Archive for the ‘Child of God’ Category

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“MIRACLE OF SALVATION” – Feb 20

February 20, 2014

“And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?”  Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God.  For all things are possible with God.”  Mark 10:26-27

English: Ambulance 5

Imagine  you are in your home and start to feel light-headed and nauseous.  The concern in your spouse’s eye is evident as she picks up the telephone to call for an ambulance.  As you ride in the ambulance to the hospital, you hear the muted words of a paramedic saying to the driver, “You had better step on it,” as your eyelids descend over your consciousness amidst the sensation of increasing speed and the noise of a distant siren.

When you open your eyes, you find yourself lying in a hospital bed within a body that has been transformed into something weak and foreign.  Tubes and wires tug at tender skin with the slightest movement.  Nurses scurry in and out of the room interrupted only by periods when they poke and prod away your dignity as quickly as it emerges from a groggy past.

You strain to focus on the faces of those assembled around your bed.  The recognition of those whom you love slowly seeps through an unexplainable confusion.  They are smiling joyfully with faces that bear the fleeting remnants of tears and fatigue.  You have no idea as to why they are so joyful.

Five days have passed since your last memories.  You are told that you nearly died.  You are told  you have been through something impossible.  You are told that you have experienced a miracle.  Yet, you don’t remember anything.  All you know is that you are uncomfortable and want to go home.  You have no idea how far you have come but you are aware of how far you have to go to get back to the person you last remembered yourself being.

Discouragement descends like a wave despite all those celebrating around you.

This has been my Dad’s experience over the last couple days.  I posted in “PRAYER REQUEST – My Dad” and “MY DAD – An Update / Answered Prayers” regarding my Dad’s brush with death.  My Dad has been recovering remarkable well.  He is out of the hospital and currently at a rehabilitation center to continue his recovery.  I know that he is discouraged because he is not where he wants to be.  When I first heard that he was discouraged and grumpy about being in the hospital it irritated me.  His response seemed so ungrateful given what I know he had been through.

I asked him what was the last thing  he remembered.  His last memories are of the ambulance ride to the hospital.  His negative response was not that surprising when I realized that he did not know what he had been through.  He does not remember any of it.  Therefore, we have been explaining to him everything that has happened over the last week but I know  it all feels so surreal to him.  On Sunday, I read to my Mom and Dad the blog posts and many of the prayer-filled comments that were posted.  I think that helped.  They are deeply appreciative of all the prayers that were offered on behalf of my Dad.

Discouragement is going to be a struggle for my Dad in the coming months as he continues to recover and your continued prayers for him are appreciated.  We will continue to remind him of how far he has come rather than the distance he has to go.

I am reminded of our salvation.

Why do we lack joy when Christ has saved us?
Why do we grumble when we are a new creation in Christ?

abcdz2000 / Foter / CC BY-SA

I think  we often fail to live a life of gratitude because we don’t realize how far we have come.  Like my Dad, we don’t have a memory of how bad our condition truly was without Christ.  Even those who have walked an overtly sinful life before coming to Christ probably don’t have a perfect or complete understanding of the vileness of sin.

I have never seen the glory of God.
I have never physically felt the burning holiness of the great “I AM”.
I have never physically stood in the throne room of God Almighty and seen the pure righteousness of Christ.

I can become discouraged by the persistence of my own sin and the long road of sanctification I know I have ahead of me.  I can become impatient and irritated when my life does not work out the way I want it.  I can be pessimistic about the circumstances of today.

Fotografik33 / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

I fall into these un-joyful traps when I fail to appreciate the gift of my salvation.  I was dead in my sin.  I was justly condemned to eternal punishment.  I don’t have a distinct memory of being spiritually dead, but I believe what the Bible tells me about my fallen sinful condition.  My attitude turns to gratitude when I am reminded of how far the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ has brought me.

I have been brought from death to life in Christ Jesus.
I am a new creation in Christ. 
The old has passed away and the new has come.

The new is even more miraculous when you are reminded of the old.  I cannot help but be joyful when I focus on what God has done for me.  I cannot help but be grateful when I consider what my Lord has saved me from.

May we as children of God live in the glorious revelation of the miracle of salvation.

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for saving me.  Thank you for giving me eternal life.  Thank you for opening my eyes.  Forgive me for not appreciating the miracle of my salvation.  Forgive me of my ungrateful attitude.  Lord, give me the joy of my salvation that washes over my entire life.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son,  Jesus Christ.   Amen.

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“KALEIDOSCOPE OF A PEOPLE” – May 6

May 6, 2013

“Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who give breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it. ”  Isaiah 42:5

We made the day-long drive back from the NCFCA Regional Speech and Debate Tournament where my son competed.  We caravanned across the expanses of the State of Washington and Eastern Oregon with two other families from our club.  At one of our many stops, a club member asked me, “Mr. Blom, what was your favorite experience from the competition?”

My immediate response was the duo interpretation finals.  I was so glad that I did not have to judge these exceptional speeches and I could just lean back and enjoy them.  Several of the speeches caused me to belly laugh, nearly to the point of being a distraction.  They were so funny I had tears running down my eyes. If you have never seen this type of speech, I have attached a couple links to previous duo interpretation competitions.

We all climbed back into our mini-Van cages and proceeded across the wide plains of Eastern Oregon.  It gave me time to contemplate my answers.  I think that I may have answered too hastily.  While I did full enjoy the duo interpretation finals, I don’t believe that was what I will remember most about the competition.  I think that what I will remember most about the competition are the people.  I was so blessed by the people at this competition in a kaleidoscope sense.

I am always encouraged by the gathering of God’s people.  I particularly love the gathering of His people from diverse areas and backgrounds.  I realize that this competition was not that diverse since it was a gathering of individuals from just across the west.  Never the less, there is something special about watching people who have never met or interacted extensively with one another  exhibit the same Spirit.  I am blessed to watch people with such different personalities and experiences worshiping the same God, together.   I realize that God has blessed us with a wonderful canvas of His own people.

When we gather together in events like an NCFCA competition, where His people are drawn from far and wide, we get a wonderful opportunity to behold the Master Artist.  We are all created in the image of God but have you considered what a wonderfully extensive palate of color He uses to display that image through His people.

I saw people who are wonderful bursts of energy; vibrant colors thrown against the canvas in a chaotic merging of purpose and mess.

I saw individuals of stoic self-control; very precise pencil portraits in black and white but with incredible depth and detail.

I saw refined people; as detailed as any Dutch-master oil painting with careful brush strokes and a careful balance of light and energy.

I saw the delicate; finely crafted water-colors with so smooth and transparent edges.

I saw the bold; block and aggressively bold with a particular few colors that make their statement.

I saw the reserved; charcoal drawings that are easy to overlook until you gaze into the depths of the shading to see the master’s hand.

I saw the unique; the cubist approach that views the world from a wholly unique perspective.

I saw the informative; pure information unadulterated by form.

Louvre Dutch MastersAnd I saw all combinations of these, beautiful mingled personalities forming a wonderful kaleidoscope of colors and depths that seemed to change with every walk down the hall or turn of a corner.

I don’t think that we really understand how deeply blessed we are by the variety of personalities that God has given His people.  It would be a very boring and drab world if everyone was like me.  I probably would not be as easily irritated by these strange other people if they would simply think like me but consider what we would be missing.

God is displaying His masterpiece every time His people come together.  He has used a mind-boggling array of colors and depths in this portrait that He has continued to craft throughout the centuries.  In every generation, He gives vibrant life to His people in surprising ways and masterful strokes of His mighty hand and every generation comes together into an exquisite portrait of the same image – His Spirit.  Stand back at any large gathering of God’s blessed people and the image that should come through from the variety of personalities, experiences, joys, sorrows, failures, and victories is God.  He is proclaiming His mighty Name through the masterpiece of His people.

That was the image I was blessed to see these last several days and that was my favorite experience from the NCFCA Regional Tournament.

PRAYER: Father, thank you for blessing us in ways that we do not often even realize.  Lord, help me to slow down and behold.  Give me eyes to see your hand in all things.  Thank you for your people.  Thank you for displaying your Spirit through us.  May we never diminish that blessing.  I praise you and pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ.   Amen.

1st place Duo Interpretation NCFCA Nationals

Grayum Pitzele The Hobbitt, Duo Interp, NCFCA Nationals 2011

“Cheaper By The Dozen” NCFCA 2010 National championship Duo Interp

A FUTURE IN GOOD AND CAPABLE HANDS – Jan. 21

“DAMAGING NORMAL” – May 3

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MAN’S GREATEST RIGHT – Dec. 30th

December 30, 2012

“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”  John 1:12

It is my right!  It is my right to <fill in the blank>.  This is a refrain we hear in most protests and many political speeches.  It is my right to have affordable healthcare.  It is my right to have a living wage. It is my right to have housing. It is my right to have a gun. It is my right to have mail service. It is my right to have cell phone service. It is my right to have a high-speed internet connection.

human rights

human rights (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

At times, it seems like very political or social issue is about protecting someone’s rights as a human being. I listen to politicians and marvel at how they can spin a web of justification emanating from a righteous crusade to protect the fundamental human rights of just about anything. Human rights are so very important.  It is critical for every person to understand what their rights as a human being are.  It is equally important to understand the difference between human rights and legal rights. I believe that a human right is a right inherent in all human beings. Human rights are those rights that every human being has that cannot be surrendered, sold or transferred to someone else.  They are inalienable rights and many laws exist to protect those inalienable rights. Legal rights are those rights given to a citizen and that can be transferred with the consent of the person possessing the right.  That is an alienable right.The preamble to the Declaration of Independence is helpful in sorting out this confusing issue:

United States Declaration of Independence

United States Declaration of Independence (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  (United States Declaration of Independence)The formation of the United States of America was premised upon the obligation of the government to secure these rights: “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” (United States Declaration of Independence)

This is why politicians, at least in the US, tend to cast issues as human rights issues; it is why protestors appeal to the violation of their inalienable rights.  It is the highest appeal that can be made to a government; to secure an inalienable right. A citizen can demand of their government to secure their naturally occurring rights – that is the purpose of government.

Now, I realize that there is great debate about what rights are inherent to a person and what rights are granted or created by the government.  While I am interested in that debate, I am more interested in our inherent rights with the Creator of the Universe.  What are my inalienable rights as a being created in the image of God?  Are there appeals that I can make to God Almighty based on my inherent rights that obligate him to secure those rights for me?

Do I have a right to God’s presence?

Many religions surmise that we have an inherent right to God’s presence.  If you just follow a set of guidelines, then God is obligated to accept you.  If you just do more good things than bad things, based on your own definition, then God is obligated to accept you.  Once you have lived a perfect enough life, then God will accept you.

The Gospel of John tells us that we have a very specific right.  It is the right to become a child of God.  Is that an inalienable right or an alienable right?  We are told that this right is given to us.  Therefore, it is an alienable right.  It is a right that is not inherent to us. We have no inherent right that will allow us to demand God to secure our access to his presence.  It is a gift that is granted.

Our right to become a child of God is a gift from Christ.  It is a gift granted to those who receive Christ; who have believed in His name.  It is only after we receive Christ and believe in His name that we receive the most valuable right that any created being can receive.

We all love our rights.  We will argue, fight and even die for our rights.  All of the inherent rights that we may have in this world pale in comparison to a right that is given to us – a right to be born again of God.  A right to become a child of the Most High; and if a child, then an heir – heir of God and fellow heir with Christ.

How does life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in this world compare to that?

I am not diminishing how important it is to protect human rights. However, we must remember that our inherent earthly rights will always be inferior to our alienable heavenly right.  That reality should influence all of our work on this earth.  Our work is about the gospel.  All of our work, even protecting human rights, achieves its highest calling when it directs the lost to the greatest alienable right a person can receive – the right to become children of God.

PRAYER: Father, I pray for all of those facing oppression this day.  I particularly pray for those who are oppressed for your name sake.  I pray for my brothers and sisters in Christ who are being persecuted, beaten, and abused.  Father, be with them; comfort them, give them a peace and an assurance that goes beyond all understanding, keep them from despair.   Lord, give them strength to endure to the end that your name be lifted up through their suffering.  Lord, help them cling to their right that matters more than any other – that they are your children.  Amen

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