Tuesday, April 26, 2011

One Hot IPhone Coming Right Up!

Jesus sought me when a stranger, wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger, interposed His precious blood
- Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, Robert Robinson, 1757

Little Maggie provided quite an Easter surprise Sunday morning.  I walked into the kitchen to find she'd put my all-too-cherished iPhone in the microwave for approximately 4 seconds.   Sadly, that was all it took....it was fried!  Good News: our Savior is indeed risen.   My "bump in the road" bad news: my iPhone will not be coming back from the dead. 

Obviously I was more than a little frustrated.  Megan told me Maggie had  proceeded to cook the phone just after she'd told her, "do not put that phone in the microwave." 

Although Maggie did receive a little discipline for ignoring her mother's command, her punishment was far from commensurate with my frustration.  In fact, overall, I'd say she received a pretty spectacular day.  Dressed in her new spotless pink, smocked dress, she enjoyed Sunday school with friends, a beautiful outdoors brunch with her Mimi and Papa and yet another exciting jelly-bean-filled  Easter egg hunt (probably the sixth one this April).

All day as she laughed and played and I considered her transgression every time I habitually reached for what was a now my useless iPhone. She played on blissfully unaware of the cost of what she'd treated like a Hot Pocket only hours earlier.

It turns out that this Easter was indeed a day for me to treat my daughter like our Heavenly Father has treated us in Christ Jesus, with both mercy (not getting what we do deserve) and grace (getting what we don't deserve).

How often do we stop to consider the cost at which we were purchased?  On Easter morning our pastor said that what was once a very common topic of Sunday morning preaching, The Precious Blood of Jesus, is now largely considered by many denominations distasteful and sadly, an inappropriate topic on which to preach.  When we ignore the cost of our salvation and sanctification and rely on our own efforts, we cheapen His grace and rob ourselves of the blessing of what Dietrich Bonhoffer (The Cost of Discipleship, 1937) calls "Costly Christianity".

"The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!"
- Mark 1:15

Christ said repent and believe.  In order to walk in a life of faith in Christ I must allow my mind to be captivated by a radically renewed paradigm.   He doesn't need me.  I need Him.  I haven't come to Him (law).  He's come to me (grace).   I must know that I've been forgiven for all my sins past, present and future then I must continue to invite Him to be my portion, to bring about within me what I'm unable to bring about on my own: His holiness.   All this is predicated on my understanding of my desperate need for Him to "stand in the gap" for me. 
         The Logic of Substitutionary Atonement
Since Jesus is God, He is perfectly righteous and holy. God’s perfect righteousness and holiness demand that sin be punished (Ezekiel 18:4), and Jesus’ perfect righteousness and holiness qualified Him to bear the punishment for the sins of those who will be saved (Romans 6:23). Jesus is the only person who never committed a sin; therefore, the punishment He bore when He died on the cross could be accepted by God as satisfaction of His justice in regard to the sins of others.
If someone you love commits a crime and is sentenced to die, you may offer to die in his place. However, if you have also committed crimes worthy of death, your death cannot satisfy the law’s demands for your crimes and your loved one’s. You can only die in his place if you are innocent of any wrongdoing.
Since Jesus lived a perfect life, God’s justice could be satisfied by allowing Him to die for the sins of those who will be saved. Because God is perfectly righteous and holy, He could not act in love at the expense of justice. By sending Jesus to die, God demonstrated His love by acting to satisfy His own justice (Romans 3:26).
         (HT: Ligonier Ministries)

When God looks upon me forgetting to pray, He sees Christ sweating blood whilst praying in Gethsemane. When God sees me failing to live up to my self-imposed moral standards,  He really sees Christ living a sinless life every breath taking Him painfully closer to His glorious final act of obedience.  When God sees me seduced by a world full of empty promises that will never satisfy, He actually sees Jesus, faithful to the end to His bride, the church, whom He loved with total purity.

I would like to rise from my bed, during the last five minutes of my life, to bear witness to the Divine sacrifice and the sin-atoning blood. I would then repeat those words which speak the truth of substitution most positively, even should I shock my hearers; for how could I regret that, as in Heaven my first words would be to ascribe my salvation to my Master’s blood, my last act on earth was to shock His enemies by a testimony to the same fact? - Charles Spurgeon
What I ruin and waste He redeems and restores. What I lost He finds and where I fail He is forever and always victorious. 


I got a new phone yesterday and Maggie got a Cadbury Egg!   I love her!

This Week

* Tyler Men's Gathering - 7am Wednesday AM Kings Cross Chapters 1 & 2
    2 American Center, 5th Floor (Ritcheson Law Firm)

* Tyler Men's Gathering - 12pm Monday @ Dakota's Kings Cross Chapter 3
    5377 S. Broadway (back room on the left)

Please pray as Megan and I continue to meet with hurting couples who are desperate to experience God's healing in their marriages and families.


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