Finding God in the Mystery of every day

031307 Finding God in the Mystery of every day

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Hebrews 12: Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us, and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

            There seems to be a regularly recurring cycle of prosperity and hard times, easily observable over the course of the last several years. Just as Jesus talked abut “wars and rumors of wars,” (Matthew 24:6) so too there have been times of well-being, and times when it seems we are beset on every side. I think Paul, or whomever you believe was the writer of the letter to the Hebrews may have been (although stylistically and grammatically the evidence seem to point to Paul as the author) had experienced the hardship and difficulty of living in those times.

            What the author is trying to convey seems a seismic shift from an attitude of complaining and resisting to accepting and coping, making the best of whatever circumstances we find ourselves in. Certainly, this seems to be what Jesus was trying to communicate to the disciples. Don’t lose sight of the mission when things get difficult. Look for creative and innovative ways to go forward rather than complaining or retreating altogether. In the coming economic “hard times” there is an opportunity to share the love of Jesus and to tell of His wonderful grace to forgive.

Finding God in the Mystery of every day

031306 Finding God in the Mystery of every day

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2 Chronicles 5: 12 and the Levites who were the singers, all those of Asaph and Heman and Jeduthun, with their sons and their brethren, stood at the east end of the altar, clothed in white linen, having cymbals, stringed instruments and harps, and with them one hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets— 13 indeed it came to pass, when the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord, and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the Lord, saying:

“For He is good,
For His mercy endures forever,”

that the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud, 14 so that the priests could not]continue ministering

                        When I began this journey of praise many years ago I had no idea how controversial the matter and manner of worship would become. Everything from snide comments to outright boardroom warfare has convinced me that like King David, dancing in the street, (2 Samuel 6: 21 David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the Lord’s people Israel—I will celebrate before the Lord. 22 I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor.”)

            When called upon to worship the manner of the song is far less important than the heart behind it. If we praise the Lord with all of our heart, He hears us and dances with us. No era has cornered the “market” for church music. In no century has there been a moment free from the whiners and complainers. Over the years I have worshipped freely to the strains of every kind of music imaginable. So, what have I learned?

            Simply this. Worship is a matter of the heart. When we let Jesus into our heats through the music, He is right there with us healing our every trouble.

This coming Sunday is the First Sunday of Advent (11/27/2022). Why not plan on making time to be in Church this week and each week until Christmas? If you do, you might just be surprised how much more Christmas will mean to you.

Finding God in the Mystery of every day

031305 Finding God in the Mystery of every day

Your comments or questions are welcome

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Hosea 10:7 As for Samaria, her king is cut off
Like a twig on the water.
Also the high places of Aven, the sin of Israel,
Shall be destroyed.
The thorn and thistle shall grow on their altars;
They shall say to the mountains, “Cover us!”
And to the hills, “Fall on us!”

            I can’t understand why it is that at every level of life it seems that the people who ascend to critical positions of leadership (and I shamefully must include myself among that lot) are all too often wholly unqualified to assume those roles. Throughout Scripture both Old and New Testament the testing of leaders has shown them everyone unable to follow the commands and will of God, choosing instead to pander to the moaning and groaning of the people and forming alliances which do not benefit in the long run but may perhaps provide a scapegoat when everything comes crashing down.

            The prophecy of Hosea can be quite daunting. Everyone I’ve ever heard preach from that writing has looked at the man and wrestled with the oddity of his life. However, if you took the time to learn what God was talking about you would learn of the imminent demise of the so-called Northern Kingdom and the idolatry of the golden calf, and the weakness of their appointed king Jeroboam. The place and tribe names can be confusing without study of the whole of Scripture, but since we have a lifetime to learn wouldn’t it be wise to invest ourselves in such a strong foundation of truth?

            It would be quite easy to despair at this point and agree with many that humanity is a failed experiment and the sooner we’re gone the better. But, before you go there; there was one man, and following Him there were twelve, and after them another who, visited by the Holy Spirit began the transformation of the world. “What’s the difference?” you ask. Perhaps the answer can be found in the book of James. He writes, James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.  

Wishing everyone a blessed, safe and fulfilling Thanksgiving.

Finding God in the Mystery of every day

031304 Finding God in the Mystery of every day

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            Colossians 3:15And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.

            God will not force you to be thankful. It is, as with most things, a choice, an act settled within your own heart. Oftentimes, particularly at this time of year in the United States we are exhorted to count our blessings. Like spoiled children a lot of people secretly rebel against this idea. “Why should I thank God?” they say. “Did he get up every morning and go out to work? Did he wrestle every day with finances, children, time to finish anything?” It would be very easy here to rip those arguments to shreds, but the truth is, I think every one of us has felt that way at one time or another. So, how would God change the face of our grumpy spoiled little girl? (above)

            Certainly, it is not about the multitude of our possessions. Just as certainly, it is not about our health. Why? I guess I would say that the argument or statement that says, “There but for the grace of God…” cannot apply here. God’s blessings are to all. Whether we are rich or poor, healthy, or sick, safe, or in danger. So, just what are we to be thankful for? The Pilgrim band at the first American Thanksgiving were thankful for the very fact that they were alive, that they had survived the rigors of the journey to be there to celebrate that survival and thank God for the freedom that his lovingkindness had given them by the atoning sacrifice of our Lord Jesus the Christ of God.

            Imagine for just a moment that you were persecuted on every side, that you were restricted in your movements and required to pay homage to a person or government that was wholly given over to evil. To find yourself suddenly free from that sort of mental, emotional, and spiritual bondage would seem the most amazing experience of your life. In Jesus, our Christ, the king of kings that is what we find. Even though we may find ourselves incarcerated for His Name’s sake our hearts can rise to apprehend the kind of freedom those first Anglo-Americans felt. Beyond all of the “yes, but” questions that may arise out of the actions of those people the first thanksgiving was a moment to celebrate the joy of being alive in Christ.

Check out all five books in the Whitney Chronicles series now available on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Books a million, Apple Books, CBM, Christian Book Marketing. If you have any trouble finding them or would like to receive an author signed copy of any or all, please contact me at e-mail- larrymlawrence@larrymlarence.com

Finding God in the Mystery of every day

031303 Finding God in the Mystery of every day

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James 1:My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces [a]patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 

            Fishing can be a great teacher of the virtue of patience. The attitude with which we take up our rod and reel will say much about our capacity to learn and understand our quarry. Truth be known, sometimes it’s juts as important to just go whether or not we are particularly engaged in the sport. It can also be a great time to just listen as God speaks. This sort of patience and listening may be the key to understanding Jesus’ call to Peter, James, and John. Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 4:19

             There are multiple occurrences of the word “patience” in the New Testament, but a similar theme runs through them all. Patience seems to be a training and discipline as well as an act of will. In the final analysis is a virtue of the saints and a characteristic of a mature Christian. What we endure for the sake of learning patience will make us strong to withstand the worst the world, the flesh, and the Devil may throw at us.

Finding God in the Mystery of every day

031321 Finding God in the Mystery of every day

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                Philippians 2:Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!

Let your [b]gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

I must apologize for the whiny sound of the last few posts in this blog. I have been so consumed by pain and too much “rest” (stillness in pain is not very restful) that I have focused on me rather than Jesus. Please forgive me. The illustration above, both the picture and the Scripture must become for all of us a certainty that we live by.

            I am reminded of the old television series “Kung Fu”. In those programs a lone shaolin monk wandered through the old West confronting everything from real bad guys to systemic prejudice. It was supposed that something in his training caused him to live think and act above and apart from all of the other actors in the stories. He was portrayed as being at peace in every situation and circumstance. For all of that he was not a unique character in popular fiction.

            I would cite to you several characters from story and film who, again were portrayed as having that same kind of peace and determination. For example, the priest character in Les Miserables (Victor Hugo 1862), John Wesley, after his experience of the infilling of the Holy Spirit when at a prayer meeting in Aldersgate Street in London in 1738. Most importantly the difference between a mental assent to the life and teachings of Jesus in no way approach the need to comprehend the love of Christ until we offer him everything including our future. This is called “entire sanctification”. It is a moment that begins a lifetime of entering into His peace each and every moment of every day. That it is necessary to come to this point usually happens for most of us because we are weak vessels and need to be “revived” on a regular basis.

Book 5 The Whitney Chronicles

Finding God in the Mystery of every day

031301 Finding God in the Mystery of every day

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Psalm 1:1Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night.

      From the “attitude” face of young people to the disdainful expressions of the old it is the lot of Christians to weather the blistering scorn of every enemy of Christ whether or not we like it. Jesus said we “are blessed” to endure the same sort of scorn that he did. I don’t really know if I am ready each new day to encounter that sort of rejection and unfortunately, even though I have every Biblical example always before me, far too often I shrink back from living Christ before everyone I encounter. That may begin even toward the person who wakes up next to you in the morning.

            Because of a difficult physical situation, I have had to rely on my wife to assist me in the most difficult and embarrassing necessities of life. All to frequently I have found myself taking her for granted and asking things of her that I never would have thought of even a few months ago. So; Why am I prattling on like this?

            The answer is that we in danger every day. We awaken to God’s grace with a choice. Will I follow Jesus in all things, or will I shrink back into my own fear and pain and imitate the world? Will I act as Jesus did?

Book 4 The Whitney Chronicles

Finding God in the Mystery of every day

031207 Finding God in the Mystery of every day

Your comments or questions are welcome

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Matthew 5:44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,

            It seems almost impossible today to pick up a headline or news story where someone isn’t “outraged” or accused of intolerance or threatened with the dire consequences of some nebulous sort of “social disapproval. For two millennia Christians have worn the label of intolerance whenever they were to make some sort of stand for the righteousness of God. That there have been far too many excesses on the part of people who were more about the power of the Church than faith in the abiding strength of Christ through His Holy Spirit is sadly true. I would venture to say that institutions notwithstanding the perpetrators of those outrages had strayed so far from Christ as to have cut themselves off from the promises of God. Thankfully, that is not my call but rests in the hands of God the Father. I have learned one thing from my time following Christ. I cannot apologize for the sins of other people whom I have never known, and I cannot wipe away the stain of what they may or may not have done.             If I were to be granted one prayer it would be that the supposed “wise”, the supposed “academicians”, the teachers of the culture would be brought to heel in their exaggerations of Christin intolerance. I have never witnessed intolerance among people whom I believe to be truly Christian. However, for every one “true’ Christian I have known I have known a thousand nominal Christians. Sounds a bit too harsh? Consider; the life of Jesus measured over and against the actions of the Church. Perhaps it would be well to take another look at the true Church Jesus is building and the human organization which seeks power and wealth

Book 3 The Whitney Chronicles

Finding God in the Mystery of every day

031206 Finding God in the Mystery of every day

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Proverbs 29:5 A man that speaketh to his friend with flattering and dissembling words, spreadeth a net for his feet.

Matthew 5:37 All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

      How many times has it happened to you? You listen to what someone says and a  moment later they are saying the exact opposite of what they just told you. Even the post Pentecost apostle Peter struggled with  the pressure of “going along to get along” -Galatians 2: 11 When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. 13 The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.

14 When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?

            This seems to be a huge problem for people who call themselves Christian but retreat in the face of the first wailing outcry from those living today who have chosen the road that leads anywhere but toward God or His holiness. It would be well to temper our love and faith with a desire for the strength to resist this terrible form of temptation. To step back from the truth is to step that much closer to Hell

Book 2 The Whitney Chronicles

Finding God in the Mystery of every day

031205 Finding God in the Mystery of every day

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Jude 1:3 Contend for the Faith

Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.

In the original language the word we translate her as “contend” is the Greek epagognizomai. From this as quite clear we also derive our English word “agony”. How then does this impact the idea of contending for the faith?

Our earnestness must have more to do with our “agonizing” in prayer and action to express not only the doctrines of our faith, but to demonstrate clearly the substance of that faith the greatest part of which is our trust in our heavenly Father and the leading of the Holy Spirit to guide our actions and words. When earnest zeal is perverted by the lust for power and mastery whether over individuals or whole nations we depart from the will of God and pander to the schemes of the devil. Is there ever a time to meet violence and death with the same violence and death? That is a question I have yet to ever face, although I have been threatened and mildly assaulted before.

I would like to think that should death ever come knocking that I would have the courage to face it as the apostle Paul. “For me to live is Christ, to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21) Consequently there is no fear in death, for death is swallowed up in victory.