Friday, June 7, 2013

Sometimes God Speaks While You're Still In Your PJ's

English: Oswald Chambers (1874-1917)
English: Oswald Chambers (1874-1917) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is not on what we spend
the greatest amount of time
that molds us the most,
but whatever exerts
the most power over us.

Chambers, Oswald (2010-10-22). My Utmost for His Highest, Updated Edition (p. 159).
Discovery House Publishers. Kindle Edition.

This morning, before I had even gotten out of bed, I read the above words and felt my brain explode.  Here’s the comment that I wrote in a Kindle note attached to the above quote:

True, but if we are more strongly controlled by temporal things than by the Spirit and the Truth, then we will force a greater connection between power and time. In other words, if I am controlled by temporal things, I will insist on dedicating more and more of my time to those temporal things. I won't be able to stand it any other way.

But there's an inverse reality here as well! If I am controlled by temporal things, then I will refuse to give time to anything that I fear will control me. So, for example, as a person inadequately sanctified (and therefore temporally controlled by default), I am terrified to spend too much of my time on drudgery, because I dread becoming a drudge. Time spent = control given. Escapism is a loud acknowledgement that I am a slave of Time instead of a freed citizen of Eternity.

But if, as a Gospel-sanctified person, I submit to the power of God alone, then power and time are severed from each other. Time spent doing drudgery does NOT give drudgery power over me, to define me. And I will not feel the need to slavishly devote all possible time to temporal pleasures, because they no longer have the power to define our create me.

So then, sanctified freedom from the power of time actually frees me to do God's Will (loving and serving) within the confines of time.

And what is death, but stepping outside of time and into eternity? So then, Christ's call to "die daily" includes a call to sever the connection between time and power in my life, freeing me to obey Him by living (loving and serving) within the confines of Time as a free citizen of Eternity.

Now, I could spend a loooong time clarifying and expanding on that, but I just want to leave it be, at least for the time being.  If you feel like gnawing some marrow out of that dry bone, go for it!  If not, well, just remember that I wrote it in my pink-with-black-scotty dog pajamas, and feel free to walk away.
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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Tough and Tender

"We are not merely imperfect creatures
who must be improved: 
we are rebels who must lay down our arms."
C. S. Lewis

I'm not really "up" on TV shows.  I don't watch much. So it's not too surprising that I've only now discovered "Flashpoint," after it has already finished its 5-season run.

To say I'm "hooked" would be an understatement.

I'm such a sucker for this kind of thing.  I like my cops good.  I like 'em stocked with a boatload of that utterly irresistible combination of toughness and tenderness.

Not wimpy-good.  Not spineless do-gooders.  A word of command from Sergeant Parker (fans know that the word is "Scorpio"), and Ed Lane or the others will kill.  Parker would too, but his main job is negotiating.  He tries to bring about a peaceful solution if possible.  He hates the word "Scorpio," but he won't hesitate to say it when it needs to be said. And Ed won't hesitate to fire, but he'll feel the hurt of it.

And both men will gently comfort the traumatized whenever they can.  They'll speak words of encouragement and hope.  And they'll mean them, too.  They're not just trying to manipulate.

Tough and tender.  Sigh...gotta love it.

Why do I love that combo so much?  (And it's clearly not just me.  Shows don't last for 5 seasons without a serious fanbase.)  Why is it so compelling to see a man...someone who commands the firepower of a half-dozen teammates with guns trained on the subject... walk gently toward the subject and speak with quiet wisdom that sometimes...but only sometimes...wins the hardened heart over?  Why do we LOVE to see him take that risk, to see him care, to see him tempering all of that power with genuine meekness?

Are we just wired that way?

Who wired us?  Who wanted us to love the warring man of peace, the killer/savior?

Could it be that we're the rebels who want to be won over?

Could it be that we know in our hearts that there's Someone out there to whom we're accountable, and we know He has both the power and the right to kill us for our treason?  Could it be that we love to see a powerfully meek (not wimpy) Savior who can win our hearts, talk us down from our suicidal rebellion, and give us a reason to hope again...all without sacrificing justice?

To hear the world talk, you'd think the answer was "no."  The world doesn't want to be told it's sinful.  Or accountable.  Or worthy of death.

But when we see our guilt...oh, when we see it...when we see the smoking gun in our hands, the telltale blood on our souls, the crushing wrongness of it all...either we will despair and rebel to the bitter end, or we will love the Tough and Tender Savior. We'll lay down our arms and rush into His.

And we'll never get tired of His story.

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