Archive for December, 2015
So how do we do what we can to ensure that our relationship with God in Jesus remains open, viable, and in fellowship? I firmly believe that at least some of it can be boiled down to our health. Many studies have shown a severe spike in autism over the past few decades. Moreover, spikes in various cancers have been and continue to be on the rise. In general, people in America are very unhealthy. They are overweight, they hobble instead of walk, and people’s tempers flare at the drop of a hat. I fully and firmly believe that much of this is due to the toxins that come into our bodies through our food supply and air supply.
A society like the one in Man in the High Castle does not normally happen overnight, though that one was largely created by the wrong sides winning the war. That society is dark, foreboding, something to be disdained and hated. But most of the time, societies change over time and with the incremental removal of rights and privileges. This has been happening in earnest for the past four to six decades and has picked up the pace to an alarming degree within the last few. We seem to have reached the point of no return, where movement in society has created change under its own power and continues to do so.
Here was a man who – because of his faith in Jesus – was being harassed to the point where those persecuting and judging him dragged him outside the city and stoned him to death. So aligned with Satan’s purposes (not God’s even though they were the “religious” leaders of Israel), that they were blind to the heinous act they were committing. I’m sure they imagined they were doing God a favor, like what radicalized Muslims do today. Yet, in spite of their abject hatred of Stephen and the truth he preached, Stephen was so in line with God’s purposes that he stepped in for these men – on their behalf – and as his final request, asked God not to count this sin against them.
A sacrifice of praise occurs when we do not feel like praising Him, but we do so anyway. Do you think Job felt like praising God after learning that he had lost everything, including his 10 children? Think again. Job praised God because he knew it was the right thing to do, not because he felt like it. Job’s act of praise (worship) brought him into fellowship with God because Job was essentially admitting that God’s ways were best in spite of his own immediate loss and the way things looked from a human perspective. Job had no idea what had transpired between Satan and God. He could not understand that Satan wanted to destroy him but God knew that would never happen. In spite of his lack of understanding and how devastated he must have been, Job praised God. Can we do any less, especially considering the fact that we are told repeatedly in the Bible (something Job did not have) that we should offer praise to God continually?
Being in the moment requires us to resist the temptation to do our own thing, to do what gratifies self, and to accept as the only viable option, God’s will for our lives. It is there we find fellowship and once we successfully set aside our own desires (when they are at odds with God’s), we find fellowship, just as Jesus found fellowship. Again, this can feel different with each scenario, but the goal is always the same – to agree to God’s will for our lives in that moment. Certainly, not every decision we are faced with will be difficult and certainly, the level of difficulty will be different from situation to situation. The example of Jesus in Gethsemane is out of the norm, but nonetheless, showcases how difficult it can be at times to commit ourselves to the Father’s will. Overall, the truth of the matter appears to be that setting our own wants aside (when they conflict with God’s) in order to fulfill His will for our life is where we enter into fellowship with God.
To fellowship with God – I believe – means to live in the present as He is in the eternal present. This does not mean we don’t consider what has happened in our lives. It also doesn’t mean we never think about future events. It means that we do not allow those things – either past or future events – to rob us of living in the present because God is at work in our present. He is working now and in order to “see” what He is doing, we also need to live in our present.