Most of us were born “reached.” I was.
It’s impossible to be born a Christian. According to Jesus, it is required to be born a second time before we can even see the Kingdom of God:
Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”
It is possible, however, to be born reached.
In recent weeks, I published a post about joy.
Ironically, it was a sad day for me.
Within hours of posting, I received an email from an author, kindly asking me to remove a previous post in which I’d reviewed her book. It was a complex scenario in which I felt sadness from three different angles. I assure you there’s a redeemed ending, but bear with me—if you would—through the hard part, first.
This is the third post draft I’ve worked on in the past two hours. I really wanted to publish something on the blog today, but my mind is restless. I’m not in a secure place where I can write anything too significant about God or His Word today. I mean, I can always affirm that He’s good and know that it’s absolutely true. But I wouldn’t be at peace to share anything much more elaborate.
Last week I said I wanted to write a post about joy.
It has seemed as though the topic has been popping up around me through various friends who have shared their thoughts completely independently of each other. My friends Hosanna and Jessica both blogged about it recently (well, barring the fact that I’ve taken weeks or months to respond. It feels recent).
Then another friend called me and shared some teaching she’d been listening to that articulated joy in a totally new way to anything I’ve heard before. It’s what we feel when someone we love responds favorably to us – when they are happy to be with us.
If it wasn’t for wanting to make the post title an appropriate length, I would have specified that John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress changed the way I pray for lost people in my life. Let me go ahead and explain.
The book opens with a man. He grew up in the fictional City of Destruction, representative of the human condition of lostness. After reading a certain book, he’s made aware that his city and all its inhabitants are destined to be destroyed. He too would be destroyed if nothing changed. As he understood and believed the things written in the book, Christian (for that is the man’s name) developed a burden on his back.
I expected to enjoy Pilgrim’s Progress. My reading experience, however, has far exceeded my expectations.
The text is oozing with rich Christian allegory. The book has stimulated my desire to be a faithful and devoted servant of the Most High God. I can’t think how else to describe the reading experience but that it’s been glorious! And it’s kindled in me a desire to read more literature like It.
Earlier this week I read this post about fiction and sin. It reminded me of an old post from last year. Remember when we discussed the grey areas of reading fiction – where right and wrong aren’t immediately evident?
Some of you lovely readers made some great points. Our standards were diverse, and it was a sanctifying and edifying experience to be able to discuss our viewpoints.
In my review of By Their Blood, I confessed my short attention span for reading the book cover to cover. I have found it helpful, though, to use as a reference book, re-reading and re-reading again sections from the countries most relevant to me.
I wanted to share with you a short portion (no gory details) that strengthened my resolve as I read the chapter about Cambodia. Since the authors’ rights prevent me from reproducing parts of their work for this purpose, I’m going to relate the story in my own words as I remember it.
Last week I wrote you a letter (assuming you’re a Christian). It was about the vision that captured your affections at the time in life when you were most in love with Christ. It was about the vision for the Lord to receive all glory and honor and power because He is worthy. It was about the vision to see people from every nation purchased for God.
I’m confident that this “every-nation” vision is grounded in God’s Word. Here are four authoritative places we find it: