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Where were you when?

Scripture: Job 38:1-11

Where were you? Where where you when the world was created? We often think we know so much. We have therories about almost everything, but when it comes right down to it we know next to nothing. We are still wondering about a great number of things. We have television shows dedicated to trying to prove mysteries that many of us question. Questions like where exactly did Amelia Earhart’s plane go down, or did it?

One of the greatest mysteries is how did humans emerge to life? There are several therories: Aliens, God, evolution. The crazy thing is none of these therories can be proven beyond a shadow of doubt. There are holes in every therory even the ones we believe the most. There are only therories because science is based on observation and the origens of live cannot be observed because NO ONE was around.

Job is asked where he was when Earth became. The answer is pretty clear, “I wasn’t there!” Yet we all debate this issue as if we know exactly how it happened, as if we were a witness to the actual event. There are things we will never know, things we are not supposed to know. We are not supposed to know exactly what our friends are thinking. If we did not only would the relationship be boring, but we would probably end up disliking everyone.

Imagine if we did know everything? there would be no reason to pursue knowledge, no reason to build relationships, or to even create art. In essence we would be nothing more than animals, smart animals. Our curiosity, creativity, and emotions are part of our humanity. As is the ability to recognize that we cannot know it all.

Job was give a chance to recognize his true humanity. He was given the oppertunity to pursue not only knowledge but a deeper relationship with God. So where were you? As you pray examine your humanity, who you are and where you are, who you are around. Maybe even why you are…

Have fun just imagining with God, and sittin in Job’s place.

Be Real

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 6:1-13

The most striking thing about Paul is that he pretty much speaks with deep conviction and emotion. It is strange that one of the deepest theological minds is also one of the deepest emotional people in history. He is consistantly speaking about loving the people to whom he writes his letters. This passage is no different.

He speaks of his journey with Christ. He does not sugar coat it as many do in today’s culture. He actually does the exact opposite. Why on earth would anyone want to willingly live through the highs and lows in the Paul’s life, from being considered a god to being exicuted a number of times.

We live in a culture where the influence of the church is in decline. I have often wondered if the reason is that we have forgotten to be real. Paul says do not accept the grace of God in vain. I sat for a while just considering this. What is accepting God’s grace in vain? I can come up with several ideas, many I have to admit I have and in some cases still participate in. Things like hypocrisy, neglect, injustice, and self justification. It is taking the knowledge we have about what we think God is about and building rules and regulations around it. In short becoming pharisees, knowing everything about God and the correct way of living but not living it in your life.

I consider my own traditions of faith, we have several Quaker groups that each claim to be the true authentic representative of the Religious Society of Friends, yet  each of these group have developed new traditions in an expression of faith that rejected tradition. So in truth none of us are truely Quaker, but Quaker hybrids. That is not completly bad as long as we are authentic to our testimony. I broaden my view to the various other denominations, each has a unique expression that they intensely focus on many at the expense of all other expressions. It gives us a narrowing view of what life with Christ truely is.

It is difficult to both stop this trend or even to reverse it but it is needed. We as followers of Christ should be the most honest about our faith, life, and experiences not because we want everyone in our business instead to bring hope that even though we struggle we can overcome through the strength given by the Spirit of God. It is not uncomon for people to stay away from Christ or the church because they do not have their life “in order” yet. Here’s a news flash, I am a minister of the Gospel and neither do I! If I were to go around saying come to Christ and he will keep your house from going into foreclosure, not only would I distroy your faith but I would damage the influence of the church in the community. God does care about our lives, he cares so much that he will not get overly involved. The flip side is that if we get more involved in Life with Him we will grow spiritually and have a more disiplined life so we may become more able to face the challenges life gives us.

Today I consider what areas of life I am being dishonest about, and I am praying that God will open my mind up to the truth.

What are you up against?

Scripture: 1 Samuel 17:1a, 4-11, 19-23, 32-49

As I read this I am struck at how detailed the discription of Goliath. We know the size, weight, and material of every weapon and piece of armor on this guy. This cases me to realize that these Israelite soldiers spent a lot of time watching this man. Which is not far fetched since h would probably be pretty hard to keep your eyes off of even by today’s standards.

This also says that we as humans spend quite a bit of time focusing on our problems. They could rattle off every point that caused them to fear this man, but there is no discription on the weaknesses of the man. It is not until the last verse of this section we learn where the weakness of this guy’s defenses are. For days an entire army carefully inspected the the man from Gath, but what were they focused on? They saw only the obsticals not the opportunity.

David, some punk kid comes on to the scene. Sure he has a destiny to become the most memorable monarch in the entire world, but at this point in time he is just a punk kid bringing the men their lunch. Yet this kid saw something tat trained soldiers missed, he saw an opportunity. He was there for just a moment and he was able to see what others failed to see.

This speaks to me deeply. Sometimes we are too close to a problem to be able to see around it. The Quakers have a practice they will engage in to help each other see things in a different perspective, called the Meeting for Clearness. This is actually a fancy name for something pretty simple. An individual will call trusted friends and respected individual of the community together, present an issue they need help with, and they will engage in holy expectancy and conversation. This process of prayer and discussion has assisted many individuals find direction in ministry, marriage, among many other things. The Meeting that I minister among has also engaged in this process when faced with an issue of how to proceed in a decission.

Like Israel the problem was right before us we could see everything that could present a problem, but we were not able to see an oppertunity before us. We needed to take time to look at the problem from a different perspective. When Goliath came down to the field of battle the problem presented itself, it was clear to everyone that a one on one battle was humanly impossible, but they did not include the God factor. David was weighty in relating with God, so it took the human factor off the table. He was able to clear his head of the fear walk down to the plain find his tools and trust.

Why would a boy have the ability to trust and hope when seasoned adults feared? It comes to perspective and where we put our faith. Do we trust ourselves or God? If we put our faith in ourselves we have reasons to fear when facing a giant. We may not posess everything needed to accomplish the task. But if we have faith in God we let ourselves off the hook and do not have to posess everything. It is almost like putting God to the test but not really it is giving God all we have and lettng Him take control of the areas we can’t handle.

Today as you pray give yourself a break, you are probably stressed out about something, and maybe worrying yourself sick over it. If you are struggling talk to someone else and together work out the problem, asking for help is not weakness, but stressing over problems and not movng forward is. Let God take down the giant and move forward in confidence.   

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