Thursday, September 16, 2021

CS Lewis style observations about Reality

No one is really Old
If I may make a CS Lewis'esc observation about humanity: No one is really old. Every person ever born was always intended to be forever young, and has a soul which feels a natural inclination to always exist, thus aging and death is a profound surprise to us. If you see an old woman, she is really simply a young woman in a fallen body that is aging. If you see an old man, he is really truly a young man in a fallen body that is aging. That is the untold secret of growing old, you never really feel old. You always want eternal life, and in Christ you can have it.

Who am I really?
I was in the parking lot at Wal Mart, and it came upon me, that I am a child of God. Everything around me is temporary. God is the only permanent reality. All of this world, this Earth, will disappear one day, and I'll be with God in paradise. I realized, I have not fallen short of it. I'm on the road home, in right standing with God thanks to Jesus. I'm really a child of God, heart and mind, connected. It's real. Wow. I'm so incredibly lucky, so incredibly blessed. Many are not on this road, but on the broad road to destruction. Tragic. But I am on the road of life. Praise God!

The Power of Nostalgia
I think I say this every year, but the fall season brings out such powerful emotions for me. The smells, the sounds, the colors, the cold air, the orange sky at night, it brings out memories, nostalgia, stirring up deep feelings from past relationships, childhood, and family. It brings out a sort of melancholy reflection on the present fall of man, but also this powerful sense of the grace of God that calls us to restoration. Maybe it's just a tiny piece of a half forgotten memory, of a moment at the beginning of time, when all of us were "in Adam" and we recall the great fret and sorrow of the fall, yet also the great hope of a future. A piece of the fall, a fragment deep in my soul, remains to this day, and I remember in the fall, the great fall. 

The Body of Christ fulfills an Old Promise
On the night of Sept 15th 2018 I had the following dream: I had this dream last night, that suddenly I appeared in a giant church full of thousands of people. There was no roof on the church, and there were no walls. It expanded out to both sides and far back beyond where I could see. And I was there with other adults, but there were tons and tons of children of various ages. And I knew we were waiting for Christ to enter. There was anticipation and joy. And as we waited I looked up, and the heavens were above, beautiful stars, thousands of stars, and at that moment I thought of the promise God made to Abram, when He said, "Look up at the sky, and count the stars." Then I woke up. I realized later, reflecting on the dream, God was saying, the church today, millions and millions of lights in the darkness, are a fulfillment of the ancient promise given to Abraham: "Your descendants will be as numerous as the stars." 

The Heavens Declare the Glory of God
We all know of the famous scripture in Psalm 19 which declares that the stars of the heavens indicate to us the amazing power and infinite beauty of God.  That promise was observed  by many of the thousands of years of humanity by looking up into the sky. But as man developed, as inspired by God, more and more powerful telescopes, did we find that the universe was less majestic that we'd first realized? No. We discovered it was infinitely more majectic that we could've imagined. Some in the past tried to count the number of stars in the sky, some thought a few thousand, some thought less, others thought more, today they estimate over 100 billion. But if you want to see the heavens declare the glory of God is a deeper way, check out pictures taken by the Hubble telescope, and you'll realize the heaven's are more glorious than we could've possibly imagined. 

Die to Self
Sometimes I look around and think to myself, "this isn't my life." I've realized this is quite true. I've given my entire life, without reservation to Jesus Christ. My life is not my own, it belongs to Him. And he paints a completely different journey around me, than what I might've chosen for myself. I am where God has sent me. If one is to save their life, they must lose it, if one tries to save their life, they will lose it, but if they lose their life for Jesus and the gospel, they will find eternal life.

The Worldview Shock
You ever have a worldview shock moment? Like you're walking to the bathroom or something, thinking to yourself, and something deep within yourself is penetrated by the reality of truth, and you realize, woah, God is really real. And it shocks you. Because you understood that belief intellectually, but over time as you take it to heart, it breaks through to your inner most self that these things are really real. I believed a lie for so many years, that the universe and Earth came about through random chaos and darkness. Today the truth is known and my heart and soul is shocked by it still!

Will this be Forever?
Have you ever seen those videos of kids after they get their wisdom teeth out? And they're funny, slurring their words, well, I watched one and the kid was scared and asked his mom, "Will this be forever?" And his mom said no, of course, we know as adults that the drugs will wear off and he will feel normal again. But he was wondering if he would be in this altered state forever. I was thinking about that the other day. You know, when someone dies, and they don't have Jesus as savior, they'll find themselves in a place of suffering, sorrow, darkness. And they'll look around and think I must be dreaming, this can't be real, and I'll bet they'll be wondering, "Will this be forever?" And they'll realize with horror, yes, this will be forever. There is no way to get out. And someone who has Christ, when they die and come to heaven, I bet they'll ask, with excitement, "Will this be forever!? Can I really stay!?" And the answer will also be yes, you get to stay forever. Life after death is forever, heaven or hell, your choice. Choose Jesus.

Laying in the Road
This hit me hard, when I heard it, given I had preached about laying in the road many years ago, wishing for death at the last dinner church.. Late last night, listening to the audio Bible, it came to Isaiah 51, it said, "21 Therefore hear this, you afflicted one,
made drunk, but not with wine.
22 This is what your Sovereign Lord says,
your God, who defends his people:
“See, I have taken out of your hand
the cup that made you stagger;
from that cup, the goblet of my wrath,
you will never drink again.
23 I will put it into the hands of your tormentors,
who said to you,
‘Fall prostrate that we may walk on you.’
And you made your back like the ground,
like a street to be walked on.”
Demons once had their way with me. They had authority over me, to torment me for all those years that I rejected Christ. Yes, it was my poor choice, my rejection of Christ, yet the Lord cares deeply about it, and the suffering I went through. He promises that those he called me to fall prostrate on my back on the road, they will be required to drink of the cup of wrath that I will never drink from again. 

Why are we always leaving?
I was watching a Dennis Prager show episode and he talked about how you don't have to agree with everything something does to support it. He was talking about the United States, putting the flag outside your house, and then talked about churches as well. It's really true. I don't agree with everything The Salvation Army does or believes. but I still love The Salvation Army and be it everyday! But guess what, no one believes everything that their church or country does! Dennis says "So what!" Does that mean I leave the religion? Just because I don't agree with everything? Then you'll be part of NOTHING, since the only thing you ever agree with 100% of the time is yourself." -Dennis Prager. My generation really needs to learn this. You can disagree with certain things in an organization, country, church, or movement and you can still stick around and be part of it! Otherwise you'll just be alone. And honestly that's where many in my generation are. They've got so many opinions they are just utterly alone. Well, even if you don't agree with 100%, you can still be a part of. I promise, it'll be OK!

You're doing it wrong if it's Boring
Many seem to think of God and church as boring. They've been to boring mass, or boring services, and they don't want a boring church life. Friends, that is not what Christianity is really about. I'm sorry if that was your experience. But a real, deep relationship with God through Jesus Christ is exciting. It's emotional. It's adventurous. it's a daily on going dialogue. The Sunday meeting is just a chance to gather with others and worship God together. But it's what happens during the week, the prayer times, the Bible reading, the walks, the conversations, the books, the deep talks with friends, the fasting and praying, the going where God sends us, it's exciting, it's intense, it's a challenge, it's a bold new way of life. Maybe you tried it once, but try it again, do it differently. Go all in with Jesus Christ, and I think you'll be amazed at how your life will be transformed.

Faithful Love Placed There
I was praying last night, just generally troubled by what I had seen in myself over the last 8 months bubbling to the surface. The Lord had departed me for a time in there to see what was in my heart, I sensed (2 Chronicles 32:31). The Lord had been refining me like gold and as the impurities bubbled to the surface he had scraped them off over and over. But last night I asked him, what is in my heart? Because in the fallen state there is just so much sinfulness abounding, wrong attitudes, and he pointed me to a scripture which said "faithful love." This was shocking. But that is what God is placing within me. Praise the Lord, Glory to God.

Dark Midnight of the Soul
Two years ago I launched out in the calling of ministry to fight a desperate battle against a massively superior foe. I felt like Aragorn at the battle of Amon Hen, launching into the massive enemy forces, believing God goes with me and I will be victorious.
Today, two years later, I feel like Boromir at that same battle, fallen with multiple arrow hits. I feel disheartened, a bit discouraged, that the battle has been too much, the arrows, too many.
But I know this is only a moment in the journey. It is not the end, it is the beginning, from defeat, comes victory, so is the paradoxical victory pattern that Jesus Christ set for us on the cross, by total defeat, comes total victory. We are constantly poured out, then refilled, so we may pour ourselves out again. God will raise me up, weakness, will become strength, hope will be renewed, and I will soar on wings like eagles.

Divine Appointment
I was driving to Devries and I had just turned from main street. The Lord indicated to me I should stop at Curwood park. Sometimes I'll drop a Bible in the mini free library there. I went by and thought to myself, I'll do that after I go to Devries. But the Lord again communicated to me, that it was urgent. I thought to myself, how exactly is that urgent? But I turned the car around and pulled in by Curwood castle. So I get out and start walking over to the mini free library. And there is this guy watching me, crossing the bridge over the river, and he's like locked eyes with me, the whole time as I'm approaching the mini library. So I drop the Bible and tracts in the thing, and the guy walks by staring right at me. Then I circle around and walk back to my car. I turn around as I'm leaving and I see the guy rummaging through the mini free library. And I thought to myself... Just in time. Divine appointment. Epic

Cast them Out
I had a dream early last summer in which I was told, "These three demons have been assigned to attack your ministry." I looked at them and they seemed to snarl at me. I could feel their hatred for me. In the dream I looked up to God and said, "Lord, what is stopping me from casting them out?" The Lord simply nodded. And I cast them out in the dream. In the last few weeks I've certainly felt the impact of these attacks. I made a list of the issues and problems we've faced over the last few weeks. I stopped counting at 21. But I sense God's presence right now, and he seems to be saying, "Stand still, and I will fight for you." So I'm standing firm.