Monday, December 29, 2008

He Heals the Brokenhearted

"Time heals all wounds," so the old saying goes, but it's not exactly true...only God heals! He created time and uses it for good, but he alone is the One who "heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds" (Psalm 147:3.) So how does God work to heal our broken hearts?

He does it by words of comfort that show us there is still hope, and that one day he will make all things right. He does this through his Holy Spirit, the promised Comforter, who takes his words found in the pages of Scripture and presses them close to our hearts. If we are looking for healing and binding up of wounds apart from his words of grace and hope we will not find it! There is no true hope of healing and restoration apart from him.

If his promises of heaven to come, of his sustaining strength and power for the trials we face now, and his unfailing love for us are of no comfort to us in our sorrow and loss, then we will look in vain for true healing for our broken hearts. The comforts and consolations of this world are empty and will not satisfy. Only the truth will do--the truth found in the promises of Christ.

"But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall" (Malachi 4:2.) The comforting, healing, life-giving promises of God are for those who love him, who "fear his name" and who look to him with patient trust. One day, all those who do will find themselves healed, whole and full of joy unspeakable... as little calves set free go leaping, out into the bright sunshine.

(Photo by Niebrugge Images)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Jesus' Ferocious Plan

I've tried to track down the author of this essay but haven't been able to (yet.) I read it some years ago on the blog of a wonderful Christian man, a Bible professor as I recall, who was dying from cancer. I remember that this entry was written by his wife after they'd attended a chapel service and heard their friend Elliot speak. Their online journal was very touching and inspiring, and this particular entry stood out to me as exceptionally grand, so I copied it and saved it to a folder. Going through some things today I found it again, so thought I'd share it with you.

"I can't possibly tell about all the things Elliot reminded us of, about how incredibly glorious Jesus is and what an unspeakable privilege it is to belong to him and be part of his kingdom, but I'll pick this one image he painted for us. He reminded us that Jesus' death on the cross was not a passive thing that he simply endured, but rather a ferocious attack on the enemy--sin and death--in which that enemy was defeated and destroyed by Jesus' obedience to the Father that flowed from his passionate love for him.

Elliot said he pictures it like shark hunting, in which Jesus gets ready to jump into the water to take on the shark. Jesus explains to his disciples that his plan is to get swallowed by the shark, rip out the shark's insides, and then jump back into the boat. When the skeptical disciples ask, 'Don't you think that will smart a bit, mate?' he says, 'Yes. But the shark will be dead.'

"Jesus took on human flesh, immersed himself in this messed-up world and chose to undergo a horrific execution in order to take on sin and death and rip out their guts. Crucifixion smarted plenty, but it worked. His resurrection--his startling jump back into the boat--destroyed the enemy. Hallelujah!

"That was a great reminder, both of what it cost Jesus to redeem us and of the triumph of his resurrection that broke the power of death over him, and also over us as we are united to him."

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Half A Christian

I heard a great line from Alistair Begg on the radio the other morning: "Half a gospel makes half a Christian." It resonated with me as so true. I was a half-Christian for many years. Having missed the part about God's wrath against sin, and my very real guilt, I had no real appreciation for the grace of God and for what a debtor to mercy I really was. This left me, in the end, arrogant and self-sufficient.

Of course there's really no such thing as "half a Christian;" that's the scary part, because it means that many who have heard only half the message of the gospel, and responded to it, now believe themselves to be converted, and they may not be. May God raise up many more pastors, like our own, who will preach the full message of the good news boldly and faithfully.