Friday, September 26, 2008

The Face of Life

"Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that." As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil.
Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins."
James 4:13-17

Cancer. Car accidents. Death of a child.

It affects us all.

There is no person who has ever lived that has not had to face a tragedy, whether directly or indirectly. I have never been hit by a car (yet). Ann Marie has. I have never had cancer (yet). Luba has. I have never had child die (yet). Suzanne has.

Many times I sit back and wonder why some people have had to go through such physically painful experiences and why my life has been, at least from a physical perspective, easy. My life is not over, yet, so I know that there is as much opportunity as anyone else for me to have cancer, be in a car accident or suffer the death of a child. At this time, though, my thoughts are some where else. How do I comfort? How do I encourage? How do I help?

When Ann Marie tells me they might amputate her legs... what can I do? When Luba shares that she has stomach cancer... what can I do? When a missionary family looses a son... what can I do?

God is in control. It is true. And I believe it with all my heart. It is in these times when my faith is put to the test on behalf of others. It is in these times that I cry out to God from the deepest part of my soul.

It is also, as James says, arrogant for me to plan my days as if I am in control. I could die tomorrow. I could lose my leg, my eye, my child, my job, my money and my life. Where is my hope based? It is based in the reality that all things perish except Christ. Only what is done for Him, by Him and through Him will last.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Knowledge of the Holy- Chapter 1

The Knowledge of the Holy has proven to be the best book I have ever read in my entire life. It is so simple, straightforward and God-centered, but it is also not a self-help, feel good and mindless read.

The title of chapter 1, "Why We Must Think Rightly About God" lets you know that 1- if you are not thinking rightly about God that you need to, and 2- that thinking rightly about God is very important. I could not agree more.

So, here are some excerpts from this foundational chapter-
  • The history of mankind will probably show that no people has ever risen about its religion, and man's spiritual history will positively demonstrate that no religion has ever been greater than its idea of God.
  • All the problems of heaven and earth, though they were to confront us together and at once, would be nothing compared with the overwhelming problem of God: That He is; what He is like; and what we as moral being must do about Him.
  • The man who comes to a right belief about God is relieved of ten thousand temporal problems, for he sees at once that these have to do with matters which at the most cannot concern him for very long; but even if the multiple burdens of time may be lifted for him, the one mighty single burden of eternity begins to press down upon him with a weight more crushing than all the woes of the world piled on upon another.
  • Low views of God destroy the gospel for all who hold them.
  • Wrong ideas about God are not only the fountain from which the polluted waters of idolatry flow; they are themselves idolatrous.
  • We do the greatest service to the next generation of Christians by passing on to them undimmed and undiminished that noble concept of God which we received from our Hebrew and Christian fathers of generations past.