In View of the Mountaintop

Have you had a mountaintop experience? Your heart feels so full it could burst with love for the Lord, and all of His creation seems magnified through the looking glass of His grace, and love, and mercy.

In Exodus 20, Moses’ face was radiant as he came down from the mountain with the ten commandments in his arms. Think also of the faith Abraham in Genesis 22, and the experience of Peter, James, and John in Mark 9. While our experiences may not be quite up to Biblical proportions, still they fill us with radiance, faith, and awe.

I’ve known people, myself included, who have been so happy experiencing a “mountaintop” of togetherness with God that they never want to leave. Who would? But time passes, a little or a lot, and we find ourselves back in the valley of despair or at least on the plateau of everyday life.

Our daily life as deemed by God is one of struggles, hardships, boredoms, and frustrations. Until Heaven, He has at least allowed us that glimpse of fulfillment that is felt in those close-to-God times here on earth. As we draw close to Him, He takes us there, to a place that is emotional, deep, and strong.

Not feeling it right now? Look up. The top of that mountain is there, always. We’ll reach it now and again, and are never to be discouraged, worried, or afraid in the meantime. Elation is not a permanent state of mind, at least not here on planet earth. But confidence can be: confidence in the One who takes us to the mountaintop, gives us hope, and then allows us to carry on, knowing we’ll be back.

I’ve been on the mountain and I’ve been in the valley, Lord. I’m grateful for the experiences that draw me closer to you…and for those that help my confidence in you grow strong.

Fools Despise Wisdom

Proverbs 1:8 says “…fools despise wisdom and instruction.”And further, in 1:22, “fools hate knowledge.”

I can’t imagine hating knowledge. I love knowledge! I like learning about so many things that I’m thought of as easily distracted, perhaps…but inside my head, absorbing and comprehending come together naturally in work and life, and I just want to jam in as much as possible. Multi-focused is maybe a better term for it. The Internet compounds the situation with opportunities to research literally everything. I often can’t relax.

But the hobbies, the nutrition and cooking, studying art or writing, the miscellaneous facts that I learn each day don’t amount to much, do they? The wisdom that counts over all other learning is found only by being in touch with God, by reading the Bible, by analyzing thoughts and actions against what is right and good.

I didn’t think this this post would turn inward. I started it with a draft days ago, thinking of illogical presidential candidates and hoping for their true redemption. I spent some time considering unwise people following unwise people. I hurt for our country, and for people who can’t see wisdom because of so many blinders in their way. It makes me sad for them. I want them to fear the Lord and follow Him, too. To truly rise as a country, we must first rise up as His children.

Reading on to Proverbs 1:23: “Repent…then I will pour out my thoughts to you, I will make known to you my teachings.” There is no more special knowledge than that which comes from God. Whether it is our nation or each of us in our individual worlds, right down to the wasted minutes, even seconds, that we could be spending with God, He’s calling us to make it right. “Then” we will be privileged to know true wisdom from the source.
Lord, forgive me for valuing the time I spend paying attention to superflous things over time spent with You. Help me to focus You as the only important source of wisdom. I get so wrapped up that I procrastinate, and You so patiently wait for me every time. I want the unwise to fear You and love you, of course, and for our country to regroup under You as God of all. But thank you for turning this post around to show me another bit of wisdom about my own heart.

Patience…Like Noah

Noah: what an impressive man. He hung in there when all the world around him was corrupt and violent. (Genesis 6: 11) He stuck to his faithful standards when all, I mean all, of his fellow men and women were turning to sin. God saw his righteousness and blessed him incredibly for it; his was the only family who was given the gift of life post-flood.

He wasn’t just faithful, he was a patient man, too.

Did you realize that although it rained for 40 days and 40 nights, the flood went on for five months before the ark settled on Ararat…and it was three more months before mountaintops became visible. That still wasn’t enough for the raven and the dove to find a home. According to Genesis 8: 13-14, it was almost eleven months after the flood began before the water dried up from the earth, and more than a full year after the rain began before Noah, waiting so patiently for God’s instruction and not heaving a sigh of relief and letting everyone and everything out at the first sight of land, finally opened the ark. It was the right time.

Noah waited until the time was right, and didn’t take a step ahead of God. That’s so very hard to do. We may wait a month, a year, or a lifetime to hear God’s instruction. And when we do, we can freely and joyfully run with it.

But until then, try to have patience. It could be worse. You could be stuck in a closed up ark…with all those animals.

Dear heavenly Father, I cannot even count the times I have stepped out ahead of You. In fact, maybe every time, to some degree. I want to wait for your instruction, so that I will not only do life right, at the right time – but also because I want to be right with you by the very act of waiting. I have a long way to go. Help the Godly people in the world today to pause, reflect, and listen. Open our ears to hear.

 

 

When you know better…

In Genesis 3, Satan was so crafty, wasn’t he? And the situation was so much like we experience, sometimes daily. I contemplate the nature of satan (and sin) through this passage in Genesis; I’m thinking about his motive. It was to make Eve sin, period.

Eve knew the rules. She seemed to be accepting of the “don’t eat” instruction from God, although obviously she was not super-strong in her convictions. And satan knew just what to say, jumping right in to play on the human emotions of one of the very first humans. Not only did he tempt her with what she shouldn’t have, the fruit of that one tree, but he also came up with reasons why it would make sense to do it.

We humans remain so easily tempted, and so quick to give in. I’m thinking of little things, big things, and little things that can turn into big ones. Aren’t those the worst? Like when a molehill becomes a mountain, and you “didn’t mean for it to become such a big deal,” and you know that the root of it was that little temptation. Words that slip out become hurtful. Too many uncontrolled bites become gluttony and disrespect for the gift of a healthy body; desire for an object becomes lust. It is so easy to be sidetracked, and our heads resound with “it’s ok, it will be good.” We need to wake up.

Genesis 4:7 “…sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”

Lord, I pray that you will help me see temptations for what they are, big or small. May I have the best version of self-control, which is God-control. Make my conviction to follow you so strong and my faith so firm that every day, every way I’ll grow better and stronger in You.