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.

Stop running

Stop running.
Just stop it. You don’t have to keep going on like this anymore.

Don’t you see how much you are loved?

He gives it all to you.
He takes it all from you.
All your pain and trouble.
All your shame.

Your tired weary soul can come home again.

He waits for you,
Today.

All the rest you seek,

Find in him.

rest in him

 

Image by GollyGForce (cropped and text added by Vince Chough).

GollyGforce – Living My Worst Nightma

Don’t you know? Haven’t you heard?

Have you heard the latest news?
God lives.
He lives for you and me.

He lives to make you strong again.
After you have been stumbling for so long. Far too long.
Hurt and limping along.
Lean on him.
Let him.

It is never to late. Never too late.

Is the life you are living now worth saving?
Or do you want a new life?

They say it’s a story, a fairy tale.
But it is something else altogether.
It is Good News. It is new life everlasting.

So God’s Son came, lived and died for you.
And after three days, he rose again.

To free you.

Let him.

Let him love you.

have you not heard isaiah

Image by JFXie. Image cropped and text added by Vince Chough.

 

 

 

Mentality of a Messiah 3

traffic jamAs any local knows, driving in Buenos Aires can be an intense – and annoying – experience. I’ve never seen such rude and selfish behavior before in my life – from myself, that is.

Passing in the lane of oncoming traffic, passing on grass shoulders and being forced off the highway by buses and trucks – you see it all here.  Many times you feel as if you are obligated to be aggressive or else you will get crushed.

As I was driving home today I spied a red car in my rear-view mirror moving erratically, and within a second I knew it was an aggressive driver. Sure enough, he nestled up to my bumper then slid out to my left to pass me – in a one-lane, one-way street. This move is pretty common here, but it is still annoying, especially when there is traffic already in front of you. So you either hold your ground or let the other guy pass. So I held my ground.

I thought, “That explicative has no right to pass me here. He’s going to cause a wreck! There is no way he’s passing me.”

What would our Messiah do?

He would take care of the offending driver. He would slow down and pull aside as not to risk an accident. But he would go one step further.

In his heart, he would take care of the offender. I imagine his thinking might go like this:

“Wow, this guy is really impatient. He is risking his and my safety. I better pull aside, and let him go. Bless him please Father.”

We get offended when someone steps on our rights. This is a normal reaction.

Jesus gave himself up to death when his innocence was trampled upon. This is a messianic reaction.

All for you.

Image by daveynin.

 

Being Faithful

Desert footprintsBeing faithful is always about relationships. I have often traveled far from the essence of faithfulness. 

If you are faithful, you are loyal. Are we not moved by the mother who pleads for mercy as her son sits in judgement before a jury? The son may be a killer, but his mother’s heart cries out for him. No matter what, she is on his side.

Faithfulness provides a deep trust, built over time, bringing a sense of peace and confidence. When that trust is broken, your heart bleeds.

There are obvious signs of infidelity, but many times the less obvious ones are just as painful. When we are unfaithful we go against the other person. We go against God or against a loved one. Either way it is opposition.

But when we are faithful, we are on their side. This does not mean being weak, but it does depend on our attitude. How many times do we misguide ourselves thinking that we are faithful when we really just want things our way?

How many times, in the name of fidelity are we unfaithful?

When you say, “Things are going to be fine!” should you really be coming clean?

When you say, “Be careful!” a thousand different ways, is it just so you can feel calm while your listener is stressed to death?

When you say, “I need to give him/her some space,” are you denying the truth that you must get closer?

What is our concept of fidelity?

It means, in your heart, being on the side of the ones you love. No matter what.

And at some point, it hurts. No matter what.

It’s not just knowing what is right for another person, but also doing what is right by them.

Give up that attitude or action that stings your heart and makes you unfaithful. Anything that is a barrier between two persons should be brought down. Actions and words make a difference. Most of the time it means leaving things behind rather than adding. It means sacrifice. This is how we can be faithful.

I’ve wandered through the deserts of unfaithfulness to my God and my family. It is a lonely journey of the heart. But God is always faithful, always on our side. His great fidelity was proven by his Son’s sacrifice.

It cost God dearly to be faithful. He knows how much it hurts.

If you are lacking faithfulness, go to him now. Ask him to give you a faithful heart. He will respond. No matter what.

He who promised is faithful

Desert track image: Attribution Some rights reserved by Guilherme Jófili
Water image by Geralt. Image adapted by Vince Chough.

Jerusalem Burning

seige of JerusalemMaybe it’s been weeks, or months even, since you have had a peaceful meal at home. It seems like every time you sit down for dinner a shouting match breaks out. Or maybe there is absolutely no conversation at all, just a deadening silence. Everyone just sulks alone or sits staring at the television. One thing is for sure, you don’t feel that your home is a nurturing environment of love. The worst part is that you probably feel partly, or largely, responsible for the mess.

In the Bible’s Old Testament, there is a short book called Nehemiah. The Book of Nehemiah only has about twenty pages, but inside there is a wealth of information about how to rebuild from the ashes of destruction. Nehemiah is a Hebrew who returns to Jerusalem to find it in ruins after having been destroyed by the Babylonians. Upon hearing this news, Nehemiah sits down and weeps.

In modern times, the Babylon of today sends messages into our homes that seek to destroy what is good and wholesome about family life. Today it is all about image and power and money. If you try to set limits on your children you are criticized for being too strict. But if you don’t do anything your kids end up going down a road that leads to a terrible end. Once cute child Disney stars grow up into monsters who teach that sexual explicitness, drugs and self-glorifying behavior are the road to happiness. Suddenly, evil finds itself protected in a cocoon of good intentions gone wrong. One thing that we all feel is an uneasy sense of disorder.

Our own desires and misguided pursuits also put a strain on our families. We focus too much on money and social appearances. Or maybe we push our children to sign up for everything and everyone ends up exhausted. Meanwhile there is no real dialogue, no real connection between hearts.

Gigantic forces are at work here, such as multimillion dollar advertising campaigns, social and peer pressure and the overwhelming desire by many parents to just throw in the towel. A truly diabolical spirit drives huge sections of society to forget about God. The final product is a family in ashes. Poor communication. Depression. Anger. Resentment, maybe even rage.

So you know exactly how Nehemiah feels. Maybe you have even been doing some crying yourself. All your hopes and dreams for your family seem to be impossible now. All the work and sacrifice you have made appear to be for nothing.

So what did Nehemiah do? He prayed.

In part of this prayer Nehemiah says to God, “Let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night…”

Maybe you have already been praying. Whatever you do, don’t stop. Remember, Jerusalem is burning and it is time to do something about it.

But if you haven’t been praying, start right away. God can help you at any time, but he doesn’t want to force himself upon anyone. He wants to hear your voice.

In the Book of Matthew Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” And this means start praying and don’t stop. Ever.

You can begin by praying something like this:

Dear Lord. I see that my family is a mess. I desperately need your help. Come Lord, to my family, and rescue us. Come Lord, to my family and make us whole again. Do not let evil thoughts and negativity control my family any longer. Fight for me Lord. Defend us. Protect us. Free us. Save us. I need you, and I trust in you.

Trust is an essential element of faith. You must begin to develop faith that God can turn things around for you. This process will take time, but it will not take forever. The more you pray, the stronger your faith will become. It will become as strong as steel. And the stronger your faith is, the more you will be able to resist the downward spiral that is consuming your family. You won’t just resist it; you will crush the negativity and restore your home and your throne .

If you trust him, God will put the strength of his almighty Holy Spirit within you, and you will rebuild your Jerusalem.

(This post is an excerpt from my next book being written to help families in crisis.)

Image source here.