Gain vs. Loss

“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” (Phil. 3:7-8a)

On a day when I am recovering from sickness and my feelings are all out of sort, I can still remember that I have Christ Jesus as my Lord and Savior. He is *everything* to me. He keeps me and intercedes for me. Nothing can separate me from Him, not even my foggy feelings and unfocused thoughts. Once again, I am so thankful that my salvation, or even my sense of my salvation, does not depend on me.

The way of the Lord

I will meditate on Your precepts and fix my eyes on Your ways. Ps. 119:15 (ESV) I meditate on Your precepts and consider Your ways. (NIV) I will study Your commandments and reflect on Your ways. (NLT)

Thinking about what God says to me in His word is a necessary companion to keeping my eyes fixed on Him and to walking in His ways.

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When considering what do to for my personal reading and meditation upon God’s word for January, I came across a booklet that I received at a conference some years ago. I had stuck it in a drawer and forgotten about it. But when I was cleaning out the drawer, I found it.
It’s called a “Journible”, specifically the title is “Journible through Psalm 119”. It’s part of a series of journals, either paperback or hardback, created by www.fullquiver5.com and published by Reformation Heritage Books (www.heritagebooks.org). They call the series “17:18” based on God’s command given through Moses in Deut. 17:18. I quote here from the introduction to the booklet:

“The king is commanded to not simply acquire a copy of the law (the entire book of Deuteronomy) from the ‘scroll publishing house’, but to hand-write his own copy of the law. The purpose of such a copy written by his own hand was so that 1. he would read it, 2. he would learn to fear The Lord, 3. he would obey the commands of God, 4. his heart would not become proud, 5. he would not turn to the right or the left from following the law (Prov. 4:27), 6. also, his sons would serve in the kingdom after him.
3400 years later, educators are ‘discovering’ that students that physically write out their notes by hand have a much greater retention rate than simply hearing or visually reading the information. Apparently, God knew this to be true of the kings of Israel, also.
From such understanding came the conception of this series of books.”

I have been thoroughly blessed in my journey (my “journible”?) thus far. I’ll share my thoughts from this along the way. I encourage you to do the same…

Psalm 119:10

“With my whole heart I seek You; let me not wander from Your commandments!” (ESV)

Directional (towards God) and whole-hearted (all of my life and will) seeking of God keeps me from wandering. 

A new song

“He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD.” Ps. 40:3 (ESV)

What was the “old” song of my mouth? I think it was the song of doubt and fear and worry. I tried to over come these by building myself up, trying to convince myself that *I*was the solution to my problem. “If I could just get my act together, then I could pull myself up out of this depression, out of my worry and despair.” I can’t say how many times I thought this. “If I could…” “If *I* could…”

It was only when I realized, by the mercy of God, that *I* could NOT, but that *God* could, that my life changed forever. I cried out to Him…”He inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.” (Ps. 40:1-2)

When I turned to Him, *He* put the new song in my mouth, the “song of praise”. It was also the song of utter dependence. What a joy! What a hope!
“I will bless The Lord at all times, His praise shall continually be in my mouth.” (Ps. 34:1)

Selah

“Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up; God is our salvation. Selah” Ps. 68:19
“Selah” in the Psalms indicates a time for a musical interlude, perhaps as a time to reflect upon what has been said/sung just before. Take a “selah” moment today to reflect on your blessings as a child of God, Who daily supports you and Who is, supremely, your salvation.

Completed Joy

“And we are writing these things so that our (your) joy may be complete.” 1 Jn. 1:4

John had heard, seen and touched Jesus. His experience with Him was full and life-changing. Having heard, seen and touched (and been touched by) Jesus, John desired to testify and proclaim to others “the eternal life” made manifest in Him. He wrote this letter that we call 1 John so that others would “have fellowship” and so that “joy (both his and the readers’) may be complete.”

C. S. Lewis said in his “Reflections Upon the Psalms”, “we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation.” He also says, “men spontaneously praise whatever they value, [and] so they spontaneously urge us to join them in praising it.” John shares his love and delight in Jesus with others because both his joy and theirs is completed in the sharing.  

We should share our love and delight and trust and hope in Jesus with others. This is our “witness”. We do this because we are commanded. We do it because we have compassion for them. We do it so their joy may be complete. But in the sharing, our joy is made complete, too!

To the praise of His glory, and for your joy, testify and proclaim to others the eternal life that has been made manifest to you.

What kind of love?

“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” 1 John 3:1a
We are children of God, dear believers and followers of Christ, because God loved us and gave us that love through Christ. What kind of love? Sacrificial love, abiding love, patient love, persevering love, all-consuming love, everlasting love, holy love, forgiving love, perfect love.
Do you feel lonely, child of God? You are not alone. See what kind of love the Father has given to you.