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Posts Tagged ‘Your Choice’

Day Seventy-Four

Why You Thirst…

 

“… if any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink!” Amp Jn 7:37

          With roughly ¾’s of the earth’s surface being covered with water, and the fact that every life form is dependent on water – water takes on a vital priority for life to continue.  It is unique as well among physical elements, because only water exists in all three states: solid, liquid, and vapor.  Incredibly – water actually increases in its volume as it freezes – thus allowing it to rise to the surface as it freezes.  It therefore insulates the water below it, which allows life to continue within that body of water.  How unique is our water … and the God Who formed it?

          As humans, we are comprised of nearly 65% water.  It is thus vital to our proper functioning as well.  We each require roughly 8-10 glasses of water a day to support healthy processes – yet how often do we fill that need with other things: coffee, soda, sports drinks, even alcohol?

          I have found many times I have actually misinterpreted my thirst as hunger – and have eaten something when I was really just thirsty.  But we have been hardwired to need water – physically it is an imperative to health and life.  Like our need for air – water is necessary for our life to continue.  Thus, this is the reason for our thirst, our registered craving for this liquid libation.

          But our need for water is not only physical.  I believe we have an equally great spiritual need for water as well.  However, this need is perhaps the least understood – or appropriately fulfilled.  Like our physical need, this spiritual need can be misinterpreted, and attempted to be met with other things.  But just like there is no substitute for water, there is no substitute for the living water that we require spiritually.  We have, I believe, a God-given God- fulfilling thirst.

          Many times in Scripture, this thirst is addressed.  I would like to point out three of my favorites.  First:  Isaiah 55:1.  (These are all from the Amplified Bible.)

          “Wait and listen, everyone who is thirsty!  Come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat!  Yes, come, buy [priceless, spiritual] wine and milk without money and without price [simply for the self-surrender that accepts the blessing].”

          There is a reason for your thirst and a satisfier for your thirst – but you must come to the Source – the Waters to drink!

          Next is: Jn 7:37-38.

          “Now on the final and most important day of the Feast, Jesus stood, and He cried out in a loud voice, If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink!  He who believes in Me [who cleaves to and trusts in and relies on Me] as the Scripture has said, From his innermost being shall flow [continuously] springs and rivers of living water.”

          Here Jesus is showing us He is the Waters – He is the Source Who will quench our thirst!  All we have to do is come to Him – then you yourself will flow in this water!

          Lastly, is Isaiah 58:11, which is referenced in Jn 7:38 (as the Scripture has said).

          “And the Lord shall guide you continually and satisfy you in drought and dry places and make strong your bones. And you shall be like a watered garden and like a spring of water whose waters fail not.”

          Our thirst (our true need and perception of that need) both physically and spiritually is a grace from the Lord.  It is there to keep us drinking, to keep us hydrated and healthy, both physically and spiritually, of Him.  Thirst keeps us connected vitally to our Source.  And if we will allow Him – He will satisfy us and sustain us in every situation we encounter.  Yet, His grace is such that He will not force us to drink.  He allows us to choose, both physically and spiritually, the thing we will rely on.  He never will take that choice away.  Unfortunately – physically and spiritually, there is a consequence to choosing poorly and making something else other than water and living water primary in our diet.  That consequence is death.

          This year, may your thirst increase and be recognized and fully satiated in Jesus Christ –  the Author and Perfector – of us all.

  Merry Christmas and a wet and watered New Year!

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Under-the-Influence

Why God Tolerates Satan… (for now)

Day Fifty-Four

“… the end of the matter is: Fear God [revere and worship Him, knowing that He is] and keep His commandments, for this is the whole of man [the full, original purpose of His creation, the object of God’s providence, the root of character, the foundation of all happiness, the adjustment to all harmonious circumstances and conditions under the sun] and the whole [duty] for every man.” Eccl 12:13 Amp

          I’ve heard the question asked, “Why did God not just write salvation in the sky?”  And it is a very good question. But as He published the Law in the old Testament – in a way He sort of did that very thing.  He wrote out Who He is, What He is About, and What He expects.  Yet neither the Law nor the Old Testament can save mankind.  At best they pointed a finger towards a coming Savior Who would (and did) redeem us all.

But the greatest issue addressed, the greatest need for us to recognize, and the central role for our lives is to recognize God’s authority: to recognize that all things are His: including us.  The central battle in the universe (as stated by Watchman Nee in Spiritual Authority) is about who shall have authority.  That same question is then the focus and fulcrum of all the teachings in the Scriptures, all the intentions of the Gospel message, and the issue behind all healings and miraculous works in the Bible and what we even see yet today.  It is answering that underlying question:  Who is the authority?  The answer of course is God Almighty. But there are some things I would like to point out.

Why couldn’t the Law redeem man? Why wasn’t it enough? And therefore why wouldn’t it work for God to just write salvation in the sky?  The answer is: for God’s authority to be fully expressed and received there needed to be subjection to that authority as a response.  Without the redemptive sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross, there could be no redemptive life of the Spirit dwelling in us (no subjection). Without Christ we would be forever left with only self-will and the action of “sacrifice,” – we would never be able to achieve “obedience.”  Why is that you wonder?

Quoting from Watchman Nee: “Why did Samuel say that ‘obedience is better than sacrifice’? Because even in sacrifice there can be the element of self-will. Obedience alone is absolutely honoring to God, for it alone takes God’s will as its center.” (Spiritual Authority, p13) Nee goes on to explain that for there to be subjection to God – self has to be kept out or excluded from the process. So subjection to God is only possible as one lives in the Spirit (cause self always wants to be in change).  Thus, we can only truly express subjection to God when we are operating in the Spirit and Life of Jesus Christ.

This then, is what the Cross provided for us that the law could not. Yet, beyond this you must realize that all future with God, every blessing, every promise, every benefit is tied to “in Christ.”  There is nothing that can be assured or protected or sustained outside of “in Christ.”  In that place (in Christ), like the verse from Ecclesiates above shows, is the place of all promise. So imagine in the midst of cataclysmic disaster and destruction you hear of an island of safety – where there is only peace and stability, calm and freedom.  That would be an analogy to being in Christ. But you can never have the freedom from harm if you do not venture to that island.  Christ has purchased our salvation and freedom from a sin nature that will always seek to “do it my way.”  He sustains all things with His word of power, and all things are subject to Him (to His authority) – except those things like us who must choose subjection as an act of our will.  As we choose to submit to Him, and to acknowledge His authority over all things, we enter into safety from the controversy of the universe where the enemy attempts to lie, distort, distract, and to deflect us from the truth of God’s authority.

Why was salvation not written in the sky?  Because by your ascent and choice, God wanted to be able to write it on the tablet of your heart in His own handwriting – thus giving us the right and privilege to receive the life of His Son and to bring us into the place of proper submission to acknowledge and experience His true authority.

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Day Thirty-Nine

 

So You Think God’s Unfair?

Our Right – Not Our Obligation

 

“But to as many as did receive and welcome Him, He gave the authority (power, privilege, right) to become the children of God…” Amp Jn 1:12

 

 

                Yesterday as I listened to a young woman call in to the radio Bible answer show, To Every Man an Answer, on CSN (Christian Satellite Network 91.1) I was gripped by her tenaciousness, but I anguished at her dispair.  You see – she was asking how God could create a man who He knew would never receive Him, and then judge him eternally for not receiving Him.  Her feeling was – God was being unfair. 

          I wanted to be able to chime into this conversation!!! – Would you rather God made you a robot? If there is to be no possibility of people going to hell – there would have to be no possibility for people to disobey: God would have had to create robots with no soul, no emotion, no will of their own, and thus no choice.  He would have had to program us, with no other option than to do what He desires (which would be to follow Him).  Once you give someone the capacity to choose – you must allow for them to choose differently than you would desire.  For that reason, a consequence must be attached to that choice. But it  was never God’s desire for people to go to hell – that’s why He sent His Son – to preclude that very thing!!!

          But you see – in this woman’s eyes God is unfair.  She wants people to be able to choose their own way, and go to heaven.  She is asking for something out of the realm of possibility.  Let me give you a small example: denture cream. 

Yes, it is odd metaphor but it works.  People who have false teeth have trouble keeping them in place on their gums because they don’t adhere to their gums.  They are of a different material (plastic) than the tissue structure of gums.  So the false teeth are easily pulled away from the gums when people bite into something they need to chew.  Ultimately, the denture cream forms a medium to hold (to adhere to the gums) because it is like gluey rubber.  Now people can choose to use denture cream or not.  But there are consequences to not using it:  ugly drooping dentures, slippage, abrasions, wearing down of the gum structure – these are just a few of the consequences of choosing not to use it. Yet people have the choice, and we all know they do exercise that choice.

          In a very small way – we can think of Jesus Christ like denture cream.  As we receive Him as Lord, He holds us to Him and even within Him (we are the dentures here J).  We live in Him and have our being in Him.  Thus, He is a bridge between us and our restored contact with the Father – Almighty God (the gums J).  It is Christ Who actually holds us in relationship with the Father.  In Christ, we are now safe in our ability to approach the Father, to again be in relationship with Him – through our attachment in Christ.  In Christ – we remain stable and fixed, we are held in place by Christ.

But in true reality in Christ, you and I are being constantly changed, transformed, from glory to glory.  You see – we are constantly becoming more and more Christ-like: each at our own pace, we have more and more of His life in us.  In the strength of becoming more and more like Him, the power of cohesion expands – the more we become like Him, the more our attachment to Him grows and becomes stronger.

Yet – for us to have Jesus Christ holding us, saving us, and restoring us – we must first choose Him.  As many of us who receive and welcome Him, He gives the authority (the power, privilege, and right) to become the children of God.  But if we choose Him not – we can neither fault the Lord for us not choosing Him, nor can we fault Him for giving us the choice in the first place.  It simply cannot work that way.

Hearing the castigation of this young woman caller against the Lord, the parable of the nobleman and the minas rises to mind.  It is found in Luke 19:12-26.  A nobleman goes into a distant country to obtain for himself a kingdom.  He gives ten of his own servants, ten minas to buy and sell with while he was away.  The citizens there detested him however, and said they did not want him to be ruler over them.

When he returns – He calls these same servants together to see how the buying and selling has gone.  After the first two display their profits, the third servant can only give back what was first given to him.  He says to the nobleman: “Lord, here is your mina, which I have laid up in a handkerchief.  For I was [constantly] afraid of you, because you are a stern (hard, severe) man; you pick up what you did not lay down, and you reap what you did not sow.”

This third servant did not know the nobleman. He did not recognize this nobleman’s authority to either pick up or reap.  He did not acknowledge all that he had (the mina, the opportunities to serve, even his very life) were originally given by the nobleman.  He just knew he was afraid of him –but also found fault with his methods.  Sadly, this servant is judged as wicked – with the nobleman concluding, “I tell you that to everyone who gets and has will more be given, but from the man who does not get and does not have, even what he has will be taken away.”

“Getting” in this parable is like receiving Jesus Christ.  It is like choosing Him – like choosing to use denture cream.  If you choose Him, you will get more of Him (more understanding and more likeness of Him as you obey Him).  But if you don’t choose Him, even all that you have (your very freedom to choose) will eventually be taken away as you descend into hell.  Like dentures sans denture cream — you will be loosed, eternally slip, droop, chafe, and be eroded and fall into eternal damnation.  It will be then that you see your error, but you will still only rail against God and call Him unfair – even though all your opportunities to know Him were equal to everyone else’s (each got one mina – the same amount). 

A comic example may be welcome here — even as it clarifies this serious issue.  An elementary school classmate of mine once shared a funny story about her mum.  She recalled that her mum once laughed so hard on a roller coaster – that her dentures fell out.  They were irretrievable broken by the fall.  In my quirky processing – I see that even in enjoying life I need to be anchored in Christ!  My classmate’s mum needed denture cream to stay secure – as do we all.  There’s no exception to that.  We need the attachment of Christ.  He has provided it – how can we find any fault with that?

Be-loved, if you receive Christ as Lord, it is your right to be held securely.  But you are under no obligation to have Him, or that right.  Yet — it remains before you — to choose.  Choose right.  Choose Christ.  Choose life.

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