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Filth and faith

When a moral person is confronted with contempt, immorality, disloyalty, or dishonesty, he is so repulsed by the offense that he turns away and in despair closes his heart to the offender. But the miracle of the redemptive reality of God is that the worst and the vilest offender can never exhaust the depths of His love. Paul did not say that God separated him to show what a wonderful man He could make of him, but "to reveal His Son in me..." ( Galatians 1:16 ).

Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest (3 February, "Becoming the 'Filth of the World'")

One of my biggest categories of struggle in faith is believing that the gospel, the power of Christ, can transform absolutely anyone. I don't want to believe it for those for whom I don't want to be compassionate, for those I don't want to remember in prayer, for those who have offended or wounded me so personally whether they know it or not. And in many ways I don't want to believe it for myself, because believing it at once takes away my right to self-righteousness, self-importance, self-incrimination and self-pity. I can't believe this without dying to myself.

But there's something, Someone worth coming alive to instead. And He promises life to the full.

Victrola's wireless connection is spotty, and my impatience with it highlights how spoiled I am. Thinking of a haircut and a trip to purchase a PowerBook battery today; we'll see what makes the schedule. Lease negotiations were successful last night; we held some important ground by God's grace. Community Group this evening, perhaps even with enough time beforehand to clean up a bit. Who knows what's possible?


my thoughts tend to run on the train of "these people need Him so much, yet how can He even begin to work in their lives." its so monumental, and people need Him so much, yet for whatever reason, He's not there. Obviously issue can be taken with that last statement, but what gets me above anything else is the pain i see around me, and He's seemingly nowhere to be found. If He'd be there, it'd be all better. Or would it?...

free will

are they listening to Him?

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how can they listen Him, if He's not making Himself known?

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I would contend that He is always making Himself known:

"For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse." Romans 1:20

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yes, i understand the verse, but when i see such hurting people, seemingly alone in this place of existence, my heart hurts and there's not a thing i can do...and then when i don't see Him doing anything (yes, i understand i cannot know everything or be aware of everything He does), its hard to correlate it all.

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I think the desire to see redemption and healing here on earth is a vital part of any Kingdom citizen's life. This is how the Spirit spurs believers (you and me) onward toward prayer and acts of mercy and love in His name. Too often, we don't respond to what He is doing in us, so the opportunities for His grace to be made manifest slip on by.

The psalms are all about desire, and they're our prayer book. For the psalmist, the fact that He cried out to God to deliver wasn't foreign to prayer. Yet we struggle, as if our desire to cry out to Him in the same way somehow casts who He is into doubt. And again too often, we don't cry out to Him at all, but cry to ourselves or others instead.

Further, I've been convicted lately on what it really means to have and live Kingdom values. Sin is what broke and continues to break our world. Yet many (I daresay most) Christians act as if our salvation is simply to save us from the consequences of sin. It is not. It is to kill sin, to destroy it utterly. Yet we too often do not fight sin at all; we entertain and engage in it under the delusion that grace was only to save us from its consequences. When we do so, we are actually joining forces with the enemies of God, and we cannot be surprised that this limits His Kingdom's advance.

None of this is to say I have it down; I don't. And none of this is to say that it's up to me; it isn't and praise God for that. I'm just saying that I'm realizing how hypocrytical it is of me to lament the brokenness of the world when I am actively participating in its being broken further, and that's a good thing for me to face before God. With Him, all things are possible.

Re: free will

Yet many (I daresay most) Christians act as if our salvation is simply to save us from the consequences of sin. It is not. It is to kill sin, to destroy it utterly. Yet we too often do not fight sin at all; we entertain and engage in it under the delusion that grace was only to save us from its consequences.

SO RIGHT ON. And while salvation saves us from the ultimate consequences of our sin, there seems to be the idea that it also saves us from the immediate and earthly consequences from our sin. I think many people are disappointed in God because they think they're not supposed to suffer consequences--especially if the consequences are from someone else's sin.

Where do we get these ideas?

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Oprah? Nah. I don't believe that entirely.

Try here:


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Neither is on a train I want to ride to the end.

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But why are they the only train? This is what I don't get with you and the whole Oprah thing. It seems so black and white to me.

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Oprah does a lot of promoting "God" on her show, but it's certainly not the Jesus I know. People, entertainers and no, are free to believe and profess what they like, as much as they like. Yet I do recognize that her views on spirituality hold sway with many Christians, and that's not something I consider A Good Thing. Not that she can't and doesn't do good things. But anyone looking her way for spiritual guidance is going the wrong way.

That's the comment-sized answer. I posted the comment because I thought it was funny. I have now made it thoroughly unfunny.

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Look - let's just deal with this on her show because you and I are going on in a few months anyway - surprise! I'll tell you the topic a little later. :)