Archive | God’s Design in this World RSS feed for this section

Avoiding the Guard Rails . . .

13 Sep

I have spent a large percentage of my life living by an application of Biblical truth called “avoiding the guardrails.”

This application uses the analogy of a highway, let’s say a mountain highway. It states that, while curving along a banked highway, no one wants to hug the shoulder/guardrail, lest he spin out of control and crash down the mountainside. On a highway, it is preferable to stay near the centerline. Preferable and far less dangerous.

The application is thus plain that, in matters of choice, we should stay as far away from sin as we possibly can, not walking/driving along the edge over which we could easily vanish if we get caught up in sin’s pull.

Some circles even teach that the law exists to be the guardrail in our lives. Live with an eye to the law, staying far, far away from where one would crash headlong into its restrictions, and one will live safely.

Only, is that true? Do people who keep next to the centerline fare better than those who stay next to the guardrail?

My experience teaches me that the guardrail does not function in a Christian’s life in the same way as a highway guardrail functions when he is out driving.

In fact, Christians who stay next to the guardrail may very well crash through it eventually, but that is very seldom an accident, from what I have observed. It is usually a slow, intentional drift toward the mountainside, often due to eyeing the law long enough that they get fed up with it and want to leave it behind.

On the other hand, there are people who suddenly crash through the guardrail. But often, ever so often, they were the very people who seemed to be hugging the centerline until that very moment. They spin out of control in one fluid motion, having a head-on collision with the guardrail and vanishing down the mountainside in a flaming explosion.

Why?

I don’t know, but I surmise that they were only hugging the centerline out of a sense of duty and they, too, got fed up eventually. They may have used the most pious words of anyone around but who can know the heart of another?

There are far too many people of pious words and acts who are seemingly serving the Lord one minute, then caught in a very public sin like an extramarital affair the next minute.

Sin has a powerful pull and if the law and the sheer strength of our own personality are the only things keeping us from driving headlong into sin, we aren’t going to stay out of it for an entire lifetime. No one is.

The Holy Spirit is the powerful One who can keep us from sin but, ironically, focusing on the guardrails can distract us from focusing on Him. Too much attention to the law can divert us away from the very One who can protect us from the pull of sin.

What does the Word say? God has richly given us all things to enjoy (I Timothy 6:17). That looks to me as though God intends for us to enjoy most things in this world, while giving thanks to Him for them. Cultivating a grateful heart, as they say.

He has given us His restrictions pretty plainly in His Word, too, but they are not many and they are not grievous.

For example, Jesus taught us that sexual expression belongs within marriage; there is no place for lustful thoughts outside of marriage. He didn’t give us a continuum or guardrails. He simply told us to not do it. To Jesus, there was no difference in heart attitude between the person giving a married person a flirtatious wink or someone giving that same married person a stolen kiss. Don’t go down that road of lust at all.

But Jesus left us many, many areas that are not forbidden.

I submit that too much focus on rules and on denying oneself, even with making up new rules that go beyond what God has said, is a dangerous game of trying to drive along the centerline while staring sideways at the guardrails.

I don’t recommend it.

Link

Beautiful Story of a Prodigal Recovered . . .

2 Jul

Beautiful Story of a Prodigal Recovered . . .

I just love this. I think all true believers have a story with some resemblance to this one.

Link

Resentment, an Infection we Need to Treat Aggressively!

12 Mar

Resentment, an Infection we Need to Treat Aggressively!

I love Paul David Tripp’s writing. He readily confesses to being an introvert being used for God as an introvert. I find his analysis incisive!

In all of his discussion of ways we confess the sins of someone else, he understates the obvious fact that we can’t confess the sins of someone else!

Things like that make his writing delightful to me, and help me see how to use it in my own life!

Link

Sad Story of Decades of Exploitation of the Disabled . . . in Iowa!

11 Mar

Sad Story of Decades of Exploitation of the Disabled . . . in Iowa!

Link

The Discussion of Sexual Orientation as Analogous to Race

25 Feb

The Discussion of Sexual Orientation as Analogous to Race

More voices on the comparison of sexual orientation to race . . .

vs. race

Somewhere in Time . . .

24 Feb

Due to the month of run-up to the Oscars on Turner Classic Movies, I have just viewed (binge watched) 29 movies since the beginning of February.  It is not always possible to get so many Oscar-nominated movies so easily within the same month, so my husband and I have taken full advantage of that on TCM, and plan to do that every year from now on.

I just saw “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir” for the first time–it reminded me of a handful of similar movies like “Ghost” and “Somewhere in Time.”  Also, “Berkeley Square,” another oldie which I saw earlier this month.  

Beautifully romantic, these movies perfectly portray the Greek philosophical teaching about the nature of the afterlife, as two disembodied spirits spend eternity together (or borrow bodies to be together again on earth, as “Ghost” portrayed).  

Beautiful and romantic but not in line with Christian teaching.  

You see, we will live again in these bodies.  The bodily resurrection was taught in Judaism all the way back to the book of Job (possibly the oldest book of the Old Testament).

So disembodied spirits will not wander the empty spaces eternally, enjoying the sharing of ideas together.  Our real, resurrected bodies will be able to touch each other again.

They will be glorified bodies, but our own bodies nonetheless.  This is consistently taught throughout Scripture.  It is only because we have listened more to the Greeks than to the Jews that we don’t get that.  

Our faith came from Judaism.  We would do well to read their Scriptures/our Old Testament.

Yes, Jesus did say there will be no marriage in the afterlife.  He gave the example of five brothers all marrying the same widow (the first one married her when she was a maiden).

In some wise way that is beyond our understanding, the marital relationships many of us need to have now will not be needed in eternity.

It is not just that God could not figure out which brother gets the widow.  That was the dilemma presented to man to make him think.  God could have figured out a way to deal with widows, had He seen that it was best for us to have marriage in the afterlife.  

So, by faith, we hear that He does not have couples as part of His plan for eternity, but He does have the marriage of Christ to His bride, the church.  

Oh, great mystery!

I am sure when it is revealed to us, it will be so wonderful and wise we won’t even be able to describe its splendor.  

We will dwell with Christ, who is already in a glorified body, in our glorified bodies.  

Forever.  

Link

Elsa in “Frozen” and Using our Talents for God

24 Feb

Elsa in “Frozen” and Using our Talents for God

I haven’t seen “Frozen” yet. Now I can’t wait to do so.

Yes, I am the one who watched old movies with my dad, my grandmother, and my cousins growing up.

I didn’t go to the movies much prior to the 1980’s because I was a serious student who was always studying (to become valedictorian of my high school class; to graduate college Magna cum Laude–I had to earn that stuff as it didn’t come naturally to me!).

As a junior officer in the Navy, I probably saw 50-75% of the movies that came out in the 1980’s. Light-hearted comedy fare was my favorite.

I then settled down to marriage and motherhood and mostly saw only the Best Picture nominations in the 1990’s.

I have hardly even seen the Best Picture nominations since 2000 as I regard today’s movies as largely a wasteland of form over substance.

So I get excited when I see bloggers swooning over a new movie that can lead to deep discussions, even theological discussions!

%d bloggers like this: