The monkey bridge game

I got to go to the fair with my husband last Saturday.   One of the games we saw was a monkey bridge (suspended ladder). If you could climb it, without using your knees, in I think it was 3 seconds, you won a prize.

I don’t think I even finished looking at the obstacle and rules in 3 seconds, much less could I climb it in that amount of time! Besides, I’d want to win a prize just for going up it without using my knees, even if it took me half an hour!

We think up some pretty crazy games for people to try to lose at.

Aren’t you glad that we have a Father in Heaven who doesn’t think up crazy games for us to lose?

God never plays games with us. When we sinned, a righteous sacrifice was needed to pay for our sin—not as an unnecessary rule or surprise twist, but because that’s really what our sin costs. God is just, and He knows exactly what justice requires: a price we can never pay.

If there was ever any doubt that God is simply tampering with us, there can be no longer since the death of His own Son. God gave His child to pay for our wickedness, something He would have never done if there was any other way to pay for sin.

When I have challenges in this life, it’s comforting to me to know there is not some Divine game-playing going on, but rather that whatever happens to me that is bad is a consequence of sin, not of a cruel god. And as a believer, I have the promise from God that He is working even the bad things in my life for my good (see Romans 8:28).

There are no monkey bridges with 3-second rules in God’s Kingdom. Rather, we have a loving Father who is dynamically participating in our world and protecting us from the effects of sin, even at the price of His Son.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29: 11, NLT)

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Reality

There are a million fantasies out there, but hearts are changed by the reality of the Gospel.

I’m not ashamed of the Good News. It is God’s power to save everyone who believes . . (Romans 1:16a, GW)

Published in: on June 11, 2014 at 4:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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brokenness . . thanks

Out of true brokenness truly healed by God comes true thanks.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. (Psalm 147:3, NIV)

Published in: on January 6, 2014 at 4:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Brokenness . . and Christianity

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. (2 Corinthians 4:7, NIV)

Photograph by oatsy40Do you have a few cracks?

Have you taken inventory of your chips lately?

Ever worry that if there’s even one more faintest touch of trouble, you’ll crumble?

. . Have you ever shattered?

When you think about human frailty, who comes to mind?

Yourself?

A close family member who disintegrated after a final blow of ‘bad luck’?

Maybe a coworker who landed in prison?

A successful friend who had to take disability after an unexpected turn in life?

Or perhaps some stranger who just had too heavy a load, now wasting away in an insane asylum?

I would guess hardly any of us first thought of the most fragile human being of all.

If you’re now putting on your theological cap and guessing again, you might think of Samson or Saul or Adam–all ruined by their lack of self control.   But you’re still not right.

Who is the most fragile human being?  Who has the weakest vessel of all?

Absolutely, unequivocally, Jesus Christ.

If you’re astonished, think only of this: Who has been the most crushed by sin?

He [Jesus] took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.” (Luke 22:19, NLT)

There has to be comfort, overwhelming comfort for the believer who realizes that Jesus has experienced their own sin, shame, and suffering more intensely than they have themselves.  When I stop to picture it, I’m awestruck: the picture Jesus gives us is one of Himself being divided into pieces and ground to bits to nourish His followers–the very ones who wound Him.

There is no one on the entire earth, no matter how much trouble they have been through, who has ever gone through such an experience.  Jesus chose to be spent, utterly, for us.  His spirit was crumbled to powder under the weight of our sin (though He kept His purity throughout), and His body was destroyed beyond anything we can imagine by the agony of our guilt(see Isaiah 52:14).

What does this mean for the believer?

First, that the awe of who Christ is cannot ever be overstated.

Second, that we shouldn’t pout or despair when our fragility is revealed.

Whether our cracks come by our own sin, or by things we didn’t have any say in (like  sickness, unforeseen circumstances, or the sins of others) we can always hold onto what Christ did when He faced the burden of brokenness.  He didn’t brace Himself with supernatural power.  He could have.  But He didn’t.

He chose to shatter.  For you.  For me.

So many times, when I’m confronted with breaking, I try to guard myself, defend myself, flee in fear, or search for a hide-away.  But really, I don’t have to be afraid or angry or bitter.  I can instead peer through the cracks to the

all surpassing power  . . from God

that is inside of me.  As a believer, I no longer have to be consumed by my brokenness.  I don’t have to be terrified or worshipful of it.  I can simply give it to God, and follow the example of Christ in opening my hands to receive wounds that will allow Christ to be seen more clearly through me.

Through . . me.

What treasure to be a vessel who belongs to Jesus.

And what an honor to be broken so that He can be revealed more stunningly in my life day by day.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. (2 Corinthians 4:7, NIV)

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Photograph by oatsy40, profile on http://www.flickr.com/photos/oatsy40/

Photograph under Creative Commons License.

(with)

With Jesus, I’m the most blessed person on earth.

But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life. (1 Timothy 1:16, NLT)

Published in: on October 19, 2013 at 3:54 pm  Leave a Comment  
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(without)

Without Jesus, I’m the most wretched person on earth.

But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life. (1 Timothy 1:16, NLT)

Published in: on October 16, 2013 at 10:19 pm  Comments (1)  
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