This morning, even before my devotions, I seemed distracted. Possibly an accumulation of residual data unprocessed in my ever inquiring mind. To some, that last statement may have been another way of expressing a tendency toward insanity; actually, I was raised to call it: “being dealt with by the Spirit.”
I am one of those who believes that the real world is unseen; that we are spirits, housed in “jars of clay” with choices as to which Kingdom, light or darkness, we claim allegiance. Not religious, that is carefully aligning one’s self with a particular and somewhat narrow doctrine, passed down through the ages, untested nor contested personally, though we all probably do that to some degree? Rather, developing a relationship with the Holy Spirit over time, as we listen to what is being said to our spirits, trying that voice in numerous situations and then comparing outcomes with the righteousness, justice and absence of violence demonstrated by the man Christ Jesus.
This early morning and by now, noon time need to process, may have been aroused by my recent and first-hand observations of suffering among Syrian refugees; or possibly the enthusiasm of those who, though threatened daily with death, had escaped the bounds of either orthodox Christianity or Islam, experiencing a personal breakthrough moment with the Christ. One, a former Lebanese Muslim fighter, describing a personal appearance of Christ in his home, shortly after being introduced to Christianity, while dating a French Catholic.
Maybe it was the phone call from a trusted friend last evening, processing his 90 year old Aunt’s experience with American Christianity, now struggling with the fact that she had “served the Lord” in church all these years, only to find herself somewhat abandoned in her aged body, unable to move around, though ironically retaining her full desire to serve and “do.”
The latter seems quite normal to me, simply a natural loss of physical capacity, as the body is worn away by our efforts at doing for others. The thing that troubles me is how little in all of our doing, we have retained our story as believers, compared to those in lands like Lebanon and Syria, where pain and death have carried believers to a new level, far beyond what we seekers of revival in America are even able to comprehend.
Raised Pentecostal, I have been eyewitness to and even personal participant in many miraculous healings, near death turnarounds and dynamic workings of spiritual gifts among congregations both large and small. Yet what we as believers in America are leaving as a story, seems inadequate to serve the challenges ahead for this once great nation!
Reading a book entitled America 3.0
with authors optimistically describing the latest and now third iteration of transformation within our nation. His optimism is build not upon political, educational or religious institutions, but rather upon the great number of nuclear families in America, to which they ascribe the key to becoming and remaining the greatest nation on earth. I have not yet completed the book, but any source of optimism is encouraging, though our demonstration of that attribute seems waning.
So, if this were my last post and tomorrow, some dear family member is burdened with drafting an obituary, what would I have left behind of my life long revelations?
First I know that from an early age, I have been privileged with a sense of voice speaking into my life. That voice has guided my life decisions and in fact when I have strayed from that “calling”, there has been sufficient pain to redirect my life, as well as the grace for recovery from unwise choices made within that window of time.
I have found the scripture to be a guiding light in my life and even some privileged insight at times, when there seemed incongruence in the Old Testament demonstration of God’s character and that of Christ Jesus, whom I now believe was God in the flesh.
When I have attempted to step into the life style recommended by Christ, even practicing the promise that we would do “even greater things” than Him, I have found that also to be true, when I respond to the Spirit and not my own emotion. How do I know when that is occurring: the outcomes, and never before the full risk of obedience is taken.
In terms of exercising spiritual gifts in the market place, most of my ventures have been beneficial to those around me financially and in a lot of situations, spiritual growth seems to have occurred with both myself and my partners. I have always been provided for in each venture, though my abilities at startup and team building seems to be stronger than long term engagement. Perhaps I am a deal maker more than an asset builder? Likewise, my political endeavors have been most enjoyable but revealing, in terms of the massaging of values that seems to be acceptable in the fray of campaign moments.
My message, just in case it be the last: live life to the fullest, love people to the utmost, walk humbly before God, listen to the Spirit’s call, don’t panic when it doesn’t work, and don’t fret over what you will own in the end!