Showing posts from November 30, 2014

Hope of Glory

Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God, that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Colossians 1:25-27)
We have usually assumed that this phrase hope of glory refers a hope that we have of experiencing glory, whatever that might mean. But I heard someone quote this passage recently in a way that caused me to view it from a surprisingly different perspective. And although I am sure it is right to view it from this typical perspective, I believe it is also valid to consider another option as well.
The context that makes this other option so compelling to me is my growing awareness of the far larger context in which our salvation, as wel…

Knowledge of the Truth

Here is the bottom line, the pivotal issue that I see this morning regarding my salvation.
Where am I putting my trust, my confidence, my hope, my faith?
For most of my life I have found myself placing my confidence in acquiring and clinging to a superior knowledge of what is right and wrong. Having the truth seems to be of the utmost importance and anything that threatened to shake my confidence in the truth was viewed as a threat to be resisted.
Jesus says that we will know the truth and the truth will set us free. But how do I understand these words? What do I believe they mean? And I am referring to the word belief here as primarily what my gut believes more than my profession of theology. Do I believe that this 'truth' Jesus referred to is a correct systematic theology that has been carefully worked out over years of study to ensure that I am not embracing any error? Or is this truth Jesus spoke of referring to something far more essential?
Jesus said that He is the trut…

Safe to Trust

When they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left. But Jesus was saying, "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing." (Luke 23:33-34)
I have spent most of my life attempting to make sense out of the meaning of the cross of Christ. The confusing and conflicting messages labeled 'salvation' I have heard from every direction do little to make the cross appealing to me which seemed odd given that Jesus said if He would be lifted up He would draw all to Himself. I wondered for many years why it was that so many other could seem to see significance and power in the cross while it had no effect on me. Maybe I was such a hardened rebel that I was beyond hope. Or maybe the explanations about the cross I was getting from everyone were not the real truth. If that was so maybe if I kept holding out for something better that someday it might have the power to save me as well.

The End of Hierarchy

I will hold back nothing in order to earn your love for Me. But I will never even hint that you must earn My love for you.
This was the quiet whisper that I felt God saying to me recently. And it brought to mind vividly one of the biggest obstacles that has remained stuck in my own heart for many years preventing it from believing and embracing the unconditional, unrelenting, persistent love that God wants so much for me to experience. It is the subtle notion that in some way, either small or large, I must to some degree earn or do something to deserve whatever I receive, and that includes love and affirmation and even value.
This attitude of needing to earn everything saturates nearly everything we do in societies on this planet. Philosophers have labeled it various ways but the underlying principle is rooted in the idea of a necessary balance between good and evil, yin and yang, light and darkness. It also includes very strong belief in the whole system of rewards and punishments ins…

Effect of Praise

Praise is transformative. When we praise God we open ourselves up to Him and His essence, meaning we absorb more of the very things we praise Him about. The effect of this is that those same attributes are empowered to enter into a deeper level of our soul and mold us to become more and more like how we view Him. Psalm 22:3 says that God is enthroned on the praises of His people.
But how is God enthroned and where? Again, the how is I believe what I just described. But the where may involve more than what many have assumed from this verse. I have come to realize that the real throne of God is in our heart, not far off in some distant place from where He remotely relates to us. The reason we need to praise God is not to stroke His ego but rather to open up ourselves for Him to be enthroned more securely within us, in our most holy place which can only be entered by permission. And praise is part of how we give God permission to dwell within us and establish His throne there.
But I hav…