Circular Arguments – Part IV


There are certain “quotes” we love to embroider with “human”!  Here is Jesus and the iconic “temple scene”:

Jesus sitting (stage front left): observing the offerings being deposited in the big box.
“Big Box” (centre stage): selection of worshipers approach, offer their offering, do the “cross thing”/sign/murmur a prayer/look up and withdraw.
Background noise: sounds of markets stalls, special offers, exchange rates, etc. A general milling of people similar to any “market day” – buying and selling, comparing quality and prices, trying the get the best deal, chatting with each other and comparing notes. John 2:13-22

And then Jesus leaps into action. Makes a whip out of some “cords”. Does the action-packed “overturn” the place, with an enthusiastic “driving out” of the sellers (and probably a bunch of consumers), and then – in a perfect piece of drama – utters that iconic quote:
‘Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a market-place!’
Yee-hah! That is MY Jesus! Direct action!

None of this “turn-the-other-cheek-namby-pamby-sissy-love-the- gays-love-the-sinners-don’t-have-to-come-to-our-church-every-Sunday-Don’t-have-to-tithe-Don’t-have-to-dress-modestly-like-we-tell-you-Just-it-pains-me-to-say-this-let-alone-think-it-Love-and-Love-and-unconditional-Love-like-Jesus-says-but-isn’t-enough-for-me-I-Love-Direct-Action-and-Jesus-and-this-temple-stuff-is-what-I-do-It-works-better-than-nicey-nicey-Love” stuff!

End of scene.

We all rise and applaud! What a performance! What a show! That’s my kind of Jesus, my kind of God! Let’s go and wreck a few more dens of iniquity!

But when do we focus on this bit: ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’

And just why do we focus on all the “building stuff” and “committees” – the stuff so easy to detach God from me?  Because if we go to our temple/church building to find God – just where is He the rest of the time?

Is he not within – indwelling? Are we not willingly possessed of Him? Have we not offered our physical bodies, our physical belongings, our physical time? Have we not died and been reborn? Are we not a walking sacrifice already – even as we walk up the steps into the “church building”?

And if He is not within already – just what “market place” do we have within as we walk up those steps?

Are we comparing the best “church”, the best preacher, the best hymns, the nicest congregation, the better social life, the easier commute, the least focus on tithing and offerings, do we not chatter with our pew neighbours as we would in the market, are we not full of sellers and buyers – inside?

Anyway … back to prayers of intercession.

We have a “free will” scenario, an ”unconditional love” deal, a “saved by grace” environment, a relationship in which we have complete freedom to say “No”.  Relationship in which God will wait for eternity (and does). In which He will wait for us to invite, to allow, to ask, to embrace His power (and does).

And instead of unleashing that power – we spend our time bitching, comparing, looking for the best deal: Why doesn’t God “fix things”? Why is His “perfect love” withheld? Why do “bad things” happen? Why do we have “prayers of intercession”?

God spoke through another and said:

Because “the deal” is us asking – IS “free will in action” – IS an invitation for God to get involved – is OUR permission for His power – to be unleashed on US.

God spoke through another and said:

When we pray our prayers of intercession – we sacrifice our own heartbeats, our own breath – our own selves for another. We die a little for someone else in that offering of our time and life – our own heartbeats – our own living. We give our own living for another.

God spoke through another and said:

Our invitation and offering is like the widow and her mites. More than enough. More than a token gesture. More than an offering to impress others, to tick a box of duty and obligation of “membership”.  Our offering is “us”. If …

I have paid lip service to “prayers of intercession” for decades. I have ticked boxes. I have fulfilled an obligation. And I have chattered away as I did. Inside – where God can’t hear me????????

God spoke to me and said:

You have not given of your self. You have not invited Me to pour out My Loving Power on others. You have not allowed Me to actively Love another. You have endured. You have bitched. You have looked for you own version of “value for money” in this “arrangement”.  You have blamed Me, Paul.  Read my lips: “Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a market-place!” applies to you.

Hmmmm ….

Now that cuts across any and all “circular arguments” I can find.

Doesn’t it?

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16 thoughts on “Circular Arguments – Part IV

    • Really? 🙂

      The craft of “heart to brain to keyboard to publish” remains craftily hidden to my eyes a lot of the time!

      Thanks Josh – your three words pack a lovely punch!

      • I’m just amazed at how God chooses to reveal Himself to us and how that personal relationship dynamic is so intricately interwoven into our experience of Him. Something amazing happened to me on Sunday afternoon. I took a trip to the convenience store around the corner from where I live – I usually buy small groceries there. There is a lady who works as a cashier there on weekends – a complete stranger to me, although she has often processed my purchases. Everytime she did though, I always felt like I knew her – like really knew her, like we are connected somehow. Now here’s the hectic part. I could tell she was different, she had joy and a sense of lightness which was instantly recognisable. The last time I was at the shop, I told myself I’m gonna ask her if she’s a believer – I also prayed about it a few times in my quiet time, but I was still unsure of whether my hunch was correct.

        Anyway on Sunday, I went to the shop and I was approaching the till to pay for my purchase, I saw the lady being spoken to quite sternly by her manager. When I got to the till I could see that she was a bit disheartened and not her usual self. When I asked her how she was doing, she just looked down and shook her head and kind of shrugged. In that moment I felt a bit disconcerted too and wondered if it would be the right time to ask her, but fighting the urge to back out I said, “Can I ask you a question? This may sound a bit weird, but are you a believer?”

        Immediately she responded, “Yes, fully. Fully a follower of Yeshua!” As she said this she moved on to the next customer as if this was the most normal thing in the world to her – to which I responded, “I can tell.”

        When I exited the store, I burst out laughing! That this stranger who I had a hunch was a believer who I don’t know from a bar of soap – was really a believer. My hunch was correct. I walked away laughing and praising God. Amazing hey? How He chooses to communicate with us in the smallest of ways.

        So when I read this post, I just thought wow – how deeply personal and intimate Jesus chooses to reveal Himself – even going as far as having lengthy, elaborate conversations with people. Just wow!

        • “Everytime she did though, I always felt like I knew her – like really knew her, like we are connected somehow.”

          Josh, that sentence caught my eye. I have had similar “connections” in the past – yet never thought more of that than they were “odd”. Which means I have never done this (or even thought this):

          “The last time I was at the shop, I told myself I’m gonna ask her if she’s a believer – I also prayed about it a few times in my quiet time, but I was still unsure of whether my hunch was correct.”

          You have blown me away with your own sharing of an loving and intimate relationship. AND you have opened my eyes to my own limited vision! Wow! That is mega-cool! And what I love with a big chuckle is this:

          “As she said this she moved on to the next customer as if this was the most normal thing in the world to her – to which I responded, “I can tell.””

          Just another day for each of you! So normal – and so precious! But you offer more …

          “So when I read this post, I just thought wow – how deeply personal and intimate Jesus chooses to reveal Himself – even going as far as having lengthy, elaborate conversations with people. Just wow!”

          Reading your really wonderful words – I am left with how far I have to go. And that is pure joy! There is more to come – always more to come! There is so much more yet more to learn – yippee doo-dah!!! And there is even better fellowship to wallow in …? WOW!

          I have no idea what others would call this sharing. But I call it a gift from My Lord! And even better, I call it a gift from YOUR GOD! I am humbled and wowed all in one! 🙂

          This one will ripple for a long time! Thank you so very very much! ((hugs))

  1. When we have that intimate relationship with the UNCONDITIONAL LOVE that IS God our Father, our spirits bear witness with Him AND with one another! What a gift from the Holy Spirit. Brother, we NEED to take the churchy masks off and bear our hearts FOR the Father AND for each other! You were certainly inspired brother!!! God KNOWS and SEES our hearts, we may put on a mask for each other, but there is no mask our Heavenly Father can’t see through. It’s long overdue that we who ARE the church start being honest with our hearts to each other!! Our Redeemer is coming back for a Bride (the CHURCH) that is heart-open and transparent! Brother, can’t say it enough, when we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, we ALL grow stronger and our gifts edify each other! Yours truly speaks through all the fluff cuts to the obvious (or at least what should be obvious) in our relationships!! Unconditional Love!! That is the whole purpose of “free will” and the best way to exercise it is to give up the FREE and surrender it to the Lord!!
    God bless you exceedingly Brother!!! Great inspiration and something I am going to read again and let the Holy Spirit start chipping away some more!!! Praise God!!! Praise and Exalt HIS love and magnificence!!

    • Dear Roland – thank you. My Lord has not given any “Part Five” – until just now in your words.

      I would be honoured to reproduce your comment here (and if you wished to expand on this – as long or as short as you are led – then even more honoured to reproduce that).

      I think Part Five is your words. Please let me know? ((hugs))

      • Brother, it would be an honor to give something along the lines of my comment, I’m just not sure how it will fit in with your theme, but if you give me a day or so, I will give you what I feel the Lord is saying and if you CAN use it, my brother you are more than welcome! We ARE the Body of Christ and if we can help get the eyes of our brothers and sisters unto the Lord rather than what we THINK the Lord wants, then we are at least being the vessel the Lord wants to use us for!! I’m tickled you were blessed, but bro, thank the Lord for it is only what He has laid on my heart! Like you, I can only right what I feel HE places in my heart!! God bless so much!!

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