Archive for December, 2011

Whenever heaven invades (present tense) earth, many of us may tend to get fearful. I’m not sure I know all of the reasons for this scenario. But this theme is certainly repeated in the bible. “Fear not” appears dozens of times and is often associated with God “speaking” (many times through an angel).

A few scriptural examples of God’s words stirring up some fear are Moses bumping into God in the burning bush, Joshua running into the Lord of Hosts, Mary being told that she would carry Jesus, Joseph getting bounced around from Nazareth to Bethlehem to Egypt and back, shepherds having their blackened skies alighted, wise men having their GPS re-route them, Jesus telling Peter to come to Him on the water, the Gerasene folks being overwhelmed by Jesus driving demons out of a naked man and the list goes on and on.

But if God were to “speak” to me whether through an angel, the bible or another person, what would make me afraid? What is it about a “heaven-sent” message or messenger that spooks us so badly? Shouldn’t we get infused with faith instead of fear?

I was listening to Celine Dion singing “O Holy Night” and when she began singing, “Fall on your knees,” I almost did. The invasion of God into our lives really scares us. It’s not just awe, there’s usually a little fear in there as well. It has to do with something being bigger than ourselves and it reminds me of idolatry.

If something is our size, we can handle it ourselves. But when something “spoken” from heaven comes our way, we can’t handle it ourselves. It’s like a soldier getting an order to move on or a nun or priest being told they are needed somewhere else.

My best suggestion is to not let any thoughts of who we are and what we think we are supposed to be grow any larger than an expectation or possibility that God may speak of something bigger. It’s probably the self-defined constraints of our own vision and the lack of understanding of the marching of God’s plans and timeline that are the culprits of our fear. For if we were half-expecting the message and/or the messenger(s) of God, perhaps we wouldn’t be so spooked when heaven jumps out from behind its hiding place.

So, whether you’re the type that expects such an invasion or you have your own plans that God shouldn’t monkey with, take some comfort from scripture and history that teach us that many who were fearful of God’s suddenlies did obey His voice and it paved the way to where we are today. It’s safe to say, there’s more to come. Sooo, get the wax out of your ears, the fear out of your heart and lace up those faith-filled shoes because you have some treading on fear to do.

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The star of Bethlehem is in the distance of every person’s life. However, it can only be recognized by those who see something far away and much higher than themselves. The recognition that there is someone greater than ourselves and our petty plans for comfort, safety, greed, lust, power and the like is the prerequisite for the sighting.

We have something in common with the wise men. The journey to the star and its accompanying payoff will be met with treachery and deceit. Some may be best friends or even relatives. Others will sit in higher places: the church or synagogue or the King Herods of our day, the politicians and bureaucrats. Notice that scripture deliberately points out that “all” of the capital city was terrified when they heard there was a greater king- someone higher than the measly kingdom they had set up for themselves to protect their power, wealth and comfort. You might say the “all” in Jerusalem were “all” the king’s men. Men and women love to set up little kingdoms to rule over others and to glory in themselves.

So, if you spot something above those little kingdoms, something so fantastic and beautiful that it lights up the sky of your soul and if you dare to abandon yourself and follow it, you will certainly stir up the dust in the little kingdoms, some of which you may feel very tied to; perhaps you had even helped create.

But in that abandonment and travel, the star gets closer.

Three things happen to wise men who dare to trek across the desert – and there will be dry times on the way when loneliness and doubt knock at your tent.

First, it will be met with opposition. Many will be happy to tell you why you can’t do something or they will pretend to be with you. Secondly, a tremendous switch or exchange occurs. You will lose yourself through the journey. The star will grow closer and your little kingdom will grow farther away. Third, you will find Your King. The longing of every humble soul is to worship Someone greater than ourselves.

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