Archive for January, 2014

Bleeding for Baal

January 31, 2014

1 Kings 18:20ff describes the sacrificial face-off between the 450 prophets of Baal against the singular prophet Elijah. Elijah gives the prophets some time to allow Baal to answer their prayers for supernatural ignition to their sacrifice. After Baal’s continued silence to the prayers of the prophets they resort to another tactic. I Kings 18:28 says,

“So they cried aloud, and cut themselves, as was their custom, with knives and lances, until the blood gushed out on them.”

When all else fails shouldn’t our gods respond when we are willing to bleed for them? How many servants of the true God have also resorted to that lame prayer out of our frustrated silence, “But God, I bled for you. Look what I’ve given, what I’ve sacrificed. Haven’t I done enough for an answer?” And that is when we find that we have got this whole worship thing all wrong – we’ve paganized our worship.

You see we servants of The Lord must be careful concerning our tasks as, well, servants. We serve Christ. And in the silent hours when the mystery of our Lord’s will and way enfold us we must be careful not to revert to our hedonistic roots.

We serve God, not the other way around. When we expect God to show up because we have the ritual down, when we expect him to move based upon our contribution, when we are desperate to call down fire from heaven to impress the crowds, we become the puppeteer holding the strings making God dance and thusly fail at true worship.

We should always question our motives. Are we bleeding for God because we think that it will enhance our worship or bring answers, glory, or success? We must not bleed for God nor sacrifice for The Lord for the purpose of received blessings. Our blood, our sacrifice, our very selves are a gift to God, not the passcode to blessings.

Jesus paid it all. He doesn’t need any more blood. We overcome because of the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. Instead when the heavens are silent is it because we’ve been overcome by the blood, sweat and tears of sacrificial backscratching? “Gee God, come on, light my fire, you can see I’m giving it 110%”

Make our worship true. Do not love God with a hook; don’t love him with an agenda and when it is not fulfilled bail. We need to bail out on our Baals. We must guard oursleves and our flock that we don’t treat the Lord as a Baal who needs coaxing to be my prosperity god.

Jesus says in John 4:23, “But the hour is coming, and now is when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.”

Truly worship him because of who he is and not for what you do for him or even what He does for you, let one day he doesn’t do what you want or when you want it. For if your worship is tied to either your sacrifice or his response to it when it fails you will have no reason to worship. When The Lord gives, when He takes, when He speaks or is silent, blessed be the name of The Lord.

The Embodied Soul in danger to the Agnostic Science & Physician

January 20, 2014

This Sunday celebrates the Sanctity of Life. Sanctity means that life is a God given gift. But modern pragmatism and the rise of natural sciences over philosophy and theology means that there are some endangered human lives. Let me give a quick overview of the issue.

Life is the dual parts of body and soul. The modern agnostic scientist or physician says we are a body with a soul whereas the theologian says we are an embodied soul. These two starting points effect the value of a human life.

Our Greco-Roman culture elevates the body. You are valuable because you contribute, produce or achieve. Science proclaims that the strong survive; the weak are culled from the herd. Our children learn it passively from shows like Thomas & Friends who are reminded to be “useful little engines” or be scrapped. We become “human doings” rather than “human beings.”

It pervades the understanding of God. We fixate on what he does; his attributes of power (omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, etc).

In contrast the Bible begins with the soul. The lifeless body receives the in-breathed spirit. And Exodus 34:5-7 describes God by his character (merciful, slow to anger, faithful, judicious, etc.).

If we begin with the body then we only utilize the soul and its passions to drive our physical pursuits. But what happens when the body can no longer functions well, when the career no longer defines you, or your body reaches its peak and then declines? It is then useless? The pragmatist says it should be eliminated.

This leads me back to the three categories of endangered human beings: the unborn and infant, the disabled or infirm, and the elderly. Why? Because they do not contribute to society from the perspective of the body. We see their plight through abortion, neglect, institutionalism and euthanasia. But their spirit teaches us the virtues of life thus we should use the body to invigorate the soul and give us meaning.

From the young we learn of the miracle of choice; God wants you, loves you, is invested in you and desires to offer you a meaningful life. From the mouths of babes and their wonderment we see love manifest.

From the disabled and infirm we receive the gifts of faith through perseverance and resilience. They remind us character is greater than any physical limitation.

And in the aged we see hope as they ruminate on their life and look for their eternal rest. Though their bodies cannot contribute as effectively to the community, their character speaks volumes to the embodied soul. Where there physical dimension is weak, they teach us that its what’s inside that counts; the body is only the mechanism they use to convey it.

You are valuable, not by what you do but by who and whose you are. And we have no right to deprive you of this life or the lessons you can teach us. We determine to promote the Sanctity of Life.

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