Monday, May 14, 2012

The Never Ending Ending....

For many of us, life has been a series of endings, followed by a series of beginnings. From one to the next we move without much ado, always moving forward in some sort of progression. Life is marked by these moments; from nursing at our mother's breast to eating ground up green goop (which is actually rumored to be green peas before mostly masticated artificially before consumption) to chowing down on a fine steak with our own teeth, to chewing without success on a fine steak with manufactured teeth, to finally just dreaming of the steak while eating the green goop again. This journey of endings and beginnings follows throughout many other areas of our lives, but for some folks it seems that their life gets stuck in one of the beginnings and never track through to its ending, until it of course reaches a final ending....of life! Such was the lesson observed this last weekend; a final end to a never ending cycle of starts, but never finishes. A life, tragically lost in its youth, but seemingly destined to end there from the last beginning. 
Alongside this observation comes the additional details that this specific "never ending ending" relates not to the physical aspects of life, but rather the spiritual growth of one who has come to know Jesus as Savior. The ending in specific focus is that of the leaving the world behind and starting forward in Christ; as a new creation. What is it that is so deeply rooted in the soul of one, who in desperation comes to Christ, but in exasperation never moves beyond a repetitive motion of starting, failing, starting, failing....? In this particular example, the action of Christ upon the heart of this one was producing a change, but there was still an open door to the temptations of the world that led this one to his ultimate end; as far as earthly endings go, that is! I think that at some moment, in those last moments, the booze quit lying as the blood flowed and said, "yep, you're dying"; to late to change the outcome, but early enough for the realization that what Christ had already paid for was squandered in the lie of that which sought the fall of the pursuer. A life ended, so much earthly terms, but it is in God's hands as far as the Heavenly matter is concerned. The lesson will not be lost though....rather emphasized and repeated for anyone who will hear. There are no shortcuts with Jesus! The cheap remedy posed by others, who themselves run from allowing sin to be confronted in their lives, proved to be as damaging to the one as the booze which ultimately provided the "courage" for the last moments before death would come. The "godly" ones, posing as the do all  to end all for the ones who feel intimidated by the black and white presentation of God's Word, run themselves from the conviction of the Holy Spirit, because they confuse it with the condemnation of the world, rather than the intended loving correction of the Father. Who has demonstrated over and over again, that He will, because of His love, correct His children....not let them run a muck as the world does and applauds. The time frame of the lure of the cheap remedy till the acceptance of the lie that leads to death? Less than one month! The world itself would love to have that kind of success, but this unfortunately comes most successfully at the hands and feet of the religious...."peddling" the Word of God as an appetizer to an already full plate of the world. May this never be in the Body of Christ! The never ending cycle of endings will end and we will all stand (or kneel) before our Maker and either give account of our actions...or if the transaction with Jesus has never been made according to His requirements, head directly to hell. Harsh? Yep, but so is deception....especially when it ends a life!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Caves and still, small voices...

Loving the musings of Elijah today! Thinking back to a moment he found himself in a cave. His state of mine was not good, his strength was depleted, his future unsure and the moment oppressive. God shows up and asks Elijah, "what are you doing here?"...a few wimpy sentences of whining and then God says go outside. God says, "stand before ME"....a explosive wind, a tumultuous earthquake and a consuming fire pass before his face.  But Elijah, for all his fear and trepidation makes just one observation; God was not in it, any of it! And then here comes a still, small voice. But before leaving this view, it is important that Elijah DIDN'T go out until after all that passed, even though God said very specifically, "Go out and stand before me"....why didn't Elijah go out? Of course, we can see why he may not have WANTED to go out...wind, earthquake and flames AND every single event of his life to that moment, including the mindset that although he had served God, everyone was hating him and trying to kill him. The explosive wind of change and betrayals, the earthquakes of falling hopes and failing confidences and the fires of scorched relationships. These were as much a part of his life, just like the cloak he wore. Everything he faced and failed at; everything he tried and God succeeded all comes together in this moment. And then that still, small voice. A voice from the heart of God, clearly speaking the affirmation of life and mission; but also speaking the end of his time in ministry. For one thing, that God will proclaim is that Elisha has been chosen to succeed Elijah's ministry. 
So is life at some junctures; just as in Elijah's is easy enough to come to the place of despair and uncertainty, in spite of tremendous victory while serving Jesus. It is even possible in those times of victory to find a disconnect happening in the closeness of relationship with Jesus, just because of the involvement of us in God's miracles. When "us" gets tempted to think it has been working at it too hard, doing too much and God hasn't been doing His part, it is an indicator 100% of the time that self has gotten ahead of the Savior! And then tiredness enters in, weariness is the word for the day, week, month, year...and we plod on to some cave of refuge, where even the Word of God is resisted in moving on. Until, that is, God gets our full and undivided attention. Which may come in the wind, earthquake or fires, but come it will and work it will do! Then and only then, when God has our attention, can we get back to the job at hand. And we will wonder if we will be "retired" or recharged to the ministry at hand. In Elijah's case, little remained to be done outside of raising up Elisha to the ministry and then catching a chariot out of there. For us? Only God knows, but this I will affirm; it is far better to hear God before He has to get our attention. To seek out His refreshing, without waiting for His correction; to be still and know that He is God!! 
Such was this last weekend...through the grace of God and the obedience of others who listened when God, through His Holy Spirit spoke. A full three days of refreshing, encouragement, some correction, but mostly an opportunity to hear God before He had to run out the full show (wind, earthquake, fire). In retrospect, some of the show was visible before now, but not the point of impending doom and abandonment, which I am glad to say, is not part of what God has for His children. Thank You, Father! I am LISTENING!!