Friday, November 23, 2012

A Pocket Full of Posies

"Do not free a camel of the burden of his hump; you may be freeing him from being a camel."  - G.K. Chesterton 

Perched five feet above a solid cement floor, my infant son sat facing outward, supported by my arms.  He swung his legs merrily, taking in his surroundings as he often does, until he decided at once that he wanted to get down.  He began to try to scoot forward to free himself of the hold I had on him.  With each failed attempt he would try again, harder and harder each time.  Finally he got frustrated with me and began to fuss and whimper.  He was angry with me for not allowing him to jump a distance greater than two times his height (him who can not even stand up, let along jump!).  He was clearly far too young to understand that his father was not acting to frustrate him, but to keep him from serious harm.  He simply wanted what he wanted.

But what lessons children teach us!  How often is it the same with us?  We simply want what we want.  We may try over and over and over for the same thing, and our Heavenly Father may restrain us over and over and over to keep us from harm.  And though we ought to be thankful for this, instead we often act in frustration.  In defiance, we may try again, only to find ourselves restrained one more time.  Like an infant, we understand so little compared to our God.  Sometimes the things we see as burdens were given to us by God to make us into the people we would be in the future.  Sometimes we want to go one direction in life, and God points us in another.  And sometimes we just want to jump out of the loving arms of God onto a cement floor where we would surely break our heads.  Strange as it may be at times to our small minds, we ought to be thankful that God does not give us everything we want.  We know little of what we truly need, but we can rest in the knowledge that we have a Father in Heaven who does.

"To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it."
- G.K. Chesterton

Saturday, November 17, 2012

If Wishes Were Horses

"Compromise used to mean that half a loaf was better than no bread. Among modern statesmen it really seems to mean that half a loaf is better than a whole loaf." - G.K. Chesterton

Time is ever with us, yet it rushes past us like a wind, sweeping us along on its merry way.  There are those who take the time to look backward, remembering and wondering about the past.  But for most these days, history began a month ago from their present point in time.  There are so many lessons from the past, but there are few these days that remember them.  Sadly this is not due to any lack of ability, but rather a lack of caring.

Apathy reigns in our culture.  If it takes effort, it is immediately discarded.  Unfortunately this means far too often thinking and critical thought take a back seat to comfort, ease, acquisition, entertainment....  It has not always been so.  In times past, remembering the past and thinking about their lessons was extremely important.  In Israel, God commanded the Jews to build monuments of stone as reminders for the generations of the future of God's faithfulness.  When the children would ask of their parents what the monuments were there for, they would reply with a story and lesson of the faithfulness and grace of God that He showed to them.  These same people, however, became apathetic.  Oh, it didn't happen overnight.  No, it began with an attitude of "to each his own".  It became too much effort to stand up for what was right and to confront sin, so they allowed it to grow and thrive around them.  But like any kind of sickness left untreated, it spread.  Within a generation or two, the entire nation was involved, not merely apathetic, but now fully embracing it, until a generation would rise up and cast off the sin and turn back to God.  This would become the repeated cycle for the Jews with many serious and grave consequences;  a lesson to learn from.

Yet we do not remember these things.  "After all," we say, "it doesn't affect my life.  Why should I care?"  Thinking is an uncomfortable exercise for most.  Fighting for what is right is too much effort.  It is easier to compromise and, in so doing, convince ourselves that we are being more noble for doing so.  It is easier to convince ourselves that what is bad is not-so-bad, and what is not-so-bad is actually good.  What our grandparents would shudder at we embrace, and what they would display openly, we hide.

We too have monuments that we have setup for the purposes of remembering;  reminders of where we came from and the God that once was the leader of our homes.  "In God We Trust".  But the Enemy is anything but apathetic toward attacking these things.  He knows well the events of the past and the power -or lack thereof- of an apathetic people.  He knows that the more apathetic the people, the more ignorant they are, for they care little for knowledge or wisdom embracing instead the superfluous.  Slowly he wears us down until a generation arises who no longer cares for the lessons of the past or the things of God are fully in control.  

I fear this generation has arrived.  I have studied history, and I know what happens to a culture, a nation, and a people when this generation comes.  But I know that the winds of time do not blow as by chance but are directed by the hand of God.  It is He who ordains such times as this, and it is His time to direct.  Our part is to decide what to do with the time given to us.  Do we allow ourselves to be swept along with the simple currents of carelessness, or do we attempt the effort of swimming against the tide?  No action occurs of its own accord.  It starts with the mind, with a will do do something, and an attitude that cares to act in a certain way.

"We regard God as an airman regards his parachute; it's there for emergencies but he hopes he'll never have to use it."  - C.S. Lewis

Monday, October 08, 2012

Half a League Onward

What did Columbus do, for example? He sailed in a ship, that was all! Many a mariner has done the same before, but no man had held on a westward course so obstinately, so persistently or so long." - Frank W Boreham

Sometimes it is the simple things that are the hardest.  Road blocks are thrown in our path, people mock or discourage, others may not mock but in their own helplessness have no assistance to offer.  So then what?  How many people get to where they are going by turning around, or plunking themselves on the ground and say to themselves, "I'll just stay here"?

Columbus day... now there was a fellow who was stubborn and single minded.  It's a characteristic that seems to be as foreign in our culture as the New World was to Europe at the time.  In my observation, most people who have done things worth doing were told all along the way that "it can't be done".  And the rest of the people believe it and quit.  It's frustrating to say the least.  Of course we would all like to quit from time to time, but it's that characteristic of stubbornness that makes us hang on.  Hang on when every bit of our mind and energy have forgotten why we hang on... just a memory that it is the right thing to do.  For we each face those times in life when we know something is right, and though we are plagued by criticism, rebuke, failure, or any number of a thousand reasons to give up, we either press on anyway or we throw in the towel.

Often times Satan taunts us with these thoughts or words to give up.  And over time under that constant barrage, it's hard not to buckle;  like a ship still sailing West in the midst of a great storm.  But press on we should!  Living a life fully devoted to God does not come as an easy matter, nor was it promised to be so.  It's work, always upstream, always with the wind in our face.  Thank God for moments of rest, He knows we need them, but before long it's right back to it.  We live this way to bring glory to a God who has done more for us than we can ever fully understand.  We do it out of love.  And, thankfully, we do not go forth in our own strength!

"Wishing cannot take the place of working! Aspiration is excellent; but perspiration, too, must play its part before the summit is attained. I press towards the mark for the prize of the upward call! says Paul. I press!"  -  Frank W Boreham

Sunday, May 20, 2012

By It I See Everything

"Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important." - C.S. Lewis

Too often we treat the message of God with ambivalence.  There are many who reject it outright, but far too many others who consider it with an apathetic air.  They may claim outwardly that it is important, but take no further action than that.  Unfortunately that seems to be the attitude that rules the day in the culture these days... apathy.  Unless it leads to comfort and ease, it is of no consequence.  They may say, "that's nice you believe that."  And they may even throw in the vague notion of "everyone should have something like that to believe in".  But in the end, the message that is of the utmost importance to everyone alive is shrugged off.  The momentary search for comfort or excitement or whatever it is distracts attention from where the focus ought to be.

To the non-Christian what is the chief aim in life?  Is it not happiness, in whatever form it may take for each individual person?  So then, let us say there is an atheist on one side, and a Christian follower of Jesus on the other.  If both live a "happy" and "full" life, by the world's standards the best has been attained by both.  But the difference here is that the atheist is gambling on the fact that there is no God and no one to stand before when he dies to give account of himself to.  And to what gain?  It would seem a very foolish wager indeed.

It is a pity that more people do not fully see the importance of living a life as a follower of Jesus.  It is not always an easy path to take, in fact it is promised to be hard.  But hard paths to do not always rob you of happiness or joy.  In this case it is just the opposite.  And I am thankful that is the case.  The message of Christ is very much real, therefore it is of utmost importance!

"If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning." - C.S. Lewis

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Have Fun Storming the Castle

"Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten." -G.K. Chesterton

Sometimes things are a matter of perspective. Sometimes we need to step outside of our small minds to consider the possibility that a bigger purpose is unfolding. We may not know what it is, but just acknowledging the idea is a huge step in the right direction. If one step leads to another, then many steps lead to great distances. It is for this reason that we need to keep our focus in the right place with the small steps, so that they may one day add up to something good and worthwhile. Most of God's grande purposes won't be known to us, this side of heaven. And that's the way He designed it. It makes life more enjoyable, and the hard times more bearable, knowing that there is a purpose. We can go through life with a reliance on God, storming the castles of life... perhaps not even knowing why, but knowing that it is where God is leading us. It is there that the greatest joy is found, because He is by our side. Imagine going on a long, hard journey without your Greatest Companion to come along? Why then would we want to travel life, the greatest journey any of us will set out on, without going where God will lead or inviting Him along in the first place? © 2010. layout by Chaotic Soul :: Converted by Randomness