Mentality of a Messiah 4

Argentina inflationLike everything else here, inflation has always been a drama in Argentina. From 1975-1991 the average annual inflation rate was 300% – yes, three hundred. Today, the economy is still playing currency and inflation games, but the stakes are not as high.

The government forces supermarkets to control the prices of some products. Basic staples such as pasta, milk, and meat are “protected” from inflation. Even wine falls under this list. So what happens? You go to buy the cheap stuff, and many times the stock is very low or the shelf is empty. The store puts up a sign corresponding to the cheap macaroni noodles, but not a single package can be found. Maybe it’s just a ruse to keep the inspectors off the back of the store manager.

When your budget is tight, you look for deals. The other day I went to buy some noodles, and there were only five packs under the reduced price. I wanted to take all five since we have a lot of mouths to feed at home.

What would the Messiah do?

Take just one or two? Nope.

He would leave all five packs of pasta for someone else whose economy is even tighter.

Jesus always leaves the best for us.

He gives us the best deal ever.

That’s his economy.

Image by Eneas De Troya. Image cropped by Vince Chough.

Angels of light

Beware of the angels of light that invade and inhabit your world and your soul. These are the evil beings that appear beautiful and attractive, but they only wish to devour you.

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These angels prey upon the weak. Those who desire a world devoid of suffering are drawn to these false angels who promise a new age of glitter and joy but no substance. There is no effort to develop character, only illusion.

For others, the angels are the obvious deceits of power, sex, money or drugs.

But the most dangerous are the angels of light that dwell among the religious. If your religion is devoid of mercy, you are being seduced by a demon in disguise. Does your doctrine blind you? Do not be deceived.

Christ came to show us that life is always messy, always bloody – yours, mine, everybody’s. You are not guaranteed any special treatment or privilege if you follow him. On the contrary, you might end up being hated or persecuted or – depending on where you live – you might even be killed.

The Messianic promises are much greater than we realize. But to see them clearly we must get down from our spiritual high horse and sit at the Lord’s feet.

Do you judge the homosexual or the atheist? Do you condemn the adulterer, the addict or the criminal? Or do you present Christ to them?

True mercy understands others at their level. This miracle only occurs if we let God work in us and through us thus allowing our righteousness to exceed that of the scribes and pharisees (Matthew 5:20).

What is it that should outrage the Christian? That someone has never heard of the triumphant work of Jesus Christ upon the cross for all of mankind.

How well we transmit this message depends on knowing these keys to perfection: You are not better – you are forgiven. You are not exalted – you are loved.

Romans 3,24

 

Image sources: Woods: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:SunShiningThroughDustInWood.jpg (I cropped the image and added the text.); Wolf: Attribution Some rights reserved by doublejwebers

Got skills?

school of lifeAt every point in your life you have a certain set of skills to deal with life’s challenges. We learn from education, family, friends and experience. This learning process accompanies us for a lifetime. Some are better students of life than others, but everyone learns.

Moses certainly had some serious skills. He was educated as a prince in the most advanced culture of his time. Eventually his reactions to life’s circumstances exiled him from Egypt, and he became a simple shepherd. Talk about a wide life experience.

Maybe the story should have ended there. Maybe Moses should have been left in peace to tend his sheep and raise his family. Is the simple life too much to ask?

Then God shows up… and in typical Creator-of-the-Universe fashion, he makes you an offer you can’t refuse.

When Moses returned to Egypt to liberate the Hebrew nation, his skills probably came in handy. He certainly knew his way around the Pharaoh’s kingdom. Pharaoh was his adopted brother after all. Still, this was not even close to being enough to get the job done.

In order to liberate his fellow Hebrews, Moses had to enter into an entirely different realm of complete trust and dependence on God.

Are you at that moment? Where all your knowledge, experience and skills are suddenly limited?

I’ve been there, many times. And I’ve discovered a secret – I am always at that point. I just don’t see it clearly sometimes. Instead, I rely on my skills, strength and experience to get me around.

True freedom from bondage comes only from trust in God.

When we trust him completely, all the forces of heaven conspire in our favor. Miracles occur and even death passes over us. Obstacles as wide as the sea are pushed aside by God’s mighty hand. It can be scary and it takes time, but God’s work is unmistakable.

In all things, trust God today.

God's creation

Image source: Brocken Inaglory,  licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported2.5 Generic2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license. (I cropped the image and added the text.)

Where do I find rest?

restI have looked for rest for my weary soul in some very strange places. When I was a younger, I often sought rest in the bottom a bottle of beer, wine or whiskey – I didn’t discriminate. What did I find at the bottom? Emptiness and despair.

Even once I got free from the clutches of alcohol I found myself looking in many wrong places. Sometimes I would look for rest in worldly things, like money. Cold cash does a pretty good job at relieving some discomforts, but the green inky salve doesn’t do much real healing. And the more you use it to find rest, the more it entangles and enslaves you in its coldness.

What about people, can’t I find rest in them? This might be the second worst place to look. First of all, the reactions of people vary wildly depending on which evil spirit might be whispering in the person’s ear. How unfair it is for me to depend upon others. In this way I force them to be perfect for me so I can rest. How many times have I put this unbearable burden on my wife or kids?

And the worst place I have looked for rest? Myself.

When I believe that I can find true rest in myself alone, I end up believing the lie that I am perfect. When this is proven to be untrue – as it always is – I either keep propping up this delusion, or I begin to tell myself that I am a total wreck. All useless lies.

I don’t mean that we should ignore others or ourselves. But how many times have I reacted poorly because I, or others, have not lived up to my expectations? When I look for rest in the unstable and unpredictable, I end up frustrated and exhausted.

Yes, I must strive to make myself and my marriage better. Of course I must guide and set boundaries for my children. But when my efforts fail, or I get the exact opposite result, does this weary my soul? Of course it does. But there is a place.

In the presence of Jesus we find perfect rest. He cannot and will not let us down.

If you are weary and tired, go to him. Let him bandage and heal your wounds. Let him give you the living water to quench your insatiable thirst. Let him give you the bread of life that calms your hunger.

He expects nothing of you, but gives you everything. And once I realized this he washed me clean and I found true rest. Look to him. Rest in him.

When the world responds in the most irrational or even violent manner possible, quietly pray and find all the strength and peace you need in these words:

Jesus, I rest in you.

Get rest

Image source: Bench – Attribution Some rights reserved by oliverkendal
Image source: Beach – Attribution Some rights reserved by Damian Gadal (Icropped the original and added text.)

The Secret Prayer

It’s a prayer you have been praying for a long time. Probably years. Nobody knows about it except you. And Him. He knows your prayer. He hears it. And He waits. So you wait too. And the prayer grows in love for the one you pray for. And your heart softens for the one you pray for. You keep praying this secret prayer despite the darkness, frustration, and pain you feel. And your heart softens even more. Then one day, unexpectedly, the prayer is answered. And you keep the secret in your heart. Gladly. Joyfully. Nobody will ever know about that prayer. Except you. And Him. And all glory and honor go up to heaven.

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image source: Leland Francisco