28 January 2007

"God Moves in a Mysterious Way"

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.

- William Cowper

25 January 2007

James 1:17-25 (ESV)

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness that God requires. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

15 January 2007

Make No Provision

Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts. (Romans 13:14)

Ah, the proverbial New Year's resolution to lose weight and 'get in shape' (whatever that means). I lost count how many times I tried that. My spirit was willing, but my flesh was weak... very weak. A year and a half ago, after being fed up with being overweight and really sick, I decided to do something about it. Make no provision for the flesh (Lord knows I had lots of it). And it doesn't just apply to my eating and exercising habits.

By nature, I am a very lazy slob. It comes along with being inherently laid-back. If I had my way, I'd sleep until noon, eat pizza, be horribly unorganized, perpetually late, and never exercise. That's my ugly sin nature, but Ephesians 4:22-24 commands me to put off my old self and to put on Christ. I have to make my flesh do what it doesn't want to do. I have to purposely and daily discipline myself. The more I do it, the easier it becomes.

Eating healthy has become an enjoyment as well as a necessity, since I discovered I can't eat half the foods in the food pyramid due to health reasons -- not too much of a problem (although I do occasionally slide into sin by eating pizza). It's amazing how many forms of food the soy bean can take on. (I would probably die if soy beans suddenly disappeared off the face of the earth.)

Working out is something else entirely. I used to loathe the idea of scraping my lazy derriere off the couch to just take a walk. But after months and months of disciplining myself, I not only enjoy jogging in the neighborhood or jumping on the treadmill, but I actually hate it when I don't work out. Now if only I could feel that way about push-ups and sit-ups...

Over the past eight months, I've also come to apply this discipline to my daily and weekly schedules and am able to accomplish much more. I've discovered that discipline is not just for athletes or OCD people like my mom. Not only does it improve the quality of my life (a lot of my health problems are gone along with 50 pounds), but it is also conforming me to the character of Christ. There are no fast and easy solutions, but slow and determined effort builds character.

"... You have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him." (Colossians 3:9b-10)

01 January 2007

Give Me a Servant, Give Me a King

Don't try to sweep me
Off my of my feet.
Don't flaunt your resume
Or your good deeds.

I don't want James Bond
-- No debonair stud.
I don't want Prince Charming
On a dashing steed.

Give me a servant,
Give me a king.

I don't need love poems,
Nor roses so red.
Those things are nice,
But I want sacrifice instead.

No flow'ry words
-- No eloquent speeches --
To capture my heart
None of these are needed.

Give me a servant,
Give me a king.

Give me a leader
Who follows his God.
Give me a shepherd
With gentle rod.

Give me a lover
Whose constance fails not.
Give me a heart
Through which patience
is wrought.

Give me a servant,
Give me a king.

Carey Nofziger
01 January 2007