Reflect

Isa 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away

Phil 3:8 More than that, I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Because of Him I have suffered the loss of all things and consider them filth, so that I may gain Christ

I have been thinking lately.  Reflecting.  Specifically, about the following progression.  No matter how “good” our actions may be from a human perspective, no matter how altruistic our aims – even if carried out on behalf of the church or with Christian intent — if we act solely in our own strength our accomplishments might as well be garbage.

Too strong, too harsh?!

Paul did not think so.  He was in the “Who’s Who” of Judaism in his time.  You can refer to Philippians Chapter Three for his resume.  But Paul’s zeal (Saul at the time) resulted in the death of Christians.  Now, I’m not equating our actions with the murder of innocents.  [Although puported Christians who support abortion would in my mind be similar.  But that’s a topic for another day].  But in one respect we are the same as Paul.

Ask these questions about your actions, as I do the same:

  • Whose glory do I seek?
  • Am I confident that I am acting in God’s will, after a time of prayer?
  • And perhaps most important, have I confessed my sins & asked Almighty God to forgive me, accepting Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior?

It is not an easy thing to lay down sin, especially the persistent kind that we are susceptible to, but it is so incredibly necessary.  It is a challenge to pray without ceasing, especially when the distractions of the world encroach, but it is so incredibly necessary.

I pray that we will see all of our earthbound abilities, talents, accomplishments the way that Paul did.  Filth.  Refuse.  Garbage.  Dung.   Depending on your translation.  But you get the idea.  Absolutely worthless.  Only fitting for the landfill or junkyard.

I am not condemning anyone.  But I hope that you will reflect as well. What are you leaning on?  

Important:  If you are unsure about your salvation, if you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you can do so now.  Cry out to Him, admit you are a sinner, ask forgiveness for your sins, and ask Jesus into your heart.  Find peace.




Poem:

Deceptive Coffee Cups

I admit it.  I drink too much coffee.

Now, I might justify it a bit by stating that I don’t navigate into the exotic side of caffeine.  No mocha lattes, no cappuccinos, and heaven forbid I ever partake of something called “iced coffee.”  To me, that’s an oxymoron.

But nevertheless, way too much (even with the occasional decaf).

So, as you might imagine – I have assembled a decent collection of coffee mugs.  Gifts from family and co-workers, trips to the beach and other places, etc…

I find that most of the mugs I have are either black (or very dark navy) or white. Anyone who drinks coffee day in and day out knows that the white cups quickly become enstained (I just made that word up) with coffee [or tea – I sometimes switch to tea later in the day] residue.  Especially if:

  • the daily washing of the cup is a quick 2-second rinse of water [“after all, next time I pour coffee in it, the hot water will kill any germs”]
  • the half-empty/half-full cup of coffee sits overnight on your desk and you get a nice ring in the middle of the mug
  • You go on vacation for 1-2 weeks and come back to a science project in your coffee mug [yuck]

I have no doubt been guilty of all of the above at one time or another, but at least I try to wash my cups with detergent, and keep the white cups as clean as possible.

Interesting enough, the dark cups are a different story.  With a black or dark blue interior, you can’t see the coffee residue!  Works well!  In fact, for practical reasons, I think all coffee mugs should be dark on the inside.

But that’s the rub…or lack thereof [lack of rubbing out the stains lol].  Forgive the bad pun.

I’m serious from here to the end, which you will be glad to know is soon.  Sin ~ especially “secret sins” [actually no such thing – see Hebrews 4:13], are like those hidden coffee stains in the black mug.  They are not visible to the human eye, but are there just the same – and God sees them with vivid clarity.  Chew on that for a while.

In the case of the mug, unless the coffee is cleaned thoroughly – the stain will persist.  Just as it is with us and sin.  Unless we are cleaned, thorough forgiveness of our sins made possible by the blood of Jesus, we can look very Christian on the outside but rotten where it counts.

Woe to you…you are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.  [Mat 23:27]

Man to the Moon…And back again

My life [at least this temporal one] runs parallel to the space age of mankind.  Just a few months before my birth, President John Kennedy laid down the gauntlet of flying to the moon and returning our astronauts in one piece.   A year from my advent in this world, the Cuban Missile Crisis erupted.  Kennedy and others diffused the missile crisis, but of course he did not live to see Apollo astronauts meet his deadline in 1969.

During my junior high years, I was excited to be able to travel to Florida.  Besides visiting Aunt Sarann [best cool Aunt ever] and Uncle Kenny, a highlight for me was visiting Cape Canaveral.  I will not forget the experience of standing next to the massive Vehicle Assembly Building and looking up.  I nearly fell over backwards.  As I recall, a dirigible of some kind was inside the VAB.

Suffice it to say that I grew up in an age of technological advancement.  Dad’s Super 8 movies were really high tech for the period.  We later had them converted to VHS.  Now we need a DVD conversion.

We humans have made multiple trips to space and countless other discoveries and advancements, yet in our own cleverness we have made no advances in solving our sin problem.  Precisely because we cannot.

Each of us lies trapped in a device of our own making, out of which we are completely and utterly unable to extricate ourselves.   And of this plight, there remains only one recourse.  Bizarre as it seems, we must cease our pitiful attempts at self-rescue.

By confessing our sin and placing our trust in the Creator of the world ( and Creator of us), we open the way for forgiveness, redemption, and restoration.  Life as it was meant to be lived.  Not a bed of roses, but roses above the thorns.  And the moon thrown in for good measure.

Psalms 8:3 When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have ordained…