Stay With The 99

Screenshot (508)

2 Chronicles 15:2The Lord is with you when you are with Him.  If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you. (NIV 1978)

My Musings – It is hard to walk against the wind, row against the current, ride a bike uphill or “kick against the goad.”  But these are nothing compared to going against or forsaking God’s Word.  There will still be difficult times in this world because our relationship with Christ earned us a new enemy.  Satan wants us to think that the winds, current and terrain are against us, but again these are nothing because they are from his hand not God’s.  God allows them to strengthen and temper us.  But we need not despair. In fact we can take heart, because Christ has overcome the word.

My Advice – Not all who wander are lost, but they still are wandering.  So, keep in step with Jesus. He will never leave nor forsake you, so do not leave or forsake Him.  Then we can take heart because “He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world.

Choose Wisely

Screenshot (486)

1 Chronicles 16:34Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. (NIV 1978)

“Aslan is a lion- the Lion, the great Lion.” “Ooh” said Susan. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion”.  “Safe?” said Mr. Beaver.  “Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

My Musings – What is good?  We all have a general idea what it means to be good, and we usually contrast it with bad or evil.  But when it comes to man, in his fallen state, good is a relative term.  Relative to one another, but not to God.  In fact, the Bible states that “[t]here is no one righteous [good], not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” (Romans 3:10–12, NIV 1984).  Only God is good.

Before the fall, mankind desired the knowledge of good and evil more than life.  You might recall that there were two trees in the center of the garden – “In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” (Genesis 2:9, NIV 1984).

But only one was forbidden – “And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”  (Genesis 2:16–17, NIV 1984).  And that is the one they desired.

When it came to choices, mankind chose what was forbidden and forfeited what they already had – goodness and innocence.  It was a “fool’s choice,” for who needs to know the difference (good versus evil) when all they have and all they are is good and innocent?  In making the “fool’s choice” mankind also gave up the opportunity to live forever in that state (good and innocent).

As a consequence of that choice, God was no longer “safe,” for mankind.  But He was still good.  “He’s the King, I tell you.”  And His love “endures forever,” even in the wake of mankind’s bad choices.  Because of His goodness and love, He was compelled to provide a way back to the paradise lost, through the death and resurrection of the only man to ever be good (“the exact representation of His being“) relative to God – the second Adam, God’s only Son Jesus.  By accepting Christ, that goodness is imputed to man.  It all boils down to another choice.  This time will we choose the “tree of life” or will we continue to think that our ill-gotten knowledge is “better?”

My Advice – Choose wisely, choose life.

The Deeper Magic

Screenshot (456)

1 Samuel 15:22 – “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.” (NIV 1978)

My Musings – In the Garden (Eden) there was disobedience. God covered Adam’s and Eve’s nakedness, presumably from animals that were sacrificed.  The blood that was shed also covered their sin.

On the mountain (Moriah), Abraham was prepared to obey and sacrifice his son, but God prevented Him from doing so.  To obey is better, because it requires no sacrifice.

In the Garden (Mt. of Olives) Jesus prayed that if there was any other way, that He be spared from sacrificing His life.  Yet in obedience, He said “not my will but yours.”  In this instance, obedience (His) would necessarily lead to sacrifice because of disobedience (ours).

On the mountain (Golgotha), Jesus was sacrificed to atone for our disobedience.  There was no staying of the hand as in the case of Abraham, because there was no other way.  Christ’s obedience was more than sufficient to remove (not merely cover) the stain of our disobedience.

In the garden, the stone was rolled away and the tomb was empty, as death (the “deep magic”) turned into life (the “deeper magic”).  The fall of mankind in one garden comes full circle with the redemption of mankind in another.

My Advice – We have victory over sin, death and judgement because of Christ’s obedience.  And while no further sacrifice is required, we nevertheless should still live a life of obedience.  If we confess our sins, He will forgive them.  But why go there in the first place?  Let’s show our appreciation for God’s “deeper magic” that overcame the curse of “deep magic.”

“But what does it all mean?” asked Susan when they were somewhat calmer.

“It means,” said Aslan, “that though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of time. But if she could have looked a little further back, into the stillness and the darkness before Time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation. She would have known that when a willing victim who has committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backward.”

(From “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” by C.S. Lewis)

Dangerous Comfort

Revelation 3:15-17 -“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were one or the other! So because you are lukewarm-neither hot nor cold-I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.”  (NIV 1978)

My Musings – Being lukewarm is dangerous because it is deceptive. We know when we are on fire for God and we know when we are in outright rebellion. Lukewarm is comfortable and harder to detect. We need to periodically take a spiritual inventory to make sure we have not become complacent in our faith.

My Advice – Becoming a lukewarm Christian is often a greater danger than growing cold. Many times this occurs when we grow comfortable in life. So as your career becomes successful and provides you with wealth and comfort, be doubly on guard against a cooling in your relationship with Christ.

What Do You Tolerate?

Revelation 2:19-20 – “I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first. Nevertheless, I have this against: You tolerate.…” (NIV 1978)

My Musing – This is an age where tolerance is considered a virtue. And in certain cases it may be. But not where the tolerance is for immorality or religious teachings that deny Christ or teach another path to God.

My Advice – Tolerance sounds admirable, but be careful of what you tolerate.

Cravings, and Lusting and Boasting, Oh My!

1 John 2:15-17Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in Him. For everything in the world-the cravings of sinful man, the lust of the eyes and the boasting of what he has and does-comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. (NIV 1978)

My Musings – The allure of the world is strong, but deceptive. Worldly things will eventually disappoint and ultimately will not last. The things of God in our life will never disappoint, and will last forever.

My Advice – Be careful of what you set your affections on. Make sure that your love of worldly things does not take the place of God in your heart.

To Do, Or Not To Do?

James 4:17Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins. (NIV 1978)

My Musings – It is not enough to avoid doing things we should not do. We must also not leave undone the things we know we should do.

My Advice – You will not always be called to solve all the ills around you. But where you know that God is calling you to action and it is within your power to take action (and it will be because God always equips the called) make sure you follow through. It may not be easy, but it will be rewarding.