Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Silence of The Darth Vader "Handless-Death-Choke"

"...and that's the rest of the story."
- Paul Harvey

My Father-in-law is famous (in our family anyway!) for saying, "some people have something to say and some people just have to say something".

I have swung the pendulum playing both parts at different times in my life.   But I remember once near the end of my college daze....(oops!)....days when filled with a lethal combination of overwhelming hubris that lead to a need to be heard and a certain intoxicant that lead to heightened paranoia, two times I called in to offer a "piece of my mind" on Oklahoma City Talk Radio; both efforts were total disasters.

Confidently I dialed the number and waited for the answer.   Almost instantly I heard "you're on air!"............................ and then there was nothing.....but cold.....dead.....silence.

My thoughts raced, sweat beads instantly popped on my forehead as I found myself completely unable to speak (and for this loud mouth that's saying a lot!).   After 3 or 4 excruciating seconds of silence, I heard, "caller,  please go ahead.  Caller, are you there?"

Like the imbecile, who after giving an unsatisfactory answer, was cruelly silenced by Darth Vader's hand-less choke hold, there I was shaking my head with my mouth open wide but panic-stricken and exposed, I was totally speechless. 

I called again.....I got through again.....it happened again! Mind blank.   Zero sound from my mouth.   Both times, though no one knew my name or saw my face, I was crushed by my impotence.   What an embarrassment!

http://static.comicvine.com/uploads/original/13/135592/2806788-Force-Choke-Vader.jpgLORD, the God of Israel, you are righteous! ....... Here we are before you in our guilt, though because of it not one of us can stand in your presence." 
- Ezra 9:15

These days I see an eternal foreshadowing at work in my botched attempts at "having something to say".   Every life is called to account for his or her actions before the creator.  This is a reality which sooner or later all mankind must face.

“I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.” 
- Jeremiah 17:10

 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
- 2nd Cor. 5:10

Upon the day of my death, for what it's worth, here's how I imagine....

At once I am conscious that I am finally alive free from my "body of death" (Rom. 7:24); death, after all, is the final removal of our sin.  Like standing next to a fire and not being able to pinpoint a specific area of my body that feels the heat, the whole of me will be overwhelmed by God's presence.  At that moment, before the throne, I am made aware of the span of my life.

All at once every sin (confessed and unconfessed), evil impulse, insecurity, fear, defense mechanism, moment of un-conscientious is made instantly known to me.  Yet instead of being crushed, falling to my knees, overcome by the weight of my sin, I see Jesus on the judgement seat (Rom 14:10) who then imparts an eternal relief that I know now only in part.

For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus
- 1 Timothy 2:5

"It's taken care of", He says as He lifts me up with His blessed nail-pierced hands.  It's then that I begin an eternal education learning the span of His goodness and sovereignty throughout the entirety of my earthly existence.  From the many moments that led to the softening of my heart - to the truth of The Good News of Salvation in Christ - to the ways in which God was working every single event in my earthly life for my good, his purposes and ultimately, His Glory (Rom. 8:28).

As I hear, "well done good and faithful servant" - the blessed echo of God's response to Christ's obedience, I feel a sense of God's pleasure with my every earthly act of obedience.  Yet, filled with the knowledge of God's abiding presence throughout my walk as a Christian, at the same moment I recognize that it was Him working in me all along.  And then, before my God and King, I offer Him back the "crowns" He's just bestowed to me.

Suddenly I can speak again.  My tongue loosed I repeat "thank you and praise you" and for eternity in my thoughts, words and deeds I move, think and speak to the glory of The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit in "the new heaven and new earth".

In my estimation the Darth Vader "Handless-Death-Choke-of-Silence" perfectly illustrates the condemnation from which we've been rescued.   By His Grace may we be propelled here and now into the assurance that we will one day know in full the mighty mercy and amazing grace of God and await giving account for our lives to God with the full assurance that there is not now, nor will can there ever be, condemnation for those in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:1).    The Cross of Christ will not and cannot ever be silenced!

Grace has been spoken over us.   "My grace is sufficient for thee" (2 Cor. 12:9).   May we live now as the redeemed....for Christ has spoken on behalf of the speechless.

Grace and Peace,

This Week

* Wednesday - Men's AM Book Study -  7am - Centrepoint Ministries Building - 418 S. Broadway, 2nd Floor.  (Chapter 17,  Chaos and Grace)

* Friday - Men's Lunch - Weekly Devotional - Dakota's Steakhouse - 12pm  - (Chapter 17, Chaos and Grace)

* Friday - The Magills will play Jake's Rooftop Chaveta - Tyler, TX - 8-11pm

* Saturday - The Magills will play Fresh Patio - Tyler, TX - 6-9pm

Please pray as we continue to meet with couples who by The Spirit seek to display Christ's covenant-keeping love to the world around them.


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