Monday, April 06, 2009

Good Mourning

(Enter weekend weary worker)
Co-worker: (obviously a morning person) Good morning!
Weary Worker: yeah I guess, whatever... is the coffee on?

When you hear this greeting, today, think "good mourning". Mourning is rarely thought of as good. (although we use the phrases "good grief" and "Good Friday") John MacArthur sparked me this am with his devotional thoughts surrounding this verse in the beattitudes:

"Blessed are they who mourn for they shall be comforted." Matt 5:4

The fact that God does comfort his weeping, sad, grieving children is very reassuring. It is a truth very clearly communicated in other passages (see Ps 23:4, 119:50; 2 Cor. 1:3-7). God loves to wrap His arms around us and hold us like a parent.

But the truth of the beattitudes is that there is comfort following repentance. When we are broken to the point of grieving over sin, He delights in resting and repairning our spirits. He "comforts us" or "restores us". According to Jesus, He blesses us. Blessedness is a function of completion or wholeness. He puts us back together or brings us back to spiritual health. The healer (Jehovah-Rapha) has brought peace again (Jehovah-Shaloam).

John MacArthur summarized this truth well when he said "When your sins are forgiven, you are a happy person." Grief and mourning over sin comes first, then repentance, then forgiveness and then restoration. The relief that comes from being forgiven is huge! The comfort that comes from being restored to fellowship is even huger... more huge... more better!

Once we have experienced that kind of relief, we then should become ambassadors of healing -- medicine men and women that bind up the wounds of people with forgiveness. (see Isaiah 1:5-6 to see what unforgiveness looks like before God). The world around us is chasing after "life, liberty and happiness". We, who have found it, owe it to others, who have not, to show them that real blessedness -- happiness at their soul level -- comes from Christ and forgiveness of sins.

Spread some salve, bind some wounds,
find spiritual health, get/give forgiveness

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Authority Brings Accountability

Ever been witnessing, proclaiming the good news of Christ to a friend, relative, neighbor or associate and have them respond violently to this claim of Christ as the Son of God? There is a good reason for this response. While the person may not articulate it in this way, it is ultimately a refusal to accept the authority of Christ on their life because of the connected and resultant accountability. They refuse to accept Jesus because He commands their obedience.

Luke 20:1-8 tells about an encounter that Jesus had like this with the "spiritual leaders" of His day. As He was teaching and preaching the gospel, they questioned His authority. In other words, they wondered, "Who does this guy think that he is? He can't tell us that we are wrong! He can't tell us that we are going to hell!" They began to ask Jesus questions about His right to say these things with authority.

The answer to these questions is obvious to us as believers. This issue of "who is Jesus" is the entry point to a relationship of discipleship that many of us have already addressed and settled. These leaders had not settled it! Jesus asks them about John, the Baptizer, and his authority. Jesus was claiming that He and John were on the same team and sent by the same authority. The leaders discussed and reasoned amongst themselves (in a huddle?) their answer to Jesus' pointed questions.

Their discussions revealed that they were more concerned about being stoned than getting the right answer. Their fear of men controlled their thinking. They were lost in their sin. They couldn't see past their own security and position. They refused to bend to a higher authority and become accountable to God (as Jesus and John had done). The threat of dying for what they believed (that John was a man on his own agenda) drove them to give an angry non-answer. They tried to refuse submitting to God's/Jesus's authority (a futile effort).

Jesus is the exact bodily representative of the Father, obediently doing the Father's business with all of the Father's authority and power. We must acknowledge and submit to the authority of God in our lives. Our lost friends need to hear and believe these truths too -- else they too will perish.

I am committed to following Christ's example,
to submitting to the authority that He has,
to obeying what He has instructed me to do,
to teaching the truth,
to preaching the good news,
to being accountable for my actions to One who higher than I.
To Him be all the glory,