Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Idols Of Our Own Making

John Calvin once said: “The evil in our desire typically does not lie in what we want, but in what we want too much.”

I believe what he was talking about was idols of our own making. You know those things that we appear to be nonchalant about, but secretly dream and pine over? Those very things that could be blessings, but we turn into objects of our devotion and our worship?

We might not be physically bowing down to Ba'al, but how many things are we bowing down to- our jobs? Families? Ministries? Churches? Friends? Interests? The list goes on and on.

The truth of the matter is, anything that we go after more than or hold in desire above God is an idol in our lives. So what do we do with idols that we recognize? Well if we follow the example of the heroes of the faith in the Old Testament, we tear them down. Whatever the cost is, whatever has to be done, we remove them and place God in His rightful spot.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Thought for Today

Thought for today:

In the Bible we see that faithfulness doesn’t always equal fruitfulness. Obedience doesn’t always mean no obstacles. And trust often takes us down a road with many twists and turns.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Throw It To See If It'll Stick

I can remember when I was younger watching in awe as my Mom would cook spaghetti in the kitchen. When the noodles were done boiling, she'd take one noodle out of the pot and throw it up against the wall. If it stuck, she knew that the noodles were ready. If not, she'd let the noodles continue to boil.

In many ways I feel like my life lately has become it's own little version of "throw it to see if it'll stick". It's like I've got this bowl of opportunities and of things I worked and dreamed so hard for and all I can do is keep throwing this items out of the bowl in any direction that I can think of to see if it'll stick somewhere, anywhere.

One example of this is my education. For many years I worked so hard on completing my university degree by correspondence. It was something that I loved doing and pushed through a lot of obstacles to do. But then there I was, a little over a year away of being done and my health took a nose dive, closing that opportunity to continue. Leaving me with nothing else to do but throw those courses to see if it'll stick somewhere. Will I be granted another extension to wait and see if I'll be well enough to resume school in a few months, years? Will the university count my credits towards a diploma, certificate, anything just so I have something besides debt to show for my work?

Then there's my book. No, not Walking Through A Fallen World, but book number two. I spent all last summer working on this manuscript and after 8 months of throwing it around everywhere to see if it'll stick, I've got nothing. No publishing deal, no agent, no golden opportunity. Just a message that I really believe in and would love to see it spread to the masses.

And while this period of throwing stuff out to see if it'll stick has been frustrating, I've been reminded of something pretty important tonight- just like noodles only stick to the wall when they are ready to eat, God will only let things in our life stick when those things are ready to go forth.

Maybe that means that there's another essential chapter my book is needing that I'll only be inspired to write in a month or two or ten. Or maybe that means that my university experience has fully equipped me for what I'm doing now, which I do love and plan on continuing as far as the eye can see, and to take on more courses would just be a waste of time and money. I don't know. But what I do know is that the One I follow is worth trusting.

So today I'll keep throwing my things against the wall, but instead of shaking my head in frustration as the fall, I'll trust. And when the day does come when one of those things stick, I'll rejoice in knowing that it's happening in the right time, in the right season, for the right reason.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Costly Grace

Yesterday I was at the library with a friend and we came across two books from Dietrich Bonhoeffer. We each took a copy out to read and the one I choose was The Cost of Discipleship.

So far it's an amazing read and I can see why I've read so many Bonhoeffer quotes in other books over the years- he's one wise writer.

Here's a quote to leave you with. While it's a little long, it does pack a punch:

"Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without cost, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.

Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will gladly go and sell all that he has. It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods. It is the kingly rule of Christ, for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble; it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows him.

Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock. Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ.

It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son; 'ye were bought at a price,' and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us." (Dietrich Bonhoeffer in The Cost of Discipleship)