Note to Self, Part 4: Longing for More than Everything.

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It is a good thing to jot down these notes to myself in order that I might remember that which I easily forget; BUT that doesn’t negate the fact that ultimately, not what I say to myself, but what God says about Himself, and me in relation to Himself, is the ultimate safeguard and guide. Not the ultimate, but the only: everything else is a helpful supplement only as far as they point back to the source. Psalm 119:11

As a follow-up to talking about anything that comes between yourself and drawing near to a Holy God, the one who has washed and sanctified you, I will remind you of the forms which this lust may take in your life. I am not trying to prevent you with fix-all solutions to your problems as much as a way for you to “Act the miracle” i.e., work out that which God is working in you. Striving apart from Him you cannot succeed; striving towards the goals of holiness towards which He brings you, you cannot fail.

What are the lusts?

For you as a Christian, lusts could very simply be described thus: Longing for more than everything.

Those of the flesh: the wicked, abominable, and unashamed obsession with passing physical beauty, that which most often allows itself to delight in the lowest filth above higher beauties. When you commit adultery or rape in your heart, it is extremely likely that no one will hear about it. But does that matter? Is the importance of a crime as much its outward effect, or the person against whom the crime is committed? Self will tell you, relying on what is immediate and seen, that the second glance will satisfy you. But the heart will not be satisfied with that–if you allow self the one foothold of double-taking at a girl, your heart will want to push it to the mile mark of lust. It seems so innocent! And yet the very ascendant of our Savior chose to look again. From that grew adultery, an illegitimate pregnancy that could not be covered up, which in turn could only be dealt with by murdering the husband. You know this story, but do you really? Read Psalm 51, you will understand that you cannot keep a close walk with your Father and a pleasant realization of His salvation between your eyes, if you entertain this lust. A man after God’s own heart faltered through it: think not that you will survive. Put it far, far from you. Meditate on the better reality of the once-broken, now-glorified body of your risen Savior.

Remember: every wandering thought is an affront to the Savior’s sufficiency.  More on this here.

   Lust of these eyes: making much of this world and its goods. Its latest diversions, and an inordinate desire for possessions-driven standing among men (having the right technology, right clothes, right body) rather than being absorbed in the Christ-purchased standing we have before God. Seeking acceptance in a world that should hate me. You sub- consciously allow movies, gadgets, clothing, the places you eat, or anything else become a status symbol that defines how you desire others to view you.
   And it is spiritualized. You are given absolutely everything that is necessary for life and godliness, and yet you see outward things, such as external spirituality, proficiency of gifts and talents, or popularity to draw your eyes away from this reality. They become to you as means, so that rather than run to the fountain of Grace, you try to cultivate whatever external thing you think will improve you. But no means, if it is incorrect, can be pursued without the ends themselves being altered. This is why the crucial thing is to remember that your ultimate end is Christ, not being better in whatever your favorite aspect of life may be.
    Remember, every uncaptivated thought is an affront to the Savior’s sufficiency.
   Lust of the mind: entertaining fantasies, on any number of issues or events, all which tend toward my self-advancement or pleasure, rather than thinking on He who needs no aid of the imagination to be glorious. Your imagination is a gift, as is the enormous leisure which you possess as a human in being able to think on just about anything at anytime. But oh how wasted time can be in ridiculous imaginations after something that either isn’t true, isn’t honorable, or both. Phil. 4:8. Or perhaps you travel into your memory, and set your thoughts solely on things which have been once, and you are so easily discontented with being faithful with what God has set before you to do.
   Remember: every wandering thought is an affront to the Savior’s sufficiency. Your God supplies all your needs; His grace is sufficient for you; and in Him dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily; and yet you take all of this, and discard it to think on things contrary to Him? Not to say we never think about other things; we live on earth and we are intended to be engaged in our lives. But why make God out to be so much less than He really is when we dwell on the things that keep us from Him, especially during our prayers and the worship service. (I will delve more into most crucial aspect in my next and hopefully final note on the subject).
Lusts of the heart: going from object to object seeking something which will satisfy my emotions. This is where the deepest problems lie, and often is the root of the others. This is where you are most vulnerable. Your heart belongs to a King: you simply mustn’t give it away without His consent. And why would you? Is He not enough? or do you feel the need to fill in the seeming gaps in your thought life and your emotions with something that is not yours yo cherish? “The human heart is an idol factory.” and you know as well as anyone.
    A man to whom you listen often, Paul Washer, draws out a plain but curiously elusive truth from Scripture: the Bible tells us to wrestle with Spiritual darkness, to wrestle with the devil himself (Eph. 6:12, James 4:7). This entails heartfelt, deep, harsh spiritual warfare in which most of us have never troubled ourselves to engage. But the curious thing is that when he addresses the sin of “youthful lusts” he gives a simple instruction: “Flee.” Retreat. Turn tail and run (2 Tim. 2:22. Nice number sequence. He follows with some practical instruction on what to pursue which surely have a place). Even though we are to wrestle with Satan himself, the deepest expression of Christian maturity, in regard to these lusts, is a deliberate distance from them.
This seems, perhaps at first, to have application only to the first lust. But it is bears just as much on the last as well. I must cut myself short here…and with the help of another, far more insightful author, will soon take this back up.

Rutherford’s Christian Directory, Part One (oh, hi guys)

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The following few posts (oh, and hey guys) are excerpts from a letter which Samuel Rutherford wrote while in prison. They are far better than anything the author speaking could arrange, so they serve as a worthy placeholder for me while I work on new content. I’ve taken a rather long, but intentional break. But whether or not people are benefited by my writing, I won’t to press on for the value of the exercise it is to my mind; I hope, with God’s glory in mind.

I wish I could satisfy your desires, in drawing up and framing for you a Christian Directory. But the learned have done it before me, more judiciously than I can; especially Messrs. Rogers,35 Greenham,36 and Perkins.37 Notwithstanding, I will show you what I would have been at myself although I came always short of my purpose.

1. That hours of the day, less or more time, for the Word and prayer, be given to God, not sparing the twelfth hour or mid-day, although it should then be a shorter time.

2. In the midst of worldly employments there should be some thoughts of sin, judgment, death, and eternity, with a word or two (at least) of ejaculatory prayer to God.

3. To beware of wandering of heart in private prayers.

4. Not to grudge, although you come from prayer without sense of joy. Down casting, sense of guiltiness and hunger are often best for us.

5. That the Lord’s Day, from morning to night, be spent always either in private or public worship.

6. That words be observed, wandering and idle thoughts be avoided, sudden anger and desire of revenge, even of such as persecute the truth, beguarded against; for we often mix our zeal with our own wild-fire.

7. That known, discovered and revealed sins that are against the conscience, be avoided, as most dangerous preparatives to hard- ness of heart.

8. That in dealing with men, faith and truth in covenants and trafficking be regarded; that we deal with all men in sincerity; that conscience be made of idle and lying words; and that our carriage be such as that they who see it may speak honourably of our sweet Master and profession.

These are his direction, which are followed by an illustration of the challenges he faced, which I hope to post soon

What Joys are Ours in the Gospel…

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What joys are ours in the Gospel,
No soul can comprehend
What heights of love are to us given,
No mind can e’er ascend
What praises from our hearts should shine,
That Thou hast made us ever Thine.
~
What wonder to the Angels,
The Father choosing us
Forming a plan to raise us
To Glory from the dust.
Loving Father, for Thee we pine
Thou hast made us ever Thine.
~
What joyous acclamation,
The Bosom Son came down
Redeemed us to adoption,
His missing sheep He’s found.
What glories in our face should shine,
Thou hast bought us, we are Thine.
~
What happiness must fill us
The Spirit sent to earth,
In us He’ll raise the Abba cry
To us He gives rebirth
What glorious peace in this we find
Thou hast made us ever Thine.
~
What all-consuming wonder,
The Godhead looks on men
He takes the chiefest sinners,
And brings them home to Him
What praises from the church should shine
Grace to us says “thou art Mine”
~
Oh holy ones in glory,
Oh saints still here below
Let nothing quell thy singing
The gospel ever show
Glorious, holy Trinity
Let us ever worship Thee

Faithful.

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“How refreshing, then, how unspeakably blessed, to lift our eyes above this scene of ruin, and behold One who is Faithful, faithful in in all things, faithful at all times…This Quality is essential to His being, without it He would not be God. For God to be unfaithful would be to act contrary to his nature, which were impossible.”

Arthur W. Pink, The Attributes of God.

“You may greatly comfort yourself that you have an unchangeable friend in Christ Jesus. Faithfulness is rightly viewed as a most necessary and desirable qualification in a Friend.

“You may learn how excellent His friendship is from His manner of treating His disciples on earth. He graciously treated them as a tender father treats His children, meekly instructing them, most friendly conversing with them, and being ready to pity them, help them, and forgive their infirmities. And then you may considered this doctrine, that he is the same today as He was then, and always will be.”


Jonathan Edwards

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8

“Know therefore that the Lord Thy God, He is God, the faithful God.” Deut. 7:9