Monday, March 12, 2012

"Hold Your Ground!"

Image Copyright: Unknown
"You are not bound to loss and silence
For you are not bound to the circles of this world
All things must pass away;
All life is doomed to fade
Sorrowing you must go,
And yet you are not without hope"
- Arwen, The Lord of The Rings

   Ruminations of The Sage has reached its 100th post! Looking back on the last year and a half since I started taking this blog seriously, this is an opportunity for me to remind myself about who I've become, what I'm doing here and why I'm doing it. Like the occasion of the 50th post (The Redeeming Marriage Project), I wanted to write about the things that are important to me, with an accompanying metaphor that would neatly express what I feel at this point in my thinking and writing. And I could find fewer things more apt than some thoughts from the Apostle Paul's two letters to Timothy, his son in the faith, and a pivotal moment in the third installment of my favourite movie - The Lord of The Rings: The Return of The King.

   This blog was created four years ago because I was searching, and because I like to think. I was desperately searching for true wisdom because I was (and still am) convinced about a singular fact regarding myself that I knew was absolutely true then, and am assured of with even more certainty as the years go by:

I'm a fool. And I really need to change.

   I wanted to live my life skilfully and live it well, with purpose and integrity. One of the things I feared (and perhaps still dread) was looking back with regret at the end of my life, with the thought "I've wasted my life...". And so I started thinking, and searching.

   But more than that, I wanted to share my thoughts and experiences with others, because I was equally convinced about another fact related to the one about my own condition: I can't be the only fool out there. I wanted to help those like myself, who were desperately seeking a means to navigate their way through life, sometimes barely hanging on from one episode to the next. And so I started pouring my thoughts and anecdotes out here.

   The last year, particularly the last few months, have been a time of rapid growth. Much of the recent change in my life has been due to the book I was given as a Christmas present, and which I've been trying to blog about as I contemplated its exposition of the gospel - "Jesus + Nothing = Everything", by Tullian Tchividjian. I'm convinced that I desperately want to live its message with everything that I have.
Jesus + Nothing = Everything

   As I mentioned earlier, I'm partially writing this post as an encouraging reminder to myself of who I have become, and what I want to keep doing through this blog. So I'm turning to the two letters from Paul to his son in the faith, because I need my Heavenly Father to speak to me now. And I pray, dear reader, wherever you are, that He will speak to and encourage you too.

Scripture: Holding On To The Only Source of Wisdom
"teach no other doctrine, nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith...from which some having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk, desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm." - 1 Tim. 1:4-7, NKJV

"Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge - by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith. Grace be with you." - 1 Tim. 6:20-21, NKJV

"Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us." - 2 Tim. 1:13-14, NKJV

"But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." - 2 Tim. 1:13-14, NKJV

"I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word!." - 2 Tim. 4:1, NKJV

     I am convinced that there is no other teaching or instruction for life that will help my foolishness, other than that which is soundly built upon the written word of God. It is the only infallible source that I wish to put my faith and hope in. If there is anything valuable or useful on this blog that God uses to touch the lives of those who read the thoughts posted here, may it be the transforming power of His word.

Grace: Holding On To The Only Life Support Available
"And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into this world to save sinners, of whom I am chief." - 1 Tim. 1:14-15, NKJV

"You, therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus."- 2 Tim. 2:1, NKJV

"...who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ before time began..."- 2 Tim. 1:9-10, NKJV

   Grace. I've been drowned in the overflowing, abundant and limitless grace of God all my life. I'm free because of His grace. I'm alive, breathing, seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, smelling because His grace sustains me. The wretched fool that I am is loved by God, not because of who I am or anything that I've done to earn His affection, but only because of His Son who stands in His presence on my behalf.

Glory: Living For Him Alone
"Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen" - 1 Tim. 1:17, NKJV

"He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen" - 1 Tim. 6:15-16, NKJV

   He is eternal; my life is a shadow that vanishes like the fog mist that hangs over Vancouver and dispels with the morning sun. He cannot die, cannot be killed; I do not know whether I will survive to the next minute. He alone has proven Himself to be wise; I have seen my reflection in the mirror of His Scripture and come away seeing myself for the fool that I am. He deserves the attention, always. May everything that is written on this blog point to Him, and not to me. I have nothing to say, except to talk about Him in this life and the life to come.

Christus: Holding On To The Only One Who Can Save
"For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, toe be testified in due time." - 1 Tim. 2:5, NKJV

   I have no one else to speak about here, no other person or source of help, hope or love to offer. The reason is simple - there was and is no other source of help or hope for my life and foolishness when I desperately needed it. No one else heard; no one else ran to help; no one else gave hope; no one else had the power to turn my life around; no one else can save. 

Faithful: Standing Firm For The Reward From The Faithful One
"If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished int he words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed. But reject old wives' fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness."
- 1 Tim. 4:6-7, NKJV

"Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. And their message will spread like cancer." 
- 2 Tim. 2:15-16, NKJV

"Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Master." Those are the only words that I want to hear now, the only approval that I live for. No other praise from anyone in this world matters anymore. May I be found writing faithfully for Him.

Unashamed: The Shout Of His "Good News"
"Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God..." - 2 Tim. 1:13-14, NKJV

   Here I am, Master. I'm ready.

   It's time to hit the shower and head to bed. This has been an awesome night of prayer and meditation, thinking through some of the questions in my heart and listening to Christ speak as I wrote this 100th post. God has spoken powerfully and convictingly. I can only obey. May He give me the strength to hold my ground. I had referred to a moment from The Lord of The Rings: The Return of The King and I thought I'd include this clip of that scene here to wrap up this post.

Grace and peace to you,
- The Wisdom Seeker