Saturday, May 26, 2018

Horror Houses Without Exit

I don't like horror films, fiction.... for that sake anything that horrifies me. However, one day I had to enter a show in a fair. That was a horror house. My friends forced me to go with them. I weighed the pros and cons. It is better to go with them than be labelled a coward.

Beyond, the ticket counter there was this dark tunnel, walls painted black, then the eery noises of witches and demons. Somewhere from the dark a skeleton stretched its hand towards me and almost reached my throat. Then there was a vampire waiting at a dark turn of the tunnel staring at me with its long teeth. However, I moved past it in the company of my friends.

To be frank, it was not the company of the friends that gave me the courage to move past each eery and horrifying shows. It was the red sign at every corner of the wall. 'EXIT' in red. That is the legal requirement. Anyone who is about to pass out, or can't take anymore can slip through that narrow door behind that sign. However, I moved on.

But in real life, there are horror houses without exit. Daniel had been in of those. That was the lions' den. The Bible says that he was thrown into a den packed with hungry lions. The story is found in the Book of Daniel 6. It was a conspiracy that landed Daniel in the den of hungry lions. Daniel and the hungry lions spent one whole night staring at each other. The lions had no appetite that night. But the morning following the king found out that Daniel is unharmed by the lions. So, he ordered to throw Daniel's enemies to the lions and the lions had a royal feast.

The den had no exit, so God took control of the lions. However, it was horrifying.
Sometimes, God will lead his people to fight it out as Paul had too many times. He had to be a gladiator in Ephesus. He had to fight wild animals in the arena in Ephesus. When the doors of the arena were slammed shut, and the cage of the hungry lion (possibly) screeched open, Paul might have looked around for an exit sign. But there was none.

He was not a gladiator. He eked out a living by making and repairing tents. As a scholar, he spent most of his time his head buried in the scrolls and parchments. He did not have time for body-building. His muscles were not strong. He had a hump on his back, or he had poor eyesight (or both). However, he had to take on the advancing lion. He won! That is why he could write about it in 1 Corinthians 15:32. Sometimes where there are no exits, we have to fight it out.

With God on our side, we really don't need exits from our situations. Exits are for the cowards and the weak. God puts us in dens and closed arenas without exit so that he can train our fingers for the battle (Psalm 144:1).

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Thy will be done!

Prayer is not asking God to accord our will. Most of the time our will may be in conflict with that of God. Prayer is surrender to God's will. Somewhere I read this definition of prayer: 'Prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God for things agreeable to His will ....”
It is not just asking for things that we want in our lives but surrendering our desires to God that he may grant whatever is agreeable to his will. His will supercedes everything.
The Lord's prayer goes on to qualifying God's will as, '... as it is in heaven.' God's rule in heaven is unchallenged. However, it is challenged and resisted here on earth. Our desires are not always in line with God's. The devil has mastery over this world at least for  now until Christ subdues him. His will is also at work. Moreover, he tries to bring our hearts in line with his. So, we struggle not knowing which is God's will and which is not.
The best way out of this is to pray that God's will be done in our lives as it is done in heaven where it is unchallenged. Thus it is a total surrender to God's will.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Rehash, Rehearse or Celebrate

We spend most of our time either rehashing or rehearsing. Rehashing is to relive the past, going over and over again of what we did, or what has happened to us. This is a way of us tethering ourselves to the past, unable to move forward in our thinking. By default, it is the pain, shame and guilt or in other words the negative memories and experiences that the mind chooses to rehash.
Rehearsing is a way of living in the imaginary future. Perceptions of threats that are real or imagined engages our minds in emotional battles. The mind imagines situations, strategizes or even rehearses the sentences to speak in that imaginary situations.
There is a big problem in both these. It drains our energy for the present. Jesus knew this when he told his disciples 'do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour' (Matt 10:19, ESV). The disciples in the first century were cross-bearers. The command, 'take up your cross and follow me' meant living with the prospect of arrest, imprisonment or even death daily. However, they should not spend their time rehearsing for that moment.
Nor should they rehash the evil that is done to them after the event. Their time is  not to be spent licking the wounds of the past. They have a great task in the present. That is to do the 'work the work of the one who sent them, while it is still day.' The energy for the tasks of the that present moment should not be dissipiated in any way.
The old song said: 'There's race that I  must run, there are victories to be won, give me power every hour to be true.' Power and grace for the moment is what we need. We need to conserve it too.
(Slightly revised.)

Master's Voice

Sometime back, I took a team to the elephant park in my town. There are about 40 elephants belonging to a temple. Each elephant is assigned ...