God Is Not Mocked

We’re constantly making choices, moment by moment, in a continuous flow of sowing and reaping. A universal law governs this: whatever we sow, we reap. (Ga 6:7b) If we invest primarily in our physical, temporal nature, in our own comfort and pleasure, we reap corruption and death (Php 3:18-19); if we choose life and walk in the light as a manner of life, we reap everlasting life. (Ro 2:6)

The law of sowing and reaping: we reap what we sow, we reap more than we sow, and we reap later than we sow. It’s a universal truth; no one escapes it, not even through the Gospel. So, the apostle Paul warns us: “Be not deceived, God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” (Ga 6:7-8)

So, how does this work in Christ? When God forgives us, does He deliver us from the consequences of our choices? No; even those in Christ are subject to this law: no one is exempt. (Col 3:23 -25) Why must this be?

God chastens and scourges every child He receives (He 12:6) to break the pattern of selfishness and disobedience, and work righteousness in us. (He 12:10) God’s law is for our good (Ro 7:12), and when we break it, or sin, this is bad for us. God is intent on delivering us from the power of sin as well as from its penalty; so, if we’re sowing in the wrong place, God will often use this law of sowing and reaping to help straighten us out. The natural consequences of our choices are often our best teachers.

Certainly, God is merciful to all of us (La 3:39): we never reap the full consequences of our sin in this life. (Ps 103:10) For those who fear Him, His mercy is infinite. (Ps 103:11)

But those who commit themselves to a life of sin, sin of any kind, show themselves to be alienated from God, subject to His wrath and indignation (Ro 2:8); it reveals that they’re not God’s children. (1Jn 3:9) God transforms His elect such that they live to please Him. (Ep 2:10)

Thinking anyone can sin without consequence is to deny the justice of God, making a mockery of His dignity and His eternal Word. It makes Him out to be a liar. For anyone who tries this, it will not end well. God does not tolerate being mocked like this; His fiery indignation will silence every rebellious tongue, terrify every arrogant heart, and devour every adversary. (He 10:27)

Let’s serve the Almighty with fear, and rejoice with trembling (Ps 2:11), working out our deliverance from sin by sowing in truth unto obedience.  (Php 2:12)

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That I May Know Him

Knowing God, like we know a friend, is different than knowing about God. We may study theology and acquire a lot of religious knowledge, but it’s not worth much if that’s all we have. (2Ti 3:7) If we’re wise, knowing God and walking with Him will be our top priority (Php 3:8), the only thing we find noteworthy about ourselves. (Je 9:23-24) With all the deception about us, how can we tell if we know God, and how well we know Him?

Well, are we earnestly obeying Him, the best we know how? (1Jn 2:4) Are we loving God with all our being and our neighbors as ourselves? If we think God doesn’t mind disobedience, selfishness, lukewarmness (Re 3:16), or doublemindness (Ja 1:8), if we aren’t afraid of displeasing Him (He 10:31), then we don’t know Him at all; we’ve simply made an idol for ourselves after our own likeness, another Jesus. (2Co 11:4)

And are we rejoicing in Him? Is He precious to us? (1Pe 2:7) Does meditating on His nature and His ways, on all that He does, bring a constant stream of delight to our souls? (Ps 119:97)

As God’s Law, Torah, reveals His nature and His way, the godly delight in the law of God (Ro 7:22), we serve the law of God. (Ro 7:25) We’re earnestly and consistently longing to understand and obey God’s Law more and more (Ps 119:20); that’s what it means to walk in the light with Him (Ps 119:45), the very definition of the New Covenant. (He 8:10)

Do we understand that God’s utterly sovereign? That He does as He pleases in Heaven and on Earth, and that nothing frustrates or worries Him? (Da 4:35)

Are we content in knowing the goodness and faithfulness of God (He 13:5), secure, unafraid (He 13:6), at rest in God? (He 4:3) Or are we lusting to envy, cleaving to dust?

Are we satisfied with the religion of our parents, accepting without question what we were taught as children, or what our culture and those about us claim? If we want God to leave us alone with our idols … He will (Pr 1:29-31) … to be trodden down in His fury. (2Co 5:11)

But if we want to know God, and ask Him to show us where we’re missing Him, seeking Him until He reveals Himself to us, He will. (He 11:6)

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Man of Sorrows

Our Lord is a man of sorrows (Is 53:3); grief is His companion. He weeps over our sin and stubbornness (Lk 19:41-42) and He’s looking for us to be afflictedManOfSorrow with Him. (Ez 9:4)

Does human brokenness move us to grief, sorrow and weeping? (Ps 119:158136) Or does a certain smugness, contempt or disdain pollute us? When we sense someone’s in error, is our first instinct to triple-check ourselves, hoping we’re missing something? Or do we jump too quickly to find fault? When we must discuss another’s brokenness, is it reluctantly … with tears? (Php 3:18-19)

ManOfSorrowsLoving our neighbors as ourselves means being as grieved in others’ failings as we are in our own. In seeking holiness and truth we often find ourselves confronting and exposing brokenness, but enjoying and feeding off of this is ugliness, enmity and pride. (Php 2:3) As C.S Lewis so elegantly observes, we must not wish black was a little blacker, for soon we’ll be wishing grey was black … and in the end inherit darkness.

The high calling of God is perfection (Mt 5:48), so through Christ we strive after it by faith. (Col 1:29) Christ’s love shines through holy sorrow (Ec 7:3); without it we’re nothing. (1Co 13:1-3) Let’s fellowship with Him in His suffering (Php 3:10), giving all diligence to add this virtue to our faith. (2Pe 1:5-7) It may not seem possible to get there from here, but God is willing and able to help us. (Ep 3:20)

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He Learned Obedience

Joyfully obeying God is perhaps the highest form of worship. (1Sa 15:22b) It’s love acting out, “God, You’re worthy; You’re supremely important; Your desire is my only priority.” Those who love Him need not know why He commands, only that He does; “for this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments.” (1Jn 5:3)

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The Passion: Christ Praying in Gethsemane

The greatest example of obedience ever may be Christ praying in the garden, “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. (Lk 22:42) As He’d planned from eternity past, His will was to ransom those He loved. Yet He could not be self-willed in dying for us: He was willing to give that up and die an eternal failure in the garden, lying on His face in the dirt, if that was His Father’s will. It was the ultimate submission, where He Himself learned obedience and revealed His perfection. He was then fit to author eternal salvation for all who obey Him. (He 5:7-9)

So often God gives commands without telling us why, yet the quickened soul implicitly trusts that God is good. Like Christ, the Author and Finisher of our faith, we obey, not always knowing what blessing will come, but that there is blessing in any and all obedience. (He 12:1-2) Yet it is not for blessing we obey, but simply for Him, because He is worthy.

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Love Your Enemies

Jesus said, “Love your enemies.” (Mt 5:44) Perhaps it’s the cornerstone of all godliness, actively seeking the good of others, even those who’d harm us.

The Passion of the Christ

This is unnatural, certainly; it denies our self-protective instinct. Returning good for evil enables and strengthens our enemies to harm us even more. Yet it is our God’s example. (Mt 5:45)

Living this way as a manner of life requires an energy from another world, a Life beyond our own. It is perhaps the greatest witness of the reality of God, that we commit our physical care into His hands, just as we have our souls and spirits. (1Pe 4:19) It is only then that we live as children of our heavenly Father.

There is a time to resist abuse, and a time to suffer according to the will of God. It is the wisdom of God to tell these apart, but there is never a time to wish ill to another. (Ro 13:10) Let us not fear to follow God in suffering for His name, for our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. (2Co 4:16-18)

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One Thing

Life can be overwhelmingly complex at times, and incredibly demanding. Keeping focus on what’s important can be quite a challenge.

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Boynton Canyon, Scott McAllister

I’m finding it helpful to remember that only one thing really matters: pleasing God. Like Paul, we should be saying, “this one thing I do.” (Php 3:13-14) Maybe this can help us stay focused: if God is pleased, what else matters? If God is not pleased, what else matters … really?

But knowing what’s pleasing to God isn’t so easy sometimes; our ways aren’t His ways and He doesn’t see things the way we do. He calls us to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with Him. (Mic 6:8) He must transform our hearts to be like His, and this is a lifelong process. (1Th 4:1) But I think 99% of it’s desire, simply wanting to please Him. As this becomes our focus, He will show us the way.

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Lest Any Man Fail

Having my heart established with grace is a goal in which I am making progress daily, looking to ensure that my heart is stabilized only in and by grace, the enabling power of God. I am no longer content to live unsettled and uneasy, nor in smug self-confidence; perfect peace in God is my daily objective.WoundedSoldier2

Yet even as I grow here, a related command in Hebrews intrigues me: “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled. Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.” (He 12:15-6)

What does it mean to establish grace in community? How does this form, and how does it relate to the foundation of the church? Am I to discern if another is failing in the enabling power of God? And if I do, what is a godly response? What is a root of bitterness? And help me understand … profane person. And how are these symptomatic of failing of grace? What is God calling us to here? How do we go about it?

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Established With Grace

I have been meditating on what it means to be “established with grace.

The particular text of interest is, Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not lighthousesafewith meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.” (Heb 13:9) There are many other great verses which might also be helpful here.

What is grace? What does it mean to be established with something? How can we live this out in God? What does it look like, and how do we get there?

My thought: being established with grace is more than knowing God’s love and forgiveness, more than resting in Christ’s unconditional acceptance; it is having supernatural confidence that God is transforming me into the image of Christ, creating His likeness in me, enabling me to love and obey Him. (2Co 9:8) Through the power of the Holy Spirit I access grace by faith … that is, I rest in Christ’s utter sufficiency and faithfulness, delighting in Him, being filled with all joy and peace in believing, abounding in hope. (Ro 15:13)

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Remember the Days of Darkness

I’m on a consulting project today, Thursday afternoon, just found out that the project will likely be canceled on Monday. I already have 38 hours booked this week, so in two more hours I’ll be on overtime. It seems like a waste to keep working like crazy toward our goals now. Maybe I should ease up and coast the rest of the week, or maybe I should keep pushing, hoping we’ll get more time and preparing to make a difference.

By Hoychol

How quickly things have changed … priorities shifted … one minute pushing hard to achieve something, and the next it’s all but gone … vanished. Nothing. There’s a sudden void, an empty feeling, a darkness out in front of me. Like watching a movie when the power goes out. Back to reality. Time to think about my purpose, why I’m doing what I am doing.

Is Life like that? One day we’re active, looking forward to all kinds of things, filled with daily concerns … and then it’s over. Something unexpected happens and all goes dark, blank; a fatal car wreck, a stroke, heart attack, freak accident. Life’s done. Now what?

Solomon said, “Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun: but if a man live many years, and rejoice in them all; yet let him remember the days of darkness; for they shall be many. All that cometh is vanity.” (Ec 11:7-8)

The days of darkness shall be many. Life is as a vapor, appearing for a little time and then vanishing away. (Jas 4:14) Let not death be “when your fear comes.” (Pr 1:26-7) Many have said it before but I am reminded of it again … there’s a lot going on in the screen of my life, but when the power goes out, all that will be left is a memory. Then it’s God and me, and that’s all. Is this a pleasant feeling? An unpleasant one? Somehow both? Let me so live each moment that when the darkness comes I’ll welcome it with a smile.

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