The Truth about an Unchangeable God

The Truth about an Unchangeable God

I get it. The world is in a constant state of transition–perpetual progression toward ultimate enlightenment, or something to that effect. The thing is, change is certain and we are expected to keep up or be left behind like some obsolete artifact.

And how blessed am I that I have a 14-year-old daughter who prides herself on being part of a generation that gets it? She constantly reminds me that she is not moved or shocked by the behavior of popular culture. It’s just the way it is, she says in one breath. And in the next she adds, You need to keep up. Quietly I mumble that I don’t want to keep up. You see I realize that there are things I don’t need to know or be subjected to because I am grounded in the truth that I possess.  I am open to change but not if it is contrary to truth. God is truth. He doesn’t change. Oh, there are many that would disagree with that statement. There are others that wish he would change. But they really don’t want that.

 Great is his faithfulness; his loving-kindness begins afresh each day. (Lam. 3:23)

He is perfect. What else could he be? We, on the other hand are subject to external sources and soulish desires. What is good to us today may be detestable to us tomorrow. But we can depend on God to be all that he is today and forever. He doesn’t bend or move or sway with popular culture or changing world views. They will transition forward and back again. He is not shaken by the times. He created time. But His unchangeable nature makes our changes less scary. We don’t have to fear the future or be shattered by tragedy or hard times or calamity. He is our anchor and solid rock. When we are shaken we remember that we are grounded in Him and we become stable. He is our source of truth in a world where truth is unreliable and questionable. And in our moments of confusion we can look to him to reassure us of where we should stand.

It is because of He is unchangeable that we know we will be O.K. We will make it. We will be victorious. We will see the end of our faith. He has promised that to us. And that will not change.

 

The Power of Silence

The Power of Silence

A friend said to me one day that she couldn’t image her commute to work without music, that talk radio show she loves so much or something to fill the quiet. She went on to say that she knew someone who actually rode with nothing on. Can you imagine that? !

Yes, actually I can. I find it interesting that we are a culture that attempts to fill every white space, almost every moment of every day. The Daily News reports that  more than 80% of the world confesses that they can’t do without their mobile devices.

This leaves us with little to no precious time to clear our heads, our thoughts, evaluate what we’ve learned without forces sucking    us in to respond to some type of stimuli– begging us, beseeching us to buy or sell or react emotionally to some news, gossip or current event. Overloaded with information, we are often no better for it. We subconsciously take in stuff which produces no benefit in exchange for something, anything to fill our heads. It’s kind of like eating when you are clearly not hungry.

We seldom give ourselves time to evaluate, ponder or consider whether information is useful before we are back at it taking in more—stuff. And even when we are conversing with others in real time, we often do more talking than listening always ready to pour out from our head what we know. It just seems the natural thing to do considering we know so much. Sigh.

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of sitting with a curmudgeon old lady who rarely smiles and is never up for small talk. She is not the one to chat about the weather –mentioning how unseasonably warm it is for the month of May. Her talk is purposeful and to the point. When she is done, she stops talking.

There was an incident which occurred with my son and her niece and she came to talk to me about it out of concern for her niece. My first reaction was one of defense. I wanted immediately to remind her that I have successfully raised three children and I’ve got this thank you. I wanted to tell her all I knew on child rearing. Did I mention I have three children? But something inside willed me to hush. Be silent. Listen. And so I did. I took in everything, immediately mentally applying it where it was necessary. No I didn’t listen as we often do; we barely hear what the person is saying because we are awaiting our turn to share, to tell what we know, add meaning and depth when often none is needed. No, I emptied myself of preconceived opinions and drank in her words.

 

silence

What I noticed is that truly listening is well…humbling. It is like sitting at the feet of a sage for the beauty of their knowledge. Assured that they have a perspective, you haven’t considered or experience in an area where you lack.

I saw that day behind that droopy, leathery face and glassy eyes a women who’d truly lived. Her life hadn’t been particularly exciting but she’d lived. It was the same kind of living I was doing. But the difference was she’d already been there. She wasn’t condescending or mean. She was calm, with a slow, measured rhythm to her words. She wouldn’t allow me to rush her But took her time to ensure I didn’t miss anything.

As writers silence is powerful because it allows us to process knowledge in a way that makes it useful, instead of busy chatter clogging our minds. We began to know how an experience feels, what it tastes like, what it smells like and the way it leaves you in the aftermath. It allows us to compartmentalize what we know and apply it when and where it’s needed and discard what is not needed or at least place it aside until the next time.

Silence is powerful because it shows control and discipline on our part. It forces us to think about what we are thinking about. It helps us to hear our inner voice. It is that voice—the spirit of a man, which guides us into truth, helps us to make sound decisions, not just based on how we feel, but what our spirit is revealing to us. It is the God part of us, because it is he who is feeding our spirit-man; yes. It is spirit to spirit.

The next time your emotions are screaming, or you are tempted to make a decision bred from some emotional high or low or you’re incited to write some crazy, impulsive comment on Twitter or another form of social media, based on what some political blowhard has feed you, I ask you to be still. Be silent. Consider. Think about it. Listen. Simply listen.

When You Share Your Faith

When You Share Your Faith

When we talk about sharing our faith many of us get visions of Bible-waving believers or John the Baptist messengers preaching that the kingdom of heaven is at hand. But at the end of the day no one cares how many Bible verses you can quote or how many inspirational phrases you tweet. And on the other hand many of us don’t even bother talking about God at all at the fear of being off putting or too much.

Be a Doer

But the sharing of your faith is most effective in the demonstration of your faith. At its core, at its foundation it is simply about sharing the love of God. And that always takes action in which we connect with someone else.

His love covers the gamut of good deeds and heart felt dealings. It can be as simple as texting a co-worker to say “you are in my prayers”. It could be listening attentively as stranger shares personal information with you—people are crying out to be heard. It is offering hope instead of exchanging instances about how hard things are, how this country is doomed, or comparing illnesses and family drama. It is demonstrating the peace of God and the love of a Father.

You see when we speak in Christianese or try to convince people that we are good church going folk we are at that moment like the long line of believers who go through the symbolic motions of being typically religious. It is boring and ineffective. It is mediocrity in its purest.

When we demonstrate our faith it is a reminder to the cynical, non-believer, the hurting, the doubtful that there is yet hope for mankind because there is a God of love that is real and he is long-suffering. Good things do happen. God loves us and yes he answers prayers.

Every time we behave as the world does we reaffirm what many already believes—mankind is eternally lost and the God above isn’t doing much about it. When you demonstrate your faith you plant that seed of goodness. Another will come along and water with a word of God. Perhaps another will cultivate with an invitation to church or some event. But it starts with your seed. Your seed opens up the heart of someone who may have stopped believing that there is a good God.

Love without action

Demonstration of our faith can be a moment or singular action but it is also a lifestyle. As we walk in love, our demonstration becomes as natural and as much a part of us as our accent or eye color. It becomes woven into our DNA because it is who we are.

In one passage of scripture Jesus said:

“Believe me: I am in my Father and my Father is in me. If you can’t believe that, believe what you see—these works.” (John 14:11, MSG)

Others may not believe what you say, but they believe what you do. And that is demonstrated in and through us every moment of every day.

 

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Change the atmosphere: Reflect the Heart of Christmas

Change the atmosphere: Reflect the Heart of Christmas

It’s not uncommon to hear that amidst all of this Christmas cheer and do-gooding others are left with a melancholy that will escort them well into the New Year.

But there is no magic dust that suddenly appears at the first sign of Christmas lights and holly. We are not instantly overcome with joy simply because our favorite radio station is playing holiday tunes for the next 25 days. And to add to our struggle to be merry we feel compelled to buy, buy, spend, spend and give, give. And even giving can’t alleviate sadness if our heart is apart from it.

The good news is that we can change it. We can relieve ourselves of the burden to fake the Christmas cheer. We can change the atmosphere of our hearts to reflect the truth behind this joy that is often so elusive.

 

For unto us a child is born

Embrace the First Gift

The privilege to celebrate the birth of Christ is indeed a gift. It is God’s gift to us. We are living, breathing beings with the opportunity to live forever—to live well in this life and even better in the next. For many this is a hard thing to accept so engulfed are they by circumstances and internal struggles and a lifetime of disappointment. But He says, “I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.” (John 10:10, MSG)

God’s gift is the life force. It is the sustainer of every living thing. It is connected to our very existence and intertwined with our purpose. Without it our world would be dismal indeed. And if we deny the truth of this gift, discount it in any way and override it with our own belief, life song, or truth, we will be on a perpetual search for the meaning of it all:

“Then we will no longer be like children, forever changing our minds about what we believe because someone has told us something different or has cleverly lied to us and made the lie sound like the truth.” (Ephes. 4:14, TLB)

Holidays will become ritualistic, vain tasks to appease the mind of guilt; good deeds will become meaningless actions which simply move us from one season to the next. The cycle will continue year after year.

Embrace the gift of Christ; he is Savior, Redeemer, and Lord. This gift is complete, perfect and it changes the game forever.

 

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The Game Changer

Christ is the game changer. When we know Him not only will we live forever but we can reclaim our life here and now. Christmas will become a time when we celebrate someone we know, love and appreciate—Jesus Christ! Who did you think? And because we celebrate him our dark hearts are filled with light. The chasm of our hearts is filled with love, because He is love. We will give and do and bless others not out of obligation but because we are ambassadors of Christ. Part of our life’s purpose is being played out because if God is nothing, he is a giver and giving reflects our Father’s heart. And who doesn’t like to please the Father.

Change the atmosphere of your heart and make it brighter than the brightest star and be filled with more cheer than any song you could ever sing on this Earth.