Unfixable Things, [Desperation]

sisyphis-bwLife is jam-packed with problems.  Money, marriage, children, work, health, church and so much more.  In Greek mythology, we find lessons from a man named Sisyphus.  He was the king of Corinth, and known to be a rascal. He was conniving and arrogant  (a good description, “hubris”). The gods hate hubris in people.

Somewhere along the line, he really ticked someone off and he was condemned for all eternity to roll a huge boulder up a large hill.  He would toil and sweat, to reach the top, only to have that boulder roll down the hill.  He would have to start all over again– endlessly repeating this work. Up and down– forever and ever. (Apparently– he’s at it today.)

I suggest that there are quite a few things that are inherently unfixable. It certainly seems like we are going to resolve them.  It may even seem like we’re making some headway.  When we get close, our boulder rolls down the hill. And we stand there looking dumbfounded, wondering what we can do differently next time. Often when we are aware of the tedium and the monotony– the repetitive effort; it seems about time that we do something different.

But there are also hard, and ghastly things, issues that we will never change.  We try, and then we try harder.  But it is apparent we can never make things so they click.  These are simply unfixable from our point of view. We’re completely– “over our head.” And, guess what?  We really are.

But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things. 42 Only one thing is important. Mary has chosen the better thing, and it will never be taken away from her.”

Luke 10:41-42, NCV

Making things work should never be your top priority.  We face problems that in ourselves we will never correct.  I must tell you this, we can’t turn these issues into our primary focus.

  1. The Lord Jesus is to be all that we seek.  He is our first priority. We are to concentrate on His dear presence– above all else.
  2. Perhaps, instead of seeking solutions for our lives, we should be seeking His face?
  3. Apart from His power we will forever labor and toil.

“Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.”

Philippians 4:13, MSG

We are to talk to Him about these things that perplex us. I would suggest that these convoluted problems are the Fathers’ way of driving us to Him.  Eternity is now our real home, and we must come to the place in God where we seek Him now, just like we will in heaven.  We can quit rolling our boulder up the hill.  We will cease and desist. Instead we will trust and seek His face.

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should goI will counsel you with my eye upon you. ” 

Ps. 32:8, ESV

“But we are citizens of heaven and are eagerly waiting for our Savior to come from there. Our Lord Jesus Christ 21 has power over everything, and he will make these poor bodies of ours like his own glorious body. ” 

Phil. 3:20-21, CEV

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Living Incandescently, [Light]

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“7 But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.”

1 John 1:7, NLT

Sometimes my mental illness interferes with “living in the light.” I can get surly and sullen. I avoid people and I think I complain a lot. I’ve also become the master of manic highs and ‘snake belly’ lows, and I’m not fun to be around. But I do wish to be different, I really do want to live in the light.

1) When I do so, I have a special connection with the Lord (He is in the light) and that is the ultimate goal. But light is the vital common denominator. I can’t continue in darkness and fellowship with Him while I entertain any darkness. He doesn’t work that way. I’m supposed to live in the same lighr as He.

“For you have delivered my soul from death, yes, my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.”

Psalm 56:13

2) When I walk in the light, I will have be able to have open fellowship with my brothers and sisters. This is to me almost as precious as having fellowship with Lord. That “fellowship” (trans. koinonia) describes a mutual sharing, or harmonizing with each other. Almost like a concert with the musical instruments making a pleasant melody with each other. Some are pianos, some are oboes, flutes, trumpets or tubas, etc. We are His orchestra.

We come together in koinonia and beautiful things happen.There is a special sound I hear when I’m in koinonia with my brothers and sisters who love Jesus. It’s a healing sound, and very real to me. I hear it especially when they fellowship with each other.

3) When I’m living in the light I am cleansed from my sin by Jesus’ blood. The cleansing is certain by faith, The word “cleanses’ is present tense, He is always cleaning me up. “All sin” reveal the entire scope of His work. I rejoice in this and it gives me confidence in the Lord.

This verse, 1 John 1:7 clarifies things for us, and gives us insight into God’s us the importance of walking in the light of the Lord. It reinforces the fellowship of the saints. And to top it all off, it describes the blood of Jesus being actively applied to my many sins.

“Father, I so desperately want to take possession of this Word. Enable me by your Holy Spirit to do this for your glory. Amen.”

 

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Making Our Way Home, [Perseverance]

Making your way to heaven

The Lord Jesus has decided to build his kingdom with the broken things of this earth.  As men, we are pretty much convinced that we are to build with the strong, the talented, the personable and the winsome.  We insist on building with decidedly unbroken people.

But God’s true kingdom  (not the one we know of) is inviting the losers!  LOSERS!  This is most certainly not how we would do it.  But it seems that heaven is now filling up with broken people, and He is transforming them into broken [fixed] Christians.  His policy of ministry means that He will never “quench a smoking candle, nor break a bruised reed.”  He allows for our weaknesses, and loves us through them.

It is the sick who need the physician, not the healthy.  God is a competent specialist at transforming the “weakness-wickedness” of our lives.  He knows exactly what to prescribe.  Sometimes, he will put us on the shelf for a season.  Our diet will change, as we learn to feed on the Word.  Slowly, spiritual health will come, and we will grow spiritually.

But realize this, that your life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in one pretty, well preserved package. But instead, it is to skid across the finish line sideways, thoroughly used up, worn out, leaking oil, engine smoking and sputtering, and shouting, “Geronimo!”  And we will all  be there by God’s grace alone.

This brings me comfort. I must confess, I’m not a Ferrari, but a old jalopy.

ybic, Bryan

 

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The Test of a Profound Silence, [Extreme Faith]

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But Jesus gave her no reply, not even a word. Then his disciples urged him to send her away. “Tell her to go away,” they said. “She is bothering us with all her begging.”

Matthew 15:23, NLT

This is exceptional.  Jesus is always engaging people around him.  He teaches and preaches, fully energized by the Holy Spirit.  He is a veritable hurricane of goodness and love.  He heard every request, and healed every disease.  But yet.  On this occasion he is completely silent.

The woman’s piteous crying, and begging was seemingly ignored.  “If Jesus won’t respond to me, I will go to his followers.”  She presses, and cajoles.  She falls on her knees.  Have you ever seen a person truly beg?  It is a very disconcerting experience.  Yet, Jesus does nothing, in spite of being able to do all things.

She is a Canaanite; a pagan widow, and her daughter was demonized.  Curiously, there was a large heathen temple to Eshmun, the Canaanite god of healing, was just three miles down the road.  But her desperate cry was for something real.  Something authentic and real that would heal her daughter’s affliction.  Only Jesus has what she needs.

Jesus is astonishingly silent.  He stands and sees, he hears her cries.  She is sobbing, clutching at the disciples robes, disheveled and distressed.  It was a desperate scene. Very ugly and very sad.

Jesus responds to his disciple’s plea.  Then there is something that seems like a negotiation.  A protracted conversation with a ‘seemingly’ reluctant Messiah.  It is somewhat disturbing as we listen.  Jesus seems to treat her callously.  I have always been mystified by this, troubled by his behavior. I can only conclude that what he did was necessary in some way.

But the Son of God sees through this. 

And then she makes an incredible statement.  Jesus is suddenly amazed at her faith in him.  This faith is what he has been waiting to see. She may have known despair, but that isn’t enough. Jesus leads her from the edge. Until she moved to a position of belief, nothing will change. Faith seems to change everything.  This is key.  It isn’t her words that alters things– it is her heart!  At that moment, Jesus declares a healing for her daughter.  She is now free from the demon’s grip.

So often I have also felt the pressure from the darkness.  I am often embattled and driven into a despair that seems to cripple me.  But Jesus is waiting for me, to come to him through an unflinching faith.  My good works can never, ever be enough.  I’m just like a dog, waiting for food under the table.  I have little, if any, decorum or sophistication.  There is nothing at all, to commend me to him. Nothing at all.

“Our Lord sometimes yet seems to be silent to His people when they cry to Him. To all their earnest supplications He answers not a word. Is His silence a refusal? By no means. Ofttimes, at least, it is meant only to make the suppliants more earnest, and to prepare their hearts to receive richer and greater blessings. So when Christ is silent to our prayers, it is that we may be brought down in deeper humility at His feet, and that our hearts may be made more fit to receive heaven’s gifts and blessings.”

–J.R. Miller

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