Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Thoughts on Psalm 62:1



For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. (Psalm 62:1)

God is our only hope, yet we wait not, and surely we wait not in silence. When life gets hard, we stir about, grasping for hope in creation rather than the creator. It is like our faith flies out of the window and our hope becomes based on our own ability to create a solution. Why don’t we wait, and why don’t we wait in silence?

What if we became a people who not only waited on God, but waited in silence, patiently trusting that He is able and willing to preserve His own? First, we are afraid of silence, because we are then haunted with our great unbelief, “What if God doesn’t speak or act?” Our unbelief is one of the primary cores of our sinful behavior. Our unbelief causes us to ask the questions like, “Why would God…?” Rather than proclaiming, “…from him comes my salvation.”

Second, the People of God today have bought into the lie that, “…from me comes my salvation.” We buy into false clich├ęs such as, “God helps those who help themselves,” and “God blesses those who name it and claim it.” We must return to a God-centered hope. Only God can bring our salvation. Only God is the One who will faithfully keep His promises.

When will we quit acting like our God is a liar? When will we be a people who silently wait for our God, and act in obedience, rather than acting to grasp our salvation, and give God credit later? When will I wait silently for the only One who can save me? When will you?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Living with an Eternal Perspective

This life does not last forever. We all will come to our last day. Some sooner than others, but the reality remains, our life on this planet is limited. Embracing this truth will lead us to the point of asking important questions, “What is this all for?” “Why do I exist?” “Does any of this really matter?”

These questions are very important in order for individuals to delve deeper into their souls and discover what it is that they really believe. If one believes that there is no god, and that there is only this life, then the way that they conduct their life will reflect that. However, if an individual believes in something greater than them and believes that there is something more than this life, their life, too, will reflect this. Whether a person is an atheist or a follower of Jesus, everyone lives with an eternal perspective.

An eternal perspective is the lens by which we view the world and approach life. If a person is convinced that this life is all that we have, they will often conduct themselves to the end of getting the most out of this life and striving to avoid death. That is, unless they become nihilistic, this may lead them to suicide. Or, if a person believes that there is an afterlife, but their behavior must be ‘good enough’ in order to enjoy the benefits of this afterlife, then they will strive to morally train themselves accordingly. However, for people who believe the Gospel, if they understand it according to what the Bible teaches, then there is an immense freedom that is experienced in their lives.

Living in view of eternity, from a biblical Christian perspective provides great hope for this life. When a follower of Jesus realizes that this is not their home, that they have been bought at a price, that this life is not all that there is, that their reward is in Heaven, and that they will never die a horrid spiritual death, then they can begin to embrace the freedom purchased for them on the cross. Realizing that our time here on Earth is limited, and that there are so many people around us who do not know Jesus, we must then be intentional about engaging those around us intentionally with the truth about Jesus Christ.

Our eternal perspective, as followers of Jesus, gives us not only the promise of eternal life, but also the power and authority to share this truth with those around us. We must never forget that we, too, were headed straight towards eternal destruction prior to God revealing Himself to us through Jesus Christ. Therefore, our motivation to share the Gospel should not be merely one of obligation, rather one of gratitude. If we have received new life through Jesus Christ, if we are born again, if we have been given the spirit of courage, then our RESPONSE ought to be declaration. To declare that God became flesh and dwelt amongst His people, living a perfect life in obedience to the Law, dying a death that we all deserve, then rising again to defeat sin and death, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father waiting for the command to come back and make all things new, should be all the motivation necessary for us to live, share, teach, and preach the Gospel.

Our response to the reception, implantation, and consequential transformation of the Gospel in our lives ought to invoke a response of thanksgiving in our hearts. This response will ultimately breathe life into our souls and begin a drastic paradigm shift of how we view this life and understand our purpose. We are created in the image of God to bring glory to Him by enjoying Him forever. If God is really this enjoyable, if we really live in view of our secured eternity, if we truly understand and embrace the Gospel of Jesus Christ, then why is the church in drastic decline? Why are we embracing heresy in an increasing measure? Why do we run to the preacher who preaches ‘self-worth’ rather than God’s worth?

Once we come to the realization that we cannot please God on our own, rather that God is pleased in us through Jesus Christ, and then we can begin to live a life fulfilling the great commandment. This command is to love God with all that we are and love our neighbors as ourselves. To love our neighbors as ourselves is evidence of an eternal perspective. Think about it. We are by nature extremely selfish. Even the most ‘selfless’ person that you know, outside of Christ, acts this way for personal gratification or later manipulation for personal gain. However, when we become drastically aware of the radical love of God expressed towards us in and through Jesus Christ, we then have the ability to be freed from our self-absorption. This freedom then enables us to ‘do for others as we would have them do for us,’ thus loving them as we love ourselves.

To grow in humility is a miracle. This miracle occurs when our mind’s eye is shifted from ‘self’ towards God. We never lose sight of ourselves, but our pursuit and satisfaction switches sources. To think less ABOUT not OF ourselves is the chief-end of a God-centered existence. Through this miracle, God then enables us by His Spirit to begin living missional lives that is living with the specific purpose of being Kingdom builders. We no longer view the waitress, mechanic, doctor, or family member as a human being who can provide service, take from us, or be used by us. Rather, we begin to view all humans as living souls who need to know God through Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 5:16).

When all of our life’s pursuits are viewed through these lenses, then we are able to truly live as a new creation, free from being bondservants to sin and death, and can begin to live expressly as bondservants of righteousness. This freedom, purchased on the Cross, ensured by the resurrection, is the evidence of the promises and their faithful fulfillment by God. Therefore, with the eternal perspective implanted in us through being born again, nourished through the consumption of the Word, and stirred and flamed to the boiling point of overflowing, we are able to live according to the Great Commission.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Time...

There is a vast conundrum in our culture today regarding the view and use of time. Phrases like, "there is not enough time in a day," "I need to 'make' time for my family," and the like bring about this false view that time is variable and can be added to or subtracted from. It is true that our measure of time is man-made in that we have created ways to tell time, and keep track of dates, but there is a natural progression of time that cannot be captured, slowed down, or stirred up.

With the event of anti-aging creams, injections, supplements, and surgeries, we believe that we are able to slow time. However, time was never intended to be an adversary to be challenged, rather a sovereign design to progress us through our created purpose.

As the writer of Ecclesiastes puts it:

“There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven— A time to give birth and a time to die; A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted. A time to kill and a time to heal; A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to weep and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance. A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones; A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing. A time to search and a time to give up as lost; A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear apart and a time to sew together; A time to be silent and a time to speak. A time to love and a time to hate; A time for war and a time for peace.”
(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 NAS95S)


Our time here on Earth is limited. We must embrace this and understand that no matter how hard we might try, we will one day cease to exist. However, many of us live in constant denial of this fact. Think about it... We are setting ourselves up for disappointment. I would hate to get to the end of my life having always lived focusing on the past or the hypothetical future, and never enjoying the present season. We must embrace the truth that time is created to foster and carry the creation. Time isn't something that can be saved, stored, made, but rather is something that we must learn to steward.

As we see in the passage above, that our lives are full of different seasons. It is a part of life, created and intended by God. We fight so hard to move through the hard seasons, and strive to settle in the good. What if each season, both enjoyable, and tough are gifts. Yes. Even the bad seasons. There is much to be learned in all seasons of life. However, we very rarely seek to rest in all seasons, rather we press on for the next 'good' season, and ignore the many lessons that can be learned in our times of trial.

I am the first to admit that I struggle being in the present moment. I'm always looking towards what's next. There are times I am tempted to dwell on the past, both seasons of horror and seasons of great joy. However, either perspective is a dangerous trap as it keeps us from experiencing the God who is alive and active today.

Time seems to go by so much faster as we age. I remember when I was a kid in elementary school and I thought I would die if the days went any slower. However, now I look back and realize that it has been over 11 years since I graduated high school and almost 5 years since I graduated college. I have been married 6 1/2 years and my daughter is now 1 years old. Where has time gone? What have I learned? Have I enjoyed the good times and embraced the ordained hard-times? Have I let myself be trapped by memories of the past or the hopes of the future?

Will we be a people who follow Jesus in such a way that we enjoy the good seasons, and faithfully abide in the hard seasons? Or, will we be like everyone else (both Christian and non-Christian), who remember 'the good 'ol days' or ignore the present to dream of the 'better' future?

Time is passing us by... Will we seek God today with humble hearts, or miss today altogether...?

What will you do with your time?