Tag Archives: spiritual

Christ The King

weekly theme #56 Christ The King*          

the last Sunday after Pentecost

My prayers are not like the songs I find in the book of Psalms.  Often a psalm begins with a recount of history, a history giving evidence of God’s power and faithfulness.  Following the history, they lament their current condition and beg God to intercede.  I don’t think God needs reminded of his faithfulness.  I, like those authors of the Psalms, am the one who needs reminded.  He knows my needs and cares deeply, but sharing my needs is not the primary reason for prayer.  The primary purpose of prayer is for me to open a portal for the Lord of the universe into my life, triggering peace, love, more praise.

What a strange King I serve.  He arrived as a weak child, not as a King.  He did not come to conquer but to convert and coach and commission.  He felt more at home with the common, marginalized people than with emperors – sleeping on the ground rather than royal sheets.  He suffered temptation, abuse, and death at the hands of those he could have overpowered.  This is the King I serve.

The book of Luke is a book of action.  In chapter eight alone, Jesus exercised power over natural storms, dictated the actions of powerful demons, healed disease, and raised the dead.  When the Lord of the creation speaks, things happen.  He offers power to me, but I both fear it and crave it.  I think the two in combination causes me to doubt my trustworthiness for such power.  Why would Jesus trust me with power I may be too scared to use or use for my own glory?  “LORD, make me a trustworthy vessel!”

I want fresh stories.  Don’t get me wrong, the bible stories of miracles, victories, and redemption inspire me.  I just want something fresh, something less than two-thousand years old.  The God of yesteryear is the same God today.  I know he is working, but is he working in the nation-changing ways of the Bible stories?  “LORD, open my senses to detect your power among the nations.  Let me give witness to works of your hand that are even greater than what I read in the Bible.  Cause people to say, ‘This only happened because of the Lord.’  May even the unbelieving confess your greatness.”

Historically, a person’s king was determined by where they lived, and their allegiance was not their choice, and that’s mostly true today.  However, allegiance is different in the spiritual realm.  Spiritually, I choose my ruler, and I have no reason to complain about how he runs his Kingdom.  I have no excuse to disobey just because some of his rules are difficult, I don’t understand his overall plan, I don’t like something that happened in his Kingdom, or some people in his Kingdom are annoying.  I have no excuse to disobey, but I still disobey.  Yet my King is so great that he loves me enough to forgive me when I turn to him.  He actually longs for me to come back.  He pursues me!  What a great King!

*A Guide To Prayer For Ministers And Other Servants by Job and Shawchuck provided the scripture references and readings that inspired these reflections.  I found this devotional to be the most heart changing of any I’ve used.  It truly lives up to its title.

 

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Radical

This book by David Platt has created much chatter in the Christian subculture.  He was supposed to have some extreme views of Jesus’ teachings.  Having read books such as Juan Carlos Ortiz’s book Disciple, I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be startled by anything Platt had to say.  I was wrong.

Here’s just a sample of  things that stung me:

  • Everything in all creation obeys God except humans.
  • USA Christianity has reduced being a good Christian to not doing a list of things.  Godliness, however, is determined by what I do.
  • I must say “Yes” to the words of Jesus before I hear them.  Otherwise I’ll never truly hear them.

But what really threw me for a loop was the fact that some of the people at Platt’s church actually try to live this way.  Imagine that – church goers whose lives show that God is more important than the American Dream.  Not only that, but Platt dared to give five points of action for me, the reader.  I plan to alter my 2012 to accommodate those five actions, with some modifications, and I’m eager to identify the results.

My notes on this book can be downloaded in MS Word format from the blue “FILES box” in the left side-bar of this blog.

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Crazy Love

by Francis Chan

I heard Chan a few times on the web compliments of Youtube.com, and I liked what I heard.  He was passionate, candid, and he made me think.  This book shows those same traits.  But honestly I was unprepared for how he challenged me.  He hit me right between the eyes several items.  

For example, he taught about the seed planted in soil that became choked with thorns.  The seed grew, but it bore no fruit.  I think that’s me.  Yes, I am surrounded by thorns – worries and cares and distractions.  And Chan opened my eyes to the fact that I do more than tolerate the thorns; I actually kind of like them.  The sports, TV, yard care, and hobbies have become important to me.  But are they more important than bearing fruit?  And that was just one of the topics that hit home.

I had just started this book when I told a friend about the first couple chapters.  She explained she had read already.  “Hang on.” she warned.  Now I understand.  This book made me see myself in an unflattering light, and I’m glad for it.  If you want a good kick in the spiritual pants, in a loving way, check out Crazy Love.

My notes on this book can be downloaded in MS Word format from the blue “FILES box” in the left side-bar of this blog.

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Truth And Transformation

Truth And Transformation by Vishal Mangalwadi

I was unprepared for the incredible depth and breadth of this book.  I had never heard of the author, and that is to my loss.  Considered by some to be India’s foremost Christian intellectual, he attempted to serve the rural poor of India.  ”Service is the legitimate means of acquiring the power to lead.”  The results were violent opposition.  He turned to a study of the West and why India’s civilization lacked similar justice and prosperity.

His insights regarding the caste system’s foundation and fruit caused me to examine the current situation in the USA.  “Without God’s value system, humans have no intrinsic worth.  They are only worth what other human beings decide they are worth.”  Vishal shows that the USA is traveling on a questionable moral road.

I highly recommend this book to those of us who have been numbed by the slow but constant decline of USA values.  “Jesus changes the world by planting the Church in the midst of it.”

My notes on this book can be downloaded in MS Word format from the blue “FILES box” located in the left side-bar of this blog.

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When Godly People Do Ungodly Things

by Beth Moore

Satan is furious at God, but the only way to hurt God is to attack his children.  Satan has nothing to gain.  He does not seek redemption; he only desires that others suffer with him and thus bring sorrow to God.  Satan has no scruples. 

We must put our pasts in front of God. 

We can ask God to forgive us, but we must also ask God to heal us completely – redeem our past, restore our lives and control us entirely.  We can ask him to enable us to forgive ourselves.   Satan is inconceivably mean and will take advantage of any unfinished business.

My notes on this book can be downloaded in MS Word format from the blue “FILES box” located in the left side-bar of this blog.

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