Wednesday, January 28, 2009

An Icy Sanctification: God Scraping Away My Sin

So last night we had a bit of an ice storm. Freezing rain plus two cars equals a lot of work getting windshields cleared in preparation for the morning commute.

After showering and dressing but before eating breakfast, I headed out to de-ice my wife's car and then mine. As you can imagine, it's not my favorite task. My issue is not so much in serving my wife. I love serving her in this way. But my attitude as I scraped the ice off, about the inconvenience itself, was a battle.

God ordains all things, even freezing rain, I reminded myself. Looking back on this morning, I also am reminded that all those things work together for my good (Rom. 8:28), because God is using the annoyance of the morning ice-scraping to sanctify my attitude.

Who am I to complain either verbally or by mulling it over in my head, about the weather? Who am I to insist that my morning go according to how I've rehearsed it or experienced it many frost-less and freezing rain-less mornings before?

What's more, my minor inconveniences and sufferings can neither hold a candle to a) my Lord suffering in my place on the cross (Isa. 53:7-9) and b) the weight of glory to be revealed at His return (2 Cor. 4:16-18).

My Lord stepped down from the glories of Heaven to be born to a young virgin betrothed to a poor carpenter. As an infant he narrowly escaped slaughter by a paranoid power-hungry Herod (Matt. 2:16-18). Jesus didn't have a place to lay his head during his earthly ministry (Matt. 8:20), the leader of his apostles denied him thrice at his time of greatest need (Luke 22:22-24, 54-62), another stole money from the kitty and betrayed Him for 30 pieces of silver (Luke 22:3-6). Then after that all he was beaten, whipped 39 times, and put to death by the Roman governor Pontius Pilate, who had himself declared Jesus guiltless.

Surely spending 15 minutes to warm up the cars and scrape off ice is no big trial. Except that in some ways, in my heart-felt attitude it was.

So I thank God for ordaining mornings like this. I thank Him that he's scraping me clean of these sins of pride and anger and frustration that he wants to purge from me, conforming me to the image of Christ.

Thank you Father for writing all my days in your book (Psa. 139:16). Thank you that my joy is in your Son Jesus, my only hope, the author of my faith and the prince of true peace.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

So I'm Reading Augustine's City of God

Aside from Scripture reading and dipping in and out of Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology, I'm presently reading Augustine's "City of God."

It's such a joy to read from a fellow saint, who, though long dead, still speaks.  It's a great reminder that "nothing is new under the sun," especially when it comes to the enemies of the Gospel and the ready defense we are called to have when the world asks just what the heck is up with us that we have hope in hopeless times.

Though separated by 17 centuries and different sides of this present age, Augie and I share in the communion of saints, in a common citizenship in Heaven. We stand before the throne of grace in the "city of the living God" robed not in our own righteousness but that of our faithful Lord Jesus (Heb. 12:22-24) who has cleansed us with His blood:

 But you have come toMount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering,23 and to the assembly [1] of the firstborn who areenrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 and to Jesus,the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
Please pray that the Lord speaks to me through His servant Augustine insofar as Augustine rightly divided the Scripture and that I grow in my thirst for and capability to wrestle with the collective wisdom of the writings of the saints who have preceded me into the presence of the Lord.


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