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Theological, Doctrinal, and Spiritual Musing - and whatever other else is on my mind when I notice that I haven't posted in a while.
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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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The Buzz

Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
- Marc Heinrich

His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
- Rose Cole

[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
- C-Train

This post contains nothing that is of any use to me. What were you thinking? Anyway, it's probably the best I've read all day.
- David Kjos

Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
- Jonathan Moorhead

There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
- Carla Rolfe
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Friday, July 18, 2008
If You Were In Your Coffin Right Now...
I dreamed last night that I was in a coffin, and that this was because I was going to die sometime in the night - and I guess it was just convenient to have me in the coffin already. Dreams are weird like that.

What was interesting was that I knew I was going to die, and I had the opportunity - if only in my dream, to examine my regrets, in that I was able to examine why I wanted to live.

Do you think it was that I was afraid to die? In my dream I wasn't I wasn't afraid of where I would go, or whether it would hurt too much, or any such thing.

Do you think I was worried that my life hadn't given Christ enough glory? Perhaps there was layered into other things, the flavor of this, but in and of itself, that wasn't really there.

My grand concern was that I hadn't finished my life's greatest work - my children. I saw in a moment all the times I had set them aside to pursue my own interests, how often I assume I can make up for it all later - and how in my dream I understood the error of banking on tomorrow. I regretted that I wouldn't be around to correct my mistakes, and I wouldn't be around to bring up my children the way I felt I am commissioned to by our Lord.

When people are on their death bed, they don't seem to be too interested in the fleeting things that tickle our attentions when we are otherwise preoccupied with the world. I knew a man who spent his life in a good moral way, but who coming to the end of his life counted his life as wasted, having said in his own words, that he now knew and understood that his life was supposed to have been "all about Jesus". The man came to real faith in those last weeks, and how that comforted us who knew both him and the Lord. For it could not be more clearly stated by an Oxford scholar.

Part of my regret, in my dream, was that I loved my family, and even the love I had for them was insufficient to move me to carry out the charge my Lord gave me regarding them. I love my wife, but have I loved her like Christ loved the church? I love my family, but have I put them before myself in all things? From a worldly perspective I suppose I am an excellent husband and father. If I were to judge myself according to the world and its relative scale - I would surely find myself on the better side of the mean - but these worldly comparisons give no comfort at all to one who is going to be judged not according to this world's standards, but according to God's standards - according to the stewardship that was given by God, and not this world...

There is a sensation of being pummeled by knowledge, when one begins to sense a parting of the fog, and with the clarity of a thousand sun's illumination they comprehend that as great as their affection is for their family, it is not sufficient for the biblical demand - there is not enough affection in myself, or in the greatest humanitarian alive to suffice for the love that is required of me - to love with God's love is not to apply my beggared affections with greater vigor - but whatever it is, begins with the acknowledge that even my best is as dung, and that even the certainty of my own lack is no doubt the Lord's grace for in removing the darkness from my eyes, and allowing me to see myself the dry, broken well that I am, I begin to appreciate the madness of imagining that I could ever impart anything other than dust and decay to those who would come looking from me to have their thirst slaked in any sense at all.

No: the cross is the place where we die to thinking we have it in ourselves. We don't. We lack even the ability to love the right way - to love as God loves. Don't get me wrong, those affection we enjoy for people whose lives touch our own, these are not weak or dispassionate - they are just self serving in a way that God's love is not, and cannot be. How can these which are weak and faulty do an unyielding, and even an uncompromising work? If it is true that these cannot do what is required, one must die to that line of thinking. One must not try harder, but one must lay it down and say, there is nothing in me that is sufficient - my life, is simply not good enough to generate what is needed - and in doing this we begin to understand the cross.

We come to our Savior with no illusions about our need - we cry out for provision not because we are weak and need strengthening, but because we are bankrupt - we have no straw to make the brick - and we call out to our taskmaster for the straw.

Anyway - that is what I think about when I dream about coffins.
posted by Daniel @ 10:22 AM  
  • At 5:50 PM, July 18, 2008, Blogger Lisa said…

    Very thought-provoking

  • At 10:18 AM, July 22, 2008, Blogger Marcian said…

    Again, a timely post. I need to be reminded right now that there is nothing in me to accomplish any good, and that whether I feel like I'm accomplishing any good or not, I need to trust in the Lord that He is accomplishing His purposes, despite my utter lack of worthiness, despite the fact that He didn't get a worthwhile object when He bought me. He alone is worthy. This is good to reflect on today.

  • At 11:29 AM, July 22, 2008, Blogger Daniel said…

    I was preaching on Colossians, chapters one and two this past Sunday, and the message that came through was that we are called to [1] know God, and to [2] walk according to His will.

    The first thing we need to know about God is we need to understand about God is that our relationship with Him is entirely in Christ, and not brokered by our own righteousness.

    The reason that is so terribly important is so long as there is in us a doubt that we are accepted in the beloved, all of our "Christian" service amounts to trying to make God like us by our sad attempts at obedience. It is the easiest thing in the world, and our enemy presses us in this direction, to keep our focus on our own sinfulness such that we never believe that God will *truly* forgive us. We are tricked into thinking that we can't start the Christian life in earnest until we get over this "sin hump" - and so, consumed by the knowledge of our sin, we try to do what God has already done in Christ - reconcile ourselves to God.

    When we do this, we are not standing in what Christ has done, but going about trying to establish our own righteousness - and feeling like until we do, we are not fit for the kingdom, or the kingdom work. It is this kind of thinking that keeps Christians in spiritual prison for decades - and for some, they never live in the liberty that Christ purchased for them.

    One of the words that Henry the Eight's Lord Chancellor (that rabidly "Catholic" humanist - Thomas Moore) despised in William Tyndale's translation of the Greek NT into the English vernacular, was "exhomologeo" - which Tyndale translated as "acknowledge" rather than "confess". More understood that if scripture were translated thus, people would begin to question the Roman system (confessing to a priest, penance, etc.) In fact, More took great exception to many of Tyndale's translated word: repent instead of pennance; elder instead of priest, etc. A right understanding of scripture, would undermine Rome's power - for if a man should learn that we are to acknowledge our sins and repent, rather than confess our sins to a priest and do penance - why that would certainly take a lot of cash out of the Roman coffer.

    I mention that because many of our translations still speak of "confession" - and that word often has some baggage attached.

    If we acknowledge our sin - if we agree with God that we are indeed sinners - God is good and faithful to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

    The picture here is that God cleanses us when we agree with Him that we are sinners. It isn't that we cleanse ourselves, and God declares us forgiven on that account - and yet this is the way the flesh would have us live; and because no matter how much effort we pour into it, we will never be holy enough to purchase forgiveness - we ought to learn that our relationship with God is not brokered by us, but by Christ.

    First we get that in our head - that's the easy part - then it works its way into our heart, but only as we stand on that truth and act in the light of it.

    If I wake up and I feel a thousand miles from God, and my thoughts are all about what a great failure I am as a believer, how I ought to love scripture more, how I ought to be more thankful, how I ought to love God more, love ministry more, and how my cumulative failure marks me as the worst and greatest of ingrates - I am tempted to either flee from God in my guilt and shame, or to try and "make it right" with platitudes and words that are just as empty as the lack of obedience that lead up to them was - and I feel therefore that I am a hypocrite, and that there is something terribly wrong with my faith - I am probably not really saved, because if I were, I would be filled with joy all the time, and I would always feel awesome in my relationship with God.

    But the truth is that my sin has been nailed to the cross, and the writing against me has been taken away. The guilt and shame that I feel are residual, and no matter how real these feelings are - they do not reflect the changed nature of my relationship with God.

    There was a beautiful young woman whose face had one unfortunate mar - her nose was deformed since birth. She grew up hating it - and when she was a teenager her parents found the best plastic surgeon they could, and arranged to have her nose fixed. The surgery was a success, and after several weeks in bandages, the surgeon removed the bandages and saw that she now had a perfect face. He brought her to the mirror, and looking at herself she looked away sadly and said, "See! I knew it wouldn't work!"

    She had become so convinced of her "ugliness" that even when the surgery was a success she refused to let go of it. We can be like that too. Even though our relationship is now in Christ, and His perfection clothes us - we still respond to God not according to what is new, but according to what is old, and passing away.

    I think that those who find themselves in this struggle need to remember that God tears down before he builds up - and to trust that God is, in fact a wise Master Builder - and that He is in fact doing something. God is not in the business of whitewashing over the decay - not in the business of building shiny new additions to dilapidated dwellings - God instead bulldozes and tears down - and that process goes on until we stop trying to build on the old. For some this happens quickly, for most it happens over a lifetime. Many never let God build, because they are ignorant.

    Thus we need to know God, know what He is doing, and to --trust-- that He is doing it. He who has begun a good work will finish it - not because of us, and what we do - but because He is faithful.

    That is why the work before many of us, is simply to walk in the manner that we received Christ - that is, learning to walk according to the trust that God has done it - and that there is nothing we can add to it.

    It is a common struggle, and I like to expose it whenever I can.

  • At 10:25 AM, July 23, 2008, Blogger Marcian said…

    I need to keep thinking about this.


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