July 2019

Week Eight

The story is a long one. I’m talking about God’s story, into which you and I have been born at a specific and strategic time on His Kingdom calendar. Do you live with a long view? I don’t always, and for most of us the current culture trains us to live only for the moment. God’s way and His Kingdom are entirely contrary to instant self gratification and constant self preservation. His way is “other than.” It is a Kingdom of love, and as followers of Christ, we are on a long journey into love, the very fabric of God Himself, who IS love.

As an avid reader, I’ve always appreciated a good, long story. J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings is one of my favorites. I’ve read it at least once each decade in the past 40 years, and the end comes too soon every time. It is a long story, and yet, I find that I still want more. This tale of friendship, loyalty, courage and hope captures my imagination. I have laughed, cried, and dreamed with Hobbits. I have grappled with magic and mysteries and fought fearfully but valiantly with Orcs. I have traveled to far and exotic places and eaten the food of Elves. I have gone to sleep hearing the sound of cascading waterfalls and the chanting of Ents.

Ents are not hasty beings, and encountering their slow, thoughtful process makes me want to slow down my own mind, to resist coming quickly to decisions. This slowing down has a way of helping me be present in the moment while keeping a long view. To be deliberate in choosing the path forward, and to acknowledge that my small, seemingly insignificant choice today will have an impact (for better or for worse) on future tomorrows – for myself and for others. Could this be a key to loving well? Thoughtfully, carefully, prayerfully considering how my moment to moment decisions impact others? How selfless! How divine!

Regarding our upcoming gathering at Covenant Life Church on Saturday, July 13 at 9:30am, I am eager to receive your RSVP. Please email me and let me know you are coming (see Week Seven post for details).

Week Eight Daily Reading: 2 John and 3 John, Hebrews chapters 11, 12 and 13.

As we finish up John’s letters, we see the apostle speaking to specific individuals in both commendation and discipline. These brief letters reveal John to be a careful and responsible “father” who dearly loves his “children” and who takes seriously their journey in the faith and their walk in truth and light. We will conclude the week in Hebrews, and I trust the faith of our Lord, given to you, will be strengthened as you seek to run the race He has set for you and find your place in His story.

Journaling Prompts: 1. How does the holiness of God train you and restrain you in your daily choices? 2. How does faith make your life one of substance? What eternal, invisible truths do you stand on? 3. Reading through the history of God’s people (Heb 11:4-39), consider that a journey of faith requires an acceptance of the long view. These faithful ones stood on the substance of God’s promises in their daily lives, and the story is not complete without your journey of faith into the purpose of God’s promises for you. 4. (Heb 12:1-2) What weighs you down? What keeps you from running with endurance? Consider that running with endurance is not the same as hunkering down to endure a suffering until it passes. What do you see as the difference? 5. Consider what it means to be content, not grasping for the next thing.

“Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Hebrews 13:20-21 NKJV)

If you have anything you want to share with the larger Cultivating Faithfulness community, email me by Friday for my consideration in posting to this site.