To love with all

Fall break means more time for reading!  This week I started Dr. Helen Roseveare’s book ‘Living Sacrifice’.  In the preface, Dr. Roseveare expounds on what it means to be “a living sacrifice” (Romans 12) and show love for God (John 14:21). At the end, she writes thoughtfully about what it means to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.

To love the Lord my God with all my heart will involve a spiritual cost. I’ll have to give him my heart, and let Him love through it whom and how He wills, even if this seems at times to break my heart.

To love the Lord my God with all my soul will involve a volitional and emotional cost.  I’ll have to give Him my will, my rights to decide and choose, and all my relationships, for Him to guide and control, even when I cannot understand His reasoning.

To love the Lord my God with all my mind will involve an intellectual cost.  I mist give Him my mind, my intelligence, my reasoning powers, and trust Him to work through them, even when He may appear to act in contradiction to common sense.

To love the Lord my God with all my strength will involve a physical cost.  I must give Him my body to indwell, and through which to speak, whether He chooses by health or sickness, by strength or weakness, and trust Him utterly with the outcome.

The sum of these apparent costs… could be considered as the sacrifice that I am invited to offer Him as the response of my whole being to His love for me in that one “full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world.” (pgs. 27-28

How counter this seems to our culture that places emphasis on seeking personal fulfillment, satisfaction, and joy, whether they be in relationships, jobs, or even the church.  This is also contrary to our too highly prized personal autonomy, even where God is concerned.

Dr. Roseveare’s writing prompted me to asked some questions to examine how I view and live out the call to love with Lord my God with all:

1.) How have I loved the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength in the past?

2.) How am I loving the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength in the present?

3.) In what areas am I unwilling to love the Lord my God with my all? Is God calling me to sacrifice my affections to be obedient to Him?

4.) How do I see others loving the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength? How can I encourage them in that?

5.) Am I putting my sacrifices in perspective by meditating on the great love of the Lord my God abundantly displayed on the cross and throughout my life?  Do I consider it a privilege to share in Christ’s sufferings? Do I consider the sacrifice not worth comparing to the weight of glory waiting for me?

Saturday Song: See the Conqueror

This is a new song we’ve recently started singing at church.  There is a wonderful version by Jenny & Tyler on Youtube.  This is the original hymn text a good friend of mine showed me this week.  There are 10 verses (yes, 10!), but all part of the same, amazing, wonderful, true story.

See, the Conqueror mounts in triumph; see the King in royal state,
Riding on the clouds, His chariot, to His heavenly palace gate.
Hark! the choirs of angel voices joyful alleluias sing,
And the portals high are lifted to receive their heavenly King.

Who is this that comes in glory, with the trump of jubilee?
Lord of battles, God of armies, He has gained the victory.
He Who on the cross did suffer, He Who from the grave arose,
He has vanquished sin and Satan, He by death has spoiled His foes.

While He lifts His hands in blessing, He is parted from His friends
While their eager eyes behold Him, He upon the clouds ascends;
He Who walked with God and pleased Him, preaching truth and doom to come,
He, our Enoch, is translated to His everlasting home.

Now our heavenly Aaron enters, with His blood, within the veil;
Joshua now is come to Canaan, and the kings before Him quail;
Now He plants the tribes of Israel in their promised resting place;
Now our great Elijah offers double portion of His grace.

He has raised our human nature in the clouds to God’s right hand;
There we sit in heavenly places, there with Him in glory stand:
Jesus reigns, adored by angels; man with God is on the throne;
Mighty Lord, in Thine ascension we by faith behold our own.

Holy Ghost, llluminator, shed Thy beams upon our eyes,
Help us to look up with Stephen, and to see beyond the skies,
Where the Son of Man in glory standing is at God’s right hand,
Beckoning on His martyr army, succoring His faithful band.

See Him, Who is gone before us, heavenly mansions to prepare,
See Him, who is ever pleading for us with prevailing prayer,
See Him, Who with sound of trumpet, and with His angelic train,
Summoning the world to judgment, on the clouds will come again.

Raise us up from earth to Heaven, give us wings of faith and love,
Gales of holy aspirations wafting us to realms above;
That, with hearts and minds uplifted, we with Christ our Lord may dwell,
Where He sits enthroned in glory in His heavenly citadel.

So at last, when He appeareth, we from out our graves may spring,
With our youth renewed like eagles, flocking round our heavenly King.
Caught up on the clouds of Heaven, and may meet Him in the air,
Rise to realms where He is reigning, and may reign for ever there.

Glory be to God the Father, glory be to God the Son,
Dying, risen, ascending for us, Who the heavenly realm has won;
Glory to the Holy Spirit, to one God in persons Three;
Glory both in earth and heaven, glory, endless glory, be.

— Christopher Wordsworth, 1862

Psalm 34:4-7

I sought the LORD and He answered me

and delivered me from all my fears.

Those who look to him are radiant,

and their faces shall never be ashamed.   Psalm 34:4-5

After opening the Psalm with a heart and mouth full of praise to God, the psalmist goes back and gives reason to his praise: the LORD has answered his prayers.  The LORD’s answer was and is deliverance because in Him there is no change.  David knew this and rejoiced in it.  Fear has no strength and can hold no prisoners when the LORD delivers.  So, I ask myself, am I seeking the LORD for deliverance from my fears?  Or, am I seeking to take refuge in fear — even though it oppresses me — so that I can keep looking to myself?  Those who look to God are the radiant ones.  They are the delivered and it shines through their heart and soul to their face.

This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him

and saved him out of all his troubles.

The angel of the LORD encamps around

those who fear him, and delivers them.  Psalm 34:6-7

Remember deliverance from the past; remember in thankfulness and praise.  David’s deliverance didn’t turn his memory into a foggy, rose-colored memory of his pain.  No, David remembered his pain, that he was a many with many troubles, poor and helpless.  And this right memory of past grief gave David a right memory of the magnitude of the LORD’s deliverance.  The LORD is mighty.  He can deliver and He will continue to do so.  He also sends His angel as a barrier to protect His children.  David was a poor man.  He did not trust his own salvation, for by it there could be no hope.  Instead, he cried to God in his weakness — for in that, there was no shame.  David was one of the radiant ones who continually remembered his Savior’s past deliverance and felt his faith strengthened.  In any situation, whether as the poor one waiting for deliverance or as the radiant one remembering it, there is hope because deliverance comes from the One who alone has the power to give it.