Saturday, April 28, 2012

Greenland Looks Bigger on a Flat Map

Then Job replied to the Lord: “I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you. You asked, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’ It is I—and I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me. You said, ‘Listen and I will speak! I have some questions for you, and you must answer them.’ I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes. I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.” (Job 42:1-6, NLT)
Perception plays a big part in what we do and say.  If I perceive you are an open, honest person, I’m far more inclined to trust you than I am if you appear closed and aloof.  And, it has always been that way.  I don’t know if the signs were actually there, but our history books (at least the ones I had growing up) tell us that centuries ago, at the point where the Mediterranean Sea spills out into the vastness that is the Atlantic Ocean, maps showed warnings that advised, “Beyond this point, there be dragons.”

Speaking of maps, even modern ones present some challenges in terms of perception.  The island nation of Greenland (which, as you might know has little green about it), is located so far North that, when represented on a flat map, it looks almost the size of the North American continent.  I’d read that somewhere over the past month and, coupled with my previous thoughts about “I AM”, my thoughts of how we perceive things started spinning faster than most of the others.

All that drove me to Job, especially the end of his story.  I see the later chapters where God and Job are talking set up as if in a courtroom with the the wise old prosecutor pacing back and forth dealing out fact after fact that just nails the guy in the witness chair into silence.  In a way, that’s what God did and Job, having gained some valuable perspective, speaks what we read at the beginning of Chapter 42.  He has been personally humbled by the presence of “I AM” and now sees things with fresh eyes.

My journey along the Crooked Path could often use some perspective - especially the kind only God can bring.  If I, like Job, can humbly accept that kind of lesson, I will begin to see those around me in a different way.  And, seeing them as God sees them, I may find myself more accepting and compassionate about what they are going through on their own path.  Perspective - I don’t think I’ll look at a flat map again the same way.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Still Thinking About "I AM"

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
What is man that you are mindful of him,
And the son of man that you care for him?
(Psalm 8:2-4, ESV)

I have the great pleasure of living in a rural area where there is little man made light at night.  When it is very dark and clear, the skies light up in the most incredible way.  Frankly, we consider this "compensation" for my work requiring a commute of any distance or our church being a 40-mile round trip multiple times each week.  I think I understand a little more of what David saw when he looked into his own night sky thousands of years ago and contemplated the One who made it.  He probably started doing this as a shepherd on the hills outside of Bethlehem.  I'd bet lunch he did it when he was running from Saul.  I think a clear sky and a night of only natures' sounds can put anyone in this frame of mind.

The question being asked is one I find myself uttering quite often of late.  God has taken our family through a distinct period of learning opportunities and, it would appear, has given us a unique opportunity that we are taking.  Things surrounding this whole situation keep making me ask God, "Did you really drop this right into my lap?"  So, as I've considered again this week the weight of an "I AM" who is that personally interested and invested in me, it makes me just shake my head in awe and gratitude - kind of like the wonder I feel when I look at the sky while standing on my deck or in my yard.  The God who intentionally made that also wants a relationship with me, His creation.

As I travel the Crooked Path, I am reminded that I do not do so alone by any stretch.  The very God who spoke to Moses and said His name was "I AM" walks beside me, before me, behind me, and carries me.  I am a son of I AM ... and that is a very comforting thought.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Weight of "I AM"

You don't have to wait for the End. I am, right now, Resurrection and Life. The one who believes in me, even though he or she dies, will live. And everyone who lives believing in me does not ultimately die at all. Do you believe this? (John 11:25-26, The Message)

If I really were of a mind to make my brain hurt in a major way, I’d go beyond trying to read large portions of C.S. Lewis or Dallas Willard in single sittings and I’d contemplate the weight of the God of the Universe saying “I AM” to me.  I can somehow put things in an historical perspective when I read how He said that name to Moses.  I can begin to grasp when Jesus utters that phrase in all its wonder when they came for Him in the garden.  But when I turn those thoughts inward and try to connect the dots as to why that same God comes to me personally and says it in a thousand different ways, I feel like I want to run to the cabinet for at least four ibuprofen tablets.  Trying to say “it boggles the mind” just doesn’t quite explain it.

And yet, that is exactly what God does.  He comes to me … Mark Moore … in an intensely personal way and gently but clearly tells me over and over who He is.  He tells me to trust Him completely.  He tells me how much He loves me … so much that He faced down Death and won my very soul.  And He promises me that I am never alone.  That’s the very essence of Jesus message to Martha during the depth of her grief at losing her brother.

The Crooked Path can be an unsettling and sometimes frightening place.  In my travel, it is very comforting to note that, as my friend Camille Lewis said (her blog is on the main page), the sparrows in her planting area are watched over by God.  If the “I AM” takes His attention to that detail with one of the smallest creatures in the world, I’m pretty sure I can trust Him to get me through this life … and into the next one.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Empty ... Forever!

And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men.  But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.  He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.  Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.”  So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. (Matthew 25:5-8, ESV)
Three words - "He has risen" - one single word of joy in Greek.  This marked the beginning of change none of them could possibly fathom and yet would embrace with gladness.  The Crooked Path, having paused in reverence at the Cross, bursts forth in the boldness of a Risen Savior through the empty tomb ... empty forever assuring that Death has no hold on us again.

Friday, April 6, 2012

When Time Stopped

At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. (Matthew 27:45, NLT)
May you be willing to pause on the Crooked Path this Good Friday to consider what really happened during those three dark hours so long ago.