Posts Tagged ‘ Christ ’

Thoughts from a Young Man: Suffering

Jesus suffered in the garden. He died on the cross, yes for our sins, BUT he also suffered because of our sinfulness. He suffered a pain that was not his. The act was not a single moment or a collection of moments as nails pierced his flesh. His suffering was such that we will never suffer. His suffering was a faith breaking suffering. He suffered under the silence of God. He suffered it completely. He bore pain. He cried out longingly, desperately for grace but heaven was seemed closed to his bleating. He suffered so that we could endure the the silence.

Silence of this type would break us. Andrew Peterson poetically says the silence of God

“is enough to drive a man crazy, to break a man’s faith, it’s enough to make a man wonder if he has ever been sane…when he is bowering for comfort and heavens only answer is the silence of God.”

It does drive us crazy. It drives us to question the promise of Grace. As the silence of God, the unanswered prayers, the waiting, the loneliness, goes on and on we question if we have ever heard the voice of God. We know he speaks; others around us tell us about their sweet fellowship but we feel a cold iron curtain robed around us like shell, a prison cell with no widow or door. We begin question whether we have ever come to know God. We often question whether we are God’s chosen sheep at all. Aside from the grace bought by Christ’s suffering, this suffering would break us and tear us apart.

Christ became like us so that in sharing in our suffering as we suffer he would be made perfect and by his death he would put to death, death. The lonely weeping, the prayers in the solitude of sleeping friends, the agony of the Father’s silent turning away, became the grace we need to suffer under silence. Christ suffered an unmerited silence, a coldness, a distance, a separation that would break men. Silence of this type is not a muted voice, it is a blinded eye. This silence is separation from the creator, sustainer, and source of life. It is a separation from the Light of Life. It is a silence of unfathomable depths, it is penetrating, it is consuming, it is hell.

Christ walked through this silence to purchase our help. He suffered such so that we would endure. No matter the weight of the silence there is the promise. The cross is the receipt. The character of God is the guarantee and the Spirit is the promissory note. The silence WILL be broken. The Father will come. The Father is working amidst the silence. The Son suffered so that the silence, a painful weight, would not be a rod of breaking or a stone of crushing.

Whatever you from suffer remember our savor. Remember that he breathed his last breath, he yielded up his spirit by his choice by his will. Remember his words,

“It is finished!”

Christ, then, consciously, “breathed his last breath and yielded up his Spirit.” His death did not end the suffering, it did not remove the cup of reeling from His hand, the cup of the wrath of God ran dry. Our savior suffered completely. The Father’s justice satisfied so that we would be left unbroken by the silence but that the silence would be tool of conforming, a means of developing Christ-like endurance. The silence doesn’t break our faith, it doesn’t uproot faith, it drives the roots of faith deeper into the fertile soil of Christ amidst the the barren wasteland of this life!

Let the silence drive you deeper. Let the waiting conform you. Trust the promise. Trust the Savior. Endure for the sake of the Joy set before you! Endure that you would get Christ. Endure that you would become one of those among the great crowd of witnesses from which we, who enjoy such grace now, will look to when the silence becomes deafening! If you have walked through the valley, encourage your fellow travelers. You may be be that voice they are longing to hear!

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Thoughts From a Young Man: a Heavy Yoke

Matthew 11:28-30

28 “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

What is heavy that we carry? What is the burden of our hearts? The heaviness is not the burden and the burden is not the weariness. The burden is sin. It gives weight to everything. It mays every aspect of our lives heavy and burdensome. Sin is this, not knowing God. Not know or wanting to know God is our plague. It is the source of of the mixture we call sin. It is the infection of our hearts which stains every aspect of lives. Longing to live a life with out the understanding of God and the good for which he has made all things it a weighty endeavour. To live life by our standards and make everything conform to our ways of thinking and understand, these standards themselves being broken with sin, when were not the designers and architects of the purposes for which all things were made is a heavy burden. Attempting to twist, bend, and compress the the things of this word to in a manner of being that would fulfil our purpose, satisfaction of the selfishness of men, the satisfaction of our ourselves, when they were not made for man but for Christ is a terrible yoke carry. It is a yoke we can not bear; a yoke for which we were not made to bear.
We have not been made to bear the burden of conforming and sustaining this world to our purposes nor even to God’s, it is Christ who makes all things new. It is christ who by his word causes all things to be held together. It is Christ who bears the weight of our sin, a weight we were not made nor but in the garden to bear, hence, it is a weight that drives us to the grave. Living life by our our fallen, broken, sin stricken counsels and purposes is a wide road that surely leads to our destruction; a road we all walk down. We walk this path in a seemingly blissful blindness unaware of the destruction that lay beyond the vast gate at the end of the path.
Here Christ calls us to take upon us the yoke he bore. That sweetly light burden-less yoke. A yoke of submission to His Father, our creator. He calls us to walk as he walked in humble lowliness of heart. He calls us to broken depend on the mandates, purposes, means, manners, tools, graces, provisions of a Holy God who has designed and created all of this. He calls us to love. To live in love. To walk in the love of the creator. He calls us to obedience. We are not responsible for figuring out what is best we are called to humble, dependent, faith that the God who created us will lead us as is best.
Our minds, like our hearts, are not to be forsaken. They were given us for the purpose of understanding. We seek grace and guidance. We prayerfully apply the word of God and his purposes to all that we face. Our minds are made for understanding and he gives great grace to understand.
It is here alone in this pursuit of wisdom for our Father that we find rest for our weary souls. Nothing in this life and world want that for us. Media companies want us longing for the next fix of gossip, mindless entertainment, or the newest product. They do not want us to be at rest. They do not want satisfied viewers. The government needs to validate it’s existence by providing for the most pressing need. They need a dependent people who see value in their existence. In deed they need to be needed. Thus, the government takes over all duties and tasks that are most basic to our lives. You school and business do not want satisfaction. Schools thrive on the need for education. Businesses don’t want happy employees they want effective employees. This takes many shapes. Western theories are moving toward being a safety net and family of the employee. Eastern companies want employees who need the monthly pay check and will do all that is needed to get it.
In all these getting is the state of the soul. Satisfaction in things, positions, stature, fame money, intelligence, attainments and the like are what this world feeds us. These things will never satisfy. We may bend and twist this world to get these in great abundance but the will never satisfy. They will never bear the burden of sin. Christ alone can bear this and make the soul glad. It is there in him that we rest and find gladness. He is the easy yoke. He is the lightness that we long for and will never find in all that we get here. We were made to long for him. We were made like all that is here for Him. In being his we fulfill our purpose. We are left to groan no more on the weight of sin. We find satisfaction in being what were made to be, his humble, lowly, bride or great price.
What a great value we are to Christ. That which is most rare in this world is not a diamond or precious metal. That which is rarest is a humble and contrite soul who longs for God. These are not found they are made and made at a great price. These are the free. Men and women such as this are free from this world. They are at rest in Christ.

Thoughts from A Young Man: forsaken not

Matt.27.46

…My God My God why have you for forsaken me…

I am reminded how often my cries to God for grace concerning a present temptation are met with the needed aid in the moments when they are asked. Here the Son of Man cries out for another way and the Father is pleased to crush him. I am never forsaken. I am never left with out the needed aid. My sinful state is never my only recourse against sin. God always imparts by the spirit of Christ the need of the hour. But here, the Son is, with pleasure, crushed by God His Father.

Jesus wasn’t forsaken for his sin, he was forsaken for mine!

Jesus cries out for another way to be made. Three times in the garden the blessed Son, the only begotten of The Father, he who upon beholding his glory we are made heirs of heaven, says John. It is he who cries out to the father and is forsaken. God gladly crushes him that he would be justified in being our aid in every need.
Would it then not behoove us to be making not a fight against the in which he aids us but making a war against it? Would that not be the mark of a child of such grace? Would it not seem a repugnant idea to not jump into the arms of Christ who stands in the fire that he might draw you out? Is it not fair to say that those who do not make a life of fighting the sin for which their savior has died know not the savior they claim? What of your life? What about your path? Is it a deeply worn path that leads you to the nail pierced feet of the resurrected Christ? Is your life marked by life or marked by unforsaken death? Jesus wasn’t forsaken for his sin, he was forsaken for mine! He was forsaken for the sins of all who believe. This effectual truth MARKS the life of the believer. All who believe will actively forsake the sin within.

Do you mortify;
do you make it your daily work;
be always at it while you live;
cease not a day from this work;
be killing sin or it will be killing you.

—John Owen, “On the Mortificat​ion of Sin,” in Overcoming​ Sin and Temptation​, ed. Kapic &; Taylor (Crossway,​ 2006), p. 50. [Available​ online for free.]

Dear Christian, if your sin killed our Christ why does it keep killing you?

Thoughts From a Young Man: Battle with Sin and the Garden

Father if it is possible let this cup pass from but your will be done not mine.

The cross was not the battle Jesus faced. The cross was not what killed the Christ. It was and it wasn’t. The Cross was pain it was suffering and it was the REAL demonstration of the REAL battle that BEGAN and was WON in the garden. No the battle was not done but it was won!

In the garden Christ was faced with the temptation to flee the suffering promised him in Isaiah 52. Imagine him, as a boy, as a 12-year-old sitting in the temple reasoning with the scribes. These were the teachers of the very men who would kill him. Caiaphas may have been in the temple that day, watching the perplexity of his teachers as they reasoned with the 12 year son of Man; a mere carpenter apprentice. “God” was an apprentice to a trades men a factory worker, Selah.

Jesus knew his end. Jesus knew he would be crushed by God. Here in the garden he was tempted to walk away. And the battle begins. Wrath pouring through his body. Death infecting the Perfect One. Sin slaying the GREAT I AM. Like a child amidst the fire he cry out, “ and Christ says thus, “Father, Oh Father if you are willing please remove this cup from me; but not my will be done, do yours.” It is the bleating of a child, “Daddy rescue me.” For Christ cam, setting emptying himself of power and walking in humble submission a man to God. The temptations of the wilderness are illustrative. The Christ is not trapped there amidst the flames as a helpless Child; the angels must have stood a breath away limbs out reached ready to grasp their master from this horror, ready to lift him from the burden of wrath due the men killing him.

Jesus could have stepped through the flames unsinged but that was not the path he had come to walk. His temptation his fire is knowing that the crushing of God could be removed. His need of grace is to remain to walk the path. To bow humbly and take the pain that is not his. To drink the “cup of reeling” due the every man for everyman jubilantly swimming in miry pools of sin. This was the path he came to walk. He came, the Light of the World, the light of life, in the humble tent of human flesh a sojourner, from the land of heaven, in a world of death. God became a man and walked the line.

His word says,

“Although he was a Son [God’s Son], He learned obedience from the things he suffered.” His suffering what was not his own to suffer it was ours! He suffered in our place as we suffer yet more for he drank down the wrath of God so that, “having been made perfect, he became to all those who obey him the source of eternal salvation…” (Hebrews 5:8-9) Selah!
This is the battle before me cause me to stand to your glory. If it is your gracious will to remove I want that but your will be done.
And so, in the garden he begins his suffering. He asks that God would bring it to an end and he did not. It was there that he entrusted himself to God. God gave the supply that was needed to walk the line he came to walk. That was where the battle was one the rest was a fight to keep walking. So also it is for us. The battle is won when you see the lines drawn. When temptation comes you fall at the feet of the risen Christ crying out, “This is the battle before me cause me to stand to your glory. If it is your gracious will to remove I want that but your will be done.” This is what we are to cry out when we know we should not take another help helping  of food, another drink from the bottle, when we know the images before us will lead us to sin. This is what we ask. We can walk away from these and we should but even more this is for those times when anger rises and we need grace to not lash out. There is not walking away then it is a path we must go down. When someone in the group in the group is dressed in an overly sensual way and we must stay there is grace; our way of escape is the cross. When our wallets have the ability to meet the needs of another but at the cost of our comfort there also is the cross. When confession of ones sins and failures will bring pain there the cross is also. For in all of these we cannot walk away but must walk the path.This path though is not that of Christ’s. We have great hope. For Christ left the garden and we know the agony of wrath he left with. The strain burst forth from the capillaries of his brow in streams of blood mixed with sweat, he was not yet on the cross. Then there is the beatings. the torture and the mocking scorn, then the long path to Gethsemane. All the while he walked in obedience looking for His way of escape. Then the nails and the slow ragged breaths. And the final series of utterances that which breaks the heart of Men, the cry of the helpless child in the flames. The Father perfectly able to rescue his dear child watches and does not move. The Child cries out,  “Daddy, oh Daddy why do you leave me in this flames? I need you but stand afar watching me amidst the flames.”The truth is God was the flames consuming His Son. He was the weighty stone, the scepter that crushed his Son. He didn’t look on He was the active killing force. And Christ cries out “Abba, Abba, why have you forsaken me?”

He was forsaken by God but God shall never leave you. Wage war against your sins, they will not kill you; they killed your savior.
With Christ’s final ragged breath the answer resound blasts of a clarion calling all to battle “IT IS FINISHED” This was the cry of the savior the battle is one! Here is your way of escape. The wrath of God was drank in full. Not a drop left  and death had not overcome our savior. He was yet a live death was dead he had won. It was then that he willing exhaled that final breath and surrender his life so that new life would be given to all who believe. It is here that we escape for he has fought the battle. He won in the garden and you to win there. He was forsaken by God but God shall never leave you. Wage war against your sins, they will not kill you; they killed your savior. Therefore, fight for fidelity to him in every temptation and we walk in that grace waiting for HE WILL provide the way of escape!