because the more things change the more they stay the same

Archive for December, 2009

>IF I KNEW NOW WHAT I KNEW THEN

>“I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it”(Mark 10:15).

I walked among dandelions when I was three

They were beautiful then

Yellow, bright, inviting, and plentiful

When blooms died

I blew them to other worlds
I squealed at butterflies when I was three

Wonders worth chasing

I romped through meadows after their allure

Time held no meaning

Their fluttering dance the object of dreams

I prayed unashamedly when I was three

Daddy God all powerful provider

Faith unencumbered by intellect

I’d make my request assured He answers

Then picked a bouquet of happiness
To become as I was when I was three

To see beauty in weeds

To abandon conventionality

To trust implicitly

This is my quest

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>A Worthy Judge

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And they sang a new song: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation (Revelation 5:9 ).

Worthy is the Lord the chorus goes. No one is worthy to judge unless they fully understand the law. Not just the law itself but the intent of the law. For without knowledge of the spirit of the law, a judge can only be rigid and uncompassionate. A fair and just decision rests on the situation’s full comprehension by those who have power over us.

Christ is worthy, because He was with His Father in the beginning. He saw the world in its infancy and watched the people whom He loved turn from their Creator. Then, at the Father’s bidding, He came to Earth. Not merely to live among men but to become a man who would possess the same vulnerabilities that entrap every mortal. The wonder of it all is that He could have risen above the mundane at any time, yet He lay down His power to experience the vilest of deaths. Who else could be worthy? And because of this, I sing the new song grateful that my place in eternity will be decided by One who extends mercy, understands, and has the power to forgive.

>Full to the Uttermost

>Instead of the thornbush will grow the pine tree, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow. This will be for the Lord’s renown, for an everlasting sign, which will not be destroyed  (Isaiah 55:13 NIV)

Earlier in the chapter, Isaiah points out the promise of redemption. For a time Israel must endure God’s chastisement because of her disobedience. But God remembers His covenant with her, and He will renew her to her former glory. He promises prosperity, not in gold or wealth, but in spiritual richness. Just as the rain and snow descend on the earth, watering and nurturing the soil before it evaporates back to the air, God has planned that His Spirit will germinate and replenish our souls. The soil cannot demand the rain to fall. God designs the weather. The soil cannot brag for the flowers that grow. It is God’s faithfulness that brings about the bloom. Likewise, the believer cannot reap fulfillment by the deeds and work of his hands. Joy comes solely from intimacy with God. Christians delude themselves into believing they are called to a special task. Their joy is cheapened by their pride. While God does ask us to do certain things, our value to God is not in the doing but the being. Oswald Chambers writes, “God calls to no special task: He calls to Himself.” Our task is to pray; He will engineer the rest.

>Is It Good to Have Need of God?

>He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak (Isaiah 40:29)

Why do we humans insist that we need certain things in order to fulfill God’s will in our lives? If we had more money, we cold give more. If our health were better, we could be part-time missionaries. If we didn’t have to clean the house, cook, and do laundry, we could write a novel in ten days. Whatever our perceived goal, we only see the obstacles. Because we focus on the why we can’t we miss the opportunity to see how God can. Does this mean we should praise the obstacles because then the thing accomplished is more to the glory of God? I wonder, if it’s possible to witness the full measure of God, if we don’t have need of Him?

>Aging Grace

>My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever (Psalm 73:26).

God does not promise a life without physical problems. No matter how “in shape” we are, the body eventually dies. No one lives forever on this earth. Decay is a natural occurrence brought on by man’s original disobedience. Our wit, our senses, our desires, our dreams diminish as we age. The good news is that God will keep our energies afloat to fulfill His good purpose. Do Christians suffer from dementia? Yes. Do Christians suffer from paralysis and debilitating disease? Yes. But, God is able to transcend these limitations. The Bible teems with stories of heroes who overcame seemingly impossible odds to further the Kingdom. David lived like a hunted animal in fear of Saul. Joseph became a leader even in prison. A slave girl led a Roman official to Jesus. God is not limited by our limitations. Rather He uses them so that none can boast of their own strength.

>The Essence of Sharing

>A generous man will prosper, he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed (Proverbs 11:25).

I don’t think this means that if we give a hundred dollars to charity, we’ll win the lottery. I don’t even think it means that if we give a man our coat, we won’t be cold. If we only have one coat, we can share it. By wrapping it around someone else, we get the benefit from their body heat. Thereby, we are both the warmer for the sharing.

>Sharper Than a Sword

>The Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword. It penetrates even to the dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges, the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (Hebrews 4:12)

God’s word is powerful beyond description. Why then is it so hard for me to pick up the Bible and read it? I think sometimes, I’m afraid of the insight I’ll gain. I fear conviction, and that conviction may compel me to change something. Sometimes, when convicted, I bury that conviction deep within or rationalize my inability to make the change. There are times when I argue with my soul. I try to convince myself that The Bible is too cumbersome. I have to digest it, scrutinize the scripture before it is of use to me. Who has time for such intimate study? In this day and age of instantaneous information, I don’t want to take the time to mull things over. But God says His word is sharp. It will slice through any hesitation or argument I can devise. Lord, increase my hunger for your word.

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