Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Great Commission.15

"Truly, it is a fire that I have come to bring upon the earth. How I long to see it ablaze! Did you imagine that I had come to bring peace and tranquility?  No, I tell you, I have come to spread division! From now on, there will be five in one house, divided as to what they should believe, three against two, and two against three."

"For Richard was now but too well convinced that he had no power of persuasion equal to the task of making Dorothy see things as he saw them.  The dividing influence of imperfect opposing goods is potent as that of warring good and evil, with this important difference, that the former is but for a season, and will one day bind as strongly as it parted, while the latter is essential, absolute, impassible, eternal." --MacDonald, from St. George and St. Michael.

Sadly, mine is a divided house.  One son coaches wrestling for Central Michigan University; two sons wrestle for Michigan State University.  Normally it's not much of an issue...until the two teams compete against each other.  Normally CMU wins and the trash talking ensues.  Normally, love of wrestling heals all wounds...

Sadly, the USA is a divided house.  But it is not divided over a favorite sports team.  It is divided over what we should believe.  Many of us believe, rightly in my opinion, that it is a "warring between good and evil", rather than opinion over "imperfect opposing goods."  Whether it is economic issues such as private property vs redistribution, or social issues such as "pro-choice" vs "pro-life"; it is imperative to the health of the nation that we are able to see the debate for what it really is and know if we still have the capacity to distinguish good from evil.

The point here is not to rehash why one view is better than the other, but that there must be a point when the fires blaze!  Jesus was not advocating anarchy, but purity of conviction which leads to the rule of righteousness.  We have long debated whether Abraham Lincoln was a hero or tyrant.  What we cannot debate is that the eradication of slavery was a costly victory that only came as the fire of passions blazed!  The only question that remains: are we a better nation because we paid the price?  Is the world a better place because the people of the United States of America were willing to pay that price and make a statement against an evil practice that was old as human society?

This question still remains: do we have the courage of our convictions even today?  Will the evil of
tyranny & despotism finally be eradicated in the world by the fire of conviction and the will to righteousness beginning here in the land of the free?  Are we still the home of the brave...or, as Mark Twain observed, ‘the average man’s a coward...’  

May the guiding hand of Divine Providence help us answer that question even as Jesus proclaimed to every generation of mankind: ‘how I long to see it ablaze!’ May the love of good and hatred of evil inspire us to be men of courage to this generation!  

The world will be a better place for it.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Great Commission.14

If I had not come 
with the message of truth,
   the inhabitants of the world 
would not have been 
aware of their failings 
and wrong behavior. 

No longer can they hide behind their former ignorance of the truth. 

If I had not 

performed miracles among them, 
   they would not have known 
that the kingdom had come 
to dwell among them. 

Now those who have rejected the truth

 have also been witness to the miracles, 
   and hate both me and my Father. 

This is come to pass, that the prophecy might be fulfilled: 

"They have hated me without cause."

What is harder to imagine:  
the majestic grandeur of heaven 
 a world where Jesus 
'had not come?'

What better occupation for the Son of God than carpenter to build an understanding of all that is True into the fabric of social relations!

For what is True?  In carpentry it is the intersection of complex influences on the senses: perspective, level, plum, geometry, equilibrium, optics, and gravity.  However complicated these intertwining concepts there is a simple tool to measure True - a carpenter's level.

Jesus is the Level of Truth.  By Him mankind was given the gift of True; the way to measure all the convoluting influences on right behavior.  By pointing all things to our Creator Father we can understand better ourselves.  He taught us that it is in the doing of truth that we only understand the truth of a thing.

"Ask a man of mere science, what is the truth of a flower: he will pull it to pieces, show you its parts, explain how they operate, how they minister each to the life of the flower; he will tell you what changes are wrought in it by scientific cultivation; where it lives originally, where it can live; the effects upon it of another climate; what part the insects bear in its varieties-and doubtless many more facts about it. Ask the poet what is the truth of the flower, and he will answer: 'Why, the flower itself, the perfect flower, and what it cannot help saying to him who has ears to hear it.' The truth of the flower is, not the facts about it, be they correct as ideal science itself, but the shining, glowing, gladdening, patient thing throned on its stalk-the compeller of smile and tear from child and prophet.
The truth of a thing, then, is the blossom of it, the thing it is made for, the topmost stone set on with rejoicing; truth in a man's imagination is the power to recognize this truth of a thing; and wherever, in anything that God has made, in the glory of it, be it sky or flower or human face, we see the glory of God, there a true imagination is beholding a truth of God.

Man is man only in the doing of the truth, perfect man only in the doing of the highest truth, which is the fulfilling of his relations to his origin. 
But he has relations with his fellow man, closer infinitely than with any of the things around him, and to many a man far plainer than his relations with God. Now the nearer is plainer that he may step on it, and rise to the higher, till then the less plain. 
These relations make a large part of his being, are essential to his very existence, and spring from the very facts of the origination of his being. They are the relation of 

  • thought to thought, 
  • of being to being, 
  • of duty to duty. 
The very nature of a man depends upon or is one with these relations. They are truths, and the man is a true man as he fulfills them. Fulfilling them perfectly, he is himself a truth, a living truth. As regarded merely by the intellect, these relations are facts of man's nature; but that they are of man's nature makes them truths, and the fulfillments of them are duties. 
He is so constituted as to understand them at first more than he can love them, with the resulting advantage of having thereby the opportunity of choosing them purely because they are true; so doing he chooses to love them, and is enabled to love them in the doing, which alone can truly reveal them to him, and make the loving of them possible. 
Then they cease to show themselves in the form of duties, and appear as they more truly are, absolute truths, essential realities, eternal delights. The man is a true man who chooses duty; he is a perfect man who at length never thinks of duty, who forgets the name of it. 
The duty of Jesus was the doing in lower forms than the perfect that which he loved perfectly, and did perfectly in the highest forms also. Thus he fulfilled all righteousness. One who went to the truth by mere impulse, would be a holy animal, not a true man. Relations, truths, duties, are shown to the man away beyond him, that he may choose them, and be a child of God, choosing righteousness like him. Hence the whole sad victorious human tale, and the glory to be revealed!"  --George MacDonald, The Truth

Thus it is essential to our being to obey Jesus who leads us always to Truth!

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Great Commission.13

"Remember that in the earthly kingdom no servant is greater than his master. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you, punishing you for my cause, not realizing Who it was that sent me into the world. If, however, they accept and follow my message, they will accept and follow yours as well."


Hast thou no scar?
No hidden scar on foot, or side, or hand?
I hear thee sung as mighty in the land,
I hear them hail thy bright ascendant star,
Hast thou no scar?

Hast thou no wound?
Yet, I was wounded by the archers, spent.
Leaned me against the tree to die, and rent
By ravening beasts that compassed me,
I swooned:
Hast thou no wound?

No wound? No scar?
Yet as the Master shall the servant be,
And pierced are the feet that follow Me;
But thine are whole.
Can he have followed far
Who has no wound nor scar?
--Amy Carmichael 

How about we not just pray for the persecuted church.  How about we be the persecuted church that like its Master lives a life so selfless, compassionate and giving we can't be overlooked by "Brutalism's political empire."  How about we remember why we choose not to live under the radar of radical righteousness: there are those who will accept His message!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Great Commission.12

"If you are accused and brought to court, 
do not fear at your lack of words. 
They will be given to you in that instant.
You need not rely on your words alone, 
for the breath of God will speak through you."

What scares you more:

  • being accused of following Jesus

  • lack of evidence that you ARE a follower of Jesus?

The greatest evidence that we are a follower of Jesus is that we rely on the Breath of God to invigorate our speech...everyday!