Friday, March 24, 2017

Quivers of Arrows

Recently I've been pondering family and what that means to me. The more I think about it, the more I am convinced that on this earth (outside of our ministry and gospel sharing to others) it should be the most important thing for Christians. Now, many people might think that I am referring to the closeness of a family or the fact that they share the same DNA. But this isn't why family is the most important thing. While having those relationships that enable you to know a person for their entire lives is part of it. The real reason that family is so important is because it is meant to be a picture of Christ's love and relationship towards His children.

What does an earthly family have to do with a heavenly one? That is a question that I have heard asked many times. Our earthly families are meant to demonstrate certain things about God to us. However, most of the time we pervert and destroy any resemblance that they might have of the Father's love for His children. Instead of demonstrating unconditional love to one another, we hold grudges and bemoan our situations. Instead of directing our homes as Christ directs His bride, we allow chaos and strife to reign supreme.

There are many ways that we destroy the picture that God has designed in order to point to Himself. Yet, there are times that the picture and structure He has designed comes to full light and breaks beautifully upon the eyes of all who see it. The times when a child is running, falls headlong and smashes into the ground, and their parent rushes to lift them up and comfort them. The times that a child disregards what they know they are supposed to do and their parent disciplines them in a way that instructs and guides them to know and understand that their actions have consequences. The times when a spouse is overcome with love and treats their spouse to something special, just because. The times when a sibling offers to share their toys with their little brother or sister, just because they know how much they enjoy playing with it.

The New Testament is laden with images about the family and it's relationship to the church and to God. However, most of the time we either ignore them or just pretend that they don't matter that much. The images that God lays out in Ephesians of how each part of the family is to treat the other is beautiful and yet can only be understood when we look at it in the light of what God has done for His children and His relationship with them. God's love for His elect is deeper than any love between husband and wife, siblings, or child and parent. Yet, without these relationships, we cannot know what Paul means when he writes about Christ's love for His bride/body.

Therefore, the more Christlike men are when they lead their homes, the more Christlike their families and churches will become. The more that a husband and wife realize that their children reflect their own relationships with God, the more they understand how sinful they are and how utterly dependent they are for His grace and mercy to carry them. Just as a child falls and bruises a part of their body, we fall many times as God's children. He doesn't leave us in the dirt to lick our wounds, but raises us up, showing us where we went wrong and lovingly guides us forward.

Without parents, there wouldn't be children. Without children we would never see a majestic part of the picture that family represents. May we rejoice that we have been given families. May we grow to to understand the importance of seeing our families as mirrors for the world to see the reflection of God in.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

A Bird's Song

I am always filled with joy by the little things in life. It is these things that can cause us to see God in new and more beautiful ways than we ever have before. Whether it is something we have seen before and just now have noticed it's beauty, or whether it is something new and grand. God's creation is truly beautiful.

As I was walking to work today, about 20 minutes in total, I couldn't help at marveling at the beauty of what surrounded me. The sun had just come up, the sky still lit with brilliant colors that seemed to be commanding the earth to arise from it's slumber, glistening through the trees wet with the nights dewy frost. It warmed not only my skin, but also my soul knowing that the sun represents the light and glory of the Son. Birds were chirping everywhere, as if there was a diet of worms being offered and consumed by all (500th anniversary of the reformation shout out!). And there was actually a warmth to the breeze, unlike the blistering wind that seemed to attack us over the weekend.

God seemed to be calling to me and to everyone who would listen to wake up, to realize that our faith means something. As we approach October, there will be many references made to the Reformation amongst Christian circles. However, how many of us actually still believe in the principles that started it all? Are we willing to rise as they did, standing only upon Scripture no matter the cost? Will we join with Jonathan Edwards in bringing a great awakening to our country? It was because of the Reformers that Jonathan Edwards had a foundation upon which to stand. Can we not follow suit and preach the Scriptures in grace by faith in Jesus for His glory alone?

We must rise to the occasion. We have seen 500 years of decay and rot within our culture and many times sadly within our churches since the Reformation began. There have been great and glorious victories in the church, but there has also been a turning away from truth and the foundation of believing in the Bible as the sole authority on life and godliness. Instead, many have turned to popular opinion and look for applause.

Let us return to our roots as Christians. Let us believe what Jesus and the apostles taught throughout the New Testament. Let us examine the beliefs that we hold and why we hold them. Let us forsake earthy reconciliation for that which satisfies the soul and lasts for eternity. Let us join with creation in singing that our God reigns upon His throne. That He commands the earth to arise each and every day with new beauties. Let us rise with creation in joining their song and let us eat at the table of Martin Luther by standing upon Scripture alone.