Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Flawless...

Yesterday I heard the tail end of a new-to-me song on the radio, and I thought, "Wow! I think I like this song!"  It ended, I had to get ready for my day, and it slipped my mind. //

This morning, as I was lying in bed, one song on klove ended and another began. It only took a few seconds for me to realize I was hearing a new song that I'd never heard before. The first few lines caught my attention, and I began listening very carefully... and my love for this song grew... and I realized it was the same song I had heard yesterday! /Now I see that it's been out for a year almost... and a number of my friends in other states have heard it all this time... but I never heard it before yesterday. Crazy!

But can I tell you that I have the biggest smile on my face now?  This song is fantastic!  Why? Because it takes a truth that many Christians know in our heads, and it re-phrases it in such a way that - for me at least - I have to think about on a whole new level.

Romans 8 talks about the magnitude of what Jesus did on the cross for us.  And right in the middle of it is something that's very hard for us to wrap our minds around, I think:
29 For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those He predestined, He also called; those He called, He also justified; those He justified, He also glorified.
Conformed to the image of His Son
Justified
Glorified!
I'm glorified. Past tense.


That's what this song is talking about.  When it says "the cross" it means "what Jesus did on the cross for you."  It's talking about this amazing truth from the One who has promised to always finish what He started... the One who sees your future in past tense and says this.

This is the hope that we are given because of amazing grace, and this is how complete the redemption that Jesus purchased on the cross really is.
  • We don't lose it even though we screw up every day. 
  • It's not stolen when it feels like others are tearing our heart out. 
  • Because Jesus said, "It is finished."

Our journey here on earth is always from where we're at now, to what He he created us to be - everything that Romans 8 talks about.

In His eternal timeline, it began and ended when the Hero of the Ages laid down all He was. And it becomes ours the moment we surrender our life to the Author of Life.

I challenge you to listen to it or read the words.



Flawless - MercyMe

There's got to be more than going back and forth
From doing right to doing wrong
'Cause we were taught that's who we are
Come on get in line right behind me
You along with everybody, thinking there's worth in what you do

Then like a hero who takes the stage 
When we're on the edge of our seats saying it's too late
Well let me introduce you to amazing grace

No matter the bumps, no matter the bruises
No matter the scars, still the truth is
The cross has made
The cross has made you flawless

No matter the hurt or how deep the wound is
No matter the pain, still the truth is
The cross has made
The cross has made you flawless

Could it possibly be that we simply can't believe
That this unconditional kind of love would be enough
To take a filthy wretch like this 
And wrap him up in righteousness
But that's exactly what He did.

No matter the bumps, no matter the bruises
No matter the scars, still the truth is
The cross has made
The cross has made you flawless

No matter the hurt or how deep the wound is
No matter the pain, still the truth is
The cross has made
The cross has made you flawless

Take a breath smile and say, "Right here, right now, I'm okay
Because the cross was enough."

And like a hero who takes the stage 
When we're on the edge of our seats saying it's too late
Well let me introduce you to grace... grace...
God's grace...

No matter the bumps, no matter the bruises
No matter the scars, still the truth is
The cross has made
The cross has made you flawless

No matter the hurt or how deep the wound is
No matter the pain, still the truth is
The cross has made
The cross has made you flawless

No matter what they say or what you think you are
The day you called His name, He made you flawless
He made you flawless

No matter the bumps
No matter the bruises
No matter the scars
Still the truth is
The cross has made
The cross has made you flawless

Read more: Mercy Me - Flawless Lyrics | MetroLyrics


Sunday, May 03, 2015

What is truth?

I saw an article headline the other day announcing how many police and council members had resigned when the town elected an African American female mayor.  It said "when" but of course, we immediately assume there is a connection between the two statements and that it really meant "because."  Upon reading the article, though, a number of things did not seem to add up.  My brother and sister and I did some digging and discovered that the woman had run on a platform of cleaning up corruption in the town government... and supposedly those who had quit had deleted all their computer files before resigning. Quite a different story than the one the headlines were planting in your head!  But of course, what we discovered could have been even then only a tiny fraction of the truth. It seems pretty definite, however, that the headlines were extremely misleading.

And then the riots in Baltimore. The media did not tell us that there were six days with vast numbers of peaceful protestors before a relatively small number of rioters created havoc. They ignored the peaceful, law-abiding people and turned a small number of fires into "Baltimore is burning" as though we were having another Great Baltimore Fire. Did it work to enflame emotions and opinions and draw people's attention? Of course it did. Commenters were up in arms, using a story that didn't remotely describe the truth as support for their own personal opinions and beliefs.  I read others commenting on how they would think twice before going to Baltimore, because the idea in their mind was one of a chaotic city, instead of one that wasn't hardly any different than their own city, an hour away, that they don't think twice of visiting regularly.

A few days ago, the death toll in Nepal topped 5000. (It's now over 7,000.) Also that day, Saudi Arabia - one of the most powerful and influential nations in the Mid East - experienced a massive government changeover with far-reaching implications. That same day several world governments pulled back ambassadors to Indonesia because of executions.  And yet, most if not all of the major news networks filled their front pages that day with political gossip of who did what, stories of how a professor flunked a class, what random cake bakers around the world did, and pages upon pages of what a small number of rioters in Baltimore did (still ignoring all the peaceful protestors).  The result is that anyone visiting the news sites that day could easily have received the false impression that THIS is the most important news. And all the while, governments are changing and thousands of people are dealing with the loss of loved ones and everything they have.

I could bring up numerous other examples. One network is known for being conservative, and the others liberal... but the reality is that truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth is something that the media (both network and social) rarely gets right. Truth is something that people rarely get completely right. And since all media is shared by people... well, there you have it.

In the Bible, when Jesus was on trial, Pilate said something very profound.  He said, "What is truth?"  I am sure that this statement arose from his years of sitting to hear opposing sides present vastly different accounts of the "truth."  Ironically, at the moment he said this, before him was standing the One who said, "I am the Truth."

Why am I talking about this?

Because we, as Christians, believe that the Spirit of God is dwelling within us, and that we have communication with the One who knows all things. Right?

Why is it, then, that we are so gullible? Why does Facebook resound with Christians sharing stories of "miracle" photographs when a quick Google search will turn up the student who created it with Photoshop or video editing for a class assignment?

Why are Christians everywhere getting inflamed and up in arms at media stories that tell only a fraction of the truth?

Why are Christians allowing ourselves to be drawn into lengthy, gossip-filled, heated debates and arguments about things that - if we stopped to listen to the Holy Spirit - we would most likely discover we knew very little about? Why?

Father, teach us discernment and wisdom...


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