Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Esh Oklah and El Kanna

Rules, rules, and more rules - it seems like the Christian life is filled with rules that are hard to follow. God who is Esh Oklah and El Kanna, a jealous God and a Consuming Fire can seem demanding at face value. Sometimes it seems like true freedom comes only when we forsake rules and go with what we feel. I know what I am supposed to do but I just do not want to do it.

Amazing how Satan likes to make us believe that God's laws are a burden - a hindrance to our freedom. But in reality the structure God provides makes a life of true joy and freedom possible. In a recent study of psychologically disturbed patients, it was determined that the greatest cause of their mental pain was the result of accumulated stress. It was found that a lack of mental or societal standards or rules made every decision a toss up, needing to be evaluated in light of a hundred of changing variables. Many people simply freeze up in light of the hundreds of decisions that need to be made every day. How to decided what to do, what is right.

God's law provides us with a standard, a set of life guidelines that help take the stress out of navigating your life. His law is based upon love - God and then people, and when followed decisions just get easier. That is not to say everything always works out but the rules are simple - you know what you are called to do and can just do it.

A key here is to seek God's help in knowing His ways. A simple starting point is to focus on Love - express your love to God in prayer, ask for him to help you love him and others. Simply choose to approach every encounter with others in love. Love in dealing with ALL others regardless of your differing views, lifestyles, and persuasions. Simplify your life in the knowledge that God has taken the guesswork out of your daily lives and thank him for caring enough to do it. Now what to have for dinner...

God bless and you are prayed for,
Portage Dave.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

No Rest...

Have you ever finished a task and expected the sweet reward of a job well done only to find out the work is NEVER done. More work is lining up just behind the task you just completed? I know at camp, though I love my job, the current camp always leads to the into next camp. The work is never finished - alas this is job security but when is the celebration time? Ask a mother when her rest time comes from a young toddler or a doctor when the patients are all healed? It seems in life we realize that we always need to be on our toes and ready for the next thing.

I was reading about Gideon in the bible and was amazed by the story. Here is a man chosen by God to do great things and great things he did. God worked wonders through his life, saving all of Israel and securing peace for 30 years. BUT, interestingly, after the great victory by God's hand against thousands of enemies Gideon completely loses it. At the end of a decisive battle, Gideon is asked by the people to be their leader -- he refuses and says just give me one earring from each of your plunder. He takes the earrings and ... builds an idol for the people to worship (and they did).

Gideon did the job for God and lost focus, he sold out to the evil he had just defeated. Gideon needed to stay on task - to not let his guard down and keep up the work of the Lord. What about us? If Gideon could fall so easily, we need to be even more vigilant about focusing our every effort on the call of the Lord. There is no time to let your guard down and celebrate - we need to celebrate on the job.

I encourage you to stay on top of your faith journey each day. Be particularly aware of those times when a big task is just completed or in the midst of celebration - times when you let your guard down. These are the times of our greatest falls. It happens to great men and women every day so it can happen to you. No time to rest but remember God provides constant energy to make it all happen.

Be strong, and be on top of it,
Portage Dave

Friday, May 8, 2009

Designed to be complicated...

It is that time of year again - mushroom hunting. In Michigan it is a sure sign that it is safe to go out into the world, or at least the woods. It is a time of mystical and magical mushroom hunting and it is a blast. You get quiet, get low, sniff the air -- and suddenly, like one of those three dimensional pictures, the mushrooms slowly appear. The hunt is so surreal - like how quiet can you get, how in tune with the woods.

Morel mushrooms are so odd looking, so complicated. Other mushrooms are simple button tops, mostly smooth and round, but a morel is odd in shape and color. No two look alike and they never grow in the same exact spot. They also are uniquely designed to make the blend into the surrounding - unbelievable how they blend in. Complicated shrooms for sure but complicated for a reason.

God made us like that too. Complicated, deep, odd, ever changing in many unusual ways. Not only are we complex but the world we live in and the relationships we have with each other and our surroundings are exceedingly complex. Does that mean that these interactions are wrong - I don't think so. God made us complex for a reason and he made our relationships complex as well. We keep changing as we grow older and we are forced to adapt our relationships to reflect that change. It is work and it is complicated but the process was designed by God to grow us into His likeness. Less concerned with ourselves and more concerned for others. The hard work means giving up mirrors and focusing outward. Not fun but necessary.

Like the morel, we are perfectly made - realize God's complicated design in nature, our bodies, and our relationships and get ready to work through the rough stuff - with a lot of help from our Savior. The result is tempered and more Godly!

From a flawed but optimistic example,