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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Keeping a Look-Out this Year

Hey, he was cool during the Age of Exploration!
Having finished up First John and packing my bags for a three week holiday in the States, I reflected on what God taught me most from that letter at the very back of the Bible - namely, that God is growing me less from understanding and analyzing myself and far more from looking outward to Jesus. For every look at my sin, five more times at my Savior; for every analytical moment, two more looks outward to His atonement; for every inward shame, a re-focus on Him who bore my blame. Okay...that counts as hopelessly cheesy use of rhyme but you are far more likely to remember cheesiness so ... WORTH IT! 

What stands out for me is the middle of 1st John, where 5x in 5 verses we can note visual verbosity: 

[28] And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. [29] If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.
[3:1] See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. [2] 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. [3] And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. (1 John 2:28-3:3 ESV)

None of this should be confused with
Double-A minor league baseball team:
The Chattanooga Look-Outs
On that note, I've been reading a morning and evening devotional from one of my heroes of the faith - Charles Spurgeon (19th c, Metropolitan Tabernacle Church in London, "Prince of Preachers"). I leave you with a devotion of his I read the other morning that puts what's rumbling round inside of me far better than I could. See you in August:






Looking to Jesus
Hebrews 12:2

It is always the Holy Spirit's work to turn our eyes away from self to Jesus. But Satan's work is just the opposite; he is constantly trying to make us look at ourselves instead of Christ. He insinuates, "Your sins are too great for pardon; you have no faith; you do not repent enough; you will never be able to continue to the end; you do not have the joy of His children; you have such a wavering hold on Jesus." All these thoughts are about self, and we will never find comfort and assurance by looking within. But the Holy Spirit turns our eyes entirely away from self: He tells us that we are nothing, but that Christ is everything. 

Remember, therefore, it is not your hold of Christ that saves you - it is Christ; it is not your joy in Christ that saves you - it is Christ; it is not even faith in Christ, although that is the instrument - it is Christ's blood and merits. Therefore, do not look so much to your hand with which you are grasping Christ as to Christ; do not look to your hope, but to Jesus, the source of your hope; do not look to your faith, but to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of your faith. We will never find happiness by looking at our prayers, our deeds, or our feelings; it is what Jesus is, not what we are, that gives rest to the soul.

If we are to overcome Satan and have peace with God, it must be by "looking to Jesus." Keep your eye simply on Him; let His death, His sufferings, His merits, His glories, His intercession be fresh upon your mind. When you waken in the morning look to Him; when you lie down at night look to Him. Do not let your hopes or fears come between you and Jesus; follow hard after Him, and He will never fail you.

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus blood and righteousness:
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus' name.

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