Saturday In The Psalms—Joy In The Desert

A psalm of David when he was in the wilderness of Judah (preface to Psalm 63).

Being in a desert place, you would expect David to say things like, “my soul thirsts,” “my flesh longs,” and “I am in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water.”

But what’s unexpected is what David found that satisfied. Not food and water, but “my soul thirsts for You,” “my flesh longs for You,” and “O God, You are my God.”

David knew that when outward conditions were at their worst, his focus needed to be at its best—and it needed to be on God. So David made the following commitments:

  • Early will I seek You
  • I have looked for You
  • I remember You on my bed
  • I meditate on You in the night watches
  • My lips shall praise You
  • My soul follows close behind You
  • I shall rejoice in God

Because of these commitments, David could reach the following conclusions:

  • Your lovingkindness is better than life
  • My soul is satisfied
  • I will rejoice in the shadow of Your wings
  • Your right hand upholds me

David found joy in the desert by changing his focal point!

I can reach the same conclusions that David reached, IF I am willing to make the same commitments David made.

In the desert places, I must deliberately and continually turn my eyes and thoughts FROM the desert TO God’s goodness.

One-And-Done? Ongoing? Later?

If I were to ask five different Christians to give me a definition of sanctification, I just might get five different definitions!

Part of this comes from incorrect either-or thinking. However, Jesus seems to tell us that sanctification requires a both-and thinking.

In Christ’s prayer for His followers in John 17, He uses the word sanctified three times (see verses 17-19). Although He is using the same Greek word each time, He uses a different “flavor” of the word to make it really clear what He means.

First of all, the Greek word for sanctified means the process of being made into a saint. So sometimes I like to say the word this way: SAINT-ified.

Check out Christ’s prayer. First He says, “I sanctify Myself,” and then He says, “that they too may be truly sanctified.” Same Greek word, but each time is slightly tweaked.

Jesus uses a “flavor” of Greek which means sanctification is something that He has done completely and totally on His own once and for all. In other words, Christians are completely and totally sanctified at the very moment they surrender their life to Him.

But when He talks about His followers, the “flavor” of Greek means sanctification is something that is an ongoing process. In other words, we are being SAINT-ified.

So which is it? Sanctified once, or sanctified through an ongoing process?

It’s not either-or. It’s both-and!

Think about a married couple. From the moment the pastor says, “I now pronounce you husband and wife” they are married. It is done; fully completed. There is nothing the bride or groom can do to become more married.

However, the groom can begin to look at the marriage through his bride’s eyes. Then he can serve her in a way that helps her feel more joy, more satisfaction, and more fulfillment within the marriage. Neither of them becomes more married, but they can get more enjoyment within the marriage.

The same thing for Christians. At the moment we ask Jesus to be our Lord and Savior we are saved from the penalty of our sins. We can’t be more saved. But through the process of SANIT-ificiation we can experience more joy, more satisfaction, and more fulfillment within our relationship with Jesus.

My paraphrase of 1 Peter 1:15-16—But just as He who called you has paid for your once-for-all saint-ification, so keep on being saint-ified in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

What about you? Are you satisfied with just being saved, or are you striving for a joy-filled, more fulfilling, increasingly satisfied relationship with Jesus Christ? It can truly be a wonderful both-and relationship!

Thursdays With Oswald—Cynical Or Satisfied

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Cynical Or Satisfied

     It is no use trying to find true joy in being either a fool or a wise man. Solomon drives us back every time to the one thing, that a man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him for ever. … 

     The only way we can enjoy our “tree of life” is by fulfilling the purpose of our creation. Jesus Christ prayed “that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves.” The thing that kept Jesus Christ all through was not that He held aloof from actual things, but that He had a kingdom within. … Our Lord’s whole life was rooted and grounded in God, consequently He was never wearied or cynical. 

From Shade Of His Hand

In this book, Oswald Chambers is commenting on Solomon’s words in Ecclesiastes. Solomon tried everything he could think of to try to make sense of life and to try to find lasting joy. But everything he tried left him flat.

That’s because we weren’t created to find ultimate fulfillment or purpose in the things of earth, but to find purpose, joy and contentment in a personal relationship to our Creator. Jesus lived His life on earth as a blazing example of a what a joy-filled, purpose-centered, God-glorifying life looks like. The wonder of the Incarnation is that He shows us the kind of eternal life we were meant to have.

So here’s the choice Solomon presents to us: Try to find fulfillment under the sun and end up cynical, or find fulfillment in the Son of God and know truly satisfying, eternal joy. Which will you choose this Advent season?

Links & Quotes

link quote

“Parents! I do hope you are all endeavoring to bring your children to Christ by teaching them the things of God. Let them not be strangers to the plan of salvation. Never let it be said that a child of yours reached years in which his conscience could act, and he could judge between good and evil, without knowing the doctrine of the atonement, without understanding the great substitutionary work of Christ. Set before your child life and death, hell and heaven, judgment and mercy, his own sin, and Christ’s most precious blood; and as you set these before him, labor with him, persuade him, as the apostle did his congregation, with tears and weeping, to turn unto the Lord.” —Charles Spurgeon

“The role of God’s Word is to feed faith’s appetite for God. And, in doing this, it weans my heart away from the deceptive taste of lust. … As I pray for my faith to be satisfied with God’s life and peace, the sword of the Spirit carves the sugar coating off the poison of lust. I see it for what it is. And by the grace of God, its alluring power is broken.” —John Piper

“This triangle of truisms, of father, mother and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.” —G.K. Chesterton

“Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself? Take those thoughts that come to you the moment you wake up in the morning. You have not originated them, but they start talking to you, they bring back the problems of yesterday, etc. Somebody is talking … yourself is talking to you!” —Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Planned Parenthood updates:

Ultrasounds = good for saving babies, bad for Planned Parenthood’s business.

Earlier this week I shared a list of companies who support Planned Parenthood (at least PP had listed them as supporters on its website). Here’s what these companies said when they were contacted by The Daily Signal. Good news: It appears that many of them are not supporting PP financially.

PP cartoonHopefully this cartoon doesn’t describe you… (click the link or the picture to see the rest of it).

More Sex Talk

Married couple in bedSex is good. God designed it to be that way! As more and more scientific studies are completed and research papers published there is one thing becoming more and more clear—God’s way of having sex (a married husband and wife) is the best way to do it.

Pornography before or during marriage is a relationship killer. [1] Porn makes you objectify the other person, seeing them as an object to be used and not a person to be loved. [2] Porn creates unrealistic expectations that your spouse cannot live up to. [3] Even so-called “soft” porn is the open door to more destructive viewing habits. [4] Porn erodes the trust that holds a relationship together. [5] Porn isolates marriage partners from each other, because they think they can find satisfaction on a screen.

Having sex before marriage actually rewires your brain, making it so much harder to bond with your spouse after you say “I do.” Check this out:

For over a decade, there have been numerous studies that reveal three different attachment styles in the way people bond sexually: secure, anxious and avoidant. The latter is what’s interesting as it reflects the behavior we see in the statistics above.

According to Dr. [Sue] Johnson: “Those of us who are avoidant, that is, uncomfortable with emotional closeness and dependence on others, are more likely to have what I term ‘sealed-off sex.’ Sex is self-centered and self-affirming, a performance aimed at achieving climax and confirming one’s own sexual skill. Technique is prized; openness and vulnerability shunned. There is little foreplay, such as kissing or tender touching. And no cuddling afterward—once the Big Bang occurs, there’s nothing left … Because pleasure without emotional engagement is shallow and fleeting, this kind of sex needs continual boosting to be thrilling.”

God’s desire is for your sexual relationship with your spouse to be intoxicating! The descriptions in Scripture are of a husband and wife intoxicated with each other, and God pronouncing a blessing over the couple as they are wrapped up in each other! God wants sex in your marriage to be so amazingly good that there is never a shadow of a thought of looking anywhere else.

But if you want this, you must do sex God’s way. One man and one woman who are married to each other, and who have left behind all the entanglements of other partners, whether they’re real or virtual.

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