For if Jesus [Joshua] had given them rest,
then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.
Here’s what I’ve been thinking. This time of the COVID-19 has given us cause for much thought. How to readjust life to fit the pandemic. How to live with the new ‘normal’.
The pandemic put many people into circumstances beyond their control. Some of us have lived that way, at least in our minds if not in reality, for many years. For the Christian, life is about submitting control to God. Humility. Looking up from the bottom of something, myself or my circumstances.
Blogging is a way to express oneself publicly, with as much freedom as one gives oneself. Essentially it is either self-centered or others-centered. I suppose my struggle with blogging is my struggle with giving up my piece of life which no one else controls. Do I deceive myself into thinking that I blog for God, while it is really for myself?
These four and a half months of not being physically at church, family members working and schooling from home, wearing a mask in public, limited social exposure and so forth, have given much room for self-examination.
What is my motive for doing what I do?
How long should I keep doing it?
Is it glorifying to God?
Is it edifying to me and the people affected by it?
Does it obey the principles in Scripture?
Specifically as it relates to blogging.
For the past week God has been impressing on my heart the word mercy and the theology of the mercy seat. I hear it in the hymns, I see it in the Psalms and the Gospels and in the book of Hebrews which I am memorizing. The impression I get is that in general we spend much time emphasizing grace and ignoring the sacrifice which paid for it.
And the tax collector, standing afar off,
would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven,
but smote upon his breast, saying,
God be merciful to me a sinner. Luke 18:13
The note in the Scofield reference Bible (1967 edition) says the word merciful used here is the Greek word hiliaskomai, used in the Septuagint and N.T. in connection with the mercy seat. An instructed Jew, the tax collector was thinking not of mercy alone, but of the blood-sprinkled mercy seat. His prayer might be paraphrased, “Be toward me as thou art when thou lookest upon the atoning blood.” The Bible knows nothing of divine forgiveness apart from sacrifice.” (end quote)
The writer of Hebrews impels us to come to the throne of grace in order to obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (4:16)
The publican (in the parable of Jesus) prayed in humility for mercy because he was not merely asking for what he could obtain. But he was remembering the sacrifice which was paid in order that he might obtain it freely.
Nothing is free. Everything has a price. We remind ourselves that freedom (in America, and elsewhere) is not free. Many paid the ultimate price with their lives that we might enjoy freedom without cost.
Mercy is the same. It is freely given, but not with out great cost to God. When we ask to benefit from this mercy without acknowledging the mercy-giver and the great sacrifice of His Son’s death on the Cross, we miss the point of mercy (and grace).
Asking for mercy for myself is selfish.
Acknowledging the sacrifice brings glory to God.
When asking for mercy , remember the blood of Christ, the price of mercy, and the mercy-giver (God).
In your asking, Glorify God.
Grace is freely given.
Mercy paid the price.
And one of many places in the Psalms where mercy is named as belonging to God:
I will sing of the mercies of the LORD forever;
with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations.
That being said (that is the end of today’s lesson, (smile) where do we go with this blogging thing?
First, I do not think I am a writer. No one ever encouraged me to write. I like to write, but my lack of audience tells me that is not my thing. Personally I would just as soon write with pen on paper or just for myself.
Secondly, the purpose(s) which I had ten years ago when starting blogging, and the general world of blogging, have changed. Blogging seems to be all business or talking to oneself any more. While I would like to earn money blogging, I do not wish to make a business of what I write. Hence, blogging has no real purpose now.
(The original purpose was to encourage Christians in their walk with Christ with a mix of Bible reading schedule, Bible memorization, book reviews, social media, and New England.)
Thirdly, hanging onto something which takes my mind and energy away from the real world in which I live seems to be a form of rebellion which keeps me from giving God complete control.
Because of the few faithful readers I will continue the Bible Reading Schedule to the end of the year 2020. The blog won’t be shut down, but the daily posts will end. Decision made. It is time to move on.
In the end I suppose I am using my last opportunity to exercise my control over something. I did not come to this decision easily. For several years now I have wrestled with the lack of peace and purpose in this blog. I have more peace about not continuing than I did about continuing.
Should you wish to contact me, all comments go directly to my email. No problem there. It will be interesting to see if the spam comments slow down at all. Thankful for Akismet. And very, very thankful for the faithfulness and long-suffering of God, as well as for His mercy and willingness to sacrifice His only Son that we might live through Him. That is grace.
Without mercy there is no grace.
For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
Not by works of righteousness, which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost, which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Chirst, our Savior, that, being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:5-7