What Is Life?

We look at life as that which fulfills our souls, things that reach to our deepest of parts.  In doing so we miss the very thing we think we’re looking for.  We miss it because life isn’t about us, it’s about God.

Although life will fulfill our deepest parts, we’ll never find life by attempting to be satisfied.  True satisfaction and fulfillment come as by-products of finding life… by-products of finding God.  May we enjoy this benefit of life, but more importantly, may we truly live!

John 17:3 “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”

God be praised!!!

More Little Critters of Mount Rainer- Part 2

Here’s some more lists of little critters in Mount Rainier National Park!

Beavers:
-Beaver
-Mountain Beaver/Boomer

Canidae:
-Coyote
-Red Fox

Weasels, Skunks & Friends:
-Fisher
-Long Tailed Weasel
-Marten
-Mink
-Short Tailed Weasel/ Ermine
-Spotted Skunk
-Striped Skunk

Other:
-Porcupine
-Raccoon
-Snowshoe Hare/ Varying Hare

There’s a good chance of seeing at least one of these animals when camping out on Mount Rainier, and usually there’s many more to see.  Next time we’ll continue on with lists of some larger animals in Mount Rainier National Park.  God has filled the park with so much life!

Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to check the latest sales at http://whittakermountaineering.com/

A Servant’s Honor- John 12

The hour had now come for Jesus to be glorified.  The Jews said their Hosannas, and now even the Greeks who came to worship God wanted to see Jesus.

And in this hour of glory Jesus states that He must die.

It may be hard to think of this as glorious, but remember that His life was not taken from Him.  He laid it down willingly for his people.

We too shall be honored by God when we lay down our own lives; when we go where He goes, and live as servants of Christ.  It may trouble our hearts to go through the hardships He calls us to, but remember it troubled Jesus’ heart too (v27).

But shall we say “Father, save me from this hour?”  Jesus didn’t.  It was for this very reason that He came to the hour of glory, the hour of death.  If God brings us to a place that requires a cross, then we must remember that He brought us there for that very reason.  If we love our life we will lose it.

If we can lose our life… we will find it.  And it will be something better than we could have ever imagined!

The Shepherd in Sheep’s Clothing- John 10

God’s people are a thing sought after.  Some want them for their own, others hate God’s sheep, and still others just hate God.  And I’m sure most of the pursuers are a mixture of all three and then some.  It’s dangerous being a sheep in God’s flock. 

Especially since we’ve all, every one of us sheep, called upon ourselves a slaughtering.  We flirt with our enemies.  We tempt them and make them salivate with the thought of dining on our flesh and wearing our wool.

But we have a Good Shepherd, One who will always fight for us and Who will always triumph.  If we turn away from sin, and listen to His voice, then we will always find safe pasture for our souls.

He is not a hired hand.  Some claim to be defenders of the Church, but when it comes down to their very life being on the line… well, they abandon us just as fast as they can.  I’m guessing they’re not even truly employed, but rather they are something more like mercenaries waiting on wages that were never offered or promised.

Jesus isn’t like them.  Like a mighty Lion, He wages war for His Zion.

There has been a problem created by our actions though.  There is a required payment for our sins.  Jesus is the Good Shepherd, who lays His life down for His sheep.  And because it’s a sheep’s blood that’s required for the sheep’s sins, Jesus took our form upon Himself to satisfy the debt. 

His blood became as our blood, except without the sickness of sin.  He became one of us, and knew our every struggle intimately.  Being found in appearance as a man, the very nature of a servant, He humbled Himself and obeyed death.  And not just death, but death on the cross.  He became the Shepherd in sheep’s clothing, sacrificed.

Some people, not all but some, die for others because they have no choice.  If they’re going to die anyway then they figure they might as well do it for a good cause.  Or maybe, against their own will, their life is taken in place of someone else’s. 

Jesus isn’t like them.  No, Jesus didn’t have to die… ever.  But He layed down His life of His own accord, on our behalf.  And by the same authority given Him to lay it down on our behalf, He took it up and overcame death.

He is the Good Shepherd.

There is a constant blood-lust that hungers for the sheep of God.  But we need not fear the wolf in sheep’s clothing… not when we follow the voice of the Shepherd in sheep’s clothing.

The Thiepharisees- John 10

On the last post we considered the blind man who was healed by Jesus and who was thrown out by the Pharisees.  The same story goes on in chapter 10 as Jesus continues his response to the Pharisees who were with Him.

And I don’t think that before now I had ever considered the fact that chapter 10 was doing just that, continuing Jesus’ response to the Pharisees.  So a new thought came to mind as I read today, specifically I thought about who Jesus was talking to (and why He was talking to them) when He said in verse 10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…”

(An interesting note here, the word kill in verse 10 is specifically used of sacrifice.  It is not the common word for killing)

The Pharisees were angry with Jesus because He healed this blind man on the Sabbath.  The great keepers of the Law, as John pointed out earlier in this book, thought that by Scripture they possessed eternal life.  They built their empire of the Law and Jesus was a threat.  Not because He transgressed the Law, but because He transgressed their “law”.

Jesus wasn’t concerned with serving their misconceptions and lies.  He was concerned with saving people, and He knew that the Law kills.  It’s a righteous law, and that is exactly why it kills.  It kills rightfully.  People deserve eternal condemnation for sin… every one of us, who have turned away from God.  And there’s nothing we can do about it.

These Pharisees though, they thought they found life in the Law, and they were going to do whatever it took to slay their own people with this “life”.  And with that misuse of the Law, which claims to impart life to the sinner instead of death, they were able to do only three things… steal men’s hearts from God, sacrifice the people, and destroy them.

Lately brother Hugh Barton has been doing studies on Wednesdays that contrast the Law of the Letter with the Law of Grace.  He’s been pointing out the biblical truth that there is indeed life, but it is not found in the Law.

We, every person, need to remember that the Law holds no promise for us as sinners.  It is good, and serves as a tutor to show us our need for forgiveness and our need for righteousness.  But it cannot impart those things upon the transgressor, nor does it ever claim to.  We can never be good enough.

Do not believe the lie.  A man cannot work his way to heaven.  Salvation by works was the lie that the Pharisees pushed, but God called them thieves for it.  “Salvation by works” is a lie that ONLY steals, sacrifices and destroys…

Don’t believe the lie…

But know that there is hope…

There is a Good Shepherd, who lays down His life for His sheep…

There is Christ!

Forced Poetry

Here’s a poem I wrote a long time ago, with some minor edits…

Forced Poetry

  

Ok, so here it goes,

An attempt to force a poem.

We all know the deal,

You pick and peal

At a heart that’s meant to blossom.

 

Words don’t seem to just flow like they should.

What should I say?  Next I could…

Oh that won’t feel real, it’ll sound fake,

I could make… uh… this’ll take,

Well…  a while

 

There’s been so much poetry

That we’ve experienced in our lives.

How can it sound original

If I take the task light?

And at the same time make it sound just right?

 

So here I go, turning in circles,

Jumping through hoops and leaping o’er hurdles.

But for what?  This poem won’t cut to the heart.

I just sound like a fool trying to be smart.

That’s what I am anyway…

 

You have any comments, any complaints?

Any ideas on how to better relate?

Your opinion does matter after all you know,

This is just to please you anyway, it’s all just a show.

A grouping of words forced together, just for you!

Who cares about letting my true colors shine thru?

 

Well I hope I haven’t wasted too much of your time,

I know these have been lame attempts to rhyme.

But hey, that’s what happens when we don’t let hearts be free.

Guess if you want beautiful poetry, you’ll just have to see

God working in hearts as they live true life…

 

Those who choose Christ are His poems,

But we can’t force the beauty, let Him make you beautiful.

Only If You Flatter Me! (John 8)

The second half of John 8 is spoken to the Jews who believed in Jesus.  But when you read it, you get the impression that their belief was weak.  It would seem that they didn’t like to believe when Jesus spoke to their sin.

It’s hard, as a Christian who tries to give his all to Christ, to hear of others who claim to have a faith but deny Him if He hurts their pride.  To watch people have such a wishy-washy faith in the One who died for them, who suffered for them, who became a man for them.  It’s unreal how unthankful people can be.

But then I’ m reminded of my own struggles.  Sometimes I’m faced with a situation that  requires I be humbled if I’m to follow Christ.  And sometimes I don’t give up my pride like I should. 

It’s never an intentional thing when I forsake Him.  But that’s just it… I should always intentionally follow Him.  I should have nothing less than a fully intentional, moment-by-moment, living for Him faith.

The Holy Spirit convicts His people when they walk in sin.  When I’ve been convicted and rebuked for my forsaking Him I have two choices… I can swallow my pride and address the situation, or I can go on living in my pride.

My belief will not be limited to one who will flatter me, it is only placed in He who has the words of life!

Trust the Light (John 8)

Jesus had silenced the blood lusting Scribes and Pharisees who brought an adulteress to Him.  He showed them their own guilt, and used mercy to do it.  Every guilty person there was shown mercy by Him.

We continue the story, starting in John 8:12:

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

The Pharisees challenged Him on this, saying that Jesus’ testimony was invalid because He was testifying about Himself.  But Jesus Himself had been teaching the principle of valid testimony.  He declared to them that one needs a testimony beyond his own.

The Pharisees were so desperate to trap the Son of God that they made fools of themselves in their efforts.  Unfortunately this still happens even in our day.

People want to discredit God.  They want us to disregard the Bible.  But they make major errors in their efforts (not surprising, since their goal is itself a major error).  One of these errors is to say that the Bible isn’t true because it uses a form of circular reasoning in declaring itself to be true.

But one only needs to look a little deeper to find out the truth of the matter.  From early on the honest Bible reader comes to realize a few things.  They realize that the things the Bible does are things no other book has ever done.  The way it brings good life to people.  The way it harmonizes with itself even though it was written by many men, in many countries, in various languages, over thousands of years… perfect harmony!  It speaks in a way that no other book has ever spoken.  And it gives more information than any man, or even mankind as a whole, will ever be able to completely understand.

The reader will also find that external evidence only grows in its support of the Bible as time goes on.  New discoveries continue to be made that uphold the historical truths of the Scriptures.  The truths in our world and the people in the world are constantly proving God’s word to be indeed from God.  Recorded history supports the life of Christ more than some of the most beloved and indisputably historical people we know of.  History also proves the text of the Bible to be more reliable and authentic than any other work of its kind; the extent of this is so incredible that one has to laugh when they see the figures.

It’s a fool’s game they play today.  It didn’t work out for the Pharisees, and it won’t work for people today.  Every man is confronted with the truth of Christ, and His validity is greater than anything they already trust in.  Whether one chooses to accept or ignore that fact, well that’s up to them.  But we will all give an account one day, and at that point it will no longer be possible to ignore the truth.

Christ told the Pharisees that they would know the truth once He was lifted up.  And we see that it happened too, from their bribing the Roman guards to keep quite about what had happened.  It was so completely obvious that Christ was who He said He was.  It’s still obvious.

All men are capable of ignoring or not caring about the obvious reality that engulfs them.  But men don’t have to be fools if they choose to walk in the light that Jesus gives.

And only He has the words of life!