Saturday, November 27, 2010

Not Sure....

Sometimes I am leveled by the things that seemed so elementary just a few days earlier, and as I lay there trying to shake it off the question arises of why I thought I wouldn't have to deal with that particular attack again. Rolling over to get back up is like an escape dream, every motion finding its energy being sapped by the jeers being delivered to my mind as spittle from reviling lips. Jeers founding themselves on the truth of the situation; I failed. Taunting faces in the crowds leering out like mirrors showing me playbacks of times when I spoke of overcoming, mockeries of revelations shared to bring hope to others. They lunge from the dark periphery, because the spotlight is on the now, burning down from the nosebleed seats to scorch the canvas I have kissed. The noise, like static, relies on its cacophony even before its volume for maximum effect. White noise. A penetrating spiritual tinnitus tearing away thoughts like so much parchment. The noise, though, like all things, finds in its greatest strength the dark shadow of its greatest weakness. The discordant chorus cannot help but to juxtapose itself against the small still stream of order and purity flowing to my ears. Flowing from my corner. Words of such tangible substance they splash across my very vision. Flowing from my corner. My eyes settle there. They settle upon the eyes of the one who is in my corner. They see no teary eyed sop, but rather are gripped by the ferocity of the passion and fire burning within those regal orbs of glory. My Lord is there, and there is no towel to be seen. He is in my corner!
He bids me to look past the mobs amassed in the shadows, He bids me to raise my gaze above them to the cheering throngs of heaven. He reminds me.
He reminds me of why I need a lawyer; an advocate. The crowds tell me that I need Him to plead my case with the Father. They hurl every substantial accusation they can claw from the dirt of my flesh into God's face. Every one of them twisted, but true at the core. The crowd tells me that my Advocate stands to sprinkle blood over every accusation, because every new sin brings a renewed need for shed blood. This flies in the face of the totality of the sacrifice of Christ. Everything from conception to death is finally, and fully covered. Hebrews 6: 6 states this quite emphatically. (love to go into Hebrews 6 more in depth, but not right now) The crowd tells me that Christ stands there dispiritedly spilling His blood over every renewed transgression. They tell me that He knows I'm a failure, but He'll do it anyway.
The picture of the Advocate that scripture gives us is one who comes alongside to help and to console:
(Gr. parakletos), one who pleads another's cause, who helps another by defending or comforting him. It is a name given by Christ three times to the Holy Ghost (Joh_14:16; Joh_15:26; Joh_16:7, where the Greek word is rendered “Comforter,” q.v.). It is applied to Christ in 1Jo_2:1, where the same Greek word is rendered “Advocate,” the rendering which it should have in all the places where it occurs.
Easton's Bible Dictionary

The question that arises in this imagery is why does Jesus need to remind the Father about His blood sacrifice every time I transgress? Does the Father have a bad memory? Is He just itching to let me have it? No. The memory jog is meant for the accuser. Or is it? Consider a courtroom drama where the accused stands beside his lawyer and the verdict has just been read. It comes back as a resounding 'Not guilty!'. The defendant turns and heartily embraces his advocate, but the accuser, rather than hanging his head in defeat, begins to hurl further insults and accusations. He is restrained by the bailiffs from physically assaulting the pardoned criminal, so he uses the power of his voice to rob the joy of this victory day. To whom will the advocate turn his attention? The judge, or the defendant? He needs not address the judge because the verdict has been handed down and the accuser has no more power over the outcome. He turns his attention rather to the one who has been pardoned by his defense. He consoles him, and reassures him that the judge will see to the accuser for being in contempt of court. He leads him from the courtroom in freedom.
See, the picture I was given before had me in a courtroom until the day I die with Jesus repeatedly telling the Judge that He had forgiven me. Court was always in session. The days were long, bleak, and insidiously repetitious. I don't know if this picture is the one you have, but let's do ourselves a favour and pitch it in the rubbish bin. In the courtroom shown by scripture the verdict has already been read. IT IS FINISHED!!!! Finished. No more haggling and drama. No more bloodied bulls and gore drenched priests. Only the victorious Christ leading us from the courtroom, and a bound accuser with no more rights to us ever again! Our Advocate speaks not to the judge anymore on this case, because it is completed. He speaks rather to us to comfort our minds and bring us peace. He speaks to each accusation reminding us of His victory over each and every one. He reminds us of the overwhelming totality of the power of His blood. He reminds us to walk from the courtroom with heads held high, not bowing and scraping. He reminds us that we are BELOVED!!!
Today I needed to be reminded of this, and His voice came through a television program I normally would have ignored for its flashiness. Today the clear stream of His voice came from another servant. Today I will stand.

PS I will apologize here for the seeming incongruities between the metaphors here, but the former image is based in blind feelings and emotions and the latter is based in unseen fact. If you search it out I'm sure the connection will become clear.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Context Is Everything

It's interesting to be sitting here and relaxing after watching a good movie. Interesting because of the surroundings, and stirring because of some of the dialogue from the movie. It was “Good Will Hunting” that I watched in the dark of the staff room while the brothers watched their movie in kwongyeh (wilderness), as they affectionately call the main assembly area. If you haven't seen the movie, and you can stand a lot of South Boston expletives being thrown around, it tells a very intriguing tale. In it the character of a psychologist, played by Robin Williams, confronts a brilliant young man, played by Matt Damon, regarding his lack of true knowledge about the world he could so blithely quote and critique at a comfortable distance. He had never experienced anything outside of his hometown. It made me think again about where I am, because as a friend of mine once said, “Context is everything!”

Context in this case is strangely inescapable, and even more so strangely familiar. I really have to focus on it before it seems out of the ordinary. Reflecting intentionally on my past will show the odd juxtaposition of my current situation, but it cannot sustain the sense of oddity. Like pushing on a minor obstacle, it falls away with little effort leaving only what was before my eyes to begin with. The only thing that is sustained is the sense of belonging that comes not from being in an environment where I am the eternal stranger, but rather the rightness of being wherever I am with my Father.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Hope That Stands

The most difficult aspect of faith, is faith. The aspect which demands that we place our trust in that which is not seen, nor will be seen until faith is thrown in the pot like dye in pure water. As it swirls through the transparent purity of hope then there is some form lent to the unseen. When it curls through the liquid current hope makes sense, but without faith there is no substance given to hope. The interesting thing about faith is that it will only mix with purity. If there is mixture then all we get is mud. If it is a worldly commodity it will simply dissolve. If it is a person it will only disfigure them. Faith only mixes with heavenly things. Faith never apologizes for this either, just as oil will not utter a word as it drifts across the water; it knows no other way.

This is wonderful as we set our thoughts on things above as we are entreated to do by scripture. All of glory opens up before our longing gaze as we sweep the light of faith across the invisible realms of promise. Light, life, and love pour out upon us as fluid music, and our feet are found to be on immoveable bedrock. On the other hand, our gaze will turn to fear, remorse, and despair as we witness the crushing weight of faith settle upon our earthly dreams, grinding them to dust as their insubstantial forms are proven.

I would love to report here that my eyes have beheld the glory of the coming of the Lord, but today I am wiping some dust from my eyes. It will be a good thing in the long run, because it is teaching me about the things of the kingdom, and the benefit will be peace. Yesterday it felt horrible, but today will be better. Today my Father will remind me that faith is all about Him. He will remind me that the hopes that I have in Him will never be crushed by a faith that was given by Him. He will remind me of His love.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Up In The Air

It feels a little weird to be writing this from 31500 feet above the Bering Straits, but that is just how fast life can change for a person. I’m not lucky enough to be doing this with my thumbs. I am, however, blessed enough to be doing this on a laptop that was purchased with funds forwarded to us from Dad. Our Dad that is.

It all seems a little strange because if you have followed this blog at all you will know that I have been having some real issues with the institutions that Christians have established in my homeland. Strange because it was while attending a service at our particular institution that I was handed some white packets (not red, but white) with a substantial amount of cash in them. We were told that the money was to be used for personal items and not ministry unless specifically instructed to by Dad.

The cool thing about that is that before we left we were trying to decide whether to put out a request to see if anyone had an old laptop that we may be able to have for home schooling and for my work. This took a while to work through though since we have already been working through where we stand with the whole institution thing. In the end we both felt that it would not be right to be feeling the way we do and then still expect to suckle up to the mothership, if you know what I mean. So I left it in Dad’s capable hands. If He put it on someone’s heart then that would be fine, and if He didn’t that would be fine too. It seemed much better to trust in Him than in my ability to pull off the puppy dog eyes.

It was also cool how Dad did the hand off. You know how you are usually expecting the play to go to the star receiver from your particular team. The one whom you’ve played with forever. The one who knows you. The one who it would be easy to run the play with. Not so with Dad. He is always using import talent to shake things up on the field. That’s what He did to me. When I decided to hand the playbook back to Him he took the least likely player to pair up with me, and put exactly what I needed in my paws. It wasn’t a laptop, but of course He wasn’t done yet.

When we came back to the Fraser Valley the focus was on two things; a sleep over for the kids, and our final packing for the trip home. I was not really thinking of doing any more shopping because of the issue with bringing back extra luggage, which means more stuff to haul home on foot from the ferry. I could say that it was a need for pit stick (hard to find good stuff in HK) that sent me to Costco with my mom, but now I’m sure it was HS who was giving me a push. When we arrived the first thing that caught my eye, after the flat screens ;) were the laptops. When I went over to check them out it didn’t take long to realize that there was a good deal to be had there. I didn’t jump at it though. After all I am still part of a team. After going home and running it by my wife, and checking on prices back in HK online, I realized this was the way to go. I also realized that I had asked Dad about a laptop. Hmmm.

A number of years ago someone looked right into my financially stressed out eyes and told me,“God is your sugar daddy.”. I still carry this with me. Now I can also carry along a means to write to all of you about it. Cool.