Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Consequences of Obedience

"If we are in love with our Lord, obedience does not cost us anything--it is a delight. But to those who do not love Him, our obedience does cost a great deal. If we obey God, it will mean that other people's plans are upset...we must let the cost be paid." Oswald Chambers

"And as they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid upon him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus." Luke 23:26

Simon's plans certainly were upset. He had no intention of bearing a cross, particularly one that was not his own. Yet how often does the Lord ask us to do this? Are we not supposed to care for the orphans and the widows? To give to the poor, thirsty, and needy? To speak for those with no voice?

The consequences of our obedience causes many things--it can cause a good and fruitful life full of wisdom (Proverbs 2:1-3), favor from the Lord (Proverbs 8:35), and reconciliation between people and our Lord (Ephesians 4:31,32). But also with these things, following the direction of the Lord is costly. It brings us to death of ourselves in order for Christ to reign. Jesus, speaking to his followers in Matthew 16, warns them of the impending death to themselves..."If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." We are to follow Jesus to Calvary, to Golgotha each day. Only He has the power to raise the dead to life again, and only through the living sacrifice of an obedient and contrite sinner will we see the glory of the Risen Christ.

Following Jesus means the embrace of paradoxes. It means unity and division. It means the co-existence of love and hate. It brings on a myriad of mysteries that believers must wrestle with. Often these mysteries bring confusion, and sadly, misunderstanding to the unbeliever. How can these things be opposite and how can we be called to both at the same time? The world does not understand the Christian because it does not understand Christ. After the commandment of love is received, Christ prepares his followers for the coming of division that He himself will cause. He brings both peace and a sword, unifying believers and separating the sin and wickedness from their lives. He warns that mother will turn against daughter, friend against friend, all on account of the Lordship in their lives.

The question is begged--are we willing to sacrifice these things to which we hold so dear in order to see Christ risen and reign in our hearts? Will we love him so much that the earthly affections we have for our mothers and fathers look like hatred in comparison? Are we going to allow the Counselor to bear witness to and through us in an unbelieving world?

Lord let your Spirit soften my heart to make obedience a joy!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Thoughts on Getting Inked

Last week I had the opportunity to spend three or so hours in a tattoo parlor. I watched my two friends get inked! It was quite the experience--I sat there and was intrigued the entire time. What an interesting experience! There were three artist doing their thing, and while I was there I watched 5 or so people get inked. It was a fascinating experience--what a culture I had never realized before! This was Danielle's first tattoo, while her husband, Brian, was getting his third. There were two sisters getting antique looking keys on their ankles, a woman getting a heart on her wrist, Danielle getting Hebrew on her shoulder, and Brian getting an outline of a cross on his back. There were about 10 people in there at the same time, and we were all just watching the process, making jokes, commenting on the art, etc. After all was said and done, part of me wanted to go back later and just watch the process all over again!

I like tattoos. On other people. I think they are really cool, and have a decent amount of respect for people who have them. I myself don't think that I could ever get one. I'm straight up too chicken.

Dani asked me to document the experience--here are some of the photos!
Dani was really nervous, but she didn't say so (at least to the tattoo artist). I could tell because she kept on twitching her feet!

The artist doing his thing. This is Tim. I originally tried to get the camera to focus on what was going on through the lens of his glasses, but I liked the way this one turned out more.

The outline--the two words say Emmanuel and hallelujah.

You could tell this guy enjoyed his job. He was always smiling. It might just be his favorite.

The finished product! Danielle wanted it to look like henna, so Tim just made up a custom color.

I'm fairly certain the crazy girl was high off of endorphins when we took this picture.

Yes, the proportion of the cross on Brian's back is correct. It turned out awesome! He just got the outline this day; he hadn't decided yet what he wanted in the middle. Even the outline turned out neat, but the finished product really is a piece of art.

Now go out and support your local tattoo parlor.