Before the Weeping and Gnashing

28 “There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out.  29 People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God.  30 Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.”  (Luke 13)

But before that time comes, many will endure a foreboding in their hearts.  They are currently throwing away marvelous things.  Many have received the word of Jesus.  But they have not loved him.  Nor did they care to understand.

I write this, that some may understand and wake to their current state.  I recognize that it doesn’t matter what I say.  But it matters greatly what we do.

This song from Sara Evans provoked the understanding for this post.  God will have what is rightly His, whether that includes us or not.

How Far is Too Far?

Who is the Christ?  He is the absolute of everything good.  He is the absolute end of everything wicked or ungodly.  He is the very Living Word of the Living God.

Every word of God continues forever, for the Sovereign God is Living purity.  But God has sent his Living word among us that he may cease for the sake of his enemy’s lives; that God Himself may become the sacrifice. 

How great, earnest and eternal is the Living God’s pledge to save our souls?

Considering this I am struck by our lack of confidence.  Though it is eternally impossible for God to lie, and though he has sealed his intent in his own blood, somehow most people just can’t believe it.  No matter what they hear they want their own righteousness.  To those, I must say: what you want is an absolute impossibility.  Nothing that is unrighteous can, all of a sudden, become righteous by itself.  And all it takes is one tiny misstep or mistake.

Others have believed the message, but they find themselves doubting with a horrifying frequency.  They lack the courage to trust the word of the Living God.  They do not trust him enough to give him the entirety of their life.  To these God’s Living Word remains a nice religion, perhaps even a means of socially acceptable behavior.

How is the second group any different than the first?  First is to proud, the second is filled with cowardice.  What should either Group expect to hear on the day when they see the face of the Living God’s Holy and Righteous Word? 

Can it be said that by their lives they have called the Sovereign God a liar?

It is not for me to judge.  It is not for me to condemn or extend ungodly mercy.  I have only presented the argument and asked the question.

Turn or False

True humility is not a brand of servitude.  It is a joyful and willing acceptance of one’s place in life, according to ALL that is true. 

Pride is the exact opposite.  Pride thinks it is humble.  But such false humility only weighs itself against a certain compartment of life.  Pride refuses to take into consideration the fullness of what is offered.

Humility receives all and is glad.  Pride rejects all, and sadly keeps what it thinks is his.

But let’s not be mistaken here,  pride seamlessly believes it is humble.  Therefore it is fully incapable of understanding true humility.  It is fully incapable of receiving anything.  Pride will gladly die, in abject poverty of truth.

By His Grace

Stunningly Cheap Luxury

I am struck afresh, by the message of the Gospel.  Who is Man, in the fabric of eternity, that God would give us eternal life?  Something so perfectly vast, yet for a simple price; simply believe.

Yet, look at the cost of that price.  The great majority refuses to believe.  It is evidently too high a price to ask.

Again, I come to the conclusion that if God does not reveal faith to us, we cannot have it. 

What does it take to procure faith from God?  Read or hear the Gospel and respond with humility.

What an absolutely surprising cost.  How absolutely surprising to see how few can afford it.

By His Grace

Compare and Decide

The Seal of the President of the United States...

The Seal of the President of the United States, as was in use in 1894. This seal continued in use until 1945. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The entire world will love you if you settle into your life quietly and without complaint.  While in that mode you’re allowed to steal a little.  After all a man has to survive, doesn’t he?

The entire world will glorify you if you lie just enough to gain advantage over others.  And if you’re a really good liar, they might even make you President of the United States of America.

But most of us are just plain folks.  We settle into a job, raise a family, and die in some obscure condition.  For the most part we will have lived out our lives in obscurity.  Now this is a general truth.  But there is a specific truth that walks right along side the general truth.

The world will hate you with a passion if you take a stand against lies.  The world will confront you if you speak up.  And if you make a case against their ways, they will look for a way to silence you.

It is wise to consider these things.  For we all die having lived the life we did.  Right after that comes the judgment.  Look at this:  We live for what, 50 – 90 years?  What is that compared to eternity?  When you have lived for 9 billion years, will you remember that short 90?  Why not take a stand?  You’re gonna die anyway.  Why not speak up?  What are you afraid of?

Allowing Time for Change.

We all have someone in our life who we would love to see grow in maturity, or experience the freedom found in Christ Jesus, or take responsibility for their own actions, or even forgive an offence.    This desire to see positive growth in that loved one is a good thing.  No doubt, in that desire is found everything “good”.  There are even places in each one of us which might draw that same desire for ourselves.  “Oh, I so wish I could just…………….”. 

Will you permit me to ask a really hard question?   What serious change, or radical change, has ever come upon anyone over night?  Oh, there might be realizations that change our direction.  But the really concrete change (so as to never go back) happens slowly.  First we realize we have a problem.  Then we try on different fixes like a child tries on daddy’s shoes.  And finally we find what we know will solve the problem.  But it’s at the last point where we realize how absolutely huge and difficult change is going to be.

Even coming to Jesus with a problem we find the same three increments: realize, try variations, come to grip with the real fix.  Our lives are slow, yet hopefully sure, steps toward what we know is “good”.  I post this because I see a whole lot of people kind of stuck in a mire of doubt and inability.  I absolutely know that Jesus is the answer to any problem you might have going on.  But there’s an element of natural progress that must be embraced.

When we see someone we want to change toward what is “good”, what are we expecting?  If we expect them to just “Get with the program”, we’re bound to be disappointed.  Look at yourself.  What are you expecting?  Since even we can’t change over night, why do we expect it from others?  And what might the first signs of change look like?  The person we are focusing on, whether someone else or ourselves, is already dysfunctional in some manner.  Do we expect the first signs of wellness to appear void of this dysfunctional behavior?

This is what forgiveness is all about.  Openning the door to the sickness. so that when we see change we are willing to embrace it.   And this is why it is said that Jesus offers the fix to our problem.  His forgiveness and teaching are sure, real, and effective.  Let yourself receive forgiveness from Him.  Let yourself receive forgiveness from yourself.  Offer that same forgiveness to others.  This is the beginning of healing for everyone, even YOU.  Put on patience and love as if you were going to a stately dinner.  Wear patience for yourself.  Love without regard to who needs it.  This is the key to healing from wounds too deep to touch.

By His Grace.