Sunday, February 24, 2013

Disciples & Servants.1

"You cannot allow two masters to rule your life. Either you will disregard one, and love the other; or else cling to one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and remain enslaved to the gods of this world."


If I find 
  • my position, my consciousness, that of one away from home, nay, that of one in some sort of prison; 
  • that I can neither rule the world in which I live nor my own thoughts or desires; 
  • that I cannot quiet my passions,
    •  order my likings, 
    • determine my ends, 
    • will my growth, 
    • forget when I would, 
    • or recall what I forget; 
  • that I cannot love where I would, or hate where I would; 
  • that I am no king over myself; 
  • that I cannot supply my own needs, do not even always know which of my seeming needs are to be supplied, and which treated as impostors; 
  • my own being is every way too much for me; 
  • I can neither understand it, be satisfied with it, nor better it
  • my own scale seems too large for my management; 
  • that I cannot account for my existence, have had no poorest hand in it, neither, should I not like it, can do anything towards causing it to cease; 
  • I can do nothing to make up to those I love, any more than to those I hate, for evils I have done them and sorrows I have caused them; 
  • that in my worst moments I disbelieve in my best, in my best loathe my worst; that there is in me no wholeness, no unity; 
  • that life is not a good to me, for I scorn myself
When I think all or any such things, can it be strange if I think also that surely there ought to be somewhere a Being to account for me, one to account for himself, and make the round of my existence just; one whose very Being accounts and is necessary to account for mine; whose presence in my being is imperative, not merely to supplement it, but to make to myself my existence a good?

To know God present, to have the consciousness of God where he is the essential life, must be absolutely necessary to that life! 

He that is made in the image of God must know him or be desolate: 
the child must have the Father!

-adapted from George MacDonald, Man's Difficulty Concerning Prayer, Unspoken Sermons II

To be a follower of Jesus is to reach the pinnacle of our potential. It is then we have but one Master leading us where we belong!  It is in following Him and serving others we find our true selves!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

On Being Born a Second Time.8

For God so loved the world that he sacrificed his only son. Whoever believes in him shall not die but receive everlasting life. Do you believe this?


Jesus, at the tender age of 12, gently reminded his "earthly" parents that he had to be about his father's "business".  The word can be translated house.  He was in fact enlarging their view of things that there was no place in his Father's universe that wasn't part of his business and therefore had perfect authority to fearlessly tread where the Spirit took him.

Sacrificing something we love, like our sons for war, to higher purposes has become such a normal part of our worldview we rarely reflect on how Jesus' love for his father's Will and world have shaped mankind profoundly.

Think about this: who can best describe the battle, the spectator or the warrior?  Jesus, the son, fought the battle for the souls of men, learning obedience through the suffering.  Learning the kind of experiential obedience to His Father's Perfect Will that He calls ALL his followers to learn.  It is in the Perfect Will we learn Perfecting Love! Then, rather than spend life shriveling under the perishable effects of unbelief, we experience His Life, Light, and Love flowing, enriching, empowering us to fearlessly do His business!

Let us run away from a faith that calls us to learn theories or theologies and run toward the author and perfecter of loving, obedient faith!  That is the belief in Him that opens the way to true Life!

Do you believe this?

Saturday, February 9, 2013

On Being Born a Second Time.

"Except you change your ways, and become children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. The Son of Man is sent into the world to save those that are lost: for it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven, that even the least among you should remain outside of the kingdom."


My earthly father, Dick Lyon, died at a very young age; he was 31, I was 7.

Sally & Dick Lyon
I am fortunate to have a few good memories of my dad.  I am fortunate that he was regarded as a good man leaving me a standard to live up to and love.

How unfortunate that there are countless numbers of people who do not have good memories or a grand model to which they can measure up.  Whether through abandonment, abuse, infidelity, immaturity or just plain evil too many people suffer from a lack of love by or for their father, or tragically, really are repulsed at the very word.

Our friend George MacDonald has powerful insights into this:

"There may be among my readers—alas for such!—to whom the word Father brings no cheer, no dawn, in whose heart it rouses no tremble of even a vanished emotion. It is hardly likely to be their fault. 

For though as children 
-we seldom love up to the mark of reason; 
-though we often offend; 
-and although the conduct of some children is inexplicable to the parent who loves them; 
yet, if the parent has been but ordinarily kind, even the son who has grown up a worthless man, will now and then feel, in his better moments, some dim reflex of child-ship, some faintly pleasant, some slightly sorrowful remembrance of the father around whose neck his arms had sometimes clung.

Dan Lyon
Dan & Nolan Lyon
In my own childhood and boyhood my father was the refuge from all the ills of life, even sharp pain itself. Therefore I say to son or daughter who has no pleasure in the name Father
'You must interpret the word by all that you have missed in life. Every time a man might have been to you a refuge from the wind, a covert from the tempest, the shadow of a great rock in a weary land, that was a time when a father might have been a father indeed.
Nathan & Malachi Lyon
Happy you are yet, if you have found man or woman such a refuge; so far have you known a shadow of the perfect, seen the back of the only man, the perfect Son of the perfect Father.
Phil & Van Lyon
All that human tenderness can give or desire in the nearness and readiness of love, all and infinitely more must be true of the perfect Father—of the maker of fatherhood, the Father of all the fathers of the earth, specially the Father of those who have specially shown a father-heart.'

This Father would make to himself sons and daughters indeed—that is, such sons and daughters as shall be his sons and daughters not merely by having come from his heart, but by having returned thither—children in virtue of being such as whence they came, such as choose to be what he is. 

Steve & Carter Lyon
He will have them share in his being and nature—
  • -strong wherein he cares for strength; 
  • -tender and gracious as he is tender and gracious; 
  • -angry where and as he is angry. 
Even in the small matter of power, he will have them able to do whatever his Son Jesus could on the earth, whose was the life of the perfect man, whose works were those of perfected humanity. 

Everything must at length be subject to man, 
as it was to The Man.

When God can do what he will with a man, the man may do what he will with the world; he may walk on the sea like his Lord; the deadliest thing will not he able to hurt him:
'He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater than these shall he do.'

(Adapted from Abba! Father!, Unspoken Sermons II, George MacDonald, emphasis added)

Here's to true Fatherhood! 
Here's to rebirth to a true son of God!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

On Being Born a Second Time.6

Hear this lesson: 
A man had two sons. The younger son said to his father: "Father, give me my portion of the inheritance." Without questioning, the father gave him his share.
Not long afterwards this same son gathered his possessions, and journeyed to a far country. There he squandered his wealth with reckless living. When his last cent was gone, a terrible famine swept the land, and he was left destitute and without friends.

Finally he found menial work tending swine. In his desperation, he was about to eat the corn husks reserved for the swine. Then, coming to his senses, he thought: My father's servants have more than enough bread, with much left over; while I am about to eat the swine’s food to save myself from starvation. I will return to my Father and throw myself on his mercy. 'Father,” I will say, “I have wronged you and heaven, and am no longer worthy to be your son.
Let me at least be one of your hired servants.'"
So determined, he rose from the dust, and began the long voyage home.
When he was still a great way off, his father saw him in the distance, and having compassion on him, ran out to meet him and embraced him tenderly.
The son began his confession. "Father,” he wept, “I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son."
The father did not let him finish, but turned instead to his servants and said: "Bring out my best clothes, and dress my son. Put my signet ring on his hand, and my finest shoes on his feet. Select our fattest calf from the field, and prepare it. Let us feast and be merry. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and now is found."

Then began a great celebration.

Towards evening the elder brother returned from a day working in the field. As he drew near to the house he heard music and dancing. Summoning one of the servants, he asked: "What is the purpose of this celebration?"
The servant replied: "Your brother has returned home; and your father has killed the fattest calf, because he has returned safe and without harm."
At this, the elder brother became very angry, and refused to take part in the banquet. Even his father begged him to join in the feasting.
Stubbornly, he refused, and said, "Behold all these many years I have served you, never breaking one of your commandments. Yet you never offered me feasts to celebrate with my friends. Now my prodigal brother wanders
home, who has no doubt wasted his inheritance on prostitutes and wine, and you kill the prized calf and celebrate!"
To this, the father replied: "My son, you have always been faithful to me, and you know that all that I have is yours.
But it is proper that we celebrate, and give thanks this night. For your brother was dead, and is alive again, was lost, but now is found."

A friend says she always reminds her children that they are free to choose their behavior, but they are not free to choose the consequences!

Sound advice!

Did Jesus come to save us from the consequences of our behavior?  Or did he come to work with the consequences--the attendant pain & suffering of bad choices--to work His Father's will in us?

More to the point of Jesus' story: When does your boy become your son?  When does a little girl become a true daughter to her mother?  When do the children, born in the image of their Creator, born with the capacity to hear the words of Life eternal, born with will to will the Father's Will become reborn to a true Son or Daughter of God?

"His children are not his real, true sons and daughters until they think like him, feel with him, judge as he judges, are at home with him, and without fear before him because he and they mean the same thing, love the same things, seek the same ends." GMD