“So truth fascinates you…why?” Duh! It’s real!

I love writing posts–that is, when everything flows properly and in a timely fashion. If not, forget it!!

(Yeah, I gotta work on that.)

But, anyway, I also love writing because I like to see, hear, read what I think.

(Yeah, I know, that’s an incriminating confession too.)

I also love to discover truth–what will help me and others–and that happens most effectively when I write. It’s not that I do a lot of truth-producing–no it’s out there all on its own. But, when I go looking for it, I find it.

How about you, do you like seeking out truth? Do you like finding out what is real and what’s not? Does it intrigue you to know the reasons behind things?

If you do, maybe we’re a lot alike. Really, that’s not all that important, but in any event, I hope you do love discovering truth. And, not just discovering truth, but letting God incorporate it into who you are.

(Yeah, that’s definitely the harder part!)

Letting truth be incorporated into who we are–letting it change who we are–is really a gift. It is sweet, though it does not come without a pinch, or in some cases, a punch.

But, that’s okay when you consider the alternative: Living without truth is a death all its own. While accepting truth involves death to some part of us, accepting lies (or half-truths, as we may call them) are a death to every part of us. There’s no getting out of it. We are claimed by what we believe; defined by what we choose to live by.

There’s no other way that this could be. It’s a fair system and we’re given a fair choice. The question is which one will we claim as our own?

Truth or Dare–which will win in the end? …Or which will keep us from really losing?

You should envy me the deadly life I live

I’m not much for dying myself, but at times it is necessary. I die because I want life. Alright, let me unpack that for you — I have not lost all my senses; rather I am gaining new appreciation for what can be experienced by them.

I want to be a living sacrifice — a person who is essentially holy and acceptable to God. To be a living sacrifice, I must permit God to acquaint me with death to myself for the purpose of Him unfolding life to God.

I willingly jump into the fires of trials without any life-preserving exterior except Jesus Christ. With Jesus I feel the flame, yet it cannot destroy me; I grow weary from the heat, but I am not consumed; I train my eyes on the light of the flame and do not abide distress over the blackness left behind by it.

I am not living so that I can avoid trials that are necessary for my faith; I am dying so that these trials cannot be deterred in the purpose God has committed to them. I am a person who has escaped from death to life — life that is eternal and incapable of being diminished — so I can embrace whatever trials or discipline mark the stages of this new life. Any part of death that I now face is a pitifully impotent force.

It has lost all power before Christ, and that is why I can go through it with Him. What can separate me from all I need in God? Nothing — but now what was once so fearsome has become the means of displaying God’s conquest in human terms. God knows not death, and because Christ has known it, we shall never more be subject to it but through Him.

We shall enjoy the fullness of God’s life even while our own human and mortally-bounded lives are being tempered by trials. Should we expect to take no thought of dispensing our own lives when we know we shall not have them forever? Can we put it off when we know that according to our need, striving to enjoy more of us impedes receiving more of God?

Our problem makes sense now — He touched them

What is it that separates us from God? Does the antagonism begin with His wrath or our sin? To answer this question we must ask ourselves what would make God angry? Is it an ever-present revelation of His character, or is it specifically addressed to us because of an offense we have made against Him?

If God were ever angry, and we were wholly without blame for the distance fraught with enmity that lies between us, then there is another question that begs our attention: If it wasn’t to cleanse and deliver us, then why did God submit His one Son and Heir to death? Was it a legitimate act, or another example of intollerable cruelty?

Could God who created life and is Life put to death He who is One with Him? Why would He insist on One more dying when our destinies in hell were already settled? Either God is a capricious beast or He has a purpose in everything that He does, even in requiring death of One who does not deserve it.

We deserve death as the credit for all that we do — sinning with full abandon — while Christ deserved not to become a servant to us, but a highly exalted sovereign. Yet, by the Word of God He stepped aside from the inheritance He was guaranteed to accept that which we were guaranteed. If He accepted what must kill us, He could defeat the powers that keep us from Life.

Love took the fall and died only to rise the Conquerer of every terror that assaults mankind. If we will believe He has done this, the mysteries of God’s will and choosing Christ will be illiminated by the Light who made it all complete.

The art of time management — there is hope!

Learn about life and where to find it, and you will learn where to spend your time and what to spend it on. This is not hard because it isn’t simple, but because it is made up of a thousand little choices that coincide with the most important one that we have before us:What will you do with life? You can take it or leave it; but beg for wisdom when you make it because death is your default.

An Unmaintainable Death

Death awaits all of us and we know it. We run around trying with all our might to get everything we can out of life. But, a lesser known fact is that we start out this race with all odds against us. We are already dead.

No, I am not denying the reality of a final death awaiting us who breathe and have beating hearts in this moment, but I am trying to represent the reality of why death exists and give us an understanding of just how close it is to us.

If we think that it reserves a certain distance from us, a distance which we can comfortably measure in quantities known as days, weeks, months and years, then we are pitiable men. Death does not wait for us, it guards us. It has no need to exert itself over us because it already laid claim to us long ago.

Death really does no work at all. It is a state which we accept or reject. For most of us this does not seem a conscious reality, but if we could say goodbye to it, we know a difference. Death is haunting to its victims, yet poses no threat to those who have life. Death can not take life, it merely commands people who don’t have it. It is like a default mode for us post-Fall humans.

We cannot sustain ourselves apart from salvation. There is no such thing as maintaining wellness for us. If you have heard anything about the second law of thermodynamics, know that it applies to all of us — even our souls.

We are either dead because life is no where in our futures, or we are alive because death is no where in our futures. There is no such thing as being in the process of dying, as though this reality could be circumvented.

There is no coping with this death. We are either alive with Christ or dead without Christ. Only life makes coping necessary. Death just is. But this coping with life requires the cross; just as being raised to life requires the cross.

So we look to God not to maintain us as we are, but to release us from the captivity of depravity that we’re in. There is no other way out. We have Christ or we have nothing. We cannot look to any other thing in the hopes that it will make a significant impact on our lives or destinies. So long as our hearts are Christ-less our lives may be augmented by good things, but we ourselves will be wholly devoid of the One Good that holds us together.

When God meets man the lies explode

To anyone who might struggle with believing that surrendering one’s life could ever be manly enough for them to feel good about converting, let me ask you something. Since when is it not manly to face the truth and commit yourself to living for the only thing that will last?

You may excuse yourself by saying that you’re not one who is much for religion or a relationship. But, are you for being a fraud, for paving a road of regrets, for destroying your own chance of securing a foundation for your future and home? Will you let Life pass you by because it’s portreyed as something you don’t want?

Don’t forget that your enemy, Satan, knows you better than you think — He will paint God in whatever hues you most despise. He is on the offensive so hard with you right now because he knows that it is a losing battle for him if you even attempt to investigate who Christ is and what His claims are on your life. The excellence of who Christ is and what He offers will immediately take hold of your heart and mind and expose to you the imposter-god you have been following around. He knows that every time you believe that you are doing your own thing and forging a new path that you are taking and digesting another potent portion of his great big lie about who you are and where you fit. He will let go of you easily; while you play into his demented scemes he can torture you and grieve God at the same — it’s a win-win for him and a lose-lose for you.

But, if you’re angry at God or find some other reason to be strongly opposed to Him, don’t think that this is your angle. You will die in the end. Nothing that you can do can change God. And the only reason why Satan bothers with you is because you are very significant to God. If you want to do someone in, turn from Satan to God and you will foil the plans of your deceitful Adversary while taking taking hold of all the now-hidden benefits of the plans of a God who is for you.

Now, don’t be too quick to judge what you read by phrases or word-pictures that may disagree with you — find out who God is for yourself and then use your own word-pictures!

Here’s the deal: You are on a hunt. You’ve likely heard some stories about God, but those are just clues that reveal a God who weaves His stories right in the middle of people’s lives. Now it’s your turn to find your story in the big one that God’s telling. When you do, and you learn His take on you and what you’re all about, you are guaranteed to find two things:

1. God has some definite ideas about you and what you should be doing (yeah, I’m aware that you were probably waiting for that) and,

2. His reasoning, and the plans He has for executing it, is actually pretty compelling.

God wouldn’t insist on putting a call on your life if He didn’t absolutely belong there. And what’s more, He wouldn’t make public His intent to find you and refocus your attention and direction if it wasn’t for the fact that He was on a rescue mission.

If you thought that this was just something that came under your area of expertese, then think again. This propensity to perform daring feats and the prowess with which you are able to accomlish them is an awesome example of the imagination of God at work in your life.

All this search-and-rescue stuff; this facing-danger-and-risking-death-to-deliver-someone-else-to-safety; this leading-and-taking-charge; this conquering-all-the-odds-when-you-take-o- the-world — this is all stuff that God did first. And, what’s more is that He did it for you.

Yeah, you need to escape hell, but your sins keep tripping you up; you may have already been briefed on what must go down here, but unless you are sobered enough to recognize what the antecdote is going to cost you, all this information is a loss to you. Confidence without correction and confession will not be able to change anything for you. You cannot make it out alive without first laying hold of the object upon which your destination-alteration depends. That object is not a thing, but a Person. It is believing that Jesus Christ died, absorbing your penalty of wrath from God, in place of you and rose again to offer you His life.

To reject this would be to sink all your chances at once. Because the truth is, you only have one chance: You must be cleared of your errors — not just one, but everone, including the ones you have yet to make — and this will depend on a perfect Person’s testimony and blood being spilled to cover you before the scathing eyes of God.

This has already happened and this is why God has made such a point of meeting with you — He must make you aware of His offer and receive your response. Considering that Christ has stood in the gap of your sin for you, will you choose to stand in His sacrifice?

Whether you realize it or not, you are responsible for the death of another Person — the God-Person Jesus Christ — since He died for you. God did something for you at the highest cost to Himself, because any death-payment for sin that you could have orchastrated for yourself could not have brought you to life on the other side.

Losing is winning

Do you consider yourself a loser today? Has the loss of something you have considered invaluable made you question how you will now get along?

Whether you are struggling with a new inability to trust the people in your life, or a painful distortion of your reputation or a devastating health-reversal, or a tragedy that wounds even your hope in God’s understanding, you are aware of possessing less than you had before.

Loss, unlike anything else in the legend of humanity, brings us into immediate acquaintance with the undeniable reality of our fragility. This position is uncomfortable. We wonder what will become of us when after all we’ve worked for, we have less to hold onto than we had expected.

Yet even with all we may be limply existing without, we must not fail to bring it into comparison with the greatest travesty of our lives — living without Christ; unconscious of  or unconcerned with our lack of the enduring, triumphant life we may have only in Him.

We are left with a decision here — either I cling to Christ though I may still not have understanding to complement faith, or I flee from the reconciliation of the broken to the Healer because I will not base my hopes on the steadfastness of Another.

God groans with you over your loss, but even more than that He grieves for every intimacy of life that you have not yet known. This is the heart by which He prepares for you a table in the place where you can make no provision of real comfort for yourself.

No matter what we lose, we are likely to think it unnecessary — a pain we really didn’t need on top of everything else. But maybe this is the place that we learn to deal with life — beginning with where we are; when we need life the most.

As paradoxical as it may seem, there is a place where death and life intersect. Death is not without meaning, and life is not without victory over our earthly end. When we meet Christ in our loss, we meet the One who is our only Hope because He is the only One who died our death and lives in us that we may always, always know life.

The finality of loss and death and poverty were able to pin their worst sensations and nightmare-realities on Christ. On the cross that would unite the whole world to God — reconnecting the dead with the Life — Christ bid death to steal over Him and drag Him down into the grave.

But, make no mistake here, He would mean nothing to us today — not in our exaltation and surely not in our sorrow — if death had been given permission to prepare Him for His own grave. We reach out to the life that He now offers us because He who had no reason to visit the grave (Himself having no grave marked with His own name that He should occupy) came to us for the express purpose of occupying our grave, fulfilling its demand for a body, so that He might then destroy its power over us with His Resurrection.

Therefore the grave for our physical bodies holds no terror for we who are occupied by the One who has already filled its residence-occupation for us. We now, even as we live, look forward to fully knowing the gift Christ gave us in His death when our final death to sin (that passing out of this life) grants us our first full glimpse of Christ.

A Truth We Can’t LIVE Without

I daily forget how simple salvation is meant to be. I want to be sanctified, made holy so I can be satisfied. Yet I fail to realize that I am seeking to lay hold of a feeling that comes from me, and not God.

I am looking for self-affirmation, and delight that comes from taking stock in all that I am, and being able to say, without reservation, “This is what it’s all about! I am on the right track, I do the right things, and I am known and accepted for being all these things. Where is God? I need Him no more.”

I believe that I will be happy when I am sure that I am perfect — or at least when I am so distracted from all my petty imperfections (yes, that’s how I naturally see my sin!) that I can think I am safe; safe, from all reproach and anguish over any lack in me.

Without the reminder that my joy in beauty and majesty can rest upon me, though it rest not in me, I look for ways to prove that beauty can begin and end with me. I think that that will be all the comfort I need when I feel dull or empty inside. I will need only to pinch and wake myself up to the reality that I am more than I think.

Yet, the truth is, as much as I try over and over again to prove my theory, I grow disillusioned by it’s inability to satisfy my cravings for real beauty — Beauty that doesn’t depend on who I am or what I do; Beauty that just is; Beauty that invites me to sit down and enjoy it, or lose my breath as I get close to inspect it’s traces of the unseen and untainted.

I can only hold beauty to the extent that I hold fast to Him who is Beauty and grace. If I am wrapped up in myself, and what I want to be, I miss it. Beauty has passed me by, or rather, I have missed Beauty because I never thought to look about me.

In resigning myself to worshiping who I am rather than who I was made for, I have missed the point of who am: A vessel, with the privilege of possessing the living water, which is Christ; a temple, to be filled with the very Presence of the Spirit of God.

This afternoon God pointed out to me that I miss everything — and I do mean everything — when I don’t treat Him as the One He is.

In Him I have all the Beauty and Perfection I could want, all that my spirit craves, and yet I wander around, wondering why my spirit thirsts for more, when every where I look the emptiness remains, seemingly designed to convince me that I am misled about there being anything else.

But, turn around! Christ is; He never changes, and He does not cease to be interminable simply because I stop choosing to recognize it.

Salvation according to Christ really looks like Him, and not me. I am most aware of life and what it means when I am most aware of Him, and who He is.

Rather than being caught up in listless living, let me be caught up in Life and all that He declares Himself to be.

He says He is Light — then why do I keep praying like He might be darkness if I don’t continue to petition Him?

He says He is Salvation — where then do I get this idea that I will be lost or left alone because He may not be willing to rescue me?

He says He is Strength — how then, do I think it is possible for Him to be anything close to the weakness I see in myself?

He says He is Life — Oh, when will I forsake these lies that living and abiding in Him could somehow produce death that would not ultimately mean more life?

Let us therefore set our eyes on Him, who is all that we long to know and need to experience, by learning 1) to rejoice in who He proclaims Himself to be, and 2) forsake who Satan would proclaim Him to be. Having done these things, we will find ourselves overwhelmed by His love — the Truth that we have cast ourselves upon.

Taking Over

This morning I’m thinking about heaven — what I wrote about a lot last night — and death — my uncle just died this morning — and about what we can get from this world while we live in it.

Think about it, the devil doesn’t care what we have in this world, so long as we don’t have it in God. We can be the richest people in the world, with no one even near our range of wealth, and this will hardly bother our adversary. He is concerned with our souls — just as God is, though with far different intent — not our pocketbooks.

Satan rejoices when we are succeeding and moving ahead in the status of this world, forgetting about the incomparable reality of heaven and living with Christ. We can boast in all that we have now, until it is no more, and we see how much we never really had. Or, we can choose to boast in Christ now, that later we might have the joy of discovering that all the time we possessed far more than we ever realized. This is grace — a gift from God we don’t deserve, and will never fully comprehend until this world has faded and we stand in the next.

If it is truly our future, let us put ourselves in a position for it to take over our present, and redefine our past. I want to have a heaven-hopeful existence so that the hopeless around me in this world will not miss the certainty we can expect with Christ in the next.