Thursday, October 25, 2012

Greater Treasures than Gold

A few comments on what I've read recently in Romans.
 Romans 8:28-29
 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.  For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son...
Such great rest, comfort, and peace we can find in this promise from God.  Paul starts with the words, "And we KNOW".  We don't have to hope or guess that God is maybe, somehow, in some way, trying to make our circumstances work out for us.  It's an affirmative. It's an absolute.

But what is the "good" mentioned here?  Is it healing of a sickness?  Or maybe solving a financial shortcoming?  or could it be, resolving an estranged relationship?  It may be any of those things, since we know He's a generous giver of good gifts.  He is extremely gracious to the most undeserving among us.  Yet, the ultimate "good" that we can be given is the gift of transformation into His image.  All other pleasures and comforts are fleeting.

One thing found in this verse from Paul is a hope for believers who are in despair.  He is saying, "God is at work in you.  Don't be deceived.  Though burdens are heavy, and circumstances difficult, He is sovereign, and you are His.  He has known you from the beginning and is, at all times, using all these things to make you more like His Son.  He has not forgotten, nor will forsake you."  Hallelujah!

So let us not believe the lies.  Let our hope stay fixed on the Lord and the treasure of His Salvation and His promises.  Let our contentment be in Him who is at work in us, and rejoice in His promise.  Our hope should be that tomorrow we will be more like Him than in days past.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

From the town of Mansoul

When people hear the name John Bunyan, they either think of Pilgrim's Progress, or Paul Bunyan.  Paul and John were not related, though many would consider John to be a giant as well.  John Bunyan was a Preacher and writer who lived from 1628-1688.  His more popular novel, Pilgrim's Progress, was written while in prison for "illegal" preaching during a time of great persecution in England against the "nonconformists", who opposed the Church of England.

"The Holy War" is an allegorical story similar to Pilgrim's Progress, except it tells of Mankind's fall and redemption through the story line of a city by the name of Mansoul, created by King Shaddai.

I've started reading this story and will be sharing it with you here, but not in a conventional way.  Updates from the city will be delivered from a man by the name of Message-Bearer.

Below is the first letter from the city:

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

My Reading List (Oct-12)

I just thought I'd share a quick post on my current reading list.  I typically have a few things that I'm "in the middle of", like a main book for substance, a light book for enjoyment, and a book of the bible.  So here's each of those and the reasons for reading them.  I have a copy of all these on my Kindle.

  1. (Main Book) The Holy War by John Bunyan - It was free.  More importantly, I really enjoyed his earlier book, Pilgrim's Progress.  His writing style is difficult to read at times, and the language was obviously a little different in his time.  But once you get used to the flow, it is quite poetic.  He uses great imagery.  He had great insight into human nature and biblical truths that he converted to allegorical characters and situations.  In doing that it actually helps the reader to understand those truths better.  I'll start my posts on this book soon. It should be interesting.
  2. (Light Book) Twice Told Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne - Since I've had my Kindle, I like to search out free, old public domain books.  I'm weird in that way.  I have an interest in history, and how people lived in years past.  I also, recently, developed an interest in how the general public viewed Christians and Christianity throughout history.  Those reasons, combined, led me to start this book by Nathaniel Hawthorne.  He is obviously not a Christian, and writes with a fixation on 18th century America, though he lived during the early 19th century.  The book is a collection of short stories.  Many of the stories revolve around church or churchgoing people.  Some view Christians in a negative light, but some are neutral.
  3. (Bible) Romans - Started reading and discussing through this with a couple friends from church, Gary and Chanse.  It's a New Testament book that I'm particularly fond of.  There's plenty of theology to be learned in it.  Paul lays out the essence of the new movement to the believers in Rome, in an effort to establish them in the faith.  In it he answers questions like, "What was the point of the Jewish Law, if it doesn't save us?", "How do I deal with sin, if there is no more Law?", "Did God give up on Israel because of their unfaithfulness?", and many more.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

What Wondrous Love is This

The love of our Savior for us is so great.  We can not, throughout all of eternity, fully understand this love He has for us.  We are His creation, yet we are rebellious, sinful, and altogether unattractive to a holy God.  Yet He bore all of that to redeem us, to reconcile us back to Himself, to adopt us as His children, and co-heirs with Christ.  Jesus suffered greater anguish than we can imagine, yet for the joy set before Him, He endured all the pain and ridicule.  We can never repay Him for that single act, but He doesn't require any payment.  He calls to all who are thirsty and have no money, to come, drink, and eat, without money and without cost.  What a glorious joy it is when we come to Him and rest in that grace His has given us.

This Hymn, "What Wondrous Love is This", conveys this same thought.  It's thought to have been written by Alexander Means in 1835 Appalachia.  The video is one I found on YouTube.  This is the first  time I've heard of Chelsea Moon, myself.

That said, here's the video with lyrics posted below.  As you listen and follow the lyrics, set your mind of the work of Jesus Christ on the cross, and let your soul worship.  It's not just for Sundays!

What Wondrous Love is this

What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul.

When I was sinking down, sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down beneath God’s righteous frown,
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul, for my soul,
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul.

To God and to the Lamb, I will sing, I will sing;
To God and to the Lamb, I will sing.
To God and to the Lamb Who is the great “I Am”;
While millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing;
While millions join the theme, I will sing.

And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on.
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing and joyful be;
And through eternity, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;
And through eternity, I’ll sing on.

Friday, October 5, 2012

What is our Escape Velocity?

Recently, I was thinking on the idea of we, as Christians, being in the world and influenced by it.  Thinking about how the world is so enticing, and to different degrees, all Christians are entangled in its snares.  Even Paul said, "Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect..." (Phil 3:12).  But we can and should be working towards becoming free of those entanglements with the world.

As I was thinking on this, I remembered something I hadn't thought about since my college Physics class.  Escape Velocity.  That's it.  It's kind of like Escape Velocity.  Yeah, I'm a nerd.  What is Escape Velocity?  Here's the Wikipedia article for a proper explanation, or you can take my word for it.  It's the velocity required for an object to overcome the gravitational pull of a planet and make it to outer space.  It tells you the energy required to "break free" from what you're leaving behind.

That kind of sounds like what we need to know, right?  What do I need to do to "escape" these entanglements with the world that attempt to enslave us, and as a result, torment us greatly.  There is not one person who can't relate with this struggle.