Sunday, November 29, 2009

God's Calls

There are two kinds of calls from God. One is like that of the father to the son in Luke 15. When we sin and stray from God, He is always desirous of our return to Him, always calling for us to repent and accept His mercy. "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy." (Proverbs 28:13)

The other calling is that which is unique to every Christian. What does God want of me in this life? Some are called as pastors, some evangelists, some prophets (see Romans 12, I Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4). My calling is written on the staff of this blog. Not only is this calling unique, but it can also change from time to time. That is entirely up to God and our sensitivity to His Spirit's voice.

At this point in life, my calling remains the same and was recently reinforced as I read the book of Jeremiah. In particular, this verse stood out:

"Therefore thus saith the LORD, If thou return, then will I bring thee again, and thou shalt stand before me: and if thou take forth the precious from the vile, thou shalt be as my mouth: let them return unto thee; but return not thou unto them." (Jeremiah 15:19)

It is a calling and a warning. I find the latter elsewhere in God's Word, "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever." (I John 2:15-17)

Awake unto righteousness and sin not. Will Jesus find us this way at the moment of His return?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Worship Where???

The discovery period of worship continues. Scripture answers the question of how to worship (either on your knees bowed down or prostrate in spirit and in truth and in the beauty of holiness). Scripture does not answer the question of when or where to worship. God answers that personally I believe.

He calls out to us in our "One" relationship, "Worship me." When? Where? Whenever and Where-ever He pleases. The last time I was sitting in a sauna. Before that I was in a gym. Did I look weird on my knees there? I don't know and I didn't care. I confess the thought crossed my mind. But it did not matter. God wanted worship. I poured it out right there instantly in obedience.

When God commands you, do you instantly obey despite what circumstances, education, culture, peers, or anything else dictates?

Here's what Oswald Chambers has to say about it in his November 11 entry for My Utmost for His Highest, "THE SUPREME CLIMB

"Take now thy son ." Genesis 22:2

God's command is - Take now, not presently. It is extraordinary how we debate! We know a thing is right, but we try to find excuses for not doing it at once. To climb to the height God shows can never be done presently, it must be done now. The sacrifice is gone through in will before it is performed actually.

"And Abraham rose up early in the morning and went unto the place of which God had told him" (v. 3). The wonderful simplicity of Abraham! When God spoke, he did not confer with flesh and blood. Beware when you want to confer with flesh and blood, i.e., your own sympathies, your own insight, anything that is not based on your personal relationship to God. These are the things that compete with and hinder obedience to God.

Abraham did not choose the sacrifice. Always guard against self-chosen service for God; self-sacrifice may be a disease. If God has made your cup sweet, drink it with grace; if He has made it bitter, drink it in communion with Him. If the providential order of God for you is a hard time of difficulty, go through with it, but never choose the scene of your martyrdom. God chose the crucible for Abraham, and Abraham made no demur; he went steadily through. If you are not living in touch with Him, it is easy to pass a crude verdict on God. You must go through the crucible before you have any right to pronounce a verdict, because in the crucible you learn to know God better. God is working for His highest ends until His purpose and man's purpose become one."

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Don't Take This Lying Down

A good friend asked me a question about this series on prostrate worship. He wanted to know what all that pride looks like today. How do we exhibit that pride? Here's my answer. (I have actually written about this before in this blog but rather than hunt for it, I'll write it anew in this latter context.)

God says in I John 2:16, "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world." The short answer to the question is in this verse "the pride of life." What is that?

Thayer's Lexicon defines pride here as " insolent and empty assurance, which trusts in its own power and resources and shamefully despises and violates divine laws and human rights; or, an impious and empty presumption which trusts in the stability of earthly things."

The Greek word for life here is "bios" (remember biology = the study of life). This life is further amplified by Thayer as "the period or course of life; or that by which life is sustained, resources, wealth.

There is nothing new under the sun here and this is the sin we all deal with as it was from the beginning. Look at Genesis 3:6 for the parallel, "And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat."

She saw that the tree was good for food (lust of the flesh), pleasant to the eyes (lust of the eyes), and desired to make one wise (pride of life). If Eve had a mirror, she would have seen her golden calf in front of her. She would have seen her parallel Amon-Re and Yahweh/Jehovah God.

Looking in our own mirrors, that is what we see when we see ourselves. God says in Genesis 3:22, "And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:" Having eaten the fruit in Adam, we have now become like God ("the man is become as one of us"). We are now the visible godlike manifestation of our God. We are, if you will, the Amon-Re. Before the curse, this was not the case, even though God said in Genesis 1:26, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness...." Because Adam and Eve did not have their eyes opened and their spirits put to death, they did not know they were naked; they did not know all the power that was stored in the knowledge of good and evil; they did not know about life and death, life-giving, the power of desire.

Wtih our sexual prowess, man believes he has the power of life. This is celebrated around the world in every culture in various ways from the perversions of pornography to the foolishness of fertility rites in many religions. The symbology is everywhere.

This is why I have written before that every sin goes back to this one in Eden. Pride. Pride in oneself as god who needs no other God/god in order to live. And that is why I think God gave His commandments in the order that He did:

(Exodus 20:2-6) "I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments."

First commandment - I AM the LORD thy God
Second commandment - Thou shalt have no other gods before me...

The idolaters on the hillsides, beneath the trees, and in the temples were simply performing sexual acts in worship of themselves, celebrating their pride of life. God said destroy all the idols to take away the visible pictures of this wickedness.

Yet one idol still stands - ourselves. What are we to do therefore?

Colossians 3:5 - Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:

Romans 8:13 - For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

I have written many times recently on what we must do from here henceforth. Only Jesus saves us from our sins.