Tag Archives: immortal

Genesis 13, Matthew 12, Nehemiah 2, Acts 12

Conflict between Abram and Lot’s herdsmen; conflict between Jesus and the Pharisees; conflict between Nehemiah and Tobiah and Sanballet; conflict between Herod and the disciples.

Tension, disagreements, misunderstanding, jealousy, spitefulness and hatred.  We have all had to wrestle with others in our lives who, for whatever reason, take offense to our good intentions.  Recently my mother and stepfather went to a cell phone store to upgrade their phone.  They were so excited to get a phone on which they could see their grandchildren face-to-face.  Unfortunately, the phone did not work when out of range of a wi-fi.  When they returned the phone, they were told they had to come up with another $100 to purchase one that does.

That is where I jumped in.  My first thought was that the clerk was trying to pawn off the older version to my parents who know very little about technology.  I bristled at the thought that this young salesman took advantage of my elderly mother and father who are just trying to see their grandchildren’s happy little faces. And since I own the contract, I tried to fix the problem. However, I was met with resistance, defensiveness, and an unwillingness to make any concessions.  Yuck!  Now I have created conflict.

We are not promised a smooth walk as Christians.  In fact, we have example after example of conflict in the Bible with God’s people. We are also given the remedy for conflict: honor the God whom we serve with all that we say or do.  How should we address our challenge our thoughts that lead to conflict?  Tension rises more frequently than one would like to experience. Before making a move, speaking an ultimatum, or pounding out a decision, we might want to settle within ourselves the possible outcomes, keeping in mind that honoring God in all we say and do is the goal.  Oh, did I say that resolving the tension by getting what I want is the goal?  Perhaps not.  Perhaps the real goal is to align my spirit with God’s Spirit in view of all who come in contact with me.  Me, a messenger who can point others to Christ or put a stumbling block before someone who might be nearing the cross.

Perhaps you think I am taking this too seriously, yet I agree with C. S. Lewis who said in Weight of Glory, “It is a serious thing … to remember that the dullest most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree helping each other to one or the other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all of our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal.”

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Filed under 66 Books, Acts, Genesis, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Matthew, Nehemiah, New Testament, Old Testament

Exodus 17; Luke 20; Job 35; 2 Corinthians 5

For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.   2 Corinthians 5:1-5  ESV

All Paul’s talk about tents makes me think of my time as a Boy Scout.  I spent a LOT of nights in tents while in scouting, most of them memorable.  I remember my brother and me diving into our tent to take refuge from a cloud of those demonic black flies that infest the Canadian wilderness in the spring.  I remember shivering through the night with 20 of the guys in a lean-to in single-digit temperatures.  I remember my friends and I unknowingly pitching our tent in a dried riverbed in Yellowstone.  We discovered our error only when it reverted to a river during a downpour that afternoon.  I endured the worst thunderstorm of my life one night in a tent in a Vermont valley.  That was a good night to be in a tent.  We once set up our tents by the shore of Nevada’s Lake Powell.  The stars were so vivid that night that we arranged our sleeping bags on a tarp on the ground, drifting to sleep gazing at the sky.  That was a good night to be out of the tent.

A couple days later we arose from our tents before dawn, laced our boots, filled our canteens, and descended into the Grand Canyon for the hike of a lifetime.  We braved the scorching August sun, choked on the dust kicked up by the careless feet of those in front of us, and by early afternoon had descended a vertical mile to the Colorado River.  Our scoutmaster insisted on snapping a group photo before we retired to a cabin at Phantom Ranch to rest up before continuing to the far canyon rim.  One of the guys posted it on my Facebook page last year.  A pretty picture it is not.

Despite our exhaustion, it was too hot to sleep, so when 9PM arrived and we returned to the trail, I was more interested in finding a nice soft bed.  Instead we marched.  For hours.  Through the deepest  of the night.  The concrete slabs placed across the trail to keep mules awake served us with the same purpose, but stepping over them soon made each foot feel like lead.  We had to keep to the middle of the trail for fear of rattlesnakes, but had to jump off the trail to avoid the scorpions.  We still choked on the dust, and we trudged on.  By 2AM I was virtually comatose.  Our promised resting spot was just around the next bend according to our scoutmaster, but he’d been saying that for hours and it had become the running joke.  In my daze I looked up, and once I did I couldn’t look away.  The silhouette of the canyon wall was plainly visible high above against the brilliant star-field, and there at the edge glowed the most beautiful palace I could imagine.  The Grand Canyon lodge sat perched on the rim above and before us, so tantalizingly close, yet unreachable.  As I stared at the soft lights illuminating the exterior, my thoughts were of those inside, those who had feasted in the evening, those who had watched the sun set across the most wondrous of the natural wonders of the world, those who were sleeping like babies on impossibly soft beds in air conditioned rooms.  It was the most beautiful sight I could imagine at that moment, and I longed with all my heart to be transported there that very instant.  It was literally my shining city on a hill.

That agonizing and amazing night comes to the forefront of my mind when reading 2 Corinthians 5.

The Holy Spirit resides inside me, but I still reside within a tent of fallen flesh.  My spirit groans now, and grows louder each day as I grow in Him and He grows in me.  But, God has made a promise, and each day brings me closer to the moment He will free me from this tent that ensnares me, closer to the moment He will install me into a permanent, eternal dwelling fashioned personally by Him.  That dwelling will possess dexterity and strength I’ve never commanded, with talents and capabilities I can’t imagine, a body fit only for an adopted prince of the King of the universe.  In it I will not suffer, I will not grow weary, I will not fade, I will not fail, I will not sin, I will not cease to worship my Father and Savior and Counselor.  I will love Him perfectly, I will serve Him faithfully, I will delight in Him purely, I will glorify Him endlessly!  The moment is getting closer, and one day I will finally come around that last bend.

 

Michael  (mmattix)

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Filed under 2 Corinthians, 66 Books, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament