The Myth of the Conformist God

“Much of out difficulty stems fromour unwillingness to take God as He is and adjust our lives accordingly.” —A.W. Tozer

Perhaps the greatest words we could ever say to God are also the most frightening words we could ever here from Him—”Thy will be done.” Attempting to conform God to our purposes and will in light of His infinite greatness is—well, I’ll let you choose the word. Can you imaging a shepherd following the lead of his sheep?

Follow. He knows where He’s going.

—j

Cure for the Culture War

“America has the most wise and just and Biblical and moral and constitutional foundation in the world—just like ancient Israel. America is one of the most religious countries in the world—just like ancient Israel. The church is big and rich and free in America—just like ancient Israel. And if God loves His church in America He will soon make it small and poor and persecuted, just as He did to ancient Israel, so that He can keep it alive by pruning it—just like ancient Israel. Consider our purity, language, watching, listening, disobeying—we are not saints—holy ones. Which is why the church is weak, and the world is dying. We are our own worst enemies, like a devil running rampant in our midst. He doesn’t make zombies and monsters, he just makes it easy to be an easy Christian—anything but a saint, which can save the world and make the church strong. This is the weapon that will win the war and defeat our Enemy: Saints—people who give Jesus one hundred percent of their hearts one hundred percent of the time, who will hold back nothing. You can’t imagine it—but you can do it…” —Professor Peter Kreeft

Shared this a couple years ago. We still need it. The world still needs it.

Thanks, Professor.

—j

My Favorite Poem. Ever.

My favorite poem (to be read in the meter of my favorite poet—Dr. Seuss)…

When I Became A Christian
by Adrian Plass

When I became a Christian I said, Lord, now fill me in,
Tell me what I’ll suffer in this world of shame and sin.
He said, your body may be killed, and left to rot and stink,
Do you still want to follow me? I said Amen—I think.
I think Amen, Amen I think, I think I say Amen,
I’m not completely sure, can you just run through that again?
You say my body may be killed and left to rot and stink,
Well, yes, that sounds terrific, Lord, I say Amen—I think.

But, Lord, there must be other ways to follow you, I said,
I really would prefer to end up dying in my bed.
Well, yes, he said, you could put up with the sneers and scorn and spit,
Do you still want to follow me? I said Amen—a bit.
A bit Amen, Amen a bit, a bit I say Amen,
I’m not entirely sure, can we just run through that again?
You say I could put up with sneers and also scorn and spit,
Well, yes, I’ve made my mind up, and I say, Amen—a bit.

Well I sat back and thought a while, then tried a different ploy,
Now, Lord, I said, the Good book says that Christians live in joy.
That’s true he said, you need the joy to bear the pain and sorrow,
So do you want to follow me, I said, Amen—tomorrow.
Tomorrow, Lord, I’ll say it then, that’s when I’ll say Amen,
I need to get it clear, can I just run through that again?
You say that I will need the joy, to bear the pain and sorrow,
Well, yes, I think I’ve got it straight, I’ll say Amen—tomorrow.

He said, Look, I’m not asking you to spend an hour with me
A quick salvation sandwich and a cup of sanctity,
The cost is you, not half of you, but every single bit,
Now tell me, will you follow me? I said Amen—I quit.
I’m very sorry Lord I said, I’d like to follow you,
But I don’t think religion is a manly thing to do.
He said forget religion then, and think about my Son,
And tell me if you’re man enough to do what he has done.
Are you man enough to see the need, and man enough to go,
Man enough to care for those whom no one wants to know,
Man enough to say the thing that people hate to hear,
To battle through Gethsemane in loneliness and fear.
And listen! Are you man enough to stand it at the end,
The moment of betrayal by the kisses of a friend,
Are you man enough to hold your tongue, and man enough to cry?
When nails break your body-are you man enough to die?
Man enough to take the pain, and wear it like a crown,
Man enough to love the world and turn it upside down,
Are you man enough to follow me, I ask you once again?
I said, Oh Lord, I’m frightened, but I also said Amen.
Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen; Amen, Amen, Amen,
I said, Oh Lord, I’m frightened, but I also said, Amen.

Amen.
—j

Don’t Stop

“Keep about the work God has given you. Do not flinch because the lion roars; do not stop to stone the devil’s dogs; do not fool away your time chasing the devil’s rabbits. Do your work. Let liars lie, let corporations resolve, let the devil do his worst; but see to it that nothing hinders you from fulfilling the work that GOD has given you. He has not commanded you to get rich. He has never bidden you defended you character. He has not set you at work to contradict falsehood about yourself which Satan and his servants may start to peddle. If you do those things, you will do nothing else; you will be at work for yourself and not for the LORD. Keep at your work. Let your aim be as steady as a star. You may be assaulted, wronged, insulted, slandered, wounded and rejected of men. But see to it with steadfast determination, with unfaltering zeal, that you pursue the great purpose of your life and object of your being until at last you can say, “I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do.” ­—Pastor Matt M. Hoekstra

Let’s go…

—j

St. Bernard Was Not A Dog

Bernard of Clairvaux was sainted because he loved Jesus, but everyone who follows Jesus is a saint, too. How can you tell? They are completely taken by Him, they do what He says because they love Him and they are thankful—really thankful. Like St. Bernard…

What language shall I borrow to thank You, dearest Friend,
For this Thy dying sorrow, Thy pity without end;
O, make me Thine forever, and should I fainting be;
Lord, let me never, never outlive my love for Thee.
I sometimes think about the cross and shut my eyes and try to see
The cruel nails, the crown of thorns and Jesus crucified for me;
But even could I see Him die, I would but see a little part
Of that great love, which like a fire, was always burning in His heart.
Bernard of Clairvaux

Thank you, Jesus.

—j

The Chief End of Man

A college professor once told a pompous student, “Young man, I suggest you plunge your finger into a bowl of water and remove it—the hole that remains will show you how significant you really are.” Our world is driven by the fleeting and superficial—people, ideas and things that pave the way to human insignificance, but it was never meant to be that way. Francis Schaeffer put it like this…

“The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.”* It would be scripturally false to leave out the second phrase, “and to enjoy Him forever.” The men who formulated this showed great wisdom and insight is saying, “and to enjoy Him forever.” Nevertheless, the first phrase is the first phrase: “The chief end of man is to glorify God.” And in Christianity we have a non-determined God who did not need to create because there was love and communication within the Trinity, and yet having been created, we as men can glorify God. If we fail to emphasize that we can glorify God, we raise the question of whether men are significant at all. We begin to lose our humanity as soon as we begin to lose the emphasis that what we do makes a difference. We can glorify God, and both the Old and New Testament say that we can even make God sad. That is tremendous.”

Yes, it is.
Have a significant day.

—j

*Quoted from The Westminster Shorter Catechism

No Trivial Pursuit

Following Jesus is no trivial pursuit; neither is it a religious duty reserved for the devout. Following Jesus is capitulating (in ashes) to who He really is and doing what He said to do. Christians may find this somewhat optional (if we’re honest) or even imposing, but followers of Jesus follow because they came to the shattering realization of just Who—and What—they are following…

“To follow Jesus is to pay the cost of discipleship, and then to die to ourselves, to our own interests, our own agendas and reputations. It is to pick up our crosses and count the cost of losing all that contradicts his will and his way—including our reputations before the world, and our standing with the people and in the communities that we once held dear. It is to live before one audience, the audience of One, and therefore to die to all other conflicting opinions and assessments. There is no room here for such contemporary ideas as the looking-glass self, and no consideration here for trivial contemporary obsessions such as one’s legacy.” —Os Guinness

Blessings,
—j