Finding God in the Mysteries of every day

Week 17 Day 1

Finding God in the Mysteries of every day

Deuteronomy 31: Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

            It is a natural reaction to facing any kind of shift in our circumstances to try to scope out the terrain ahead as the skier in this photo is doing. These days our paradigms almost seem to shift on a daily basis without the benefit of time to pause to prepare ourselves for what lies ahead. Some of the changes are at this point relatively minor, but should warn us of stranger things to come. O

            One such instance I could point out is the disruption in the usual supply lines resulting in shortages at the grocery stores and other businesses as people “panic” buy and begin to hoard everyday items. It is very easy to forget that on of the names for God is Jehovah-Jireh, Simply put it means God our provider. Do you remember the old camp chorus with the tagline; Jehovah Jireh, my provider, His grace is sufficient for me.

            As Moses prepared the Israelites for the transition from wilderness dwellers to inhabitants of the land of God-given possession they were warned and had to consider the costs of displacing the people who were already there. That God had determined that, because of the behavior of the residents of Canaan, and the love he had for the Israelite people, those Canaanite people should be removed is not the point here.  The point is the Israelite people were facing an enormous paradigm shift. The change would effect every aspect of their lives. Would they be ready? Would they survive?

            The answer is, for us just as it was for them, a resounding Yes. Not through their own efforts alone. They would, and we will, survive in direct proportion to our willingness to trust and obey God.

Finding God in the Mysteries of every day

Week 16 Day 7

Finding God in the mysteries of every day

I Corinthians 15: 49 And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we[g] bear the image of the heavenly man.

50 I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.

           I am drawn to this passage by the beauty of the hope that is afforded to me that is only to be found in my Lord Jesus, the Christ of the whole world. To live in hope is perhaps the greatest gift of knowing Jesus as Lord and Savior. Although my failings are many, my woundings painful, and my heart is often battered and bruised still, none of that is enough to dim the bright hope I have of serving Jesus all my days and being united in Him eternally at the end of all things of this earth.

            Sufficient to say that living with this hope I feel no compunction to condemn or debase others. My task before God is to love, admonish with the gentle iron of God’s Word, and to trust that even before I utter a word of admonishment, the Holy Spirit jas already been at work. Perhaps the greatest freedom on all of this is the fact that the results are God’s responsibility, not mine. If you have ever felt the oppression of quotas and production expectations you will know what I mean. I owe this sense of freedom to the ministry of former NBA star Mark Cahill who through his excellent exposition of scripture turned my mind to obedience rather than a
clearance record. Simply put, God rewards obedience. Whatever follows is to His glory, not ours.

Finding God in the Mysteries of every day

Week 16 Day 6

Finding God in the Mysteries of every day

Acts 7: 48 “However, the Most High does not live in houses made by human hands. As the prophet says:

49 “‘Heaven is my throne,
    and the earth is my footstool.
What kind of house will you build for me?
says the Lord.
    Or where will my resting place be?
50 Has not my hand made all these things?’

            Let’s be clear. God is present not only in the building, but everywhere. In these bleak times it is extremely comforting to know that even though we may be prevented from gathering together face to face we may yet seek the communion of prayer and come together in Spirit. Unlike the folks in the first century Church who may have been subject so being scattered at the whim of an emperor, an employer, or the vicissitudes of climate and agriculture, we have in large part the amazing capacity to communicate over long distances instantaneously with voice and print communications. What an amazing age we live in.

            Let me be clear. I believe that the convenience of a Church building is a wonderful idea. But, like so many other things the idea has morphed into an untenable public image. It is not the exclusive abode of the Lord God. It is not the fountain of blessing truth and the Holy Spirit. Those things can all happen in that place, but merely showing up at the building does not guarantee that you will meet God there. Remember the old bromide; “Showing up at church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than showing up at Macdonald’s makes you a hamburger.”

            The first century Church often met in secret. They often dispatched emissaries to other towns to carry the message of the “Good News” (hence the title “Evangelist). Amazingly, the Church grew and thrived. Even surviving the weirdness of heresies and political and social persecution. Hmmmm.

Finding God in the Mysteries of every day

Week 16 Day 5

Finding God in the Mysteries of every day

Proverbs 27: Stone is heavy and sand a burden,
    but a fool’s provocation is heavier than both.

A drawing of a cartoon character

Description automatically generated

            The job description of many in media seems to be to provoke enough people to create enough confusion to gather an audience of people who otherwise would probably prefer tp remain indifferent to what ever “issues” they are trying to drag into the light. Most are truly acting the “fool” in the Biblical sense of the word. (Hebrew nabal) The word literally means -stupid, foolish, evil. For a true character assessment see 1st Samuel 25: 3 His name was Nabal (he)  was surly and mean in his dealings—he was a Calebite.            These days, with an important election in the offing and great unrest in every quarter, I believe it is critical that Christians, and by that I mean those who believe orthodox Christianity (See the Apostle’s Creed), that Jesus was and is the Lord of heaven and earth, was born of a virgin, was crucified and resurrected, and that His Holy Spirit is present and active in the hearts of those who have received Jesus as their Savior, should fall to our faces praying for clarity and guidance though the maze of misrepresentation, misinterpretation, and outright lying that we might discern the truth and be guided into that truth by the Spirit of Christ (See John 16:13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.)

Finding God in the Mysteries of every day

Week 16 Day 4

Finding God in the Mysteries of every day

Isaiah 1: 4Woe to the sinful nation, a people whose guilt is great, a brood of evildoers, children given to corruption! They have forsaken the Lord; they have spurned the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on him.

            Sometimes, I think if I hear someone say, “If God is a loving God then; Why…?” And then, they proceed to enumerate the myriad ways I which “God has failed to meet their expectations, sometimes I feel like I’m going to scream. We build up a laundry list of presumptions on (of?) God’s mercy and grace and treat Him as if her were some sort of cosmic candy Machine.

One of the worst “titles” I am hearing a lot lately is that he or she is a “social media influencer”. Usually this has been a simple excuse to celebrate and idolize outrageous and stupid behaviors and ideas. Unfortunately, the parade of weak willed and weak-minded people who buy into their malarkey seems to grow every day. At least that is how it seems. One of the unfortunate consequences of the instant media access we have to day is the loss of any sense of proportion. We may “see” something frequently and in the seeing it, it grows out of al proportion in our minds.

Make no mistake. God is Holy. The very fact that He does not intervene in our every circumstance is the proof positive of His Holiness. He has given us the freedom to choose. He has NOT given us freedom from the consequences of living in this corrupted battlefield world, or from our own choices. Does God sometimes intervene? YES! The Mystery here is WHY? Be certain that you understand that when God’s intervention is understood that there is always a larger kingdom purpose behind that intervention.

Finding God in the Mysteries of every day

Week 16 Day 3

Finding God in the Mysteries of every day

Hebrews 10: 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

            I have been frankly surprised at the notion of some that the days if church meetings are at an end, and even a little more concerned that in general I do not see church leadership working to find solutions for the situation created in large part by the current Coronavirus pandemic. With the advent of facebook live, zoom meetings, skype, go to meeting, and a myriad of other opportunities the possibilities are endless. Some of this atmosphere hearkens back toa time when the church was largely an underground movement. Persecuted, hunted, executed the early church thrived in a way that we cannot fathom. Notwithstanding the medieval corruption of the church for political and monetary gain people found a way in the first three centuries to “make church happen”

            I have yet to hear of a virtual prayer meeting. But, why not? Has communion in this way been sacrificed on the altar of convenience? I believe it is through corporate prayer that we may draw closer to knowing the heart of God in these times. Whether it is done through texting or e-mail or virtual meetings we should, I believe, follow in every way possible the admonition of the writer to the Hebrews above.

Finding God in the Mysteries of every day

Week 16 Day 2

Finding God in the Mysteries of every day

Psalm 95:6-7 Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if only you would hear his voice,

            Thinking this morning about an old tune from the old rock group called Stealers Wheel.  The song lyric goes something like this “Well I don’t now why I came here tonight, I got the feeling that something ain’t right, I’m so scared in case I fall off my chair, And I’m wondering how I’ll get down the stairs, clowns to the left of me jokers to the right, here I am stuck in the middle with you…” ( Stealers Wheel -Stuck in the Middle with you)

            As I thought about being one of the sheep of His pasture I thought about my experience of sheep. At one level they can be easily distracted. They can be willful, and they are always ready to bolt at the first sign of danger. They will move on their own toward better forage, and it is only the calming influence of the shepherd and his own force of will that keeps them from disaster. To Him they are not just a mass of bodies. They are all individuals, and are known to Him. The sheep often appear indifferent to the presence of the shepherd, but are very quick to seek him out when danger threatens or when forage and water cannot be found.

            As I take these thoughts and contextualize them in my own life this morning I am painfully aware of how desperately I need the reassuring presence of my great and Good Shepherd Jesus. A thousand woundings, a thousand questions, a thousand worries and fears will not alter His love for me. Can you hear Him He is speaking; “Peace be still”

Finding God in the Mysteries of every day

Week 16 Day 1

Finding God in the Mysteries of every day

Zephaniah 3 Woe to her that is filthy and polluted, to the oppressing city!

She obeyed not the voice; she received not correction; she trusted not in the Lord; she drew not near to her God. Her princes within her are roaring lions; her judges are evening wolves; they gnaw not the bones till the morrow.Her prophets are light and treacherous persons: her priests have polluted the sanctuary, they have done violence to the law.

The just Lord is in the midst thereof; he will not do iniquity: every morning doth he bring his judgment to light, he faileth not; but the unjust knoweth no shame.

I have cut off the nations: their towers are desolate; I made their streets waste, that none passeth by: their cities are destroyed, so that there is no man, that there is none inhabitant.

I said, Surely thou wilt fear me, thou wilt receive instruction; so their dwelling should not be cut off, howsoever I punished them: but they rose early, and corrupted all their doings. (KJV)

            I don’t know that the image above needs any explanation, or the Biblical text above. Suffice it to say that we are in a time of turmoil, when the Revelation of God is intentionally ignored not only in the streets, but in the halls of city governments, state governments, and the national government, but also in the places where Christians, those who believe what the Bible says, who live according to the precepts of God and follow Jesus with ALL of their hearts would be disappointed to find that the highest offices of many Churches and denominations have been taken over by the lying prophets of secular religion.

            You must discern for yourself whether what any of these people are saying is true. You must apply a different measure than just your ears and eyes. We must look within the scriptures and our hearts to know that Jesus is the only Way, the real Truth and the fullness of Life (John 114:6 paraphrased from NIV) It is essential that we do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. I John 4:1 (NIV)

            Do not be dismayed by what you see. Follow Jesus, no matter what.

Finding God in the Mysteries of every day

Week 14 Day 7

Finding God in the Mysteries of every day

Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

            Racism is a matter of the heart. It is a matter of conditioning. It is a response to stereotypes and behaviors. It is a matter of fear.  It cuts in many directions. Racism can only cured by the cleansing influence of God’s Holy Spirit. Anything else is just repression. (See Romans Chapter 7)

            We seem to be at an impasse around the world as mass migrations of people who seem to be unable or unwilling to try to change their own countries move toward places of greater freedom. Inevitably there are clashes of culture, religion, and genetics.

Here in the USA long held values as praised and delineated by the like of men such as Alexis DeToqueville who warned long ago about the overreach of government have been seemingly tossed aside in favor of “writing ourselves a check from the national exchequer” He also said The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.” ―

So, what will break the impasse? Perhaps we have gone too far down the road to ever repair the damage done. Perhaps there is nothing we can do in our own strength. Perhaps we who claim to be Christians should get down on our faces and pray for the renewed infilling of the Holy Spirit of Jesus to bring the light of His glory into our lives once again and equip us to reflect that light into a sad and broken world.

Finding God in the Mysteries of every day

Week 14 Day 6

Finding God in the Mysteries of every day

 Luke 15:13 There, undisciplined and dissipated, he wasted everything he had. (The Message)

            I wonder sometimes just exactly when it was that life, the time God gives us to sojourn here on this earth became a commodity to be bartered away for the transitory and momentary excitements that can be had in this fallen world. Certainly Jesus’ parable in Luke 15 points to just such an attitude. Why is it that we so often succumb to the pressures of the “infamous three”, that is to say the world, the flesh, and the devil? Certainly the mightiest three, the Father Son and Holy Spirit living within our hearts is more than a match for the enemy.

            Perhaps the answer lies in the “harmonics” of temptation. If you’ve ever seen a singer, or a device emit a tone which reached “resonant frequency” with, say, a wine glass, you might understand what I am trying to say. Temptation has so many ways of reaching into our lives that sooner or later we begin to vibrate with the signals we are receiving.

            God reminds us concerning temptation that There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

            In order to recognize just exactly what temptation is then perhaps the words of Susanna  Wesley might be a place to start. “Take this rule: whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, or takes off your relish of spiritual things; in short, whatever increases the strength and authority of your body over your mind, that thing is sin to you, however innocent it may be in itself.”
                           — Susanna Wesley (Letter, June 8, 1725)