Friday, September 29, 2006

The Master Surgeon

I woke up about 4:00 a.m this morning - something that seems to be happening fairly often lately - and remembered the dream I was having. Someone was doing brain surgery on me - I guess I've been watching too much T.V. - and they were expaining what was happening. My brain was a large crystal sphere, they said, and they could see the cross imbedded in it. It was a dim shape deep inside. They were going to chip away at the foggy, unusable part until the cross was clearly visible. They said it would have to be done by the master surgeon.
Quite an image to wake up to!
Blessings on your day.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

I'm Back

Well I finally did it – this morning at 8:30 I got back to what had been a regular routine and went to our local Curves. It’s been quite a while. I’ve had good intentions all summer – ‘next week,’ I’d tell myself, ‘next week I’ll go.’ But ‘next week’ came and went and I still had not managed to do it. All my good intentions did nothing to give me the satisfaction and the improved health that comes with being in the regular habit of exercising.

I had lots of excuses. My schedule was already quite full when, well, you might say all heaven broke loose and I was named the Best Canadian Christian Author. That meant my novel was going to be published and that meant I had lots of work to do before sending it off to the editor. And it was a busy summer in other ways, with home renovations, a visit from my mother-in-law, and then there were holidays.

When September arrived I thought the old routines will fall back into place. Not so. It wasn’t easy to finally make it happen. I had to use my will power to get out bed this morning and go to Curves. Why did it take me so long to do it? And will I be able to maintain it? Will simple will power be enough?

Why is it so hard to maintain other good habits, like reading my Bible, memorizing scripture and writing this column consistently? I know these are habits that will improve my spiritual health. So why is it so hard to do them?

The apostle Paul once expressed his frustration at not doing what he knew he should do. In fact he admitted he often did the very thing he knew he should not do. I’m so glad that passage (Romans 7:14-24) is included in scripture. And I’m so glad he asked and answered a vital question after admitting his weakness – “Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (v.24-25).

Paul knew he could not conquer his own nature by himself. He needed the spirit of God to enable him. As do we all. None of us can be good without God. None of us can maintain good spiritual habits simply by will power. We need God to help us because our own nature is against us and there is an enemy of our souls who will put every barrier in our way to prevent it from happening.

We need God. We need to rely on his strength to accomplish the things he wants us to do. Like Paul, we must admit that we are weak, unable to make life work on our own. And as Paul said, “thanks be to God” – we have a saviour who is eager to help us once we admit that weakness. All it takes is a little humility.

I’m back at Curves, back writing this column. Praise God that with his help I can continue.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Neil Gaiman and a Sense of Permanence

I just came across this quote by Neil Gaiman -
"I like the stars. It's the illusion of permanence, I think. I mean, they're always flaring up and caving in and going out. But from here, I can pretend... I can pretend that things last. I can pretend that lives last longer than moments. Gods come, and gods go. Mortals flicker and flash and fade. Worlds don't last; and stars and galaxies are transient, fleeting things that twinkle like fireflies and vanish into cold and dust. But I can pretend."

I used to think like this. When I was a teenager one of my favourite places to go was a high cliff on Lake Superior. I went there often because it gave me that sense of permanence that Gaiman refers too. It was an illusion, because, as solid and formidable as those rock cliffs and vast body of water were, they will some day be gone.

Then one day I found out that God is alive and very permanent. Not only will He always exist, He never changes. The scriptures tell us He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Neil Gaiman is a good writer, but he's missing something - he's missing the assurance we can have in an eternal, loving God who will not fade away. It's sad that Gaiman has to pretend "that lives last longer than moments."

As a Christian I know that, because of Jesus, eternal life is mine. It can be his too. I hope some day someone tells him.

Monday, September 11, 2006

What He has Done

This past sunday Spence talked briefly about the time when Jesus wept drops of blood in the garden of Gethsemane. We had an interesting discussion about that once with a fellow in Papua New Guinea. He said it always bothered him that people assumed that Jesus cried out to His father because he was afraid and weak. Ken suggested that was not the case at all, but the thing he was overwhelmed with was that he would soon be cut off from His Father and was already feeling the weight of the sin of the world.
On Sunday it struck me again what Jesus did - His incredible love for us - His incredible mercy. Perhaps part of the reason every knee will someday bow will be because we will all finally grasp the reality of what he has done for us.

Monday, September 04, 2006

A Perfect Delight

OC says - "The spirit that comes in is not that of doing anything for Jesus, but of being a perfect delight to Him."
I learned this lesson in PNG when I came down with a strange virus that incapacitated me for a few months. While everyone else was working hard for the Lord I was lying in a bed or, at best, sitting in a chair unable to move. Yet the Lord said, "Let me love you for who you are, not what you do." How hard it is sometimes to believe that we could in any way be a perfect delight to Him. And what an amazing God we serve!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Be Ye Holy

Oswald Chambers says - "The Atonement means that God can put me back into perfect union with Himself, without a shadow between, through the Death of Jesus Christ."
This is astounding and I confess, knowing the state of the world and my own heart, I doubt it. I tend to believe there is 'a shadow between' because that is, mostly, the reality I live in. I tend to believe the shadow will only disappear when I die, when I am face to face with Him. And perhaps that is the problem. I don't live in the reality of the cross.

It was what happened on the cross that removed the shadow of sin, as Oswald says, and put the shadow of Christ in its place so that His Father does not see our sin when he looks on us, but sees Jesus. Perhaps I have managed to step into that shadow once or twice. But live there? I don't think that is possible on this earth. Perhaps that too is my sin. Though I accept and recognize the sacrifice of Christ, I live in a fallen world and still struggle with a fallen nature. In standing, I am holy before God but in experience I am far from that place.
God's mercy is all the more remarkable.