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Tag Archives: Romans

Wind-up, Walk Into Walls

V6AM65Recently, I had the privilege of attending the Breakaway retreat with our youth group. All together, there were about 250 people at the camp and we had a fantastic time of enjoying the activities, praising God, singing, and worshiping together. We also had multiple opportunities for our particular youth group to gather as a small group and discuss the things that we were learning. I mention this because the timing of the retreat was a real blessing to me, as I had just received some disheartening news about a job that I had interviewed for, and in one of our discussions, we talked about how God guides us and protects us. Sometimes it seems as though His plans get in the way of what we want to do. As I was talking with the teens, an image came to my mind that I shared with them and they suggested that I share it with others.

Have you ever seen one of those old walking wind-up toys? You wind it up, put it down, and aim it in the direction that you want it to go. It seems simple, except that those things never go where you point them. They stumble and fall down, or start going in the wrong direction, fall off the table, or just run into the wall repeatedly until they run out of energy. They then need to be wound up again and pointed in the proper direction only to run right back into that wall. Sometimes I feel like a wind-up toy. I get all wound up, I’m focused, and I am marching in the right direction. It isn’t long though before I crash into the wall and run out of energy. The thing that I need to remember is that I can no more function effectively apart from God’s power and guidance than that wind-up toy can get from point A to point B without someone winding it up and directing it. I also need to remember that sometimes, God puts a wall in my way to prevent me from falling off the table.

Romans 8
26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

If we continue to read through Romans 8, we see that God’s plan for us included much more than winding us up, directing us, and protecting us from the occasional calamity. God’s plan, which demonstrates the depths of His love for us, included the sacrifice of His Son so that we might be justified. Christ was tortured, crucified, killed, and overcame death in order that we, His enemy, might experience a personal and eternal relationship with our Creator.

29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
    we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Praise God for his direction, correction, mercy, and love!

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Posted by on February 28, 2013 in Christianity, Faith, Humor

 

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Have I Offended You?

Christmas-CarolsThis is a great time of year. A time to give and receive gifts, a time for gatherings for families and friends, and a time of celebration. As we celebrate Christmas, we quite often sing as part of that celebration. In this day and age, when we sing our Christmas carols we need to be very careful that we don’t offend anyone. In order to help with that, I’ve found a list of some non-offensive, acceptable songs. These are the Top 10 Politically Correct Christmas Carols.

10. O’ Holiday Tree
9. Have Yourself a Merry Little Day of Winter
8. Chestnuts Roasting Over a Safely Contained, Continuously Monitored, Eco-Friendly, Nontoxic Outdoor Fire (For Which I Do Have a Permit)
7. Higher Power, Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (and Gentlewomen)
6. Grandma Allegedly Got Run Over by an Unidentified Non-Human Perpetrator
5. Deck the Halls with Boughs of Unendangered Foliage (If Office Policy Permits)
4. Frosty the Snowperson
3. I Saw Mommy Greeting Santa Claus with a Purely Platonic Expression of Inoffensive Mutual Affection
2. I’ll Be Home for a Short Period of Time in December
1. Hark! The Herald Mythical Winged Creatures Sing

Obviously, changing Christmas carols in this way seems crazy, and yet, there may be times when we go out of our way to avoid offending people when perhaps we shouldn’t. I am not suggesting that we should go around trying to offend people because that would also be wrong. Romans 12:18 says: “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” What I am suggesting is that we need to make sure we are not hiding who we are just because it might make others uncomfortable. Matthew 5 tells us:

14“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. – Matthew 5

If we are that city on a hill, that beacon of truth, there will be some that take offense. Even Jesus offended with His message of truth. In Matthew 15, we read this:

12Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?” 13He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. 14Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” – Matthew 15

Look at all of the coverage that Tim Tebow is getting. Most of the coverage isn’t because he is the quarterback of the Denver Broncos. Most of it is because he continually, unashamedly gives God the glory for everything. Many people want him to just shut up and play, to stop talking about Jesus, to keep his faith and his football separate. The fact of the matter is, the truth makes people uncomfortable and shielding them from it won’t help them.

Have you made anyone uncomfortable today? Should you have?

 
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Posted by on December 27, 2011 in Christianity

 

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Borrowed Perfection

Gattaca01I like movies. My favorite movies are the ones that make me think. I believe that ANY movie should make you think, because we should always evaluate what we see and hear, but some movies are truly thought provoking. The best of the thought-provoking movies cause me to evaluate who I am and  who God would have me to be. In this regard, my favorite movie is one that most people have probably never heard of, a science fiction movie called Gattaca. While Gattaca is not a Christian movie, there are many Christian themes throughout the movie and there are many ideas and concepts that should provoke thought in any Christian that watches it.

The movie is a cautionary tale which takes place in a near future where DNA analysis and genetic manipulation are commonplace. Virtually everyone is conceived in laboratories in such a way that only the best genetic material is selected from each parent. Anyone conceived naturally is at a distinct genetic disadvantage and society has effectively split into two classes of people through discrimination that, while technically illegal, is almost impossible to stop or control since simple DNA test of a stray hair or piece of skin easily reveals the true genetic nature of any individual. Those naturally conceived, known as in-valids, are considered societal outcasts and relegated to only the most menial and undesirable vocations.

The protagonist of the story, Vincent, is one of these outcasts and his parents are informed almost immediately upon his birth that he is fragile and has a 99% chance dying of a heart disorder at the age of 30. The movie is about his struggle to achieve his absurd goal of becoming an astronaut and making it to space, something that is reserved for only the absolute best and brightest, the perfect – something he could never hope to achieve due to his “inferior” DNA. In order to get into Gattaca, the space travel and training institution, he has to borrow the DNA – blood, hair, skin flakes, etc. – of someone who IS genetically perfect and pass himself off as that person. Any small amount of his own DNA would make him unacceptable to the institution.

While there are many ideas and concepts that I find thought provoking within Gattaca (I quite often glean some new nugget of truth from it each time I watch it), the idea of this borrowed perfection struck me as particularly relevant to the Christian experience. Entrance to heaven and experiencing a personal relationship with God is reserved for those who are perfect and sinless. Any small amount of sin, regardless of how tiny it is, renders us completely unacceptable. No matter how hard we try, no matter how much good we accomplish in this world, no matter how many times we go to church, no matter how often we pray – we can never hope to be perfect. We cannot hope to be sinless, which means that we are doomed to be eternal outcasts. We need to borrow someone else’s perfection. While Vincent had to go through an unbelievable amount of effort  and deception in order to pass himself off as perfect, the work has been accomplished for us by Christ and we are not to hide it, but are to share it and declare it boldly because His perfection is boundless.

Romans 3
21But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—22the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2011 in Christianity, Movies

 

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