The Rescue of Our Stupid World that Feeds Anger

“The churning of milk produces butter…and pressing the nose brings forth blood;
So the churning of anger produces strife.”
Proverbs 30:33

There is a Cause to that Particular Effect…

This proverb is about the cessation of stupid. What did you think would happen if you kept prodding and poking at your nose? Haven’t you learned that if you pick at it long enough you will soon be rewarded with a blood bath? And here we also see by comparison the proverb states that if we feed the “anger monster” the battle moves to intensified strife. Is that helpful to any? I think not, except for the warmongers who thrive on inflicted misery.

The point of the proverb is the logical progression and necessary outcome of a stated course of activity. Garbage in…Garbage out. But what of the exceptions?  Agitate milk and voilà! Look what happens! Milk is magically transformed to cream and butter. Cream is a precursor to “ice cream” and we all know that is one of those “very good” things God made.

But alas, we live in an angry world. Even folks I know who ought be dancing for joy seem trained in the art of anger. Careful… it’s infectious. Abundant strife across our land is indicative of angry hearts within the breast. Men churn and agitate the flesh for ad infinitum reasons, most of no essential account, but they all produce magnified and multiple consequences.

How can we restore order to this chaotic mess? Simply put: That solution has never changed, so there must be a rending from above. We perish if God departs… or if He allows ordinary cause-effect to reign apart from radical intervening grace. He must visit us from on high. Simplistic? Ponder the rending of the heavens again; would that ever be simplistic? I think not, but always glorious and purposeful where the Gospel is preached.

Not all agitation is bad. One is a work of the flesh that stirs up enmity, and the other a grace and work of the Spirit that yields glory. There is hope for you, my friend. There is hope for me. There is hope for the nation. It becomes a question of who mans the churn and what we target as the end product of acceptable results. We desperately need the “Divine Agitator” to create some “butter”. If we continue to stir the cauldron, trouble will continue to brew up as surely as a pot of coffee is produced by my percolator every morning. (That’s Louisiana Community brand coffee, BTW.)

My experience: We are hard-wired to produce enmity, strife and jealousy by default until grace comes and conquers us. There must be “Regime” change in our hearts. Jesus must come and gentle us with restraint and self-control…the fruits of righteousness. (Consider, and then count the number of toddlers you know who play together with one toy by peaceful resolution vs contention and selfishness. Then consider even believing adults and the challenges of friendship… ungodliness and self-promoting jealousy easily rule the day. #HardWired for strife… from the beginning.)

By a gracious encounter with the One who comes to us, we are offered escape from the madness and self-destructive behavior as those who dwell in the Gerasenes. Not all those in Mark 5 were happy with the finished product. Not all will be rejoice today. There is always a pricetag. God values the individual, not the mass. Sheep crashing off a cliff hurts the bottom line in the temporal world, though we easily neglect that Eternity still rejoices over this same fact of the one clothed and in his right mind, until today. Just be aware: Many can temporarily profit from strife. Or war…

The God of grace and mercy stirs the pot, and we are refined. As we churn the same container via our efforts of fleshly indulgences we produce a sour and useless concoction that potentially harms many. Grace teaches we are perfected through the wonder of adversity, as we yield ourselves to grace as trophies, as vessels of honor and glory, going from anger to resolution of peace and gratitude in Him. Isn’t this worship? Worship is about knowing and enjoying our great “ChurnMaster” who refines us as gold or silver cast from the smelter’s pot.

From the beginning God has acted to bring light from darkness, order from chaos, He recreates something good from absolutely nothing to work with. He is Creator who does all things well and “very good.” He labors over us until Christ is formed in His people.

Today, we will encounter many who live in bondage to an angry heart. (Have you taken off the blinders to see the infection of anger all about? It has many nuances and flavors, but where is the joy of a glad heart in the world today?) What a wonder that the Gospel entrusted to us is the Light of escape from normative, fallen behavior into a glorious experience as that of the rich cream that rises to the top as milk is agitated within the churn. We never know when the Spirit will show up to stir in grace to bring glorious joy in any present circumstance.  Historically, we know the harder cases often become the brightest and purist vessels. Glory floats to the top in rich fashion. When God agitates He constructs something eternal: ordinary water is remarkably turned to exquisite wine. He makes all things new. Do we live in expectation that God is, and that His purposes CANNOT fail?

We have a saying in the OR about surgeons who keep picking at this or that, tinkering with an exposed area, needlessly prodding and poking at an vulnerable body part. If they pick long enough they are sure to stir up bleeding. So it is with picking and pressing the nose… leave it and anger alone with the expectation that God is the life and light Giver who alone can apply the perfect pressure to bring one to “Cease striving and know that He is God…”

My point probably is, (who really knows), don’t be angry; it never achieves the righteousness of God. Yet, be angry and do not sin. Turn your anger into an agitated prayer for the King to rouse Himself and “make a thousand hearts His own.” (Cowper) There are lots of churns going on all about us at any one time. May we be light and life with the Word of Truth entrusted so that we might offer escape unto joy to fallen men we know and love. May our contribution to the fracas be grace and truth, and not another voice of agitation.

Fear After the Fact of Forgiveness by the Sovereign Potentate

“But there is forgiveness with Thee, That Thou mayest be feared.” (Psalm 130:4)

Well, it works for me this way, anyway. You do as you will… or should I say, “as you can”?

God must act in forgiveness before we can properly fear Him. Yep. It’s another one of those “but God…” scriptures similar to the Ephesians 2 Grace First Model. I mean, it’s His move isn’t it? It always has been. After all, He is a seeking, a pursuing God. On the Chess Board, God is always white. No slur there, He is light. (I digress. Back to the reservation! Oops! “Sorry,” said Pinocchio.)

Are you confused in thinking the old hymn goes, “’Twas not that Thou didst choose me, for Lord that could not be! Thy heart would still refuse me, Hadst I not first chose Thee.” That’s the Arminian and erroneous version. #Rutrow

Of course we know how is really goes…
“’Twas not that I didst choose Thee,
For Lord that could not be!
My heart would still refuse Thee,
Hadst Thou not first chose me!”

If you think about it, otherwise it is the Job, (the man Job, and not employment we seek), experience of Divine revelation. “Lord, I heard about Thee with the hearing ear, but now mine eye sees Thee, and I retract and repent in dust and ashes.” #Worship. True worship contextualizes even body posture as a secondary nonverbal cue as to heart condition. 

It is only a clear view of God that enables and insists upon a full view of His holiness so we decidedly and rightly fall and worship. Without fear. That’s the enigma. Without fear. And we serve Him in holiness. Without fear. And that is why Jesus came; access to the glory of worship without fear by fear being established. So it’s a fear of respect and awe; and we see and know glory!

“’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved…”
Newton. 

True and saving religion is a paradoxical thing that God only can explain in the mystery of Christ the crucified.
#Paradox #Mystery

“He made Him who knew no sin, to become sin, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

#HeckofaParadox and a #Glorious one at that!

#HeOpensTheDoor because frankly and Biblically, we are, on our best day, dead and in a casket, and there simply ain’t no caskets I have ever seen with a doorknob on the inside. And there sure ain’t nobody escaping.

Well, that was like a walk-about in the forest. I gotta go. My tractor is calling me to go break up some soil for that spring garden. And that appeals to me greatly.  


Now a worthy song… it actually fits. 

https://youtu.be/zKjq30_pC2k

Phew! What is that Putrid Smell?!?

“…that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit…” (Eph 4:22)


Shocking!

If you dare revisit your old man in your former life, (BC Days), you will discover things are not improved, but more corrupt, yet strangely familiar in wooing the heart to wander. There are places prohibited to the flesh as the new man has a terribly frightening capacity to deviate. We never gravitate of natural accord toward light and truth, and the purity they bring; one might say that somewhere hidden within is always the supernatural or divine component. 

Things never improve in the old man, nor in the old manner of life. Our hope is in the newness of life recreated in Christ Jesus alone. 

Reformation of the old is not our need. Regeneration or a whole new beginning is! This requires a new construction upon a whole new foundation with new plans that do not include a renovation.

It is not that we cease being who we were but that we become all the Father has called us to be.

“And this is marvelous in His eyes…”

Escape from a Welfare State: Stop the Theft!

“Let him who steals steal no longer; but rather let him labor, performing with his own hands what is good, in order that he may have something to share with him who has need.” Ephesians 4:28

Our failed application of, and subsequent violation of the 8th Commandment to “not steal” is rampantly resident in our current system. As a nation we reward non-work with the alternative of welfare and entitlements to those whose hands are fit for production. This has produced generations of thieves irrespective of race or color. Our neglect of the principle “If a man will not work, neither let him eat,” is devastating to that man and this nation.

As a young man in my oilfield days I was a driller who ran a crew of men. The role to hire and fire as required was a necessary hat to wear. I eventually understood from my practical people experience a difference in work ethics. The man who was committed to wife and children consistently performed his work well; his motivation implicit to his commitments. The ne’re-do-wells were the rolling stones without roots. Welfare clients never bothered to apply except to request a signature on their form that stated no jobs were available. (This was so they might continue their unemployment benefits.) Today, we reap the consequences of stupid and willful violation of natural law that instructs us to care for one’s own, and then there is the specific revelation from God of commanded duty to work to not steal and to share with legitimate, needy neighbors. Work is an honor and privilege. Work is worship. Work is a Creation Ordinance. 

#LikeBegetsLike and we always get more of what we subsidize, whether intended or not. Weeds grow in abundance in my garden without provocation, and only by my neglect. To remove them requires the sweat of the brow. It’s the curse, you know? Christ alone cures the curse by killing it and its effect in us, “far as the curse is found…” (Wesley)

Spiritual truths and principles are valid in every arena. Sowing and reaping pursues us both privately and publicly; from the bedroom to the boardroom…from the sanctuary to the public square. Truth is truth, and it is never a small thing to neglect what God has said. Devastation occurs by indifference and neglect. However, repentance is a gift that God offers, (we are under orders of commanded duty to…Repent!), and the specific application of the fear of the Lord for any called people to witness “the Lord building a new house, so our labors might not be in vain.

The King is coming and His requirement of each of us is an accounting of His entrusted stewardship. Our debt is coming due. We have taught many to bury their entrusted treasure and live off the fat of the working class who desire to simply do what God has stated. 

Light and Luster: Avoiding and Treating Spiritual Cataracts

“While you have the light, believe in the light, in order that you may become sons of light.”
Jesus (John 12:36)

Deliberate decisions, conscious choices. Faith is Purposeful. Intentional.


Every day we are confronted with light and darkness easily lost or diminished in normative shades of gray. A slight deviation to the one side results in a shift in sensitivity to light, and we soon rationalize that the Light is not what it once was. Luster and clarity seem a few grades lower. The Treasure once found in that obscure field has inflationary considerations we failed to notice at the first… the Pearl of great price looks less radiant. How can that be?

Apostasy is incrementalism disguised as a dusk subtly attractive in its waning hues of gray as the days advance. This is sadly, normal Christian experience for so many that could easily be avoided if we treasure and live the principle of “in Thy light we see light.” A son of light perceives the value and power of the armor of light, and deliberately chooses life by its adornment. The old comfortable garments that the Light originally exposed as inadequate can strangely find their way back into our wardrobe. Repentance in daily practice is required preventative maintainence to treat the loss of visual acuity by our spiritual cataracts that grow ever so slowly in the spiritual aging process. “Was Light ever really much brighter, or first love really much deeper and stronger?” Care and discipline in the wee hours of the light of dawn is the rising path of nearness to The Source of sustaining righteousness. Do we persist in seeking God in secret? Do we avail ourselves to Light that exposes nuances of persistent areas of life shadows?

Deliberate and conscious must be my life purpose, my resolve to agree with the Psalmist and say, “Earnestly (early) will I seek Thee; my soul thirsts for Thee.”

“Thy Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119

“You have been bought with a price. Glorify God in your body.”

Sleep & Eats… And other Required Desires & Duties that We Easily Fowl Up…

Do not love sleep, or you will become poor;  Open your eyes, and you will be satisfied with food.” (Proverbs 20:13)

Excess of some sort in its subterfuge is always in pursuit of us; even in the Required Instructions given us to sustain life itself. “Don’t handle! Don’t touch!” Geez…so so many rules! Coloring within the lines can become befuddling but that is not really the problem today… staying on the right page in the right book now seems the issue. But we begin with the compliance of dignified self-control in all things. Regardless.

So what is required for life can be easily become an indulgent practice as it creeps into our heart and soul space with tentacles that snare and choke other activity. Eventually even life itself can be entrapped with the fatal ease and misdirection of excess. (Sleep and eats are part of the package instructions printed in bold type and we do well not to neglect them as we guard our heart against dominance of them.) We all love sleep. We all need sleep. But we can train ourselves to not become as those sleep sluggards who choose to sadly, depressively, and excessively sleep their life away. Some things in life we must avoid regardless of the strength of their pull and the allure of our heart. 

On to the example of food now…

What is required and also desired can be neglected in the obvious provision at hand, as we are consumed in discontent rather than satisfied by our needs meet. It’s “the grass is always greener” principle. Ah yes, though there is always hell to pay for tearing out of one’s own fence (the boundary set by God) and into another man’s property line and sampling his wares…

Perhaps we do well to open our eyes to the abundance of blessings we have known in/by God’s wise and faithful provision so that we may escape the Romans 1 “Domino-Effect” of a progressive Fall to perdition because of ingratitude and lack of giving thanks, that results in a failure of worshiping the known God, and an consequential exchange of incorruptible glory for things tarnished and broken.
“For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise they became fools and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God…”

Romans 1:21-22a


Maybe it’s time to wake up and worship God in the beauty of His holiness and faithfulness of His provision?

I think as always, if we but listen, our friend Jack can help with commentary from Mere Christianity?
“The Christian says, ‘Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire: well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing. If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or to be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage. I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that country and to help others to do the same.”
C.S. Lewis,

Mere Christianity


Think of the Cross.

Think of the city whose walls are broken down and it’s defenses are now weakened… so we too, if we lack self control, we are as that city and subject to being tossed to and fro.

Lord Jesus. Please send Your Holy Spirit that I might crucify the deeds and works of the flesh in my inner man by new desires recreated in righteousness, holiness and truth. 

In pursuit of gold…To the ends of the Earth! Or is in this rubble at my feet?

“Wisdom is in the presence of the one who has understanding,But the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth.”

Proverbs 17:24

One with understanding discovers wisdom, God’s grace gift, and opportunity in present circumstances. Circumstances become indifferent to the eye of faith as the wise man’s God looms large; larger than life, larger than even risk of death as inactivity becomes a non-player. No change is required for peace and joy, even if the sign reads, “Batteries Not Included,” and life remains broken. Sure, as a man he may know tears, fears, heart-aches… and joy inexpressible! But a wise man acts in faith even when there is no apparent way. He understands that life is about trust in God, and God is about orchestrating a life narrative that hones such trust. He is writing a biography of grace. And grace leads us to worship “whether in this mountain or Jerusalem… in spirit and truth.”

He has learned the secret of being content: of being filled with little or nothing yet rejoicing in plenty. He understands and applies “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” His soul is satisfied upon the bosom of his God. God supplies his needs in the glory of the Son, Christ Jesus. As promised, His Lord is near. 

Contrarily, a fool is one who neglects present circumstance and sees only limitations and obstacles. Discontent characterizes his heart. Complaint characterizes his demeanor. (How convicting as I know I easily mirror such an image at the drop of a pin.) He is hindered with his delusions of grandeur that sees not with the eye of faith but with a covetous eye of malcontent that must always move in to new adventures: whether wife or life or job or high or religious experience that soothes the flesh BUT strangely and only for a season. (The law of diminishing returns. The eyes of a man are never satisfied.) He looks upon the ends of the earth to be found just over the next horizon and his god is strangely absent yet deceitfully near. Within. Hidden somewhere in a deceived heart. 

“The silver and gold are but a bit further, according to these instructions left by our ‘friend’ Demas. Let us wander but a bit further in that direction…” The fool has a hope that perishes. His god is absent as the prophets of Baal horribly discovered to their great peril and final destruction. 


#YadaYada again again…

Father, wisdom and understanding… I need these to shore up my Faith. I don’t want to be a fool whose eyes are on the ends of the earth to the neglect of the treasure hidden within the rubble and mess at my feet, that I have made of life thus far. Show me Thy glory today, and where I stand now, without qualification. May I see that it too is Holy Ground, set apart unto Thee, and that You are worthy of worship as my Redeemer God!
Praise to the Lord! Thy consolations delight my soul.