Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Fear

Franklin Roosevelt famously said, "...the only thing we have to fear is fear itself," as he tried to encourage the American people to see the future as full of possibilities rather than full of terrible, fearful things. Not as famously, he also stated that the "common difficulties" concerned "only material things." I think what Roosevelt was saying that the economic problems in the country at the time were not the most important thing, that there was something greater. That something was the spirit of the American people to pull together to do what needed to be done, including defeating the greatest worldwide threat the world had seen.

Centuries before, Jesus said to his followers, "Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom." He could easily have also said that difficulties they would face are not the important thing, that they paled in comparison to the kingdom. For at least a few hundred years, Jesus' followers went about their day-to-day fearlessly; facing rejection, misunderstanding, persecution, torture, and death. They were able to do so because they had confidence that the kingdom had been give to them, that they were subjects of the King of Kings, and that everything he had was theirs. They knew that absolutely nothing could separate them from their Father's love. These early Christians also could live fearlessly because they knew that the sufferings they did endure somehow were what the King used to bring kingdom on earth as in heaven. As Tertullian said, "The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church."

Today, I look around and see a group that is fearful. All it takes is some time spent on social media to see the fear that controls a great deal of what people say and do. Whether it's fear of a certain political party taking away freedoms, fear of the other side waging a war on Christians, or fear of a certain group coming and taking away jobs or our lives. This fear can lead to saying and doing things that hurt others, ruin relationships, and cause the name of Christ to be slandered. We can easily tend toward fear in our day-to-day as well. We fear that disease will strike us or those we love. We fear that we may lose friends. We fear that we can't do our jobs well. We fear that we simply aren't good enough, that eventually people will see through our charade and reject us.  This fear drives us to perfectionism, to overwork, to self medication. We hide behind masks because we fear that others will reject us if they learn the real us. Sometimes we fear facing ourselves.

There is much that can make us fearful. But, as FDR said, those are only material things. Those are things that are inconsequential compared to the kingdom. Compared to the great inheritance that is ours, all of the things of this earth are nothing. Compared to the life that we have been given, the life we fear losing is nothing. Because Jesus died and was raised, the new creation has begun. We are citizens of a kingdom that will never be defeated, that will never pass away. The King has come! We don't always see his reign in this life, although we do catch glimpses now and then, but he is in control. All the stuff of life that hits us, all the things that our enemy throws at us has already been overcome. We need to live from that reality. Will we still experience bad, even terrible things? Yes we will. But, those things can not wrench us out of our Father's hands. They can not ultimately harm us because our destiny is settled. It's hard, I know. I have to remind myself constantly that the things of this world are not the kingdom. Let us all continually remind each other of who we are and whose we are, and of the glory that will be revealed in us when the King finally comes to sett all things right.

Fear not, because your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.        

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Weekend Wanderings

I'm back from my trip to California to meet our newest grandson. Jan is staying until a week from today. The Friday before we left, we were able to see our son, his wife, and our first grandson for a couple of ours. So, it was a good week and a half. This week, it was a bit hard getting back into some sort of routine, especially since I am working more hours now. It's beautiful here in the sunny South, with what seems like a touch of fall in the air. I'm sure summer is not finished with us yet, but I'm looking forward to cooler weather.

On to the links:

Did any of you see any of this during the eclipse?
I've heard that a fruitcake can last forever.
People are tearing down all kinds of statues these days.
Looks like a good time was had by all.
Inspirational posters. Or not.

Eclipse myths.
Skinny jeans.
Smartphone problems.
Have you been tricked?
Arms race.

Eclipse theories.
Salvation insurance.
Yeah, sometimes we do.
Seems the Babylonians knew their math.
THIS IS SATIRE!

Reputation.
The ghost in the machine.
Good post from Chaplain Mike.
Pharisee spotting.

Have a blessed week!





Sunday, August 13, 2017

Weekend Wanderings

Weekend Wanderings will be away for the next two weekends. We're heading out to the Left Coast to meet our new grandchild, who is expected next Thursday. So I'll be otherwise occupied. In the meantime enjoy the links for this week:

If you are an alternative sports aficionado, you should go here.
This month, pick a holiday or two and celebrate.
Here is a new option.
Just in case you like hummingbirds.
Are you looking for an interesting job?

When you just gotta have oysters!
Wes Anderson investigates Donald Trump.
Something new to fill out when you see the doctor.
Matt Johnson on rules.
More on Rich Mullins.

Do you feel God is silent?
Story.
A closer walk.
Zack Hunt disagrees with Robert Jeffress.
Listen, look, linger.

Keith Giles on reading Scripture.
Forgiveness and reconciliation.
Five dynamics of prayer.
You can't always trust the brochure.
Tired of being right.

Have a blessed week!



Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Right Wing, Left Wing, Or...

A few years ago the eminent political philosopher Pat Paulsen said, "I'm not right wing or left wing. I'm more middle of the bird. If you have only one wing you tend to fly in concentric circles."

As much as folks laughed at Paulsen's statement, I think he was closer to the truth than many would think. For the past few years the government has seemed to flip from one wing to the other, and the country is dizzy from flying around in concentric circles. Signs of this dizziness are abundant. Congress is divided into two hostile camps and they all seem to be more interested in promoting their side's agenda than in what is best for the country. The rhetoric from the politicians and their mouthpieces in the media is getting more divisive and hateful, filtering down to ordinary folks. If you can handle it, scroll through social media and see the garbage that passes for discourse these days. There are some who believe the system is about to implode. They may be right.

Hopefully, we will see some leaders arise who are willing to come to the table with those who disagree with them, who are willing to look for common ground and spend more time doing the hard work of governing than standing in front of the cameras vilifying the other side. Hopefully enough folks will realize that a lot of emperors are strutting about without a stitch of clothing. I believe that the country can not go much longer down the path we are traveling. Hopefully we will wake up and start flying with both wings.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Weekend Wanderings

Summer is slipping away here in the sunny South. Not temperature wise, as it still remains hot and humid. The calendar n the wall says that it's almost time for school to begin for another term. After three years away from a school setting, I can say with confidence that I really like what I am doing now. The news from Washington keeps getting curioser and curioser. It's beginning to look like a DC version of The Apprentice. That's all I'm going to say about that.

On to the good stuff:

Good idea.
Life goals.
Big or small? Check this out.
Interesting.
Forest bathing. Really.

More enemies.
Funny post.
This could have all sorts of implications.
This is not good.
Excellent article by Bruce Hillman.

For all the dads out there.
Deep waters and parking lots.
Encouragement from Bob Edwards.
The George Option.
Good post from Keith Giles.

Some things to remember.
Remembering Rich Mullins.
This is pretty cool.
I'm not so sure I would want to do this.

Have a blessed week!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Some Things I Don't Understand

A young teenage girl died this week. She left behind family and friends who loved her dearly. I know all the things that are true. She lived far longer than expected. She is no longer in pain. God is good and kind and he is in control. I know all that and I believe all that. Still, there are some things I don't understand.

Last night some of us sat with two friends of the young lady. Most of that time was spent in silence. We grieved with them. At this time, it's the only thing we could do. I spent some time wondering about the brokenness of this world and the pain that we humans have to endure. Jan and I have lost both of our parents in the last few years. That kind of thing is more normal. Children are "supposed" to outlive their parents.

This is different. Parents are not supposed to bury their children. Teenagers are not supposed to spend evenings grieving for other teenagers. People are not supposed to die that young. This world is not supposed to be the way it is. Even though I know the creation is broken and groaning because of sin, I still don't understand why it sometimes works out the way it does. Even though I know God is good and compassionate, I still don't understand why this compassion sometimes plays out the way it does.

I know and believe that my Father is loving. I know and believe that his love extends to the young lady and the family and friends she left behind. Having said that, I still have to admit that I don't understand. The only thing I can do is try to trust my Father's heart. I have to trust that Romans 8 is right, that God works in everything for the good of those who love him. I have to believe, not only for me, but in some way for my friends who lost a loved one. 

I  have to trust my Father because I can't trust my own understanding.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Weekend Wanderings

Our little town here in the sunny South is filled with folks from various countries around the world. We are hosting the BMX World Championships. There was a kickoff celebration downtown last night and our artists group opened a show with a bike theme. Fun times. In other news, our grandson is one month old and growing like a weed. I'll leave the unimportant stuff like politics to those of you who like that sort of thing.

Here are the links:

A theology of play.
Funny wildlife photos.
Good story.
How do you say it?
What not to play at a wedding.

100 greatest movie props.
Not sure this is a good thing.
The path of the cross.
Perfect love.
In case you were wondering.

R.I.P Mike Erich.
Good question.
Good post from Keith Giles.
Greatness.
Good post on Eugene Peterson.

Partnering with uncertainty.
Christian ghosting.
Is there an optimal church size?
Pastor/poets.
Fairy tale travel.

Have a blessed week!




Fear

Franklin Roosevelt famously said, "...the only thing we have to fear is fear itself," as he tried to encourage the American people...