We live in a world that is full of new and exciting things. The speed at which information is created is increasing at break-neck speeds. There was a time when it was possible to know everything about a specific area of knowledge. In today’s world, disciplines are so specialized it is amazing we can say we know anything at all.
What is amazing to me is this, in Jesus we find simplicity as the unifying reality of existence. Jesus did not need the newest and best toys to be happy. Companionship and enjoying the everyday experiences of life were sufficient. God has a way of taking the ordinary artifacts of life and transforming them into something extraordinary. A rock, a stick, a net. It simply did not matter what it was, it became something significant and meaningful in Jesus’ hands.
As I continue to walk in faith I hope to find a way of living more simply. Is there something I must let go of? Is there someone I must engage and rebuild a relationship with? Is there something I must do, that I have left undone?
These and many more questions I ask myself as I get older. As the days in my life pass. I pray I make the most of each one.
Silence. It is a quality that is uncomfortable to be in. Many of us have never been in a space where complete silence has been achieved. I think if we were ever put in a situation where were would have to be completely silent we would not know what to do.
I came across an interesting article about an anechoic chamber, supposedly the quietest place in the world. I think what stood out as I read the article was how complete silence can affect our perception of what is happening. In the chamber all sound is deadened, but as your ears adjust you being to hear the sound of your heart and lungs; of your blood as it travels through your veins and arteries. I have never experienced this, but I wonder what that would be like.
Silence can be unsettling. I have had opportunities to get in a quiet place a few times in my life. It was not easy. It took some time to focus my mind, but in the end I found myself turning my attention toward God. I think what I found most interesting during these times of silence is how difficult it was to gather my thoughts and focus my attention. It was as if in the silence there was nothing serving as a boundary and I was the one creating the boundary of my conscious thoughts.
I would encourage you to take some time and seek God in silence. You may find it is more difficult that you would have anticipated.
One of the principles my dad taught me about communication is that words have meaning. Therefore, it is important to know the meaning of words. This principle has been a major part of my development as a person, because I have placed a significant value on words and using them. Over the course of my life and ministry I have seen how misused or even misunderstood words create confusion and hurt.
As we continue our journey through this Lent season, I am reminded of this simple word: RESET. If we break down this word we find that it is a compound of the prefix “re-” and the word “set”. Whenever this prefix is used we are saying that some action will be done again. Examples like repeat, remind, return, relive, etc., come to mind. There was an action and then a repetition follows. When we look at “reset” we are saying that we are taking something back to its set, or original position.
What I have learned in life is it does not come with a reset button. There is no way of undoing what has been done. We are left with one of two choices. We can learn and grow, or we can continue to make the same mistakes. The only guarantee in life is the untiring march of time. We will never begin more time and we don’t know when our time will be up. All we can do is keep moving.
So, why even talk about resetting? Because what can be reset is our mind. The way we think about our lives and circumstances can be altered. The process of resetting our perspective is difficult, but I would argue worth the effort. We can go back to what God had in mind when he created humanity. We were created to have fellowship with God. Our communion with God can be reset when we place our trust in Christ. Putting our confidence in Jesus’ sacrifice is the only means available to us for a hope-filled existence. At that moment, we are back to what God had in mind from the beginning. This return is needed if we are going to see God’s plan the way God planned it. In this season of Lent, take some time and reset your thinking to be more inline with God’s.
Within the Christian world, the idea of surrender has a peculiar twist distinguishing it from its more common definition. When the word “surrender” is used there is usually the idea of conflict between two opposing factions. In the end, one of those groups recognizes their demise and chooses to cease fighting and turn themselves over to their opponents. The central concept is that conflict brings about the surrender.
Within the Christian worldview, surrender is not brought about by conflict (although this is not an entirely improbable possibility). For the Christian, surrender is initiated when the beauty and majesty of God leaves no doubt within their heart and mind that to be ruled by God is better than to rule oneself. The mystery here is in seeing that the motivation emanates from God’s character rather than his power.
When I look at Jesus’ example I see a life surrendered to God, not because God would conquer, but rather because he was allowing himself to be conquered, which is preferable. To put it another way, we are talking about the difference between an enemy and a lover. When one soul gives itself to another, love and passion are what are exchanged. This is the image of the marriage chamber. God’s love for us is intimate and passionate. He does not merely want to crush us, he wants us to be wooed and enthralled with his majesty and utter beauty.
It can be uncomfortable for us to think of God in this way, but that is exactly the image we are given in the bible. Jesus has returned to his Father’s house to prepare a place for us. Too often, this “us” is understood in the plural. However, Jesus is described as the bridegroom. He will return for his bride, singular. We who believe have become a part of the one bride who Jesus died to redeem and purify. Therefore, the language of the scriptures is that of lovers and marriage.
As we continue our journey towards Easter morning remember that God’s love for you is not academic. It is real, personal and unquenchable. Jesus loves us and he is not indifferent to our circumstances. Why would we not want to give ourselves to him.