Friday, July 10, 2009

Prepare the Way for the Lord

Here are the lyrics to one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite groups:

"Prepare Ye the Way" by Caedmon's Call

The Word of the Lord came one evening
Concerning His bride's great sin
He'd send down His Word to renew her
To prepare for the Bridegroom again

The Word said repent
From seeking vain glories
While the gifts in the Lord's name you give
Repent of all the first stones cast to kill
While your own self-righteousness lives

Prepare ye the way for the Lord
Prepare ye the way for the Kingdom
Prepare ye the way
Prepare ye the way for the Lord

The Word said repent
And turn from your strivings
Repent and turn from your hatred
Repent from the doctrines of men that divide
And fear like the wedding gown ripped

Walk in His love like newborn children
Walk in His love, let the wedding gown mend
Walk in His love, with humility come with pure hearts
And cast all your cares to the wind

The Word of the Lord came one evening
Concerning His bride's great sin
He assured me we will be forgiven
And then let the marriage begin

I would define the word "repent" as follows: to set one's mind to change.

Matthew 3:1-3 says, "In those days [at the time when Jesus was entering the world scene] came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet [Isaiah], saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight."

If we want God to move in a place, we must first prepare the way for Him to do so, and the Bible says that the way we prepare the way for God is through repentance! We must repent of our sins and of our disobedience; we must repent for doing things our own way instead of His. We must set our mind to change, to be conformed to His will and His vision.

Furthermore, John the Baptist preached, "Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance" (Matthew 3:8). Don't just set your mind; act on it! Begin to do things God's way. Begin to move toward whatever it is that God has revealed to be His will, His direction. When we do so, He will be inclined to MOVE, because the way will be prepared for Him!

I want God to move. I HAVE to have Him do something through my life that will bring Him glory - it is the only reason I live!

God, I repent! I choose to change - I choose to pursue Your pathway passionately! Help me to do it!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Some Deep, Theological Thoughts on the Trinity...

While the rest of the U.S. is asleep, I am thinking about the Holy Trinity. So, I decided to blog about my thoughts.

It is my nature to try to understand things. While I know I will never fully comprehend God, it does not stop me from trying!

So first, I was contemplating the Trinity in this way (keep in mind there are flaws to this thinking, which I will explain afterward):

Because we as Christians claim that our Trinitarian God is One (and we are monotheistic)...we begin all our thoughts on the Godhead with the person of the Father - the God who first revealed Himself to the Jews and their patriarchs. We know that this God revealed Himself more personally to the world through the man, Jesus Christ. In fact, we believe that Jesus was (and is) God, incarnate (in human flesh). Hebrews tells us that He (Jesus), having lived a human life, among humans, within the constraints of human time and the natural laws of physicality, can identify with the human situation in all of its details.

So I was thinking about the Person of Jesus, the Son, as a "measure" of God (that He took from Himself without detracting from Himself, as a representative measure of the whole of Himself), that He made to become human; then, after this measure of the immortal Person who is Life willingly lived a mortal life and then laid it down and experienced human death, (He) returned to the "rest" of God and the experience became incorporated into who the one God (whom we call the Father) is.

I was thinking about the Person of the Holy Spirit as the life-force - the personality, the will, the character, the power - of God. He gives us of this Holy Spirit, so that we then become "infused", if you will, with His character, power, etc. In this way, the Holy Spirit could be imagined as, not a separate "God", but as the substance of the One God.

In this way, the Scripture at Jesus' baptism (where the Holy Spirit descends on Jesus in the form of a dove, and the voice of God is heard to declare, "This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased") could be understood as God telling us that His human...subidentity? our perfect example for living in obedience to Him, the image of a son being what He wants for all His creation - to receive of His Spirit (the Spirit of adoption - Romans 8) and live in familiar relationship with Him.

It could explain other Scripture references to the Three Persons as well, without harming them...but it could NOT explain the Scripture in Genesis where God says, "Let US make man in OUR image."

So then, all my deep theological thoughts were shattered and I was back to square one.

I could have lived with the idea that the contemporary emphasis on divine community was wrong - after all, it could be just a nice, fuzzy-feeling "charismatic" hype.... But alas, it holds its own before my critical scrutiny. The divine Trinity does indeed seem to live in perfect community and actual relationship with each other. And this being so, though there are three Persons to this Godhead worshiped by Christians, these Persons are so united in purpose, in will, in love, in...everything...that They cannot but be described as "One".

And so, the idea is that, in order to reflect the God in whose image we are made, we as humans are to live in such oneness with each other.

But because of sin, this is impossible.

So, what are we left with? Is there no hope for godly community amongst us?

I believe there is hope. But the hope is not in us being "one" with each other. It is in us being "one" with God. When I become one in will, purpose, love, etc., with God...and so do you...then we will live in community with each other that reflects God rightly.

I guess my whole point is, rather than try to right everything that is wrong with everyone else, we as Christians need to focus on our own individual relationships with God. When they are perfect, then our relationships with each other are more likely to veer more near to perfection.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Nothing Shall Separate Us From the Love of God in Christ

Psalm 68:6 says that "God setteth the solitary in families...."

Just a few brief thoughts on that...

It has been a joy and a comfort to experience this promise in my own life. When I lived in Ohio, I moved in with my pastors when I was 18, two years after my brother had committed suicide - I was a depressed, grieving, lonely teenager who needed love from people who were not dealing with the same intense loss I was dealing with (i.e., my family). God gave me that in these pastors and their children. I had only known them for a brief time; I don't even remember exactly how the transition was made; I just know that that living situation was an influential shaping experience in my life. God set the solitary in a family.

Then I moved to Missouri where I knew no one; and again, I have experienced people who owe me nothing, taking me in and making me part of them. I spend holidays with these people, I keep their children overnight, I vacation with them - I live life with them. And also again, these people are my Christian brothers and sisters.

I just found out through Facebook that a couple I knew in Ohio (who are pastors at another church) just recently decided mutually with a young man and his family to accept him in a covenant relationship as their son. They agreed that "nobody can back out- we are family now- not by law or blood but by love- just like our blood families and just like our friendships." I RESPECT AND APPRECIATE THAT SO MUCH!! Because I have experienced the wonderful restoration, healing and growth such a relationship can bring.

I am simply amazed at the love of God, and at how His love flows and functions through His people, so that we really, truly become FAMILY. I believe Jesus' blood makes for stronger ties between people than the blood that actually flows through our very veins. What an inheritance! What a great gift that we have received the "Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father" (Romans 8:15). Indeed, we are loved!