Thursday, November 28, 2013

A Place For You.2

"Know this: 
if I go and prepare a place for you, 
I will come again, 
and take you to be there with me; 
so that where I am, 
there you may be also. 

Let not your heart be troubled: 
you believe in God; 
believe also in me. 

In my Father's house are many mansions: 
if it were not so, 
I would have told you. 

I must go away, 
but I will come again to you. 
If you truly loved me, 
you would rejoice, 
because I return to the Father."

I met a dad with a heartbreaking story. Seven years ago he took custody of his five year old grandson after the police found him outside his mother's house -in winter- without a coat. He soon discovered that his daughter, a pharmacy tech student, was hooked on meth. He hasn't seen or heard from her in the last four years. A son needs his mom; a dad wants his daughter...

Affection effects our lives in incalculable ways!

The story is told of a young college student completing a summer internship on a Navajo reservation. The respect for and tender devotion to them made such an impact that as he was preparing to leave an elderly woman approached him and, taking his face in her wrinkled hands, said, "I like me better when I'm with you!"


Jesus, while walking this earth, lived his life on a much higher plane, a spiritual Himalayas, which we still view from our sandy heaps of manifest dullness.  He ever held in view our spiritual perfection, the perfecting of a love so complete and joy-filled, that we cannot now understand, but as we walk with the Master find a growing hunger for its effect.  Call it a heavenly addiction...

"Nothing is inexorable but love. Love which will yield to prayer is imperfect and poor. Nor is it then the love that yields, but its alloy. For if at the voice of entreaty love conquers displeasure, it is love asserting itself, not love yielding its claims. It is not love that grants a boon [request] unwillingly; still less is it love that answers a prayer to the wrong and hurt of him who prays.
Love is one, and love is changeless.
For love loves unto purity. Love has ever in view the absolute loveliness of that which it beholds. Where loveliness is incomplete, and love cannot love its fill of loving, it spends itself to make more lovely, that it may love more; it strives for perfection, even that itself may be perfected—not in itself, but in the object. As it was love that first created humanity, so even human love, in proportion to its divinity, will go on creating the beautiful for its own outpouring. There is nothing eternal but that which loves and can be loved, and love is ever climbing towards the consummation when such shall be the universe, imperishable, divine."
--George MacDonald,The Consuming Fire, Unspoken Sermons I [emphasis added]
Although the Perfecting, addictive Love of Jesus was to be taken away, the Master infuses his men with hope, a hope that, in time, changed not only them but the entire world. "No one has ever seen God;" wrote the beloved friend of Jesus, "if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us."  The love that radiates in and through us so that we can, like Jesus, leave others saying, 
"I like me better when I'm with you!"

Sunday, November 24, 2013

A Place For You.1

"I go to prepare a place for you."

In the beginning God created all things...good.  The idea of mankind was good...more or less.  A being capable of will, like God, that could remain independent and yet need Him, choose Him and demonstrate loving obedience to the Perfect Will reflecting His nature by acts of goodness, love and devotion to all his creation.  

In practice?  Not so much.  Second thoughts.  Within a short time "The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
And the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.
-Genesis 6:5,6

Dr. Frankenstein, meet your monster.  But even monsters need a place near their father's heart.  The creature pleads with the creator: 
[Creature:] "Remember that I am thy creature; I ought to be thy Adam, but I am rather the fallen angel, whom thou drivest from joy for no misdeed. Everywhere I see bliss, from which I alone am irrevocably excluded. I was benevolent and good; misery made me a fiend. Make me happy, and I shall again be virtuous."
[Creator]: "Begone! I will not hear you. There can be no community between you and me; we are enemies. Begone, or let us try our strength in a fight, in which one must fall."

 [Creature:] "How can I move thee? Will no entreaties cause thee to turn a favourable eye upon thy creature, who implores thy goodness and compassion? Believe me, Dr. Frankenstein, I was benevolent; my soul glowed with love and humanity; but am I not alone, miserably alone? You, my creator, abhor me; what hope can I gather from your fellow creatures, who owe me nothing? They spurn and hate me."
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, (p. 52).  
Suppose we could see clearly how monstrous our attitudes and actions make us, cut off from the purposes and meaning of our Creator.  

Suppose we had no recourse but with futility plead our case for His love and devotion, knowing full well His abhorrence to evil.  

Suppose Jesus had not come to walk among the monstrous and plead His father's Truth: that He daily gives Himself for us to know and understand Him, and in knowing be like Him.

Suppose we had no promise of the place He joyfully prepares for us...

Sunday, November 10, 2013

This Generation.8

"Those who have chosen to follow me in this generation will one day sit upon thrones, and judge kingdoms and kings who have hardened their hearts and turned away from these righteous words."

Game of Thrones

Throughout my journey I've read, pondered, endured and practiced a variety of approaches to understanding Jesus' words.  It is not unusual to find "bible" teachers who conveniently exempt themselves from obedience to Jesus' words by impressive terminology like "dispensation", "hermenuetics", "systematic theology", and so forth.  But the only way to truly understand His words and His way is to practice them!

How does this quote from Jesus lend itself to obedience?  Doesn't it apply to the twelve apostles some time in the future judgement of the world?  Think that if you will, but I believe the "one day" pointed to a time when individuals, those who put into practice the righteousness the Righteous One came to teach us, would have the moral authority to "judge" kings.  We do this regularly here in the United States through our election cycles.  

The founders of America understood how critical this kind of discernment was to our survival as a free people:

   "But neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt. He therefore is the truest friend to the liberty of his country who tries most to promote its virtue, and who, so far as his power and influence extend, will not suffer a man to be chosen into any office of power and trust who is not a wise and virtuous man." -- Samuel Adams, (Skousen, The 5000 Year Leap (Kindle Edition Locations 739-742).

Have the leaders in our country "hardened their hearts" and "turned away from these righteous words?"  You be the judge!  Frederic Bastiat, an 1800's French economist, wrote:  "Man can live and satisfy his wants only by ceaseless labor; by the ceaseless application of his faculties to natural resources.  This process is the origin of property.  But it is also true that a man may live and satisfy his wants by seizing and consuming the products of the labor of others.  This process is the origin of plunder. will resort to plunder whenever plunder is easier than work.  History shows this quite clearly.  
...It is impossible to introduce into society a greater change and a greater evil than this: the conversion of the law into an instrument of plunder.  ...The consequence of this perversion is "erasing from everyone's conscience the distinction between justice and injustice.  No society can exist unless the laws are respected to a certain degree.  The safest way to make the laws respected is to make them respectable.  When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law." --Bastiat, The Law

When today's American lawmakers both refuse to even read the laws beforehand and live under those they pass, they must be held accountable by those who  fearlessly live by Jesus' righteousness, and possess in themselves the moral authority to judge the actions of elected officials!

Rise up
O men of God, 

have done with lesser things.
Give heart and, soul and mind and strength 

to serve the King of Kings.

Don't think for a moment that we are not serving the King of Kings by living according to His righteous words and insisting the same for those who direct the affairs of our country!