Letters to the Family of God
by Joe Franzone | December 30, 2021 | Pastor's Blog
As this year draws to its end, does it seem right to think on and remember the care of our God over us?
The Psalmist wrote, Then I thought, to this, I will appeal the years when the Most-High stretched out His right hand. I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember Your miracles of long ago. I will consider all Your works and meditate on all Your mighty deeds. (Psalm 77:10-12)
Five times the Psalmist loves God with His mind and thinks, remembers, considers, meditates on some aspect of God’s handiwork and mighty deeds. What a splendid discipline to enjoy!
Do you know of this classic quote from a sermon Charles Spurgeon preached at a very young age?
It has been said by someone that ‘the proper study of mankind is man.’ I will not oppose the idea, but I believe it is equally true that the proper study of God's elect is God; the proper study of a Christian is the Godhead. The highest science, the loftiest speculation, the mightiest philosophy, which can ever engage the attention of a child of God, is the name, the nature, the person, the work, the doings, and the existence of the great God whom he calls his Father. There is something exceedingly improving to the mind in a contemplation of the Divinity. It is a subject so vast, that all our thoughts are lost in its immensity; so deep, that our pride is drowned in its infinity. …No subject of contemplation will tend more to humble the mind, than thoughts of God. … But while the subject humbles the mind it also expands it. He who often thinks of God will have a larger mind than the man who simply plods around this narrow globe. … Nothing will so enlarge the intellect, nothing so magnify the whole soul of man, as a devout, earnest, continued investigation of the great subject of the Deity. And, whilst humbling and expanding, this subject is eminently consolatory. Oh, there is, in contemplating Christ, a balm for every wound; in musing on the Father, there is a quietus for every grief; and in the influence of the Holy Ghost, there is a balsam for every sore. Would you lose your sorrows? Would you drown your cares? Then go, plunge yourself in the Godhead's deepest sea; be lost in His immensity; and you shall come forth as from a couch of rest, refreshed and invigorated. I know nothing which can so comfort the soul; so calm the swelling billows of grief and sorrow; so speak peace to the winds of trial, as a devout musing upon the subject of the Godhead”
The quote is long, but its message is simple and clear. Concentrate on God, remember His deeds done for you and others. Think about His love for you and specifically His love for you on the cross. As you do, let the refreshing come.
The Biblical witness of Jesus, our example in everything, David, Mary, the Apostle Paul, and Peter among others tell of how they held to this time-tested discipline. Each of them shutting their eyes to see Him as He is.
The protection of Christ over us, from circumstances and people much too powerful; deflection of words spoken to us this year that if they were bullets, would have left us dead. Food, heat, shelter, transportation, and vocations kept safe in trying conditions– all of it, all year, from God.
However, the biggest act of God we can meditate on is the firm fact that our sins, each one, are forgiven. What a wonder God is! Perfect in holiness and perpetual in forgiveness. He loves to rescue sinners.
The most wretched and pointless heresy that has ever plagued our minds, is the idea that somehow, we could make ourselves good enough to be right with a Holy God. But, as Spurgeon said in contemplating Christ, (is) a balm for every wound.
These are not easy days. Last week, The New York Times had a compassionate piece on our nation's fatiguing mental health considering current circumstances. No one fully knows what other people go through. Compassion on those hurting is best. Robert Louis Stevenson's words Alas! in the clothes of the greatest potentate, what is there but a man? seem to be ringing true. Yet our biggest problem, sin, its penalty, and its power, has been solved only by the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus our Lord. Indeed Jesus welcomes sinners and sups with them.
The Latin title for the book of Psalms is confitemini. It means to confess. The flow of thought from confitemini is to think, acknowledge, and then agree. If you like, as you read through the Psalms, think, and concentrate on God, who He is, what His word says, what He has done, what He can do, and has promised us, and then, agree. Agree that God is who He declares Himself to be from His word.
If you think about it, what sort of Father is it who never tells His children He loves them; and never establishes His love with concrete action. Therefore, thinking, concentrating on God, on solid Biblical truth about God, is not a patch over our mind to only calm us down; it is the real truth that heals.
Comfort, comfort, O my people, speak of peace, now says our God.
Comfort those who sit in shadows, mourning ’neath their sorrows’ load.
Speak to (my people) of the peace that waits for them
Tell of all the sins I cover, and that warfare now is over.
— Johann Olearius Comfort, Comfort Ye My People
There can be no better news than this, this side of heaven.
God bless you richly, and Happy New Year!