Saturday, December 27, 2014

Going Through the Motions

Ferris Wheels -- Going Through the Motions

One of my favorite songs is "Through the Motions" by Matthew West.  I'm intrigued by the song because it seems to capture the way so many Christians live out their lives.  I'm also sorry to say that I find myself sometimes "going through the motions" as well.  Here're the words of the chorus:
     I don't wanna go through the motions
     I don't wanna go one more day
     Without Your all consuming passion inside of me.
     I don't wanna spend my whole life asking,
     "What if I had given everything,
     Instead of going through the motions?"
The three pictures of Ferris wheels above were -- coincidently -- taken in the fog.  It gives them a ghostly appearance - especially the first one where it was so foggy you can barely see the cars dangling from the giant wheel.  To me, the fog added an additional dimension to the whole message.  Not only do we too often just go round and round in life, we're also too often going through our motions with a dullness of mind and spirit and an unawareness of where we're heading, so that our life focus resembles walking through a fog.
Going through the motions in life is neither fulfilling nor particularly fun (and, I'm not talking about Ferris wheel's here!).  It's basically lazy, uninspiring and ultimately useless -- especially on a foggy day.
I want to be filled with an "all consuming passion" for God, His ways, and His will for my life.  That is fulfilling and inspiring for me -- and it will be for you too, if you try it.  After all, that's really the major reason God left us on this planet Earth after we were saved instead of whisking us right up to Heaven to be with Him.  He wants our passion for Him to shine through like a beacon in a dark world so that others might see Him in us and turn from the darkness too.
Paul reminds those of us who are saved:  "For you are all children of light, children of the day.  We are not of the night or of the darkness" 1 Thessalonians 5:5.
There is joy and excitement and life in passion.  Being filled with a passion for God -- I promise you, it doesn't get any better than that!!
I certainly don't want to come to the end of my life and say, "What if I had given everything, instead of going through the motions?"
Photo note:  If you're curious about the Ferris wheel photos, here's where I took them:  (1) Along the boardwalk at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  It was surprisingly foggy along the oceanfront for the entire day.  You literally could not see the ocean from the beach.  (2 & 3) an amusement park in Vienna, Austria.  #2 is a historic wheel built in 1897.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Simeon Meets the Savior

One of my favorite Bible stories from what I consider the season of the birth of Christ is the visit to the temple when Jesus was around six weeks old.  This was the time a Jewish male child was officially presented to the Lord and a sacrifice for the child was offered.  In this case, because the parents were of modest income, they offered a pair of turtledoves.

This beautiful stained glass window in a church in Texas (above) and another window in Edinburgh Cathedral in Scotland (below) offer us a glimpse of that moment in time when God's beloved Son Jesus Christ was offered back up to His Father in the ancient Jewish ceremony.  This, however, was a ceremony unique in all of human history, because it involved the only begotten Son of Almighty God -- a tiny Messiah come-to-earth -- the hope of the world and the pride of heaven itself.

It was an incredible moment not only in heaven, but also on earth below where only a glimmer of that  momentous glory broke through -- but, oh what a glimmer it was!  As the devout believer Simeon held the baby in his arms, God revealed to him that this was indeed His beloved Son.  Simeon was blessed by God with a glimpse of who this baby boy was and was to become -- a vision that was perhaps this man's very life purpose.  Earlier, it had been revealed to Simeon by the Holy Spirit that he would not die until he had "seen the Lord's Christ."  On that particular day, the Spirit had brought Simeon into the temple for that very reason.

And so, as Simeon held the Lord Jesus in his arms and the Holy Spirit revealed the baby's true identity to him, Simeon spoke these words:

"Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace,
according to Your Word; for my eyes have seen Your
salvation which you have prepared before the face
of all peoples, a light to bring revelation to the
Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel"
Luke 2:29-32

It always thrills me when heaven breaks open its fabric of invisibility and lets the glory of heaven shine through for us to see -- even if only for a moment in time. 

May we remember this precious birth and the purpose for which our Lord came to earth.  May we hold it in our hearts as Mary did and join Simeon in praising God for His most amazing Gift.  Let's join with the angels "praising god and saying: 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!'" Luke 2:14