Thursday, November 8, 2012

Training in the "new normal"

Now is the opportune time for training as a man or woman of prayer. The combination of recent events - choosing of leaders, chipping away at legislative and societal promotion of Biblical morality, and the chasm of debt due to enthronement of money as a god - yields golden opportunities for God's people. Now is the time for us to keep our bodies as the Holy Spirit's temple, to praise God for the workings of His hand, and ask for mercy as time rolls on.

Regarding our bodies, Oswald Chambers writes in today's selection of My Utmost for His Highest, "He [the Spirit] will look after the unconscious part [of our lives] that we know nothing of; but we must see that we guard the conscious part for which we are responsible" (p. 313). For, using our bodies as His temple, He prays through us (Romans 8:26)! How do we then keep pure? We trust that Christ's forgiveness is complete, which it is; we love the LORD our God by setting Him above our pride and fear, which He is; and we love all men as Christ loved (agape) us and as our neighbors, which they are. Make God's reality yours.

Regarding praise, I have found that to choose to praise God for all things not only follows what countless saints have done, but also transforms and renews my mind. Yes, many transpirations make no sense from a human's perspective. Yet think of this: the eternal God will reign and guard His saints no matter what, and He both sees and is weaving the inestimably gorgeous tapestry of time, of which we see only the tangle of threads on the back side. That is walking by faith.

Regarding supplication, God hears and answers those who enthrone Him. Isaiah writes (64:6-9): "But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. And there is no one who calls on Your name, who stirs himself up to take hold of You; for You have hidden Your face from us, and have consumed us because of our iniquities. But now, O LORD, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter; and all we are the work of Your hand. Do not be furious, O LORD, nor remember iniquity forever; indeed, please look - we are all Your people!" Amen.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Pondering the rift

God speaks in Isaiah 54:7, "For a mere moment I have forsaken you, but with great mercies I will gather you." Also, Paul speaks of God thus in 2 Timothy 2:13, "If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself." And again, James writes (4:11a), "Do not speak evil of one another, brethren." These texts set the eternal perspective of God's faithfulness against the conception today that is just the opposite. I don't know all the reasons that people claim as grounds for divorce, but Scripturally they boil down to pride on the part of one or both parties, and subsequent contempt for covenant.

"I was unhappy because my spouse doesn't appreciate me for who I am." -- Granted, there are many ungrateful living beings. They're called humans. All of us have an entitlement complex, but ours is sufficient for us to deal with. Trying to make the other one grateful is a task best left to a greater power; what I can change is my own gratefulness. Change, the wise have said, begins in the one who perceives, and thankfulness engenders kindness.

"I'm better off alone." -- Granted, no other person can share certain feelings and experiences. But finance, family stabilization, and psychology attest that it is far better to stick closer than brothers (Proverbs 18:24). As God would have each of His children with Him throughout eternity, so also let us look at marriage as a practice run for heaven.

Thank God that the covenant oath does supersede our feelings - let it be as unimaginable for our love (actions) to fail as it is impossible for God's love of us to fail!