Paradise Lost

From where I sat in the lounge of the guest house I had full view of the lake that bordered onto the property with a backdrop of pine trees waving in the winter breeze. The wind was playing on the surface of the water as it chased ripples from one end to the other, it was paradise on steroids.

There were moments that I found myself almost afraid of looking at this scene just to realize that it was only an illusion of my mind.  I was afraid to trust what I saw and yet on the flipside I drank in every moment of this beauty so as to burn this picture into memory forever and when needed I could just call it to mind and so be transport  to that happy place of eternal tranquility I had experienced.  My friends may describe it as a piece of heaven on earth.

Despite the tranquility of the moment I still found my soul to be seeking like a lost wanderer for a place the best I know to describe as home.  At this point I know that most who call themselves “reborn Christians” will accuse me of being a poor lost soul.  How does someone not know the depths of true conversion?  Others may pity me and remind me that this earth is not our permanent home and that the soul will only find rest with Christ in heaven.  And others may even recommend that I enroll on some discipleship course to gain full understanding of my lostness. They will try and turn me into their image although they may believe they are doing God a favor and have me as one of their trophy’s as another lost soul converted.

Again, looking at this scene before me, risking to even provide more fuel to the religious fervor, I felt my soul crying out for Holy, pure, godly truth.  And then I suddenly understood why it was so difficult for my brain to accept what I was seeing. The picture in front of me was the real deal, it reflected the truth of God creator.  No matter what man would add in words, it would not change the beauty of this scene, it was what it was, it could be trusted and it brought a deep sense of both calm and clarity  to the soul.

For the past month we have been following the endless debates on the USA presidential election campaigns for 2020. Though only being in the early stages,  it becomes just more and more clear that every campaign meeting is marked by personal insult to the opposition, slander, mudslinging, defamation of character, shouting, screaming and irrational behavior that would in the normal be diagnosed as “mad behavior of an emotionally unstable person” and they would be placed in some kind of institution for observation.

Mark 7:4

Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. 

15 Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.” 

17 After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. 

18 “Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them? 

19 For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.)

20 He went on: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them.

21 For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, 

22 adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 

23 All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”

Here it is necessary to pause for a moment and reflect what “body of meaning” each of those words hold:

  • Malice: Hatred, meanness, spite
  • Greed: Insatiability, greediness
  • Adultery: Disloyalty, treachery, falseness
  • Immorality: Wickedness, depravity, corruption

It came as no surprise that once turning off the television after watching a campaign meeting and news channels reports, I would feel a deep sense of despair, struggling to believe that those on stage who are supposed to be the older and wiser, had fallen into such deep depravity.  But above all the voice of the church and believers would either be that of silence or just as the candidates on the political stage tear one another to pieces like ravenous Lions. Nothing had changed in the amphitheaters of this world; They are still the same Roman circus where the crowds would watch and jeer as the Lions and beasts devoured the prey.  Why? Because it was just another form of entertainment as the beast would tear flesh and bone apart.  The upside for the church and believers is that we can actually have a cup of coffee in hand snuggly seated in Church or on the couch at home and go to bed just to repeat the same old pattern as before.   We are no different and we are no better than the Roman empire of old.

The parameters by which you measure have been reset and you question the way people around you go about everyday life just being satisfied with the empty, meaningless talk and habits that brings no real depth to life itself.

There’s strength in obedience, the assurance of God’s grace, and Scripture and history show that God often calls his servants to accomplish works which to them seem impossible. Another positive aspect to obedience is that it renders every task, however boring or mundane, spiritually fruitful, since any task done for the love of God, and in humility, brings about good fruits for us and others as the hidden life of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph at Nazareth attests.

Vow of Stability: