Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Prompted by reflection on mortality and a life well-lived . . . or not?

A couple posts of mine today that are related (at least in my own mind and heart)? Throughout the week and at different times and places, I’ve been trying to “listen” more intentionally to what I’m hearing from others, both the words themselves and the “sense” they convey from hearts. From people that are “sold out” for Jesus and living in that “freedom”, from those who are troubled by the world and their own circumstances, from still others who are “self medicating” (buying things, taking vacations, etc.) to numb the pain and brokenness of the world. It all causes me to “examen” (that ancient prayer form) my own life and path, seeking God’s Truth and direction in this season. I’m concluding that the truth of Scripture, lives as living sacrifices, sets apart those truly following Christ; they seem content regardless of circumstances, they exude a “peace” that it is at once contagious and also mysterious, they convey a HOPE that transcends this world and speaks of Heaven itself. I want that, I want what the ancients discovered for themselves and tried as best they could to express in words, while still falling short of the divine voice. I want communion, even union, with the sacred Three in One, here and now.

From Facebook, March 27, 2012:
Mortality wake up call . . . just found out another of my former soccer players' fathers has passed away from a heart attack . . . that's two deaths and one emergency bypass in a month . . . heaven come near, remind us there is more . . . even Eternity . . . LORD have mercy.
prompting a prayer of examen - am I truly living this life or just wasting it?
"Send forth Your Light and Your Truth, let them guide me." May I make a difference for You in this life.

Retirement: a time to indulge in hedonistic pursuits and materialism, OR a new season to seek and serve God like never before.
the "choice" of course is always ours, but the flow of blessings to and from always His . .

I’m certainly no “saint”, but I’m amazed (puzzled?) by the older (“retired” like me) Christians I meet who regularly attend worship services on Sunday, only to drive off in their status symbol vehicles for another week of retreating into gated communities, to status symbol homes, to buying the latest “toy” to appease desires for happiness. When the opportunity occasionally arises for dialog on discipleship, especially the “going” that Christ commanded, I’m further shocked that so few are doing anything in their communities or neighborhoods, even just spending time mentoring another younger person along the journey. It’s as if they feel entitled to this season of hedonism, of pleasure-seeking, like it’s their reward for raising their children or whatever? They’ve finally arrived at a season where they have the freedom and time to really make a difference for the Kingdom and the King, but choose to live shallow, meaningless (at least from a Kingdom perspective) lives. I hear justifications like, “Well, we travel too much to commit to anything,” or similar weak excuses. How sad that those with valuable life experiences, (and supposedly years of discipleship training), choose lives of “seclusion” from the world and those who could benefit from their experience. Lord have mercy indeed on us sinners.

Monday, March 26, 2012


The young lad o'th' loch, becomes the old man o'th' moor.

Happy in the glade be he tho he be poor.

Touched by God in this life his spirit rich beyond compare.

Knowing what lie ahead he doth happily journey the borderlands there.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Suffering – a Christ-like perspective:

Take some time to meditate on the wisdom of God as He works out His perfect will through our suffering. No wonder James, the brother of our Lord, commanded us to “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials” (James 1:2)!
1. Suffering is used to increase our awareness of the sustaining power of God to whom we owe our sustenance (Ps 68:19).
2. God uses suffering to refine, perfect, strengthen, and keep us from falling (Ps 66:8-9; Heb 2:10).
3. Suffering allows the life of Christ to be manifested in our mortal flesh (2 Cor 4:7-11).
4. Suffering bankrupts us, making us dependent upon God (2 Cor 12:9).
5. Suffering teaches us humility (2 Cor 12:7).
6. Suffering imparts the mind of Christ (Phil 2:1-11).
7. Suffering teaches us that God is more concerned about character than comfort (Rom 5:3-4; Heb 12:10-11).
8. Suffering teaches us that the greatest good of the Christian life is not absence of pain, but Christlikeness (2 Cor 4:8-10; Rom 8:28-29).
9. Suffering can be a chastisement from God for sin and rebellion (Ps 107:17).
10. Obedience and self-control are from suffering (Heb 5:8; Ps 119:67; Rom 5:1-5; James 1:2-8; Phil 3:10).
11. Voluntary suffering is one way to demonstrate the love of God (2 Cor 8:1-2, 9).
12. Suffering is part of the struggle against sin (Heb 12:4-13).
13. Suffering is part of the struggle against evil men (Ps 27:12; 37:14-15).
14. Suffering is part of the struggle for the kingdom of God (2 Thess 1:5).
15. Suffering is part of the struggle for the gospel (2 Tim 2:8-9).
16. Suffering is part of the struggle against injustice (1 Pet 2:19).
17. Suffering is part of the struggle for the name of Christ (Acts 5:41; 1 Pet 4:14).
18. Suffering indicates how the righteous become sharers in Christ’s suffering (2 Cor 1:5; 1 Pet 4:12-13).
19. Endurance of suffering is given as a cause for reward (2 Cor 4:17; 2 Tim 2:12).
20. Suffering forces community and the administration of the gifts for the common good (Phil 4:12-15).
21. Suffering binds Christians together into a common or joint purpose (Rev 1:9).
22. Suffering produces discernment, knowledge, and teaches us God’s statutes (Ps 119:66-67, 71).
23. Through suffering God is able to obtain our broken and contrite spirit which He desires (Ps 51:16-17).
24. Suffering causes us to discipline our minds by making us focus our hope on the grace to be revealed at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Pet 1:6, 13).
25. God uses suffering to humble us so He can exalt us at the proper time (1 Pet 5:6-7).
26. Suffering teaches us to number our days so we can present to God a heart of wisdom (Ps 90:7-12).
27. Suffering is sometimes necessary to win the lost (2 Tim 2:8-10; 4:5-6).
28. Suffering strengthens and allows us to comfort others who are weak (2 Cor 1:3-11).
29. Suffering is small compared to the surpassing value of knowing Christ (Phil 3:8).
30. God desires truth in our innermost being and one way He does it is through suffering (Ps 51:6; 119:17).
31. The equity for suffering will be found in the next life (Ps 58:10-11).
32. Suffering is always coupled with a greater source of grace (2 Tim 1:7-8; 4:16-18).
33. Suffering teaches us to give thanks in times of sorrow (1 Thess 5:17; 2 Cor 1:11).
34. Suffering increases faith (Jer 29:11).
35. Suffering allows God to manifest His care (Ps 56:8).
36. Suffering stretches our hope (Job 13:14-15).
Out of His deep love for us God is more interested in making His children like Christ than He is in making us comfortable. The glory He receives from redeeming depraved sinners like us and remaking us into His image will be the song that fills the halls of heaven for all eternity (Rev 5:9-10). Since that will be the case in the future, let us pursue joy in the Lord here in the present.