Which World Are You Living In?

Image result for Solar SystemMost of us inhabit at least two worlds. For example, we live in one world of home and family and another of work. We have other “worlds” too, like the burger joint where we grab a quick lunch before we move on to our next world.

Even in the first century, the apostle Peter understood this concept. He makes frequent references to “this world” and “the eternal,” explaining that the way we respond to events in this life produces lasting effects in the eternal world so that what happens here influences us there.

This shouldn’t be surprising. We know, for example, that a nutritious breakfast in the morning affects the way we approach the rest of our day. And we understand that despite our efforts to keep the worries of work from following us home, our family members can usually sense when we are preoccupied with our jobs. So it shouldn’t seem strange that the way we live in the physical world affects our experience of the spiritual world.

Does that eternal, spiritual world seem distant to you? Or does Scripture’s portrayal of this profound reality motivate you to endure what otherwise might be too difficult for you to bear?

If you’ve been discouraged lately by opposition or setbacks in this life, give thought to the inheritance waiting for you.

Called Before Birth

A student of architecture entered a national contest for building design. When a panel of renowned architects awarded the student’s design “Honorable Mention,” she felt utterly depressed and defeated. She was, after all, at the top of her class. She had worked long hours on an innovative and beautiful design. She should have placed better.

At lunch on the last day of the convention, she sat looking at her model over an uneaten sandwich. She noticed an old man looking at her creation too. Not knowing who had designed the building, the man remarked, “This one, I think, is the best of the lot.” Hearing those words, the student went home elated.

Why? Although the competition’s judges had deemed her work the runner-up, one old man liked it. And that one old man was Frank Lloyd Wright, probably the greatest architect of the time.

One of the things I hated during my elementary school days was recess. The reason was we often played games that required choosing teams. Since I possessed minimal athletic skills, I was always one of the last students picked for a team. Needless to say, that did not boost my self-image.

Jeremiah felt like a loser at first, too. He felt like a second rate prophet from a small country, he didn’t think he could measure up to his assignment as God’s spokesman. But God reminded Jeremiah that he possessed a divine formation, a distinctive calling, a chosen vocation. Even before Jeremiah’s birth, God had prepared him to be God’s voice to God’s people.

God wants us to hear a similar message. He calls each one of us. Even before we’re born, the Creator sets us apart for a special purpose. In fact, the apostle Paul claims that God’s plan for us started long before we were born: “He chose us in him before the creation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4).

God’s calling means that we never need to feel inferior or insecure. No matter how tough life becomes, how difficult work gets, how many doubts we have—or even how far we fall—God promises, “I chose you for this, and I’ll never fail you.”

 

Who Is In Control?

Surrender: to yield (something) to the possession or power of another
Control: to exercise restraint or direction over; dominate; command

Let’s be honest; most of us like to be in control. We stress out when things seem out of our control. Growing up with two brothers, control was a big issue, whether it was who would ride “shotgun” in the car or would we watch cartoons or American Bandstand. It feels nice to call the shots, drive the car, hold the mic, dominate the remote, and plan out a detour-free itinerary for our lives.

Control becomes a major issue when we refuse to surrender control of our lives to God.  I’m like, “Hey God, I know you created the world, and exist outside of time, and are unquestionably wiser than anyone could imagine, but I just want to give you a heads up. You’re going the wrong way!”

Jesus prayed, “Your will be done,” right before His crucifixion; and our hearts, words, and lives should continue His prayer.

We cannot micromanage God, but we can trust Him. We can yield to His guidance, knowing He only leads us in the right direction.

We all get to choose. The options are confidence in our own partial understanding or surrender to the one who holds the map.

Married Like a Monk

Have you noticed that many marital arguments result from a disappointment with our spouses? We expect them to be something or do something and there aren’t or they don’t. We expect them to just know when we’ve had a hard day. We ask them, “What’s wrong?” and they say, “It’s no big deal!” but you know it is.

What if we sought a “monk’s marriage”? What if we decided that we would depend on God alone, expecting nothing from our spouse but entirely on God for all my needs, including emotional and relational need?

Then instead of resenting what my spouse fails to do or be, we will be overjoyed by every little thing they do. We would be filled with gratitude instead of resentment.

That’s why I want a “monk’s marriage,” the benefits of a being married to a godly woman, but with a monk’s attitude, expecting nothing, depending on God and being genuinely grateful for whatever my spouse chooses to bless me with.

The Big Picture

My wife loves putting puzzles together. She says it is relaxing. (I’ll take her word for it.) Sometimes when I walk into the room and look at the puzzle she has just started, I cannot tell what the finished puzzle will look like. I have to pick up the box to see the complete picture. 

Life is like a puzzle. (Can I get an amen?) Sometimes we try to make sense out of a situation when we only have a few “pieces” of the puzzle. As God allows more “pieces” to fall into place; life becomes clearer. Why God does not reveal the big pictures all at once to us remains a mystery. Deuteronomy 29:29 says, ” The Lord our God keeps certain things hidden…”

I love the song that Babbie Nelson sings,  “When you cannot see His hand, Trust His Heart.” That is very good advice. 

Missed Opportunity

WPamela Patrick White Artworke have all wondered at some point in our lives that if we had responded differently to a certain situation what would the outcome be? Choices can have tremendous results!

On September 11, 1777, an army of 12,500 British troops marched to the patriot city of Philadelphia, a detachment of green-clad marksmen hid in the woods. Suddenly a senior American officer rode into view. Captain Patrick Ferguson, reputed to be the finest shot in the British army, had his men creep forward to pick off any unsuspecting officers. But before the men were in place, Ferguson felt disgusted with the idea of ambush and ordered his men not to fire.

He shouted to the American officer, who was riding a bay horse. The American looked his way for a moment and turned to ride on. Ferguson called again, this time leveling his rifle toward the officer. The American glanced back before slowly riding away.

A day later, Ferguson learned that the American officer he let ride off was General George Washington. He could have easily shot Washington but thought it was not proper to shoot an “unoffending” individual in the back who was just doing his duty.

If Ferguson had taken aim and fired at the officer who turned his back and rode away, there is no telling how the American Revolution would have turned out. One decision could have changed history!

The John Wayne Syndrome

“John Wayne.” Just the mention of his name brings a mental image of a man’s man. He is the epitome of the rugged individual; courageous, strong, and never asking for help from anyone, no matter the odds. The concept of the ‘stand alone’ rugged individual is highly regarded in today’s culture.

To ask for help is often seen as a sign of weakness or a lack of self-confidence. I do not remember the “Duke” (or Dirty Harry) ever asking for help from anyone! That makes for a great movie but in reality, we DO need each other.

The Bible refers to Christ-followers as the Body. The Body (both physically and spiritually) is made up of many members which are dependent on each other. 1 Corinthians 12:12-27. Sharing the load or asking someone for help is not a sign of weakness but a sign of good judgment.

If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. (ECCLESIASTES 4:10)