WARNING - Work in Progress

WARNING - Work in Progress
WARNING - Work in Progress

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Right Thinking about the Holy – 06/13/2019

WARNING PREACHY…

Exploring the Holy…

Right Thinking about the Holy – 06/13/2019

The best book on the Holiness of God that I have read so far is A W Tozer’s Knowledge of the Holy.  The basis for my thoughts today come from this book.



What is God Like? 

The greatest thought the human mind can entertain is to wonder what God is like.  For us to truly and humbly think upon such a thing is to seek divine understanding into the reality of all that we humans are, and all that we may hope to ever possibly be.  When we humans, as creatures, sincerely see ourselves as the created instead of the creator we learn that we fit into the order of the universe as we actually should instead of always seeking to fit into a mold that was never meant to be.  And when we finally fit into the universe as we should then we have peace (shalom) which passes all understanding instead of seeking the many ways that we humans seek to find shalom in this world.

How we answer… 

How we answer the question of what God is like is to understand what opinion we have of God.  Tozer writes “Were we able to extract from any man a complete answer to the question, “What comes into your mind when you think about God?” we might predict with certainty the spiritual future of that man.  Were we able to know exactly what our most influential religious leaders think of God today, we might be able with some precision to foretell where the Church will stand tomorrow.” (Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy; chapter 1)  He states that our main modern problem in the church is that we have a low opinion of God - one that dishonors His dignity.

Further, when we speak of God our answers are always limited that uses limited human words to express a limited human idea about an eternal God of infinitude.  For God is not like us and His greatness demands that only His equal can ever really understand what He is like.  Never the less, we proceed to seek after to discover what God allows us humans to understand by our imperfect means.


“I wanted you to see what real courage is...  It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win but sometimes you do.” ~Atticus Finch on Mrs. Dubose: To Kill a Mockingbird; 1960

Personally, this scares me…

I’m fearful of seeking God in earnest because I am afraid I will find Him.  I’m not so foolish as to believe that I will ever see Him face-to-face but even getting a glimpse of His back like Moses, or His glory like Isaiah, or when Peter caught the fish Jesus lead him to, or when Paul was met by Jesus on the road to Damascus would scare me.  I’m not so much afraid of the experience of His greatness but rather the demand of his greatness that would be on my life.  It seems to me that men who had a real encounter with the Holy God were forever changed; my fear exists because I am presently comfortable in my life and if I’m honest, I don’t really like to be put upon.

I know my fear is my own self-preservation kicked in, and I know that I should desire more of God rather than the status quo and I’m fearful.  My humanity is comfortable, still though, I can’t help but desire to know what God is like and believe that my discontent with this world and can only be relieved after I seriously and humbly seek and discover His Holiness.
 

Father, help me to get past my fear and to encounter You.  And please be gentle me.  Amen

QUESTIONS:

Do you really want to find God?  We all say that we do but aren't you just a little afraid of finding Him?

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Why the Holy? – 06/12/2019


WARNING PREACHY… 

Exploring the Holy…

Why the Holy? – 06/12/2019

2 Samuel 6:1-6
David again brought together all the able young men of Israel—thirty thousand. He and all his men went to Baalah in Judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the Name, the name of the Lord Almighty, who is enthroned between the cherubim on the ark. They set the ark of God on a new cart and brought it from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, sons of Abinadab, were guiding the new cart with the ark of God on it, and Ahio was walking in front of it. David and all Israel were celebrating with all their might before the Lord, with castanets, harps, lyres, timbrels, sistrums and cymbals.

When they came to the threshing floor of Nakon, Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark of God, because the oxen stumbled. The Lord’s anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down, and he died there beside the ark of God.

How does this passage make you feel?

For 25 years as a Christian this story has bothered me; does it bother you?  I’m troubled because the Justice of God is called into question in my mind.  I know that nobody was supposed to touch the ark but really, Uzzah was just trying to be helpful.  How does it make you feel when you read it, do you feel God is unjust, do you feel He is justified, do you even understand it and admit that you’re confused?

God’s Ark is Holy…

The other morning I was in prayer and troubled in my soul about this passage that has always been like a thorn in my theological side.  But since I have been recently pouring into God and learning about His Holiness, while I meditated on this God re-framed the story and revealed to me a little about Himself.

The priests of the Israelites had been given specific instructions about handling the Holy things of God.  The Ark was one such Holy thing and it was created with rings on it so that it could be transported with poles on the shoulders of the priests – not on an ox wagon (Exodus 25:12-14).  And the priests were also instructed never to touch the Ark because the very presence of God was upon it (Numbers 4:15).  But still, even though they had been given these rules, and touching the ark had violated those rules, God didn’t really need to kill Uzzah did he?  That seems just a bit harsh to me.

Change the Story to see the Holy…

As I meditated on this God changed the story in my mind.  As I replayed the story in my mind’s eye when the oxen stumbled I saw Uzzah dip his hand into a fire and pick up a white hot coal.  I saw his hand with a third degree burn and I thought to myself, ‘you fool, didn’t you know that fire burns?’

I also saw that Uzzah was standing on a 1000 foot building when the oxen stumbled and because it did he jumped off of it to save the Ark.  I thought to myself ‘You fool, don’t you know that gravity must be respected?’

Finally I saw that when the oxen stumbled that Uzzah ran over and kicked a very large hornet’s nest and when he got stung I thought to myself  'Heh, he, seriously?’

The point was that I did not blame the hot coal for burning, the gravity for pulling him to his death, nor the hornets for stinging him, but I blamed God for being Holy, Holy, Holy; in other words, I respected the fire, gravity, and the hornet more than I feared the LORD God Almighty.

My Problem with God’s Holiness…

As I considered this I recognized that I was a Christian who started with Jesus.  Jesus saved me of my sins and I have chosen to follow Him, but I have never really learned about His Holiness and what exactly that means.  I chose Jesus because I didn’t want to go the hell when I died rather than because He is an Awesome Holy God.  My problem was that my choosing to follow Jesus started off with me and my benefit as its focus, and if I am honest my Christian faith has really ever been about me and getting what I want or need.  This indicated to me that I never really saw God as He truly is: Holy, Holy, Holy.

So Why the Holy?

Now I see my need to fully seek to understand the Majestic and Awesome Holy God whom I claim to know!  I need this knowledge if I am ever to get away from my ever present and persistent self-focused religion; until I do I will always be the point of my Christian faith when in reality God is supposed to be the point.  In the grand scheme of this world, the devil is very happy to keep my attention on myself rather than on our Holy God; this needs to change.

QUESTIONS:

If you are honest, do you consider yourself the point of your Christian faith or are you seriously only seeking God’s glory with your crucified life?  In light of your previous answer, do you act like God is the point - would your friends, family, and spouse concur with your answer? 


 

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Exploring the Holy - 06/11/2019


WARNING PREACHY… 

Exploring the Holy 06/11/2019

When I became a Christian I did so basically because I didn’t want to go to hell when I died.  I initially investigated God because I knew I was going to see Him sooner rather than later and I realized that God was the one area of my life that I had best not get wrong.  So, I simply cried out to Him and said that if He existed I needed to know who He was.  God then answered that prayer and within about a month I was face-to-face with the reality of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.  At that time I committed my life to Him and have struggled in my faith walk ever since.

There is a problem…

The problem is, that I started from a point of saving my own skin, getting out of going to hell when I die, and without even knowing it I have been the point of the Christian faith ever since.  I may have said things like “Jesus is the reason for the season” but the reality is that if Jesus does not answer all of my prayers in a timely fashion in the way I want those prayers answered then I tend to get gloomy and begin to doubt Him and His goodness.  It’s quite possible that I am unique in this; but I doubt it – just look at the Nation of Israel in the book of Exodus.
I’ve been a Christian for 25 years and just recently God has put it on my heart to press in and get to know Him in His Holiness, so this is what I have been doing for the past few months.  As I blog my thoughts here I don’t claim to know it all but I have been reading deeply and praying a lot; I pray you might find my thoughts helpful to inspire your own journey so that you might  Explore the Holy as well.

A Brief Description…

The topic of God’s Holiness is far beyond the human ability to describe as well as the limited area of this blog-space; however I believe a brief description is necessary.

The word holy means that something is separate from the other.  A holy people means that those people are different from the rest and a holy God means that that God is different from the others.  However, God is not just separate from other gods but He is described as Holy, Holy, Holy (Isaiah 6:3).  The emphasis with the three repetitious words is an indicator that God is a being unlike anything else and when He is examined it is learned that his infinitude is quite beyond my human ability to actually describe.  However, my human imperfection is all I have to work with and so this is what I work with.

However, as God is not limited by my inabilities, I press on and trust that by His Word and Spirit I will get a glimpse of the wealth of His innate and intrinsic essence.  By faith I trust Him to reveal Himself.

QUESTIONS:  

Why did you accept Jesus as your savior?  Was it to avoid hell and go to heaven when you die?  Was it because you had problems in your life and God offered a solution?  Was it because God is Holy and you recognized His innate beauty and sovereignty in your life?  Too often we accept Jesus like we vote for the President of the United States of America: we tend to vote for the person who we think will make our lives better or we vote for the lesser of two evils; our American culture has prepped us to always consider what’s in it for us individually.  


Monday, December 24, 2018

The Eerie Day Immanuel was Born – 12/24/2018


WARNING PREACHY…

I remember vividly the events of 9/11/2001, I think because the scene was not of a place and location that was unfamiliar to me but rather I had known the towers of the World Trade Center, I had seen them in real life and even ran my hand along their sides as I walked by them.  The images I saw on 9/11 of the buildings having jets flown into them and then collapsing down into piles of rubble had a great effect on me, not like the war scenes from strange and faraway places; these images were real and personal to me.  

I was at college that day watching the events unfold and the video of the planes crashing in replayed a thousand times.  When I finally emerged and stepped outside I was struck with eeriness because the world was quiet.  I looked in the sky and there was no air travel: no helicopters, no puddle jumpers landing at the airport next door, and no jets way up high visible by only their jet streams.  In fact, the sky was completely empty of jet streams that usually filled up the sky’s palette of blue.  It was eerie as if without the sky’s clutter the world became amazingly quieted.

I wonder if the world experienced this sort of hush when Jesus was born?

The babe born to Mary was Immanuel which means “God with us.”  It seems to me that this single event must have been felt by both believer and non at the same time, though with varying effect and understanding.  I can imagine the Wise Men getting a strong urge to step outside and look to the stars when Jesus entered the world.  I wonder if they felt it, the eeriness of something cosmic happening?  I suspect they were spiritually in tune like that.

Do you feel it?  As we remember and celebrate the birth of our savior do you feel the echoes of the world’s rejoicing?  Doesn’t the very thought of God becoming Flesh boggle the mind and cause you to awe?  Do you worship with the common-man shepherds or with the nobility, the wise men, and the kings?

As we celebrate the birth of God this Christmas, let us look to the sky recognizing how the cosmos reverberates with His entrance into the world and rejoice with all creation in reverence for our new born King.

Have a Merry Christmas!