Doubt and Fools

Then they returned from the tomb and told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the  mother of James, and the other women with them, who told these things to the apostles. And their words seemed to them like idle tales, and they did not believe them. But Peter arose and ran to the tomb; and stooping down, he saw the linen cloths lying by themselves; and he departed, marveling to himself at what had happened.
Luke 24:9-12 NKJV
http://bible.com/114/luk.24.9-12.NKJV

Doubt.

As we head towards the end of March and towards the first day of April, we get ourselves ready and we expect people to try to trick us and deceive us. It is called April Fools Day, and it is a day that celebrates whether or not people can make someone else feel like a fool. It is a day when lies are subtlety crafted with the intent of leading someone into a trap, so it can be sprung it and revealed as a ruse with a proud,  “Got you!”

I wonder if this is how these men felt when these “silly women” came to them with a “tall tale” about Jesus and the tomb. They examined closely what the women were saying, and they decided that it made no sense to them, so they dismissed it as a trick, as a lie, as deception – even though there was no contradiction in their words and they had taken no effort to investigate for themselves.

Yes, this is how much of the world sees the Child of God. They see these “silly Christians” with their “tall tales” about creation, about a flood, about people miraculously healed, about a risen Savior.

Yes, us Christians have a pretty wild story that leaves no middle ground -we claim that God himself came in the flesh to live among imperfect man, to walk a blameless life of service and love and guidance forothers, to face rejection and scorn in return, to die the death andbear the punishment that evil men deserve, and to rise from the dead to heaven as an example of what lies ahead for those who believe. This is the type of story that either leaves us in doubt and disbelief, or leaves us believing, following, and putting our full trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives.

He is either a liar and we are fools for believing,  or He is who He says He is and the world is a fool for turning their backs on the true treasures of His teachings and guidance to chase after the dust and ashes of a worthless and meaningless life. His story leaves no room for waffling, for riding the fence.

So the question is do you believe it to be completely and utterly true?

If so, how is that knowledge going to impact your day? Does it make you eager to go out and share this “tall tale” with a world where many will see you as “silly” and “a fool”?

If you don’t believe that it’s true, have you investigated it for yourself just to make sure? Have you read the Bible and offered your life following in His teachings in order for Him to either prove Himself faithful and true or to prove otherwise?

With a claim that eternity and things greater than our physical existence (like our soul, or essence, our very being) is at stake – who is the fool,  the one who investigates the claims diligently, or the one who blindly dismisses what isn’t yet confirmed?

What is the greatest risk of someone willing to instigate – being labeled a fool? What is the greatest risk of someone not willing to investigate – facing eternal consequences?

Is there anything more worthy of our life focus than demonstrating God’s love by loving and serving others? Even if the wise man says that self sacrifice is foolish, can they not see the beauty in the math – that if by denying myself and helping others, they experience encouragement, love, and increase – and by my trusting in the Lord, I have gained in faith through any sufferings and self denial. For something that the wise man calls altruism and that we call the manifest love of Christ, explain to me how the costs outweigh the benefits?

Lord, help us to be willing to face the mocking perspective of others, willing to be a fool amongst wise men – willing to be one of those “silly folks” that love to talk about Jesus and things they can’t see, touch, or prove – willing to help those who have nothing to offer us in return – willing to offer love and mercy to those who offer mocking and hate and persecution in return. Lord,  show yourself victorious, reveal the beauty of your ways, lay conviction upon hearts, and draw us near so that we might see a revival of our purpose and meaning in this life. Lord, we aren’t just hoping for a some day, one day kind of God experience – Lord, we want to be your body, alive and at work in the world today. Help us, guide us,  lead us, use us – and prove to the world through your undeniable presence, your blessings eternal, the fruit of your spirit rising up as a beautiful aroma that others would long for in their own lives. Not so that others would mimic or honor or praise any of us – but so that they might get to know you. Thank you, Jesus. Amen.

Got your ears on, good buddy?

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I used to talk on the CB radio,  and you might catch us saying things like, “Breaker, Breaker. Hey, RC, you got your ears on, good buddy?” RC was my friend (Erich Stinson),  and that was me asking if he was listening to his radio so that we could talk together.

Then he said, “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”
Mark 4:9 NLT
http://bible.com/116/mrk.4.9.NLT

Anyone with ears. Do you have ears?

If I asked what are they for,  and you answered “to hear” – you would not be wrong, but your answer would be focused only on the physical. You would be acknowledging the obvious, physical truth about your ears,  but overlooking the greater truth and purpose.

Continue reading “Got your ears on, good buddy?”

Understanding

Proverbs 3:5
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own _________________.

God is so good.

The words aren’t even big enough.

I don’t lean on myself,  because all that I have to lean on of my own is weakness that has been packaged up and mislabeled by “wise” men of the world as understanding, knowledge,  strength,  logic. But when it is mine alone it is weakness, it is powerless.

But in His infinite mercy,  He reveals His grace,  His power,  His honor. And He let’s me come into the presence, and my weakness is redeemed, restored,  rebuilt,  into a measure of His strength through faith.

And this is why I trust in the Lord with all my heart,  because who can I trust if not the Lord? I surely can’t trust myself, this deceitful heart of mine that will use foolish pride to elevate self and seek my own desires,  or that will stir up its humanitarian sensibilities and emotions and overlook righteousness and repentance for the sake of cheap grace.

This Grace is costly and paid at a high price. Just because the bill is already paid in full doesn’t make its value any less.

Continue reading “Understanding”

Who loves discipline?

http://bible.com/59/pro.12.1.ESV
Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
but he who hates reproof is stupid.

The worldly man says, “It is better to ask forgiveness than permission” and “let’s fill our lives with pleasure and riches and taking from those whom we can, there is no punishment ahead, there is only taking and acquiring and growing in power and influence and authority over other men”.

Buy the wise man, the man with his mind set upon spiritual things, the one who sees the patterns and movements and can discern the work of good and evil in men’s hearts – he knows that wisdom comes through correction,  that change and refinement tales place in the hands of the master potter,  who fashions vessels for His use,  to be filled and overflowing with his Holy Spirit.

Continue reading “Who loves discipline?”

Do I need wise counsel? Or do I think that I am wise counsel?

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Proverbs 24:6 NLT
So don’t go to war without wise guidance; victory depends on having many advisers.

Proverbs 15:22 NLT
Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many advisers bring success.

Proverbs 11:14 NLT
Without wise leadership, a nation falls; there is safety in having many advisers.

Proverbs 24:3-4 NLT
A house is built by wisdom and becomes strong through good sense. Through knowledge its rooms are filled with all sorts of precious riches and valuables.

What kind of house are we building for the Lord? We are to be a dwelling place for the very Holy Spirit of the Lord. The Word is not talking about building a physical house,  but of things spiritual and unseen. He is not giving us construction advice for a building what will be torn down and destroyed by rot and rust or fire,  but the Word gives us instruction in those things that are eternal and spiritual. 

Continue reading “Do I need wise counsel? Or do I think that I am wise counsel?”