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Posts Tagged ‘wickedness’

the tenWhat is your take-away in the negotiation between Abraham and the 3 “angels” about the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah?

Abraham: Please don’t be angry, Lord, at my boldness. Let me ask this just once more: suppose only ten [righteous people] are found?
Eternal One: For the sake of only ten [righteous people], I still will not destroy it [the city]. [Genesis 18:32, The Voice]

And there it is, the ultimate question and answer, “Will God sweet away the righteous with the wicked?” Those who study the end times have all kinds of scenarios about the final destruction, the great apocalypse. But in the end, don’t we really wonder, would God cast all away in one full sweep? Abraham wondered the same thing.

The answer was that God would save the city for the sake of the ten . . . but ten could not be found.

Ten could not be found.

How many are enough to save the Earth? or our nation? or continent? Will God stay the hand of destruction for the sake of the beloved? Am I one? Am I enough to make a difference in my world’s fate?

followershipToday, at our church’s “Code Red Revival,” the last of our guest speakers [Daniel McNaughton, from his book, Learning to Follow Jesus] laid out a clear context in which any believer must be operating in the world:

  • Learn to be with Jesus (like any mentor and mentee relationship, you must hang out together).
  • Learn to listen (it takes practice to hear God and there are many places where that can happen: in a large group like a church setting; in a small group like a bible study or micro-church; in a one-on-one relationship with another person; or simply alone with God).
  • Learn to heal (for this is modeled by the Christ and healing is promised, whether physical-mental-relational).
  • Learn to influence (being the salt of the earth or light in a dark place).
  • Learn to love (for God is love and until we step toward people in love, even those we “hate,” nothing changes).
  • Learn to pray (it is a dialogue built on respect and trust in which we can intersect with the divine).
  • Learn to manage God’s resources (work with the gifts we are given, now and along the way).

This is how we can  be one of the ten or twenty or 10,000. Thanks be to God.

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I keep forgetting who I really am. I mean, there is a core, where Spirit resides within, where the Redeemer mystery took place, and that nucleus is holy. And worse, in the same way I lose myself, I also lose the “sacred other”: same core, same potential for good.

I Corinthians 5:7
Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.

If I could just hang on, daily, to the truth of the core, then the yeast of life’s challenges and bad choices wouldn’t find such a comfy environment to multiply. Instead of over-reacting to someone’s slight, I could draw on my shared center where the work was already done by the sacrificial lamb. I could forgive on the moment, instead of waiting for conscience to kick in later. Instead of replaying conversations, I could stay in conversation with the Spirit, a much more productive exchange. Instead of gossiping and tale-telling (oh, so cleverly), I could be building a new story with the God of Hope.

I am redeemed. I don’t have to be the ugly American, the chip on her shoulder worker, the judgmental observer, the pessimist.

Today’s yeast is no different than the biblical yeast: malice and wickedness. Do I really want that for my life? Do I want to allow my being to be consumed by this yeast unnecessarily? Or do I want to be that unleavened bread marked by sincerity and truth? [I Cor 5:8] The answer is a “no-brainer.”

Here’s what I have to do today: practice. That’s right. Practice sincerity and truth. Practice kindness and patience and self-control. Practice love. Believe in peace and joy and goodness. [Galatians 5:22]

These fruits are present already. They are the default harvest from the Holy Spirit within. The more I engage these fruits, the easier it will be to eat them and share them. Selah.

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People will often say, “what is truth?” And perhaps that can be debated, particularly in philosophical or academic circles. But I will hold to this: wicked (corrupt, evil, unethical) people will suppress whatever truth there is.

Romans 1:18-19
The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.

Truth is dangerous. Truth is in your face. Truth demands justice. Truth is messy.

One of my children has perfected the art of the lie. He actually believes the lie simplifies his life (at least at first). A quick lie will delay explanation. A clever lie will satisfy curiosity. A believable lie will delay consequences.

The biggest problem with lying is that if one does it regularly, pretty soon, the lie becomes one’s personal truth. This is the lie that births wickedness. And at this point, actual truth is much more difficult to discern.

It’s not just children who metamorphose lies into a manufactured truth. Adults do it all the time. Couples do it. Leaders do it. Companies do it. Governments do it.

Anything that “man” has not made, is God’s handiwork. God is in nature. God is wind. God is sun and moon and stars. God is dirt and insects and animals. God is energy. God is light.

God is truth.

People can try to suppress God, but in the end, truth is always revealed (sometimes sooner, sometimes later).

Give way to truth. Give way to God. And the knots of wickedness will be untied by the power of Spirit. Today.

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