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.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

TO WHOM MUCH IS GIVEN

I’M TRULY AMAZED! I’ve just discovered that I’m in the top .08% when it comes to my household income!  That makes me the 4,516,051st richest person in the world!  Who would have guessed? Now, it must also be noted that part of my household income also includes what my wife brings in through her business, still, I am a little overwhelmed . . . but truthfully, sadly so.

According to my salary and benefits I make about $50.00 an hour, while the average worker in Zimbabwe makes $0.53! I know that it most likely costs less to live in Africa and there isn’t that much to buy, but I can’t  help feeling guilty about my wealth versus the wealth of those who live in 2/3rds of the world.

As I have been thinking the past few weeks about poverty in the world and its attendant inequities, my mind has been drawn to Jesus’ words recorded in Luke 12:48, “But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”

Many of us will say, “Well, I give my 10% in the offering. And I even give a little more when there’s a special offering, that’s what the Lord requires.” But it seems to me that Jesus is always calling His followers to go above and beyond, just like He did for us! According to Jesus’ words if we have been entrusted with much, then I must be ready to give much.  This giving comes in the form of monetary gifts, but also in gifts of compassionate service to those with less.  The one with the strong back helps the one with the weak. The one with knowledge help the one seeking knowledge. The one with a car gives a rise to the one without.

To put it another way, “We have been blessed to be a blessing.”

By the way if you want to see where you stand among the wealthy in the world, point your browser to: http://www.globalrichlist.com/

Sunday, July 05, 2015

POOR PLANNING

I LOVE TO WALK DOWN PACIFIC AVENUE, except for one thing, the panhandlers. It’s not that I am against their place there, or even their asking for assistance, it’s that I feel guilty for not being able to help all of them, or to take the time to get to know them. I guess I could say that I am overwhelmed by the problem.

There are so many poor. I can understand the Lord Jesus’ words, “The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. (Mark 14:7) There’s another point worth considering as well and that is to define “poor.” There are many poor in Santa Cruz, and not all of them panhandle. We have poor in our valley, though they may not always be seen. And then there are the poor of the world.

Is poor not having a place to live? Is it not having enough food for your family? Is it not having the right clothing so you can go to school, or to have a good job? Is being poor not being able to go a doctor? Is being poor not having an adequate and clean water supply?  Yes, to all of these and so much more.  The problem is overwhelming and there are no easy answers, and there are quite a few bad ones.

What is the answer? I don’t have the answer to the problem of poverty in our community, country or our world, but I do have a plan to get us headed in the right direction and it means going back to Mark 14:7.

The plan starts with the end of the verse, “But you will not always have me.” We must start our work with the poor with Jesus. Before we spend time with getting to know the poor, we need to get to know Jesus. It is by His heart, His wisdom, and His power that we will be able to effectively help those in need.

So, here’s the plan: Spend time with the Master and then minister to the least of these. (Matthew 25:35-46)