Practical Proverbial, from Titus, 14 July 2019

But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior. Titus 3:4-6 (EHV).

Let’s expand on that idea of “represent” Jesus anyway by adding a sentence.   The kindness of God and the best of His Spirit He gives to us, pours out on us, through Jesus.  Mind-blowing thought.

Perhaps these verses are yet another exposition of the three-in-one Godhead.   You won’t find “trinity” anywhere in the Bible, but in verses like these, you’ll find mention of God, His Spirit, and His Son Jesus.   They are all one and the same and He is in all Them.  God the Father sent the Son to save humanity.   God the Father and Son renewed us through His/Their Spirit, who was given through Jesus the Son, who sent Him (Holy Spirit).  When you see One, you’re seeing the others.   Pray to One and They all hear.   Hear from One and They each said it even if One speaks separately.   Confusing?   Perhaps.   But if you simply take it at face value, then it makes sense, because it’s our God of loving mystery.

Part of the reason it makes sense is because He gave us things with which to remember Him.   Baptism, communion, worship, festivals and holidays:   He doesn’t need those things but knew we would.  God’s Spirit came to us to renew us.   “But I don’t feel like I need to be renewed,” you might say.   Oh yeah?   Ever feel tired?   Ever feel anxious?   Ever get depressed, or overwhelmed, or nervous, our just plain upset?   Ever felt like that but didn’t really know why?   If you’ve felt those things, you need to be renewed.

When you sense that – and when you don’t – you need to have Him pour Himself out over us.   I think of it like standing under a waterfall.   Or maybe in a rainfall…or a thunderstorm.   Sometimes I need the gentle spring rain; other times the summer downpour.  Yet however I need Him, even when I don’t know how I need Him, He’s there, pouring His grace down on me like rain.   Like cleansing, purifying, feeding, nurturing, forgiving rain.  Like a stream of living water to freshen and renew.   Like an ocean full of life, power, and adventure.  Like a cleansing hot shower, coursing down over me, washing me clean again.  He feels like pure water, poured gently from a crystal pitcher into a clean glass.  Poured out.   He empties Himself to fill up others.

For further reading:  Matthew 17:20, Matthew 21:21, Mark 4:35-41, Mark 11:22-24, Acts 22:16, Romans 5:5, Romans 11:14, Ephesians 2:9, 1 Peter 1:3, Titus 3:7

Savior God in three and one, I praise You for being You.   For all You give to me; for pouring Yourself out on us all.

Practical Proverbial, from Hebrews, 17 April 2017

Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased.  Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll—I have come to do your will, my God.’”  Hebrews 10, verses 5-7

A happy day after Easter to you.   Here in east Texas, it’s pouring rain.   I’m thankful that the rain held off until today because yesterday it would have drowned out everyone’s Easter plans.   On the homestead north of Paris, after church my wife cooked a great dinner while I went outside to do some overdue yard work.   I cut down some nuisance bushes and thinned out plants all around the property, and it gave me time to think about a thought God had put on my brain during church.

Think about Easter Saturday.   Maundy Thursday we understand.  Good Friday we understand.   Easter Sunday:   we get it, and even the days between Easter and Pentecost, when we observe God imparting His Spirit to us so that we can live life as Jesus’ eyes and ears.   Historically we know what happened on those days.   Ecclesiastically we comprehend the meaning of their events.  What about that in-between day?   Who ever thinks about Easter Saturday?

Have you ever really noodled the idea that God provided everything on Easter Saturday?   On Friday, we humans, His ‘very good’ creation, publicly and desperately murdered God who lived among us as a man.   We didn’t just murder Him:   we brutalized Him physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally in the worst ways possible.   If you haven’t watched “The Passion of the Christ,” I urge you to do so because it is as close as you’ll get to actually watching Jesus being crucified.   Me thinks the real thing was even worse.

He who bore that torture had only come to do His Father’s will.   The man Jesus lived perfectly to do that perfect will, then died perfectly on a gruesome torture tree to do that same holy will.  He came to atone for all the things He never did wrong because we, as a people, simply didn’t ‘get it.’   Animal sacrifices, burnt grain offerings, good works, even clean living didn’t atone for sins.   They still don’t and never will.  Yet people clung/cling to them as if doing so will please God and bring us closer to Him.   Perhaps it’s just another way we try to be God instead of living our lives to reflect Him.   Jesus understood all that and yet He still chose the nails so we wouldn’t have to take them.

And still, on the day when Jesus’ body lay cold and dead in the Arimathean’s tomb, God again provided.   Air, water, food, shelter, love, friendship, vocation:   for everyone living on planet Earth that day God still showed up.   Just as He had every single day since He spoke life into being, God provided all that people needed to get through the time between midnights.  The Roman soldiers who flogged Jesus then nailed Him to that cross?   Alive and thriving.   The Sanhedrin that had cajoled a death sentence?   Alive and kicking with hot food in their bellies.   The crowds who cheered and cried as Jesus agonized along the Via Dolorosa?   Alive, breathing, going on about their business.  God.  Still.   Provided, and He provided to those who deserved it least.  Can we even begin to comprehend that kind of love?  In the whole story of Easter and the miracle God provided through it, perhaps that’s the most overlooked miracle of all.  God showed up when we least deserved it.

Like He’s showing up now in the miracle of rain pouring down outside my office door.   It’s filling up my pond, the same pond I wasn’t sure would ever fill again.  Nature really is a miracle, you know.   Watching trees bud and bring forth leaves.   Fish swimming in the pond and young chicks just hatched growing feathers in just a few short weeks.  The sun that warms us and brings weather to nourish and rejuvenate the planet.   These are all daily miracles we see.   They’re all ways God still provides.   If you try to count all the ways God provides for you in just one day, you won’t get anything else done.   That’s a miracle, too.   In the days when we deserve it least, God still provides everything we need.   And after living, dying, and then rising on that day we commemorated just yesterday, He still lives on in our hearts, minds and hands, still saying “here I am” as both identification and proclamation.   That’s the biggest miracle of all.

For further reading:  Hebrews 1:6, Hebrews 2:14, 1 Peter 2:24, Ezra 6:2, Jeremiah 36:2, Psalm 40:6-8, Matthew 26:39, .

My risen Lord, thank You for providing for me when I’ve so not deserved it.   Thank you for life, air, food, shelter, and love.   Thank You for dying for me, then living for me.   Teach me ways to live for You today and every day.