Meeting God

LUTHER

Advertisements

The Gospel Storyline

631386_1859c9aca5afd423e4a4d224c7be0fc2_large copy

Out of the cross comes the resurrection.
Out of weakness comes real strength.
Out of repentance and admitting
you are weak comes real power.
Out of giving away and serving others
comes real strength.
Out of generosity and giving . . .
comes real wealth.
That’s the gospel storyline.

–Tim Keller

Published in: on 04/19/2017 at 9:59  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , ,

What God is really like

C9OKEDdVYAAcIA9

When God Got Nailed

Nailed

The Outrageous Story

requiem-1334755400-article-0

Nothing short of the extreme and strong and startling doctrine of the divinity of Christ will give that particular effect that can truly stir the popular sense like a trumpet; the idea of the king himself serving in the ranks like a common soldier. By making that figure merely human we make that story much less human. We take away the point of the story which actually pierces humanity; the point of the story which was quite literally the point of a spear…

Divider 4B

Any knowledge of human nature will tell us that no sufferings of the sons of men, or even of the servants of God, strike the same note as the notion of the master suffering instead of his servants… No mysterious monarch, hidden in his starry pavilion at the base of the cosmic campaign, is in the least like that celestial chivalry of the Captain who carries his five wounds in the front of battle.

–G. K. Chesterton,
The Everlasting Man

The Victorious Defeat

BdDjN9xIcAAmmVe

When Defeat was Defeated

6651043_f520 copy

When Hell’s hatred inspired cruel hands to nail Jesus of Nazareth to a Roman cross—the victim turned everything around and became the Victor.

On that cross death was defeated, the Serpent’s head was crushed, the curse was annulled, sin was overthrown, guilt was eradicated, captives were set free, Hell was humiliated, and Love won.

0_4a502_836b1c1e_XXL

Someone said that “a successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.” Jesus took the cross, the nails, the cruelty, the injustice, the mocking, and hatred—and laid a firm foundation for a new world, a New Creation.

“And through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross” (Col. 1:20).

It doesn’t get any more “successful” that.

–Jurgen O. Schulz

Image: The Cross by Thomas Kinkade

What God Does

Cross and sunset 2

Jesus Christ is what God does,
and the cross is where God did it.
–Frederick Buechner

GOOD FRIDAY

8507301707_e9cd474727_z

AM I a stone and not a sheep
That I can stand, O Christ, beneath Thy Cross,
To number drop by drop Thy Blood’s slow loss,
And yet not weep?

Not so those women loved
Who with exceeding grief lamented Thee;
Not so fallen Peter weeping bitterly;
Not so the thief was moved;

Not so the Sun and Moon
Which hid their faces in a starless sky,
A horror of great darkness at broad noon—
I, only I.

Yet give not o’er,
But seek Thy sheep, true Shepherd of the flock;
Greater than Moses, turn and look once more
And smite a rock.

Christina Rossetti
(1830–1894)

Death, Life, and Trees

1200740_f248 copyDo you see how the devil is defeated by the very weapons of his prior victory? The devil had vanquished Adam by means of a tree. Christ vanquished the devil by means of the tree of the Cross. The tree sent Adam to hell. The tree of the Cross brought him back from there. The tree revealed Adam in his weakness, laying prostrate, naked and low. The tree of the Cross manifested to all the world the victorious Christ, naked, and nailed on high. Adam’s death sentence passed on to all who came after him. Christ’s death gave life to all his children.

–John Chrysostom,
4th century bishop

Published in: on 03/23/2016 at 8:47  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , , , , ,

What makes God glorious?

7934 copy 2

“Glory” is a timeworn, many-sided, vaguely understood term of rich significance. Most importantly it has to do with God, the source and sum of it. Glory is what inspires wonder and admiration. It is manifested excellence, the outward display of beauty and goodness, the visible demonstration of greatness.

The glory of God is when
God lets us see what He’s like.

It’s when His wonderfulness goes public, His awesomeness comes into view, His splendor is sighted.

We observe the glory of God in creation—an awe-inspiring, but limited view. We get a close-up view when we contemplate Jesus, the human life of God. The knowledge of the glory of God is seen partially in nature, but fully in the face of Jesus Christ.

1287975596 space copy

Great are the mysteries of creation. Greater still is the mystery of godliness, when the Architect of the galaxies was manifested in human form. The heavens display the greatness of God’s power. The Word made flesh displays the greatness of His love.

The heavens show us God’s hand;
Jesus shows us His heart.

The heavens declare the glory of God, but Jesus of Nazareth is the glory of God. He is the brightness of God’s glory, the express image of His person.

The heavens declare the glory of God in an impersonal, distant way. Jesus brings the glory of God near in a living, breathing, loving Person.

Jesus is the glory of God made human.

And never was He so glorious as when he became horribly inglorious. It happened on a cross—where the worst and the best, the highest and the lowest collided. The crucifixion of the incarnate God did not extinguish His glory, it expanded it. At Calvary the glory of God blazed forth in volcanic abundance.

It was in the moment of greatest ugliness that His beauty shone most brightly. It was in the place of utmost shame that His splendor burst forth. Violence brought virtue to light, as the crushing of a rose releases its fragrance.

Cross copy 5B copy

Glory was nailed to a cross and lifted up for all to see. The veil in the temple was ripped open—God’s glory had been revealed. It was the glory of His irrepressible, self-giving, self-sacrificing, redeeming, restoring love. It was the glory of His grace.

The heavens declare a piece of His glory.
The cross declares it all.

Here is the final unveiling of glory. It is a revelation, an earthquake, a feast, a waterfall, a love story, a symphony, a tsunami, a game changer, a thirst quencher, an explosion of hope, a healing balm for the wounds of our broken and flawed lives.

worship-sm-300x225 copy

“Cross” and “glory” are as far apart as two words can possibly be. They are polar opposites. Crucifixion was not just about torture—it was about shame. It was the ultimate disgrace. For Hebrews it meant being cursed. No one ever dreamed a Roman cross could be glorious.

Until God got on one.

He makes all things glorious.

Even a shameful cross.

Even unworthy sinners.

Such is the greatness of His glory.

–Jurgen O. Schulz

Soak in God’s love

floating-in-ocean1

The great work of our lives
is to rest in the great work of God.
The great work of our lives is to learn to soak
in the love of God, which was finished for you
on a cross . . . 2,000 years ago and which
pours out with new supply
every morning.

–Justin Buzzard

Light out of darkness

awakening-light-meditation copyWe find God continually at work turning evil into good. Not, as a rule, by irrelevant miracles and theatrically effective judgments–Christ was seldom very encouraging to those who demanded signs, or lightnings from Heaven, and God is too subtle and too economical a craftsman to make very much use of those methods. But He takes our sins and errors and turns them into victories, as He made the crime of the crucifixion to be the salvation of the world.

–Dorothy Leigh Sayers
Creed Or Chaos?

Unstoppable love

cross 14 copy 2
Through the cross,
God showed that
even killing God
cannot put God off
from relating to
and loving us.
He rose again to tell us.

–John Goldingay

Not a sword but nails

Jesus_Cross 10B

Jesus did not come with a sword
in his hands; he came
with nails in his hands.
He did not come to bring judgment;
he came to bear judgment.

–Tim Keller

The “folly” of following Jesus

1260216663KLkQZYN

If the world is sane, then Jesus is mad as a hatter and the Last Supper is the Mad Tea Party. The world says, Mind your own business, and Jesus says, There is no such thing as your own business. The world says, Follow the wisest course and be a success, and Jesus says, Follow me and be crucified. The world says, Drive carefully — the life you save may be your own — and Jesus says, Whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. The world says, Law and order, and Jesus says, Love. The world says, Get and Jesus says, Give. In terms of the world’s sanity, Jesus is crazy as a coot, and anybody who thinks he can follow him without being a little crazy too is laboring less under a cross than under a delusion.

—Frederick Buechner
Listening to Your Life

Did the Lamb succeed?

lamb-of-god

Try this one on for size..read all of it. Under the old covenant when a man sinned he could have his sins taken care of by taking a lamb to the temple to be sacrificed. The priest representing God would inspect the lamb to make sure it was spotless and without fault. HE WOULD NEVER EXAMINE OR SCRUTINIZE THE SINNER ONLY THE LAMB.

If the lamb was perfect it would be sacrificed in place of the sinner to pay for the sin of the man who was guilty. The man would go away from God with a clear conscience….In the book of John, JESUS IS CALLED THE LAMB OF GOD WHO TAKES AWAY THE SIN OF THE WORLD. I guess the only question that remains is: did the Lamb do what He was sent to do or did He fail?

–Don Keathley

The ultimate surprise

cross copy 3

The Cross is the greatest
surprise in human history.
None of the religions
of the world could even have
thought of such a thing.

–John Ensor

Other orientation

waterfall_40476254

Christianity asserts that God is triune — that is, three persons within one God. From John 17 we learn that from all eternity, each person—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—has glorified, honoured, and loved the other two. So there is an ‘other-orientation’ within the very being of God. When Jesus went to the cross, he was simply acting in character. As C. S. Lewis wrote, when Jesus sacrificed himself for us, he did “in the wild weather of his outlying provinces” that which from all eternity “he had done at home in glory and gladness.”

–Tim Keller

A God with wounds

Cross on hill 3

The other gods were strong;
but Thou wast weak;
They rode, but Thou
didst stumble to a throne;
But to our wounds
only God’s wounds can speak,
And not a god has wounds,
but Thou alone.

–Edward Shillito
Jesus of the Scars

Astonishing cross

Cross diagonal 2

The Cross never finds
its rightful place
in a man’s heart
until it takes his breath away.
It becomes life’s supreme
and most bewildering
astonishment.

–F. W. Boreham
The Drums of Dawn

Countercultural Cross

one-nation-under-god-cross-photo-in-the-public-domain

The cross of Christ stands
as a mystery because it is foreign
to everything we exalt —
self over principle,
power over meekness,
the quick fix over the long haul,
cover-up over confession,
escapism over confrontation,
comfort over sacrifice,
feeling over commitment,
legality over justice,
the body over the spirit,
anger over forgiveness,
man over God.

–Ravi Zacharias

Published in: on 09/25/2014 at 23:36  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

The cruciform God

He-carried-the cross 18c

When the crucified
Jesus is called
“the image of the invisible God,”
the meaning is that
THIS is God, and
God is like THIS.

–Jürgen Moltmann

The magnificent defeat

Christ, victorious

He compelled their dark achievements to subserve His end, not theirs. They nailed Him to the tree, not knowing that by that very act they were bringing the world to His feet.

They gave Him a cross,
not guessing that
He would make it
a throne.

They flung Him outside the gates to die, not knowing that in that very moment they were lifting up all the gates of the universe, to let the King come in. They thought to root out His doctrines, not understanding that they were implanting imperishably in the hearts of men the very name they intended to destroy. They thought they had defeated God with His back to the wall, pinned and helpless and defeated: they did not know that it was God Himself who had tracked them down. He did not conquer in spite of the dark mystery of evil. He conquered through it.

James S. Stewart
(1896–1990)

Published in: on 06/24/2014 at 19:09  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

Whispering forgiveness

Screen Shot 2014-05-20 at 5.42.54 PM

This is the gospel of grace. A God, who out of love for us, sent the only Son He ever had wrapped in our skin. He learned how to walk, stumbled and fell, cried for His milk, sweated blood in the night, was lashed with a whip and showered with spit, was fixed to a cross and died whispering forgiveness on us all.

–Brennan Manning
The Ragamuffin Gospel

Only by Dying

44907

IF DEATH WAS TO be truly defeated, it was only by dying himself that Jesus believed he could defeat it. If he was to reach the hearts of men, it was only by suffering his own heart to be broken on their behalf that he believed he could reach them. To heal the sick and restore sight to the blind; to preach good news to the poor and liberty to the captives; to wear himself out with his endless teaching and traveling the whole length and breadth of the land—it had not worked because it was not enough. There had to be more. “He set his face to go to Jerusalem,” the Gospel says, and it was a journey from which he seems to have known that he would both never return and return always even unto the end of time and beyond.

–Frederick Buechner

Published in: on 04/17/2014 at 6:22  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

Heaven in pursuit

sunrise3

He pursued humanity
to such an extent that
His feet landed on earth . . .
and he chased after us
until He rescued us
at the cross.

–Mary DeMuth

Published in: on 12/12/2013 at 5:09  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , ,

Life out of death

butterfly King_Priamos_butterfly

The principle runs through all life from top to bottom. Give up yourself, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favourite wishes every day . . . and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing.

Nothing that you have not
given away will be really yours.

Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.

–C. S. Lewis
Mere Christianity

God came near

night-cross-pray 2

And look, now this distant God has come near to you in incomprehensible love. When you could not take hold of him, he has taken hold of you. When you could not seek him, he found you. When you were persecuting him, he loved you.

–Helmut Thielicke
Between God and Satan

Published in: on 10/09/2013 at 6:36  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , ,

The only punishable offence

ledger

Bookkeeping is the only punishable offence in the kingdom of heaven. For in that happy state, the books are ignored forever, and there is only the Book of life. And in that book, nothing stands against you.

There are no debit entries
that can keep you out of the clutches
of the Love that will not let you go.

bookeepingThere is no minimum balance below which the grace that finagles all accounts will cancel your credit. And there is, of course, no need for you to show large amounts of black ink, because the only Auditor before whom you must finally stand is the Lamb — and he has gone deaf, dumb, and blind on the cross. The last may be first and the first last, but that’s only for the fun of making the point: everybody is on the payout queue and everybody gets full pay. Nobody is kicked out who wasn’t already in, the only bruised backsides belong to those who insist on butting themselves into outer darkness.

For if our world
could have been saved
by bookkeeping,
it would have been saved
by Moses, not Jesus.

The law was just fine. And God gave it a good thousand years or so to see if anyone could pass a test like that. But nobody did — when it became perfectly clear that there was “no one who was righteous, no even one” (Rom. 3:10; Ps. 14:1-3), that “both Jews and Gentiles alike were under the power of sin (Rom. 3:9) — God gave up on salvation by the books. He cancelled everybody’s records in the death of Jesus and rewarded us all, equally and fully, with a new creation in the resurrection of the dead.

369_empty_tomb

And therefore the only adverse judgment that falls on the world falls on those who take their stand on a life God cannot use rather than on the death he can. Only the winners lose, because only the losers can win: the reconciliation simply cannot work out any other way . . . the kingdom of heaven is for everybody; hell is reserved only for the idiots who insist on keeping nonexistent records in their heads.

Robert Farrar Capon
Kingdom, Grace, Judgment
(emphasis added)

%d bloggers like this: