Going back to our Spiritual roots

We are living in difficult times and by difficult I do not mean war, famine and great physical suffering, although in other parts of the world these circumstances are most certainly a reality.  In our post- modern North American world, we are faced with a complex and sophisticated bombardment of issues and obstacles that have become extremely difficult to judge and even spiritually discern.  This dilemma has clouded our sense of value and moral clarity.  As Christians we have become intrigued and captivated by the “magic” of this age. 

The answer to this problem is not a political, social economic or even a cultural one.  The answer is simply a personal spiritual one.  The church and more specifically, us as individual Christians, have drifted away from our spiritual roots.  We have become more attached to the lure of modern culture than to the stability and power of the Word of God, the person of the Holy Spirit and the relationship with our Lord Jesus.  The time has come for us to move back to where we belong back to a true place of relevance.  A place where we can not only relate to this complex world, but relate with true authenticity.  For some reason we have believed that prevailing cultural norms, behavior and trends help authenticate our message when in fact it’s our spiritual roots.  

Let me try to focus this a little more personally.  We have become too overwhelmed by the craziness of this world.  A good example of what’s happening can be found in 1 Kings 19:3-5

"Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there,  while he himself went a day's journey into the desert. He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. "I have had enough, Lord," he said. "Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors." Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep".

 Elijah was overwhelmed by life, by the prevailing culture and personal obstacles and problems.  Remember he was the same prophet who challenged the prophets of Baal on Mt Carmel.  Now he finds himself fearful, confused and questioning his value and relevance.  He says “I have had enough.”  Who has not felt like this? As a pastor I have encountered so many people who feel they have got to the end of their tether.  I too at times have felt like this.  James tells us in James 5:17-19 that “Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain…”   An ordinary man doing extraordinary things but one who also experiences the fears and disappointments of life.  

Disappointment and discouragement are the first signals that we not coping.  “All the hard work and for what?”  Many people have lost so much in this economic environment which they had worked so hard for.   Disappointment can spurn anger.  Elijah was not only disappointed with what was happening but extremely angry.  Angry at the world, angry with people and angry with God.  Elijah displayed pride in the form of self-pity.  These were further signals that he was coming undone.  

 Something amazing happened to Elijah under the broom tree.  Even though he gave up, God was there.  The Lord allowed him to sleep but he woke up with a loaf of bread baking and a jug of water waiting.   We have to find our roots again.  We have to find the things that feed us and refresh us again.  It’s the Word of God and the Power of the Holy Spirit that will keep us consistent, refreshed and relevant.

God allowed Elijah to sleep a second time.  He needed rest, he was physically tired.  This is yet another sign that we are taking stress from our circumstances. 

Rom 8:11

"But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you". 

There is physical revitalization and healing by the Holy Spirit.  It’s amazing that God has provided everything we need to relate, cope with and be relevant in this crazy overwhelming world we live in.  

Another important lesson we learn from Elijah is that he had a touch from an angel.  We need a touch from heaven.  We need to personally experience the presence and power of God again.  Hunger and thirst after Him.  Elijah was healed, refreshed, empowered, fed and commissioned. He was equipped, instructed and directed with purpose, identity and clarity.  He was sent back into the world he fled from to fulfill Gods will.  God said to him “Go back the way you came.” He went back with a totally different view on his circumstances.  He was not going to allow everything to overwhelm and influence him but he was going to influence everything around him.

So it’s time for us to come back to our spiritual roots.          

Redeeming the miraculous

We have to redeem the miraculous! Why is it that it takes a miracle to have a miracle? Well we have down played and dumbed down so much in our lives that most of what is absolutely miraculous has become mundane, normal and natural. The fact is this entire world is a living, breathing and perpetual miracle. You and I are walking miracles. Let’s see it for what it is! Let’s celebrate it and praise the Lord for it!! Let’s live and embrace the miraculous instead of waiting for it. If we can do this we will be taking responsibility for the "small" things and God can trust us with the "big" things like raising the dead and seeing the lame walk and the blind see.

"NOW" A Glimpse Into our World

Life seems to be this monumental struggle somewhere between the past, with it's unresolvable and unchangeable events and memories, and with the future with its unknowns and hopeful expectations. Caught in-between the past and the future is this space called "now". "Now" is extremely fleeting. In fact, it's more like a moment, and it's in this moment that you and I live and have our being.  Everything related to our past had its genesis in the moment and everything in the future is affected in some way by this moment. 

Think of it like this; you and I are caught between two glass walls. The wall behind us is clear, clear enough to see everything that's behind it. The wall in front is opaque and you can't really see through it into your future. Because of time, these glass walls keep moving forward with you wedged in between. Everything in the future will pass through these walls and encounter with you, your space and your life. Your past is all the records of your life in the moment. There is nothing you can do about what happened, or what you did in the past. The glass wall prevents you from stepping back from your moment. Neither can you step forward from your moment in to the future. You and I are locked in time and the moment. "For He says: “In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you. Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation." II Corinthians 6:2 NKJV. 

Jesus came into our lives, into our moment to redeem and reconcile our past, to secure our future for Him and to enrich our "now". Many people live emotionally in the past or in the future. We must find God and His will now. It's difficult to do, because we are many times projecting God's blessings and promices into the future. People used to ask me "Do you have a break through yet?" My answer would almost always be "It's coming It's Coming." So, we are always waiting for that special moment in the future or nostalgically pine for the past. Yet, "Today, now is the time of salvation!" Now is God's will. Now is when God wants you to respond. Through His blood He has taken care of the past. Through His resurrection He has taken care of the future and through His abiding presence He is taking care of now, this moment. 

Let's not struggle and strive any longer. Let's be victorious now. Let's seize the moment. Let's enjoy Him and His "now" will and His "now" blessings and let Him take care of the things we have little or no control over, our past and our future.