Suffering Complaints


Are you suffering under a burden that threatens to drive you to the dust?  Has your heart become calloused, so that you will not call out to God for the sake of the things that oppress you?  Have you allowed yourself to blame the One who made you?  Have you come to believe that you are righteous in blaming God for your trouble?

Jesus did no such thing!  Faultless, blameless, and full of love for his Father, the Lord was beaten beyond recognition.  Yet he did not blaspheme the will of God.

He endured his Holy Father’s will, because he knew his God can do no wrong.  And he considered even the greatest of torment as if it should not be compared to the Glory that awaited him.  How is it that we cannot even sustain the sufferings of the common cold without complaint?

The Holy Bible uses a very curious word to describe the testing of the Holy Lord Jesus, “crushed”.  Have you been so treated?  And that for no apparent cause?  Are you without sin?  Don’t we deserve to be crushed?

10 But the LORD was pleased
            To crush Him, putting Him to grief;
            If He would render Himself as a guilt offering,
            He will see His offspring,
            He will prolong His days,
            And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.” (Isaiah 53)

For our sake, and his love for God, he was sustained through it all.  For the sake of his Father’s love for man, he endured the most vicious possible death.  For your sake Christ was purified of all possible pride.  Stripped of his Glory and Majesty, humbled to the likeness of an animal, Jesus became the sacrifice for our sins.

He did not complain.  He did not beg for mercy.  He did not resist the ungodly hands.  He did not strive to evade the whip.  He offered the tender portion of his hands to the nails.  He forgave sins as he hung toward death!  And all of this with the most resolute heart!

And then horror came to visit him; his Loving Father turned his face, as his son became a curse for hanging on a tree.  As it is written in the law of the Most High God, “for he that is hanged is accursed of God”.

Still he did not all allow sin to encompass him.  He endured the will of his Holy Father.  Shall we do any less? 

Consider the tiny burden we bear.  Even if we suffered as Christ Jesus, we deserve the beating. 

As we consider these things, so we become more like him.  As we consider these things, we reach to the victorious one for the strength which sustains. 

Do you want strength to overcome your intolerable need to complain?  You will find that strength in Jesus the Christ of God.

Amen!

By His Grace

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In the Shelter of his Wing


I wake up before dawn and look out my window at a light dusting of snow.  Out pops a little bird, hopping about in the snowflakes.

Then I wonder, “Where have you slept little one?  Did you sleep among the reeds in the ditch?  Did you forsake the tree limb for the shelter of the reeds?

You would have not perched yourself too deeply within them.  You would have slept in a place where two hops allowed your wings to spread.  You would be no food for the predator.”

And then I wonder.  Where did I sleep?  I slept peacefully under the outstretched wing of the Most High God.  I woke to His Glorious covering.  Lacking fear, I woke only to stretch my bones, and then to pray; even as the little bird sings his song of joy.

Is this how Jesus slept in the boat while the storm raged around him?  Is this how Daniel slept with the Lions, for the weariness of their bodies?  Is this how the Apostle Peter slept so soundly in the jail amidst the soldiers?  Is this how the Prophet Elijah slept alongside the Kerith Ravine, knowing the wings of a bird would feed him in the morning?

Oh how desire rages within this servant to instill these things in my fellow man!  Will you please consider the power of God to sustain your tired soul.  His name is Christ Jesus, the Son of God and the Son of Man.

By His Grace

Golden Stairs


Doing battle with the man I was;

An exceedingly costly affair.

The cost is high and sure because

I must climb His golden stair.

The steps are made of Molten Gold,

Refining in his Fire.

And every step I take, as bold,

Consumes me all the higher.

The price is high, as men perceive.

But is it worth the cost?

I’ll be there on my bended knee,

Enjoying what was lost.

While others who enjoy their gold

With a coolness that will not burn.

Will kneel in fear, and void of bold;

For these steps I take they’ll yearn.

Oh cross of Christ, that precious place;

That step there at the top!

Reflects to me His Glorious face,

As this journey finally stops.

Do you think it odd a man should lose

Everything you hold so dear?

I think it’s odd that you should choose

To hold on to your fear.

As now the Great Proclaiming’s done,

You settle down in your flesh.

Forsaking all that can be won,

You place your loss as best!

Yes the stairs will torch your hope,

Of a life of peace and ease.

But you climb to Him upon a rope;

Consumed by a Fiery Breeze!

Won’t you please come and place your foot

Upon the liquid step?

Belief in Christ will do you good.

He’ll accomplish all the rest.

But if you do this step ascend,

Do not back down again!

The world perceives us not as friends,

Who will His Stairs ascend.

By His Grace

A Righteous Rebellion


In the utter darkness of this world, this man will not remove his cloak to toss it over the Light of God.  Though I perceive the wickedness of men with clarity, I will raise up the Lantern of hope.

I refuse to be ashamed.  I refuse to hide the Gospel of Christ Jesus.  I refuse to lower the Lantern.  I refuse to fear as I walk among the angry dead.  And I refuse to obey Man; “Take this filthy name away from us!  We have no desire to hear it spoken again.  If you continue, so will we.  The punishment of obscurity is in our hand to deliver.”

I will not cease to speak the only hope you have.  There is no hope among you but the message of Christ Jesus, the Holy Son of God!  In Him alone, is the forgiveness of your sins.  In Him alone, is the majestic power to raise you from the dead. 

From the living grave of rebellion you gnash your teeth at his Holy name.  Therefore proof lives among you that you need his eternal sacrifice.

I do not write this as a declaration of war.  I do not stand defiantly against you.  Though I defy your order to cease, I do so that you may learn to live.

I will not hide the Light of Life.  I will ascend to whatever prominent place among you I can.  And I will speak and live among you that you may know there is hope.

The declaration of war is impressed upon your heart from the day you are born.  And how gladly and easily you obey the rebellious one.  You are bent toward sin like the trees along the coastline.  But God is able to straighten your crooked trunk. 

He will cause you to chase the Sun like a sunflower.  Malleable bark will cover your stiff frame.  He will cause righteousness to blossom on your limbs.  Instead of the fruit of rebellion, you will produce the fruit of Godly love.

God will come and eat the fruit of righteousness you will offer.  He will promise you, on oath, a portion in his Garden of Eden.  He will walk among you with pleasure instead of eternal threats.  And joy will be yours forever.

You call his name filthy because you do not know him.  You are blind and ignorant to the definition of love.  And for this reason I will hold high the Gospel of Christ Jesus.

By His Grace

To What End?


Why do you protect your family?  Why do you work so hard to earn a living?  Why do you go to church?  Why do you read the Bible?  Why do you study devotions?  Why do you pray?  Why do you speak the name of Christ?

Are all these things only for show?  Or are they so that you can become as devoted to the Living God’s Christ as are the Holy Angels?

When you have done these things for years, have they produced a holy man?  Or have you found yourself only becoming a socially acceptable Christian? 

What is the fullness that God desires in all his people?  What does that look like?  Can you point to someone and say, “That is it”?  Can anyone point to you and say the same thing?

It is like men to pursue a dream, only to find a place where they are comfortable.  What about death to all the things in this world?  Does that sound comfortable to you?  What about a beating by the hands of men because you have spoken the Gospel in their presence?  How many friends have abandoned you because you love God?  What about a burning willingness to obey God’s command, regardless the outcome?  Does that apply to you?

I ask this many questions, because you are the only one who can answer them for yourself.  I do not command anyone to do anything.  But I have an obligation to ask my brothers these things.  And they distinctly apply to me also.  And why would anyone not ask his brother at these things?

Who will shake the world for Christ?  Will it be you?  Who will cower in a corner, amassing all kinds of peace and luxury.  Will that be you?

By His Grace