Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Do you like the rain?

Sep 26th (410 words)
Let it rain!  “I always like walking in the rain, so no one can see me crying.”  From Charlie Chaplin.  Is this a morbid thought?  Is it something Christians shouldn’t say?  Is it a reflection that you find embarrassing?  I had to bring up a quote I might have shared before. 

The whole point of Mr. Chaplin’s words is that he didn’t want to embarrass others by the inner pain that was causing his eyes to drip salt water.

Often when I write my posts I start with where I am.  Sometimes happy sometimes sad…
Today I was glad for the rain but… also recognizing incredible pain and brokenness in the world around us!  What do we do with all that pain? 

“Great Scott – dear God, we need you!” 

I just had a conversation about this world of pain – and how often God is with us in the pain instead of taking us out of the pain. 

We talked about how God suffered for us (so we don’t need to suffer the punishment of Hell)
He suffers because of us – because of the garbage we have done. 
It is also true that he suffers with us.  Literally, the suffering we experience is also felt by him.  He knows our suffering from the inside!  He is one who has suffered but he also looks at it from the outside – having created it from the start with his higher purposes.

It is incredibly comforting to be with someone who knows what you’re going through.

I also just shared a story illustrating how sometimes suffering is beyond us (we can’t understand it).  One day my dog, Sheba, had a run in with a porcupine.  When Dad tried to take out the quills Sheba snapped at him.  Dad asked if I would try.  I took out the quills one by one and Sheba looked at me with her sad eyes asking “why are you hurting me?”  I couldn’t explain to her the risk of infection or that if I didn’t take them out she would have even more pain…

If I had reasons for inflicting pain on my dog, how much more might God have his reasons for allowing us to suffer?  If my dog could trust me to pull out the porcupine quills, how much more can I trust the creator of the universe in and through the suffering I experience in this short, little life?
I’m his simple, faithful watchdog.   

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

What makes you cry?

Sep 18th  (196 words)
“Dear God, in a world of many gods how do we say there is only one true God?  They won’t hear us.  They will automatically think that their gods of wood and paper and stone and metal and ice are the same as our God – the same as you.  Many will hear that we worship the one true God – and assume we are people without love, citing all the wars caused by people who believed they were following the only true God.”

This is not that.

“Honestly God, I’m tired.  Sometimes I feel like crying.  Added to this is the pressure that as a man, I’m in a society that largely thinks I shouldn’t be crying… that it is a sign of weakness… that I’ve cracked under the pressure.  Jesus, you cried.  That must mean that there are situations where it is okay for men to cry.”

Instead of crying – I sit here in a coffee shop – Who is the one true God?  How can you find him in the cacophony of all kinds of religions and philosophies…? 

Answer: God finds you. 

“God, I have a lot of people I want you to find!”

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

September 11th - and the end of the world

Sep 11. (350 words)
Where were you September 11th when disaster struck?
I was in Africa – and I heard the news from our missionary friends – working three houses down from us.
What was the disaster at the Twin Towers all about?  Terrorist evil?  American greed?  An undercover conspiracy?  All the above? 

From where we stand today, does the future look brighter or more uncertain?  Can we answer: “All the above”?  Is it possible for us to have an uncertain (even evil) future while at the same time believing it to be a brighter future? 

Before writing this post I wanted the focus to be on water – and the lack of rain the world is getting right now.  I wanted to encourage water-saving ideas, and when it does rain – for us to offer up thanks to God for every single raindrop.  

Reading the news last night I then thought about opening up the questions about Russian/Chinese aggression…

Could there be a connection between September 11th, the global rain problems and nations gearing up for war?  I think so.  “How does this offer us a bright future?” you might ask.

Very simply: we believe Jesus is coming back soon.  There might be a flash of suffering – but the bigger picture is one of undeniable hope and eternal glory. 

A flash is something that lights up the room so that an accurate picture can be taken (think of a camera flash or a lightening flash or a flash-light). 
The flash of present persecution the third world is now experiencing, and the legal foundation in our own society preparing for future persecution, and the anti-Christian media that is more and more popular – gives us a picture of a sinful world rebelling against God. 

Sinful world in rebellion against God – each word is heavy but the statement can easily be put away with dogmatic extremism.  It is more like a weatherman’s assessment of the clouds.  God gives us his assessment of the weather systems brewing.  And in his assessment Revelation 19, 20, 21, and 22 promise hope for us who live in and out God’s perfect love!

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Call to action

September 1st (164 words)
Call to action.  “Call to action is a marketing term used extensively in advertising and selling. It refers to any device designed to prompt an immediate response or encourage an immediate sale”  (Wikipedia).  What devices has God designed to get us moving?

The cross – which crucified Jesus the Christ!
God’s grace – undeserved favor poured out for us.
God’s loving presence – being with us through thick and thin
God’s creation (1) – he made it all by his power for his glory! 
God’s creation (2) – His creation is all around us showing us his power, love, presence, beauty, attention to detail.

This is a list of devices that God has made, which, when understood and experienced, have the power to promote an immediate response.

What r u going to do in response to God’s amazing work and person?

I’d suggest we worship him.
I suggest we respond by acting in thankfulness.
I suggest we find people around us who need love!

Go for it!!!