Sunday, April 18, 2010

Dem Bones

"I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, 'Son of man, can these bones live?' I said, 'O Sovereign Lord, you alone know.'" Ezekiel 37:2-3

I went to a Bible Study on Romans this evening. I'm pretty sure we're still on Romans 1:1. I say pretty sure because we got quite off topic and started talking about predestination vs free will. I'm not even going to go into that because ultimately it's not important. But, my pastor is more inclined to be in the predestination camp and somebody was asking him how we are supposed to know who the "predestined" are. Basically - this was the story that my pastor directed us to. Ezekiel & the valley of the dry bones.

I've heard this story before. I've sung "Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones....hear the word of the Lord". But tonight it was one of those "I'm going to open your eyes to this story in a whole new way" kind of things. Thanks for that God! But for real. That should be our interaction with every single person. God asks us "Can this person be alive in Me?" and our response should always be "God, only you know that, but I'll do whatever you desire to make that happen."

Ezekiel prophesied & spoke the word of God to a valley of bones. And they came to life. And the breath of God was breathed into them. Who are we to say that God can't use us to work in somebody's life? Who are we to say that somebody can't be saved?

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Hour When Darkness Reigns

"But the other criminal rebuked him, 'Don't you fear God,' he said, 'since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.' Then he said, 'Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.' Jesus answered him, 'I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."
- Luke 23:40-43

Today is Good Friday. A day typically set aside to remember the Passion of Christ. It's a day where we should be stopping our daily activities to focus on what Jesus did on the cross - taking our sin as His burden and returning it to the place it belongs.

So straight up, complete honesty time. I've talked about my whole pride thing before but I'm about to jump to a whole new level of arrogance - so bear with me here. Not only can I convince myself that I am in control of my life and don't really need God, but I have been to that place where I hear "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" and scoff at it. Because, sure, I've made mistakes, but, come on, they really weren't THAT horrible and certainly they weren't anywhere near "actual sin". Yes - I've been to that place more often and more recently than I'd care to admit.

I'd like to believe that God's just up on His throne shaking His head at me, chuckling at my insanely unwarranted arrogance, but I know that's probably not the case. The truth is, every time I go to that place where I am convinced I don't need a thing to do with God, I break His heart. I might as well be standing at the foot of the cross, pointing and laughing at that naked man with the crown of thorns who's claiming to be the Son of God and King of the Jews. I am that 1st criminal, hanging right next to Christ, continuing to mock and insult Him. I'm not up there long - it's usually only a matter of minutes before somebody or something acts as that 2nd criminal in my life, calling me out on my crap and reminding me that I deserve every bit of my punishment. I am humbled and suddenly I'm Barabbas, and Christ is hanging on the cross in my place.

My trips to that place are almost always associate with those times in my life when I believe I'm doing and saying all the "right" things, playing the part of "super-Christian" to a tee and yet I'm neglecting to actually spend time with God. I know - it's shocking. Feeling like I don't need God when I'm not actively seeking Him. Anyway - I was approaching that place earlier this week. Then, on Wednesday I came crashing back to reality. A friend was telling me about this new church he was attending and mentioned that his pastor has recently spoken about the need for the church to have a spirit of confession in its community. Being that I was on my way to that place I half expected to be laughing internally at the notion of confessing to both God and community. However I certainly surprised myself when I started nodding along in agreement because I actually agreed with him and not just for the sake of nodding.

I share this with you for a single purpose. Because it brought me to a place where I could truly celebrate the sacrifice of Christ. Today, as I knelt before the cross I didn't have search for a reason to be there. It was the only place that made sense to be. I wasn't there because the pastor told me to be, or I felt I should because everybody else was doing it. I knew my list of transgressions and I knew that they were no longer my burden to bear. When darkness seemed to reign over the earth, I could rejoice in knowing that God is glorified through the events of today - of Good Friday.