Month: March 2015

Total Home Makeover

I love home makeover shows. The more I watch them, the more I begin to see a characteristic theme emerge over time.

The scene usually goes something like this: the homeowners, desiring to update the look of their home, decide to knock down walls, install new bathrooms, or embark upon any number of other structural modifications. They have a budget that cannot be exceeded, and all modifications must fit into the budget. Yet to the frustration of the homeowners, the construction process often reveals problems, sometimes significant ones. Pipes are corroded, electrical systems are faulty, or the support beams for the outdoor deck are weak. Had these problems not been found, serious danger could have occurred.

The strangest part of the episode is that instead of being relieved and grateful that such dangers were discovered, the homeowners often become angry. They wanted beautiful cosmetic changes that would be externally visible, yet now a large chunk of their budget must go toward correcting hidden and unseen structural dangers.

Upon reflection, I realized how much these shows provide us with a striking metaphor of the “total home makeover” that the Spirit of God brings about in our lives as His children. As trials come into our lives that rip through the exterior and reveal the hidden person of the heart, dangerous and concerning things are often discovered. In the construction zone of sanctification, God is at work to expose the remaining pride, unbelief, idolatry, and selfishness that hinders us from increasing in our likeness to Christ and bringing glory to God. Sometimes we welcome the process, but sometimes, like the homeowners on the show, we wish that we didn’t have to see what was hidden underneath. After all, the revealing process can be painful, the renovation costly, and the reward not externally visible in the short run.

Yet in this process, God’s love is put on display as He does whatever is necessary to reveal to us the dangers in our souls. Jesus promised us in John 14:6 that He is preparing a place for us. And not only is He preparing a place for us, but also preparing us for that place! And until we join Him, He is at work in our hearts and lives, sometimes painfully so, for the end goal of His glory and our eternal happiness, not to mention His purposes in our trials in the lives of other people. And like an iceberg, the bulk of His purposes may remain hidden in darkness under the surface in our earthly lives, only to be revealed in glory.

So then, let us entrust ourselves to the Master Builder who mercifully reveals the dangers in our hearts, graciously forgives all our sin, and powerfully enables us to endure in the faith. The construction process can be painful, but our perfect and pure Savior will never forsake us, and will be faithful to lead us all the way home.

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There Won’t Be CVS in the New Heavens and Earth

A while back, I had to go to CVS to fill a prescription. As I waited, I noticed the layout of the store. Giant signs hung from the ceiling over each aisle, telling shoppers where to find the items they needed. I began to read the signs: antacids, hearing aids, crutches, vitamins, bandages, blood pressure medicine, and so on and so forth. Suddenly, I realized that drug stores proclaim some serious biblical truths, and quite loudly at that, because stores like CVS wouldn’t exist apart from the Fall. Essentially, CVS is one big “reverse the curse” operation where we can find a bit of relief from the effects of the brokenness of sin and suffering around us and inside us. God created a world where we didn’t need CVS, and we turned it into one where we do. But changes are coming. Jesus is coming. And He’s going to “shake not only the earth but also the heavens…in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain” (Hebrews 12:26-27). Sin will be shaken out, righteousness will remain. Rejecters of God will be shaken out, believers in Jesus Christ will remain. King Jesus will reign and we will have glorified bodies on a new earth where you won’t be able to find a CVS anywhere, because gloriously, we won’t need one anymore.

Pride, Humility, and the Weather

I’m always somewhat surprised when I hear someone complain that the weather forecaster was wrong. Yes, people should do their jobs well. Accountants should do their math correctly, mailmen should deliver to the right address, and cooks shouldn’t burn the food. But meteorologists? That’s a different story altogether. After all, their job is to try to predict what God will do, which is precisely why they’re so often wrong!

We human beings like to be in control (or at least we like to believe that we are). Thanks to climate control, mankind can now survive in locations that were previously uninhabitable, whether due to extreme heat or extreme cold. This can give us the false notion that we are much more powerful than we actually are, and a false sense that our ingenuity makes us invincible. But all it takes is a breath from God’s mouth or a touch of His hand, and we immediately realize just how frail we are.

I recently saw a show about the 10 most extreme weather cities. In one case, Death Valley became so hot that observers saw birds falling from the sky dead from the heat. In the coldest cities, they described the erratic behavior of people suffering hypothermia in the severe cold, their bodies unable to function at such low temperatures.

I am not the biggest fan of the cold snap we’ve had across the south the past few weeks. My California blood is freezing as I daydream about sunshine, palm trees, and mountains in the midst of cold, gloom, and ice. Yet I will say that it’s been a reminder of the sheer power and absolute sovereignty of God. When He brings His snow and ice out of the storehouses, the plans of man cannot stand. We must back down. We must cancel or change our plans. And we must be careful in the midst of potentially dangerous elements much stronger than ourselves. It’s a reminder that we are not in control, and we are not as strong as we think we are. And it’s a reminder that God is in absolute control, He is more powerful than we can imagine, and He is not constrained to operate according to our preferences. He cannot be controlled. “He gives snow like wool; he scatters hoarfrost like ashes. He hurls down his crystals of ice like crumbs; who can stand before his cold? He sends out his word, and melts them; he makes his wind blow and the waters flow” Psalm 147:16-18.

So rather than being surprised next time that human meteorologists failed to predict the will of God, let it be a reminder of who God is and who we are, and let the snow and ice move you to humility and worship before Him who is completely above us in every way, yet in Christ, came near to bring us to Himself.