Saturday, February 28, 2009
Thursday, February 26, 2009
The Great Commandment
Mark 12:28 u And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?”29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, v ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, w the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 x The second is this:y ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment z greater than these.”
You may wonder what I have witnessed that makes me think that we need to be reminded daily of the Great Commandments to love God, and your neighbour. It's shameful, really. I have seen people tear a family apart, mocking them, questioning their motives, accusing them of beliefs that run counter to Scripture, without going to them personally to find out if these things are so. Yet Matthew 18 makes it clear what is to be done if someone has sinned against you.
If Your Brother Sins Against You
15 m “If your brother sins against you, n go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you haveo gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be establishedp by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, q tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, r let him be to you as s a Gentile and s a tax collector.
I have seen condemnation flying from the fingertips of those who think they have it all together when it comes to issues of raising children, homeschooling, curriculum, modesty, college, family business, and the list goes on. On top of that, condemnation flies from the fingers of those who don't have it all together and freely admit it, yet feel somehow less perfect than those who seem to have it all together. Yet my Bible tells me to consider the other guy, even the one who has it all together when I don't, better than myself.
Philippians 2:3 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
I am certainly not supposed to speak evil of him (nor am I to write things that are evil). Speaking ill of others is the result of all the arrogant boasting, jealousy, self-centered desires, and pride that James is warning against in the previous chapters and verses. Those who inappropriately judge others break God's law and show contempt for God.
James 4:11 Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. 12 There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?
If the computer screens belonging to Christians were programmed to flash the word, "Love" each time a click of the mouse opened a new window, perhaps they would learn to love, rather than hate, to encourage, rather than condemn, to bless, rather than curse.
Tim Challies had some thought-provoking things to say about this. In a blog article entitled, Humbly Rejoicing in the Goodness of Others, Tim wrote about this very thing (Go there and read it!). He'd been reading Finally Alive by John Piper, and it struck him that God doesn't merely require us to not kill our brothers. He says that true "love doesn’t feel resentful when a brother is superior in some spiritual or moral way." He explains that Cain killed Abel, not because Cain was so evil, but because Abel's goodness made him jealous, angry, and guilty.
So what would it be like for any of us to be like Cain? It would mean that anytime some weakness or bad habit in our lives is exposed by contrast to someone else’s goodness, instead of dealing with the weakness or the bad habit, we keep away from those whose lives make us feel defective. We don’t kill them. We avoid them. Or worse, we find ways to criticize them so as to neutralize the part of their lives that was making us feel convicted. We feel like the best way to nullify someone’s good point is to draw attention to their bad point. And so we protect ourselves from whatever good they might be for us.This is what is happening in cyber-space. We spend too much time reading about other's lives, and when we don't measure up, we do one of two things: we avoid them. Or we criticize them.
There's plenty to do here at home.
What we should be doing is keeping to ourselves, taking care of our own families, our own homes, our own character flaws. We need to keep our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, and rejoice when He allows us to be challenged by the writing of someone who is walking humbly with God. When we read something that disturbs us, we ought to think about it, talk to our husbands about it, and pray about it. And all the while, we should keep at the forefront of our minds the Royal Law, to love God, and our neighbour as ourselves.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Search Me, O God, and Know My Heart
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
not enough to explode my soul
or disturb my sleep,
just enough to equal a cup of warm milk or a snooze in the sunshine...
I want ecstasy, not transformation;
I want the warmth of the womb,
not a new birth.
I want about a pound of the Eternal
in a paper sack..
I would like to buy $3 worth of
~ Wilbur Rees
Sadly, lots of people want just a little bit of God. They want to be able to pray once a week, at Sunday dinner. They want to be able to say, "God bless you!" and mean it, sort of like a good luck charm. They want the goodies, but not the gift.
The true gift is transformational. It consumes.
My God is a consuming fire.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
*Raison d'être is a phrase borrowed from French where it means simply "reason for being".
I entered the blogging world a couple of years ago, writing semi-frequently on "Grannymom's Spot". That blog tends to be, for the most part, about my family and personal experiences. I have decided that it will be kept private, for family and invited friends.
For a few days, I have been pondering what to do about cyberspace. This morning, as he is wont to do(entirely unbeknownst to him), John Piper rocked my world with the following essay: Boasting Only In the Cross
"You don't have to know a lot of things for your life to make a lasting difference in the world. But you do have to know the few great things that matter, and then be willing to live for them and die for them. The people that make a durable difference in the world are not the people who have mastered many things, but who have been mastered by a few great things. If you want your life to count, if you want the ripple effect of the pebbles you drop to become waves that reach the ends of the earth and roll on for centuries and into eternity, you don't have to have a high IQ or EQ; you don't have to have to have good looks or riches; you don't have to come from a fine family or a fine school. You have to know a few great, majestic, unchanging, obvious, simple, glorious things, and be set on fire by them."
My few great, majestic, unchanging, obvious, simple, glorious things include:
GREAT: GOD. God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, Three in One. The Father chose me from before the foundation of the earth. The Son redeemed my life from destruction, dying in my place on that cruel cross, and rising again to be the mediator on my behalf. The Holy Spirit lives in me, guiding me, leading me, reassuring me, and pointing me to the Cross.
MAJESTIC My home is in heaven. This world is not my home. I really am just passing through.
UNCHANGING God loves me. Whether or not I'm having a "good" day from man's perspective, my God never changes. Every good and perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of Lights, in whom there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. He doesn't change. He loves me during the darkest days, He loves me during the most treasured moments, when I can scarcely breathe for joy.
OBVIOUS He blesses me. With family, and friends. With material blessings and spiritual wonders. With air and water and food and clothing. With thorns and stones and cuts and bruises, and heart-wrenching sobs that turn me to Him, He blesses.
SIMPLE I love Him. We love Him, because He first loved us. I love Him enough to want to tell others how very good He is. I can't begin to approach any sort of true description, but here on this blog, I will try.
GLORIOUS I bring Him glory. How cool is that? By simply living my life with my heart turned towards my God, I bring Him glory. By being willing to live in an obscure part of the Canadian countryside, far from any "big-wigs" or influential people, I bring Him glory. With a kiss on the cheek of my husband, or a snuggle or back-scratch for my little grandchild, I bring the God of the Universe glory.
So, this blog is about the ordinary things in life, and what God is teaching me through them. If you didn't bother clicking over to John Piper's exhortation, please do so. He says it so much more eloquently than I do.
I have to ask: What sets YOU on fire?