Grand Larseny

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Bedtime Grace

I should be asleep now, but I need to record this. I mean, I will be waking up in seven hours and instead of being in bed I’m typing at my computer. What, seven hours doesn’t seem like a lot to you? Congratulations, dawg, you need less sleep than me. Get off your high horse. I mean, not sleeping much isn’t something to brag about anyway, so I don’t know why you even do it. You just make yourself look small.

Anyway. This wasn’t meant to be a funny post, but I like to make myself smile.

So I was just checking on Mae as is my wont before bed when it occurred to me, I love her so much I don’t want my sins to cause her any harm, so I started praying. I prayed that God would protect her from my sin, but the Spirit moved within me causing me to question whether that was a good thing to ask. How could God protect her from my sin? God does not remove the physical consequences of sin even though they are taken on by Jesus at the cross. The here-and-now consequences of anorexia cannot be avoided.

When I realized that He couldn’t protect her from the consequences of my sin I realized he would have to just totally keep me from sinning in a way that affects her. This is, of course, just another way of asking God to keep me from sinning at all. To keep me from sinning He would either have to take away my freedom to sin, which He does not do, or take away my life, which he does not want to do right now. So we’re left with the situation where I will cause my daughter harm in the future because of my sin. This makes me sad.

But, glory to God, He loves my daughter even more than I. The solution is not to remove my freedom or my life, but to add God’s redemption into our lives. We need God. It is His redemption that takes my sin and bring His own glory. He loves my daughter so much that He will intervene in her life, if she asks, so that my sin will work for her good.

So, I pray again that she will seek God. That he will love her and change her heart to love him. And although I will sin against God and her, I pray that God forgive my sin and show His grace in our relationship, a dirty, dim mirror of the way He wants His family to be.

Faith Outside Ourselves

Faith is nonexistent if you don’t act like you have it, but how do you act when your faith is in your own inaction?

The circles I travel in are tangentially related to theology, and this pleases me. I really do have a love for theology, and every time I get to talk about God with folk I end up feeling better. So, when the name of a book kept coming up again and again and again I thought, ok God, I’ll pick it up. The book is Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas. He also gave the speech at this year’s congressional prayer breakfast. Guy’s quickly becoming a big muckity-muck.

So I’ve made it through the introduction. Yeah, super speed-reader over here and just as quick to judge. One thing it’s brought to my mind, though, is the importance of the faith that saves us from our sin. The introduction lays out Christian responses to the gospel in a continuum ranging from cheap grace to costly grace to legalism. I’ll explain.

Cheap grace is the belief that God will always happily cover all our sins so there’s no need to change anything about how we live. In a sense, sin is free. Costly grace believes that Jesus paid a very heavy toll for our sins, so we owe it to him to live our lives worthy of him. Well, I’m not 100% sure that’s what costly grace is, but that’s how it is in my head right now. Then legalism is legalism. We earn our salvation by being right before God. This is stupid.

Costly grace as a concept confuses me. What does it mean that costly grace necessitates life change? How does costly grace work without having to perform the faith that saves us? And if we have to prove our faith how is there any hope for anyone?

Example: If I have faith in electricity and local government and my home maintenance I have no second thoughts about flipping on the light switch to turn the light on. If, however, I try to hit the lightbulb with a broom or consult with expert electricians how to make light appear or even worry each time before I turn the switch on I demonstrate that I do not, in fact, have faith in the light switch to do its function. Moving then to the faith that saves us from our sins, how can we demonstrate our faith when the very thing we have faith in is our own inaction (our total depravity deprives us of any opportunity for action) and instead in the Christ’s actions. How can that be acted?

I do hope the book will have its own answer, but since I’m coming at the book with my own agenda it probably won’t be answered. It’s really not fair to the book, but still I can’t help but be a bit frustrated.

Revelation 5:5

John is weeping.  I would usually call someone a pansy for that, but John was no pansy.  See, he was in prison and still being full-up manly about it.  Even writing to encourage others.  Crazy manly.

So John the not-pansy was weeping because no one could be found to open the scroll and its seven seals.  Oh, I should mention that he’s “in the spirit” (meaning as I understand it dreaming but really guided by the Holy Spirit to reveal a prophecy) and sees this scroll in God’s very hand that no one can be found to read.  Later on we find that this scroll contains all the judgments that are to come when God makes the world new, sometimes called the tribulation.  So, John is weeping because no one can open it.

Finally we come to my point.  I believe that maybe this scroll was so obviously not just a scroll, but that the entirety of human existence depended on that scroll being read.  If that scroll stayed sealed, then God’s judgment would be stopped up and the world would never know its Maker like it is designed to.  Why would we exist in that scenario.

Then Revalation 5:5.  Jesus, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Rood of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.  In the infinite scale, God’s purposes will not be thwarted.  Glory to God!

An easy question

In my opinion, the most awesome verse (as in Chuck-Norris-style awesome) in the Bible has to be Job 38:3. Let me just quote it real quick:

Now gird up your loins like a man,
And I will ask you, and you instruct Me!

Most people just don’t seem to get the truly awesomeness of this. I mean, this is like something that God would say if He were riding on a Harley made of a tornado and lightning. Pardon my french, but saying “gird your loins like a man, because I’m about to ask you something, wise-guy” right then is the most badassed thing I think anyone in the existence of the universe could say. Let’s just imagine that happening now to truly understand what’s going on here.
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August 2020
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