because the more things change the more they stay the same

Archive for May, 2010

>HELP ME JESUS, I’M HAVING A MELTDOWN

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1 Kings 19:3- 18



“I have had enough Lord,” he said. “Take my life. I am no better than my ancestors”…All at once an angel touched him…”

I had one of those days. They don’t happen often, but they do happen. People who suffer from migraines know that episodes are often preceded by what is termed an aura. Sometimes, I see flashing lights. Sometimes, I get depressed. Sometimes, most of the time, the episode is preceded by fogginess. Thankfully that’s the less oppressive aura and the easier for my family and friends to deal with.

But sometimes, I have severe agitation. Things that normally don’t bother me crash in on me. It’s a woe-is- me-my-life-sucks pity party on a grand scale. Think PMS on steroids. A rare aura, indeed, but traumatic just the same.

Mental health professionals teach a method of calming for children who experience meltdowns, or episodic agitation. The technique includes pulling the child into a secure hold called a wrap-a-round, a blanket of secure acceptance. Sometimes singing helps. Other times, encouraging the child to breath deeply or mediate will bring a calming affect.

Once calm, the child can go on with his day, refreshed and reassured.

At times when these meltdowns occur, I seek God’s face. He never fails to wrap me in His love. Reminding me I’m not going insane. This is a physical episode that will pass. I look to Him to quiet my spirit.

Elijah had a spiritual meltdown. The Bible says he was downcast in spirit. God sustained him through his weakness. Then he picked him up and told him to get on his way (see above reference)
I think believers can have spiritual meltdowns as well. Those episodes when God seems distant and far away. When the complications of a world gone beserk fall down on our shoulders and bring us to the point of utter and complete frustration.
But we have a Father who will wrap us in His wisdom and love, if we ask. He will sing to us a new song of joy and hope. And when our spirits are refreshed, he sets us up and says, “You’re okay now Get on with your life.”

Ponder me back.

>Is Grace Achieved or Birthed?

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“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30 NIV).

Why do we strive for holiness as something we can achieve for ourselves? “I’m trying to be a good Christian,” I hear over and over again. We chisel our days to incorporate all the good spiritual habits that ought to bring us closer to God. We schedule our “hour with God” as if our time with Him was for His benefit. We live for God rather than live with God. I wonder if much of our spiritual effort is for our benefit, rather than God’s, that human need to be cognizant of all we sacrifice. Most often, I believe, that kind of sacrifice is not God ordered. We think we must shout our love in blood and tears in order for God to hear us. We carefully slice our finances to make certain God receives His tenth.

These spiritual habits, according to Oswald Chambers, are dangerous, for they come from our pride rather than a natural extension and evidence of God’s indwelling. I wonder if the operative word is “effort.” When we put forth effort, perhaps our motivation is to impress God, rather than respond to God. By effort, we become the doer rather than God.

Maybe holiness is something that is bred within us, an instinct that is generated by God alone rather than our spiritual habits. We do not study breathing in order to breathe. We simply breathe. If God has made us new creatures, as the Bible says, then He will do the work of changing us. As He is the seed, He is also the caretaker of the seed He has planted. He will cultivate, and He will harvest.

I wonder if by working at goodness, we pull against the easy yoke God has placed upon us.

Does that mean we should not read God’s word or pray or study? Does that mean we should not feed the hungry, give offerings to His storehouse?

Of course not.

Perhaps it means that our seeking after the things of God falls hort if we do so to achieve Grace. Rather these things are a response to the Grace we have already received.

What do you think? Ponder me back.

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