Posts Tagged ‘Soveriegnty’
During the time I am away, I will reposting older entries from the icrucified blog. The following post was an entry from May 29, 2009
Divine Tension…a holy thing it is.
It seems to me that the more I study the Bible, the more I read and study saints of old, the more I invest in theology, the more I pray, the more I practice and learn of the spiritual disciplines, and the more I seek knowledge of and intimacy with God… the more I experience a divine tension. Now, this should not be interpreted as confusion or disillusion. The tension I experience is not a bad thing; at least I don’t think that it is. It seems to me that the closer I draw to God, the more I think I know Him…the more I realize how complex and incomprehensible He is. My words do not describe my thoughts very well, but I don’t know how to describe them any better, so that will have to suffice for now.
Over the past forty plus years I’ve gotten to know myself pretty well. I’m a life-long learner and love to experience and figure out new things. I have no doubt this personality trait carries over into my spirituality. It seems there is an ongoing lesson given through Holy Spirit that continues to disrupt my tendency to put the things of God and faith to formula. I rather like the A + B = C scenarios and like it even more when I can say with certainty that more complex issues can be solved in similar fashion; such as, X(c + d) – y = Z. When I’m able to do this with the things of God it gives me a sense of confidence, certainty, and (sadly unfortunate) pride. This is why I’m pretty sure that God continues to disrupt my formulas. This is why, as I draw closer and seek more intimate knowledge of my heavenly Father, He shows me how unpredictable and unformulaic (I know…it’s not a word, but you know what I mean) He truly is. He says to my soul, “Do not put me into confined proportions!”
The LORD says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you, don’t be like a senseless horse or mule that need a bit and a bridle to keep it under control.” (Psalm 32:8-9)
I keep coming back to the same crossroads…
I don’t think I keep arriving here out of disobedience, rebellion, or insolence. I think it remains a loving reminder from my Savior King; “Don’t get comfortable; don’t relax into a place of complacency and familiarity.” The LORD doesn’t want me to rely upon myself. I need to start out the mission of every day seeking a fresh infilling of His Holy Spirit. He is the only source of Truth and the only reliable Guide who can lead me to success for the divine assignment I have been tasked with on any given day. He is the only source of holy illumination that can radiate the presence and power of Christ in me to the world of my influence. I cannot rely on what was yesterday and it is my awareness of this truth that fuels the place of divine tension in my life.
I cry out to the LORD; I plead for the LORD’s mercy. I pour out my complaints before Him and tell Him all my troubles. When I am overwhelmed, You alone know the way I should turn. Then I pray to you, O LORD. I say, “You are my place of refuge. You are all I really want in life.” (Psalm 42:1-3, 5)
Truly it is only in the place of holy awareness and need that we can be continuously confident. I am beginning to understand (with these continuing reminders from God) that I need Him ceaselessly speaking words of direction to my soul. This realization gives me fresh understanding of Paul’s exhortation to “pray without ceasing.” It is my deepest desire to be the instrument and faithful servant of Jesus in all that I do and with every moment of my remaining life on this earth. Understanding my frailty and my weaknesses also fuels the divine tension. Thank You, O God, that in my weakness You are strong. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. I mourn; I long for guidance and direction that I might follow and bring glory to my King.
My heart is confident in You, O God; my heart is confident. No wonder I can sing your praises! Wake up my heart! Wake up, O lyre and harp! I will wake the dawn with my song. Be exalted, O God, above the highest heavens. May Your glory shine over all the earth. (Psalm 57:7-8, 11)
Prayer for the day:
O Holy Spirit of God, very God, who descended on Christ at the river Jordan and on the apostle’s in the upper chamber, we have sinned against heaven and before you; purify us again, we ask you, with Your divine fire, and have mercy on us. Grant, we ask you, Almighty God, that the splendor of Your brightness may shine on us and the light of Your LIGHT confirm with the illumination of the Holy Spirit the hearts of those who have been born again through Your grace: for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. [Amen] (Excerpted from Nerses of Clajes and the Gregorian Sacramentary)
During the time I am away, I will reposting older entries from the icrucified blog. The following post was an entry from Jan. 19, 2009
Last week’s Bible reading took me through the story of Joseph (Genesis 42-50).
It’s amazing to me the way God works His plan. I think, in general, we take for granted that God’s plan (Perfect Plan) for us will be good, and with “smooth sailing” so to speak. That is, if we obediently follow Him with submissive and loving heart, all will go well. We read from the Genesis account God’s Perfect Plan for Abraham was that his seed would multiply, increase in wealth and prosperity, and ultimately be a blessing to the entire world. I cannot help but take notice of how God orchestrates and effects His Master Plan through the life of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. I’m not sure that I would use the words “smooth sailing” to describe the lives of those men…certainly not Joseph in particular. Taking a high-level view of these four generations of men I see God using hatred, slavery, injustice, favoritism, imprisonment, deception, famine, oppression, and a few other unsavory tools to effect His Grand Plan.
Why do we naturally assume if we are in God’s Perfect Will that life might not be fraught with difficulty? God uses the difficult and the painful to polish and refine us. The difficult and painful are part of the perfecting processes of our lives and His Plan. We are reminded in the later writings of the apostles that we should welcome and embrace these moments; we should allow them to accomplish God’s work, His will, and His plan in our lives…and ultimately, become part of the fulfillment of The Grand Plan for mankind.
I just finished reading the book Spectacular Sins by John Piper and while I’m not quite sure that I share the same perspective and point of view as JP, I did enjoy the book. I was in agreement with the ultimate consensus and bottom-line conclusion of Spectacular Sins, but did (and presently do not) not follow the same path to arrive at those conclusions. If you are not familiar with the book, I’ve probably got your appetite whetted by now wondering what in the world I’m referring to.
The basic premise of the book is that God Almighty is the power and authority behind the greatest and most spectacular sins in the history of all Creation; I mention all Creation because Piper includes the Rebellion and Fall of Satan as one of these “spectacular sins.” The book is meant to reveal and highlight the extent and magnitude of God’s sovereignty over all things trying to convince the reader that God has planned and orchestrated all the events (including acts of sin) for the express purpose of bringing more glory to himself through the person of Jesus Christ. Hopefully, I am not oversimplifying or misrepresenting the substance of Spectacular Sins.
I said that I did not follow or agree with the line of reasoning that JP put forth to explain his position. In the next paragraphs I will endeavor to share the points that I view differently; however, one of the foundational passages of scripture that Piper uses for this thesis is from Colossians 1:15-20 with an emphasis on Colossians 1:16 “For by him all things were created…all things were created through him and for him.” This is worth remembering, and JP qualifies later that all things were created for him and by him yet scripture does not say they were created evil; he goes on to support this position by quoting from Jude 6 “…angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling.” Piper says; “They were created good, and they rebelled against God.” (p.35) So far, I’m tracking well and in full agreement with the Piper Premise. Read the rest of this entry »