Kill The Chaos!

Chaos is disorder, confusion, and turmoil. Sometimes we cause our own chaos. Sometimes we are thrust—reluctantly and unexpectedly—into chaotic storms created by others.

Chaos blocks everyday spiritual growth! On our spiritual pathway towards peace, we must consciously resist chaos, refusing to allow it to invade our space. And, when we are protective of those we care about, we refuse to allow chaos to engulf their lives.

Today, I lift you up in finding and sharing this solitude of the soul! Come, step into the rhythm and quietness of that peculiar peace which only God offers. As we seek to kill chaos, I invite you to look at the world through what Dr. Gardner Taylor called “God-colored glasses.” Chaos evaporates when it encounters “God’s climate.”

I was privileged to hear Dr. Taylor deliver many sermons in person. Newsweek and Time named him one of the greatest preachers in the world. The New York Times called him the “lion of the pulpit.” He was unparalleled in delivering the Gospel, the Good News, the evangelion.

One day, several years ago, I got the idea of calling Concord Baptist Church in Brooklyn to ask about a particular sermon. I assumed the church had archived audiotapes of his messages. Dialing the number, I expected to reach a receptionist or answering device. Suddenly, on the other end of the phone, I heard that deep, booming, recognizable voice: “Concord, Taylor speaking!”

What?! Dr. Taylor? Answering the telephone? Too stunned to speak, confusion and utter shock set in. I hang up. Yes, I hung up on Gardner Calvin Taylor!

Despite the lingering embarrassment, I still find encouragement in Dr. Taylor’s works. He wrote: “Knowing God means, at least in part, seeing things as God sees them. Our lives must be grounded in an eternal purpose that even the fitful moods of earth otherwise cannot alter.”

That light of God’s love kills the chaos that brings ”a midnight” to our hearts. Dr. Taylor wrote: when “life is dark, murky, and foggy…This is not to say that God does not allow us our hot, fretful moods, when we pound the table before His presence, angry, feeling wronged… Our Calvary may be painful and lonely, our course rough and cruel, but God can and will heal our hurts and soothe our sorrows and turn our grief into glad hosannas.”

I have pounded the table some recently. When chaos comes sailing into your life out of some dark whirlwind, the response that kills chaos is Hope. Hope is a weapon of the soul. If chaos is a fire, Hope is the water hose. Slay it!

Kill The Chaos Post-Note

The above post is a column I wrote for the September, 2017, edition of “Nashville Christian Family.” (See www.christianfamilynashville.com) Because of the word length limit I was working on, I cut it short. For my blog readers, here is little more of how I want to encourage you.

Hope, for believers, is not merely wishful thinking. It means knowing that God is faithful, even in chaos. Hope is expecting God to fulfill all of His great promises. It is having confidence that His love will dispel every negative circumstance that paralyzes us.

Yes, bad things still happen to good people. Hope knows that God promises to right every wrong. Those with evil motives can accuse you falsely. Hope gives us strength to focus, even in chaotic times—not on how the situation looks at this moment, but upon the truth that God fights our every battle. He will have the last say.

When our faith is weak and the reason for our confidence seems gone, Hope is the solution we find in the Word. Hope guides when we don’t know what to do. Hope is the prize when it looks as if Satan, up to this moment, has won every victory.

Although David is not mentioned as the author of Psalm 42, it is distinctively his writing style. This psalm is addressed to the chief musician. I can think of nothing better to sing about than Hope for the hurt, troubled believer. When we find ourselves struggling with a crisis of courage, or with fear and doubt, this is indeed a song of deliverance. Hope in God!

Psalm 42:11 New Revised Standard Version
Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my help and my God.

This scripture is repeated in Psalm 42:5 and 43:5.

Quotes from Dr. Gardner C. Taylor are taken from: “Faith In The Fire: Wisdom for Life,” Taylor, Gardner C., Hay House, Inc. 2011

The Quietness of Saturday

iStock Photo by Vitanovski
iStock Photo by Vitanovski

Sandwiched between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday is the stillness of soundless Saturday. There was nothing. No remarkable event. No cataclysm from the fingers of heavens, nothing like the Force that slashed the temple veil or turned high noon into midnight. God closed the curtains of heaven.

The tension was unmistakable. The atmosphere among Jesus’ followers was one of amazement. The One who cast out demons, raised the dead, and restored sight to blind eyes is now dead. It looked like Jesus’ enemies had won. Herod, the synagogue leaders, Pilate, the soldiers, and even the angry crowd that chose Barabbas…all appeared victorious. The ministry of the disciples seems to have ended on Calvary. No longer fishing for men, His disciples were not just absent. They frantically ran away. The crucifixion changed everything.

Don’t be surprised. We have all been there or will get there. When life hits “pause” and when our personal silent Saturdays come, there are no instructions for your next move. On Monday you have a job; on Wednesday it is gone. On Tuesday, you have a home, a car, a hefty retirement account, a stable income. On silent Saturday, you stand perplexed and ask, “What just happened?” The comfortable, familiar patterns of life suddenly evaporate.

Beyond today is tomorrow. After Saturday comes Sunday. Silent Saturday is only an interlude. In the performance of a significant piece of music, the “interlude” is the instrumental connecting passage. It gives harmony and melody to the composition. And so, in life, during the interlude, we wait for God’s connection.

The women who came to the grave, expecting to find a corpse, but they found an angelic messenger. A messenger awaited with words of hope and instruction.

Today is Saturday. I plan to just wait. Wait right here and see what God has to say about all of my tomorrows.

Cancel Fear with Faith

I want you to know today—I am praying for your healing and health. I proclaim the power of God’s Word and promises over you, even if I don’t know you by name…God does.

Woman-Meadow-FREE-iStock_000015438998Small
iStockphoto, Tom Fullum

Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.

—Proverbs 30:5 NIV

I don’t claim to understand why some are healed and some are not; what I know for sure is that God wants us to trust Him for healing. If I’m wrong about that, nothing else in the Word makes sense—but since I know I’m right, everything makes sense. As a believer completely healed of Stage 4 Non-Hodgkins lymphoma, I know that God still does the hard stuff.

He wants us healed and understands our interest in our healing not taking forever.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.—Proverbs 13:12 NIV

The enemy’s words are always the opposite of what God says. And the enemy uses fear to block our healing and our blessings.  Be assured today that things are happening in the spiritual realm that we cannot see or measure. Consider, for example, what happened after Daniel prayed  (Daniel 6). In the lion’s den, lions acted like lambs. An angel of God gave them lockjaw—(look that up; it’s a real pathological ailment.)

I’m confident that everything God promised, everything He has ever said to me will be given to me.  I believe I will accomplish everything the Lord said about me. I believe I possess all that the Lord said that I have. This is the level of faith I claim for you.   Be confident;  your deliverance is on the way!

Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today…”—Exodus 14:13a, NIV

Reach up your right hand, at this very moment; allow God to take hold of you. This gesture is not about you holding God’s hand…for you might let Him go…but He will never let go of your hand.

For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand

and says to you, “Do not fear; I will help you.”—Isaiah 41:13 NIV

So don’t be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows, and sparrows, as small as they are, fear absolutely nothing. (Matthew 10:31 NIV)

The Miracle of Forgiveness

Jason R. Warren

Suddenly, it’s Easter week! A time of triumph and renewal…gently lifting our spirits, ushering us closer to the warmth of summer. These are days of brightness and new beginnings.  We passed thru winter (such as it was); we’re coming out green, vibrant, alive. Easter: a time of hope, healing, restoration, rebirth.

Stores fill with ribboned, bejeweled creations. Sunday bonnets of every style imaginable burst with blossoms. Mothers slap slightly-tilted hats on the heads of recalcitrant little girls and put crisply pressed trousers and bow ties on little boys.

Jesus’ resurrection is central to our songs of praise and worship. At Easter we’re reminded of the certainty of love and the power of forgiveness. Even extreme forgiveness.

My spiritual daughter, Kim, introduced me to a living example of forgiveness on steroids when she met women who forgave those who meticulously, brutally murdered their husbands, sons, fathers and brothers. Battered and bruised—the women of Rwanda were left to pick up the pieces of devastated lives and communities. To bind up ragged remnants of their families and country. Hearing their stories, many ask: “How is this possible?”

Stunningly beautiful, Rwanda is “the land of a thousand hills;” it resembles Switzerland.  What we remember, however, is the 100 days of slaughter in 1994 and the loss of over 800,000 lives.

Kim participated in a conference for women from Rwanda and the Congo. One group lived so far into the bush and were so impoverished they actually lived naked. The ministry provided clothing; the women walked two hours to the nearest road to be picked up and driven to the gathering. Others walked for hours, babies strapped to their backs. After eight or nine hours of teaching, they still hungered for spiritual strength.

One woman, in particular, stood out. In one single day, she had lost seventeen members of her family—her husband, parents, in-laws, brothers, sisters, and all of her children. Three months later, she gave birth to a child who also died. As she spoke, she thanked God for all He had done in her life and for sparing her live.

To live in joy at that level, despite such dire circumstances is remarkable. The first thing many do is blame God.

Kim said: “We went to Rwanda to help.  Instead, we were the ones who were transformed. By their example, the Rwandan women were our teachers.”

Forgiveness is a choice. To do otherwise is to live in bondage to anger and bitterness.  The thrilling discovery of the power of forgiveness sets us free.