Looking Back might Help…

In today’s very troubled world, as threats & turmoil seem to increase almost daily, concerned citizens of the United States would want to be able to choose hope. But faced with such constant danger & unrest around the globe, when ‘around the globe’ can be as close as your television screen, or iPad, it is often hard to maintain optimism, isn’t it?

Fortifying me in this regard are periodic visits back to our Revolutionary beginnings. A wealth of understanding and vision abides in the words of our Founders. Renewed faith, hope and joy are so often the treasures I bring back with me, after time spent in a meeting of the minds with such as George Washington, or Thomas Jefferson. These men, and their compatriots, lived in a time of boundless possibilities. We’ve ‘been there, done that’ and may be sadly jaded, or deadened, but not so those stellar patriots that gave us, and in fact ARE our heritage. Like the blood of Abel, these men “still speak”.

To renew your hope for America, it might be helpful to catch a glimpse of how our Founders saw her…and us. We are not separate from them. Though over two centuries have passed, and technology, industry and corporations have transformed our lifestyles – there yet remain those voices from the times when quill & ink on parchment, and horse & carriage were the order of the day. There yet remains in many of us the blood & spirit of the patriot. Some may not realize it – but they will, with God’s help.

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Today, we know that America prevailed in her war for independence. Now, it seems obvious that it should have been our victory, and those who deliberated, decided & fought that Revolutionary War knew they would triumph. We sit assured that we were meant to win. But back then, they were not assured. The Founders did not know. No militia fighter, nor soldier in the Continental Army, knew. A victorious outcome was not a foregone conclusion in their minds.

Afterwards, Washington speaks of “…the magnitude of the prize we contended for…. (We today, who by inheritance daily partake of this glorious prize, possibly do not view it that way. We need to be reminded.)  Washington had seen the coming battle as being not only for the liberation of the thirteen colonies from English tyranny, but for the rights of all mankind. He believed that ‘the destiny of unborn millions’ would be impacted by whether America stood, or fell, during and after her Revolution. Before 56 other valiant patriots counted this struggle to the death as being worthy of their lives & fortunes, and so declared it in writing, George Washington did the same: “It is my full intention, to devote my life and fortune, in the cause we are engaged in, if needful.”  

He knew the outcome was doubtful, and spent “many anxious days and watchful nights” in the pursuit of that outcome.  The Founding Fathers in general were intensely aware of ‘the improbability of their undertaking’, according toArthur M. Schlesinger informs us that author of The Cycles of American History.  The mighty Roman Empire, which Alexander Hamilton considered to be ‘the utmost height of human greatness’ (The Federalist) – and to which the fathers of our republic turned for instruction in achieving their own aspirations of free men governing themselves – fell nonetheless.  Why would one presume the thirteen colonies could do any better?   

And yet, as it came to pass“…the glorious events which Heaven has been pleased to produce in our favor”  Washington considered to be “the parent of future happiness”. How many of us believe that ‘Heaven was pleased’ to grant us this prize? Such an advantageous outcome Washington called “the greatest possible reason for gratitude and rejoicing.”

This Founder, about to retire (he thought) after leading the thirteen colonies through an eight-year-long war, must have known a depth of satisfaction few ever will. He saw this land as being a “theatre…designated by Providence for the display of human greatness and felicity” and as being given “a fairer opportunity for political happiness than any other nation.”

How can we today read such words so full of import, almost bursting from General Washington’s heart, and not be even just slightly encouraged? Going forward, maybe some of us might know a renewed spark of excitement.

~~~

 

 

 

Note:  Unless otherwise specified, quotes referenced above are taken from “George Washington: In His Own Words” (Maureen Harrison & Steve Gilbert, eds.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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…sometimes Keeping the Faith is Hard…

Events have transpired in my life, over the past year, in such a way as to have very much hindered my writing pursuits.  “Jesus, the Revolution & You” while never leaving my heart, has even so floated to the back burner of actual production efforts.  Mainly, I’ve re-blogged previous posts.

I’m writing today simply because I want to get my toes back in the water.  A slight reprieve from what has become an unexpected lifestyle routine has been given to me today; so, after lollygagging awhile, I’ve decided to let the dishes sit,  leave the laundry in its pile, and forget about responsibilities in general.  I’m headin’ towards the water’s edge!  Perhaps some  encouragement for others, similarly re-routed in life, can be salvaged from my current experiences.

~~~

I have worked all my life.  Because I’ve been trying to walk with the Lord, and follow Him, I did not pursue a career – even job training.  I never felt that He was leading me to do that.  At age 50, I did believe He was leading me to choose between either that course of action, or writing.  Though it may have appeared foolish and risky, I chose writing.  It was an easy decision.  I knew that I had writing ability and had never really used it.  I also knew that if I should die any time soon, I would not regret not having, say, pursued a career in law…but I would SO regret having wasted the gift of creating with words.

It took a few years to realign my routines & activities with more creative pursuits.  Long story short, finally, last March, I retired.  Finally, I could write.  EVERY indication pointed in that direction.  And I still do not believe I erred in my decision, but…though I prayed, got numerous confirmations, sought counsel, thought & thought about it…and had a very clear vision of unobstructed, prosperous writing bliss…and would bet money that God was leading me to follow this path….

…it is almost a year later and I have done almost no writing.

~~~

The details aren’t important here.

What is important is faith.

~~~

I remember hearing a pastor once say, while preaching on 1 Peter 4:19 regarding suffering, that if after you enter a situation, it changes in a way that causes you difficulty/suffering etc., and you yourself are not responsible for the change – then it is God’s will.  Now I am really not lovin’ hearing about suffering of any kind.  But, things come to pass and there you are, somewhere you hadn’t intended and don’t want to be.  If you are not yet one of His, it may be easy for you to just leave.  But once the Lord has a hold on you…not so easy.  You may not be happy where you are, but your heart is inclined towards “…Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”  You are getting a hold of that pearl of great price, and will not let go.  It is not just for you or about you, is it?  You endure, for the joy set before you, hallelujah.

~~~

A very helpful principle to consider, in times of deprivation & disappointment, is that of death & resurrection.  More than once, I’ve heard messages on this subject.  In a nutshell, when God gives you a vision, it may come to pass that right afterwards, everything relating to it goes kaput!  In fact, circumstances lead you in the exact opposite direction.  God said “Up!” but you find yourself “Down.”  Someone once outlined the three R’s of such situations – revelation, reversal, then reality. Like a seed being planted, in a dark, pressured place, roots go – where?  Down.  Then, over time, results are manifested.

Keep the faith.

~~~

When I ‘stumbled’ upon this Scripture about a week ago, my heart leapt.

“Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward.  For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.”   (Hebrew 10: 35, 36)

Each of us who believe have our own walk with Him, and each of us hear Him.  You can ascertain, even faintly, what specifically His will for you might be.  His sheep hear His voice, and another’s voice they will not listen to…so…test out your thoughts on this.  An event is about to happen, and when it does, you will understand.  And you will be glad you stayed the course.. 

The Chronicles of Narnia: Not Just for Kids!

An abundance of possessions does not  make up the substance of one’s life; food & clothing, while certainly necessary, are also not that substance. (Luke 12:15, 23)  Jesus cautions against accumulating provisions, commodities and wealth of various sorts while remaining scarce toward God. (Luke 12:21)  Now, life in this world requires so much just to survive – we need ‘things’!  And He knows that.  I don’t believe the issue here is having wealth or possessions but rather pursuing them, being anxious & distracted over them and in the process, missing the Lord.

Living life is tricky business.  Everyone’s path is unique.  How you get to where you’re going takes a lot of time, effort & energy.  Heartache and pain will be part of the journey; mistakes will be made &  regrets will probably be felt.  There can be times of great joy, jubilant victories, moments of deep satisfaction   There is so much in life to occupy our minds & our hearts & our time that it is easy to be, or become,  ‘scarce toward God’.

~~~

If you are someone who knows and believes the Word of God, but perhaps decades of life in this world have wearied you, and worn down a strong, joyful & brilliant faith to one of a dull luster, may I suggest something?

Watch Disney’s The Chronicles of Narnia: the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

I used to work in a Bible bookstore many years back, and I knew about this series of books by C.S. Lewis. But I had never read any of them.  My understanding had been that these were a children’s series, so my interest wasn’t exactly piqued!  Today, at age 62, after spending three hours earlier today glued to the television, I thank God with all my heart that He created a man such as C.S. Lewis, and deposited within him the desire and the ability to write such stories.  Perhaps others would not be affected as I was today, but by the end of this movie, my belief in Jesus Christ the King of kings was stronger than it has ever been.

~~~

The mythical land of Narnia first appears as a wondrous, magical forest, blanketed in snow.  It is breathtaking.  We have no clue that Narnia has been held hostage for 100 years in a permanent winter, and without Christmas, by the wicked White Witch of Narnia. Gradually, her influence and power is revealed to us.  We begin to see that ageless conflict between good and evil portrayed by the

Jadis, the White Witch of Narnia

chillingly beautiful witch Jadis (who calls herself ‘queen’ of Narnia but is not) and her officers & the inhabitants of Narnia, satyrs, centaurs, and forest creatures.  Four young children from the real world stumble into Narnia while playing hide-n-seek, when the youngest hides in an imposing wardrobe.  Pushing through layer after layer of plush fur coats to the back of the wardrobe, she falls out of it into Narnia’s snowy wood. Soon, her siblings follow. And we fall into Narnia and its enchantments with them.At first, the web is gently spun.  Gradually, the symbolism becomes more apparent.  When we approach Jadis’ malignant castle, its foreboding darkness brings quickly to mind memories of the frightening domain of the Wicked Witch of the West. It is becoming clear that Jadis embodies our adversary the devil; when she demands the death of an ignorant young transgressor because of the “deep magic” which requires his blood, we recognize Old Testament law.  Woven throughout Narnia are the consequences of life not covered by the grace of God, but instead the dictate of heartless law.

With an almost hushed excitement, word is spread that the mighty lion Aslan has returned.  When we finally see him, there is no doubt who He is.  I don’t know that any scene in any movie has ever impacted me the way that the sight of Aslan, slowly but willingly climbing the steep stone steps to the altar of his death, did.  Hordes of demented, hideous beings thronged about, and converged violently.  I don’t believe His crucifixion has ever felt so real to me. When Aslan intoned, “It is finished”, it seemed as if the Spirit of God Himself was speaking.

When the stone altar on which Aslan was left dead, collapses thunderously, and we then see that He is not there…He has risen…I think I let out a shout!

“The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” proved to be a powerful and compelling film.  It left me jubilant, and renewed.

May it do so for anyone & everyone who chooses to watch it.