Stand Firm or Not At All

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My Musings – “Stand for something or you will fall for anything. Today’s mighty oak is yesterday’s nut that held its ground.” Probably said by Rosa Parks (Rosa Louise McCauley Parks, 1913 – 2005, African American civil rights activist).  Variations of the first part of this quote have been attributed to many different people, with the true origin of the quote unknown.  I think we might be safe in attributing it to Isaiah.

The Biblical definition of faith, is found in Hebrews 11:1:  “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (NIV 1984).” In other words, a firm belief in something for which there is no proof.   Another version states that it is the substance (what’s tangible) of hope (what’s intangible), the evidence (proof) of what cannot be seen (unprovable).  You may end up being called a nut.  But if you don’t stand firm, you’ll never become a might oak.  in fact, if you do not stand firm, you will not stand at all.

My Advice – Don’t just stand for something.  Stand for someone.  Stand for a firm belief in Jesus Christ.  If you do, though you cannot see it, you can be certain that you will never fall.  You’d be nuts not to.

 

 

The Conclusion of the Matter

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My Musings – Fear God? “The ‘fear of the Lord‘ is that attitude of reverence and awe that His people show to Him because they love Him and respect His power and His greatness.” (Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). Be Satisfied (p. 135). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books).

Keep His commandments?  Not out of the fear, as we understand fear.  But, as explained above, out of reverence, awe, and respect.  Why wouldn’t we?  Think of it this way.  When we were little children, we obeyed our parents out of the fear we understand.  Fear of the consequences if we did not.  As we grew older and became adults we continued to do the things we were told when we were young, because we revere and respect them, and want to please them. We want to show our gratitude.

The duty of man?  Not because it is compulsory, but because we are obliged (do as someone asks or desires in order to help or please them).

My Advice – Do your “duty.”

What Are You Pursuing?

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My Musings – We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. – Preamble to the Declaration of Independence.

God gave us life and liberty (freedom to make our own choices).  The pursuit of happiness is a bit more problematic.  Man has a tendency to find (or think he can find) happiness in all the wrong places and with all the wrong things.  More often than not, these rob us of the very thing we are pursuing.  We would be better off pursuing joy (which is not dependent upon things or circumstances) rather than happiness (which usually is dependent upon things or circumstances).

Better yet, as the above verse states, we should pursue righteousness and love, which results in life, prosperity and honor.  We need to remember, however, that an abundant life is more about quality than quantity, lasting prosperity has little to do with an abundance of “things” (which moths and rust can destroy) and honor has more to do with our character than it does with how much fame an adulation we can achieve.  And how ironic it is, that when we get it backwards (we pursue long life, prosperity in things and honor absent humility), righteousness and love (and happiness) often eludes us.

My Advice – Let’s make sure what we pursue is not only worth the chase, but is also worth catching.

Heart Over Mind

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My Musings – As often as not, real trust is more a matter of the heart than it is of the mind.  We often have to follow our hearts, when logic and our understanding on how things appear to be are telling us we should not trust.  If we do not trust with all of our heart, can it really be trust?

“If my heart could do my thinking, and my head begin to feel, I would look upon the world anew, and know what’s truly real.”— Van Morrison

My Advice – In God we can trust.  Your mind may have its doubts at times, but in your heart you know you should.

The Outer Limits?

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My Musings – This verse is not meant to be taken as hyperbole (exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally).  Just the opposite, and more.  How does one explain the infinite love and forgiveness of God?  There is nothing literal that can adequately capture it.  So you go beyond the literal, pushing on to the outer “limits”

“To infinity and beyond!” (Buzz Lightyear).  To those who had not yet experienced flight, much less space travel, the heavens were something beyond the grasp of early man.  Today, having actually reached out into space, and seen into deep space with instruments like the Hubble telescope, the depths of the heavens are still far beyond our grasp.  If all space, time and matter came into being at the Big Bang (“And God Said…and it was so.”), and the “universe” is ever-expanding, does this mean there is an outer-edge to it?  If so, then you would have reached infinity, and the limits of God’s love still reaches beyond.  “Whoa, this is heavy!” (Marty McFly).

“Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.” (Rudyard Kipling).  This one, early man could possibly grasp.    If you travel West (or East), you can travel on forever and never reach the East (or West).  The twain will never meet.  You may turn around, and there it is, but that is called repentance (if turning away from sin) or backsliding (if turning back to sin).  But forgiveness means never being under sin’s penalty ever again. The Psalmist did not say as far as the north is from the south.  If you travel North (or South), eventually you reach a point where your direction changes and you begin to travel South (or North), without ever turning around.  This would have never captured the magnitude of God’s forgiveness. “Heavy!”

My Advice – If you have not already done so, “Go West, young man!” (John B. L. Soule). Take a trip “to infinity and beyond.”  How’s that for mixing metaphors?

If have already done so, do not turn around, do not even look back. “We ought not to look back, unless it is to derive useful lessons from past errors and for the purpose of profiting by dear bought experience.” (George Washington).  Keep heading to the outer limits (situated farther out).  Because when you think you have reached the limits of God’s love and forgiveness, there is even more “situated farther out.”

Not So With You

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My Musings – No one wakes up in the morning with the hope that someone will manage us.  We wake up in the morning with the hope that someone will lead us.  The problem is, for us to be led, there must be leaders we want to follow.  (From Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek).

There is no shortage of people who wish to exercise authority.  Just look at the number of candidates in recent (and upcoming) elections who want to be President.  As you listen to many of them, you get the idea that as much as they would like to lead, there are not many that we would like to follow.  This concept is not restricted to politics.  It is rampant in many businesses and organizations, and yes, even in some churches.  To make matters worse, many who wish to lead, find little fault in their leadership skills, preferring to blame those they wish to lead with the inability or unwillingness to follow.

Perhaps that is one reason why Christ turned the leadership model on its head.  Do you want to a leader?  Then learn how to follow.  You want to be seen as great? Then learn to be humble.  You want to be first? Then be willing to wait in line.  You want to be master?  Then be willing to become a servant. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  (Mark 10:45, NIV 1984).

When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. ‘Do you understand what I have done for you?’ he asked them. ‘You call me Teacher and Lord, and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.‘” (John 13:12–17, NIV 1984).

My Advice – Go and do likewise.  Has a familiar ring to it.

Despicable Me?

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My Musings – We usually think that a broken spirit is a negative thing.  But how could God possibly forgive a proud and rebellious spirit? The text implies that God actually despises such a spirit.  Genuine contrition (feeling or showing sorrow and remorse for a sin or shortcoming) is not possible absent a humble and penitent heart.

My Advice – Do not allow a proud or rebellious spirit get in the way of a humble and penitent heart.