Admission into Joy

You took away my clothes of sadness, and clothed me in happiness.
PSALM 30:11

The first step to joy is a plea for help, an acknowledgment of moral destitution, an admission of inward paucity. Those who taste God’s presence have declared spiritual bankruptcy and are aware of their spiritual crisis. Their cupboards are bare. Their pockets are empty. Their options are gone. They have long since stopped demanding justice; they are pleading for mercy.…

They ask God to do for them what they can’t do without him. They have seen how holy God is and how sinful they are and have agreed with Jesus’ statement, “Salvation is impossible.”

Oh, the irony of God’s delight—born in the parched soil of destitution rather than the fertile ground of achievement.

It’s a different path, a path we’re not accustomed to taking. We don’t often declare our impotence. Admission of failure is not usually admission into joy. Complete confession is not commonly followed by total pardon. But then again, God has never been governed by what is common.

The Applause of Heaven

A TINY SEED, A TINY DEED

“The people should not think that small beginnings are unimportant.”
ZECHARIAH 4:10

Against a towering giant, a brook pebble seems futile. But God used it to topple Goliath. Compared to the tithes of the wealthy, a widow’s coins seem puny. But Jesus used them to inspire us …

Moses had a walking stick.
David had a sling.
Samson had a jawbone.
Rahab had a string.
Mary had some perfume.
Dorcas had a needle.
All were used by God.
What do you have?

God inhabits the tiny seed, empowers the tiny deed … Don’t discount the smallness of your deeds.


from CURE FOR THE COMMON LIFE

HOLINESS AMONG US

Shout and be glad, Jerusalem. I am coming, and I will live among you,” says the LORD.
ZECHARIAH 2:10

God became a baby. He entered a world … of problems and heartaches. “The Word became human and lived among us … He was full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

The operative word of the verse is among. He lived among us. He donned the costliest of robes: a human body. He made a throne out of a manger and a royal court out of some cows. He took a common name—Jesus—and made it holy. He took common people and made them the same. He could have lived over us or away from us.

But he didn’t. He lived among us.

He became a friend of the sinner and brother of the poor.

from WHEN CHRIST COMES