A Dimension of Peace

Today we live in a very polarized world. You are liberal or conservative, Republican or Democrat, pro-abortion or anti-abortion, pro-same sex marriage or anti-same sex marriage, for “a pathway to amnesty for undocumented workers” or pro-secure borders and “get in line with the others”.

We choose our news source by our position on the issues and they spoon feed us what we are to believe about every issue and why that is the only reasonable stance.

But one of the things that confounded His followers was that Jesus seemed to always be touting a third option – a higher perspective of the issue.

“Jesus, should we pay taxes to Caesar or not?”
“Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and give to God what is God’s.”
That wasn’t one of the choices.

“We caught this woman in adultery. Do we obey the Law of Moses and stone her or not?”
“If you are without sin, toss the first rock.”
In multiple choice questions he always chose “None of the Above”.

I have been asking the Lord to help me see that higher perspective – a third dimension – on the issues of the day. It is not easy. First because it is so easy to lazily listen to my news channel – whichever one that may be – and let them do the thinking for me. After all, once they package and present their truth nothing else even makes sense. I don’t need to think. These guys and gals who are all smarter than me have done the thinking for me giving me all the facts that support the only logical position.

Secondly, it is hard to discover this higher perspective because it does not reside in my mind nor with any media outlet. I am seeking God’s perspective on the issue. Therefore I need to turn off the talking heads of network news and seek the One who heads the universe. But He promised that we have the mind of Christ so this higher dimension is available to me if I will quiet my world and seek it.

And here is the wonderful thing I have discovered about this third dimensional view of the issues. It is a dimension of peace. It is a dimension where God is in control and I can “go placidly amidst the noise and haste”.

On the few times that I have found this perspective on an issue I have discovered it to be a wonderful place of tranquility and quiet joy. It is a dimension where I don’t have to waste emotional energy trying to correct everyone else.

It doesn’t take a genius or knowledge of all the facts to find this dimension. It simply takes getting quiet long enough to tap into the mind of Christ and letting Him give you a new view. I believe as things accelerate toward a cosmic climax it is going to be important that we learn to live in this dimension if we are going to live sanely.

Why not begin making the connection now?

(CLICK For a look at the higher perspective on what is happening in the Middle East and with ISIS.)
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Isaiah‬ ‭55‬:‭8-9
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.

1 Corinthians‬ ‭2‬:‭16‬
For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, THAT HE WILL INSTRUCT H IM? But we have the mind of Christ.

Categories: 1 Corinthians, Isaiah | 1 Comment

The Great I AM not

In Exodus 3 God referred to Himself as I AM. Grammatically that leaves a blank that I want to fill in. I am … what? And the words that we could use to fill that blank are nearly endless.

He is love. He is joy. He is peace. He is patient. He is kind. He is holy. He is faithful. He is …

In worship this morning I was thinking of all that He is and realizing that if He is the Great I AM, then I am the great I am not.

He is Holy. I am not. He is always kind. I am not. He is always faithful. I am not. He never fails. I do. He does not judge by outward appearance. I do. He always thinks the best. I don’t. In every area where He is the I AM, I am the I-am-not.

But there is hope.
“He who walks with the wise grows wise.” (Proverbs 13:20)

Lord, I want to walk with You more consistently each day.
I don’t want to be like the anxious, disobedient child that tears his hand out of the guiding hand of his parent to run his own way. I want to learn Your way.
I want to be transformed into Your image. I want my mind renewed.
Let me walk with Wisdom today and grow wise.
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Romans 12:2
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Categories: Exodus, Proverbs, Romans | 1 Comment

I need to be reminded

Ugly as SinIn 2 Kings 23 King Josiah cleans Judah of its idolatry. I was struck by how perverted God’s people had become – prostitutes set up shop in God’s temple, the people burning their own children as sacrifices and other flagrant awful sins. Some of this had been going on for centuries.

But Josiah changes all that. The book of the Law is read. He relentlessly attacks and destroys the false gods. “Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the Lord as he did—with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses.” (2 Kings 23:25) But even though the repentance was genuine they did not all live happily ever after. Read more »

Categories: 2 Kings, Galatians | Leave a comment

How to avoid criticism

Will RogersIf you’ve felt the sting of the critic’s mean words it’s natural to want to avoid future attacks.

And it’s really easy to avoid criticism.

Simply do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.
In short, waste your life and no one will criticize you.
(Except perhaps your parents because they love you enough to tell you you’re wasting your life.)

If you could live you whole life and do nothing but good you still could not avoid criticism.
One man did that and they nailed him to a cross three years after He went public.

Will Rogers said, “I never met a man I didn’t like.”
At first I thought that was an outlandish statement – especially since he knew so many politicians in his day. :-)

But years later it dawned on me what he was saying. Read more »

Categories: John, Luke | 4 Comments

How do I work out my salvation?

I'm working on itAs a new believer I found this passage (and a lot of other ones) totally confusing. I was told salvation was “not by works” yet here Paul clearly says work it out. So what’s up with that? I got a better understanding of what this was all about when I saw one thing and learned another.  Read more »

Categories: 1 John, Philippians | 1 Comment

What are you full of?

Crying out to GodOne day a broken hearted woman went to church to pray. Unfortunately she chose a church where the priest was out of touch with God. Since fervent and intense prayer was not something he was accustomed to when he saw her passionately imploring the Lord to answer her prayers, he assumed she must be drunk and rebuked her for coming to church like that.

Jesus said what we fill our heart with is what will inevitably come out our mouth. Because this priest’s heart was cold toward God his default setting was judgment, not mercy. He immediately assumed the worst rather than defaulting to the best. But love “always looks for the best”. (1 Corinthians 13:7 MSG)

What we fill our heart with colors how we see others and how we see the world. If we think the world is against us, that no one likes us, that people are judging us we react in ways that cause that to happen. If we are always attune to the negative, always quick with criticism, always assuming the worst we make it harder for people to approach us, to love us. Read more »

Categories: 1 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians | Leave a comment

Ever Feel Helpless – Part 2

Weak as a king?THE STORY
Abner, the commander of Saul’s armies was faithful to Saul’s family even after Saul’s death. But Saul’s family insulted him and he defected to David’s side planning to bring his troops with him. This would have saved many Israeli lives, brought peace to the kingdom and immediately established David as king over all of Israel.

But the commander of David’s army, Joab wanted to kill Abner to avenge the death of his brother that Abner had killed in battle. Without David knowing it Joab deceived Abner and killed him before peace could be established. Upon hearing of this, David says this interesting thing:

THE PASSAGE
And today, though I am the anointed king, I am weak, and these sons of Zeruiah are too strong for me. May the Lord repay the evildoer according to his evil deeds!” (2 Samuel 3:39)

THE APPLICATION
Do you ever feel helpless against evil people or situations in your life? Am I the only one that at times has wished I could stop being a king (Child of God) for just a few hours? “If I weren’t a Christian I could do this and then do that. But as a Christian I have to ‘turn the other cheek’, ‘bless those who do evil to me’, ‘pray for them’, love them.’ UGH! How can a king be so powerless to attack evil?” Read more »

Categories: 1 Peter, 2 Samuel | 3 Comments

Ever feel helpless?

helplessA  story in 2 Samuel really caught my attention. Abner, the commander of Saul’s armies was faithful to Saul’s family even after Saul’s death. But they insulted him and he defected to David’s side planning to bring his troops with him. This would have saved many Israeli lives, brought peace to the kingdom and immediately established David as king over all of Israel. (Judah had already recognized him as king once Saul was killed in battle against the Philistines.)

But the commander of David’s army, Joab, wanted to kill Abner to avenge his brother who Abner had killed in battle. Without David knowing it Joab deceived Abner and killed him before peace could be established. Upon hearing of this, David says this interesting thing:

And today, though I am the anointed king, I am weak, and these sons of Zeruiah are too strong for me. May the Lord repay the evildoer according to his evil deeds!” (2 Samuel 3:39)

Can you hear the frustration of David? I am king but I am still powerless against evil. These sons of my sister, Zeruiah, (yes, they were family) are out of control and do whatever they want. I am powerless. Read more »

Categories: 2 Peter, 2 Samuel | Leave a comment

Why I do dumb things

alien fingerTammie Burger is a concert pianist and her husband, Stephen, is a “shrink” – therapist. They are also a missionary Pastoral Care couple with Commission To Every Nation doing a wonderful job of giving care and oversight to CTEN missionaries in Central America. I felt this post had insight that could help many of us understand at least one reason we may do dumb things – even when we know better. I hope it helps you like it did me.     - Rick
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I took a tumble in the yard and dislocated the ring finger on my left hand. It was all askew. Grotesque, actually. I thought it was broken, but Stephen saw it was dislocated, grabbed it and put it back into place. Not a happy thing, but even more disheartening, because I am preparing a series of classical piano concerts–the first one is in less than a month.

My hand feels foreign after the trauma, and my finger is quite awkward and definitely slow. Still swollen, still bruised. But, if you’re going to mess up a finger and still try to play the piano, the ring finger on the left hand is definitely the one to choose….you can work around it.

I’m working on Beethoven’s Pathetique Sonata–which I learned originally when I was 13. With all the shortcuts and bad habits 13 year-olds will develop. I used particularly bad fingering when I originally learned it, but years later did the right thing and spent a lot of time fixing the fingering. It took a long time to unlearn those bad habits, but worth the effort. I rued my youthful mistakes, but worked through them. I’ve performed the piece several times since then. Read more »

Categories: Romans | Leave a comment

Where to find God

Gone FishingSometimes it seems like God is hiding. We pray and … nothing. I discovered something in Psalm 146 that might help us find Him the next time He seems away on vacation.

Psalm 146 talks about the “oppressed”, the “hungry”, the “prisoners”, the “blind”, “those who are bowed down”, “the foreigner”, “the fatherless and the widow”. Right in the middle of this suffering and oppressed group of people it says one line about the righteous that seems out of place. Why would this statement about “the righteous” be found among a list of oppressed and broken people?

Perhaps because when Righteousness walked the earth in human form He gravitated toward that group of people. Jesus spent His time among the sick, the sorrowful, those who knew their need of a Savior but felt far from God as He was presented by the religious system.

True Righteousness will always walk among the poor, reach out to the lost one, run to embrace the one who has been among the pigs, wreaks of the slop trough and comes acknowledging, “I am not worthy”.

Jesus could have come as a king, lived in comfort and opulence proclaiming His message to the masses from a solid gold chariot drawn by a team of magnificent horses. Certainly this would have made his divinity seem more palatable, more believable. He could have maintained a respectable distance from the dust and filth of humanity but it was from dust He chose to make man. He chose to once again get His hands dirty to redeem man.

What a remarkable love that caused Him to descend to the lowest depths in order to make it possible for us to ascend to the highest heights. What a Savior! What a God!

So where are we likely to find God? Right at the point of our most desperate need – among the poor in spirit, the broken, the contrite and humble. If that is where you are, go and do something to bless someone who is worse off than you and I guarantee you will find God right there beside you.
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James 1:27
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Categories: James, Psalms | 3 Comments