Friday, September 27, 2013

Take Up and Read

What are you reading?

It always amazes me when I meet someone who doesn't enjoy reading.

For the Christian person, of course, one book is required reading. Even if I am not inclined to sit and open its pages on any given day, I am assured by my Savior that I must feed on "every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God."

Yet it is not knowledge of Jesus' statement that prompts me to take up and read my Bible. The quickening power of the Holy Spirit convicts me of my need for God's Word. He imparts a desire for Scripture and enables me to set aside worldly distractions, if only briefly, to meditate thereon.  

Time is not a hindrance for me as it might be for others. No, my failure is in not attending to the words I read. I fail, many days, to seek meaning from my reading, to hide God's Word in my heart.

Still, I am concerned to meet one who professes faith in the Living Word without any desire whatever for the written Word of God.

Prayer for others does not proceed from the assumption that I am better than they are. Far from it!

But how can one witness to unbelievers who are better acquainted with Scripture and use it as a club against the witness? 

It comes down to two questions (or so I believe):

"Is it possible for the one who professes love for God to not love His Word?"


"What are you reading?"

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

What Are You Doing?

No wonder, then, that we constantly misconceive and misjudge what God is and is not doing in us, and for us.... "Rediscovering Holiness," J.I. Packer

"Constantly," the man says. Is that a fair and accurate description? Since he includes himself in the "we," I suppose that this was his observation from his long years as a minister.

I can only speak for myself. Sadly, I admit that I seem always to misconstrue God's purposes in the events of my life.

True, there are biblical truths that He has given us. Stating, for instance, that we should struggle against sin and seek God's holiness. That we should witness to the lost, minister to the sick, and help the needy. We hold these truths to be self-evident.

What about my participation in my church's music ministry, given my past inclination (as a performer) to seek my own glory and satisfaction? Elements of that remain in my heart, I confess.

What about a calling to and in the workplace? Is it God's will that I seek out such? In the past, I had thought he was removing me from this area of ministry.

And my desire to see a reformed witness established in my hometown? I don't feel any particular call there. But what if because of my own self-interest (a heartfelt desire to live the rest of my days in NW TN), I am actually ignoring such a call?

Someone once said, "You don't have to go to China to be a missionary." Jesus said, "the fields are white with the harvest," That strikes home, especially to the heart of one raised on a cotton farm!

Nebuchadnezzar came to the knowledge, concerning God, that "none can stay His hand or say to him, 'What have you done?'"

Nonetheless, I hope that I do not sin in inquiring of God, "What are you doing?" Like Job, I understand the futility and arrogance of questioning the wisdom or love of my heavenly Father.

What I do long for is to be on the same page as His plan.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Comfort and Joy, Comfort and Joy (for Buddy)

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
                                 -Philippians 4:4

Before I begin, I'd like to ask a question: what emotion does the color blue conjure for you?

I find it soothing, like a cool washcloth on a fevered brow. Also it looks really neat against the black background of my blogpage.

Being from somewhere other than here, I keep up with people from my past lives by swapping messages on FaceBook. I know, it is a pitiful substitute for face-to-face conversation.

But talking on the phone seems to me even more inadequate. Lacking the visual input of facial expressions and body language, I find myself compelled to fill the empty silence with banal pleasantries. Is it even possible to have a meaningful discussion while talking on the telephone?

I recently exchanged messages with a friend who is one of the most joyful people I know. His openness and upbeat personality attracted me from the first time we met. We shared many a large time in the several years that I lived in his hometown.

He is still there. I am pleased to say that God has blessed him with a strong, enduring faith. You know what I mean. Faith that is our only anchor when life devastates us.

I admire that kind of faith and I strive to emulate it. The faith to smile in the midst of sorrow. Faith that does not shy away from expression of that sorrow, but at the same time remains hopeful. Faith that does not allow us to withdraw to within ourselves but inspires us to reach out and engage those around us.
Faith that allows us to be a blessing to others. Faith in the hope of that which is to come.

As I sought to be a blessing and comfort to my friend (through the strange medium of FB messaging), I found myself comforted by his open and honest faith.

God has promised to never leave or forsake us. Sometimes I detect his presence in the blessed fellowship of dear friends.

Thank you, my Lord and my God.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

All That I Know is I Am On My Way

When will I get there, I don't know
When am I going, I ain't certain
What will I get, I ain't equipped to say

Bound for glory and the life eternal.

That's the promise. The peg on which I hang my hat and my immortal soul. The concept is mind-boggling. The to-be-fulfilled reality is beyond my ability to imagine.

What will God look like? Not a clue.
Will I be able to fly in my resurrected, glorified body? I have no idea.
What will we do forever and ever and ever?

The Bible gives passing glimpses of these wonders, probably as much as my finite mind is able to process.

Glorification. Have you thought about it? Not just our disembodied souls, but our flesh made new and perfect. Along with creation.

How much more astounding that Paul speaks of it in the past tense (Romans 8:30). As a thing already accomplished! In God's eye I am already fully restored.

Oh yes, in the words of Robert Frost, there are miles to go before I sleep, Only God knows how many.

But He's saving me a place.