How do I manage the music, the sound and the noisy unlikable groove of tough seasons? Understand as a person of faith, my exilic circumstances, my struggles and my challenges, cannot prohibit me from being prepared to stand when everyone else is ready to bow – some songs we must not only dislike but we must skip and oppose.
It is never too late to reset, refocus and restart. We can begin again by: Confessing we have sinned by means of self-centered complacency, acknowledging that many of our loses and set-backs may have been caused by external forces, and Realizing GOD’s mercy and love transcend our shortcomings.
Why? Because all of creation and all of the resources of creation belong to GOD as the Creator. Being shook by GOD’s presence brings humanity into a place of holy wonder and awe of the central place GOD should have in our lives. GOD disrupts our priorities so that we can be re-centered in GOD. Shaking is not the end goal, peace, restoration and GOD’s glory are.
Here's a few chewable nuggets for us to consider as we wrestle with what it means to operate with certainty in uncertain times: Receive the blessing GOD grants even the most frightening moments, Rest in the relief GOD gives even when we can't see our way, and Re-calibrate and move forward because the journey is not done.
These are the ways I prepare for the floods of life: 1. I have to have a relationship with Jesus that surpasses flattery and is founded on a resilient faith - yes there are many of us who specialize in religious language but do not yield to a redemptive relationship with Jesus.
The blessing in the text is not regulated to the reality of the hearers' experiences but revealed through relationship with the Teacher; the blessing is in the Person, Jesus. In other words, Jesus is letting these hungry and weeping hearers know that their change is connected to accessing the words He is giving them.
Sermon 1 in this series will tackle the Lucan Beatitudes with the goal of bringing these words of blessing back to earth a bit. I do not know about anyone else, but I desire to know that the blessings of the Lord, the fulfillment of the Lord and the goodness of the Lord are not just regulated to the great by and by, but that as a citizen of the realm of GOD I can access the blessed life even while passing through this rocky world.
After Jesus calls the 12 Apostles (sent ones), Jesus engages them along with a diverse and large crowd of others. Specially, the ochlos (common crowd) and plethos (multitude). This language is important because Jesus's ministry is directed toward everybody; not just the elite. Not just the privileged. Not just those who think they are on the top of the heap, but everybody.
John 14:15-17 ESV If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you
The Raven Is restless , flying in and out of the ark? – bad translations suggest the raven kept flying over the earth, no the raven kept flying back and forth between the ark and a deluged earth instead of being patient, strategic and faithful. Pursues rest and when the dove can’t find rest, the dove does not have a problem going back to where it is safe – I was provided for in the ark, I ate seeds and vegetation in the ark, the ark kept almost a year, so why get restless because the ark is different; diverse seasons require diverse provision; Noah I believe points us a bit to GOD in the text, when the dove can’t perch, Noah reaches for the dove and brings the dove back in.
"Thriving in a Strange Land - Flourishing Beyond Our Setbacks" Exodus 2: 10-22, The Message
When GOD remembers Noah, GOD:1. Begins the process of readying Noah to exit the ark and reconstitutes his purpose as the agent of a new Divine Covenant; Noah is preserved for a purpose.2. Breathes a fresh wind on the earth signaling that GOD's Spirit does show up in dead and confusing places with the ordering power of GOD’s life.
We shared on Sunday that edgy choices can be difficult. Decisions birthed in adversity are often the result of people daring to hold to hope, even when hopelessness is all around them. Jochebeb is an example of a person who makes a creative, innovative and life-giving choice all while contending with the potential for despair, devastation and death.
The Resurrection of Jesus was and is a cosmos-altering moment. In Jesus’s rising from the grave, the grip of sin, hell and death upon humanity was/is destroyed for those who choose to embrace the resurrected truth of who Jesus is. Embracing the power of the resurrection is not momentary. It is not just about feeling good on Resurrection Sunday morning. Rather, it is about believing that the power of the Spirit’s life is always at work in the Church, the believer and the spaces we as believers occupy. Jesus is not only alive, but Jesus is the Life-Giver.
No one likes to go to tombs; dead places. But the miracle of Resurrection Sunday is that confronting death can result in experiencing new life. New life can only be discovered when we press past our fears and dare to go to the tomb. As much as we fear the tomb, we must face the tomb in order to encounter the Good News of a resurrected Christ.
There are circumstances, crowds and conditions that will seek to silence our ability to praise God, but Disciples always find a reason to offer God praise despite the opposition of outside detractors and distractions; and at a time like this legitimate disappointments.