We have been studying the life of Joseph. He shared a sense of destiny with his brothers and it got him stripped, a pit and a free camel ride to Egypt. In Egypt he was morally pure, but it landed him in jail after he again lost his clothes. He probably thought, “Wait a minute this nightmare was not in my dreams.”
What is the Christian to make of this? We all have our inspirations which we say are the call of God. We respond like Isaiah and say, “Here am I! Send me” (6:8). However, we can’t be sent until God has made us like Christ; broken bread and poured out wine, and God uses something we never considered to do the job.
God is with the Christian wherever they are, in all our circumstances. We therefore are to be diligent in what God has us do. Oswald Chambers said, “Stay right with God and let him do as he likes, and we will find that he is producing in us the kind of bread and wine that will benefit his other children”
Bread and wine,
Have you noticed we are surrounded with a lot of anger these days? There is anger at the politicos, rage on the highways, fights in the streets, disrespect in the schools, and a lot of name calling. I even got caught up in it last week and found myself struggling with some anger. I responded by giving it over to Jesus, and let it go; it worked.
Coincidentally a friend emailed me and commented on how much anger there was at his work. He notice that many of his co-workers were angry and yelling that something has to change. He went on to say how the only people who seemed to have peace were those who were walking close to Jesus.
It does seem that tensions, anger, and desperation have reached a fevered pitch lately. This is a surprise for we live in an envied land with more wealth, opportunities, and servant goods than anyone has ever known, and yet there is no peace. How can this be? My friend’s observation is correct: Those who have peace are those who walk with Jesus.
I hate getting off at the Happy Valley exit of the I-17. Regardless of what direction you come from there is a circle-round at the end of the exit ramp, and I don’t like circle-rounds. The dislike stems from an inner fear, though it has never happened, of getting caught in the inner lane and not being able to get out; around and around Kirby goes.
As we have studied through the book of Genesis I noticed that Adam’s children became caught up in sin. Take for example of sin of deception. We have seen deception play out now in four generation of Abraham’s family. In a sense Abraham’s family got caught in the circle-round of deception and it’s as if they were caught in the inner lane. With each generation the deception grew and it seemed as if there was no way to break the cycle.
Have you ever talked with a madman? I did once on a sales call. He was quite reasonable, but a man with only one point. Despite the topic of conversation it somehow always came back to his one topic; someone thirty years ago stole his invention, and despite the passage of time all he could talk about was his invention. G. K. Chesterton describes the madman in the following way, “He is in the clean and well-lit prison of one idea: he is sharpened to one painful point.”
I use the example because many of us have had tragedies in our lives and rightly so they have changed us, but for some tragedies make us quite mad; we get stuck on them and there is no off ramp. Before you know it thirty years have gone by and we are still dwelling on the tragedy – anger, guilt, isolation, and self-abuse are some symptoms of being stuck.
This brings us back to the circle. Just as the circle represents the madman’s life, it also represents sin in our life because it is perfect and infinite. A circle can be large or small but it is with no ending or beginning, just around and around it goes, and people get stuck in their circles.
The cross of Jesus Christ is much different than a circle. It starts within a person’s heart and its four arms can extend out forever without altering its shape. It grows without changing. “The circle returns upon itself and is bound. The cross opens its arms to the four winds; it is a signpost for free travelers” G. K. Chesterton.
This is why the Christian always comes back to the cross. The cross pierces our circles in all directions. It shatters the circles we are stuck in and gives us life in abundance.
We closed Tuesday’s Bible study with, I’ll fly away.” Karmann began very slowly on her guitar, “One glad day when this life is ore…” By the time we hit the chorus we were in stride, “O I’ll fly away O Lordy; I’ll fly away…”
Our voices lofted out the open window into the cool evening like a fragrance. People exiting the park across the street heard our song, our joy and our laughter. Was this an example of what Paul wrote about, “We are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life” (2Cor 15)?
Paul’s words are one of God’s mysteries; an aroma from death…an aroma from life. The aroma of Christ’s testimony is always sweet-smelling, but it is received differently depending on which extreme a person is in: perishing, or saved. The one who rejects Christ is dying and smells their death. The one who has accepted Christ is living and smells life.
To Think About
“Beware what you brood on in secret for the fruitful opportunity will come when God and the devil will meet in your soul, and you will do according to your brooding”