Friday, January 27, 2012

Clenched Fists

You have been summoned to worship, and following the pattern in the renewal service, now is the time to confess your sins.  What does this look like?

You have come to the throne of grace.  It is not a throne of works, it is not a throne of merit.  You are not now told to confess your sins to prove that you are actually good.  You are not told to confess to earn your salvation nor to earn God’s favor with you now.  You are His beloved if you are in Jesus Christ.

You have been told to confess your sins because you are clutching them in your hand and so, with clenched fists, you are unable to hold out your hands, wide open, and receive His grace and mercy, His love and blessing.  You are told to let it go – to let them go – so that you can receive.  And so – drop them.  Drop the pettiness, drop the lust, drop the self-righteous do-goodism, drop the bitterness, drop the unforgiving spirit, drop the theft, the sexual immorality, the lies – drop them all.  Open up your hands and receive.  Receive His grace, receive His blessing.  Receive His love, His renewing power, His hope, His kindness, His mercy.  Trust Him – this is a fair trade.

When we hold on to our sins, we show that a dog has more sense to let go of some dry bone in order to eat at a bowl full of savory food than we do who stuff our mouths with our self-justifying reasons to keep our sin while a feast has been set before us.  Open your mouth wide, says the LORD, and I will fill it.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Wax and Wane in Worship

Another Year is before us, another week is before us.  Last week, we providentially began the New Year on the Lord’s Day, and every week we begin the week, the first day of the new week, with a service of renewal.  You need to be renewed.  You need to renew your covenant vows before the Lord in His courts.  And we need to renew together, as a corporate body, our covenant vows before the Lord in His courts, entering into His gates with thanksgiving.

We wax and wane at this – sometimes coming fully aware of why we should and wanting to, even hardly waiting to get there – so that we can be with God and with His people together in worship.  Sometimes we come, fully aware that our hearts feel far away, our faith feels thin, our hope seems almost gone.  And even then, He calls us.  Here is what you must hear in such situations.

God is not perplexed with your situation.  He does not wax and wane over you.  He is the same yesterday, today, and forever – and He has brought you into His covenant love, His covenant of grace, where it is His intent to delight over you with singing. Even if you do not really want to be here, understand this – God does.  He really wants to be with you – and He really wants to have you here together with your brothers and sisters in Christ, those He purchased with the blood of His own Son.  And He wants to pour His blessings over you, encourage you, turn you around, equip you, re-make you, feed you, nourish you, admonish you, instruct you, motivate you – and fill you with His Holy Spirit.

So – in some ways, it doesn’t matter if you want to come or no.  He wants you to come.  He delights in your coming.  He delights in His grace manifest in and through you in countless new ways – ways He plans to do in this coming week.  So come and worship the LORD.