Firmly Fixed

Mooring Ring-595548_640--Pixabay

“As democracy is perfected, the office of the President represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be occupied by a downright fool and complete narcissistic moron.”
—-H.L. Mencken, The Baltimore Evening Sun, July 26, 1920

I have to admit I am sorely tired of the current political scene and the drama which unfolds in the run-up to this (and every) presidential election. Most of the time I just want to vote for “None of the above.”

We have lost our mooring, both as a people and as a nation. I remind myself though, no matter who is elected President, Jesus Christ is still King.

“Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2

The above quote was posted on Facebook by one of my friends. And this was said almost 100 years ago! In a democracy, no matter who is elected to the office of the President, he (or she) is a reflection of the inner soul of that nation.

May God have mercy on us all. . .

Why do the nations rage,
And the people plot a vain thing?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
And the rulers take counsel together,
Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying,
“Let us break Their bonds in pieces
And cast away Their cords from us.”
He who sits in the heavens shall laugh;
The Lord shall hold them in derision.
Then He shall speak to them in His wrath,
And distress them in His deep displeasure:
“Yet I have set My King
On My holy hill of Zion.”

Psalm 2: 2-6 (NKJV)

Copyright © 2015 by Susan E. Johnson
All rights reserved

We’ve Got It Wrong

Attention by Marcos Tulio--Public Domain Pictures

It’s about the condition of man’s heart–always has been, always will be. We want a quick external fix, but what ails us won’t be fixed that easily. We need the power of the Living God to resonate in our hearts. When we encounter His presence, our lives change–dramatically. And that’s as it should be. . .

From a Far Country

What we want is laws passed.  What we want is people elected who see things our way, who do things our way, who make everybody else do things our way.  What we want is behaviors to change.  We don’t necessarily want hearts changed.  If hearts are changed then that would be okay with us but it’s not the main thing.  We want behaviors changed.  We want to make them change their behavior.

We’ve got it wrong.

It seems to me that our priority should be the spiritual condition of those who oppose us.  It’s not behavior that’s the issue.  It’s heart condition that matters.

I’ve been in Church services where the presence  and power us God was so real it forced me to my knees.  This morning I sat on my porch praying and I knew His presence so real that I was compelled to change, to stop doing one…

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Button, Button, Who’s Got The Button?

buttons-841621_1920

From sister-site “Scripture Nuggets“:

This parable gives a good picture of 1 Corinthians 12. Both fellowship and ministries are divided because believers have a wrong estimate of their gifts and place in the body of Christ. Many people think that only they have the whole truth, when all they have is a fragment. The following parable is worthy of your time.

Button, Button, Who’s Got The Button?

A solemn assembly was called. Apostles and prophets gathered to sit in conference with one another. Chairs were circled, so no one man would sit at the head. As each man took his seat, an unusual silence filled the room. The men sat staring at one another, almost forgetting the reason they had assembled, not one man wanting to speak. Out of the unusual silence a Voice spoke and asked, “Button, button, who has the button?” As if well-rehearsed, the men jumped to their feet and shouted in chorus, “I’ve got the Button! I’ve got the Button!” Each man raised his arms in the air with closed hands to show the Voice, and then one another, that they indeed were holding the button. Their voices roared, as if trying to drown out one another, shouting with great apostolic and prophetic confidence. “Yes, I’ve got the Button! I’ve got the Button!”

Their voices were hoarse from shouting, the roar subsided, and all responses stopped. And again the unusual silence filled the room, each man still standing with arm raised and hand closed. Slowly, their arms began to drop and each man opened his hand and stared into his palm. The Button was not found in any one hand. But, there was something in each man’s hand… a small piece of the Button. Every man standing in the room was holding a button fragment. Not all of the fragments were the same size or shape. Some were larger, some smaller, some were round and smooth, some oblong and jagged, but each man held some part of the Button.

Again the Voice broke the unusual silence and asked, “Button, button, who has the Button?” This time there was no quick answer. The men stood silent, no longer examining their own button fragment or the fragment of their neighbor. With their heads lowered, arms hanging limp at their sides, all boasting stopped. They stood dumfounded in the unusual silence. Finally, one man confessed in a broken voice, “I don’t have the Button…” And another whispered, “I don’t have the Button…” And another, with a deep sigh, “I don’t have the Button…” This time the response was personal, quiet, and remorseful, as every man admitted to himself, to the Voice, and to his peers, “I don’t have the Button.”

Once again, the unusual silence filled the room. Moments passed into eternity. And again the Voice broke the unusual silence. “I gave you bits and pieces, but you assumed you possessed the Whole. I sought to increase and shape those pieces, but you refused to open your hand. I desired to enlarge your fragments and mold them with other fragments, but you refused to let go. My gift you made into your possession. My generosity you turned into exclusiveness. My revelation has become your prejudice. You speak of unity, yet build invisible barriers between yourselves with your boasting, “I’ve got the Button.” As you see, all you really have is a fragment. And you are protecting, exalting, and defending your fragment as if it were the Whole. My sons, you have not yet seen the Whole!”

No longer were men standing; they were on their faces. The Button fragments had slipped from their hands and lay scattered around the floor. Their hands were empty. Their self-confident hearts were broken and their proud spirits softened. For the third time the Voice asked, “Button, button, who has the Button?” Through tears of contrition came the gentle reply, “Lord, You have the Button!”

–C. Brown

Pastor George Belobaba

Copyright © 2011 by Scripture Nuggets Ministries
All rights reserved

Five Minute Friday: expect

An excellent reminder, today and every day.

Between Blue Rocks

Version 2

We’ve been “expecting” for six months now, a euphemism which I find doesn’t quite catch the truth of it.

Early in the pregnancy, if I’m honest, my expectations were different — my husband and I both acknowledge, now, that we didn’t expect to make it this far; we expected — for a myriad of reasons — to lose the baby.

A lot could happen in the next three months, and I cannot presume to know, but now I expect that in late August I’ll be holding a wiggling, crying little boy.

Even so, to say we’re “expecting a baby” is a misnomer. We don’t expect him. We have him — something like two pounds of him, every inch a baby right now. A baby whose kicks and tumbles we treasure. A baby to whom we already talk and sing. He isn’t born yet, but he’s not merely expected. He exists.

It’s…

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Pathway To Belief

Spurgeon- That Is Faith

 

For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of Him. Therefore I also have lent him to the Lord; as long as he lives he shall be lent to the Lord.  1 Samuel 1:27-28a (NKJV)

My daughter has given me many reasons to be proud over her almost twenty-five years of life. This post from her blog, “My Soul Found Rest,” is one of them–an example of her courage and character.

I asked her if the timing of this “faith reconstruction” coincided with the death of her father a little over two years ago. That type of life event often triggers a “crisis of faith.”  She states it actually began a month earlier with the start of  graduate school and an introduction to new perspectives on long-held beliefs.

I have learned over and over God is never threatened by our questions, our doubts, or our fragile faith. He patiently hangs on to us even when our grasp on Him weakens.

I trust Hannah’s journey will bring encouragement as you trod your own pathway to belief.

My Soul Isn’t Finding Rest

What do you do when your soul doesn’t find rest? What do you do when you’re so deep in reconstructing your faith you feel you have nothing to stand on? Two years ago, I started a process of deconstructing and reconstructing my faith. Oh, it started slowly at first, but those things snowball on you. First it starts with one belief, and then you realize that if that belief is up for grabs, maybe the rest are too, and so it begins. Combine that with a growing appreciation for mistakes and flaws in humanity, and you soon have a recipe for unbelief. It looks like this:

Take one tablespoon of “hm, this seems odd,” and mix it with a cup of “that doesn’t make sense” and you get a recipe for “what the &%$* do I believe, and why would I believe something that sounds so incredible again?”

I mean, let’s put this bluntly. We believe that a being that we can’t see, can’t touch, can’t hear, and won’t be able to see, touch, or hear for as long as live, somehow created the universe, plus us. All this was fine and dandy until we screwed up, cue every horror ever perpetrated in history, which is only our fault, not the being’s. Said being only talks to certain people at certain times in certain ways, and then we get to the central part of the story, where said being hops down to earth, becomes human, dies, rises from the dead (!) and disappears, leaving a couple hundred people to put together a religion and travel all over the world with it.

It sounds like a highly convenient fairy tale, which is great when you have the little-kid gloss over your eyes. But what happens when you get to be an adult and the response changes from “Wow, that’s so cool! How’d he do that?” to “What the #$*!”

That’s when you get to the frantic slipping foundation stage of it all. Apparently, after doing some reading, this deconstruction thing is actually a thing, by which I mean to say that it’s considered a legitimate stage of faith over a lifetime. Roughly, you have the little-kid stage of total acceptance, then the mid-stage of blind acceptance, then the next mid-stage of @#$&, then the last state of total acceptance. I’m paraphrasing and condensing, but that’s basically it. The problem is that the church glorifies stages one, two, and four, without accepting (although this is changing) that there’s a stage three in there, and that stage four can’t be reached without going through stage three. The usual timeframe for stage three is early adulthood, so it’s not like I’m going through something weird or unusual. In fact, it’s a good thing… it just doesn’t feel like it in the moment.

However much of a good thing it might be, I’m still stuck here, now, fighting it out. Which brings me to my original questions—what do you grab onto when you feel there’s nothing left? Whatever is graspable is different for everyone; for me it’s the fact that the world is just too perfect and too beautiful for chance, and that I’ve been friends with the Lord for so long I can’t imagine leaving my best friend. Some days that really feels like all I can grab, and that’s okay. I staked my path to His years ago, and He’s gently reminded me He’s staked His to mine too. That’s why He said He wouldn’t leave us alone, that He would come to us, because this walk is much too difficult to do without help.

I confess I debated writing this for a number of reasons; one, doubt is still considered weakness in the church instead of a pathway to belief, and two, it’s just my own journey, and to blog about it seems pretty self-centered. But I chose to write it because it’s those voices online who have been my solid foundation recently, the ones who write of the same doubt process, the ones who aren’t afraid to say that faith is hard work but they’re slogging it out. It’s rough not being at rest, but Proverbs says that the first side of the story always seems right, until the second comes along and questions it. Truth can survive any amount of questioning, and so I hang onto the fact that despite all my fears and questions and doubt, and yes, unbelief, that the truth will out. Like murder, the truth will out, and this isn’t forever—rest will come again.

My Soul Found Rest
Used with permission

Original Content:
Copyright © 2015 by Susan E. Johnson
All rights reserved

"The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever." Isaiah 40:8 (NKJV)

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