Archive for the ‘Jesus’ Tag

Reading the beginning of Ian Kershaw’s excellent book ‘Hitler. Nemesis,’ reminds me clearly once again how this man shows the power of the ‘Self.’ It is the ‘self’ which is cruel, hard, unloving and cares only for well, itself! It cares nothing for the other person, no matter what and no matter who! We folks wander through life believing that we are actually quite decent because we tend to do quiet decent things, and that while we are quite good we do have faults which leak out now and again – usually with good reason or excuse. However the hard truth is that we are actually very bad people, with a depth of corruption we cannot ever know, and have merely a few good bits, what the ancients called ‘residual grace,’ and when that leaps out we congratulate ourselves and praise ourselves for being basically good folks. It is hard to accept we can be a s cold and dark and full of the ‘Self’ as Adolf Hitler, but the truth remains so.

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Hitler, for whatever reason, his nature, his genes, his upbringing, the Great War, his nations situation, whatever the outward cause, managed to find himself leading a nation  of sixty million people who had become totally entwined into his personality. He could not do without them, and as the nation discovered, and some still refuse to accept, that they were totally joined to Adolf Hitler! His ‘self’ became Germany! Now these were not stupid people. This was a highly developed, well-educated nation, one of the leaders in Europe. Between 1919 and 1933, the year Hitler took power, Germans were well able to read and listen to foreign news. The wireless had become common and news spread faster, and more honestly perhaps, than ever before. People freely travelled abroad, free  political discussion  was accepted, and the behaviour of the Nazi Party, as well as the left leaning parties, were well known, yet Hitler’s ‘self’ came to dominate. The book is entitled ‘Nemesis,’ the Greek goddess of retribution, and details the result of this powerful nation coming under the spell of this man and his ‘self.’

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Does the Christian realise how much ‘Self’ is in his life? We talk about giving ourselves to Jesus but how much do we really let go? That is my failing, I never ‘let go’ and let Jesus be Lord! However that is the only way to live. Our ‘self’ is a black hole full of bile while Jesus is God’s Holy Son and wishes to fill us with himself – that is His ‘SELF!’  Without this we can do nothing, our works are nothing, no matter what! Yet giving our ‘self’ to Jesus is true ‘repentance,’ as we no longer rely on our distorted nature but on his perfect one. This however  is difficult as Zac Poonen said, “The flesh dies hard, I’ll tell you that!” Few can truly do this. Peter wrote of the ‘conflicting natures within you,’ Paul constantly reminded his readers to ‘put of the old man and ut on the new.’ Usually he did this from a prison where his determination to put aside his ‘self’ had led him! Oh yes I forgot to mention, putting aside the ‘self’ and allowing Jesus ‘self’ to live in you will be glorious! However this may well be glorious in a prison, with much hardship as well as glorious with much fortune! Still, you can enjoy the fact that your Lord puts you where he knows you work best, he will not put you where you would not fit!

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Lord, let me ‘let go’ this self. I fear I will never do this. If I do I can have peace, and you can have glory. You will also look ‘upon the suffering of your soul, and be satisfied!’

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Love

I have just given a quick look at a thread on a messageboard concerning the Roman Catholic Church. “Is the Catholic Church a force for good in the world?”

The debate was started by a man who is a leading member of a ‘humanist’ group. One who has failed to state his position here, and who likes to attack Christian faith of any kind. His purpose is to prove his position and destroy the believers. He is not open for a constructive debate, however he often claims to be so.

I mention this because it is impossible to argue with such people, and even if your arguments do win he will most likely be resentful and not open to God. He might just avoid you in future. Many others joined in a condemnation of the church, faith, or any belief, most from ignorance and few with any intellectual depth. The main arguments are merely restatements of those they have heard from elsewhere.

I wondered what could be done? Nothing is the answer! I had similar opinions at one time, and arguments meant nothing to me. Rarely did I participate and never did it change my ignorant opinions. Instead Jesus himself took a hand (and look what I have done with what he offered!). It is Jesus that changes hearts, not arguments. The only debate that works is with those who have an enquiring mind. Even then only Jesus, by the Holy Spirit can change hearts.

So for the ones on that board I can only ask the Lord to be merciful and seek to ‘love’ his way with my neighbour. This is unfortunate, as this way is hard! Just arguing and debating is much easier and less demanding! Love costs and takes suffering in its stride. Love is not easy.

There again he does it daily, how come we (I) don’t?

And can it be?

And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Saviour’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain—
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

’Tis mystery all: th’Immortal dies:
Who can explore His strange design?
In vain the firstborn seraph tries
To sound the depths of love divine.
’Tis mercy all! Let earth adore,
Let angel minds inquire no more.
’Tis mercy all! Let earth adore;
Let angel minds inquire no more.

He left His Father’s throne above
So free, so infinite His grace—
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race:
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!

Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray—
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

Still the small inward voice I hear,
That whispers all my sins forgiven;
Still the atoning blood is near,
That quenched the wrath of hostile Heaven.
I feel the life His wounds impart;
I feel the Saviour in my heart.
I feel the life His wounds impart;
I feel the Saviour in my heart.

No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.

And can it be? What love the saviour has that he should die for me. Somewhere he says ‘Don’t call anyone ‘fool.” I only realised what this means. He never calls me ‘fool’ even though I am so bad. His love does not allow him to. Such love for me, you and all around us, both good and bad.

What kind of God is this?

Lax with God

Only today I was faced with two choices, concentrate on Jesus or other things.  My mind allowed the wrong to take root.  There again I should have seen it growing over the last few days.  But I did not, and was lax with God.  Instead of concentrating on him, I just got on with life and fell flat on my face, again.  It never ceases to amaze me how often I see the grace of God in action, a word here, a prayer there, and an opening unexpectedly occurring at just the right time.  But within moments I am back to my self, vain, unforgiving, concentrating on me and not him.  I understand those who spent forty years in the wilderness!  So now I remember, too late his grace and goodness.  Now, when I have allowed sin to lead me I wonder where I stand, why I forgot him, and how on earth I end up here.  Still, I suppose he is used to this.  Sometimes I wonder how Jesus puts up with all the sin, and from those he has reached out to at that!  You create the earth, you die on the cross, call folks to you, and find them wrapped up in themselves and not you.  Being God is not all it’s cracked up to be!  I get annoyed when folks don’t treat me right, I cannot guess how the creator must feel when folks like me forget him and concentrate on their little world, a world he wishes to enlarge and develop for them!  Dearie me, I do wrong, and push him aside to do so, and then say,” Sorry God,” and move on as if it was not important. Oh look, there it is again, self indulgence for my guilt, instead of tears for his pain and heartache.  And what heartache, echoed millions of times a day, does he endure from those that use his name……

Lifted

Earlier today I was annoyed at myself for falling into one of my bad habits.  It just seemed like it was a waste of time attempting to go on.  There was a wall of failure there before me. I sat down and prayed those feeble, useless, waste of time prayers that you know  will bring no answer. Looking at the book lying there I thought of one or two Psalms and decided it there was no point going over them.  I would just put my own thoughts into them and get my own answers back, and that was a waste also!

However, I am not sure where it came from, but I found myself musing not on me, but on how God had taken the initiative to love me!   I had not loved him, nor bothered about him, but he had chosen to love me!   What a thought!   In spite of the person I am, in spite of the things that have passed through my disgusting mind, he has always ‘loved me!’ It was his decision and I suppose he must have known what I was like even then!  This is a relief, and a great encouragement.

Several times I have noticed my failing s since that moment.  No doubt I will notice them again soon.  However, Jesus knows and wants to make me new!  In spite of me he is not discouraged, hurt maybe, but not discouraged.

I got up again this morning, and carried on, with fresh love for this great God, and a deeper desire to know him and love him.  This is good!