Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Staying in Our Land and Making It Beautiful

Today, I went shopping for a few ingredients for my crab mac n' cheese recipe. In the parking lot, I ran into a friend of ours who lives in our neighborhood. As friends do, we talked about life, and the subject of what I was preparing for lunch came up. Our friend said she would love to eat my crab mac n' cheese, but some of her chronic health issues would not allow her such freedom. 

Our conversation shifted to making the most of life's challenges, specifically regarding food and eating things that agree with our constitution. It was at that point I said, "It is always good to stay in our lane and make it as beautiful as possible." I was referring to making the places of our limitations as beautiful as we could and, in the case of a menu, as tasty as our dietary limitations would allow. Our friend walked away, smiling. I headed home to the kitchen.

Perhaps my off the cuff slogan, "Stay in our lane and make it beautiful", is sage advice for all of us. None of us can run in all the lanes that life offers, but we can find our lane and make it as beautiful as possible. If we can do that, our culture might make the shift we have all been hoping for.

Reading Our Bias Into Another Person's Life

It never ceases to amaze me (and I admit, at times, it can frustrate me) how easily some people can read into something I wrote or said and allow their bias to be the interpreter of my intent. Our bias is a powerful filter that can cause us to interpret the purpose of others in a way the person being accused or challenged never intended.


We live in a world where our ability to offer quick and unfiltered responses to others is readily available.  It can happen on social media or when hearing a passing comment made during a casual conversation. We do this without pausing and asking ourselves if our corrective confrontation is valid based on what the other party meant to say, or is it just our bias talking. 


We live in strange times made even more bizarre when people read into our content and attempt to reinterpret our words through the filter of their emotionally-driven bias. It makes me chuckle at times, causing me to respond, “Come on, really?”. It’s like predicting who will win an election. You have a 50/50 chance to be a “prophet.” These situations can be amusing at times, and on other occasions, they can be distressing. 

I would suggest taking a humorous posture when these things transpire.  It will keep you emotionally, and spiritually sane as the levels of social insanity continue to ramp up, and our biases are given free rein to run ahead of our integrity. 



Monday, September 21, 2020

Help From Above

This morning, when I finished reading the following verse, I sensed the Lord wanted to say something. “When our enemies and the surrounding nations heard about it, they were frightened and humiliated. They realized this work had been done with the help of our God” (Nehemiah 6:16). 

We are entering a moment in our history when against natural odds and predictions, God will reach into the affairs of our nation and adjust the course of our history. The world will take notice, and so will the Church. We will experience the supernatural help of God in our time of greatest need. Posture yourself in faith to believe the goodness of God will prevail in the end.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

The Debris of Undisciplined Opinion

I listened to an interview with an astronomer who said every day the Earth is bombarded with 100 tons of dust and sand-sized particles, remnants of space rocks that exploded when entering our atmosphere. There is another kind of bombardment taking place – the unrestrained bombardment of undisciplined opinion.

Perhaps the most impactful fruits of the Spirit being manifest at this time are patience and self-control. In frustration at the level of unrighteousness and deception rampant in our culture, there have been times when I was prepared to lash out and bombard my world with the depths of my frustration. Then I realized I would have lost my voice, not the sound, but its impact. 


Wisdom weighs the content of what it speaks by the scales of Heaven before it allows its words to enter the atmosphere of culture and relationships. Wisdom pauses long enough to allow the Spirit to intervene and thwart the hijacking of its voice from an untimely release. Wisdom refuses to become just another piece of falling social space debris used to support the chorus of undisciplined and angry voices that failed to weigh the substance and timing of their rant. 


This continual bombardment of opinion changes nothing. It is only dust and, in the course of history, will have become an unrecognizable deposit of debris just like the 100 tons of space rock grit that entered our atmosphere yesterday unnoticed.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

God Will Help Us Succeed

We are in a time like that of Nehemiah, a man called by God to rebuild the broken walls of Jerusalem. Behind the scenes and without the permission of potential dissenters, Nehemiah rallied allies and began the project as doubting eyes looked on. 

When his plan was finally discovered,  Nehemiah explained why he was taking on the project and why it would be successful.


“Then I told them about how the gracious hand of God had been on me, and about my conversation with the king. They replied at once, 'Yes, let’s rebuild the wall!' So, they began the good work” (2:18). 


Like those who initially thought reconstructing the walls was an impossible task, it only took a single word of hope to turn the tide. All creative work begins with an expression of hope.


To the natural eye, our culture may appear headed for disaster and social collapse. Still, for those with ears to hear the word of the Lord and vision to see God’s plan for restoration, this is a season of tremendous opportunity.


Reformers and restorers do not work from consensus. They work from revelation. Put aside the doubt and fear that has been deposited in your heart and mind and open your thinking to the possibilities of Heaven's environment being expressed on Earth. 

Against impossible odds, Nehemiah carried with him a victorious word of hope. He spoke that word to the listening crowd, “The God of heaven will help us succeed” (2:20). That is our hope as we venture into our culture to rebuild the broken walls of our nation and the broken walls of human hearts. God will help us succeed.


Friday, September 18, 2020

Not Overwhelmed

Events are amassing on a global scale that could become a historic moment of transition. In August, I could sense a gathering of these events taking place. At that time, I wrote a blog post about something called Singularity. Singularity is a moment when seemingly disconnected events happen simultaneously with such rapidity; the human mind perceives them as a single event. As these events take place in unison, an unprepared mind could become overwhelmed.

In the middle of the wildfires, hurricanes, Covid-19 issues, and an upcoming election where in some quarters dire predictions of social unrest are predicted no matter who wins, we can forget that a broader global context is transpiring. Just this morning, I read a note from a friend who is a missionary in Asia. He said China is on the verge of famine. My friend said sources within the nation revealed the government is demanding its citizens to reduce food consumption by a third. Nervous countries take desperate actions to survive, not only with their citizens but with surrounding nations and beyond.


Perhaps at no point in my lifetime have I seen such a need to prepare the equivalent of a spiritual and emotional go-bag. Like a go-bag in the natural, that is light and mobile and only contains the very basics needed to live during short seasons of displacement due to a natural disaster, so it is with a spiritual go-bag. 


Today, before the possibility of a life-altering moment of global singularity could become a reality, gather with those you love and prepare your go-bag of faith. Keep it simple. If anything does not meet the standard of loving God and loving people, leave it behind. Any excess items will only slow you down when you need to move at the speed of faith while following the leading of the Spirit.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

The Gracious Hand of God

Five times in the book bearing his name, Ezra is described as having the “gracious hand of God” upon him.  Ezra and the Israelites would need to know God's hand was on them when they returned to Palestine after being exiled in Babylon. The hand of God gave Ezra an audience before a king, provision for his needs, and protection for the dangerous journey. Ezra moved forward with his life-calling because he knew the gracious hand of God was upon him. 

As a child of God, you have the same gracious hand on your life that was upon Ezra. No matter where you are or what you are going through, God’s hand of favor is on your life and making a way for you to move forward into the future. 

The gracious hand of God upon your life releases the favor you will need to open doors into a future you thought was impossible. Knowing God's hand is upon your life is where the courage will come that will be needed for the journey set before you.  You can trust in the faithfulness of His touch.