About Me

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Saginaw, Michigan, United States
A sinner who may come before God because of Christ

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Entitled To What?

I got some feedback that my posting about the economic state, crime and general malaise in the city where I live, was a little "down" for them (like they needed to be reminded of this).
What I was attempting, albeit not very well, was to express how quickly we are to run to God when times are troubled but, basically, ignore Him when life is well. 

I also talked about it being time for America to bless God and should have made it clear that I was not talking about individual people, but referring to our nation as a whole. There are many people who are striving and giving up themselves for Christ, but as a nation, as a government, as a people, we are turning from God while still expecting Him to give us something. In fact, I have joined up to fast for the President once a month (you can too at Fast for the President)

There has grown in this country a mentality that we are 'owed' or 'entitled' to being blessed. I think of this as having the view of God as a grandpa than as a Father. That when something 'bad' happens it is God's fault, when something 'good' it was because we 'earned it'.

When I was in high school (yes, they had them back then) I had a girlfriend. We had been going 'steady' for two years when she suddenly, unceremoniously, broke off our relationship (and broke my heart). I was broken hearted. We had already planned our lives together and now we were not going to be together.

Well, I blamed God. How could He do this to me?  If He was so loving how could He allow me to be hurt so much? What had I done to Him for Him to do this to me? (the answer was nothing...I had done nothing for God. He was pretty irrelevant in my life and His commandments were a joke to me) OK, I was pretty convoluted at 17 but I saw the world as spinning around me.

One Sunday I had the privilege of teaching to the High School group at church.  The subject was "Giving", so I asked them to tell me what they had "given" to (done for) God that past week - in what way had they honored our Lord?

It was interesting to see the looks on their faces as they pondered this question. As I went around the room to hear their responses, a few honest ones actually said that they had not done a thing. Some answered they did things by what I would call "commission" (I prayed to God) and others by "omission" (I didn't beat up my brother), but mostly I think this was the first time they had looked at their world form God's perspective, and it was eye-opening (at least for some who told me that).

Of course, as usually happens to me when I am teaching, I had to confront this lack of giving to God in my life as well. How often do I fail to see my world through the eyes of our Lord? More often than I would care to admit, how about you?

nsf 7-20-02

Monday, March 02, 2009

What I Was, What I Am, What I Will Be

It is very difficult to summarize one's life, since people are in a constant state of flux - changing phsycially, mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually.

Sunday at Church, there was an ordination ceremony for our associate pastor.  I have never been to one before and it was encouraging to see this young man and his family being committed before the Lord.

When the charge was given to the pastor, the speaker used 2 Timothy as the Scripture to base the charge.  This is Paul's encouraging letter to his protege Timothy.

During the course of the charge, the speaker referred to the meaning of verse 7 - "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." - as Paul looking back and having no regrets about his walk with Christ.

So I started thinking about my past and I have more regrets than I care to list or think about, but I also have the knowledge that I am not the man I was yesterday nor will I be the man I am now, tomorrow.

Recently, I have been under attack by someone whom I hold dear.  They are angry with me about actions done many years ago, some before my salvation, some during the years since. 

When I first tasted salvation, I did not immediately cease being the old man, who was liar and deciever and manipulator of others.  God is growing me in such a way that He is developing my character.  I am less the liar and decieve and manipulator, but only because it is the Lord doing this and not my own effort.

I have been forgiven by God of these sins and can now, because of Christ, kneel in His presence, and strive, through Him, to cease the evil that I too often find myself desiring to do.  I am redeemed but not yet fully sanctified.  I am at war with my sin, my flesh, and, sadly, sometimes it prevails in the battle, though it has failed in the conquest of me.

Unfortunately, this does not absolve me of the fact that I did sin and that I do sin and that I will sin.  This means that I still weep over my failings, how I have hurt others, how I have wronged mostly those whom I love and have loved me, how I have misused the gifts given to me.

I go on sinning not because it is my desire to do so, but because I have not yet given myself fully over to Him!  

This is a tough reality, but it makes sense of what I was, what I am, and what I will be.

God is working at His pace to shape me back into the image He intended when He created me, and He becomes more (and I less) I am humbled that He would even want to work in a scoundrel such as me, that He would call me His child when I have been such a disobedient brat, that He would call me friend when I have been such an enemy of His!

Christians are not void of sin, but we are free from the deciet of sin.  True Christians know what they were, what they are, and what they will be and they know that they are in the hands of God and not their own hands.

In this, I have no regrets - that God has saved me from my self, and my hope is in Him.