Cornered by God?

Utmost

Easter, 2016, and Jesus remains risen from the dead. Having proved his love for us, he goes on proving it day after day; his faithfulness is new every morning. Unlike our own… But Jesus knows everything. He knows whether we love Him or not and he will not let us forget… This second brief post on the theme of loving Jesus also comes from Oswald Chambers

Oswald Chambers writesHave you felt the hurt of the Lord (in) the place where the real sensitiveness of your life is lodged? The devil never hurts there, neither sin nor human affection hurts there, nothing goes through to that place but the word of God.
“Peter was grieved because Jesus said to him the third time…” He was awakening to the fact that in the real true centre of his personal life he was devoted to Jesus, and he began to see what the patient questioning meant.There was not the slightest strand of delusion left in Peter’s mind, he never could be deluded again. There was no room for … exhilaration or sentiment. It was a revelation to him to realize how much he did love the lord, and with amazement he said, “Lord you know everything.”

Peter began to see how much he did love Jesus but he did not say, ‘Look at this or that to confirm it.’
Peter was beginning to discover for himself how much he did love the lord, that there was no one in heaven above or upon earth beneath beside Jesus Christ but he did not know it until the probing, hurting questions of the Lord came.

The Lord’s questions always reveal me to myself.
The patient directness and skill of Jesus with Peter! Our Lord never asks questions until the right time. Rarely, but probably once, He will get us into a corner where he will hurt us with His undeviating questions, and we will realize that we do love Him far more deeply than any profession can ever show.”

From Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest

(Jesus) said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.
John 21:17(ESV)

 

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Hurt by God?

Utmost

With Easter just around the corner, reminding us of the depth of God’s love for us as it is expressed in the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus, for the forgiveness of our sin, we might find ourselves asking ourselves again, “Do I love Him?”. So, here is the first of three brief posts on the theme of loving Jesus. It comes from Oswald Chambers

“Do you love me?” John 21:17 ESV

Oswald Chambers writes, “Peter declares nothing now (cf. Matthew 26:33-35). Natural individuality professes and declares; the love of the personality is only discovered by the hurt of the question of Jesus Christ. Peter loved Jesus in the way in which any natural man loves a good man. That is temperamental love; it may go deep into the individuality, but it does not touch the centre of the person. True love never professes anything. Jesus said – “Whosoever shall confess Me before men,” i.e., confess his love not merely by his words, but by everything he does.

Unless we get hurt right out of every deception about ourselves, the word of God is not having its way with us. The word of God hurts as no sin can ever hurt, because sin blunts feeling. The question of the Lord intensifies feeling, until to be hurt by Jesus is the most exquisite hurt conceivable. It hurts not only in the natural way but in the profound personal way. The word of the Lord pierces even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, there is no deception left. There is no possibility of being sentimental with the Lord’s question; you cannot say nice things when the Lord speaks directly to you, the hurt is too terrific. It is such a hurt that it stings every other concern out of account. There never can be any mistake about the hurt of the Lord’s word when it comes to His child; but the point of the hurt is the great point of revelation.”

From Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest

Clean?

John Piper

A good conscience may be a guilty conscience; a bad conscience may certainly  feel clear. But only a good conscience, guilty, but with the guilt washed away, can become a clean conscience. This third of three brief posts on the theme of conscience comes from John Piper…

John Piper writes…

“So here we are in the modern age — the age of the Internet, smart phones, space travel, and heart transplants — and our problem is fundamentally the same as always: our consciences condemn us and make us feel unacceptable to God. We are alienated from God.

We can cut ourselves, or throw our children in the sacred river, or give a million dollars to charity, or serve in a soup kitchen, or a hundred forms of penance and self-injury, and the result will be the same: the stain remains and death terrifies.

We know that our conscience is defiled — not with external things like touching a corpse, a dirty diaper, or a piece of pork. Jesus said it is what comes out of a man that defiles, not what goes in (Mark 7:15-23). We are defiled by attitudes like pride and self-pity and bitterness and lust and envy and jealousy and covetousness and apathy and fear.

The only answer in this modern age, as in every other age is the blood of Christ. When your conscience rises up and condemns you, where will you turn? Hebrews 9:14 gives you the answer: turn to Christ. (14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God. Hebrews 9:14 ESV)

Turn to the blood of Christ. Turn to the only cleansing agent in the universe that can give you relief in life and peace in death.”

Copyright Information: This devotional is written by John Piper. For more information about Piper’s ministry, writing, and books, visit DesiringGod.org.

My Conscience, Right or Wrong?

Weight of Glory

It’s all very well to claim that we act according to our conscience, but is our conscience a reliable guide? This second of three brief posts on the theme of conscience comes from C S Lewis….

“How do we decide what is good or evil? The usual answer is that we decide by conscience. But probably no one thinks now of conscience as a separate faculty, like one of the senses. Indeed, it cannot be so thought of. For an autonomous faculty like a sense cannot be argued with; you cannot argue a man into seeing green if he sees blue. But the conscience can be altered by argument; and if you did not think so, you would not have asked me to come and argue with you about the morality of obeying the civil law when it tells us to serve in the wars. Conscience, then, means the whole man engaged in a particular subject matter.

But even in this sense conscience still has two meanings. It can mean (a) the pressure a man feels upon his will to do what he Thinks is right; (b) his judgment as to what the content of right and wrong are. In sense (a) conscience is always to be followed. It is the sovereign of the universe, which “if it had power as it has right, would absolutely rule the world.” It is not to be argued with, but obeyed, and even to question it is to incur guilt. But in sense (b) it is a very different matter. People may be mistaken about wrong and right; most people in some degree are mistaken. By what means are mistakes in this field to be corrected?”

From C S Lewis in The Weight of Glory