All About Flawed Lives, [Hope]

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“Accepting the reality of our broken, flawed lives is the beginning of spirituality not because the spiritual life will remove our flaws but because we let go of seeking perfection and, instead, seek God, the one who is present in the tangledness of our lives.“ 

— Michael Yaconelli

The principle is sound. We let go of our flaws, and make no effort to redeem them. Sounds easy. Although I feel no qualms in doing so, I still wonder. Can He forgive so much, and so many brazen sins?

We can so easily turn on ourselves (at least that’s the tendency) and find accusation.  We become our worst enemy, we desperately carry our guilt like some overloaded and heavy pack all throughout  our broken lives.

We must finally realize we can no longer seek perfection (or its facsimile) by our conduct. Things have gotten far beyond this. We are rascals and ragamuffins– and are likely to remain so. Unless God intervenes decisively.

But love has a way of loosening our rigorous thinking, like a rusted nut on some corroded metal bolt. He wrenches us, and wants to forgive us of everything. He has decided to love us. You must respond to find his forgiveness. Plain and simple.

Instead of seeking perfection, we should be really seeking God. I suppose this can be daunting. But God is comfortable in our difficulties. He rules over our personal confusion. We come with less then zero. He gives us everything.

We can do nothing but accept. His grace. Grace moves us beyond our personal tragedy. Finally accepting we can do nothing, he does everything.. And where does this leave us?

Our striving for a final acceptance comes down to this:  He rules over all our ‘issues,’ and we’re constantly made aware of this excessively extravagant grace. We are rich, only because he has made it so.

There is no one else who can make us worthy. There is no one else who can connect with our sin and then at the same time make us holy in his eyes. There is only God.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6

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Our Life in Babylon

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Christians are now smack-dab in “Babylon.” We must live our lives under the auspices of this hostile world-system, and yet stay faithful to our Lord. We must manage ourselves with the same grace as Daniel or Esther.

In Jeremiah 29 there contains an important historical letter that the prophet Jeremiah wrote to those taken into captivity. In it we can absorb much of what is needful for the moment. For people caught in Babylon it becomes a vital document, advising them of what they should now do.

This list comes straight out of Jeremiah 29.

  • First, prepare for the long haul. Be good citizens of your new land, (vv.5-6.)
  • Second, pray for the peace of the nation you’re captive in. (v.7.)
  • Third, don’t be fooled by it’s culture, Discern what is true and what is false. Babylon is full of false gods and worship.
  • Fourth, remember that God has given you “a future and a hope” (v. 11.)
  • Lastly, extend that same discernment to the spiritual understanding of your own past.

These five should be enough to navigate faithfully through hard times in Babylon. We must admit that we’re only “pilgrims and strangers” here. Our citizenship is in heaven where it is secure. By faith we understand this.

As broken believers we are supervised by the Holy Spirit, even in this difficult place, Our souls are shepherded by God, even in Babylon. Our “captivity” is only temporary– it is not a permanent one.

“And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”

Jeremiah 29:13, NKJV

“By the rivers of Babylon, There we sat down, yea, we wept When we remembered Zion.”

Psalm 137:1

“She who is in Babylon, elect together with you, greets you; and so does Mark my son.”

1 Peter 5:13

‘Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour your judgment has come.’

Revelation 18:10

ybic, Bryan

 

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The Church Triumphant

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A church as a hospital during WW1
“The church is not a select circle of the immaculate, but a home where the outcast may come in. It is not a palace with gate attendants and challenging sentinels along the entrance-ways holding off at arm’s-length the stranger, but rather a hospital where the broken-hearted may be healed, and where all the weary and troubled may find rest and take counsel together.” 

James H. Aughey

I have heard of a hospital in England that gives a loaf of bread to everyone who asks. This tradition has been going on for over 800 years. The hungry are fed at St. Cross Hospital by just knocking at a door. This hospital takes ministry very seriously.

Jesus Christ so loves sinners that He gives to all who come to Him. Hungry sinners have to do is knock. But there is more than this. He provides a bath to all who are filthy. A wardrobe to cover up any nakedness. A bed to everyone who is weary and sad, for the Gospel meets every spiritual need.

I like to think that there is room for the mentally ill at Jesus’ hospital. A safe place for those who are exhausted by their battles, a room where Jesus can bless those who are afflicted. I believe there is such a place. For my own soul has been comforted by Him.

The Church carries on the ministry— it’s a St. Cross Hospital— for the immense needs of human beings. The sons of Adam and the daughters of Eve can find salvation and comfort from a world that intends only to destroy. Furthermore we now represent Jesus to a desperate world. We become Christ-like for this reason. The Church triumphs during times like this.

The poor and needy– the sick, the lame, the mentally ill, the prisoner, the addict are the Church’s glory. This little group of rag-tag disciples are responsible for the care of the lost. We just need to figure out how we can reach them. The Holy Spirit will help us.

The World is watching us. We welcome this, for we are the salt and light lifted up so all can see. We were born to serve.

 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

14 You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.”

Matthew 5:13-14

We dare not remove and nullify our mission. When we do so we become nothing more than another institution that is trying hard to secure a place in this world, Our distinctiveness is “blood bought” and our mandate is to be  “the Salt and Light” in this dark place. It is our sure calling. It is the Father’s will. We will be the Church triumphant.

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Check out: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hospital_of_St_Cross

Being Lorded Over

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“…no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.”

1 Corinthians 12:3

“The question in salvation is not whether Jesus is Lord, but whether we are submissive to His lordship.”

  John MacArthur

Christians believe that Jesus is Lord. I suppose this really means that they regard Jesus Christ is be the supreme authority in their lives. They look to Him to be their presiding judge in all they say or do. “You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies”(1 Cor. 6:20).

Sometimes I think that as Americans we can struggle with this “Lord idea.” We don’t understand living under a sovereign king. A king that exercises total authority and lordship over his subjects. Many believers rather think of the Kingdom of God as a democracy.

Yet when we say, Jesus is Lord (as we Christians are prone to say) we really mean that He is a savior, that He has provided His blood in order to obtain our forgiveness. But this is only half of it. If Jesus is Lord it should mean what we are completely under His rule.

“…yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.”

1 Corinthians 8:6

Lordship means sovereign control. It means He has the authority to do what He pleases with over the totality of our lives. We’re in His sphere of control. To relinquish this to Him is life’s biggest challenge.

“The lordship of Jesus is not simply a hope of Christians that someday might be realized; it is a truth that has already taken place.”

R.C. Sproul

This small post can not change anything. That is not the point. All I ask is that you consider anew the implications of what I’m saying here. Is there a daily acknowledgement to His sovereign control over your life? Does saying “Jesus is Lord” have ramifications of a submitted heart?

I can attest that Jesus is not only a worthy savior but a wonderful lord. His governance is one of love. He has never ever done anything that has been detrimental to me, “the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1-2). He is a worthy savior.

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