Thursday, May 7, 2009

Spiritual Light

I met a new young friend recently. After listening to my friend talk, I was distressed in my soul. Was my friend a Christian as he claimed to be? Actually he never claimed to be in my presnece. I guess I assumed he was by his associations with those who were. After listening for a long time about how much he had studied ancient philosophers and other learned people, how much he had read, and the great number of current (in his short years that would probably be the last 10-12 years) movies he had watched, all of these to bring him to the philosophy he now held on life, I wondered what impact Jesus had had. Interestingly as I listened, it didn't occur to me to pray. If only I had prayed, "O Lord, help him to hear what he is saying," it would have had more impact than my sitting and just listening, feeling more agitated all the time.

Last week in Bible study, a paragraph in the notes jumped out to me. It said, "The greatest privilege of any human being is to know and love God. Yet love for God does not come naturally. Instead of loving God, we neglect Him and even hate Him because He is sovereign, holy, wise, omniscient, glorious, loving, and unchangeable, and we are not. If we are actually to come to love God, we need a new nature - we need to be born again."

Indeed, "if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come." (II Corinthians 5:17) I know that new Christians are like new babies - they dirty their pants, need to be fed, and need the love and care of other Christians, so we are not to judge by circumstances. But there is a starting point which leads to a new direction.

I was reading a sermon by Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) this morning. The title was "Spiritual Light." Lifting a small part out towards the end, it says,
"As for instance, that notion that there is a Christ, and that Christ is holy and gracious, is conveyed to the mind by the word of God, but the sense of the excellency of Christ by reason of that holiness and grace, is nevertheless immediately the work of the Holy Spirit.

"This is the most excellent and divine wisdom that any creature is capable of. It is more excellent than any human learning, it is far more excellent than all the knowledge of the greatest philosophers or statesmen. Yea, the least glimpse of the glory of God in the face of Christ doth more exalt and ennoble the soul than all the knowledge of those that have the greatest speculative understanding in divinity without grace." ...

"This knowledge is that which is above all others sweet and joyful. Men have a great deal of pleasure in human knowledge, in studies of natural things, but this is nothing to that joy which arises from this divine light shining into the soul."

Insightfully yours,

Friday, May 1, 2009

Fighting, not new, just different

Just recently an article appeared in our newspaper about a man walking in the park with his two daughters. Another man came up to them and apparently made some remarks. The father told the man in no uncertain terms to get lost. The man disappeared but soon reappeared with some "friends" who beat the father breaking his leg in two places. The "friends" were pulled off the father by some observers, and some vigilant neighbors called the police. The attackers said they beat up the father because he showed them "disrespect." Now tell me, what's to respect of someone who threatens your family?

How do all the fights we have these days get started? The book of James (Bible) in chapter four addresses the subject of fighting. He says "Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don't get it."
My, how early that starts.
"You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight, etc."

James ends up saying that only a life submitted to God will have real peace. Indeed, Matthew (more Bible) says "Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God."

Ultimately Jesus, whom Isaiah (still more) calls the Prince of Peace, is the one who will bring peace to nations, cities, and yes, individuals.

Until then, John McArthur says "Peace is that glorious moment in history when everyone momentarily stops to reload."
Insightfully yours,