Florida, the Sunshine state and temporary residence of some hurricanes is also the place to be if you are one of those kinds of people who interpret a yellow light at an intersection as your cue to “floor it.”
Life, for the believer and those who’ve chosen to not believe, is a matter of perspective. There’s no getting around it.
For some folks that pesky yellow light is an inconvenience they’ll choose to avoid, even if that means that the driver of a car bisecting their route will have to use their horn, hand gesture and contemptuous glare as a reminder that they really should have stopped.
I’m continually amazed by the way our lives are defined by fear. People that race through a yellow light are afraid they are going to be late to some meeting about rabbit food or some other business affair that requires that they show up alive. Or they’re afraid that the 45 seconds they’ll lose by sitting at that crossroad will totally ruin their day, if not their life altogether.
Those that stop at a yellow light are afraid they might get broadsided by the person that is late for the rabbit food meeting. Others are not quite convinced there isn’t a cop hiding behind the billboard, devilishly licking his authoritative lips, palming his anxious citation writing hands, in hopes that they do not stop.
Like it or not, we live in fear to some degree or another. It’s human nature and for the saint, it’s a residual affect of “the fall." We’ve been religiously conditioned to either not have fear, or I fear the worst, though afraid of many things, we just deny it. We are afraid some preacher or elder will confront us for being afraid, so it’s safer to just keep it a secret.
Not having been a world traveler, I can’t say with a degree of certainty that only America has found that fear is a marketable commodity. My guess is, is that there are entrepreneurial fear merchants everywhere. Hollywood knows that fear sells.
I’m sadly intrigued by a movie going country that will witness more people lining up to watch a man butcher his beloved with a variety of weapons. When fewer will stand in line to watch a movie where the family is in trouble, but the man decides to be a man and his wife chooses to be a partner and in the end there are tears, hugs and the illusive “happily ever after.”
Nowadays, we’re happiest when the bad guy gets the girl, makes a successful getaway from the police, the world is completely destroyed by maniacal robots who found the universal remote, morphed into a matrix of violence, shape shifts into a human being, marries a beautiful woman and rides his 5 billion horse power motorcycle into the setting sun. Fear sells.
I expect this from the children of darkness. I remember having been there myself. What gets me is when the same plot, the same script is penned for the redeemed and it’s written in stone by men who I thought would know better. But, it’s a matter of perspective.
It’s no secret, if you want to take or maintain control of somebody; all you have to do is make them afraid of something or someone. I expect those who dwell in the kingdom of the damned to avail themselves of this tactic. What I shouldn’t expect is when a pastor/preacher or elder does the same thing, but sad to say, I do.
Just yesterday, as an illustration of what I mean, I was sharing with a small group of folks. Talking about the ink on paper of our bibles and when mentioning that without Him, that is Jesus Christ as He truly is, then this (holding up my bible) is just a book. To add emphasis to my point of the uselessness of the book without Him, I literally threw that book into the middle of that gathering, it’s “thud” when it hit the floor was the exclamation point to my sentence.
One young lady gasped. Looking at me as if I’d just thrown her two year old son under the bus; fear, like a volcano erupted from her eyes as she looked at me. The look of “please, please, please tell me that you didn’t just do that!” was written all over her face.
At some time in the past she’d been taught that the bible itself is holy. With that thought in the forefront of her mind she’d developed an entire belief system around that and it affected absolutely every area of her days, weeks and subsequent years. Simply put, she was scared to death of God, the author of that book and because of that she had been told, without words, to live in fear of Him.
The difficulty of this is readily seen upon closer examination and her plight, and that of a majority of you reading this, is that we’ve been conditioned to live in fear but at the same time we’ve been told to love.
Love the Lord, but be scared to death of Him because if you commit one sin, He’ll reject you in the biblical twinkling of an eye.
“Bring the tithe into the storehouse” is said in such a way so as to make the hearer afraid of being poor.
“You don’t have enough faith” regardless of decibels, is worded in a way that makes us feel as if we, not He, are the author of what little faith we do have and to not have that faith makes us delinquent beggars, a leper in the Holy Place.
The Word is undeniably clear that God has not “given us the spirit of fear.” No, that’s true, He hasn’t. Most of us have our pastors to thank for that. From their perspective, they are trembling at His feet as unworthy slaves and so should we, they say.
No matter how much I wish some of our pastors would simply content themselves with “standing down” until love, grace and mercy would permeate their own fearful souls, they persist. Afraid of being rejected by God, they continue to march to the drum of the Reaper rather than the Sower.
Unworthy slaves? Yes, I am, but that is not what He says about me. For some inexplicable reason (Grace, would be my guess), He calls me by many names that clearly state His perception of our relationship and not a one of them are as negative as our present day teachers make them appear.
What then is the antidote for the theological poison that might be coursing through our fear-filled minds and making its way to our panic stricken hearts?
Isaiah has something to say about that. Read what the Lord has said through this man; there for us in chapter 40, verse 31 of the King James rendition;
“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
Wait upon the Lord. All that means is to simply sit at His feet. Some of you may do this with the ink and paper of His letter to you. Some may just choose to sit there and read nothing, the word having been written on your heart. However you do it, just do it.
Wait right there until He who is faithful breathes His life into you again and notice what changes. This is the beauty (and the antidote) of the “wings as eagles” part of His statement of fact.
What, above all other things does an eagle have that no other creature does? The condor surpasses the eagle in wingspan, so it’s not might or power.
Falcons are the fastest known aerial predators in the world. Easily outdistancing an eagle in a race for prey; so, it’s not the eagles’ swiftness to accomplish a necessary task.
Peacocks are the grandstanding lot in the quest for outward beauty. The eagle is no match in the contest of appearances or pageantry.
So what does “wings as eagles” mean to you and me and what is the connection with “wait upon the Lord?”
The eagle has the one thing that we need if we are to avoid the fear that men would have us live under. Although the eagle lacks in some areas, the one arena of life that it easily triumphs over other creatures is its perception.
With a powerful thrust of its smaller appendages, the eagle launches itself off some precipice and trusts the invisible winds to bear it up to the heights which will assuredly alter “how it sees the world.”
In the same way, you and I may throw ourselves off the edge of our own world, trusting the (mighty, rushing) wind of Acts to bear us up to the heights which will change how we see our world too.
All that is required of is, is that we learn Mary’s secret and learn to lovingly ignore Martha. We just need to wait.
Wait until He speaks. For, only He has the words of eternal life.
The only thing an eagle fears “up there” is that the wind will stop blowing.
I don’t imagine you and I will have that problem.
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