Saturday, January 26, 2008

None Righteous, No Not One

I started reading Romans again. I just sat down and read Romans chapters 1-3 without focusing on 1 verse here or there to justify any attitude that my human self may want to take about a particular set of people. After laying out his indictments against mankind in chapter 1 Paul starts off chapter 2 with an interesting statement to the believers in Rome. He says to them, “Therefore, you are inexcusable, oh man, whoever you are that judges: for wherein you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you that judge do the same things.”

Why doesn’t anyone ever get that far when they use Romans to condemn others? We are all guilty in the eyes of God, that’s why Jesus had to die on the cross. If acceptance to God is based on our behavior, everyone needs to forget access to heaven. Paul then starts to lay out the ground work for the reason for the cross. There is not a single person that can say they are worthy of heaven because of what they have done.

We need to focus on the whole council of God, not just our pet verses to justify our theology. If you need to pick just one verse to base your theology on then, it should be John 3:16. But I like 1 Corinthians 1:18. “For the preaching of the cross is to them that are perishing foolish, but for those of us who are saved it is the power of God.” God made the Way. God made the Sacrifice.

As I’ve been praying, thinking and writing this blog, I found myself thinking about all of the history of the people of Israel and people in general. The whole history of Israel could be generalized to people in general - a people who are obedient to God over time stray from God. God has to bring them back to himself. Even the New Testament saints weren’t perfect. What we see over the history of man is that man will always make a mess of things. Only God can clean up the mess.

“If my people, who are called by My name, would humble themselves and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways…” There are so many things that are considered wicked in the eyes of God – pride being number 1 on God’s list. Yet, so many ‘religious’ people are proud, knowing not as they ought. They look down on those they feel aren’t living up to the ‘standard’ that has been set before them. They aren’t living ‘the Christian life’ – whatever that means.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I cannot judge people with piecemeal theology – use a verse here and a verse there to point the finger at those I disagree with. Under the ‘whole council of God’ we are all sinners in need of a Savior. Jesus is that Savior. Jesus is the only Son. Jesus is the only answer. Jesus is the only Way. Jesus is IT. Jesus is God. If God is Love, then Jesus is Love in the flesh. Love died on the cross and rose from the dead to give me new life in God. Not the old life in the Law, but new life in the Spirit. It’s not about winning arguments. It’s not about gaining adherents to our ‘religious’ way. It’s not about being better than others. It’s about Jesus.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Thoughts on Sitting on Our Butts

John 21:21-23
Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, "But Lord, what about this man?"
Jesus said to him, "If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me."
Then this saying went out among the brethren that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, "If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you?"

So many misunderstandings are based on a misused word, a wrong quote, or just plain ‘jumping to conclusions.’
Take the text used above. Peter was concerned about what someone else was going to be doing, Jesus said, "If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me." The disciples jumped to the conclusion “that this disciple would not die.” Jesus didn’t say that. Jesus was just pointing out ‘whatever I tell him to do, it is none of your business. You do what I ask of you.”
We can never and should never assume that we know what God wants someone else to do. Hosea is a good example. God told Hosea to marry ‘the wrong kind of woman’ as some people would call her. It became a prophet’s lesson to God’s people. We act like the wrong kind of woman but God loves us anyway and keeps bringing us back to Himself.

I started writing this the other day and yesterday (1-12-08) I had a thought (rare for me, to be having a ‘thought’ such a painful endeavor, I try not to do to much of it) and I asked myself this simple question, “Do I do good things because I’m good or because I’m good I do good things?” Religious people would have me believe that if I do good things I must be a good person. But, there are bad people that do good things. Jesus points that out when He said, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will [your] heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!"(Matt 7:11 and Luke 11:13)
Anyone can do good things but it doesn’t mean they are good.

So maybe because I’m good, I do good things? Oh heck no. Apart from Christ, in me dwells no good thing. Paul reminds us that, “As it is written: "There is none righteous, no, not one;” Romans 3:10.

All I can do is fall on God’s grace and mercy found at the foot of the cross and boldly rise a new creation and “Love God and love my neighbors.” Funny though, my neighbors aren’t just those that treat me well, but those that don’t too. It’s God’s kindness that leads people to repentance. Love is what we show to those who love us and those that don’t.

Am I good, because I do good things? No. Do I do good things because I am good? No. I do good things because God is good and God is alive in me and God’s spirit leads me to do good things. Apart from Jesus what I do is nothing.

Back to my original thoughts on “If I have him tarry til I come…” Do I think God would have someone just sitting around on their butts doing nothing? No. Is it my business to meddle in what God is having someone else do? No, but I can pray that they are seeking God’s guidance and their focus is on Jesus. I believe that if you are spending time doing what God has called each of us to do, “Love God and love your neighbor,” we won’t have time to meddle in other people’s affairs.

Blessings and Grace,

Sunday, January 6, 2008


September 11th, 2001 changed the world for a lot of people.

We have since entered into a war that a lot of people object to. I think some people live with their heads in the sand. They believe if we just make nice then all will be okay. I don't believe that. We can't compromise with evil. I don't believe we can allow evil people to kill innocent people because it just emboldens them to kill more innocent people.

I've seen advertisements for "How to Survive a Nuclear Holocaust." My question is "Why would I want to?" I have an eternity before me in Christ Jesus.

Although we have an eternity before us, we are only given so many days here on earth. We have been given the great gift of salvation through Christ Jesus, so we can stop worrying about trying to 'do the right things in order to please God.' I can't touch the whole world but I can touch the world around me. Thing is there are those that don't want to be touched.

Jesus let the rich, young ruler walk away. He didn't chase him down and try to convince him of coming to His way of thinking. He knew his heart. We are only given so much time to love those around us. I do way too lousy a job at it.

James gave a short sermon today (1.6.08) about 'becoming as a little child.' Tanya ended the first service about hearing it for the 3rd time and still finding a little nugget from God. She mentioned something about getting something from "The Lion King." I was talking to Steve and Mark after the service and said the I've seen some really bad movies that God spoke to me and said, 'You've just wasted 2 hours of your life.'

I feel a lot of times I'm wasting my life. Who do I connect with? Who connects with me? Do the people closest to me even know who I am? Does anyone care about who I am? I know people care about me. I know God loves me. I know Jesus died for me and lives in me. But I still struggle with wondering about people caring. If I throw a party, will anyone show up? Yes, I know people will, but I still wonder. Do they show up out of love for me, or a sense of obligation? Do I think they should show up? People have lives. People have commitments.People have their own world to deal with.

Why all these wasted thoughts? I finished reading a book by Nelson DeMille called Wild Fire. No, it's not a Christian novel. A paragraph in it stuck in my thought processes and I was originally just going to write the paragraph and leave it at that, then I just started typing. Here is the paragraph:

"It was easy to pretend that all was right with the world. It never is, of course, and never was, but you have to steal a few hours now and then, and pretend that the rest of the world isn't going to hell."

We play our video games, we watch our TVs, we rent our DVDs, we go hunting, fishing, we go to work, we go to sleep, we go shopping, we go in debt, we go broke. We gather stuff around us as the people who are near to us wander away or we push them away so we don't get hurt or so we don't have to face the unloving part of ourselves. Or we buy things thinking that it will make those around us love us, but all it does is put us deeper in debt, and the people around still don't love us.

Problem is we don't "steal a few hours." We give them away to movies or games or hunting or fishing. Soon you find that you have no hours left to steal. Your life is nearing the end and the vapor called your existence is gone.

I'm sorry...I'm just rambling. I'm not sure if anyone is going to read this anyway. LOL.

Somebody write me something happy and upbeat...LOL.
JESUS LOVES ME, even in the midst of my stupidity. I cling to that with my very being.

Grace and peace. Love and blessings. May you find something in these ramblings.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Fulfilling the Law

Rom 13:8-10

Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.

For the commandments, "You shall not commit adultery," "You shall not murder," "You shall not steal," "You shall not bear false witness," "You shall not covet," and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.