Another lie bites the dust

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We tear down arguments and every presumption set up against the knowledge of God; and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5 Berean Study Bible

September in Alabama means withering heat. As I watered my ferns the other day, a disheartening thought flooded my mind: ‘Life is just one chore after another!’

That’s horrible, Lord! Say it ain’t so!’, I desperately prayed. Immediately, I countered with as many truths that I could muster.  For God has given me the ability to control my thoughts, to capture them and not sink under them. He has endowed humans with rational minds. I am not enchained to the suggestions that flit through my mind.

As I countered this enemy attack, I directed my gaze to the beauty of my plants, to the view I had from our second-story balcony and thanked God for his good gifts.  A new thought flowed from having turned my attention to the Eternal One.  I’ve read that as ‘I AM’, he inhabits each moment, so each of our moments is eternal, because they are stamped with the creator’s mark.

Already I started to feel cheerier.

Once again, I had been caught blindsided, by what I now know as a Satan-suggestion. I’m learning to be more alert for these very effective attacks.

As I’ve written in earlier posts, this season’s sanctification curriculum designed by the supreme guidance counselor, the Holy Spirit, is aimed at humbling me.  That might sound painful, but I’m finding it to be freeing.  Andrew Murray’s book, Humility and Absolute Surrender (assigned by the Spirit and sent to me by Regina) has convinced me of the spaciousness of accepting as gift the awareness that I have been designed to be needy, rather than to be enough.  I am learning to see each little humiliation, disappointment, delay as divine gifts. So far, I have been able to smile when I recognize them.  But, knowing the Holy Coach, he has more challenging training programmed.

The fern incident gave me a helpful insight in what it means to embrace humility.  Part of my obsessive quest to be enough as Maria (the opposite of acknowledging one’s emptiness) has included the capacity to get a lot done.  What’s ironic is that when Satan through watering my plants pointed to an endless stretch of tasks, he thought he could feed my productivity itch with his depressing message. Instead, it reminded me that I was not created to DO, but to BE.

God gave Adam and Eve all they needed in abundance. Furthermore, out of love, he daily sought them out, delighting in their happiness.  Sure, they were tasked with tending creation, but he didn’t fellowship with them to see if they had completed all their chores for the day.

Then Satan entered stage right and they swallowed the evil antagonist’s suggestion of self-sufficiency, thereby rejecting their father’s kindness. They were hood-winked into believing and preferring the idea that they could be enough. That they didn’t need God.  Would that they had humbly brought this plan to their creator for his take on it.

Instead, they fell for the lie, thus enslaving themselves and their descendants to the rule of Satan, the supreme head over the Kingdom of Do.

Out of his never-ending love for us, God has been steadily working his original good plan to free us from Satan.  I can imagine no greater gift than God’s liberation. Through regeneration, he gave me eyes to see the lie and a heart that desired to turn to him. At that moment, the Holy Spirit transferred me into the Kingdom of Be.

Happy humility and restful trust in THIS King are the twin principles of those who understand God’s plan. Yet, Satan doesn’t easily give up.  He keeps marketing the lure, the supposed reward of feeling ‘enough’ through doing more.

For too much of my life, I’ve been a sucker for that carrot. But, behind that fake, glittering prize lies ongoing enslavement and the Sisyphean burden of always doing and never gaining the relief I yearn for. 

Thank you, Holy Spirit, for alerting me yet again to the lie. Help me, by your power, continually to ‘hand over each thought to Jesus’ for him to evaluate it and tell me his truth.  

Idols and the One True God

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Funny how no one protests the dominating and dour-faced deity on the boardwalk!  There stood the grimacing Neptune, trident at the ready, with tourists innocently posing for pictures next to the Virginia Beach idol, I mean icon!   Good thing he wasn’t a real god!!

I was enjoying a final field trip and play date with a friend before starting back to school. No we don’t have young kids; WE were the ones frolicking in the waves.

As I approached the towering symbol on the boardwalk, I couldn’t help but ponder the reaction should there have been an equally large Jesus, beckoning or protecting tourists who come to swim and sunbathe.  Yes, I know that precedent exists.  Outside Rio de Janeiro looms an immense Christ the Redeemer statue. Raised and secured on top of Corcovado Mountain, it was blessed and inaugurated in 1931 by Brazil’s president and a leading cardinal.  But that was 80+ years ago. Today there would be protests.

But instead of thinking about the injustice, I realized that the only reason the Roman god Neptune could be displayed in public in such a grand way by a municipality, is the fact that he is utterly powerless.  No one prays to him anymore.  He must be actually harmless, since Satan has removed him from the dark side’s arsenal of gods.   But Jesus, He is another matter!  He is to be feared.  He is powerful.

To get an idea of the relative power, consider this.  If Neptune WERE real and not just a mythological figure, then we would be talking merely about the King and Ruler of the Sea.  But we’re talking about the Son of God – Jesus, who CREATED the entire universe.  Here’s a way to think of the enormity of the universe. (Borrowed from JD Greear who quotes others.)

Imagine that:

  • The distance between our Earth and the Sun is represented by the thickness of one piece of notebook paper. (the Sun is the only star in our solar system)
  • Then the distance between the Earth and the closest star in the next nearest solar system would be a stack of paper 70 feet high.
  • Then the distance across our Milky Way Galaxy would be that same stack of paper, but now 310 miles high.
  • In our galaxy, it is estimated that there are 200 to 400 billion stars.
  • And scientists conjecture that there are 100 to 200 billion galaxies in the universe.

And it’s Jesus who created all this, at His word.  Talk about mind-boggling!!!

It’s a good thing we shy away from erecting a token statue of the Creator.

So, I say to the City Council of Virginia Beach.   Enjoy the revenue-producing draw that King Neptune exercises for you, for that is all he can do.  But fear the Lord and get wisdom!  (Proverbs 1:7)

PS:  Look at how that verse is rendered in French – « La crainte de l’Éternel est le commencement de la science » Did you notice how the word for knowledge is translated ?  Hmmmm

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