Friday, June 22, 2018
Scratching the Surface of the Psalms 11
Scratching the Surface of the Psalms
“Panic to Peace and Flight to Fight”
When I arrived on the corner of Lincoln and Main sooooooo long ago, I felt an unshakably strong call that I’ve repeated ad nauseum.
We are called to build upon the best of the past for a better future.
We are called to model Someone better.
We are not called to idolize or criticize or be content about the past.
Longing for the way things never were or maybe were but are no more inhibits future fidelity by chains to wineskins of the past that are fixed, brittle, inflexible, rigid, and incapable of ingesting the refreshing neuer wein of opportunity and charismata for incarnational ministries confirming intimacy with Jesus by the book.
Uh, simply, we are called to become increasingly faithful to Jesus by the book and, ergo, model Someone better.
I like how Chance the Rapper explained ameliorating human evolution fueled by spiritual evolution or increasing intimacy with Jesus by the book: “All of us have a responsibility to be greater than the people who came before us. We have a responsibility to be not as good as them, but to actually surpass them.”
How about this metaphor?
God who isn’t dead and is alive and active among people who believe in Him and want to behave like they believe in Him move with Him from number two lead pencil lives to supernatural technologies.
Intimate with Him, we are related incarnations of Him; or as Paul explained what happens supernaturally to believers, “It is no longer I who live but it is Jesus living in and through me.”
Like Jesus, we are involved in the world around us; salting, shining, and leavenating.
Again, simply, we walk the talk of Jesus.
That came to mind as I talked to my mom on 12 June 2018.
A little context before getting to the conversation.
With thanks to Nancy Heuer and Jim Wyatt for telling me about the fun and financial benefits of shopping at your local Salvation Army Family Store, I hit the one in Wilkes-Barre whenever I’m visiting my parents and sister in Pennsylvania.
A little after 10 a.m. on the 12th, I was standing in line at the store behind a fellah who was becoming quite animated in his verbal abuse of the cashier and her special needs assistant while claiming he did not change price tags for his intended purchases.
Anyone who knows my heart for God’s children with special needs along with an aggressively assertive sheepdogging beruf when it comes to wolves can guess how I reacted: “Perdon, amigo, pero do we need to have a chat about this outside?”
Bullies are bullies only when they’re getting away with being bullies.
Quickly, he backed down, paid as the clothing was priced, and went away.
I apologized to the cashier and found my reward in her assistant’s smile and surrender of her hand to be shaken.
When I told my mom about it, she scolded, “You’re always looking for problems and someday you’re going to get into real trouble.”
While I’ve learned over the years that it’s pret’ near impossible to win an argument with a parent or, uh, wife, I’ve also decided there are times when you go ahead and tinkle in the wind even if no one is interested in being baptized by the truth: “Mom, I don’t go looking for problems. You don’t have to look for problems. They’re all around us. You just have to decide if you’re going to risk being the solution. I’ve told you before that I’d rather die for what’s right than have my sons live with a coward. One of the biggest problems in America today is decent people are allowing savages to run wild.”
My mom rolled her eyes and we went for pizza.
Let’s be clear.
Problems are everywhere.
We decide if we’re going to pray and try to be the Godly response.
Or as Belvidere’s faithful pastor Dan Pope of Open Bible Church likes to say, “I’ve never tried to be controversial. I don’t have to try. The truth is controversial.”
We decide if we’re going to enable what’s wrong and rotting or pray and try to be God’s antidote.
Failing to do the right thing (omission) is as bad as doing the wrong thing (commission).
That’s what Jesus said: “As you do good things for others, you do good things for Me; and as you do not do good things for others, you do not do good things for Me.”
James: “For the person who knows to do good and doesn’t do it, it is a sin…If a brother or sister is in need and you say, ‘Go in peace, keep warm, and take care of yourself,’ but don’t help them, what good is that? Faith without works is dead.”
I’ll never forget one of the most penetratingly poignant, sobering, convicting, and convincing moments in my life.
During a session meeting of Kansas City’s Second Presbyterian Church, a perky and politically correct elder demanded more than asked, “Dr. Kopp, aren’t you going to do something about Rod being caught on camera while protesting at the abortion clinic?”
Before I could respond, elder Ted Horowitz said calmly, “Elaine, I am so proud of Pastor Bakker for having the moral and Christian courage to protest against those who would murder innocent human life. I just wish there were believers like him along the railroad tracks to Auschwitz when my grandparents were being carted off to incineration.”
Psalm 11 is about moving from panic to peace and from flight to fight as a supernatural by-product of intimacy with our Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
David probably wrote this prayer-song while Saul and his army were chasing him through the wilderness and closing in on him; while his friends were encouraging him to run away and save his own skin: “Escape to the mountain like a bird!”
As a man of God – intimate with Him and determined to incarnate faith-filled behavior for Him – David exuded peace not panic: “I have taken refuge in the Lord…The Lord is righteous. He loves righteous deeds. The upright will see His face.”
As we’ve heard many times, tough times don’t build character. Tough times reveal character; and when things got tough, David got tougher.
Instead of running away from fires to save himself, he ran into fires to save others as honoring God; instead of taking flight from his foes, he fought for his/His family of faith.
Hence, the question is rhetorical: “When the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do? The bottom’s dropped out of the country. What do we do now?”
Clearly, David modeled Someone better.
He had peace not panic and fought the good fight of faith rather than flee from his/His enemies.
David already knew what the incarnate God would later reveal: “If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lost it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will find it…The one who endures to the end will be saved…Whoever does not take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. Anyone finding his life will lose it, and anyone losing his life because of Me will find it.”
As the foundations of the world and even America are increasingly shaken, scorned, and threatened by darkness orchestrated by satanos – and anyone who doesn’t see that has been blinded by the darkness or been drinking too much Kool-Aid – the faithful, like David, have supernatural peace not panic as a by-product of intimacy with God and supernatural determination to fight the darkness with His salt, light, and leaven rather than run away, hide, and save their own skins.
Of course, being on God’s team is a no-brainer when considering the final standings.
So, like David and the faithful of all ages, we model Someone better – Master Jesus by our manual the Bible – with strong calm sanity.
Intimacy with Jesus by the book yields the supernatural ability to move from panic to peace and flight to fight.
Blessings and Love!
Shatter the sound of silence!
Wake up! Look up! Stand up! Speak up! Act up for Jesus!
Salt! Shine! Leavenate!