October 30, 2009
According to Ansel Adams, life was best viewed in black and white. He valued the ability to manipulate black and white photographs to the precise reality in which he saw it, but feared that there was no process capable of depicting the nuance of color and detail that could be captured by the human eye. Toward the end of Adams’ life, he began to dabble in color photography but never reached a full sense of achievement with this medium for his artwork. Adams once wrote, “I have yet to see — much less produce — a color photograph that fulfills my concepts of the objectives of art.” [TIME, Ansel Adams: The Black-and-White Master, in Color]
Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 13:12 provide a similar hope. After writing the famous “love” passage that is often read at weddings (see 1 Corinthians 13:1-11), he suggests – in the terms of Ansel Adams – that right now our love is in black and white but one day it will be in color:
“Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face; Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” NIV.
Our earthly eyes translate a mere black and white photograph because they aren’t able to see the brilliant glory that awaits. In Revelation, John gives a glimpse of the radiance we will see when His face shines as brightly as the sun. Revelation 1:16 (“…His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance”).
We will see things as they are supposed to be: in full color, complete with beauty, magnificence, splendor and every detail pronounced!
October 30, 2009
Today’s Readings: 2 Kings 11 & 12, 2 Timothy 2
When I envision getting engaged, I imagine that it will be a beautiful and memorable moment in which my boyfriend tells me how much he loves me and how he can’t wait to spend the rest of our lives together.
I definitely do not imagine that he tell me that we should get married because we’re of the appropriate age to do so or because our friends and family expect it given how long we’ve dated. If he did, I would walk run away and not look back. After all, love should not be perfunctory and appropriate, but rather spontaneous and passionate. Right?
Paul writes to Timothy,
Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything. ESV.
On the one hand, there is knowledge of God that leads to a cold love because it is perfunctory and appropriate. On the other hand, however, there is also passionate zeal for God that “is not according to knowledge” (Romans 10:2).
How can our knowledge of God and our passion for God merge? We must “reason together” (Isaiah 1:18) and we must “not be [children] in [our] thinking” but rather “mature” (1 Corinthians 14:20).
Deep and serious questions arise in the human life – questions about suffering, duty, delight, money, or career advancement. Although the world has certain answers to these questions, only “the Lord will give you understanding in everything.”
October 29, 2009
This stopped me in my tracks today …
“One of the great uses of Twitter and Facebook
will be to prove at the Last Day that prayerlessness was not from lack of time.”
– John Piper via Twitter, 10/20/2009
If lack of time is not my reason, then what is?
October 29, 2009
“Gangs used to sell drugs. Now many of them have shifted to selling girls because it’s just as lucrative but far less risky.” – Detective Kelly O’Connell, former head of the human-trafficking unit, Boston Police Department.
“[Convicted pimps] said they went after girls with low self-esteem, prior sexual experience and a lack of options … It all depends on her being so love-drunk off of me that she will do anything for me … The problem is that there is no methadone for a bad relationship.” – Ian Urbina, New York Times columnist
After reading these reflections in For Runaways, Sex Buys Survival, I was a combination of sad, angry and hopeless. Not only are adults being sold for sex against their wills, but so are children! Why? Because there’s a business for it – people actually pay for sex … with minors. Despicable.
This perversion of human sexuality is a result of our sin. In Romans 1, Paul tells us that humans were given over to the “sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another,” “shameful lusts” and “to a depraved mind to do what ought not to be done.”
But, we need not be controlled by these desires. Rather, the Good News is that God sent Jesus to forgive our sins. Whereas the teenagers in the article had no home and faced bad relationships, Luke 15 tells us how God, our Father, welcomes us home: “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.”
October 29, 2009
Today’s Readings: 1 Kings 10, 2 Timothy 1
Stories of the opulence and genius of Solomon wound their way into the Queen of Sheba’s court. So, she set out to see for herself by testing Solomon with hard questions and examining his worth. What she found in Solomon and his palace had no rival:
She said to the king, “The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true. But I did not believe these things until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half was told me; in wisdom and wealth you have far exceeded the report I heard” (10: 6-7, NIV).
How happy your men must be! How happy your officials, who continually stand before you and placed you on the throne of Israel. Because of the Lord’s eternal love for Israel, he has made you king, to maintain justice and righteousness” (10:8-10, NIV).
At first blush, it seems that the takeaway of this passage is that our prosperity will lead others to God (not great news for those of us without lucrative jobs!). But Jesus’ view of Solomon’s wealth takes a different turn.
Jesus refers to Solomon in his instructions on not worrying:
And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor and spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was not dressed like one of these” (Matthew 6:28-9, NIV).
What becomes apparent from these passages is that God is deeply involved the reality of these stories. Solomon is king because God made him king – even the Queen of Sheba acknowledged this truth. It is God’s “withness” that is the ultimate reality. God’s “withness” and his care are our reality.
God has not changed and will not change. It is “because of the Lord’s eternal love for Israel” and “because of his own purpose and grace” that he is with us (2 Timothy 1:8-9). And not only with us but also in control to make us beautiful reflections of His provision and glory.