Tag Archive for goodness

Enjoying God (Part Two)

If we are commanded to enjoy God, how exactly is He to be enjoyed? One of the simplest ways to accomplish this is to understand God as the source of all good things (James 1:17). Think about something that brings you delight. It could be a spouse, a child, a place, even a certain type of food and then put that thing into context. For example, if I find fillet mignon to be this satisfying then God must be even more satisfying because He created fillet mignon. Then follow that with a prayer of thanksgiving to God for your fillet mignon and a request to Him to help you see Him as infinitely more satisfying. What you are doing is ultimately taking that satisfaction back to the source. Consider Jonathan Edwards view on the matter:

“The enjoyment of [God] is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied. To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here. Fathers and mothers, husbands, wives, or children, or the company of earthly friends, are but shadows; but God is the substance. These are but scattered beams, but God is the sun. These are but streams. But God is the ocean.”

Another way to enjoy God is to rely on Him to be your provider. If you are anxious rely on Him to bring you peace. If you are struggling financially, rely on Him to meet your needs. In depending on Him, we begin to see His far superior ability to provide for us and we get to enjoy the blessing of being thankful. God enjoyed is God glorified.

We might not think of God in terms like delicious, rapturous, savory, enchanting, delectable, alluring, luscious, mesmerizing, enticing, tantalizing, captivating, or enthralling but our spiritual forefathers most certainly did. They unashamedly applied such adjectives to God that we now only apply to food, or to our significant others. How decidedly low we have allowed our enjoyment of God to become. I hope that I can recapture this enjoyment and experience what the scriptures mean when they say:

“You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

Psalm 116:11

Is It Compassion?

compassion

“The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government.”

– Thomas Jefferson

Can a person truly be considered compassionate if he doesn’t give of his own resources to take care of others? Pardon my skepticism if I answer this question with a resounding, “No!” I am utterly disgusted with the positioning of many politicians in both parties. They see themselves as such great benefactors deciding how to spend money taken from one group to benefit another. Is this, however, compassion?

We have seen this played out so clearly in the recent health care debate. Many politicians want to use funds taken from one group to provide health care to another. There is no doubt that there are people who need health care and cant afford it. These folks should be cared for by some entity, preferably a private one. This transfer of funds, however, is not compassion. It cant be compassion unless it is an individual willingly giving of what he has to another individual who is in need. So if government run health care is not compassion, what is it?

The greatest compassion that we can show is the compassion of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Beyond that we can open our hearts and wallets and help provide for those around us in need. We as individuals can do what nameless, faceless bureaucratic entities cannot. Lets take this charge to show our culture what is true compassion. Government run health care is not.

The Power Of Moral Authority

mother-teresa
“Because power corrupts, society’s demands for moral authority and character increase as the importance of the position increases.”

– John Adams

President Adams was right on the money when he made the previous statement. Power does corrupt and the only safeguard against such corruption is moral authority. There is one aspect of his statement, however, that sadly doesn’t apply to us today. I am convinced that many in our society don’t demand moral authority in their leaders because they neither have it nor do they even know what it is.

The best way to define moral authority is by illustration. In 1994 then President Bill Clinton invited Mother Teresa to speak at the annual National Prayer Breakfast. She, in her calm demeanor, stood in the face of a host of left-leaning and outright liberal political types and delivered an address that called into question the worldview and practice of many in the room. Here is a short excerpt of her address:

But I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child – a direct killing of the innocent child – murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love, and we remind ourselves that love means to be willing to give until it hurts. Jesus gave even his life to love us. So the mother who is thinking of abortion, should be helped to love – that is, to give until it hurts her plans, or her free time, to respect the life of her child. The father of that child, whoever he is, must also give until it hurts. By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems. And by abortion, the father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world. That father is likely to put other women into the same trouble. So abortion just leads to more abortion. Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching the people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. That is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.

No one stood and jeered her. No one booed her or tried to shout her down. In fact, some observers recall that the room was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. How could a poor, old woman like this silence the mouths of America’s liberal elite? The answer is that she had moral authority. Her life of service, love and devotion to the poor, and dying of Calcutta had earned her the right to be heard.

As authentic Christians we are called to be salt and light. We are to preserve from and prevent evil while pointing the way to Christ. We can only do this when we have harnessed the power of moral authority just like Mother Teresa. This means loving God with all our soul, mind, heart and strength and loving our neighbors as ourselves.

How well are you doing? Does your talk line up with your walk? Do you even bother to speak out against wrong and injustice? Do involve yourself in things that will allow you to make a difference? I hope your answer to these questions is yes, but most of all I hope that you begin to harness the power of moral authority.

Who Is Wearing The Mask?

maskBut I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you”

– Luke 6:27-28 (ESV)

Authentic Christianity is all about love. As Christians, we are taught that the two greatest commandments are to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind and to love our neighbors as ourselves (Matt. 22:36-38). We are called to be a loving people.

Now contrast that picture with the worlds version of what Christians are like. Many in the world claim Christians are intolerant, judgmental, narrow-minded, bigoted, and hateful. When we stand for what we believe, regardless of how sensitive and gentle, we are labeled as the nasty meanies who want to spoil the party. We just want to make everyone miserable like we are-so the stereotype goes.

So who is right? Who is being honest and who is wearing the mask? Well, if a picture is worth a thousand words let the following video be worth a million:





I find it supremely ironic that at the end of this video the commentator actually said that you can see the hate on both sides. (For other examples of how many in the world view Christians, consult The Golden Compass,V For Vendetta, or The Handmaids Tale.) Again I ask who is wearing the mask?

Let it be clear that we as Christians have shamefully given Satan many occasions to portray us as hateful. We have some episodes in our past that we are not proud of and yet these come from the faults of man and not the commands of God. The scriptures are very clear as to how we should act and that we should be known for our love (John13:35). We have no agenda to hide. We need not cover our motives. Not only are we not to be masked we are commanded to put our actions and motives on display for all to see (Matt. 5:16).

Who is wearing the mask? I think you know the answer but don’t let that give you any sense of pride. Let it humble you to the point that you love those who hate the very ground on which you walk.

HT: My thanks to Matt Harmon (a friend) who gave me the idea for this post.