Wednesday, February 22, 2012

To Shutter

This picture was taken as a passing thunderstorm collided with the ash plume
of a erupting volcano in South America. Putting on a dazzling display that
must have been just as terrifying as it was beautiful.

The earth, destroyed once over by water in judgment, sits scarred by desolation, yet it still has moments of such grandeur that it overwhelms the imagination of man. At times causing even the most learned of men to yield in their spirit and stand as mere spectators, finding no words either in science or philosophy to satisfy the spirits longing to express that which is seen through the eyes.

His Ancient Fame

It is much too much to fathom,
the Lord in glory so,
both beautiful and terrifying
proving worthy His ancient fame,
that the sky in all its glamor,
must hide its face for shame.

Then it will come to pass
as they join and sing
men in this presence shutter,
and quake with dread,
for its long been said,
like Him, there is no other.

Then clamor about 
as He opens his mouth
they cry to the rocks for shelter.
But alas you see,
Oh race of man,
the Earth too, His presence fled.

But come back my friends,
to the here and now,
and marvel at what's been said.
For if the Lord our Judge
would give us grace,
let us run to Him instead!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Faith Alone or Co-Workers?

"Look at me. I stand at the door. I knock. 
If you hear me call and open the door, 
I'll come right in and sit down to supper with you. 
Conquerors will sit alongside me at the head table, just as I, 
having conquered, took the place of honor at the side of my Father. 
That's my gift to the conquerors!
"Are your ears awake? Listen. 
Listen to the Wind Words, 
the Spirit blowing through the churches." 
Revelation 3:20

There is a lot of confusion with exactly what salvation by Christ looks like. How much of our salvation rests on us? Short answer, "Every Last Detail!" Yes, any salvation BY MEN is completely dependent on men, but - any salvation from God is completely dependent on God. (I'm playing with words here, but word play is really a matter of perspective.) I fear our flesh is tempted to assume that there was a phone call, from our behalf, before Jesus showed up at our door. But the text does not afford us that luxury. When Christ came to the world he was not invited. He showed up uninvited and rejected, even by His own. We were all perfectly content doing our own thing, working on our own idea and planning the cleansing of our own conscience. We were enemies of God and without the slightest bit of regret, we were marching straight down to destruction. We wanted nothing to do with anything else, but our own credibility. We had things figured out.

The wisdom of Solomon, however, interrupted that line of thinking when he said, "the ways which seem right to man, end in death." We are joint heirs with Christ, praise be to God for that, but we were not co-workers with Him. Our salvation is in Him and Him alone. This is the appropriate way to receive Christ at our door, as both Savior and Lord. In response on any attempt of the flesh to add or assist in the redemptive work, which is Christ's alone, in Jesus' own words, "Let the dead bury their own dead". The work was His alone to do. Any work on our part might perhaps be considered an offense to the Cross. Neither did Jesus say that we should clean the place up a bit first. Praise God also for that. If we were ever able to clean house (spiritually speaking), we would never have need of a Savior. He restores us to a right relationship with the Father, He is our Redeemer, not a life coach.  All praise be to God, so that we can boast in nothing.

"For my part, I am going to boast about nothing
but the Cross of our Master, Jesus Christ. 
Because of that Cross, I have been crucified in relation to the world, 
set free from the stifling atmosphere of pleasing others 
and fitting into the little patterns that they dictate. 
Can't you see the central issue in all this? 
It is not what you and I do—submit to circumcision, reject circumcision. 
It is what God is doing, 
and he is creating something totally new, a free life! 
All who walk by this standard 
are the true Israel of God—his chosen people. 
Peace and mercy on them!"
Galatians  6:14-16

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Matter of Perspective

"The Message that points to Christ on the Cross 
seems like sheer silliness to those hellbent on destruction, 
but for those on the way of salvation it makes perfect sense. This is the way God works, 
and most powerfully as it turns out. 
It's written, 
I'll turn conventional wisdom on its head, I'll expose so-called experts as crackpots.
So where can you find someone truly wise, truly educated, truly intelligent in this day and age?
Hasn't God exposed it all as pretentious nonsense? Since the world in all its fancy wisdom never 
had a clue when it came to knowing God, God in his wisdom took delight in using 
what the world considered dumb—preaching, of all things!—
to bring those who trust him into the way of salvation."
1 Corinthians 1:18-21

When confronted with the option to believe there are other ways to be made right with God outside faith in Jesus Christ, we must understand that a perfect God would only need one way. The trouble with rejecting Christ's words that no one comes to the Father except through Him, aside from the mere rejecting of Christ's words as if that weren't already a grievous enough error, is this, to make the proclamation "Surely God couldn't send someone to hell that has never heard the name of Jesus", is right in line with saying, "God wouldn't send me to hell either". If this be the case, from what then, is our salvation?

At first this all seemed foolish to me. From the depths of my depravity a voice of sympathy cried out. "Think of the implications!", it said. "Think of the people!", it exclaimed. "To redeem so many through just this one name?!" Soon the gravity and scope of the situation overwhelmed me. Surely there must be another way, so I relented. But Oh, wretched deception! For delusion had slipped in under the pretense of sympathy and concern for others ... but Ahh the lie! In my selfish sin I cared, not for others, but sought only to keep close those things that gave me the most carnal pleasure. Lord give me grace. If I had genuine concern for the unredeemed I would drop my idols and go exclaim this gospel with every ounce of my being. But the selfishness of my heart says, "What?!? ... just let them keep their sin, and I'll keep mine... find another way God, cause we don't want you, we just want our STUFF." 

To believe any other way is to have a far too high opinion of ones own righteousness or far too low an opinion of the Lords righteousness, but most likely just a dangerously and unhealthy dose of both.

Monday, October 31, 2011

No Sir ... Halloween Is Not Scary.

Alas, it's Halloween, the day of the year where we like to dress up and pretend to be something we are not. We go out and get all the sweet goodies that our neighbors hand out and eat them all to our little hearts content. Well, at least that is what we did when we were kids. The talk that goes on about Halloween and all the mischief that goes along with this holiday is sad but it is not what I fear.

What I fear is this. There are 364 ish days the rest of the year where there is masquerading going on, albeit of a different sort. They slip into our ranks and preach a different gospel, bring a different spirit and teach a different Jesus. They give us all the sweet goodies our itching ears want to hear. Tell us how to make lots of money in Jesus' name, but it is not our Jesus. They make some very comfortable on their trip to destruction. All while some of us sit tolerantly in our pews, and/or chairs depending on the sanctuary lay out at our specific church.

"And I'm not changing my position on this. I'd die before taking your money. I'm giving nobody grounds for lumping me in with those money-grubbing "preachers," vaunting themselves as something special. They're a sorry bunch—pseudo-apostles, lying preachers, crooked workers—posing as Christ's agents but sham to the core. And no wonder! Satan does it all the time, dressing up as a beautiful angel of light. So it shouldn't surprise us when his servants masquerade as servants of God. But they're not getting by with anything. They'll pay for it in the end."
2 Corinthians 11:12-15

No Sir ... Halloween is not Scary.