Wednesday, November 25, 2015

WHERE HAS CHRISTMAS GONE?

A LONG, LONG TIME AGO, in a galaxy we call our own, there used to be a season called Christmas, whose title I understand came from the Mass that was celebrated on Christmas morning. A Mass that celebrated the advent (the arrival) of the Son of God, Jesus, the Christ.

Somehow this celebration morphed from a gathering at the local cathedral to an event that covered the week prior, then the month prior, then two months prior, oh well, you get the picture. Now, we begin our celebration, in the form of holiday sleep-outs in front of Best Buy, or acquiring gifts from the Day-After-Christmas-Sale to be placed in our crowded closets until next year (that is if we remember them) all in the name of saving a few bucks on gifts for friends or ourselves.

Yes, most of us know, and maybe even believe, that the reason we give gifts is because God gave us His greatest gift in sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to be our Savior. (John 3:16-17; Luke 2:1-21) He came to set us free from the slavery to, and the effects of, sin. (Romans 6:22-23)  Not to mention that one of those sins is covetous materialism, but that's material for another blog.

The truth is, none of us could ever give a gift that would match or could even try to explain God's gift of love in and through His Son and His sacrificial death on the cross and His glorious Resurrection (John 19:1-42; John 20:1-31). Therefore, let's stop using excuse of God's giving for the purpose of our give extravagant and often unimportant gifts.

Now, I'm not saying we shouldn't give gifts, I like gifts as much as the next guy, what I am saying is that we should give gifts that truly honor, show love, bless, or serve person (Rather fulfilling our desire to get thank-yous, or to look better. On yeah, right! None of us would ever do that!)

May I make a humble suggestion?  

Let's move from calling it Christmas, even Jews, Muslims, Hindus, unbelievers and atheists, call it Christmas and even celebrate it.  I suggest that we call it Advent (Not a new idea, I'll admit,) so that the focus will be upon the first arrival of the Lord Jesus Christ and that looks forward to His second arrival. (Acts 1:7-11)

Next, I suggest we give gifts that truly show love, compassion, thoughtfulness. These gifts can be simple or elaborate. They can grace a home, bring the joy of an activity or event, or even bless by being a blessing.  What I mean is that we give to others in the name of the person we seek to bless. Take for existence donating the gift money to places like, Living Water, Operation Christmas Child, Gideons International, Compassion International, World Vision, or World Relief. I am sure you can think of others.

So, there you have it!  We can work to bring back the reality of the first Advent as we endeavor to live in the reality of the coming One.

Have a blessed Advent season, and oh, by the way, did you notice the trinitarian Advent statement on the 1904 Sunset Magazine cover above.  If you did, way to go!!!


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

CHOOSE WISELY

I LIKE THE INDIANA JONES MOVIES (except for the snakes!  “Snakes! Why did it have to be snakes?!”) My favorite of the movies is The Last Crusade not just because the religious and sacramental overtones, but because we are introduced to Indie’s dad, one of my favorite actors, James Bond!  Oh wait, I mean Sean Connery. When he appeared I just about cheered, thankfully Linda held me in my seat.  Anyway, back to the movie.
Toward the end of the movie, in which they are searching for the Holy Grail, (of course the Germans are also searching for it, too!), they discover its resting place and after going through a number of hair-raising puzzles to get to it, they arrive at the sacred room, where there are hundreds of goblets that could be the one. All of these goblets, from the ornate to the simple, were guarded by one of the Knights Templar, which had been there for hundreds of years (remember this is Indiana Jones.)
At this point Indiana and the Antagonist are trying to determine which goblet among the hundreds is in fact the true Holy Grail. As they search among the cups the knight declares, “Choose wisely, for the correct cup will bring life, while the wrong cup will bring death.” The nemesis of Indiana determines that a jewel encrusted goblet, one fit for a king, is the true Holy Grail. He takes it, dips it into a basin of water and drinks deeply. Yes, it was the wrong cup and soon a terrible death envelops him.
Now, it is Indie’s turn, scanning over the cups he noticed in the back a rough hewn wooden chalice. He muses, “This is a cup of a carpenter.” He dips this cup into the basin of water, and with slight hesitation drinks it all.  Yes, this is the cup that brings life. And the story continues  . . . you’ll have to check out the movie.
The responsibility to “choose wisely” is always before us. There are many jewel-encrusted cups that can grab our attention away from that which is the true cup. One cup subtracts from our life, the other brings life.
We are too often drawn to what we think is good, only to find out it robs us of the good.  Maybe it is choosing to attend sports games on Sundays that keeps us from worshiping within the community of the redeemed.  It could be choosing the comforts of our couch rather than standing up to serve in the church or in the community in the Name of Christ. Possibly it is choosing to grab at that cup of wealth that promises to bring life, instead of giving your wealth away to those who have less than a wooden vessel to drink from, or worse, drink filth-ladened water.
We may each say that we are searching for the One who is The Life, and our choices declare otherwise.  Here is my encouragement to you, not only in this Advent season but throughout the coming years, choose wisely and find life for yourself and for others.

What cup do you hold in your hand? Is it the cup of this material culture, or is it the cup of the Master? My prayer for you is that your actions and your attitude show that you have taken the steps to prove that you did choose wisely.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

WHATSUP?

LANGUAGE IS FOREVER CHANGING. Spend a day at a local high school and you would find it difficult to follow the discussion. If you’re white like me, place yourself in the middle of an Oakland, California high school at lunch time and I surmise you would not even understand a word that is being said, but those indigenous students around you would not even skip a beat in their communication and their comprehension.

I might be quick to judge the native speaker from the inner-city of Oakland and say that their language is incorrect, but a visitor from over-the-pond in England might judge my language as incorrect as well. The key issue is are we able to understand each other? If we are not, are we willing to take the extra effort, to walk a step closer, to ask the clarifying question, so that we can understand?

What is true about crossing cultural and linguistic borders in our midst can always be said about the language we use within the community of people we call the church, or the Body of Christ. Even though we may share the same locale and possibly the same language, we are not always communicating at a level that is truly understood.

As we greet one another with a “How are you?” or a “Whatsup?” or a “Hey!” or a simple “Hello,” we hold ourselves back from the interaction to which we are called within the family of God. I believe we need to change our language, which will also demand that we change our culture.

The Hebrews have long possessed a word within their culture of which many of us are aware. The word is “Shalom.” We often understand it as the word for peace, and we would be right in our definition. But it means much more, its layers are nuanced. Back in my university days, while studying that great ancient language, our professor walked into class and said, “ma-shalomcah?” In his greeting and question he essentially asked us, “How is your peace?” or “How is your well-being?” It is, as you can see, a much deeper greeting demanding a much deeper reflection than if he had simply said, “Hello.”  It goes beyond our greeting of, “How are you?” For it is asking not how we feel, but how is the peace of our soul.

So, next time there is the opportunity to greet someone, take a moment to consider your language and maybe adjust it ever so slightly so that the love of God can enter in.

Monday, October 19, 2015

TRUE LOVE

YOU MIGHT NOT BELIEVE THIS, but when I was in high school I had a number of girlfriends and I loved each one intensely . . . or so I thought.

The reality was I was not in love, I was infatuated. Love is other-centered, whereas infatuation is self-centered. Infatuation is about getting, receiving, feeling good, thanks-getting, and of course, being the center of attention. Love on the other hand is about giving, offering, feeling safe, thanks-giving, and of course, making the other the center of attention. Infatuation is about taking control whereas love is about giving-up control. In summation, infatuation is about YOU and love is about the OTHER.

What is true in our earthly relationships is also true in our relationship with God. I have come to see, since my early days of following Jesus as Savior and Lord, many say we love God, when in fact our actions look more like infatuation than love.

Let’s take our “Date-Time” with the Lord, commonly referred to as our Worship Service. The Worship Service is our time to express our love to God, and I do believe that we are seeking to do so, but laid against what I wrote above, it often looks more like infatuation than love.  If you believe that this doesn’t refer to you please feel free to stop reading, but if you think this applies to the person sitting in front of you, then keep reading so you know what they’re going through as they read this.

Many of us, when we come to worship, if we are honest, are more focused upon ourselves, than God. We come to get more than to give. We come with the desire to feel good rather than the desire to encourage the other. We come to experience things our way rather than express things God’s way. To put it even a little stronger, we come self-centered instead of God-centered. What we think passes for love of God is sometimes infatuation of self. It is about YOU rather than HIM.

Please understand I am not seeking to make you, or me, feel bad. On the contrary, I want to call us to move from self-absorption to God-adoration. To move from simply being infatuated with God to loving Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

ENGAGEMENT!

I HAVE BEEN PRIVILEGED, over the past three months to officiate at three weddings. Each one quite different than the other, and each one incredibly special. As a pastor, I require a number of premarital sessions of interaction between the couple and myself and over the 38 years of ministry some aspects of those sessions have changed. Some include couples that are in the “neighborhood.” Some couples travel to meet with me, and more recently I have used video communication programs like Skype.

Though the methods have changed over the years very little has changed in the process and the material we cover. Our goal is not just to plan a beautiful wedding day, though we work at that, too, but our true goal is to create a marital environment that will be lasting. We work on developing those areas of the couple’s relationship that will lead to a successful and permanent (til death do us part) marriage.  We celebrate their relational strengths, and we concentrate on those areas that need growth.

Yes, it does take time and effort, but I have discovered that those couples that are willing to work diligently to develop a strong, healthy and God-centered marriage will run the better probability of enjoying a growing and deepening marital relationship. Sadly, I have found that the opposite is also true; fail to do the heavy lifting up front and you run a greater risk of being crushed under the blows that come to all marriages later on.

There is also a spiritual application for the church. The church is not only the Body of Christ, but maybe even more importantly, we are the Bride of Christ. The Apostle Paul writes, “I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him.” (2 Corinthians 11:2) The goal of the Apostle was to see the church develop so that he would be able to offer her as a beautiful bride without spot or wrinkle. (Ephesians 5:25-31)  In fact, in the Ephesian passage, the whole earthly marital relationship is but a living example of the Lord’s love relationship with His church.

So, here’s your part: do all that is necessary, as part of the Bride of Christ, to help ready each other for a beautiful wedding ceremony, for is that not what the engagement season is all about? (Revelation 19:7-9; 21:21; 22:17)

Sunday, October 04, 2015

SLAMMING DOORS

MY MOM AND DAD USED TO SAY TO ME, “Don’t let the screen door slam!” She was usually referring to the screen door that had a spring closure on it. I have done my best since then to not let the door slam, and of course I tried to teach my children to follow suit . . . a dad can hope.


This past Tuesday evening I was sitting in my study when I began to hear doors slamming shut. Peering out my window I could see dozens of cars bringing kids to AWANA. I realized for each slammed door there was a child being brought to church to learn God’s Word, to hide it in their hearts and to have a good time doing so.  All of a sudden the slamming of doors and the reality they represented brought joy to my ears.  I wanted to hear more and more slamming doors.


I then got dreaming . . . wouldn’t it be great to hear slamming car doors on a regular basis around here?  Can you imagine, Sunday mornings with the slamming of car doors signaling the arrival of people eager to worship and fellowship together?  How about, Wednesday evenings with the slamming of cars doors representing students coming to youth group and men arriving for Bible study? How wonderful, on Thursday mornings announcing the arrival of women coming to Bible study or to White Cross.


Hear the sound? Get the picture? Would you join me in a prayer of thanksgiving for the car doors being slammed? Would you join me in praying for more cars and more doors and more people excited about what God is doing while we’re slamming doors?


Sorry, Mom and Dad, I think these doors are different. But I will still try not to slam the screen door.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

ENTER IN

A FAMILY MEMBER KNOCKS on your door, your response, “Come on in!” A rapping comes upon the pastor’s door and he responds, “Come on in.”  A friend passes by your restaurant table and you offer, “Have a seat and join us.”  A neighbor is walking down the street with an armload of groceries and as you are driving by, you stop and say, “Jump in and I’ll give you a ride home.”

Inviting someone to enter in with you is an act of kindness. By doing so you are saying, I recognize you, I welcome you, I want to spend time with you, I want to help you. It’s a good feeling to be noticed; to be welcomed, included and invited in.

Jesus calls us to enter in. He welcomes us. He says, “Come to me all who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) It is such great news that Jesus calls us to Himself, not only to give us rest, but to set us free from sin and death. (Ephesians 2:1-10)
Now, here comes this even more amazing news; Jesus not only desires to give us rest, He not only saves us from our sin, but He invites us to enter into the Holy of Holies; a place only the High Priest could enter at a special time and with special preparations. But Jesus, by His death and resurrection, has become the perfect and eternal High Priest and has invited us into this place. The writer of Hebrews describes it this way:

Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.  Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.  And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,  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. (10:19-25)


As the “therefore” states, we can enter in. Therefore, I encourage you do just that, enter into the holy place where Jesus is dwelling with the Father. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. (James 4:7-8)

Sunday, August 30, 2015

POPPY

THERE IS A CABIN AT MOUNT HERMON that must have been built by a distant relative of the creator of the Mystery Spot. It is a quaint place; in other words it’s small, but what is most special about Poppy is that you can never lose anything. The reason is because it will all eventually end up in the same corner.

I’m not sure of the reason, whether it was shoddy workmanship, or just age (it’s an old little place), but I am pretty sure that it is that old nemesis of a poor foundation and eroding ground. Anyway you look at it, it’s a place that seems off-kilter at best or dangerous at worse.

Poor construction on unstable ground can have disastrous consequences, besides of how it makes a place look. What is true about a physical structure like Poppy, can also be true about the spiritual structure of our soul. What we build upon and how we build will affect the whole of our life. We can build upon a firm faith in a strong and redemptive God using the truth of the Scriptures as material with which we can frame and outfit our spiritual home.

My encouragement to each of us is that we build a spiritual home that passes inspection and that can be left as a legacy from one generation to another. A place that can provide sanctuary from the storms of life. A place where people can find nurture and thankfulness. And a home of hope for all who would pass by or enter in.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

THAT DREADED DAY

THERE WAS A DAY I DREADED.  No, not the trip to the dentist, though that was dreaded, too. The day I am referring to is Back-to-School-Shopping! I hated it with a passion! Not because it signaled the end of summer, but rather it signaled long hours in the dressing room with my mom bringing me ever larger pairs of pants.  You see to say it nicely, I had to shop in the “husky” section of the store. All-in-all it was a mixture of humiliation and a deep desire to be instantly 20 pounds smaller.

Of course shopping in the “husky” section also meant that I would not be wearing any cool clothes the first day of school. For some reason back then they couldn’t make cool clothes in large sizes. I never could figure that one out. Oh well.

The reason for my walk down memory lane was not to make you feel sorry for my plump little self (I think that’s an oxymoron), rather it’s to bring us to the point of seeing that there are things more important than body size and cool clothes.

The reality is our culture puts too much weight on weight and what we wear. Yes, it’s important to be in good health, but when we use girth or glamour as a guide to goodness we have missed our call as those who bear the image of God.

Our call is to love one another . . . period. Our call is to be people of encouragement.  Our call is to look upon the heart, just like God does. As recorded in 1 Samuel 16:7 “ . . . for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."

So, my dear reader, if you need to lose few pounds, feel free to do so. If you want to wear some of the latest fashions, go ahead (just watch the godliness factor). If you want to exercise and run a marathon, by all means go for it. But remember, when all is said and done, and we stand before the throne in whose Image we were created, He will look at our heart. Let’s get it in good shape.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

HOVERING

RECENTLY, I HAD THE OPPORTUNITY to officiate at an outdoor wedding. While waiting for the wedding to commence I noticed one of the guests of the wedding flying a drone. While I think drones are pretty cool technology, albeit without some drawbacks, I was a little concerned about having a drone hovering behind me filming the wedding.  Thankfully, that did not take place. I don’t mind being watched over from above, but I would rather it be God, rather than some unknown drone operator.

To be honest, there are times I do feel God’s watchful Presence, and then there are times that I do not. I suppose it derives from the idea that if God is watching over me, then all things should be sweetness and light, but sweetness and light is not always the case.

This past week I was reading in Genesis 1 where we read about God creating the heaven and the earth and all its subsequent parts, including we humans. As I was reading  the opening verses I was caught by verse 2. “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.”

Here’s what grabbed me: though the earth was formless and empty (void) God was there. Though the deep waters were shadowed in darkness, the Holy Spirit was hovering there. This short verse can bring each of us sustained hope. When our lives are formless and empty, when our lives are shrouded in darkness over fathomless deep, God is there!  God is creating out of the emptiness. The Spirit is present in our darkness.

My prayer for you today, is that when you experience emptiness and darkness that you will also experience the very real presence of God hovering over you with His grace and His love and His recreating power at work within the depths of your soul.

Monday, August 10, 2015

HELL FIRE!!!

THE PHOTOGRAPH WAS TERRIFYING. Staring down a long road through a corridor of 100 foot trees and there up ahead was the Rocky Fire. The flames were above the treetops on both sides and there in the middle of the road was what can only be described as a 100 foot tall tornado of fire. It looked like the doorway to hell!

Then I saw another photograph, truly not as frightening, but no less terrifying. In the picture was a small piece of charred ground marked with some little flags and a member of the fire crew seeking to find the cause of the fire. At the time I am writing this, the fire has decimated 62,000 acres and destroyed 24 homes, numerous buildings and threatening thousands of others. That small patch of scorched earth bore the cause of all the destruction. A carelessly tossed cigarette? A spark from a passing vehicle? The deliberate act of some crazed person?  Time will tell.

As I looked at those two photographs my mind almost immediately went to the passage from the New Testament book of James where James is writing about the power of the tongue; the power to heal and destroy. He writes,

“Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” (James 3:5-6)

The littlest spark, even the most unintended one, can give birth to a most destructive fire. Thus, it is of critical importance for us to guard with due diligence this instrument that can bring great death. But let us also remember that God is the creator of the tongue and it can be used to build-up and to bring life.

If we are going to ignite anything, let us ignite the love of God in each other’s hearts.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

BELIEVE IT AND NOT

WE’VE HEARD OF OR SEEN THE STRANGE things at
Ripley’s Believe It or Not. The Three-Legged-Man, the Two-Headed-Sheep, the Tattooed-Man with the Forked-Tongue. All pretty weird and even gross at times. And most of it truly unbelievable!

It’s one thing to walk into Ripley’s and say, “I don’t believe it!” It’s quite another thing to be walking through the Word of God and say, “I don’t believe it!” Yet, let’s be honest, most of us have said that very thing, including myself.

Yes, even I, one of the pastors of Felton Bible Church, have read something in Scripture and disbelieved its reality. Not so much the events like creation or the flood, and definitely not the salvific work of Jesus Christ upon the cross.

No, the things I often have difficulty with is when the psalmist writes, “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.” (Psalm 34:17) And there are others that fall into the same category. There are those  passages that just don’t seem to match up to the realities in my own life, the lives of others I know, the lives affected by tragic death of Maddy Middleton, and in the places where women and children are being slaughtered in the name of some god or country.

It’s tough to read that God saves people who call on Him out of their troubles when the troubles continue. Yes, yes, I know that God is still saving many and there is the ultimate salvation in Jesus Christ (Psalm 145:18; Romans 10:13) but it’s still tough!

So, where is the hope in all this? Well, not unsurprisingly, it of course comes from God’s Word which calls us to place our hope in Him, His strength, righteousness, justice and goodness; Consider Psalm 133:20-22,

We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield.
In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name.
May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, 
even as we put our hope in you.

Thus, we wait in and with hope!

PLANTING THE RIGHT SEEDS!

MY KIDS have at one time or another wanted a dog.  The story usually took form something like this,
“Dad, can we get a dog?”
“NO!”
“Please!  Please!”
“NO!!”
“We promise to feed him, walk him, play with him, even clean-up the poop.”
“NO!!!”
“Please? Please? Please? You’re the best dad in the WHOLE world!”
“Well, ONLY if you PROMISE to do all those things.”
“We PROMISE!!!”
“Yea! We’re getting a dog! We’re getting a dog!”

Of, course you already know the REST of the story: Dad fed the dog, walked the dog, played with the dog and yes, cleaned-up the poop!  Needless to say, the dog didn’t stay around too long!  Sure, we tried other pets, all with the same result.

So, this old man has finally found the right pet for our family, deer!  You don’t  have to feed them, or walk them, or play with them, and usually you don’t have to clean up their poop.  They are the perfect pet  . . .  except for one thing. Even though they feed themselves they eat all the things we wish they wouldn’t, like our roses, raspberries and hydrangeas! I am sure you get the picture.

English: Monarch butterfly(Danaus plexippus) o...Here’s the good news. Last year Linda found something they don’t like (no, not a shotgun) they don’t eat zinnias! So, this year we planted the right seeds and got lots of zinnias, and we’re already planning for next year, more zinnias!  They’re pretty flowers and bring lots of color to the yard, are nice to cut and bring in the house, and they even look good on the Communion Table.

The secret to a productive garden starts with two key activities. First, preparing the soil and second, planting the right seeds.  The same is true when it comes to producing a productive garden in the Lord’s creation.

There are many opportunities we have for working in the Lord’s Garden which is the souls of those around us, whether those souls have been bearing a plentiful harvest in the past or whether they have yet to receive the seeds of God’s grace and love.

In this edition of In Formation, I want to share with you some of the wonderful opportunities which are available for you here in this portion of God’s Garden we call Felton Bible Church. I encourage you with my whole heart to help us till the soil well and to plant the right seeds.
Here are some wonderful opportunities in which you can get blessed while being a blessing!

Help till the “soul” and plant seeds of God’s Word at our AWANA program! Each year I meet adults in whom were planted the seeds of God’s Word 25-30 years ago and those seeds are still bearing fruit. You can be part of a great group of gardeners and even maybe harvesters, just see our master gardener, Harvey Newman, (also known as the AWANA Commander) about how you can be part of this great opportunity. You can email him at: awana@feltonbiblechurch.org.

How about helping to plant the right seeds on Sunday morning in the lives our children who attend Children’s Church and Sunday school? It is a special opportunity to help them continue in what they have begun to learn in the church service. If you would be part of this life-changing time you can contact our Christian Education Coordinator Brenda Tanner at: Children@feltonbiblechurch.org.

You say you can’t give time every week, well I happen to know of some other opportunities that don’t demand a weekly commitment, take for example our summer Vacation Bible School. It’s one of the most exciting weeks of the year here at FBC.  This past year we witnessed God’s seed planted in hundreds of kids and also saw those seeds sprout in the lives of 79 kids! You can see contact Brenda Tanner if you want more information for being involved next summer.

Do desire to help to plant more seeds and bear more fruit? Join the wonderful opportunity given through the ministry of Operation Christmas Child. (Click the link to OCC) If you want to be part of the local action in our garden here at FBC contact Mary Hoff at SLMGHoff@aol.com. If you would like to take the opportunity to plant seeds through prayer you can email your desire to be part of our local OCC prayer team at: occprayerrequestsforscruz@gmail.com.

Finally, there are numerous ways you can plant the right seeds by serving as a coach for a kids sports team, or volunteering at one of our local elementary schools.

So, there you have it!  Great ways for you to be involved in God’s Garden helping to till the “soul” and plant the right seeds of the Gospel. I’m praying for you to take up the hoe and join us in this glorious work with the goal of seeing a tremendous harvest for our Lord. Thanking you and rejoicing with you now as we look forward to a glorious future!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

DROUGHT!

DROUGHTS COME NY NOBODY’S PLAN, EXCEPT GOD’S. Sure, some people blame global warming, that may be the case, but in reality the nature that God created is responding as God designed it to respond. Therefore, the drought we are experiencing is either caused directly by the hand of God (judgement?) or by God’s original design of how nature works.

We might not be able to do anything to stop the drought but there are some things we can do to lessen it effects upon our lives. We can find ways to better store the water that we do have. We can find ways to use less water as in taking shorter showers or watering our yards less often and for shorter period of time. We can also save and reuse the water we have like catching the shower water in a bucket and using it to water our plants, or do the same with the water we have left in our sink after washing the dishes.

As with physical droughts, we can also experience spiritual droughts. Sometimes they are a result of poor decisions we have made, we can call that sin. Sometimes they may be a result of God’s activity in our lives, often referred to as the “Dark Night of the Soul. (See Saint John of the Cross’s book by the same title.)

As with the physical drought there are some things we can do to help us during our spiritual droughts. The first thing is to acknowledge and accept that spiritual droughts happen, and not always as a result of sin or of God’s judgement. Second, we adjust our lives so that we allow for the spiritual water of the Holy Spirit to be saved up and used rightly. That means not rushing through our “spiritual” times with God. We must allow the Holy Spirit to speak to us so that as the Psalmist writes is Psalm 139:23-14,
Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Third, we must save the spiritual water that we already possess. Again, as the Psalmist writes in Psalm 119:11, “Your Word I have hidden in my heart so I might not sin against You.”

Droughts happen, physical and spiritual. There may not be anything we can do to stop them, but there are things we can do to lessen their effect. May God grant you His grace to do so.