Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Must-Read

Rarely will you ever me blog about something like this, but I have to tell you...The Imitation of Christ is one of the best books I have ever read, other than the word of God itself. Rarely will I ever recommend a book on Christian-living because I am somewhat choosy, but this writing is incredible. I have never read a more challenging book. If you can...read it. You may have to struggle through some old-english, but its worth it. It amazes me at how deep the insights are and it was written in the 1300's!!! Its very practical. Read it. Here are some quotes:

"There is no reality in anything except loving God and serving Him alone. Our highest wisdom is to seek the kingdom of heaven, rejecting the things of this world. You are only pursuing an empty phantom if you strive for riches that cannot last, and pin your hopes on them; if you canvass for honors and acquire distinction; if you obey your natural appetites and desire things which must bring punishment later; if you hope for a long life and care little for a good life; if you think only of this present life, and never give a thought to what comes after it; if you set your heart on things which pass away so quickly, and do not press on toward that place where lasting joy remains." (p. 38)

"A really great man has great love. A really great man is humble in his own eyes, and considers all distinction and honor worthless. A really wise man treats all earthly things as refuse in order to have Christ to his credit. A man who has really learnt something is one who does the will of God and abandons his own will." (p.42)

"The reason why you are so often angry and upset is because you are not yet completely dead to your own interests and separated from all that is earthly. There is nothing that pollutes and entangles the human heart so much as an unpurged love for things that have been created. Only if you refuse outward comforts will you be able to glimpse the things of heaven and often know the inward joy." (p. 86)

Read it. Seriously.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Knowing Jesus

Nothing is more satisfying, humbling, touching, and truly wonderful than encountering Jesus Christ and knowing Him. There is so much revealed about His characer through His word and just taking His word for what it says. Before Jesus was betrayed, denied, and abandoned by His closest friends and His own people, He did something that speaks louder than words...
"Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God, got up from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself. Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded." John 13:3-5.
Can you picture this scene in your head? God incarnate kneeling down at the feet of men, washing the dirt and mud off of their feet to be the example that He asks us to be. Jesus had hands of flesh with which He touched some of the most dirty things, including lepers, diseased people, the sick...and the feet of His disciples. He washed them and dried them on the towel that He wrapped Himself in. The Creator of the world, humbling Himself and serving those whom He created. He did this knowing fully what the next hours held...that none of His disciples would stick with Him... that no one understood what He was doing for the world...and that He would become sin and the Father would forsake Him. He was serving His disciples hours before darkness would overtake Him...and He did it in love. "...Jesus knowing His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end..." John 13:1 Even in the betrayal while Jesus was being arrested in the garden He loved and protected His disciples, "Therefore He again asked them, 'Whom do you seek?' And they said, 'Jesus the Nazarene.' Jesus answered, 'I told you that I am He; so if you seek Me, let these go their way...'" John 18:8
I want to encourage you to know that Jesus has served us by not only washing our feet, but washing our hearts. Every stain and imperfection He has removed from us...and He did it in the flesh. He bore it in His body on the cross. His salvation is personal...and He humbled Himself greatly that we might be called friends of God. What a Savior that we can know! "So let us know, let us press on to know the Lord..."