Posts Tagged ‘death’

“My son, thou art not yet strong and prudent in thy love.”

“Wherefore O my Lord?”

“Because for a little opposition thou fallest away from thy undertakings, and too eagerly seekest after consolation. The strong lover standeth fast in temptations, and believeth not the evil persuasions of the enemy. As in prosperity I please him, so in adversity I do not displease.”

“The prudent lover considerest not the gift of the lover so much as the love of the giver. He looketh for the affection more than the value, and setteth all gifts lower than the Beloved. The noble lover resteth not in the gift, but in Me above every gift.”

Thomas a Kempis, The Imitation of Christ

The strong lover, the fodder of many a dime store novel.  Yet too often the hero or heroine is just the opposite of Kempis’ hero, plunging instead into temptation and believing the persuasion that the fulfillment of lust justifies any behavior.  Jesus is our great example of love.  He is the archetype of hupomone.

5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:5-8

Christ stood fast.  He stayed the course to complete a plan that called for the complete sacrifice and abasement of his very being.  He rejected the lies of the enemy time after time.  He rejected that Matthew could never be anything except a crooked tax collector.  He rejected that a girl named Mary Magdalene was too soiled to be of any use to anyone.  He rejected that a woman of Samaria could never serve the Gospel.  He rejected that the human race was not worth the sacrifice.  He rejected that a young man who was raised in the faith but walked away wreaking destruction all around him for 25 years could not turn his life around and become a tool of the Holy Spirit and a man who sees value in imitating Christ.

8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  Romans 5:8

16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16

As the song says “This is love”.  It stands fast in Truth.  The strong lover is based not in circumstance but based in the Gospel, a love that is truly for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health but its strength transcends the grave.

38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

This is the love God has for us and it is the love that is required of any who would be proved a true lover.

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 The Chemo Tree

For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope ; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.

Romans 8:25-26


I have wrestled with this post for weeks.  In fact I am still struggling with it and will probably continue to struggle with it. It is not meant to be doctrine or even counsel.  It is simply emotional and spiritual transparency from a moment in which God spoke into my life.

Some time ago Real Hope with Perseverance sat next to me.  He probably does not even realize how profoundly he impacted my life.  God is so amazing in the way that he pairs the events of our lives with the biblical truths that he is laying on our hearts.  This man and his loved ones walked the path that Allana and I, along with our family and so many of you walked over the past 18 months.   He road the rollercoaster of emotion.  He even walked the same hospital hallways.  He prayed and was prayed for.  He held those he loved and was held by them.  A few short weeks before I met him the vibrant woman of God, his beloved wife, whom I will only meet when I get to stand in the presence of my God died.

As I sat there with my lovely Allana across from me God whispered in my ear…ok maybe he shouted.  “Is this  the sum of all your fears or the truth of All your hope.”  “But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.”  Hope and perseverance are inexorably entwined for the believer and it is not hope in the visible and perseverance to the seen but a hope that is embedded in faith. ” Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”  Hebrews 11:1  

All the numbers that I had heard and read rolled through my mind, percentages of life and death.  Grief and fear walking alongside faith and hope as I stood with my beloved.  The same grief, fear, faith and hope that I saw sitting next to me.  “Is this the sum of all your fears or the truth of All your hope”




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I recently participated in a discussion of Galatians 2. While the discussion narrowed in on 2:20, it was 2:18 that caught my eye.

15 We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; 16 yet we know that a person is not justified[b] by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.1But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! 1For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor. 19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness[c] were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.  

This chapter cycles through some of Paul’s relationship with the other Apostles and the leadership of the Jerusalem church.  It begins with their acceptance of the Gospel message that God had commissioned Paul to deliver but then moves into a point of contention between Paul and Peter.  As I read through the chapter and came to verse 18 I was reminded of a TV show that I watched as a child, The Six Million Dollar Man.  The main character had been physically destroyed in a horrible accident, those of you who are old enough will remember the tag line, “We can rebuild him, we have the technology.”

Paul called Peter out for being a bionic Christian.  When we commit our lives to Christ our human nature, our sinful nature is destroyed.  In this process we hand over everything that we are, will be and hope to be over to God.  But our nature strongly opposes this process.  Just as the scientists were driven to use their technology to rebuild Steve Austin physically, we are tempted to rely on our own abilities to justify ourselves before God.  The corollary is that we often believe that we have arrived and need to hold others accountable to this standard also.  Instead of allowing the Holy Spirit to transform us into the likeness of Christ we rely on ourselves to rebuild us; hoping to achieve an improved model.  We become bionic Christians and so end up mired in sin so subtle that we believe we are headed in the right direction.  When we rely on our own understanding and abilities we negate the very core of the Gospel. We rebuild the very thing that separated humanity from God in the first place, our will over His.


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