Archive for the ‘Opposition’ Category

Woke up this morning on our last weekend in Colorado hoping to find that the weather would smile and say something like “have a great weekend.” Well that lasted for 30 minutes and the wind woke up to about 30 mph from the north and will last through the day. I know its lame but we really did want to sit outside at Daz Bog and have one final coffee.

There are times when life is so spanking hard that you wonder if you are on the wrong planet. I know not sitting outside drinking coffee does not really qualify for “hard and difficult”, but each of us knows the absolute nightmare of getting up for another day of… It is easy to conclude after days, months or years of ongoing physical, mental or emotional tragedies that God is on a vacation or really does not care about what we are dealing with. This is the absolute goal of the enemy-he always blogs about how God is not who we really think he is or how he has described himself in the Bible.

But consider our bro, Paul who described a couple of incidents in his life of joyfully following Jesus in the middle of hard stuff. 2 Corinthians 1:8 and 9 and 12:9 and 10 sum it up and cause me to pause when I complain about wind or any discomfort. God always loves us and has our best interest in mind but this truth will be tested almost without interruption. Check out Jeremiah 29:11.

Paul concluded that all of this junk causes us to rely on God and not ourselves and that when we are at our weakest, God begins his supernatural “guess who’s really in control” act. We have to press through the challenges, difficulties, frustrations and disappointments to ever realize how much God is on our side.

Book of Challenges

Book of Challenges (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“It was just one taste”, “I was only there for a minute”, “I was  only window shopping”…and there are many other innocent ways of saying that we never intended to get trapped in the deadly pull of the culture’s distorted view of how life is to be lived. will the I Phone 6 be the last or will the  numbers keep on going? Every new phone, tablet or computer will be enhanced with features that make it really impossible to live without. Or that is what will be audibly and visually communicated to us every day.

And what about sin? We have curled up on the couch with it and it is as normal to us as going to the fridge for a coke or a beer. Compromise begins in “little” ways and we don’t recognize the changes that begin to happen to us. We’ve bought into a system that has a flawed design that sucks the life out of us.

The author of the lie does not just tickle us; he comes to eat us alive. Check out 1 Peter 5:8. And a paraphrase of 1 John 2:15 and 16 goes something like this: “I have the right to do what I want to do, have what I want to have and be who I want to be.” To think like this will pull us away from God’s best for us.

The giant magnet!

The giant magnet! (Photo credit: indigo -)

It’s not a movie, a video game or some clever title of a mission that we could come up with. It is our worst nightmare, our war from the day we first struggled for life and our greatest opportunity to participate in something that is beyond any adventure we could ever imagine. Pick up the story in Matthew 3 where Jesus walks into the lives of various onlookers. The heat is turned on in chapter 4 as our enemy crafts three desperate plots to gain the upper hand. He knows who Jesus is. “If you are…” could be translated “Since you are…” The enemy knows what’s at stake.

Jesus begins to unmask the evil in the religious life of his day as well as the culture owned by the enemy. He equips a few with the “zero dark thirty” strategy that will weaken the strongholds the enemy has cleverly introduced into life over the years. He has completed the final act on an ordinary cross and those he has equipped are prepared and then he leaves them staring into space. Look at John 17:4 & 6 along with Acts 1:6-11. The enemy will continue to fight but his defeat is certain.

The real issue for us is the role we have in this ongoing drama. Some are not aware there is a war going on at all. Just drive through a neighborhood and admire the large houses, sweet cars in the driveways and steaks grilling on the deck. But then there was the high school kid who shot another kid, and the girl who overdosed and who could forget what happened after that party. Are we aware and are we participating with Jesus in unveiling the enemy and helping our friends understand the point of life? Remember we volunteered for this war.

2 Timothy 2:3 &  4 in the “Word on the Street” version says “…trained combat teams don’t get sucked into the daily soap opera of normal life. No, the only thing that counts is the nod of approval from their officer in charge.”

The Last Enemy (autobiography)

The Last Enemy (autobiography) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“That must be his best work.” We might say this as we look at the work of something an artist or a sculptor has completed. And we might be dead wrong. How could that be? We are alarmed because as we look at their work, we can’t imagine anything better. I mean they graduated from the most prestigious fine arts school unlike others who dropped out of school in the 5th grade.

I’m sure as we look at what satan has done to destroy the work of God we easily would conclude that drug addicts, sexual deviants, prostitutes, etc. must be his greatest work used to discredit God’s human creation in the Genesis Art School. However our enemy has one more idea and perhaps his masterpiece in getting us to miss the point of life and church.

The religious frauds and window dressers of Jesus’ day and ours are one of his greatest works used to distort God’s purposes.

Check out Matthew 23:25 and Luke 13:10-17 for a peek at some of satan’s most deceptive work.

How do we guard against this strategy of the enemy in our culture today?

They are born in a river, then grow up in the ocean and then do something that makes you wonder. Why are they swimming up river in the last act of their life cycle? What the spank are they thinking? They know exactly what they are doing. I suppose if you could ask them as they make this weird trip “why are you going upstream, none of the other fish are going in this direction”, would they even answer? What they know and will not be talked out of is that they are about to lay many eggs from which maybe 10 adult salmon will survive. After that, their life is over.

If God is leading you in a direction that your friends and churches are questioning and are not willing to go, don’t hesitate to go with passion when you know it is right. Jesus modeled life that most religious types were not willing to follow. They opposed him. He knew the outcome of what he was doing.

Mark 9:35  A different direction on Leadership

Luke 5: 15,16  Dealing with Success

John 12:23-25  The ultimate “What are you thinking?” question …and answer

Ever taken a trip where you knew the coolest place to spend a day was just to the left of the last intersection of two dirt roads and then just over a ridge? Several people had told you about it so you were sure you were going to have a sweet afternoon. You never found it and you concluded that someone had moved the cool spot. It really hadn’t been moved but for whatever reason you couldn’t find it and your “out of sight” experience that day was nowhere to be found.

It is easy to think that what we are doing with other Christians has to be right. Why would so many be saying, believing or doing the same thing. In the same way, The wrong view of church easily  leads to a wrong experience of church. The religious bunch of Jesus’ day were kings on what was the right way of everything and you didn’t challenge these dudes. Even those who were not too religious had ideas that Jesus blew up.

The “cool spot” is still there but before you look for it check these map points: Matthew 15:1-7 and 22:22-30; also John 3:1-9, chapter 4 and 6:28 &29.

Why is being or playing it “safe” the accepted mantra of many Christians today? Jesus was always in tight places and disappearing in crowds because what he told people disturbed their safe religious games.

The early followers of Jesus were so captivated by the truth Jesus filled their hearts with that they were more than willing to risk their reputation, being misunderstood or losing their lives in order to make a difference in their culture.

Following Jesus or our culturally accepted  lifestyles are in direct opposition. Check out an early Rock Star who followed Jesus in Acts 14: 1-7 and 19-20. Have you dodged any stones lately?