Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Anti-intellectual? No.

A wise pastor once said there are always "two ditches" (or extremes) one can fall into — and that a more sensible approach is one of balance.
Some of the arguing and wrangling I tend to hear in certain "spiritual circles" comes across to me as pride all wrapped up in intellectual rhetoric. An observation could be made:

The spirit of criticism finds a place to thrive among self aggrandized "theological correctness" and spiritual elitism.

With irony and humility I must concede this may come across as somewhat — um… critical.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Is Christ your "crutch"?

Have you ever heard this? Sometimes Christian's are characterized as feeble-minded and needy — needing, you know, a "crutch" to sort of make life work. But I would say our condition is far, far worse than that. A "crutch" provides stability while using one's own strength. But God declares that we are not merely hurting, not merely wounded or needy, but DEAD in our trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1). Ouch! But as lifeless as we were, Christ made us alive by faith in His finished work on the cross. A crutch? Not even close. A "life-support system"? Well that I might agree with. How humbling. Nevertheless, in Christ we walk as living among the "dead."

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Trespassers welcome

Deuteronomy 24: 19 “When you reap your harvest in your field, and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. 20 When you beat your olive trees, you shall not go over the boughs again; it shall be for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow. 21 When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not glean it afterward; it shall be for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow. 22 And you shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt; therefore I command you to do this thing.”

It occurred to me after reading this passage that in order for the needy to get the left-behind produce, olives, barley, wheat, grapes, etc., that they would have to be walking into someone else’s fields. Today we would call that old fashioned “trespassing!” God’s heart for the poor is unmistakable — then and today. God provides for a good harvest in our field and asks us, “Hey, leave a little behind for these other ones whom I love, and have a real need.”
There was a time we all were desperate, poor, needy and spiritually bankrupt — and God met our need. All of us were slaves to sin in our own “Egypts” and God brought us out. So, to this I say, “Trespassers welcome!” What has God blessed us richly in that we could spare to set a little aside for someone much, much needier than ourselves? God frankly told Israel that to the extent they kept this in mind and practiced it, He would bless them.

The life-story of a stray arrow

1 Kings 22: 20-29 story context
34 But someone drew his bow at random and hit the king of Israel between the sections of his armor. The king told his chariot driver, "Wheel around and get me out of the fighting. I've been wounded." 35 … The blood from his wound ran onto the floor of the chariot, and that evening he died.”

Pretty amazing story. God pronounces a death sentence on an evil king, then a “stray” arrow pierces his armor and he dies.
This illustration of God’s sovereignty is nothing less than amazing.
Consider this: there was a man or boy who went out into the woods and cut down a long, slim branch — one of many— that looked perfect to carve out arrows that could be used for catching food or fighting an enemy. Someone then carefully carved out a shaft and fashioned onto it a sharp, deadly arrowhead. This was done by the dozens, hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands each year.
But one arrow had a special plan for it that began long before the tree had grown or before the branch had sprung from which it had been taken. Perhaps as the king was a boy growing up, the tree was maturing. Perhaps as the king was crowned, the branch from whence the arrow came gained length. And as the king’s heart grew hard and sinful and evil in God’s sight —in the fullness of time, months before the deadly battle, the branch was plucked, carved, and crafted into a deadly weapon — all unbeknownst to the king. Then the story and purpose of this arrow came to a close — as it sank into the king’s flesh — in a very small, unguarded area — and mortally wounded him. God’s purposes and sovereign power are far beyond our comprehension.

That kind of reminds me of our Saviour’s cross and the tree from which it was crafted from — where our Lord Jesus died. Would we dare think God had not thought of that cross, or the tree from which it was crafted, and known that IT was the one that would be used to crucify His very own, precious son? How often might the Father have deeply groaned, as the tree grew and matured — Him fully knowing the deadly purpose for which it was created? And yet it was HIS purpose and plan even from the foundation of the world.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Mr. Magoo and the sovereignty of God

If your a Gen-Xer or older, you may remember that old UPA cartoon "Mr. Magoo" — an elderly, near-sighted (almost blind) man that looks a bit like he's been scrapping or something — because you never see his eyes behind those puffy, closed eyelids.

Anyway, when I think of God's sovereignty, I often think about that opening sequence at the beginning of each cartoon (from SO many years ago!), where Mr. Magoo is walking through some huge construction project. Massive i-beams are swinging dangerously everywhere, but he's total unaware of them or the dangers they pose. He about steps into a pit and an i-beam happens to meet his feet at the right moment — taking him on to another destination. Indeed, wherever he steps, these i-beams seem to come to his rescue, and he never gets hurt, but goes on his merry way. No one operating the cranes and moving the beams are even aware of this little speck of a man. They are about their own business of building something. But strangely, like a symphony, these unrelated people and objects in motion, with very different agendas, work together. It's as if some unseen divine hand is orchestrating it all.

And that is a picture of how God works sovereignly in our lives. God can use any and everything in His created order to work out His divine plan.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The love of God is LARGER than life

This morning I was meditating on God's love, and I remembered the first time I experienced it. Words cannot do justice. Words are so weak and incapable of expressing the Father's love to us. So He demonstrated His love beyond mere mortal words:
Romans 5:8 "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
Have you ever written a love letter to someone and said, "I love you!" And that exclamation point really meant something, didn't it? Well, as you meditate on God's love, remember what He did for you so unselfishly on the cross, and hear His words to your heart:
"I LOVE you! I LOVE you! OH, how I LOVE you!"
But instead of one exclamation mark, there are 10,000X10,000 after each. The depth of the Father's love is so great toward us! Amen.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Walking by faith down difficult roads

A “Walk of Faith Manifesto” might read something like this:
“I will live by faith from day to day – not by sight. By a determined focus on Jesus and His kingdom (Matt. 6:33)and trusting in the goodness of God and His foreordained plan (Eph. 2:10), I forfeit my fleshly need to know God’s complete “roadmap” for my life… and instead acknowledge that God may keep me in the dark through many circumstances (Job/Joseph). In fact He joys when I lean on Him and not my own ability to intellectually solve every challenge or question (Prov. 3:5-6). When I am puzzled, without answers, burdened beyond measure, despairing – I realize this is God’s fertile ground, indeed, His classroom, to teach me to trust in Him alone (2 Cor. 1:8-9). I embrace the “walk of faith” knowing it is the difficult and narrow way (Heb. 11:35-40/Matt. 7:14), often with testings and trials, but yielding the fruit that greatly pleases God (Heb. 11:6/James 1:2-4/ Rom. 5:3-4). I will trust in Him who is invisible, that His promises are sure and tangible and that He is in complete control (Heb. 11:1/Romans 8:28/ Psalm 111:7-8/Jn 14:2).”