Monday Morning Musings for 9.10.18

"He is the One you praise; He is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes." Deuteronomy 10:21

  1. MIRACLES. They are clearly evident throughout Scripture and in our world today (for the scientific proofs, etc. see Lee Strobel, The Case for Miracles), but what is their purpose and why are they so rare? First, we have to recognize that miracles are mysteries. They are always at God's discretion. We think we can do certain things, pray in certain ways, be sure not to "doubt", and then get our miracle. Not so. We cannot obligate God to us. That's not why He acts. He acts in our lives out of LOVE, period. Our task is to obediently pray and then submit to His will. Second, miracles show us His compassionate care for us in all things. They are never blind displays of power, but instead point us to the work God is constantly doing behind the scenes to ultimately redeem and restore all things. So, EVERY MIRACLE IS YOUR MIRACLE. They are never JUST for the recipient. Finally, miracles always point to the ultimate miracle of the resurrection, the miracle that God has defeated sin and death for us through Christ. Not only will He resurrect those who are in Christ, but He will "resurrect" all creation. Miracles point us to the fullness of time when all things will be restored to the perfection of their original order, God making His dwelling with us forever. 
  2. Miracles (which I define as supernatural interventions of God - not the miracle of a child being born, a sunset etc. – yes, those are miracles in themselves and around us all the time) are rarer in this country because we have access to God's Word (Strobel). We live in a country where the vast majority of people can read and Bibles are readily available. The miracle that is God's Word has been given to us as the fullest means God's revelation to us. However, in countries and regions where people cannot read or where Bibles are not readily available, then of course, God is going to make Himself manifest through signs and wonders, dreams and visions. These confirm the oral testimony given by missionaries and pastors. Does that mean miracles don't happen here? Of course not, but our primary miracle is sitting on the shelf in our homes. Use it – AND – pray boldly for miracles. Don't be scared of what might happen if a miracle actually took place (kicking out the walls of our routine and order), and don't let fear of embarrassment keep you from praying. (I don't want to pray aloud for that miracle because if it doesn't happen, I'll feel embarrassed.). NO! Be obedient. Pray for the miracle, and then watch for how God answers!
  3. MMM is back but in a limited form. I returned from sabbatical August 18 and began a two-year commitment as the Chair of the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness. That, plus my day job, will take most of my time, but I hope to get one of these done every two or three weeks.
  4. TOP FIVE SABBATICAL BOOKS: Some Pastors and Teachers, Sinclair Ferguson; The Case for Miracles, Lee Strobel; Tranquility, David Henderson; Keeping Place – Reflections on the Meaning of Home, Jen Pollock Michel; Winter Garden, Kristin Hannah
  5. TOP FIVE SABBATICAL MOMENTS: 1. St. Andrews, Scotland – everything about it – the golf courses, the church history, the university – loved it. 2. Preaching at St. Columba's Presbyterian Church in Edinburgh, the "cathedral church" in the Free Church of Scotland 3. Playing golf at Muirfield. 4. Hiking the Giants Causeway on the north coast of Northern Ireland. 5. Attending Evensong at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin and hearing the Boy's Choir from St Patrick's Choir College, founded in 1431.
  6. URBAN MEYER: I still can't believe he kept his job, but I suppose that is college football. It was unconscionable for him to stand at that podium, explain his actions in half-truths, and NEVER mention Courtney Smith, the victim. This is what perpetuates cultures and systems that abuse women.
  7. INSTAGRAM ISSUE: I have a bone to pick with all you people who post things on Instagram with paragraphs written in tiny little letters that disappear in three seconds.....how can anyone read that? 
  8. NIKE AD featuring COLIN KAEPERNICK: You can agree or disagree with what CK created in having NFL players kneel during the national anthem as an act of protest. It's complex to be sure. However, NIKE suggesting in a new ad that Colin Kaepernick has "sacrificed" something was misguided and tone deaf. It minimizes what ordinary people are doing day in and day out to feed their family – or defend this country. 
  9. I had to scratch my head a bit when I read about the candlelight vigil which took place following the closing of Wally's, a local bar and liquor store… I understand wanting to get patrons together, but a candlelight vigil?