Monday, May 28, 2012

Alice in Wonderland, 2

In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, and His children will have refuge.  The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, that one may avoid the snares of death.
Proverbs 14:26, 27

                  I’m standing at the bottom of the rabbit hole.  The door has a sign on it, inviting me into a land of wonder.  I want what it offers: strong confidence, security, freedom from fear, joy, satisfaction, contentment, merriment, wisdom to escape the traps the enemy sets out for me, and, best of all, sweet intimacy with my Savior.  With everything in me, I want to walk through that door.  The key sits on the table in the center of the room.  The very thing I need to unlock the door is on the table…  The tag on the key reads:  fear of the Lord.

                  What does that really mean (fear)?  I think of the words C.S. Lewis used as he closes out the first Narnia book regarding Aslan (the Jesus figure of the Narnia series).  “He is not safe, but He is good.”  Fear is a two-sided coin:

Side 1:  true comprehension of God’s goodness, his love, his faithfulness, grace, mercy, kindness, long-suffering – the nurturing side of God.

Side 2:  full understanding and awareness of God’s righteousness, his justice, purity – the holiness of God.

Fully seeing, knowing, and believing God puts everything else into a correct perspective.  Of this I am certain:  My God is so big, so strong, and so mighty, there’s nothing my God cannot do! 

                  This, then, is fear – BELIEVING God is who he says he is (truly seeing him with the eyes of our heart), and responding in the one and only appropriate way – in reverent worship.  This is the key that turns the lock in the door.  This is the way to enter into the adventures of Wonderland!

                  But…there’s a problem!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Random Thoughts: Alice in Wonderland, 1

I found myself chasing a white rabbit down a hole a couple of weeks ago (spiritually speaking, of course).  Here are the verses I read (then I will try to explain the analogy).

In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence, and His children will have refuge.  The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, that one may avoid the snares of death (Proverbs 14:26-27).
I really like what “fear of the Lord” offers.  I’ll take a minute to expound a bit:
  • Strong confidence.  Wow!  Love the combination of those two words.  Confidence – the ability to hold one’s head high, to be sure of yourself.  One who is free of insecurity, generally, one who is certain of his/her identity (to which I will add the words, “in Christ”).  Strong – never wavering, power; greater than average or expected; sure and certain.

  • Refuge.  A safe place.  A position of comfort.  A lack of fear.
  • Fountain of life.  Speaks of an overflow that just keeps coming...abundance.  The word “merriment” (an often unused word in our day) is attached to this definition.

  • Avoidance of the snares of death.  Death here, in general, symbolizes a separation of God.  The concept of these words is that the enemy has traps of temptation waiting along the journey of life, in the hopes that he can destroy our intimacy with the Lord.  The one who fears the Lord learns wisdom (Proverbs 9:10) that helps him see the danger in advance and run for cover (Proverbs 27:12).

Yep, that’s what I want...all of it.  The key is on the table at the bottom of the rabbit hole:  fear of the Lord.  If I use the key, it unlocks the door into the land of wonder called The.Christian.Life.  Everything I want is on the other side.  Of course, there are other things, as well – evil, difficulty, quirky people, oddities that are unexplainable, and goodness.  Yet, it’s all part of the adventure. 

I’m ready to explore that world...but first, there’s a few things I need to know.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Just Do It!

I think we've exhausted "thanksgiving."  For months now we’ve talked about an attitude of gratitude.  We’ve discussed the difference between saying the words, and really living Eucharisteo.  We’ve defined.  We’ve refined.  We’ve clarified.  We’ve verified.  We’ve answered the important questions of:  who, what, where, when, why, and even how! 

So, what is left to be said? 

Answer:  Nothing!

So, how do I bring closure to this entire concept?  That is the question I asked myself this morning.  Honestly, this doesn’t happen on a regular basis, but a passage of Scripture popped into my head.  On the rare occasion this occurs, I listen.  If it’s God’s Word, then it’s God speaking directly to me.  Here’s the passage (it doesn’t even incorporate the word ‘thanks’):

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.  Do what it says. Any man who...continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it – he will be blessed in what he does.

James 1:22, 25b

In this regard, Nike has it right:


Monday, May 7, 2012

The Cure (2): Anxiety

Be anxious in nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, present your requests to God and the peace that passes all understanding will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. (Phil.4:6-7)

Peace that passes all understanding.  Peace as opposed to anxiety.  Peace vs. worry.  Peace when everything sCreAMs that no peace is possible.  Peace that no one watching from the outside can comprehend.  Doesn't that sound desirable?  I want that brand of peace!  I really do! 

Typically, my initial reaction (especially when I start living in the what ifs, or the maybes, and even the what thens”) is worry.  I dont want to go there, but sometimes its hard for me to get out of my brain.  Ever have that problem?  Stuff of which worry is made cycles around and around and around, until it forms this whirlwind that unless stopped becomes a destructive tornado. 

However, peace isnt some esoteric, abstract emotion.  Its absolutely attainable. There is a way to stop the cycle. There is a door of escape in the brain. Pauls key:  Prayer with thanksgiving brings peace unexplainable. 

The sage of Proverbs tells us the same thing. 

All the days of the afflicted are wretched, but a cheerful heart has a continual feast. Proverbs 15:15.

Heres what I learned as I looked further into the passage (Pegs Paraphrase).  Those who have an unhealthy mindset will always cycle in wretchedness, but those who look for what is good, seek beauty, and discover the pleasing things in life, will find a banquet of delight.  As we dig deeply into our life, we find great good, incredible beauty, and amazingly pleasant pieces for which to be grateful. 

The cure to anxiety and worry:  prayer that begins with thanksgiving.