Thursday, July 30, 2015

Thy will be done....really?

Matthew 6: 9-13

The Lord's prayer, a model prayer, is one I am intimately familiar with, having
used this prayer when I was nothing more than a check-the-box christian (lower
case on purpose.) I found it easy to remember and adequate for situations when a
prayer seemed necessary. I even thought, once I began to learn a bit about Christ,
that it was sufficient because God already knew what I needed. So to me, there
are inherent dangers in using this prayer.

That being said, it is a wonderfully complete formula for praying for those who
really do wish to honor God, a prayer taught by my beloved savior that He used
as a teaching tool. I do not believe that it takes the place of personal prayer with
God where one speaks his heart and communicates with the One true living God.

The line in the title of this blog is very very interesting. Thy Will Be Done. That
is such an easy concept to swallow when the will of God seems to line up with
the will of His creature. When things are going well, when there are no hovering
dark clouds, it is indeed an honest expression of support, if you will, for
God's plan, an unchangeable sovereign plan that must and will be fulfilled.

But....what happens when the will of God brings troubles...and troubles will come,
it is inevitable.  Rich Mullins sings 'There's bound to come some troubles in
your life...' and struggle, sadness, illness and death are part of life and, therefore,
part of God's plan for each of His creatures. Do we still have the faith to state
that His will be done? 

I have been blessed with a life that has certainly seen some troubles especially
when I thought I had the keys to the car and was in charge of things. When
it all went south, I never attributed things to the will of God, in fact, I didn't
even know God; yet, I was certainly willing to shout at God and blame Him for
things. I believe that only when one is in Christ, when one understands
who is in charge, when one can take comfort in the realization that He is
in charge, loves you and knows what is best for you, can one really state
with absolute sincerity that God's will be done. I thank my God that I have
accepted Jesus as my savior, and I pray that when things REALLY
turn bleak, and, of course, they will, I can find rest, comfort and confidence
in His will and look forward to being in His presence for eternity.

Yes, God, Your will done for it is true, right and just!
Praise God!

Friday, July 24, 2015

big FATHER IS watching!

The books that we were required to read, as students, long ago in high school,
came very close to ending my reading career! In fact, I was convinced that one of
the criteria for choice must have been books that would guarantee students who
wouldn't read another. One I remember most vividly was 1984, which coined
the term, Big Brother.

It was a look into a future where there was no privacy; someone watching your
every move, sort of an Edward Snowdon thing from the past. Well, it was all very
creepy at the time and, now, seems almost humorous in light of the world in which
we live. Privacy? C'mon, now. When we e-mail something, when we park at a mall,
when we fill out medical information.... there really isn't anything or any place where
we can reasonably expect to be in privacy, it has become an accepted part of being
alive in our times.

So...where is this blog going? It started when I realized that as I am sitting in
church each Sunday doing my best to concentrate on glorifying my God and
not paying too much attention to my granddaughter, GOD is there, also. That's
right, GOD. He's omnipresent, you know, and he has promised to be anywhere 
where two or more are gathered in His name. Wow. That means He has to listen
to my off-key singing, witness my difficulty, at times, staying awake during the
sermons and 'hearing' my mind wander like someone with a serious case 
of ADHD!

That presence also has a rather important impact on sin, as well. Those tiny
sins that no one really sees because they aren't there... oops. Someone, a very
special someone who really hates ALL sin, is right there. You cannot hide, ever.
That should be a tremendous incentive, even better than your mother finding
something out about you, to not stray, to not disappoint, to live a life
according to the law that God has placed upon your heart. It's your
conscience on steroids!

Privacy is not just over-rated, it's not possible. IN a very real way, I think
that works for our good. Remember, big FATHER, who loves you, is watching!

Praise God!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The "Expensive" side of "Free Will"

It's another of those topics that bring debate, and it's a term that really doesn't
show up, per se, in Scripture; yet, it is an understood aspect of what God has
given to His creatures.. we have the ability to make our own decisions and  follow
our own paths. An existence with No free will would be akin to being on marionette
strings, completely controlled by God in our actions and decisions. It can be argued that God, Himself, would not find enjoyment in such a scenario.

Man's natural tendencies, however, do not point toward necessary success when it
comes to making decisions, particularly eternal ones. We have a natural inclination to
run away from God, to want no part of giving up 'control' of our lives, and, of course,
we are born into sin. Those two characteristics would make a prediction of choosing
wisely a bit of a stretch. That creates an issue when we are talking about choosing to
accept God and give our lives to Christ, the one and only path to sanctification, redemption
and eternity in the New Earth and the New Heaven.

We know that God woos. He, through His love and compassion for His creatures, 
reaches out to us. He is the initiator, He begins the process of drawing us in, of
writing His law and His existence into our hearts. From there, in some measure, we
have to accept and that is a MAJOR decision. Does He only woo those who He
already knows will accept or who He has accepted or does He simply intervene in
the "choice" process to ensure the result He has determined since the dawn of
creation, names written in the Book of Life, written on the hand of His beloved?

Know this, it is possible for we humans to reject God, in fact, if you have tried to share
things about the gospel message with those around you, you have discovered
that people build impenetrable walls of resistance, even refuse to accept the
most amazing 'free' gift ever given, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ
as a substitute for the wrath that we deserve. Could anyone turn down the only
feasible way to being saved, the only way to avoid an eternity away from the Father
who created them? Oh Yes, unfortunately, oh yes.

It may be 'free" will, but it is dangerously expensive!

Praise God!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

To glorify God....

One doesn't need a Westminster Catechism to understand that we are here, thanks
to a Creator, with a purpose. That purpose is to glorify and enjoy God. So, I
was thinking, how in the world are we to glorify He who IS glory? 

Does He need our glorification? No. Can we, in any way, add a measure to
His glory? No. IN fact, the glory of God and our glorifying Him aren't even
on the same plane; yet, we are taught that this is our purpose. So, here goes....

1) We can acknowledge Him
  I don't know about you, but until recently, it was not at all unusual for me to
simply forget God on a day to day basis. Sounds horrible doesn't it! Yet, some of
us are simply so busy just trying to get by with a ton of responsibilities and
a clock that seems to tick faster as we have more on our plate. I am pretty
certain that God deserves and expects to be a part of our conscious existence
much more than some of us manage. This acknowledgment actually ties
in nicely with the next suggestion...

2)Talk with God
  I purposely did not type talk to God because this really should be always
considered a two-sided conversation. Why? Well because God knows our
ideas, thoughts, plans, etc. and He is in control of our life's path. He isn't
going to be surprised at anything emanating from creatures that belong to
Him. It's a conversation with Someone who is listening!  He is omniscient
and omnipresent. He doesn't need time off, even when it comes to being
an active part of who you are.

3)Pray.... A LOT!
   This is something I had to learn and am still learning. Prayer isn't the
same as a convo. Prayer is a praise, a confession, a chance to come before
a Holy God in a more formal way. It isn't always a wish list, and shouldn't
be. It is often just a thank you but always an acknowledgment of our
understanding of what has been done for us through the planned work
of Jesus Christ on a cross to provide access and propitiation for our sins.
I do this on my knees whenever I can; it says humility and dependence.
God has asked us to pray to Him. Often, we bring our sins to Him, even
though He is aware of them, because in doing so, we can feel that we
have shown an important first step along the way to battling them.

4) Love Him!

  He IS love! He invented love. His forgiveness and care shout love, even
for we who are sinners and undeserving. His love is unconditional; ours
not. But we can try and it is amazing how ones love for God just seems to
grow with each passing day. Can you say sanctification!

Praise our loving God!

Friday, July 10, 2015

So what about before we were born...?

Well, if what I have learned both from scripture and from Christian teachers and
friends is accurate, God has been involved with our lives from the get-go! That's
a weird way of saying that His involvement is complete.

So we know that He knows the days of our lives like the pages of a book, that He
knitted us, His created, in the womb, that he knows each hair on our heads and values
us in a way we aren't capable of understanding.  We know that we are immortal, that
we will, after death, spend eternity in one of two places with or without our Father 
in heaven. We also know that our Father is absolutely omniscient, sovereign and aware
of everything, which means this is multi-tasking at its best!

But what about before we were conceived? Our purpose, here on this earth, a place
alien to us as ones saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, is to glorify God, to
bring glory to Him and enjoy our relationship with Him. Our future is life in a new
earth and a new heaven. That we have assurance of through the works of Jesus; yet,
what was the nature of us before we were conceived?

No, we didn't come back after being an Oak tree, this isn't our fifteenth lifetime as
we strive, alone, to be perfect and we have been given a name in the book of life that
only God knows. I believe that it would make no sense for us to simply not have
been before we were created. Part of the dilemma, here, has to be our concept of
time, something that God also created to help us. Its linear, as we understand it, but
we may not really understand it at all. It makes sense that we were created
right there in Genesis 1 at a "time" when all were created. Our presence in this
'time and space capsule,' as Alistair Begg likes to say, is a part of God's perfect
plan...He is, after all, both Good and Correct. The fact that we have appeared
here and now, does not mean that before we appeared, we weren't.

The whole predestination thing is an issue for another time, but predetermination,
the idea that we were always from the moment God created, makes sense if we are,
indeed, immortal! We are here with a purpose, were created for the right time
to be here and are on our way, through the grace and love of God, to an eternity
with our Father, His precious Son and Spirit, our friends and family in Christ and
this has been our story since God spoke all into existence.

That's my belief and I'm sticking with it! Praise our God and Father!