O LORD GOD, WHO INHABITEST ETERNITY,
The heavens declare thy glory,
the earth thy rihes,
The universe is thy temple;
Thy presence fills immensity,
Yet thou hast of thy pleasure created life,
and communicated happiness;
Thou hast made me what I am, and given me what I have;
In thee I live and move and have my being;
Thy providence has set the bounds of my habitation,
and wisely adminsters all my affairs.
I thank thee for thy riches to me in Jesus,
for the unclouded revelation of him in thy Word,
where I behold his Person, character, grace, glory,
humiliation, sufferings, death, and ressurection;
Give me to feel a need of his continual saviourhood,
and cry with Job, ‘I am vile’,
with Peter, ‘I perish’,
with the publican, ‘Be merciful to me, a sinner’.
Subdue in me the love of sin,
Let me know the need of renovation as well as of forgiveness,
in order to serve and enjoy thee for ever.
I come to thee in the all-prevailing name of Jesus,
with nothing of my own to plead,
no works, no worthiness, no promises.
I am often straying,
often knowingly opposing thy authority,
often abusing thy goodness;
Much of my guilt arises from my religious prvileges,
my low estimation of them,
my failure to use them to my advantage,
But I am not careless of thy favour or regardless of thy glory;
Impress me deeply with a sense of thine
omnipresence, that thou art about my path,
my ways, my lying down, my end.
-Valley of Visions
When i look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the seas. O lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
Recently, I haven’t made much time to re-evaluate the state of my heart and my walk with God. In the past couple months, it’s been getting harder and harder to consistently reflect and meditate on God’s word effectively. Reading and prayer have been consistent, but the quality of those two things in my life just haven’t been packing the elicited response that I usually receive. After a long two months of spiritual dryness, for some reason, today was the day that God saw fit to break my heart down. After reading the above passage for my devotionals today, I realized that I had forgotten the fundamental aspects of who God is. The moon, sun, and stars that are around us are the very things that God has created so that we can be in wonder of his creation and remind us of his presence and power. If God is so powerful and majestic, why would he even care about us and our sinfulness to send his only son (whom he cared for SO dearly) as “a little lower than the heavenly beings”? IT’S BECAUSE HE LOVES US and it would glorify his name all the more when he sent his son to die for our sins so that we can have a passage to be with God for all eternity!
This passage was so humbling and a great reminder that I am a sinner in need of grace and mercy, and that is only through the passage of the Gospel. Over the past two months, I have seen (now) that my heart had been hardened toward the Gospel and that was why my spiritual walk was so dry with God. Praise the Lord for his grace and mercy for revealing to me the reason why I was feeling stagnant in my desire to glorify his name.
"Two things I ask of you; deny them not to me before I die: Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, "Who is the Lord?" or lest i be poor and steal and profane the name of my God."
- Provers 30:7-9
In the midst of finals week, we often times become very stressed out over our studies and ultimately our end of the quarter grades for our classes. For myself, the stress has just begun to really pile up on me as I realize i have 3 finals left for this week, trying to plan my study schedule accordingly so i can study efficiently and produce desirable results. But, as I was just taking a glance through scripture today, I stumbled upon these two verses in Proverbs and it struck me hard. After reading through these verses, I made a self-reflection and evaluated my true purpose behind the hours of studying I’ve put in for finals. And I came to this conclusion, that I’m studying hard in order to secure a good grade, which will hopefully in the future secure for me a stable job for my family and I to live an enjoyable life. Now, there’s nothing inherently bad about having that type of desire for the future, but I can’t help to see the potential lack of dependence on something greater in that picture…and that’s God.
In this proverb, Agur, the son of Jakeh, makes a request to the Lord that is unheard of, especially from a Western perspective. He asks God to give him neither poverty nor riches but only to feed him with “the food that is needful for me”. Essentially, Agur asks the Lord to only give him what is necessary for him to live off of solely for the purpose of reminding himself that he is completely dependent on God and he is willing to give up his own desires and comfort to secure that dependency! I think if we all think hard about this passage, we realize a complete lack of faith we have in God on a daily basis. In the Western culture, we almost always pray to God to provide a way for us to not have to deal with the idea that we may have a lack of control over our own future. We want complete control over every aspect of our lives, and the moment God decides to turn the table and remind us that he is in control, we get upset. For example, when I’m doing my devotionals and I dont understand a concept or the meaning of a verse, even after 10-15 minutes of meditating on it, sometimes I get frustrated and think “why can’t i understand this? Why can’t i have control over how my mind operates and just make it understand everything God is trying to say?” But this passage reminds me that I am completely dependent on God for the understanding of HIS word that HE is trying to convey to me, not the other way around. In the end, we have to realize that nothing is within our own will or power, but it is in God’s will and God’s power that we are able to do all the things that we do.
My prayer, for myself and everyone, is that we would all have faith to entrust everything to God, especially the things that seem the matter most to us. In this context, it would be our grades/future career/future lifestyle. I pray that we would realize that we still need to make our best efforts and we should study diligently, but at the end of the day, realize that we have already been blessed beyond measure with his son Jesus Christ and his word to sustain us.
Good luck to everyone with their finals!
"And Simon answered, "Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets." And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking….., Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men. And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.”
Just in reflection of this entire past week at CMC….it’s just amazing to see Jesus’s disciples immense faith and courage and boldness and OBEDIENCE to Christ’s lordship when they were called to follow him. That at the moment Christ tells Simon to throw the net over the boat to catch the fish, Simon’s obedience to Christ ends up with a result of IMMENSE blessing! The amount of fish that was found in the net was soooo overwhelming that other boats had to coem and assist him with the catch! And now instead of catching fish, Jesus commands Simon to not catch fish…but now men.
This past week, being at the CMC missions conference has taught me so much about equipping myself with faith, obedience, and humility with God’s word and with God’s calling. Often times, i see that i don’t have this obedience and faith that Simon has and how i don’t trust God with my academics, my future career, my future spouse, my future home, etc. I see that i’m puffed up with pride, that i feel as if I am already doing everything i can to be a part of furthering God’s kingdom. But after this conference, it’s great to be reminded and convicted that God has shown so many evidences of grace and examples of others in scripture of how he has blessed and truly taken care of those who had the faith and humility to drop everything and follow after his footsteps, like Simon. My prayer is that my signature on that blank page to God, not including HIM in my plans but to allow myself to BE INCLUDED IN HIS PLAN and to submit to his will and authority and to go into the mission field around me to “catch” his people that have still not heard of the great news, the Gospel.
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” -Matthew 28:18
I pray that this authority, this lordship of Christ in my life would truly humble me and allow me to realize that it is no longer my plans that are in the works but that it is God’s plan and that i would submit to him because his will is for my sanctification and ultimately, his glory.
How great it is to see God’s grace and mercy through his gospel, that even amidst our sufferings, we can rejoice in the salvation and freedom he has given to us through which his son Jesus Christ went through the worst suffering of them all, dying for our sins!