Food for Thought.
We were headed to North West Arkansas to speak at a Feast of Tabernacles celebration last week when we encountered an annoying delay. I began writing this from a repair shop after hitting a mysterious toolbox on the highway at 75 mph and blowing out two tires. Cathy thought we were about to die when we hit. I was so laser-focused on preventing it that I didn’t have time to think or feel. Ironically only one of three repair shops in the area had two of the tires we needed. “It’s weird.” said the repair man. “We never have these tires.”
“These were delivered this morning.“
Six years overseas taught us a lot about abounding in being brought low, and the secret joy of trusting God in the face of adversity, and material lack. Phil 4:11-23 At the end of the day God always provides wherever He guides. Obedience according to His word is the ultimate protection. It might seem counterintuitive but living in abundance can be more confusing than living abased.
The illusion of security and permanence is so much thicker in the still prosperous first world.
The stark contrast between where we live now versus where we spent the previous six years is almost surreal at times.
Like Honduras, most people scrounge just to survive in most of the world today. Meanwhile, here in the US, people vie for significance and the illusory “next level”. We buy cars and houses and fill them with stuff. We plan vacations and extended vacations called retirement as if tomorrow were promised. Prov 27:1 To question any part of it amounts to swimming upstream against rapids. It’s so much easier and more pleasant to simply go with the flow and be liked by one’s fellow floaters. Otherwise, we’d embrace the truth that most first-world goals are faith’s counterfeit. Little green papers representing debt are not our provider. Insurance policies are not our protectors.
We Americans are an idolatrous bunch.
Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. James 4:14
In a word, we are distracted. We are distracted by our pursuit of material gain. We are distracted by a fear that we do not share enough of our stuff. We are distracted by the threat of losing it. We are distracted by conflict revolving around one group trying to take another group’s stuff. We are distracted by the pressure to take sides. Distraction is the enemy’s primary strategy in the West. I am convinced that part of God’s purpose in sending me overseas was to show me my own level of distraction. In Honduras, I found distraction in my desire to repair the vapor and the sense of purpose I gained from the illusion of thinking I did. We will never fix poverty this side of Jesus’s return. John 12:1-8
Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village, and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42
Distract (cumbered) is perispáō to draw away, distract to be over-occupied, too busy, about a thing
It’s no coincidence that Israel was attacked on the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles. Whether or not this is the beginning of the prophesied Psalm 83 war, the Ezekiel 38-39 war, or the continuation of the setting of the stage, no human being knows. I would say maybe keep your eye out for Isaiah 17:1. What we do know is that the pressure to align with a side in support of one group killing the other is strong. As believers, we must remember that Jesus died so that all might be saved. His kingdom is not of this world. We weep for Israel and Palestine, Ukraine and Russia alike. In any case, birth pain wars and rumors of wars Mat 24:6 remain a sign of the times. Jesus’ instruction regarding our response remains the same.
…see that ye be not troubled:…
for all these things MUST come to pass, but the end is not yet.
Now is a the time to be sober minded.
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1Pet 5:8
Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.1 Pet 1:13
Sober is Nepho – discreet, to watch, to be calm, and collected in spirit to be temperate, dispassionate, circumspect.
One thing is certain. There will be unexpected obstacles in the road ahead that none of us can or will anticipate. Others are prophetically described in scripture provided we know scripture. 2 Tim 2:7-15 Therefore consider that both Grace and Joy are the same root – Cháris in Greek. Then examine where your hope lies.
Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling Phil 2:12
Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! Psalms 139:23-24
Do not be distracted or troubled.
For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Phil 2:13