A Storm’s Aftermath

There is a period of time after a storm when the refuse stirred up comes floating by.  All the trash, the broken wood, the ‘stuff” that surrounds us.  The sea is filled with debris, rivers are choked with it, the land cries out with the brokenness.  So too, with our daily lives, storms leave behind broken pieces that are in need of cleaning up.  This period of time has the potential to bury us once more in distress as we relive the storm over and over again and long for ‘how things were’.

Colossians 3:1-13

Col 3:1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new [man] who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave [nor] free, but Christ [is] all and in all. Therefore, as [the] elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also [must do]. Blue Letter Bible. “Colossians 3 – New King James Version.” Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2009. 2 Jul 2009. < http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Col&c=3&t=NKJV >

Do not be enslaved to natural man’s emotions, thoughts, actions.  Be set free to the life led by the Spirit – His Spirit leading our spirit – ever in tune with Him.  Set our minds above – not below – it raises us above the level of earthly disputes and focuses us on our Father – knowing how to live peacefully with one another, knowing we can live eternally with Him…

Not filled with anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language, all these tear down.  But clothed in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, these build up. 

When the logs of discord – be they from memory or present – come by you in the stream of life – let them pass…don’t stop them, pull them up on the bank, build a house of pain and disruption, then live in it.  Rather, let them go on by, down the stream or out to sea.  That will allow you to reach that place where you can “forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

Then you can act in the victorious lifestyle of;  “over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”  This will allow you to express compassion toward those who have brought you harm, treat them with kindness, remain humble in the Lord for He raises you above the hurt, be gentle in response to harshness, and have patience as you see the Lord work out His will in you and others.

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Found, Not lost

Lamentations 2

My eyes fail with tears, My heart is troubled; My bile is poured on the ground Because of the destruction of the daughter of my people, Because the children and the infants Faint in the streets of the city. …

Their heart cried out to the Lord, “O wall of the daughter of Zion, Let tears run down like a river day and night; Give yourself no relief; Give your eyes no rest. Arise, cry out in the night, At the beginning of the watches; Pour out your heart like water before the face of the Lord. Lift your hands toward Him For the life of your young children, Who faint from hunger at the head of every street.” See, O LORD, and consider! To whom have You done this? Should the women eat their offspring, The children they have cuddled? Should the priest and prophet be slain In the sanctuary of the Lord? Young and old lie On the ground in the streets; My virgins and my young men Have fallen by the sword; You have slain [them] in the day of Your anger, You have slaughtered [and] not pitied You have invited as to a feast day The terrors that surround me. In the day of the Lord’s anger There was no refugee or survivor. Those whom I have borne and brought up My enemies have destroyed.”  Blue Letter Bible. “Lamentations 2 – New King James Version.” Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2009. 10 Apr 2009. < http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Lam&c=2&t=NKJV

 

My response:  More pain…a pain I know too well.  Tears at what you can’t fix, can’t repair, couldn’t prevent.  Pain that tears the inner heart of your self for the loss, of life that could have been, of health, of dreams… Life as you know it stops and changes.  It was easy, now it is hard, it was social, now it is loneliness, it was full of joy, now it is filled with sorrow.  God’s judgment has come and He is one to be feared.

Thank you Lord, for your protection.  I stood before you as one who would not compromise.  I held on to you, I cried to you, I read your Word and tried to follow it’s commands.  For that you have honored me with your presence, your peace, your direction.  In my loss I find you ever and always there.  Dreams can be replaced with new ones.  New life follows winter’s cold blast.  The earth springs forth with the promise of green and the colors of the fields.  So my life will spring anew with color given by you, with life directed by you, with dreams to build on … grounded in your Word.

Written July13, 2006, Thursday.  The promise given has come to pass, Blessed be the name of the Lord!!

A day in July 03 before the storm peaked

A day in July 03 before the storm peaked

 

            The day emerges from the shell of night with bird symphony.  The air is cool and moist.  There is the promise of a warm day in the air.  The sun begins its climb to glory and mastery. 

            Colossians 3: 1-4

            We are dead to this world and alive to Christ, to God.  Yet I love God’s creation though sin has tarnished it.  But my focus is on God and Christ’s return.  I’m ready anytime you are. 

 

A truer interpretation might be that ‘world’ is symbolic of thought patterns and beliefs that are contrary to God’s Word, a manner of thinking that controlled our approach to life that leads to death.  With the mind of Christ our thinking changes and our approach to life is contrary to that held by much of the world’s inhabitants.  In that we are dead to this world and alive to Christ.

 

To continue the first train of thought, mankind is tarnished by sin, our physical world has been tarnished by mankind, and pollution is one example.  However, in Christ I see the beauty in God’s creation and enjoy it.  He has given me the gift of life, a lifetime to enjoy his creation, and the promise I’ll spend eternity, life after this life, with Him.

Living in the Storm – July 05

This takes place six months after my storm broke full force in my life.

I’m standing in the hallway between bath and dining room and all of a sudden an intense hunger for the one with whom I had spent the last twenty- five years married to washes over me.  Why?  That eternal question fills my mind and I say it softly, then repeat it several times.  Why?…The tears come, the pain tears at my heart and I can’t move.  Slowly, I move to the table, sit down and look around the room at the rich brown trim, the crown molding, the old layout, the doors and rooms speaking of another time and day.  Then it comes to me like dawn awakening, I like it here because this is one area in which we clicked, we fit.  Our love of old homes, in spite of their shortcomings and immense amount of work.  We were willing to “make do” or “live with it,” because we both loved the old ways that spoke of our grandparents.  “A happy time in our life?”, perhaps. 

Now I share it alone.  The question Why? returns and I know it has a million responses and none at the same time.  It won’t help to know why because what is done is done.  My pain comes from loss, not from any hurt inflicted on me.  I was betrayed, many times it would seem, but that is no fault of mine.  Fault rests with those who deceive.  I can forgive that, Christ forgave me, God lives in me and He has my heart.  Forgiveness used to come hard for me because I took everything personally as if I was exempt or above receiving the hurt or deceit.  But I am no better than any other and certainly not my Lord.  I ask rather, that God forgive those who do not fully realize what they do.

My reading this day is from James 1:19-21  …everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to become angry…Get rid of all moral filth, evil that is prevalent…humbly accept the Word (God’s Word) planted in you, which can save you.  Do not merely listen to the word,…(that) will deceive you.  Do what it says. 

This helps to know what action to take and what action to avoid.  Be quick to listen – be a listener.  Be slow to speak – think after you listen.  Be slow to become angry.  If we listen carefully, think on it, we are not responding immediately, and there would be less chance of misunderstanding or mis-communication which often leads to anger.

Action:  rid yourself of moral filth, books, movies, thoughts, pictures, anything that would not be in line with God’s Word.  Rid yourself of evil found so easily in the world – anything driven by hate or self-seeking.  Accept God’s Word through listening and doing.  Listening only is deceitful because we listen , we speak but we do not act, we do not truly embrace it and make it ours or we would show it by our actions.

Lord, help me to first be quick to listen and slow to speak or react.  This is hard for me, I am practicing it daily.  Please continue to remind me of what I must do.  Let my actions show my reliance on you.

NOTE:  For background on this post go to Storm Story tab.