The Sticky Situation

Today we have a guest writer, and she happens to be my daughter.

The wind howled through the window. The girl sat huddling her knees waiting for the storm to be over. “Knock Knock” “Come in dad” Emma said. “ How’d you know it was me” “Just a wild guess” “You seem scared sweetie is everything alright” Emma knew she’d have to tell her dad at some point “I’M SORRY!!!!!!” “For what” “Well, Last Tuesday I was at school in fashion design class when I over heard Ella and Maddy talking about Mrs. Koala asking them to design a KIosk for the Fashion Studio award winner grand finale.” “Um…. Who are Ella and Maddy?” “Ella and Maddy are the schools biggest fashion lovers.” Oh…. ok continue.” “ The next day as I walking home from school I saw a flyer stapled to are pink blossom tree in the front yard.

It was for the Fashion Studio Award Winner Grand Finale I was just like Oh great. Then I had an Idea I decided I would steal their KIosk and pretend it was mine” “ Well did you?” “Sadly the jealousy got to me and well yes I did! And I’m really sorry I know I shouldn’t have and I promise I won’t do it ever again” “Did you return it” “Yes, I returned because I felt guilty about it” “It’s ok is there anything else you need to get off your chest?” “ Dad, do you think God will ever forgive me?? I’m scared he won’t” “ Emma, does God love you very much” “Yes” “Then he will forgive you. But it’s your choice to accept it do you?” “I do and I’m sorry dad” It ok honey” “I love you” “And I love you Emma”

The End
This story is all about forgivenessand the love betwen God a father and daughter!!

What’s the point or SuperDuperGrace

I have decided I am done reading the for and against on the newest fad to creep into the Christian community.  Namely this so called Hypergrace and inclusionary theology.  That is by the way the only time I will use that word (HG) because it is a stupid nonsense word.  We are talking about the grace of God (unmerited favor) here it can not be more than it is.  It is hyper.  Calling it Hypergrace is like calling it superduper.  SuperDuperGrace???

Anyway, here is why I am done.  Arrogance, and uselessness.  That’s right I said it.  I find that many of the authors I have read on the topic have the same issue namely arrogance.  It seems to seep out of everything they say on the topic (online at least where everyone can battle superman).  they have defined the entire thing and God in a nice neat box.  Anything they cannot fit in their box is deemed either an illustration by Paul because only what Paul says counts, or my favorite a lack of revelation from God (can you say gnositism?).  Everything I have read so far just seems to be so mean, and snooty.

But that is not my point.  I am not here to name call.  I will also point out the insanity of saying you have to work to keep your salvation or that God saves you but now you better do right or He’ll kick your butt aka mixed-grace.  Because that is stupid too.

My main concern with this movement is what is it doing to and for those who do not have a relationship with Christ?  I am going to assume that we can all agree that there are those who do have and those who do not have a relationship with Jesus. SO what about them?

Is this message reaching them?  IS it creating a hunger to go and find the drug addict, prostitute, abuse victim, cutter, suicide contemplator, murder, pedophiler, drunkard, or terrorist?  IS it creating a deep longing to go feed the homeless, visit those in prison, minister to the abuse victim, or visit terminally ill patients?

If the answer is no then what are you doing?  If all it is causing you to do is sit around talking about how good God is then you do not know Him at all.  I searched to try and find some examples of evangelist or examples of outreach activities and I am having a hard time.  That is not to say it is not happening but it does not seem to be a cornerstone of the movement, and for that main reason I could care less about it.

What I hear and what I see are two different things.  I hear about how God loves everyone and God saved everyone (but he didn’t at the same time I don’t understand that), but what I see is a bunch of people sitting around talking about stuff and leaving a lot of hurting people to suffer alone.  I see a bunch of people turning into communal monks leaving a world in pain to fend for itself all the while yelling from a distance “Jesus Loves you”.  A bunch of people who seem to spend more time defending their beliefs rather than act them out.  In short a bunch of hypocrites, and Jesus said something about that in Matthew 23.

Listen I am not saying that is everyone either, but from my understanding and reading it is a lot about me (general sense of the word) and little else.  God loves you yes, and He created good works for you to walk in.  How about instead of telling me about your faith you show it to me.

Just a thought,

Mike

Reconciliation and other fancy words

Don’t use a five-dollar word when a fifty-cent word will do. – Mark Twain

I like that quote because it reminds me as I study new things to not to use the words to sound fancy.  However these words exist for a reason, and there are places and times for them.  There seems to be a general consensus that we need to dumb down everything in order to be easy on those that do not know.  To which I reply somethings are inherently difficult to comprehend and refusal to express them to appease those that refuse to learn is ludicrous.

Now that I have given a rant on to the topic.

I love the reconciliation.  I love reconciling my checkbook, and most importantly I love being reconciled to God.  I have been reading a book by an author I will not name and I must say that while I have gleaned a few things from it mostly I am frustrated with every word I read and page I turn.  Why am I doing this to myself you ask?  Am I glutton for punishment?  Do I enjoy wanting to throw a book?  No, it is because I want to better understand his (in general the larger movement) point of view.  I find that the most frustrating thing is not the ideals that are being espoused but the manner in which they are communicated. I have also noticed that the manner in which these particular ideas are communicated is indicative of the movement as a whole.  Chiefly it is arrogant, condescending, and overstating of their opponents views.   I will not name the movement because the very nature of how they label themselves is absurd to me, and I will not name the author because it would start an argument I do not wish to have.  I will however talk about reconciliation.

Again this is a bigger word than I typically like to use but it is very important.

The movement I am referring to likes this word and the 5 verses that contain it very much.  I agree, however as Inigo Montoya said “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

So what is reconciliation?  Reconciliation is the element of salvation that refers to the results of the atonement.  John calvin describes it as the peace between humanity & God that results from expiation of religious sin.  D.M. Loyd Jones says of reconciliation God & man are no longer at war.  Two great verses on reconciliation are 2 Corinthians 5:19-20 (below)

namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

From the verses about I will draw out a few important items.

God has reconciled us to Himself – God is done with the issue on His part.  He was the offended party and has said I forgive you, lets move on.  That is a done deal no questions asked (on my part).  The verses above and others (Rom 5:10-11, Eph 2:14-17, Col 1:19-22) are very clear that God has reconciled the world to Himself and placed all things in Christ.  That is not something I can or wish to argue.  The wall of separation has been removed, and now we can access the Father, through the Son, by the Spirit.  No arguments here.

Reconciliation is not relationship – This one is very important as well and cannot be missed.  As we read above, God is reconciled to us but that does not mean we have a relationship with Him.  Some of of the writings I have read will not say this but imply it.  That should not be.  God is no longer counting our sins against us but that does not mean that we have fellowship with Him.  Instead we can have a relationship with Him because He has reconciled the world to Himself.  How about an example.  I have a brother I have never met.  I know he exist, and he knows I exist.  Yet I have never spoken to him, and do not have a relationship with him.  We are reconciled as in there is no hostility there.  If he were to reach out to me (I do not have contact info for him) then I would welcome him with open arms.  One leads to the other but it does not equal the other.  Reconciliation does not equal righteousness (or relationship) as Romans 5:19 points out.

Reconciliation is not sanctification – This is one that gets hot but again they are not synonyms.  They are not the same thing.  Sanctification is both a one time event and an ongoing process.  Quick definition time; Sanctification is the act or process of acquiring sanctity, of being made or becoming holy.  It is being set apart.  We are at the moment of accepting the finished work of Jesus Christ sanctified (set apart, and looked at a holy) in the beloved.  But we must also continue to sanctify our lives as we grow more like our Saviour.  This is what I believe Philippians 2:12 means.  I have seen in my own life how it has become and how I have become different because I have continued to sanctify my life to the Lord.  It has been a process of continual growth and maturity one which I am confident will not stop (Phil 1:6).  Think Romans 12:2.

Reconciliation is not removal of rules – This is the one that might cause the most outrage among my friends.  Some will shout “He’s a legalist!” or “Pharisee!” or possibly (and quite likely) “I am under Grace not Law!”.  Well calm down already, I am not promoting legalism, or some sort of mixed grace message.  What I am saying however is there are certain shoulds and oughts you are supposed to adhere to.  Not for earning or keeping salvation but because you are saved.  For example, love the Lord, love your neighbor.  Thinks these don’t apply?  Jesus disagrees.  He said “If you love me, keep my commands.” John 14:16.  What does that mean?  Well He leaves that up to you to for the most part.  But generally speaking don’t be a jerk, help people when you can, treat God with the respect He deserves.  You get the general idea.  Two last points on this one.

First I have been told this analogy a few times.  You do not do things for your spouse (and children) because you have to, you do it because you love them.  I see the logic in that and believed it for a minute or two.  The problem is that it is wrong.  You do things for your spouse (and children) because you love them and are obligated to.  For your spouse, you took a vow to love, honor… sickness, health.. you get the idea.  It is because you love them you keep the vow to love and serve.  Your children come with an implied and legal obligation.  You do it out of love, but you must do it all the same.  It is still something I should and ought to do.

Secondly some claim there is no law that applies to them but yet they confess they still sin (at least on rare occasion).  This I do not understand.  1 John 3:4 defines sin as the breaking of law.  If there is no law there is no sin, therefore you do not sin, therefore cheating on your wife is OK, being a drunk is OK, murder is OK, and so on.  You cannot have one and not the other (as I understand it).  If you sin you break the law, if you break the law there is law.

The question is not is there law, and it is not how do I keep this law, and it is not should I keep this law.  The question is even though I break it what is left for me.  The answer is Jesus.  Jesus came in Grace and Truth.  He is bigger than my ability to fail, and by His working in me I find a removal of desire to sin.  I live by the faith of the Son of God, not I but Christ in me.

Reconciliation is part of the bigger picture.  When I look at a motorcycle, I see many parts working together to create a thing of beauty.  The wheels, the motor, the handlebars, and so forth.  They all work together to make it a motorcycle.  Reconciliation is part of a bigger picture called Salvation.  Lets not put God in a little box and say this is who God is instead lets unwrap His presents and enjoy each of them.

Just a thought,

Mike

Free to do what?

Galatians 5:1 says “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”  But what are we supposed to do with this freedom?  It is one thing to be free but now what?

I recently read a study that says that about 52% of prisoners released from jail return to prison.  Even worse is that 67% were arrested for a crime.  Forget for a second that we are talking about jail what is your rate of recidivism?  We can look at those numbers and pass judgment (and there are things we should judge about that) but can we look at our own life and judge?

Paul says here that Christ set us free to be free and that we should not return to slavery, so why do we?  Why do we return to sin, or our own new white-labeled version of the Law, or another Gospel?  Why do we not walk in the Freedom Christ has given us?  Why do we forsake the Freedom given us?

I think a large part of it has to do with not understanding the Freedom we have.  Jesus says in John 8:32 & 36 that when you know the Truth that the Son has set you free you will be free (ever read it like that?).  We need to understand our freedom, we need to try and comprehend it.  But first you need to understand your captivity.  You cannot ever understand what Freedom is until you understand what captivity is.  If you think that salvation is just some prayer, some event you attended, some one time thank you Jesus moment then you don’t understand it.

It took the most innocent and perfect man receiving punishment to give you freedom.  It took innocent blood to clean dirty sins.  It took the perfect Son laying down His life for you to have Freedom.  You were sentenced to an eternal separation from God.  You would spend not a life time or a thousand lifetimes away from Him but forever.  I know in polite society we are not supposed to talk about Hell, but anyone who knows me knows I am not a part of polite society.  I do not talk about Hell lightly, and I do not mention it in passing.  I love you, because God loves you.  The Father gave His Son so you could live.  I believe that and have no problem telling you that without Jesus you go to Hell.

I don’t like that, and I am not OK with that.  I won’t force it on it you but I also won’t ignore it.  If you were about to crash I would tell you, if you were about to fall off a cliff I would tell you.  I would not be all “it’s their life, not my business.”  There is a great quote from Penn Jillette that I won’t get into but here is the link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owZc3Xq8obk.  He is an atheist and says the same thing.  So there is that.

Anyway that was not the point.  If you understand your captivity then when you are free you rejoice and understand the Freedom.  I think some inmates return because they don’t think jail was that bad, some just thought they were smart enough to not get caught now.  Both are wrong.

When you understand your captivity you better understand your Freedom.  You better understand what it is to be free and you want to do everything you can to stay away from ever being a slave again.

I am by no means perfect but I am going to do everything I can to stay away from being a slave again.  So what am I to do when I sin, or create a new Law?  I am to remember it is for Freedom I was set free, and I walk in that Freedom.  I say what have I done, RUN!!!  Never again will I be captive!

 

Just a thought,

Mike

Lets not make it personal ok…

Sorry this one gets personal because we are going to talk about you, I mean me, no wait you and me.  Don’t worry not you and me in a weird why haven’t you called I really thought we connected kind of way.  More of in a how you can mean you as in ya’ll or you as in you with the face who is reading this.

1 John 1:9 (NKJV) says “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

This verse is pretty personal when you understand that the our being used is a Personal / Possessive Pronoun which means it is talking about you, I mean me, no wait you and me.  It might as well be saying “If I Mike confess my sin, He is faithful and just to forgive me (Mike) my sin and cleanse me from all unrighteousness.”  I could go on and add your name but with the hundreds of readers I have (that was a lie) I am sure I would miss someone.

We need to confess our specific sins.  There is something very powerful in confessing our specific sins.  Something about confessing that you need forgiveness for that addiction, or how you were cruel to that person, or whatever it might be.  I cannot stress enough how much freedom there is in confessing that you are sorry for that specific sin.  Now to not get me wrong and think that I am saying you are not forgiven for all of your sins if you do not confess them one by one.  When you confess that you are a sinner and accept Jesus as Lord and Savior believing that died for you then you are forgiven and a become in that moment a child of God.  That does not mean though that you have forgiven yourself.  There are some sins that need specific confession, and they change over time as you mature in your walk with Jesus.  But the fact that He is faithful and just (righteous) to forgive you does not change.

That brings me to my last point.  God is right when He forgives you.  Have you ever thought about that?  When I think about the fact that God is right when He forgives me it blows me away.  He is not right because I want Him to, rather He is right because He says He is.  He says it here and in Romans 10:13 “for whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord will be saved, and Acts 2:21, and so forth and so forth.  God declares that He will forgive you and He is right when He does it.  That is just mind blowing.  The God of all the universe, the maker of things seen and unseen, the one who sees my tomorrow and my past says I will forgive you and I am just as right in forgiving you as I was in creating the earth and sending my Son to die.

You cannot argue with that, you cannot say sure but what about, or not me.  You can only accept it or ignore it.  Just remember though if you ignore it you are still wrong and He is still waiting to forgive you.

Just a thought,

Mike