Friday, October 24, 2008

Editing vs. Inspired

I spend a lot of time editing MS Powerpoint slides. Let's just say I also get a lot of help from my bosses. Frankly, the process drives me nuts. I know what I want to say. I always like my first cut. But I have to admit that the finished product (after all that unwanted help) is much better.

All writers have to edit. Some are fortunate to have editors do the work for them. As a writer, I'm usually on my own. What that means right now in this stage of my development as a writer is this - the final piece ends up surprisingly like the original draft. Why? I hate editing.

That got me to thinking about the Bible. It is the inspired and inerrant Word of God. Even though written by many men over many years, it is perfect. I have to believe that when these men were under holy inspiration that what they wrote they wrote once and only once and they were done. No editing! No rough draft, second, third, fourth cut. No word count concerns. No grammar issues, misspellings, need for a better word using the Thesaurus. Simply perfect.

We know all that though don't we? If you're like me though, do you ever wonder about the fallibility of the inspired process that God takes you through as you exercise your spiritual gift? I am a prophet. So telling God's Word as it is is quite easy because all I have to do is copy it. But the words that I put around it are where I get into trouble. Without a doubt, God inspires me to write. But it's not the same as when He created the Bible. To me this is both good and bad. Good because I know the Bible is complete and I am by no means a new contributing author. But bad because I so love to use the gift of God in writing, yet find the need to edit constantly at my heels.

So nowadays, God's inspiration only goes so far. And I'm OK with that. But I have to get over this loathing of editing. I'm so thankful there are folks out there who are willing to help me in that process. They are patient, understand what I want to say, and know how to guide me to a good finished product. Pray for them.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Good Question?

Pilate asked, "What is truth?" Jesus gave no response. In most usual cases, such a response is warranted to such a retorical questions. In this case however, Pilate had no idea. Even had he posed the question as, "Who is truth?" he probably still would not have received an answer. At that point, if Pilate did not know any better, then he was doomed anyway.

Paul posed a similar exchange in Galatians 4:9, "But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?" He refers here to the law and the flesh. John amplifies this in 1 John 2:4, "He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him."

The world says, "It's not what you know but who you know." Beware lest Jesus one day say to you, "I know you not whence ye are: Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth...." (Luke 13:25-28)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Do You Have Ears to Hear?

A few weeks ago a good friend was going through a very difficult family crisis. Beyond tears, he needed to hear from God. But how could he be sure he had the ears to hear? My only suggestion to him was to worship. But was he ready?

Jesus tells us in John 4:23-24 that we are to worship God in spirit and in truth. Furthermore, God tells us in Psalm 24:4 that only those with a pure heart can approach God's throne. Only there can we hear God's voice, His commands, His calling, His personal words for us.

No sinner can go there. No Christian with sin in his/her life can go there. God will have no sin in His holy presence. This confused my friend. Perhaps you see things now like he did at that time. Hasn't the blood of Jesus cleansed us from all sin, saved us, and brought us forever into the presence of God?

From an eternal and positional perspective the answer is yes. However, during this mortal life on earth, we must still experientially deal with sin. Jesus' work is done. But our work, our responsibility, is to maintain a right standing, our fellowship, with Him. While we do not lose our salvation when we sin, we do lose our fellowship and right standing with God. How is this amended?

God tells us the way in I John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Then, transact with God according to Romans 6:11, "Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord." Finally, lock it in by putting on your armor according to Ephesians 6:10-20 finishing with this command, "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;"

Those effectual and fervent prayers will be heard and none other. Why? Because you are righteous both positionally and experientally.

Well this gave my friend great pause. He said he had to go home and study the Scriptures and pray on this. He did.

The next morning he came to me rejoicing. "For the first time in my twenty-five plus years of Christian life I HEARD God speak to me personally", he said. He now has ears to hear. Do you?

Don't wait for the crisis of sin to get you to this place that all Christians have before them since day one of their salvation. Know this truth and be free indeed!