Why Do I Do This?


Why do I do this? "The Bible is like a telescope. If you look through it you can see worlds beyond, but if you look at it, you see only the telescope."-- Anon. I am learning to look through it.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Let God Lead!

To be led by God, first of all we must be willing to follow, or let God take the lead in our lives. Christian life is trekking on the wildest side, the thickest wood and scorching desert. God is willing to take the risk of being the leader in all such situations and making the way for us through the most difficult conditions and we just need to follow him. It is our hurry and impatience that gets us into trouble. Let 's wait for God and his time.
The two accounts of David's victory over the Philistines found in 2 Samuel 5:22-25 and 1 Chron. 14:13-17 describe a decisive event in his life. This was his first victory over the Philistine as the King of Israel. The Philistines had come to battle determined to overthrow the newly elected king of Israel. Thus it was a battle that was decisive not only for David as an individual but for Israel as a nation. A defeat in this battle would mean a different course of history for the people of God. However, the day was David's and he reigned in Israel as King for some decades and kept the Philistines under check.
The secret of David's success was not in superior military maneuvers but a very simple one: He just waited for the Lord to go ahead of him. The battle had to be fought by him, and he may have even suffered some casualties but the victory was certain because David allowed the army of the Lord to march ahead of him.
Letting God take the lead is an important Christian principle.
The story of the man who asked for God's protection as he drove along the motor way illustrates the point. As he started the long journey on the motor way he asked God to send his angel ahead of him to protect him. He felt God had heard his prayer and expperienced the angels protection. However, once he entered the motor way he could hardly resist the temptation to cross the speed limit. He met with a serious accident. Recovering in the hospital he shouted at God: "You promised to send your guardian angels ahead of me to protect me. Where was your angel when I crashed into that truck?" He heard the gentle voice of God: "Son, I did send my guardian angel, and he was ahead of you clearing the way for you. But, once you entered the motor way, soon you were driving at a speed that the angel could not keep pace with you. Before he could get ahead of you and clear the truck from your way you had already rammed into it."
Our God is willing to go ahead of us if we let him. The Book of Isaiah chapter 40 tells that the people of God who were in Exile are to return and that their God will lead them out of bondage to freedom. Yahweh forgives and gives them a new beginning by leading his people. Years ago, in their history, God had led them throughout their wilderness journey— a journey from slavery to freedom. Exodus 40:34-38 mentions God leading by the pillar of fire at night and the cloud by day 'throughout their journey.' Many centuries later, God was willing to do that again by bringing his people out from Babylon. He will do that again for us now if we only allow.
To be led by God, first of all we must be willing to follow, or let God take the lead in our lives. Christian life is trekking on the wildest side, the thickest wood and scorching desert. God is willing to take the risk of being the leader in all such situations and making the way for us through the most difficult conditions and we just need to follow him. It is our hurry and impatience that gets us into trouble. Let 's wait for God and his time.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Righteous Anger and Fretting

Let the wicked prosper but instead of getting frustrated at their prosperity let us leave it to God to deal with them. Let the righteous conserve their energies to do what is right and not expend it on dealing with the wickedness of the wicked!
The presence of the wicked person in the society is destructive. The psalmist in Psalm 37 knows well that these are people who borrow but never pay back (Verse 21). The wicked are those who oppress the weak and the innocent (Verse 14). For reasons that we may never know it is true that the wicked has outnumbered the righteous in every generation. To expect to create a world where there is no wickedness could be a mere Utopia. The wickedness is there to stay. One wicked man goes but two will come in his place and the wickedness will always continue.
By nature the righteous person cannot tolerate wrong. They burn with righteous anger. Especially when we see the wicked persons succeed in their wicked ways we become frustrated and sometimes may question the justice of God (See verse 7). The psalmist has some advise for those people who in their relationship with God and in their involvement in the society are righteous. His advice is for those who would like to see righteousness established and prevail.
"Do not fret" is the advice. Put it another way: let not the wicked make you angry by their wickedness. The foremost reason is that there is no need to fret. The wicked are not here for ever (Verses 1-2). They do exist but only for a short while. They are the most transient of all: like grass that withers. Why should we waste our energy being angry while they are already under God's wrath and will be consumed in due course? Verse 10 reaffirms the thought of verse 2 that the wicked will not last forever. Thus our fretting is unnecessary.
Secondly, fretting could lead to sin; meaning it could turn a righteous to wicked. In other words, it is counterproductive. This is what we find in verse 8. By being angry at the wicked, and in their zeal to deal with wickedness, the righteous may be tempted to do things are not pleasing to God.
Thirdly, it is better to be content with what one has than being unhappy with what the wicked has gathered with his wickedness. This will take away any reason to be unhappy with the prosperity of the wicked people. At the same time, the righteous is cared for by the Lord. This thought is scattered throughout the psalm in verse 16, 18, 19 etc.
Let the wicked prosper but instead of getting frustrated at their prosperity let us leave it to God to deal with them. Let the righteous conserve their energies to do what is right and not expend it on dealing with the wickedness of the wicked!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Mystery of the Open Tomb

Jesus is available to be explored. A Christian's life of faith with Jesus involves this constant exploration of Jesus, getting to know him closer, and enriching ourselves with that knowledge of him. The Hymn writer is right is saying THE LONGER I SERVE HIM, THE SWEETER HE GROWS!
We celebrate Easter because two thousand years ago, on the third morning of Jesus' crucifixion the tomb in which he was buried was found open.
It was Mary who first found that the tomb was open (John 20:1). She was not sure if she will find someone to help her to roll the stone away so that she can visit the tomb of her dear Lord. To her relief she finds that the tomb was already open.*
The stone was not rolled away so that the body can escape from the tomb. The resurrected body did not need an open door to pass through. John 20:19 tells us that the resurrected body could enter through closed doors. Jesus appeared to his scared disciples behind the closed doors. John 20.6ff also tells us that the resurrected body can just pass through the mortuary clothes. The grave clothes were found in the same manner as they were wrapped around his body. The head linen is found separately, but the clothes were undisturbed and it appeared as if a living organism has come out through them; the mortuary clothes were like the cocoon of a butterfly. If they were left scattered we can assume that someone got up from a deep sleep (or a comma) and walked out throwing the wrapping away. According to Jewish custom there were many layers of wrapping around a dead body and these wrapping packed incenses and preservatives, some in gum form. If the resurrected body could get out through the thick funeral clothes, then it did not need the stone to be rolled away.
Then why was then stone rolled away? I submit that it was open so that the disciples could enter and be convinced. It was an invitation to explore. The stone that stands rolled away is thus a challenge to our unbelief and our wrong belief. Easter Sunday is a day of challenge for us to change our false ideas and our misdirected hopes. Mary's fear was if she would find someone to help her to roll the stone back. Jesus dispels her fear by keeping the stone rolled away. He invites us to explore: Come and See, He is not there. He is risen.
Jesus is available to be explored. A Christian's life of faith with Jesus involves this constant exploration of Jesus, getting to know him closer, and enriching ourselves with that knowledge of him. The Hymn writer is right is saying THE LONGER I SERVE HIM, THE SWEETER HE GROWS!
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* The Nature of Jesus Tomb: Jesus' body was placed in a tomb with rooms for people to walk in and even be seated and watch the body lying on a shelf on the wall. It was room cut into the walls of a rock face so that people could enter.