FAITH BLOG

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PANDEMIC PARALYSIS

As we dwell in this new normal pandemic, I often feel paralyzed. Do you? I send up my prayers for my friends and people I know who are sick. But what does a new future look like? I think we all need to review our past, present and future in God’s view. 

Review the past, God was imminently faithful in the midst of difficulty. We grew in the experience of taking refuge in the Lord. The paralysis with the past can come when we tell God “never again” will I allow this to happen - be it bad relationships, financial failures, or just capitulating to mean people. We cannot make deals with God and there is no “Plan B.” He longs for us to have a deep relationship with Him - not based on our “just fix it” definition of love. Then I read our Judges reading. The people start the sin cycle – Sin, Slavery, Suffering, Savior and then Salvation. Only to do it all over again. Lord have mercy.They tried to make deals and look for a plan B. Lord, we pray, please heal us, have mercy on Your children.

The present. I am socially distancing from my own family. (He knows.) I just flew three flights and 12 people for the day. My work schedule is cut, my income reduced, the airports are “apocalyptically” empty. (He knows.) My hands are raw from constant washing and arrggh I just touched my face! (He knows this too!) 

The Future: He promises glory. In Luke 22, the Last Supper Celebrates the beginning of the new relationship between God and people. Jesus broke the wretched sin cycle. How? In about twelve hours He would walk to a brutal cross, but first, He still dealt with His disciples’ present day issues. Bear with me. “Hey, I know about the man here who will betray Me.” “Hey, I know you all cannot believe that.” “And I know you are really thinking about your personal glory in My Kingdom.” “And hey Peter, soon you will deny you even know Me.” “Three times!” “But when you repent and return to Me, restore your brothers.” Amazing, He plans for a  glorious future but can deal with our present.

Our decision is clear. Trust in this new deeper relationship with The Trinity. As Larry Crabb says it, become more God obsessed and less self-obsessed. Seek Him, not just to escape this pandemic paralysis, but to know His peace in the midst of trial. Or return to the sin cycle, with its “just get me out of this God.” So - what will your future look like?

Those who follow the right path - Fear the LORD.  Those who take the wrong path - Despise Him.  Proverbs 14:2

But the godly will flourish like palm trees  and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon for they are transported into the Lord's own house.  They flourish in the courts of our God.  Psalm 92:13

 

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CELEBRATE DENYING ME

Our Leviticus reading continues to reveal that our sin costs something. Ravi Zacharias said “Sin will take you further than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.” “You must faithfully keep all My commands by putting them into practice, for I am the Lord.” Lev. 22:31 So we must show action to obey God. So we must have to choose at times to “deny me.” It is interesting that the new nation was taught denying their innate desires through celebration.

They celebrated by not working once a week and worshipping the Lord. They celebrated with the Passover and trusted God totally for their salvation. They celebrated “First Fruits” and trusted God with initial crops before they even had a harvest. They celebrated “the Harvest” and how God provided in abundance. They then celebrated the Day of Atonement and humbly rejoiced that the Lord once a year covered their sin. Finally the year ends with the “Festival of Shelters” where the people gather together in shelters to remember, not only their blessings of that year’s harvest, but their history of total dependence on God while in the wilderness. All of their celebrations had a foundation of denying themselves.

Today may we also celebrate by denying our sin by resting and worshipping. May we rely on the faith that Jesus’ sacrifice is our Passover. May we deny ourselves and celebrate that God will receive our first fruits of faith as we trust Him for our future. And may we deny ourselves and celebrate God’s blessings to us in times of abundance. It’s all His! Finally may our lives together reflect the Festival of Shelters and remember His provision in our time of need.

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