Thursday, June 30, 2005
A Rhetorical Question
Yes! Why not? Listen to ourselves. God set Adam and Eve up for failure…tell someone “you can do anything you want, just don’t_____”. Try not obsessing about the don’t! So, maybe the serpent didn’t even have to try so hard! Story continues…a band of brothers are to become the twelve tribes of His Holiness, perfect in every way cause God told ‘em how it’s done. They got the Law! But it was a setup too cause surely, God knew it was humanly impossible to keep the Law! Then, the Father pulls out the big guns, His Son, and shows everybody it can be done, cause Jesus did, and then has the Young Man killed in His prime when His following was just gettin going. This has something to do with cleansing all sin for all time. The only thing ya have to do is believe it! And we do. Big surprise…they call us fools for Christ. Change the story? Well, there is a different perspective.
The absurdities can be diminished as we gain knowledge of God. The Love and Justice, the gift of Choice, the blessing of Truth and Guidance, the result of Freedom and Peace through relationship, obedience, and trust. The holy God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the Mercy of Christ on the cross, can overshadow the insanely foolish view. But no matter, the wise will reject it. Only the one who lets go, willing to play the fool, will see.
Monday, June 27, 2005
Beyond the Purpose
Joseph was able to feed his family…to provide bread enough for his brothers. Schaeffer: “Joseph is brought out of prison and out of death to provide bread, to give life, to those who had before rejected him.” (Pg. 53)
There is a purpose beyond the purpose. Meaning deeper than the meaning. The thread surfaces on the tapestry here. God provided. Jesus, the Bread of Life, self-pronounced, tied the knot so the story would not, could not be unraveled. But obviously, God is telling this story—He is the Master Weaver. He told it for the Israelites so that Jacob-Israel could see. He told it for the disciples as Jesus uttered profound revelation, “I am the bread of life, He who comes to Me will never go hungry.” ~John 6:35
God wove this story for you and me so that there could be no misunderstanding about who He is. Who Jesus is. Who we are. We are fed because of it. God uses the history—He made the history—He is the Ancient of Days. Hallelujah!
Sunday, June 26, 2005
"Why, oh why is she going on like this?", you ask. Did you know Tammy, Sandra Dee, was speaking Biblese as late as 1963 on the big screen? Her vocabulary, her reasoning, her outlook on life (that would be worldview as we know it) was her gloriously simple faith in the Word. It was similar to the faith I have tried to share here...the faith Edith Schaeffer passed on to me through her writing. 1963, the year we turned our backs on God by denying prayer time in our public schools. It was the end of an era.
Saturday, June 25, 2005
Joseph, Son of Jacob
The story turns after long suffering in Egypt’s prison and supernatural patience on Joseph’s part, Joseph becomes a powerful man, trusted by Pharaoh because God interprets Pharaoh’s dreams, using Joseph. Joseph spared the Egyptians, thus the Hebrews, from starvation because of God’s power in him. Jesus has saved the gentile nations first, thus Israel. In this way, God is sparing His own chosen when He tells Jacob in Genesis 46:3, “I am God, the God of thy father: fear not to go down into Egypt for there I will make thee a great nation: I will go down with thee into Egypt: and I will also surely bring thee up again: and Joseph shall put his hand upon your eyes.” The repeat in history…the vision set forth is how God has never let go of His Chosen—the promise for Israel’s salvation is going to reach Israel by way of God’s Children.
Thursday, June 23, 2005
The Old, Old Story 2
If only we could remember the stories. The intensity of Abraham’s faith, the trust of Isaac to believe and obey his father, the glorious release when they looked together at the ram standing there with his horn caught in the thorns. If we could see God’s amazing, sovereign power to offer the vision thousands of years before sweet Jesus stood with His crown of mercy. Capture the moment! Tell the story too amazing to be true. Question it if you must…but don’t stop there. Wait for the answer. Accept the destiny. Let go of the restlessness…it is too powerful to deny…too real to fake. Told by different biblical authors, many generations apart…the Lamb came for His children.
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
The Old, Old Story
“The story needed to be recorded so that each generation could relive this moment with fresh understanding. The historic event that was to take place in a few moments as to picture a reality that would some day take place in the very middle of all history, so that everyone could be taken off the altar even a Isaac ‘escaped’ that day. A substitution was to take place, which would teach people what God’s solution to the spoiled universe and to man’s sin was all about. A substitution [at Mount Moriah, in a spot called by Abraham, Jehovah-Jireh—God will provide] would make the Truth clear to those who needed to wait patiently for the future fulfillment, believing with a measure of understanding. This same [event] would also make the truth clear to those who would be looking back at history, as we are now.” (Christianity is Jewish, p 45)
These are the words of Edith Schaeffer. As the blossoms fell from the locust tree, I had a profound sense of things forever being finished…those very same blossoms won’t ever return. (and how I love that scent) Hope of heaven lying dormant for a moment as I sank into sadness. Words are precious like that sometimes. Mrs. Schaeffer will move on to be with her husband but here, she was expressing such beautiful, simple truth. Abraham and Isaac, for the intensity of the moment, could never lose the memory. The story was told over and over to every generation. This is God’s intent for us, as families…to tell the old, old story. It should have naturally gone by way of the blossoms but instead, God gives us, in our day, the whole story. God has given us vivid pictures…on this mountain, Calgary or Golgotha, Moriah, Jehovah-Jireh. Many names, one place where God’s Son would be on the verge of death too, but no substitute came because Jesus was the Lamb, or ram (a grown male) provided…so we could all escape payment, death itself…only believe the story.
Sunday, June 19, 2005
When it comes down to it, I want to know who I’m talking to. God made a way for us to know Him. We don’t have to pray to a stranger! Francis Schaeffer begins the gospel with Genesis in his book, Genesis in Space and Time, not with Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. We parents did not create our kids, in case some might have thought otherwise. Our children are given their value by their Creator, just as every living person is conceived with this meaning. This is where abortion gets ugly. If all who ever lived had purpose, then so have all who have died. Our Creator God gave us our humanness or “mannishness”, as Dr. Schaeffer wrote. God has a way for us to be human, a little like Him as opposed to animal, beast or machine. If this seems too obvious, think about what happens when Genesis is converted to “story time”. Man does literally become animal, beast or worse, machine. From the start, God had meaning and purpose for humans. The analogy of parent-child relationship won’t stick. Our purpose for our children can be terribly flawed and misguided. The only purpose for us to pass on to our offspring is the very one God gave to Adam and Eve. “Have dominion over the earth, subdue it…make it and keep it beautiful and peaceful and good—as I created it.” (Northern 'Burbs Blog has a series on Christian environmentalism) We were to carry on God’s will, in His image, representing Him! This is why our relationship with God is drastically different…God has Great Expectations. He is holy and perfect. We can’t have the same kinds of demands for our children. (I fear some do.) Our failures torturously rip at our relationship with our Righteous Father. God wants us near—our bad choices pull us away. This is reality—it fits reality. God is finished with choices—He makes none, and maybe He never did. He Is. We are the choice makers.
It’s a nice thought, running to God at our every whim. Truth is, we keep ourselves from Him—He simply laid the ground rules, defined sin. It is because of Who He is that sin and sinners cannot draw near.
Sunday, June 12, 2005
I've Been Deep Purpled
Here's the thing...I have a deep appreciation for the discipline it takes to pull off a performance of this caliber. I finished music school. Presently, I watch my sons grasping at straws trying to find enough discipline in themselves and moreso, in others, to make it work. Sure, it's fun but not ALL of it! It really was a sweet appreciation that hit me last night...for human capacity--talent, hard work, and discipline. Don't we need to access these everyday? Underneath the Christian joy is a touch of drudgery. God-given talent must be tapped. Sometimes it flows like the synchronized music of a seasoned rock band and sometimes, it needs more practice, discipline, prayer time. The joy makes a comeback as dear as last night's concert.
They smiled up there. It was joyous for them. You could feel it. Perhaps it was Christian love, the Holy Spirit moving my prayers for these guys. Doesn't your cup ever overflow like that? Then, Ian Gillan announced a solo written by Steve Morse. It was inspired by the Columbia Space Shuttle disaster. Deep Purple had emailed back and forth with the crew. He said, "Let's remember those who have sacrificed their lives to better ours." There were Christians on the Columbia--a spark of hope. I detect a Christian-like appreciation for selflessness.
I don't know but perhaps God was leaving me with one last glimmer. As the band neared the end of encore hit, "Hush", which Ian credited to be 5000 years old--(: )that would be Eden for all us literalists!) a train passed by, close by--whistle blowing in tune to the finale. I would like to think Deep Purple is bound to Glory! Amen
My guys will call me a poser for writing this. Don't they believe in conversion? "Light dawns in the darkness for the upright; He is gracious, merciful, and righteous." ~Psalm 112:4
Saturday, June 11, 2005
Peter Writes to the Jews
Maybe you have a similar loss of perspective that I have always had. History has not been my favorite thing so the sense of time passed is cloudy; future, present, past all jumble together in my head as an anthology of stories. This is how Edith Schaeffer's book brings back the sensibility of history.
Thursday, June 09, 2005
How is God going to bless every nation through Abraham? He already did. Jesus, the Messiah is the blessing. That is it. The Promises given to Abraham and repeated in Genesis 26 for Isaac (v. 4) “I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed.” Jehovah God is a maker and keeper of covenants. Here is a covenant with the nation of Israel and more specifically, Judah, through which a blessing for all the earth did emerge. “And behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people for unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” ~Luke 2:10b, 11
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
When God Can't
We see obstacles everyday. Prayers rise up to Heaven and return with a no vote from God. I don’t mean the prayers for a yacht…meaningful, loving prayers. We see things happening that couldn’t possibly be the will of God, could they? Suffering, evil and death. Someone we love still not saved from themselves and Satan’s stronghold. Faith is remembering, as Abraham did, no obstacle is too large for God. But God cannot conflict with Himself. God loved Jesus and said so (i.e. Matthew 3:17) but He couldn’t bless Jesus with His grace. His plan was to unleash ALL of His wrath for ALL sins, for ALL time, on the One who was born to bear it. It is out of character for God to look on evil. It is also out of character for God to hate anything other than sin. Abraham knew God didn’t hate Isaac. He trusted the intention might be to resurrect the boy back to life. Isaac was God’s promise kept, but the situation points to a future scene on the same mountain range where God’s wrath on Jesus was completely, wholly directed at the sins of men. His Righteousness and Love were both revealed on Nisan 14: Good Friday.
Sunday, June 05, 2005
The fathers of Judaism and granddaddies of Christianity, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, truly knew through their connection with God, what was up. Abraham saw the stars in the heavens and heard God proclaim a promise like no other. Isaac believed on that promise when he trusted his dad enough, and his DAD, to lie down on the altar under Abraham’s raised knife. Jacob knew God had kept the promise when his dearest son Joseph, long thought dead, shows up as one of the most powerful men in Egypt, definitely set in position for the salvation, yes, rescue, of God’s Chosen from deadly famine. What was the promise?
“I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your nameAre we willing to lie down on the altar to face our own death? Can we trust God to rescue us from death? It is an act of our will, a choice, to let go. Let go of what? Reason? Intellect? Dreams, desires, wealth, loved ones? I am convinced there is no need to surrender our minds, our creativity or our logic. These are God’s gifts to us for our use to His glory. Dreams, wealth, family? Well, there are plenty of examples where these are placed second to God’s purpose yet these, too are gifts from God, which are not evil in themselves; they all play a huge role in God’s plan. The passing on of tradition and faith is exercised with all of these tools. It is when they are misused that God sheds a different light on the matter. Surrendering to God’s will and God’s truth is not only a matter of life and death. Our choice makes all the difference between a long life with Him or a short one without…with Him or against Him. It is black and white. If Abraham, Isaac or Jacob had denied Him? If we deny Him? Same difference, there are consequences. Not for God’s plan…yours.
great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever
curses you, I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
Wednesday, June 01, 2005
Smaller Than a Mustard Seed
Maybe I refuse to go there because of the heaviness of relativism in postmodern Christianity. It is not nearly as shocking as the idea that God actually used earthly, historical (I don’t mean natural) events to work unearthly wonders. Unbelievers, well…what are you to think? “Saved by His blood! Jesus shed His blood for you!” I am so surprised writers/theologians don’t approach this more often—it is a huge stumbling block. Some would rather and do move away from it, take it out of the doctrine even. Am I going to make it easier for us here? Not real likely. But I won’t back down…the blood of Jesus Christ, the very source of life, His life, was drained. And because it was, and because Jesus lived again victoriously bringing life back to His Body, death…sin’s penalty…was destroyed. Physically, supernaturally destroyed.
"For me the Christian doctrines which are ‘metaphorical’…mean something which is just as ‘supernatural’ or shocking after we have removed the ancient imagery as
it was before." ~C.S.Lewis
"And that is precisely the point, I believe. It does not invalidate the inerrancy of Scripture to allow for the possibility that some passages are allegorical.”
It may seem like I said all the same old stuff. “He died on the cross for your sins!!” What I’m trying to say, there is something about the blood. Get the demonic, satanic coven pictures out of your head. The Deceiver puts effort in it too, knowing full well it will minimize God’s pictures to us. Replace “sacrifice” with giving, pouring out, spilling. Jesus’ Life source—His blood was spilt. Life is sacred so what does that make blood? What does that make the blood of the perfect Lamb, God’s Son? Now think on all this in terms of a Supernatural God who, in all Holiness and Love, created His people and creatures from nothing, with blood in their veins and hearts to move it. Sacred Life. Do I dare ask if life is as sacred when it is evolved from protoplasm?
We have forgotten God is the Giver and Sustainer of all things, including nature…nature is not the sustainer, much less the giver. When stock is put in evolution, exclusively, you can actually get away with removing God from reality with little harm done. Does anyone out there consider mutation a supernatural process? Could it have started and continued without God? Some say yes, others no; it’s arbitrary. Sure sounds absurd to tack God on after the fact. “Nature mutates, oh, and by the way, God makes that happen.” Can anyone hear the sameness? It just doesn’t matter whether God is in the picture or not! The statement is powerless! When science and nature dictate the source of life, God is one hundred percent dispensable. Natural processes are empowered by the laws of nature. That is a fact I do not dispute. We Christians could sit here till doomsday, yelling about God’s Natural Laws, the inerrancy of Scripture, which happens to be allegorical, and we will always end up excluding the fourth possibility because it is expendable. As Jesus accused the scribes and Pharisees, “You judge according to the flesh…” John 8:15
We dare not forget the unseen’s impact on our world or we will find ourselves with a faith smaller than a mustard seed.