Easter, The Day We All Look Pretty

Easter is my second favorite day of the year (second only to Christmas, don’t judge). It’s a beautiful day. My 2016 Easter went something like this.

Easter Blog Pic
I woke up happy, before coffee- this is a new experience for me. I posted my Easter quote on Facebook. I fixed a great breakfast. I dressed, donned my Easter tie, making sure the windsor was perfect for Easter pictures to come. I left for church, slightly agitated that I couldn’t find my good watch, it obviously looks the classiest with my Easter outfit.

Then I sat in the service, waiting for my favorite songs, observing everyone’s Easter outfit, noticing friends that had done their hair, they never do their hair. Then I realized; I wasn’t there to look pretty.

Don’t worry. This isn’t a diatribe against Easter outfits or commercializing Christian holidays. It’s a confession that I bought what my heart sells me, that days about Jesus, are actually days about me.

I took the most significant, unimaginable, and glorious moment in human history, and reduced it to a silver watch and cufflinks. I spent a morning considering how I pretty I was for church, rather than worshipping the splendor of the inconceivable reality that Jesus lives.

I failed to consider the inexplicable implications of Jesus’ suffering. The Son of God, who formed the body joint by joint and arranged our bone structure, felt His own be torn from place. God the Son, who wrote the chemical formula for Iron, felt it pierce His wrists. God the Son, who originated and sustains every form of energy in the created world and universe, was too weak to carry a cross. The Lamb of God felt sharpened sheep bone woven into leather strands slash flesh from His divine body. God the Son, who’s blood sprinkles us clean, fell lifeless, spattering warm-blood on the onlookers. And God the Son, equal with His Father in perfect nature, was rejected by God the Father. For those moments on the cross, those forever-changing, terribly glorious moments, God was not even there for His Son. Jesus was the only human to ever exist, who was truly, utterly, alone. And suddenly, God rents the Temple veil, that once meant “sinner stay away and be safe” now bids “sinner enter and be safe.” In those moments, God turned His back on His Son, and He turned His face to all who believe. A cry broke the sky, “It is finished!”
And redemption was done.
For by one man’s act of disobedience, the entire world was made sinful, but by the righteousness of one, so many will be made righteous.

These are the truths I should’ve considered. These are the truths that we must consider. I am resurrected to life, so I must die daily to self. Easter means life- life in Jesus, life because of Jesus, life for Jesus.

 

 

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Resolved

By God’s grace and the power of God’s Spirit, I am resolved that today I will do more to build God’s Kingdom than to build my own.

In deference to Bro. Edwards, who lived by 70 separate resolutions, I want my life to be summed up in the one above. Our lives should be all about God. Yet we want life to be all about us. We want to be served. We want to be worshipped. We want to be loved. We want to build our own kingdom and we want other people to help us build it.

Parents rear their children with the goal of impressing others with “good kids” so they, the parents, get the glory. Pastors (and I am one of them) want to build a great church so they can feel and look “successful.” Employees work tirelessly to become “Employee of the Month” just for the recognition. There are plenty of other examples but the point is we are bent toward, and busy building our own kingdom rather than the Kingdom of God.

We tend to be “glory-grabbers.” Yet we rarely take the time to realize how foolish and dangerous it is to attempt to steal God’s glory.

Isaiah 42:8 I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.

We were created to bring glory to our loving Lord.

Isaiah 43:7 everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.

Ephesians 1:3-6 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

Ephesians 1:11-12 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: 12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

It is no wonder so many of us feels so empty and unfulfilled in life. We are living lives that are diametrically opposed to God’s purpose for us. We are living for self and not our Sovereign Lord.

This is where the resolution may help. Build His kingdom!

When Grace isn’t Enough

I recently had a teenager express to me something we’ve probably all felt, but perhaps feared to verbalize.
“God gives them more grace!” She said. To which I was honest, “God does do that sometimes,” I replied. Our human obsession with “fairness” cries out in opposition to this concept. How could a fair God with an endless supply of divine enablement, give an abundance to one an individual, and hide Himself from another? We don’t like what we don’t understand, but it’s a Biblical truth. James tells us very simply.
James 4:6
But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

Here’s the simple reality, when I’m missing out on the beautiful, transformational, sustaining grace of Jesus, it’s because I’ve rejected grace at the expense of something else my flesh tells me I need. A certain way to lose the battle and crown myself to the throne of my life, is to substitute God’s grace with a temporal toy.

To win battles for God’s Kingdom, I must throw myself at the feet of the Captain, who won my war by grace; and fall on the sword of self. If I go into the battle without God’s grace to save and sustain me, I will come from the battle with wounds of doubt, pride, and debilitating guilt. I am not enough, and never will be. His grace is enough, and victory is found in that grace, which has already won my soul.

It’s never that grace isn’t enough; it’s always that I’m not enough. Embracing grace is as easy as humbling self, and when we do, victory is as easy as giving it to God. Nothing is too hard for Him, not even raising dead people to walk, and to win.

God, we need grace. Help us to embrace the grace of the gospel that you bought us with, and is now ours!

By Him and Through Him,
KG

Kingdom of God Vs. kingdom of self.

The gospel gives us a future, and depletes the pain and filth of our past. A lifetime of sin is behind us, and a lifetime of glory is now ahead of us. God is finishing His story. But, until we get there, we fight a war. The Spirit is battling to maintain my freedom within, and my flesh, the part of me that will not be redeemed in this life, fights to shackle me with the bonds of self.

This war began when God fought relentlessly for our hearts and we surrendered, and continues to rage because sin calls for us to surrender to its lies. It’s a war with two captains, two armies, and two kingdoms.

So here we are, a page devoted to the fight. As we seek to fight we must realize the nature of the battle. The Prince of the World fights to keep me ruling the scandalous and puny throne of self, and the King of the Ages fights to keep me on my knees before His throne. This is the war we’re in, and we must fight for our lives, because Jesus is worthy of our lives, and we were not worthy of His.

Let’s fight together! The war is won, but the battles, they are every day, and we must fight them.