Moral Shepherds, Immoral Kings


 

 

 

 – Why we should be exposing and reading to our children fairy tales and stories. God is only truly believable through the imagination. And so then are his statutes only obtainable through parable, story, and fable.

 

 
 I had a thought while reading the section about Beauty and the Beast: most children these days are only exposed to children’s TV programming. While we all have known this is not healthy for children – my eyes were opened to “why” we are seeing such moral depravity in younger generations: they were not exposed at early ages to moral imaginative stories. They are always silly, or community-citizen driven animation, but not moral and virtuous stories of old.

If children are only exposed to what is silly – not only are they deprived of learning a correct definition of humor – which is not bodily functions or back-side bearing – but also they are missing the formation and inspiration of virtue, character, and morality. I wish I had read more to my children when they were younger than I did! I am glad we stopped TV, especially children’s shows years ago. But I have not taken special care to ensure the reading of fairy tales. Redeem the time, Lord Jesus!!

 
 
Another thought: When the prophet Nathan had to confront David about his manifest transgression against the house of Uriah and against God, he used a story. He had to capture the heart of the shepherd in order to rouse the conscience of the king. When we try to “teach” ethics and morality we only rouse the conscience of the king – and he is a KING!
 
Don’t we each feel some sense of dignity that needs defending when people are about to accuse us of doing unjustly? – even if we are just surmising what may happen in the future and what we need to do should we be faced with the temptation to do unjustly – well, we are KINGS! We don’t do injustices!
 
 – ah, but we do. All the time, and we justify our injustices. So, our hearts must be got at another way. Is there something or someone ELSE we care for deeply, that we would never want to see hurt – an animal, a child, a lady in distress? Well we would never want to be the cause of pain or penalty for that fair one. And so the moral is embedded in the heart more assuredly than if we tried to forcibly erect it in the conscience. Perhaps the heart is more of a garden than the conscience. And so it is that by time and tending and cultivating this moral imagination, a great plant produces fruit in the conscience that is ready during a time of crisis to be consumed.

Resolving to be Good


New Year's Resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions

It’s 2014! It’s a new year! That means resolutions right?

Well, I’ve already broken mine. Isn’t that pitiful? It’s only 14 hours into the new year and my resolve of yesterday is already thwarted.

What the heck?

Don’t tell me you have made it through an entire month sticking to your resolution – what about a whole year? Did you change your life because of a New Year’s Resolution?

Not me. I always have good, some even GREAT, intentions. But not enough resolve to back them up.

Makes me sick.

Makes me sad.

A couple of times, even hopeless.

So I quit making resolutions and decided to live a mediocre life. I was definitely happier not failing at living up to my potential dreams! But I knew there was always something missing. I knew I needed changes in my life.

 

What’s this all got to do with a resolution to be good? I just thought about how people, who for the most part cannot even keep a New Year’s Resolution to loose ten pounds, think they can ‘be good’ and they don’t need salvation, or religion: just resolve.

I guess I’m weak.

I guess I’m deceived.

I guess I’m underachieved.

Because I can’t do it. I can’t just resolve to “be good” – mind you, not “better than” – as most of us truly mean i.e., I’m a good person – I mean, I haven’t murdered anyone. Oh, you mean you are better than a murderer. But are you better than God – because his standard is not other human beings, who are all flawed. To live in our house and be in our family – you have to become a Floyd. To live in Heaven you have to become a child of God – and you can’t do that with your “resolve” to be good.

Thank GOD he doesn’t have a standard of “good enough”. His standard is perfection – and this is why you quit; you quit trying to go to church, to be good enough, and you think you are happy in your mediocre life. But then something happens to remind you, you aren’t quite happy, you are just settled to the fact you are flawed, most of the time. But all of the time Jesus is available as our first-born brother – because of him we can be adopted into the Family of God.

Family of God. I know they are a mess. God’s not finished with them yet. He’s finished with “his” work – Jesus as our entry – but “our” work has just begun. Not our work of getting in to the family, but now working as a family member with our family. Don’t you have a crazy earthly family? Why wouldn’t you expect the family of God, made of these earthly people, to be crazy too while we’re still here in the flesh, on earth. Don’t you want forgiveness? How about you give some? How about your resolve to be forgiving, full of the grace you so greatly need and desire. Can’t do it? Not enough resolve? That’s why you need God not a goal.

My resolution for this year is just change. I want to be more like Jesus. I am so blessed: God wants this too. So that means I’m just working on what he’s already got going. And you know how much easier it is to work on something when someone is already on it.

So, still resolved to be good – enough? Any thoughts on making resolutions and not keeping them?

Is Santa a Better Jesus?


Image

You better not pout. You better not cry. You better not shout. I’m telling you why…

You’ll go to hell if you do.

He see’s you when you’re sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. He knows if you’ve been bad or good – so be good for goodness’ sake.

Then you’ll get to go to heaven.

Who are these verses talking about? Who keeps a list of who’s naughty or nice? Who threatens, “No special gift for you if you don’t behave!”?

It’s not Jesus!

I just find it fascinating that we are so highly offended with the idea of a righteous God punishing sin, but we love to wield over our children this mythological being who has attributes of God – knows all, sees all, can be all over the world in one night, answers all prayers – he will not give you presents if you behave badly! But we don’t like the real God who sent his real son to die for our “naughtiness” so we could be on His List: The Lamb’s Book of Life (1). And we don’t have to be “good for goodness’ sake” – that’s what Jesus did for us!

It makes me think of a cosmic White Elephant Party: You can’t afford to bring the gift to take part – So Jesus paid the price, and then you get to take the gifts of salvation, life, and sonship home with you! You enter the party a stranger, you go home part of the family of God.

What exactly is it Santa gives children? A sense of a need to be good – a false sense. Parents don’t actually withhold a present – no matter how bad their kid is. So in essence, you’ve made them feel there isn’t really a standard of right and wrong – and there is no real consequence for delinquency, in fact, just the opposite: You are entitled to presents! You are entitled to heaven, and life, and happiness! “Good” is something subjective anyway – as long as you aren’t Charles Manson you are a good person, right?

Except, God didn’t use Charles Manson as our standard. He didn’t make up a fat man in a red suit either to be our judge. God says: Be perfect as your Father in Heaven is perfect. and Jesus came down to live in the flesh so he could die our deaths for all eternity just so we could mete that standard.

I just wonder if our Santa standard contributes to our culture’s disillusionment with God – how dare God call me a sinner and my actions sin. How dare he bring consequences into my life to try to turn me around from my wicked ways. There is no God. I stopped believing in “Santa” long ago.

Santa is just a fun way to make memories. What memories are we making? Are we imparting ideas about the nature of the supernatural – that it’s not real. it’s only pretend. We don’t really have an obligation outside of ourselves to a moral existence. “We’ll get presents either way. We all go to heaven. Because we’re all basically good. That’s why mommy and daddy gave me presents and pretended to be Santa: they love me. And if we all just love each other, we’ll go to heaven.

Except mommy and daddy lied. They deceived you. They made you believe in something that wasn’t real – be it an Elf or Santa. And now, they may be internally messing with your belief in a real God. A supernatural God. A holy God who requires holiness.

Where is the “holy” in our holy day – you know, holiday? Where is THAT gift to our children? Where is THAT gift to God?

There is only one purpose for Christmas: Christ’s mass

There is only one present that is omniporant – Christ.

There is only one person who brings peace: Jesus Christ

Luke 2:13-14

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Who Likes Being a Failure, Raise Your Hand!


Well, you can’t see it, but my hand is not raised. I’m sure yours isn’t either. Yes, there are those of us who have resigned ourselves to failure in certain areas, or concerning things in the past. But nobody enjoys failing. Nobody likes being a failure.

What happens when your spouse leaves, or your child grows up to not be all you wanted them to be? What happens when your life at this moment is utterly removed from all you had hoped and dreams so many years ago?

failure.

Right?

Definitions are such an important part, or should be, of how we perceive a situation. Is the opposite of success failure? Isn’t that what we just said? Wasn’t what we really meant: My marriage was unsuccessful; I was an unsuccessful parent; my life is unsuccessful. I failed. I failed. I failed.

Right?

What if…

What if, God has a different definition of failureSuccess?

What if God said to you like he said to me: I didn’t call you to be successful; I called you to be faithful.

Oh.

Oh wait just a minute. Because I know I wasn’t perfect as a spouse, or a parent, or in my life, but I do know I was faithful. I never stopped coming back to you, Lord in my marriage; I never stopped looking to you for my child, Lord; I never stopped trusting you with my life, Lord. I’m hurt, I’m disappointed, I’m disheartened, but I’m not unfaithful. And neither are You.

Success belongs to God. It seems like semantics, but like a tiny seed, a word will plant and grow into thoughts, which branch into ideas, which give fruit to beliefs. What do you believe about your part in any success or failure related to your life?

Scripture tells us about one planting one watering; but God gives the increase (the harvest, the success). 1 Cor 3:6

Verse 7: So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.

God isn’t looking for your works: your success! Just your faithfulness.

Even where you fall short in believing or having faith, Jesus is the author and the perfecter of such things. that means he begins our faith and he completes what we lack! Isn’t that awesome? I fail to always believe my situation is going to get better, or change but God is fully faithful, and Jesus makes up for my lack. Heb 12:2.

Put off the “old man” with his idea of  failure! Put on the new man, who only by faith and only by faithfulness should judge his “success”.

This post is part of a blog carnival you can enjoy at: http://peterpollock.com/2013/01/failures-blog-carnival/

Christ’s Name in Vain


What do you think about taking the name of the Lord in vain? What constitutes such an action or verbal sin?

What about “Merry Chistmas”?

 

When we say Merry Christmas, what are we saying? Are we merry? Are we celbrating Christ’s Mass?

 

Or, as vehemently as we are fighting to keep the word, Christ in Christmas, are we just as vehemently keeping Him in it?

What are we doing?

What are we doing at Christmas to honor the namesake?

Decorating?

Purchasing?

Pursuing deals?

Overspending?

Overeating?

Stressing?

Worrying?

Spoiling children?

INVOLKING THE NAME, SANTA???

Where is Christ in Christmas?

 

Because if we are supposedly celebrating his birthday, How are we making His birthday about HIM? What gifts are we bringing him that HE would desire and enjoy?

Mercy

ForGIVEness

Grace

Sacrifice

Giving in the nature of need not want

Love

 

Is Christ in your Chistmas?

 

If not, then just go on ahead and say, Happy Holiday, because that’s all it will really be about: happy, sappy day off for you.

Not Merry, or Joyful, or Hopeful

Not a celebration of the ONLY reason there is a season of giving and mirth: the birth of our Savior: Christ the King

Who showed us mercy by forgiving us our sins while we were still sinners.

Who bestowed grace upon us by sacrficing himself for our fallenness.

Who didn’t offer us useless gifts that money can buy and time can break.

But met us in our need by his love.

 

I pray you have a Christ-filled Chistmas this year.

 

But otherwise, Happy Holiday.

Love Came Down


“My words fly up, my thoughts remain below.

Words without thoughts to Heaven never go.”

 – Hamlet (III, iii, 100-103)

Jesus came “down” so that both our thoughts and our prayers could freely go up to Heaven.

Why do our thoughts remain below? Isn’t it because we worry. We worry our prayers won’t be answered. But Jesus came down to BE our answer.

Why should I worry? Why should I fear?

Trusting that God came down – not just physically but in every way Jesus lowered himself, and for what? To raise us up with him, to be seated in heavenly places – where? Up.

Love came down so we could go up.

“Come up here.”

Revelation 4:1

This post is part of a wonderful blog carnival hosted by Peter Pollock

My Goodness!


“The Bible tells us that Jesus, “who knew no
sin,” was made to be sin so that in Him alone “we might become the
righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21). A double transfer — the crediting of our
sin to Christ on the cross and the crediting of His righteousness to our
account — gives us peace with God. But if our righteous status requires more
than our trust in Jesus, we remain enemies of our Creator. Our “righteous
deeds” are but filthy rags and cannot atone for evil (Isa. 64:6). If we ask God
to base His declaration of righteousness even partly on our works, we, in
effect, ask Him to condemn us.” R.C. Sproul, Ligonier Ministries email, October
20, 2011

I meditated recently upon the filth of the “filthy rags”. If you don’t already know, it is menses – as in menstruation – as in a woman’s monthly cycle. Yes, those filthy rags. How do you like knowing God compares anything you count as a “good” work to those filthy rags?

I meditated upon these gruesome images recently because I had to visit my gynecologist to have a procedure done in which he had to scrape some cells from the line of my uterus. We had an interesting talk about what that lining is. I thought the lining was the actual blood that flows once a month; that it was building up, building up for the implantation of a zygote (i.e. human baby developing), and when that implantation didn’t occur then this lining of blood would shed. NO, my friend! That is NOT what it is. Did you know this?

That lining is its own thing. Endometrium. What is expelled every month is this lining of cells and tissue which pulls or is pushed and squeezed out of the uterus and this causes some bleeding. What you see is blood-tinged endometrium not “blood”. It is tissue no longer viable for sustaining the creation of life. And you want to call that dead stuff your good work!

God isn’t like man; he doesn’t flippantly choose words. When he makes a metaphor or an analogy he means it!

Life is about Life. And what we have to offer is not life; it’s dead sloughed off menses. We can’t go to God and say, “Here. Here is my offering of goodness (Remember God is “good” and he is Life. He’s going to judge your good by his Good, and that being Good that gives Life.)

I just wanted you to have a clearer picture of not just what your good work is, but why it isn’t good.

Because it can’t produce or support Life. And LIFE is the business God is in.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus.”
Romans 6:23

Now THAT is good news.