Pen Points 2
How Many Ways?
"Some people, I think, have a misconception of what it's all about. I find members of the church who feel that there are really three ways of living. There's that broad way that leads to destruction. And then there's the strait and narrow way that's just for the preachers and their families and the elders and their families -- and they have to really live that strait and narrow way. But then there is an in-between way that's for the rest of us and it's not so demanding as it is for others. And that's just not so." -- Forrest D. Moyer (Sermon, Freed to be Slaves, 1989)
All Cry, “Glory!”
The voice of the Lord makes the deer give birth
and strips the forests bare,
and in his temple all cry, “Glory!” (Psalm 29:9)
That last phrase is impressive: “in his temple all cry, ‘Glory!’”
If this was true of the physical temple in all its grandeur, how much more so ought it to be true of God’s temple in Christ and His body! This passage may well even be speaking of God’s creation as His temple, which strengthens the point.
The body of Christ is the temple of God (Eph 2:19-22). As each Christian is a living stone in the great spiritual house and as His body is also a holy priesthood offering up “spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Pet 2:5), we all cry, “Glory!” Herein is the wisdom of God “made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.” Herein is God’s eternal purpose realized in Christ Jesus (Eph 3:9-12). All is done to the praise of His glory.
Have we thought of God’s glory today? Even more, have we glorified Him in our words, thoughts, and actions?
“Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” (Luke 19:38).
"Let the redeemed of the Lord say so..." (Psalm 107:2).
All of the issues raised recently both in the world and among God's people reminds us how pervasive and horrible the problem of sin really is. They remind us that there are moral absolutes, that we've all fallen short of God's glory, and that we all desperately need God.
So let the redeemed of the Lord say so! We are His. Old things have passed away. All things are new. We have a new outlook on reality. Press on. In the end, the sorrows and heartaches of this life will be done. Over. No more.
Let the redeemed of the Lord proclaim it.
Feeling Close to God?
We’ve all heard it and perhaps have thought it: “I just feel really close to God right now.” That’s fine if, in fact, one is actually close to God, but the problem is that how we feel does not determine our closeness to God.
Just because one feels close to God doesn’t mean he is, in fact, close to God. Rather, we are close to God because we draw near to God in the way that He directs (Heb 4:16; 7:19; 7:25; 10:22; Jas 4:8). We don’t get close to God on our terms, but on His, and the only way to know what His terms are is to read the revelation of His mind. God has chosen to reveal His mind (1 Cor 2:10-13), and His connection to His word is so close that the power of His message cannot be ignored (see Hebrews 4:12-13, where the movement goes from the powerful word to God Himself). Feelings alone cannot be trusted to give us proper information, and that is just another way of trusting in mankind.
“Cursed is the person who trusts in mankind.
He makes human flesh his strength,
and his heart turns from the Lord.” (Jer 17:5, CSB)
Indeed, “The heart is more deceitful than anything else…” (Jer 17:9).
One may feel something in the heart and yet be deceived, so we must be very careful here. This does not argue for a cold, lifeless, calloused kind of religion. Our hearts need to be in the right place, and the heart’s place is in following God’s revealed will. If someone feels cold, it’s not the fault of the word of God. The word is what is it is, and God’s message is the same regardless of how we feel about it.
Drawing near to God is like anything else: trust God in this, not your own heart. Let your heart follow what God has revealed, then you’ll know that drawing near to God transcends your feelings.