Saturday, July 31, 2010

Stuff my Dad says

Watchman Nee states "God will never circumvent our own spirit by His." He's a gentleman, never forcing His way on us... So, what DOES he do then? If He's not forcing Himself into our decisions or smiting us for our misdeeds, how DOES He speak? What IS He doing?

I think He is being Himself - True. Altogether wise. Loving. Utlimately powerful. Patient. Gentle. Kind. These are quiet qualities, yet, from Him, mountainous. Unscalable in their magnitude.

I think this because of stories like this one. I had been driving for two hours, growing more and more upset at other drivers in a mad hurry, behaving like children jumping in front of eachother in line, etc, etc, etc...

My temperature was rising, and I'm saying things like, "What an idiot that guy is!" or, "How can they be so stupid!" etc, etc, etc...

And then I hear quietly in my ear "Oh, you mean people?"

As in, "People? ...I love people. ...I poured my life out for people..."

In a moment I am transformed from a frustrated and growingly angry driver to a humbled, quieted, contrite... and free... person, who has heard from a patient, gentle, and wise God. One word, one moment forever changed my thoughts while driving, and maybe more than just while driving. THAT is mountainous! And it is kind.

Perhaps then, He only ever speaks or acts out of His very nature. - And I have evidence that His nature is kind. He is patient with us. And I think its true that God is love.

*1 John 5:20 '...the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true...'

Thursday, July 29, 2010 planned

And God placed man upon the earth He had created, and gave him dominion over it, and said be fruitful and multiply, and God walked with man in the cool of the day.

And, as planned, man would go on to fall to the deception of the evil one, bringing all of mankind and creation into corruption.
[sound of record scratches here]

Wait! It started out so good! Why did you have to go and ruin it?!!

Fixing Heaven

Its the "as planned" part that is worth writing about. It seems to be seldom mentioned, but it's important in understanding God's redemption plan. The bigger redemptive plan is not only about saving man, but about fixing heaven. Oh yeah. Heaven's broken right now! And God is not about to let that stand.
(I realize this may be a new idea to some, so feel free to chew on it for a while, but Satan rebelled and took a third of heaven with him. That's not fixed yet!)

Isn't the fall of man always described as the big mistake Adam and Eve made? And how God's original plan was for the earth to be a wonderful place full of abundance and fellowship with God?

I could not disagree more. The earth was not made to be a wonderful place for man to enjoy daily walks with God. If you're going for that, you will fail in your search.

But, you will say, the bible clearly describes how Adam walked with God in the cool of the day. God gave him interesting and stimulating things to do like naming all the animals, and studying the world, and discovering all the secrets God built into it. That sounds like a wonderful place of discovery and fellowship with God. And so it was.

And, as planned, man would go on to fall to the deception of the evil one.

Did Adam blow it?

So man never stood a chance? He was pre-destined to sin? No. That is too small a question. What man is going through every day in his struggle with his own flesh, with the sin and sickness in the world around him, and in his own fight with satan (if you think of it in that way), are part of something bigger than you or me or even this world.

Would you agree that God was not just happily passing the days with Adam and Eve when all of a sudden they did the one thing they must not do and ruined everything? I mean did Adam just ruin everything? No, he did not!

But wasn't man made for God to enjoy, and for man to know God and enjoy Him forever? Yes, but not yet. Remember the serpent in the garden? What was a rebellious, lying, hater of God doing on this perfect earth? This was no perfect world. There was an enemy afoot. And dealing with his evil and rebelliousness was the first order of business for this brave new world. The first order.

There would be plenty of time (at the end of time) for man to enjoy God forever. Time for rest and walks with God in the cool of the day. But it would not be before man played a key role in the reconciliation of the conflict in heaven. It would not be until heaven was fixed.

For now, beloved by God, fearfully and wonderfully made, man would suffer under the lies of the evil one. And creation itself would suffer decay under his evil corruption, thus setting in motion the events that would reconcile the great conflict of eternity. planned...

Earth the battleground

What I'm saying is that this world is not our home. Was never meant to be. The purpose of this world is that it's a battleground. That's what it was from the beginning. God made the heaven's and the earth to answer Satan's rebellion. Its where God would display the truth of His love, His dominion, His power.

Earth is where God would display His love and send His Son to lay down His life on behalf of those He would take back from Satan. In the end, those redeemed by God will add their painful testimonies to the final judgement of Satan and his angels. But in the meantime, God would give them Eternal Life- not a length of days, not heaven when they die, but a different kind of life to live out on the earth as well as into eterrnity, a life with a different quality than the life darkened by sin.

John 17:3 '...and this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou has sent.'
1 John 5:11,12 '...God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.'

Those who know Him would know His will and ask things in His name, and recieve the things they ask for (I John 5:14,15). They would take back ground stolen by Satan. And they would display the love of the Father to men.

And in Satan's own kitchen, they would display- right in front of him- the power of the kingdom of God over the works of Satan, and the dominion of Christ over the things of this world that had fallen under his deception, and they would compel men to be reconciled to God by a love that is not afraid.

This world was not made to be a wonderful place of rest for man to enjoy daily walks with God in the cool of the day. We are not getting back to the garden. We are spending the remaining days of this age expressing the authority of God over every work of Satan, and displaying the truth about every aspect of His nature, and fearlessly bringing the kingdom of God's marvelous light into every dark place.  We're taking over in Jesus Name.

Beloved by God

Its not that the big picture is what's "really" going on, and our lives are less significant. Your pain is felt by God. That IS the battleground. That IS the injustice. The one who looks to God in faith, He will run to meet you and wipe away your tears. God loves you. Jesus walked the earth with dominion over all the things sin had broken- He healed the sick, and spoke peace to storms. Not only that but He walked right into hell and took back those who Satan thought he held captive. This is the Lord. He is in the world today and is near to you if you draw near to Him. He will heal your sick body, your sick soul, give you a new heart.

God had high thoughts when he created man. Never before had He created such a being. Made in His own Image, He put His own Spirit into man. He made man with the plan that he will one day share in the reign of His kingdom. More than any other being he had made before... He created man with vision and purpose and more of Himself, with more intentions to share more of what He had made, or WOULD make... making him an heir to the biggest inheritance ever imagined. Man is amazingly the recipient of the greatest love that will ever be shown!

*1 Cor 13:12 'Now we see as through a glass dimly, but then, face to face.'

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

brush with greatness...

Heard a reference in church of CS Lewis' description of a child being content with making mudpies in the slum, unaware that God has planned for him a holiday at the beach... I heard that just last night on H2O. How does God do that? WHY does He do that? Do you ever notice that sometimes God brings these messages before us in bunches? It's clearly Him who is doing it....

Perhaps its just Him brushing up against us to show us He's close. I can see Him doing that. Like leaving cookies out on the table for us to find when we get home... We know He did it, but its like a silent gift, an expression of kindness.

Perhaps in ages to come, heaven (and us too) will be telling the stories of when God was hidden from view to man, and how He would leave signs of Himself for man to find. And He would brush up against man in just unfathomable ways...

*Eph 2:7- " coming ages, He will show the incomparable riches of His grace - expressed in His kindness to us through Jesus Christ."

Friday, July 9, 2010

Why did Jesus die for me?

I've had that question in my head since I was "evangelized" in college.

"Jesus died for you." OK, why should that matter to me? It sounds important, but why?

Well, here is what I've come up with.

The Fall

Before earth and time, God was all in all, and there was perfect unity. His creative power was forever expanding. There was nowhere He wasn't, and all His created beings were in accord- that God is all wisdom and knowledge and love and power and dominion.

Then Lucifer- worshipper, beautiful, lovely and perfectly made for his role- looked upon himself, and looked upon Him whom he worshipped and thought to himself, "Look at me! Am I not beautiful? ...and look at Him... couldn't I do what He does? Just look at me!"
God turns to Lucifer, "What is this thing you are thinking?"

In His perfect knowledge and discernment, knowing the darkness that had just entered into Lucifer's heart, and all the pain and suffering this pride would cause; He would create a place for him- a place that had never existed before- a place where He would not dwell- a place for this fallen one and all who he would take with him.

"Fine! I don't need you anyway. Look at me! I can do anything. ...I have at least as much power as I've seen Him display. Look at all who are already following me! I have power."

I believe God at that time responded to what this fallen angel brewed up. Perhaps He said "You think you know power. You think you know beauty. You think you know what is priceless.... I will show you power. I will show you love and beauty and worth- things you know nothing of!" He counseled with Himself, and overflowing from His unsearchable love and depth of compassion came forth a display of love and power that would make all He had done before seem a casual distraction.

And God created the Heavens and the earth.


Oh the heavens and the earth weren't the display of power and love. (Though we are amazed at their vastness) They would simply be the stage upon which He would pour it out. He was about to carry out the greatest display of love and power that would ever be. What could be greater than all the heavens and earth?

And God created a new being- one that had never existed before- one made in His OWN image. And He gave him a piece of Himself. And He said things about man that he had not said about any of His other created beings. And He promised this new being a share in His kingdom- the kingdom of God. And He promised to this new being to impart His own Spirit. And one day He would make His dwelling place among men, and would be their light. Oh the words He spoke over man!

Oh the jealousy that Lucifer felt at those words. Was he not the most beautiful of all created beings? Maybe he was. But he grew uglier by the moment as his heart, perfectly formed at his creation, grew harder and more set against God.

But creating and loving man was not the greatest display of love and power. As much as He cares for your needs, rejoices in your joy, suffers pain at your loss, and longs to wipe away every tear. No, God's purpose was far beyond the works of His hands and His wisdom. Satan (his new name as fallen angel) had created a division in heaven that even today waits to be reconciled. All of creation groans in anticipation of the day when that rift will be reconciled.

Son of Man

God created man upon the earth, and with such vision for his fellowship with Him- in spirit and in truth. I wonder if God wasn't deeply saddened at Lucifer's fall. So deeply saddened He desired to pour out His Spirit upon man, and call him to Himself- out of darkness and into His marvelous light. And no one would ever snatch away those whom He called out to be His very own.

In fact, so deep was the love God felt toward man that He would again overflow in all that is God- love and truth and light and power and dominion- and He would send His only Son to be stricken at the hand of Satan.

This was directly confronting the prideful "knowledge" of Satan that he raised up against the knowledge of God. This was God about to display for all heaven to see, His very nature and character. In coming to earth, and putting on human form, Jesus entered into the realm of "the prince of the power of the air". And He did it seemingly without a defense. How curious.

Jesus walked the earth, declaring the kingdom of God and displaying its power over everything in this world- taking ground wherever He would. And we marvel at His miracles, at His works. He was simply being who He is- Almighty God! ...MAKER of heaven and earth, designer and ultimate authority over all its physics, its chemistry, its weather, its life. Satan saw every display of dominion over creation, and plotted His death. Ha! Jesus would walk right into that little plan with the same authority he walked the earth every day. Satan had no idea that he had no power at all over the Son of God.


One step back for a moment. When Adam and Eve first sinned, what did God do? He killed an animal and gave the skin for them to wear. Wait a minute... God killed? But, until then, nothing had ever, ever, ever died! This must have been the most terrifying thing to ever happen! No wonder creation was disrupted! All of heaven must have been aghast! I wonder if Satan didn't swallow hard at that moment... In fact, way back then, God was setting the stage for what would happen next.

Jesus was about to shed His blood, and pay for my sins. And as great a display of love as that is, Jesus walking into death was also an act of reconciling the great conflict in heaven. When Jesus gave up his life on the cross, He was not a criminal or a thief. He was the sinless and Holy Son of God. When He entered death- Satan's finite little realm- He had no sin to hold Him there.

I believe He confronted Satan in all the authority He had when He was seated at the right hand of God the Father. He took the keys of hell and death, set the captives there free, and walked out with not a word from Satan. In fact, I see Satan at that point trembling uncontrollably in fear, unable to even look up at the terrible and awful face of purity and light.

"You think you know power... you will see power, and you will see love." Greater love has no one than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend." In death, Jesus conquered death because He was free of anything to hold Him there. He owns death. He created death... but not for you or for me. He created it for only one. For Satan and for those who fall with him.

Eternal Life

So why did Jesus die for me... and for that matter, all mankind? It was an expression of His great love, and His great power- for all of heaven and earth to see and understand. A fallen angel had decieved a third of heaven, and all of earth. But God is greater than any rebellion or lie. Out of His great love, He gave Jesus to become man, suffer all that Satan could devise in this life, and then walk into death- Satan's own little realm- and take me back, for I was chained in it.

So what is all of creation waiting for? What is the reconciliation of the great conflict in heaven? It is when the sons of God are revealed. It is when on a great final day, Jesus will come forth and claim all those who are His, those whom God brought out of death and made alive in Christ, and no one will snatch them out of His hand.

On that day, heaven and earth will pass away in a moment because they will have accomplished what God created them for. And time will end because it has accomplished what God created it for.

And the sons of God will worship Him in spirit and in truth. And He will wipe away every tear from their faces. And He will set them over His kingdom. And, Paul says, we will judge those fallen angels. And so, man will be used in the reconciliation of the great conflict in heaven. And he will dwell with his King forever. And in the coming ages, He will show the immeasurable riches of His Grace and His kindness toward us in this work of Christ Jesus. We'll be talking about it forever.