Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tuesday stuff

Creative title I know, but I did not have the time for a more creative effort.

I know I posted pictures of the kids yesterday, but I have heard from at least one source that they are never included enough on the blog, so this is Soren and Cecilia ready for school in their PE uniforms. Valerie figured Soren would like the shorts better. I think Soren looks bemused, and Cecilia could be a model, but that may just me. Soren did like his shorts...I went to pick them up and he was bear hugging other kids...and showing me he scraped his knee, which was easy to see with the shorts and all.

It looks like the water concern here has approved our application to be hooked up to the new plumbing they have installed in the neighborhood. This will incur some costs (not cheap at the outset) but when all is said and done we should have water for the clinic and mission house that we can actually treat and use as drinking water...no more having to buy the Aguazul jugs for those locations! Another thing that needs to be somewhat urgently done is building the cistern for the new clinic. We are shooting for something in the corner of the property, as high as we can get it (on sturdy concrete stilts...the cistern itself made out of concrete) and with a capacity of at least 50 barrels (or 2750 gallons for you non-barrel measuring folk) since although we will be hooked to the public water system up there...that does not mean we will get water more than once a week at times. Cost of hooking up to the system....undetermined, but probably $1,000. Cost of building the cistern...we are hoping under $5,500. Time will tell.

Can I say I really miss getting the Review of Optometry? It is very interesting, educational reading, and keeps us up on the latest trends. I got this issue last year from someone, but it was misplaced so I am just getting to read it now. (somehow we need to get back on the mailing list!) Reading about LASIK surgery today....I could not help but laugh at this caption. Then I felt guilty thinking about the guy...then I laughed again at the caption.

Allow me now to get on my soap box of sorts from here to the end of this post:

I received an email today from a friend talking about possibilities of providing water filters. It is still preliminary, so for now he listed me as a "needed recipient." For whatever God ordained reason, that hit me like a ton of bricks. All of us are needed recipients of Christ, of His love, His faith to drive us to repentance, baptism and living in Him. I was/am/will be in need because of my sin, and I was a recipient because that need was met not from within...not from me believing, accepting, or making some decision (Romans 9:16 for one example), but because He came in and turned my life around. I may be just sentimental today...or maybe not....let me know if that resonates at all with you.

I have also listened to two different sermons in the past month (one today) where a well meaning pastor compares our good deeds in God's eyes to the right or fair things that our children do and the pride that a father has in seeing his kids doing right. This may sound harmless and encouraging...but it puts us higher than we should be and makes God less than He is. Although it sounds good...it makes us feel good...I do not believe God sees what we do in that light for a number of reasons, a few of which I will list here:

#1 Often times our good deeds are self motivated...earthly parents may not be able to tell, but He can.
#2 God is perfect...he demands perfectness, nothing less. Even on my best day, I do not come close to the majesty and holiness that is God...doing something of which He would be proud.
#3 Our good stuff is set out for us to do in Him ahead of time (meaning...if any good is done through us, it is not to our credit anyway for salvation or earning us anything related to that....see Ephesians 2:10...He gets the glory, He does not delight in us...we delight in Him!)
#3 Even what we think is good is still tainted by our sin nature. Christ covers us with his righteousness, but our nature still taints anything we do from being acceptable in terms of santification or justification (Isaiah 64:6...filthy rags there being like menstrual rags.)

Perhaps a better analogy using a similar set up would be a good father seeing his child do something that in comparison to what he can do is a pathetic, lame attempt at best...and still loving them anyway. The analogy should focus on how a good parent loves their child despite all the bad things they do...and how much more is God a good father than that?

At our best we are all like Eddie Haskell from Leave it to Beaver. We may be able to put on a good show on the outside (like the pharisees as Jesus called them white washed tombs, pretty to look at, but death is inside) and may even "mean it" sometimes...but God knows our hearts, and that at our foundation we fail Him.

If the story ended there, how depressing....but Christ lived the life that Eddie Haskell could not live...that I could not live. Jesus not only died for our sins...but lived a perfect life in obedience to the law to satisfy the requirements for us. Pretending that God gives us a little smile when we do something right is so misguided. Much better than Ward Cleaver...He sees us for who we are, who we were, who we will be, and He shows us mercy, grace, and love through sending His son that we could be reconciled to Him. If not for that...our righteous deeds would be as worthless as those filthy rags. God is God....and we can not begin to understand Him, no matter how much we want Him to fit in our pocket. I leave you with two passages that help me when I think I might actually get it:

Romans 11
33Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! 34"Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?" 35"Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?"36For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.

Romans 9
20But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?'

Job 42
1 Then Job replied to the LORD :
2 "I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.
3 You asked, 'Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?' Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.
4 "You said, 'Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.'
5 My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.
6 Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes."

1 comment:

stan said...

You can get review online - current issues and old ones. hard to keep up with the paper sometimes: http://www.revoptom.com/

You can click subscriber services to get back on the maillist too.