Archive | October, 2013

Trolling for a Thrill

31 Oct

Trolling for a Thrill . . .

 

I John 5:20, “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.”

 

I love looking at the context of famous Bible verses.  The above verse is the one that precedes the one I use so often (“Little children, keep yourselves from idols.  Amen”).  The verse on idols ends the book of 1 John.

 

What a wonder it is to realize that the true God has given us true life when we received His Son Jesus Christ.  We know Him and are in Him!  What a wonder!

 

As you have seen in the first three weeks of this blog, I feel called to look at the true life God gives us through His Word and His Son and to contrast it with some of the idols we embrace in this life.  I hope to gently challenge us, all of us, to realize when we are holding onto an idol (which we all do at some point) and to lay it down, in order to fully embrace our Saviour and His love.

 

I will always go unabashedly to the idea that we humans are messy creatures.  In Christ, we have been saved from sin, but we are all still works in progress.  And, because of that, when we try to live in community, we often step on each other’s toes.  It is these ways of stepping on each other, many of them based on our own personal idolatries, that I hope to look at sometimes.  That can be helpful to all of us.

 

I was thinking this week of something that happens a lot on-line, both in anonymous venues and even on Facebook.  There is the phenomenon called “trolling” which has been defined as someone putting up a status or a statement that is meant to incite angry words between people. 

 

Trolling is probably the on-line equivalent of “being an instigator.”

 

They say that the most skilled trolls (and real-life instigators) even get to where they can throw their “word grenade” into a crowd of people and get them at each other’s throats without anyone even realizing who originally started the fight!  These folks can end up watching a fight at the sidelines, with total innocence written on their faces, and with no one suspecting they lobbed the first verbal projectile into the crowd (they may have done it in a whisper to one of the people who later erupted in argument).

 

I am not sure why people would choose the thrill of stirring people up into argument over the true thrill of life in the Son of God, but it does happen and it even involves Christians sometimes.  Maybe they haven’t yet realized all they have in Christ, so they look for vicarious thrills elsewhere.

 

I guess there is always the idea of self-righteously looking at the people who are quarreling and feeling that we are somehow better than them (even if we instigated the argument).  That might help someone’s sagging spirits sometime, I suppose.

 

I will strive to be gentle in this blog.  I have to admit that I too have become addicted to the level of sarcasm that surrounds us today, but I will strive to apply sarcasm only to myself.  I realize that sarcasm, directed at a person, never changes his mind.  And it can cut like a knife.

 

Finally, if I bring up an issue, I really do intend to listen to your comments on it, even when you disagree with me.  I don’t know everything and I learn in community, as we all do. 

 

I think that there are few things as silly as putting up a Facebook status to invite comment, then deleting everyone’s comments that disagree with my position.  To me, it seems that putting a post out there means we are prepared to hear what others will say about it, pro and con. 

 

I especially don’t agree with putting up a political comment, or some other controversy, then accusing people who disagree with me of “attacking me.”  If I wave a red flag, I should not be surprised when the bull comes.  And it is disingenuous for me to then tell the farmer his bull attacked me!

 

All that to say, I am enjoying this blog and I hope you are, too.  Some of you have engaged in the conversation and I hope even more of you will.  God’s Word is infallible.  I am not.   

What is a Nice Baptist Girl Doing Speaking of Calvinism?

30 Oct

What is a Nice Baptist Girl Doing Speaking of Calvinism?

 

I John 3:14, “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not [his] brother abideth in death.”

 

My best friend is Calvinist, a Presbyterian.  She has not always been so, but went through a period of intense reading and study in which she came to the conclusion that the Calvinist doctrine most closely matches the Bible.  I have similarly studied my Baptist faith very intently and have made the same conclusion about my faith matching the Bible.

 

When we get together, we have wonderful conversations and Bible studies, as we have always done since we were college roommates.  The places where we differ, we fill with grace toward each other and move on.

 

Thus it has always bemused me to see the attitude that some of my fellow Baptists exhibit toward Calvinism and our Calvinist brethren.  Sometimes the word “Calvinist” is spoken as an accusation against someone.  Sometimes, it almost seems to be thrown out there like a curse word.  Why is that?

 

Surely the five points of Calvinism (TULIP) are not all doctrines with which we disagree.  Total depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace, and perseverance of the saints.  Seems like we agree completely on total depravity, irresistible grace, and perseverance of the saints.  Unconditional election is pretty hard to dispute by anyone who believes Jeremiah 17:9 about the heart’s deceitfulness.  There is nothing to recommend us to salvation except the fact that God loves us.  So . . . we get stuck on the limited atonement issue.  And fight so fiercely about it that you might think that Calvinist doctrine was more of an obstacle to Baptists than are the cults, or the Eastern religions, or the atheists.

 

And, truly, it is only the hypercalvinists who say that limited atonement means Christ only came to die for those who would eventually be saved (the elect).  The rest of them phrase it that His death was “sufficient for all and efficient for the elect.”  Put that way, it doesn’t sound too very far from the position most Baptists take about Christ’s death.  

 

I am going to suggest that the answer to the animosity many Baptists exhibit toward their Calvinist brethren lies in our mutual history.  

 

One place where Baptist theology showed a distinct departure from Calvinism was during the ministry of Charles Finney during the Second Great Awakening.  Finney himself started life as a Presbyterian pastor and later rejected Calvinism.  Perhaps some of the Baptist antipathy toward Calvinism is inherited from that era.  Although Finney took appropriate stands for inclusion of women in worship (short of pastoring) and against slavery (Oberlin College, where he served as president, was one of the first institutions to educate blacks and women alongside white men), he may have played a disproportionately large role in the development of distaste for Calvinism among Baptists. 

 

Prior to Finney, Baptists were often classified as Five Point or Particular Baptists who held to Five Point Calvinism and Four Point or General Baptists, who held to all of the points of Calvinism except for Limited Atonement. 

 

Nowadays, a Baptist expressing belief in either a Five Point or a Four Point position might be seen as guilty of heresy, and in some Baptist seminaries, might face school discipline. 

 

It is my belief that we humans often overreact to things we don’t understand, out of fear, mostly.  Seminaries that let people know that they can only think certain thoughts about God without facing discipline probably don’t produce the caliber of thought, analysis, and writing that they would wish to have.  How much better to tell seminarians that they are free to explore the whole counsel of God’s Word and to write about it, as long as they can support what they are saying from His Word and not just from a man’s systematic theology!

 

That is enough for a first look at this topic.  I will no doubt be writing more about it as the months go by because it seems that some of my fellow Baptists truly have an irrational fear of Calvinism and, thereby, of our Calvinist brethren.  I want to take the tenets of our faith, and theirs, to the Word of God one by one and see what I find therein.  For surely we must be willing to abandon any of our pet beliefs if we are shown that they are inconsistent with God’s Word.

 

I will also look at the five tenets of Arminianism.  I have no set schedule for all of the above and I don’t plan to get legalistic about covering everything in a given amount of time.  All I can say is “stay tuned . . .” 

 

I doubt anyone will change their systematic theology as a result of the discussion here, but I hope it will help us exercise charity toward our brothers and sisters as we explore some things together.

 

I believe that one discovery we may make is that there is a not a great chasm between Calvinism and Baptist theology.  Based on the good fellowship I have with my best friend (and several other Calvinist sisters), I believe we are closer in our beliefs than we think . . .  In other words, I believe we are all pretty Biblical, with some fine points on which we disagree.  Let’s look at God’s Word together and see . . .

Why Iconobaptist (the Purpose Statement for this Blog!)

29 Oct

Why Iconobaptist?

 

Psalm 23:1, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”

 

The theme verse for my blog reminds us that Jesus is enough.  He has always been enough.  Theologically, I could take that into the Old Testament, when the Psalms were being written, but I won’t right now.

 

In the Middle Ages, there were two groups in opposition, like so many times in human history.  These groups were the iconophiles, who loved pictures, especially that illustrated the Bible (icons), and the iconoclasts, who hated such pictures and took every opportunity to tear them down in churches and break them to pieces.

 

The first group believed they were keeping the second commandment, about not making graven images, because they didn’t have statues in their churches like the Roman Catholics.  The second group believed that all such art broke the second commandment, whether it was statues or pictures.  Many of the second group ended up being attracted to the Muslim faith, which only allowed geometric figures in its places of worship (nothing with a face).

 

While we can certainly understand the confusion that reigned at the time (especially before the invention of the printing press brought the written word into the hands of the common man so he didn’t need quite so much art anymore to illustrate for him what he believed), we can also see that this created quite a division between people of faith back then. 

 

Ever since then, an iconoclast is someone who challenges the cherished rituals of society.

 

I may occasionally do something a bit along those lines in this blog, but I wish to balance that with the realization that it is usually not necessary to tear down things of beauty in my own life or anyone else’s.  The only time that may become necessary is if we realize that a created thing has become a substitute for God in our lives.  In that case, I will leave it up to you to tear down those things in your own life, as I will tear them down in mine.

 

Mostly I want to challenge us all to think purposefully about our faith and the things and people in our lives.    

 

I see several strands of our society that need to be discussed civilly.  First of all, do we have cherished rituals and traditions that we have incorporated into our Christian faith, inadvertently placing them alongside the Bible in importance without realizing they have no Biblical basis?  These may be good things, when used appropriately, but we may have given them more importance in our lives than they warrant.  

 

Have we, perhaps, made idols of these cherished rituals and traditions so that we can’t worship without them?  Maybe we even think they are essential to our faith, even though they are manmade rituals and traditions.

 

Do we perhaps think less of people who don’t hold to the same rituals and traditions as we do, even though they are only personal preferences and not Biblical commands at all?

 

Has all of the above led us to a place where we believe we have more control over our lives than God has actually given us?  Do we trust our rituals and traditions to regulate our lives and keep them from spinning out of control? 

 

Have we, perhaps, even believed our own P.R. so much that we have developed the belief that we are masters of our own universe?  Have we enthroned ourselves as gods in our own lives?

 

All of these things can happen to normal, God-fearing, God-loving people.  Calvin said the human heart is an idol factory.  That means that all of us make idols out of things and people around us, and maybe out of ourselves.  We want to be aware of the tendency so we can do something about it. 

 

In the midst of smashing the idols of our own hearts, and ridding ourselves of inner conflict, we also realize we are in churches where we worship alongside people who have different backgrounds than we do (and different idols).  That can cause conflict external to us.  One way this happens in every generation is when older people and younger people come together and use the same words to mean different things. 

 

This blog will try to untangle some of the communication gap between believers, too.

 

There is much we can do to hear the Lord Jesus Christ better.  There is much we can do to love His people better also.  Then, together, we can effectively reach a lost world. 

 

I want to start the dialogue because it is one that we need to have.  There are many hurt and isolated people everywhere, even in the Body of Christ.  And until we start to work through some of our issues, the hurt and isolation will remain and will perpetuate itself wherever we go.  We can’t fix this type of problem by changing churches because it is within us . . .

 

I look forward to dialoguing with you!

What is Shame?

28 Oct

What is Shame?

I Corinthians 4:13, 14:  “Being defamed, we entreat:  we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.  I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you.”

I Corinthians 6:5, 6:  “I speak to your shame.  Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you?  no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?  But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers.” 

Hebrews 12:2:  “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

What is shame?  When someone says, “You should be ashamed of yourself” what is that person requiring, or trying to require, of us?  What is a proper response?

When we begin with a definition of shame, we must begin with the fact that the sinless Son of God bore shame on our behalf when He died for us on Calvary, as.the above verse from Hebrews states.  Our sins were His shame.  Our sins are also our shame.

God has a righteous law.  When we transgress it, shame is a gift God’s Holy Spirit gives us to woo us back to repentance.  A gift.  The passage in I Corinthians 6 shows us this.  Paul told the Corinthians they should be ashamed for their wrongful lawsuits among churchmembers.  He called them to repent of this unrighteousness and to return to God’s standards.

God used shame in the Bible to either call a person to repentance (Peter, after his denial of Jesus) or to seal his or her fate as an unrepentant person (Judas Iscariot, Ananias and Sapphira). 

On the other hand, the Holy Spirit plainly points out in the I Corinthians 4 passage that He has no intent of shaming the Corinthians over the humiliations that Paul and his party endured.  Those were not the fault of the Corinthians.  This and other grace-filled passages of the Scriptures show us that God does not expect us to take on shame over situations that we ourselves do not generate. 

Truly, there are enough situations where we have trampled the grace of our Lord Jesus and really do need to repent of what we have done.  There is no need for us to feel shame or let others shame us over things that are not related to our sin.

The world throws the word “shame” at people like a grenade because the world does not know God’s grace.  We who know how gracious is our Lord have the opportunity to respond to others without using that word.  Honestly, I am not convinced that any believer should use the word “shame” anymore, now that the canon of Scripture is closed.  The Holy Spirit gave that specific word to Paul and to other writers when the Scriptures were being written but I am not sure that anyone needs to push the word shame at another believer anymore.  If I am right, the Holy Spirit can do His work in their lives without us resorting to using that word, not because He couldn’t still use believers to help restore each other via the gift of shame, but because we have become so thoroughly worldly that we don’t use the word or the concept correctly anymore.

If we could learn to sorrow about the fact that a blood-bought brother or sister has fallen and to agree with God that restoration of that sinner is the principle goal, we might be able to partner with God as that sinner deals with the gift of shame, moving through it to repentance and joy at God’s immense forgiveness.  But, unfortunately, too many of us get in the flesh and find the details of someone else’s shame to be utterly salacious, especially when shared in gossip.  God can’t use that attitude in restoration because we ourselves are in sin when we do that.

It is worth repeating:  God uses shame as a gift to move us through a process to repentance.  We must go through shame for our sins, for they offend a Holy God, but the goal of our shame is to reach repentance and reconciliation and joy in God’s gracious outpouring of grace into our lives.  Think of Peter and imagine his initial shame during that private meeting that Jesus seems to have held with him after His Resurrection.  Now imagine Peter trying to hold onto his shame throughout that entire meeting.  It wouldn’t have happened that way, would it?  One word of forgiveness from the Savior and Peter probably flung himself at Him in a joyous outpouring of relief and love, don’t you think? 

Shouldn’t we do the same?  Let the Holy Spirit use the gift of shame in our lives when we offend a Holy God, but then move on through it to restoration and joy in our Savior’s very presence?  Shame is a tool used by God, but it is not the ultimate goal.  Fellowship with our Lord is the ultimate goal.   

But My Family is So Different From Anyone Else’s . . .

27 Oct

But My Family is So Different From Anyone Else’s  . . .

John 9:1-3:  “And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.  And his disciples asked him, saying, ‘Master, who did sin, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’  Jesus answered, ‘Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents:  but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.”

I have a friend who recently married into a blended family situation.  When issues first arose with one or the other of the children, she wrote that she and her husband needed to “find our new normal.”  I love that.  Not only do I love it for my friend’s family, I love it for my family, and I love it for every brave, struggling Christian family out there.

Normal looks so different in every home.  While there are inviolable principles of Scripture that should instruct every home that claims His Name, there are also matters of personality, personal preference, giftings, and limitations that make every family unique.

That is why we offer each other grace in the matter of our families and don’t elevate personal preferences into issues on which we judge other people. 

Our family’s uniquenesses can almost fill the fingers of one hand:

I, the mama, was an active duty naval officer up until our son was a year old.

My husband is from overseas.

Our son, an only child, has high functioning autism (Aspergers syndrome). 

I celebrated my 50th birthday by rejoicing that I could keep a cookie down four days after my first chemotherapy session for breast cancer.

Though I know plenty of other families in each of those categories, we are the only one I know that is in all four of them.  Each person reading this could make a similar list of four facts that, combined together, make his or her family totally unique.

Sometimes the uniquenesses in our families can become a matter of comparison with other people, particularly if they involve someone with limitations.  Those comparisons are always unwise, as the Bible reminds us in II Corinthians10:12 (“”they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise”). 

I remember many years while our son was young that it was hard for me to relate to some of the mothers in groups I attended because I seemed to be missing so many of their skills with cooking, decorating, and just plain making a house a home.  I didn’t so much feel sad about the extra challenges posed by raising our son (I have always said that, given a list of characteristics and a chance to order my child from a catalog, I would have ordered the exact same child I got).  But what I did feel sad about was that my day had only twenty-four hours so, in choosing the things that were right for our son, I chose to not pursue a lot of the interests of my peers.  Not in that season of life (but I have rich, rewarding interests in all of those things now). 

During those years, I found the John 9 passage, above, and clung to it as to a life raft.  God said it wasn’t my fault or my husband’s fault or our son’s fault or anyone else’s fault that our son had to struggle with learning basic self-help skills when he was young.  God said it was no one’s fault that our son has a hard time figuring out how to appropriately give-and-take in a conversation with one of his peers.  God said that the reason our son was born with difficulty regulating himself emotionally is that God Himself might be glorified in the growth our son exhibits (and maybe in the growth we exhibit through parenting him).  It’s all win, folks.  God designed a challenge for us  before He ever created the world.  We would be allowed to raise a child whose very accomplishments, hard won, would bring glory to God. 

That said, almost every parent has something (or someone) that falls into this category.  Special needs are concentrated in certain individuals, but we almost all have a few of them.  I believe special needs are one of God’s reminders to us to extend grace to others (because we all have areas where we need others to do the same for us).  In this all, we grow together and God is glorified.

Your family is unique, by God’s design.  You have challenges I will never face, but God intends to lead you to victory through them.  They are your new normal!  Give Him free reign to make you, and your familymembers, into what He created them to be.  

The Elder Daughter

26 Oct

The Elder Daughter (a reblog of a post I wrote last year): 

Luke 15:31, 32:  “And he said unto him, ‘Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.  It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad:  for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.’”

 

I am an elder daughter.  I very much understand the Elder Son in the parable of the Prodigal Son. 

 

All my life I have been competitive.  I have worked hard at things and have expected to get good grades or reviews for my activities.  And things have usually worked out that way. 

 

With the exception of a couple of backslidden years, I have also spent my life as a Goody Two Shoes, the one who could either be the subject of ridicule for the many things I don’t do or the subject of anger when other parents would hold me up as an example to their own children of how to stay out of destructive activities and involved in constructive ones . . .

 

I am who I am, but one thing I have noticed about myself is that I often wonder about the standards Christ will use at His future judgment of believers at the Bema Seat.  Knowing full well that I will only get into heaven by the grace of my Lord, who brought me alive when I was dead in trespasses and sins, I still wonder what actions I can take, partnered with His Holy Spirit, to ensure that my works will not burn to the ground on that Judgment Day!

 

It’s not so much that I get competitive about the Judgment.  I know very well that just getting into heaven by God’s grace is an almost unbelievable truth!  Any rewards will just be the icing on that cake.

 

It is just that I get curious and want to know how this Judgment thing will all work out.  I am an elder daughter.  I like to know the rules in advance . . .

 

My more happy-go-lucky friends don’t think about the Judgment.  They just enjoy the here and now, including the Lord’s presence in the here and now, and leave the future for the future. 

 

Neither one of these approaches is necessarily right nor wrong, when motivated by a sincere love for the Lord.

 

But when I get out of balance and start wondering whether God might more highly value the traits of these happy-go-lucky friends over my own traits, then God has to rush in to lovingly correct me.  As he corrected Peter on the beach after the Resurrection, when Peter got overly curious about how God intended to deal with John, so He brings me back to awareness of who I am.  He reminds me of the fact that I am only another forgiven sinner, like all of the throngs of people who will make it to heaven someday.  And the standing of another soul before Him is simply His business, not mine . . .

 

He doesn’t correct me as He would an outsider.  There are many passages in the New Testament in which Christ delivered diatribes against the Pharisees.  He doesn’t use those with me, for the Pharisees, in general, did not belong to Him.

 

No, He uses those loving words of the Great Father in the parable.  The Father who rushed to forgive the Prodigal.  The Father who also gently corrected the Elder Son who complained that the Prodigal got a welcome back party when he never did!  “Son, you’ve never been gone.  You have worked alongside me all along.  Why resent the welcome back party for your brother when you have had my very presence for your entire life?”

 

Or He reminds me of my inheritance in the words He used with Abram in Genesis 15:1b:  “I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.”

 

You see, Judgment Day, like everything else in my Christian life, is in the hands of my loving Father.  I can trust Him without needing to know all of the details in advance.  He will be gracious.  He will be loving.  He will even be just, although strict justice would have sent me to hell long ago.

 

He is my shield and exceeding great reward.  Just to live in relationship to Him is the most amazing reward I could ever receive.  Just to work alongside Him, as the Elder Son did his Father, is bliss beyond description.  

 

Even an elder daughter has to be overjoyed with that!

A Reason for Humility

25 Oct

A Reason for Humility (a repost of something I wrote last year!)

Jeremiah 17:9:  “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked:  who can know it?”

 

I John 2:27:  “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you:  but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.” 

 

It is a startling feature of God’s grace that in many cases where we have gained a victory in our lives, He will remain anonymously at the sidelines, having done 98% of the work, and let us take credit for all of it.

 

This is one of the most naive things we do in our grace walk with Him. It is absolutely invisible to us, when we are doing it, but it is one of the things that angers us most when other people do it, because it is, by definition, something we can never see in ourselves but can often surmise in others.

 

When we take credit for God’s work in our lives, the process is much larger in scale, and much more naive in belief, than watching a young child pick up a toy stethoscope and believe he is a real doctor or build a bridge of Legos and believe she is a real structural engineer. Unless God grants us the gift of true humility, we may never see that there are vast parts of our own hearts we don’t yet know.  We may never know until someday, when we see ourselves through heavenly glasses, that we have been quite  capable of claiming credit for the things God did in our lives.

 

The above two Scriptures are what can be termed “balancing Scriptures.”  Our hearts are deceitful.  We are given an anointing from God (at salvation) that teaches us all things.  These two things do not contradict each other, nor even cancel each other out.  They are both true, but must be looked at in balance, within the entire weight of Scripture.

 

From my experience of 53 years of life thus far, I would say we tend to err on the side of overestimating our own ability to live within God’s anointing, thinking we are free of self-delusion.  We also overestimate the deceitfulness of the hearts of others, minimizing their ability to hear from God and to live within His anointing. 

 

So we think ourselves to be free of delusion, but we find those around us to be full of delusion.  And they think the same about us, and the other people surrounding them.  Pretty much demonstrates the inconsistency of the human heart, doesn’t it?

 

Our lack of ability to harmonize and balance those two verses tells me that we are not finished products yet.  The fact is that we all live within the reality of those two verses.  We are not very different from each other, as we go through this journey of becoming more like Christ. 

 

The very fact that I always give myself credit for good motives, even when my actions go astray, shows my self-interest.

 

The fact that I can easily condemn someone else based on external observation alone,   shows me that I, like most Christians around me, am a very bad judge of anything.  We can’t see anyone’s heart nor their motives, yet we constantly write a backstory for others that portrays them in the worst light imaginable.

 

I can’t accurately judge the wickedness of my own heart.  I can’t accurately judge the sincere attempts of others to grow in grace.  I can’t accurately balance between self-interest and the interests of others, as God tells me to do throughout the Scriptures. 

 

Truth is, I will stand in heaven someday, with my self-delusion finally and totally removed, and realize there were times that I naively gave myself credit for great Christian growth and spirituality when all that happened was I got out of the way and partnered a little bit with a very great God! 

 

I will realize that, just as I gazed with compassion on my son and other little children who built bridges of Legos, then beamed in pleasure as I called them great structural engineers, so I stood before a holy God clutching my works made of wood and beaming as He covered them in His own precious metals and turned them into works that would not burn up on that great Judgment Day.  For even the works I present to Him then will be His works in me, not of my own righteousness, however much credit I give myself for them now.

 

There is no reason to stand before our Holy God in anything other than abject humility.  However, the good news is that He loves us; He loves it when we realize our limitations before Him.  He will gaze on us with the same compassion we use with those children playing at their childish games with Legos.  He knows we are but dust.  And He cares for us anyway.

 

He will cheer our merest efforts to grow toward Him.  He will impart His greatness in our smallness.  He is our very great cause for rejoicing.  Thank You, Lord Jesus!     

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