Posts Tagged ‘judgment’

Marley is not dead! Neither is Scrooge!

I had a dream last night about speaking at some kind of campus retreat with lots of college students! In the middle of the event, someone was leading a prayer, and during this prayer he said, “Lord, teach us to pray.” In my dream, this very nice looking young man suddenly stands up and starts to speak, saying that the word us is not in the original text and that this other student was misquoting Scripture and that he ought to be more accurate.  My dream skips a space and the prayer and event are over, but I go and find this student and take him aside because I didn’t want to embarrass him, but then I put my hands on his shoulders (yes, that much detail to this particular dream!) and say to him, “You’ve got to learn to be generous! Don’t be stingy!”

That’s the end of my dream!

But, of course, I woke up and wondered where this came from!  It could come from Christmas shopping! It might be the result of listening to the Republican Debate last night while I worked around the house. It might have also come from end-of-the-year fundraising at LST!  Or it might have just come from me!

I did not grow up with a spirit of liberality! It wasn’t my parents’ fault; it was my own fault. So I have worked my whole life to learn to give freely. Sherrylee has helped me; my children and their wonderful spouses have helped me. Aimee, very discreetly years ago after she and Philip first married, gave me a little wallet card with the scale for tipping at restaurants. I was a little embarrassed at her thinking I was not tipping enough, but she was right! I love her for loving me enough to take that risk! And I tip now, thinking about being generous, not just what the minimum amount might be.

I hate it that the politicians have made the word liberal a bad word for many peopleLiberal at its root means free and came to also mean generous. The word liberal or a form of it appears many times in the King James Version—even describing God, but then fewer times in the NIV, and not at all in the New Living Translation.  I do suspect it is because of the political hijacking of the word. I hope they have not hijacked the spirit!

Fortunately, liberality of spirit is not just a financial thing. As in my dream, we can be generous or stingy in our spirit of judgment toward others’ faults or errors as well. For most of my life, I did not know the following passage from James 2 was even in the Bible. I read it many times, but I didn’t know it was there:

Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

Thank you, Lord, for giving me freedom and releasing me from the chains that I dragged around by having a stingy faith, a judgmental faith.  Thank you for showing me mercy instead of judgment!

Marley is dead! At least the old man; the new man is alive, growing towards a fullness of God-reflective liberality in everything!

God bless us everyone!

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Wildcard Wednesday was a historic night in major league baseball.  The losers lost after being ahead and appearing to be winners. The winners won after looking like losers until the very last moment.  The losers (Boston and Atlanta) lost worse than anybody before them! No team had ever collapsed as badly as both of these teams did in September.

It was a great day for the game of baseball—but that’s not the way life really works!

Let’s lay out the metaphor to make sure we are talking about the same things. Instead of a game, I’m talking about Life—your life and my life—and in place of the last game, I’m talking about what the Scriptures call the Day of Judgment.   What is at stake is eternal life, not a pennant.

Here’s where I want to go with this metaphor:

First, there will be no surprises on that last day!  Everyone will know what is true. They will also know what is false.  They will all confess that Jesus is Lord! Those who are saved will know why and those who are lost will know why. No surprises.

Second, the winners will all be winners and the losers will lose.  Those who have been saved are guarded, their salvation is sealed, and no one will be lost.  The losers may have pretended at times to be saved, but they don’t fool God. He has seen their heart from the beginning and known its hardness.

Third, no walk-offs –no unexpected victory for the hopeless !  Jesus already has defeated death. He trampled it—so while a last minute conversion may appear to us as a last minute victory, we have not surprised Jesus! He has been pursuing and preparing for that “last minute” since the foundation of the world.

Fourth, no triple play can spoil the victory! The opponent is helpless against the righteousness of God. The opponent is helpless—not that he cannot create pain and havoc, not that he can’t challenge and twist and lie—but the opponent does not have the power to pull off a miraculous play that dooms one that wants to be saved and belongs to the Lord.

I love baseball and can’t wait for the roller coaster of emotions during the playoffs this year, but I’m glad that my salvation does not depend on something as capricious as—me!

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