Uncommon Privilege

This morning I began my day after breakfast full of plans for the day.  As I rounded the corner at home to carry one of them out I stopped dead in my tracks, remembering I had not had my long conversation with God yet.

As I began I reflected on what an uncommon privilege this was.  God on high, creator and master of the universe, all that can be seen and all that is beyond sight and yet He thinks of me!  I thought of how many mornings I have gone off on my way without even talking with Him and my eyes filled with tears at the thought of how often and how much I have hurt His loving, kind heart.  As our conversation continued I thought of this prayer from an unknown confederate soldier.

I asked God for strength, that I might achieve,  I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey…

I asked for health, that I might do greater things, I was given infirmity, that I might do better things…

I asked for riches, that I might be happy, I was given poverty, that I might be wise…

I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men, I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God…

I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life, I was given life, that I might enjoy all things…

I got nothing that I asked for – but everything that I had hoped for,

Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.

I am among all men most richly blessed.

Thy Kingdom Come…

Perhaps more unconsciously than consciously, I have been complaining to the Lord about President Trump.

Why him?!

Why now?!

He seems to be the worst possible person to lead our nation in  times like this.  He is moving us and the whole world deeper and faster into catastrophe!

Then, this morning as I go to God, the Truth becomes clear.  It is True – God’s Word – which tells us that leaders, nations, borders and history cannot be who or what they are without God.

It is the world in us that wants peace and prosperity in this world and in this life at any cost.  But this is not possible.  The seeds of the earth’s and our destruction were sewn in the Garden of Eden.  What God has done in Christ Jesus was and is to save us out of this world and place us back into that undisturbed Garden. (Revelation 21 – 22)

On order for His Kingdom to come, which we pray together Sunday after Sunday, His Word must be fulfilled.  How God deals with nations and their leaders is a story told often throughout the pages of the Old Testament. President Trump does not do these things on his own.  He is a catalyst causing the terrible agents of sin and rebellion which thrive in darkness like cockroaches to emerge into the open carrying their deadly pestilence into the world to ravage it.  President Trump does not know what he is doing but he is a willing pawn in the clutches of darkness and is unknowingly expediting the coming eternal kingdom of Messiah Jesus.

Like a grand renovation project, before His Kingdom can come, the old kingdom of this world and all its ways must be demolished.

Peace!  Be still!  Know that I alone am God!  I work and no mortal or spirit can prevent or impede what I do.  Thus says the Lord our God.  Amen.

Listening to the Spirit

Matthew 14:19

Feeding the 5,000 comes, arises out of listening to the heart. Everything, everything comes from the Spirit. It is not what we DO but who we ARE in Christ. All must flow from this.

The normal way the church seems to do business now is our doing the work as human effort. There is virtually NO listening to the Spirit, to the Heart. What can we do to be intentional about listening to the Spirit?

I find that while in principle Christians applaud ‘inspiration’ not only resistance to the Spirit but even making fun, ridiculing the notion of listening to or following the Spirit.

When evening came, vs. 16, the disciples recommended sending the crowd away but Jesus said, no you and I lets meet this need.

Now from our perspective this is poor planning but what can we learn from this? All this happened as a response to the heart, this burden to turn aside to be alone with God the amazing things that happened followed listening to the heart and following the heart.

So it seems to me that what we learn from this is the need to follow the heart. Listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying to us in our heart and respond to this. The real ministry takes place as a result of this. Listen to the Spirit in our heart and follow Him.

The way this need is met are His followers listening to Him, giving Him what He directs them to give Him? Then He takes that and makes of it what it needs to be and it is more than enough to meet the needs of the people.

What a powerful lesson I can learn from this that when I feel overwhelmed by the needs of the people if I will go to Him in conversation and give Him the little I have, He has a way of making it more than is necessary to meet the needs of the people.

What then is it that I should give Him? He asks me what I have. What do I have that I need to place in His hands?
The nature of the bread and fish was that it was really what was brought for personal needs. So could this mean that the necessary means of providing for the people arises out of my own provision for my own needs? That is, my own study, prayer, life with God which I bring to Him, He uses and He makes it what it needs to be for the needs of the people.

Life and Rescue

Life is fragile. Touching a spider’s web destroys the beauty only this tiny creature can create. We, created in the image of God have been given authority over Creation for this God did on the day we were made.

There is too little in creation to go around. It is not the fault of the Creator. It is the fault of those who have been given authority to govern that creation. We have thoughtlessly, carelessly, selfishly imposed our own individual and collective wills upon creation without humbly realizing that only by means of His Spirit can we possibly manage such a task.

So the consequence is our own destruction. We have long ago passed the point of no return and sown the seeds of our own ending. Yet God in grace is giving us time. He is allowing us to see the beginning of our ending upon this Sacred World. His hope is that we might see what our own hands have wrought. We must see however, not with the seeing of knowing but with the seeing of understanding. We must see not only with understanding but with repentance and with urgency. We must learn the urgency of the deck hand who realizes the ship is going down soon and that priority must change. No longer can we afford the luxury of leaning over the rail and watching the water go by. Every moment our plight becomes more urgent. Yet the task is more urgent than any of us knows and therefore we must work in concert.

To one is given a plan, to another strength, to another wealth and still to another words of encouragement. But for all the vision must be that of helping every soul possible to escape the doom which all of us have helped to bring upon ourselves.

Understanding that we have all contributed to our collective demise should infuse us with humility. Perhaps I did not create the carnage in Tripoli but I have thoughtlessly caused other elements of our joint catastrophe. The time is now for us to forget ourselves and seek in all we do that which will help us all escape into the wondrous world of God’s new Created Order. It is this Order of which the Sacred Scripture refers as the “Kingdom of God”. For the moment we cannot see it. We can however see the effects of its Presence. Whenever there is an action done in trust, there is a new ripple of that Eternal World which moves across this world. As each of us seeks to live by faith alone the ripples become waves. Where enough of us act together those waves help the weaker and more blind among us see, feel, hear and touch the Kingdom of God. This was why Jesus did so many wondrous acts. This is why amazing acts of faith were given to that early church. This is also why the Evil One seeks to destroy our unity.

May God grant us unity and purpose bound to Him so that our trust becomes a mighty wave breaking the power of apathy and selfishness which chains those destined for Glory and Greatness within the dark holds of a perishing planet. My prayer is that together we will live in such a way that we all find our way Home.