Friday, November 30, 2007

Dying to Self

Lewis, in his own way enlightens us to the necessity of dying to self. This is the great struggle for every believer- total surrender. Our salvation doesn't hinge upon it (thank the Lord!) but our sanctification certainly does. And there are so many spiritual blessings that are rightfully ours (Eph 1.3) that we are unable to access because we come as the living instead of those who are dead to self.

This is from CS Lewis's Counting the Cost

"The terrible thing, the almost impossible thing, is to hand over your whole self--all your wishes and precautions--to Christ.

"Christ says 'Give me All. I don't want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want You. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half measures are any good. I don't want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want to have the whole tree down. I don't want to drill the tooth, or crown it, or stop it, but to have it out. Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked--the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself: My own will shall become yours.'...

"When I was a child I often had toothache, and I knew that if I went to my mother she would give me something which would deaden the pain for that night and let me get to sleep. But I did not go to my mother--at least not till the pain became very bad. And the reason I did not go was this. I did not doubt she would give me the aspirin; but I knew she would also do something else. I could not get what I wanted out of her without getting something more, which I did not want. I wanted immediate relief from pain, but I could not get it without having my teeth set permanently right. And I knew those dentists; I knew they started fiddling about with all sorts of other teeth which had not yet begun to ache. They would not let sleeping dogs lie. If you gave them an inch they would take a mile.

"Now, if I may put it that way, our Lord is like the dentists. If you give Him an inch, He will take a mile. Dozens of people go to Him to be cured of some one particular sin which they are ashamed of... or which is obviously spoiling daily life (like bad temper or drunkenness). Well, He will cure it alright: but He will not stop there. That may be all you ask; but if once you call Him in, He will give you the full treatment. That is why He warned people to 'count the cost' before becoming Christians. 'Make no mistake,' He says, 'If you let me, I will make you perfect. The moment you put yourself in My hands, that is what you are in for. Nothing less or other than that.'

"'Whatever suffering it may cost you in your earthly life... whatever it cost Me, I will never rest, nor let you rest, until you are literally perfect--until my Father can say without reservation that He is well pleased with you, as He said He was well pleased with me. This I can do and will do. But I will not do anything less.'

"The goal toward which He is beginning to guide you is absolute perfection; and no power in the whole universe, except you yourself, can prevent Him from taking you to that goal. That is what you are in for. And it is very important to realize that. If we do not, then we are very likely to start pulling back and resisting Him after a certain point. I think that many of us, when Christ has enabled us to overcome one or two sins that were an obvious nuisance, are inclined to feel (though we do not put it into words) that we are now good enough. He has done all we wanted Him to do. And we should be obliged if He would now leave us alone.

"But this is the fatal mistake... The question is not what we intended ourselves to be, but what He intended us to be when He made us....

"Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you know that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently he starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of--throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself!"

So if we endeavor to be blessed or to have our prayers honored or to live free from sin's tyranny in our lives we must die each day to the self. Gal 5.24; 1 Cor 15.32; Rom 6.12-14

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Lessons from the Kill

It was dark as I was kneeling down over the doe that I had shot. The sun had set an hour before and when I knelt down over this life that I had taken I was transfixed for a moment. I have come to terms that the way of the earth is that death overcomes all of us. I was contemplating my own mortality as I stroked her neck. Someone once said no one leaves this life alive, and it is true. It is a humbling thing to pull the trigger on a deer, precisely because it reminds us that in order for life to continue death must also have its way. This is a spiritual lesson as well- without the death of Christ there would be no life for us.

There are those who like their meat to come on styrofoam plates, with all the blood soaked up by hidden absorbant pads. We like to think that our world is clean and sterile. It isn't. It is a rough and tumble world with all of nature "red in tooth and claw" as the poet said. We are the ones who bring the order to the chaos, who build the gardens, and subdue the earth. It is our call- as the representatives of God on the earth to do our best to guard the species that he has supplied for us to enjoy. And that is the perspective that I take- we are stewards of this earth.

The doe lay there cooling from her life. The haunting reminder of life's cost. It is, I suppose, natural not to think of her death as we partake of the life. So when I am eating my venison steak I will not be thinking long about this doe. And perhaps that is why Christ calls us to remember his sacrifice- lest we get caught up in this Life that he has given and forget him, and his sacrifice. Remember me- that is what he said.

I am thankful that the hunt ended with meat for my family, and a time of fellowship with family and friends. And in this thanksgiving time- I am thankful for all that Christ gave me-for no man took his life... he laid it down voluntarily.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Son of Man

Someone recently asked-I was wondering the bible calls Jesus son of man but also calls the prophet Ezekiel the same thing my question is why ?

Son of Man is an expression that is unique to the culture of the Hebrews, we call this an idiomatic expression. Daniel (8.17) and Ezekiel (2.1) as well as Jesus are called the Son of man. In the plural the term ‘Sons of Men’ occurs and means men of low and high estates- in other words all of humanity. When it is used in the singular, as it is in Ez. And Dan., it is used to emphasize the individual in the created order of things. It is a term of humility and debasement. During the intertestamental times the term gained some strong messianic meaning (compare Dan 7), so that by the NT times the term Son of Man is used of the Savior Jesus. By this term he invoked a humility and a representative status. As a representative of mankind he became savior- suffering for us, dying for us, and , now, interceding for us.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Thanks- I think...

Thankfulness is a key christian virtue. Or is it a discipline? Yeah, I think it is a discipline. I think it is something demanding we are to do more than once a year- maybe more than once a day! It is key to handling stress and depression. So take a look at Sheila Mosse's list to see if you find a few additional things to be thankful for today.

Be thankful when you are feeling down, someone else is always worse off than you are.
Be thankful for small things to worry about, they give us practice for the big stuff.
Be thankful if getting old and fat is the worse thing that you have to worry about.
Be thankful for laughter... as long as it doesn’t break anything.
Be thankful we don’t have to pay for sunrises or sunsets as we could never afford one.
Be thankful for having too much work to do, that’s job insurance.
Be thankful you are free to vote your choice... even if there is no choice worth voting for.
Be thankful for friends even if they are aggravating. They probably feel the same way about you.
Be thankful for uncertainty as it gives you more time to make a decision.
Be thankful when you make a mistake that you can always blame someone else... or the dog.
Be thankful that if you don’t have time to wait, you can wait until you have more time.
Be thankful when someone says you are wrong. It gives you a chance to prove otherwise.
Be thankful that you have right to say what you think, especially when what you think isn’t worth saying.
Be thankful that the best things in life are free. This gives you more cash to spend on the other best things.
Be thankful that if you can’t avoid making a mistake you can at least avoid repeating it.
Be thankful that there are always things to smile about – even if you sometimes forget what they are.
Be thankful for needs that are met, especially if they are met in way different than what you expected.
Be thankful for finishing last because you have more opportunity to do better the next time.
Be thankful for sticky stuff, greasy spots, and blemishes, they help us remember we are not perfect.
Be thankful for stress - it motivates us to make changes.
Be thankful there is always enough blame to go around, so you can share it if you need to.
Be thankful for the fast lane; it gets the people that are speeding off your bumper.
Be thankful to see things as they might be instead of the way they are.
Be thankful for animals; they help us to remember that we are human.
Be thankful we don’t always get what we deserve, as what we deserve may be worse than what we get.
Be thankful that when you’ve seen it all and done it all, that you don’t have do it again.