Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Salvation

the last couple days, "utmost" has been about salvation. stuff we all should and probably do know as Christians, but he states it so plainly it's almost startling. especially when you listen to as much lovey-dovey worship music as i do...

  • Jesus died because of obedience, not sympathy or even compassion.
  • Jesus didn't come "to reveal the Fatherhood of God, the loving-kind ness of God", he came to die for the sins of the world. The revelation comes after salvation.
  • We are not saved by being sorry for our sins, by repentance, obedience, consecration or faith. We are saved by the sacrificial, substitutionary death of Jesus. By GRACE demonstrated at the cross. We only realize and accept what has already been done through believing (FAITH).

none of that is to say that God isn't merciful or kind. that Christ doesn't have compassion on us or that repentance, obedience, consecration and faith aren't necessary components in the life of the believer. but it is to say that our salvation CANNOT be at all dependent on us, if we believe in the word of God. our salvation is purchased and final before we even realize it. the gift is under the tree. the ball is in our court, but we didn't earn it. it was handed to us freely, without us even asking. i owe my life and eternal destiny to Jesus Christ, and his death on the cross, according to the Father's will. i'm so grateful that even though I'm saved through faith that the degree of my salvation isn't dependent upon the degree of even my faith... and let's not even talk about deeds...

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Shifting Sand- Caedmon's Call (it's old, but it applies...)

Sometimes I believe all the lies, So I can do the things I should despise

And every day I am swayed by whatever is on my mind

I hear it all depends on my faith, So I'm feeling precarious

The only problem I have with these mysteries Is they're so mysterious

And like a consumer I've been thinking if I could just get a bit more...

More than my 15 minutes of faith,Then I'd be secure

My faith is like shifting sand, Changed by every wave

My faith is like shifting sand So I stand on grace

I've begged you for some proof For my Thomas eyes to see

A slithering staff, a leperous hand And lions resting lazily

A glimpse of your back-side glory And this soaked altar going ablaze

But you know I've seen so much I explained it away

chorus

Waters rose as my doubts reigned... My sand-castle faith, it slipped away

Found myself standing on your grace...It'd been there all the time....

My faith is like shifting sand, Changed by every wave

My faith is like shifting sand, So I'll stand on grace...Stand on grace...

First...

videoMobile blog. Target sucks.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

unmerciful me...

the parable of the unmerciful servant

so... i had made a purchase at lowe's a month ago, and intended to make it with a giftcard we recieved from my father in law... but i forgot it at home, so when i realized that, i asked the cashier if i might be able to put it on a lowe's credit card, then pay that off with a giftcard. she assured me i could, so i made the purchase.

fast forward to last night... i go to lowe's to pay the bill and of course you can't use a giftcard to pay your credit card bill... so i ask for the manager, hoping he'll be able to override the system and do what they promised me they could. instead of being helpful, he was rude and continued to repeat himself as customer service people must be trained to do...

so upon his 4th or 5th repetion, i interrupted and asked for his boss' name, which prompted him to accuse ME of being rude to everyone i had talked to, and he asked me to leave the store. until this point, i was just set on getting my bill paid without it coming out of my pocket... but at his threatening order to leave the store, i immediately decided to do everything in my power to make sure this guy lost his job over his conduct. i refused to leave, until he gave me the name of his boss... and eventually we made a deal that i would leave as soon as he gave me a name and phone number.

of course, this is my version of the story... my wife would tell you that i definitely "let my morton show" a little bit. i'm genetically programmed to do that when i feel i'm being treated unfairly.

but after a day to sit on the situation... i realize i didn't act like jesus would. regardless of whether or not i can justify my actions, or whether I actually committed any bonified sins in my angry state... by the standards i've chosen to live my life by, i failed. i became the unmerciful servant over a few stupid bucks.

so, the conclusion of the matter... a well-written complaint addressed to every one of night shift manager Don's superiors won't be delivered, and my quest to get him fired (or at least a reprimand) has been suspended. i paid the bill, and we'll have to use that lowe's card another time...

i just wish i could have caught my tired, cranky flesh before i went anti-christ in the middle of a home improvement superstore... what a stupid, embarrassing story.

knowing before serving...

We actually slander and dishonor God by our very eagerness to serve Him without knowing Him. (Utmost, today)

the Church has seen this play out in it's leaders and members countless times... people who want to serve but don't serve with the right motives, with the right attitude... and most who have been active Christians will or have probably done this. we allow our service to surpass our relationship with Christ... the mary/martha comparison...

and it really goes back to the cain and abel story... ha ha, but then again everything has for me in the past week. it's the matter of offering God what he really wants of us, or offering God what WE think he'll enjoy... what we want to offer. and that's really giving the benefit of the doubt... worst case would be "serving" for our own selfish motives... which is easy to do when your area of service involves public attention...

what a terrible feeling though... what an uneasy, uncontented spirit when you realize that what you've just portrayed to others as a sacrifice was really nothing more than a show to spotlight yourself as a "sacrificER"... i thank God that He's allowed me to experience the emptiness of using the abilities he's given me selfishly... i learned early on that "he must become greater, i must become less"... to effectively do what He's called me to do, i have to empty me of me, as much as i possibly can, then allow Him to do the rest.

back to cain and abel though... the more i pondered that story all week again, the more it challenged me to back up my Sunday "sacrifices" with my weekday living. one opportunity i had this week to do that passed me by before i even realized it did... (read the previous post for that story)... but i think i had a few victories too...

it's something we have to make time to do... spend time with God... find out what HE really wants from us... stop trying to please Him (or anyone else for that matter) on our own... just be obedient.

"If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?"