Wisdom Wednesday: When Brooks Run Dry

When it is time for young eagles to learn how to fly, the mother eagle begins to engage in a phenomenon known as “stirring the nest.”  This process causes the nest, which was once the eaglet’s primary source of comfort and protection; to become a bed of thorns.  Consequently, the eaglet has nowhere else to go but out of the plush confines of the nest, into the frontier of the firmament, via flight.  At first glance, it seems cruel that the mother eagle would push her young out of the place that she toiled so selflessly to prepare and protect, but for the eaglet “stirring the nest” necessary.  Everything about the eagle screams…FLIGHT!  It was never meant to be confined to the nest.  With an average wing span of 6-8 feet, light-weight bones, and the ability to fly to an altitude of 10,000 feet, the adult eagle was born to soar (see works cited below).  I wish I could say that the journey to perfect flight is a pretty one, but it’s not.  At first, there are many failed attempts at flight, but eventually, the eaglet leaves the nest behind, never to return.   

 As it is with the eagle, so goes the saga of the child of God.  Many times, development is halted due to comfort.  Our lifestyle of ease sometimes whispers a sweet lullaby in our ears, causing our passion for God to drift into a deep, cold sleep.  If necessity is the mother of all invention, according to Plato, then I believe that complacency is its demise.  Our greatest victories are born out of our greatest anguish.  We must never lose sight of the purpose of pain.  Yes…pain is unavoidable and sometimes can be borderline unbearable.  Even though this is true, pain is not a death sentence.  In most cases, it is God’s way of pointing us to a new place of provision and power.  Don’t let the pain paralyze you… 

 

KEEP MOVING!

In 1 Kings 17, Elijah the Tishbite prophesied famine and drought in the land of Israel.  Ironically, he was an inhabitant of Israel at that time as well.  However, because he was a true prophet, God compelled him to go to the Brook Cherith, which was a tributary of the Jordan River.  There, God commanded the ravens to feed Elijah bread and meat twice a day (how about that for delivery).  Although, it wasn’t the best of conditions, compared to the rest of Israel during that time, Elijah had access to a smorgasbord of sorts.  As time passed, however, the inevitable happened.  The nice, fresh brook, that flowed at Elijah’s feet began to dry up because of the drought.   

 

OBEDIENCE UNLOCKS PROVISION

What do you do when the brook dries up?

What do you do when the ravens disappear?

What do you do when what used to be a blessing, now seems more like a curse?

You stand still and know that God is God.

As in Elijah’s case, God redirects us based on provision.  If you are experiencing a drought in any area of your life now, I speak to you, right where you are, and admonish you to never give up.  Every dry place in your life is God’s compass pointing you in the direction of new provision.  Acknowledge Him and He will direct your path (Proverbs 3:6).

In the midst of the drought and famine, God directed Elijah to an obscure, little town on the outskirts of Israel called Zarephath.  There, he found a widow gathering sticks for a fire, so that she could bake what would have been the last meal for her and her son.  Does this seem strange to you?  It sure seems strange to me.  If I were God, I would have sent Elijah to one of the richest people in the land.  Surely they would have had enough to spare to feed Elijah until the famine was over. I definitely wouldn’t have chosen a struggling widow.  That’s why I love God.  This particular widow had lost hope and was planning to starve to death after eating this one last meal.  Little did she know that God had other plans.  At the request of the prophet, this woman raised great faith and baked a cake for Elijah first (symbolic of first fruits), then one for her and her son.  According to the word of God that came from Elijah, the widow’s last serving of meal and oil turned into an unending supply that lasted through the end of the famine.  Because of her obedience, she thrived while others died in the same conditions. 

 

GOD NEVER MOVES YOU UNTIL HE PROVES YOU

When the brook dries up, and the meals become irregular, don’t forget who your source is.  You may be looking death in the face, because you’ve used your very last and now you’re out of options; don’t forget who your source is.  God is never limited or intimidated by your necessity.  It may surprise you to know that He is the one who designed it.  Why?  It all boils down to one thing…GLORY.  In spite of the drought, God’s plans for you have not changed.  According to Jeremiah 29:11, He already has a plan to prosper you and give you hope.  He’s proving you now so that He can put you on display for His glory. 

Remember…you were made to SOAR!!! 

Now mount up.

Keep Learning ♦ Keep Loving ♦ Keep Living

 

 Works cited:  www.baldeagleinfo.com

Special thanks to my friend, Joe Torres, for furnishing the photograph used for this post.

 

 Editor: Jaime Evans

 

As always, thanks for visiting Wisdom’s Quill.  See you soon.

BE

A Tribute To My Mother

In observance of Mother’s Day 2014, I decided to do something a little different.  This time around, I wasn’t cumbered by following a formal outline.  I am writing this straight from my heart.  This post is dedicated to my amazing mother, Gale Evans.
 Mom, this post is for you.

 

What would my life be like if you were not my mother?

For me, this is a sobering question.  The fact is, I couldn’t imagine my life without you in it.  From the time I was born until this very day, you have been a rock of support and a model of unwavering love.  I would not be the man, husband, or friend that I am today, if it wasn’t for your relentless love.

It’s amazing how the words of wisdom that you invested in me long ago are still yielding a return in my life today.  I’ve observed the incredible strength that you have exhibited through the vicissitudes of your life.  It has taught me to never give up, to always hope, and to always take advantage of every opportunity to render love freely.

Growing up I often questioned your wisdom.  In my bliss of ignorance, I thought I had it all figured out.  Sure…one aspect of maturity is learning how to fly on your own; however, there is another aspect that acknowledges and gleans from the wisdom in others.

I thank God everyday for you, Mom.  I’m so grateful I still have you in my life.  I am one of the fortunate souls to have been born to such a great and highly favored woman of God.

Please humor me as I express my gratitude.

Mom, thank you:

  1. for your love,
  2. for your sacrifice,
  3. for your patience,
  4. for your prayers,
  5. for your listening ear,
  6. for your gentle guidance,
  7. for your faith in God,
  8. for your belief in me,
  9. for all the other things that this list could not contain.
  10. Oh, yeah…thanks for not taking my life that time I thought I could snatch the belt from you when you were dealing out just punishment for my wrong doing…LOL.

 

Through all of the years and the tears, I hope you can look at the man that I’ve become and sincerely say to yourself,

“It was worth it all.”

Mom, I love you more than you may ever know.

Happy Mother’s Day!

As always, thank you for visiting Wisdom’s Quill.  See you soon!

BE

 

Why I Don’t Like Easter

Before you break out the hammer and nails to crucify me, take a second to see if you agree with some of the things that I attempt to elucidate in this post.  When you’re done reading, if I’m successful, maybe you’ll share my sentiments.

With the recent passing of the Easter season, I contemplated extending an apology to all of my readers for not submitting a trite Easter post.  The type of post that says:

Hey everyone, Easter is here.  Now go to church to check the “Easter” checkbox.

Well, I thought about the apology and I changed my mind.  Although me not posting wasn’t intentional,  I’m somewhat pleased it worked out that way.  To be perfectly honest, the more I think about what we’ve turned Easter into, the more I realize that I don’t like it very much for the following reasons:

  1. Misplaced Motives
  2. Habitual Hypocrisy
  3. Easter Ends

 

Misplaced Motives

You may be able to relate to my stroll down Memory Lane here.  My earliest recollections of Easter were going shopping with my mother to get a new suit and a new pair of shoes.  I would spend all day in the barber shop (hated it) getting a fresh Easter haircut so that I could look like a million bucks when I stood in front of the church to recite my Easter speech.  Easter to me was more about a flawless look and performance than about celebrating new life in Christ.  My motives were misplaced.  Of course, when I grew up and accepted Christ personally, I realized what Easter was all about.  My motives and methods for celebrating Easter totally changed.  Easter became personal.  Jesus willingly suffered and died in my place before I even had the ability to know or understand that I needed Him.  Jesus subjected himself to the pangs of death.  He loved me so much that even though I deserved eternal death, Christ intercepted that judgment and died once so that I could live forever.  All of a sudden, the new suits and new shoes lost their luster when compared to Christ’s love for me (Thank You, Jesus).

I’m afraid many people still have misplaced motives when celebrating Easter.  This is a systemic epidemic within the church.  The message of the cross has been grossly abused, and we as an assembly have failed to convey and reproduce the power that is innate in its pure, unadulterated delivery.  The message of the cross is designed to initiate change in us.  Crucifixion was by far the harshest form of punishment dealt by the Roman government.  Even for the guilty, it was inhumane.  Within that framework, Jesus was led like an innocent lamb to the slaughter to pay a debt that He did not owe, and one that we could not pay.  The thought alone elicits an onerous emotion within us, thereby causing within us repentance, reverence, and ultimately right relationship.

 

 Habitual Hypocrisy

Another problem I have with how we handle Easter is the  hypocrisy that always rises to the surface.  Hypocrisy takes on many forms, all of which stem from one main motivation:

To appear to be someone that you’re not

The word hypocrite derives its context from the illustration of an actor who wears a mask in a stage play.  I think it’s safe to say that we have all indulged in our fair share of hypocrisy at some point.  However, I would like to cast some  light on a very specific type.  We all know people who don’t necessarily have church attendance as a priority on their to-do list.  Interestingly enough, an incredible phenomenon takes place every year on Easter Sunday as sanctuaries across the nation are packed to the max for an impressive display of liturgical pageantry.  Everyone shows up with their masks erected and dressed to impress.  We all know  and have witnessed what happens when you try to find these same people the other 51 Sundays of the year (they’re nowhere to be found).  I don’t have as much of an issue with this type of hypocrisy as I do with the next type that I’ll explain now.

It seems the people who attend church regularly, carry a different disposition, which I still categorize as hypocrisy.  In a nutshell, it’s the proverbial, “holier than thou” attitude.  I can’t emphasize how much I detest this type of hypocrisy.  The deception associated with this mentality says, “I attend church regularly, therefore I’m closer to God than you are.”  These people think regular church attendance alone is somehow gives them a special status with God.  Nothing is further from the truth.  In fact, this type of hypocrisy was the attitude that fueled the people responsible for killing Jesus.  They were so blinded by their own hypocrisy that they totally misjudged Jesus, because He didn’t arrive in the pretty “Messiah” package they were expecting.

Hypocrisy causes a blindness of sorts.  If you’ve ever worn a mask, you know that you lose almost all of your peripheral vision.  Therefore, when you operate from a hypocritical platform, you’re operating with limited vision.  How can you help others when you can’t see yourself?  In Matthew 7: 1-5, Jesus explains how a hypocritical slant can totally distort your perspective:

5.   Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

 

Easter Ends

For Christians, celebrating Easter should be a lifestyle.  The concept of commemorating Jesus’ death and resurrection is vital, however, the celebration should never be limited to one weekend a year.  The Resurrection is so much more than that.  It’s an invitation to experience the greatest power known to man through a genuine relationship with the risen Lord.  When you open your heart to Christ, your perceptions change, and everything becomes brand new according to 2 Corinthians 5:17.  When you fall in love with Jesus, and truly walk with Him, you will find reasons every day to celebrate, because it becomes evident that He lives in you.  Each day that you wake up, it’s a day of significance.  According the Lamentations 2, God’s mercies are brand new each morning, thus proving His great faithfulness.  Now that’s a reason to celebrate.

In conclusion, according to Colossians 3, new life in Christ is all about seeking God and discovering new frontiers in Him.  By all means, let us continue to commemorate Easter Sunday, by allowing the power thereof to permeate our lives and produce a lifestyle of results.

Let the celebration continue beyond the benediction.

 

As always, thanks for visiting Wisdom’s Quill.  See you soon.

BE

 

The Chronicles of Marriage Part 3: 20/20 LOVE

Welcome to Wisdom’s Quill.  This is the final installment of my series The Chronicles of Marriage.  I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.  Feel free to share your wisdom with us in the comments section below.  See you next week.

I will never forget the moment I realized I needed eye glasses.  I was sitting in my college orientation class copying notes from the blackboard when all of a sudden, everything on the board was a blurred mess.  No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t bring anything into focus. 

When I went to the optometrist, he told me that I had Astigmatism.  In other words, the shape of my eyes had changed, and this caused light to be misdirected onto my retina, causing blurred images.  He gave me a prescription for my first complete pair of eye glasses, which consisted of two lenses in a frame.  When I tried on my brand new glasses, it was like I was seeing the world for the first time.  Everything was clear, sharp, and beautiful.  It’s amazing how acuity affects how we perceive beauty, and in much the same fashion, when it comes to love and marriage, we must have a certain level of clarity. 

 

The Lenses of Love

In no way will I even attempt to articulate the meaning of this vast and convoluted thing we call love.  Nor will I try to deceive you into thinking that I have attained a certain apprehension of the laws of love.  One need only pick up the treatise by C. S. Lewis called The Four Loves, to really understand how deep the rabbit hole of love goes.

I would, however, like to submit to you an unusual consideration.  It occurred to me, while contemplating love and marriage, that my eye glasses and my marriage have quite a bit in common.  You may be wondering how.  Well, they both have a frame and two lenses.  The frame of my marriage is love, and the lenses of love are compassion and calibration.  Compassion and calibration work together to provide the perfect image of love in marriage. 

 

The Lens of Compassion 

1 John 4:8 reads, “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”  We are all familiar with the side of God that loves.  We are constantly recipients of that love daily, even when we’re unaware of it.  As a result of that love, compassion is not a foreign concept to us.  When the average person thinks of Jesus Christ, and how he loves, the most salient aspect of his personality is compassion.  It is the overwhelming sense of wanting to help others.  Compassion is a sympathetic response to someone else’s needs.  When we say “I love you,” at some point it must love must validate itself by action.  In the frequented script of St. John 3:16, God so loved, and the corresponding action was…He gave. 

Our motive in marriage should always be to give to each other.  If each person in the marriage is primarily concerned with meeting the other person’s needs, then it creates an atmosphere of security in the home.  We should be able to detect when something is wrong with our spouses.  The lens of compassion helps us to perceive the void and then move into action.

 

The Lens of Calibration

The second lens of love is that of calibration or correction.  We all need recalibration at some point in our lives.  Correction can be a sensitive topic among husbands and wives.  Methods of correction can vary from external consequences, to internal resolution.  In the sphere of marriage, correction should be approached from the standpoint of calibration.  As a mature adult, we should consistently aspire to improve in all areas of life.  Growth must be intentional.  Relationships have an uncanny way of sparking growth in areas of our lives that would otherwise be inaccessible.  Sometimes, the only way we would know if a personal trait or habit was undesirable is if someone we were in relationship with brought it to light.  Certain traits may be harmless to you, but to others they can be afflictive. 

Marriage facilitates a certain level of correction or calibration, because it forces us to consider another person in all that we do.  Life is no longer all about you.  You now have someone in the passenger seat. 

My wife and I have a “No Judgement Zone” type marriage.  We are so serious about that until we made it part of our marriage vision.  We promised each other that we would always allow room for honesty (in love).  We talk about everything from what made us laugh that day, to what made us angry.  We talk about the things that we adore about each other, and the things that need correction or “recalibration.”  Since the correction always comes from a place of love, we both internally resolve to modify those behaviors within ourselves.  My wife is literally my best friend.

 

Perfect Love

Love is like a complete pair of eye glasses.  The two lenses are compassion and calibration, and love is the frame that holds it all together.  Correction without compassion makes the heart obstinate.  Conversely, compassion without correction spoils the heart.  When we put on complete and perfect love, we are able to see our spouses the way God intended for us to see them, as Christ sees us.  This is perfect love, and perfect love removes all fear. 

As always, thank you for visiting Wisdom’s Quill.

BE