Saturday, August 30, 2014

Follow the Yellow-brick Road

Yay!  I was finally able to load a new picture by using a different browser.  I don't understand this stuff, but I'm just thankful this method works - praise God!

The top photo shows our little Dorothy (portrayed by granddaughter Marisa) standing in her familiar farmyard in Kansas shortly before a tornado came and blew her away to the Land of Oz.  In the photo below, she's just been told her house fell on the wicked witch and killed her -- "Uh-oh!" She says.  I don't quite understand why the Land of Oz has a blue-brick road in this picture, but keep scrolling down --

Finally, the famed Yellow-brick Road with the Emerald City in the distance
and Toto still safely held in Dorothy's basket.  
There are many spiritual lessons we can find in this familiar story, but the one I'm going to focus on in this post is seen in this third picture.  We're all following the yellow brick road of life, singing the cute little song, "Follow the yellow brick road, follow the yellow brick road...." The road leads through quiet fields, scary forests, and all sorts of good and bad events.
Some people are following the road, searching for that Emerald City where they are hoping their greatest need/wish will be fulfilled.  Trouble is -- the "world" is following a path that leads them to nothing more than that painted picture of a green city we can see at the end of the road in the picture.  And -- along the way they wander through fields of red poppies that lull them to sleep (like in the movie) to the realities of real life.  Therefore, they end up finding out that the "Wizard of Oz" is just a big fake -- with no real power in himself at all.
How does this relate to the real world and spirituality?  Of course, we are all on the road of life, following the path that has been set before us to its final destination.  The question is -- what are we seeking?  Are we seeking the will and way of almighty God, who has a good purpose for our lives and has all power to accomplish it.  Or, are we seeking that famous Wizard who has fooled everyone into thinking he has the power to fulfill wishes and needs?
Proverbs 14:12 tells us, "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death."  The path can look oh, so, appealing, but not be the path God wants you on.  The shiny delights of a one-dimensional Emerald City is not the destination God wants for His beloved creations.
Psalm 16:11 offers a better vision:  "You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand."  This is the road that leads to a good end -- and also offers us the best sort of scenery along our journey.  This road is found through acceptance of Jesus Christ as Savior -- He is the One with all power and with the perfect road map to get us to the Eternal City where all our needs will truly be fulfilled.
Jesus tells us, "I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes unto the Father but by me."  In a way we could say, He is the true "yellow brick road" that we should all follow.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Our Earthly Tent

 When I see a tent, I'm frequently reminded of Paul's comparison of our physical bodies as "tents."  I took this photo of a lodging we stayed in a few years ago in San Bernardino, California.  Called "The Wigwam Motel," it's a fanciful and fun emulation of an Indian encampment.  Built in 1949 along historic Route 66, this retro motel was even featured in Disney's animated "Cars" and called the Cozy Cone Motel.  It's a cool place to stay and is far more roomy inside than it looks from the outside.

Interestingly, these tepees are constructed of sturdy concrete and house an empty room that will someday pass away, while our tents (our bodies) are fragile flesh and house an inner person that will live for eternity.  Paul described this in 2 Corinthians 5, writing, "For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."

Real tents are made of somewhat flimsy material that can be blown away in a hurricane, drowned in a flood, burned in a fire, eaten away by insects and mold, and will eventually deteriorate with age.  Does that remind you of the frailty of the human body?  But, the wonderful thing is that our tent-body is only an outer covering for that wonderful, incredibly-important-to-God person inside.  For those who have been born again into the family of God, Paul reminds us, "Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee."

While we're living in this tent, we want to take care of it and be the best tent we can be for the Lord.  We want to keep it clean both inside and out and to provide comfort and warmth to those who might pass our way.  When the time comes, we want to be ready to fold up our tents, rise to the heart of our Father, and put on that eternal "building" that Paul describes as our new bodies.  I believe he may have used the two terms merely to contrast the flimsiness of a tent with the substantial construction of a building (no, we're not going to become a "building" in heaven).  I believe our bodies will be similar to our current body in appearance, but perfected in every way and eternally strong in the power of the Lord.

Paul ended that segment in chapter 5 with these words:  "We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord" KJV.

Note:  I haven't posted recently because I've not been able to load photos into the blog - and my blogs are photo-driven.  This photo and one more had been loaded some time ago.  I haven't been able to figure out what's wrong with the program, but it is frustrating.  Hopefully, I'll be able to post as usual soon.  If anyone has any knowledge of how to fix this, I'd love to hear it.  Thanks!