Live Right- Rich Mullins

A passive listening to this song will leave one thinking a couple things.  One, that’s the epitome of 80’s music.  And two, that it’s just a song about doing good things and not bad things.

I’m not a fan of the 80’s sound, nor of pop music.  That’s why it took me a little while to stop skipping this song (let alone pay attention to it).  And once that happened, I found I was influenced, inspired, convicted, compelled.  Not by the music itself, sadly I can’t say it’s likely that I’ll ever get into the “groove” of this one.  It’s upbeat, so a sense of action is about all I feel from it (which I guess is part of the point).  But the lyrics of this song are ones I can honestly say I always hope to strive to live up to.

When Rich says live right in this song he’s not saying “don’t do bad things”, except maybe in that not living is a bad thing.  He’s talking about living life, and what life is about.  We sit around and waste time, or we busy ourselves with a whole lot of nothing.  But Rich opens this song with

So much life is slipping past you
You better sink in and take a hold

Then in the chorus he says:

So don’t hold out, don’t let these chances pass you by
Here’s your life, you’re gonna get it right
Live like you’ll die tomorrow
Die knowing you’ll live forever, live right
Love like you’ll leave tomorrow
Believing love lasts forever, live right

While working on this post I noticed the verse of the day on my blog, and it speaks the same message as this song… 1 John 3:18 “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.”

God is at every moment giving us so many chances at true life.  If we could count them up then we could likely count the descendants of Abraham.  And one day we’ll give an account for each and every opportunity to truly live.  What’s God going to say to us?

One day we’ll run out of them here on earth.  But the ones we live out now my very well live on beyond our journey here, enabling others to truly live.

So don’t hold out, don’t let these chances pass you by…

Live Right- Rich Mullins (Rich Mullins- 1986)

Live Right- Rich Mullins

So much life is slipping past you
You better sink in and take a hold
So many things you say you think you’d like to do
About the things you think you know
Well, that road that’s paved with good intentions
May never reach the streets of gold
No, no, no

So much love is on the inside
Better give in and let it out
Any fool could tell you why
But let the Spirit show you how
Speak your heart and maybe you could shed light
On the shadow of someone’s doubt
Yeah, yeah, yeah

So don’t hold out, don’t let these chances pass you by
Here’s your life, you’re gonna get it right
Live like you’ll die tomorrow
Die knowing you’ll live forever, live right
Love like you’ll leave tomorrow
Believing love lasts forever, live right

The things you grab will never last you
Once they get you in their hold
What once were your slaves become your masters
They burn you up and leave you cold
Can you tell me what you have to profit
If you gain the world and lose your soul
Oh, no, no

But don’t hold out, don’t let these chances pass you by
Here’s your life, you’re gonna get it right
Live like you’ll die tomorrow
Die knowing you’ll live forever, live right
Love like you’ll leave tomorrow
Believing love lasts forever, live right

You gotta live

Don’t pull away from what’s ahead of you and don’t you look back
Look forward in faith and hope will pull you through
To a love that will last

Live like you’ll die tomorrow
Die knowing you’ll live forever, live right
Love like you’ll leave tomorrow
Believing love lasts forever, live right

(Live right, you gotta live)

Live like you’ll die tomorrow (live like you’re living right)
Die knowing you’ll live forever, live right
Love like you’ll leave tomorrow
Believing love lasts forever, live right

(Live right, you gotta live)

Live like you’ll die tomorrow (live like you’re living right)
Die knowing you’ll live forever, live right
Love like you’ll leave tomorrow
Believing love lasts forever, live right

(You gotta live right, you gotta live)
(Live like you’re living right)
(Live right)
(Believing that love will last)
(Live right, you gotta live right)
(You gotta live)

A Place to Stand- Rich Mullins

This is a slower song, and not as 80’s-ish as some of the other songs on this album.  It soothes you as it beckons you to a simpler and humbler place.  A place where you simply need your Father to guide you and hold you.

It’s definitely a struggle remaining faithful in every moment of our lives.  We live in such a twisted and foul land and it presses against us from every direction.

But we have a firm rock on which to stand, we have Christ!  Of all the things that shall fall out from under my feet I know that Christ is not among them.  If I love as He loved I’ll stand on His foundation.  If I can look where He tells me to look, then I’ll see the firm ground on which I must walk.

Easy enough to type.  But it’s hard to do because we’re always trying to rely on ourselves.  We must be humble if we are to be His.  Thank the Lord that His hand is available to us.  I pray we can learn to hold on tight and run to Him!

A Place to Stand- Rich Mullins (Rich Mullins- 1986)

Well there’s a lot of things working against me
But I know I can’t lose
Yeah, there’s a lot of things working against me
But I know I can’t lose
And there’s a lot of miles still between me and my home
But I’ve learned a lot through the years, now
I’m more than just young
I got a lot of things working against me
But I know I can’t lose

And there’s a lot of love locked up inside of me
That I’m learning to give
Yeah, there’s a lot of love locked up inside of me
That I’m learning to give
So that like that bush in Sinai that burned but was not consumed
May the speed of my life throw sparks on the shadows of the tombs
I got a lot of love locked up inside me
I’m learning to give

So hold on to my hand, yeah hold on to my hand
‘Cause I need a place to run to and a place to stand

And there’s a lot of things this world has hidden
That I’m learning to see
Yeah, there’s a lot of things this world has hidden
That I’m learning to see
Well I have seen some injustice but I’ve seen mercy too
I was blinded by the things I saw until I looked at you
There’s a lot of things this world has hidden
I’m learning to see

So hold on to my hand, hold on to my hand
‘Cause I need a place to run to and a place to stand

Hold on to my hand, yeah hold on to my hand
‘Cause I need a place to run to and a place to stand

But if they don’t like me… John 12

How many times do we shy away from sharing Christ, from spreading light in the darkness, from standing up for The Lord and what’s right, simply because we love praise from men?  And we make up all sorts of excuses.  Among the worst of those reasons is this one… if they don’t like me I won’t be able to evangelise them effectively.

How dare we blame our shortcomings on God.  It’s one thing to honestly misunderstand, but to lazily settle for less and say someone else is to blame… shame on us.

While we must become all things to all men, that does not mean they must like everything we do.  Indeed if they are not a Christian then there will be things they simply won’t like about us.  There’s no getting around that, for the flesh does not like dying to the Spirit.

God did not call us to “Go unto the world and be liked.”  There are enough people who are liked, that’s not what the world is starving for.  God called us to love, and to speak the truth plainly in that love.  He called us to be like Christ.

In our passage, starting in vs. 42, we see that while some denied the plain truth of Christ, others believed.  Even some among the leaders believed!  But they fell short.  They would not confess their belief out of fear.  Fear of being put out of the synagogue.  Fear of losing the praise of men.  They loved that praise, more so than praise from God.

But Jesus encourages them.  He tells them, and indeed us, that those who believe in Christ believe also in the Father.  He tells us that He came to give us light, so we won’t have to remain in the darkness.

Jesus even says that He did not come to judge us.  No, He came to give us life.  Now there is judgment, and it will come by the words Jesus spoke to us.  But those very same words lead to eternal life!  We only need to heed them!  It isn’t God’s goal to cut us off and leave us in darkness.  Quite the opposite!  He came for our good.  And all that He did is for our good.  All that He continues to do is for our good, if we love Him and His calling.

God’s commands lead to true life.  And He has commanded every vessel of His Spirit to go and show the world that there is indeed light.  We need to warn them of the darkness they’re in by showing them that light.  Even if it means they don’t like us.  It’s not their opinion of us that will judge us on that Day, it’s the words of our Saviour.  The Saviour we claim as Lord.

And it’s not their opinion of us that will get them into heaven or hell.  It’s their standing with the Lord.    Are you living for yourself, so that hell will be full of people who like you and were never offended by the light you didn’t bring to their eyes?

You may enjoy your time in the synagogue that is the heart of the lost.  But will it be at the cost of Jesus not coming into their place of worship?  Has it become a place for the worship of you?

But they won’t listen to me if they don’t like me…

I desperately need to be different in this, and I fear I’m not the only one.

You Have Never Met a Mere Mortal

Watch your actions; you have never met a mere mortal.  This is an exerpt that I think will affect those who love the Lord…  

The Weight of Glory (edited)

C.S. Lewis…

It may be possible for each to think too much of his own potential glory hereafter; it is hardly possible for him to think too often or too deeply about that of his neighbor. The load, or weight, or burden of my neighbor’s glory should be laid daily on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken.

 

It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities[indeed one or the other is an eventuality], it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another… all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics.

 

There are no ordinary people.

 

You have never talked to a mere mortal.

 

Nations, cultures, arts, civilization—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.

 

This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously—no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption.

 

And our charity must be a real and costly love, with deep feeling[that is, heartbreak]for the sins in spite of which we love the sinner—no mere tolerance or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment. Next to…[God Himself], your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses. If he is your Christian neighbor he is holy in almost the same way, for in him also Christ ‘vere latitat’—the glorifier and the glorified, Glory Himself, is truly hidden.

 

For God’s Glory- John 11

It seems to me that many people miss an important fact.  They miss the fact that all things are for God.  Let me explain…

The Bible tells us that all things work together for the good of those who love Him, who are called  according to His purpose.  And it’s completely true.  But the second half of that gets little play time in our conversations, and even when we include it we miss the point.  It’s not all about us.  It’s about His purpose.

Nobody has a real foundation for the argument that God does not love us.  His love for us is easy to see for those who’s eyes are opened (that is, those who simply choose to open them).  And His love is unlike anything else.  It is greater than we can comprehend, and far beyond our own aspirations to love one another.

But God doesn’t exist for our sake, we exist for His.  We are not the end all of it all, He is.  He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.  In Him all things exist, and in Him we have our being.

In our passage, John 11, we have the story of Lazarus dying.  And Jesus didn’t say the situation was for Lazarus’ good, although it certainly works out good for Lazarus.  Jesus says in verse 4 “No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s son may be glorified through it.”

What I don’t want is for someone to walk away from this post misunderstanding our place in reality.  People are not just pawns that God throws around without concern.  One would have to completely ignore the cross to see us as such.  We are loved by Him more than we could ever be loved by anyone, including by ourselves.  But in the end it is all about God.  And it should be.  And there could be no higher honor for man, indeed no more complete joy, than to be used to that end.

What a terrible thing it would be if reality was all about anything except Him!

What goodness lays in store for us BECAUSE it’s all about Him!  Look what it did for Lazarus!

Praise God that He is God!!!

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.

Jesus, Write Me Into Your Story (John 9)

John 9:3

It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.

We focus on what is best for us.  Once in a while we truly pick up our crosses and take a total loss for ourselves that Christ might be glorified.  But we should always be willing to suffer for Him.  And how can we complain, for we caused Him more suffering than we can ever bear in this life.

The truth is that all things are for God, and that includes us.  Even if we choose to reject Christ, He will be glorified in His display of justice.  We can be for noble or ignoble purposes, but we will surely be used.

And because we are His, we should rejoice when we are used by Him.  Even if we have a weakness, or are in a humble situation, or some tragedy has befallen us; we need to desire to be a part of His story.

As you read John 9:3, think about how God’s power can be glorified in your weakness… and not for your sake, but for His.  Look into your heart and see if it cries out with every drop of blood within it as Rich Mullins’ heart cried out in his song “Jesus”…

Jesus
Write me into Your story
Whisper it to me
And let me know I’m Yours

Sinmaster (John 8)

We often try to think of ourselves as our own masters.  We have free will, sure.  But the things we do with that free will… they’re things that we’re told to do.

Jesus offers us freedom in serving Him.  It sounds backwards, but that’s the way the world wants us to see it… backwards.  However, Jesus wants us to see things just as they are.  He wants us to know the truth.  And to do that, we must continue in His word.

We can, of course, choose to go “our own way.”  But that’s a deceptive way of saying it, because really it isn’t our own way.  It’s sin’s way.  If we reject Christ, we become slaves to sin.  Sin becomes our master.  All of us have sinned, and allowed sin to have dominion in our lives. 

And sin doesn’t like to let its servants go.  It pulls them deeper and deeper into servitude.  It will let them think they are the master if that’s what it takes to keep them.

If we want true freedom, we must become a servant.  Sounds confusing, but if we want to understand the truth of it then we simply need to continue in His word.  We need to love and obey Christ.  Only then will we know the truth that sets us free.

The Director (John 8)

The Setup

John 8 begins with the story of the woman caught in adultery.  To better understand the situation, one should note what had happened the day before.  It was the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles and the Temple Guards had returned to the Pharisees.  Contrary to their orders, they did not have Jesus with them.

The Pharisees lashed out at the guards.  Then Nicodemus questioned their methods, saying that the Law requires them to hear Jesus’ side.  The Pharisees then lashed out at Nicodemus as well.

The Plot

Now come back to the next day.  The Pharisees have been brewing in their anger all night.  They’ve been plotting. 

Jesus is teaching again in the Temple courts… their temple, as far as they are concerned.  And when they come to Jesus, they bring a woman that they just happened to catch in adultery that day.  They didn’t bring the man, mind you.  Just the woman.

And they throw this woman before Him like a dog.  They make her stand there in front of all these people that Jesus was teaching.  They’re trying to prove something to Jesus’ audience, and trying to find a reason to accuse Him.  They want the people to stop following Jesus.  And they want Jesus dead.

They pose their question to Jesus.  What they wanted was for Jesus to say “Yes, the Law says to kill her so kill her.”  If He did then in their minds not only would it look like His message of mercy was tainted, but it would also give them Jesus’ own approval to kill in the name of the Law.  And they wanted to accuse Jesus of blasphemy, so they could kill Him.

Remember that the people were excitable.  It wasn’t exactly safe for the Pharisees to brave the crowds for the sake of killing Christ.  In the interest of self preservation, they needed the people on their side.

The Real Powerplay

It’s easy to look at this situation as just a convenient trap.  But this was a very deliberate and hate filled plot.  This was an attempt to catch Jesus in just the right place, at just the right time.

Proverbs 16:9 says:

 “A man’s mind plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps. “

This confrontation was to be no exception.  These men planned and plotted death for Jesus, and were willing to kill this woman to do it.  But Jesus came to bring life.  With a wisdom far beyond their own, Jesus turns the tables.

He didn’t use a show of force.  He didn’t use a miracle.  He simply spoke.  And with His words, Christ spoke of the same message that they were trying to quiet.  A message of love, truth and mercy.

Not only did he speak His message of mercy, but He compelled the blood lusting Pharisees to follow it.  The Lord directed their steps. 

The Mistake

If only they knew the Law…

You’re Not Alone (John 7)

It’s a violent world we live in.  People are filled with hatred and malice towards each other.  But even in the midst of all the wickedness there are windows… windows that open to a world of love and truth.

We see an example of this in the end of John 7.  The leaders of the people, along with some of the crowds, they had a burning hatred towards Jesus.  And we know that Jesus did not deserve it.  None the less, they wanted to kill Him.

But not all of the people in the crowd were filled with sin.  Many put their trust in Him.  The temple guards refused to arrest Jesus.  Even one of the leaders, Nicodemus, stood against the evil.

And Jesus Himself was a window to a better world.  He brought love to His enemies, and we still receive that love.  It’s a love that conquers.  It’s a love that truly gives life.

There are people out there that love the Lord.  If you are a Christian who feels alone in the world, look for the windows.  Look for the view into a better world.  You’ll come to find that they are all around us.

I like the song by Andrew Peterson, “Windows in the World.”  Give the song a listen, and you may find it a little easier to see the other side.