Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Broken Vessel

I am forgotten as a dead man, out of mind;
I am like a broken vessel. (Psalms 31:12 NASB)

The concept of a man being a broken vessel is hard for the human mind to comprehend.  Two messages revealed by the Cross of Christ help us grasp this spiritual state. Namely, that life follows death, and that joy always comes after mourning

As recorded in Matthew 27:46b (NASB), when Jesus hung on the Cross He cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”  God the Father, because Jesus took on our sins, had to turn away from His beloved Son.  Brokenness happens when spiritually we find ourselves all alone and seemingly abandoned, even by God.  Brokenness is never brought about by something that we do, but what God does.  No amount of self-degradation can affect this spiritual condition.  No extent of pain or self-sacrifice we inflict on ourselves can bring about a broken spirit.  We just end up being proud of our humility. It reeks of the ugliness of self-righteousness.

So what do we do, just hang out and expect God to do it?  I think there is something we can do.  It called obedience.  When God brings circumstances or people into our lives that test us seemingly beyond our ability to endure, do we run or remain where God has called us. Often our human abilities are overcome by life’s perplexities; a spiritual death transpires and a vessel is broken. Only then are God’s grace and strength released. 

It is difficult for me to write on this topic as one who understands how unbroken I am, but that may be how it works.  You are probably not broken if you think you are.  Someone once said, “Humility without grace, is pride in disguise.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Childlike Faith

Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children.  I assure you, anyone who does not have their kind of faith will never get into the Kingdom of God.
(Mark 10: 14b-15 NLT)

 My young grandson, Noah, once asked me the “T” question.  “Granddad, what is the trinity?”  This inquiry taught me a lot about childlike faith.

When Noah was a little guy, I often kept him while his Mother worked.  He loved to put together jigsaw puzzles.  While completing these puzzles, I talked to him about God. I must have used the word trinity in one conversation.  His inquisitive little mind went into action, and he asked that dreaded question.  I took a deep breath and started to explain the essence of God to a child.  After I had finished my explanation, he said, “So you are saying that God is one person, but he is also three persons.”  I said, yes.  He paused to ponder only momentarily and then said. “OK” and proceeded to put the next piece in the puzzle.  His demeanor said; the question was answered, no need to talk further, let’s get on with the puzzle.

What made it so easy for Noah to accept this truth that adults have labored to understand for centuries?  I think there might be a very simple answer to this question.  He did not believe that his granddad would lie to him.  Of course, he did not understand how this could be true, but he trusted the one that told him.  Is it much different for us adults and our heavenly Father? The integrity of the one making a promise validates its legitimacy.  The character of God is the basis of every word spoken in the Bible.  God is good; he is kind, and just, and trustworthy.  God does not lie to us.

Many have desired to enter into the Kingdom of God, but the door to enter into this realm is and has always been childlike faith.  Great minds have sought to understand the unsearchable riches of Christ, but without this simple faith, their intellect has proven to be a hindrance.  A little child taught me what Jesus meant when he said, “For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children.”

Ken Barnes the author of “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places”  YWAM Publishing