Saturday, April 29, 2006

United 93

Saw the movie tonight. Deeply impacting on many levels. We are at war. Like it or not, we have had war declared on us by radical Islam. We can't escape this reality. We can't turn up our stereo a little louder and drown it out. We can't drink ourselves into a stupor, or take some Sominex and crawl into bed, and hope that we will wake up in the morning and find it was all just a bad dream. These people hate us. They hate Israel. And they sincerely desire to see us wiped off the face of the earth. That is not going away. But we continue to play politics with the situation, and try to use it to further our short-sighted agendas. This is not an anti-Muslim rant. Those people believe they are totally justified in their hatred and destructive intentions. I believe they are grossly mistaken, but I don't hate them for it. But... I also don't think that we can just sit back passively and let them run rampant with their plans to cleanse the planet of the infidels. Truthfully, I don't see a realistic earthly answer. At least I don't see one that I can reconcile with my faith. I am painfully aware that I am not of this world. I don't fit. I am not supposed to. I think that this is part of what being "born again" is about. We have been awakened to a greater purpose. We have been spiritually transported into another kingdom. One foot on earth, one in heaven.


It just hit me. The scripture says, "Heaven is His throne, and earth is His footstool." It also says that we as believers are "seated in heavenly places with Christ." Now I obviously still live here in the material, earthly realm, but my heart longs for someplace better. So... reality is this, I have touched heaven, but my feet are on earth. Incredible. And painful. We see the earth as it is, but we have been shown what it shall be. We see the pain, and suffering, and brokeness of this present time. And we have been given a glimpse of the beauty and glory to come. We live as sojourners, "strangers and aliens" in the world. We are here for a purpose, but our heart is in another place. We yearn for a kingdom "where righteousness dwells." We look forward to that time when He wipes away every tear. Sometimes its genuinely painful. Paul talked about groanings that come from deep within. We earnestly long for that for which we were created.

Come Lord Jesus....

But on the warfare theme, I left the movie deeply convicted. The country we live in is in a war. Its a war that is probably much bigger and more significant than we realize. As disciples of Jesus though, we are to live in the awareness of an even bigger and more important war. There is a long drawn out war to the death going on between the kingdom of darkness and the Kingdom of God. We know that Jesus will ultimately win, but he calls us to join Him in the conflict. We were drafted into His army when we responded to the call to follow Him. Look at the words of Paul,

You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus… Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.

For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.

And Paul tells us to follow his example, even as he follows Jesus. We have been entrusted with the truth and power that will set people free from the power of sin and darkness. We need to live like we believe that.

Help Lord...

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Amazing love

Reading again in Jeremiah this morning, it hit me. Not a new revelation, not some original twist on an obscure passage, just a fresh realization. He loves us... He really loves us. Now... if you read the chapter I just read, you might come away with something a little different. He is taking Israel to task for their disobedience and unfaithfulness. He is expressing displeasure at their willful wickedness. He is not happy, lamenting their history of rebellion. The question is, why is He unhappy. He loves Israel. He loves you. He loves me. And He knows that our sin will ultimately destroy us. He looks across the world every moment of every day, and sees the devastation. War, poverty, disease, murder, crime of every kind... sin and its consequences. So He reaches out to us. He sent the prophets from Moses to Isaiah to Zechariah. Calling us back to Himself. Calling us to faith. If we would only trust Him, and obey Him out of the trust, He desired to bless us and pour out the riches of His love. But for the most part, we wouldn't. And we don't. We walk in our own way. We trust in our own wisdom. We cling to our sin, and love this present world. But He loves us with an everlasting love. He never stops reaching out to touch us in the depths of our being. The uncreated, infinite, eternal Creator and Sustainer of all that exists is constantly reaching out to tiny, weak, broken, rebellious little creatures who live in a greatly exaggerated delusion of their own inherent importance. The Infinite took on flesh and blood to show us just how much He loves. He was both making a way to restore us and winning our hearts in one magnificent act of sacrificial love. He didn't need us. He will forever be great and awesome beyond any human comprehension. But He loves us. He created us to walk in the experience of that love, and to share in the incredible plans of His heart. God loves me, and will go to almost any length to prove it to me, and to convince me to rest and trust in that love.

Words just can't express the awe in my heart...