Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Balancing Act

I was at my home group the other night, and the whole subject of eternal security came up, albeit in a roundabout way. Like, we can count on God adopting us as His children. But we are also supposed to "work out our salvation with fear and trembling." But God "chose us before the foundation of the world," right? And we are still supposed to strive to "make our calling and election sure."

It is that age old argument. Well, it's an argument from our perspective, I guess. And my friend said it in a really cool way. He said at the end, when we get to the entrance gate or whatever is there, and we are in front of God Himself, and He asks us why He should let us in, what will be our response? Well, I for one know I will fall on my face and say that of course He shouldn't, but would He please let me in because of the blood of Christ? That's the only thing that will get anyone in anyhow, and there is no way I am going to stand there and try to argue that I was good enough during my life to merit living eternally in the presence of a perfectly holy God.

So if that will be what happens then, there's two things about now that I know. a) I should never take Jesus sacrifice for granted. And 2) I can take Jesus sacrifice for granted.

I can work to make my calling sure even while counting on the gift of the shed blood of Christ. There's always a balance to be struck.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

A little view of the top

God reveals His love for us in so many ways - many times through other people. We are God to each other sometimes, when we show real love. The flowers that show up at work, the note from someone you have not seen for too long, the surprise party thrown on a Friday night, of all nights, right before vacation. Pretty cool, really.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

The Center Pole is...Whom?

Who is at the center of our spiral line of life?

For most people, it really is ourselves. We see everything through our own frame of reference, we look at every new situation in terms of how it might benefit us, we seem to constantly ask the question, "What's in this for me?" But is that how we should live?

Certainly not as Christians. We are supposed to be walking in the steps of Jesus Christ. And if there was ever an unselfish person in this world it was Jesus Christ. He knew He was God in the flesh, He knew He had power to do anything, have anything, become anything. And He chose to follow His Father's plan right to the cross and death. He always had His perspective straight, and had the long view in mind. "For the joy set before Him" he scorned the shame of the cross, endured the pain. What was the joy?

I think Jesus' joy was multifaceted - bringing honor to God, returning to the Father and sitting at His right, winning the battle over sin and death. But we were also part of that joy. He loved us! He still loves us, and is in the throne room of God advocating for us. "This one belongs to me," He'll say when our Accuser stands and tries to show God we are undeserving of salvation.

God is to be the center of our spiral. We are to always be looking to Him, walking in His love and grace. And anything that drags us off of that focus is bad - I would even go so far as to call it idolatry.

That includes being in despair about our own weaknesses. In fact, the ancient theologian Fenelon would say that despair over our weakness is worse that the weakness itself. If we can just recognize our weakness, then give it over to God, and walk forward knowing His love remains on us, then we are doing well. But if we wallow in it, analyze it, cry over it, hold onto it like some unwashed security blanket, then we are focused on ourselves and not on God. This attitude reflects our lack of belief in His promise that He will never leave us, that He will always love us, and that His grace is sufficient for everything - even for getting us Home.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Myopic Spiral

I was thinking about perspective the other day. I remembered that when I was learning to drive, I was taught to keep my eyes up toward the horizon, and this would make it easier to drive within the lanes on the highway. When we look at the road directly in front of our car, we begin to make small, frequent, and conscious adjustments, which sometimes only serve to keep us weaving around in the lane, instead of just driving straight ahead with our eyes on the goal, so to speak. If we look to where we are going, it is easier to stay on the straight course to get there.

So it is with our life of faith. If we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, we will find it easier to walk steadily toward Him. If we start looking down at the road right in front of us, we find ourselves veering off course. It is the long view toward the goal that keeps our path straight.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

The Long Haul

Have Americans really forgotten what happened in Louisiana and Mississippi a mere 6 months ago? I heard someone lamenting about that this morning.

My church has teamed with the local high school to build a house and send it down to Cut Off, Louisiana for a displaced family. Whay would happen if every vocational center building program teamed with a local church and sent a house? Imagine that!

Could it happen?

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Sure Footing

When God adopts us as His children, granting us the Holy Spirit, He grants us certainty. The trick is to walk in what we know to be true, rather than what we feel at the time.

Faith is the ability to look at any situation, face any kind of "feeling" about that situation, and still choose to believe the Truth that we know. Faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the evidence of what is not seen. So says Hebrews 11. But the ability to walk in certainty requires constantly reminding ourselves of that truth.

It is difficult to be in a crazy circumstance and hang on to that. But I think it is even harder to live this in the everyday. I mean, when a hurricane completely destroys your house, you don't have much but your faith to fall back on, so to speak. The thing in Proverbs 3:5-6 - Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all of your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight - is eaiser to see when it is all you can see. But when you're in your everyday life, and just going through the normalcy of it, and everything around you is the familiar, normal stuff, and you have plenty of knowledge about what is going on and such, it is hard to remember that you're God's child. And when a question comes in the everyday, it is harder to pause and ask God. But we should, right? I mean, He is there all the time, and He always knows the answer.

Anyway, that's what I was thinking. Walking in the certainty of being God's child requires teaching ourselves to do that in all of the realms of life.