Thursday, June 27, 2013

Have we lost the meaning of it all?

I was wondering how to explain salvation to someone the other day.
I have memorized the verses in Romans that explain salvation but I started wondering how Jesus, Peter, and Paul explained it.
I have yet to find one time where they asked "Do you want to accept Jesus?".
That surprised me.
Every time they just presented the truth of God, Jesus and our sin then let the person decide for themselves. Apparently their presentation was so Holy Spirit filled people started asking them how to be saved from sin.

I have started to realized that once your culture becomes comfortable with words like "Accept Jesus into your heart", they start to lose all meaning.
Here's what occurred to me:

You need to know what you are choosing.
You are agreeing to give up what you currently have (all that you currently have)- the option to make wrong choices all the time, drive your life into the ground with your limited wisdom and to end up eternally separated from a God who loves you and would do literally anything to offer you more.
You are agreeing to give Him all that you are. EVERYTHING.
Nothing is off the table, He gets to have the final say in everything. Now, if you realize how much He loves you (as demonstrated in His choice to die a physical death for you and be separated from all His glory for you) then giving Him this is not a risky move.

The above are the parts are where you realize if you believe in him or not.
If you trust him or not. Whether you think sin is real and you have it in your life or you don't.  

It's an all or nothing deal. All of you just as you are or none of you.

If you can jump off the high dive on this the tell someone.

Tell your family, tell another person who believes this, tell someone who can encourage you and help you in what you have just decided.

Confessing that Jesus is Lord, your lord is a huge deal. If you know what Lord actually means. Don't let Church culture lull you into a false sense of a relationship with God.

False salvation is worse than none at all. It's like having cancer but believing you are cured.
I firmly believe it only takes 5 to 12 truly saved people to turn a town or area into a hot bed of the Gospel. So if that seems to be the case in the bible, why are our churches so quiet and our towns hot beds of the lost?

If you say you are a Christian and you have never talked with your family, children, grandchildren, coworkers or friends about the above things then you don't really have much in common with Jesus, Peter, Paul or any other leader of the New Testament.

My prayer is that God would change me from the inside out so that my mouth would speak of Him constantly. I also ask that He forgives me to neglecting Him and every soul around me.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Job of Job

The book of Job is a hum-dinger. It would probably the book many atheist point out for their reason not to believe in God while at the same time most Christians may come to see it as one of the most comforting books in the Bible.

I have to admit that when I started reading this book a few months ago at a pretty stressful time in my life I did not have high hopes. In fact the mere circumstance that Job was just the next book in my order of reading depressed me.
I have found that even though I read the Bible straight through over and over, I always find myself reading just what I need for that moment in my life. So naturally I assumed I would be entering a Job style period in my life. I was indeed correct.

Now for those of you who may not be familiar with the book of Job. Job is a great guy. Loved by all, a leader in his community, great father and husband, prosperous and a steady man of faith. Unknown to him Satan taunts God that Job's faith is based on his blessings alone. Basically Satan says "Sure anyone would serve you for all that you have given Job". God, knowing Job, says "Not my Job, my relationship with him is much deeper". So in the course of things God gives Satan permission to take everything from Job.

Now on the surface this ignites a firestorm of indignation from just about any human being. Yet, are the things in life what makes us love and trust God? Are the things in life our god and must never in any way be meddled with? Are they our source of all meaning and faith? Are my children "the deal" I have with God?  My house? My health?

Job is horribly grieved when all is taken from him. All except his wife, who tells him very lovingly to curse God and die.
But his faith in God is never shaken. He is deeply disturbed but remains one who seeks after God. His friends accuse him of sin, rationalizing that all suffering comes directly from sin of the victim. (God later rebukes them for this)
Finally a young whipper snapper who has respectfully let all his elders speak addresses Job.
I can so so so relate to Elihu. He says he is disappointed in his elders that they don't really have much advice or wisdom to offer. He says he is literally about to pop because of the need to state his view of things. (so me)
Be here is where he out paces me, he states all the amazing truths about God. Job chapter 34-37. He asks Job what right have we to question God if we cannot even understand the most basic things that he accomplishes- human life, nature, the universe?

Who among us wants to be told we don't have the right to question something? Especially something that hurts us or is painful to others?
Again firestorm of indignation.
But once the firestorm blows itself out what is more comforting, knowing that an all powerful God who fully loves you has a bigger plan and purpose than your brain can understand or the aching scratching hollow of knowing you are it kiddo, your intelligence is the peak of it all in the universe and feeding your vast hunger is all there is to it?

I chose many years ago which it was for me.
Never regretted it since, not once.
Tomorrow I start to read the part where God himself speaks to Job. Why, if He does not owe Job an explanation does God speak with Job?
Because He is Job's true friend in a sense of the word that we humans will also never understand.
(by the way Job's blessings are doubled or tripled at the end of the journey but here's the kicker- THAT'S NOT THE POINT)

Lord please forgive me for the Audacity of my impatience.
I am so feeble minded that I forgot who I wait upon.
I would be a fool to forget I wait upon the one who formed the Earth and all that exists on it, the universe and all that exists in it and so much more beyond that.
It is good for me to be reminded of who you are.
By reminding me today you have also helped me remember your great love for me.