Saturday, December 18, 2010

It's all About Jesus

You know, God doesn't ever stand still, nor let us do so.  He's blessed me so much this last year and the year before and the year before and the year before...   Constantly growing and changing me.  Boy am I glad!  Thank you lord Jesus!

I recently heard someone describe the Christian life as a trail toward God, where sometimes we walk forward and sometimes we slide back.  What a depressing thought!  Perhaps it's even possible to come to the end of life having gone so far backward that we are further from God than we started!  Well...  I don't believe it, from personal experience, I guess, as well as from a theology of God-centeredness.  I don't want anyone to believe in such a dreary picture of life.

Perhaps the path metaphor is somewhat accurate, but it's a path of hills and valleys.  Sometimes we're on a high point, and we can look down the road and see the glimmer of Jesus glory, and we're overwhelmed by His beauty and love and we run forward to be closer to Him.  But after a few steps we find ourselves going down-hill, perhaps sliding a bit on the loose gravel of sin.  Before we know it we're flat on our faces at the bottom of a valley, and it's dark down there!  We've got cuts on our hands and knees where we fell on the gravel when we tried to stand on our own pride.  Jesus seems so far away, and all we see ahead is the next steep mountain.

The important thing is to see the road going up the mountain, the Way to the Father.  The early church was often referred to as "followers of The Way."  I don't think that's chance.  Jesus said He was the Way...  if we follow Him, we are very literally "Followers of The Way."  And the Way leads us to the Father!  Perhaps it has valleys, and it's rough going, and we sin, and our flesh is wicked and deceitful, but we're on The Way!  We're going forward!

Through sorrows brought on by the sins of others, through highs of spiritual ecstasy, through sins of my own, through times when I can't hear His voice and others when I can feel him walking right beside me...   through all these things He is drawing me forward!  My life passes by, and what joy there is with growing older as I can see Jesus face growing clearer and larger in my view!

Walking down this path of life we can no more "backslide" away from Jesus than we can turn the hands of time backward and grow a year younger!  He is bringing us to Himself, and "He who has begun a good work in you will be faithful to complete it!"  So give Him praise when you stand on the peaks and feel the sun of his love on your face, but know that your life cannot stand still.  Even more, have joy when you find yourself in a dark valley, hurting and bleeding, because you have the sure knowledge that time is not standing still, and that the shuffling step of every minute is bringing you closer to the end of that road when you will see Jesus face to face!

Be blessed!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Too Easily Pleased

"Delight yourself in the Lord!"
-Psalm 37:4

"If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith. Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased." -C.S. Lewis

May we come fully to the feast of loving God, craving, and receiving, the unspeakable joy of worshiping Him. We are commanded to "delight" in Him. Our love for Him must consume us, and in this burning we will find our greatest joy. Worship not as a duty, but as an expression of your emotions, not pretending to do Him some service, but humbly finding happiness in the glorifying of His name.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Crucifixion and the Sovereignty of God

"This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross." - Acts 2:23

The doctrine of God's Sovereignty, or His will and hand giving direction to everything, is perhaps the most strongly felt debate in Christendom. I myself have come from a strong opposition to this doctrine to a love of it and peaceful resting in it beyond my own understanding. Jonathan Edwards, the great eighteenth-century writer, pastor, and teacher, gives this account:

"From my childhood up, my mind had been full of objections against the doctrine of God's sovereignty, in choosing whom he would to eternal life, and rejecting whom he pleased... It used to appear like a horrible doctrine to me... but... now I saw further, and my reason apprehended the justice and reasonableness of it... and there has been a wonderful alteration in my mind with respect to the doctrine of God's sovereignty. I have often since had not only a conviction, but a delightful conviction. The doctrine has very often appeared exceeding pleasant, bright, and sweet. Absolute sovereignty is what I love to ascribe to God. But my first conviction was not so."

The most heinous sin ever committed was the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus. In the light of the crucifixion any other evil you may imagine pales into insignificance. And yet, before the dawn of time it was "God's set purpose and foreknowledge" which caused this event to be, and at the end of time the crucifixion will be the most glorious act for which we will praise Him. May you praise our sovereign God today for the glory of his power!