41 Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, 42 saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.” 43 He said to them, “How is it then that David, in the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying,
44 “‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
until I put your enemies under your feet”’?
45 If then David calls him Lord, how is he his son?” 46 And no one was able to answer him a word, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.
I generally try to get out of the way of the Scripture, but when storms collide - then you have to put your priorities out there and sort like a hurricane is coming.
I tend to collect storms. If someone needs to unburden their marital abortion - well, I'm the one they are going to tell way before I did this volunteer portion. If your child is gay, I'm going to be the one you find at the Superbowl Party to ask huffily about "The Bible". If your child died and your (other Church) Pastor was there for you - why didn't he show up after you got out of Prison? If your sister died, the day you were day 42 in the ICU, did the doves that you saw fly at 1 a.m. have something to do with her soul? Yes. Hospice says death occurs when people don't want to inflict their death upon loved ones. And I'm the one who goes on a walk and the car in front of me suddenly halts and someone gets out to have a photo taken of me and the dog. And then we get into a story about channeling and rocks versus Jesus. Yes, that one left smiling.
I discovered in my twenties - people bored me, until I decided to write a novel. My novel, I loved by Susan Howatch, said the young boy asked his father if the piano was in the summer house. And the novelist said what he really meant to his grieving father, was his deceased mother's essence still there in his heart? And I began to have a knack for hearing what people are trying to say leading to some pretty far out conversations that you don't repeat for fear yours will get repeated.
So with storms always arriving, like doing youth ministry work and getting stuck in obscenely drunken parenting and discovering amateur to not so amateur prostitution in suburban parenting. Investigating the workings of CPS. Doing 12 years of family Guardian work working with the Courts and Adult Protective Services. Dementia wards that lock you in. Getting a call to go with a friend to sit in the downtown ER and following an ambulance in the middle of the night holding her child to take that child to be committed to a mental institution in the middle in the night and listening to the 45 minute very honest recital of problems.
Recovering from the traumatic death of my Beloved Daddy. Being told to get over it and discovering Group Therapy. Whoop!
Having given you some of the Tetons, I will say, I know something of the ecstasy of the communion of love and some of the storms life can grind you down like an old used, stained, nasty cigarette.
How to weather all this?
Get up each morning - run to the Word of God and hold that UP. His Mercies Renew Every Morning. Bask, Uplift, Smooth Out.
Imitate God? Let's say I do a very pitiful imitation of the God of the Universe Who's robe is so vast that only a corner of His seamless robe would be there. Knowing Solomon saw the Glory of God fill the millenniums of His Church. Having the awe and wonder of God knowing that the Hubble Telescope - TODAY - understands what Solomon saw.
How do I feel about being a less than perfect imitation of God? People relate. Not everyone. However if you read the Word...like Matthew 22 - God uses conflict. If we listen to His Word we realize - we have to answer the Call God has for you. I got an inspiring PDF this morning I read carefully twice talking about having a child with a grave disability. The best thing I ever heard was a baptism for Down's Syndrome Child saying - we all have limits - the Word of God says to understand not to think of ourselves too highly.
And if you have Storms - you can relate to Matthew 22 - God Chose to arrive in Conflict. Conflict.
Exodus 4Trial by Fire
Then Moses answered, “But behold, they will not believe me or listen to my voice, for they will say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you.’” 2 The Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” He said, “A staff.” 3 And he said, “Throw it on the ground.” So he threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent, and Moses ran from it.
To Be or Not Be Leprous. Moses picked not.
4 But the Lord said to Moses, “Put out your hand and catch it by the tail”—so he put out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand— 5 “that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.” 6 Again, the Lord said to him, “Put your hand inside your cloak.” And he put his hand inside his cloak, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous like snow. 7 Then God said, “Put your hand back inside your cloak.” So he put his hand back inside his cloak, and when he took it out, behold, it was restored like the rest of his flesh. 8 “If they will not believe you,” God said, “or listen to the first sign, they may believe the latter sign. 9 If they will not believe even these two signs or listen to your voice, you shall take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground, and the water that you shall take from the Nile will become blood on the dry ground.”
Not All That
10 But Moses said to the Lord, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” 11 Then the Lord said to him, “Who has made man's mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.” 13 But he said, “Oh, my Lord, please send someone else.” 14 Then the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses and he said, “Is there not Aaron, your brother, the Levite? I know that he can speak well. Behold, he is coming out to meet you, and when he sees you, he will be glad in his heart. 15 You shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth, and I will be with your mouth and with his mouth and will teach you both what to do. 16 He shall speak for you to the people, and he shall be your mouth, and you shall be as God to him. 17 And take in your hand this staff, with which you shall do the signs.”
Taking Care of What God Gives You
18 Moses went back to Jethro his father-in-law and said to him, “Please let me go back to my brothers in Egypt to see whether they are still alive.” And Jethro said to Moses, “Go in peace.” 19 And the Lord said to Moses in Midian, “Go back to Egypt, for all the men who were seeking your life are dead.” 20 So Moses took his wife and his sons and had them ride on a donkey, and went back to the land of Egypt. And Moses took the staff of God in his hand.
OH NO. Really
21 And the Lord said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you do before Pharaoh all the miracles that I have put in your power. But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go. 22 Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord, Israel is my firstborn son, 23 and I say to you, “Let my son go that he may serve me.” If you refuse to let him go, behold, I will kill your firstborn son.’”
Is That God? What Happened? Why? Oh, He alone is God.
24 At a lodging place on the way the Lord met him and sought to put him to death. 25 Then Zipporah took a flint and cut off her son's foreskin and touched Moses' feet with it and said, “Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me!” 26 So he let him alone. It was then that she said, “A bridegroom of blood,” because of the circumcision.
27 The Lord said to Aaron, “Go into the wilderness to meet Moses.” So he went and met him at the mountain of God and kissed him. 28 And Moses told Aaron all the words of the Lord with which he had sent him to speak, and all the signs that he had commanded him to do. 29 Then Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the people of Israel. 30 Aaron spoke all the words that the Lord had spoken to Moses and did the signs in the sight of the people. 31 And the people believed; and when they heard that the Lord had visited the people of Israel and that he had seen their affliction, they bowed their heads and worshiped.
What if you didn't have Aaron?
So, Great Spiritual Awakenings have swept the world over the centuries. They have changed lives and the very culture in which we live. An Awakening is a special time when God saturates a place and a people with His presence. There is a Great Awakening coming.
We have an affliction at my house. One of us has a prognosis of death at an early age. We deal daily with the events that involve that. Today more strongly writing this post. That is not News. Anymore than learning there is cuneiform for the Noah's Flood Story in Mesopotamia . The British Museum has known about this for about a century. But now we know what has caused some of the storms. And now we get to make choices.
My 26 year old son said he is too young to know what to do. I feel that way at 51.
Storms cause conflict. And in conflict we see many different opinions which could swamp and overwhelm us.
+ We place Authentic Love. First. That is God.
We have to honor what the Holy Spirit has brought in our lives. Framework. For the indwelling of Love.
+ Taking care of our loved ones as tenderly as a good Shepherd. Looking after their needs.
Look at the pictures of the Ark - remember God teaches at many levels. God is going to be as Vast as the Way God put all the Disciples on different journeys.
Combining storms and these passages - We can't expect a miraculous team to arrive and sweep, clean, vacuum our houses - we are responsible. We can't expect one Man of God to fix trauma. We cannot expect like the Exodus, the slaves to cause change. All the friends in the world, all the grumblings of the Children of God in bondage - in their lives - did not bring about Exodus or Awakening. This is just like our lives. We are responsible to build with God. To stand in the faith. + When we see Heaven, to know, we will look at Jesus.
The Ark. God's Law. God's Son to fulfill what human beings cannot do. The New Covenant of Mercy to be Sensitive to the Holy Spirit. Awakenings - seeing God's miracles even in this 2015. What did God say to do with all of this Commotion? Prioritize. Love God. Let the rays of that Love bring us forward in His Plan. Light - mercy - kindness -
We have to allow the journey to be honest to sort it out.
Build what is for God.
Noah probably had his detractors who told him that his ark wouldn't hold water.
Noah was examined to be sound to even do what God had told him to do. And Noah swung the hammer. Doing what God had brought to his life. Today. Finding the diligence, the prayer, the Word.
Noah was surrounded by those who said it was dark. And in those stalls - - - The passengers had a way to feel safe. God's plan was nurturing them in their own type of surroundings. Psalm 139 says dark is Light to God.
We are told we need to update this old story. Ok. Let's. The Great Flood - is probably the Ice Age. Not a fable. Fossils are the evidence! Solutions involve seeing different perspectives.
Good News. God did a marvelous thing in this miracle. We bear a responsibility to learn from the details of the events and to become in deeper relationship to God.
We hear that God is nasty. He kills people and makes judgments so this is to be avoided to be comfortable. People die. One of the people in my family died of cancer. She blessed the cancer to bring her to understand God. To fight through the vanities of life to find the depth and the poignancy of traveling to eternity. Judgements of God. A different thing than human judgments.
Glamor. This is a big thing. God said to imitate Paul who said have a quiet life. Jesus spoke of the narrow path. Remember Noah got off the Ship from all of this - from holding all this up - and became drunk - making terrible family consequences. The Scriptures are real. When we really delve into lives - we find we are all - Flawed. To make a show - leads to falling down. We have to sort and be honest. Noah needed to tell God and explain his troubles to his family - not bottle them up and explode.
Thank God for providing events causing us to speak of truth, mercy, encouragement, diligence. Don't become a show for propriety. That did not work for Noah. Learn from what did not work in the Bible as well as forward advice.
Did they speak of the pain of being alone? Seeing others fall? Usually the people God chooses have a heart for a God of Love.
Dealing with Power. The authorities of social hierarchies of Noah - didn't want him to be different. I bet a few of his neighbors did not want to see the Ark near them. Did his family allow for him to be Noah? Or did they do their best to belittle him too leading to the downfall of Noah somewhat?
What did Noah do with the idea he could not feed his family or the animals? Noah probably had some worries there. Maybe in squabbles Noah's family was not even pleased to be on the Ark. Did Noah want a life raft? Maybe Noah wondered if God was putting the ship in the right direction? Maybe his family felt like Noah had not saved them for something better. Maybe Noah wished he had perished in the storm. You bet in trauma - people think these things.
Works of God cause people to press you to be an idiot. I had someone to wander up to me in a store and ask for telephones that they then tell you they can afford themselves after you smile instead of buy them the phone. Wisdom isn't saying jump in with both feet. Our most effective work is be a friend - win a friend to Christ.
Give us the Day. The Wonders of God surrounded Noah and his family. To see the cooperation of being in Fellowship - FELLOWS IN A SHIP!!!
Our Father. These were impossible things. If we switch back to the Exodus for a second, we see all of this is a process. Joshua and Caleb, Moses and Noah all involved years of slow to little activities. The Prodigal Son is a process. Abraham - a process. The very day to day daunting thing for all of us Fellows in a Ship - to take Today. With God - make choices that later you are able to look at Jesus with all your essence - your soul and say 'You see me.'
Challenge - the day seems so - regular. Each day to do what God would have us do.
Gratitude? Thank You, Jesus. God has adopted me. I'm His. My journey might not be yours, but I am God's. That is Good News. Jesus Christ died for me, a sinner. Paul said we are to imitate him. We find this as we approach God. Isaiah did. Peter did. Jeremiah did. Paul did.
1 Timothy 1:15
14 and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus. 15 It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. 16 Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life
Father God, be with us in the processes we have. Help us to know Today matters. Let us do Today in Your Grace and with all of You. In Jesus we pray. Amen.
♔ Lord Jesus Saves †