Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Relatively Speaking...

Christ became one of us. He took the biggest pay cut in history. Gave up servants, power, and prestige. Chose to watch the people He loved die. Accepted the fact that every friend and family member He had would hurt Him, and not just a little bit but enough to kill Him. Decided he would love anyway. Chose to live in joy. Decided He would forgive everything. Decided He would die. Why? He choose this life to relate deeply with our lives, all of our lives, whether is was in joy, triumph, suffering, or dying.

He made a choice.

We make a choice to follow Him.

Even if we have pay cuts. Demotions. Betrayals. Sickness. Love. Joy. To forgive. Death. In these we become Him to others.

Our experiences in life should relate Jesus' choice to someone else. If we have lost our income we can relate to those who have lost incomes. Just like Jesus. If we have been betrayed by those we love we can relate to others who have been lied to. Like Jesus. If we hurt we can come along side with those that hurt. Like Jesus. If we love we can triumph with others that love. Like Jesus. Rejoicing? Throw a party for others who rejoice! (You get the idea.) Through great sickness we relate (in a way no well person can) to those who are sick. Like Jesus. And ultimately, through dying, we who are in Christ show Him more clearly to others who will join us in that physical death someday.

"For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose."

Now, as Paul Harvey says, 'for the rest of the story':

"Therefore God exalted (Jesus) to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."...

"Whatever was to my profit I consider loss..for Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ...having His righteousness...by faith. I (choose) to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,...to attain to the resurrection from the dead."

And on the way...

Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

We are here to relate to Jesus, and like Jesus, to others. To the glory of God.

Who do you relate to in your walk of life?
Rejoice! Jesus is near.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

"Get used to disappointment" - Man in Black

The quote "Get used to disappointment" is from the movie Princess Bride and I use it not because of what the Man in Black said but for Inigo's reply: "okay." No argument, no questions, just acceptance that the Man in Black was not going to answer his question. And Inigo didn't know at that time whether the question would EVER be answered.

We, as Americans, have little patience with not knowing answers. There are big businesses that specialize in figuring out the answers to questions about the universe, the ocean, the environment, and the human body. We have the internet to instantly give us options on key words we plug into it. Gone are the days when we went to the library and tediously waded through a card index, miles of books, choosing one or two or ten references to our question, only to have to READ them. Then face disappointment that our answer was not there.

We are impatient with 'unknowns'.

Where does that leave us in God's universe? I have SO many questions I want answered! Now! And He is silent. I search books, the internet, pray, plead, whine, cry, throw fits of frustration and the One Creator of it all sits silent?!

God's presence in our lives and knowledge of His truth gives us options: Disappointment or submission. There are some things that we will just have to get comfortable not knowing. Some mysteries will NEVER be solved. Our faith must stretch and grow and give up the urgency of having to have all the answers, all the time.

John Eldredge put it this way, "The more comfortable we are with mystery in our journey, the more rest we will know along the way."

Our faith leads us to a 'reasonable' response: It hurts! But God is Lord of Lords and knows what he is doing. I don't understand! But God is King of Kings and I can trust Him.

God has authority and sovereignty in ALL things. For us to question Him is arrogant and disrespectful. It is demeaning to His reputation as our master and shows our ignorance.

Now before I get stoned for that last statement let me add: God is Good. With a capital 'G'. He is the imbodiment of Goodness. He is merciful, tender, gracious and forgiving and is big enough to take the questions we ask of Him. But we are also the created and should keep in mind Who is in charge. It will add calmness to our questioning.

Psalms 139.
('Let me sum up')
He knows us. Inside and out. He knows our darkness of sin, illness, situations; He shines through the darkness! We are WONDERFUL. He said so. He is with us all the time. We can confidently say in all humility 'Search me, God. Know my thoughts and questions. See if there is any offensive way in me. And lead me in the way...the everlasting way of your plan for me.'

And be comfortable in not knowing. 'Get used to disappointment'...'okay'...

Monday, October 19, 2009

My Life is in Your Hands

Remember your ancient history? God is there. The beginning of time to the end of time? God is there. Whatever was and whatever will be. God is there. His purpose will continue...forever. It is His pleasure. Whether we are talking about people locally or in foreign lands, whatever He has planned for them will happen. His plan is salvation. And it is here. Now. And so is He.

Our lives are in His hands.

Isaiah 46:9-13 (my paraphrase)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Deadly sins vs Virtue - Guess who wins

In reading an article on how the brain processes sin, (Discovery Magazine) it was very interesting to note that God designed us with the ability to choose: a free will area of the brain. It is proven in all the tests. The scientists had almost 3 pages on how sin was perceived in our brains and what areas were 'lit up' by that sin and how pleasurable that sin was to the brain (and person). In the very last paragraph 'virtue' was studied. Amazingly virtue beat any sin in 'lighting up' the brain in a fireworks of pleasure.

"Jordan Grafman recently found that virtue literally is its own reward. Altruistic behavior sends reward-related brain systems into a pleasurable tizzy—even more so than the prospect of self-interested gain. “The big punch line is that all things being equal, your reward system fires off a lot more when you’re giving than when you’re taking,” says Grafman, who is chief of the cognitive neuroscience section at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Call it the dirty little secret about being good: It might be even more fun than being wicked."

Kinda makes you want to say 'DUH'...doesn't it?