Daily Light – July 31, 2018

Today’s Daily Light

Step Into Supernatural Joy  (article by John Piper)

John 14:28: “You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced.” There’s joy: “you would have rejoiced.” You should be rejoicing “because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.”

So, here’s an argument with some premises and some conclusions. Premise: “The Father is greater than I.” This means two things. First, during his incarnation, the Father is greater in glory and greater in exaltation because Jesus humbled himself, taking on human form to serve and to suffer. And in that season, the Father in his supreme, unadulterated glory was greater than Jesus.

“The essence of salvation is being drawn out of lesser joys and caught up into God’s own joy.”  

Second, from all eternity, the Father has been the one who begets the Son. This is very hard for us to grasp: an eternal begetting, no beginning. Jesus had no beginning. There never was when Jesus was not — that’s heresy. It’s called Arianism, and the church fought profoundly for a century to end that one.

Jesus has always been: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. . . . All things were made through him” (John 1:13). But he was begotten. He was a Son. He was imaged. He is a radiance from an original, which has always been radiating from the original with such fullness that he is of one nature with the original.

This is heavy. This is the Trinity. This a great and glorious reality. And there is nothing in this statement, “the Father is greater,” that questions the deity of Jesus and full divine quality of equal essence. So, the premise is the Father is greater than the Son. He is the one who, according to Hebrews 1:3, has a radiance in the Son and an exact imprint in the Son.

But he is the one who has the exact imprint. He is not the imprint. The Father is not the imprint. The Father is not the radiance. And since Jesus has that relationship to the Father, you should rejoice when he goes to the Father. You should be glad when he has a more immediate experience of intimacy with the Father, as he moves back into his prior glory. We should be glad in the gladness of the Son and the Father.

Jesus is saying, “I’m going to the Father. I’m closing in again on a fuller intimacy that I had from all eternity with a union of glory that is my joy from all eternity. Would your joy not be in my joy in God the Father?”

“If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father,” which means our joy is not the joy that the world gives. He said it about peace explicitly. He means it about joy implicitly: “not as the world gives do I give to you joy” (see John 14:27). Oh, how different is the foundation of your joy than the world’s joy. It is infinitely different because your joy is joy in the joy of the Son in the Father. Your joy is being caught up into and participating in the joy that the Father has in the Son, and the Son has in the Father. “I’m returning to my Father. I love my Father. I find satisfaction in my Father. I delight in my Father. I treasure my Father. This is a Vesuvius of joy that is closing. Now, would you not partake?”

The world knows nothing of this — nothing. Our joy has infinite roots. It is a participation in the very joy of God in God. God showed this love between the Father and the Son most clearly at the cross. Remember John 14:31: “I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father.”

“Our joy has infinite roots. It is a participation in the very joy of God in God.”

 We see the love of the Son for the Father in the death of the Son for sinners, so that they can participate in the love of the Son for the Father and the joy between the Son and the Father. That’s the essence of salvation: to draw us out of all lesser joys and bring us into an experience of the very joy of the Son for the Father and the Father for the Son.

There isn’t a greater joy. There isn’t a greater love than that. And Jesus says, “I’m showing it to you now. I want the whole world to know this. I want the world to know that I love the Father. That’s why I’m dying. Wouldn’t you rejoice for the joy set before me as I endure the cross (Hebrews 12:2)?” What joy? This joy. “I love my Father. I’m going home. Wouldn’t you rejoice with me in that? Yes, you would — if you understood, you would. That’s why I’m teaching you all things, John, from these decades later.”

Here’s the practical meaning of that. Go into bed tonight — here’s what you do. As you get in bed, you say… (Pray this prayer several times this week 😊)

“Father, I praise you for the love that exists between you and your Son. I praise you that you love each other. I’m so thankful that you’ve revealed to me the love between the Father and the Son in the Trinity, in the Godhead. I praise you for the joy that you have in each other. You love each other. You delight in each other, and I praise you that you are that way.  And I realize that this love and this joy is the reason Jesus endured the cross because he said he wanted the whole world to know how much he loved the Father as he was dying. That’s what he wants them to know. So I realize that this love between you and the Son carried him through the cross for my sin to bring me up out of my little, tiny world of selfishness and grumbling around in this world, trying to find some satisfaction. You did that for me. And therefore my forgiveness, my righteousness, my life utterly depends on this love between you and your Son, Father. And I am glad. I’m glad in your gladness in Jesus and his in you. And I thank you for giving me a taste of it. Amen.”

Daily Light – July 30, 2018

Today’s Daily Light

Satan’s 10 Strategies Against You (article by John Piper)   2 parts

Part 2snake

7. Satan causes some sickness and disease.

Jesus healed a woman once who was bent over and could not straighten herself. When some criticized him for doing that on the Sabbath, he said, “Ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?” (Luke 13:16). Jesus saw Satan as the one who had caused this disease.

“God is sovereign over Satan. The devil has no free hand in this world. He is on a leash, and can do only what God permits.”

In Acts 10:38, Peter described Jesus as one who “went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil.” In other words, the devil often oppresses people with illness. This too is one of his designs.

But don’t make the mistake of saying every sickness is the work of the devil. To be sure, even when a “thorn in the flesh” is God’s design for our sanctification, it also may be the “messenger of Satan” (2 Corinthians 12:7). But there are other instances in which the disease is solely attributed to God’s design without reference to Satan: “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him” (John 9:3). Jesus feels no need to bring Satan in as the culprit in his own merciful designs.

 8. Satan is a murderer.

Jesus said to those who were planning to kill him, “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth” (John 8:44). John says, “Do not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother” (1 John 3:12). Jesus told the blameless church at Smyrna, “The devil is about to throw some of you into prison. . . . Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).

To put it in a word, Satan is blood-thirsty. Christ came into the world that we might have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10). Satan comes that he might destroy life wherever he can and in the end make it eternally miserable.

 9. Satan fights against the plans of missionaries.

Paul tells of how his missionary plans were frustrated in 1 Thessalonians 2:17–18“We endeavored the more eagerly, and with great desire, to see you face to face; because we wanted to come to you . . . but Satan hindered us.” Satan hates evangelism and discipleship, and he will throw every obstacle he can in the way of missionaries and people with a zeal for evangelism.

 10. Satan accuses Christians before God.

Revelation 12:10 says, “I heard a loud voice in heaven saying, ‘Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.’” Satan’s defeat is sure. But his accusations haven’t ceased.  It is the same with us as it was with Job. Satan says to God about us, They don’t really love you; they love your benefits. “Stretch out your hand and touch all that [they have], and [they] will curse you to your face” (Job 1:11). Their faith isn’t real. Satan accuses us before God, as he did Job. But it is a glorious thing that followers of Jesus have an advocate who “always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25).

 Satan Will Not Win

Those are some of Satan’s designs. The path to victory in this warfare is to hold fast to Christ who has already dealt the decisive blow.

  • 1 John 3:8: “The Son of God appeared to destroy the works of the devil.”
  • Hebrews 2:14: “Christ took on human nature that through death he might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil.”
  • Colossians 2:15: “God disarmed the principalities and powers and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in him.” In other words, the decisive blow was struck at Calvary.
  • Mark 3:27: “No one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man.”
  • Revelation 20:10 says one day the warfare will be over: “The devil . . . [will be] thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone . . . and will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” (See Matthew 8:2925:41)

Resist
James says, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you!” (James 4:7). How do we do that? Here is how they did it according to Revelation 12:11“They have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.” They embraced the triumph of Christ by his blood. They spoke that truth in faith. They did not fear death. And they triumphed.

The New Testament highlights prayer as the pervasive accompaniment of every battle. “Take . . . the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication” (Ephesians 6:17–18).

“Do not be outwitted by Satan. God sees behind enemy lines and tells us all we need to know to not be ignorant of Satan’s designs.”

As the close of this age draws near, and Satan rages, Jesus calls us to wartime prayer: “Watch at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36). Similarly, Peter makes an urgent call to end-time prayer: “The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers” (1 Peter 4:7).

Even Jesus fought against the devil on our behalf with the weapon of prayer. He said to Peter in Luke 22:31–32“Satan has asked to have you that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail.” So Jesus illustrates for us the opposition of a specific satanic threat with prayer.

And, of course, Jesus instructed us to make prayer a daily weapon for protection in general: “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:13). That is, deliver us from the successful temptation of the evil one. Do you confront the designs of the devil with the focused and determined power of prayer?

No Neutral Zone

The question is not whether you want to be in this war. Everyone is in it. Either we are defeated by the devil and thus following, like cattle to the slaughter, “the prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2), or we are resisting — “resist him, firm in your faith!” (1 Peter 5:9).

There is no neutral zone. You either triumph “by the blood of the Lamb and the word of your testimony,” or you will be enslaved by Satan. Therefore, “Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:3), and “wage the good warfare” (1 Timothy 1:18). Pray without ceasing!

The Lord Jesus is no less a warrior today than in the days of old. So I urge you again: Come to him as willing soldiers of the Prince of Peace and learn to say, “He trains my hands for war” (Psalm 144:1).  (end of article 😊)

Daily Light – July 27, 2018

snakeToday’s Daily Light

Satan’s 10 Strategies Against You (article by John Piper)   2 parts

Part I

 . . that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs. (2 Corinthians 2:11)

One of the most sobering facts about life is that all humans have a supernatural enemy whose aim is to use pain and pleasure to make us blind, stupid, and miserable — forever. The Bible calls him “the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world . . . the accuser”(Revelation 12:9–10), “the ruler of this world” (John 12:31), and “the god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4).

He is our “adversary [who] prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Yet, in the most appalling and unwitting bondage, the whole world willingly “follows the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2). At his most successful, his subjects march obliviously to destruction, and take as many with them as they can.  The “good warfare” (1 Timothy 1:18) that I wrote about under the title “Awake and at War” includes the daily resistance of this enemy (1 Peter 5:9James 4:7), the daily refusal to give him an opportunity (Ephesians 4:27), and the daily stand against his schemes (Ephesians 6:11).

Satan’s Leash — and Impending Doom

God is sovereign over Satan. The devil does not have a free hand in this world. He is on a leash, so that he can do no more than God permits. In effect, he must get permission — as in the case of Simon Peter, where Jesus discloses, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has asked to have you, that he might sift you like wheat” (Luke 22:31). And the case of Job: “The Lord said to Satan, “Behold, Job is in your hand; only spare his life” (Job 2:6).

So evidently God sees the ongoing role of Satan as essential for his purposes in the world, since, if God willed, Satan would be thrown into the lake of fire now, instead of at the end of the age. “The devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and . . . will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Revelation 20:10). His complete defeat is coming and sure. But not yet.

Unwitting Servant of Our Sanctification

God intends that part of our preparation for heaven be a life of warfare with hell. He calls it a “good warfare” (1 Timothy 1:18) and a “good fight” (1 Timothy 6:12). It is good, not because we might be killed (which we might! — Revelation 2:10), but because these fire-fights refine the gold of our faith (1 Peter 1:7), in life and death.

God is the great General in this warfare. He has given us the walkie-talkie of prayer to call for help: “Take . . . the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times” (Ephesians 6:17–18).

He sees behind enemy lines, and knows exactly the strategies that will be used against us. He has written them down in a wartime manual “so that we would not be outwitted by Satan.” The reason we will not be outwitted is that “we are not ignorant of his designs”(2 Corinthians 2:11)

Primer on Satan’s Strategies  (10 Strategies)

If you need a refresher for what those “designs” are, here is a summary. May God make you a mighty warrior! May he “train your hands for war and your fingers for battle” (Psalm 144:1).

1. Satan lies, and is the father of lies.

“When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). The first time Satan appears in the Bible in Genesis 3, the first words on his lips are suspicious of the truth (“Did God say, You shall not eat of any tree in the garden?”). And the second words on his lips were a subtle falsehood (“You will not die”). John says that Satan “has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him” (John 8:44). We are dealing with the essence of falsehood and deception.

2. He blinds the minds of unbelievers.

“The god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:4). So he not only speaks what is false. He hides what is true. He keeps us from seeing the treasure of the gospel. He lets us see facts, even proofs, but not preciousness.

3. He masquerades in costumes of light and righteousness.

In 2 Corinthians 11:13–15, Paul says that some people are posing as apostles who are not. He explains like this: “Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is not strange if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness.

In other words, Satan has servants who profess enough truth to join the church, and from inside teach what Paul calls “doctrines of demons” (1 Timothy 4:1). Jesus says they will be like wolves in sheep’s clothing (Matthew 7:15). Acts 20:30 says they will not spare the flock, but will draw people away to destruction. Without God’s gift of discernment (Philippians 1:9), our love will be suckered into stupidity.

4. Satan does signs and wonders.

In 2 Thessalonians 2:9, the last days are described like this: “The coming of the lawless one by the activity of Satan will be with all power, and with signs and wonders of the lie.” That’s my awkward translation. Some translate it “with false signs and wonders.” But this makes the signs and wonders look unreal. In fact, some people do say that Satan can only fake miracles. I doubt it. And even if it’s true, his fake is going to be good enough to look real to almost everybody.

“God intends that part of our preparation for heaven be a life of warfare with hell.”

One reason I doubt that Satan can only fake his miracles is that in Matthew 24:24 Jesus describes the last days like this: “False Christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.” There is no hint that these “signs and wonders” will be tricks.

Let your confidence be grounded in something far deeper than any supposed inability of Satan to do signs and wonders. Even real signs and wonders in the service of anti-Christian assertions, prove nothing, even when they are done “in the name of Jesus.” “Lord, Lord, did we not do many mighty works in your name?” To which Jesus will reply, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness” (Matthew 7:22–23). The problem was not that the signs and wonders weren’t real, but that they were in the service of sin.

5. Satan tempts people to sin.

This is what he did unsuccessfully to Jesus in the wilderness — he wanted him to abandon the path of suffering and obedience (Matthew 4:1–11). This is what he did successfully to Judas in the last hours of Jesus’s life (Luke 22:3–6). And in 2 Corinthians 11:3, Paul warns against this for all the believers: “I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.”

6. Satan plucks the word of God out of people’s hearts and chokes faith.

Jesus told the parable of the four soils in Mark 4:1–9. In it, the seed of the word of God is sown, and some falls on the path and birds quickly take it away. He explains in verse 15, “Satan immediately comes and takes away the word which was sown in them.” Satan snatches the word because he hates faith which the word produces (Romans 10:17).

Paul expresses his concern for the faith of the Thessalonians like this: “I sent to learn about your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our labor would be in vain” (1 Thessalonians 3:5). Paul knew that Satan’s design is to choke off the faith of people who have heard the word of God.

(Part 2 Monday – Strategies 7-10) 😊

 

Daily Light – July 26, 2018

Today’s Daily Light

For the next few days, we will seek to shine the light on the reality of spiritual warfare.  All humans, all Christians, are at war with the powers of darkness.  Our enemy, our adversary is Satan, the ‘devil’.   He is a hunter and all humans (including you) are his prey.   Too many Christians do not take seriously the reality of our enemy in his quest to destroy and devour.  The reality is…we are being hunted.  I pray that God will open our eyes and shine light into our spiritual minds ‘so that’ we can see the vital importance and necessity of being a warrior in this eternal battle.  The purpose of the warrior is not simply to save and protect self, but to fight for those around you..those you love.  lion

Satan is a prowling lion, an enemy of ours, who is right now seeking to devour Christians. But can we be devoured? Yikes. Or are we safe? And what does that mean anyways? And how can we find shelter for such an unseen threat to our eternal safety? John Piper addresses this important question in this article on 1 Peter 5. Here’s what he said.

Can Satan Devour True Christians              

First Peter 5:8 says, “Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” The word is “to swallow whole,” like the fish did to Jonah: it’s the same word in Jonah in the Septuagint. Your adversary the devil wants to just make you disappear, vanish. You are out of here. You are gone. You are going with him to the lake of fire. That is what “devour” means. Now the question is: Can that happen to me and you?

First Peter 5:9 says, “Resist him.” And the reason you are to resist him is because he is trying to devour you. He is trying to devour you. Resist him. Is that a charade? War games. They are blanks. They are all blanks. There are no bullets in the gun. Nobody gets killed in this game. It is just “Resist him” because — just do it. Nothing is really going to happen if you don’t, because it doesn’t happen to Christians. Is that right? Well, I think the devouring is real, and it sure sounds serious to me when Peter says, Resist him, resist him. It doesn’t sound like a game. It sounds like heaven and hell are at stake here to me.

So, I ask again. Can true, born again Christians possibly be devoured by the devil? And the answer is no, because true, born again Christians always fight. They fight back. That is what it means to be a true, born again Christian. True, born again Christians have the Holy Spirit within them, so that when they see the lion coming, they don’t say, “Ah, nothing is at stake here. I don’t need to fight. I don’t need to stir up my faith. I don’t need to read the Bible. I don’t need to pray. I don’t need to be with other believers. I don’t have to be vigilant over my eyes and make sure that flesh doesn’t get the upper hand — because nothing is at stake here.” True, born again believers, do not talk like that. True, born again believers have the Holy Spirit inside and embrace the Word of God that he inspired. They hear the Word, “Resist him now. Fight, because your life depends on it. I will give you the success, but you fight.” And they fight. If you don’t fight, you are probably not born again.

“Can true Christians be devoured by the devil?  No, because true Christians fight back.”

At least, if you go on and on and on and on slipping away from the vigilance of faith and fighting sin and the devil, you have no reason to think you are saved. It doesn’t matter what you prayed long ago. It doesn’t matter what card you signed. It doesn’t matter in baptism. It doesn’t matter what your parents did. Salvation is real. It is real. It is real. It is a work of God in a human heart, and there are effects from it. And one of the effects is, when the lion comes, you fight.

There is a promise in this passage which is just staggering. It is in this passage. It is also way back in chapter 1. In 1 Peter 1:5, it says that Christians are “kept” (or, as the ESV says, “guarded”) — precious word: kept by the power of God “through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time,” — through faith, through resisting the devil, firm in your faith. If you say, “I am kept, I am kept by the power of God,” and you don’t resist him, firm in your faith, you are contradicting God.

God says, “I am going to keep you by my power through your faith against the devil.” And you say, “I’ll take that, but I won’t believe.” It is like I go into a king’s hall, this great king in some enchanted empire, and he takes the ring off his finger and he puts the ring on my finger and he says, “Sir John, as long as you wear this ring, you will be invincible.” I say, “I will be invincible?” “You will be invincible.” “I will write that down. I will be invincible.” And I walk out. I take the ring off and I sell it, pocket the money, and say, “I am invincible. He said. I got it written here. You will be invincible.”

There is something wrong with that. There is something wrong with hearing God say, “You are kept by my power through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed,” and then say, “I am kept by his power. And if Satan comes, I don’t need to fight by faith, because I am safe.” That is like taking off your ring.

“The badge of the children of God is battle against sin and the devil, not perfection.”

But God will not let the elect — born of God, called — take off their ring. The evidence that you are a child of God is that you keep the ring on. The badge of the children of God is battle. The badge of the children of God is battle against sin and the devil, not perfection. That badge, that crown, that comes later. But the fight, I will fight. I will not lay down my shield. I will not take off my ring. I will not rip off my badge. I am a believer. And he will keep me safe through the faith that he himself works in me. (end of article, series con’t tomorrow)

 

Daily Light – July 25, 2018

Today’s Daily Light

Do You Still Wonder At The Bible?  Part 2, Article by John Piper

(con’t) Now Jesus reckons with the problem. This is a new day, this is a new age, this is a new people. The Old Testament won’t suffice. It’s true and it’s a great place to stand. We love it, but we need something more for the church — something that’s all about you, Jesus, and all about what you have done and are doing and will do. And he said, “I’ve got that covered.” And that’s what this verse is. John 14:26, “In my name, God the Father will send the Holy Spirit. He will bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you, and he will teach you all things.”

If he’s going to bring something to memory, it means they had to have seen it and experienced it. He didn’t say, “I’m going to send the Holy Spirit and give you a rich creativity.” Rather, he’s saying, “I have chosen apostles. I’ve spoken into them. I have done things in front of them. That’s what I’m going to show you. I’m going to bring that back to you, and as I bring it back to you, I’m going to teach you everything.” And what everything means there is not quantum physics. This is everything you need to know to make sense out of this for the church. “I won’t let anything be lacking in your mind as you write your authoritative letters and Gospels for my church. I won’t let anything be lacking that my church needs to be what I call them to be.”

So Jesus is doing for the New Testament in John 14:26 what Paul did for the Old Testament in 2 Timothy 3:16. Paul testified about the inspiration of the Old Testament. Jesus is promising the inspiration of the New Testament. This is the self-consciousness of the apostles later — later when you read: you, Paul. Listen to the way Paul thinks about himself as a spokesman for the risen Christ in the church in 1 Corinthians 2:12–13: “Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God.” So Jesus did what he said he was going to do: send the Holy Spirit in his name. We have received him, “that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit.”

We now have two parts of our book. The first part was inspired for its day in all of its particularities. And the second part was inspired for our day in all of its particularities. We have a great God-given book, and that’s a great foundation that Jesus is laying here.

Open my eyes that I may see wonders out of your word.”

 “The Father will send the Holy Spirit. He will bring to your memory what the church needs to know about the historical realities of my teaching, my miracles, my death, my resurrection, my appearances, and the foundation of my church by the Holy Spirit. I’m going to bring all that to your memory, so that John, writing decades later, is filled with the Holy Spirit and is getting things right. And I am going to teach you all the things you need as you put together the pieces of your memory for the sake of the church.”

Now the stage is set, and years later, John is remembering as he writes his Gospel. He’s being taught by the Holy Spirit as he writes the Gospel of John. There’s inspired memory, inspired teaching, and he’s devoting it in order that you might have peace and joy and faith. That’s why the deposit was left. It wasn’t just for the followers that night, but for us too.

Be amazed that you have a Bible. Be amazed that you have the word of God. Be stunned. Get up in the morning and hold this and weep for joy. Be amazed that God spoke. And then open it and be expectant that the same Spirit who came and brought to memory and taught, so that the words are inspired, will now make them illumined for you. He won’t leave you dense and stupid and blind — not if you call out and say, “O God, I love your word. Open my eyes that I may see wonders out of your word.” It is amazing that we have such a book.  (end of article)

Daily Light – July 24, 2018

Today’s Daily Light

Do You Still Wonder At The Bible?  (2 part article by John Piper)

Part I

Let’s set the stage with John 14:25–26: “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”

Jesus, in those two verses, is answering the question, How shall there now be foundational documents for the church, like the Old Testament had its foundational documents? How shall there now be foundational — enduring over hundreds of years — documents that are rock-solid, reliable for us to stand on? How can that be? Jesus is going away. He won’t be talking anymore. It’s his word that’s been the key to everything. We don’t understand anything unless Jesus talks to us and explains things to us. He’s leaving and we’re not there yet. We’re asking stupid questions — even now. What are we going to do? Do you expect us to lead a world movement and build the church when we can’t even understand what’s happening tonight?

“Be amazed that you have a Bible. Be amazed that you have the word of God.”

And Jesus’s answer is, “I’m not going to leave you without help. I’m going to send the Holy Spirit. He’s coming in my name. I understand you don’t have any video recorders, and you don’t have any stenographers. Nobody’s sitting with a pen and pad at the Lord’s Supper, and you don’t have any tape machines or iPhones with little record buttons. I understand that, and I’m going to come by the Spirit, and I’m going to cause you to remember everything you need to remember — everything I want the church to know. And I’m going to teach you the meaning of all those things so that you can give a true rendering of what you remember. That’s what I’m going to do.”

Jesus is doing here for the New Testament what Paul did in 2 Timothy 3:16–17for the Old Testament. We know in the context it’s Old Testament Scripture. The New Testament hasn’t been written yet. So all the writings — all the Old Testament — “is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

So this massive apostolic statement is saying just what Jesus said about the Old Testament: It’s God-breathed. That’s why we can stand on it. That’s why it has endured. That’s why the Jewish people have become the seed for Christ.  (con’t tomorrow 😊)

Daily Light – July 23, 2018

(Monday-Friday mornings, from my daily time of study and reflection, I will share with you what God is teaching me.   I ask you then to join me in each day and pray that God will use our time to draw us to a deeper understanding of His will and His ways.  Our objective is simple…to ‘see’ and ‘know’ the light and love of Christ Jesus..‘so that’ we will GO OUT and share the love of Christ Jesus with someone in that day….to GO and bear fruit …to be light to the world.)

Today’s Daily Light

Your Marriage Is Worth The Workarticle by John Piper

Picture your marriage as a grassy field. You enter at the beginning full of hope and joy, and you look out on the field and you see beautiful flowers, and grass stretching, and rolling hills, and trees, and it is beautiful. You want to walk in this all your days.

The grass, the flowers, the hills, the sky, the warm breeze is not what happens to you. It’s the relationship. That’s the analogy and I’m interpreting it for you. I’m describing your relationship. On the wedding day it feels like, “I want this woman, and I want this man, and we want to be together and walk in the beautiful fields of green grass, and spring flowers, and trees, and hills, and bright sunshine, and cool breezes. That’s the way it’s going to be.”

And before long you step in a cow pie. In some seasons of your marriage, they seem to be everywhere. “This is not grass. This is just manure.” Late at night, they become especially prevalent when there’s no sleep. There are more cow pies when you don’t get enough sleep. These are sins, flaws, idiosyncrasies, weaknesses, annoying habits in your spouse, and you try to forgive them, and you try to forbear and the problem is they can tend to dominate the relationship. Everywhere you step, it smells. It may not actually be true that they’re everywhere; it just feels that way.

“Satan and our flesh can begin to take a few disappointments in marriage, a few frustrations, and multiply them so out of proportion.”

I think the combination of forbearance and forgiveness leads to the creation of a compost pile. Here at the compost pile, you and your spouse, begin to shovel cow pies into this pile, and you put a fence around it to hold them in. You look at each other, and you simply admit that there are a lot of cow pies. You just bluntly say, “There are a lot of cow pies in this field. You and I bring a lot of cow pies to this relationship.”

So you start shoveling them into this fenced-in compost pile, and you say to each other, “You know, we have to do this because we’re losing sight of the fact that we keep focusing on these cow pies. That’s all we’re thinking about. I mean, we’re looking for them to step in, so let’s get them and throw them in one place. Let’s throw them in a pile, a compost pile since compost can do some good. So let’s throw them there, and when we have to, we’ll go there. We’ll go there and we’ll smell it, and we’ll feel bad, and we’ll deal with it as best we can. Then we’ll walk away from the pile. We’ll walk away from it, and we’ll set our eyes on the rest of the field.”

This is right at the heart of what I’m trying to say. Satan and our flesh can begin to take a few disappointments, a few frustrations, and multiply them so out of proportion that we think, “There’s no green grass anywhere. There are no flowers anywhere. There are no trees. There are no hills. There’s no sunshine.” That is an absolute lie.

And then you say to each other, “We’re gonna walk away from that pile, set our eyes on the rest of the field. And we’re gonna pick some of our favorite paths and hills that we know are not strewn with cow pies, and we’re going to be thankful that that part of the field is sweet. It might be a small part now, but that part is sweet. Our hands may be dirty and our backs might ache from all this shoveling, but we know one thing: We will not pitch our tent by the compost pile. We will go there when we must. This is the gift of grace that we will give each other again and again and again. We will only go there when we must. We won’t go live there. We won’t retreat there, we won’t lick our wounds there, we won’t pitch our tent there. We will only go there when we must, and that gift we will give to each other again and again and again. Why? Because you and I are chosen and holy and loved.”  (end of article 😊)

Daily Light – July 20, 2018

(Monday-Friday mornings, from my daily time of study and reflection, I will share with you what God is teaching me.   I ask you then to join me in each day and pray that God will use our time to draw us to a deeper understanding of His will and His ways.  Our objective is simple…to ‘see’ and ‘know’ the light and love of Christ Jesus..‘so that’ we will GO OUT and share the love of Christ Jesus with someone in that day….to GO and bear fruit …to be light to the world.)

Today’s Daily Light

Who Put Jesus On The Cross  (article by John Piper)

John 14:30–31“I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming [Satan]. He has no claim on me, but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.”

They had been in the upper room until now. The Lord’s Supper had been over. The foot washing was over. There were a couple of chapters of teaching in the upper room, and now he says, “Let’s go.” And when he says, “Let’s go,” he means, “Gethsemane, where I plan to be arrested and taken to execution. Let’s go.”

“Love is controlling tonight. My love for the Father is totally in charge.”

So now he puts this going in the light that he wants them to see for their faith. There’s something he wants them to believe about this and trust about this. He wants to banish some wrong understandings about what’s happening and get the right understanding. He wants them to know the Devil is real. He’s active and, in a crucial sense, powerless. So read this carefully: “The ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, but I do as the Father has commanded me.” So Satan has entered Judas. We know this from Luke 22:3. Judas is on his way. Satan is on his way. He’s coming.  But Jesus says, “That is not why I am going to the cross.” This is what he wants to straighten out for them. Satan tonight is not decisive. Jesus says in John 14:30, “He has no claim on me.” What does that mean? A literal translation would be, “He has nothing in me.” The great accuser has nothing to accuse Jesus with, and he’s groping and looking, and he can’t find anything in Jesus to accuse. There is no little whimper of a sin to hook. That’s what he does with you. If you think a sinful thought, hook. Have a sinful feeling, hook. Satan has no power over a sinless man — none.   I’d love to pause here and talk about union with Christ and justification by faith alone. Is it bubbling inside of you? I’m sinless. You’re sinless. We’re sinless. But that’s another sermon. In union with the Sinless One, we are safe. We just sang a song:

Hidden in the hollow of his blessed hand,
Never foe can follow, never traitor stand.

So that night, the reason why he was arrested and went to the cross was not Satan — not at the bottom. Well, why was he arrested? This is what he wants them to understand — and us. He tells us really plainly. Why did he get arrested? Why does he die?

“Satan has nothing in me. He can’t hook me. He can’t control me. He can’t find a chink in my armor of righteousness, but here’s the truth: I’m going by obedience to my Father. That’s why I’m getting arrested.”

This isn’t demonic coercion. This is divine compliance with the will of Almighty God to save sinners. And he wants you to know this so that you can trust him. This is all about him choosing to die, choosing to get arrested, choosing to be obedient to the Father. “Satan, you think you’re running the show. You don’t run this show. You are a lackey getting me where I mean to be.”

“In union with the Sinless One, we are safe.”

So Satan is not the explanation for Calvary. Obedience is the explanation for Calvary. “I do as my Father has commanded me. Rise, let us go.” Who’s in charge? “Nobody takes my life from me. I lay it down of my own accord, and if I lay it down, I’ll take it up again” (see John 10:18). “So Satan, do as you’re told.”

Jesus is saying to his disciples, “I want you to know that demonic betrayals, and demonic denials, and demonic lying is not ruling this night. Love is ruling this night.” Do you see that in verse 31? “So that the world may know that I love the Father.” “I’m not controlled by lies at the court; I’m controlled by loving my Father. Love is controlling tonight. My love for the Father is totally in charge.” Divine love between the Father and the Son are in charge tonight.

The roots of the cross reach back before creation into the Godhead, from all eternity, where the Father and the Son have infinitely loved each other forever and ever and ever. And that love between the Father and the Son, Jesus says, is why he’s doing what he’s doing. “I want the world to see and know I love the Father.” That’s amazing. The deepest roots of our salvation is the Son’s love for the Father and the Father’s love for the Son, which existed for all eternity.

Daily Light – July 19, 2018

Today’s Daily Light

Friends…please read and ingest the meaning of Part 2 of this article down into your spiritual bone marrow…it is sooo special. 😊  dh

What Is the Mystery of Marriage?  (Part 2)

THE MOST BELOVED (AND MISUNDERSTOOD) WEDDING TEXT

 

Article by David Mathis, Executive Editor, Desiring God Ministries

Finally, then, when he writes in Ephesians 5:32, “This mystery is profound,” he’s not saying it’s too profound to understand or express. He’s not echoing the wonder of Proverbs 30:18–19 (“I do not understand . . . the way of a man with a virgin”). He’s not approaching a wedding-day enigma, but a great, clear, compelling truth to tell. His next words disclose what was once hidden related to human marriage: “I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.” The mystery, long hidden, is now public: human marriage points to the God-man and his girl.

 

For millennia, humans the world over married and were given in marriage. Across cultures and societies, they felt a strange pull not just to procreate but to commit, though they didn’t know God’s deeper reason why. And even God’s covenant people, entrusted with his oracles (Romans 3:2), didn’t know why. There was indeed a great mystery to marriage. Why did God design the world this way? Why two sexes, and why one male and the other female? Why one called to lead, provide, protect, and shoulder final responsibility, with the other called to actively receive, beautify, and strengthen humble initiative and care? Why a dance of two complementaries, rather than just two of the same?

Did God simply make marriage what it is for no reason, some must have wondered, or is there an answer to the riddle? Is marriage pointing? Is there some deep magic that discloses a cosmic meaning? Paul empathized with the mystified, “This mystery is profound.” But in Christ, he now had found the key: “I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.”

The mystery in particular is in the quotation from Genesis 2:24 in the previous verse: “A man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh” (Ephesians 5:31). And we find here the same pattern we’ve seen elsewhere: a mystery in the past, now made known with the coming of Christ. God’s great secrets are out. And one of the best — Paul says, literally, “this mystery is great” — is marriage. One man, one woman, covenanted for life. Why did God do it this way? Why have a man leave father and mother and become one with his wife?

Joined to One Other

What does it mean to “hold fast” or “cling to,” or literally “to be joined to,” another person? Marriage establishes and protects one’s most fundamental human relationship. More fundamental than father and mother. More fundamental than the resulting children, precious as they are. More fundamental than a best friend. Not that marriage becomes one’s only relationship or only friendship (it need not and should not), but it forms one’s most fundamental human relationship. God made humans, in this sense, “to be joined” to one other. Husband to wife. Wife to husband.

And don’t miss who does the joining. It’s a passive verb: “be joined.” Husband and wife don’t take the ultimate action to join each other together. Rather, they are joined together by another. Which is why, when Jesus quotes Genesis 2:24 (in Matthew 19:5), he makes the joiner explicit: “What God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matthew 19:6).

Mystery No More

The now-solved mystery of marriage holds a lifetime of lessons for husbands and wives, but don’t miss the most vital one.

Yes, the world is deceiving us when it gives us the impression that marriage is an egalitarian partnership, a mere covenant friendship, in which each party bears equal loads — a union in which, ironically, we’re left to expect less of men (and make women more vulnerable). But the most vital lesson is that even the best husband is only a poor reflection of Jesus’s loving initiative, leadership, protection of, and provision for his church.

God joined our first parents in the garden, and men and women ever since, to point us — oh so imperfectly but truly — to the kind of love and care his Son would give his people. And Jesus doesn’t break his promises to us because we’re still sinful and inconsistent. He doesn’t disown those who are genuinely his because we fail him. Rather, he shoulders the final responsibility, and tirelessly serves us when we’re exhausted, and holds us up when our knees are weak. What good news it is that Christ is the husband of his church and not her egalitarian partner or mere friend. We are indeed his friends (John 15:15), but so much more. Together we are his wife. He gladly died for his church, and she gladly submits to the God-man.

And so a maiden who finds a man willing to die to himself for her good is not afraid of Paul’s shocking charge, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22). In fact, she is a very wise woman who will have these words read at her wedding, because she knows the weighty charge that will follow: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25).  (end of article)

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This is a picture of Jeannie and me in front of Lamplugh Glacier in Glacier Nat’l Park, Alaska.  We were there a few weeks ago, celebrating our 30th anniversary.  Together…through a mutual love for our Savior…we continue to explore, discover, and grow in the mystery of marriage.  If you can enlarge the picture…you can’t help but notice the pureness of soul in her smile and can see and feel the warmth and honesty in her eyes.   I am one pretty lucky and extremely blessed guy to have found such a nearly perfect girl who loves me as all that I am and all that I am not.  Nothing in this temporary life means more to me than her knowing that she is my delight and for me to see in her eyes that she knows I have loved her well.   😊   dh

Daily Light – July 18, 2018

(Monday-Friday mornings, from my daily time of study and reflection, I will share with you what God is teaching me.   I ask you then to join me in each day and pray that God will use our time to draw us to a deeper understanding of His will and His ways.  Our objective is simple…to ‘see’ and ‘know’ the light and love of Christ Jesus..‘so that’ we will GO OUT and share the love of Christ Jesus with someone in that day….to GO and bear fruit …to be light to the world.)

Today’s Daily Light

What Is the Mystery of Marriage?  (Part 1 of 2 Parts)

THE MOST BELOVED (AND MISUNDERSTOOD) WEDDING TEXT

Article by David Mathis, Executive Editor, Desiring God Ministries

Ah, the mystery of marriage. What an enigma, that a young, energetic man would fall head over heels for a maiden. And what an even greater riddle, that she, mature and competent, would overlook his immaturities and join herself to him. At every good wedding, we perceive a glory that defies description, a beauty past finding out. We marvel at something we can’t quite understand or articulate. As an inspired wise man muses,

Three things are too wonderful for me;
four I do not understand:
the way of an eagle in the sky,
the way of a serpent on a rock,
the way of a ship on the high seas,
and the way of a man with a virgin.
 (Proverbs 30:18–19)

There is indeed a mysterious element to romance and marriage. Even the classic Christian text for husbands and wives, Ephesians 5:22–33, mentions “mystery.” However, the mystery here is not what we may be prone to think — and it’s a vital lesson for every marriage. If the “mystery” in Ephesians 5 is not the universal enigma of romance we often admire, then what is it?

Not a Secret to Keep

Mystery is a common word in the New Testament, and only rarely does it refer to what we might expect: something enduringly mysterious that remains puzzling or uncertain. Rather, mystery typically means what was hidden, concealed, or unclear in the past, but now has been revealed in light of Christ’s coming and his gospel. “Mystery” is not a secret to keep but truth to tell, and especially so for Paul who talks this way most.

How does God strengthen Christians? “According to the gospel” — or another way to say it: “according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed” (Romans 16:25–26). For “long ages” God “kept secret” his goal and intention in all history. Until “the fullness of time” (Galatians 4:4Ephesians 1:10), God sent his own Son as the long-awaited Messiah, and climax of history, to reveal his purposes all along — the great secret of the universe.

In Colossians 1:26–27, Paul unpacks “the stewardship from God that was given to me for you.” What is it? “To make the word of God [the gospel] fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints” (Colossians 1:25–26). Far from keeping secrets quiet, Paul wants Christians “to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:2–3).

Make the Mystery Known

But Paul says the most about mystery in Ephesians, which, of course, is where he says of marriage, “This mystery is profound” (Ephesians 5:32).

At the beginning of the letter, he says that in the gospel, God is “making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time” (Ephesians 1:9–10). And at the end, he asks for the Ephesians to pray for him, “that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel” (Ephesians 6:19).

Right in the middle, in Ephesians 3:1–12 (which sets the context for what he will say in chapter 5), he not only unveils God’s mystery through preaching, but also through penning letters. “When you read this,” he writes, “you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit” (Ephesians 3:4–5).

The essence of his ministry is “to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 3:9–10). God’s mystery: once hidden, now revealed.  (Part 2, con’t tomorrow 😊)