Sunday, December 8, 2013

A Day Like No Other Day

Something amazing happened on the Day of Pentecost, yet its significance has been greatly diluted. Was it the ability to speak in tongues? No. Was it that Gentiles could now become Jews and obey the law? Not at all. Was it the beginning of the spread of the gospel? Hardly. Was it the transformation of fear of persecution into courage to become martyrs? Not quite. 

It's more than we could ask or imagine, so let's let God inform us.

Christians want so badly to call themselves "Christians" that they miss the depth of what God has done. Instead, they skip right over to trying to behave like "Christians." But, being a Christian means so many different things to different people. Many think being a Christian is to be a good person. Some think it's avoiding immoral behavior. Some want to give the world a group hug. Others have an attitude of owning exclusive insight into the interpretation of scripture through human authority. But what does being a Christian mean to God?

Whoever misses the real significance of Pentecost is truly missing God's greatest work. 

This is the day He started giving believers His Spirit to dwell within them, making new creations in Christ. It was His plan all along to bring many sons into glory. This was the beginning of the Church age, to start building of the body of Christ, and to start preparing His bride. This is the Day He began to give the right to become children of God. This is the day Christians were born.

And that's only half the plan. He also desires that we should grow up into Christ, His fullness, the knowledge of the truth, the unsearchable riches of His grace. Seek Him. Abide in Him and He will abide in you. Love Him and He and His Father will love you and come make their home with you. Most assuredly, He will bless you. The race has started, so run. Let us run together.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Random Thought - The Bittersweetness of Life

My Christian life is bittersweet. Bitter sometimes because seeking the deep things of God is lonely. Sweet mostly because God rewards those who diligently seek Him. Bitter and sweet at the same time because, according to scripture, neither of these should surprise me.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

To Whom It May Concern

Did you ever write a letter that started that way? Ever address a letter with this salutation, "To whom it may concern?" The funny thing is, any person reading it wouldn't know whether the contents concern them or not until after they've read it.

Wouldn't it be interesting if someone could tell the letter concerned them before they even started reading it? You might think, "Oh, that's easy. Just use their name?" But, if the letter comes from someone that never addressed them before, it could easily be tossed into the recycle bin with nary a glance beyond the envelope.

Perhaps a certain graphic or font would catch their attention, and then they'd have to read it, or they'd be motivated by curiosity. But, that still doesn't tell them whether the letter is of any significance before they read it. How then? How can the reader know?

It is not through the use of colorful graphics or special font. It is not dependent on whether you've ever addressed the reader before, or whether you call them by name, by respectful title, or simply "to whom it may concern." In fact, you do not even have to send the letter. What matters, the only thing that matters, is the intended reader. It is not just any reader, not even friends or family.

There is a certain Reader with whom you may wish to communicate, but perhaps you are unsure. Writing is safe; I often use myself. Speaking out loud can seem awkward, especially if you've never spoken before, or at least not anger or mockery. But, writing allows you the luxury of either organizing your thoughts or letting them race, taking time to judge your own honesty, or examining the deepest channels of your heart. Or, perhaps, you just have a simple question, and it's taking all the courage you can muster to ask it. Any one of those is fine. It's the Reader that matters.

Now imagine this: not only does the desired Reader know the letter concerns Him, He knew what you were thinking about writing before your ball point hit the paper, or your fingers hit the keys. He has been waiting in eager anticipation to hear from you, and from you personally. He has been waiting patiently, not getting the least bit angry with your delay. He has been there all along, yet He will not intrude on your space. You may be tempted, but don't bother inviting Him into your space. Your 'space' has nothing to offer which He would want. You can tell Him about it, but eventually He'll want to tell you about His space.

He will continue to wait as you come to Him more frequently, and more cheerfully each time. But, don't hold back if once again you are angry with the Reader, or even highly doubtful He exists. Over time, gently, as you grow in expectancy to hear from Him, He will answer you, mostly by touching your heart in ways unimaginable, so that you will know in your heart that your letter touched His heart deeply. And you will find rest for your soul.

When the time is right, He will step back from the door upon which you knocked to deliver your letter, and He will invite you into His abode. It is a home like no other; to enter the Doorway is to enter into Him. The Doorway is His Son. To be in His home is to be in His Spirit. There is nothing like it in all the world.

You cannot drag your baggage of traditions, morality, or humanity through this Doorway. He has no desire for anything you would offer. Instead, He offers you everything, with no frame of reference by which to prejudge it. He simply asks that you trust Him. Somehow, by this time, we know that we can trust Him, and our humility is rewarded.

Once in His home, which is His Spirit, through His Son, we can grow into Him and hear Him plainly state, "This is my son, in whom I am well pleased." From now on, our letters always contain the proper salutation: Father.