- Are you struggling today under the weight of your life and the circumstances around you? Do you find it hard to see past the next steps?
- Have you considered what it must be like to finally reach home for good? Are you confident that God is good enough to "get you through" until that time?
- Are you in tune with your Father enough that when you are away from Him as you are now, your heart aches like those servicemen in Tokyo? What is at the center of your longing?
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
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God’s prophet Isaiah is carrying a pretty desolate message to Israel. They are condemned as a people without sight and hearing … but they would be better off deaf and blind and committed to the Lord then hearing and seeing with nothing to show for it. God goes so far as to say they have been looted and plundered by others and He will pour out his anger on them. And even then, they won’t listen to Him or seek His face. It’s an odd passage, I know, but I think there is a bigger point to be made here.
I happen to be writing this during the last week of Advent. The fourth candle to be lit (traditionally for the theme of love) still hasn’t burned, but so many are burning their own candles at both ends. We hurry and scrape and claw … and for what? We try to accumulate more “stuff” that we don’t need, and all too often ignore what is going on right in front of our faces. I’m afraid that my sight and hearing aren’t that much clearer than the sight and hearing of Isaiah’s audience. I’m just as guilty of paying too much attention to the wrong things and not enough to the One Reason we will light that final Advent candle. If I’m not careful, I could suffer the same fate as Israel.
I am privileged to know a young song writer by the name of Jess Ray. God has given her some incredible insight and a great passion to make Him known to everyone she meets. She wrote a song that I believe fits this theme well, and is the very reason I chose the title and passage I did for this entry. The song is simply titled That I Might Love You and it speaks of all the disoriented distraction this world offers against a soul’s desire to go intentionally deaf and blind so God’s love can become real. Here are the lyrics:
It calls to me and I so easily listen
So make me deaf that I might hear you
They dance for me and I choose to believe
So make me blind that I might see you
It is a plea I want to say with all my heart and mean it. If I do so sincerely, my travels on the Crooked Path will be focused more on God and less on me. He will increase; I will decrease. And that truly is the reason we light the candles on the Advent wreath … so we can reflect on Christ and the Way He alone provides.
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- What are you hearing these days? Is it drowning out the message God has for you, the one that will truly enrich your life?
- What are you seeing these days? Do you find yourself blinded to God because of all the glitz and glitter the world is trying to sell?
- Are you willing to risk going deaf and blind to everything and everyone but God so you can focus on Him and find He is the only Love you will ever need?
NIV - Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
In ancient times, when men went out to battle, they set up encampments in tents, often in some way or another encircling the command tent. It was the rallying point for orders and leadership. The general (or other commander) gathered there with his closest officers and advisors to plan what the army would or wouldn’t do during the course of an upcoming skirmish. The soldiers would see the flags and banners of their country and other symbols letting them know what was happening.
They would also be searching for a different sign, often with great anticipation. If, above all other flags, they saw the banner of their king, it was a cause for them to take heart and rejoice. Like the Magi, they recognized the banner of their leader and they would rally to him in a fresh way. Their king had taken up residence among them and would lead them personally into the battle.
When I was in college (oh so very long ago), I had the privilege of singing in one of the vesper choirs. Our accompanist was a talented woman who wrote, among other things, Christmas carols. One of these carols spoke of that special star rising up and bringing joy to all who saw it and recognized its significance. If I can recall correctly, the refrain went like this:
The weary men of war rejoice!
I think this captures the joy those Magi must have felt. They had studied the skies, ancient texts, and who knows what manner of sources for one specific purpose. They were looking for the sign indicating the promised Messiah King had arrived. And, when they saw it at long last, they spent the next couple of years following it to Judea. The fact that they stopped to inquire of Herod may indicate that the start “hid” from them for a time, which leads to the climax Matthew notes in this passage. When they came out from Herod, the start shown once again and guided them to their final destination. And that was a cause for great joy.
As I travel the Crooked Path, I need to look diligently for the signs of what God has in store for me. Some will be plain and some may be a bit obscured at times. But the signs will be there. And just like the Magi, I will find a sense of joy in them, because they point me to the only One who is the source of true joy, rest, and gladness. My King has taken up residence with me and the path I walk doesn’t seem so difficult anymore.
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- What sign are you looking for? Is it a sign that, when you see it, will cause you to rejoice with great joy like the Magi?
- If you look toward the center of your life, what banner is flying there? Is it a banner that causes you to take heart and rise up with renewed strength?
- Have you, like the Magi, been following a sign only to have it disappear for a season? Has that caused to you re-evaluate what that sign represents? Is it something you truly believe God will bring back and use to point you to Him?
NKJV - Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
- Are you still looking at your chains, wondering why they seem like they are still locked? Do you feel bound and alone, even though God has declared you free?
- What does the concept of having a “rear guard” mean to you? Is it a comforting thought to you knowing that somebody is watching behind you, so you can focus on what is ahead?
- Are you ready to go shout out the Good News of a personal Redeemer who is in the business of restoration? Your God reigns … what keeps you from acting like it?
NASB - Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by the Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.