Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Stone for our innocence

Thursday September 9, 2010

Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak. Mark 14:38

Why, with the best of intentions, do we sin? The body of course, is a metaphor for the sinful nature that invades both flesh and spirit. As Paul says, “what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” Romans 7:15. Calvin put it this way; we sin necessarily, yet without compulsion. We all sin, but nobody makes us do it.

Despite this, if Jesus today asked the one without sin to cast the first stone, there would be plenty of us bending down to arm ourselves! At least the Jews of Jesus’ day had the humility to recognize their own sin and walk away. The greatest rogues are often the most self-righteous: Iran is conceited enough to want to “push Israel into the sea,” yet proclaims its sinlessness by taking up stones against an adulterous woman!

Saying we have no sin is a contradiction in terms. It is a lie for it is inspired by the greatest sin, arrogance or pride. It is precarious, because pride usually comes before a fall! Furthermore, it is cowardly. We find sin in others to protect ourselves against a subconscious acknowledgment of our own sin.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Where Do We Look for Help?

I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. Ps 121:1-2

Some translations give the impression that we look to the hills for our help. For those under siege in biblical times, that is exactly where they looked. It was on the hills surrounding a city where a relieving army would first appear. When the Lord opened the servant of Elisha’s eyes, “he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”

But that’s not where this psalmist was looking. While he would naturally look to the surrounding hills for help, he knew that his help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. Whatever is happening in the earthly realm, God is our final provider.

When it comes to making a living, we often have a skewed mindset. We need a job so our employer will provide an income. Or we scratch for some income from the government for disability, retirement or unemployment to enable us to pay our bills. In doing so, we look to the hills!

It was an eye-opener for me to realized that these resource people and agencies were simply God’s means for our supply. He is beyond and above the hills—He is their Maker—and is our ultimate resource. This is what Jesus had in mind when He told us not to worry about today’s needs, for “your heavenly Father knows that you need them.”

Our problem, of course, is translating faith into practice. Can we trust God when other resources fail?

Are We Really Depraved?

This is what should have been posted last Thursday, but I was otherwise engaged!

Thursday September 2, 2010

When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." John 8:7.

If there is one principle of the Christian faith deplored by non-believers, it is human depravity. It flies in the face of the good people do, and of course, undermines our self-pride.

Today’s text comes from the story of the woman taken in adultery. The story assumes her guilt, and sentencing—death by stoning—is the penalty. Would Jesus agree? The dilemma rested on the fact that Roman law did not recognise Jewish religious law regarding the death penalty.

As in other altercations, the Jews were hoping Jesus would commit Himself to one side or the other—a Jewish rebel or a Roman sympathiser. In fact, Jesus cut through their arguments with the idea of total depravity—we are all guilty of breaking God’s law.

If there is one error that plagues humankind, it is belief in the essential goodness of humanity. History and current events tear this idea to shreds; but many accept it! We are not good people who occasionally fail; at best, we are
law-breakers who are trying to improve our reputation. 

The saying goes, we are not sinners because we sin, but we sin because we are sinners. While we have a sense of justice—necessary to keep social order—that too is corrupted by our innate sinfulness. Social justice is a hit and miss affair, undermined by inadequate knowledge of the facts and by personal biases and agendas.

On a personal level, we may need to protect ourselves from those we suspect of destructive acts and attitudes, but God is the final Judge—of them and ourselves!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Time Out

Hi folks.

Sorry we have have fallen behind our planned schedule, but I had to take a few days out for a heart attack. After a lightning ride (lights and sirens) from Lethbridge to Calgary, angioplasty and a slower ride back to Lethbridge, I am home again. 

I am recovering well, especially now I'm home again. Will be catching up in the next day or so. See us then.

Check out our daughters website for more details, Still Enjoying the Journey at this link