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!!!

The Lost Genre Guild

As some of you know, Christian speculative fiction is a genre that’s not really a part of the general Christian publishing industry.  Authors writing fantasy, sci-fi, alternate reality, spiritual warfare, and other spec-fic  books with a Christian world view have a hard time convincing big Christian publishers that their books will sell.  Their books are not usually the ones picked up on bookshelves.

But that doesn’t mean there’s not an audience.  There is, in fact, quite a large group of people who love Christian spec-fic.  They just spend their time in other places.  Some authors and readers have banded together to reach this audience.  One such group is the “Lost Genre Guild.”

http://www.lostgenreguild.com is where the group can be found online.  They have something for anyone with an interest in Christian spec-fic..

Readers:

  • A list of quality books to read
  • Reviews to help you find the right book for your current mood
  • People who are working to encourage authors to write what you like

Authors:

  • Reviews to help market your material to the right people
  • Links to other groups that support what you write
  • Publisher links specific to Christian spec-fic
  • Contacts for author helps

Beyond these benefits, this is a chance for both readers and writers to partake in a work that brings glory to God Almighty, the Great Story Maker.  All good things come from Him; and when a book’s author understands that, they are able to tap into something that touches the very soul of man. 

So please visit the site, and be a part of what they are doing.  You’ll find good resources, no matter your part in the telling of good fiction.

————–

For more information on the LGG, and for more on Christian Spec-Fic, please check out the following blogs…

Brandon Barr
Justin Boyer
Keanan Brand
Kathy Brasby
Grace Bridges
Valerie Comer
Courtney
Frank Creed
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Janey DeMeo
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
Andrea Graham
Todd Michael Greene
Katie Hart
Timothy Hicks
Joleen Howell
Jason Isbell
Cris Jesse
Jason Joyner
Kait
Carol Keen
Lost Genre Guild
Mike Lynch
Magma
Margaret
Rachel Marks
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Nissa
John W. Otte
Steve Rice
Crista Richey
Mirtika
Hanna Sandvig
James Somers
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Jason Waguespac
Phyllis Wheeler
Timothy Wise

Not a Silent Night- Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all, by the grace that has come to us in Christ.  Here’s a “less spoken of” perspective on the greatest birth we can celebrate…

Andrew Peterson: “Labor of Love”

Album: Behold the Lamb of God- The True Tall Tale of the Coming of Christ

Sung by: Jill Phillips

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

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!

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.

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!

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.

The Modern Hypocrite (John 7)

There were a lot of tests that people threw at Jesus.  And there were some big plots made against Him.  All of these were said, that is by their perpetrators, to be in an effort to uphold the law of Moses.

But when one takes that statement and stops to consider the reality of who upheld the Law and who didn’t, they run into a problem.  It doesn’t add up that these people would have been so focused on killing Christ and not on killing others.

They had to try with all of their might, for years, to find something they could hold against Jesus.  And they never did find any legit grounds to punish Him.

But all of the other people broke the law of Moses.  There was no debate about that.  Even the leaders broke the Law, though they would have likely debated any particular instances of this.  But they knew the truth of the matter themselves.

So why were they trying to kill the man who they could find no dirt on?  The man they could find no fault in no matter how hard they looked?  And why did they let everyone else off the hook?  All the others who had clearly broken the Law?

John 7:16-19

Jesus answered, “My teaching is not My own. It comes from Him who sent Me. If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether My teaching comes from God or whether I speak on My own.  He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.  Has not Moses given you the law? Yet not one of you keeps the law. Why are you trying to kill Me?”

And it still happens today.  It is quite obvious that people are wicked.  Some try to argue against this.  But when faced with the truths of human nature, when shown specific cases (which are available in numbers likely beyond what any man could ever count), the supporters of human goodness are left speechless.  They have no answers that stand the test of reality.

Our sinfulness is undeniable.

Yet today’s world is still doing what it did 2,000 years ago.  It is still persecuting Christ, the only one in which it cannot find any fault.  The only man who never partook in sin, and the only man who could die to save us. 

The only man who is capable of bringing us love, goodness and true life.

We as humans need to toss away our lenses of foolish self righteousness, and we need to observe the truth around us… the truth of what’s within us.  We need to stop trying to twist reality into something that fits our limited understanding and the delusions we desire, and start excepting the way things really are.

Man is sinful… selfish… full of death. 

Christ is good… 

Christ is love…

Christ is life…

Now if a child can be circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses may not be broken, why are you angry with me for healing the whole man on the Sabbath? Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment.