Categories
acceptance Christian Living

Waking Up to the Way Things Are

Can you relate? It’s a typical day, until something triggers an uncomfortable memory from the past. Like it or not, you spend the next few minutes reviewing a negative highlight reel from one of your worst moments.

Why does this happen?

Here’s one explanation: most people’s thoughts trend negative. According to a March 2020 TEDx talk by Frederick Imbo, of the 50,000 daily thoughts a typical person processes, only 10,000 are positive. That’s just 20%!

Stats like this make me want to eat a whole quart of expensive ice cream straight out of the bucket.

The guy who wrote the Old Testament book of Lamentations sure knew the feeling. Most Bible scholars think it was the prophet Jeremiah. He was an eyewitness to God’s judgment of Jerusalem in 586 B.C.

There’s plenty to lament, with your city reduced to rubble and your means of worship taken away. Oh, and grab another quart of Häagen-Dazs for the highway, because ALL of Judah is being exiled to Babylon.

Jeremiah understood this was divine retribution–plain and simple. God brought down the hammer Himself, due to Israel’s flagrant rebellion.

So What’s Next?

The stoic philosophers, who came along two centuries later, said to accept reality without complaint. “Suck it up, buttercup.”

Don’t call me buttercup.

Thankfully, the prophet doesn’t respond this way. First, he dwells on the bitterness of the past–watches the negative highlight reel. This is a BIG downer (Lamentations 3:19-20).

But then he brings something else to the front of his mind. Something that gives him HOPE for the future.

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” – Lamentations 3:22-23 (NIV)

Now we’re talkin’!

“Accept reality, but focus on the solution.”

Jocko Willink

And for Jeremiah the solution is a no brainer: “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.” – Lamentations 3:24 (NIV)

Have you noticed the only difference between the words victim and victor? Two letters. And the Good Lord can turn them better than Vanna White on Wheel of Fortune!

Amen! Do I have a witness?

“For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” – 1 John 5:4 (NIV)


Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Categories
Christian Living Repentance

The Holy North Face

Have you heard the one about the guy who washed his hands too much during the pandemic?

Repentance is like that. Cleansing of sin reveals answers from God

A church where I once served held a unique series of revival meetings. Our pastor called it a “solemn assembly.” One like good king Jehosophat proclaimed for Judah in 2 Chronicles 20:1-34.

The congregation met each evening for worship and prayer, but with no preaching. This went on for a week. As we sought God, confessing our corporate shortcomings, divine answers appeared.

It was a type of two-factor authentication–to use the cyber security lingo.

“Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol.” Psalm 24 :3-4 (NIV)

Clean hands and a pure heart: the two things needed to climb the holy north face. It’s thought-provoking here that hand washing comes BEFORE heart cleansing. That’s because the purest form of worship is repentance. I experienced this personally during those revival meetings. As my view of God became clearer, my walk with Him grew closer.

Seeking God in earnest reveals the true nature of one’s heart. In my case, there was too much of me. Recognition and a change of heart’s direction cleared the road back to the Father. But this practice hasn’t been a “one and done” event. The narrow path to heaven is susceptible to drifted snow.

Need answers? Invite yourself to a Solemn Assembly–just you and God. It will be a purifying experience. I know this because it was for me.

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13 (NIV)

Categories
change Christian Living

One More Night With the Frogs

Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

Pharaoh called in Moses and Aaron and said, “Pray to God to rid us of these frogs. I’ll release the people so that they can make their sacrifices and worship God.”

Moses said to Pharaoh, “Certainly. Set the time. When do you want the frogs out of here, away from your servants and people and out of your houses? You’ll be rid of frogs except for those in the Nile.” 

“Make it tomorrow.” Pharaoh said. 

Exodus 8:8-10

Near the beginning of one of the most epic stories in the Bible, (The Ten Plagues of Egypt: Ex. 8-11) this curious event happens. Moses asks the ruler of Egypt to let the Hebrew people go, but Pharaoh refuses.  So God turns all the water in Egypt into blood.  Next, He sends swarms of frogs.  But when the most powerful man in the known world gets to set the time to take the frogs away he says, “Make it tomorrow.”

Tomorrow?!

Why on earth didn’t he say, “Immediately, if not sooner!?”

Perhaps it’s simply human nature to hold on to something we know we should let go. Just a little. bit. longer.

An unhealthy habit.  A toxic relationship.  Fill in the _________________.

I’ll end it tomorrow.

But tomorrow becomes the next day and then the next.  And the frogs just keep piling up.

brown hourglass on brown wooden table
Photo by Mike on Pexels.com

When God opens a door, start moving in that direction.  Don’t wait until tomorrow. 

Do it!


This post originally published on Sept 3, 2018, when I had far fewer “frogger”-lers.🐸