Archive for the ‘christianity’ Category

half-plowed field

January 3, 2011

This is good and some of you need it

1 Kings 19:19-21 – The prophet Elijah has just designated Elisha as his successor.  Elisha is busy plowing the field and his only request is that he can go back and say bye to Dad and Mom.

Here’s the thing.  Let’s say you want to start a new diet.  But you have half a pie left in the fridge.  So you tell yourself, “I’ll start the diet in two days after I’ve finished the pie”.

Or you feel convicted about alcohol and want to stop drinking.  But there’s half a bottle of Crown Royal in the cabinet.  So you tell yourself, “As soon as that bottle is gone, that’s it – no more!”

Is it going to happen?  You tell me, but I think “No” – in fact I think “Not a chance!”.  Why?  Because people don’t work like that.  When we have the conviction to do something, or stop doing something, we need to act right then based on the conviction.

Elisha didn’t finish the field.  He didn’t make arrangements for someone else to finish plowing it.  He just left.

Have any fields you need to leave half-plowed?

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because it says so

June 12, 2010

I was reading about Judas’ betrayal of Jesus the other day, where Peter whacked off the guy’s ear.  Jesus said:

“How then would the scriptures that say it must happen this way be fulfilled?”

I’m not fatalist and I definitely believe Christians should be involved in politics and resisting the work of the Enemy.  But at some point when they come for us, shouldn’t we say the same thing as Jesus?

A friend was expressing to me today that he’s not ready for Jesus to come.  He was thinking about people he knows personally who he still wants to lead to a place of faith.  But the attitude of New Testament believers seems to be one of longing and desiring the day of Christ’s reappearing.  I don’t pretend to understand

Father, I can’t wait to see your son in the flesh.  I love the presence of your Holy Spirit and my joy is the time we spend together.  But I know the things Jesus has prepared are even better – unimaginably better!  In agreement with your Spirit, I say, “Come, Lord Jesus!”

cross eyed

April 13, 2010

I’ve been reading and meditating on the cross verses:

“And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.” — Mathew 10:38

From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day.  Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You.”  But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.  For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?  For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and WILL THEN REPAY EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS. — Matthew 16:21-27

And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” — Mark 8:34

For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ — Philippians 3:18

“Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” — Luke 14:27

For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. — 1 Corinthians 1:18

But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. — Galations 6:14

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.     For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.  (24)Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. — Galatians 5:16,17,24

Pardon me for bringing this up, but if I turned on the Christian TV or radio today, is that what I’d hear?

why we are here

January 22, 2010

Felicity Dale’s blog is so good today I’m just going to point you toward it and suggest you read it.  She’s been posting for a couple weeks now based on notes she took from a house church conference in India.  The whole series is good!

christmas 2009

December 25, 2009

It’s a different Christmas this year.  I’m less “into” traditional American Christmas than I’ve ever been.  I’m poorer than I’ve ever been on Christmas.  And I got a little fruit-of-the-spirit checkup yesterday by having my vehicle window broken in and $1200 or so worth of stuff stolen, including my laptop.  Shucks.

This morning I was reading about Moses in the beginning of Exodus.  Numbers 12 says Moses was “very humble, more than any man who was on the face of the earth”.  But it wasn’t a humble man who killed the Egyptian.  I’d love to hear what went on between the time he fled Egypt and the burning bush.

Keeping sheep must be good training.  Abraham was a shepherd, Moses and David did it, and Jesus used sheep and shepherd illustrations a lot.

motivation

November 26, 2009

Our Enemy manipulates through fear, guilt, shame, and desire-for-the-forbidden.  He uses these hooks to direct others’ decisions by remote-control.  He strives to maintain deniability.  His methods and true goal are at odds with his stated objectives.  Other people are pawns used in obtaining his own purpose.

God’s purposes are clear and clearly stated.  He is so much about communication that he nicknamed his son “The Word”.   Truth is paramount.  Relationships aren’t the means to an objective, they are the objective.  He motivates others to do the right thing regardless of the personal cost.

No matter what we say, we are in the camp of the one whose methods we use.

idolatry

June 17, 2009

John Piper has a great article on idolatry on his blog at desiringgod.org.  Worth a read.  It (idolatry) is bigger than you think.

the witness

June 12, 2009
altar image borrowed from teldan.files.wordpress.com

altar image borrowed from teldan.files.wordpress.com

As I’ve said, frequently and fervently, I’m believe that the first 3/4 of your Bible is just as important as the the last 27 books.  I don’t think they were an accident, or that Isreal was Plan A and the church is Plan B.  Or that God somehow needed to go through Abraham, Moses, David and the Prophets to get to Jesus.  I believe, like Paul wrote to believers in Rome and Corinth, that these things were written as examples to us.  I believe that God, the author, architect, and artist of creation used the Hebrew race to give us a picture of who he is, how much he loves us, and his purpose for us.

So I’ve been hung up for two days on Joshua 22 – the story of the witness. Here it is in brief:

  • The children of Israel have just finished conquering the promised land
  • The families of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh had chosen land west of the Jordan river for their inheritance, but they’d gone on with the other tribes to conquer the rest of the land
  • When Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh went back to their land they built a huge altar
  • The rest of the tribes heard about it and got crazy mad.  They came back across the Jordan ready to do battle against the “rebels“.  Why?  Because God had said he would designate one specific place for all Israel to worship.  Anything else would be an abomination.
  • When the ten and a half tribes confronted the two and a half, Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh told them they had it all wrong.  They weren’t going to worship at the altar or sacrifice.  It was just a reminder to them that they were part of Israel and needed to go to the tabernacle (later the temple) and worship.
  • This satisfied the ten and a half tribes and they went on home

The reason the ten and a half were upset is they remembered what happened at Peor and with Achan at Ai.  In both cases, a small group had sinned and brought God’s wrath on the whole nation.

I could go off on the judgment aspect of it, but the thing on my mind is the one place of worship that God designates.  My mind immediately jumps to Jesus’ discussion with the woman at the well about where to worship.  In response to her question Jesus said, “an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.   God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

He told the woman it was no longer a relevant question.   Yes, God had designated a physical place – the temple in Jerusalem – as the one place he would accept our worship.  But Jesus was saying “It’s a new day.  The physical temple was a placeholder to lead you to the spiritual temple where God now allows our worship

Which makes me kinda cringe when someone stands up in front of a church and says “Aren’t you glad to be in the house of God today?”   Because we don’t come to the house of God on Sunday.  If we’re there at all, it’s because we live there!

flip side

June 11, 2009

image borrowed from wearearising.org

It seems to me that two common fallacies about the Kingdom of God are opposites

  • one: there is something i need to do so God will be okay with me
  • two: God will bless me  because he loves me unconditionally

Want a picture?  Go back to the Bible!

Start with Leviticus 16 – Yom Kipur, the day of atonement, one of the biggest days on the Jewish calendar.  Where were the people?  In Jerusalem?  Nope!  At their local synagogue?  Nope (God never told them to go to their local synagogue, btw).  They were at home, fasting and praying.  Why?  Because the high priest did all the work!  Get it?

Feeling a little helpless in your quest to be good enough for God?  Give it up – you’re doomed to failure.  You can’t do what our high priest Jesus has already done.  Most of us know that with our mind, but we still fight with the concept from time to time in our heart.

So what about the blessings thing?  Check Deuteronomy 28.  God promises all sorts of blessings, preceded by the little word, “if”.  There’s a sort of narcissistic myth in the church that goes something like “If i just tell God what I want long enough and hard enough, he’s going give it to me.”

The serpent planted three lies in Eve in the garden:

  1. doubt – you can’t trust God
  2. desire – there is a shortcut to maturity/perfection/completion
  3. rebellion – disobedience doesn’t have consequences

Number three is in play here.  Yes indeed, God trully wants to bless you.  He doesn’t even want you to work for blessings.  Deuteronomy 28:2 says that blessings will run up to you and jump on you!

It’s the “if” word we stumble on.  Salvation is a gift.  “Here, take the keys to this new Lexus.”  “Here’s a million dollars.”  “Here’s the deed for this 14-room mansion.”  All we do is stretch out our hand to receive it.  But blessing comes with obedience.  It requires both relationship – knowing the Father’s will – and the action of doing it.

Think about a family.  If yours is messed up, think about a good family you know or picture an imaginary perfect family.  The dad says, “Clean up your room.”  The child says “I want a new <something>.”  Will the child get the desired thing if they don’t clean the room?  In a good family, no; because the father is working to teach the child obedience and uses even insignificant life situations to reinforce that teaching.  Why should God behave differently toward us?

who you know, not what

March 11, 2009

the guys Jesus was hardest on were also the ones who dedicated their lives to reading, studying, memorizing, and teaching the bible.

don’t ever think that’s what it’s about.  rather, it’s about knowing God, loving him, and serving him.  it’s 100% relationship.

things psalm 1 doesn’t say:

  • his delight is reading through the bible every year of his adult life
  • his delight is in memorizing a new scripture every day
  • his delight is in correlating the use of every word in the bible

rather, his delight is meditating on the things God has said – like i would a letter from the one i love.  to know God, to begin to grasp his ways and the things that are important to him, so i can live pleasing to him.