Thoughts from a Young Man: Suffering

Jesus suffered in the garden. He died on the cross, yes for our sins, BUT he also suffered because of our sinfulness. He suffered a pain that was not his. The act was not a single moment or a collection of moments as nails pierced his flesh. His suffering was such that we will never suffer. His suffering was a faith breaking suffering. He suffered under the silence of God. He suffered it completely. He bore pain. He cried out longingly, desperately for grace but heaven was seemed closed to his bleating. He suffered so that we could endure the the silence.

Silence of this type would break us. Andrew Peterson poetically says the silence of God

“is enough to drive a man crazy, to break a man’s faith, it’s enough to make a man wonder if he has ever been sane…when he is bowering for comfort and heavens only answer is the silence of God.”

It does drive us crazy. It drives us to question the promise of Grace. As the silence of God, the unanswered prayers, the waiting, the loneliness, goes on and on we question if we have ever heard the voice of God. We know he speaks; others around us tell us about their sweet fellowship but we feel a cold iron curtain robed around us like shell, a prison cell with no widow or door. We begin question whether we have ever come to know God. We often question whether we are God’s chosen sheep at all. Aside from the grace bought by Christ’s suffering, this suffering would break us and tear us apart.

Christ became like us so that in sharing in our suffering as we suffer he would be made perfect and by his death he would put to death, death. The lonely weeping, the prayers in the solitude of sleeping friends, the agony of the Father’s silent turning away, became the grace we need to suffer under silence. Christ suffered an unmerited silence, a coldness, a distance, a separation that would break men. Silence of this type is not a muted voice, it is a blinded eye. This silence is separation from the creator, sustainer, and source of life. It is a separation from the Light of Life. It is a silence of unfathomable depths, it is penetrating, it is consuming, it is hell.

Christ walked through this silence to purchase our help. He suffered such so that we would endure. No matter the weight of the silence there is the promise. The cross is the receipt. The character of God is the guarantee and the Spirit is the promissory note. The silence WILL be broken. The Father will come. The Father is working amidst the silence. The Son suffered so that the silence, a painful weight, would not be a rod of breaking or a stone of crushing.

Whatever you from suffer remember our savor. Remember that he breathed his last breath, he yielded up his spirit by his choice by his will. Remember his words,

“It is finished!”

Christ, then, consciously, “breathed his last breath and yielded up his Spirit.” His death did not end the suffering, it did not remove the cup of reeling from His hand, the cup of the wrath of God ran dry. Our savior suffered completely. The Father’s justice satisfied so that we would be left unbroken by the silence but that the silence would be tool of conforming, a means of developing Christ-like endurance. The silence doesn’t break our faith, it doesn’t uproot faith, it drives the roots of faith deeper into the fertile soil of Christ amidst the the barren wasteland of this life!

Let the silence drive you deeper. Let the waiting conform you. Trust the promise. Trust the Savior. Endure for the sake of the Joy set before you! Endure that you would get Christ. Endure that you would become one of those among the great crowd of witnesses from which we, who enjoy such grace now, will look to when the silence becomes deafening! If you have walked through the valley, encourage your fellow travelers. You may be be that voice they are longing to hear!

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Thoughts From a Young Man: Every Member

Luke 19:35

And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it.

We think highly of the preacher, the court herald, and at times more highly of the guitarist, the court minstrel, we never think much of the valets and mechanics who work to the glory of their King. Oh but here what glory is it to be the valet, the motor pool worker, the stable hand of the Son of God. Oh how highly does he esteem each of us. How significant in his eye is the role that each of us are given! We are vital and honored in the kingdom of God. Oh how blessed is he who holds the door for the Son! We blessed to be in his kingdom. Not because we make music or stand in the podium. These few held the reigns the Son of God, the Christ. Our blessing is being in the kingdom that is the measure of our value and that alone. Christ died that I might live! That is our resounding chorus.

Thoughts From a Young Man: How You End Matters Most

“I will condemn you with your own words, YOU WICKED SERVANT” Luke 19:22
What a person begins as is not the true indication of who the person is. The indication of what a person is how he or she finishes. This man seemed a servant but knowing his master he did not obey. He did not act in accordance with his knowledge of who is master is and he is seen to be what he is. Does this not point clearly to Judas Iscariot? Judas seemed a disciple but in the end he showed himself to be no more than a hypocrite. It is a stern warning to each of us to look and ask who are we? Are we walking in light of who our saviour is? The connection between who Christ is and how we live is so deep. As we know and trust increasingly in the Character and Nature of Christ and His father, for they are one, then we will increasing walk as he describes his follower in Luke 12:29-34
“And do not seek what you are to eat and drink, nor be worried…your Father in heaven knows that you need then. Instead seek His kingdom and these will be added to you. Fear not little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give to the needy…for where your treasure is there will your heart be also.”
As we trust God’s nature we live as He calls us to love and we bear fruit consistent with his nature. We will give and trust that he loves and provides. We will wait in humble submission dutifully making preparations for his return. We will produce fruit that marks us as his disciples not because we have to but because that is what a disciple of Jesus does. As a grape vine naturally produces grapes so also will we naturally produce Jesus-like fruit.
This is what Jesus said will happen. The sermon on the mount outlines what his disciples will look like. Luke 15-17:3 all lead to two verses 4-5.
Lord Give us faith to believe that God is as he says he is!
Jesus responds, if you had any faith God would be as God is and he will do it through you. Why? Because that is who God is!
God’s “Godliness” is holy and wholly independent of us His servants. It is his servants who live and walk in faith, humility, and dependence on the Character and Nature of their Father, of whom Christ is a Portrait, and there by God makes himself known. This is the power given us in the spirit. And our lives must be marked by fruitfulness that is abundant and Christlike; fruit on consistent with His nature is obviously not his fruit. Who is your fruit like? Is it consistent with your saviour? This is the call of this passage look and assess yourself. Did you begin in the spirit and are you now walking in the flesh? How can one who begun in Christ finish in another manner? Did you then begin in Christ.

Thoughts From a Young Man: a Heavy Yoke

Matthew 11:28-30

28 “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

What is heavy that we carry? What is the burden of our hearts? The heaviness is not the burden and the burden is not the weariness. The burden is sin. It gives weight to everything. It mays every aspect of our lives heavy and burdensome. Sin is this, not knowing God. Not know or wanting to know God is our plague. It is the source of of the mixture we call sin. It is the infection of our hearts which stains every aspect of lives. Longing to live a life with out the understanding of God and the good for which he has made all things it a weighty endeavour. To live life by our standards and make everything conform to our ways of thinking and understand, these standards themselves being broken with sin, when were not the designers and architects of the purposes for which all things were made is a heavy burden. Attempting to twist, bend, and compress the the things of this word to in a manner of being that would fulfil our purpose, satisfaction of the selfishness of men, the satisfaction of our ourselves, when they were not made for man but for Christ is a terrible yoke carry. It is a yoke we can not bear; a yoke for which we were not made to bear.
We have not been made to bear the burden of conforming and sustaining this world to our purposes nor even to God’s, it is Christ who makes all things new. It is christ who by his word causes all things to be held together. It is Christ who bears the weight of our sin, a weight we were not made nor but in the garden to bear, hence, it is a weight that drives us to the grave. Living life by our our fallen, broken, sin stricken counsels and purposes is a wide road that surely leads to our destruction; a road we all walk down. We walk this path in a seemingly blissful blindness unaware of the destruction that lay beyond the vast gate at the end of the path.
Here Christ calls us to take upon us the yoke he bore. That sweetly light burden-less yoke. A yoke of submission to His Father, our creator. He calls us to walk as he walked in humble lowliness of heart. He calls us to broken depend on the mandates, purposes, means, manners, tools, graces, provisions of a Holy God who has designed and created all of this. He calls us to love. To live in love. To walk in the love of the creator. He calls us to obedience. We are not responsible for figuring out what is best we are called to humble, dependent, faith that the God who created us will lead us as is best.
Our minds, like our hearts, are not to be forsaken. They were given us for the purpose of understanding. We seek grace and guidance. We prayerfully apply the word of God and his purposes to all that we face. Our minds are made for understanding and he gives great grace to understand.
It is here alone in this pursuit of wisdom for our Father that we find rest for our weary souls. Nothing in this life and world want that for us. Media companies want us longing for the next fix of gossip, mindless entertainment, or the newest product. They do not want us to be at rest. They do not want satisfied viewers. The government needs to validate it’s existence by providing for the most pressing need. They need a dependent people who see value in their existence. In deed they need to be needed. Thus, the government takes over all duties and tasks that are most basic to our lives. You school and business do not want satisfaction. Schools thrive on the need for education. Businesses don’t want happy employees they want effective employees. This takes many shapes. Western theories are moving toward being a safety net and family of the employee. Eastern companies want employees who need the monthly pay check and will do all that is needed to get it.
In all these getting is the state of the soul. Satisfaction in things, positions, stature, fame money, intelligence, attainments and the like are what this world feeds us. These things will never satisfy. We may bend and twist this world to get these in great abundance but the will never satisfy. They will never bear the burden of sin. Christ alone can bear this and make the soul glad. It is there in him that we rest and find gladness. He is the easy yoke. He is the lightness that we long for and will never find in all that we get here. We were made to long for him. We were made like all that is here for Him. In being his we fulfill our purpose. We are left to groan no more on the weight of sin. We find satisfaction in being what were made to be, his humble, lowly, bride or great price.
What a great value we are to Christ. That which is most rare in this world is not a diamond or precious metal. That which is rarest is a humble and contrite soul who longs for God. These are not found they are made and made at a great price. These are the free. Men and women such as this are free from this world. They are at rest in Christ.

Thoughts from a Young Man: Blind to Jesus

“Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.”” John 9:39

There is amazing depth here. There are many things happening in this passage. We have a classic rebuttal to those who claim Jesus doesn’t judge so the believers should not also. We get an idea of what it means to have spiritual sight. While it takes a bit of focused thought verses 40-41 are testimonies by Jesus himself that those who know nothing of Him and are blind, even those who are so by way of not having a bible, are yet in their sin and guilty. These to whom Jesus is speaking have a wealth of biblical knowledge and still guilty. Their guilt does not arise based on the rejection of knowledge. Their rejection is an evidence of their preexisting guilt (John 3:18-19). Of course we see a group of people, who having Jesus in their midst, claim to have sight and knowledge of the things of God. To these Jesus says you are blind and understand nothing.
The crucial point of the passage is the spiritual sight and Jesus’ relationship to that sight. These here are unwilling to admit, as the blind man who sight was restored by Jesus, that Jesus is worthy of worship. The Pharisees will not even admit that Jesus is from God. They are so bold as to proclaim, seeing clearly, that Jesus was born in sin and was yet a sinner unlike themselves and is not on the mission of God. Their backward statement, “we don’t know where he is from but he is not from God” is tantamount to a proclamation of satanic origin.
What stiles me here is that the focus is around Jesus and who he is, that is the debate. Jesus as a mesa anger of God, God himself, is the central massage of the passage. If we listened to the modern liberals, most of those who claim to have an understanding of God in America today, we would have to HEAR JESUS SAYING,

“You MUST have spiritual sight so that you understand that Buddhism, Islam, Daosim, Anscestor Worship, Judaism and all other manners of false religion are all manifestations of God and should be followed based on your cultural penchants.”

These men were blind and without sight. They thought they knew the way. So, all ways being equal they shouldn’t be be blind should they? Well guess what, tolerance dogma is wrong. All ways are not equal. All ways are not different paths on the same mountain. One must see Jesus high and lifted up as the serpent in the wilderness and believe. Jesus is not arguing for his position among the worlds religions. He is demonstrating his deity, his superiority to all other paths. He alone is or means of salvation from the guilt that we are born into. He alone can remove sin and give perfect righteousness. He gives freely to all who have looked upon him seeing their guilt and believed. It is these who have received sight. Their guilt is removed with their blindness. We preach Christ alone to dying men that they might believe and live.

Thoughts from A Young Man: forsaken not

Matt.27.46

…My God My God why have you for forsaken me…

I am reminded how often my cries to God for grace concerning a present temptation are met with the needed aid in the moments when they are asked. Here the Son of Man cries out for another way and the Father is pleased to crush him. I am never forsaken. I am never left with out the needed aid. My sinful state is never my only recourse against sin. God always imparts by the spirit of Christ the need of the hour. But here, the Son is, with pleasure, crushed by God His Father.

Jesus wasn’t forsaken for his sin, he was forsaken for mine!

Jesus cries out for another way to be made. Three times in the garden the blessed Son, the only begotten of The Father, he who upon beholding his glory we are made heirs of heaven, says John. It is he who cries out to the father and is forsaken. God gladly crushes him that he would be justified in being our aid in every need.
Would it then not behoove us to be making not a fight against the in which he aids us but making a war against it? Would that not be the mark of a child of such grace? Would it not seem a repugnant idea to not jump into the arms of Christ who stands in the fire that he might draw you out? Is it not fair to say that those who do not make a life of fighting the sin for which their savior has died know not the savior they claim? What of your life? What about your path? Is it a deeply worn path that leads you to the nail pierced feet of the resurrected Christ? Is your life marked by life or marked by unforsaken death? Jesus wasn’t forsaken for his sin, he was forsaken for mine! He was forsaken for the sins of all who believe. This effectual truth MARKS the life of the believer. All who believe will actively forsake the sin within.

Do you mortify;
do you make it your daily work;
be always at it while you live;
cease not a day from this work;
be killing sin or it will be killing you.

—John Owen, “On the Mortificat​ion of Sin,” in Overcoming​ Sin and Temptation​, ed. Kapic &; Taylor (Crossway,​ 2006), p. 50. [Available​ online for free.]

Dear Christian, if your sin killed our Christ why does it keep killing you?

Thoughts from a Young Man: Cartoon Parents

Our culture has turned from the Christian method of educating children in matters or morals. We make books and videos and tv shows which have extracted from the gospel the morals that are learned. The ways and manners that mark goodness in Christ without the reforming power of the cross. We wonder why it is that our youth have problems and low self confidence. It is quite simple; they have been told to be what they are completely unable to become. They have been told to live in a manner in which they are completely unable. Caillou’s good morals, not to mention wholly impossibly good parents, don’t exists. We offer our children lies. They don’t see the love of the Bertstien Bears in their own parents. The messages have no root, no source of power except this is what you should be. When they are not they become depressed. We offer them lies about who they are and what they can be and are surprised when they turn out broken.
We need not to tell our children that they should share and if they try hard enough they will. We need to tell them that they should love others, not because they are good people deserving of love, because we all are sinners in need of grace; just like our children. The gospel must enter our parenting. It is rather cruel to tell our children to be what they are not, what they cannot be, without telling them about the source of life, the grace of God, Christ who WILL make them like Christ. To create outward conformity without any inward root is not more than cleaning the outside of the cup.
Do we give our children false expectations of who we are as parents through the tv we let them watch? Do we allow them to be immersed in programs that tell them to be what they cannot be with out Christ? Are we telling them about Christ?
I did not address this above but thinking wise what does the tv we give our children do to their minds? Is thought provoking or entertainment driven? In our house we love Dora and disdain Sponge Bob (the show is simply mindless; I feel stupid after watching it). Caillluo has been rising consumption but because of the above I am reconsidering this. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse makes the cut for our three year but Teletubbies is a no no. What do you think?