Boston, West Texas, Colorado, Columbine, Newtown, India, Iran, Iraq…..
What is God Doing? The following is an excerpt from a daily reflection written by Eugene Peterson. With all that has occurred during the past week, its message is quite fitting.
“What is God doing? He is saving; he is rescuing; he is blessing; he is providing; he is judging; he is healing; he is enlightening. There is a spiritual war in progress, an all-out moral battle. There is evil and cruelty, unhappiness and illness. There is superstition and ignorance, brutality and pain. God is …against all of it. God is for life, love, hope, heaven, and against death, hate, despair and hell. [paraphrased]. There is no neutral ground in the universe. Every square foot of space is contested. [The enemy wants it all.]
Just as Jeremiah was chosen as a combatant on God’s side [before his birth], so are we all. No one enters existence as a spectator. We either take up the life to which we have been consecrated, or we traitorously defect from it.” We cannot say, “Hold it. I am not quite ready.
We are at war. Our God is in continuous and energetic battle against the forces of darkness. What is God doing? He is doing everything for his beloved.
This was taken from Eugene Peterson, “Living the Message.” Harper Collins 1996
Yesterday, I learned of the tragic death of Pastor Rick Warren’s son. My deepest sympathies goes out to him, his wife and their family. The loss of a child is never easy. My thoughts drifted back to the deaths in Sandy Hook, and elsewhere around the world. While it is true we will all die, incidents like these provide us with moments of reflection, and even bewilderment as to why this had to happen this way. This is not the time for speculation as to the reasons but a time for comfort and support. So pause a moment and send up a prayer for this family who is walking through the shadow of death. Ask our Lord to strengthen and comfort them as only He can.
“Listening to God is an important part of the Christian life. God desires to speak to us and we have the privilege of listening to His instruction and guidance. William Barclay once said, “Prayer is not a way of making use of God; prayer is a way of offering ourselves to God in order that He should be able to make use of us. It may be that one of our great faults in prayer is that we talk too much and listen too little. When prayer is at its highest, we wait in silence for God’s voice to us.”1 http://www.allaboutprayer.org/listening-to-god-faq.htm
Sometimes we need to spend more time listening to and for God than we do telling him all about our troubles. Scripture tells us, “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up on wings like eagles; they shall run and faint not, nor get tired from the journey (paraphrased).” Listening to God involves not only hearing from Him, but also obeying him. John 10:27 says, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”
What are some practical tips from your own experience on how to better listen to and for God? Share your responses. I’d love to hear from you.
Though the fig tree does not blossom, and no fruit is on the vines;
though the produce of the olive fails and the fields yield no food;
though the flock is cut off from the fold and there is no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will exult in the God of my salvation.
God, the Lord, is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer and makes me tread upon the heights. Habakkuk 3:17-19 (NRSV)
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God. Psalm 42:11 (NRSV)
“You, O Lord are the source of all my strength, hopes and my dreams.”
“There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful than that of a continual conversation with God.” Brother Lawrence
Praying without ceasing is one of those key instructions for the believer. But to live a life of continual prayer would mean living on our hands and knees forever, right? No, my friends. God created us to communicate with him. So, prayer is natural for us because God desires a deeper relationship with him, one that strengthen the bonds between us. A relationship where we dive in, and dig deep. A relationship where we tread upon shallow waters or raging seas. A relationship where we see His glory in the first bud of spring, or in the laughter of a child. A relationship when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, or face a “Goliath”. Therefore, prayer is connection with the divine source – with our heart source; our mind source; our spirit source; our body source. When we speak to/with God, and listen to Him hope springs eternal. All the gaps in our lives are filled with Him. We receive the peace that passes all understanding. And so much more.
Brother Lawrence lived in a constant state of awareness of God’s presence. A prayerful life involves giving the sacred room to invade the secular. To become more aware of God, as a believer in every aspect of daily life. There is a sweetness knowing that God is, and that consciously having conversation with him we become more His sons and daughters. A prayerful life is also about being still and listening for him. So that the directions we take are in alignment with His divine purpose for our lives.
A prayerful life is finally one anchored in the reservoir of the sacred, where the trials and tribulations of the world are deposited, and we experience the matchless love of Christ.
Aperio is the Latin verb which signifies “to open” like the petals on a tree. Resurrection Sunday is over, and residue of the celebration have been swept away for another year. So what is next? What do we do now?
Some will, like the apostles and other believers go and hold up in a room. Others will leave the city and walk away troubled because life didn’t happened the way they expected. Still others will continue in their beliefs that he was not the promised Messiah and return to business as usual. What will you do?
This is our time to blossom and to open; to explore the inescapable truth of the Resurrection. It does our Creator a disservice if we continue as before without joy and power. He kept his promise. He did exactly as was foretold.
Christ came and opened up the kingdom of heaven. He died so that we could have an eternal home with him forever.
To open (aperio) means to shed those “winter garments of unbelief, fear, and poverty mentality, and reveal the beauty of Christ. It’s time to put on the spring garments of praise and power. To open up to Christ in the newness of life. To open up to him in ways you’ve never ever done before. Conquer your fears. For Christ did not give you a spirit of fear, but one of power, love and a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)
Don’t go and hold up in some bleak room of despair when our risen Lord gave you the keys to the Kingdom. Don’t walk away troubled, and not knowing what to do next. He gave us the Spirit who guides us into all truth and knowledge. Don’t return to business as usual. For behold, “I make all things new” says the Lord. (Revelation 21:5b)
This is not the same year as last year. This is a new day, a new year. This sacred, holy resurrection time is filled with His righteousness, His glory, and His incomparable love. So are you ready to Aperio– to open up and show His majesty to the world? It’s time to APERIO!!!
Glory and praise. Resurrection Sunday. Christians celebrating and worshipping our risen Savior. Praising Him for the most amazing gift every conceived – the gift of eternal life. Christ is to be glorified for what we can never do – restore us to God the Father. With Christ hope has been restored; life has been restored; joy has been restored; power has been restored; love has been restored.
1 Peter 1: 3-5, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.” (NIV)
Our Lord stated, “I am the truth, the way and the life.” Our risen Lord fulfilled his mission, and restored our right to experience the new birth and have an inheritance that will never, ever perish. Christ is Risen. Praise be to God.
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