Daily Archives: December 21, 2020

MOLLY AND ME – CO-OPERATION

MOLLY AND ME – CO-OPERATION

Molly is now 4 years old, an adult dog with the settled characteristics of her breed, good and bad. I bought her as a tiny puppy with the whole package of a dachshund, including inquisitiveness, stubbornness and self-will!

I have discovered, in the four years that she has been my little companion that, though I am in charge, she’s the boss. Now, that means that, when we walk in the mornings, she has her agenda and I have mine. The problem is that we both think that our agenda should take precedence.

You see, I walk for exercise (for both of us) but she walks for information…which makes walking for exercise my way a power struggle and walking for information her way a stroll. One can’t gather important information by whizzing past every new smell without carefully investigating its source and content. Of course, in between, there is also the important business of doing her business and showing both contempt or approval by marking each interesting spot with you know what!

So, since I have the brain and she has the muscle, we have reached a sort of truce by my decision to co-operate with her so that she unknowingly co-operates with me…which makes our walk a stop-start, sniff-and-pee, jerky sort of progression towards home. I suppose that we both achieve our goals in the end, though not quite in the way we anticipated.

My walk with the Lord in life is a bit like my daily walks with Molly. Unfortunately, my agenda does not always coincide with God’s agenda for me, which makes life (at least for me) a power struggle… but, I’m slowly learning the benefit of submission.

However, my walk with the Lord and my walks with Molly differ in many ways. You see, Molly and I don’t have the same nature. She has a doggy nature which functions mostly by instinct and by what she learns with much repetition where I have a human nature which functions according to decisions and choices, making me accountable to my Creator, where she is not accountable to me.

I control Molly by co-ercion, manipulation and sometimes even force, using her instincts to get her to do what I want (sometimes, because she is a doxie)! By contrast, God the Holy Spirit, appeals to the new nature in me because I have been born again, to live according to God’s Word, but the choice is always mine.

God’s role in training me is far more difficult than my task of training Molly. Where we blend our goals when we walk to make for an uneasy truce, the Holy Spirit persists in His role of conforming me to the image of Jesus. In the end, I have no say in the matter except to cooperate since He is committed to complete what He began when He rescued me from the dominion of darkness.

So, my walk with the Lord is an ever-growing awareness that it’s far easier and better to comply with the Holy Spirit’s leading since this is the evidence that I am a child of God.

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.

 

THE GOSPEL IN A NUTSHELL

THE GOSPEL IN A NUTSHELL

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you who, through faithare shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time (1 Peter 1: 3-5).

Peter wasted no time in launching into his message to the believers scattered across Asia Minor. Talk about the gospel in a nutshell! And he did it so well!

These were people with no Bible except perhaps an odd copy of the Old Testament Scriptures if there was a synagogue nearby – and then they would have been denied access to it anyway. It is very unlikely that any of them would have possessed their own copy. They had to rely on what they had been taught and on good memories to boot.

They were surrounded by idolatry, Jewish fanaticism and roving false teachers whose influence would have crowded in on them as well. How were they to survive against such odds? Letters! Their very own Scriptures! Although the apostles didn’t know it at the time, they were writing Scripture. Every precious letter with its message of Jesus and explanations about their faith and how to live it daily in a hostile world was to be supernaturally preserved for the church down the ages and they were the first to read them.

Peter had already made it clear to them that they were much more than sinners saved by grace. Although they might have been nothing in the eyes of the world, they were everything to God. He took a great deal of trouble to rescue them out of the world and He was not about to abandon them through indifference or neglect. Hounded by their enemies though they might be, they were secure in God for time and eternity.

It was a timely message, to be sure. Perhaps some of them would have been tempted to dump this Jesus-thing and go back to their old lives. Had this message not brought them a packet of trouble? Was it worth the suffering? Wouldn’t it be better just to go back to the way they lived before the apostles came and put this heavy on them?

Peter was emphatic. ‘You need to understand what this is all about before you make a rash decision like that. This faith in Jesus is so much bigger than the here and now. You have to take the long look. This is about you and God, and eternity and an inheritance far more wonderful than you can ever imagine. Why would you want to give that up just to dodge a few hardships now?’

Salvation is a God-thing from beginning to end. It was through God’s mercy that they had been given new birth. What did that mean? Their birth in Adam brought with it a natural rebellion and enmity against God. They had to start all over again to be acceptable to God, but there was no way they could do anything to change their sinful nature. God did it, not because He felt sorry for them but because of His mercy. Without His intervention, they were doomed. He cancelled their past and gave them a new start through Jesus.

God’s salvation is huge, all-embracing and soaked in His goodness. He didn’t just forgive our sins so that we would no longer be a stench to Him. He drenched us in His kindness. Can you get a hold of that? A living hope! No matter what people do to us because they hate God, they can never extinguish the hope we have that when our physical lives are over here – and they could cut them short if they wanted to – that’s only the beginning. Jesus’ resurrection guaranteed that.

An inheritance! That’s huge too. If you are heir to your father’s estate, you will only get what he has and what he can give you – and that may not be very much. But to be an heir of God! That’s different. God sums up His will in two words – ‘all things’.

He that overcometh shall inherit all things . . . (Rev.21: 7 – KJV).

What are these ‘all things’? Everything God has promised (Heb. 6:12); His nature (2 Peter 1: 4); the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 5: 3); the earth (Matt. 5:5); everything that Jesus inherits (Rom. 8: 17). What more could we want? The possibilities are overwhelming.

‘So, don’t give up when the going gets tough,’ he counselled them. ‘You have too much to lose.’

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.