The Story of Norma McCorvey (aka Jane Roe) is a redemption story. Jane Roe, of course, is the name of the plaintiff used in the case that challenged the Texas abortion law. It went all the way up to the US Supreme Court, and, in 1973, Roe v. Wade overturned all the state laws that made abortion illegal. Continue reading “The Story of Norma McCorvey (aka Jane Roe)”
Do you know who said this? You might be surprised if you don’t know. It wasn’t the person who wrote the song.
This statement is a triumphal statement of faith. We sing it as a joyful pronouncement of gratitude and proclamation of our confidence in God. These words convey hope. They are a reflection of overcoming faith, but there is much more to the story. Continue reading “My Redeemer Lives”
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword….
When I started this blog, I promised some autobiographical accounts, not that anyone is waiting with baited breath for them. True to my word, though, I will oblige.
I just revised one of my first blog posts, One of My First Light Bulb Moments. In that post, I recounted some early revelations about the Bible that marked my spiritual journey while I was still an unbeliever. I recalled my observation of the intricate harmony of the Bible and acknowledgement that the Creator of the world could communicate to us if He desired to, and He could also protect that communication if He wanted to.
I had these thoughts as I read the Bible for the first time in college. There were other thoughts too. The additional thoughts were not as philosophical; they were much more personal and uncomfortable.
In fact, reading the Bible made me feel uncomfortable. It was sharp. It seemed to expose my heart. It seemed to suggest I was at enmity to God. I virtually squirmed as I read it.
Though I read the Bible as part of an academic class on world religions, I approached each world religion as part of my own journey for truth. Not just the world religions class, I approached every class in college as part of my truth journey. I was eager to delve into the meaning of life. I was very much a product of 1960’s and 1970’s culture in that respect.
I did not really recognize the discomfort I was feeling as I read the Bible until I came across the following verse:
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
There it was: staring me in the face was an explanation for why I felt so uncomfortable. I at once desired to put the Bible down and leave it alone and to press further like a person exploring a cave in the dark with trepidation. God seemed unapproachable to me, and the conviction I felt was painful; yet I could see there was something there.
The Bible, unlike most religious texts, is unique in confronting the sinful, imperfect nature of man in all of the pride, selfishness and pettiness that we so clearly see in other people, of course, but are much less likely to see in ourselves. The Bible uniquely reflects that pride, selfishness and pettiness back at us. It forces us to be honest with ourselves.
It was many months before I learned a lesson that changed my life forever. If we do not turn from the conviction, but allow it to have its way with us, God’s Word brings us to the cross.
At the cross we see God, intentionally divested of His glory, dying as a sacrifice for us, redeeming us from the sin that is in us. We are not left to be perpetually convicted of our sins; we are shown the way out of our condition that God provides. When we confess our sins and believe, we find the glorious truth of salvation, forgiveness of sin and relationship with our God and Creator.
“[W]hoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned….” (John 5:24)
We must first see ourselves for who we are, as difficult and uncomfortable as that can be. The Living Word does that: it exposes the sin, but it also shows the way to mercy and forgiveness. It is sharper than any two-edged sword. The painful exposure of the sin that resides in us gives way to the healing that we desperately need by the same Word that smites us.
The pagans knew their place in the world, the utter separateness between them and the creative force of the world and the fearful sense of a being so much greater than us that might as soon squash us as let us live. That creative force it turns out, however, loves us and desires relationship with us.
Abraham, by Sufjan Stevens, ends with these words:
Put off on your son
Take instead the ram
Until Jesus comes
Abraham lived around 2000 B.C.E. in Mesopotamia. (Answersingenesis) Child sacrifice was common practice in that time in that area of the world to appease the gods that people thought existed. It would not have been a foreign concept to Abraham for God to ask him to sacrifice his son. That practice was part of the life and culture of the time in which Abraham lived.
The request, however, would have been particularly difficult for Abraham to honor. God had promised him a son. God promised that Abraham’s child would populate the earth as the stars in the sky. Abraham was already old and past normal child rearing age when God made these promises.
The request by God for Abraham to sacrifice his son would have hit Abraham hard. It would have made no sense. It flew in the face of the promises Abraham thought God made to him. Continue reading “Abraham and the Love of God”