Drawn to the Flame: Loving the Dangerous God

From son-in-law pen!

No Longer Be Children

I concluded my previous post with the following interpretation of Proverbs 9:10:

In this world, the most crucial, the most important, the most central, the most vital point to know is this: you must fear God. Why? Because He is dangerous.

Until you know that, you do not know anything in this strange new world of the Bible.

As I had been discussing in that post, this realization comes out of a greatly different view of God that I had been used to holding. It comes out of my long and difficult journey to really understand the Fear of the Lord – and I do not say that I have yet attained to it!

But as true and Biblical as the above statement is, I believe that it has the potential to really shake someone’s faith, and confuse them about God. “Exactly what sort of a God is this? Is…

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Be Patient

Years ago, coming back from a conference on Deeper Life & Prayer, I heard from the first time the song “The God of the mountain is also the God of the valley”. I loved it! Often life is like a ‘roller-coaster’ with Ups and Downs. This morning I came across this meditation from a rather old book, but I felt I should share because it might encourage someone. ‘In Tune with Heaven’ by Vance Havner is not a new nook, this devotion was written August 3, 1930.  Enjoy!

Those of us who have set out to live in the spirit have sometimes felt discouraged because our sense of the unseen rises and falls and does not maintain one regular, unbroken pitch. We are “sometimes up and sometimes down”; now we are upon the mountain of vision, then we drop into the valley of drabness; now we are high and lifted up, and then life grows insipid and dull.

None of us maintains the various Christian graces at one steady level. Peace and joy, courage and nobility, trust and purity—how we wish we could realize them with an even certainty and fullness all day and every day! But we do not; adverse moods, contrary circumstances, and diverting thought crash in upon us and our consciousness of the eternal is fluctuating and irregular.

There is, however, one Christian characteristic we all may know and hold steadily at all times. The Bible calls it “patient continuance.” It means following the Master in season and out, when you feel like and when you don’t, obeying the heavenly vision in sunshine and shadow, weal and woe until the race be run.

We gauge ourselves too much by how we feel. Exalted and inspired we imagine we are going well; if we are depressed or sluggish we think we have fallen from grace. But we may be doing a bigger work for God when we carry on and are loyal while we feel hateful and mean than when we preach great sermons or sing loudly in the ecstasy of high emotion. He that endures to the end is saved, and God values more the plodding soul who stays with it patiently day in and out than the excitable brother who indulges in occasional outbursts of rapture.

Some of the graces are of the mind, some of the feelings. Patient continuance is the grace of the will, and a vital and enduring Christian experience centers there. Our sense of faith, of hope, of peace, of joy may rise and fall. But we can patiently continue. When the day is dull, when God seems unreal and heaven far away, we can keep traveling, remembering Billy Sunday’s injunction: “Don’t throw away your ticket when you reach a tunnel—you’ll come out on the other side!”

The true disciple does not always feel blissful and victorious. He is not always deeply God-conscious, but he no more doubts God when moods dim His presence than he disbelieves in the sun when a cloud hides it. Nor does he study a great deal about that side of it. To measure his real condition by how he feels would be depending upon himself instead of God. He patiently continues.

Dark days come and go. Money is lost, goods are taken, health fades, friends forsake or die. Defeat, trouble, gloom, sorrow, weave into life their somber threads of black and gray. But he who has set his face toward the eternal knows that all that is incidental, not fundamental. He knows the sturdy patience of the will is greater than fine thoughts and high feelings. Instead of seeking mental and emotional delights he builds a rugged loyalty to the Christ that will endure when thoughts and feelings grow stupid and dull.

Enjoy the blessings of mind and emotion but make patient continuance central in your experience and all else marginal. Then if the margin be radiant with lofty vision and rapture—well and good; and when it grows pale or dark, the heart of your life still will be intact and enduring.

August 3, 1930

 

February Blues

Many of us spend our whole lives discontented with our everyday routine. We constantly are told to live ‘in the moment’; nevertheless it seems impossible, especially when this ache for more, for something that’s missing gnaws away at us. It’s a distraction, becoming nearly unbearable to ignore and live ordinarily. Our search for fulfillment isn’t to be found anywhere, not in alcohol or drugs or sex or impulse shopping or speed. And during these long months of winter, it becomes even worse; the ache cannot be forgotten, not even for a moment, driving some people mad. It seems that no cure can be found.

If you’ll allow a brief moment of ‘nerdiness’, we find this same longing in the dwarves, elves, hobbits, and men in Lord of the Rings. The dwarves sing a song of better days and glories past before the fall of their people. We see here their yearning hearts for something long lost, something missing. Yet even in their longing, the inhabitants of Middle-Earth have hope that a day is coming when what is missing will be restored.

We can certainly identify with their ‘yearning hearts’ and with the hope of regaining what was lost. C.S. Lewis explained: “Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire: well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”

So, as we can see, this discontentment is actually quite natural and I would go so far as to call it a gift, ingrained into us since the first sin. It is a reminder of the goodness we have never known but once existed and will someday be restored. This is the goodness of God that we rejected in our covetous appetite for rebellion. However, this rebellion will not always rule. Our world has been broken but it will not always be so. God’s goodness still rules and our hearts yearn for it. His goodness is found in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. When we allow Him to break the everyday routine, He makes that ache disappear and becomes the moment we live in.

Author Ruth Elizabeth Gaucher

Bravery and sacrifice

A friend of mine who witness the events that took place in Niamey on January 17, 2015 wrote, “Today was a day of bravery and sacrifice in the name of free speech. The bravery was in France, the sacrifice was in Niger.”

Another missionary living in Niamey wrote, “It’s easier to count the churches that were NOT attacked rather than those that were. But adding to our sadness is the large number of Christian schools that were burned. Schools where we were holding our trainings this month and last month—all gone, completely burnt. We are in shock.”

A third missionary penned, “It is quiet in town, but not in the heart of the people. My housekeeper is extremely sad today. I have no word to comfort her. It is a very difficult situation to live.”

What should we think of all that destruction?

Niger being such a poor country, those churches buildings represents years of saving and hard work; and in only 24 hours it’s all gone. Tragedy and pain can come our way at any time. A similar story took place over 3000 years ago to the nation of Israel living an exodus in Egypt. A new political leadership took control of the office; overnight Israel went from freedom to slavery. Their futures look hopeless! Perhaps some start thinking “Does God Care?” Many Jews during the holocaust began to doubt that God cared about them. Typically we do not consider pain as a gift. But a tooth ache can be a gift telling you it’s time to pay a visit to the dentist before it is too late. The thing we most despise can in fact be our best friend. But behind the sad news concerning the hardship Israel was experiencing under that new king, there was good news. God care for them, we read “But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew” (Ex. 1:12). Does God care about the misfortune of these Christians living in Niamey? You better be sure that He does. Does God care when adversities come your way? Yes of course! Jesus said, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).

niamey

What type of fruits falls from your life?

Summer is great because freshness is displayed either at the Farmers Market, grocery store, or in a fruit basket. Who doesn’t enjoy a juicy cherry, refreshing watermelon, or tasty Ontario peach? At spring time, novices like me have difficulty to discern what type of fruit tree he is looking at; and without the help of a more knowledgeable person, the person is never sure if he is looking at an apple, cherry, or pear tree. But late summer things look different, because you can see the fruits.
Jesus used the metaphor of fruit to describe the produce of our lives. “A tree is identified by its fruit. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart” (Luke 6:43). Pay attention to “a tree is identified by its fruit”. Fruit is the direct result of whatever controls our hearts (Matthew 15:19). The fruit of a life not surrendered to Jesus includes “sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery, idolatry and witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage,” and many more evil acts (Galatians 5:19–20). In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit of God is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22–23).
The question is rather simple: What type of fruits fall from your life?
John O Gaucher

Guapiles is a tropical town is located in the province of Limon

Guapiles is located on the Caribe side of Costa Rica. Being tropical it is much warmer and humid compare to the high altitude location of San José (the capital), or the Orosi valley. Ginette and I were invited by a local pastor to visit and help this newly started local church (about two years). The weekend was ‘busy’ but fruitful and full of God’s blessings. As the guest speaker, I was involved in two main events; bringing a gospel message at the Youth Rally and Sunday preaching. What a blessing to see a young man of 18 and a young girl of 7 years old responding to the invitation to receive Jesus as their personal Savior. 

On Sunday morning, about 95 people, including then children, were present. Church service lasted only two hours, instead of three, as usual. God moved in the life of the people. After service, a middle age business man came crying asking prayer for his adult daughter that doesn’t follow the Lord presently. Pastor José and is wonderful family, and this church will remain very closed to my heart. I would not be surprised that God would call me back to visit them again.

After Church we were invited into Don Cambronero’s house; there we tasted some very typical Tico’s meal. I also learned that coo water is very good to lower high blood pressure. Costa Rican are very joyful people, probably the happiest in the world. We will certainly miss these great brothers and sisters in the Lord. But thank God that for all eternity we will live together in heaven. Next time you buy a pineapples from Costa Rica, it came from that part of Costa Rica.

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