Tag Archives: christianlife

Confusion of Focus

A good friend, who follows my blogging drivel, dropped me an email one day that got me to thinking (yes, I know that is a shocking revelation). He commented that a certain situation that he was aware of was, in his words, “figuring in your rants”.

He was correct, but what it made me think about was the percentage of negative ranting vs positive ranting in the blog – not only my blog, but others as well.

Yes, this stuff needs to be said, and yes, often is strikes a common cord with many others. But like media in general, we are often soooooo negative in focus. There are lots of good things, honest there is. It is certainly cathartic to rant righteously, but we also need to rant about that good stuff as well.

Christians have eternal reason to rant positively. And so we are back to my “How shall we live?” thread.

I don’t have an answer, but maybe just bearing it in mind will be a step on the road…

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Irritated by the Beloved

Assuming that you are are believer, then you are living in the Beloved – marked by God before creation, saved through Christ, changed, inhabited and directed by the Spirit, and His into eternity no matter what. More significantly for today’s post, you are in all of this with a lot of brothers and sisters in the faith.

This family of faith are, in the end, closer to you than any other earthy group of people. As a family apart from the creation, we are precisely that – apart. No bond of flesh within creation is as eternal nor significant. We are commanded to be loving and supportive within that family.

And there’s the rub (to abuse Shakespeare shamelessly)…

Why? Because our brothers and sisters in Christ, or at least some of them, can be very irritating! I would venture to say that within each local assembly there is at least one, and likely several, believers who really annoy you. If not, then I think you are either not involved or in denial…

That said, what do we do with these bozos who are part of us for all eternity?

First, let us remember that they will only bug you in the flesh. In the New Jerusalem, all the vestiges of the flesh which lead to the observations in this post will be gone, for  “we will be like Him” (1 John 3:2). As such, the conflict will be gone and forgotten. Thus we only have to consider now – now being the time until we either die or the Lord returns.

With that in mind, do we have to embrace every other believer as our long lost friend – approving and supporting all that they are in the flesh? Should we expect ourselves to interact with all of them well, and fit with them? Are we sinful if we don’t care for or feel comfortable in the company of some? Many pious Christians might seem to believe that this is the case,and in fact our obligation.

I would disagree. I think this is without biblical support. Further, it can lead to reactions and guilt that can be sinful.

The confusion appears to be around the difference between acceptance and preference. That is, global acceptance within the family of believers is regarded as proper and pious, while preference is not. But because you accept an individual as a  brother or sister does not imply that you ‘fit’ with them in the present flesh. I know of no biblical text that would propose this.

As long as we are in the flesh and all that it brings, we will be a better fit with some than others. This is where preference comes along. You have a preference for some over others – a natural resonance if you will. And there is nothing sinful in that.

Now, in the New Heaven and Earth, this will apparently not be the case because of our state (1 John 3:2 again), but even this is just an interpretive assumption.

We certainly are called to treat our brothers and sisters in the Lord with deference and general regard. After all, we are all strangers in the same strange land (to use a Robert Heinlein phrase). But our relationships can be at various levels, and those levels can be determined by individual preference. There is nothing sinful in that, and I would go so far as to say that to believe otherwise is error.

Let us treat each other with the deference that our relationship in the Lord brings, but realize that having preferences in close relationships is quite acceptable and not sinful, as long as it does not result in ill treatment of a brother or sister.

Soli Deo Gloria

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Looking for water in the desert…

Pillar of fireI was thinking about the Israelite’s wandering in the desert, as I drove along mulling life and frustrations. So often we (I, more appropriately) are like those hard headed Israelite soles, as they plodded through the wilderness with the Pillar of Smoke and Fire going before them. Always wondering where they were going, and ignoring the real way to get there all that time, as they looked for an external solution.

They needed to rest in Him and follow in faith. Seemingly easy, but what did they do? Everything else but what was needed, looking for the answer and their salvation in every other direction – often directions that annoyed the Lord.

How much like them we are as we rush along trying to define this and that, making things better and putting programs in place – all unrelated, and in fact often tangential, to plain Faith and a walk of trust in the Lord.

We are called as a people apart, and yet we strive so much to actual be part of the world. .

In the words of Francis Schaefer, “How then shall we live?”

 

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Bible Reading Plan

Yikes, another Bible reading plan! At first blush that was my reaction as well. Had it not been for an intriguing comment on another Reformed blog I would likely have dismissed it summarily with a polite yawn.

That would have been most unfortunate, and I am very thankful that the Lord prodded me appropriately.

The plan in question is called Professor Horner’s Bible reading plan. It has a web site and a facebook page if you Google for it.

In a nutshell, it proposes that one read one chapter from each of ten lists of Bible books each day – that is 10 chapters from 10 different books, daily. The ten book lists cover the whole Bible and are chosen by the good professor to reflect various New and Old Testament divisions and areas of importance.

Sounds weird, doesn’t it? But it works!

Each of the lists are different lengths, so over time the juxtaposition of books and chapters read daily changes. The result is a unique contextualization.

Here is the original article.

I made one modification. Acts was on a list by itself, while Romans was grouped with other Epistles. Given the Reformed doctrinal significance of Romans, I moved it to join Acts. This increases the frequency of Romans somewhat.

Here is a speadsheet of my version, which makes it easier to follow the program. Notice that the days have numbers, not dates, so you can start any time.

My opinion is that his predication about the effects are both correct and wonderful. It is very profitable.

Try it…

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