Thursday, June 13, 2013

In the Eye of the Storm

Recently, Pastor Goodman spoke to the church regarding our perfect center, with respect to what we revolve our lives around and base our life around.  I wrote this blog 2 more than 2 years ago and I wanted to re-post this message as it speaks affirmation to me about his message about Jesus for all of us.  Only slightly edited from the original post to reflect current events, be blessed.

How many of us can accurately say that we can live daily within our own respective bubbles, surrounded by our immediate world, but never see the perspective of what it is we are supposed to be doing?  Think about it for just a minute...take a moment to look at your daily grind and try and step out of it for just a minute to visualize you as you go through each day.   What are the things you do that make you shake your own head?  Are you angry or short with those in your life?  Are you trapped by a consuming addiction that tears holes in your life?  Do you find you have little patience for others?  Are there things going on daily that cause you to be distracted from the tasks most important?  What are those tasks?  Do you have all the tools to complete those tasks?
In most of our lives we tend to think we are the only ones who are enduring problems, especially when the problem is occurring; however, whatever they may be; we believe that we must be the only one who is in a storm. 
Now of course we realize that not all of us are in storms all of the time.  Storms of life come and go and there are times when you are in calm seas and no trials are coming at you.
This is a perspective I like to refer to as being in the Eye of the Storm.  Like a hurricane, life can produce tremendous storm and winds with rain and sometimes even floods.  These I liken to the problems that all of us can go through from time to time.  At other times we find ourselves sailing through calm waters and clear skies, when life is good and all things seem to be going our way.  In the eye of a hurricane, meteorologists constantly observe a calm pattern within the storm.  Sometimes this "eye" is very large and other times it can be very small; with the intensity of the storm raging all around the eye.
Couple of points here:  How often do you find yourself in the storm compared to how often you are in the eye?
                                      Do you actively try and stay in the eye of the storm, or do you just drift along with the current, eventually ending up back in the storm?                       

Many times the storms of our lives of course are likely a result of the choices we make daily, choices that cause un-intended consequences for our lives; the repercussions for our decisions.  I believe equally so, the choices we make also allow us to ride calmly through the eye of a storm.
So we can liken the eye of the storm as a perfect center for our lives, the place where we can sail along smoothly, at times we may veer off course and sail into choppy waters, but if we know where the perfect center is then we can find our way back to smoother waters.
Of course I am likening each of our lives to what the scriptures tell us to look for.  That we must first seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  Matt 6:33
These "things" referring to everything you need to live!

This is inherently the root of many of the problems that plague us; at any time we can represent one or two of three possible kingdoms, the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of darkness, or the kingdom of self.  Yes, we can and many of us do, operate in any or all of these kingdoms, but most likely we are operating in the kingdom of self.  Surprisingly, the decisions we make in our own kingdom can look very similar to the kingdom of darkness
Let's be honest with ourselves here, even if we believe in God, we can create habits and go through life still making decisions on our own counsel.  The problem with trusting our own guidance is that if we are making decisions that only feed my kingdom and not the Kingdom of God, we can create religion and even false idols in our lives that lead us into storms.
This is a small example: When we seek "things" in our lives that we think we need, or simply cannot live without, we can easily move into making decisions from the kingdom of self.  In effect, this is covetousness, boiled down, we want because we see that others have.  This is a potentially gray area folks, and I know we all want to be comfortable and of course God wants us to be happy and be able to provide for our families, right?  This is only an example, just be careful when you are faced with these decisions that can cause you to be burdened with more debt.
Let's look at this as the church, and expand the example to involve the body of Christ.  The ramifications are now very visible.  When the people of the body of Christ burden themselves with mountains of things, and create debt filled idols, the entire church is now saddled with the burden.  The available resources of God can so easily be wasted on useless projects or things that only bring glory to ourselves and not God.  This is the warning.
If what we are doing, is tying up our time, resources and wealth in building up ourselves, we cannot possibly be available to God when He calls us out.  We  cannot "go" and "make disciples" when we are working two jobs and paying down three credit cards after all the Black Friday sales! 

Listen people, I am just as guilty as the next believer when it comes to falling into this trap, and I know I can be tempted when it comes to buying that big Tundra truck!  But, I refrain because I know the debt will burden me with a storm that I create!  You may think the God wants you to have that "fill in the blank" but if you cannot afford it or you have to create a debt to get it, then it cannot possibly be God's will for you.  He would never cause you to become burdened through His provision of anything!  His provision always comes without strings, without burden!  That's grace.

Please, folks...hear my heart on this:  The body of Christ is far more effective at reaching and helping people when we ourselves are not burdened with the cares of the world.  This is the whole point of Mathew 6:33.  We cannot do what we should do as Christians, if we are saddled by the cares of the world, and when we try, we will struggle.  When this happens we will always choose to do only what our time, and resources allow us to do.

Of course this is a process, first seeing who Jesus is, what He has done for you, and what He can do for you after you know Him.  All of this works hand in hand as we go through each day of our lives...trusting that God brought us into the world and therefore He will keep us and provide for us.

Sometimes the storms of life are unavoidable, sometimes they are just too big to sail around.  But know this, you do not have to continue to weather the storms alone; seek the Lord and His wisdom and He will guide you to the perfect center; the eye of the storm; the calming seas and His calming presence.  Choose not the cares of the world, for the world is in the winds of the storm.  Only in the perfect center will you sail smoothly.  Within that center is the Lord, and He will endue you with wisdom, focus and direction for your life.

You only need to choose...