All Posts Tagged: Solomon

Easter Impact – Part 4

But thanks be to God, who keeps giving us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ!

1 Corinthians 15:57


The impact of EASTER is Energy.

The impact of EASTER is Attitude.

The impact of EASTER is Success!


SUCCESS
! Millions of books have been sold on this subject. For example, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill has sold over 70 million copies since 1928. Peter Kreeft once made a humorous comment about the plethora of books on sex. “
The fact that there are thousands of ‘how to do it’ books on the subject does not mean that we know how; in fact, it means the opposite. It’s when everybody’s pipes are leaking that people buy books on plumbing!” This, I believe, is the reality about topic of success.

Everybody wants to know how to do success‘. However, success is not primarily about DOING! According to Jesus it’s about BEING!” “Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way to your true self. What good would it DO to get everything you want and lose YOU, the real you?” (Mark 8:34-37) In other words, in the process of doing the secrets of success one can lose one’s real self. Elvis Presley, Whitney Houstin, Prince, Robin Williams, Cobain, Eastman, Van Gogh, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Virginia Woolf, and my friend – the list is endless …  creatively successful people who “cashed it in”! I shall attempt no commentary except to say this: in all their DOING they didn’t find peace with their BEING. If that seems simplistic to you, take it from one who knows.

John Calvin described this world as a theatrum gloriae, a “dazzling theater” displaying God’s glorious works. Viewing the following exhibits in the Creator’s theater, ask yourself: how are these successful? If this is below your “pay grade”, you have my sympathy.


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Of course, I know they are JUST fish! That’s the point. Though they are subhuman, each in their extravagant BEING-NESS is a display of God’s handiwork. As such, each is victorious. Each is a SUCCESS! They ARE what the Creator intended them TO BE in his theater. 

Research has shown exactly what Jesus said. You can gain the whole world and lose YOUR-SELF! Merely DOING is a DEAD-end! Success (victory) is only found in uncovering who you ARE according to the Creator’s design. There is no greater expression of this than in Michelangelo’s graphic representation of the creation of Adam.

Easter means that the Creator is severely intent on resurrecting a new you built upon His original design. Short of that everything is but “smoke and fire” or, as Solomon said, “Emptiness!”

Look at the fish again. I’m absolutely serious! Have you discovered that YOU, not what you DO, are a masterpiece in the Creator’s theater? Easter success (victory) is to be discovered by uncovering the YOU that is available by virtue of Jesus’ resurrection.

Have you experienced the touch of the Creator’s finger on your life? It’s nothing less than the power of the resurrection? “The gospel is absurd and the life of Jesus is meaningless unless we believe that He lived, died, and rose again with but one purpose in mind: to make a brand-new creation.” (Brennan Manning, The Furious Longing of God )

OK, a point of transparency! This is THE struggle of my 74 year old life! 

Faith on Fridays—Faith and fear

Faith in Jesus makes up the Mechanics of Life.

Peter said, “Master, if it’s really You, call me to come to You on the water.” He said, “Come.” Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water to Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he was afraid and started to sink down in the water. He cried, “Master, save me!” Jesus didn’t hesitate. He reached down and grabbed his hand. (Matthew 14:25-31)

FEAR has the power to sink one in defeat, depression and even despair! “But when he noticed the strong wind, he was afraid and started to sink down in the water.” Fear is automatic unless one knows its root.

Satan told Adam and Eve that God had only given them a supporting role in the drama called “Life.” However, with a little maneuvering they could get top billing. With one bite they signed the contract. Immediately they felt stage fright so they hid. Responding to the Creator’s gracious call Adam responded, “When I heard You … I was frightened!” Since then, fear has been our default emotional setting and hiding our primary mechanism of defense.

Though fear is very complicated, its nucleus is simple. We’re insecure with the role we’ve embezzled. Playing God is simply out of our league! And yet, we stubbornly attempt to play the part while using anything and everything to cover up our insecurities and failures. Here’s Jean-Paul Sartre’s (an existential nihilist … now there’s a big gulp) assessment of our situation: “Man can count on no one but himself; he is alone, abandoned without help, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself.” King Solomon agreed: “That’s when I called it quits, gave up on anything that could be hoped for on this earth. Smoke, that’s what it is. Nothing but smoke.”

So, fear presents this fork in the road: despair—“Everything is meaningless, completely meaningless!” (Ecclesiastes 1:2)—or, faith in Father. Though we energetically attempt to deny the choice, there’s no middle ground.

The Father is waiting! God called to the Man: “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9). Peter cried, “Master, save me!” Jesus didn’t hesitate. He reached down and grabbed his hand (Matthew 14:30-31). When the prodigal was still a long way off, his father saw him. His heart pounding, he ran out, embraced him, and kissed him (Luke 15:20-21).

Remember! “Fear is the glue that keeps you stuck. Faith is the solvent that sets you free” (Shannon L. Adler).

Check back next Friday as we continue our Faith on Fridays series.

Faith on Fridays—Faith and feelings

Faith in Jesus makes up the Mechanics of Life.

Elijah (1 Kings 19:3-5)—Terrified, Elijah quickly ran for his life. He came to a lone broom bush and collapsed in its shade, wanting in the worst way to be done with it all—to just die: “Enough of this, God! Take my life!”

David (Psalm 22:1-2)—My God, my God, why have You abandoned me? Why are You so far away when I groan for help? Every day I call to You, my God, but You do not answer. Every night I lift my voice, but I find no relief.

Solomon (Ecclesiastes 2:17-20)—This made me hate life. It was depressing to think that everything in this life is useless, like trying to catch the wind. That’s when I called it quits, gave up on anything that could be hoped for on this earth.”

Jeremiah (Lamentations 3:20)—I gave up on life altogether. I said to myself, “This is it. I’m finished.”

Paul (2 Corinthians 1:8)—We do not want you to be uninformed about the troubles we experienced in Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself.

Elijah, David, Solomon, Jeremiah and Paul—these were heavy hitters in the realm of faith! YET, they experienced and expressed deep emotion! Conclusion: faith and feelings are not mutually exclusive. Emotion is part of the original human package. Look at the Model: “Jesus saw Mary weeping, and He saw how the people with her were weeping also; His heart was touched, and He was deeply moved. ‘Where have you buried Lazarus?’ He asked them. ‘Come and see, Lord,’ they answered. Jesus wept” (John 11:30-33).

To ignore, repress, or dismiss our feelings is to fail to listen to the stirrings of the Spirit within our emotional life. The gospel portrait of the beloved Child of Abba is that of a man exquisitely attuned to His emotions and uninhibited in expressing them. The Son of Man did not scorn or reject feelings as fickle and unreliable. They were sensitive antennae to which He listened carefully and through which He perceived the will of His Father for congruent speech and action.” —Brennan Manning

Here’s practical advice for balancing faith and feelings: “Buffeted by the fickle winds of failure, battered by their own unruly emotions, and bruised by rejection and ridicule, authentic disciples may stumble and frequently fall, endure lapses and relapses, get handcuffed to the fleshpots and wander into a far county. Yet, they keep coming back to Jesus” (Manning). Why? “Though our feelings come and go, God’s love for us does not.” —C.S. Lewis

Check back next Friday as we continue our Faith on Fridays series.