Orderly

Walk, don't run!​

kids running

I have no idea how many times, when I was growing up, I was told walk, don’t run! In the school’s hallways, at church, when our family visited friends or relatives. It was always slow down, walk, don’t run!

Matthew 4:18 (NLT), One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers—Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew—throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living.

When I first began computer programming, it took 24 hours for me to get the results back from my program. When I worked on a significant software project back in the 1990s, I was told that the results from a User clicking a button had to come back in 15 seconds or less. When I a manager of product development, I was told the results from a User clicking a button had to return in less time than a person could pick up their coffee cup, take a drink, and put it back down. Now, a User will abandon a web site if it doesn’t come up in less than one second.

The world in which we live is all about instantaneous. People have no time for “slow.” This mindset collides with that of God, for He is not in a hurry. He’s never running late. He never gets upset when someone else throws a prayer request on Him. He is the Great “I AM” and the Creator of time.

A Different Perspective

Nowhere in the Bible is this difference of perspectives made more evident than in Isaiah 5:19 (NLT): They even mock God and say, “Hurry up and do something! We want to see what you can do. Let the Holy One of Israel carry out his plan, for we want to know what it is.”

We are now in arguably the most hurried and stressful time of the year – Christmas. How easy it is for us to become infected with the “hurry & worry” virus. Let God’s Word inoculate you. We are to be imitators of Jesus (Ephesians 5:1). We should flow with the Holy Spirit, make no compromise with the impatience of others, and seek Jesus; even during Christmas, you will find Him!

Photo by Seth Doyle on Unsplash

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Order from Disorder

I’m not sure how often I will post a devotional, but I will post when I am able.

My wife builds nests. It took me several years after we were married before I was able to articulate this idea that kept niggling at my brain. I had observed an unusual pattern of my wife abhorring unorganized things around her.

Finally, I understood that my wife had a strong need to create order around her. In our home (and we had many) she would find her spot in the house and then buy things that enabled her to surround herself with pens, printers, paper, and popcorn that quieted the roar of chaos into our surroundings. In truth, my wife always builds a nest wherever she’s at, even in a church pew.

Once I grasped her mindset, it got me thinking about human nature’s need to bring order out of disorder. And, as I began studying this in God’s Word, I became aware of a characteristic of God that seems rarely taught. And that is this: being created in the image of God we inherited His nature which includes the desire to bring order out of disorder in everything that works to glorify Him.

So I considered people, in general. Is this characteristic pervasive throughout the history of Adam’s descendants? I did a bit of searching and found this article:

Mount Precipice, also known as Mount Kedumim, is located just outside the southern edge of Nazareth, 2.0 km (1.2 miles) southwest of the modern city center.

It is believed by some to be the site of the Rejection of Jesus described in the Gospel of Luke (Luke 4:29-30). According to the Bible, the people of Nazareth, not accepting Jesus as Messiah tried to push him from the mountain, but “he passed through the midst of them and went away.”

At this location archaeological excavations found pre-history human remains. The human skeletons were associated with red ochre which was found only alongside the bones, suggesting that the burials were symbolic in nature. There were order and structure within the burial site.

This need by the progeny of Adam for order is so ubiquitous that we rarely see it when, in fact, the Bible opens by telling us that bringing order from disorder has been present with God from the beginning time.

In the following brief excerpts, we find God transforming “formless and empty and darkness” into light and other orderly things (Gen. 1:1-4). We also find Adam naming all the livestock, birds, and wild creations which is the first documentation of Man acting in the image of God by bringing order from disorder (Gen. 2:20).

In the New Testament, we have an overt command “to do all things in a fitting and orderly way. (1 Cor. 14:40)” And, in nearly the last chapter of the last book in the Bible, we find the eye-witness account of the Apostle John which tells us about the old, worn out heaven and earth being retired and a new heaven and a new earth coming into being (Rev. 21:1-2).

All of these Scriptures testify to God’s intent to keep all things in a fitting and orderly way.

Our inherited trait of bringing order from disorder is from God. This is something we shouldn’t balk at but should embrace, for it testifies of God’s nature and will surely touch hearts that are hungry for salvation, compelling them to come to you to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Therefore, embrace this characteristic of your heavenly Father. Whether it’s in your profession, in your family relationships, or in your home, wade into those messes and, through the anointing of the Holy Spirit, bring order. In this, you will glorify Christ Jesus.

Photo by Ashim D’Silva on Unsplash

Just Jesus and His Cross

Our society is more fractured now than it has ever been in my lifetime. You would be hard pressed to pick any social topic, be it ethnicity, gender, economic, political persuasion, the morality of computer games, or anything that comes to your mind, if you say what you think online, in a forum, on facebook, and now even face-to-face, the topic will immediately spark a vicious debate with no possibility of anyone changing their mind. These are not exchanges of ideas but mechanisms for demeaning people. 

Christian, we are all created in the image of God; do not participate in this useless “arm wrestling” that tempts even the best follower of Christ to create homegrown scripture to bolster their position.

Instead, the next time someone tries to draw you into a debate, say what Paul said to the Corinthians, as recorded in 1 Corinthians 2:1-2 (MSG), “You’ll remember, friends, that when I first came to you to let you in on God’s master stroke, I didn’t try to impress you with polished speeches and the latest philosophy. I deliberately kept it plain and simple: first Jesus and who he is; then Jesus and what he did—Jesus crucified.” I think we can learn something from Paul’s approach.

Photo by Emiliano Vittoriosi on Unsplash

Do you understand the words coming out of my mouth?

Word of God
 From the movie Rush Hour 2:

James Carter: Who died, Lee?
Lee: You!
James Carter: Detective Yu?
Lee: Not Yu, you!
James Carter: Who?
Lee: You!
James Carter: Who?
Lee: Do you understand the words
that are a-coming out of my mouth?
James Carter: Don't nobody
understand the words that
are comin' out of your mouth.

In Luke 8:1-15 Jesus speaks in a parable and then in verse nine we read, “His disciples asked him what this parable meant.” Jesus had to tell his disciples the meaning because they couldn’t understand.

We all filter what we hear through our perspectives, preconceptions, and prejudices. Sometimes our filters block so much that what actually gets in doesn’t make any sense so we’re left with conversations like James Cater and Lee.

When we are confused by what we think we are hearing or reading we need to get clarification, “For God is not the author of confusion…” (1 Corinthians 14:33 KJV)

Now imagine what an un-churched person is thinking when they hear Christians talking about Christian-stuff. They will think Christianity is lunacy.

And, is it any wonder people don’t understand us when we talk about regeneration, the substitutionary work of the cross, righteousness, sanctification, sin, iniquity, the privilege of suffering for Jesus and so forth?

In all situations, but especially when talking about God, It’s up to us to help people understand the words coming out of our mouth!

Photo by Jonathan Meyer on Unsplash

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