Tuesday, May 25, 2010

God's Good Wheel

For the black cummin is not threshed with a threshing sledge, Nor is a cartwheel rolled over the cummin; But the black cummin is beaten out with a stick, And the cummin with a rod. Bread flour must be ground; Therefore he does not thresh it forever, Break it with his cartwheel, Or crush it with his horsemen. This also comes from the Lord of hosts, Who is wonderful in counsel and excellent in guidance.
Isa 28:27-29

We should never accuse God of excess or overkill. He has a plan and it shall be accomplished to the utmost with no waste of effort of resources. Each hammer blow, strike with the rod or lap of the grinding wheel is lovingly calculated to achieve some state in the servant upon whom they fall. As we walk in this temporal realm with its pain, sorrow, suffering, humiliation and frustrations it is a great comfort for us to know that our good and gracious God not only orchestrated the events but gives oversight to the whole process and will not let it endure one moment longer than is necessary. He will be glorified in you, in me, in all things and that is all that really matters. Is it possible to achieve a state of no self-interest? It is not only possible but inevitable for the child of God who is destined to be made into the image of the glorious Lord Jesus. Your Father’s love for you demands that He do what is necessary to accomplish His purpose for you. The love of things, self and temporal pleasures must be purged. At times it is evident where God is working in one of His children’s lives but much of the time it is born in secret, deep in the soul, where no one but the interested parties are aware. As the Great Shepherd told Much-Afraid in Hinds Feet on High Place, “All the fairest beauties in the human soul, its greatest victories, and its most splendid achievements are always those which no one else knows anything about, or can only dimly guess at. Every inner response of the human heart to Love and every conquest of self-love is a new flower on the tree of Love.” We have learned to medicate ourselves with media saturation, medicines and temporal pleasures in such a way that we have no realization of the grinding wheel of God. Our will must be broken under the wheel of God. This will only happen if remain cognizant of God’s work in us and submit ourselves to His work. An German proverb states, “The grinding wheel of God grinds slow but it grinds fine.” This is only so if it is necessary. Our part is to offer ourselves as living sacrifices and trust that God will do what is right, good and best because He will.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Gospel: Exlcusive but Effective

“If anyone preaches any other gospel to you than the one we have preached then let them be accursed.”
Gal. 1:8

Warning: The next few lines are not necessarily seeker-friendly. Not that churches shouldn’t be seeker-friendly but they need to place a priority on being God-fearing and Christ-honoring. We cannot sacrifice truth for the sake of unity. There is only one Jesus, only one cross, only one acceptable sacrifice for our sin. There is no other way to obtain salvation, the hope of heaven and help in this life. A cursory glance at this old world will tell you that much of what you and I counted on in the past is in a state flux at present. We are living in times that could be compared to the “days of Noah.” Homosexuality, abortion, soaring divorce rates, rising debt-loads, wars and rumors of war, famines, mutating strains of diseases, all sorts of immorality, chaos abounds around the world and it seems that we can only watch it unfold around us and pray that we are not the next victim. But Christ is more than prevention, He is the cure as well.
It is not unusual for us to see or hear of people that are hailed for their spiritual, religious or tolerant views. But what we need is to hear the truth. Not what assuages the fear and anxiety for a moment but for eternity. If we, the body of Christ, shun our privilege to live, preach and teach the gospel then what hope do those around us have as a hope? And what pleasure does God derive from our disobedience? Furthermore, what is sure, established and steadfast in this world? What news resonates more with broken, hurting and hardened hearts than that of God coming in the flesh to not only show the way but to be the way for all those that would believe on Him.
Andrae Crouch said it well with these lyrics:
Jesus is the answer
For the world today
Above Him there’s no other
Jesus is the way

Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, came to earth, died on the cross, was buried and rose again. This is the Gospel (Good News), there is no other.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Called and Chosen!

“For many are called, but few are chosen.”
Matthew 22:14

Now that I look back it, I am forced to admit that it was a great boost to my confidence and self-worth. But at the time, it simply brought joy. I’m talking about being on Gray’s team. Gray was my neighbor. He was 14 yrs. old when I was 10 yrs. old and a pretty good athlete. We had unspeakable fun playing with worn out or waterlogged baseballs, wooden bats, oversize gloves, cardboard bases, no helmets, fastpitch with a catcher. I still have trouble explaining to some of the youth what a “ghost man on second” is, but I’m sure it tells more about the recreation of youth today than my age.
If you were on Gray’s team, you won. That’s all there was to it. He could hit the ball farther, throw harder, catch better and run faster than any of the kids that played with us., including some high school baseball players that played with us at that time. He was the best. Just having him for a neighbor was a claim to fame. But what made me feel so confident and capable was the fact that anytime there was a ballgame in the works, Gray called and invited me. “Why?” I do not know. I was much younger and more of nuisance than anything else. But he would call me to come over for the game. And moreover there were several times when Gray was a team captain that he chose me to be on his team. O’ the joy of knowing that I was not just one the many that were called to be at the game but I was one of the few chosen to be on Gray’s winning team. Not only called but chosen. That should evoke a healthy sense of self-worth and confidence that is born out of overwhelming humility. Undeserving, yet, God chose us.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Come Unto Me

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
(Matthew 11:28-30)

We parked the truck and dispersed the poles, tackle boxes, cooler, and chairs. At eight years old, an afternoon fishing was my equivalent of a day at Carowinds. Dad and I began the long walk to our favorite fishing hole. It wasn’t very long until the cooler that I had eagerly volunteered to carry to prove my manliness started gaining weight or at least it seemed that way. My arms were becoming tired and I was losing my grip, which caused me to stop every few minutes. But something wouldn’t let me tell dad that I was struggling with this 200 lb. cooler. I watched forlornly as he walked effortlessly ahead with fishing poles and tackle box in one hand and lawn chairs in the other. I wanted to tell him I needed help so that I could keep up with him so I called out to him. Dad turned around and came back. He gave me the tackle boxes and fishing poles and took the cooler and lawn chairs. I followed close behind him and shortly we arrived at the pond. “Son, I knew that was too heavy for you when you picked that thing up,” dad said, “But I wanted to see how far you would go before you would ask for help.” I am confident that many of us are carrying far more than we can handle. Our heavenly Father awaits our cry for help so that we can walk together.