The Laboratory of Loss

Chemotherapy chairs, councellors, and clean heads were the predominant sights during my tour as a computer software trainer in an oncology center recently.  During that time, I was experiencing my own personal turmoil, due to a series of unexpected storms that rocked the otherwise tranquil seas of my life. 

I’m sure you can relate…

 While in the chemo infusion area of this oncology center, I had the priviledge of observing many patient types as they checked-out of the clinic after their treatments.  I saw the patient who could barely stand, and was visibly weakened immediately after treatment.  I also saw the patient who had been understandably trounced by the trauma of this terrible disease.  For these patients, rendering a smile was a feat of epic proportions.  Then, there were the patients that wore their treatment very well.  To look at them, one would never perceive that they had cancer.  They were happy and upbeat in the face of pain and nausea. 

Perhaps, the most remarkable patient type was embodied in a young lady who came to assist her mom on her treatment days.  She was a vibrant, blond-haired woman with rosy cheeks and a contagious smile.  She possessed a type of piquancy in her personality indicative of burgeoning youthfulness.  She began to express how important it was to her to be there for her mother on treatment days.  Her passion seemed to convey something more than just a loving concern for her mother. 

As we continued to listen to her, she inquired about a particular physician by name.  At that moment, the check-out receptionist informed her that the physician was no longer practicing.  She then revealed that he was her attending physician who treated her when she had cancer.  Turns out, she was a cancer survivor of 12 years.

As my jaw dropped to the floor, I was in awe.  She couldn’t have been more than 30 years old.

Here was this young woman standing before us glowing with health and a full head of hair.  She told us about her bone marrow transplant, and of course her hair loss (but…it grew back).  She wanted to give up because of the pain and the harsh side-effects of her treatment (but…she didn’t).  Now she is strong enough to care for her mother who is going through the same thing she walked through.  As I spent more time in this clinic and met more people, I learned that many of the workers that I saw were volunteers who were cancer survivors. 

You may have recently experienced loss on some level.  It may not be health or hair, but what about hope.  I’m writing this to you.  Please don’t give up.  Keep living.  What you are going through now is just a rung on the ladder of your elevation.  When this is over, you will be strong enough to help someone else who is struggling to live through what you have already overcome.  Someone needs to hear the story of how you survived.  Yes, you lost a lot (but…it grew back).

Sometimes what we perceive as loss really isn’t loss at all.  In most cases, God is pruning our lives of unnecessary, unproductive limbs so that we will be prepared to be more fruitful than ever in our season.  John 15:1-2, elucidates this truth beautifully.  When a tree is pruned of unproductive limbs, it appears to be dead.  All of the signs of visible life are gone.  Loss of limbs, loss of leaves, and loss of fruit all signify the end.  Others who pass by the tree may assume it is dead, then cast judgment and walk away.  The same thing may happen to us during our pruning seasons.  You may appear to be dead right now, but don’t lose hope.  As long as your roots wrap around Christ, you will produce again. 

How do you negotiate the uncertain seas of loss?  What is your valuation of the people and things that are leaving your life?  Are they really beneficial to you?  Are they a gain or are they a drain? 

Loss is only one part of the whole when it comes to God’s holy laboratory.  God is a master chemist.  He knows how to combine all of the elements in your life to produce a result that will both glorify Him and edify you.  The process may be volatile, the reaction may be violent,  but the product is always beautiful. 

As a part of my undergraduate studies, I enrolled in several labs associated with my major course of study.  One of which was Organic Chemistry, which is the study of how carbon behaves in various organic compounds.  Lab was pretty fun because it involved mixing chemicals together, observing their reactions, and then documenting the details of the products.  Some of these reactions were spontaneous and explosive, in some instances.  Fortunately, our labs were fitted with huge fume hoods that were designed to extract toxic fumes from the air that were emitted after certain reactions.  God’s grace is much like the fume hoods in a lab.  It covers us during our times of painful pruning, when our reactions to the pain cause us to melt down and explode.  Sometimes, we may even release toxic words and attitudes into the air.  God’s grace sufficiently covers us, because His grace is sufficient for us. 

In this life, you may have lost some things that were dear to you.  The pruning may have caused loss of leaves, limbs, friends, hair, or even hope; but our Father is the Great Husbandman that ensures our prosperity and productivity.  The pruning is preparation for productivity.

In God’s laboratory, all things work together for our good. 

Remember:  IT WILL GROW BACK!!!

 Editor: Jaime Evans

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

Keep Learning ♦ Keep Loving ♦ Keep Living

BE

 

 

Wisdom Wednesday: Pharisees 2.0

  1. Women should never wear anything that pertains to a man.
  2. Men should not wear anything that pertains to a woman.
  3. No one should wear a garment made of wool and  linen.
  4. No one should ever eat pork because it is unclean.
  5. Never eat before you wash your hands.

…And the list goes on and on.

Ladies and gentlemen, these are just five of the 613 laws that were jettisoned through the blood of Jesus and His perfect sacrifice on the cross.  Most of us are familiar with the Pharisees and their collective plight to rid the religious world of Jesus.   In essence, they were the religious/political sect that were the self-proclaimed overseers of the Mosaic Law.  As a result of this proclamation, they managed to compile a huge list of rules and traditions that were added to the basic Law of Moses, while simultaneously enforcing those traditions by becoming judges, jurors, and executioners. 

These traditions were noble gestures, however, the enforcement of these traditions were borderline terrorism.  Because no one could ever really fulfill all the requirements of the traditions of men set forth by the Pharisees, they used them to flex their pious muscles, while being sheltered from the consequences themselves.  This is the very reason why the crucifixion of Jesus was successful.  Jesus was legally sentenced to a wrongful death because of the force of the Pharisaic Traditions. 

You would think with the entrance of the New Covenant, that the Pharisee would be a thing of the past…

Well, think again.

The Church is still the breeding ground for the Pharisaic mentality.  The tools of the trade have changed indeed.  I’m sure you’ve encountered a Pharisee or two.  They’re the ones that police everyone on Sundays to make sure their dress is long enough, or their hair color is “appropriate.”  Nevermind the pain that a person may be going through, or the person contemplating suicide, or the person that came to church one last time before making a decsion to become an atheist because they have lost hope. 

It’s infuriating and unacceptable.  So what do you think?

 

Do modern-day Pharisees exist?

What are the “new” traditions that are enforced in church today?

How does proper teaching come into play when dealing with this mentality?

 

Let’s talk…feel free to leave a reply below.  I’d love to hear from you.

 

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

BE

Wisdom Wednesday: Why Aren’t You An Atheist?

Recently, while watching television, I saw a commercial that made me chuckle.  It was an Edward Jones Financial Services commercial featuring a father and son duo who were visiting with a financial advisor.  As the son observed the interaction between the advisor and his dad, he seemed a bit perplexed.

Upon exiting the advisor’s office, the son began to ask the father a series of questions about the visit.  When the father would answer each question, the son would immediately follow up with the infamous one-word question…Why?  The father kept trying to answer all of the son’s why’s, until eventually he reached a dead end.  The commercial ended with the father environed in a state of confusion having never pondered the questions that came so easily through his son.

As Christians, what do you say when you’re confronted with the question-Why?

Do you believe in God?  Why?

Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God?  Why?

1 Peter 3:15, admonishes us to always be ready to answer those who question the hope that is in us; the very hope that defines and frames our faith.  This scripture brings to life one simple truth…People are watching you.  They watch how you live, interact with others, and manage life in general.  Sadly, the vast majority of church laity, and leadership for that matter, cannot fluently explain why they believe what they do.

If we are people of  faith, why is it acceptable to be so lackadaisical in our pursuit of the deep, inner-workings of faith?  The question begs to be asked, what happens when we are required to defend our faith?  Furthermore, some may ask, should faith be defended at all.  According to 1 Peter 3:15, it should; and the onus falls on us.  So where does that leave the Body of Christ?

Traditionally, Christians have been deemed brute in intellect, and lack the ability to handle heavy truths.  The predilection for emotional exhuberance has often trumped the  desire to sit down and learn.  As you are reading this post, there is a paradigm shift taking place in the atheist community.  According to a recent lecture given by Alain de Botton on the new atheism (Atheism 2.0), there is an intense need for connection and ritualism that is now being sparsely acknowledged on the part of atheists.  I feel like this opens evangelistic opportunities if only we are wise in our conceits.  Even though modern atheism is still steeped in an existential intellectualism void of a belief in God, I believe the stage is being set for major inroads into the atheist community if we tread wisely.  But we must arm ourselves with the proper knowledge and skills necessary to win souls.

It’s time for a paradigm shift of our own in the Body of Christ.  We must equip ourselves with the necessary tools necessary for defending our faith.  Wisdom is paramount.  We must invest in our spiritual intellect.  God takes knowledge very seriously.  Hosea 4:6, tells us that the lack of knowledge preceeds destruction.

What would happen if we studied the Bible with the same vigor that we study sports statistics?  What if we minimized watching reality TV, and made communion with God our reality?  What if our curiosity about the Father drove us to dig in the scriptures, and tap into the refreshing springs of the Spirit, thereby releasing living water from our lives to a thirsty nation?

“He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water,”  (John 7:38 KJV).

 

Let’s talk: 

Are you a Christian?  Why?

When you read the Bible, do you believe what you read?  Why?

I would love to hear from you.  Please feel free to join the conversation in the “Reply” section below.

 

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

BE

 Editor: Jaime Evans

 

 

 

The Demands Of Maturity

According to a recent article I read online, a newborn may lose up to 10 percent of its body weight in the first days of life during the transition from placenta to independent digestion.  From conception to birth, the fetus is environed by the life-sustaining components of his mother’s womb.  Everything from sensory perceptions to nourishment passes directly from mother to child.

Once the baby is born, drastic changes begin to take place in the infant.  There is no more womb, no more placenta, and no more umbilical cord.  All nourishment must pass through the baby’s own digestive system in order to be assimilated and supply life to the body.

During this time, the baby’s metabolism undergoes significant changes.  These changes are not immediately visible, but in time, they become more pronounced.  Weight gain, increased stomach capacity, and the appearance of teeth all indicate one thing…the weaning phase.

Before these subtle changes take place, the infant is usually satisfied with nourishment from nursing or milk from a bottle.  However, as the baby matures, these forms of feeding are no longer sufficient.  Because of the growth that is taking place, the baby’s metabolic rate not only requires more, but demands more.

 

Forsaking The Bottle

In much the same manner, newly born-again Christians should prefer the sincere milk of the Word (1Peter 2:2)   The foundational principles and doctrines that define our faith as believers should be the focus for babes in Christ, because that is what stimulates growth; things such as grace, salvation, baptism, etc.  These things nourish us while our spiritual senses develop.  When we are born again, our capacity for the knowledge of God is limited.  Our understanding and our perception is limited.  We must now learn to process everything through the lenses of God’s word.

As we grow, this creates a greater demand for a deeper understanding of God’s word.  What used to satisfy us, no longer does.  The change happens gradually and is barely noticeable at first.  The sermons that used to excite us no longer satisfy the demand.  The people that used to pique our interest; no longer does it for us.  This could only mean one thing…

It’s time to forsake nursing or the bottle!

 

Maturity Demands Meat

“But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to descern both good and evil,” (Hebrews 5:14 KJV).

Solid food is for the spiritually mature.  The entire purpose of digestion is the assimilation of food.  We eat to live.  Metabolism is the chemical processes by which a plant or an animal uses food, water, etc., to grow and heal and to make energy.  I’m sure you’ve heard of the adage: you are what you eat.  This rings true of both physical food and spiritual food.  When it comes to scripture, it’s not about how much you know, but how much you apply to your life.  The world is filled with people who know the scripture, but do not have the desire to yield their lives and hearts to God, to experience true change.  The Bible states in James 1:22, that we should be “doers” of the Word and not just “hearers.”

Wisdom is paramount, but it must be coupled with understanding, according to Proverbs 4:7.  The one distinguishing factor between carnal Christians and spiritual Christians is the amount of scripture that has been assimilated into daily life.  The carnal or immature Christian knows that God loves him, and that’s where it ends.  Immaturity limits the full expression of knowledge due to the lack of wisdom.  The mature Christian not only knows that God loves him…but from a thankful heart; seeks to demonstrate that same love in their daily lives.  The difference is in the application, and you can’t apply what you don’t understand.

 

Hebrews 5 verses 12 through 14 delineate the two degrees of spiritual knowledge; milk and strong meat.  Many Christians never move beyond the milky, simplistic understanding of salvation through Christ.  They never fully experience the exhilarting victory of the new life by placing a demand on God–El Shaddai (The Many-Breasted One)–to supply them with more.  At some point, we should desire more than just a sermon that tickles our ears, but does nothing for our hearts.  At some point, it should pain us, when we hurt others without a cause.  At some point, the scriptures must leave the pages of our Bibles and pierce our hearts; breaking up the stony places therein.

At some point, milk must become meat.

Editor: Jaime Evans

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

BE

Wisdom From the Web

It was dusk on a Thursday, and as I was preparing to settle down for the night, I decided to enjoy some quiet time alone.  One of my favorite rooms in our house is a sun room with plenty of windows.  A picturesque pink and blue sunset greeted me and provided a welcomed backdrop for meditation.  As I sat down and began to talk to the Father, just then I noticed a spider outside of my window skillfully weaving a web.  I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m not a huge fan of spiders (unless we’re talking about Spiderman).  However, I believe the Father led me to that place and moment just to speak wisdom to me concerning how to trust Him in my daily living.  Please allow me to share with you wisdom from the web.

Spinning The Web

I stood in awe as my spider friend swung from each silky thread like a trapeze artist attaching each thread to the other.  What initially appeared to be random movements turned into an artful display of organized motion.  The longer I watched the spider spin, the more I noticed the pattern of the web emerge.  That’s when God began to speak to my heart.

 

The Perfect Design

In order to understand the efficacy of the spiderweb a few things must be considered.   Let’s begin with the design.  Scientifically speaking, the spiderweb is primarily designed for two things:  capture and rest.  We’re all familiar with how the spiderweb becomes the interface between predator and prey.  When the spider spins a web, at some point an unsuspecting insect becomes dinner for the night.  The sheer design of the spiderweb suits the purpose of gathering food perfectly.  Sticky, net-like, and virtually invisible, it serves as the perfect aerial trap.  You were designed by God to produce the very thing that will provide nourishment and bring success into your life.  You have gifts and talents that give rise to powerful results in your life and the lives of others.

Birds build nests for their young.  Bees build hives.  Beavers build dams.  Spiders build webs.  All of these creatures instinctly build according to their unique purposes.  Even though our actions may look like randomness to other people, we must never get entangled with trying to please everyone.  Just keep constructing your web, and in time it will all make sense.  When Noah was building the ark in Genesis chapter 6, no doubt people were laughing at him and trying to figure out what the heck he was building and why.  Well, needless to say when the rain started, those same people weren’t laughing anymore.  You were designed to reign, but you can’t reign effectively if you are trying to build nests when you were created to weave webs.

 

Location, Location, Location

It would be pointless for a spider to build its web inside a car or any other enclosed space in hopes to capture insects.  Where the spider builds could mean the difference between feast or famine.  I don’t know how long our spider friend waited for food to enter its trap, but I can attest to the fact that the location was prime.  Many times God positions us strategically to bless us.  It’s not just coincidence that you live where you do.  It’s not coincidence that you’re employed where you are.  When you’re in the right place at the right time, God will bring provision and supply directly to you.  Seek Him and His kingdom and everything you need will be added to you Matt. 6:33.

 

The Stealth of Stillness

I continued to watch as the spider put the finishing touches on its silky tapestry.  When it completed the web, the spider nestled into its aerial home and did something really strange.  When there was nothing else left to do, the spider stood completely still in the web and waited.  If only we applied this strategy to our daily lives, I believe we would experience the peace of God as He intended us to.  Psalms 46:10 reminds us to be still and know that God is God.  Sometimes after we have done all that we can do, there is really nothing else left to do but hide in God.  Stillness is the best camouflage.  Many times we draw attention and warfare to ourselves by excessive motion.   You can’t talk to just anyone about what’s going on in your life.  Some things must be hidden until God brings change.  I believe many of the attacks that we experience are intensified because we won’t stand still and let God be God Colossians 3:3.  Trust Him.  He’s sovereign and He wants to show Himself strong in our situations and on our behalf so that He will receive all glory.  Many times we choose to engage in battles that we don’t even need to fight in.  When the enemy surrounds us and the demonic host seems ominous, remember what God said to King Jehoshaphat in II Chronicles 20:17

“Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them: for the Lord will be with you” (KJV).

 

Your relationship with the Father enhances your uniqueness and intensifies the favor of God and man upon your life.  When you tap into your God-given design, you become unstoppable.  What is God telling you to build?

Go forth and weave your web.

 

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

Editor: Jaime Evans

BE

 

 

Wisdom Wednesday: The Grace Problem

I came across an interesting article titled “The Danger of Abusing the Grace of God,” in Charisma Magazine a couple days ago.  In the article, David Ravenhill elucidates some very interesting facts concerning the perversion of God’s grace in our society today.

The theology of grace tends to be problematic for people who struggle with the commitment to doing things God’s way.  On one hand you have the ideology that through the blood of Christ, grace erases all of our sins, and gives us a perpetually clean slate (which is true).  On the other hand, however, you have scriptures like Romans 6:14 which states,

For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

So what’s the real deal with grace?  Is it a license to sin, or is God holding us accountable for our actions?  Is it just a “get out of Hell free” card, or is it more than that?

When we fail to understand the purpose and the original intent of God’s grace, it leads to willful disobedience, and then to statements like, “God knows my heart.”

I believe grace is directional, and comes with great responsibility.  For all intents and purposes, God’s grace should lead us in the direction of holiness, not away from it.  It is the room and space to grow into the image of Christ, while daily going through the process of overcoming sin (yes..it is a process).  I believe God’s original intent in provisioning us with His grace was to cover us while we are actively engaged in the sanctification process.  This sanctification process is only perfected within us by living in His presence daily via prayer and Bible meditation.  As long as we are in this world, we will have to deal with sin and spiritual shortcomings.  However, the key to living above sin is our connection to Jesus Christ.  We must take this union seriously if we are to live victoriously.

At what point do we stop making excuses in the name of “grace” and start fighting the “good fight of faith?” (1 Tim. 6:12).

What do you think?  Is it possible to abuse the grace of God?  Have you ever witnessed grace abuse?  If so, how did it change you?

All dialogue welcomed…Let’s talk.

BE

 

The Five P’s of Victory

One of the greatest fighters who ever lived, Muhammad Ali, once said:

“The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses…it’s won behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road long before I dance under those lights.”

 

We’re all familiar with the exuberant elation that comes from winning something.  We equate winning with being the best and the greatest within our league.  Let’s face it, there’s just something about the thrill of power that comes with the number one spot.

On the other hand, I’m sure most of us have had the experience of being served the bitter dish of defeat by an opponent.  This can conjure up emotions of agony that totally deflates our egos causing severe “pride-reversal.”

Although this paradigm exists, there are those that seem to have a knack for winning.  They always win the title belts, the gold medals, and the trophies.  They are the champions of our day.

What do those people do differently?  Some may argue that it’s strictly genetics.  Although this may be true on some level, I believe there is a system or a process for ensuring victory in our lives which can be summed up by the Five P’s of victory:

  1. Passion
  2. Process
  3. Power
  4. Performance
  5. Pay-Off

Passion

Passion is defined as a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something.  Passion is the engine deep down in your belly that keeps you doing what you love, even when you’re tired, nervous, or even hurting.  Passion is the power that pulls you through your process.  It’s the secret weapon of success.  What you are passionate about is often an indicator of your true calling.  Even though this is the most fundamental indicator of your intrinsic purpose, it is perhaps the most elusive.  God has placed within you certain abilities and giftings that set you apart from everyone else.  It’s up to you to accept the challenge of unlocking the God-given power within you by discovering and embracing your unique passions.

If you expect to be an overcomer, then you must be passionate about your purpose.  Passion is what locks you into the “why” of what you’re doing.  In the absence of passion, quitting becomes easy.  What’s pulling you into your purpose?

Process

All champions have one thing in common; on some level, they value training, coaching, and development.  Training is the process of conditioning via instruction, discipline, or drill.  It is the preparation for a test of skill.  Generally speaking, it is the passageway through which the ordinary walks to become extraordinary.

I am a Black Belt in Tae-Kwon-Do, and have received several awards and trophies in the categories of forms and sparring.  I recall the days leading up to a tournament or testing, and how physically and mentally demanding it was.  I never enjoyed the process that I had to endure to produce excellence, but when those trophies were in my hands, the pain of the process seemed to dissipate.

God’s plan for your life is worth your present pain.  Diamonds must be cut before their brilliance is truly revealed.  Gold must be liquified before its purest form is revealed.  In like manner, the treasure that is within you must endure a refining process before your true essence and beauty is manifested.   1 Peter 1:7 states:

That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ, [KJV].

Power

A very interesting phenomenon takes place during the training and developmental process.  Put very simply…you change.  If change does not happen on some level, then the efficacy of the process must be called into question.  You gradually become stronger, faster, wiser, and more confident.  The journey itself challenges you as you navigate the course required to reach your destination.  In turn, the obstacles that you encounter change you as they force you to reevaluate your current condition in relation to the desired goal.

When we pray for certain things, in most cases, God will answer with process.  For instance, you may pray for a spouse, but God may answer with a very difficult person that you have to work with on your job.  The process of working with that person sets you on a journey of self-discovery, where you learn that you are very impatient.  God’s message to you is this: before He brings that special someone into your life, you must learn patience.  The co-worker is just a pawn in the process.  When you learn to be patient with your co-worker, you’ll be better equipped to exercise that same muscle of patience with the person who will one day be your spouse.

The strength to bear the weight of what comes with your destiny is only acquired on the road to your destiny.  God is more concerned with your ability to maintain the demands that come with the next level, than the glory of crossing the finish line.

Performance

What do you do when it’s time to execute?  Can you handle the pressure of being on the grand stage, or do you experience the dreaded “performance anxiety?”

This phase of the process is where battles are either won or lost.  You can spend all your time training for the big day, but if you can’t fully execute, then all of your hard work will be in vain.  God always affords us opportunities to execute what we have learned in theory.  Hearing the word of God taught in church is like training on a punching bag.  The opponent isn’t real and it doesn’t punch back.  The real fight is in the ring of temptation and tribulation, when the real enemy, Satan, engages you on the battlefield of your mind.

When it’s time to perform, can you produce the will to execute what the drills were designed to teach?  The performance always reveals weaknesses in your training.  How you train is how you perform.  Any fighter worth his weight in gold knows that in order to perform at the highest level on fight day, he must push past his limits during his training.  If he skips training days and binges on Doritos and Honey Buns everyday, then fight day will reveal those weaknesses and punish them in like fashion.

Process is designed to reward diligence and punish indolence.  You get to choose the outcome of your performance based on how you handle your process.

Pay Off

In the world of sports, victory is never guranteed.  That’s what makes sports so magnetic.  It’s the charge of adrenaline that comes from witnessing the end result of training and its ensuing victory.  Champions aren’t champions just because they win, they are champions because of how they think.  A champion expects victory even though he knows that victory is never guaranteed.  The expectation of victory increases the probability of experiencing victory.

You should be jumping for joy now as you read this, because you live by a different law called the Law of the Spirit of Life (Romans 8: 2).  This law guarantees victory in your life when certain conditions are met.  1 John 5:4 states:

For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith, [KJV].

Beloved, if you have been born again, you are guaranteed victory.  You’re an overcomer, but you must have faith in the victory Christ has won.  Through him, you have already overcome your greatest struggles.  It’s not just about winning, it’s about overcoming through the blood of Jesus.

Your process has prepared you for the very battle that you are facing now.  The enemy is no match for you and your Lord Christ.  Victory in Christ is guaranteed.  Together with him, you can conquer every opponent that tries to take your crown.

Romans 8: 35, 37: Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us, [KJV]. 

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

BE

Editor: Jaime Evans

Turbulence: A Sign of Your Elevation

The first time I stepped on an airplane, I was bound for Miami, FL, on my way to what would be an incredible family vacation.  It was a beautiful, partly-cloudy day with pristine skies; a perfect day for flying.  As I stood gazing out of the airport window, I was overwhelmed by the sheer immensity of the aircraft as it approached the gate to receive its passengers.  I was so nervous, I could feel my heart pounding in my throat.  It was frightening and exciting all at the same time.

I sat down in my window seat, fastened my seat belt, and eagarly endured all of the pre-flight checks.  I was ready for my first flight…

…Or so I thought.

As the plane began its taxi in preparation for take-off, the deafening shrill of the jet engines penetrated the plane’s cabin as we rounded the runway to position number one.  The captain’s voice calmly flowed through the speakers informing us that we had been cleared for take-off.  A few seconds later, the engines fired up and before I knew it, I was pinned to my seat as the plane catapulted down the runway at a furious speed.  I could feel the G-Forces pressing against my chest as the front of the plane tilted upward and took to the skies.

As I looked out of my window, the ground fell away, and the cars grew smaller and smaller until they were completely out of sight.  Ultimately, we ascended to about 35,000 feet and leveled out in smooth flight.  The snow-white clouds beneath us were like huge, fluffy pillows suspended in the sky.  Everything was so quiet and still in the cabin, I wondered if we were moving at all.

Then…that’s when it happened!

All of a sudden, the plane started to shake and shift violently in mid-air.  My question whether we were moving or not was horrifically answered.  I felt the drops and dips of the plane in the pit of my stomach as we encountered what is known as Clear-Air Turbulence (CAT).  I thought my heart was going to jump out of my chest.  All I could think about was how high up we were.  At 35,000 feet, I gripped the armrest, and held on for dear life.  As I looked around, I noticed that the more experienced flyers were strangely calm.  Some were even sleeping.  I wondered to myself how they could remain so poised while we were being tossed around thousands of feet above the ground.

Just before I went into all-out panic mode, the captain’s voice came across the intercom very nonchalantly saying:

“Hi folks, looks like we’re experiencing some rough air.  I’m going to change altitudes to see if I can find some smoother air.  Buckle your seat belts and bear with me until we level out.”

At that point, the plane began an upward thrust, and in a few minutes, the shaking stopped, and all was calm again.

 

 God, The Almighty Pilot

Our lives are much like flying in an airplane at 35,000 feet.  God will sometimes allow us to hit a rough patch to shake us up a little.  When we’re navigating through this life, there are times when we get comfortable and forget that we were destined to lead lives of greatness, significance, and productivity.  We were created to serve in the capacity which God has ordained for us, thereby leaving a legacy in the earth long after we are gone.

We are ambassadors for Christ 2 Corinthians 5:20.  This world is not our final destination.  We are in flight to another place; another world.  Not only that, but we should live our lives in constant pursuit of God, who ushers us to higher altitudes in Him 2 Corinthians 3:18.  So you should never get too comfortable in the current state that you’re in.  Always expect more.

I believe that turbulence is designed to be a reminder that we are en route to the next level of our lives. The altitude at which you’re flying may not be sufficient for you any longer.  Maybe you’ve outgrown the job you’re in, or the group of people you’ve been hanging around, and you’re starting to experience some type of turbulence in your life.  Maybe you’re experiencing some rough air in your health or your finances.  Take this opportunity to seek God for direction, because quite often the turbulence is a sign that you’re on Heaven’s docket for elevation and promotion.  One of my favorite Bible verses is 2 Corinthians 4:17:

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.

When God has elevation planned for you, trouble tends to always preceed your promotion.  However, rest assured, there is another level of glory just waiting for you on the other side of that rough air.  God is preparing to take you to greater heights, and the turbulence is your cue to go ahead and check your attitude, and start expecting a change in your altitude.

When turbulence hits, many times the only thing you can do is just ride it out.  As difficult as this may be, faith and patience becomes the keys to receiving the blessing.  Hebrews 6:12 reminds us that this is how we inherit the promises of God.

The more frequently I travelled by air, the more I started to realize that turbulence was just a part of flying.  Now that I understand a little more about what turbulence is, I understand why the people on my very first flight were able to remain so calm during the shaking.  Now, I’ve turned into one of those calm flyers.  When turbulence hits, I just keep my seat belt buckled and just ride it out.  Even though the turbulence may seem extreme, and your faith may be rattled, remember who is piloting your life.

Be encouraged my friends.  The turbulence that you’re experiencing is only temporary.  It won’t last forever.  In fact, The Almighty Pilot,  just may be preparing to elevate you to a new altitude in Him.

Buckle up, and ride it out…

ELEVATION IS ON THE WAY.

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

 BE

Editor: Jaime Evans

 

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