I Know A Guy Who Owns a Pretty Nice Sword …

Tolkien’s Gandalf, opens up The Two Towers (2nd of three films) facing off with a Balrog on one side, his people on the opposite side.  Gandalf standing in the gap, armed with a staff and a sword;   armed with courage, passion, wisdom, life-experience, vision and redemptive confidence.  

A pair of literal double-edged swords. https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/double-edged_sword

The sword, such an intense symbol for quite a few ideas, concepts, realities, etc.  A fairly famous place where a sword is used metaphorically  is in Ephesians 6.  The reference, there, is “the sword of the spirit.”  Another place, Hebrews 4, the reference is “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

Lately, I have found myself in some uncharted waters, facing some grueling battles within me; but far more accurate and evident, I have been in the midst of fighting against the forces of mediocrity, self-pity, and the notorious enemy emphasized in the New Testament. So, in the context of life, I am stepping out of … “that” … and into “this”.  And as I step out of “that” and into “this”, my intent is to keep in step with He who saves, and He who fights for us, and with us, and equips us.  Indeed, I am equipped with a sword for when the battles come … and they have come, and they will come … and I know that I will prevail over those dark spirits and principalities who oppose the Christ, the Body, and my family.  What other choice do I have … 

I have been forgiven for so much, including my choices to give up hope on different days, at different hours.  I am in the process of reclaiming hope, now.  I reclaim lost ground, now.  A stake has been driven into the earth, pounded down beneath the snow-covered surface of the ground: a stake that proclaims this ground as sacred.  And it was the ground, the surface of this fickle earth, that some supernatural Blood was spilled on to from the Christ … a man from a place known as Nazareth.  This was long ago, but the Blood of Jesus Christ of Nazareth has transcended every day, week, month, year, century since then to fight against the strongest foe, and to wash away all of our stuff that makes us unclean.

 

Able, Not Willing

I can do this.  But will I do this?

A good-hearted soul spoke a blessing into my life recently. The content below is paraphrased, and reframed as a general blessing, as opposed to a specific blessing:

 

“God loves you and He will turn your sorrow into great joy. He will show up, and give you ___________ and ___________.”

 

This person cares enough for me, nothing short of kind and unselfish, to speak good words, words of life, into my life.  The idea that God would speak to, and through, this individual with a message for me is awe-inspiring (no sarcasm here).  The fact that God will do something big in my life, specifically, is amazing to me.  Having said that, I am stirred by this scenario, a scenario that has happened before, the scenario where one tells me what God is going to do in my life.

Here is the rub.  What a man or a woman tells me, that God is going to do, may be accurate.  Or, maybe not.  At times I wonder, “How does someone know for sure that God told them this?”  Is it possible that they misunderstood God?   One amazing attribute of God is that His mystery.  It’s not always fun.  Sometimes it’s painful.  Regardless,  part of our journey, especially if we embrace this part, is to sit … as still as possible, as quiet as possible …  in that mystery; the mystery of God.  When someone tells me, “Bro!  God can do that!”  My response is, “Oh yes … I know.  I know that He can do that, and whatever else He wants to do.   But will He?”  Interesting, how as individuals, we have opportunities to do something, but we are unwilling (to differing degrees).  Some of this is about doing what we are supposed to dod, and when we are supposed to do it.  To put it a different way, sometimes we don’t do what we are capable of doing because we are not supposed to do whatever it is we are being pressured / asked to do.  So, just like life itself, this stuff can get a bit messy,eh?

 

 

Self-Made Man … Very Small god?

Mr. Griff, if you are out there, and you know you are, accept my thanks for passing on those words … many years ago:

“A self-made man must have a very small god.”

A variation …  

And here are some words that were a bit strange, the first time I saw them / heard them from Galatians 2: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

This life, of mine, is bigger than myself.  There is something bigger going on, than me.  In many ways, I am not the point.  I wonder about this “self-made”man.  Arguably, there are two different contexts; or … a different thought … two different types of a “self-made” man. The one that we are more familiar is described with one my favorite “go-to” websites:

A “self-made man” or “self-made woman” is a person who was born poor or otherwise disadvantaged, but who achieved great economic or moral success thanks to their own hard work and ingenuity rather than to any inherited fortune, family connections or other privilege.

In the cultural history of the United States, the idea of the self-made man, an “essential American figure”, looms large. It has been described as an archetype, a cultural ideal, a myth or a cult.

The other self-made man, the one I am referring to is the one who believes that, on some level, he really doesn’t need God.  Oh, sure … God is important; and religion.  But when it comes down to it, “I fix my own problems; I bring about my own success.”  Frankie (Sinatra) sang a song, “I did it my way.”  I am coming up short in my objective of writing about this topic thoroughly.  I am missing something, and I don’t know what it is.  I am grappling with this idea.     Maybe this is a good way to wrap this up … A self-made man’s god doesn’t require as much as God does.  And,the inverse of that is that a self-made man’s god does not give as much freedom as God does.  One can, up to a point, control his god.  One cannot … control his God.  The god, that starts out being controlled, holds another inverse:  such a god often times controls the individual.  The example I was thinking of is a drug addict.  In most cases the drug addict starts off not being addicted.  The drug addict ingests the drug, decides he likes it, and chooses to try it again,  And again.  And again.  In this experience, the control shifts from the user to the god.  The meth-addict might lose his or teeth quite rapidly; his / or face may become scarred for life from sores.  At this point, the user is no longer control of his God.  In the realm of Christianity, worship is considered a good thing.  With a self-made man’s god, however, worship is a unfathomably dangerous choice.