Sunday, May 18, 2014

An Invitation To Life.5

"For God so loved the world, that he offered his only Son a living sacrifice, that whoever believes in him will not perish, but be redeemed and have everlasting life." 

Caring little who was listening, the elderly man runs through his inventory of body part replacements.  With a chortle he concludes, "$288,000 to keep me going!"
image borrowed from security

We all are perishable.  Our body parts wear out.  Our eyes & mind grow dim.  Our soul feels feeble.

Technology can replace bodily tissue but can it replenish vigor? Does Medicare cover the eternal effervescence of Faith, Hope and Love?  What pharmacist can fill the prescription for more life? Is not More Life! the heart cry of humanity and the antidote for all its ills?

We all are creatures possessed by death.  It is death that we want relief from: 

  • the death of homelessness and hunger and cold; 
  • the death of failure, disappointment, and distraction; 
  • the death of passion; 
  • the death of madness—
    • a being we cannot manage
    • a world we cannot rule
    • needs we cannot meet
    • words we cannot retract 
    • actions we cannot undo
  • the death of crime and fear of discovery

"God is life, and the will-source of life. In the outflowing of that life, I know him; and when I am told that he is love, I see that if he were not love he would not, could not create. I know nothing deeper in him than love, nor believe there is in him anything deeper than love— nay, that there can be anything deeper than love. The being of God is love, therefore creation. 

I imagine that from all eternity he has been creating. As he saw it was not good for man to be alone, so has he never been alone himself;—from all eternity the Father has had the Son, and the never-begun existence of that Son I imagine an easy outgoing of the Father's nature; while to make other beings—beings like us, I imagine the labor of a God, an eternal labor.

I imagine that God has never been contented to be alone even with the Son of his love, the prime and perfect idea of humanity, but that he has from the first willed and labored to give existence to other creatures who should be blessed with his blessedness—creatures whom he is now and always has been developing into likeness with that Son—a likeness for long to be distant and small, but a likeness to be for ever growing: perhaps never one of them yet, though unspeakably blessed, has had even an approximate idea of the blessedness in store for him.

...Sore [labor and] suffering such as we cannot imagine, and could only be God's, in the bringing out, call it birth or development, of the God-life in the individual soul—a suffering still renewed, a labor thwarted ever by that soul itself, compelling him to take, still at the cost of suffering...the best possible means left him by the resistance of his creature. 

Man finds it hard to get what he wants, because he does not want the best; God finds it hard to give, because he would give the best, and man will not take it. 

What Jesus did, was what the Father is always doing; the suffering he endured was that of the Father from the foundation of the world, reaching its climax in the person of his Son. God provides the sacrifice; the sacrifice is himself. He is always, and has ever been, sacrificing himself to and for his creatures. It lies in the very essence of his creation of them.

Jesus did nothing but what the Father did and does. 

If Jesus suffered for men, it was because his Father suffers for men; only he came close to men through his body and their senses, that he might bring their spirits close to his Father and their Father, so giving them life, and losing what could be lost of his own. 

He is God our Savior: it is because God is our Savior that Jesus is our Savior. The God and Father of Jesus Christ could never possibly be satisfied with less than giving himself to his own! 

The unbeliever may easily imagine a better God than the common theology of the country offers him; but not the lovingest heart that ever beat can even reflect the length and breadth and depth and height of that love of God which shows itself in his Son—one, and of one mind, with himself. "
(adapted from Life, George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons II, emphasis added)

Follower of Jesus, know Whom you believe!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

An Invitation To Life.4

"Herein lies the way to eternal life: 
know the only true God and Jesus Christ, 
the one sent to you by God. 

Take my words to heart.

Ayden (7 year old grandson): "I keep asking my dad to show me how to use a pocketknife."

Me (grandpa): "Maybe he doesn't think you're quite ready."

Ayden: "But he promised he'd show me this spring."

Me: "Maybe he knows you need to be a little more patient."

Ayden: (stomping foot)"I am patient!"

Me: "Maybe. But being patient doesn't mean quarreling in your head about whether you think your dad is wrong about the word 'patient'.  Its being patient in your heart."

Ayden: "What does that mean?"

Me: "It means you trust your dad to love and care for you.  When your heart knows that, you'll always trust him to do what's best for you. Then waiting isn't such a hard thing, because you love your dad more than the thing you wanted your dad to do for you."
The Knowing Of the Father

What if-

  • eternal life isn't just Pearly Gates and Golden Streets?
  • Real Bliss is Knowing God the Father, just like Jesus the Son does?
  • the only way to get that kind of knowledge is to be like Jesus: a perfect child to His Father?
  • the only way to be like Jesus is to do like Jesus?
  • in the doing comes the learning, the perfecting, the uniting of our hearts together as we see His gentle hand helping, teaching, directing us to a better way?
  • our actions demonstrate that we think like Him, see like Him, move like Him, love like Him?
  • we could prove to the world the Truth of Him because:
    • we love one another (believers and unbelievers alike)
    • are just & fair in all our dealings
    • our goods the best, their weight the surest, prices most reasonable, word most certain
    • we love not riches nor envy those who have them
    • selfishness does not rule in our homes or our hearts
    • we know that if we can't trust Him in this world neither will we in the next
    • we are good, happy, unselfish, sharing, free of care, ready to die, but so willing to live, hopeful, helpful, careless to possess, careful to avoid being possessed by worthless things.
What if the whole secret of progress in knowing and loving the Father is in the doing of the thing we know?
What if that IS Eternal Life?

adapted from Self-Denial, by George MacDonald