Wow what a refreshing thing being in the fellowship of God’s saints can be. This morning I sat down and typed about my recent sin and was feeling grieved in spirit. I wanted God to restore to me the joy of my salvation (Psalm 51:12).

And he did, through the fellowship of the saints. Christ is in and among his people through his Spirit. When we gather with the people of God, we are gathering with Christ as he is present in a unique way when two or three or more are gathered in his Name (Matthew 18:20).

I worshiped Christ with the people of God at Grace Community Church in San Antonio, TX this morning. After worshiping, some of us went to eat at Bill Miller’s BBQ. It was good food and sweet fellowship.

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Then I joined a group from the church to minister at a nearby nursing home. This was our opportunity to love needy and broken people. It was such a pleasure to sing with them, to hear a brother powerfully preach the Word of God from Isaiah 59, and just to listen in conversation and point people to Christ- the only true Hope in this world. Please pray for Casey, a 40 year old man who looks like he could have been 60. I didn’t get all the details as he had trouble speaking but while his tears fell and the drool dripped from his mouth he told me that he’s scared to die and said something about doing bad things. Drug use, federal prison, seizures, losing everything, the list could go on. He’s a lost sheep without a shepherd. I spoke the words of life to him. Please pray that God will rescue him from the curse of sin.

Here’s what I was typing this morning in the grief of sin and wanting my sweet fellowship with Christ to be restored:

It’s day 5 of my roadtrip to Texas. Many things have gone not according to plan, my plan that it is, and I have been very sinful in some of the situations. Everything has gone according to God’s plan (Ephesians 1:11), which is the reason why my grumbling, angry, and selfish attitude is wicked in God’s sight. If I would trust him and be thankful for his grace every moment, even after making a wrong turn and driving ten extra miles, or realizing after driving to the Diamondbacks stadium that they’re actually playing away and not at home, or finding out after planning to hike Guadalupe Peak that it’s closed due to a forest fire, I would still get to my destination and I wouldn’t be grieved and disappointed by my sin. It seems that there is a right way to be disappointed that I didn’t get to experience the goodness of a baseball game or hiking an awesome peak for God gives us all good things to enjoy (1 Timothy 6:17), but it also seems that it should occur and then be replaced with thankfulness for God’s ongoing grace even if my plans have been changed and I’m going to spend the afternoon driving instead of watching a ball game. Knowing I deserve to be in hell makes everything I experience outside of hell, a gift of marvelous, costly grace that should produce fullness of joy and thanksgiving every moment. Should. Sadly it doesn’t and that’s why I need Christ all the more!

Whenever I see disgusting sin in my heart, I should flee to the cross of Christ and meditate on the Gospel of his grace. There, the obedient, sinless one, died in my place the rebellious, cursed one, and absorbed the wrath of God for my transgressions. His loving sacrifice of himself was pleasing to God and therefore, he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand to reign forever and ever.

The blessing of knowing Christ while continuing to be so sinful and having ten thousand reasons to not think there’s any good in myself apart from Christ is spoken by Jesus in Matthew 5:3-6. He speaks of those who are poor in spirit, those who mourn, those who are meek, and those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, all being blessed. No one hungers and thirsts for what they already have. When you’re well hydrated you don’t thirst for water anymore. You thirst when you haven’t drunk enough water. Likewise, if we were perfectly obedient and righteous like Christ, we wouldn’t thirst for righteousness because we would have already attained it. Without being sinful in any way, God has planned for us, who have been saved by Christ, to continue in the flesh with indwelling sin warring against the Spirit within us because he wants us to experience the fullness of his attributes (Romans 9:22-23 ) and the blessing of hating our sinful selves and being desperate for more of Christ and his righteousness (Matthew 5:6).

I need Thee, O I need Thee;

Every hour I need Thee;

O bless me now, my Savior,

I come to Thee.

(From: “I Need Thee Every Hour” by Annie S. Hawks)

 

Attend to my cry, for I am brought very low! Deliver me from my persecutors, for they are too strong for me! (Psalm 142:6)

My sinful flesh is too strong for me. Please attend to my cry and rescue me O God for the sake of Christ!

Here’s a few pictures and some descriptions from the last three days:

Spent the night next to this little chapel

Spent the night next to this little chapel

inside Carlsbad Caverns, NM

inside Carlsbad Caverns, NM

Spent night 3 in a motel and slept much better than on the roof!

Spent night 3 in a motel and slept much better than on the roof!

Good thing since I woke up to a thunderstorm with heavy rain

Good thing since I woke up to a thunderstorm with heavy rain

Guadalupe Peak, highest point in Texas

Guadalupe Peak, highest point in Texas

A man-made spring-water creek that I swam in after going for a run at Balmorhea State Park, TX

A man-made spring-water creek that I swam in after going for a run at Balmorhea State Park, TX

Not pictured:

I went to a rodeo in Bandera, TX. It down poured for the first half hour and I went from dripping sweat because of the humidity to dripping rain in a matter of minutes. I heard this is normal in the South so I will get used to it.