Thursday, September 11, 2008

in order to fully understand God's grace...

In order to fully understand God's grace, we must fully understand the sin nature from which we have been redeemed. We must absolutely embrace the fact that God has revealed himself to all of humanity through his creation.

We are fallen and sinful and saved by the grace of God. Anyone who has not received Christ is lost in sin. Many people live around us in respectable morality but have no relationship with Christ. It is our job, therefore, to live our lives wholly dedicated to God (Romans 12:1) as our spiritual act of worship. We must then follow God's command to "Go and make disciples" (Matt. 28:19). When will we stop rationalizing our inaction and begin to consider scriptures like Romans 1:18-25?

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities-- his eternal power and divine nature-- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator- who is forever praised. Amen.

We have exchanged the glory of God for idols we have constructed, and these are getting in the way of the mission. Of course the world is pursuing idols. Why wouldn't they be? They're lost and seeking hope from all the wrong places. It is time for us to show them hope from the one in whom we hope.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Let all the earth be silent

At our church right now, our pastor is doing a series on Habakkuk-- not a very common topic of study in today's churches, I know, but a very needed look into the Old Testament. The series is entitled "Vision in the Midst of Famine." The series sparked in me a renewed interest in studying the book of Jeremiah. I haven't studied this book since high school, and I'm sure that at that time, I didn't read it properly, nor was I equipped enough to reflect on it adequately. I'm doing this study with a group of several other women. A part of my role is to search for cross-references to enhance our study. While examining Jeremiah 2, and God's discourse on Israel's reliance on idols, I referenced Habakkuk 2:18-20. I heard this passage anew when about 2 months ago, I listened to the message from Ravi Zacharias called "The Lostness of Man." I have referenced this message before because it is packed with close-hitting truths I wish I could fully embody and embrace in my life. But back to Habakkuk: Here is what the verse says:

“What profit is the idol when its maker has carved it,
Or an image, a teacher of falsehood?
For its maker trusts in his own handiwork
When he fashions speechless idols.
“Woe to him who says to a piece of wood, ‘Awake!’
To a mute stone, ‘Arise!’
And that is your teacher?
Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver,
And there is no breath at all inside it.
“But the LORD is in His holy temple.
Let all the earth be silent before Him.”

We are remiss in our treatment of God. We idolize life circumstances, friendships, possessions, and even money yet we expect that God will continue to pour out his blessings on us. But we are like our idols: dead and worthless. Israel worshipped idols by offering sacrifices to them. God calls US to BE a sacrifice unto him (Romans 12:1) as a spiritual act of worship. Worship isn't what we sing during church. Worship is what we DO when we're living life. We either ARE worshiping or we are not. We spend so much time praying, asking God: Do this, do that, help me with this, help my friend in this difficult time. But really what we SHOULD be doing is showing reverence to the Father with our life and trusting that God in His sovereignty is working out more details than we thought to remind Him of. Am I suggesting that we shouldn't pray and ask God for things? No. But what I am saying is that we ask for more than we should and have an over-inflated sense of entitlement in asking when we in fact do not align ourselves with whom we are called to be. And how might we begin to align ourselves with God's call? I think a good place to start is silence.