>With God…

>“Impossible.”

A non-word for the follower of Christ – because nothing is impossible with God. As Andrew Murray wrote, “We have a God who delights in impossibilities.”

Why? Because when God does what seems to be “impossible” He gets glory. That is the purpose of miracles…not to give the instrument/evangelist/”faith healer” glory; but to give the Lord glory. Why? Because as He is glorified, elevated, and honored people pay attention and present themselves as candidates for the greatest miracle…rebirth!

In our humanity, though, some times we can get foggy and think things are “impossible.” Or at least improbable.

Like selling a house in a depressed market in a shaky economy. This weighs on me. Certainly, tell me it shouldn’t, but it does.

Jane and I are confident in God’s leading as well as timing; and thus we are confident He has a plan for the sale of our house and the purchase of a home in Saint Joseph. My dear wife is a lot more optimistic and cheery than I…and that is weird because she is the one who has to keep the house “presentable” for any potential buyer to stop by. Thankfully we are a team, and when I get a little “down” she lifts me up (usually by a figurative kick in the rear!); and versa visa!

“Happened” to read this in my “through the Bible in a year” reading today. I remember that in August of 1977, when I flew to Kansas City from California to attend Bible college…hardly any money, no job, no place to stay…circling the airport for landing, and “happening” to read the same verse…and over three decades later it is alive with hope:

Psalm 31.24 Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!

>Obama on Abortion

>In an interview with “Christianity Today” (in which he restated that he is a follower of Jesus), Obama said this about abortion:

Ultimately, women are in the best position to make a decision at the end of the day about these issues. With significant constraints. For example, I think we can legitimately say — the state can legitimately say — that we are prohibiting late-term abortions as long as there’s an exception for the mother’s health. Those provisions that I voted against typically didn’t have those exceptions, which raises profound questions where you might have a mother at great risk. Those are issues that I don’t think the government can unilaterally make a decision about. I think they need to be made in consultation with doctors, they have to be prayed upon, or people have to be consulting their conscience on it. I think we have to keep that decision-making with the person themselves.

Can one be a Christian and, at any level, be pro-choice? Certainly. We are not “saved by grace through faith plus against abortion (or “plus” anything else!).” Can one be a Christian and not believe in 24-hour days of creation? Of course.

To me the more important question is simply can one be a human with a heart and not be against abortion?

That being said, may we always stress that abortion is not the unpardonable sin; thus giving women who have had abortions (for whatever reason) hope rather than condemnation.

>Criticism in Context of the Cross

>

“In light of God’s judgment and justification of the sinner in the cross of Christ, we can begin to

discover how to deal with any and all criticism. By agreeing with God’s criticism of me in Christ’s cross, I can face any criticism man may lay against me. In other words, no one can criticize me more than the cross has. If you thus know yourself as having been crucified with Christ, then you can respond to any criticism, even mistaken or hostile criticism, without bitterness, defensiveness, or blame shifting. Such responses typically exacerbate and intensify conflict, and lead to the rupture of relationships. You can learn to hear criticism as constructive and not condemnatory because God has justified you.”

– Alfred J. Poirier, “The Cross and Criticism” from The Journal of Biblical Counseling, Vol. 17, No. 3, Spring 1999, p. 17.

>Indicators?

>
It sure seems like people are getting crazier day by day. A guy throws his kids off a bridge. A mother tries to drown her twins, kills one, one on life support. A marine (apparently) kills and burns his ladyfriend and unborn child.

The tragedy of these tragedies is that they are so common. Maybe so common that we grow calloused to their horribleness. For instance, when is the last time I thought seriously of the horror of legal abortion in America? Or prayed against it?

Second Timothy 3 sounds like a summary of the front page on a newspaper, the opening minutes of a newscast, or the first paragraph of an emailed news update:

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.

What an indictment! And perhaps the most vital “charge” are the latter two – lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God and having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.

That is a Spirit-inspired charge against professing followers of Christ, not the world. Loving stuff more than the Savior; saying, singing, and writing supposed stuff of godliness, but scrapping its power to transform us rather than entertain us.

The horrific news should cause us to weep, but should not surprise. This horribleness will not be solved by the upcoming elections, or by big and flashy church events. It can only be fought by genuine followers of Christ doing the “hard” things – presenting ourselves repeatedly as living sacrifices, loving not the world nor the things in the world, and by fixing our eyes on Jesus.

Easy to type, hard to do.

Easier to quote Ephesians 2.8,9…but Ephesians 2.10 declares “our” part…”For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Ready for the application? Here’s one of my regular prayers, usually uttered before my feet hit the floor in the morning, “Lord, whatever You are up to today, help me be alert to the good works You have prepared for me this day so I can be a part of it.”

Lord knows – as do those who know me – that I have no where near “arrived.” But, with His enabling, I want to press on, no matter how dark this world becomes.

>Dealing with Criticism in Light of the Cross

>

“In light of God’s judgment and justification of the sinner in the cross of Christ, we can begin to discover how to deal with any and all criticism. By agreeing with God’s criticism of me in Christ’s cross, I can face any criticism man may lay against me. In other words, no one can criticize me more than the cross has. If you thus know yourself as having been crucified with Christ, then you can respond to any criticism, even mistaken or hostile criticism, without bitterness, defensiveness, or blame shifting. Such responses typically exacerbate and intensify conflict, and lead to the rupture of relationships. You can learn to hear criticism as constructive and not condemnatory because God has justified you.”

– Alfred J. Poirier, “The Cross and Criticism” from The Journal of Biblical Counseling, Vol. 17, No. 3, Spring 1999, p. 17.