Friday, July 29, 2011

Walking His Way

As a mom of look alike twins you learn early on how to tell them apart. It often makes people ask, "They look so much alike. How can you tell?" You stop and think about it for a bit, shrug your shoulders and say, "They are just different." The one instance that sticks out most in my mind was the day that I amazed my friend by telling which was which from behind. When she questioned me I just said that they walk differently.

I wonder. Can people tell me apart from the world because I walk differently? Does my confident stride display the trust that I have in a sovereign God who cares for me? Does my slow stroll reflect the appreciation for all that He has created? Do the times that I stop show others that I am willing to minister to them instead of always focusing on my own goals? Do I run to His open arms when I am hurt or troubled? Do I skip for joy at the wonder of His amazing love? I hope so. I hope that others see that my walk is out of step with this world. I want to walk differently. I want to walk God's way.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Submission Is The Path to Joy

Submit. It is such a dirty word. Even among Christians. We would like to ignore it or soften the blow, but we must face the truth. We are called to submit.

As Christians we are called to submit to God, to His laws, to His way of doing things, to His will. Oh, how our pride chaffes at that. We want to control our own destiny, be in charge of our lives, make our own choices. We want to rule our own little world. We want to be our own god. We want to make deals. If I submit to you now, you have to give in to me later.

On top of it all, women are called to submit to their husbands. Even if they are not kind, loving, caring men. We are called to act in such a way that our husbands would gain respect from others. That means that even when we disagree with a decision he has made, no one else should ever know. Man, is that a tough one. Can't I even vent just a little to my best friend? No. We must support and encourage them. We must be ready to give godly councel when asked and keep our mouths shut when we aren't.

Our husbands have an incredible burden on their shoulders. It is they who will stand before God to answer for these choices. They are the ones who are held accountable. I, for one, am glad to not have that load. I am afraid it would crush me. But, if I feel that way, I imagine that at times men must feel that too, especially if their wives are battling them over decisions they make.

Think about your husband for a minute. Do you really think that he would make choices to seek your harm? Do you really think that his greatest desire is to thwart your desires? Do you not trust that he cares for you? If you think that he truly loves you, then you need to give him the repsect he deserves. One way to do that is to submit with a cheerful, willing heart. I am not saying that it is an easy thing to do. Our pride makes it awfully difficult, but discipling ourselves to follow the lead of the one God has put as head of our household will only reap benefits in the long run.

If we wives will learn to submit to our husbands, God will bless our efforts. If we Christians would just learn to submit to our Lord, our lives would be filled with boundless joy that would spill over to those around us. Just think how glorified He would be if we would learn to submit.

Why God Won't Go Away

This book was an easy read and had so much good information in it for those who would debate the New Atheists on their own turf, but I do feel it was titled incorrectly. I think this book was a case of showing where the new atheists are way off base even according to their own guidelines. I learned much about the four men who are acknowledged leaders in this movement. While they seem to have quite a strong following, the flaws in their reasoning that are pointed out in this book by Mr. McGrath are, in the end, going to be too much to overcome by any but the most rabid of their followers.
I truly appreciated the clear reasoning that the author used as he refuted the beliefs and statements made by those in the New Atheist movement. McGrath was logical and methodical in his presentation showed the reader many excellent ways to stand up to those who have been so badly deceived without being arrogant, disdainful, or overly antagonistic. Many times just following through their statements to their logical conclusion should be enough to show the error of their ways. Sadly, there are none so blind as those who will not see and we can see that to be the case with the four men who head this train of thought against Christianity.
More than anything, I found this book to be a wake up call for the church. The time is quickly coming when committed Christians will be seen by the majority as the enemy. Logical reasoning and intelligence will not prevail. Fortunately for us, we know how the story ends, and we know that God will not only not go away, He has won the war.

I received this book for free from Thomas Nelson Publishing as part of the booksneeze program in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Lessons Learned

I confess that I, for one, am very grateful to Casey Anthony. She has given me a couple of wonderful gifts, and I am thankful. I guess it is true that every cloud has a silver lining.

Hope. Casey has given me hope. With all the complaining and fighting in America over everything from red light cameras to killing the unborn, I began to wonder if we had any understanding of right and wrong, of justice and punishment. Thanks to this murder trial I have hope. We do understand there is a right and a wrong. I have heard the outrage of many that this woman was not at least found guilty of child abuse. Not reporting a missing preschool child for months is wrong. We all know it. We all understand that even if this is not against any law written on the books, it is just plain wrong and should be punished. I really appreciate Ms. Anthony's contribution in restoring my hope in the people of America. We do know right from wrong and we do desire to see those who are guilty punished.

Grace. The Anthony trial has reminded me of the incredible importance of grace in my life. I am guilty of so much more than Casey Anthony. I regularly break the divine law of the Sovereign Lord of all. I have wounded the Creator of the World with my thoughtless actions. I, too, deserve a horrible punishment. God, however, is full of grace and mercy and has provided me with a "Not Guilty". Through the shed blood of His righteous Son I have been redeemed. Unlike Casey, there is no taint left on me. There is no shadow of guilt or shame. I am clean, righteous and forgiven. I imagine that if I were part of the heavenly host, I would want to cry out, "But she is guilty". I would want to see justice done, but that is the great gift. Justice has been served. The debt has been paid. Christ, who knew no sin, suffered the wrath of a thrice holy God in my place. I am grateful for grace and, as sorry as I am that a precious little girl was killed, I am grateful for the lessons that I am able to find in this tragedy.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Old Cross and The New

I wouldn't usually do this, copy in total someone's work in my blog. But I couldn't think of a better way to say what AW Tozer did 45 years ago. There is truly nothing new under the sun and we are still struggling with the same problem today. I pray you will read on, give serious consideration to these words, and are as convicted as I am. I know it is long, but worth the effort.

All unannounced and mostly undetected there has come in modern times a new cross into popular evangelical circles. It is like the old cross, but different: the likenesses are superficial; the differences, fundamental.
From this new cross has sprung a new philosophy of a new evangelical technique - a new type of meeting and a new kind of preaching. This new evangelism employs the same language as the old, but its content is not the same and its emphasis not as before.
The old cross would have no truck with the world. for Adam's proud flesh it meant the end of the journey. It carried into effect the sentence imposed by the law of Sinai. The new cross is not opposed to the human race; rather, it is a friendly pal and, if understood aright, it is the source of ocean of good clean fun and innocent enjoyment. It lets Adam live without interference. His life motivation is unchanged; he still lives for his own pleasure, only now he take delight in singing choruses and watching religious movies instead of singing bawdy songs and drinking hard liquor. The accent is still on enjoyment, though the fun is now on a higher plane morally if not intellectually.
The new cross encourages a new and entirely different evangelistic approach. The evangelist does not demand abnegation of the old life before a new life can be received. He preaches not contrasts but similarities. He seeks to key into public interest by showing that Christianity makes no unpleasant demands; rather, it offers the same thing the world does, only on a higher level. Whatever the sin-mad wold happens to be clamoring after at the moment is cleverly shown to be the very thing the gospel offers, only the religious product is better.
The new cross does not slay the sinner, it redirects him. It gears him into a cleaner and jollier way of living and saves his self-respect. To the self-assertive it says, "Come and assert yourself for Christ." To the egotist it says,"Come and do your boasting in the Lord." To the thrill-seeker it says, " Come and enjoy the thrill of Christian fellowship." The Christian message is slanted in the direction of the current vogue in order to make it acceptable to the public.
The philosophy back of this kind of thing may be sincere but its sincerity does not save it from being false. It is false because it is blind. It misses completely the whole meaning of the cross.
The old cross is a symbol of death. It stand for the abrupt, violent end of a human being. The man in Roman times who took up his cross and started down the road had already said good-by to his friends. He was not coming back. He was going out to have it ended. The cross mad no compromise, modified nothing, spared nothing; it slew all of the man, completely and for good. It did not try to keep on good terms with its victim. It struck cruel and hard, and when it had finished it work, the man was no more.
The race of Adam is under death sentence. There is no commutation and no escape. God cannot approve any of the fruits of sin, however innocent they may appear or beautiful to the eyes of men. God salvages the individual by liquidating him and then raising him again to newness of life.
That evangelism which draws friendly parallels between the ways of God and the ways of men is false to the Bible and cruel to the souls of its hearers. The faith of Christ does not parallel the world, it intersects it. In coming to Christ we do not bring our old life up onto a higher plane; we leave it at the cross. The corn of wheat must fall into the ground and die.
We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum.
God offers life, but not an improve old life. The life He offers is life out of death. It stands always on the far side of the cross. Whoever would possess it must pass under the rod. He must repudiate himself and concur in God's just sentence against him.
What does this mean to the individual, the condemned man who would find life in Christ Jesus? How can this theology be translated into life? Simply, he must repent and believe. He must forsake his sins and then go on to forsake himself. Let him cover nothing, defend nothing, excuse nothing. Let him not seek to make terms with God, but let him bow his head before the stroke of God's stern displeasure and acknowledge himself worthy to die.
Having done this let him gaze with simple trust upon the risen Saviour, and from Him will come life and rebirth and cleansing and power. the cross that ended the earthly life of Jesus now puts and end to the sinner; and the power that raised Christ from the dead now raises him to a new life along with Christ.
To any who may object to this or count it merely a narrow and private view of truth, let me say God has set His hallmark of approval upon this message from Paul's day to the present. Whether stated in these exact words or not, this has been the content of all preaching that has brought life and power to the world through the centuries. The mystics, the reformers, the revivalists have put their emphasis here, and signs and wonders and mighty operations of the Holy Ghost gave witness to God's approval.
Dare we, the heirs of such a legacy of power, tamper with the truth/ Dare we with our stubby pencils erase the lines of the blueprint or alter the pattern shown us in the Mount? May God forbid. Let us preach the old cross and we will know the old power.