Tag Archives: life

Wonderful cross or place of death?

We often sing of the wonderful beautiful cross. And because our mind cannot handle the intensity or cruelty of the cross we grow numb to the brutality of the cross. Yet, we have to remember the cross was torture leading to death. Jesus experienced pain at the highest levels of the human experience.

The cross was not just some uncomfortable experience, like the awkwardness of telling a stranger on the plain you’re a Christian, or the embarrassment of getting to front of the line at the grocery store with a cart full of items and realizing you forgot your wallet.

Jesus died on the cross. He bled, and breathed his last breath on the cross.

When we sing of the cross it should be in the sober reality of what happened, why it happened, who it was that died for us.

The cross is the anchor point of our faith, not some pithy poppy featurette of the Sunday lineup. Our God died at the hands of his creation; the creation he loved and formed. Our God suffered and was humiliated by the very people he gave life to.

The cross is not wonderful, it the shame of humanity, and the glory of God. The cross does not represent the best in man, but the worst. The cross is the premiere exhibit in our museum of disgrace.

I understand why people wish to forget the cross, and down play its reality. As a humanitarian why would I want to highlight the cross any more than I would want to highlight the holocaust as an act of human civility and love?

All one should do at the cross is fall down before it and cry out, “I will never deny you again. With my heart and with my actions I too crucified you, but never again. I will serve the King whom I killed. He will be my God.”

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People and change

People rarely change, and apart from God I believe change is impossible.

Like all things our memories work against us. Time begins to mythologize the past, making exaggerations out of minor variation.

However, at the same time people are like sediment. Our characteristic and personality traits layer themselves in our lives, and over time they settle and stratify. Characteristics that were once on the top of who we were may sink a few layers. While other traits which were hidden a few layers deep rise to the top.

This is effect is seen when someone turns to you, a spouse or close friend perhaps, and says, “you’re not the same person I knew… you’ve a different person.”

You begin to think, “Have I really changed? Am I not the same person?”

You sit and think, “Did I not have these same likes or dislikes before? Did I never get mad or upset? Was I always romantic and never critical? Did I not like certain thinks to happen a certain way?

The issue occurs on two levels. One is that our memories reshape themselves into something other than reality. But the other issue is that we become comfortable with who we are. We allow our layers to settle, and in the process layers shift, join and resize. Parts of us we use to have under control, and keep deep in us, slowly rise to top. Personalities traits we you’d never let anyone see, begin to become visible. And others response to this is “You’re a different person!”

Yet, in reality, your not a different person, but you’ve let comfort and lack of self-control reshape how you express yourself.

Now, returning to what I said at the beginning. People rarely change, and that apart from God I believe change is impossible. What I mean by saying that people rarely change is not that people characterizes don’t stratify, and make extremes. No, we just talked about how this happens, and it can happen quickly. What I mean by change is real change. Truly becoming someone they are not.

I believe in the Biblical narrative. So my foundation is that man is fallen, sinful and totally depraved. This means that man’s foundation is not good, but rather sinful. So as man in by natural progression will only grow more sinful. Some men choose of their own effort to continually sift themselves as not to stratify, others don’t.

However, when one surrenders their life to Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes along side of that person and begins to regenerate that person. Truly making them someone they are not! For the first time qualities that were never present will be present. Real, actual, quantitative life change will be seen.

In both cases stratifying is still possible. When the Christina stops searching himself, and letting the Holy Spirit sift through his life and thoughts layers settle, and old habits and traits reform.

The life in the Spirit is one that challenges us to sift and be searched by God. Walk and be lead by the Spirit. We are a new creation, but is become too comfortable the old man is ready to show up again.

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Love & Faith

Faith is the organ of knowledge, and love an organ of experience. God came to us in the incarnation; in the atonement He reconciled us to himself, and by faith and love we enter and lay hold on Him.

A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy

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Love is not a static word, it is a verb and so by definition expresses action. The action love expresses is displayed through selflessness, & service. Jesus said that our love for God would be seen in our love for the least of these. (I have already written much on this point.)

Faith, likewise, is also a action word. However Faith is either continual tense, or past tense. You either had faith, or you continue to still have faith. We best understand faith by the words we use to substitute it with like trust, and belief. I trust in God, I believe in God, I have faith in God.  Yet, we use the word belief or believe to talk about faith a problem arises. Because when when many of us talk about belief or believing in something we can do  it without effecting our present reality. Belief has become nothing more than a statement or agreement. A common point to gather, but leave separate when its over. Trust on the other hand is a good substitute. Because when we trust we are moved to a place of reliance, beyond mere belief. Yes we believe in God, but we also trust in God. As Tozer wrote, Faith is that organ of knowledge, but it does not stop there, it moves past belief to trust and in trust we are required to act. If your faith is alive and well it will be displayed through your life and deeds. You faith is in a state of continual use, or it is in past tense…dead.

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Right Doctrine Right Lives

right doctrine right life

“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.
The History of mankind will probably show that no people has ever risen above its religion, and man’s spiritual history will positively demonstrate that no religion has ever been greater than its idea of God.”

“ The most portentous facts about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do, but what he is his deep heart conceives God to be like. We tend by a secret law of the soul move toward our mental image of God.”

“Were we able to extract from any man a complete answer to the question, ‘what comes into your mind when you think about God?’ we might predict with certainty the spiritual future of that man. Were we able to know exactly what our influential religious leaders think today, we might be able with some precision to foretell where the Church will stand tomorrow.”
-A. W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy.

This could not be truer. The theologies that emerged from the previous generation are shaping the face of the Church today. And the theologies that are being forged today will play out tomorrow.  This is why Doctrine and theology are so important.  The study and pursuit of theology are not just academic efforts, but should be the efforts of all people. Our understanding of God shapes how we live our lives. Either man mimics the true God, or man makes a God who will mimic him. But in the end all men have a God in whom they follow. Even the atheists have a god, that god is self.
As believers in Christ we must aspire to know God, and let him know us; to search him, and let him search us; to love him, and let him love us.  It is only first, with a proper understanding of God, that we have any hope to mature into his image, which is the pursuit of every Christian.

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