My Musings – Although our troubles are temporary, while we are in them, we all have a tendency to be consumed by them. We fix our eyes on them. We can hardly focus on anything else. Yet because we are in Christ, if we fix our eyes on Him, things can be different. Hard pressed but not crushed. Perplexed but not in despair. Persecuted but not abandoned. Struck down but not destroyed. Wasting away but being renewed. With the proper focus we can see the all sufficient grace of God while still in the midst of what is pressing against us, perplexing us, persecuting us, or striking us down.
My Advice – In the less than memorable movie Noah’s Ark, starring Russel Crowe, there is one brief exchange between Noah and Tubal-Cain that I do remember quite well.
Tubal-Cain (menacingly): “I have men at my back, and you stand alone and defy me?”
Noah (matter-of-factly): “I’m not alone.”
Remember, no matter how desperate the situation, if you are in Christ you are never alone. Fix your eyes on Him, not the situation.
My Musings – Coming soon, to a location near you. We’ve been blessed in the United States. Up until a generation or so ago, the rule of law and Judeo-Christian values were rarely in conflict, with the glaring and shameful exception of slavery. The first amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads, in part, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” A veritable two-way street; no imposition of a state religion and no impediment to the free exercise of a citizen’s religion of choice.
That may soon be coming to an end. The cracks have been visible for quite some time now, and they are rapidly growing deeper and wider. And if permitted to mix my metaphors, the handwriting is on the wall and our days may be numbered. On that day, and it may be soon, we may be joining our Christian brothers and sisters in certain third-world, communist and Muslim countries where the free exercise of our faith, or at least certain aspects of it, become illegal. Even to the point of confiscation of property, imprisonment, or even death. This should not surprise us. Jesus said we would be hated because of Him (Matthew 10:22). But, “we must obey God rather than men!“
My Advice – “I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” (J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring). All we have to decide is, do we “obey God rather than men?” “But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15, NIV 1984). Who’s with me?