The Art of Biblical Subtext (or, How Do Other People Pick Up On Things I Can’t Seem To???)

Genesis 22.  God calls on Abraham to sacrifice his only son Isaac to Him on a mountain in Moriah.  Abraham obeys, he doesn’t take Isaac and runs for the hills.  He willingly goes, bringing his as-of-yet clueless son with him.  As they climb the mountain, he says to the servant with them, “Stay here, for we will return.”  But the scriptures don’t explicitly say Abraham had no fear.  Isaac asks him where the animal for the sacrifice is, and he replies simply, “God will provide.”  He doesn’t deviate.  He doesn’t question.  And at the very last possible moment, or “right on time” in God’s Timing (something else that just baffles my mind), God intervenes and provides a ram for the sacrifice.

Now, it seems there are two possible explanations for Abraham’s statement: “Stay here, for we will return.”  The “we” indicates Abraham’s faith that God would let him keep his son.  On the one side, there’s the theory that Abraham knew God would provide an “out” for Isaac to be spared altogether, hence the ram in the thicket at the opportune moment.  “Oh look!  There’s a substitute for you, Isaac my boy!  Let’s get you out of these ropes and binds, shall we?”

But it seems to me that a more reasonable “human” response would be to delay, linger, procrastinate as much as possible to quell the nearness to the actual act of sacrifice, to put off tying Isaac up, or at least make the bonds loose so he could get free.  But no.  Isaac was bound tight as a drum in inescapable bonds and placed on the altar, like a turkey ready to be roasted.  This gives way to the other school of thought: Abraham believed God would resurrect his son and send him back down the mountain with him.

Reasonable, yes.  But how can we possibly read into Abraham’s mind when all we truly have to glean from is a play-by-play of the events as they occurred?  There’s no post-sacrifice wrap-up, no interviews with the individuals involved, no instant replays with close-ups of Abraham’s face looking for a tell of some sort.  Did he look around desperately as he was raising the knife to plunge into his son, praying fervently for a replacement?  Or did he expect to see his son walking down from higher up the mountain after being sacrificed, not a scratch or a burn on him, in a completely new body?

I plan on asking Abraham that someday.

Déjà vu…

As a member of the human race, I can relate to mankind’s habit of returning to sin with regularity.  I’m far from perfect.  I fight daily with struggles that have waged war with my heart’s desire to do what is right for years.  I could be a poster child for Christ’s incredible and undeserved grace.

But I just read Genesis 20, and I have a sneaking suspicion we’ve been here before.

In a previous blog post, I pondered Abraham’s decision to not trust his God and Friend to protect him and Sarai when they moved to Egypt (Genesis 13).  Now, just seven chapters later, Abraham makes the same mistake again, this time to King Abimelech of Gerar (located in what is now south-central Israel).  As if once wasn’t enough!  As a foreigner to the lands surrounding Gerar, Abraham once again tells Sarai (now called Sarah) to tell the people wherever they went that they’re siblings instead of a married couple.  Abimelech sees Sarah’s beauty and sends for her to be brought to him at his palace… I think you can surmise why.  (Sarai must have been one “hottie” of a Hebrew woman, especially at her age.)  God comes to Abimelech in a dream that night and tells him he’s going to die for taking another man’s wife.  Abimelech cries foul and claims his innocence as he was deceived by both Abraham and Sarah, but God still threatens him with death if he does not return Sarah to Abraham.

Abimelech confronts Abraham, and Abraham claims they really are siblings as they have the same father but different mothers.  Was he really telling the truth here, or was he claiming God as his father which, while true, seems to be the route Abe took to weasel his way out of trouble again for a very significant mistake he’d made once before with another king?  Sounds to me like he was passing the buck again.  Abimelech then gives Abraham a slew of gifts!  Servants, cattle, sheep, goats, a thousand pieces of silver, and whatever spot of land in Gerar they choose to live.

??!!?!?!!!?!!!

Do what now?!  Abraham brazenly commits a very specific sin of deception, one he’d already been disciplined for years ago, and he gets rewarded?!  Abraham, being a prophet, then prays to God, and God heals Abimelech and his family of the condition that fell upon them for Abimelech’s sin of taking Abraham’s wife?

There must be some kind of subtext in this passage, because it seems to me the one at fault really was Abraham.  Perhaps the lesson is grace.  Abraham sinned against God by not trusting Him and for deceiving another, so God pardons him.  But it doesn’t seem right.  Heck, even the heading for this passage is “Abraham Deceives Abimelech,” for goodness’ sake!  Abraham intentionally disobeyed God.

But how often do I do the same?  And how often do I pray for God’s mercy instead of His correcting hand?  Quite frequently.  My takeaway from this scripture is this: while God’s forgiveness and grace are always offered through Jesus, I can’t always expect to be spared the consequences for what I do.  Sometimes it’ll happen, sometimes I’ll be spared the hurt, the rebuke, the shame.  But I should always expect the consequences.  And to avoid the consequences, I should stay away from sin.  Simple enough…

Good thing there’s still grace.

Sulfur rain and pillars of salt…

I’ve heard it said the Bible is too goody-goody, too sunshine and rainbows to be real.  Only someone who’s never read it could say that.  Right from the get-go, there’s murder, debauchery, arrogance, selfishness… the list goes on and on.  Billions of people throughout history who thought they’re too good for this world and therefore can do whatever they want.  Not so.

Abraham had a nephew named Lot with whom he was very close.  However, Lot seemed to end up in situations where sin crept in all around him, trying to destroy him.  He lived with his family in the city of Sodom, a city of extreme wickedness and debauchery whose neighbor Gomorrah was more of the same.  Through Abraham’s pleading to the Lord to keep Lot and his family safe, two angels are sent to Lot to get him the heck out of Dodge, as it were, as God was planning to essentially nuke the two cities and wipe them and their sin-crazed inhabitants from the face of the earth.  At the last minute, the angels grab the hands of Lot and his family and virtually have to drag them out of the city to spare their lives.  For whatever reason, Lot’s wife looks back at the city longingly (what was she longing for?) and turns into a pillar of salt.  Personally, I don’t quite know if I believe she turned into a literal pillar of sodium chloride.  I think she was more likely consumed so quickly by the raining flames of fire and burning sulfur that she turned to ash almost instantaneously, hinting at the appearance of being turned into salt.  An entry I found on Wikipedia offers a different explanation, but I think the two could easily intertwine.  (However, explaining it requires knowledge of how high heat would affect a human body, and I’m not Temperance Brennan.)

I’m both fascinated and disheartened by our history.  The years gone by are filled with all kinds of adventure, mystery, heart-stopping drama and divine miracles, the stuff of legend and stories.  But there is often more heartbreak and hurt than good, and pretty much always as the result of someone’s choice.  A single small decision can tremendously change the course of our lives both for good and for worse.  Like a tiny rudder steering a ship, even the most seemingly insignificant choice can set incredible events into motion.

What kind of choices am I making?

Surely He wasn’t wearing a trenchcoat and Groucho Marx glasses…

Genesis 18.  Very interesting.  Starts out with Abraham seeing three men standing nearby.  He immediately runs out to them and greets them.  Something tells me he knew who these men were, even though it doesn’t really specify.  From what I’m reading I’m making the guess that it was the Lord and two of His angels, or perhaps God in the form of three separate individuals.  The scriptures don’t explicitly indicate who they were until verse 13 where it describes how the Lord called Sarah out for laughing to herself in doubt of her ability to have children at nearly ninety years old.

Then there’s the fact that this man who called Sarah out most likely was God.  God decided to come down and hang out with His devoted servant Abraham and pass along His message to him about the first of his many descendants in the flesh.  What form did God take?  Could it have been Jesus, or the Holy Spirit?  And what about Him gave Him away that Abraham immediately recognized Him?  It’s not described.  The only clue is how Abraham immediately stood up from where he was sitting to meet them, no questions, no hesitation.  Something about them was unique, and it was seemingly uniquely God.

I wonder how often God has placed something or someone in my midst that represents Him directly.  How many times have I missed those moments, brushed them off as nothing important?  My wife has had a couple distinct experiences where she believes she was visited by a messenger from God.  Brings me hope that I can experience something like that.  But how brave am I to ask for that kind of experience, to be in the presence of someone that close to the Holiest of holies?

Will I be able to pick God out of the crowd and immediately know that it’s Him come to greet me?

Location: Here…

I sit in this booth at Bonefish Grill with my wife, and as she journals in her leather-bound notebook, I take a few moments to reflect on the events from the weekend. We had incredibly moving services all weekend, each one receiving a true spirit of quiet reflection and celebration of our God and King. Hearts moved, refreshing encounters with Jesus, and all our efforts directed to this one purpose.

Yet I’m somewhat unsettled. I have a lot going through my mind right now, thoughts of the upcoming week and of the years beyond that, mixed with fear of and for that future, our future, my future.  I hear echoes of the many compliments, reassurances and thanks that I am serving God right where I’m supposed to be right now.  While I’m honored to receive those words of encouragement, they are also waged in battle against the deeply set desires in my heart to pursue other dreams I have yet to reach, other goals that have yet to be fulfilled.  But plans don’t always go the way you think, and I admonish myself to remember that I’m still living the dream job many people would give everything up for.

Before we fled our house in favor of catching dinner rather than cabin fever, my wife and I were watching The Sound Of Music.  Yes, while it’s not entirely accurate as far as what the actual Von Trapp family experienced, it’s still a timeless classic.  It’s not just music and happy colors and needles pulling thread, it’s a very sobering look at the lengths a man is willing to go to save his family and his own life.  In the face of an impossible future, Georg Von Trapp led his family over the mountains, fleeing an enemy that sought to force him to serve an evil purpose or face death. Some would call it cowardly; I call it courageous, an effort to continue living lives of peace and choosing not to serve under the oppressive thumb of a murderous Reich.

I’ve always been fascinated by the events of World War II.  Life for millions of people became anything but business as usual when the Reich began its expansion.  And yet, there’s been an invasion on the hearts of mankind since the beginning.  Perhaps this is my fear, that I won’t live in the fullness of what I’ve been called to, what I have passion for.  All the more reason to surrender everything to God, and that makes me pretty fearful at times as well.

So while I’m here, I’m going to try to surrender things one by one.

Godless decisions…

I’ve just reached the point in biblical history when Abram (later to be known as Abraham) and his wife Sarai went to Egypt due to the famine in Canaan (Genesis 13).  Abram fears for his own life at the hands of the Egyptians due to Sarai’s beauty, but instead of asking for God’s help and protection, he devises a ruse that Sarai is his sister rather than his wife, persuading her to go along with it.  She does, and for a very short time Abram receives many gifts and blessings from the Pharaoh in honor of Sarai.

But suddenly God rains down terrible plagues upon Pharaoh and his household, and somewhere along the line God reveals to Pharaoh exactly why he and his family are suffering: the woman he’s been infatuated with is, in fact, married to the man who claimed to be her brother.  I wonder how God chose to reveal this to Pharaoh…  Furious at being deceived, Pharaoh summons Abram and lambasts him for not being truthful about his relationship with Sarai, casting him, Sarai, and all their people, livestock and possessions out of Egypt.

It seems that Pharaoh would have accepted Abram as Sarai’s husband had Abram trusted God’s protection over him.  It also seems that God wanted to be particular in how He got His message across to Abram that he should have trusted Him in the first place rather than taking things into his own hands.  What’s worse, though: seeking God and then not going by His instruction, or leaving Him out of the equation entirely?  I’m guessing both are equally foolish.  Why we ever think we know more than the One who knows everything is beyond me, yet I know I make such decisions pretty much daily.

Furthermore, others suffered because of Abram’s scheme.  Not just anyone, mind you, but the flippin’ king of an entire nation!  A king who, again, perhaps would gladly have accepted Abram and Sarai as they were into his community!  At the very least, Abram could have just asked for some degree of protection from God, and any attempts to cause him or Sarai harm would have failed.  I wonder what the situation would have looked like if Abram had sought God’s wisdom and protection.  I wonder how the future of Abram and his descendants could have been set on an entirely different course.  All because we try to cover our own hides rather than seek the One who knows best.  A simple lesson, but the most difficult to learn.

In the beginning, there were many questions…

I wonder how Adam & Eve figured out the whole “sexual-relations” thing… was that on their own?

Did God not accept Cain’s gift purely as a lesson?  What did it mean that God didn’t accept his gift?  Did He mean for Cain to go back and try again?  Did Cain neglect to bring the best he had from his crops?  Was he meant to be an example because of his poor response?

What was going through Abel’s mind as Cain attacked him?  Cain seemed to cry like a baby when God banished him, taking zero responsibility for his actions, even going so far as to blame God for his situation.  Even in the beginning, we were trying to cast the blame off ourselves!  First Adam blames Eve, then Eve blames the Serpent, then Cain blames God Himself.  What gall… but then, how often do I do that?…

What was the mark that God put on Cain when he banished him to warn others who might try to kill him?  And where did those others come from?  Where did Cain find his wife?  What’s her story?

It’s incredible how many of Cain’s descendants are responsible for being the very first to do certain things: Jabal, Cain’s great-great-great-great-great-grandson, was the first to raise livestock and live in tents, and his brother Jubal was the first to play the harp and the flute.  Did they just figure it out, or were they taught somehow?  And did God return to Cain’s family even though He initially banished Cain from His presence for his murder of Abel?

Lamech, Jubal & Jabal’s father, was an interesting guy.  Genesis 4:23:

One day Lamech said to his wives,

“Adah and Zillah, hear my voice;
listen to me, you wives of Lamech.
I have killed a man who attacked me,
a young man who wounded me.
24 If someone who kills Cain is punished seven times,
then the one who kills me will be punished seventy-seven times!”

What in the world was he talking about???  Was he simply being boastful or proud?  I wonder if he was the first to get drunk on wine… bizarre.

Okay, people wonder about the beginning of time, how long the earth has been around.  At 130 years of age, Adam had another son named Seth with Eve.  He then lived another 800 years… that’s nearly a full millenia!  Looks like Noah was the 12th generation after Adam… fancy that.  I love how God works.  But I’m curious as to how many years after he did the flood was.  Doesn’t seem like that many… at least not if you view a century as not being that long a time.  But it still pulls into question how many years ago God actually created everything.  I recall finding a graph online that someone created to spell the whole thing out.  I’ll have to try to find that again.

And here’s another question… six days to create the earth, one to rest.  Six days as in twenty-four hours?  Or six days as in six thousand years?  2 Peter 3:8:

… A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day.

… and Psalm 90:4:

For You, a thousand years are as a passing day,
as brief as a few night hours.

Hmm.  So, is it possible that creation actually took six thousand years, give or take a few centuries?  I recall reading about an experiment the scientists running the Hubble Telescope did a number of years ago.  Essentially they were using Hubble to help determine exactly how old the universe really is.  The results staggered their minds: Hubble’s results showed the universe was formed only about 6,000 years ago.  It seems those results were only briefly published before they were dismissed and/or buried in favor of a “God-less” explanation, currently putting the age of the universe at between 12 and 13 billion years old.  However, something those scientists may not be accounting for is the fact that the speed of light has decreased in its speed quite significantly since the beginning of time.  Today, the current speed of light is ten or twenty thousand miles-per-hour slower than it was only 15-20 years ago.  So, to me it’s quite possible that the results they’re getting now are false positives due to the failure to accurately determine how long it has actually taken the light from distant celestial objects and bodies to reach us from afar.  Of course, there’s also the defense that the speed of light’s decrease in speed proves that the universe was formed through such a great cataclysmic event as the “Big Bang,” because why else would light be slowing down if it didn’t come into formation through the largest explosion in history?  To me, that’s precisely why it still falls under the jurisdiction of the unexplainable except by only one way.  It’s a difficult question, but I know God has it figured out already anyway.  Heck, He made everything.

I think that’s enough questions for now… my brain’s starting to freeze up.

Created for us…

I just started a “historical” read-through plan of the Bible at YouVersion.com. Essentially it goes through every book of the Bible in the order each book was written. I’m not exactly sure how different it will be from a chronological read-through (in the order which things occurred rather than when the book were written), so we’ll see how this goes. Either way, I’m excited.

First revelation: when God was creating the universe, He created it just for us. The Earth wasn’t the last thing He made… it seems like it was the first. He didn’t even make the sun first! He said, “Let there be light,” and there it was. Where was it coming from? Or perhaps, Who was it coming from? According to Genesis 1:14-18, it wasn’t until the fourth day that he actually made the sun and moon and stars. They were merely the “governors” of day and night He put in place to keep a regular rhythm to things. Heck, He made seed- & fruit-bearing plants before He made the sun. I wonder if that was because He was planning on being so close to the earth that the sun and moon weren’t really going to be needed to yield life from the plants in the soil. It makes me sort of sad thinking about how His original idea was to be all we would ever need, but we chose poorly…

Second revelation, accompanied with a question: when God created us He said, “Let us make human beings in our own image, to be like us.” I’ve read this before. I’ve always thought I understood what this means. I thought I comprehended how in Heaven our bodies would become perfected, the way God originally intended. But to be in the exact image of God Himself, of Jesus Christ in all His glory, to be like His heavenly host of angels… was He talking to Jesus when He said “us,” or was He talking to all of Heaven’s realm?…

A question: why did God make the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil? Why was it necessary? Did God Himself eat from it? Was it there purely to demonstrate Adam & Eve’s obedience to Him in not partaking of its fruit?… and why did Adam & Even have to eat it? I don’t know whether it was a flaw in our design, most likely intentional since nothing is a surprise to God, or the pure deceiving power of the Enemy. Perhaps both.

God’s judgement on Adam & Eve and the rest of humankind makes me very sad. We had it made! Life and company at our fingertips, within our hands, beneath our feet, and we abandoned it in favor of something greater. Now we must work hard, and our days are numbered. Death scares me. The idea of just not being alive is frightening, because it’s all I know. All because we wanted to be greater than we were.

But the Enemy wanted to be greater, too. Which is precisely why he was cast down, he and his legions of followers. I wonder how many countless millennia the war has been going on between God and the enemy.

It seems we may have been cured of our new mortality if we’d eaten of the Tree of Life. But with our knowledge of what is good and what is evil, we would have been exactly like God instead of just being made in His image, in honor of His glory. I wonder what that would have been like… It’s possible that would have stirred up an entirely new war alongside the battle waged between Heaven and the darkness.

And since nothing is a surprise to God… He did it all anyway. I know His ways are so much higher than mine, but I wonder what He was thinking as He made all these things knowing full well what was going to happen next, in just a few days, or years, depending on how time was calculated at its beginning. Obviously, He knows something I don’t….

Well, okay. More than just a few somethings. More like… like… a really big number that I’d never be able to comprehend.

And that’s okay. I just want to live a life that says to Him, “All I need is You. And while I’ll keep screwing up and making the wrong choice, choosing from the wrong tree, I’ll keep trying because You keep forgiving.”

And maybe I won’t be so afraid anymore.

Patience or Priority?

The Apostle Peter was a very interesting individual.  He’s described as big and burly, a hardworking fisherman who often spoke and acted impulsively and, occasionally, irrationally.  Whatever was on his mind he would speak aloud.  Whatever fire burned in his heart stirred him into motion.  He didn’t seem to consider the consequences of his words & deeds until after the fact, and Jesus is seen repeatedly trying to get through to him with admonishment, with rebuke, with repeated instructions.

Peter sort of reminds me of myself at times.  What’s in my head, I want to get out and share, contribute my $.02 even if it doesn’t actually further the conversation.  When an idea comes to mind of something I can, should, or want to do about something or with someone, I’m usually hard-pressed to resist the urge to get going on it yesterday.  As I closed in my last post, patience tends to be a pretty challenging concept for me to grasp and put into practice.

But in Peter’s case, it seems to be less about patience and more about priority.  I read a chapter from John Maxwell’s book The 21 Most Powerful Minutes in a Leader’s Day, and he explored the transition Peter made from the unremarkable life of a fisherman in Galilee to the impassioned leader of the first Christian church.  He watched how Jesus made choices, observed as his Teacher made the tough decisions no one else would be able to make because of the end result He had in mind.  Peter learned what it meant to fully invest in something greater than himself, and how to lead from that place to ensure he was always staying on track with the command his Master taught him: to bear witness to the world that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

I’m realizing how paramount it is for me to pause while making a decision and weigh all the variables, to identify the contrast between what is good and what is best, what is important versus what is critical in any given circumstance. Sometimes the lines get blurred and it’s nearly impossible to distinguish between the two.  Being able to discern this difference is what sets a leader apart from the followers.

I need to learn how to decide what comes first, and that knowledge can only come from one place.  If I am to be Kingdom-minded, I need to think like my King.  And in order to think like my King, I need to spend time with Him.  So, time comes first.

Find me in the river…

I’m a worship pastor in central Florida, and our lead pastor, recently returned from his annual summer vacation (thought that was just for teachers, didn’t you?), opened the room up to stories about recent wins within our community.  To hear stories of young kids accepting Christ, ministries partnering together to pursue life change in our community, volunteers flying to South Africa to minister to the impoverished and needy… it’s inspiring, but also overwhelming.

I turn flush with embarrassment and jealousy on the inside.  What have I done lately that’s been a change-the-world kind of action?  How have I fulfilled anything other than my own little agendas and goals?  “Oh, there’s nothing wrong with having goals,” you say, but these little goals pale in comparison to the ones I had even just a year or two ago. It’s as if my walk with Christ over the past several months has been an exercise in passivity, seeing challenges but viewing them from afar, saying to myself, “God will take care of that, as long as I pray.”  If I even pray at all.

My lead pastor changes gears and opens Joshua 3:13-17.  The quick version: the Israelites are on their way to the land God promised them, and the priests are carrying the Ark of the Lord.  They reach the Jordan River, which was at its flood stage, and at God’s command, as soon as their feet touch the water, the waters stop flowing and bunched up far upriver, and the entire nation of Israel crosses the Jordan on dry land.

Okay, so they cross a river.  No big surprise there as far as biblical history goes.  Heckm, Moses led the Hebrews across the Red Sea when God held back those waters.  Something else had to be going on here, so I Google’d the Jordan River to see what I could find…

The River Jordan is derived from the Hebrew word yar-dane, meaning “descender.” The “Descender” is a very appropriate name for the river because it flows in a virtually perfect north-south line on a map from its source near Mount Hermon (about 10 miles north of Lake Huleh) to it’s terminus at the Dead Sea, the lowest point of any lake on earth.

The elevation of the river drops virtually 2,368 feet from its source to where the river flows into the great salt sea. The length of its meanders over the same two points measures approximately [nearly 197 miles], over twice its direct distance….

Source: The Jordan – River of the Rising Sun

Think about this for a moment.  The Jordan is the lowest river in the world relative to sea level.  It is also a fairly narrow river.  Not only are the Israelites coming out of the desert through one of the only clear openings between the mountains surrounding the desert to actually reach the river near its end where the water flows the strongest, according to the Hebrew calendar they’re also arriving there during the peak of the flood season.  This is the place where God has instructed the Israelites to cross.  A speeding, raging river, swollen with rushing currents flowing over its banks.  This was the final obstacle between them and the promised land.

God then tells the priests to put their feet in the water, for once they do, the water will immediately stop.  But not one moment before….  That water is moving fast.  Really fast.  God promises the water will stop, but the priests have to take the first step.  I wonder… how many seconds, or even minutes, passed between the time God issued the command to step into the water and the actual moment their toes felt the frigid currents rush around their feet?  This monumental moment in their journey, to be confronted with a seemingly impossible task… would their trust in God allow them to step forward?

But eventually in verse 15, they step in, and the waters bunch up further upriver, allowing them to cross on dry land.  I wonder which priest was the first to step in.  I wonder what was going through his mind, what finally prompted him to put all his cards on the table and take that first step.  The physical aspect of the challenge was fully covered by His divine control over all things, so the real challenge wasn’t the river… it was trusting God’s promise.

It’s the same reason Jesus Christ taught in parables.  The things of the Kingdom are so mysterious that God gives us a natural picture first, then the spiritual will be revealed to us as we begin to comprehend.  The Israelites didn’t reach a barrier of a rushing river, they reached a barrier comprised of their own fear and resistance to trust God with their all, no matter the circumstances.  The point wasn’t to cross the Jordan; it was to step into their calling in boldness, and faith, and trust in He who had led them safe thus far.

The barriers we face aren’t physical.  They’re spiritual.  How incredibly true is that for me, for each of us?  But physical barriers are what we encounter first, that’s what we know, that’s all we’re capable of wrapping our heads around.  If we take the time to ask, to listen and seek and knock, God wants to show us what those barriers are indicators of, to show us what the real issues are, what the real barriers are.

What’s my barrier?  My insurmountable block?  What is causing me to hold back, be indecisive?  My passiveness about my walk with God, my lack of enthusiasm at all times to reach out to the heart of God and embrace the promises He has for me.  My lack of passion, which would be a hard thing for anyone who knows me to believe.  Maybe it’s improperly directed passion, passion that’s not flowing in the right direction.  Either way, it’s not there, not the way it should be.  How can I begin to trust in Him in new ways, instead of responding how the enemy would have me respond, i.e. by not responding at all?

My pastor closed by having us write down a few questions to be pondering:

  • God, how are you calling me to trust in Your power?
  • What’s the next part of your promised land you’ve called me to enter, where I must depend on your power and not my own resources?
  • Where am I not content with what I have but wanting more of what You are offering?
  • Where do I need to bless others more?

I’ve been given a challenge.  The gauntlet has been cast down, and it’s time for me to step up.  No more passivity, no more doldrums, no more inaction.