Free ticket to heaven

perishableHow absurd it all is I used to think. I used to believe that the Christian faith was the pinnacle of insanity and self-delusion. “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God,” says Paul (1 Cor 18). And there it is: I was perishing.

So what did I believe in then? Maybe it was the – “as-long-as-I’m-not-hurting-anyone-then-I’m-OK” – philosophy. What a great distance there was between where I was then and where I am now. Back then I was incredibly selfish, arrogant and vain. But nobody – or not so many – recognized it. “He’s a good guy,” they used to say.

So I subscribed to the “good guy” gospel. As long as I was  good  everything would be fine. It was a step in the right direction as before this it was all about trying to satisfy insatiable desires of the eyes, flesh and ego. Still, this “good guy” was a long way from the truth.

I look at the incredible distance between belief and unbelief. Can it be that the two are so far apart? Belief in Jesus basically comes in two flavors. One is that Jesus was a good guy, he helped the less fortunate and we should embrace his example. This is all true.

Then we have the second type of belief — that Jesus is a Savior. That he saves souls.

In my darker days, the idea of a Savior was abhorrent to me because this meant recognizing my sin. Back then I loved my selfishness, arrogance and vanity. I weaved an intricate web to hide from God. I went to great lengths to deny that not only was I headed to hell, but that I was already there. Not hurting anyone? I was inflicting mortal wounds upon myself. When I finally heard the Lord knocking my heart was bleeding profusely.

“Do you want to be made well?” He asked me.

And I answered, “Yes. Yes Lord, make me well.”

So Jesus Christ reached down and pulled me out of the pit and set me on my feet. Looking back, I see how different things were back then. What a great distance – or not?

Even now, I am not the “good guy” that I think I am or want to be. I am not so far from the wretched man of my past. Nastiness still can rear its ugly head in my life, but the difference is now I hate the wrong in my life. In the past I embraced it. I have been made clean and whole but not by any great effort of mine to be a “good guy”.

Instead, I have a free ticket to heaven. Why? Because, like the sinful woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears, I know I have been forgiven of very, very much. And because of this I can love very much.

The distance between the sinner and the saint is not great. The greatness lies in recognizing the love Jesus pours out for you.

Luke 7:38

Image source: Attribution Some rights reserved by diongillard (I cropped the image and added the text.)

Afraid?

One of the wisest persons I know is 7 years old. He’s the one that told my wife one day…

“Mice are afraid of cats. Cats are afraid of dogs. Dogs are afraid of their owners. And the owners are afraid of monsters.”

“And who are the monsters afraid of?” my wife asked.

“The LIGHT!”

Never be afraid…

light of the world

Image source: flickr Darren Johnson… I cropped the picture and added the text.

The Secret Prayer

It’s a prayer you have been praying for a long time. Probably years. Nobody knows about it except you. And Him. He knows your prayer. He hears it. And He waits. So you wait too. And the prayer grows in love for the one you pray for. And your heart softens for the one you pray for. You keep praying this secret prayer despite the darkness, frustration, and pain you feel. And your heart softens even more. Then one day, unexpectedly, the prayer is answered. And you keep the secret in your heart. Gladly. Joyfully. Nobody will ever know about that prayer. Except you. And Him. And all glory and honor go up to heaven.

3985490626_3865044723_o

 

image source: Leland Francisco 

Survival Of The Fittest

If God does not exist then what is the ultimate law? It must be survival of the fittest. The fittest, according to Darwin, are those that are best able to survive, reproduce and pass on their genes. And this makes a lot of sense.

If we are stronger, smarter and more useful humans then we should live longer. Even things like kindness and generosity can be considered survival advantages for the species as a whole. Still, if we take this theory to its limits, we encounter problems.

What if a person gave their life to save a busload of murderers, thieves and vile persons who were certain to pass on their vile genes to their children? What if that person, who sacrificed their life, was genetically perfect but had no children? According to Darwin, for the sake of the species, it would be better to let the bus burn. This is the logic of a universe without God.

But the heavenly Father showed us a higher way, a celestial law.

His law flies in the face of a godless universe. For it is the law of love.

Love means: give up your life – even for the wretched and the vile.

The Darwinian, or atheist, model fails for another reason: it invites control through power. Survival of the fittest allows for all kinds of atrocities. Here, the strong decide, survive and rule. We, as a species, have seen this and continue to see this.

One might point to the abuses of Christianity as a counter-argument, but these abuses deviated from the true Gospel message. On the other hand, oppression and control are in harmony with the Darwinian gospel.

How many times do we want to help the jerk, the rude and the abusive? How often do we feel mercy for those that irritate, frustrate or generate hate inside of us? It might be a particular person or group, or it might be a political party or politician.

Do we feel in the pit of our stomach that they would be better off dead? What do you feel?

Personally, I can never overcome this on my own. It requires a supernatural intervention. It obligates God to show me that he and his Spirit exist in my life. Otherwise, I would be killing people in my mind all the time – or at least choking on a deep desire to change attitudes through god-like control instead of love.

And much of the change in me occurs only on my knees in prayer.

In the end, Christ did not come down from the cross. He did not wield his mighty power and authority over all things. Instead of control, he showed us a much greater power that shouts his existence throughout the cosmos. The power of sacrificial love.

In the miracle of his resurrection, Jesus Christ did not pass on his genes. Instead, he passed us his Spirit. This is what makes us fit and strong.

Remember: You are not a Christian because you are better. You are a Christian because you are loved.

love one another

Original Image: Takashi Hososhima  (Modified by Vincent Chough with some rights reserved: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/deed.en)

Trust Him Today

Why is it that we lose sight of our faith precisely when we need it most?

Jesus said, “Be not afraid” and we tremble in fear.
He said, “I am the bread of life” and we look everywhere else to feed our hungry souls.

What is keeping you from being at peace? Why don’t you do something about it TODAY?

It’s not about emotions…. it’s about making decisions and taking a stand.

Grab your faith with both hands and hold on tight.
Then beat down and kick out the things that are holding you down or holding you back.

Trust Him. He will fight the fight for you.