Thursday, August 23, 2012

Building the Mystery

Before time, before creation, before anything was made that was made, You saw me O Lord.

You formed me.

Before I came into the world, you built me and put my parts together.

You set me apart for your purpose even before my parts were placed together.

A body you prepared for me to display your nature and character to the world.

For I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Behold, I tell you a mystery hidden through the ages. This mystery is Christ and the church.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Is Christ on my desk or my heart?

After an unscheduled break from writing, I welcome you all back to get a glimpse of the places I have followed Christ. I'm exceedingly glad to have the time to release some of these thoughts that burn within me. On that note lets dive right into the subject at hand. Today I want to talk about the Word, both written and Living, and how the body of Christ is built up in the spirit.

In recent times I have been involved in numerous discussion groups and face to face discussions about the importance of scripture. It's a bit of a convoluted subject because I have experienced and fallen into the pitfalls that come when the written word is elevated to a position that is higher in importance than a living relationship and practice of listening to the spirit of God. I know how we so often subject the scripture to our own interpretations and can make it say what we want it to say. I've heard it said before and find it to be very true that "every heretic has his prooftext". I say all that to make the point that while I still firmly believe that scripture is both hihgly valuable and valid for the body of Christ today, understanding what it is that the Holy Spirit is conveying through the words of the text is of the highest value. In fact, without the guidance and illumination of the Spirit, the Bible has no value to transform us by revealing Christ.

While having a ear to hear what the Spirit is saying through the scripture is important it is also important to recognize that He speaks to us in numerous ways and is not confined to a book. Christ is alive, Christ is all, all things were made by Him, through Him, and to Him and all of creation puts on display His divine attributes. This is a truth and a way that was unknown to me until I was led out of the confines of a system where the Word of God was spoon fed to me like an infant and I became a hunter for the word of truth in the wild. Now that I have entered into this place where there is freedom and I am surounded by others who are in the wild like me, I have noticed a trend that makes me, well...concerned. There are many who are shouting and sharing about the importance of listening to the spirit and abiding in the Living Word but at the same time they are degrading and disregarding the value and validity of the written word.

The way I experience it, deception works in both ways. One day I discover I have been decieved into believing that the scriptures say something that they don't and another day I realize I have been decieved into believing that the spirit I have been obeying is the spirit of God when it's demonic and clothed in light. Now, maybe there are are some who have been walking and listening to the Lord long enough to be able to easily discern between the two, but I'm not at that level of maturity and I get the feeling that I am not alone. I need both the written word and the indwelling word of Spirit to agree with one another before I can be sure of anything. This is why I say things get so convoluted.

We have all heard it said, and many of us have repeated, that the Bible is the word of God and is the only objective standard we have. But is that always true if the scriptures themselves are necessarily subjected to our interpretation and understanding of them? Then there are some who would say that the indwelling Spirit is the only objective source of truth but we are taught from scripture to test the spirits...and we know that the Living Word will not disagree with the written word so what do we do? We make sure they agree, thereby subjecting one to another no matter which direction it is the truth is coming at us.

If you are expecting me to wrap this all up and tie a nice neat little bow on it you are going to be very disappointed. All I can say with confidence is that we reap what we sow. If we sow doubt, whether in the validity and value of the written word or the voice of our indwelling Lord we reap, a house that is destroyed by every wind and wave that comes its way because it has no foundation. My advice to myself and to anyone else who is facing the same issues and questions is don't abandon the search for truth. Dig deeper until you're confident that you are building on a rock. Dialogue and discuss with other believers who are as intent on submitting to the Headship of Christ as you and are learning to dilligently search the scriptures for Him and live by His indwelling life.

We don't understand all truth therefore as we search together there will be disagreement. As long as we all admit that we could have possibly been decieved into believing a lie, there is room for the truth to transform our minds. Disagreement doesn't mean disunity, in fact, unity through disagreement with humility will eventually lead to a knowledge of the truth so solid it will stand against any storm that blows our way.

How are you learning to discern truth through God's Word?

Saturday, August 18, 2012

$20 buys more than you bargained for

Often, when I am around town shopping, I am approached by someone who is going through hard times and is in need of a handout. Every time I give a 5 here, 10 there, or a 20 when I feel led. I just ran into a fella that was a recipient of my last $20 about a month ago. When it's your last $20, you leave them wondering if you now have to go without lunch for a week so that they can have a crack rock and be high for a couple hours. This was one of those times.

I remember after having giving this particular guy money having the inner desire to pray for him. I prayed that no matter how the money was spent, the man would glorify God for the gift and see it as a way that God was revealing himself to him. By the time I had arrived home, after praying in my car during my return, I was no longer concerned about how the money was spent only that God would have used it to reveal himself to the man.

I just saw him again. It's been months since the night I gave him my lunch money. He recognized me and remembered me as someone who had once invited him to church. We all know I certainly did not do that. But what it impressed upon me was that God had answered my prayer and somehow revealed himself to that man and the man had made the connection between me, the $20 bill, and God. Of course he would equate that with an invitation to church since that is how most people think we must connect with God. Nonetheless, a simple gift followed by a prayer in my car all alone had led to this man equating me with a connection to God.

This time I had no cash in my pocket to give so I invited him to come to my house for dinner. Maybe he will, maybe he won't, I don't know. Pray for me, that if he does, the Spirit would move me according to His plan so that I would not get in the way but join with Him in the work that he is obviously working. My entire household is sick so we will likely spend time on the front porch. It really couldn't be a worse day to have someone over for dinner. Especially someone strange that I just met begging on the street, but now he has my address so we may see him at any time in the future.