Tuesday, March 11, 2014
test 1 |test|noun1 a procedure intended to establish the quality, performance, or reliability of something, esp. before it is taken into widespread use :no sparking was visible during the tests.• a short written or spoken examination of a person's proficiency or knowledge : a spelling test.• an event or situation that reveals the strength or quality of someone or something by putting them under strain : this is the first serious test of the peace agreement.• an examination of part of the body or a body fluid for medical purposes, esp. by means of a chemical or mechanical procedure rather than simple inspection : a test for HIV | eye tests.• Chemistry a procedure employed to identify a substance or to reveal the presence or absence of a constituent within a substance.• the result of a medical examination or analytical procedure : a positive test for protein.• a means of establishing whether an action, item, or situation is an instance of a specified quality, esp. one held to be undesirable : a statutory test of obscenity.2 Metallurgy a movable hearth in a reverberating furnace, used for separating gold or silver from lead.
Just thought it might help to think about this while you wait for the Word to come about. That and to contemplate the fact that the phrase, "the time his word came about," means God has a plan, an end in mind. This is not random, it is not condemnation, it is not pointless or heartless, it is not just "going to pass," it is pointed as a scalpel and as deliberate as machining process. God is making something, like a potter with the clay or a chef with the heat of his stove, he has an end in mind and he cannot fail.
Friday, March 07, 2014
No. It's not a post-it.
It's a mental picture, it's a symbol, it's something like what i want you to see when i say, "Grace."
Where do you think you are in the picture? If this is a picture of faith and the christian life, who are you?
i'll give you a hint, Christ has said we would share his throne with him. That means, it's HIS throne. We're just sitting there with him. Christ has said, HIS yoke is easy and HIS burden is light. That means it's HIS. We're just there with him. God is going to do what He is going to do. In fact, He is always working, always accomplishing His story. We have been invited into it! We are joining him on HIS mission. But we always want to co-opt the story. Make it about us. Which also, inevitably, makes it up to us. Paul warned us not to be unequally yoked and we usually apply that to marriage but he never says that. It doesn't NOT say that, that's just not all it says. It means the same thing God meant when he set his people apart and told them not to mingle with the nations around them, don't adopt their customs, don't pick up their ways, don't pick up their gods. Marriage is just one of the ways we open up Pandora's box. Satan wants you at war, worn down and worn out. His is the world system.
What exactly are you saying, Scruff? What's it got to do with this picture? Glad you asked! Okay, let's say you are Rascal there, you got your sandals on your feet, your smooth, fresh crew cut, your bright, clean shirt and you are ready for the world! If you do things the world's way, you would pick up a shovel and start digging. You would soon see what the curse in Genesis three was about and why man invent excavators and why everyone who digs in Pennslobovia curses the ground. And oh, by the way, you are six years old. You ain't too strong, ya dig?
Okay, well, let's say, Rascal becomes a Christian, Jesus makes him a son of God. God invites him to come and sit on his lap. Come, see what i see, m'boy. Come, join me in my work, my burden is light. Come, be with me. Hang on and enjoy the ride, the Father says. Well, Rascal is all like, Heck yeah! And he jumps up and everything's cool for a while but Rascal has read all these "DO" verses in the Bible and he's heard all those sermons about answering your calling and he's read Footprints and he's heard his whole life, "God helps those that help themselves." So Rascal realizes, crap! I've got to do something or God's gonna kick me off his lap! So he grabs the sticks and starts trying to operate the machine. Just a reminder, he's six. How well do you think that's gonna go? What happened?
Rascal forgot what the point was. The point is not the work. The point is not to earn your place on the lap or deserve to keep it. The point is not to dig for gold or clean water sources. The point was to BE WITH DAD. The reward, the better portion, the inheritance is the Father himself! To share in his joy. To share in His suffering. What happens to Him happens to you but you do it together! If Rascal would rather play video games, he loses the Father. He loses the joy of seeing the work complete. He loses the Father's joy in him. He loses relationship. If Rascal thinks it's about what he does, about performance, about saving the world, he forgets whose lap he's on. He loses the Father. He turns the work into work. Which as we know, eventually becomes drudgery, slavery and finally death. Or he fears because he cannot accomplish it, doesn't have the strength, the competency. He fails God! Well, i got two reassuring bits of news for ya:
1. You DON'T have the strength or competency.
and 2. God already knows that.
Moses at the Burning Bush keeps giving God reasons why Moses cannot go to Pharaoh and do what God said God was going to do. Moses didn't have to do much of anything! God promised to speak for him, to perform the signs, told him the outcome, said He'd be with him all the way... all he had to do was take a walk, all he had to do was...the same thing you have to do in your struggling marriage, your sickness, your loved one's sickness, your grieving, your impossible task, your wayward child, your job, your church, your relationships, your calling, your LIFE...
take the hand Jesus is offering you, jump up on God's throne with him and enjoy the ride.
Thursday, March 06, 2014
i hate to be a killjoy but i'd rather be one now, i'd rather you hate me than get to the judgment seat of Christ and have Him say, "Depart from me, i never knew you."
God is good. He causes the rain to fall on the just and the unjust alike. He is slow to anger and withholds his wrath in mercy. "Or do you despise the wealth of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart, you are storing up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and of the revelation of the righteous judgment of God..." (Rom 2)
We love to quote God's promises, all things work for good..., but i know the plans i have for you, plans of prosperity and not for harm, to give you a future and a hope. That God is going to raise us from the dead. Glory to God in the Highest and on earth peace and goodwill...
But we hate to remember the rest of those verses...
"And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose, because those whom he foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he should be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined, these he also called, and those whom he called, these he also justified, and those whom he justified, these he also glorified." (Rom 8)
"For I know the plans that I am planning concerning you,’ declares Yahweh, ‘plans for prosperity and not for harm, to give to you a future and a hope. Then when you call me, and you come and pray to me, then I will listen to you. When you search for me, then you will find me, if you seek me with all your heart. And I will let myself be found by you,’" (Jer 29)
"“The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, for they are not even able to die any longer, because they are like the angels and are sons of God, because they are sons of the resurrection." (Luke 20)
"“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace
among people with whom he is pleased!”
Even our quote from Psalms says, "His loyal love prevails over those that fear him." God's ultimate promises are for his people. Yes Christ died for all but only those who trust in his death, those who have died with him, receive his inheritance. Look, i'm not trying to make you doubt your salvation. i'm not looking to give you a to-do list. You cannot please God with your works. The works of God are to believe in the one whom He sent. When you do this, you are given the Holy Spirit as a down payment on things to come. It is the Holy Spirit who gave you the ability to believe in the first place, again, God goes before you! It is He who causes fruit to grow in your life, off your little dead and shriveled branch. John says those who believe are evident by their love. James says they are evident by their works. Do you see this fruit? Do you see love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control and humility in your life? Are you broken about what breaks the heart of God? Or are you numb? When you read the word, if you read it, does it speak to you? Do you want to see more of Him? Are things less and less important to you and God himself, his person, knowing him, more and more crucial and the aching of your heart? Do you desire the things He desires? Do you desire to be among others who desire Him? Yes? Awesome! Then live as Paul says, "Always Confident." Do not doubt! Rest in Him.
No? Then, as the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy sagely warns us, "Don't Panic." The most oft repeated command in the Bible is "Do not fear." God is for you! Look what he has done for you! Look! This is your work. Look into these things! See Jesus! See and then believe! Believe and the Spirit will come. Let Him worry about the to-do list.
Wednesday, March 05, 2014
Things i can be according to
2 Corinthians 5
Always carrying around the Death of Jesus in my body
in order that the life of Jesus be revealed in my body
Things i cannot be according to
2 Corinthians 5
i mention all of this because Psalm 102 is all about these feelings, these momentary light afflictions which can take our eyes off the promises and hook them to the lies. Just as Satan uses our sins and confessions against us, so God can use the prayers of saints gone before to lift us. Read the psalms! They are all about focusing our eyes on what is unseen and letting what is seen be temporary. Have you thought about what words like "eternal" and "beyond all measure" and "beyond all proportion" mean? Take just one, "beyond all proportion." That means that the consolation, the reward, the inheritance we receive for living our lives for Christ instead of ourselves is so far out of whack with what we had to give up, lose, had stolen or endured here on earth as to make us go, "Whoa! Hold up, it's too much! You must have me confused with someone like Mother Theresa or one of the martyrs, Dad!"
"And he said to them, "Truly I say to you there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children on account of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times more in this time or in the age to come, eternal life." Luke 18
That's the God we serve! Everything He has is yours! And He wants to give it to you! Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your heart like in your times of despair. Come to him in humility and the peace and joy He gives are just the down payment on things to come.
Tuesday, March 04, 2014
A psalm of David. i wonder if it came before or after Bathsheba? It is certainly easier to set before our eyes wicked things these days. Temptation is everywhere. But here it is pretty important i think, to remember James, "No one who is being tempted should say, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted by evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each one is tempted when he is dragged away and enticed by his own desires. Then desire, after it has conceived, gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is brought to completion, gives birth to death."
It's not God who brings temptation. The tree in the garden wasn't temptation, it was testing. It was a place to go and see if you truly loved God and trusted Him. It was so that we may know what is in our hearts. God already knows. God knew what Eve would do before He slid Adam's rib out, before He even scooped up some dust to mold Adam. The tree was not temptation. Eve's heart's desire to be her own god, to have control, her fear of insecurity is what tempted her. Heck, even Satan just gave the last nudge.
Self control. It is the product of the fruit of the Spirit. Which explains why it is in such short supply these days. Pray for the Spirit. Do business with the Spirit. Listen to Him. Repent of the sins which deafen us, which spring from our desires, to have control, to be our own gods. Take courage, fear not, hasn't God already said He is with you and will go before you?