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Theological, Doctrinal, and Spiritual Musing - and whatever other else is on my mind when I notice that I haven't posted in a while.
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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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The Buzz

Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
- Marc Heinrich

His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
- Rose Cole

[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
- C-Train

This post contains nothing that is of any use to me. What were you thinking? Anyway, it's probably the best I've read all day.
- David Kjos

Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
- Jonathan Moorhead

There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
- Carla Rolfe
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Friday, December 21, 2012
Who is worthy to be praised...
King David, in more than one psalm, lets us know that he personally will call upon the Lord whom he regards as worthy to be praised.

To guard against some unintentional ambiguity, let me state that God is worthy to be praised regardless of whether we are cognizant of His worth.  The fact that we have life in us is sufficient evidence of that.  But sometimes when I read these often repeated sentiment in scripture, I sort of gloss over it in the way that one doesn't pause to affirm from the depths of their soul some self evident truth when it is plainly stated; that is, I do not pause in wonder whenever I read that the sky happens to be blue.  God -is- worthy to be praised, and reading that as a mere statement of fact doesn't normally cause me to stop and marvel at the just how true that is.

To be sure, there is enough water in this particular well to drown any one of us.  God -is- worthy of praise, but our ability to plumb that truth is necessarily limited by our mortal frame. 

The point of this post however is not to remind the reader of the what ought to be obvious to every believer.  I am not simply suggesting that the next time you read that God is worthy to be praised you stop and marvel at how this truth is bigger and deeper than you will ever understand in this lifetime, and how paltry and wanting your limited best efforts to acknowledge this truth will inevitably be.  I am not trying to provoke you reader to dig deeper and to try harder to fill up the gap between what you understand and what you should understand.

No, today I am simply putting the words into context.  David called upon the Lord, and the Lord delivered him.  When David said that God was worthy to be praised, it was like David was telling us that his praise of God was not the flattery of someone who says to a king, "Dear king, I recognize you are the one who wears the crown" - it was the song of a heart that had been taught by trials that God delivers those who call upon His name.  David acted upon the word of the Lord, and found it to be unfailing

Do you understand my meaning?  David had relied upon God and as often as he did so, his trust in God was rewarded.  As a young man watching his father's flock David had delivered the fold from the mouth of the lion by single-handedly striking down a lion, and in another instance a bear.  These he did by trusting that the same God who brought Israel into the promised land would deliver one of God's children from the mouth of both the lion and the bear.  When David came against Goliath, he was not relying upon his own arm to slay the giant, he trusted that God Himself would defend His people in the land that He brought them to.  For David, Goliath was not contending against a young man with a sling, Goliath was contending against the God of Israel - a God, the one and only God, who had never failed, and never could fail.

When David said that God was worthy of praise, he was speaking from the place of one who has seen the surety of God's response to an earnest prayer.  He was speaking as a man who had experienced genuine deliverance on many, many occasions.  He was speaking as one who was convinced by more than the bare truth at God, as God, must therefore be worthy of praise - he was speaking as one who had placed his truth in what God promised to do, again and again, and had in every such instance that same trust rewarded.

When David ask the reader elsewhere to taste and see that the Lord is good, it is the cry of one who has tasted and come to know that the deliverance God has promised He will certainly bring.  When David said that God is worthy of praise, he knew first hand that this was true - God had earned David's praise.

Of course, I do not mean to infer that God became worthy by rewarding David's trust in Him.  God was worthy all along.  What I mean is that as David's faith in God was rewarded, David came to know (personally) that God had earned all the praise David could give Him.  Said another way, God revealed His worthiness through His faithfulness to David.  When David says God is worthy of praise, he surely was saying that even as God deserves this praise for reasons that are incomprehensible to us given our frame, He deserves our praise for reasons that are personally tangible to each and every believer.

Hasn't God shown Himself to be faithful to you, believer?  Has He ever failed to keep even a single promise?  Has he not chastised you as a father chastises a son?  Has He not put His Spirit in you on the day that you surrendered to His rule in faith?  Has even one word fallen from anything He has said He would do?  You must know therefore, from personal experience, that God has earned your praise - that He is worthy of it.

The question I put to you just before we celebrate the fact that God sent His own Son into this world to save you personally believer, is whether your praise is the praise of one who has seen God's hand on his life and marvelled at the humility and grace of God to the soul-deep praising of His name for having redeemed the work of His own hands in you?  Or when you read that God is worthy of praise, do you accept that with the same superficial gloss you accept any other truthful tidbit?

I encourage you this season dear Christian, to taste from your own experiences in Christ and see that the Lord is good and has shown to you how worthy He is of your praise.

I encourage you also, who are not a Christian, and for whatever reason have stumbled upon this post and read it - to not regard the reading of it as some coincidence. The same God who blesses me daily, and who has delivered me from so many things has earned your praise.  Do you not have life?  Did He not freely give it to you?  Don't you understand that the one who supplies your life knows what is best for it?  You were created for one purpose: to taste and see that God is good.  You were created to enjoy creation with God, and not apart from Him.  In rejecting the One who is sustaining the life within in you, you reject life itself, though you don't understand it as such.  You are truly pursuing death but see it only as pursuing your own desires.  God requires only one thing of you - that you trust Him in trusting that His way and not your way, is the way of life. 

God has provided one (and only one) way to humble yourself before Him, and that is by surrendering yourself to the rule of His son Jesus - your Savior.  Jesus was sent by God into this world, to provide a means by which men (who forfeited their lives already in having rejected God's rule) could be reconciled to Him without doing injury to the character of God who, could hardly be called righteous if the condemnation for our rebellion was handed out to some who were guilty of it, and passed over others who were just as worthy of that condemnation.  Just as Noah and his family passed through God's wrath (i.e. the flood) in a vessel fit to endure it, so also those who surrender to God are placed (spiritually) into Christ - a union of Christ's incorruptible life with our own life - a union pictured by the marriage union where the two become "one flesh".  In this way we passed through God's wrath, for Jesus submitted Himself to be the ark that would take as many as surrendered to Christ through God's wrath.  Christ endured the wrath of God and in doing so died, and as many of us as were in Him died also - satisfying God's wrath against our rebellion, since we received the only just reward for rejecting life itself - we received death through this union with Christ.  But even as our rebellion made it right and proper for God to put Christ to death (since our union with Christ meant that in order to put us to death, God would have to put Christ to death), so also Christ's innocence made it right and proper for God to raise Christ from the dead - and in doing so God would also have to raise all those sinners who had humbled themselves before God and were thus united with Christ in His death.  When God raised Jesus, He raised every believer also - so that all who call upon the name of have passed through death with Christ, and been raised, not because of their own righteousness, but because of His righteousness.

So dear reader, if you have never understood how God reconciles everyone who surrenders themselves to the rule of His son, that is, how God reconciles Himself to those who have trusted completely that God will be reconciled to them through His Son whom they put their trust in (rather than trusting in their own efforts to "clean up their lives"), now you know.  God sent His Son into this world to be the means by which men can escape the damnation that their rebellion has earned them - and all you need to do, if you see yourself as damned by God on account of your having rejected His rule thus far (i.e. on account of your "sin"), and you now desire to escape the wrath that is otherwise inescapable, is trust that God has provided the way in Christ, and come to God the Father in the only way you can, that is through the one and only means God has provided.  It isn't about trying to do good from now on, or about cleaning up your life, or about going to church and reading the bible - it is not about what your hands do, or your mouth says.  The way God has provided is incompatible with empty religion.  Doing good, and keeping yourself from doing bad has never saved, and can never save anyone from God's wrath.  Nor can you superficially surrender yourself to God and hope that will satisfy Him.

No, you must accept the fact that God has a right to rule your life, and you must be genuine in your willingness to accept His rule over your life.  You cannot come to Him apart from this willingness - God cannot be fooled by empty religious trappings, even if men can.  No, you must surrender the rule of your life to God - we call that "repentance" - meaning, that you are turning away from you previous rejecting of God's rule, and are instead embracing it.  This you must do accepting as a certainty that in doing so, God -will- put you into Christ, and thereby provide the means of your passing through His wrath unscathed.  God knows you don't deserve it, and He can't be buttered up by your attempts to clean yourself up.  Jesus came to save sinners - that is, to save those who reject His rule.  Since you have rejected His rule - that means you qualify right now.  God isn't calling you to act like you love Him, He is calling you to be saved from the fact that you hate Him - and that salvation is going to take place in spite of your previous rebellion because God is -THAT- gracious. 

If you want to celebrate Christmas as a Christian, you need to humble yourself before God and accept the salvation that God has provided in Christ.  It isn't a formula, it isn't the fact that you said all the right things in some prayer - it is that you genuinely see yourself as damned on account of rejecting God and His rule, and that you sincerely -as much as you know how- turn away from rejecting Him, and instead surrender with all you have (which won't seem sufficient by the way), while trusting fully that the same God who has created you, will certainly hear your prayer - not because you are worthy, but because Christ who would save you is worthy - He will hear you, and He will answer your prayer by saving you, sealing the deal by uniting your life to the life of Christ, and putting His Holy Spirit within you the moment you truly surrender and believe.

Then, and only then will you be able to celebrate the birth of a Savior into this world, for you will know first hand how truly worthy of praise your God is.  Every one of us who comes to God through the Christ He has give us is utterly unworthy of the gift, for it is a gift indeed, such that we can only marvel at what our God has done for us.

Merry Christmas.
posted by Daniel @ 9:37 AM   0 comment(s)
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