Who is like the Lord?

Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love.—All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness 

“O LORD, God of Israel, there is no God like you, in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and showing steadfast love to your servants who walk before you with all their heart”—Moses said, “Please show me your glory.”—The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty…See, I have taken away your sins, and now I am giving you these fine new clothes. 

You must make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you.  Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.—Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.—Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.— so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.  So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him. … Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ, so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.

Who is like the Lord?

Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.— But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.—And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like him and reflect his glory even more. 

Micah 7:18 ESV; Ps.25:10 ESV; I Kings 8:23 ESV; Ex.33:18 ESV; Ex. 34:6,7 ESV; Zech. 3:4 NLT; Col.3:13 NLT; Eph. 4:32 NASB; I Pet.4:8 ESV; II Cor.2:7-8, 10-11 ESV; I Jn.3:2 ESV;  II Cor.2:14 ESV; II Cor.3:18 NLT

Sunday’s sermon came from the prophet Micah, a call to turn from idols back to the living God, for after all, who is like Him?  Thirty-some years ago we named our one-of-a-kind firstborn Micah Gabriel.  Micah meaning ‘who is like the Lord?’ and Gabriel denoting ‘the Lord is my strength’.  He has a lifetime to live up to these things.  Which of us is like the Lord?

It’s intriguing to notice the trait by which God reveals Himself to His people when asked to show His glory.  He declares his steadfast love and forgiveness as representing the essence of His glory.   Moses witnessed it. Micah knew it.  Jesus lived it out and we, his followers are identified as such by the way we love and forgive one another.

Forgiven and forgiving we are rare perfume in a world accustomed to the stench of sin. Though sometimes (often?) thought odious, resented, and misunderstood by those yet blind to God’s glory, we are here to showcase its heavenly scent as the Spirit works in us what Christ has done for us.

Little by little He is remaking us into the image of God’s Son.  As we extend mercy and love to one another the world looking on sees something distinctly Christ-like. The one who said, “Forgive them for they know not what they do” as He was dying for the sake of sinners, calls us to do likewise.  May He grant us grace to love like this today!


Consider how things are going for you

This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Consider how things are going for you! Now go up into the hills, bring down timber, and rebuild my house. Then I will take pleasure in it and be honoured’, says the LORD. ‘You hoped for rich harvests, but they were poor. And when you brought your harvest home, I blew it away.  Why? Because my house lies in ruins.’ —And consider today (since I am not speaking to your children who have not known or seen it), consider the discipline of the LORD your God, his greatness, his mighty hand and his outstretched arm…—

And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”—For this is the will of God, your sanctification—so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body—But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. [the ‘all kinds of evil’ incited by the love of money]… Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith.

Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees.  Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance…He will come and save you.” …then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy…And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it. It shall belong to those who walk on the way;

For your name’s sake, O LORD, pardon my guilt, for it is great.  Who is the man who fears the LORD? Him will he instruct in the way that he should choose.  His soul shall abide in well-being—The LORD says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.” —Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.

Haggai 1:7-9; Deut.11:2 ESV; Heb.12:5-6 ESV; I Thess.4:3 ESV; Rom.6:19 ESV; I Cor. 6:19-20 ESV; I Tim.6:11,12 ESV; Is.35:3-4,6,8 ESV; Ps.25:11-13 ESV; Ps.32:8 NLT; II Tim.2:21 ESV

My calling is a high and holy one.  Sin in my life will always mar the reflection God is working to perfect in me. He will not leave it to grow unchecked in a quiet corner. Especially not when I am reciting daily David’s words in Psalm 25: “Make me know your way, O Lord, lead me in your truth and teach me…”!!

The Word shows up the ‘old man’.  I am amazed and humbled at this God who sees all, who knows the silent rationalizations that flick through my mind justifying little sins to please myself. He will not let me reason my way to innocence, justifying the corners I have cut, the integrity I have let slip even in the smallest edges. He knows that sin unchecked will grow and will always steer me away from fellowship with Him and others.  So He calls me to attention, to confession, and then to restitution. Zaccheus becomes more than a children’s story. And his joy becomes mine! Jesus is glad to come to my house today, to dine with me, to celebrate God’s goodness in bringing the light of life to sinful man (and woman). Ours is a good, good Father. His Word our light and life.  I am grateful.

Oh, what joy for those whose rebellion is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight!
Yes, what joy for those whose record the LORD has cleared of sin,
whose lives are lived in complete honesty!…
So rejoice in the LORD and be glad, all you who obey him!



The Word–don’t pursue spirituality without it

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,  and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”—I have passed on to them the words you gave me; and they accepted them and know that I came from you.—I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world…keep them safe from the evil one…Make them pure and holy by teaching them your words of truth.

I am leaving you with a gift–peace of mind and heart.—I will send you the Counsellor–the Spirit of truth.  He will come to you from the Father and will tell you all about me.—When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. 

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.—But if you stay joined to me and my words remain in you, you may ask any request you like and it will be granted!—For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.—…as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,  so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 

Moses said to them, “Take to heart all the words by which I am warning you today…For it is no empty word for you, but your very life…” 

 Jn.8:31-32 ESV; Jn.17:8 NLT; Jn.17:14-17 NLT; Jn.14:27 NLT; Jn.15:26 NLT; Jn.16:13 NLT; Ps.119:105 ESV; Jn.15:7 NLT; Heb.4:12 ESV; Eph.5:25-27 ESV; Deut.32:46,47 ESV

I’ve been reading a lot these days about forms of meditation, both secular and “Christian”.  I handle tote-loads of books donated to a local Christian thrift store and it soon becomes obvious that people are interested in spiritual answers to life’s troubles. The array of suggestions for peace of mind is varied but usually comes down to looking within and drawing on one’s own resources.  Meditation has become the panacea for all ills.  Everybody’s doing it (or at least recommending it!) What was once a thoroughly Biblical spiritual practice has been confounded by the practices of Buddhists and even of the ‘Desert Fathers’.  Where is the line to be drawn?  What is Biblical and what is not? One thing that jumps out at me in my study so far is that the spirituality taught in the Bible does not exist in a mindless experiential fog. It is parametered with Words.

While spiritual practitioners of other stripes insist that spirituality is at odds with absolutes, hindered by moral restraints and freed only by going within and refusing to pass judgment on my thoughts, letting them pass, transcending them till I get to the core of my being and find my own truth, my own answers…the spirituality portrayed in Scripture is fleshed out in non-negotiable Words.  Even one’s thoughts are to be brought to bow before its Truth. 

The record of God’s revelation to mankind is in a BOOK, using words, first the words of prophets, then of His own Son, the Word made flesh.  He has provided us in His Word the truths and promises necessary for life and godliness. He has instructed us to come into His presence with words–of thanks, praise and petition. We pray with words and expect to be heard by a personal and caring Father. He invites our allegiance to His Word. Abiding in and obeying His Words is the path of discipleship by which we will become like our Master.

Apart from this living and active Word of God spirituality runs amok.  Meditating on it is the source of all true spirituality.  


Take with you words and return to the LORD… Hosea 14:2


His Glory Shines through the Ordinary

I love your sanctuary, LORD, the place where your glory shines—For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us—Whatever I am now, it is all because God poured out His special favour on me—
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God?

You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body—children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world—So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God—whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies, in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

So, my dear brothers and sister, be strong and steady, always enthusiastic about the Lord’s work, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless. —For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

Ps.26:8 NLT; II Cor.4:6-7 ESV; I Cor.15:10 NLT;  I Cor.6:19,20 ESV; Phil.2:15 ESV; I Cor.10:31 ESV; I Pet.4:11 ESV;  I Cor.15:58; Rom.11:36 ESV

The Holy Immortal Invisible King of Kings and Lord of Lords delights to dwell in humankind by His Spirit. * To be there for the dish doing and the house cleaning, the comings and goings and all the ordinary moments in between.  God with us. God at home in us.  Here is a reality worth pondering when the task at hand seems menial.

What are you up to today? Whatever it is, do it mindful of God’s pleasure and glory. For this purpose He made you. For this He gladly indwells you. For this He gives you life and strength and abilities of all sorts. To him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.**


*But as many as received [Jesus], to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name. Jn.1:12
**Eph.3:21 ESV

Overwhelmed with Joy!

I am overwhelmed with joy in the LORD my God!  For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness—May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father, who has enabled you to share the inheritance that belongs to God’s holy people, who live in the light. 

Christ has done this through his death on the cross in his own human body.  As a result, he has brought you into the very presence of God, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.  But you must continue to believe this truth and stand in it firmly—Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of highest privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. 

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit—How we praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we belong to Christ! 

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 

Isaiah 61:10 NLT; Col.1:12 NLT; Col. 1:22,23 NLT; Rom.5:2 NLT; Ps.32:1-2 ESV; Eph.1:3 NLT; Phil.4:4 NIV

I’m preaching to my own soul today.  It’s so easily fixated on lesser things than rejoicing in this great salvation in which I stand.  There are so many other things with which to be overwhelmed! Solving the puzzle of who I am and what I’m meant to do on this planet today can eclipse rejoicing in the One who has paved the way for my good works to even be possible!  He is the Sun around which I am meant to revolve. He is the light of the world. To Him I lift up my soul, rejoicing!