"So," they say, "nobody's perfect!"
But the Vinedresser won't buy that.
Given the opportunity, He will trim the unproductive suckers and shape the branches so each one will bask in Sonlight.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Narnia and Middle Earth

Robin Parish made an observation about the popular fantasy of Tolkein and Lewis that I hadn't considered before. Both authors wrote of other lands that don't conform to conventional reality. In the same way, the spiritual laws and truths of God don't conform to our customary concepts of reality. The weak are strong, the humble exalted, the poor rich, the invisible real, the unimpressive beautiful. In God's economy, all our worldly values are turned around. By worldly standards, Christians are evil, occultic monsters are fun, dishonesty is clever and infidelity is innovative. Praise God we don't have to enter such a magic land through an enchanted gateway as did the Pevensie children when they entered Narnia. All we have to do is enter God's kingdom through Jesus, the Door and the Way. Once someone from this natural world begins to appreciate God's laws, the natural no longer makes much sense.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Self-pity, the seductive sin.

... for whatsoever is not of faith is sin. (Romans 14:23b KJV) When I sulk or otherwise feel sorry for myself, I demonstrate that I don't trust God's work in my life--my reaction is without faith in His sovereign love for me. The simplest scriptural connection imaginable leads to Romans 14:23, and its conclusion is inescapable. Self-pity is ingratitude. Unthankfulness, the King James word for ingratitude, is listed prominently among the attitudinal sins of 2 Timothy 3:2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, ... Vs. 2 is part of a larger indictment of "church sin." Vss. 5-7 place these sinners within the church by inference: 2 Timothy 3:5-7 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. (6) For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, (7) Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. The nominally religious have a form of godliness, and we can find them in virtually every congregation, from the most liberal, main-line denominations to the non-denominational, evangelical congregations. "Creeping into houses" suggests drawing "silly women" aside from the recognized leadership. Women aren't the only ones who are easily drawn into illicit, splinter loyalties. This speaks of any partisan spirit within the church body. Vs. 7 speaks of "Bible-study junkies," who take great pride in their Bible knowledge, yet resist the Holy Spirit's conviction about their prideful attitude. Is there a more accepted sin within the church than self-pity? An accepted sin is the most lethal kind, because no one comes against it. The opposite of self-pity is contentment. 1 Timothy 6:6... but it is great gain--the piety with contentment ... Contentment is a principle of godliness, and the analog of gratitude.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Shod With The Good News of Peace

I have to thank Mark Knowles for his observations on God's armor. The foundation for all other armor is the footwear that protects the warrior's feet and gives him perfect stability for the quick, agile moves necessary for survival in battle. Praise God for His perfect footwear, custom tailored for me ... and you.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The Best There Is

Graphic and literary art isn't necessarily more aesthetically beautiful than music is consonant. Art of any kind is nothing more than the artist's expression, whether of beauty or ugliness, substance or emptiness. Each art consumer should discriminate as carefully as consumers of any other commodity. Trouble is, most of us are indiscriminate in our choices of foods, amusements, status symbols and most anything else we buy. That failure to discriminate based on our needs, and the quality of those things pushed at us to meet them, includes the church--a painful indictment, considering we personally know The Best There Is.