Since 1728, precious little toes have been squeezed by the gentle hands of loving parents while they recited the familiar Nursery Rhyme,
This little piggy went to market.
This little piggy stayed home.
This little piggy had roast beef.
This little piggy had none.
This little piggy cried…
“Wee wee wee,” all the way home.
The meaning of the poem doesn’t matter to a toddler (and it shouldn’t)! They know that their little giggles make everyone happy and they welcome the sweet attention from the game.
No one thinks much about the little piggy going to market.That isn’t a grocery store, but a slaughter house…and he won’t be coming home.And little piggies don’t eat cows, either!Probably the one who ran home crying just escaped the butcher’s knife at the “market” but not soon enough to miss seeing his little bother meet a cruel fate.Ugh!
I remember another pig story from my childhood.When someone of questionable character was mentioned in a positive light, people might say, “Yeah, but if it looks like a pig, smells like a pig and oinks like a pig, IT’S STILL A PIG!”
Grown-ups are usually given lots more wisdom and discernment than kids.God just made it happen that way.As we get older we are more cautious, more judicious in our choices, and less open to new-fangled stuff.We know that things aren’t always as they seem!
Today we are smack dab in the middle of a huge spiritual revolution in this country and some of us don’t even know it.Many of us have found a new passion for God and we’ve experienced a taste of something fresh.The flood of new spirituality has taken hold of millions of solid, God-fearing Christians and we are looking for a place to call home.
Our denominational churches just don’t know what to do with us.We are less interested in form and structure than we were in the past, and we see the movement of God being more spontaneous, with fewer rules and less hierarchy. We want to share our mystical experiences with people of like Christian beliefs, but find it difficult for anyone to listen to us.The traditional church is fearful of anything that will disrupt the status quo, and I understand that.But the church needs to realize that for people like me tradition is necessary because it offers stability and roots, something the spiritual revolutionary needs desperately.Yet the established church looks upon the new spiritualists as a threat.And that is both sad and dangerous.There are millions of folks who are in this “searching” category right now and we long for a place to call home again.
Herein belies the danger.Although my soul is soaring in places which I never knew existed, my theological roots are unchanged.For those millions of people in this world who are seeking to express their new-found experience, and find the ho-hum, stale, traditional church disinterested in listening, their unsettled biblical foundation makes them ripe for whatever may come along that sounds good.
Most recently, people have been chasing a theological pig running loose that doesn’t look or smell or oink like a pig!It will tell you anything you want to hear, and its message makes so much sense that you will want to hear more.It is being preached by some of the most charismatic people in the USA, and their financial base is so huge there is no way to ignore it.They are quickly sucking up all those nominally Christian, spiritually minded folks who have been turned off by our traditional churches.
I received a beautiful power point presentation from a friend tonight, which has a fabulous message.But I noticed that it never mentioned Jesus Christ.It talked about being kind to others, living an abundant life, sharing our resources with each person we meet, etc., etc.It had a lot of the right words, but when I went to the source I discovered the author to be someone who is leading people to find god (little ‘g’) by finding themselves.She offers me a world with lots of benefits and “abundance” but it’s a world without Jesus!
One large group which is growing faster than the speed of light is right out of the New Age Movement.They have over 3 million followers already, thanks to a television celebrity who uses her afternoon time slot to feature the guru she is following.“What about Jesus?” a member of the audience shouted. Her response was, “What ABOUT Jesus?Surely you don’t believe there is only one way to find God, do you?”
So here is my point.My dear “friends of the spirit,” do not give up on your traditional churches just yet.Please allow them another chance to hear you.There is no future (literally!) in the counterfeit message of feel-good theology which says stuff like the new heaven is inside you!IT IS NOT!Your only hope is still Jesus and He alone will fill your empty life with what it needs.
Don’t be the little piggy that’s looking for an easy solution just to end up in the slaughter house.Call your former church and your Christian friends; tell them you want to come home!You will be glad you did.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, this little piggy wants to go home.Humble my mystical passion so that I will not write off my more traditional brothers and sisters; and give me an appreciation for those who have stayed the course in keeping with their unwavering theology.Renew my heart to accept Christians who are unlike me.And restore Your unconditional love for me to embrace the church of my childhood and grace enough for them to love me back so that we may learn from each other.Amen and amen.
“Then no harm will come to you. No terrible plague will come near your tent.
The Lord will command his angels
to take good care of you.
They will lift you up in their hands.
Then you won't trip over a stone.”
Psalm 91:10-12 (New International Reader's Version)
What is it that tests your faith?Recent events in my personal life took me to the edge, and I felt as though I was looking into a deep pit which had the ability to swallow me up if I let it.I invite you to take the journey with me and learn, as I did, that God is always with me.
Confronting My Fear
When was the last time you were fearful?Was there a time when you expected the worst news about a job situation, or the results of a medical procedure, or some relational problem?As Rev. Dr. Evans pointed out in our Bible Study, fear is –
Surely all of us have experienced fear at one time or another when we should have FAITH in God’s ability.The acronym she used for faith is –
I am in the midst of having some tests run, including a possible biopsy.It, along with other tests previously taken, will allow the doctor to make the right diagnosis and treatment option.While it would be easy to be fearful, I have asked my Angels for intercessory prayer and we have claimed God’s healing power.
Several seem surprised at how calm I am during this time of uncertainty.I just know that God didn’t bring me this far to leave me!And, I know that even if I only have the faith of a tiny mustard seed, God can handle the rest.In fact, Rick Warren said it best –
"Little faith + Big God = Huge results."
Instead of a biopsy, surgery was highly recommended.God help me to be strong, but He knows how fragile I really am.
Confessions of Wimpy
So I’m not Superwoman!
Let me introduce you to Wimpy.No, not the one in Popeye’s cartoons who said, ‘I’d gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.”
Okay, I’ll admit it.I was a tad bit more nervous when I waited to be carted off to the operating room recently.I had many intercessory prayers going up on my behalf and my family and I prayed together before I was put to sleep.
But, I had to have a little talk with Jesus.He knew… and I knew… my faith was shaky.I was less than enthused about having more surgery anyway.I had to constantly remind myself to get it done and over; another chapter behind me.And, up until it was very real and present, I had been confident and calm.
At that very moment, I honestly told God my faith had dwindled to the size of that mustard seed and I knew He’d do the rest.
I’m here to witness to His taking my faith and adding a double portion.I fell asleep in response to the medicine given, but with a peace knowing that the Great Physician was with me.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, Abba, I have no idea what the future holds, but I do know that You hold it in Your hands.While this appears to be a time of uncertainty from a human perspective, You know it all.I may not have big faith, but You will take what I have and increase it exponentially.
I thank You for Your healing power and for the miracles that occur every day in ways that I may not recognize.
And, when I have a few doubts, as I sometimes do, surround me with Your love and help me conquer them.Let me sing Your praises for all that You have done and all that You will do!
In His Love,
≈ Devotional for Wednesday, June 18, 2008
“In Pursuit of the Light”
“Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.” (Matthew 5:15 - NIV)
A small and talented group of citizens left the city to build a town of their own.They had the best of everything, with shops and houses built from beautiful natural stone to blend with the habitat.Each time they thought the town was finished, someone suggested another theater or library to make their city even more beautiful.
When there was no more money for building, the citizens were happy to have everything they had ever dreamed about.As the word spread about the pretty little town in the countryside, others wanted to move there, but they were unwelcome because of the cultural and social differences.The ones who sacrificed to build their town wanted it to remain unchanged, so it stayed pure and pristine for awhile.But as time passed it became more difficult to keep others away.A town meeting was held and they decided to build a wall around the little town.But they had no more money with which to build the wall.
Someone suggested that they use a few of the stones from the houses and buildings they had built.What a wonderful idea!So the people began building a wall by removing a few stones from each building.But the wall was not high enough.They built it higher and higher until they were sure that no outsider would be able to get in unless they were invited by the insiders.By now the wall was so high that you could not see the town from the outside.Had a curious traveler been able to see inside, they would have noticed that most of the beautiful houses and shops had fallen down.
In their haste to protect themselves from the outsiders, they destroyed everything they had worked so hard to build.
Millions of spiritual seekers are looking for help today.Their hunger has driven them to seek a light to overcome the darkness they have felt since buying into the tired philosophy of secular humanism, which blatantly denies our need for God.Many people have tried to find a meaning to their existence from the traditional churches of their childhood but they have met with stern opposition.Some think they have found the answer through New Age spiritualists where the Bible is belittled and Jesus is just one of many ways to know God.
My interpretation of Celine Dion’s song, “Skies of L.A.” describes a haunting dilemma.
It's so sad what we have become Beautiful days we seem to leave so undone And I don't know where we will go from here All I know is that I can't seem to see the sun Through the sky from here
Everyone has a finger But they can't point me to the light It can't be that hard to find After all we're so bright I don't know if tomorrow has a day I don't know if the rays will shine my way again All I know is that I'm standing in a place where My future is like the skies of L.A. Skies of L.A.
I don't know if my body can take much more We're in the line of the richest riches But my mind seems so poor
Everyone has a finger But they can't point me to the light It shouldn't be that hard to find After all we're so bright I see so many visions But everyone seems out of sight This is total neglection Skies of L.A.
People are seeking the light and they are asking why they cannot find it in a nation where so many fingers can point toward it, where there is enough intelligence (“we’re so bright”) to explain it, and ample wealth (“we’re in the line of the richest riches”) to deliver it anywhere and everywhere.With the number of Christian churches in the U.S.A., why is it that we cannot accommodate the thirst of sincere spiritual seekers who deserve answers to honest questions?
When a friend or colleague is far away, communication can become a big issue.Some rely on the telephone as our primary means of communication; but, many also use e-mail, text messaging and even video mail.Any way of staying in touch helps the individuals keep their thoughts and ideas together; and, it keeps them close.
Communication is not only important with our friends and loved ones, it is also vital that we stay in touch with God. But He doesn't use text messaging, or email. So how do we do this?"
God’s primary means of communicating with His children is through His Word – the Bible.Paul tells us in 2nd Timothy 3:16-17 that: “All Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
However, God in His wisdom shares with us daily in many ways so that we may draw closer to Him. Consider the following examples of how our loving God communicates with His people:
·“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.” (Psalm 19:1-3)
“So the Lord spoke kind and comforting words to the angel who talked with me.” (Zechariah 1:13)
“I will pour out My Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.” (Joel 2:28; Acts 2:17)
Today, if you think you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts to the possibility; but, like the Bereans, receive the many messages with great eagerness and then examine the Scriptures to see if what you hear is true.
Remember, His sheep know His voice (Acts 17:11 & John 10:4).No matter how the Lord communicates with you, listen.Allow Him to “stay in touch and keep you closer.”Always hold fast to the sure and trustworthy Word of God so that you’re able to give instruction and encouragement in sound doctrine. Hold fast to the written Word so that you’re able to refute anyone who contradicts it by showing the error of their words. (Titus 1:9 - AMP).However, always allow the Holy Spirit to sustain you, any time, any place or any way.
“Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”
(Psalm 51:10-12 – NIV)
“…I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
It was one of those questions you expect from a first grader seeking to show off his new knowledge."Mom," I asked, "What is the big E on the instrument panel?"Teasingly, she replied, "Son, that E means ENOUGH."A couple of weeks later on my way to school, the car glided powerlessly to a stop on the side of the road.I learned that the E meant EMPTY!Ugh.
Unlike the gasoline tank which fills with air when it is empty, my spiritual tank replaces spirituality with sin when it runs dry.I learned that the hard way.Battling the worst sin of my life, I tried unsuccessfully to rekindle my walk with God, unwilling to let go of a known sin, instead, I used every technique I knew to explain it away.The result was that I slipped farther and farther away from the Father.Repentance means letting go of sin and turning away from it completely.No one can walk with God and participate willfully in a sinful lifestyle.
GospeLines Prayer:O Lord, make me an instrument of your holy work.Convict me of my sin and give me the strength to turn away from it so that I may once again know your power.Amen and amen.