Faith Works Great When You Need An Umbrella

The clouds roll in and we get excited.  There is a storm coming and we need it.  We need the storm.  We need the moisture.  We need the snow.

But the storm does something else.  It surrounds us.  It presses us.  The storm covers up all that defines us.

For a moment (a long moment), while we are waiting for the picture of beauty; while we are hoping for the excitement of the snow and the promise of a great season, all we can see is the cloud.

There is no mountain.  Only storm.

There is no beauty.  Only threat.

There is no majesty.  Only fog.

Thus the necessity of faith.

The man poor in spirit looks at the surrounding storm and sees only the storm.

The man of faith looks at the cloud and sees a mountain.
A mountain full of snow.
A mountain full of life.
A mountain full of hope.

I invite you to look up today.  God is doing something amazing right in front of you!

Exodus 13:21 “By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light…”. 

God, I see the storm.  I want to see the Mountain!  Help me, please.

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Christians, Politics, and Growth

I know you are bombarded during this election season with heated, one-sided political posts.  I am not going to tell you for whom you should vote.  I just want to remind you where God is during the election.

The emperor of Rome from 54 – 68 A.D. was Nero.  He did not love Christians.  In fact, Nero blamed the Christians for the burning of Rome and set out to publicly destroy them in horrible ways.  (EyeWitness to History).  (Of course, this was after he had his mother killed, and his wife, and his brother, I think, and his chief advisor; so, you know, consider the source.)

The Christian church grew during this persecution.  Yep.  Grew.  Was not defeated or squashed, but grew…  spread…

Why?

Why would a group of people grow in number and resolve in times of persecution?

During Nero’s reign, just before the great persecution (around 56 A.D.), a man named Paul wrote a letter to the Roman church.  We call that the book of Romans in the Bible.  Romans 13 says, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities.  For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.”  (Read the rest of that chapter.  Oh wow it is good!)

I’m going to write this next section for me; if you would like to read along with me you are welcome to do that.

When you find out who wins the election tomorrow, fear not.  You might lose your job, but you probably will not.  You might lose some friends, but it is unlikely.  You might even die because you believe Christ loves the people of the world, but you will probably live to see another year.

The love this world has for you and the choosing of the president does not define your success as a man of God.

There is one authority over you:  His name is Jesus and He loved you to death.  But because His authority was from God (Matthew 28:18), His death did not stick.  Neither will yours! (1 Thessalonians 4:16)

In fact, your faith just might grow…

Jesus, grow me.  Amen.

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Unhinged

The cabinet door was broken.  It was out of alignment.  That had two consequences:  

1.  It was in the way when we tried to open the dishwasher.
2. It was driving my wife crazy.

So I set out to fix it…

I took a hammer and hit the front as hard as I could.  Nope.  Still broken.

I drilled three tiny holes in the front, then sealed patches on all three holes.  Still broken.

I painted both the front and the back.  Still broken.

I shut it completely, waited three minutes, opened it up again.  Works for my computer.  Did not work for cabinet.

No, I didn’t do any of this.  Why would I?  We all know that the problem with a misaligned door is not the door.  It is the hinge.  

I fixed the hinge (duh).
Seems to me as though we spend a lot of time complaining about the doors in this world but not enough time looking at the hinges.  (Just so you know, I am the hinge in this scenario.)

Or, put another way:  Everyone wants change, but nobody wants TO change.

God wants to come in to my life today and realign.  He is ready to rescue and my response is typically, “Yes, fix the door God.  Hey.  What are you doing with that hinge.  The problem is them.  Not me.”

The Bible has this verse of warning for a young pastor:  2 Timothy 4:3 says, “The time wil come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will gather around them teachers in accordance with their own desires.”

The writer, Paul, speaks of a people that refuse to listen to anyone that is out of alignment with their own beliefs.  They refuse to listen to anyone that tells them the truth.  They refuse God.

So I have this challenge for me – and for you too if you will listen.

Let God change you first – then see if the world doesn’t look different.

Jesus, I am ready for a change.  Change me.  

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