Rest in This

O LORD, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.” Psalm 131:1, 2

Is your heart loud and noisy today?

Words of striving and contention and discord with your fellow-man have more to do with the Almighty than you realize. If you do not learn to worship the Lord in the psalms, you are leaving your heart exposed: Self-righteousness will settle down and find a comfortable place in your heart. At the root of occupying yourself with things that are beyond human ability is arrogance and pride – a heart that is lifted up in pride and eyes that are haughty and condescending.

David is honest about his own pride that is behind a disquieted soul. He says in verse 2, “But I have calmed and quieted my soul . . .” Do you see the turn about from the confessed implication behind verse one? David said, “but.” David knows what a loud and noisy heart sounds like when it is lifted up in pride and is preoccupied with things that are beyond him. David’s circumstances are familiar with ours:

  • Wanting security in this life by wanting all the answers.
  • Wanting security in this life by wanting control.
  • Preoccupation with areas of life that are beyond human ability and jurisdiction.
  • Spending too much time listening to agitators of the soul. Like Job’s miserable comforters, you give your ears over to nit-pickers and doomsday prophets of sorts that only rob you of hope in the Lord: too much political news, too much financial news, too much talk radio, too much fault-finding and too much fussiness like an infant rooting around for satisfaction that never comes. I’m not saying that as Christians we need to just stick our heads in the sand and pretend that everything is ok, but when you and I are hopeless, it is because we occupy our lives with thought patterns that do not belong to us. And behind that is a heart of pride and arrogance to think that we are capable of knowing all that can be known and acting on all that can be known. It is no wonder that our hearts are like an unweaned child who can’t find his mother.

So how do I live psalm 131 in my heart today?

1. Repent of the pride and arrogance that is driving your disquieted soul. Think about your real desire for control of the future, control of circumstances, control of and desire to out-wit everyone and everything. Ask the Lord to reveal your heart’s alignment with the world’s malcontent and then to realign your heart to God’s quiet heart.

2. Train your mind with psalm 130-131 until you begin to see the limits of your life, the limits of your abilities, the limits of your strength, and the limits of your humanity.

3. Pray the psalm over your life that God would quiet your soul with his hope.

Then Rest in This:

There was a man who suffered like no other, and he never found fault with God, he never lifted up his heart with pride and his eyes with arrogance, he never was driven with discontent and he never exposed his heart up to the world’s malcontents and agitators – his soul was like a weaned child, resting, hoping, quietly in the presence of his Father. And he died, making atonement for every mumbling word that has come from our mouths. He was raised to declare you righteous by faith and he lives to make intercession for you and will provide the grace you need to not only pray Psalm 131 but to provide the quietness of soul that you long to have. His name is Jesus, the only and pure innocent one who is the true hope of our preoccupied souls in the night.

How do you delight in a guillotine?

Answer: The way a convicted criminal does when he sees his substitute criminal voluntarily stick out his neck in his place. One of the reasons why David could delight in the Law (Psalm 1) even though it kills (Numbers 15:32-36, Ezek. 18:20, 2 Cor. 3:6) is because he saw both the Justice of God (which we all want when someone cuts us off in traffic) and the Mercy of God (which we all want when we cut someone off in traffic).

Starting this Sunday, June 2, I’ll be spending the summer preaching on the Law from Exodus 20. I want to show how knowing Christ, our substitution, is the only way that we can delight in that which kills. I want to preach Christ from the 10 Commandments and show how all 10 are pointing at and fulfilled in Jesus, as he perfectly loved God his father, and loved his neighbor as himself – which is the fulfillment of the Law.

O how we need the Law written on our hearts, but it will not happen apart from the Spirit. O how we need what no external legislation can do – and that is to change the affection of the heart for that which can save: Both Justice and Mercy found in the Cross of Christ. I look forward to delighting myself in the Law with you this summer – and for the rest of my life.

See you this Sunday!

A Celebration of Life and Family to the Glory of God

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The last time that I was on this beach near Nags Head, NC. was in 1976. I was twelve years old. My mom was 32 and dad was 36. Where did the time go? Here we are: I’m with my wife Cheryl (almost 29 years of marriage), to my left is my sister Stephanie with her husband Tony (I think about 18 yrs of marriage), to their left is my sister Stacy with her husband Bill (I think they’re on 31 yrs of marriage), and then our parents of 50 yrs of marriage. I say, “To the Glory of God,” because my dad’s life was spared from colon cancer in 1974 and my mom’s life was spared from breast cancer in 1977. I say to God’s glory because life is not an entitlement, it’s a gift from the Creator who gives and takes life according to his over-arching purposes to magnify his supremacy over all that he has made. God has not dealt with us according to our sins – though he could have.

The Atlantic Ocean that we stand beside belongs to him and not one tablespoon is wasted. The sand-filled beach that we are standing on belongs to him and not one grain is wasted. Each droplet of salt water and each speck of sand is saying, “You have no idea how big and powerful and kind and loving and merciful and wise and holy God is. If you are joyfully speechless at the magnitude of our dimensions and the tranquility of mind and soul that we offer, you ought to check out the one who commands the waves to be still – who can subdue the soul with breath-taking, sin-forgiving delight. His name is Jesus. To him be all the glory.”

I thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that I was able to revisit this beach-head. It reminded me of the steadfast love of the Lord and stands as a witness for future hope in God until we are safe and sound on the other side of the glassy sea (Rev. 15).

For Everything There Is A Season

And that season is presently on vacation with my family. Pictures say it well.

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My Parents 50th Wedding Ann. in WV.

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My family with my parents in WV (we miss you Joshua – keep a work’n-for-a-livi’n)

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One of our favorite spots to mountain bike: New River Gorge.

The following three pics are on the Jeanette Pier, Nags Head, NC. Good times with my dad. You could say that I have temporarily developed O.C.F.D.

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Thank You Lord for My Parent’s 50th Wedding Anniversary

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Buddy Truman and Drema Hall were married on May 11, 1963, at the Summersville Baptist Church by Rev. Bruce Cooper, just a few blocks away from where they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with family and long-time friends.

Grace explains it all. We can no more last 5 minutes together than 500 years if it were not for the grace of God. Put two monkeys in the same room together with one banana and what you have is not the invention of selfishness but the unleashing of it deep from within the heart – it was already there. It takes the grace of God to live your life for another person and to say, “You may have the banana – it is my joy to see you happy.” Not that marriage is a platform for taking advantage of the others’ generosity and selfless-ness, but that at the root of 50 years is a resolve to live your life for the other and basically set aside yourself – in fact, forget yourself, lose your life that you may keep it. That’s what Jesus said: “If you keep your life you will lose it. But if you lose it for may sake, and the gospel, you will find it.”

I think this is what my mom and dad have been doing by the grace of God. Losing their lives that they may keep them. No, not perfectly – but that’s the beauty of grace that is honored and not cheapened by negligence. Grace is mercy for those who cannot by their own strength and will-power do what is commanded of them – “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Thank you Lord for giving my parents the steadfast love for which they have guarded their marriage all these years.

I love you both very much – Congratulations! And may the Lord see fit to give you many more years together.