The Gift of Music

MusicHave you ever considered the gift and beauty music is, not only to mankind, but especially to the people of God?  It is a vast gift that should be treasured!  Can you imagine a world without music or a world in which there was only one kind of music?  Just consider the endless variety and giftedness God has given in music!  I was thinking about this the other day as I was driving home listening to some great worship music just recently put out by Sovereign Grace Music.

I had a friend recently say “The older I get the more I like just a piano and a hymnal.”  I can certainly understand where he is coming from.  However, I must admit I hold a different view.  The older I get, the more I have grown to appreciate the wide variety and giftedness we have in music. I have grown to enjoy the beautiful symphonies of Joseph Haydn and the driving drums of Rend Collective.  I enjoy the flowing piano of Jennifer Thomas and the melodic hymns of Fernando Ortega.  I have also grown to enjoy the new things musicians are bringing to the table in the realm of Christian music.  Artists like Keith and Kristyn Getty, Selah, Rend Collective, and Steven Curtis Chapman are finding creative and beautiful ways to proclaim the truths of God in musical form.  For those of us who grew up on the Imperials and Steve Green, we can certainly say Christian music has come a long way!

There is no doubt we all have our musical preferences and that is okay.  However, let us be humble in these preferences and realize God is not restricted to our preferences.  Let us rejoice in the variety of music God has given.  Let us rejoice in the variety of gifts God has given others in music and be thankful that God has been giving us music since the beginning of time in every culture on earth!

So, turn on some music that helps direct your heart to God and worship Him through song!  It is a gift from the Lord to praise Him that in turn allows you to pour yourself out to God in a way that is unique and special.  Find music that is rich in biblical truth and connects with your soul and sing along!  God has given us the gift of music!  May we enjoy it to the fullest to the praise of His glory and the edification of our souls.

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Remember Me

Disney-and-Pixars-Coco-1024x585“Remember Me”.  This is really the theme song and overall theme of the new Pixar movie “Coco”.  Yesterday, I took my daughter Tess on a daddy-daughter date to see the movie after reading a positive review of it in World Magazine, a Christian publication whose movie reviews I often find myself agreeing with.

The movie is a visual feast, full of vibrant colors and exceptional animation.  It is also a movie rich in music with some fantastic musical numbers.  There is also a surprising and beautiful twist on the modern mantra of “following one’s heart” and “being true to yourself”.  Other rich topics arise as well, such as the importance of family.  But, what makes the movie so unique is the bold and intentional approach to wrestling with the topic in a children’s movie of what happens after you die.

Now, it must be declared that the afterlife of “Coco” is most certainly not one consistent with the biblical worldview.  However, it is consistent with the worldview of other cultures, specifically in this movie, the culture of Mexico.  Some may be turned away by this and it is understandable.  The main character Miguel is transported to the land of the dead and hence most of the movie is played out in this land of the dead with the dead being depicted as artistic skeletons.  Because of this, I would be hesitant to take very young children to it, though the skeletons by and large are not scary.

However, I do not think we as Christians need to be so much afraid of this as we are to be wise with this.  Rarely have I seen a children’s movie that proves to be such a natural segue into the Gospel and the Kingdom of God.  The movie begs the audience to contemplate life after death and provide a meaningful answer.  The answer the movie gives is remembrance.  What matters after death is being remembered.   The final death then comes when one is no longer remembered.  This is the great fear of all the dead who dwell in the land of the dead.

I walked out of this movie with a deep appreciation for the film and the questions it raised, as well as some points it made.  But, it gave me an even deeper appreciation for the Gospel and the love of a personal God who intimately knows me.  The great terror in “Coco” is not being remembered by those alive.  In this, they are partially correct.  The difference between this and the biblical worldview is who is doing the remembering…for who does the remembering makes all the difference!  In Hebrews 13:5, we read “For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’”.  Consequently, the hope we have as Christians is not based on being forgotten here on earth.  The hope we have as Christians is that we will never be forgotten by the God who created all things and sent His Son to die for our sins!  Jesus confirmed this when He stated in John 14:2, “I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.   Why?  Because we will never, ever…not in a million bajillion years…ever be forgotten.  We are His children and His name is upon us! (Revelation 22:4)  What a blessed comfort and hope!

So, grab your children, go see “Coco”, then go get some ice cream or something.  There is a rich conversation just waiting to happen.  Oh…and bring some Kleenex.  This pastor and football coach had tears running down his face.

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The Last Super Bowl?

super-bowl-51No, this isn’t an apocalyptic prophecy that the end of the world will come before February 2018. Nor is it a series of thoughts telling people what to do for their entertainment decisions. Nor is it a prediction that the NFL is about to crumble and Super Bowls will become a thing of the past. Rather, this is a question I found myself asking as I watched the Super Bowl a week and half ago.

First, a little disclaimer and background. I love football! I coach varsity football. I enjoy watching football. I have, to my memory, only missed watching one Super Bowl in my life. Over the years, one of my favorite aspects of late winter is NFL play-offs culminated with a Super Bowl party, even if it is just with a friend. The Super Bowl for me has always been a celebration of a year’s worth of work in professional football.

But, this year, I began to ask myself this question: “Would I watch the Super Bowl next year?” Or even, would I watch another Super Bowl again? Here is why I began asking this question. In the past, the Super Bowl was a fun family event. Great competition combined with fairly innocent and comical commercials from companies such as Doritos, Snickers, Coke, and (going way back) Rainer Beer (Remember the motorcycle?). However, most of that has been left in the dust raised by postmodernism and moral relativism.

As I sat watching the game this year, I was constantly telling my children, “Don’t look!” as I scrambled for the remote. And, the reality was, I didn’t want to look either! The screen was filled with images of nearly nude women, violent deaths, liberal political agendas, immoral behavior, adultery, and disgusting images. We even saw repeated commercials for T-Mobil that depicted a woman obtaining sexual pleasure from being abused as the commercial tried a spin off from the success of the soft porn movie, 50 Shades of Grey.

Is it worth it? Was it considering and applying Philippians 4:8: “Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” Was it putting into practice Ephesians 5:11-12: “Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.”

While it is true that the Super Bowl of 2017 was arguably one of the best of all time, the experience, as a whole, left a sour taste in my mouth. Statistically, I had watched approximately 11 minutes of game time and 63 minutes of commercials (according to the Wall Street Journal), many of which were offensive and crude. If what we saw this year had aired just 20 years ago, wouldn’t there have been a social outcry? Would Christians have gathered around with their families to watch it? Is it possible we have gotten so accustomed to the moral slide we have lost sight of the top of the hill, known as biblical holiness? Is it possible we have become so comfortable with our media culture, we cannot turn it off?  Is it possible sports have become so important to us, we will watch it at any cost?  Is it possible Super Bowl 51 was my last one?  Sadly, that is very possible….

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Cubs Win!

920x920This morning I opened my Facebook page to see it blown up with the comments and jubilation of Cub fans. Their excitement is truly justified for the Cubs haven’t won a World Series championship in 108 years. There is probably no one alive who last saw the Cubs win the World Series. From a sports perspective, it truly is an incredible and historical story! And…as one who greatly appreciates good sports stories, I was certainly hoping the Cubs would get the win.
However, as is often the case when a championship is won, I felt a sense of emptiness and sadness as I watched and read the responses. I sense it in my own heart as well when a team I am hoping will win a championship does indeed win it. I see our passion, our emotion, our elation, our vindication, our exuberance, our countenance and I wonder…do we have those same reactions to Christ?
Do we get as excited about Jesus as we do our team winning? Are we more amazed at the gift of salvation than the win of our team? Do we invest as much time into the people of God as we do into being a fan? Do we know as much about God’s Word as we do the roster and stats of our team? Do we worship our redeeming God with more passion than we have for our team winning the championship?  Are we as bold in our declaration of our team as we are the Gospel of Christ?  Do we speak as much of our Savior as we do of our team?
Cub fans rejoice! The incredible drought is over! But sports fans, let us remember where our hope and identity truly lies.  It lies in Jesus, who loved us and gave Himself for us (Galatians 2:20).  This is astounding!  The story of the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series is a fantastic story of redemption and I greatly appreciate it.  However, God’s story of redemption far surpasses it.  In fact, God’s story of redemption surpasses all stories!  And it is this story alone that will last for all of eternity!  God gives us things like sports to enjoy here on earth and it isn’t wrong to enjoy them.  But, in enjoying them, let us not forget where our greatest passion, elation, vindication, and identity truly must be!

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Voting in a Difficult Election

are-you-ready-to-vote-with-blue-border-web-300-pxIt is quite possible that the American Christian has never had a more difficult election than the one before us in two weeks. We are faced with two candidates who are far from Christian principles, ideals, and beliefs. I have heard many say something along the lines of “Can’t we just start over?” But, these are the two candidates the American people have chosen and this gives us a pulse on where we are as a nation.

So, how should the Christian vote? How should the Christian view this election from a biblical perspective? My purpose here is not to tell you who to vote for, but rather to give some things to think through. I believe voting is important for we live in a country that does give the people a voice. Should Christians secede from that, the Christian voice would be lost.

First of all, we need to be completely honest with the candidates. Hillary Clinton’s views on abortion are tragic and revolting. There is absolutely no way to reconcile her views on abortion with the Bible. Also, she has been plagued with a trail of scandals pointing to indications of corruption and deception. Donald Trump’s view of women and sex is also irreconcilable with the Bible. He prides himself as a womanizer and proudly displays his cover story from Playboy magazine in his office. His dismissal of these things as “locker room talk” is inexcusable and simply untrue. Trump has also shown himself to be a loudmouthed, impulsive individual who stirs up strife instead seeking to bring reconciliation.

Secondly, we need to recognize is that this is an election year in which Christians will need to exercise much grace with one another. A Christian could find Clinton’s views on abortion repulsive but feel she is more trustworthy with foreign policy, especially when it comes to nuclear warfare. Another could be disgusted with Trump’s treatment of women but feel his likely appointments to the Supreme Court are worth their vote. Others may feel the vice president of each candidate is a worthwhile reason to vote for the primary candidate. This is a time for Christians to extend grace to one another, understanding that Christians may differ on how they vote. This is not the time for Christians to become divided and angry with each other.

Third, we need to allow room for the Christian conscious. I have heard many speak as if Christians have no choice but to vote for Trump. When one says they aren’t going to vote for Trump, I have often heard the quick retort, “Oh, so you are voting for Hillary?”. This is said as if to shame the individual and lay on them guilt for the possibility of Hillary being elected. This line of reasoning is invalid for the Christian and the reason why this is invalid is because of the Christian conscious. A Christian is not obligated to vote for Clinton or Trump. While it may be true that one not voting for Trump may help Clinton, this doesn’t mean the Christian is voting for Clinton. Ultimately, the Christian is accountable to God for who they vote for and should the Christian be convicted they cannot in good conscious vote for either candidate, then they are free to not vote for either candidate. They should not be made to feel guilty for this. The highest good isn’t a republican in office. The highest good is faithfulness to God. Think of it this way. If Stalin was on the democratic ticket and Hitler on the Republican ticket, who should the Christian vote for? You see, there is always a point at which a Christian can’t vote for either candidate. Where that point is will differ for many because of the Christian conscious. Political pragmatism does not supersede one’s faithfulness to God. Or, in other words, the highest good is not voting for the least damaging candidate. The highest good is faithfulness before God.

Fourth, Christians need to stop defending what is indefensible. Clinton’s stand on abortion is indefensible. Every human being is made in the image of God and therefore is of infinite value. This shouldn’t be minimized or brushed aside. Likewise, Trump’s views on women and sexuality is indefensible. Ironically, when Democratic president Bill Clinton was caught in a moral scandal, Christians were calling for him to resign and if not, for congress to impeach him. Sadly, many Christians are now dismissing Trump’s morality as simply “locker room talk” and not that big of deal. Would Christians be responding the same way if Trump were on the Democratic ticket? Let us not be guilty of seeing the worst in the candidate we don’t support and defending what is indefensible in the candidate we do support.

Fifth, character matters. I have heard Christians say things like, “I wish his/her character was better, but we are electing a president, not a pastor.” It is true we are electing a president and not a pastor, but this doesn’t mean character becomes irrelevant. Character cannot be separated from leadership. One’s character will always play a critical role in how they lead.

Sixth, the candidates we have to vote for are sinful human beings involved in a political process. This means that just because they say something, this doesn’t mean this is what they will do. Nor do their words necessarily guarantee their position. For example, not long ago, Hillary Clinton was opposed to same sex marriage. However, now she is for it. Trump was the opposite, supportive and now against it. Both candidates are faced with the temptation to say what they think the voters want to hear, even if it isn’t necessarily their conviction. This is very important to remember. Though many Christians are more supportive of Trump than Clinton, Christians must remember it is not certain what Trump will do because he has no political record behind him as Clinton does.

Finally, we need to have a long term perspective. Governments have come and gone…for centuries. The Church of Jesus Christ is what has prevailed and what will prevail. We must never forget this!   This is not a time to be wringing our hands and anxiously casting our vote. This is a time to be reminded we serve a sovereign God who is worthy of all our trust. For too long, American Christians have subtly placed their hope in the government. But, we are to hope in God and His eternal work of redemption. Just consider the Bible and how many times a king perceived to be perfect for the job failed miserably (King Saul) and how many times a pagan king was used by God in a powerful way (Cyrus of Persia). God is not limited by who sits in the White House. So, let us not confuse the kingdom of this world with the Kingdom of Christ!

In conclusion, my goal here is not to tell you who to vote for or who not to vote for. My goal is simply to gather some thoughts to guide us all as we move forward in this election. This is a very difficult voting scenario for Christians. But, let us remember our ultimate allegiance is to Christ and His Church, which will never fail. Let us remember our faith is in Him, the true King of kings who will never fail us! Let us keep this perspective and so think critically, exercising much grace and love with one another. Finally, let us remember the work of Christ is of far more importance and far longer lasting than what happens on the second Tuesday of November.

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Iniquity Truth

The house didn’t look too bad on the outside!   Sure, it had some problems, but over all, it didn’t look much worse than others we had looked at. However, as soon as we walked in the door, we discovered multiple problems. The old wood floor was full of cracks, splinters, and torn up boards. The source of heat was a wood stove that was so full of cracks and splits, it was a wonder it didn’t just crumple into a pile of rotten iron. The kitchen counters were made of plywood on 2×4’s nailed into the wall. The walls were full of holes and the bathrooms had the aroma of death in them. All this for just $1,200 a month!

If we are honest, this is what our lives are like though aren’t they? We try to keep up the outside so it doesn’t look too bad. But inside there are problems everywhere. For example, if we get angry with our spouse, it isn’t enough to just stop being angry and clean up that “outside act”. The truth is the problem isn’t just the outward display of anger, but the reason behind the anger! As we begin looking at that issue, we discover a heart that desperately wants what it wants. We find a heart that wants to not only be it’s own lord, but its own savior. Consider Psalm 130, “If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?” The reality is we are far more sinful than we realize and if the Lord should lay before us every sin that resides in our heart, we could never stand before Him.  In fact, we would cry out and beg for Him to stop showing us every sin!

However, as we read on in Psalm 130, “But there is forgiveness with You.” Still later in Psalm 130, we read, “For with the Lord there is mercy, and with Him is abundant redemption.” Note that there isn’t just forgiveness, but abundant redemption! Contemplate that for a moment: Abundant Redemption. How is there abundant redemption? It is because of an infinite Savior.  It is through Jesus taking our sins to the grave and then rising up again on the third day, cleansing us from our sins and destroying the power of death. This weekend, as we celebrate Easter and remember Christ’s work on the Cross, let us also remember that the result is abundant redemption!

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Is Jesus Enough?

How many times do you use the words “if only”?  I certainly couldn’t count how many times I have thought or said those words!  If only I could get that fixed or if only I could afford that or if only I could get some rest.  Yet, something I have been challenged with these last few weeks is the question:  “Is Jesus Enough?”

The question hasn’t been there because of great personal tragedy or excessive hardship.  Rather, the question has been there just as I go through the normal difficulties of life.  Is my hope in things going the way I want them to go or is my hope in Christ?  Is my hope in effectiveness in that which I set out to do or is my hope in Christ?  Can I be content in Christ when the things I wrongly look to for comfort fade away?

David wrote of this in Psalm 16 when he said, “O Lord, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You maintain my lot.  The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Yes, I have a good inheritance.”  Where was David’s hope here?  His hope was in the Lord and regardless of what life brought, David could say “The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Yes, I have a good inheritance.”

Paul shared a similar thought in Philippians 3, writing, “I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him.”

As God grows us in Him, He removes our hope in other things and grows us to hope and rest more in Christ.  Paul experienced this for he went on to write in Philippians 3:12, “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.”  My prayer is that I will grow in this as well.  That I will grow to be able to say with more and more confidence:  “Yes!  Jesus is enough!”  That is my prayer for you as well!

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Cause Me to Hear!

I once had a student who was the epitome of a spoiled child. Though his father loved him, this student constantly criticized his father. In his mind, his father could never do enough for him and he was always upset with his father because his father wouldn’t let him do whatever he wanted. As soon as this student could, he left his home for greener pastures, still adamantly believing his father could care less about him. It was a sad situation that was painful to watch. This young man just could not see his father’s love for him.

I wonder how often we are like this with God? How often do we fail to see God’s love because He doesn’t do what we want Him to do? How often do we determine God’s love for us by the absence of negative circumstances in our lives? How often do we completely miss the beauty and magnitude of God’s love for us because we are so focused on our circumstances and ourselves?

I am convinced that one of our deepest problems is a failure to understand God’s love for us and consequently see ourselves rightly in light of God’s love. Many of our personal battles have this issue at their root. We wouldn’t worry nearly as much if we better understood God’s love for us. We wouldn’t despair in trials the way we do if we better understood God’s love for us. We would better resist sin if we better understood God’s love for us!

In Psalm 143:8, David writes some profound words, “Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning, for in You do I trust; Cause me to know the way in which I should walk, for I lift up my soul to You.”

What an amazing thing to pray! “Oh Lord! Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness! Don’t let me walk through life missing the depth of your love for me! Don’t let me be so consumed with myself that I don’t even see your love! Help me to grasp your love! Reveal this more clearly to me, I beg of You!”

Do you truly trust God? Do you truly give yourself to Him? If so, then beg Him to cause you to more clearly see His love. Beg Him to more clearly see how you should live your life in light of His deep love for you.

You see, it is out of God’s love for us that He reveals His love for us and reveals to us how we are to live our lives. Therefore, regardless of your circumstances, beg God to show you more of His love and how you are to walk through the circumstances you are in, based upon His great love for you. The deeper your understanding of God’s love for you, the stronger your foundation will be to face whatever circumstances come your way! You will grow to see God as your Heavenly Father who has a limitless love for You and you will see yourself as one who is deeply and intimately loved by the Creator of all! “Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness!”

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Growing Through the Summer Months

If one were asked, “What is the growing season in Montana?”, one would say the months of May, June, July, & August. It is during these months that the trees are leaved out, porches become colorful with flowers, and fenced plots grow full & tall with a variety of vegetables.

Unfortunately, what is happening in Creation during the summer months in Montana is often not what is happening in the souls of God’s people in Montana. Very often, the summer months are the months in which people grow the least and struggle the most. The resolutions from New Years have faded. The weather is nice. Hobbies are calling like never before! Sundays seem more like an extra play day than a Sabbath day to worship God.

Let me give this illustration. Currently, I have a beautiful apple tree in my yard that is vibrant in color as it is covered with white blossoms. It is beautiful! But, if I uproot that tree, put it on a flatbed truck and take it to Disneyland, Yellowstone, Mt. St. Helens, and Flathead Lake, it would slowly die. Sure, it would get to see a lot of great places, but because it is separated from it’s source of food and water, it would be slowly dying, despite “having so much fun”. The same is true for the Christian. If you uproot the Christian from the source of spiritual life, they will spiritually wither, regardless of how many exciting things they are doing. What is the source of spiritual life for the Christian? The Bible lists three things: The Triune God, His Word, and His people. Therefore, if one is going to grow, instead of wither through the summer months, the believer must remain grounded in these three areas.

Now, the big question is, “How do you do this so you can grow instead of wither?” What follows are five things to consider so you can spiritually grow this summer.

The first is to make realistic goals. For most, there is a drastic schedule change. You are likely going to be out longer and later. You are going to do some traveling. Kids are out of school so routine changes. Therefore, you need to have expectations that are grounded in reality. Otherwise, you will get discouraged & give up. That being said, you should make some goals. At the end of the summer, what do you want to have accomplished? What would you like to be able to look back on? Is there a specific area you would like to study? Don’t go into the summer without planning!

The second is to take advantage of new opportunities that summer brings! The days are longer, which if you plan well, can afford a wider variety of times to be with the Lord. You can walk and pray early in the morning, sit outside with a cup of coffee and your Bible, or read your Bible on your porch before going to bed. The summer months also provide new opportunities for the intentional family. Moms have times with their children they don’t have during the other months of the year. Don’t waste it! Moms, what can you do to help your children grow in the Lord this summer? Is there a book of the Bible you can read together before you do the morning dishes? Dads, consider all the new opportunities to lead your family in family devotions! There are typically less scheduled things for evenings, so take advantage of this! Also, don’t let being out and about hinder you from reading the Bible and praying with your children! Out for a hike in the woods? Take a break and read from the Bible and discuss it while you rest. As you go into the summer, think of things to do that will foster spiritual growth.

The third is to seek to grow in your biblical knowledge in a specific area this summer. One of the reasons Christians flounder so much during the summer is because they go into the summer hoping to be able to read their Bible, but they do not seek to learn something specific. If you have something specific in mind you want to learn over the summer, it will drastically improve your odds of growing. Here are some ideas: Study the book of John with the intent to learn more about Christ. Read and outline the Minor Prophets. Seek to understand the era of the Kings through reading I Samuel-II Chronicles. Determine to understand better who God is by reading Isaiah carefully and taking notes. Grow in wisdom principles by reading Proverbs & choosing 2-3 to write down each week for memorization. At the end of the summer months, you would have 24-36 Proverbs memorized.

The fourth is to live in relationships with others. Try to have a family over once a week or twice a month to build relationships. Go on a simple hike with someone & be determined to talk about more than the weather and summer plans. Seek to be involved in one another’s lives through service, especially with your children. Go on a camping trip with a family in church, maybe even a family you don’t know very well! Finally, don’t miss church! One of the reasons people struggle so much is they are so busy going here and there, they rarely make it to church. Many families miss church much more than they realize! Not only do we need to be in church for our spiritual health, we are commanded to (Hebrews 10:24-25). If you are on a vacation, still go to church! Don’t slip into a mentality that you need to take a vacation from God! As you think strategically about the summer, gauge carefully how much you miss church, just as you would gauge carefully about missing meals!

The final thing to consider to grow through the summer instead of withering is to be determined to grow. Establish biblical priorities and don’t back down from them. Think carefully about how you are arranging your days, especially your weekends. Continually ask the Lord to keep you growing and pursue the means of growth. Establish a routine and settle into it. Finally, have a friend or a spouse hold you accountable on a weekly basis to being in God’s Word.

The summer months are wonderful months in Montana! Let’s enjoy them! As we go into the summer and think about growing, let us remember Psalm 1: “His delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree, planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither. And whatever he does shall prosper.”

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The Danger of Underestimating

The same story is in the news on a regular basis in Montana.  The only difference is the characters, the activity, and the time of year.  The story goes something like this.  Someone goes into the mountains hunting, fishing, hiking, or skiing and disappears.  Sometimes they are found alive, but much of the time they are not.  Some are never found again.  Of the ones that are found, the response is often the same.  “I didn’t realize the mountains could be so dangerous and things could go wrong so quickly.  I just wasn’t prepared for what happened.”  The majority of the time, the problem is completely underestimating the mountains and the wilderness and going into them unprepared, as if one was going for a walk in the city park.  The result can be tragic.

Unfortunately, this is often what we do with God.  We severely underestimate who He is and do not view Him as the Bible calls us to view Him.  The result can be tragic.  When we lose sight of who God is, we begin worshipping a god who is formed in our own minds.  Typically, we underestimate several things about God.

First we underestimate that He is a holy God.  In Isaiah 6, we read that majestic creatures surround the throne of God, crying out “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts”.  When Isaiah has this vision of God, he cries out “Woe is me, for I am undone!  Because I am a man of unclean lips”.  When Isaiah sees how holy God really is, he is utterly terrified for he sees how unholy he is compared to God.  Hence he says “I am undone!”  The more we lose sight of the holiness of God, the more self-righteous and comfortable with sin we become.

Second, we underestimate that God is a majestic, mighty, all-powerful God who reigns in glory.  We read in Psalm 97, “His lightnings light the world; the earth sees and trembles.  The mountains melt like wax at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.”  This is no mild mannered God who casually watches humanity while sipping on a sweet iced tea! He is glorious and mighty!  Perhaps one of the reasons we do not have much awe and zeal for God is because we do not see Him as the glorious, eternal King who reigns on high!

Third, we underestimate the judgement of God that flows from His perfect justice.  David writes in Psalm 7, “God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day.  If he does not turn back, He will sharpen His sword; He bends His bow and makes it ready.  He also prepares for Himself instruments of death; He makes His arrows into fiery shafts.”.  It is an absolute tragedy how averse we are to the justice of God.  It is in the justice of God that we find hope in the midst of evil.  The reason?  God is a God who will perfectly deal with evil and bring justice to the oppressed.  There will be a day in which God’s justice will be fully executed and evil will be no more.

Let’s not underestimate who God is!  To underestimate God can lead to great tragedy.  But, as we more clearly understand who He is, we more clearly see the beauty and wonder of the Gospel!  This holy, all-powerful, just God reaches down to sinners and rescues them for the purpose of restoring them to Himself so they can worship Him, rejoice in Him, and serve Him for all of eternity.  Redeemed sinners can live in peace and joy because of how great God truly is.  What a glorious God we serve!

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