Monday, April 30, 2012

Fellowship and Truth

"Consequently, if we were to say that we enjoyed fellowship with him and still went on living in darkness, we should be both telling and living a lie.  But if we really are living in the same light in which he eternally exists, then we have true fellowship with each other, and the blood which his son Jesus shed for us keeps us clean from all sin.  If we refuse to admit that we are sinners, then we live in a world of illusion and truth becomes a stranger to us."  (I John 1:6-8 Phillips)

What is true fellowship with one another?  It is God's truth at the center of our existence.  Truth puts aside all walls that we put up.  When we decide the other person is "not good enough" or "does not measure up" or whatever reason we give for denying fellowship with that person we are not living the truth.  We sin so much.  Christianity abounds with hindered fellowship and the only reason can be sin.  And the only one we have control over is ourselves.  Truth shedding light on our own sins, eliminates our lofty,"I am not as bad a sinner as you",  illusory lens of condemnation or criticism of others.  Christ did NOT say, "you have to achieve this behavior or this status or this characteristic before I love you."  Yet we withhold love from our fellow believers and family members if they do not live up to what we want them to be.  Christ loved us first and before we loved Him and extends love to us while we are yet sinners.  True fellowship is when we are more and more like Him, when we admit our sin, when we come out of darkness, and not just at salvation or conversion, but every day of life here.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Is Sin That Bad?

"Christians must chuse rather to suffer the worst of torments, than to commit the least of sins, whereby God should be dishonoured, his name blasphemed, religion reproached, profession scorned, weak saints discouraged, and men's consciences wounded, and their souls endangered."       
       (Thomas Brooks, 1811)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

More Shaving

This last week Nancy Pelosi announced the Democrats' plan to push an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to limit free speech and to curb our First Amendment rights.  Wake up God's people.  They are shaving, hacking, destroying more and more of the freedoms our forefathers fought so valiantly to procure for us.  And we are not yet weeping over our own sins.....

Monday, April 23, 2012

Longing for God

Gleanings from our book club reading of Through Gates of Splendor:
   "Oh the fullness, pleasure, sheer excitement of knowing God on earth!
    I care not if I never raise my voice again for Him,
    if only I may love Him, please Him.
    Mayhap in mercy He shall give me a host of children
    that I may lead them through
    The vast star fields to explore His delicacies
    whose finger ends set them to burning.
    But if not, if only I may see Him, touch His garments,
    and smile into His eyes---
    Ah then, not stars nor children shall matter, only Himself."

---from Jim Elliot's diary

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Love and Death

The apostle John tells us that "God is love." (1 John 4:8) In the next breath he tells us that this love of God's was manifested---shown, revealed, made clear---by His sending His only Son into the world to be the propitiation (an atoning sacrifice) for our sins.  So God's love is revealed to us through death, the death of Christ. Love is death and Christ tells us to follow His example. 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Christian martyred by the Nazis) said, "When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die." So our returning love to God is our call to death.  I think we get told way too much how to live the Christian life.  The longer I walk with God the more I am realizing I need to know more how to die.  A dead person does not feel pain, thinks no independent thoughts, has no expectations or ambitions.  They're dead.  Certainly our bodies are to be presented as "living sacrifices" (Romans 12:1) But how to die when we are alive is an ongoing challenge.  We are presented with opportunities to love through death daily. Do I embrace those? Or even recognize them?

Christ humbled Himself and became obedient unto death. (Phil. 2:8) He thought others better than himself, He did nothing through selfish ambition or conceit, He put the interest of others ahead of Himself; He suffered mistreatment, being misunderstood,  being falsely accused, and torture----all for me, to show love for me.  We love God because He first loved us.  This means we are called to die. Goes against all the modern thinking and culture--to look for ways to die.