Posts Tagged With: faith

Love Tested: God or Mammon?

I scan the home and farm;

I scan my bank account and investments.

I see my wife and children dressed in finest fashions;

I see my workers smiling when they greet me at the door.

I smell the company dinners;

I smell the wine in private company.

I greet my neighbors in their also pleasant homes;

I greet my enemies from the security of my iron gate.

I think how God has blessed me;

I think how much more blessing I desire.

My heart yearns not faintly with longing;

My soul longs for more years to enjoy this world.

Till all is stripped away through heart attack;

Till my economy collapses beneath the wait of my greed.

My protection is breached!

My borders are unprotected!!

A heavy heart toils to find God among the ruins of disaster;

A heavy burdened back labors to lift my eyes beyond the horizon.

My children, home, lands and pleasant company are gone;

My wife wishes that I were gone as well.

 

How can a life so right

become so wronged?

I wrestle with the dirt,

as though digging my own grave.

I wrestle with my friends,

as though wrestling with my God.

I wrestle with the devil,

and find myself wrestling with myself.

 

Where has my love gone?

The simple love of children laughing;

The simple joys of cattle calving.

Where has my hope gone?

The simple hope of heaven yet to come;

The simple security of forgiveness won.

Where has my faith gone?

The simple faith in the Lord unmoved;

The simple humility of trusting Truth.

 

The Lord reveals Himself amid the storm;

He shows me that all that I thought was norm

Was merely what I’d seen

Yet hidden beyond my wildest dreams

I had not known the Maker of the stars;

I had not known the Designer of all my million parts.

“Lord, let me simply walk with you,

and though my path is marked with thorns

Let me speak in simple truths

and behold you sitting on Your Throne!”

 

I lift my eyes to see my friends gather round,

I lift my ears to hear with joy the sound of laughter once again.

The Lord has settled me alive in this broken world;

and though the swirls of life seem unsettled …

A broken heart proves plenty an offering in the plate that passes by.

Now I can taste once more His Presence at the table with my enemies.

 

My story & my song. – Mert Hershberger, remembering Job, in honor of all my loved ones.

February 17, 2017.

Categories: God, Humility, Poem, Prayer, Suffering, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Divided Loves: Love for God

For love, I take a Book off of the shelf
to read about what lasts. My tiny life,
a mere reflection of Eternity
beyond the great beyond. Where Heaven kisses
earth, what’s needed to fulfill God’s Word:
a second, from above–a brand new birth.
A love for God requires life divine,
“Lord Jesus, I am Yours, and You are mine.
I give You all I have, its what You’re worth!”
This seed-like faith emerged from what I heard
about His love and truth. His grace and wisdom
speaks unto my heart and sets me free
from fear. I now can laugh at cruel knife
or fist aimed at my former love: my self.

Categories: Poem, Prayer | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Silence Leads to Violence

The complacency of fools will destroy them. (Proverbs 1:32b)
One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys. (Proverbs 18:9)

We are all limited in our knowledge, to some degree or another. We are all also limited in our service to the Lord, in one way or another, either due lack of ability or lack of faithful effort. Anyone who fails to serve is subject to destruction. Jeremiah knew this full well:
A curse on anyone who is lax in doing the Lord’s work!
A curse on anyone who keeps their sword from bloodshed! (Jeremiah 48:10)

The reasons there are wars & rumors of wars at this time is because of the shortage of those doing the Lord’s preferred work of blessing the nations. If we do not bless, we will be accursed. If we do not build up the Kingdom of God among the nations, we will have to tear down the kingdoms of man called nations.

Ezekiel (3:16-21), who prophesied about the same time, received a message from God that made what Jeremiah prophesied clearer:

At the end of seven days the word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.

“Again, when a righteous person turns from their righteousness and does evil, and I put a stumbling block before them, they will die. Since you did not warn them, they will die for their sin. The righteous things that person did will not be remembered, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. But if you do warn the righteous person not to sin and they do not sin, they will surely live because they took warning, and you will have saved yourself.”

In other words, if a person does not share the wisdom that God has given them with those who are ignorant, the wise man must execute judgment. Silence leads to violence.

In what was likely one of the first portions of the New Testament that was written down and distributed, Paul wrote in Galatians: As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse! (1:9) Later on in the book, Paul expanded later in the book of Galatians how we are to identify with Jesus’ ostracism from the community of the self-righteous by setting the example: For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (2:19-20) So we see that there is a dying that must take place to identify with Jesus.

Paul went on to make it clear that:
For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.” The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.” He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. (3:10-14)
To follow Jesus is to believe that His death on the cross was sufficient to take all the curses that you deserve, so that through the Messiah Who was crushed, you might be lifted up with Him Who is exalted over every other name and so receive the Spirit of God through the promise you trust. We who receive this promised spirit then are able to bless the nations.

Back to an idea in Proverbs about character: Who are we? Paul says, “We are fools for Christ …” (1 Corinthians 4:10a) To be fools for someone means you will do some things that seem foolish because of your attachment to that person. This may seem like a bad idea, but the alternative to being zealously in love with the Lord is not a good one. Paul includes in the conclusion to his letter to the Corinthians, “If anyone does not love the Lord, let that person be cursed! Come, Lord!” (16:22) Whoa! Either we love the Lord or we love the world. There is no middle ground. The world may seem good and full of goods, but God is the Truly Good.

Yet our love for the Lord should lead to a love for the lost that says, “Better I die & go to hell, than that many people would die & go to hell.” Again, Paul testifies in Romans 9:2-4a “I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit—I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, the people of Israel.” As he was about to go to Jerusalem and then on to Rome itself, he said, “I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” (Acts 20:23-24) The only reason we live on planet earth after we receive Jesus Christ as our Savior & acknowledge Him as Lord is to make known the Kingdom of Heaven known on earth. God is patient with us so that we might make known His salvation known through our whole life.

Lest we think of this as merely exemplary living, Paul opens his letter to the Philippians with a meditation on his future on earth:
I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me. (1:20-26)

The point of his life is not himself, but Christ who lives in Him. Christ has become our hope of glory. Let us glory not in being right in ourselves or right with the world. Rather, let us boast of the Righteous One who has come to our defense.

Do you lack any joy? Stop looking for joy in special seasons or special saints or special gifts or special sources of happiness. Let all your springs be in the Lord Jesus. Take offense at no humbug this season. Let not death quench your happiness, but let all things lead you closer and closer to Jesus. Let Him be the Word of God to you. Let Him be the Open Door that is set before you. Let Him be your Bread of Life. Let Him be your Resurrection & your Life. Have you lost your way from the path of peace? Look to Him as the Prince of Peace and pledge allegiance to Him alone. Follow Jesus as the Way. Believe in Him as the Truth. Love Him as the Life. He will bring you to the Father from whom all family derives its name and your spirit will mingle with the Very Spirit of God this Christmas.

Let us go out and tell our families, our friends, our neighbors, and yes, even our enemies what the Lord has done for us not only at Christmas, but also on the cross. The devil also needs to hear more about the saving victory of the Lord Jesus Christ who is risen and coming quickly. Marana tha!

Categories: Evangelism, Holiday, Missions | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Angela’s Aspirations

“God, steal the nails of rust within my heart.”

I wonder why God saves and heals
… perhaps because He works our weal.
I wonder why faith flounders, fails
… perhaps my flesh is weak and ails.
But when my heart’s aflame with trust
Then God does what He said He must:
The Lord comes near, reveals …
Christ frees us from our jails,
and lifts us from prayer’s hush.
I still my hurt
and wounded heart
in Him.

Psalm 46:10a

Categories: Poem, Prayer | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Missionary of Hope

The resolution of morality based on force of will is why the Post-Christian culture is not very critical of Islam as the source of the problem (or when it does, it does so to accuse and excuse, rather than in a confessional manner): The west also adores power. Left or Right, few are willing to take up the cross. And when we must take up the cross, we are too often embarrassed.
 
Forgiveness is powerful. I need more power, the power of forgiveness that is.
 
I wonder how many times we just treat the trauma of abuse in Islam but never minister healing to the heart because the full power of forgiving and being forgiven is not understood.
 
Abuse is also present in America, even in the churches. But it goes by different names. In need of revival, the shame is the same. The guilt is the same in both cultures. It is just when the trauma gets so intense, as is the case in Islamic cultures of people clamoring for status, honor, pleasure, goods, etc., when the oppression intensifies, the only way to protect the soul is by being ashamed of being a victim and pretending to be a victor.
 
I must confess, I often feel beaten but not defeated. I think I can understand Paul the apostle in this regard. True victory comes in persevering in the midst of trial and difficulty because of what Jesus has already accomplished. I will be forever thankful for what I have learned from the persecuted church: to count it all joy and to be honest about the struggles-because otherwise I too would be a pretender. As it is, I am the worst of sinners, and the least of the saints, and …I am a missionary, a missionary of hope.
 
This much like telling a blind man that there is light … until the sighted saint sees that better glasses will not do. The blind man has no eyes. Only by faith can the blind be healed. Only by faith can Muslims be saved. So I am also a missionary of faith.
 
Because doubt demands power, but trust enables kindness to be given and received, I would suggest that we should also be missionaries of love and loving missionaries. This is an impossible task. In this life there is so much trouble, it is not funny. Yet we rejoice because the little love we show points to a Greater Love, a Perfect Love, revealed through what Christ Suffered. He knows what it is like to be in a power-conflicted society and to answer demons of abuse and isolation and arrogance and confusion with the wisdom and grace of His Word. Oh, how precious is His blood which speaks a better word than the blood of Abel!
 
Life is not easy for me.  So thank you for letting me pour out my heart. And thank you for praying with me in view of the redemption.
 
Peace in Jesus, the Fount of all hope,
– MertH., everyday saint
 
I believe in one holy universal-Christian church.
I believe in the resurrection.
I believe in the forgiveness of sins.
Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God’s Power, Jesus’ Faith, and World Mission: A study in Romans

Steve Mosher does an excellent job looking not only at the structure of Romans and the sources of Romans but and the significance of Romans for today when related to its original purpose: to ensure that the mission of Paul would continue beyond his journey to Jerusalem.

His exegesis is sound, and even when I felt his application was going to far, I couldn’t help but face the deepening conviction that my feelings were based more on my own shortcomings and on the present history of the local church than on the vision Paul originally had in mind under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Mosher has a big heart, a broad vision, a clear perception of history, a profound love, and a keen and balanced interpretive skill.

He does here what I have long wanted to do: integrate biblical teaching on the Gospel with a particular to the American Church enumerating where she has succeeded and fallen short in making disciples of all nations according to the pattern established in the first century. Mosher preaches to the choir in a way that should leave the choir crying out on a new minor note, like a minor prophet calling forth the sins of his people.

I commend this work with its clear writing, adequate footnotes, and extensive bibliography.

http://www.amazon.com/Power-Jesus-Faith-World-Mission/dp/0836190319

Categories: Book Review, Evangelism, Good News, Missions | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Blog at WordPress.com.