Tuesday, October 27, 2015

A Christ of Your Own Shaping

In the beginning, God created man in his own image. Ever since, man has tried to reverse the process. People imagine what they wish God were, instead of accepting the self-description he has given in his word.

Consider these words from Samuel Rutherford,
“Ye may yourself ebb and flow, rise and fall, wax and wane; but your Lord is this day as he was yesterday; and it is your comfort that your salvation is not rolled upon wheels of your own making, neither have ye to do with a Christ of your own shaping.”

The gods people have made up are false gods, powerless gods, worthless gods. It is vain to worship something we have created -- whether with our hands or with our imaginations. But all too often that is exactly what we are doing.

What is the nature of God? What is his attitude toward sin? What does he demand of us? Under what circumstances will he accept us into his presence? Under what circumstances will he banish us from his presence? 

What we think in regard these questions must align with what he has said in his word, or we are worshipping a god of our own making rather than the true Father of Jesus Christ. One might as well fall down and worship a block of wood carved by his own hands as to worship a god of one’s own imagination.

If you cannot cite book, chapter, and verse for what you believe about God, there is a good chance that what you believe is nothing but the vain product of your own mind. We do not have to do with a Christ of our own shaping. We will not answer to the god of our imagination. Now is the time to leave our daydream gods and get to know the real one.  In eternity it will be too late.

Thus says the Lord of hosts: "Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord.  They say continually to those who despise the word of the Lord, 'It shall be well with you'; and to everyone who stubbornly follows his own heart, they say, 'No disaster shall come upon you.'" (Jeremiah 23:16-17, ESV)

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The One-Talent Christian

Occasionally I hear people defend their lack of involvement in the work by claiming that they do not have much to offer the Lord. “I cannot sing. I cannot teach. I cannot ....” So it goes.

It has always seemed to me that those who have very little money need to be extra careful to use what little they have as wisely as possible. Of course none of us should waste money, but Bill Gates can get away with it more than most of us. Those with limited resources must learn to use the little they have carefully.

Let’s apply that principle to our God-given talents as well as to our material resources.

If I am a one-talent man, it does not follow that I have no responsibility to use the talent that I have. If anything, logic would suggest that I need to use it more carefully. While the multitalented may be excused if they spend some of their time trying to figure out what they should do and where they should serve, this process would seem to be easier for the single-talented.

The sin of the one-talent man was not that he did not produce the same results as the ten-talent man. His sin was not that he did not have much. His sin was that he refused to use the little bit he had. The Lord counted that a very great sin (Mt 25:14-30).

I cannot paint. When I try I get more on the floor and on myself than on the wall. I cannot paint, but that is no excuse for refusing to clean.
No doubt every one of us can list hundreds of things we are incapable of doing. But that is no excuse for failing to do what we can do.

If any of us truly is a one-talent Christian, that should be a motivation to use our one talent as extensively as possible to honor our Lord.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Meant For The Valley

Mark 9:2 (ESV) And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them....
I must credit Oswald Chambers for the seed that led to this thought.

It is good to climb the mountain. The mountain top gives us a clearer view. The mountain top refreshes us with its invigorating air. But the mountain top is not our place of work. Our work is in the valleys. The mountain top moments should be savored. We should remember them and benefit from them, but we should not insist on clinging to them. We must come down from the mountain and engage in the work.

The valleys are the place of work. Our task is carried out in the ordinary moments of life. It is there, among the discouraged and distressed that our work lies. It is in the valley that the love of the Lord is most in need of proclamation. It is in the valley that the tender hand of his earthly body must make itself felt. It is in the valleys that the demons of this world must be confronted.

Worship should often lift us to the mountain tops. But to serve we must be willing to descend into the valleys. He descended from the mount of transfiguration to heal an oppressed child, and later to climb another hill, the hill of Calvary.

If we refuse to descend, if we insist on dwelling continually on the mountain, we are not following the leading of our Lord. I pray that we will be lifted to a mountain top frequently in worship. But I also pray that we will serve in the valley on a regular basis.