CENTERED ON CHRIST by Dr. Vernon Grounds

CENTERED ON CHRIST – Dr. Vernon Grounds

1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

Opinions differ markedly as to how far left they are. In any case, we mustn’t forget that all truth comes from Him who is the truth. And I honestly don’t know how one with precision establishes the center of orthodoxy. I’ve never forgotten the woman captured during the Spanish Civil War who, when ordered to position herself politically (right would mean conservative; left would mean liberal), replied, “I stand at extreme center.” That’s my own position too. . . provided I’m allowed to decide where the center is located.

This Christmas letter, which I hope to keep on sending out as long as possible, affords me the opportunity of sharing inspiration and insight from some of the towering individuals who have impacted my mind and heart. Oddly, they are sometimes viewed with suspicion (more often wrongly rather than rightly) because of their allegedly left-of-center theology.

Well, here’s what Karl Barth wrote as he reached his 50th milestone.

Now one knows that everything is at stake. Old age is coming  nearer and with it what comes at the end of old age—if it does not come suddenly before then. For anyone who still has time and a goal to reach, this can only mean that everything and everyone become more sharply etched: the problems and needs of one’s own position and career, as well as those of the world around, are felt more keenly. One is moved to a prudent haste, to a certain mild but dogged intensity in both work and talk. Now is the time when everything seems to be extremely serious, as indeed it is. One has to decide whether the gift of this short life also involves a responsibility and whether one has properly understood this responsibility, for all one’s stupidity and perverseness. There is also the question whether despite one’s own unfaithfulness, one has accepted this responsibility gratefully as a sign of the free grace of God.

Those, mind you, were Barth’s reflections at 50. They are far more pertinent for myself heading rapidly towards 84!

 -VCG, 1997

By Faith

In order to embrace a God-given future, we must trust and not waiver in our belief – despite what we see or experience.

We live in an age where we want promises fullfilled now. No waiting; no delays — we want what’s coming to us NOW — just like the prodigal son. However, we must remember that God is an eternal being. He eists outside of time. His promises are eternal also – they exist outside of time.

It is our faithful obedience and service to expectantly believe the promise will come even if it is our resurrected future.

There are many blessings He will grand us now – but if not NOW — will we still believe? If He heals now — if He heals in heaven — we must choose to rejoice either way! I’m speaking from my own personal experience. When my mother had this unexpected bleeding stroke … my cry out to Him was for healing and life. When my best friend, Barbara, was diagnosed with cancer … my cry out to Him was for healing and life. My Ghana mother, Beatrice … healing and life. My dear friend, Francis … healing and life. And what I had to return to truths … they were all believers in Christ and worshippers of the Almighty God! They were all healed completely and are living life eternal! The tears that came were real! But if you talk to me face to fact about any of these dear ones – you will see that all that I feel is gratefulness, thankfulness and pure joy toward The One who gets all glory and praise from me about the beauty of the lives they are living now!

Our heavenly future is greater, for we are only sojourners in this foreign place.

O Lord! please help us to understand that as partakers of Your gift of salvation, we have been given eternal life! Help us to grasp the gravity of this great promise – looking ever toward the eternal, heavenly future that is laid out for us. Help us not get caught up in the now!!