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.
God and Gutter balls
I have not bowled for a long time but I can still recall the experience well. I am an inconsistent bowler. I have earned a score as high as 263, and as low as 63. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to this. On days when I am bowling well the gutters seem like an unnecessary afterthought. On a bad day they seem more like a life saving barrier to protect me from killing or maiming other innocent patrons of the bowling alley!
It occurs to me that God functions in a somewhat similar way in our lives. He provides “gutters” to guard against choices brought on by having a bad day in the game of life. Life is a series of choices when you come right down to it. And we are the decision makers. God in His infinite great love and mercy has given us free will so that we may make any number of choices regarding our lives. I wish that I could say that all of mine had brought God glory and made the heavenly angels sing. Alas, this is not the case. Sadly there are days when most of my decisions would result in a score of 63 or even lower!
Because God knows each of us intimately, He is also aware of ways in which each of us should be limited in some way. As such we all face certain limitations in life, such as where we live, how much income we have, how much strength and energy we possess, our life situation, and even the number of years we have upon the earth. Many of us seem to spend an inordinate amount of time trying to alter these limitations. Our tendency, when confronted by a boundary or limitation, is to try to find a way around it. How often do we stop to consider that it may be serving some purpose in our lives? God demonstrates his approval of boundaries in the way that He created the heavens and the earth. He placed boundaries between the sea and the land; between night and day; between each species in where they should live and how they should function. A fish cannot nest and fly. A bird has no gills and cannot swim. These are limitations which are for the good of these species. Does it not make sense that a loving God would place limitations on his human children as well?
Paul asked for God to remove one of his limitations. A ” thorn in the flesh” as he described it. What was God’s answer? “My grace is sufficient for thee”. Whatever the limitation Paul was facing he apparently needed it. God left it in place.
And so He does in our lives as well. Before we ask God to push back a boundary, knock down a barrier, or remove a limitation, perhaps it would be wise to consider its possible meaning and purpose. When we feel ourselves frustrated by hitting the wall with something it may be the time to prayerfully seek wisdom and guidance from above. God is certainly still in the business of moving mountains. But He is also a God of order, of boundaries, and He knows just exactly how much of each we require in our lives. Our job is to humbly submit to His will for our lives, trusting that He always has our greatest good in mind.
When the Bottom Drops Out.
Psalm 130 is essentially a cry for help when the bottom has dropped out from beneath us. How often we may feel this way! When we do it may be tempting to think that the thing the “bottom” was resting on has shifted or moved. As Christians that thing is our faith in a Holy God. Has He moved? Has He changed? Has He left us? Of course not! Perhaps the real issue is that of a false bottom.
Too often we rest in a false sense of security in “things”. Our families. Our homes. Our careers. Our bank accounts or retirement plans. All of this ” life stuff” does not really provide a stable foundation. They perhaps bring some relative stability. They can make us feel safe and comfortable for awhile. But life is full of storms and tempests. It is easy for any one of these things to fall away. When it does, we are left feeling like the bottom has just dropped out from beneath us. In our desperation to find equilibrium, we may frantically try to recover the shattered pieces of our lives and entrust them once again to the wrong thing.
The wise psalmist knows where to turn. He cries out to God. He acknowledges his sin. He begins to wait upon the Lord. Herein lies the tricky part. The waiting part. For when we are in distress we want immediate action. We despise living in uncertainty. We long for the stability of what has been lost. The temptation is to pick up the pieces and start plowing forward under our own steam. True redemption occurs when we wait for a solution in God’s time. ” Waiting and watching till morning. Waiting and watching till morning”. This is so very difficult to do. And yet, so necessary. Amen.
The Self Created God
Sometimes Christians appear strange to the rest of the world. We are from a different world, in a way. We think outside the cultural box, typically. We are called to be this way. God calls us “a peculiar people for His own possession”. This means that He shapes us in a way that makes us suitable and pleasing to Him. However, this may preclude us from being pleasing to others to some extent. Thus we may find ourselves a bit rejected at times.
In seeking to truly follow Christ, we may have the effect of making those around us uncomfortable. This is because we challenge beliefs that others perhaps hold dear. The problem often occurs when those who follow the true Gospel and the God of this Gospel, encounter others who are following a “self created god”. Believe it or not, you can even find this in churches among those who consider themselves believers! A “self created god” may look a lot like the real thing. But if you look or listen carefully you will note several significant differences. Self created gods are often one dimensional. They may be all about love, but absent of justice. They accept everyone and everything and condemn nothing. There is much talk of heaven but no acknowledgement of hell. In short, self created gods look and sound a lot look the culture we live in! When confronted with the true version of a biblical God those who cling to a self created god often become angry and reject the real thing. And in so doing, they crucify Christ once more.
The True God of the Gospel is not a benign entity. He is a God of power, might, judgement, justice, mercy and yes, of course, love. He is a God who longs for a relationship with us, but desires that we allow ourselves to be conformed to His will. He has expectations of us. There is both a call, and a response required. He is Abba Father. As such he both loves and disciplines his children as any good father would. A self created god is typically absent of one or more of these features. To acknowledge and follow the True God we encounter in the Gospel may put us into conflict with those around us, even within our own church. But to deny Him is far worse. So when you find yourself feeling rejected in seeking to truly follow Christ remember this: Jesus said that as the world treated Him, so they would treat His followers. Should we expect anything different?