Our Preference or God’s Wisdom?

Ever since the beginning of time God has given us directions to help us connect the dots, crucial dots to keep us on the journey of faith so that we can finish well.

One of his directives is; “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.”      (Hebrews 10:24,25).

It is interesting to note that these verses come under a heading in the chapter entitled; “A Call to Persevere in Faith”.  One of the meanings for the word ‘persevere’ found in http://www.dictionary.com is; maintain a purpose in spite of difficulty, obstacles, or discouragement, continue steadfastly.

We can connect the dot; body of believers, to the next dot; keeping the faith, and believing in His purpose for us, but far too often we allow the discouragement of life to separate us from people.  This is where we can veer off the path and may disconnect.  This is the place where the enemy waits.  Wander off alone, and we are an easy target for false everything!  We cannot persevere alone, “for every goal reached there is a friend in the wings”.

Many may argue that we can declare our faith and remain in obedience to Christ without a church body by practicing church at home, or we can find the Body within the fellowship of a small group Bible Study.  These practices enhance our collective gathering, but should not be relied on alone.  The danger is; our preference as opposed to God’s wisdom.  The very idea of practicing faith without the Body reveals our inability to trust that God knows best.  Our decision to make our own church can come from a place of arrogance, which uncovers an unwillingness to be accountable, first to Christ, secondly – to each other.  Please be very careful and test everything with what the Word of God says (1 Thessalonians 5:14 – 23).

By neglecting to gather together we disobey Christ, announce our distrust, insult the cross.  How do we learn to love one another if we are alone?  Further, defaulting to independent choice, and creating a family we are comfortable with is trusting in our own strength, and the danger of a clique or a prejudicial group may follow.

There have been some very discouraging events in my life lately.  I have found it difficult at times to want to go to church, because it means I may need to engage in conversation.  As I struggle with my own weaknesses I turn to God and ask him to put one foot in front of the other, that I might obey his commands.  I get up and go and join my family in Christ, and look for Christ in the crowd.  I get up and go and join my family in Christ and listen for His voice, and He never disappoints.  The times I have hurt the most and have chosen to participate in worship has revealed the meaning of ‘sacrificial praise’, and the mystery of Christ has become clearer.

The enemy may tell you that you don’t belong, that you’re not quite ready to be part of an elite social club.  This is a lie from Satan.  The body of Christ is not an elite social club, dig into God’s Word and find out what God says about the Body.

And have you ever considered; you might be the face that someone sees Christ in?  Do not stay away any longer.  Let us persevere together.

1 Timothy 4:16
Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

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Living Vertical in a Horizontal World

Good morning Jesus. It has been an interesting week, holding on tight to your hand and walking with you while you open my eyes and lift my chin gently upwards with the tips of your fingers.  You keep me living vertical.

Windows and doors open all around me, revealing images of this world’s reality, of our perilous soul condition.  Objects of desire are blotting out the Son, blind sheep still wander.  The weight of it wraps around my feet and threatens to keep me horizontal.  The pain of it tries to drown me, but you severed my ball and chain on the cross, and we walked into freedom from the tomb.

Since you joined the Father and left your Spirit here, there’s a lot of seeking going on, but not for you.  Your truth has been traded for brighter lights, bigger toys, man’s temporary fascinations.  As if we can compete with you and your design, your purpose and your plan? Have we forgotten the cycle of history repeating itself?  Our struggles and our triumphs are not original, or the first, or the last, but You are.

You hand crafted our intricate, brilliant minds in your image, kissed our lungs with air and yet some can’t even bring themselves to speak your name.  So much safer and hip to use the buzz words of the day, so non-committal, so plastic intelligence, empty, and most of all – powerless.  But my soul is not downcast.

You delight to say my name and called me before the earth felt the warmth of the sun.  The realization that I even bleep on your radar slays me, that I am so much smaller than the stars, yet matter more to you than the entire universe put together.  I am but a speck of star-dust orbiting around you.  You are a mystery magnet I cannot explain. I am in awe of you and go deeper, past the velvet curtains of your solar systems to the beginning and the end, into your heart.

How do I know you are real?  How do I know there is one God, and that you love me?  How do I know I have nothing to fear when I put my trust in you?  You have proven yourself over and over and over again.  Every living cell bears your seal, every generation has witnessed the majesty of your handiwork.

The closer I come to you, the faster you run to me.  I don’t need to see the exact lines of your face to feel you here beside me.  I am not ashamed, and I will not apologize for believing in a baby born in Bethlehem, born of God and born of man.

As the world grows darker, as the pages of time draw to an earthly close, even though my body may lie down before the trumpet sounds, keep my spirit living vertical.  I love you.

Orange and Blue

Was kneeling beside the bed talking to God.  I looked up and saw the dead orange maple seeds clinging to the bare bone branches.  But there in behind was that incredible, trustworthy blue sky backdrop.  P.S.  We don’t live in Vancouver.

I think that’s what I must look like when I am walking in my own strength, dead and orange and clingy.  And there’s the Lord in all His grandeur, vibrant and true blue, waiting in the wings to envelope me in His arms when I finally learn to trust.

Orange and blue.  Those colors go together amazingly well, something you don’t see much of in home decor.  I smiled as I looked around our bedroom, blue and orange.  I know it sounds crazy but I had inadvertently designed our bedroom after the pattern outside our window.

I’ve been feeling kind of sorry for myself, discouraged about some of the gifts God has given, not being used.  And yet, as soon as I released that thought I heard Him say something.

You’re right, Lord, I am using them, they are just not fitting into the box we live in.  But we don’t LIVE in this box.  I’d rather our relationship be ALIVE than do something simply for the sake of doing it, or because it is the trendy thing to do, or for someone else’s approval.

Then I thought about some of the people I’ve been discouraged for, and I heard Him say something else.

You’re right Lord, discouragement is a sign we’re walking in our own strength again.  Trusting in our own wisdom.  And it’s not even close to wise.  Wise people don’t write people off before the end is even here.  “It is a good thing you don’t do that to us” I sighed.

“I’m sorry” I said out loud.  I got up off my knees and went out into the living room.

I trust you Jesus with what you’ve given me.  Thank you for what you are using it for even if I can’t see that right now.  I trust your timing and I trust you with those people you’ve put in my life.  And as I learn to be more like you, as I talk to you and practice being ALIVE in you, I trust that you’re going to show me some amazing things.  You already have.

Orange and Blue.