Tag Archives: truth

Joy is Here

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(This is in NLT, not Amplified. I’m sorry.)

This is a hard season for many.

I feel deeply the weight and heaviness of sin, brokenness, and the overall hurt of living in a fallen body in a fallen world with other fallen humans.

But the pain isn’t meaningless.
The weight won’t crush us.
The fire won’t burn us.
The flood won’t drown us.
The despair won’t destroy us.
The enemy doesn’t have the final say.

Our champion reigns.
Hope is here.
Glory is coming.
Joy is to be had.
Freedom is ours.
Victory is here.

Fix your gaze.
The true and better Aslan is on the move.

“You who fear the Lord, praise Him!
All you offspring of Jacob, glorify Him,
and stand in awe of Him, all you offspring of Israel!
For He has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted,
and He has not hidden His face from him,
but has heard, when he cried to Him.”
-Psalm 22:23-24

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A Thanksgiving Prayer from Valley of Vision

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O Source of all good,

What shall I render to Thee for the gift of gifts,
Thine own dear Son, begotten, not created,
my Redeemer, proxy, surety, substitute,
His self-emptying incomprehensible,
His infinity of love beyond the heart’s grasp.

Herein is wonder of wonders:
He came below to raise me above,
was born like me that I might become like Him.

Herein is love;
when I cannot rise to Him He draws near on
wings of grace,
to raise me to Himself.

Herein is power;
when Deity and humanity were infinitely apart
He united them in indissoluble unity,
the uncreated and the created.

Herein is wisdom;
when I was undone, with no will to return to Him,
and no intellect to devise recovery,
He came, God-incarnate, to save me
to the uttermost,
as man to die my death,
to shed satisfying blood on my behalf,
to work out a perfect righteousness for me.

O God, take me in spirit to the watchful shepherds,
and enlarge my mind;
let me hear good tidings of great joy,
and hearing, believe, rejoice, praise, adore,
my conscience bathed in an ocean of repose,
my eyes uplifted to a reconciled Father;
place me with ox, ass, camel, goat,
to look with them upon my Redeemer’s face,
and in Him account myself delivered from sin;
let me with Simeon clasp the new-born child
to my heart,
embrace Him with undying faith,
exulting that He is mine and I am His.

In Him Thou hast given me so much
that heaven can give no more.

-The Gift of Gifts, Valley of Vision

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Sovereign Over Us

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God’s character.

It’s what comes under attack in every battle, trial, and temptation.
And in those same battles, trials, and temptations, it’s our chief weapon.

I’m learning that in the heat of battle, when my mind wants to go into a spin cycle of what-ifs or when I’m tempted to either defend myself or run in self-protection, what I need most is to preach to myself (or have others preach to me) God’s character. I need to remember who is on the throne (spoiler: not me) and designing every circumstance of my life according to His exact (and good) specifications.

The following song has helped over the last few days with directing my heart “to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ” (2 Thessalonians 3:5).

Maybe it will help direct yours there too.

Praise for a God who is working in our waiting, teaching us to trust beyond our understanding, and displaying His flawless faithfulness at every turn.

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God Never Wastes Your Waiting

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Microwaves.
Instant downloads.
Express lanes.
Remote-start cars.

We’re a culture that knows what we want—and we want it now.

Feasting on entitlement and instant gratification, we hate delays in traffic, food service, and the Internet. My coworker says we live in a drive-thru society and because of that we’ve developed aversions to any and every delay, glorifying everything instant.

This bleeds over into our walk with God. We want Him to answer, provide, and show Himself the second we ask, seek, or knock. But sometimes His answer comes in silence (which is not the same as abandonment) or a whispered, Wait.

That’s where God has me right now. It’s good and hard and holy and is daily exposing my heart, which is tainted by the desire to control everything. Impatience reveals we are not God and that, try as we might, we cannot make things operate on our timetable.

In this reality, I am called to wait. Maybe you are, too.

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When God Cleans You With Steel Wool

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Last week was rough. The following is a snapshot into my journal last Tuesday.


“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness,
let the bones that You have broken rejoice.”
-Psalm 51:7-8

Sometimes it feels like God is cleaning me with steel wool instead of the cotton washcloths I prefer.

As I write this, my heart aches. I’m crying and hurting. I feel broken by longings and unsaid words and independent realities and the delay of good dreams. 

“I know, O Lord, that Your rules are righteous, and that in faithfulness You have afflicted me. Let Your steadfast love comfort me according to Your promise to Your servant. Let Your mercy come to me, that I may live; for Your law is my delight.” -Psalm 119:75-77

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Is God Enough in the Wilderness?

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The last week has felt a lot like what I imagine the wilderness felt like to Moses and the children of Israel.

I’ve ached for relief from the heat and unfamiliar surroundings that are, ironically, becoming achingly familiar (“Didn’t we pass that tree a few months ago?” “Is that the same hill I tripped over last year?” “Do you recognize that brown spot? We must have seen it before. Oh right, we have.”). For forty years they wandered, making lap after lap around the barren land, complaining about their manna and quail, and wishing for what God in His mercy saw fit to withhold.

Well, hello, insight to Sophie’s heart.  

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Not Jesus “the Great”

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Pluralism affirms that every “ism” has its own independent validity and an equal right to our respect. 

It therefore rejects Christian claims to finality and uniqueness, and condemns as sheer arrogance the attempt to convert anybody (let alone everybody) to what it sees as merely our opinions.

How should we respond to the spirit of pluralism? With great humility, I hope, and with no hint of personal superiority. But we must continue to affirm the uniqueness and finality of Jesus Christ. For He is unique in His incarnation (the one and only God-man), unique in His atonement (only He has died for the sins of the world), and unique in His resurrection (only He has conquered death). And since in no other person but Jesus of Nazareth did God first become human (in His birth), then bear our sins (in His death), and then triumph over death (in His resurrection), He is uniquely competent to save sinners. Nobody else possesses His qualifications.

So we may talk about Alexander the Great, Charles the Great and Napoleon the Great, but not Jesus the Great. He is not the Great—He is the only. There is nobody like Him. He has no rival and no successor.

-John Stott, The Radical Disciple 

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Stronger than the Strongest Affection

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Hi, my name is Sophie and I like to pretend emotions don’t exist.

Two weeks ago my days were filled with one challenge after another and by Friday night I could feel myself going into an emotional lockdown, attempting to bury every feeling in a Fort Knox-type armory with hopes that they would never surface again.

Welcome to my default setting. I am a master wall-builder. I’m pretty sure that is due to the fact that I’m scared of feelings. Scared of loving people too much and then enduring their rejection or removal from my life. Scared that God will punish me for liking someone. Scared of letting people down (even though it’s inevitable). Scared of doing things wrong. Scared of being seen. Scared of a “yes” because it seems like I only know how to trust God for a “no.”

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How do you make non-cheesy Christian art?

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love Andrew Peterson’s heart and ministry. 

The magazine I write for featured AP in the latest edition but the following snippet had to be (regrettably) trimmed, so here it is for your enjoyment and edification. It’s so good. Praise the Lord for His grace to us through Gospel-centered artists like Andrew Peterson.

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Christmas, Martin Luther, and Tim Keller

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There’s a place in one of Martin Luther’s nativity sermons where he asks something like,

“Do know what a stable smells like? You know what that family would have smelled like after the birth when they went out into the city? And if they were standing next to you, how would you have felt about them and regarded them?”

He is saying, I want you to see Christ in the neighbor you tend to despise—in the political party you despise, in the race you despise, in the class of people you despise.

Christmas is the end of thinking you are better than someone else, because Christmas is telling you that you could never get to heaven on your own. God had to come to you. It is telling you that people who are saved are not those who have arisen through their own ability to be what God wants them to be. Salvation comes to those who are willing to admit how weak they are.

-Tim Keller

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