Friday, August 31, 2007

The Shadow

There was a radio program that came on in the 1930’s and 40’s called, “The Shadow.” During the introduction to each show the announcer said the following phrase, “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!" Radio serial characters aside, shadows don’t know much. Shadows do have the ability to describe certain external features of the objects that cast them such as the general shape. It is usually easy to determine what, in a general sense, cast a shadow. For example, it is easy to determine that it was a house that cast a particular shadow.

But what about the internal features of the house? Here is where the shadow provides very little information. The shadow cannot tell you the color of the carpet in the foyer or how many bedrooms there are. No matter how closely you examine the shadow, it will provide you with very little information about the internal workings and depths of the object that cast it. The Word of God calls the Law a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, but not the good things themselves.

The old system under the Law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. The sacrifices under that system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they were never able to provide perfect cleansing for those who came to worship. (Hebrews 10:1 NLT)

So what is the good thing to come?

Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day-- things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ. Colossians 2:16-17

So many spend all of their time focused on the shadow called the Law and pay little mind to the One who cast it. It is like spending all of your time looking at a portrait or reading a biography, when the subject of the portrait or biography is right there in the room. The Jews in Jesus’ day studied and memorized the scriptures in an attempt to be right with God, but what did Jesus say to them,

You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life. (John 5:39-40)

I think that we are, for the lack of a better word, defined by our focus. It’s what sets us apart from everyone else. It seems that we religious types are always latching on to something, some special piece of knowledge that sets us apart from those unwashed heathens down the road. Things like baptismal regeneration, keeping the Sabbath, tongues as evidence of salvation, predestination, etc. And since that is our focus, it is pretty much all you hear us talk about.

What about Jesus? Are we willing to come to Him so that we may have life; not just for salvation, but are we willing for Him to be our life? Are we willing to take our focus off learning about Him, and focus on learning from Him? I think this is what Paul was talking about when he wrote,

And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. (1 Corinthians 2:1-2)

We spend much time trying to persuade others of the superiority of our revelation and the wisdom in our understanding. We become so arrogantly convinced of the “rightness” of our position that we label those who disagree as false teachers or heretics. Heavenly Father save us from being like Martha; from being so intent on what our sister Mary is doing or not doing, that we miss the blessing of choosing the better part, which will never be taken away from us. Let nothing, not knowledge, nor doctrines, nor pride, distract us from the simplicity that is devotion to Christ Jesus.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Quote of the Week

The sad truth is that most Christians spend their entire lives trying to score points with Someone who is not keeping score.

Wayne Jacobsen

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Quote of the Week

If you can't pray a door open, don't pry it open.

Lyell Rader

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

In The Light

God used this song several years ago to speak to my heart and tell me I was still living in darkness apart from Him. I had spent more than twenty years living in darkness, all the while convinced I was in the Light.

This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:5-7

Monday, August 13, 2007

Something Beautiful

Something beautiful, something good,
All my confusion, He understood.
All I had to offer Him was brokenness and strife;
But He made something beautiful out of my life.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Quote of the Week

"We may be certain that whatever God has made prominent in His Word, He intended to be conspicuous in our lives."

Charles Spurgeon

Friday, August 10, 2007

Do You Share Your Faith?

No? You better watch your back!

The Rapture Index

Here is a website that purports to tell us how close we are to being raptured. Apparently, as of August 6, our rapture index is 158. When we get to 160, then all systems are go. Sounds like they have plenty of time on their hands.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Kick the Law Out!

There is an interesting post over on Steve McVey's Blog. I thought this was good:

Sadly, those trapped in legalism see themselves as having reached a level of maturity that the rest of us haven't achieved. The truth is that they are still babies. Paul wrote in Galatians 3:25 that we don't need the Law as a "nanny" anymore. We have Christ and He is enough!

We can determine something about the level of our Christian maturity by how connected we still are to religious rules in our lifestyle. When I was a young child, I had to be told to brush my teeth and bathe. Nobody has to tell me that now. The same is true as we mature spiritually. Some churches are nothing more than child-care nurseries where Christians are treated like babies, being told exactly what they should do and not do in every area of life.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Quote of the Week

"All our discontents about what we want appear to me to spring from the want of thankfulness for what we have."

Daniel Defoe

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Check Your Faith at the Office?

I read an opinion column over on USA Today. A Presbyterian pastor was talking about religion in the workplace. The article begins with this statement:

You don’t have to leave your beliefs at home. In fact, some employers see the value of integrating religion and work in meaningful ways.

My first thought was, "Well Duh!" Why would a Christian leave his beliefs at home? I mean besides the obvious contradiction of someone who professes Christ on Sunday, but lives like the world the rest of the week. Don't get the idea that I am pointing my finger at all "those" hypocrites, because it is an easy trap to fall into. I find myself at times going along just to get along. You know the drill, laughing at a particular joke, talking about someone because everyone else is, losing patience when people don't act like you think they should, the list goes on.

I was more focused on the aspect of employers sanctioning the practice of religion in the work place. I guess that I have never needed permission to be who I am, a child of God. I have prayed when I have felt led to pray, I have led a lunch time Bible study, and I have even talked to my boss about Jesus. He didn't get saved, but he didn't fire me either. Maybe it is a byproduct of where I live. I am not one of those who talk about God in every other sentence, nor do I try to tell people how to live their lives, and nor do I try to witness to everyone I come across. Maybe if I did all of those things I would have more of a problem keeping a job. I don't hide the fact that I am a Christian, but I also don't wear it on my sleeve.

Does that make me a sub-par Christian? I don't think so. I think that our lives are a testimony to the power of God working in us, not what we put on for show. I think that if you are surrendered to God and trusting in Him, then your life will show it, but if you are living in rebellion and trusting in yourself, then your life will show that as well. A nice thing happened to me at work one day not long after I was saved. A co-worker came up to me and said, "There is something different about you." I told him I got saved and he said, "That's it!" It would seem to me that the worst thing a Christian could ever hear is for someone to say, "You're a Christian? I never new that!"