No Other Name?

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My Musings – There once was a time, at least in the Western world, that people almost universally accepted that Christianity was the only true path to God, whether they took that path or not.  Today, this is no longer universally accepted even within “Christian” circles.  Outside Christian circles this premise is becoming more and more contemptible.  These three “scenarios” (see below) are being played out like a shell game.  But it’s anything but a game.

You’re Okay, I’m Not Okay – Your path to God looks like the right path to me and I’m on the wrong path.

You’re Okay, I’m Okay – Your path to God might be okay for you, but that doesn’t make my path wrong.

You’re Not Okay, Saying I’m Not Okay – Your insistence that you are on the right path to God and I am on the wrong path is arrogant, intolerant and hateful.

The reality is: that Christianity has always been the only true path to God or it never was. The reality is: that other paths to God  have always existed or they do not exist now.  The reality is: if other paths to God exist, then Christianity is not one of them – because Christ said He was the only path (John 14:6).  The reality is: that it is up to us to decide what we believe (who we believe in).  Some would have you believe that the reality is that there is no wrong answer here.  The reality is: do you really want to bet your (eternal) life on it?

My Advice – Eternal security is not determined by the democratic process.  The majority view is only right if it is right, not because most people believe it is right (or not).  Stakes are too high to just go along with the crowd.  Being politically correct is an insufficient justification in the life to come, one must be absolutely correct.  You owe it to yourself to  investigate these “truth claims” very carefully, then to choose wisely.  The “pea” of truth is only under one of these shells.

The Elephant In The Room

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My Musings – “People primarily respond not to what we do but how we’re being.  It’s not that we do the wrong thing necessarily, but that we do what we do – maybe even if it is the ‘right’ thing – the wrong way.” (Leadership and Self-Deception, The Arbinger Institute).

My great fear for the Church today is that a lot of us spend a lot of time and energy “doing” Christianity, while failing to “be” Christ-like.  We pride ourselves with saying, supporting and doing the right things (the modern-day equivalent of a tenth of our mint, dill and cumin), but neglect to be those things (the all-time equivalent of, “justice, mercy and sacrifice“).  In the process, we are well on our way to alienating an entire generation from “the Way, the Truth and the Life.”  Given the appropriate “salt and light” there are many who would love to “be” like Christ, but are afraid of “doing” like “Christians.”  But unfortunately, the “salt” in many of us leaves a bad taste, and the “light” shining from us artificial and not a true reflection of its Source.

My Advice – There is nothing wrong with saying, supporting and doing the right things.  But we must practice these without neglecting “justice, mercy and sacrifice.”  Otherwise, we are merely a “resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.”  Distracting noise and “fake news” in a world searching for the truth.  Woe to us, the elephant in the room that no one wants to acknowledge.

Don’t just do, be.  People still might not acknowledge the truth, but what they are rejecting will be plain.

The Same In His Eyes

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My Musings – Last Friday, I was provided the opportunity of having a photo op with, and getting to shake the hands of, the 43rd President of the United States, George W. Bush (he’s the one on the left).  It was quite an honor for a small town “boy” (the one on the right), who in the grand scheme of things is fairly insignificant, to stand next to the man who at one time was arguably the most powerful man in the world.  I got to hear him interviewed for about an hour, and I have to say (whether you agreed with his politics or not), that he is a most gracious and humble man.  Very funny too (on purpose).

All that said, his days of power are over.  He is still to be honored as an ex-President, but he is no longer the mover of the wheels of history that he once was.  Of course we all know that there are the “hands” of One behind scenes that is the “unmoved mover.” He causes kings (presidents) and kingdoms (republics) to rise and fall.  Who at times removes His hands and permits things to occur in this fallen world that we do not always understand.  At other times, He stretches forth His hands to prevent things that go beyond His permissive will.  And at still other times He moves to cause things to happen that are simply amazing  (like His amazing grace).

In the end, when facing the Almighty, Presidents (current and ex) and kings, have no special privileges that small town “boys” do not have.  The significant persons of history are no more (or less) important than the insignificant.  For in the “grand scheme of things” we are all quite insignificant in comparison to Him.  Yet, He considered us significant enough to allow His Son to die on the cross to bear the penalty for all of our sins, significant and insignificant.

I’ve said it before in my blogs that there is no sin so small that Jesus did not have to die for it, and no sin too great that He could not die for it.  A corollary of this is: there is no person so insignificant that He would not dare to die for, and no person so significant that He did not need to die for.

Still, as insignificant as both George and I are, I was still glad I got to meet Him.  I will remember it for a long time, although I am pretty sure George has already forgotten.

My Advice – Some day, with my own eyes, I will behold the King of kings and Lord of lords.  My meeting this past week, which seems so huge now, will seem so trivial then.  Wouldn’t you like to behold Him too?  You will.  In fact every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess, that Jesus is Lord.  Some in adoration and relief.  Others in fear and grief.  Which will it be for you?  It doesn’t have to be in fear and grief.

Cause and Effect

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My Musings – Verses eight and nine are very well known.  Memorized by many.  It is these two verses that many say are at odds with James’ admonition that faith without works are dead.  Funny how we sometimes see and hear what we want to and gloss over the rest.  Verse ten makes Paul’s thoughts complete.  You see, Paul and James are not at odds.  James goes on to say that his faith is demonstrated by deeds.  Paul is essentially saying the same thing.  We are saved by faith (not by works), but a faith that does not cause us to do “good deeds” is a questionable faith in deed.  Said another way:  Salvation is not the result of good works, but our salvation should result in good works.  Faith is the cause, good deeds are the effect.

My Advice – Be a good workmanship, just make sure it stems from your salvation and is not an attempt to obtain salvation.

A Powerful Weakness

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My Musings – When we are covered by 1) God’s grace, through 2) His Son, we are plugged in to an awesome power base, 3) the Holy Spirit.  But sometimes, (many times) we get in the way of that power by relying on our own strengths, which in reality are weaknesses.  Once we acknowledge that, God’s power is perfected in our weaknesses.

Now for the understatement: “My grace is sufficient” (enough to meet the needs of a situation, adequate).  Enough and adequate, hardly seem impressive.  But the point is, no matter how small or how big the “situation,” God’s power will always be enough.  God’s power is all we will ever need.

My Advice – Admit your own insufficiencies (weaknesses), let go and let God.

Little Words With Big Meanings

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My MusingsIf: an introduction to a conditional clause.  One can only be a new creation if they are in Christ (the condition). If one is not in Christ, they are not a new creation,  In: a specified relationship, as in a relationship with (saved by) Christ. Is: the present tense of being.  If one is in Christ they will not become a new creation, they are a new creation.

The old (life dominated by our sin nature) has gone (no longer here) and the new (life dominated our Son nature) has come (is now here).  This is what it means to be a new creation.

My Advice – Our old life can only master us if we choose to let it.  Because we are a new creation, we have the ability to “just say no” to our old nature and habits.  Choose wisely.

Love In Any Language, Inadequately Spoken Here

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My Musings – In my previous musing, I discussed how ambiguous the English language was in conveying (“ear has heard“) God’s love for mankind.  And that in the original Greek, we have a much clearer picture (“eye has seen“).  Yet today’s verse tells us that even then, we really have no idea (“mind has conceived“).  We might as well add that no language can convey.

A common exchange between people who love each other is when one person says “I love you” and the other replies “I love you more.”  With God, the more is infinite.  The more is most.

My Advice – We all want someone who loves us. God loves us unconditionally and incomprehensibly.  Can we honestly say we do not want that kind of love?  He is just outside the door knocking.    Why not let Him in?