Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

Outside of Time

July 13, 2014

I heard a message last night at The Base , in which Greg Crawford talked about having an eternal vs. temporal perspective.  His “jumping off” point was in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.  For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

He made a point of differentiating between eternal and temporal things by the characteristic of their visibility. Not that I think for a moment that either Paul the Apostle or Greg is saying that all things invisible are eternal.  I have a friend named Becky who has a prophecy that, if I understand her, we will come to see clearly into the spiritual realm. I don’t think she means that will be physical sight, but there is precedent for the sort of sight about which Becky prophesied.  See 2 Kings 6:17. So, I would take this assertion in 2 Corinthians 4 about the eternal being unseen as meaning “as a general rule up until now”.)

During Greg’s teaching, I also didn’t really grapple adequately with a critical message contained in this verse; that temporal afflictions can be a tool in the hand of God, acting in the process of our transformation into the likeness of Christ.  Since the spirit is eternal, our transformation into becoming one with God’s spirit is a weighty, glorious, eternal result. Don’t think there is much chance of becoming transformed in this way? I’ll say more on that, shortly.

As I age, I see more clearly the value of the admonition not to lose heart about the decay of my body.  This decline is apparently practically inevitable, and happens to everyone who lives long enough to see it.  The recognition does not have to produce despair, as long as I keep an eternal perspective.  That which is visible on the outside (temporal), is no indicator of the renewal that is taking place on the inside (eternal).  In fact, recognizing the decay on the outside actually makes it seem easier to stop putting confidence in the aging flesh and focus more on the eternal nature of the spirit.  The question I should be asking is whether the renewal is, in fact, taking place on the inside.

It’s funny how God finds ways to reinforce His message from different sources. I recently read a devotional passage that talked about acceptance and self-examination as necessary to finding serenity about difficult situations. The devotion was drawing from the “Serenity Prayer” which I’ll quote here:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

The last part, the wisdom to know the difference, really only belongs to God.  I must draw near to You, Father, if I am ever to know Your wisdom in my spirit as to whether things that seem to beset me are actually tools in Your Sovereign hand that should be allowed to do their glorious eternal and weighty work or whether they are an attack of the enemy intended to hinder me from accomplishing that which You have called me to do.

At least, I have this promise in Romans 8:28 ff

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;  and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written,

“For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I know I promised to say more about the possibility of transformation. Here it is. Look back into the passage above. You will find there evidence that this transformation is actually a purpose of God, that those who love him should become like Jesus. Try not to get too wrapped around the axle at the mention of predestination. The writer is trying to get across something about the purposes of God, who knows the end from the beginning because He is totally unconstrained by the temporal (Hey! Isn’t that where we started?). Since we are completely constrained to the temporal in the physical realm, learning to see things from an eternal perspective in the spiritual realm takes some help from Him.

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Testimonial

May 17, 2014

I want to provide a testimonial about a process that is dramatically changing my life for the better.  I would encourage any readers interested in a dramatic change for the better to check out the link in my blog roll titled Develop a dynamic relationship with God!  I want to assure you that this link will not take you to the same old thing.  I have been diligently seeking God for forty years.  I would have told you at any point in that period that I loved God and that He is faithful, even when I am not.  In spite of my profession, times when I violated His call to do right have come too often and been too grievous.  But, what I am learning now is, I am convinced, key to rescuing us personally from the muck and mire we often find ourselves in.  I believe also that surprisingly small number of individuals operating in true spiritual power offer the best hope of reversing the downward slide of our nation according to the call of 2 Chronicles 7:14.  I can’t encourage you enough to check out that link and invest the time required to investigate.  It is certainly the best investment I have made.

Note:  If you are one that worries about where links go, it is set up so that hovering over the link should show you the URL.

Awesome New Blog Roll Entry

June 4, 2012

Let me encourage you to take a trip down the right side of my page to the blog roll section  under “Love in Action” and visit my awesome friends.  Be amazed at the continual stream of miracles that Jesus is performing.  I warn you up front; you won’t find complacency on the other end of that link.

– writewild

World Views in Conflict

October 9, 2011

We have, in the United States, basically two world views vying for dominance. In one, man is seen as greedy and self serving. The solution is seen to be control of these selfish desires in corrupt individuals by powerful government. Under this system of belief, the mechanism of control is obvious: regulations that spell out the limits to which an individual can go and a system to enforce the regulations. In effect, this system is control of selfish desires by force. In the second world view, man is also seen as greedy and self serving. While the basic problem is not one that produces disagreement, the solution under the second world view takes a dramatically different turn. The second world view gives assent to the problem of corruption of the individual, but asserts that the solution is given by the supernatural redeeming work of Christ, working to change the heart of the corrupt individual from self serving to Christ serving. (In practice, this amounts to serving others, rather than self).

Now, the redemption approach requires complete freedom. God appears to place great value on the freedom of man to choose. Why? Because He wants the relationship to be one of love, rather than one of coercion. Any honest philosopher can recognize that freedom is essential to love.

Failure to recognize this fact lies at the root of the motivation for the world view that requires a powerful government to set things right. Maybe it is cynicism; doubt that the individual can be trusted to do the right thing.

The trouble with the powerful government model is this: government ends up being comprised of the same corrupt individuals as the rest of the population. Only, once they are in power, they have the power of the government behind them. They are not just corrupt individuals, they are corrupt individuals in charge of the government power structure.

This is one place where the philosophy of the Occupy Wall Street (or Occupy Wherever) crowd is gone awry. The protesters recognize the corruption (the part that is not in dispute), and have been goaded into action by their organizers. They haven’t thought about the problem with the solution that they are seeking. They naively think that if “their” guys are in charge, everything will get better.

Our founding fathers were not unclear on this issue. Their solution was to propose a limited government, to set some loose constraints to deal with those who would use their freedom inappropriately, and leave room for the individual to make their own way under the guidance of God, the only being who is above corruption.

In a nutshell, we are in the fix we are in because we have gotten too far away from Him.

Just something for you occupiers to think about while you are sitting around on Wall Street.

Self-Evident Truth

October 3, 2011

I ask you to join me in praying for Youcef Nadarkhani, an Iranian Christian pastor, who has been arrested and condemned for apostacy, a capital offense under Islam in Iran.

There is a tendency for those of us living in comfort and relative safety to shy away from much contemplation of such situations. This is unpleasant business.  But Youcef has been steadfast in his spiritual convictions in the face of death, just as Jesus was. Not a single point of decision, either.  Months of facing the looming threat of execution has not swayed his faithfulness.  I stand in awe of the character of this man, and of the Lord he serves.  I know that he and I have been adopted into the same family of grace.  We are bothers.  Seems the least I can do is to raise my heart in prayer, to seek God’s will in the matter; for He is good and He is faithful.

So please, pray with me.  Remember too Jesus’ words, “By their fruit you will recognize them.”

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2011/10/03/iranian-pastor-has-greater-chance-facing-death-with-new-allegations/

– writewild

Couldn’t Have Said it Better!

June 9, 2011

Check out this excellent article by Michael Youssef about the proper functions of the Church and Government:  What Would Jesus Cut?

A Different Perspective

September 5, 2010

Toward the end of Matthew 28, we find the passage known as the Great Commission.  The commanding nature of Jesus’ words here usually draw my attention immediately. Somehow, “Do this!” resonates with me, even if my attitude is not necessarily perfectly compliant.  Today, however, the disciple’s doubt and Jesus answer to it impresses me:

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.

Doubt is not surprising; rising from the dead is unusual.   Did some doubt and others worship?  The two are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

Jesus’ response appears, on the surface, to skirt the disciple’s doubt.  Neither does it jump right to “Do this!”.  Does this interjection about His authority touch their questions and their doubt? I think it does.  As I thought about this passage, I realized the doubt centered around Jesus’ death.  Then I asked the question, “Are life and death in the domain of heaven or earth?”  Both!   An unnatural division typically exists in our thinking between the spiritual (in heaven) and physical (on earth).  We speak of spiritual vs. secular, separation of church and state, and so on.  The truth is that the Creator formed the universe according to His own nature. He is holy. He exhibits perfect and complete integrity – no division.  “The Lord our God is One.”  God is omnipresent.  His creation is more unified than we give it credit for.  Many of these conceptual divisions are useful to help us focus our thoughts, but we probably shouldn’t take it too far.  [Neither should we go as far in this direction as the pantheists and fail to recognize that God is distinct from His creation, even though it reflects his nature.  The Bible teaches that man’s sin allowed corruption into creation, but God is still holy.]

One sense in which we use the word authority is knowing truth or possessing knowledge.   We commonly say a particular person is an authority on a subject.  This sense applies here.  Jesus knows the disciples doubts.  God is omniscient.  Another sense in which we use the word authority relates to ruling.  God is sovereign.  Note that Jesus says all authority has been given to Him.  Daniel 7:13-14 and Revelation 5:13 place Him on the throne to rule “for ever and ever”.   If all authority belongs to Jesus for ever and ever, then there is none (legitimately) left for any of the rest of us.   This idea convicts me of deeply ingrained personal beliefs that are just wrong!  When I perceive some violation of “my” authority as an individual, or manager, or parent; I take offense.  I get angry.  Knowing that all authority actually belongs to God for ever and ever tells me that I must root out this wrong belief.  Jesus instructs his followers: be stewards or servants.  I have long given at least mental assent to this concept.  The master assigns responsibilities to the steward, who then operates under the master’s  authority.  The master’s authority does not actually transfer to the steward.  Now, I need to get beyond mental assent of this fact and let God’s grace change this belief (that any authority was rightfully mine) with the truth that all authority belongs to Him.

In this vein, let me skip to the end of the Great Commission:

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

This is good news for the steward.  The Master will be forever present to exercise His authority in support of the steward’s charge.

Shine!

August 23, 2010

We contribute directly to the world by self-expression.  By shining brightly, you give others permission to shine the same.
Christopher Howard,  Instant Wealth – Wake up Rich


You are the light of the world, a city on a hill cannot be hidden.
Jesus (Matthew 5:14)

New Page

August 20, 2010

I have started working on a new page for this blog this week, titled The Nature of the Created Universe.

It resides at its own page because it is foundational to my view of the world.  I hope these ideas will prove valuable to my readers as well.  The series is off to a good start, but there is more to come; as I plan to try to communicate the reasoning by which one can develop an absolute conviction that our Creator really did endow us with certain “unalienable rights” .

By the way, eventually, the page will deal squarely with the unalienable/inalienable controversy in the Declaration of Independence — everything in its time,  so stay tuned!

writewild

Relationship with the Almighty

December 13, 2009

In the Gospels, the interactions between Jesus and the members of one family gets a fair amount of attention:

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Luke 10:38-42

Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. John 11:5

When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home. John 11:20

Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” John 11:35,36

Whatever else one may draw from these passages, one thing is clear; there is a vital loving relationship between Jesus, Martha, Mary and Lazarus. It was even evident to outsiders. Martha felt free to bring a complaint to Jesus. Jesus felt free to tell her that she was obsessing about her responsibility to serve beyond anything that He desired. When Jesus came after Lazarus’ death, Martha ran out to seek solace from her grief in His presence.

This kind of loving relationship between men and women and the Sovereign of the Universe is what God desires. The emphasis of the Bible is on the relationship of God and man, but not understanding relationship (because understanding is damaged by sin), men often get the idea that it is about ministry or some other kind of service (like Martha), or knowledge, or something else. That there was originally a relationship between God and man is mentioned in the context of it being damaged by sin in Genesis 2 &3. God interacted with Adam, planting a garden for him to live in, expressing concern about his lack of a partner, letting him name all the creatures God made. Then after sin enters the equation, these passages explicitly speak of the man and his wife attempting to hide themselves from God’s presence when they heard Him coming. What purpose would God have had for presenting Himself in a form that would walk in the garden (and be heard) if it were not to better relate to Adam and Eve whom He had placed there?

So, in Genesis we see the relationship with God broken by sin. In the Gospels, we see Jesus modeling relationships where the participants care about one another and seek each others company. That is why He came, to make a way for that broken relationship to be repaired.

That problem of the compulsion to shrink away from God when He appears is not confined to Eden. In 1 John 2:28 we find this: And now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming. Look. The solution to the problem is to “abide” (NAS) or “continue” (NIV) in Him. Jesus came to reconcile sinners to a Holy God. He already paid all the penalty for our personal wrongdoing. Take Him up on that offer of reconciliation. Abide. Continue. Love.