Thinking is Hard Work

Lazy Brain

Four years ago, hubby and I were traveling across the state of Florida on a business vaca destination. Besides the over-the-top barbecue joint we found mid-state, there was time enough on our hands to suss out a plan, a 5 Year Plan. Having recently resettled into a new groove, we realized the sands of life were shifting under our feet, so to speak and we needed to reconnoiter. In essence, our intrastate discussion formed up a barebones financial outline. The life of that skeleton was and is, God’s involvement. Would one take a trip to the bottom of the sea without air? Or a desert trek without water? Etcetera. Without factoring God, there is no wind in the sail. One proverb says that there are many plans in the heart of a person but only God’s counsel prevails. Another wise saying makes the point that people can map out a plan but it is God who directs the steps. And finally, 2 Chronicles 12 establishes the reason for the king’s evil – he didn’t prepare his heart to seek God. A simplistic definition of evil is “in opposition to good;” good takes effort and planning while “evil” moves to the lowest level or easiest path. Evil is the result of defaulting to our natural tendencies, unraveling productive effort until there is no good thing remaining. True, some inspired-by-hell plot evil but in general and as commonly reported, when (good) people do nothing, evil is the result.
So fast forward, four years in, and we have hours of preparatory labor while adjusting to the 5 year goal ever so slightly as we live day-in and day out. One actual financial acquisition is established that seemed at the time to fall into our orbit but now in hindsight, we understand it was God’s doing. That wink from God would have been very difficult to see and to move upon if we had not done the prep work in the interim. Our plan includes 5Xs this acquisition and so, mistakes being made now will be experience fodder for the other investments.
Interestingly, not only do we see our faith at work but also, God’s divine intervention. Like planting an oak tree, nothing seems to be happening  and then, when the ground erupts with a speck of green pushing through, nothing seems to be happening! Unless God nudges a different direction, faith maintains the course.
One pastor says about money, “Make as much as you can; give as much as you can; save as much as you can.” I love this philosophy because it undermines poverty and greed and laziness. Laziness often masquerades as something else; busy work, disobedience or unbelief. Like evil, laziness must be overcome by considering God. The God factor animates everything we do and without considering Him, all we do is a bit of a gamble.
Lazy brain is the result of excluding God from our calculations. Thankfully, God is not hindered by time or space and so, once He is included into our plans, time and space become tools in your bag of tricks. In truth, you cannot of yourself appropriate said tools just as a toddler cannot get online and skillfully manipulate her/his college fund… But as an adult living as a citizen of a moral universe and incorporating the Sovereign’s existence and right to rule, suddenly His abilities become your possibilities. Some unbeknown favor pushes forward at God’s direction out of our past, to meet us today. Or a realtime disastrous misstep is circumvented, protecting our future.
Unlike a democratic Republic, God needs no votes to maintain his leadership position. Nor does He need advice from mentors, constituents or followers. He has no peers unless one wants to consider the Godhead as such. Instead, He sovereignly influences people to align themselves with His purposes. Once on board His ship, you’re going places!
All things are possible to those who believe… Humans are made in God’s image. That explains a lot. Lazy brain refuses to consider the wisdom of God.
In the historical instance from 2 Chronicles, the king’s determining fault was his lack to seek… Apparently, God is not asking for moral superiority or innocence or godly perfection. It seems, intelligence, DNA, social upbringing and/or formal education have very little to do with lazy brain. Once God is sought, there is no going back to the void of ignorance. When the reality of God is considered, faith becomes the intangible instrument that moves the mind forward. Lazy brain unplugs faith. Faith without works is lifeless. It is work to think. Go to the ant, you slacker! Observe its ways and become wise. (Another from Proverbs, 6:6)
Faith is not walking on water. Faith is considering God and also, obeying His direction. Confidence is born from faith to faith. Make a plan; adjust accordingly; faith in action.

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Snowflake

Safe Space

Unlike the politically correct, urban definition of this term “safe space,” I propose the only true and eternal safe space is the Will of God. What is it that the Great God of Heaven and Earth has called you to do? Once He has made that clear to you, as His plenipotentiary, you can go forward in your space safely. One’s Safe Space is not actually geographic as much as it is an atmosphere from which you perform the Will of God.
Using history as a reference point, the Old Testament backdrop is historical. Not representing the entire world during these recorded parameters of time but a telescopic viewpoint which is focused on a small patch of land and a limited group of people as seen from the eye of God. We are not told from scripture what is happening in the Andes or the islands or the Poles. Rather, dialing in on Elijah the prophet’s generation and into an even tighter spot on the biblical map we have a unique pov revealing God’s ability and willingness to assist people. The mind of God, His benevolent intervention, His miraculous and more are discovered in the Elijah recounting.
Names have meaning and so, Elijah the Tishbite defined as God is Jehovah even in a difficult situation… He was from Gilead; translated a rocky region confirming this imagery further. ‘Elijah the Tishbite from Gilead’ represents God who is there when someone is between a rock and a hard place.
Can the common believer identify with Elijah? Was he a supernatural hero, beyond the normal flesh and blood? I don’t think so. James 5:17 states, Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! NLT And then, we read that he prayed again so that it rained and the earth bore fruit, verse 18.
For many reasons, I find that Elijah represents the common man chosen of God as a plenipotentiary; acting as a representative of God while having full power to act independently.
Does God give supernatural powers to those that will harm themselves and others with said powers? Yes. The world is full of these empowered ones while the Elijah types are far and few. Not being perfect, Elijah nonetheless endeavored to fulfill his purpose and to please God. Was he smart, mature or courageous? Apparently, not. And even his faith wavered concerning God’s willingness to watch his back… God allowed all of this and it would seem, God  adjusted His plan to include Elijah’s reluctance. After meeting Elijah’s needs during the 3 and half year drought, the prophet experienced a loss of confidence afterward; Elijah ran for his life to hide in a cave, 1Kgs 19.
A bit like the rhetoric question asked of Adam in the garden, God asked Elijah, “What are you doing here?” God knew very well what Elijah was doing there in that cave and Elijah’s answer appears to be either induced by self pity or self-deception. God disproved Elijah’s reasoning before asking him again, “What are you doing here?”
When Elijah gave the same answer, it seems God changes course or horse in mid-stream as we read that Elisha will take Elijah’s office of prophet. God didn’t punish Elijah for the his unwillingness to finish the task but perhaps God is not done with Elisha, even now.

From Revelations 11:3-7 And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth…These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire… When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them.

Are the Two Witnesses Jews as the “olive trees” imagery alludes? Perhaps, Moses is one but it certainly looks like Elijah even as Jesus confirmed, is the other of these two. So Elijah has work yet to be accomplished but again the idea of acting independently is revealed here; “as often as they desire.”
But… But… How is Elijah representing the everyday human, doing the Will of God, considered to be in a Safe Space? You ask, after all, if it is true that he is one of the Two witnesses, he dies at the hands of God’s enemy. Examine again the story of Elisha found n the Old Testament scriptures, 1Kgs chapter 18 through 2Kgs chapter 2. God kept Elisha safe from all manner of injury. God proved to Elisha that He was not only capable but willing to keep him safe and also, to miraculously keep safe those who relied on Elisha; those who were between a rock and a hard place. Yes, even when Elisha was reluctant to finish the job, God kept him safe. True, we understand that sometime in the future Elisha will have to pay the price of death but lets be real. Truth says in the letter to the Hebrews 9:27, ‘each person is appointed once to die and after that, judgment…’
Elijah represents the Safe Space human. All humans must die, as flesh and blood cannot enter Heaven even as a caterpillar cannot fly without metamorphosing. Elijah will return to die physically, as the reborn saint must die-to-self spiritually to participate in that great up-taking, the Rapture.
Die-to-self and finish your task! Find the Will of God for your life! It is the true Safe Space even for a snowflake.

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Freedom from Torment, Overcoming the impossible

Freedom’s just another Word

God is taking us somewhere; He sees the end from the beginning. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’ This statement from Isa 46:10 is not arrogantly spoken by a mortal, however powerful but as assurance by our Creator… When life takes a hairpin turn and all seems close to careening over the edge, God is at the wheel.

God’s purposes are the links which pull the plot forward to a conclusion. Truth is more than simply the substance of those links. It is the lifeline to the individual. Truth acts as carabiner and anchor, too.
A desire for truth is innate in humans. Jesus said, “Whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”  Trusting that God is truth, firms up all the physical and non physical elements of life in the mind of the beholder. A child betrayed by an authority figure, may mature into an adult who struggles with the acceptance that eternal truth is absolute. When truth is distorted, the ground beneath one’s feet seems to shift; mental moorings go slack. Justice and accountability become suspect. We humans typically desire reconciliation to any given situation, bringing balance to life’s ledger… Often, we want to know the why of a thing. Certainly, a simplistic explanation of mankind’s sense of fairness and yet, once the why is discovered (the conflict reconciled, at least mentally), proper reaction results. 

Understanding from Jesus’ own statement recorded in John’s gospel chapter 8, truth frees, begs the question, then what binds? Truth is the key to freedom while the opposite of truth confines. Emotional, psychological or physical imprisonment may be undone by truth. In a sense, truth equals freedom. Freedom’s just another Word… for Truth.

Is it supernatural? Not necessarily but truth can be supernatural in that God, Himself is Truth and Jesus, truth in the flesh. Jesus’ life and death and resurrection transcends the natural and when applied as the key to any given “bondage,” freedom results. Freedom from spiritual and physical bondage reveals the cliff edge for what it is; a soon-to-be memory on our scenic route to paradise.

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Finances & more

Surviving the Greatest Depression, Pt 1

As the norm, the world is spinning while events are wobbling within that spin. How does one maintain prosperity, health…. even sanity when all that is so-called certain begins to peel? Imagery of a child’s playground with a hand driven merry-go-round speeding wickedly out of control; small and weak children are flung off because of centrifugal force. Does history teach our generation how to maneuver through the looming obstacles that race toward us, even as we too speed into our future?

What we face has been encountered before but not with such great intensity. And yet, the basic needs remain… food, shelter and water (which includes health/hygiene). All of mankind’s technology cannot replace the growling of a tummy when there is no food in said technological refrig. There is the learning curve too because our generation is less prepared to survive a stock market hiccup much less a genuine financial depression as the previous generations were. Our parents, grandparents and great grandparents lived during the ups and downs of their times which included financial upsets, health emergencies like the flu of 1918 and interruption of World Wars. Many didn’t survive the harsh realities of their day but we are proof that some did. Genetics, Victory Gardens, wise counsel from family members who had been there/done that, happenstance and the great God in Heaven are some of the influences that allowed our predecessors to carry on…

Homework assignment: What did your predecessors do to allow you to be where you are right now? My brother-in-law’s grandfather happened to miss the boat only to catch the next one… he found out later that the first vessel sank and there were very few survivors. One of the steps to where my brother-in-law is presently in space and time is that his grandfather got drunk and overslept the morning the Titanic left port. He had been hired as a cabin boy.
This task is for your own benefit. Get your mental juices flowing. When Part 2 is posted, you will be better able to grasp the concepts for implementation.

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