Saturday, August 24, 2013

Christ's Prayer For His Disciples.8

"Father of goodness and truth, the world has not known you; but I have known you, and these who believe in me know that it is you who sent me. I have revealed you to them, and will continue to reveal you to them, so that I, and the love you have given me, may fully dwell in their hearts.
So be it."
-- Jesus

"In this, then, is God like the child: that he is simply and altogether our friend, our father—our more than friend, father, and mother—our infinite love-perfect God

Grand and strong
beyond all that human imagination can conceive of poet-thinking and kingly action, he is delicate beyond all that human tenderness can conceive of husband or wife, homely beyond all that human heart can conceive of father or mother. He has not two thoughts about us. With him all is simplicity of purpose and meaning and effort and end—namely, that we should be as he is, think the same thoughts, mean the same things, possess the same blessedness. 

It is so plain that any one may see it, every one ought to see it, every one shall see it. It must be so. He is utterly true and good to us, nor shall anything withstand his will.

How terribly, then, have the theologians misrepresented God in the measures of the low and showy, not the lofty and simple humanities! Nearly all of them represent him as a great King on a grand throne, thinking how grand he is, and making it the business of his being and the end of his universe to keep up his glory, wielding the bolts of a Jupiter against them that take his name in vain. They would not allow this, but follow out what they say, and it comes much to this.

Brothers, have you found our king? There he is,
kissing little children and saying they are like God. There he is at table with the head of a fisherman lying on his bosom, and somewhat heavy at heart that even he, the beloved disciple, cannot yet understand him well. The simplest peasant who loves his children and his sheep were—no, not a truer, for the other is false, but—a true type of our God beside that monstrosity of a monarch.

The God who is ever uttering himself in the changeful profusions of nature; who takes millions of years to form a soul that shall understand him and be blessed; who never needs to be, and never is, in haste; who welcomes the simplest thought of truth or beauty as the return for seed he has sown upon the old fallows of eternity, who rejoices in the response of a faltering moment

to the age-long cry of his wisdom in the streets; the God of music, of painting, of building, the Lord of Hosts, the God of mountains and oceans; whose laws go forth from one unseen point of wisdom, and thither return without an atom of loss; the God of history working in time unto Christianity; this God is the God of little children, and he alone can be perfectly, abandonedly simple and devoted. 

The deepest, purest love of a woman has its well-spring in him. Our longing desires can no more exhaust the fullness of the treasures of the Godhead, than our imagination can touch their measure. Of him not a thought, not a joy, not a hope of one of his creatures can pass unseen; and while one of them remains unsatisfied, he is not Lord over all.

Therefore, with angels and with archangels, with the spirits of the just made perfect, with the little children of the kingdom, yea, with the Lord himself, and for all them that know him not, we praise and magnify and laud his name in itself, saying Our Father. We do not draw back for that we are unworthy, nor even for that we are hard-hearted and care not for the good. 

For it is his childlikeness that makes him our God and Father. The perfection of his relation to us swallows up all our imperfections, all our defects, all our evils; for our childhood is born of his fatherhood. That man is perfect in faith who can come to God in the utter dearth of his feelings and his desires, without a glow or an aspiration, with the weight of low thoughts, failures, neglects, and wandering forgetfulness, and say to him,

“Thou art my refuge, because thou art my home.”

George MacDonald, 
The Child In The Midst, Unspoken Sermons I

It is never too late nor early to remember that Jesus is and always has been His Father's Son -- perfectly Divine, Divinely submissive -- above all, devoted to the Eternal Love of God he brought into this world! The love he will continue to reveal to all those with open child-like His.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Christ's Prayer For His Disciples.7

"I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and you in me, being perfected into one. Because of this, the world will fully understand that you have sent me, and have loved them as much as you have loved me. May they one day be with me where I am, beholding my glory, which you have lovingly given me since the foundation of the world." 

Whenever I get to spend time with my grandkids I look to see what -- in their nature --reflects the qualities of their parents (my sons.)  Nolan has his dad's cheery nature; Vanessa her dad's ability to absorb things quickly and produce excellent results; like dad, everything is black & white for Ayden; Van seems to have his dad's loving tenderness; Malachi his dad's creative instincts.

But those qualities are passed on, primarily, through genetics and imitation.  What I will really be interested in seeing is, in the years to come, what will they choose, as a matter of will, the ways they wish to be like their parents.

The apostle Paul, reflecting on this truth, observed, "But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord."  

MacDonald digs a little deeper into the meaning of "beholding as in a mirror":

"Paul never thought of the mirror as reflecting, as throwing back the rays of light from its surface; he thought of it as receiving, taking into itself, the things presented to it-here, as filling its bosom with the glory it looks upon.

When I see the face of my friend in a mirror, the mirror seems to hold it in itself, to surround the visage with its liquid embrace. The countenance is there -- down there in the depth of the mirror. True, it shines radiant out of it, but it is not the shining out of it that Paul has in his thought; it is the fact-the visual fact, ...of the mirror holding in it the face.

The prophet-apostle seems to me, then, to say, 'We all, with clear vision of the Lord, mirroring in our hearts his glory, even as a mirror would take into itself his face, are thereby changed into his likeness, his glory working our glory, by the present power, in our inmost being, of the Lord, the spirit.'

Our mirroring of Christ, then, is one with the presence of his spirit in us. The idea, you see, is not the reflection, the radiating of the light of Christ on others, though that were a figure lawful enough; but the taking into, and having in us, him working to the changing of us.

Paul's idea is that when we take into our understanding, our heart, our conscience, our being, the glory of God, namely Jesus Christ as he shows himself to our eyes, our hearts, our consciences, he works upon us, and will keep working, till we are changed to the very likeness we have thus mirrored in us; for with his likeness he comes himself, and dwells in us. 

He will work until the same likeness is wrought out and perfected in us, the image, namely, of the humanity of God, in which image we were made at first, but which could never be developed in us except by the indwelling of the perfect likeness. By the power of Christ thus received and at home in us, we are changed-the glory in him becoming glory in us, his glory changing us to glory.

The Lord Jesus, by free, potent communion with their inmost being, will change his obedient brethren till in every thought and impulse they are good like him, unselfish, neighbourly, brotherly like him, loving the Father perfectly like him, ready to die for the truth like him, caring like him for nothing in the universe but the will of God, which is love, harmony, liberty, beauty, and joy."(George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons III, The Mirror of the Lord, emphasis added)

Perhaps a more modern metaphor: the data captured in an IPad tablet creates an image on the screen by controlling the internal computing processes!  So the image is not a reflection, it is the creative glory of internal changes wrought by a greater authority cooperating with an obedient host.

Christ In Me The Hope of Glory! 
When by His grace I shall look on His face, 
that will be Glory for me!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Christ's Prayer For His Disciples.6

"As you have sent me into the world, so I send them. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they may be made holy, and grow in truth. I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will come to believe in me because of the testimony that they give. Let them all be of one heart and mind, just as you and I are one: that as you are in me, and I in you, they will be together in us; and the world will know that you have sent me."



Made In China ...these three words conjure up many things to many people.  But one thing is for certain, these three words have impacted the globe!

If followers of Jesus had a label sewn on them that said, "Made In Holiness", what images would be conjured up in the minds and hearts of the world?
Question: "What did Jesus come into the world to do?
Answer: The will of God in saving his people from their sins

  •  -not from the punishment of their sins, (that blessed aid to repentance)

    • but from their sins themselves, 
    • the paltry as well as the heinous, the venial as well as the loathsome.

  • His whole work was and is to send away sin
to banish it from the earth,
to cast it into the abyss
of non-existence behind the back of God.
His was the holy war;
he came carrying it into our world;
he resisted unto blood;
the soldiers that followed him he taught and trained to resist also unto blood,
striving against sin;
so he became the captain of their salvation,
and they, freed themselves,
fought and suffered for others.
This was the task to which he was baptized;
this is yet his enduring labour.
'This is my blood of the new covenant which is shed for many unto the sending away of sins.'"
(adapted from George MacDonald's Hope of the Gospel, Salvation From Sin, emphasis added)

A friend of mine is in prison.  He has recently renewed his pledge to follow Jesus.  He is reading Neil Anderson's book Victory Over Darkness.  He wrote to tell me that he was struck by a story of a young lady who had all that life could offer on the outside but was a mess on the inside.  He compared life in prison, where men are stripped of external trappings, and yet can still hide behind the deception of the lies they believe about themselves and the world around them.  The difference between those who know Truth and those who don't is in the way they act.  Oneness with our Maker who is Truth, is the only way to experience the Truth of who we are and live in peace with the results.

Do you recognize the Captain of your Salvation's work in training you to strive against sin?
 When you see the truth of it, the root evil at work in you, in others, in your community, do you strive against it, or waiver in doubt, fondness, fear, insecurity, cowardice, awkwardness, indifference, or apathy?  Be Made Holy and Grow in Truth follower of Jesus...or stop posing.