I mentioned in my second Travel Journal entry that we heard Nathan Guy speak at the Harding Lectureship on the topic of a 'Faith That Is Constantly Renewed.' It was a very good lesson, I know this because I felt inspired to write most of it down, which doesn't always happen. I want to share with you his words, as well as some of those which Chet Duke gave this morning at Freed Hardeman's chapel.
The Harding lectureship focused on lessons from the book of Joshua, and in his conclusive lesson of the lectureship he made a few bold statements. He told us to "stop reading Joshua as a book of renewal of your own faith" like 'we will go, we will fight, we will succeed...' The book of Joshua tells us of his mission to do God's will in bringing the people to the promised land, a mission which was given to his forefathers which they failed to complete. The book can often be seen as a note of inspiration to those who have fallen away and wish to come back to Him, or who have sinned and wish to repent, or who have been quiet and wish to speak out. But Mr Guy reminds us that 'all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.' (Romans 3:23) He also reminds us that "God doesn't need your help. He commands your death." Speaking of Jesus saying "If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it." Matthew 10:39
In chapel at Freed this morning Chet Duke spoke about our baptism through Christ and our continuing commitment to Him daily - that's what LOVE is, as I said before in 'How do you know when you're in LOVE', to LOVE someone is to CHOOSE to LOVE them. Every day. Loving when you want to, loving when you need to and loving when you don't even feel like liking. It is a choice. Nathan Guy says "Marriage is just the confession and commitment of love, you'll have to work the hardest after that to keep it together." Chet spoke about those who have already chosen God and have already made that choice to follow Him and he asked - why do we still sin?
In understanding our human inadequacies often we fail to recognise that Jesus was fully human himself - and He was perfect. So why can't we be? The bar standard can sometimes seem so high that we lower it to make it achievable - but we were called to go through the 'narrow path', (Matthew 7:13), to go a different way. Maybe we don't think we personally deserve the best standards, and we don't. But God does.
Nathan Guy quoted Jim McGuiggan when he made the point that some have the attitude of 'I know I've failed you, Father, but don't I repent you magnificently?' Speaking on how sin can be justified through the repentance afterwards. Chet spoke of this also, saying that we have been saved through God's grace, a grace that we don't deserve. "You don't abuse grace," he said, and we shouldn't. He deserves the best and above that, He deserves your sincere best.
My Dad always told me that it didn't matter what grades I got so long as I did my utmost best. Often this wasn't the case, but if my mark was a B then it was OK because, at least it was good. How often do we feel this way about our lives, and living for God? The answer I think is maybe too often. I feel OK writing this because I know I am a major culprit of this way of thinking - not just in terms of schooling. But I wonder what happened to us to make us think it is OK to give anything less than our best for Him who created us, loves us, and gives us Life. I wonder, indeed.
Nathan Guy addressed three questions:
Do we speak as though we have something to fall back on apart from Him and Him alone? If we do, we need to check ourselves and realise that He is our only true refuge.
Do we think the plan begins with me and ends with me? It started with God. It'll end with God. We are just a part of the inbetween.
Do we think we need to find a solution to our problem? We are the problem. He is the solution.
Jesus said "If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it." Matthew 10:39
I know that in everything I have been through, this past year especially, I could not have come this far without Him. In speaking to others I know my Mother passing away really isn't all that bad. Understand what I'm saying - there are people so much worse off than me, and I have needed Him through my trials. I am blessed everyday, every hour I am alive, in Him, I am surrounded by a family who loves, endures, hopes and believes in this life on into the next.
Lose your life for God. Go on, go crazy.