Sunday, December 6, 2015

Caught between the "Do" and the "Be"

But God commends his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:7

How can we feel good about ourselves? The world teaches us that if we DO something, we ARE something. Thus, the greater the size of the paycheck, the more valued we are. Pro Athletes, already making more money than they can spend in 100 lifetimes, will renege on their contracts to ask for even more. Why? Not because they need it, but because someone else is getting more, and thus is more valued, and they cannot accept this. Same thing in the corporate world. Those ridiculous executive salaries are all about ego, not value. However, the ones who are on top find that their satisfaction does not last long, that their victories are Pyrrhic and burn as soon as they achieve them. 

What does God say to man? On what basis does God love us? Does He love the tallest, the smartest, the most handsome among men? No, He told Samuel that David was the man after his own heart, and David was the least among his brothers. Shepherd boy. Probably illegitimate. Not the first one in line according to the wisdom of the world to be king of Israel. No, God looks at the heart. He is looking not for the things the world values, but for the man who is broken and humble. God's Kingdom is within such a man, even though the world may never look twice at him. 

I don't think we who are believers often realize just how far God had to go to love us. While we were yet sinners . . .  Do we appreciate this? Do we know that, apart from the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross, God could not even look at us, so repulsive we were? God is absolute Purity and Holiness. We were absolutely the opposite, vile to the core. But when we consider that He died for us, when we were yet His enemies, we must admit that His love for us is absolutely NOT based on merit, but simply GRACE. We can feel good about ourselves only because of who we ARE, in Christ, and never on account of what we do. May we rest in this fact, saints!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Jesus Priceless Treasure

1. Jesus, priceless treasure,
source of purest pleasure,
truest friend to me,
long my heart hath panted,
till it well-nigh fainted,
thirsting after thee.
Thine I am, O spotless Lamb,
I will suffer naught to hide thee,
ask for naught beside thee.

2. In thine arms I rest me;
foes who would molest me
cannot reach me here.
Though the earth be shaking,
every heart be quaking,
Jesus calms our fear;
sin and hell in conflict fell
with their heaviest storms assail us;
Jesus will not fail us.

3. Hence, all thoughts of sadness!
For the Lord of gladness,
Jesus, enters in.
Those who love the Father,
though the storms may gather,
still have peace within;
yea, whate'er we here must bear,
still in thee lies purest pleasure

So Long Rejection! Good bye evil Stronghold! The Love of Christ beckons me home. He calls me out of the darkness into the Light of His Love. Amen and Amen.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Two pronged attack

The recent buzz is the latest from the Supreme Court. We will now have same sex "marriage" in the United States. Some have reacted with praise, others with shock. I was not surprised, though. It's just one more milepost against which we can measure the devolution of Western culture into anarchy. 

There has been a two front attack on the world. The Church, assigned the job of being a salt that preserves has fallen down flat on her face, unable for the most part to respond. First of all, God, as a necessary source of all life and order in the universe, has fallen from favor since 1859. Evolution does not, in fact, offer a viable alternative to Creationism - but as soon as Darwin published "Origin of Species" the philosophy of naturalism began to take root. The church, unable to answer the lie, repackaged her message as a subjective experience instead of an objective reality that everyone will one day face. As Nancy Pearcey says, matters of faith were shoved into an "upper story" and isolated from the "lower story" of objective facts upon which we might base our cultural values. 

Secondly, the work of higher criticism has undermined the authority of Scripture. Not only was the world snickering at the upper story types that chose to believe some subjective myth, those within the church itself began to view the Bible as a mere human document, no more inspired than Hamlet. Thus, we are left not only questioning the existence of God (evolution) but also whether or not the Bible is his revelation to mankind. Now, for the first time, someone could call themselves a Christian and believe pretty much anything they wanted to, there being no anchor to stop the drifting. 

So the shift from Theistic Creation world view to modernism and now from modernism to post modernism (pantheism) is nearly complete. With no objective Creator to define morality, morality becomes whatever those in power say it is. No one can be held to account, for there is no objective standard to hold them to. How long will it be before some crisis comes along and pushes the world into anarchy? I think not very long at all. If it happened tomorrow I would not be surprised. 

Jesus said that we should work while it is yet light, for the hour will come when no man can work. There is a way to prepare for the darkness that is to come: Store up the Oil, saints! Be intimate with Jesus, know His ways. All ten of the virgins were asleep when the bridegroom came - but half of them were prepared. May we so find ourselves ready. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Victory of the Cross

And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.  And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. II Cor 12:7-10.

I suppose no one really enjoys suffering, Even the Apostle Paul asked for the external deliverance from the thorn in the flesh that was torturing him. Brother James asks us to CONSIDER it all a joy when we are tested, but this is not the natural response to an unpleasant situation. Honestly, we all have suffered, and our first response is not to consider it all joy. No, like David did so many times, we cry out for relief. The Lord's response to Paul - "Let's leave things as they are, brother Paul". For the "testing of our faith produces patience" writes James, so we are left powerless, clueless and seemingly abandoned. Except of course, we are not left alone, as our Lord is always with us, even to the end of this age.

There is ALWAYS victory for the believer. Sometimes, the Lord works a miracle and our cross is, for the moment, removed. But far more often, the Lord would just let us learn the principle that brother Watchman Nee learned many years ago: When difficulty arises, we only ask one thing - How much of me has been lost, and how much of Christ has been gained? Once Paul learned this lesson, his experience shared in Romans seven no longer bothered him, for he saw the value. The old outer shell is burst, and "rivers of living water" gush forth.

The message of the cross is that the victory we have in Jesus is always first of all an internal eureka moment when we "count it all loss" that we may gain Christ. Sometimes that mountain in front of our faces will move once we have come upon this revelation, sometimes not, but the victory comes when we realize that it no longer matters. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Beauty of the Cross

1For we know that, if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:
II Cor 5:1-2

I was once a single man. I recall this as a historical fact, but now that I am married, I really don't remember what it was like. It's as if that man has died, and I am now living a new existence as a husband and a stepfather. I cannot deny that for most of my years here on earth I walked alone, with responsibility for no one, but I honestly don't recall the loneliness of that life. Now I suspect that the same will be true of my walk here on earth, once I have passed on to eternity. Sure, I will remember the fact of my walk on earth, but I shall recall nothing of how it felt to be hindered by sin and the flesh, so ecstatic will be my joy at being in Christ's presence. 

Someone, maybe Lewis, said that our focus on earth is usually wrong. We treat eternity as if it were nothing, and nothing as if it were eternity. The Bible is clear: there is reward in Heaven for what is done on Earth, but for most of us, the promise of reward is nothing but empty words. Jesus bids us, "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness . . . " but do we do so?  What is the true object of our desire? Is it the True Bread of Heaven (Is 55)? Or like the proverbial woman at the well, are we seeking that which does not truly satisfy?

I am convinced that when our hearts are set towards eternity, the Cross will ever be glorious in our eyes. Yes, Paul says, there is suffering here on earth, but it is not "worthy to be compared to the glory that is to be revealed in us", Romans eight. If that which we have now in temporal reality is taken away, we nevertheless are 'Being renewed in the inner man daily" II Cor 4. Yes, "the body they may kill, God's truth abideth still, his kingdom is forever". 

Lord, help me to focus on Eternity. Let me never live under the illusion that this life is all that there is. May I truly desire the Eternal, and gladly endure to the end, knowing that there is true treasure layed up for me in Heaven. 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

"For without faith, it is impossible to please God. For he who would come to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him" Hebrews 11:6.

For so long, Galatians 2:20 has been my life verse, but now I am ready to move onto the above as my theme for the rest of my days here on earth. Yes, indeed, I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. This is the starting point, for unless I realize just how hopeless I am, I will hold onto my old man and his ugly flesh. But a starting point is not meant to be dwelt at, but left. So said the writer of Hebrews in chapter six.

So it's a swap. I give up my life, but I get all that Jesus is in return. I suspect, saints, that He is better than anything we could ever imagine in a million lifetimes. As I said in my previous post, God is not a human Father, who gives grudgingly if at all. Not a chance. No, but when we see Him as He is, our lives are completely changed. And this is what I want for this year. I want to change what I do by changing how I think. I am really looking forward to what this new year brings.