Odd thought just crossed my mind. Romans 5 is happening, or
something like it.
We’re sure seeing a lot of the works of darkness revealed over the past several months: riots in the streets, bad people, bad plans and bad actions are caught. (Keep praying along that they’d be revealed, of course. And brought to justice.)
But then there’s Romans 5:
• Romans 5:10: For if, while we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!
• Romans 5:15: But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!
• Romans 5:17: For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!
• Romans 5:20b: But where sin increased, grace increased all the more.
The principle that I think I might be hearing is this: if we’re seeing the works of dark spirits, how much more will the Holy Spirit be accessible to us in that time and place?
I think we’ll find him willing to share his heart with us. And I’ll bet you a shiny new nickel that it’s kind of a whole lot more encouraging than the sewage the spirits of darkness are spreading around.
Note: I believe that the revelation will come in unfamiliar form, perhaps in hard-to-recognize form. It may be in unusual coincidences, or stray thoughts in your imagination, or casual conversation. I was overwhelmed by Holy Spirit speaking about our days in a Marvel movie the other night. Keep your eyes open.
Where sin abounds (and isn’t it abounding now?), Grace (God’s power, God’s direction) much more abounds.
Their depictions of Heaven were similarly unbiblical, and similarly designed to maximize the number of people running to the altar at the end of the service.
The best part of the conversation will be on Facebook. Come join in.
Did I tell you I’m working in the family business? The day I was adopted, I started working with my Dad. My Dad’s awesome like that.
When I was really little, he’d carry me in his arms as he walked through the factory floor. He’d stop and visit with machinists and foremen and janitors, pretty much everybody
Once when I was a bit older, I was building stuff with Legos™ in his office, while he worked on something. His desk overlooked the factory floor, and he saw something that caught his attention.
“Son,” he says. “You know Mr. Davidson? Tall guy. Red shirt. Big mustache?”
“I know him, Pop.”
“Son, would you go find Mr. Davidson and ask him to come up to see me? I’ve got something I want him to see.” And I toddled down the stairs to find Mr. Davidson. Soon he and Dad were talking seriously about something on Dad’s desk, and I added a new wheel to the thing I was building.
There was a time after I’d discovered books! Books are wonderful things! I was sitting in a chair in Dad’s office, sounding out a word, when he interrupted me. “Son, Miz Thompson works on the far side of the factory. Would you find her and give her this note?” He handed me the note, and I ran off to find Sally Thompson. She had a wonderful smile, and she used it on me sometimes.
I never did go to normal school. I would say that Dad homeschooled me, except it mostly happened in his office. Is there such a thing as officeschool? We had the best times together in his factory office.
He’d given me an arithmetic assignment that made me think pretty hard. If Mr. Jacobi needs to build this many boxes by the end of the month, how many does he need to build every day? Eventually I puzzled it out right (Dad showed me where I’d forgotten to carry the one, the first time), and he smiled this great big smile! “Son, would you please take this down to Marty Jacobi – he should be in the lunchroom right now – and show him how well you did this.” He wrote his initials on my math paper.
I found Marty. He gave me a cookie while he looked at my work. I munched, and then he smiled, and said, “You’ve got a real smart Dad, you know!” He was right, of course, but I already knew that!
One day he was reading letters. He had a lot of letters, and he read ’em all. One of them made him smile extra big, and he called me to himself. “Son, would you please go tell Bob Davidson that he’s got a new worker coming in the morning. He’ll want to put Cindy on the Quality Control team right away.” I delivered the message. Bob winked at me and nodded. “Sure thing!” he said.
One Thursday morning, Dad pushed my math books out of the way again, and set down his computer in their place. “Son, do you see this? What do you think that means?” and he pointed to a detail on the screen. This was a math test test, I felt sure. I was ready.
“That looks like trouble, Dad. Not big trouble, but trouble. Especially for the QC department. Um… Is that right?”
“That’s right, Son,” and he printed that page. “Would you explain this to Cindy in QC? And maybe talk with her about what to do with it, and bring me your favorite few suggestions.” Later, he picked one of our ideas, and implemented it. That was cool.
So I wasn’t altogether surprised when he set his computer on my desk some time later. He didn’t point to anything, but asked me, “What do you see here, Son?” I studied it a bit, and talked with him about the three or four things I saw. “What about this one?” “Hmm. I saw that, but didn’t think it was all that important,” I answered. “It’s all important, Son. Especially when this is trending,” and he pointed to the first detail I’d seen. “What happens when these happen on the same day?” I hadn’t thought of that! We talked about it and how to help the folks in the factory when that happened. I learn so much from my Dad.
And a few months later, those two things did happen on the same day. “Well, it happened, Dad.” “Yep, it surely did. Well, you know what to do.” I picked up my notes from our planning, headed down the stairs, and called the supervisors together. I explained the problem, and listened to their concerns. One of the guys had already figured it out, so I let him describe the adjustments we needed, filling in details when he needed help. We had the solution in place before the problem was big enough to slow production down.
Eventually we got to the point where I was really running the factory. Dad spent most of his time talking to individuals, or scheduling contractors for the expansion, and he spent a lot of time training some of the other kids, too. If I ran into a problem, he was always right there to help, and there wasn’t anything that he couldn’t figure out.
Figuring things out comes easy when you’re omniscient like my Dad is.
Some among us need to be less concerned about singing the lyrics on the screen, and more concerned about giving voice to the words welling up from inside them.
I was taking a young lady shopping, and she needed to visit some beauty supply shops. You may not suspect this, but I don’t often find myself looking forward to reasons to visit beauty supply shops. So I parked outside and took a nap.
In my five-minute nap, I dreamed, and God met me and spoke to me in the dream. He talked about some people among the Body whom He called “psalmists.” Yeah, I know it’s not the normal way we use the word.
I’m sure there are other definitions, but in this dream, a psalmist was someone whose worship is best when they’re using their own words, not when they’re singing words – even “anointed” words – written by other people with other histories with God.
I could hear Father’s concern for his children who are this kind of psalmist. It seemed to me that this wasn’t something that we were ready to hear before, but now it’s time, and he said,
“Some among us need to be less concerned about singing the lyrics on the screen, and more concerned about giving voice to the words welling up from inside them.”
May I encourage you: worship with the words that are in YOUR heart. If the words on the screen communicate what’s in your heart, great! Use the words on the screen.
But if those words don’t reflect your heart, then don’t use them. Don’t make a scene, but use the words that speak for your heart, even if they’re words that nobody else is using.
Worship isn’t about conformity, is it? It’s about connecting with – it’s about exalting – the King of Heaven with our whole heart, soul and strength. Use the words that do that for you.
Let me explain.
I write, from time to time, about some of the interesting interactions that I’ve had with God, and about some of the interesting things I’ve discovered as I walk with him.
And that’s where the deception comes in.
I only write about the interesting stuff. I don’t write about the days and days of nothing in particular going on, because there’d be nothing to write.
Let me explain.
I’m a married man. More specifically, I’m a happily married man. Sometimes, Milady & I will spend the whole evening together in the same room, her reading, me writing, neither of us saying a thing. We’re just happy to be in each other’s presence. Seriously, I was in tears the other day, just thinking about growing old with her. It makes me really happy.
When I’m working in my garden, I can really often feel Father’s presence like that: quietly together. He’s taught me quite a lot there: how to transplant tiny seedlings, how to get more produce from a tiny garden, how to nurture the tender plants, and how, if I get the basics done well, the weeds won’t really be an issue.
I’m also a working man. And I gotta say that it’s not real often (though it does happen) that God speaks into the technical details of a project that I’m working on. And even when he does, I don’t write about it, because most of the story is about tweaky nerdly stuff that nobody outside my field is interested in. God showing me the right path to take a big bus through a crowded parking lot, or the best way to make these particular gears fit properly in a watch: this is not the stuff of interesting articles of faith and maturity.
But it is the stuff of real relationship with God.
I’m convinced that the best part of my relationship with God is not the amazing encounters or the awesome revelations or the impressive miracles. Yeah, those are fine, and I’ll not complain about them (this is a good place to say, “More Lord!” I think).
It’s like a good marriage: I love the times we get to go out to dinner, or where we host a barbecue for some friends, times of intimacy together. But the real strength of the marriage doesn’t come from those: it comes from the quiet, daily, almost ritual times together. We don’t have to talk about who’s turn it is to empty the dishwasher or take out the garbage or cook dinner, because we’re together.
And a love relationship with the Creator of the Universe is actually pretty similar: The fancy dinners are great, but quiet times of everyday life are where the real life & health come from.
So I apologize if I’ve left you with the impression that life in God is not all cool revelations and glorious highlights. Those happen, and they’re fun and all. But the day to day time together, not even really needing to form words: those are the places where the treasure’s found.
And those don’t make good stories to write about.