I’ve been on vacation this week and it has been wonderful. I’ve used the time to get some much needed rest (we didn’t go anywhere), do some long put off reading, and take in a few movies.
Since it is now Friday, I am already thinking about going back on Monday.
Here is a list of things that have been running through my head today:
Have you experienced a “dark night of the soul” because you felt totally abandoned?
Here are some things to remember:
- Jesus, on the cross, cried out “Why have you forsaken me”? Jesus – who was eternally in connection with the Father and Holy Spirit, for the first time experienced total, utter, abandonment. Can you get that mental picture in your head? Here is God who has forever (always, eternally) been in community, here is God, now alone. Utterly alone.
- Not only that, but He went through that to ensure that those of us who know Him will never have to go through it. Read that again. You won’t every be alone because Jesus was alone for you – in your place.
- Thirdly, because He was alone – really alone – He knows what it feels like. He’s been there. Only in His case, as opposed to your case, He really was alone. You only feel alone. Which brings me to my final point…
- Finally, you may feel alone, but if you know Jesus, you will never be alone. Remember that. It feels real. It feels like you are really alone. But you aren’t. Your head knows that. It is simply a matter of getting your heart to believe it.
So, what is to be done?
The apostle Paul would not abide Pharisees. And he was one! He knew their kind and made no bones about what should be done.
Aside from what he said in Galatians, here are some very powerful words.
“So don’t put up with anyone pressuring you in details of diet, worship services, or holy days. All those things are mere shadows cast before what was to come; the substance is Christ.
Don’t tolerate people who try to run your life, ordering you to bow and scrape, insisting that you join their obsession with angels and that you seek out visions. They’re a lot of hot air, that’s all they are. They’re completely out of touch with the source of life, Christ, who puts us together in one piece, whose very breath and blood flow through us. He is the Head and we are the body. We can grow up healthy in God only as he nourishes us.
So, then, if with Christ you’ve put all that pretentious and infantile religion behind you, why do you let yourselves be bullied by it? “Don’t touch this! Don’t taste that! Don’t go near this!” Do you think things that are here today and gone tomorrow are worth that kind of attention? Such things sound impressive if said in a deep enough voice. They even give the illusion of being pious and humble and ascetic. But they’re just another way of showing off, making yourselves look important.”
So, don’t let them do that to you!
Question: Are you being manipulated by a legalist? Are you the one doing the manipulation? What will you do about it?
This past week I was reading a story about someone who was going to do something that would probably be very regrettable but would have been an easy way out. In the story advice was given this person to “do the right thing and God will bless you.”
When I read that I cringed. We can’t help ourselves can we?
God forgives all of our sin, regardless of how “big” or “small” that sin may be . . . because of his great and enduring love.
What that means, from God’s perspective, is that he has forgotten our sins and is not holding us accountable for them. They have already been paid for. God has already forgiven our sin—past, present and future—in the shedding of blood and sacrifice of his Son, Jesus Christ.
When we ask for forgiveness it is for our benefit. In other words, asking for forgiveness acknowledges our sin and rebellion against God and allows us to turn towards him in an attitude of repentance. It is an act of love.
It is important to remember that Christians aren’t perfect, only forgiven. There are two kinds of people in the world, not the good and the bad; but, rather, the bad who know it and the bad who don’t.
I am so tired. My wife is tired. My sister and nephews are tired. Everyone I work with is tired.