the increase of hate and apathy towards one another.

When we can honestly see, we see that these are the “gifts” we give to the Almighty God: the One True God who is swift in his justice, terrible in his holiness, unflinching in his righteousness and uncompromising to His own glory.

Why do we turn to such a God? He is the only one who can save us. He is the one who promises He will give life. He is the only one has the power to free us from slavery.

How do we turn to God? He said, “Ask of me, and it shall be done.” The moment we stop asking what He can give and ask for just Him, He gives exactly that. Himself. Himself truly and fully. He gave Himself over to us. Now we have him forever.

Our sins are long as the shoreline of all the worlds’ oceans. Our transgressions lay out from the beginning of the west and ending of the east. Our iniquities are as wide as the horizon.

The Majestic Triune steps into our broken lives, shattered cosmos and the fallen world and cuts that line into two.

 Steadfast love and faithfulness meet;
  righteousness and peace kiss each other.
 Faithfulness springs up from the ground,
  and righteousness looks down from the sky.
1

When He appeared, He saved us.

One and done.

Forevermore.

Titus 3:3-7 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Notes:

  1. Psalm 85:10-11

Influences: Love Song – Psalm 119

Psalm 119 is the love song to God for all time.

It is the extended, smooth-out, quiet storm version. It’s the singer’s voice dropping to a bass-baritone. It is the passion towards the one the writer loves. It has the ultra-smooth whispers of sweet desires over the radio waves and the crackle of the vinyl in the extended beatdrop. This song is the mixtape track that says everything.

It was made for one person.

And it is all about His righteousness.

Why?

The psalmist is not in love with the law. The love was never directed towards a bunch of rules that they could never perfectly do. If I fail to do them all correctly, I have fallen. If I break one rule, I have failed. If fail to do one rule, then I separated from my precious love.

By the time I realized that there were some laws that supersedes my material reality, I have already failed. If I never realized the laws, then surely I have gone against my conscience and seared my conscience from time to time.

Damned if I do and damned if I don’t.

What hope do I have?

How can I have faith?

Ah, but I have love.

I have love for the One who did it all.

I love the King who wrote the laws and perfectly followed them to the letter. And my lawgiving King doesn’t hold His law over my head. Instead, He showers me with His banner of love over my heart.

My King has me. He has it all. He just needs me to look into His eyes, hold his hands, and trust Him when He says, “Everything’s gonna be alright.”


Continue reading Influences: Love Song – Psalm 119

Influences: The Apex of the Glory of God – Romans 8

All Scripture read.

Every instinct preached.

Every thought taught.

Any book studied.

Every sermon heard.

Every theology revealed.

Every doctrine learned.

Any and all things processed were with Romans 8 in my sight.

I have heard it said, “The Epistle to the Romans is the Himalayas of the Bible and with Romans 8 is the Everest.” Martin Luther calls Romans 8, “the clearest Gospel of them all”.

If I were to memorize any passage of Scripture, it is because I wanted to get to where I can memorize Romans 8.

Any passage memorized now is because I am camped out on the summit that is Romans 8.

Memorized it. Dwelled on it. Read about it. Focused on it. Prayed on it. Prayed using it. Recite it. Practiced preaching it.

I plan to write a multi-part blog series on the entirety of Romans 8 in a few weeks so I won’t expand on it here.

For now, enjoy your view of God’s glory.


Continue reading Influences: The Apex of the Glory of God – Romans 8

Influences: Walking Into Death, Walking Into Life – Ephesians 2:1-10

Either I was dead or I wasn’t.

Either I was following the course of this world or I wasn’t.

Either I was following Satan or I wasn’t.

Either I was a son of disobedience or I wasn’t.

If I deny to be any of those things or pretend I was not that bad off, then God did not come to save me.

Luke 5:31-32 And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”

What is life? Is it because I breathe air and have blood course through my veins? Animals do that. That cannot be life because our life ends in death. When we are born, we, as mankind, were destined to die.

Why did Jesus come into our world? To conquer sin? Sure, but that wasn’t a real problem to him. To conquer Satan and demons? Okay, but Satan and his demons are creature with finite powers and is subjected to the sovereign Lordship of God Almighty. To conquer hell? No, Jesus is Lord of all—heaven, earth and especially, hell.

Jesus came into our broken universe so that we might have life.

John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

You might say, “But I was already alive.” But is this life? Life that results in death. Life that has pain, confusion, heartbreak, sadness, brokenness, and sin? Can that really be life?

Jesus goes on in the Gospel of John to show exactly what he has come to do for all of us. 1

Jesus’ dear sweet friend Lazarus was dead. Not just any kind of dead, but four-days-in-the-ground dead. The funeral was scheduled. The crying and yelling was on. Hearts were shattered.

Friends trying to dictate what God should have done. They are trying to figure out, “Why didn’t God protect Lazarus? Why didn’t God heal Lazarus? Why did God take away Lazarus?”

In other words, “If God was really here, Lazarus would not have to die!”

Jesus told his peeps before, “I have come so that they may have life and have it abundantly.” Jesus turns to us in all of our ‘God should have’s’, and calmly says, “I have come so that they may have life and have it abundantly. Don’t try to debate Ecclesiology with me right now. Listen to me. I have come so that you might have life right now and have life abundantly right now.”

In other words, “Do you want to see the glory of God?”

Christ’s tear ducts drained from his cries. His beard soaked with sorrow. His face flushed with sadness. His throat raw from anguish. He turns what appears to be facing his long dead friend. In actuality, Christ turns to look into the eyes of Death himself. Christ wipes the tears from his face. He looks over the split of two destinies that loom over his sweet friend: one into death and one into life. He unflinchingly stares down right at Death and gives the command, “Roll away this stone.”

Jesus Christ, Word Incarnate, Majestic Savior, and Triune with the Father and Spirit, cries out with loud voice and calls out, “Lazarus, come out!”

At one time, Lazarus followed the course of this world.

At one time, Lazarus followed Satan.

At one time, Lazarus was a son of disobedience.

At one time, Lazarus was dead.

However, the Sovereign Almighty Lord of Grace, Love, Mercy, Righteousness, Faithfulness, and Holiness would not abide by Death. Instead, He called out to his friend, whom he knew and love before the foundation of the world was in place, and spoke life into him.

We were once dead in our trespasses and sins.

We were once following the course of this world.

We were once following Satan.

We were once sons of disobedience.

However, the Sovereign Almighty Lord of Grace, Love, Mercy, Righteousness, Faithfulness, and Holiness would not abide by Death. Instead, He called out to you, his friend—his friend whom he has known and loved before the foundation of the world was in place, and spoke life into you.

Do you trust Him? Do you believe Him? Do you take God at his word? Then you are God’s and God is yours forever.

Ephesians 2:1-10 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Notes:

  1. see John 11:1-44

Influences: Indeed He Says! Romans 9:22-26

Romans 9:22-26
What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory—even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? As indeed he says in Hosea,

“Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’
  and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’”
“And in the very place where it was said to them,
  ‘You are not my people,’

  there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’”

This is the reason why we boldly and audaciously preached the gospel of God!

Paul starts this statement with a huge ‘What if?’. What if God wanted to flex his muscle? What if God endured the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? What if all of that was to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy? What if He has prepared beforehand for glory? What if He has called from the Jews and the Gentiles? What if?

Ah, if that isn’t the biggest ‘what if’ ever?

But that ‘what if’ is not some post-modern aahhhhhhhh rhetorical question designed not to be answered. Because if that is the question—if we are asking ‘what if?’ then how generously, kindly, wonderful, gladly, lovely does God answer the question.

You were not my people.
You were not my Beloved.
Your disobedience, lostness, pride,
transgressions, and sins
have kept you far, far from me.

But I will have you in my family.
I will have you close to me.
I will have you in my heart.
I will enjoy you forever.
I will bridge that gap.
I will close that infinite chasm.
I will do so with my Son’s life.
I will do so with the power of my Holy Spirit.

You are now called ‘my people’!
You are now called ‘my Beloved’!
Even when you have been told, ‘You are not my people’,
I will trump that and sovereignly declared,
‘You are my sons forevermore!’

Influences: What Shall I Pray? 1 Timothy 1:12-17

So in all of this, what shall I pray?

What can I say?

I pray to worship You.

I pray to praise Your holy name forever.

I pray to sing to You.

I pray because I want You.

I pray because I need You near.

I pray because I have no life without You.

I pray because You are my Lord and God.

I pray because You are my Father.

I pray because You are my Savior.

I pray because You are the Spirit inside of me.

And this I know, You have declared Your sweets words to be true (Psalm 119). Your words come from Your very breath (2 Timothy 3:16) and they are sufficient—no, more than sufficient—necessary for life. (Genesis 2:7 cf. John 11:43)

How can I begin to describe the feeling when your sweet words falls upon my ears, eyes, mind and heart?

Psalm 19:7–10
“The law of the LORD is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the LORD is sure,
making wise the simple;
the precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the LORD is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the LORD is clean,
enduring forever;
the rules of the LORD are true,
and righteous altogether.

More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb.”

If Your promises hold true—if You say You will make all things right despite our folly and sin (Genesis 3:15); if You say You will bear our iniquities and our trespasses (Isaiah 53) and You will draw near to us just when we think You are so far away (Psalm 22), then my life and my love is all in Your Word. I have nowhere else to go and no one else to turn to.

Who can I trust?
Where I can seek refuge in?
Whom have I in heaven but You?
Is there anyone on earth I desire besides You? (Psalm 73:25)

This much is true: for you are my God. You loved me and you are always mindful of me even before you created time and space.

You have shown the awesome worth of your love by sending and giving Your precious Son to me.

You have shown the infinite might of your power by giving your Spirit to me.

So what then can I say?

So what then can I do?

All I can do is simply thank you.

So from the bottom of my heart,
I thank you for giving me strength.
Thank you my Father God.
Thank you my Christ Jesus.
Thank you my Holy Spirit.

You judged me faithful.
You appointed to Your service.
Despite my dishonoring and blaspheming,
Your holy name,
despite my persecution and hatred,
of those who love you,
despite my perverted and violent opposition,
towards you,

Still
I only received mercy
because I was lost
I was lame
I was deaf
I was blind
I was stupid
I was ignorant
I was evil
I was dead
and I was not looking and could not look for you whatsoever.

But Your beautiful, sweet and tender
love, mercy and grace
overflowed for me
overwhelmingly
undeservingly
ill-deservingly
with your unbroken faithfulness
and your relentless love
that can only be by You,
for You,
through You,
my Christ Jesus my Lord my Savior.

These words
out of my heart
are true
and with all of my hope and dreams
and desires and wishes
that these words would be sweet to your ears.

I know
that you came in this world
to rescue your people
to pull them out of despair
to give your people life
to save them from their sins
to bring them to you
evil sinners
at war with you
All of us
And I lead this group.
I am the foremost
I am their chief
I am their victor
I am their champion of those who would face Your terrifying wrath!

Yet,
in this reason
that Your grace abounds all the more
that Your mercy renews every morning
that Your love never ceases
that You
my Lord and Savior
Jesus Christ
might display

Your perfection, beauty, tenderness, quickness,
Your love, mercy, grace, patience
for all of those who You call Yours
and those would believe upon Your holy name for life forever.

This is why I will sing
to the God of the everlasting to the everlasting
the Triune
the Father
the Son
the Holy Spirit
the immortal
the invisible
the Only One
the Creator
the Sustainer
the Merciful
the Peace
the Grace
the Faith
the Immanuel, God with Us
the Blessed
the Living Word
the Christ
the Son of God
the Fellow Heir
the Second Adam
the Kinsman Redeemer
the Beginning
the Means
the End
the Majesty
the Truth
the Way
the Life
the Wisdom
the Teacher
the Rescuer
the Promise
the Calling
the Fulfillment
the Abundance
the Host
the Governor
the High Priest
the Prophet
the Apostle
the Sufferer
the Messiah
the Servant
the Son of Man
the Glorified
the Power
the Gospel
the Guide
the Elector
the Wonderful Counselor
the All-Sufficient
the Lion of Judah
the Worthy Lamb who was slain
the King of all kings
the Lord of all lords
the Prince of Peace
the Commander of the Lord’s Army
the Ruler above all
the Name above all Names
my Holiness
my Righteousness
my Justice
my Faithfulness
my Mercy
my Grace
my Friend
my Confidence
my Shepherd
my Pastor
my Elder
my Brother
my Assurance
my Redeemer
my Vinedress
my Vine
my Bread
my Water
my Rock
my Salvation
my All in all
my Exalted
my Glorious
my Beloved
my Joy
my Song
my Love
my Mighty God

my Everlasting Father, my Dad, my Abba, my heart
my Jesus Christ, King, Lord, Savior and Messiah
my Holy Spirit, my comfort, my peace, my gift, my breath.

So I will be so very careful to
worship,
sing,
praise,
glorify,
exalt,
proclaim,
honor,
dedicate,
and love
You alone.

I pray this desperately and joyfully,
in the beautiful,
sweet,
precious,
most tender,
loveliest,
most worthy,
dearest name of
Your Son.

His name is
the Lord Jesus Christ.

Amen.

 

Influences: But Who Am I? 1 Chronicles 29:10-18

This was the very first passage I memorized. I picked this passage because I heard this particular verse mentioned in a long list of other verses:

1 Chronicles 29:14 “But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you.

When I looked up the verse and read it in context, I was blown away from David’s commencement. Since then, I hear this passage being used to explain the economics of God (while precariously dancing close to the edge of the Prosperity unGospel). At first glance, I can see that. But dig deeper and it is far richer that what we give it credit for.

Here is the reason why I love it so:

This passage reminds me to bless the people when you speak to the people:
“Therefore David blessed the LORD in the presence of all the assembly. And David said

It reminds me of  who God explicitly is:
“Blessed are you, O LORD, the God of Israel our father, forever and ever. Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.

It reminds me of who am I, apart from God:
“But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you. For we are strangers before you and sojourners, as all our fathers were. Our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no abiding.

It reminds me of what God has done in us and for us:
O LORD our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a house for your holy name comes from your hand and is all your own. I know, my God, that you test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness.

It reminds me of what my response is now because of God:
In the uprightness of my heart I have freely offered all these things, and now I have seen your people, who are present here, offering freely and joyously to you.

It always reminds of what my desperately prayers for God to keep on doing:
O LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, our fathers, keep forever such purposes and thoughts in the hearts of your people, and direct their hearts toward you.