Apathetic Disguise

I watched a show regarding Haiti’s earthquake. I remember the devastation and the sorrow that followed, the heroism of so many that rushed to aid of that tiny island, and the anger of the native people who were still receiving virtually no help months after the quake. I also remember praying for them…back then. The tsunami that hit Japan, and the one that shook the world in southeast Asia, killing an estimated 300000 people, are in my memory as well. I prayed for those nations and their people…back then too. As the news waned over these tragedies, so did my prayers for those nations. Back here in American, we have tragedy and devastation too.

Lindsay Lohan has had all kinds of legal problems, Brad and Jennifer broke up, and I lost the Survivor pool at work two times. Wow, the devastion! The Bengals continued to struggle without a Super Bowl appearance since 88-89 season, how can we go on? We are absorbed by meaningless gossip, and barely concerned with the real horrors suffering mankind experiences daily, throughout the world. Apathy is our way. We look the other way. Upon hearing that a major catastrophe has struck in some remote country, we often voice our regret to those around us, “how terrible for those poor people,” we say, and then maybe throw a few bucks their way, and go about our business.

For an instant, others see us as caring individuals, at least we think. It is a nice mask, but as followers of Christ, especially those of us in recovery from addictions, we must take a real look at our disguises. We must have real concern. We must continue in prayer for any nation, or individual going through sorrow. We addicts and alcoholics really know personal sorrow and grief that “normal people” have no idea of. Furthermore we cannot be apathetic about tragedy, for any reason. Our concern for others is key in staying clean and sober. We remove our disguises, and put on the face of honesty.

“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his interests, but the interests if others.” Phil.2:3-4 (NKJV)

We don’t really need to worry about whether people see us as big hearted and caring by our well wishes when disaster occurs. We do need to continue in prayer for people worldwide, and do it daily. Stay little and regard ourselves as equal to the starving children in third world countries, or places worldwide where elderly are without social security or retirement incomes, and have to¬†look through garbage to live. In God’s eyes we are their equals, He loves them as much as He loves you. And He really loves you.

This whole thought was on my mind after watching the show about Haiti, followed by this mornings sad news about the Bengals loss that covered the news. I hope this calls you to think about your personal thoughts when natural disasters happen. Don’t lose sight of the hurting, they may be your next door neighbor, or one day you or your family members.

God bless and keep you all, thanks for reading. Keith(reblogged from Dec.2011)

Missing the Miraculous

There is a saying for the person who sees everything from a spiritual perspective, or quotes a Bible verse in each conversation, “They are so spiritually minded that they are no earthly good.” I agree with that, but also see the exact opposite in some, “they are so earthly minded, they’re of no spiritual worth.” Some see everything as good or evil, and are tagged as, “fanatic.” Some do not find anything good or evil, right or wrong, day or night…it is what you think it is, time and space are illusions, everything is meaningless. Those poor folks I feel sorry for, so full of man’s wisdom and opinions that they are missing the purpose of their living.

In John 5, there is a story of a lame man, lying by the pool of Bethsaida, where the lame, blind, and any who were invalid laid, waiting for the stirring of the water. During certain seasons, an angel from God would come and stir the water, and whoever of the disabled enter the waters first, were healed. The lame man had been in that condition for 38 years, and could not get into the pool first, because no one was there to help him get in. Jesus asked him, “do you want to get well?” Then said to him, “pick up your mat and walk.” He did so. This was on the Sabbath. When the Jews saw the man carrying his mat, they told him, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat. Who told you to do this?” The lame man did not know Jesus’ name, later saw Jesus in the temple, and blew the whistle on Him.

The Jews missed the miracle. They were so law minded, they were no spiritually good. How often are we the same? If the miraculous happens before our very eyes, in Jesus’ name, resulting from prayer, but doesn’t agree with our doctrinal beliefs, we reject God’s participation in the miracle. “God does not operate like that today, miracles died out with the apostles!” some exclaim. The “spiritual,” however, does not see anything but the miracle, and from that moment on, look only for the miraculous, and spend their waking hours in a fanatical trance, so to speak, with their minds in the clouds, and want to witness God’s power only.

Of course, there are those who will say, the lame man wasn’t really lame. If they saw an amputee’s missing arm suddenly appear by prayer in the name of Jesus, they would think, this is merely a magic trick, and look around for the hidden cameras. There are still others who see, believe, rejoice, and continue their journey as a follower of Christ. They were not amazed at a miracle, they knew nothing is impossible with God, so they expected it, but don’t stop doing as Christ taught them to do because of it. I read of many miraculous things happening in third-world countries, with regularity. Why there, not in righteous America? Believers there are not cluttered with things and events that they put ahead of God, He is first, they focus on his presence and will, sharing Christ in the face of persecution.

These people in developing nations also gather in expectation of something new from God when they meet. Their expectations are on God, not on a man standing in the pulpit, who we expect will work up God’s manifest presence in our church services. They aren’t preacher followers…they know it’s all about Jesus. Above and beyond that, their faith is child-like, if the Bible says it, it is so. No doctrine of man can overrule the written Word, or the Living Christ. It is here, in child-like faith, that spiritual mindedness doesn’t take the believer off on a tangent for 5 years, looking for the extraordinary to prove God’s reality. We sensationalize, advertise, and charge admission. They hear, come, and receive…and rejoice!

We must stop missing what God wants to do in our lives by looking to the sensationalists, the doubting media, or the fence-riding believer that curse like a sailor, drink like a fish, but become suddenly spiritual when religion is discussed. Let us submit in obedience, walk in love toward all, and let God out of the box we keep Him in, so we can see, and not miss, the miraculous. God bless and keep you all, Keith