Praising from the Mountain of Love – The Gift the Keeps on Giving
– Purity 752
Purity 752 06/08/2022 Purity 752 Podcast
Today’s photo of the sun shining through the trees over a
campsite comes from my cousin’s recent excursion to the top of Keller Peak in Running
Springs, California. He was recently
laid up with a foot and ankle injury a couple of months ago but now is back at
it stating on his social media post that he was doing some “soulcleansing” by “putting
in some work” while “resetting the batteries outdoors”.
Well it’s Wednesday, and I thought this photo of a summit
campsite and his sentiments to cleanse the soul where perfect to represent “hump
day” and our continual focus to find peace in our souls by walking and talking
Like my cousin, I have found that the exercise of the body does
have some ability to cleanse the soul as our bodies, and the life that God
breathed into them, were the first gift that we received from God, and when we
put our faith in Jesus Christ, they became temples of the indwelling presence
of the Holy Spirit. So it is good to keep
our temples in order by keeping our bodies healthy and that requires proper nutrition,
rest, and “putting in some work” from time to time with regular exercise.
After taking an uncharacteristic rest yesterday, I was raring
to “get back at it” with my normal light exercise routine, and as my cousin testifies,
I can confirm that there really is something to be said for the ability of simple
exercise to “cleanse our souls as we can sweat out frustrations or just
experience the simple contentment of knowing that we are being good stewards to
the bodies that God has given us.
But as good as sweating out frustrations and stress, the assurance
of being a good steward to our bodies, and feeling the euphoric rush of endorphins
firing, may be able to give us a measure of happiness in our souls, as Christians
we can raise our experience to the heights of joy by bringing our praises and
thanks to the Lord as our spirits are in direct communication with our heavenly
Father at all times.
Not for nothing, but while you can think through problems or
set your focus on the things that lie ahead of you while you exercise, I can
get a little frustrated, anxious, angry or depressed if the content of my
thoughts is “just me” focused. When we
try to do everything through our own strength and cunning, we can really begin
to feel overwhelmed, worried, or burdened with our lives.
So while I work out, I may think of “what I can do” with the
day ahead and with the situations that I have to face, but after a while I will
get “sick of me” and will turn to the Lord and say something like: “And that’s
why I am SO GLAD, that You are in my life, O Lord.” And than proceed to remember
that I am not alone and will recall all that the Lord and I have walked through
together to bring me to this “current day and present moment” and I will thank
Him and praise Him for never leaving me or forsaking me and always being with
The weight of the world seems to not be so heavy when we have
the Creator of the Universe on our side. As the word says, if God is for us,
who can be against us!
Well, frankly, everyone can be against us! But with God, it
just doesn’t matter, because when we walk with Him we never walk alone and when
we continue to seek His presence and follow His wisdom for living we can have
peace and joy regardless of the circumstances that surround us because He has “cleansed”
and saved our souls the minute we placed our faith in Christ. His love pours into us with the indwelling presence
of the Holy Spirit, when we first believed, and it abounds in us when we abide
So there, I am “putting some work in” by exercising,
contemplating the current events of my life, and rejoicing because I know that “There
ain’t no mountain high enough, ain’t not valley low enough, and there ain’t not
river wide enough” to keep the Lord from getting to us!
The Lord has a mountain of love to pour out on us if we would
just seek to receive it by keeping our relationship with Him a healthy one,
where we care for our bodies, live according to His wisdom, continually reflect
on His thoughts, His words, and Our story together, as an continuous expression
of our faith.
This gift of our lives, our bodies, our relationship with
God, His love, His forgiveness, His hope, His strength, and how it all goes together
is the gift that keeps on giving. So live your life as a continual exercise of
praise and worship to the Lord who gave us life and set us free to live with
Him forever when He showed us the truth of Jesus Christ and we accepted the
gift of His mercy, grace, and love.
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book
This morning’s meditation verse is:
the LORD! How joyful are those who
fear the LORD and delight in
obeying his commands.
children will be successful everywhere; an entire generation of godly people
will be blessed.
themselves will be wealthy, and their good deeds will last forever.
Bible verses encourage us to praise the Lord and they indicate that when we
fear and obey Him not only will we benefit but the potential exists to
influence generations through our faithfulness.
you are brought up in a “religious tradition of Christianity” where no one
seems to know the joy of their salvation and everyone seems to be under a
burden of obligation to go to “mass”, you view the “fear of the Lord” as the
fear of judgement and going to Hell and you view His commands as a list of
requirements to meet with the silent warning of “or else” implied.
houses of worship where “God is in the box”, require people to enter reverently,
almost fearfully, because the doctrine of transubstantiation, teaches that He
literally is in the communion elements, so God is in the house and you best
come correctly into His presence, or you will face the wrath or condemnation of
the priest, your parents, or the other congregants that bow low under their religious
tradition but who may not be good examples of the joy or love of the Lord.
here in today’s verses, the Bible speaks of people who are joyful who fear the
Lord and obey His commands. Joyful? How
can you be joyful in the presence of a God who is just waiting to send you to Hell? Or in an environment where His “believers” almost
cower in His presence and will chastise and threaten anyone who doesn’t put on
a show of reverence while they are “in the building”.
the Bible is true and the fact that people can be joyful when they fear the
Lord and obey His commands must point to something that is “other” than what we
see in some liturgical churches.
must point to a relationship with God that is His based on His grace, mercy, forgiveness,
and love rather than the traditions of men that corrupt the gospel of Jesus
Christ by making us think that our salvation depends on our perfect obedience
and can be something that we can lose.
our God is awesome to be hold and should be feared by anyone who hasn’t been
reconciled to Him through faith in Jesus Christ, the fear of the Lord that the
Christian has should be one that is born from the knowledge of His love and is
reflected by our respect for His word and our joy at following the One who gave
us life and set us free.
when we are assured of our salvation and the love of God for us, can we be joyful
in obeying His commands. When we know the love of God and are assured that He isn’t
going to condemn us to Hell at the drop of a hat, our obedience to His commands
is an expression for our deep respect, fear, and love that we have for
religious traditions that are fueled by fear and guilt, and seem to be fading
away in our post Christian society, this joyful relationship with God is
something that future generations could be influenced by to pursue and emulate
as they can learn of the tremendous blessings that can flow from an authentic
faith and love relationship with our God.
can’t force anyone, including our kids, to follow the Lord but we can show them
the joy that we have from knowing His love, from fearing His word, and obeying
His commands and how a life dedicated to following Him is a blessing, not a
curse or an obligation.
always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from
prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and
sisters in Christ with their walk.
we continue sharing from John Piper’s “Don’t Waste Your Life”.
As always, I share this
information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase John
Pipers’ books for your own private study and to support his
work. This resource is available on many websites for less than
10 -My Prayer—Let None Say in the End, “I’ve Wasted It”
steadfast love, O Lord, is better than life. You have told us this in many
ways. With these very words you have said it through the mouth of your servant
David: “Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise
you.” You have said it in the words of your apostle Paul, when he cried out in
prison, “My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.” O
Lord, how much better you are than life! Does your apostle Paul not use strong
language! Not just “better,” but “far better.” You are so much better than life
that your apostle says death is gain. “To live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
To lose everything this world can offer and be left with you alone is gain.
O Lord, is your love better than life? Surely David gives us the answer in the
way he speaks. He does not say, “Because your steadfast love is better than
life, my lips will praise your love.”
What does he say? He says that he will praise you, not your love. “Because your steadfast love is better than
life, my lips will praise you.” Is
this not because the most loving thing about your love is that it brings us
home to you—with eyes and hearts and minds able to see the riches of your
glory? With all your wrath removed, and all our sin forgiven, lest anything
prevent the pleasure of your presence. Is this not what divine love is—the will
and work of God, to give us undeserving sinners everlasting joy in God? What
else could love be, if it would be infinite! What greater prize might we be
given than yourself, if we are loved!
God, you know I tremble now for fear that many of the ones who call you Lord
have made themselves the prize and
glory of your grace. How many, Lord, have made your love a witness to their worth! Is then their joy a resting
in your worth or in their own? So
many decades have gone by in which the constant message from the world, and
even from some ministers, is this: that love means making much of man. And so
when men, with this assurance, ponder what your
love might mean, they say the same: God’s love means making much of man. For
proof they ask: Don’t you feel loved when someone calls attention to your
answer: Once I did. When life was better than the Lord, and not the other way
around. There was a time love felt like this—when I could not conceive of any
joy greater than the honor of my name. When I was so absorbed in me that it was
inconceivable for joy to rise by my admiring rather than my being admired. Oh,
yes, I’ve known what it is like to call the praise of men an act of love and
justify this craving with the readiness to give the same. How satisfying it
does seem—this love among ourselves of mutual admiration!
now (thanks to your mighty grace!) I see it is an imitation. It has its roots
in Eden long ago. The great destroyer of our love and joy said to our mother,
Eve, “God knows that when you eat of it, your eyes will be opened, and you will
be like God.” Like God! She should have said, “I am like God already.” She
should have seen the trick. But she did not, and oh, how many do not see it yet
today! She was indeed like God! You made her so—your very image-bearer. Her
calling and her high design was this: to image forth her Maker’s majesty, and
with her joy and trust, make much of you. But then the evil thought was sown:
“I could be like him in another way. I could be one whose majesty is seen, and
love might be defined as making much of me.”
so it came into the world, this great inversion we call sin. And love was made
to stand now on its head. I grieve, Lord, just to put it into words, but here
it is with shame: Your love no longer means that you do what you must do to
make yourself our joy. It has come to mean that you do what you must do so we
can feel our worth. It was a sad exchange. And doubly so: Not only did it rob
our souls of that one joy that you designed to satisfy us for eternity, but
worse, it robbed you of your honored place as Treasure of our lives.
everything you’ve done since that dark day in Eden is designed to set things
right. Oh, what a history of deeds and revelations you have wrought to make
yourself the center of our joy and take back for yourself the place of honor in
the world—to be the One your people treasure more than life. How many ways you
said and showed, “I made you for my glory. I made you for my praise. I made you
for my honor and my name.” And, lest we miss the point, you added: “In my
presence there is fullness of joy; at my right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Delight yourself in me! Be glad in me and leap for joy; I am your sure and
great Reward! Come taste, and even now rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of
what a grand design! To make our joy the echo of your excellence. To make our
pleasure proof that you now hold the place of Treasure in our lives. To make
the gladness of our souls the essence of our worship, and the mirror of your worth.
To make yourself most glorified in us, O God, when we are satisfied in you. How
could I, Lord, have ever been so blind to think that being loved by you means
making much of me and not yourself? How could I put my eye to some great
telescope, designed to make me glad with visions of the galaxies, and notice in
the glass a dim reflection of my face and say, “Now I am happy, I am loved”?
How could I stand before the setting sun, between the mountain range and the
vastness of the sea, and think that everlasting joy should come from making
much of me?
Father, love is this: At great expense you made yourself my glory and my boast.
The cost was infinite by which you made yourself the Treasure of my life. You
sent your Son, the blazing center of your beauty and your love. You gave him up
to mockery, betrayal, thorns, the whip, the rod, the fists, the nails, the
shame, and death. For what? To swallow up your wrath, and satisfy your
righteousness, and bury all my sins as far as east is from the west and in the
deepest sea, so that I might come home and see the galaxy. This is your love, O
God, not to make much of me, but do whatever must be done so that I waken to
the joy of making much of you through all eternity.
then shall Christ not be my only boast! Not only that he bought yourself for
me, O God, but is himself your perfect image and the blazing center of your
radiance. What do I have that does not come from him? What gift of life or
breath? What promise ever made did not receive its Yes in him? What one sweet
thing—or hard thing you will soon make sweet—did I receive except that it was
purchased by his blood? Not one thing I deserve, but hell. Yet everything is
mine in him, and by his sacrifice alone. O God, forbid that I should ever boast
save in the cross of Christ, my Lord.
now shall we who treasure Christ and know your love is better far than life lay
up, like all the world, our treasures on this earth? Would not we hear you say,
as you once said, “Fool, will not this same night your soul be taken back? And
then whose will these barns of bounty be?” Forbid, O Lord, that while the world
is filled with need we would sit down and say, “Soul, you have ample goods laid
up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.” A terrible reversal awaits
such lovelessness. “Woe to you who are rich, for you have received your
consolation.” We tremble at the words you spoke once to the heartless rich:
“Remember in your lifetime you received good things, and that poor man, beside
your door, received the pain; but now the great reversal comes, and he has
comfort here, while you lie there in anguish.”
God, such riches are a wasted life. Protect us, Lord. Grant us to hear and heed
another call: “Lay up your treasure not on earth, but in the place where moth
and thief will never come. Make treasures for yourself that cannot fail.” But
then we ask, “What treasures, Lord?” We see you smile. “I am your Treasure and
your great Reward. I am your food, your drink, your festal garments and your
everlasting gain. I am your life and your all-satisfying Joy.”
Lord. That is enough. But we would ask, How shall we lay this treasure up? Is
it not laid there by your grace alone and bought now once for all by Jesus’
blood? How shall we make this life—this brief and only life that we now live—a
laying up of treasure there in heaven? To answer this, you know, O God, that I
have written this small book. And I have looked not to myself or listened to
some voice. But I have tried to probe your written Word and say what you have
said. That is my only claim to truth—that I have echoed what you wrote.
answer is that in this life we may begin to treasure Christ, and here gain, as
it were, an aptitude for joy in him. A greater weight of glory waits to be
enjoyed for those who grow in love to Christ. And what is love to Christ? It is
the cherishing of all you are for us in him. It is the treasuring of his
perfection over all the treasures of the world. It is delighting in his
fellowship beyond all family and friends. It is embracing all his promises that
there will be more pleasure in his presence than from all the lying promises of
sin. It is a gladness in the present taste of glory and the hope of future
fullness when we see him face to face. It is a quiet peace along the path he
chooses for us with its pain. It is a being satisfied that nothing comes to us
is a quiet kind of joy, O Lord, that Jesus did both save us from our sin and
show us how to love. His life, as you have said, was both a purchase and a
path. He died for us, and now calls us to die with him. He took our poverty
upon himself that we, in him, might have the riches of his heaven, and he calls
us now to use our riches for the poor. He did not count equality with you a
thing to grasp, but made himself of no account and crossed an endless chasm
between heaven and earth, so we might see what frontier missions means and join
him in the final task. Is not this, then, the way we lay up treasure in your
house—to give our money and ourselves to make as many rich with God forever as
quiet kind of joy, I say, because of so much suffering. I cannot rise above the
great apostle Paul who called his life a daily death and put it in a paradox:
“sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing,
yet possessing everything.” O Father, grant your church to love your glory more
than gold—to cease her love affair with comfort and security. Grant that we
seek the kingdom first and let the other things come as you will. Grant that we
move toward need and not toward ease. Grant that the firm finality of our
security in Christ free us to risk our homes and health and money on the earth.
Help us to see that if we try to guard our wealth, instead of using it to show
it’s not our god, then we will waste our lives, however we succeed.
Lord, I tremble now to pray for readers what I barely feel myself. But I have
tasted what our life might be if I, and they, could walk along the ever-present
edge of death, and smile with utter confidence that if we fell, or possibly
were pushed, it would be gain. Oh, what abandon, what great liberty, what
invincible resolve to love would be our portion if we walked this way! What
readiness to suffer for the glory of Christ! What eagerness to show the poor
that we would gladly spend and be spent to make them glad in God for all
eternity! What lowliness and meekness and freedom from the need for praise and
pay! All things are ours in Christ—the world, life, death, the present, the
future. All are ours, and we are Christ’s. And none of it deserved.
so, dear Lord, I dare to pray that everything I’ve written in this book, if it
be true, explode with fear-defeating joy in Jesus Christ. Let every wavering
heart remember this: You promised, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So
may we say with death-defying confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not
fear; what can man do to me?”
that any, Lord, who read these words would have to say someday, “I’ve wasted
it.” But grant, by your almighty Spirit and your piercing Word, that we who
name Christ as the Lord would treasure him above our lives, and feel, deep in
our souls, that Christ is life and death is gain. And so may we display his
worth for all to see. And by our prizing him may he be praised in all the
world. May he be magnified in life and death. May every neighborhood and nation
see how joy in Jesus frees his people from the power of greed and fear.
love flow from your saints, and may it, Lord, be this: that even if it costs
our lives, the people will be glad in God. “Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you! Let the nations be glad and sing for joy.” Take
your honored place, O Christ, as the all-satisfying Treasure of the world. With
trembling hands before the throne of God, and utterly dependent on your grace,
we lift our voice and make this solemn vow: As God lives, and is all I ever
need, I will not waste my life …
through Jesus Christ, Amen.
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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship