Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Strength to face anything

10The Lord has made me very grateful that at last you have thought about me once again. Actually, you were thinking about me all along, but you didn't have any chance to show it. 11I am not complaining about having too little. I have learned to be satisfied with [a] whatever I have. 12I know what it is to be poor or to have plenty, and I have lived under all kinds of conditions. I know what it means to be full or to be hungry, to have too much or too little. 13Christ gives me the strength to face anything.

Philippians 4:10-13

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Perception and Reality

This has been long in coming. I have guarded this in my heart, but today I feel compelled to type.

In my life and my young family we have recently had a seriese of trials one after another. Many hopes and dreams crushed or buried as the weight of reality comes lumbering through, leaving broken bits and debries in it's wake. Still My wife and I plow on through, picking up the pieces and little bits and putting them back in to order. Our life is always like this. From one event to another.

This pattern continues to repeat and although we are getting better at adjusting our family and life, it still leaves a wide trail through our lives. The first few times it happened I questioned God. From a brain surgury to a fire we are left with many reminders that we are not in control, we do not have the answers. Yet through all these clamities we are left better, stronger, more prepared. Just when I think my world is crashing down and despair begins to raise it's head, God allows an opportunity for ministry.

This week it was a person hurting at the loss of their unborn child. A child that they hadn't even realized was on the way. My wife and I went through those emotions and we were better prepared to listen and to minister because of it.

This leads me to the story of Job. No my barns are not all destroyed and my children's lives have been spared. Still a spiritual reminder from an old story. Job was sitting on the ruins of his life. His three friends gathered around him and sought to fix whatever Job had done to wrong God.

In my time of despair, in my time of forced reflection, I am sitting on my heap, looking at my friends trying to understand their minds what is coming from their mouths. For days Jobs friends sat and said nothing then when Job broke down and vented to his friends, the people he should have been able to trust and let down his guard .... his friends responded.

Jobs friends and I am finding many other "friends" have a flawed human logic when it comes to God. Humanism. Secular thought applied to the scriptures and to God. Job's friends and it seems many of my "friends" think that man must do things to earn God's favor and therefore suffering is a sign of His displeasure.

I ran into this quote in my hurting this last few weeks
I learned from this encounter not to ever again ask my friends for their
opinions, but to join me in asking God for His. Only God's opinion is free
of human distortion and therefore void of any gap between perception and
reality.

Perhapse the lesson is not for my friends but for me when I am in same situation. How do you react to a friend in a crisis? Are you quick to judge and start gathering stones?

If you figure it out let me know.

The revealed things...

1 Corinthians 2:1-15 (NRSV)

When I came to you, brothers and sisters, I did not come proclaiming the mystery of God to you in lofty words or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I came to you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God.

Yet among the mature we do speak wisdom, though it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to perish. But we speak God's wisdom, secret and hidden, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written,

"What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the human heart conceived,
what God has prepared for those
who love him"

-- these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For what human being knows what is truly human except the human spirit that is within? So also no one comprehends what is truly God's except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the gifts bestowed on us by God. And we speak of these things in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual things to those who are spiritual. Those who are unspiritual do not receive the gifts of God's Spirit, for they are foolishness to them, and they are unable to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. Those who are spiritual discern all things, and they are themselves subject to no one else's scrutiny.