Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Easter Amnesty

Treason is a serious, serious crime. In this world, the death penalty has now given way to imprisonment as punishment in most countries, but the seriousness of the crime remains. Acting against the ruler, seeking to overthrow that authority, demands justifiable action.

I've done that. Exactly that. I may look like a guy who tries to keep his head down and is a "nice"bloke, but I've been guilty of treason. No, really. Ignoring and or blaspheming God is tantamount to exactly that: treason against the Ruler of all. Devoting my life to something, anything, that I've placed on a higher pedestal than Him is treason. Not accepting His rightful rule, or going out of my way to slur Him, wrongfully accuse Him, or tell Him where He's going wrong is treason. My actions have usurped the Lordship that belongs, by right, to the One Who made me and every molecule that exists in this universe.

And yet... the King of the universe has not only taken the punishment I deserve for resisting His authority in my life and then cast it upon His own Son Jesus in a lingering, unimaginably horrible death, thus diverting the wrath and penalty that was to head my way, He's taken it one step further. Yes. To stand in that dock and be found guilty, and then to be suddenly set free by the Judge's astonishing act of love would be mind-blowing. But... what did He do beyond that? He saw His Son, killed by my crime(s) and raised to life again 2 days later in victory over sin (our falling short of God's standards) and death (the resultant punishment for that crime), He then turned back to me and said, "NOT GUILTY." Wha-? He said what? NOT GUILTY. I'm not only free, but my record has been wiped clean forever too, as if it never happened in the first place ("as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us" Psalm 103.12 - the east to west = infinite distance! Hallelujah!). It's the ultimate amnesty.

As I've had the opportunity to reflect on this scandalous truth once again at Easter, I can only fall to my knees before my King, allowed into his throne room only by the work of His Son, and let my heart overflow in gratitude, my mouth sing with all I have, and my life reflect what He has done for me in word and in action.

Can you say the same? Read more!

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

"Job's Worth"

For the first time in my life I've been struggling with the whole "work as unto the Lord" theme; until a year or two ago, I'd always enjoyed my work. Working somewhere you enjoy is just like going out to play, and you'd always breeze through any upsets by knowing you're where you want to be.

Unfortunately, my line of work has become increasingly harder to appreciate or enjoy (shift work is not agreeing with my 'ageing' body like it used to; shift patterns themselves are becoming worse; and I won't bore you with the rest of my gripes... probably wouldn't be particularly gracious to particular parties either, so best avoided :-)) and now I hit the full understanding of what Paul is saying to the church in Colossae (and Laodicea) in his letter:

"Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ" (Colossians 3:23-24)

Driving into work this morning, heart heavy and my mind raging with a myriad of ideas that might help me get out of work - including breaking my leg (I kid you not) - I had to turn off my 'Coheed and Cambria' album and talk to God about what this was doing to my heart and head. It was driving me crazy. And He reminded me of the above Scripture: no matter who I work for, where I work, who I work with, or what I do, if I do it for Him I will find the missing joy; He is my King and when He wants me to move on, He'll pave the way. Until then, I'm where He wants me to be.

I'm still here; 2/3 into my shift and I've not thrown myself down the stairs yet. And I'm still struggling to maintain that Godly attitude. But I'm getting there. I won't be here forever, I know He has other plans for me in the future, but until then I intend to do it His way: not wracked with bitterness, nor as a jobsworth, but knowing my job's WORTH. That's where the adventure unfolds and my heart sings in praise to Him. Read more!