Posted on September 23rd, 2009
I was counting blessings today. I don’t know if you do that. But as I was walking from where I park my car to where the church is, I had a really beautiful view of South Hill, with Western Washington University aglow, and the crisp green of trees contrasting the clear blue sky with just an occasional puff of cloud.
I thought, what a blessing. I live in such beauty.
And then, as I strode along, I was thanking God for being healthy. Big long strides, no problem.
And the church came into view, with the sign lit up, and I was praising God for a place to meet, a place to grow. And all the people who He has stirred up to be involved. Great blessing.
And my kids. Hope & Grace are so wonderful. Even when they’re not sleeping. I can’t believe that my wife and I get to raise these precious children.
And my wife. She is such a fantastic companion and helper and friend.
These are real blessings. And there are so many more… a mind to think, fingers to type, air to breathe… endless really.
But I thought if I had to pick one this morning, it would be knowledge.
That’s a funny one, you might say. Aren’t wife and kids and health and job the real blessings? Why would you want to count as your major blessing some dry, intellectual thing like ‘knowledge’?
Well, it is because of the object. I know Jesus. I know, in the way that counts, who he is. What he’s done. I know him relationally. I know him because he’s shown himself to me. I know him when so many people don’t.
Another way to say it is that my major blessing is the Bible. The teaching of the Word. Because the Word of God is about my Savior. The Word of God reveals our need for him, his coming to earth, his life and death for me, his living right now interceding for me, his glorious return. The grace that changes everything comes through this knowledge.
True, deep, life-changing knowledge of my Savior is the ground of my faith, revealed in the Word, implanted in my heart by the Holy Spirit, and it is all I need for life (2 Peter 1:3). This knowledge drives me to repentence, shapes my actions, motivates my heart, causes me to sing. This knowledge doesn’t make me perfect… but it works on me, and it promises a glorious future.
This is a blessing that can be counted… and is why I love to spend time in my Bible.
In the words of Sinclair Ferguson: “It is essential for us to realize that God’s word is the central gift Christ gives to the church. The major gifts of the New Testament era were given either to write that word (apostles), apply it (prophets) or teach it (pastors and teachers). We must see to it that our gifts are fed on the teaching of Holy Scripture, so that they grow strong and are channelled in the right direction, and so bring glory to Christ.” (Ferguson, Grow in Grace)
Count some blessings with me today… yours may be different than mine… but don’t forget the incredible blessing of our knowledge of our Savior.
Posted on September 15th, 2009
I’m so thankful my Father in heaven has a sense of humor. I know that things like discipline are signs of His love (Hebrews 12:6), and I know that there are many serious aspects to the Christian life. But I’m also struck by circumstances in my own life that are… well… humorous, in a good way, in a teaching way, through which my Father teaches me.
I think of the example of Jesus, who often used wit to season his teaching. After Nathanael had pestered Philip in John 1 about Jesus being from Nazareth (“can anything good come out of Nazareth?”), Jesus pokes at him: “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” We might not get the humor, but it is there: Jacob, who became Israel, has a name which means deceit. “Behold,” Jesus says, “a son of Jacob indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” Hmm. Just a little sarcasm, Jesus… and Nathanael may have rethought his statements about origin right there.
For me, I have to go no farther than this last weekend, when I was speaking on the joys of plumbing. Enjoy it, I was telling those around me, but don’t think it is your major blessing from God. Our blessing from God is our election, our redemption, our sealing… and we need to hold onto the hope of His calling, the riches of His inheritance, the greatness of His power toward us. Grand things all, and there are many who don’t have plumbing… but hold onto eternal life.
So, last night, I went downstairs into the kitchen… and lo, a veritable pool of water was on the dining room floor, having dripped down from the ceiling. It seems that our upstairs tub has sprung a leak, soaking drywall and letting water make its way down the wall and onto our floor.
I was tempted to be quite frustrated… and I was immediately reminded… my blessing is not plumbing. It is God’s certain call, His treasuring of me, power exerted on my behalf. How quickly I forget His real blessing, that ought never make me move from grateful praise.
Nothing to drive it home like water on the floor.
Thanks, Father. You always know what I need. I enjoy plumbing, running water… but I need to find my joy always in You.
Grace in plumbing.