On Superstorms, Trembling, and the Fear of God…

By now, you’re undoubtedly aware of Superstorm Sandy, which slammed into the Northeast at the beginning of this week.  Just a few of the numbers regarding the impact of this storm are hard to fathom.


The power of God displayed through His creation is astonishing.  Whether with earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, tornados, hurricanes, etc., this much is clear:  God can bring sudden, shocking, comprehensive destruction whenever and wherever He chooses!  There is no escape from His authority, and there is no successful questioning of His counsel.

“He loads the thick cloud with moisture; the clouds scatter his lightning. They turn around and around by his guidance, to accomplish all that he commands them on the face of the habitable world. Whether for correction or for his land or for love, he causes it to happen.”  (Job 37:11-13)


Have you recently considered Job, a righteous man who suffered much in God’s good design (see Job 1-2)?  In all Job experienced, he never cursed God.  But he did question Him…a very foolish thing to do!  Yet in mercy and grace, God brought healing rebuke to Job, first through Ellihu (Job 33-37).  Then God Himself spoke to Job, interestingly from “…out of the whirlwind” (Job 38-41).  Fortunately Job listened, repented, and tasted God’s favor afresh (Job 42).  Job came to understand the truth of Elihu’s words:

“Therefore men fear him; he does not regard any who are wise in their own conceit.”  (Job 37:24)


Beloved, don’t be wise in your own conceit!  Ours is not to proudly question God’s works and His ways with the storms He causes.  Rather, we are to tremble before Him, in the joyful, secure hope of His saving mercy in Jesus Christ.  Pondering God’s dealings with Job, songwriter Wes King asks the right question:  Do You Tremble?


Learning to tremble with you,


The Goodness of God



Do you believe this?  Deep in your soul, are you so convinced and overwhelmed by the goodness of God that you are quick to “…give thanks to the Lord for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever”?  (Ps. 106:1)


Where do you look to discover the goodness of God in your life?  All to often, we only look at our immediate circumstances.  And frankly, we then evaluate God’s goodness according to our experience.    “Are things pleasant for me right now, and going the way I’d like them to?  If so, well then, God sure is good!  But if not, well, so much for God being good!  Even if He really is, He’s not being very good to me!”  Ever identify with this wrong way of thinking?  I sadly do sometimes.  When we have such unbelieving thoughts, we become all the more vulnerable to the false and deceptive “goodness” of sin.  Oh, beware!!


Beloved, knowing and rejoicing in the goodness of God is a matter of faith in who He has revealed Himself to be.  In and through His Word, He has revealed Himself to be eternally, infinitely, perfectly GOOD.  His goodness is displayed in His works of creation, providence, and most fully in His redemption through Jesus Christ.  “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared…” (Titus 3:4)


Stop looking at your circumstances to try and discern God’s goodness!  Look instead by faith to the One in whom He has displayed His goodness and love for all eternity!  Then “…give thanks to the Lord for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever”!


Learning to look at Christ alone with you,


Longing for Spiritual Milk

As we considered this past Lord’s Day from 1 Pet. 2:1-3, Christians should possess a consuming, passionate hunger for God and His Word – like that of a newborn for his/her mother’s milk.  Peter uses this rich word-picture to illustrate the intensity of this hunger.  While the imagery of hungry babies is not directly referring to the spiritual immaturity of believers, there is a clear contrast between the proportionate greatness of the mother, and the smallness of the baby.  And the baby is desperately dependant on what only the mother can supply.  Baptist pastor F.B. Meyer (1848-1929) has given these helpful insights:


“The metaphor is a very touching one. This world is but the nursery in which the heirs of God are spending the first lisping years of their existence, preparatory to the opening of life to full maturity yonder in the light of God. The most advanced among us, in knowledge and attainment, are, in comparison with what they shall be, only as babes. The furthest stretch of vision, the most perfect conceptions of the intellect, the fittest expressions of truth, are but as the untutored thoughts and babblings of babyhood, compared with what is to be in the mature life which beckons us yonder.”  (Tried by Fire: Expositions of the 1st Epistle of Peter, Nabu Public Domain Reprints, p. 71)


Brothers and sisters, it is good for us to recognize God’s infinite greatness, and our great smallness before Him!  And the more we do, the more we’ll humbly “…long for the pure spiritual milk.”


Learning to shrink and grow with you,


Stewards of His Varied Grace

Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power.  To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ…(Eph. 3:7-8, ESV)


These words from the Apostle Paul have been uppermost in my heart and mind over the last few weeks.  I’ve thought about them much with regard to the privilege of preaching the unsearchable riches of Christ in far-away lands, and also preaching Christ among us regularly at RCG.  Paul fully understood his ministry as a stewardship of God’s grace in Christ (Eph. 3:1-2).  And of course as an Apostle, this stewardship had the unique dimension of new revelation that God was giving through Paul (Eph. 3:3-13), which is now recorded for us in his New Testament letters (in connection with all of Scripture).


What’s clear from other NT truths is that this stewardship of God’s grace applies not only to those of us whom God has called and gifted for public preaching ministry, but to every believer.  Collectively, we are stewards of God’s manifold grace in Christ.  This means that collectively we are to faithfully proclaim and live in the unsearchable riches of Christ.  What a privilege!  Peter states this explicitly in 1 Pet. 4:10-11:

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:  whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.


Beloved brothers and sisters, this is our identity and calling as God’s people:  we are recipients and stewards of His varied grace in the unsearchable riches of Jesus Christ.  And His intention in all the daily details of our lives – the particular joys, burdens, opportunities, griefs, and refreshments – is that we would grow by faith in the knowledge, display, and proclamation of His glorious grace…together.


So what a great privilege God has given to all of us!  May we humbly, thankfully, and collectively be faithful stewards of His grace in Christ, for the glory of His great name!


With gratitude and affection in Christ,