I Am Not Making This Up

“For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.” (2 Peter 1:16)

I could tell you the same thing but I’d be resorting to circular reasoning. And if you’re not already inclined to believe (read: humble yourself), you’ll see the flaw in my logic. But no, seriously. I am not making this up. I may be borrowing what I write and, therefore, you read. But it’s not like I’m saying anything other than what’s already been bandied about a million times over. Does that sound argumentative or pessimistic?

Peter, above, says “we…were eyewitnesses of His majesty”. And so, beyond a certain point the same applies to me. I can’t keep talking about this stuff unless I’m crazy or, I too have been an eyewitness. Well, I haven’t actually seen Jesus with my eyeballs. Part of the reason is because I wasn’t alive back then and every other part must necessarily (yes) require faith.

“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” (Jude 1:3)

Here’s the thing about faith. It’s something that is given if you really want it. If you (figuratively in this case) “sell all that thou hast” (Luke 18:22). It doesn’t take the divesting of stuff into a forced asceticism to realize the supernatural. It takes a heart that is willing to accept Jesus on His terms. There’s no other way around it. How hard is it to say I’m sorry and to care about others’ feelings more than your own? Sometimes, it’s impossible. But you realize you’re already forgiven, right? This, then, is a kernel of faith.

“So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17)

For instance, play the part. Dispense with all the modern-day jargon as to how wonderful you really are and how you can do no wrong and how you must save yourself. Put that on hold for a moment and think of yourself in the worst terms imaginable. Then layer on top of that all the mistakes you’ve ever made. All the lies you’ve told, all the ways in which you (wow, I’m getting negative here) could have been there for someone but chose not to. All the things you’ve ever done wrong. And steep in it for a second. Like wading through a swamp. I’m not just trying to create need. I am actually quite serious when I say that you can severely alter your day and your mood should you face your past and then let it overwhelm you.

Now, continuing on with this thought experiment, think about Jesus. Did you know that He lived a whole life for you? The thirty-three years (thereabouts) He walked this earth were like a trial run. If you’re not quite that old, think about your life as not even starting till after that age. If your life is all you have and you were then asked at the outset to give up about half of it even before birth, how would you respond? Would you be upset? I can imagine so. There are things that haven’t happened in my own life that make me want to crane my neck up to God and ask Him what the deal is. I digress

“Who, when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not; but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously.” (1 Peter 2:23)

Peter’s talking about Jesus again. Meeting Him changes everything. The way you work, the way you play. The way you feel and the way you act. It all comes under His banner. I am not making this up. And for Him to take His life and give it up after just getting started (and also rubbing all the powers-that-be in all the wrong ways–seriously), means we could at least approach thinking about (and quite-possibly doing) the same.

Bridging the Gap (Do as I Say and as I Do part 2)

“And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me. But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth?” (Psalm 50:15-16)

Broken bridges

There is that. What happens when God’s words, the very things (okay Thing: His Word) He uses to reveal Himself to the heart and mind of anyone willing, gets treated as described in the next verse? “Seeing thou hatest instruction, and castest my words behind thee.” It would seem, following this line, that the problem is in the heart and mind of those using God’s word for personal gain. Whether it be to appropriate more and other than what God would lavishly provide or else to try and use God’s word against Him. Both of which’s bridges, I should add, are out.

“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” (James 1:22)

See!? See right there. It’s dangerous to play around with something so powerful as the Word of God. To treat it lightly and unmeditatively is supreme folly. The Word of God is that which we’ve been given to build our mind around. It really is that simple. And it’s not about a hard-and-fast iron-willed and unassailable unwillingness to budge from believing the world was made in six days. Because I feel that anyone looking in from without sees that as the beginning. And before I go any further, consider the fact that you have been re-created in Christ Jesus. Couldn’t have been re-created unless you were “created” in the first place. Anyways… When Jesus asks us to believe on Him, and we run into things that conflict, not with the world at large (that’s a given), but with our internal construct, i.e. the state of our heart with reference to Him, that’s where the real struggle begins. It’s also where the real daily battle centers.

“Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: And that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name. Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” (Romans 15:8-9, 13, emphasis mine)

Building trusses, building trust

“Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.” (Proverbs 1:23)

God’s words–the words spoken through the scribes who penned the letters–are how He has chosen to reveal Himself along with His Son. And because the Holy Spirit is an intangible-by-mere-human-means Individual, respect must be paid to both former auspices before receiving Him. This is the point. We as Christians don’t understand the atmosphere in which we walk around, by and large. No, syntax notwithstanding, it’s we don’t by-and-large understand. When we accept the Lord, the circuit (circumcision?) has been completed. All that God has wanted to do has been done in the heart of everyone who believes. The world. The words. Now this. Something altogether new and exciting and…inaccessible to the person who refuses to take God at His Word and subsequently walk in it. And the same rules apply to believer and non: Do as God says in His word and as He does by His Son. Any middle ground is neither here nor there. Paul speaking to the Galatians and their innate proclivity to turn from a fluid walking-by-faith to a more rule-based and legalistic way of doing things. A way that will end in shutting out the spontaneity of the Holy Spirit. He says:

“I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain. Brethren, I beseech you, be as I am; for I am as ye are: ye have not injured me at all. Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first.” (Galatians 4:13-15)

It takes time and pain to work up from the mere words to the living out of that which the words point to. Know though, that God is carrying you every step of the way.

“If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall be my disciples.” (John 15:7-8)

“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32)

Turning Off the Drip

Who knows the neurochemistry behind misery, worry, depression? It’s a full spectrum I’d say. What about distrust and doubt and confusion? I’m reminded of the song “Check My Brain” by Alice In Chains. I mean this in a flippant and facetious tone but if you really want to get to the bottom of what plagues you, just rewire your neurons. It may be complex and incredibly dense, but it’s doable. All our emotions are, what, combinations of three or four different chemicals? I forget. And once you work your way up, just start doing the right things and voila! You’ll be totally shut off from the God who loves you and wants to help you up and out of all these processes. I feel there is real danger in ignoring God on our way out of hard times. I’m not just speaking to Christians, but non-believers as well. Because if you don’t pause your busy, long train of a life to acknowledge the God who made you and loves you, all the mere activity of life ends in only “looking busy”. And don’t forget! Jesus is coming.

Routine, subroutine

In the twenty-fifth chapter of Matthew’s gospel, Jesus relates the parable of the ten virgins. He says that, “While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.” (25:5) As the “virgins” of the parable relate to believers in Christ (“…that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” says Paul; 2 Corinthians 11:2), I find it almost disconcerting that every single one of the ten fell asleep. Now, the moral of this story is about taking our oil with us even as we fall asleep waiting for Jesus to return. Best to stay awake, by the by, but it is the middle of the night after all. Paul says “even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him.” (1 Thessalonians 4:14) Jesus says “But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.” (Matthew 25:3) This means they were ready and prepared and waiting, even as they nodded off. The foolish ones (five of them–a full half!), He says, “took no oil with them” (25:2) but were told by the wise to go out and buy. Evidently there was someplace open because they were able to find some oil but the sad part is, it was too late upon their return. The point I’m getting is it is so, so easy to get involved in routine that we miss out on the precious oil that God wants to give us. And that oil is what symbolizes the Holy Spirit. The ability to shine in the dark.

It’s one thing to have routine. Routines can go either way. A subroutine is a process in computing where you can have any of several programs running in the background on their own and by themselves. Required, I should say, for your computer, but humanly speaking? Best to seek out the patterns of thinking that may or may not be in keeping with the Holy Spirit and His desired involvement in our daily lives.

“And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.” (Romans 13:11-12)

Water torture

“A foolish son is the calamity of his father: and the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping.” (Proverbs 19:13)

We are the bride of Christ. I would say that out of all the busyness and distraction and torment of our lives (like a slow drip in the background) the best thing we can do is focus on Jesus. In citing the above verse, it’s almost as if we are contending with Jesus if we don’t take our torments to Him. A lot of my life and activity stems from slowly trying to integrate the things that vex and torment me (bills, schedule, routine, etc.) into self-enclosed, thoughtless processes bereft of the life and therefore solutions of the Holy Spirit. I do this and I’m seeking to do better (with His help). To “bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5) The thing is, as Paul mentioned to the Romans, it’s “high time”. The time is now. Unless we slowly integrate the mind of Christ into our day and activities, we won’t be ready. And this is what is so damning about only seeing our brains and therefore our emotional states as products (factor, factor, product) of our physiology. There is no room for God. He can clear up depression in a heartbeat. He can erase the torment that “doth so easily beset us” (Hebrews 12:1) in a fraction of a second. And He’ll do it for you. One (oil) drop at a time, if need be.

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

The Good Conspiracy Theory

“Do they not err that devise evil? But mercy and truth shall be to them that devise good.” (Proverbs 14:22)

Mercy and truth to them that devise good? How ’bout that? Before you even get to carry it out, while it’s still in the planning stages, you get mercy and truth right off the bat, just for thinking it up. That’s pretty cool.

Too bad to be false

It’s so easy to surmise big things that are going wrong with the world. And while some of them may indeed be real think of all the ones (that’s right, all the ones) that are demonstrably bunk. Some of them may be actual dangers that are creeping in and infesting the minds of the populace with alarming frequency and effectiveness. Some of these “conspiracy theories”, for lack of a better term, may indeed be true and more than theories. Best to start turning the tide now for the ones in question. But notice. Notice man’s predilection for the overarching and subtle falsehood that’s propagated under cover of casuistry and façade. How come no one has ever thought of the “good conspiracy theory”? Aside from reading about and knowing the character of God (and knowing Him), I have never heard of something in the world that, once posited as a positive, isn’t laughed off as entirely implausible at best and fake at worst.

Maybe, for instance, there are these little elves that come into your house at night and repair your worn-out shoes? Who knows? Perhaps there’s a man who has nothing better to do than profile people the world over in order to reward them accordingly–one night out of the year. Or, rewinding down from the fantastic, maybe, just maybe, there’s a government program in place that is looking to slowly replace all the pollen-producing plants the world over with ones that won’t induce seasonal allergies. I don’t know. And I could sit here and surmise all day long. But pretty soon, I’ll look out the window and realize that the world is a tough place. Unless one works themselves hard to whatever inverse degree the Lord has blessed them in the material areas, nothing’s gonna happen to turn the tide of the person whose plight is hard. It’s a conspiracy, I say.

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

That’s where it begins. Paul, citing Isaiah 64:4 says “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9) It still holds true for us in the age of grace as it did for those who lived under the law of Moses. God has, buried deep and hidden in the clouds, things of inexpressible blessing and beauty for the person who “loves Him”. That’s a simple qualifier and if you find yourself wondering why nothing good ever happens to you (impossible), you might consider dialing in more your love for God. Because this stuff happens automatically, it says, for those whose hearts are right with Him.

Too good to be false

“And, behold, one came and said unto Him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And He said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God…” (Matthew 19:17-18a)

I would have to say that with a lot of negative ideas and notions that float freely through the ether, the basis for their “shelf life” and therefore strength would have to be the fact that, without God, life is an inherent tragedy. Life can beat you down and tear you apart. More so if you endeavor to follow God. And if you seek to align yourself with what He’d have you do and what He’d have you know, you’re going to need all the help you can get, just to get topside.

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

See, God purposes to bless you, to reward you. The writer of Hebrews (11:6) list belief in that very thing as qualification for simply coming to Him. “He (and she) that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” God has all this stuff that isn’t doing any good where it is. And it isn’t just stuff, like possessions, etc. Things like peace and hope and joy. Things that are sprung from eternity and have no basis (and therefore bearing) on anything going on in the world, or in your world. Things that, were they able to collect dust (no dust in Heaven), would be doing that very thing as no one seeks to appropriate them. Look for it. Imbue your imagination with the things that God says He’ll do for you simply by virtue of being one of His kids, and by loving Him. And conspire accordingly.

Grace Notes

“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)

Grace period

The classic story is that of the thief on the cross. “Lord, remember me when thou comest into Thy kingdom.” (Luke 23:42) He believes in Him even as he’s bleeding out. The “malefactor” on the opposite side had just demanded that Jesus prove His Godhood by saving “save thyself and us” (23:39). The soldiers who put Jesus up had, just one verse before, done the same. “Save thyself”. The repentant thief doesn’t demand anything but a passing thought from Jesus. Presumably as Jesus enters Heaven triumphant. I can’t say this is what the thief thought as he confessed his sin before (beside) the Lord, but that is indeed what he got to experience, and more. In person. When we come to God, realizing that we are here by invitation. That everything we have is a gift in spite of deserving eternal hell and punishment for electing to go our own way. That it’s naught but God’s grace that sees us through the hardships of life, we are humbled to the point of interaction with Jesus. As savior and friend and companion and Lord.

“And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43)

Disgraced

“Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none. They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.” (Psalm 69:20-21)

Add to such disgraceful treatment the fact that Jesus was stripped naked after being forced to carry his cross through a crowd up to Golgotha and in turn crucified on the same, it would seem Jesus’ inward scars were deeper than the outward ones. Paul says “From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” (Galatians 6:17) Meaning he suffered through similar physical treatment as did Jesus in standing for what He came to deliver. As much as possible, Paul had earned some respite from the petty and worthless interaction of, say, people like the thief to Jesus’ left (?) and the soldiers and the crowd. Paul ends his letter to the Galatians with a blessing though. “Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.” (6:18)

In the book of Hebrews, the writer draws a parallel between the sacrifice of Jesus and the ancient sacrifice of animals in the Old Testament.

“For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp. Wherefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach.” (Hebrews 13:11-13)

The Christian life can be (at least for a season) one of embarrassment and reproach and disgrace. Standing up for your faith amidst a wholly secular society and being met with the unbelief of the onlookers behind a veneer of forced politeness is something every Christian who truly endeavors to follow Christ–without the camp–will have to experience and endure. Hang in there. The deeper the atmosphere of evil (read: godlessness), the more a sincere, if ignorant, believing Christian is looked upon with derision should they voice their faith. In the backs of the minds and bottoms of the hearts of unbelievers, there’s a disagreement. And depending on the state of their heart in humility, God knows whether or not they’ll accept you. Jesus says “He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth Him that sent me.” (Matthew 10:40) Again, resist the disgrace. God will bring them along as you pray for and forgive them.

“For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory…” (Psalm 84:11a)

Sinners Pews

“He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.” (Matthew 10:40)

Last in, first out

It hurts to be misunderstood. It hurts deeply when those who are expected to take you in with open arms instead give you a cold shoulder. It hurts even more when you endeavor to follow Christ in your own life and know His peace and presence and purpose, and then those to whom He’s sent you, don’t see you as He does. His statement is manifold but with reference to our brothers and sisters in Him, the ones who look at you and wonder (or don’t even look at you at all), it looks as if Jesus is saying that if they don’t accept you, they won’t be entering in to a fuller communion with Him. His blessing and presence may well be blunted if they choose not to see you as a gift. This pattern repeats itself throughout the Bible.

“But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house. And He could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. And He marvelled because of their unbelief. And He went round about the villages, teaching.” (Mark 6:4-6)

Sometimes, the hardest people to reach are the ones in your own church. The ones who go about their day and their week, blissfully ignorant of the God that you know and bring with you on Sunday. When Jesus “came into His own country” again (Mark 6:1), those who grew up with Him had no idea where He got His stuff. They were incredulous at His “wisdom” and “mighty works” (6:2). So much so, I’d wager this is the beginning of the attitude that crescendoed in the lynchmob mentality that hunted Jesus down in Gethsemane and had Him crucified.

“Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me.” (Matthew 17:17)

Jesus says that if someone receives you, they receive Him and also His Father. If you know you represent God, know that He and Jesus are your audience. They are the Ones that see your heart and know your motives. If you struggle in the face of impolite conduct, gossip and an irrational (read: loveless) coolness in your church or any of your circles, know that that’s what God wants to warm up and burn out–through you. It happened with the prophet Ezekiel.

“And He said unto me, Son of man, go, get thee unto the house of Israel, and speak with my words unto them. For thou art not sent to a people of a strange speech and of an hard language, but to the house of Israel; Not to many people of a strange speech and of an hard language, whose words thout canst not understand. Surely, had I sent thee to them, they would have hearkened unto thee. But the house of Israel will not hearken unto thee; for they will not hearken unto me: for all the house of Israel are impudent and hardhearted.” (Ezekiel 3:4-7)

God calls Ezekiel “son of man”. He says to go and “speak with my words”. I like that. Because the time you take to actually make the words of God yours, will tell in the effectiveness in getting your (God’s) point across. “For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing…” (Matthew 13:15) Jesus is quoting Isaiah (6:10). Evidently, the same thing happening in the Old Testament was happening during His time and it happens today. People hear a sermon every week and the words go in one ear and out the other. The mere words, it would seem, mean nothing. And yet when God tells you–you to “speak with my words”, you know they won’t “return…void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11)

God tells Ezekiel that he would have been a hundred percent effective if he went elsewhere with his message. That’s amazing. The confidence of God in reaching the lost and the unsaved! But the care and concern He has for those who’ve already made a commitment to Him and are backslidden! Which is greater? And this is where it can get scary. Because if God wants to do new things and only a select few people have availed themselves of God’s heart on a matter, and no one else wants to slow down and see it, where can He go?

Praying in the back row

“Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.” (Psalm 50:5)

But that’s not our problem. The writer of Hebrews says (10:39) “But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.” Keep pressing on. God has your back. Look in the eyes of those whose are glazed over (don’t think donuts, think ice–that’s the root of the word) and let God ignite the same fire in them. Sometimes it takes time. Heartache and boredom and God knows what else. If you have a fire on your insides (you should!), stay warm and stay there.

“Then the Spirit took me up, and I heard behind me a voice of a great rushing, saying, Blessed be the glory of the Lord from His place. I heard also the noise of the wings of the living creatures that touched one another, and the noise of the wheels over against them, and a noise of a great rushing. So the Spirit lifted me up, and took me away, and I went in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit; but the hand of the Lord was strong upon me.” (Ezekiel 3:14, emphasis mine)

In other words, Ezekiel was pissed at his lot. He saw God. He knew God, he knew that much. And if left to his own devices, he probably would have left “Israel” alone. But the Holy Spirit moved him along. It didn’t matter that he “went in bitterness, in the heat of [his] spirit”, he still went. God can do something with us, regardless of our feelings, if we choose to obey Him and go where we’re sent.

The Law of Mass Action

The ground floor

“Then all the congregation answered and said with a loud voice, As thou hast said, so must we do. But the people are many, and it is a time of much rain, and we are not able to stand without, neither is this a work of one day or two: for we are many that have transgressed in this thing.” (Ezra 10:12-13)

Spoiler alert. You won’t find anything about Chemistry herein. I have merely appropriated the concept as identified under those letters and these constants.

The Law of Mass Action, chemically speaking, says that the strength of a reaction is proportionate to the density of the reaction-causing substance. Okay, so there’s a little chemistry for you. But extrapolate it out at large. How big is the world in which we find ourselves? How varied, wondrous, mind-boggling and deep? How overwhelming? When you extend your gaze out to the world as it is today, do you still hold God in the esteem you did before you directed your attention elsewhere? Because He’s there. He’s actually looking through you. What do you think about the world He made? Are you able to take in all information and remain childlike? Is it because it’s possible or is it because you choose to? And how broad and deep is your curiosity?

Proving ground

“That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17-19)

” And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.” (1 Corinthians 7:31)

The wonder of our world is meant to direct our hearts to God. It really is simple as that. It’s true. Beautiful though it may be, the world is in a sorry and fragile state. And I hate to sound naive, but I’m actually more concerned with the heart-condition of those who “name the name of Christ”, i.e. Christians. Because if we have the audacity to say “the living God, which made Heaven and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein:” (Acts 14:15), are we going to back it up with a heart that’s resonant with His? I’m quite fed up with proving points by looking to the natural world. It wasn’t the world that was made in His image, it’s us. We’re the ones who are meant to show the veracity of God as revealed through our natural substance. The love, generosity and intensity that God is, is supposed to shine through us to reach the world and turn its head–and turn it on its head.

“Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and Thou renewest the face of the earth.” (Psalm 104:30)

Holy ground

Because Jesus did what He did, effectively showing us what it means to be human in the world, the ground we walk on is indeed holy (it’s only because of Him). The passage at the top of the page refers to Israelites who were not allowed to re-enter Jerusalem (after its rebuilding, see Nehemiah) because they had “taken strange wives” (Ezra 10:10). While that was a no-no under the Old Covenant, it doesn’t apply now. It’s not an issue anymore. What is an issue, however, is the en masse complacency and apathy in Christians with reference, not to the state of the natural world, but that of the spiritual. And I’m loath to interpret everything from the Old Testament in light of pure symbolism, but when it says “it is a time of much rain, and we are not able to stand without”, it essentially means that we (we) are looking at the state of things the world over (physically, financially, materially) and telling God it’s too hard. “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27)

God wants to change the world through His kids. Let’s let Him. Passionately pursue the things that God’s put on your heart. Don’t let anything or anyone tell you not to take that next step, whatever it may be.

“Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever.” (Psalm 104:5)