Posts Tagged 'The Cross'

The Free Stuff Tree

Recently, with all the to-do about free birth control I came across a comment on Power Line Blog referencing what the commenter thought might have been a quote of Ayn Rand’s in her book, Atlas Shrugged. I couldn’t confirm or refute the claim, but it doesn’t matter because I’ve heard others express more or less the same notion. That is,

“You want free birth control? So go collect it. Pick it off the tree where you think it grows.”

Of course we’ve all heard many times the epigram that “money doesn’t grow on trees…. ”

Well, it hit me as I was considering these phrases that there’s a profound connection between the Free Stuff Trees and the Garden of Eden.

Because in the Garden, before the Fall of man,  Free Stuff Trees really did exist.

In the Garden the man and woman could go to any tree but one, pick off the free fruit and eat to their hearts’ content. At any time they wished.

Eventually, as we know, they disobeyed the only “rule” they’d been given, by going after the one tree whose fruit was not free — The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. There was a price to be paid for eating it — a rather steep price, in fact —  they died spiritually on the spot were kicked out of the Garden, shortly thereafter and eventually died physically several hundred years later. And nothing earthly has been free since.

Man’s curse was to work the ground to get his food. No work, no food. That curse has yet to be lifted.  I wonder if that might be why people keep yearning for stuff to be free, seeking after that provision they’ve lost.

Then again, it may be because in their depravity they are lazy and want only what they want when they want it…

The striking point, however, is that the only thing that’s really free in this life is salvation. Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.

You pay no coin, no dues of time or effort, do no work, keep no law… you have only to believe in the person of Christ and the work He did on your behalf and you will be eternally saved. It’s God’s free gift to us.

Free to us, but not still free. Someone had to pay the price for our sin, and that someone was Jesus Christ. He gave up everything for us: His position in heaven, His power, His glory… For thirty-three years He walked this earth, and not as one of the rich and famous surrounded by wealth and comfort. No, He lived as a lowly carpenter, the eldest son of at least six children, who weren’t always nice to Him as we learn from the passages where His brothers mock Him for His miracles…

More than all that, though, He gave up His very life for us, dying spiritually before he died physically. During the three hours of darkness on the cross, the sins of the entire world, of every person who ever lived or will, were poured out on him and judged. He who, like a lamb before his shearers had been dumb throughout all the beatings and whippings and mockery and even the ordeal of being nailed to the Cross, yet when the darkness descended on Golgotha and the sins were poured upon him, screamed,

My God, My God, Why have You forsaken me?

And then, after the screaming stopped and the darkness was lifted,

“It is finished.”

that is,

“Tetelestai”

He did it all, the price was paid. And for us, salvation is Free.

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Life Needs Death

Believe it or not, I am still getting snail mail for my mother. Recently I received yet another missive from PETA, one of the organizations she supported, pleading with her to renew her membership, as they are in dire need of her funds. To guilt her into submitting, they sent along several sheets of cute mailing labels and a complimentary copy of their quarterly magazine informing her that while she should have gotten it last month, she apparently did not, and maybe she didn’t notice, so they are sending it to her in a special envelope along with the letter badgering her to re-subscribe. If they had included an SASE I might have sent them notice that she’s deceased and they should remove her from their mailing list.

Hmm… come to think of it I believe I already did that.

Anyway, when it comes I always take a moment to peruse the magazine. I’m not sure why. It’s so stupid. They make such a big deal out of nothing. I read the articles and always feel like I’m only getting a third of the story, along with a good dollop of hysteria.

This issue was particularly provoking to me. Mind you, I’m only skimming, but here are some of the titles, bullets and side notes that hit my eyes:

 “Did my meal have a mother?”

“Where did veal come from? Baby cows. Waaah!”

“How about the turkey? The steak? That succulent piece of lamb?”

Oooh. Those were once living creatures… a nice, feathery turkey, a sweet, lovable, innocent cow, a cute woolly lamb. How can anyone eat such things! Only because they haven’t really thought about what it is they’re actually eating — or they happen to be a horrid, cruel and vicious barbarian!

You are urged to always “Try to relate to who’s on your plate!” This statement was accompanied by an illustration of a plate with vegetables, potatoes and a tiny naked person… (Which turned out to be a photograph of an actual person lying on a huge plate at one of their “events” of the same name.)

It’s all emotional, overwrought and rife with anthropomorphizing the animals — ie, giving them human feelings and attributes they do not possess. I’m sorry, but turkeys do not have the attachment to their young that human mothers do. I’ve raised turkeys and was not impressed with their intelligence or their demeanor.

I’ve worked with cows, which are one of my favorite animals, but they are still animals — beasts. Kinda dumb ones at that.

I’ve never worked with sheep, but the Bible consistently uses them as an illustration of how stupid and herd-bound the people of God can be when they are out of His plan and following their own ways.

The authors even agonize over the plight of fish as they are “impaled and pulled into an environment where they cannot breathe”.

The Dalai Lama is quoted as having been “particularly concerned with the sufferings of chickens for many years.”

SIGH…

I think a lot of this comes from living in an affluent society where we are more and more divorced from the actual realities of what it means to survive. We, as a society, are so removed from our food sources now, we can afford to indulge such absurd ideas.

I say absurd, because if you get down to it, life requires death in order to continue.

All life. If you look at the entire ecological system, it is, as that silly Lion King song trumpets, a circle. The grass grows, the cow eats it, makes a baby cow, dies, decomposes, feeds the grass which the now-grown baby cow eats as it makes a new cow, which feeds new grass… etc.

Right there, in front of everyone’s eyes to see.

I would also like to point out that when one eats the grass, the grass dies, as well. So too, the spinach, the onion, the lettuce that vegans are so fond of replacing their animal foods with. Worse, when you crunch into that fresh spinach leaf you are in the process of crushing and bursting and killing living cells.

Ohhhh noooooooo. And should you cook the spinach leaf beforehand, you are subjecting those cells to lethal levels of heat and again the cell walls burst, the cells die…

Animal or plant, the stuff we eat is living either as we eat it, or prior to preparation for eating. We don’t eat rocks. And after we eat this living stuff it is no longer living. Thus, life requires death to be sustained.

A perfect, everywhere present, three times a day reminder of the Cross, and the fact that there is no spiritual life for fallen man apart from death — the death of the son of God, which provides true life — eternal life — for all who believe in Him.

 

Amazing Love

This is my Easter Greeting for for my readers.

I found it on You Tube, uploaded by on Apr 17, 2008. Video from The Passion of the Christ, the song You are My King, written by Chris Tomlin,  the singer, Candi Pearson.

This presentation makes me think of all that He did, and just how amazing His love is. I cannot watch it without crying.

Life is Cruel

We were seeing the oncologist a week or so ago to discuss options and risks for my mother’s upcoming treatment for the return of the cancer and hit upon the subject of the vagueries of the disease — why it hits some who have been health conscious all their lives  while others who have not been, go free; why it comes back for some and doesn’t for others;  why different patients have different types of cancer cells, some responding readily to less debilitating treatments, while others need to be walloped.

My mother is rarely sick, takes only one medication on a regular basis, has never before this had any operations, illnesses or medical procedures. She’s long been preoccupied with health, eating an organic vegetarian diet, avoiding soda, packaged foods, cell phones, microwaves, genetically modified foods and plastic. What’s more she did everything she was told to do when the cancer first showed itself a year ago. Yet here it is, back again. “Life is cruel,” she blurted to the doctor. And he nodded soberly. “Yes,” he said. “It is.”

 In fact after all the years he’d been at his profession, he confessed there was a certain randomness to it all that he simply did not understand.

In medicine — and even in alternative therapies —  it seems there is this idea that if we can just do the right thing, find the right combination of treatments or even preventatives, we can avoid the cruelty of disease. Sometimes we do. But other times we don’t and there is no “logical” reason from the human perspective.

So yes, Life can be cruel, but only because one doesn’t really understand it, or our purpose in it. The world is not heaven, after all, but fallen and filled with fallen creatures who are mostly under the control and deception of the greatest of all fallen creatures, Satan himself. The Adversary. The Accuser. The Cherub angel who, as the guardian of the Lord’s Righteousness, was akin to His best friend… and who betrayed Him. Not only in heaven with that first sin of independence, but later, on earth when he possessed Judas to sell out his Teacher for 30 pieces of silver…

And thereby sent Him to the cross for which He had come.

I sat there listening to my mother and the doctor, not knowing what to say, my mind full of realizations. I know that the world is not random, that God has everything under control. He lets his sun shine on the evil and the just, sends his rain to the good and the bad. He knows the number of stars in the universe and he knows the number of the hairs on each of our heads at any given time. Not one event occurs He not only didn’t know about in Eternity past, but in fact chose as the best thing for His kind intention and for his creatures’ highest and best.

His intention was not, however, to reproduce heaven on earth, but to demonstrate to the angels, fallen and elect, and to mankind, His glory. And His glory is in His grace. He gave the man and woman a free will, just as He had given the angels before them free will. The angels used that will to turn against Him, and in the same pattern, so did man. Satan must have thought he’d won at the point where the man and woman had both fallen into the same state he was in.

But that’s because, despite having been in heaven, having seen the Creator, and even having guarded the very throne of The Lord’s righteousness, Satan didn’t really know who He was. Maybe none of the angels did because who God is is not readily apparent in a perfect and righteous environment.

So He made the earth and man and let Adam and the woman fall, and decreed that all their progeny should be born in the man’s likeness, fallen, sinful, cursed, condemned. So God could come down and save them. It’s all about what He was willing to do for His creatures — take on the form of a man, submit to the injustice of the seven trials that preceded the Cross and then allow himself to be nailed up there, the only perfect man. The only  Holy One, the only one worthy of opening the scroll in Revelation 5. We can only begin to comprehend what He did for us all, the ultimate sacrifice He made for His creatures, the majority of whom would continue in their independence and reject that sacrifice.

If we weren’t fallen, how could He show us that?

Sometimes God’s reality seems so incontrovertible, so compelling, so OBVIOUS. And at the same time, I can see the blindness in others who see the cruelty in disease and aging and loss rather than the necessary pressure those afflictions bring to a soul who is heading for eternal condemnation. They can’t see the grace in it, because they can’t see beyond the details. The material. The flesh, the people, the disease, the pain, the treatments, the decisions… the alternatives, the attempts to take control, to try and make this life something it is not and was never meant to be: perfect, without pain or sorrow.

It’s like this false template held up before their eyes through which they view all that is around them, and try to make things fit to it. A veil before their eyes that can only be stripped away when and if they come to Christ.


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