Posts Tagged ‘Faith’

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HIS WAYS

June 24, 2020

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There is a degree of confidence that comes with knowledge.  Assurance rises through the fullfillment of an agreeable plan.  We rest comfortably while our lives unfold in accordance to the foreseeable circumstances of normal.

We rarely have difficulty when our thoughts are aligned with His and His ways correspond to ours.  The course of life is comfortable while the heavens seem in line with the earth and God does not demand anything beyond our normal aspirations.

What happens when our ways diverge from His;
when His ways cause pain and His thoughts seem cruel?

The worlds of the created can fall apart in the of a span of a day.  Within a week, I received the news that my Sister-in-Law and my cousin have limited time on this earth.  It appears that God’s ways are truly not my ways.  His thoughts assuredly are not my thoughts.  The diagnosis of terminal shocks one out of the delusion of normal and into the confusion of a denied reality.

People die before the time that I had prescribed for them.
Families grieve losses cloaked in the darkness of the unknowable.
Minds are clouded in the defeat of impending death.

This world sucks.

The delusion of normal is a dangerous mindset.  The delusion of the world as wonderful and a place of paradise cannot abide with the reality of suffering.  We were never promised a world of delights.  We were never promised a world unbroken. We were never promised a world without pain.

That is why this world had to be overcome.

We were told that this world contains suffering even as we thrash beneath its hand.  We were told that evil rules even as we look away from the evidence.  We were told that there are mysteries beyond our understanding even as we try to deduce them.

This is why our home is not here.  This world had to be overcome in order for us to escape and enter into true rest.  A terminal diagnosis is yet another reminder that we need a redeemer, a rescuer, who will take us to our rest.  I do not love this world.  I want to go home.

I am thankful that His ways are better than mine.
I am thankful that His thoughts are beyond mine.
I am thanful that He is good.
I am thankful that He has overcome this world.
I am thankful that His love flows.

When normal crumbles, faith must remain.  When knowledge fades, hope must shine.  When defeat abounds, love must abide.

 

 

 

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Righteous Deciders

May 30, 2020

 
It seems easier to comprehend a God of the grand and monumental but what of the random and trivial?

Can I make a decision that He does not know?

Can the wind change the course of His intentions?

Can my decision alter His plan?

Can circumstances accumulate beyond His control?

My day will be filled with thousands of decisions, some are recognizable as consequencial but most are not even acknowledged as a decision.

Every decision is a dalliance with the future.  We speculate against the opaqueness of uncertainty.

How silly it is to play a blind prophet when we have One who controls it all? He knows how our individual minds work.  He knows the clouds that impede our thoughts and reasoning.  He has given us wisdom, knowledge, and reasoning.  He has given us prayer. 

Why do we become undone when decisions come?  Could it be that fear has shackled out minds at one of life’s respites because we cannot peer beyond the bend?

Good decision making does not remove uncertainty. It merely enables our minds to live with it. However, we usually live with uncertainty in the most unrighteous of ways.  We glorify the decisive decision makers.  We heap prestige upon the visionaries who appear prophetic of future’s prospects.

Yet, we ignore the One who  holds uncertainty’s tolls.

Believers should display our belief in the most practical of ways, by how we decide.  I suggest that righteousness displayed in decisiveness shows glorious godliness.  

This is my suggestion on how a Christian should decide:

  1. Pray
  2. Use your mind; use your knowledge and wisdom. They are gifts of God for this purpose.
  3. Pray some more.
  4. Ensure you are on solid Biblical ground and walking in the Spirit.
  5. Pray some more.
  6. Ask for wise counsel.  The body of Christ is our gift for this purpose.
  7. Pray some more.
  8. Weigh the cost. Weigh the benefits.
  9. Pray some more.
  10. Make the decision and then trust.  

Our decision making should not display anxiety and apprehension.  Our decision making should not be indecisive.  A righteous decider should display belief.  Belief that nothing is beyond God’s power.  Belief that God is a good Father.  Belief that God knows me down to the dwindling hairs on my head. Belief that the Spirit of God has been participating in this decision that I am making.

Belief that in Christ, I cannot make a bad decision.

I can make a righteous decision that may not turn out as I had hoped or planned, but that doesn’t mean it was incorrect to God.

I can make a righteous decision that may result in all sorts of unfortunate, unintended consequences, but that doesn’t mean it’s a mess that God has to clean up.

I can make a decision that displays my faith and confidently live in all the consequences because God holds the past, present, and future.

So, let’s start glorifying God in how we decide.

https://soundfaith.com/logos-media-share/498255

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Oreo Cookie of Life

May 26, 2020

 

Most of the time we over-complicate our relation to the absolute (God).  Now, over-complicate does not mean that we are making our relationship harder than it needs to be.  

Dying to self is a difficult task requiring endurance and perseverance. Over-complicate usually means misalignment; doing things for the wrong reasons.

I have recently engaged in an enlighting task for myself.  I applied a tool of my profession, a logic diagram, to the analysis of my spiritual life.  I want my “what” to correspond correctly to the appropriate “why”.

A logic diagram flows purpose (why) into actions (how).  A well constructed logic diagram readily reveals the reason for every contemplated activity and allows for each activity to be crafted to achieve the true purpose.

My logic diagram resembles an Oreo cookie.

One wafer is to glorify God & enjoy Him / Love God; my purpose.  The other wafer is faith; my how.  Everything between those cookie wafers is my life.

Not very complicated.

It is very easy to allow our relationship with the world around us to dictate out relationship with God or have no relationship with God.  That means we have replaced our wafers and if you’ve got wrong wafers them you’ve got inappropriate relationships.

That is the sweet work of a faithful follower of Christ; getting the sweet filling of life appropriately positioned between the absolutes of God and faith.

https://soundfaith.com/logos-media-share/497549

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Socially Distant

May 21, 2020


We are told to distance ourselves.

Separation has become a prescription.

Conveyance prevention, a priority.

Efficacy measured by normality.

We separate, fearing the unseen.

Celebrating the fruitlessness of disease never known.

But what of maladies needing proximity?

I have heard it said, “I’m taking a break from God.”

Distancing for a time from the Divine.

Is separation the prescription for spiritual affliction?

What conveyance is this break preventing?

Do we need less Spirit; peace, love, joy?

To isolate alone, isn’t that a symptom of the malady?

Distancing oneself to ruin, it seems.

All the while, the prescription resides in drawing near.

We should pull close when unfelt feelings arise.

When God seems not to hear.

When the old man wants to flee,

We bind him in our need.

Abiding in the Spirit, there is the key.

Side by side or I’ll think, “A break is all I need”.

Assurance will come, when ruin is foregone,

Through the healing breath of the Unseen.

Celebrated in the fruitfulness of the Known.

https://soundfaith.com/logos-media-share/495489

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Testing For Fear – Psalm 56:3

May 14, 2020

I am a bit anxious this morning, I will not lie.

All the self-confidence belies the insecurities of a day full of significance.  Today, I lead a team readied for a presentation instrumental in winning a five year, $15 million contract.

It is a big deal for a small company.  We have been waiting for eight years. 

I am embarrassed by my own anxiety.  No lives hang in the balance.  My employment is not dependent upon the perfect pitch.  All today can hold is a hope for a bulwark against tomorrow’s uncertainty,  so that I won’t have to worry about where tomorrow’s prosperity will reside.

Oh, foolish man that I am.

In essence, my anxiety reveals an inherent resistance to trusting the One who truly controls the conditions of my future.

God knows what I need and when I need it. He has provided my daily bread my entire life and I know He will provide tomorrow’s.

My anxiety is just a fear;  a revelation of an unholy alliance with control.

Are you fearful, like me?  Our response to uncertainty is the most revealing test one’s faith can undergo. Testing for fear is not a scare opportunity.  

The nature response to uncertainty is fear, whether we recognize it as fear or not.  Fear changes us.  It effects our behavior.  It modifies our attitude.  It steals our joy.

Fear is a foe.

So, I repented this morning.  I have changed my anxiety to trust.  I have done all the work to be prepared for today but God has done more.  It has been Him who has sheltered me to this point and it will be Him who shelters me through tomorrow. 

Therefore, I can enjoy the opportunity of today.  There are not many people who get to do what I have the privilege to do.  I will trust, which enables me to enjoy.
https://soundfaith.com/logos-media-share/491949

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Spiritual Competition

April 26, 2020

If you are still sheltering in place as I am, here is the video for a sermon I gave on spiritual competition and the analogy to physical competition.  Maybe, it will make it feel more like a Sunday.

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Bestial Stupor

March 21, 2020

I have been reading through Soren Kierkegaard’s exploration of Abraham’s faith in  “The Kierkegaard Collection”.

His description:

“People commonly travel around the world to see rivers and mountains, new stars, birds of rare plumage, queerly deformed fishes, ridiculous breeds of men — they abandon themselves to the bestial stupor which gapes at existence, and they think they have seen something.” ~ Soren Kierkegaard

I have never thought of the myriads of social media accounts chronicling something “astonishing” as feeding my bestial stupor.

That might be a little harsh.  However, I am reminded of my own bestial nature of gaping at the creation without ever considering that which is truly amazing…faith.

“But if I knew where there was such a knight of faith, I would make a pilgrimage to him on foot, for this prodigy interests me absolutely. I would not let go of him for an instant, every moment I would watch to see how he managed to make the movements, I would regard myself as secured for life, and would divide my time between looking at him and practicing the exercises myself, and thus would spend all my time admiring him.” ~ Soren Kierkegaard

ancient antique armor armour

Photo by Maria Pop on Pexels.com

There are “knights of faith” living amongst, which are testimony of what is more miraculous than any of God’s other creation.  That is worthy of a pilgrimage to see; a pilgrimage to gape into the infinite.  However, you have to know what you are looking for because a true knight is easy to overlook.

“He lives as carefree as a ne’er-do-well and yet he buys up the acceptable time at the dearest price, for he does not do the least thing except by virtue of the absurd. And yet, and yet I could become furious over it — for envy, if for no other reason — because the man has made and every instant is making the movements of infinity. With infinite resignation he has drained the cup of life’s profound sadness, he knows the bliss of the infinite, he senses the pain of renouncing everything, the dearest things he possesses in the world, and yet finiteness tastes to him just as good as to one who never knew anything higher, for his continuance in the finite did not bear a trace of the cowed and fearful spirit produced by the process of training; and yet he has this sense of security in enjoying it, as though the finite life were the surest thing of all.” ~ Soren Kierkegaard

We once called a pilgrimage to observe and learn from a Knight of Faith, discipleship.  Unfortunately, we don’t hear that term very often and even rarely take that sort of pilgrimage.  We have social media after all.

We have allowed a bestial stupor to blind us to the truly remarkable; exchanged the creator for the creation.

Let’s open our eyes to what makes angels rejoice.  Look around, there might just be a Knight sitting beside you worthy of amazement… worthy of imitation.

“The Kierkegaard Collection” is free: http://a.co/6alGyrH

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“ENSLAVED” – Feb. 24

February 24, 2020

“Then He said to them, ‘Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.'” Matthew 22:21

close up photo of woman with her hands tied with rope

Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

I am a slave,
but I am not unique.
I am a slave,
but so are you.
We are slaves but
not in the way you think.

We are slaves of many masters.  We serve them all, typically without title but all hidden while still in the open.  Yet, their authority is enforced when the bounds of their reigns are transversed or challenged.  We were born into the bondage of our initial master, whose realm was established at the beginning, when it demanded our lungs to accept this new product called air.  Next, the bounds of nutrition were delineated through pangs in the belly.  The bounds of consciousness were defined by the needs of sleep.  As we mature, new bounds were yearly discovered.

We all labor to serve the Master of Flesh.  Our bodies demand obedience to biological needs, requirements for the preservation of life.  This realm redefines slavery as “self”.  You may say, “my body is not a master,”  I say, “are you free from it?”.  Try not obeying the Master of Flesh.  Try to exert your freedom from hydration.  Try to exert your freedom from food.  Soon, your flesh will punish your liberty with pain until you yield or die.  The Flesh is an unyielding task master.

Many live their entire existence solely under the tyranny of Flesh, laboring to satisfy its demands.  Some even cede more authority to the Flesh through addiction and/or neurosis.   Yet, all yield to the essential demands of the Flesh from the dawn of every day to its setting.

However, the flesh is not our only master.  As we mature, we enter the realm of another, the Master of Work.  Work’s realm includes all those activities mitigating Flesh’s tyranny.  I want leisure.  Therefore, I must work to be able to take a vacation.  I want amusement.  Therefore, I must work to be able to have a hobby, go to a movie, eat gourmet food.  I want more comfortable housing.  Therefore, I must work to be able to have a better home.  I want to be happy.  Therefore, I must work to be able to consume and feed my craving for happiness.

Work is not a private affair.  Work is a public engagement and therefore ruled by the cultural and governmental masters.  This realm redefines slavery as “citizenship”.  You may say, “my government is not a master.  I live under a constitution.”  I say, “are you free from it?”.  Try not obeying the Masters of Work.  Try exerting your freedom from taxation.  Try exerting your freedom to take another’s property.  Try exerting your freedom to live without clothing.  Try exerting your freedom to cry ‘fire’ in a fireless theater.  Transverse the bounds established by the Masters of Work and you will find your time relegated to satisfying the Master of Flesh.  You will become preoccupied with the necessities of existence because the means to mitigate the tyranny of the Flesh will be removed by the tyranny of Work.  Work is an unyielding task master.

We all yield to the essential demands of society in order to have a slice of the prosperity ensuing from our obedience as cogs in the economic mechanism of Work’s realm.  Even if Work could be freed from the Masters of government and culture, it can never be truly free because it resides in the realm of a third master.  Work cannot be free because work is not an end in itself.

The extent and quality of freedom in the flesh and work can only be experienced through obedience to the Master of the third realm in which we all reside.

The Master of the Divine inhabits a realm that was before the Flesh and before Work.  This realm defines the freedoms of those realms and our allegiance to those Masters.  God created the realm of the Divine.  He is the Master of all.  Yet, Satan rebelled against Gods’ rule and when he fell so did all of humanity.  You and I have been born into rebellion against the Master of the Divine.  Yet, we were not born free.  We were born under the tyranny of Satan, who bent the Masters of Flesh and Work into wicked task masters.  It was never meant to be this way.  The Divine has been redefined as “enlightenment”, “science”, “atheism”.

Our inward desire for liberty is an echoing call of creation.  We misunderstand it to be an inherent right of mankind.  It is actually a memory of creation, longing for a world ruled by the true Master; longing for a world where the flesh and work have no power to harm.  Our desire for freedom is incomplete.  It actually is a desire to be completely free to serve the Master as we were created to serve.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Freedom is the freedom to do what we want.  When we are truly free, our nature takes us fully to God, the Master of the Divine.

So, I am a slave.  I am a slave to the Master of the Divine.  I live as an ambassador in the realms of the Flesh and Work.  I pay the requisite requirements to inhabit these realms, but they are not my Master.  I owe them no allegiance.  I will readily say my farewells to the Master of Flesh when the Master of the Divine bids me to return.  I will readily give what is due the Master of Work and give unto God what is His.

I am a slave to only one Master and He is good.  I will serve no other.

PRAYER: Lord, forgive me for serving other Masters.  Forgive me for forgetting that you have set me free to serve you fully as I was intended.  Thank you for binding me to yourself.  Lord, you know that I am prone to wander.  Let your grace, like a fetter, chain my wandering heart to you.  Take my heart and seal it in servitude for your courts above.    I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

 

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Underestimating Power – Luke 8:45–46

February 24, 2020

“And Jesus said, “Who is the one who touched me?” And when the all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds are pressing you hard and crowding you!” But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, because I know power has gone out from me.””

I will be the first to admit that I don’t understand the mystery associated with the power of God.  What I do know is that it is real.  The power of God is not metaphysical; it is not some abstract theory with no basis in reality.

If Jesus could feel it move, then it is tangible, corporeal, physical, real.  The power of God changes things; it removes disease, resuscitate organs, transforms matter, alters weather, grows tissue, blinds eyes, holds celestial bodies, and that is just a sample off the top of my head.  Please feel free to add to the list!

My guess is that our existence on this planet called Earth is sustained far more by the power of God then we’ve ever imagined.

My meditation for the day is the power of God.  A power that I am too quickly to forget to call upon and too slow to be grateful for.

https://ref.ly/Lk8.45-46 via the Logos Bible Android app.

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Order of Things – Exodus 3:12

February 23, 2020

“And he said, “Because I am with you, and this will be the sign for you that I myself have sent you: When you bring the people out from Egypt, you will serve God on this mountain.””

This initially seemed a bit out of order for my natural mind. God’s sign that He was with Moses was that Moses would accomplish what God told him to do, after he did it.  

In my world as a consulting engineer, I would not be very comfortable with a client who said, “I want you to do this project and this will be the sign that I want you to do this project: when it is complete, I will pay you.”. I would never follow my client’s direction without a legally binding contract.  Without a contract, I would be force to accept my client’s direction on…faith.  I would have to expend my resources on…faith.  I would have to trust the character of my client on…faith.

Too often, I want God to give me a legally binding contract prior to my obedience, so that I don’t have to live by…faith.

That is simply not the order of things in God’s world.  God requires everything to start with faith.

https://ref.ly/Ex3.12 via the Logos Bible Android app.

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