How Long Is Never?

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;  they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22–23

Oh, how often do I need to remind myself that God’s mercies never come to an end. There is a big word in that sentence, never. It’s not that his mercies are very numerous and will last a really long time. No. They never come to an end. His steadfast love never ceases.

We have a hard time truly comprehending the extent of that statement. You see, man is like grass, we flourish for but a moment, maybe 70 or 80 years if we’re lucky. But eventually we all succumb to the breath of the Lord. That is, we all wither and fade, and our place knows us no more. Our finite minds can not fully grasp the truth of the infinite, never.

So today, even though the truth of it is beyond my comprehension, I’ll rest in the fact that tomorrow, his steadfast love will be available to me. I’ll press on in my fight against sin in my life knowing that I may fall, nevertheless, his mercies never end.

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I Asked the Lord

It’s only when you get to a certain point in life that these words can truly resonate with your soul in all their beauty.

I Asked The Lord

I asked the Lord that I might grow
In faith and love and every grace
Might more of His salvation know
And seek more earnestly His face

Twas He who taught me thus to pray
And He I trust has answered prayer
But it has been in such a way
As almost drove me to despair

I hoped that in some favored hour
At once He’d answer my request
And by His love’s constraining power
Subdue my sins and give me rest

Instead of this He made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart
And let the angry powers of Hell
Assault my soul in every part

Yea more with His own hand He seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Cast out my feelings, laid me low

Lord why is this, I trembling cried
Wilt Thou pursue thy worm to death?
“Tis in this way” The Lord replied
“I answer prayer for grace and faith”

“These inward trials I employ
From self and pride to set thee free
And break thy schemes of earthly joy
That thou mayest seek thy all in me,
That thou mayest seek thy all in me.”

—John Newton

A Response

This is my response to this post.

Wow. A lot here. Way too much for me interact with all of it. I will deal with two aspects however:

  1. God’s glory in creation, and
  2. God’s freedom in creation

God’s Glory in Creation
God—omnipotent, omniscient, perfect in every way—created to display his own glory and worth in creation[period]. This means he gets glory from every aspect of creation, including sin. Jesus was not a divine plan b. He was Plan A, all things were created through him and for him. This is precisely the pinnacle of God’s glory in creation—the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This was the sole purpose of creation, for God to display the riches of his grace in the redemption of his people through Jesus Christ.

I would credit God with demanding glory, or as you put it, being narcissistic. He is the only being worthy of the honor to demand glory. Why? Because he created everything. Does not the potter have right over the lump of clay? Not only that, he’s perfect. I’m not arguing for some conception of a being, the “greatest conceivable being.” I’m saying that the Creator of heaven and earth is absolutely perfect, and has the right to demand total allegiance and worship. Creation is all about God.

Every other reason you proposed as a potential reason for God creating boiled down to man as the chief end of God’s purpose. This is to be denied at every turn. It is patently humanistic in every sense of the word, which really doesn’t surprise me. Our natural inclination is to think that the universe revolves around us—was created for us. We were created for his glory, which brings me to my second point.

God’s Freedom in Creation
His omniscience is complete, but not only does he know everything, he knowingly foreordains everything that comes to pass. I alluded to this above. There is nothing outside of the sovereign reach of God. You see, I wouldn’t ascribe to God the same nonchalance and passivity in his creation that you do. Mainly because he doesn’t.

You look at the various problems plaguing humanity and think the historical incidents of brutality and atrocities committed against one another—The Holocaust. Rwanda. The Japanese Rape of Nanjing. Child abuse. Worldwide starvation and extreme poverty. Medieval witch hunts. Hate crimes. Murder. Torture. Terminal illnesses. Extinction events. Ruthless competition.—somehow diminish God’s moral perfection. I look at them and say that man’s appetite for death is unending, and the effects of sin are atrocious.

At this point you may say “hold on, didn’t you just say that God does all that he pleases? How can man be faulted, for who can resist the will of God?” I agree, there is a tension between God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility. I won’t pretend to know how to resolve that tension. Suffice it to say that I will not place myself as judge over the Judge. My point is that God is completely free over his creation. I’m ok with that, his ways truly are higher than ours. This is far from a mental safe zone. In fact, it’s a very large chunk of truth to swallow.

When you suggest what type of world might have been “more moral” for God to create, I simply ask you what makes you think that God is subject to your fallen notion of fairness.

But to help you get a grasp of man’s responsibility I’ll return to your discussion of man’s “free” will. You left out one important aspect of man’s will, namely, that it is not free at all. Our will is enslaved to sin. We gave our allegiance to the enemy, and when we did we sold ourselves into slavery.

Therefore, everything we get that isn’t death is a grace, totally undeserved. We have no right to demand anything from God, especially a suffering-free life. All we deserve is suffering, for we are traitors, guilty of treason. We are utterly dependent upon God to rescue us from our rebellious will. Otherwise, we have no hope, for we will rebel against our Creator until we return to dust.

Conclusion
I suppose though, that I’ve written all of this for nothing anyway, because I haven’t given you proof of this God. Well to that I say that I’m sorry, I have no proof. I can’t stand with William Lane Craig and give you a “more probable god.” For me, the very fact that we are having this conversation is proof that there is a Designer. Contrary to your belief, I would say that the burden of proof is upon your shoulders. You should have to tell me why you know anything, if knowledge was not given to you.

No amount of evidence I would give to you would ever be enough to overcome the burden of proof you suppose. I would always lack sufficient evidence. You have the created order in front of you, yet you have the audacity to claim that there is no good evidence that God exists. I’m sorry, but like I said before, I will not place myself in the position to judge God, I don’t have that right. There is no neutral ground between us, for God created all of it.

The Kingdom of Heaven Is At Hand

Directed Panspermia” is the theory that life may have been sent here by a spaceship from a distant planet. This theory has been suggested by a Nobel Prize winner. Of it, Wayne Grudem, in his Systematic Theology, notes:

It seems ironic that brilliant scientists could advocate so fantastic a theory without one shred of evidence in its favor, all the while rejecting the straightforward explanation given by the one book in the history of the world that has never been proven wrong, that has changed the lives of millions of people, that has been believed completely by many of the most intelligent scholars of every generation, and that has been a greater force for good than any other book in the history of the world. Why will otherwise intelligent people commit themselves to beliefs that seem so irrational?

I’ll tell you why—they’re suppressing the knowledge of God, that’s why. Man, in his natural state, is willing to believe anything as long as it doesn’t require him to humble himself before the God of scripture. One day though, the Holy One of Israel will appear. What a day it will be! There will be no more suppression of who he is. Woe to the man that suppresses the knowledge of God now. Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.

Do You Believe In Fish?

Image

If you found a reason to ask me if I believe in God, I’d answer your question with a question—do you believe in fish? You might think it a silly question, but in fact, that’s the point. Why would a person need to believe in fish, they’re right there in the lake. Then I point to those same fish, and say well why would anyone need to believe in God, he’s upholding those fish and the lake by the word of his power. If he quits speaking, they quit existing.

A Bond for Life

As I reflect on five years of marriage I am humbled at what a miracle it is to remain married to someone for five years. It’s one thing to make it to five or ten years living with someone with whom you have no real commitment, just a mutual agreement that as long you meet my needs, I’ll meet your needs. If things get too hairy, just pack up and roll out for a couple days and everything will be fine. It’s a different story entirely when you sign the marriage covenant, and take it serious. Then the agreement is that no matter what, we’re in this together Honey. With that, every year is a miracle. Five years, ten, twenty—a grace from above.

I have many friends living under the first agreement. This is by no means meant as an attack upon you personally. I am simply encouraging you that if you really love that person you live with like you think you do, then honor them, and honor God, marry them. Until then, I’m sorry to say, you’re just playing pretend. Your arrangement is nothing more than a mockery of the real thing.

Marriage, and all that it represents, is a precious thing indeed. Far too many take it lightly today. God’s faithfulness to his people is simply astounding. This is what marriage is meant to convey, the faithful covenant between God and his people. That is why divorce is such a horror, and despised by the Lord. That’s also the reason that simply living with someone is nothing more than a mockery, and in all truthfulness, a profanation of marriage. Not only is it a grievous sin to live with someone outside of the bond of marriage, it’s also thumbing your nose at the Creator of the universe.

So in light of our personal five-year miracle, I would like to say “Happy Anniversary” to my beautiful bride.We have endured some serious storms in these five short years. It has been very hard at times, but I do not despair in our sufferings.

Our wedding picture

We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Romans 5:3-5

I look forward to growing old with you, for I know that your light-hearted humor will carry us into the years with many smiles. I pray that we will leave a legacy of grace, perseverance, and love for our children to cherish well into their lives. And so, may the God of hope fill us with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit we may abound in hope. 

I love you.

A Promise for All

There are some verses in the bible that apply to everyone equally. This morning, as I was going over my Fighter Verse for this week, there was one sitting right there in front of me. I had actually memorized this one just a couple weeks ago, but today something was new about it. As I scanned it I realized that this verse applies the same to virtually everyone—believers and unbelievers.

[God] does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.

Psalm 103:10

This is true of every living soul on the planet. God does not deal with you according to your sins, nor repay you according to your iniquities, yet. He will one day deal with your sin, and mine. My sin actually has been dealt with. The sentence for my crimes has been executed. Jesus paid it all. He drank the whole cup of God’s wrath for my iniquities. That is the way that God deals with sin, either you pay the price or Jesus pays the price, but someone will pay.

So right now you have a great mercy in front of you, namely, the Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. Go now while you still have a chance, for death is appointed to all, then jugdment. None will escape. Run to the cross, he stands ready to forgive.