Morning by morning

Blazing color fills the air from changing leaves to the morning sunrise- red, yellow, orange and everything in between. The diversity is lovely. That we would feel the same way about the diversity of colors on flesh. It’s 6.39, the coffee just finished brewing. Ok, I’m back now, watching the steam rise from that ceramic mug, hearing the whir of Owen’s swing as it rocks him into shameless slumber. Mornings are good, especially when I take the time to soak them in. Nothing attempted or completed today will be worthwhile, truly satisfying, if I hurry through my morning. Morning sets the tone for afternoon and evening. It invites me to put my trust in the Lord my God to which I have to respond. Sometimes rejection or avoidance, other times wrestling, and hopefully, most often, acceptance.
The morning is a time of quiet. If I pause long enough to notice, I can carry some of that with me through the day. Quiet, something underrated in our day. Something we all secretly hunger for but are afraid of. Afraid of who we will see in the silence of our own thoughts. Who is it that we have really become over and against who we perceive ourselves to be? The disappearance of self. Calvin has said that there are two kinds of knowledge, the knowledge of God and knowledge of self. We are deficient on both accounts, not because of opportunity, our land is filled with that, but out of self-determined ignorance. We would rather be knowledgeable about what other insecure, self-determined ignorant people think about us.
The morning also offers peace, a peace which is not guaranteed by the quiet, nor by the morning. The context of a quiet morning can lead to an encounter of the grandest kind, an encounter with the morning-maker, the Creator of souls and bodies run ragged. If we are still enough, we can hear his voice, the one who spoke and the waters and flowed, the ground bloomed and the sky shone. It’s like we can reach back from the turbulence of John’s Apocalypse to the peace of the Garden. He sits with us when we sit, watches the steam billow from our coffee cup- even more amazing, he holds the coffee and water particles together for our enjoyment, the chair we sit in to ponder his presence, the lungs we breathe with to experience it all. He’s always been good. The morning invites us to see his goodness and to participate in his peace. The morning offers us this transport, from Revelation to Genesis, but only because it is subject to the Priest of Peace. Of course, not all mornings are such because the King of Peace has not yet returned to rule over the mornings of the new creation, but that will come. An endless age of mornings awaits us, and beckons us each day, to quell our fears and worries in the quiet and peace of the good and grand Creator.

This Morning I thought I lost my Thesis but instead I lost my faith

This morning I thought I lost my thesis, but instead I lost my faith. After some massive file transfers and syncing my new PDA/phone with the laptop, somehow, my thesis work was lost, stripped of footnotes and restored into a new file. For a while I thought I had lost some pretty valuable work I had done yesterday. I groaned out loud, searched the harddrive frantically, occasionally considering the rather self-reliant way I was going about “restoration”. This flustery faith-forgetting activity pushed we away from the object of my faith, Christ. Instead of pausing, acknowlegding God’s sovereignty and asking for his help, I plowed into thesis restoration and recovery without an ounce of faith. So many things in life are done that way. Of course, you cant really pray without ceasing but you can constantly live trusting God. Little things like this event this morning can undermine my trust in ways bigger than I think. This kind of do it yourself, don’t pray or trust God activity tends to snowball and before you know it you missed half a dozen devotions, are cold-hearted in worship, and cant figure out why. The small things matter. They are opportunities to trust in the Lord our God, to show off his sufficiency in thesis loss or restoration, having something or having nothing. I want to give Him glory for slowing me down enough to think about this and to ask, God, that you would help me trust you in the small things more, give me soul-stirring trust and intimacy with you, even when I think I’ve lost my thesis. Continue the work of restoration in my life, of restoring me to the image of my Creator. Don’t let me lose my faith over such petty things or at all. Increase my faith, Father.

Escape from the Earthquake: Praise from Pakistan

So much tragedy, loss of life, chaos and utter destruction have combed the countries of the earth in recent months. From the 7.6 earthquake in Pakistan to the home-hitting hurricane in New Orleans, LA, the peoples of the earth are being ravaged. Of course, there are the oft forgotten tragedies of 2 million dead in Sudan, 100,000s in Cambodia, the victims of the SE Asian Tsunami, the list could go on…locust plague, mudslides, bird flu, famine, AIDS, TB and Malaria related deaths all over the 2/3rds world. For a mind-blowing graphic of current global natural tragedies go to:

What are we to do? What is the Christian response to this collosal scale of suffering and death? Perhaps praying Psalm 40.1-3 for these victims would be a good start:

I waited patiently for the Lord he inclined and heard my cry
He brought me out of hte pit of destruction, out of the miry clay
He placed my feet upon a rock and made my footsteps firm

He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God
Many will see and fear and will trust in the Lord.

This is precisely what is happening in Pakistan. This morning I recieved reliable correspondence from Pakistan regarding some of the christian response to the devasataion of hte earthquake. Enclosed in the email was a story, which reminded me of Psalm 40 and motivated me to pray that it’s refrain would be sung throughout the nations of natural disaster. I am enclosing an excerpt of escape from the earthquake and praise from Pakistan:

THE STORY OF “EMANUEL”-(as told by Bruce, an Muslim Background Christian leader)

I was walking with people everywhere, hearing screaming and other noises from destroyed houses. Everyone was busy trying to help. I saw a 2 year old baby boy. This little boy was screaming out, saying that somebody should help him. I went close to him and saw that he was stuck in the rubble. Only his head and one hand was sticking out. He said to me, “uncle, save me!”

Brethren, believe me, this situation seemed impossible for me alone to get him out. But I reached for him and started pushing the wall. I tried a lot but this wall was very heavy. I tried again and again. It was hard for me to see this boy stuck and bleeding, and he also was continuing to cry out, “save me!” Finally I sat down and told the boy to ask the Lord Jesus to help him. I told him that Jesus could help because I couldn’t. He asked me with his little mouth, speaking in the Pushtu language, who Jesus was. I said that He is the Most Powerful Lord God (speaking in his Pushtu language). He then started asking Jesus to help him. I then told him that when I say JESUS, YOU ARE OUR HELPER, then repeat this phrase with me. I then told him that I would try to push the wall, but that Jesus would actually move it. Brethren, after one push against this wall that weighed about 1.5 tons, the Lord Jesus picked it up, as if He was picking up a book! I then quickly moved the boy out. I later told this boy that his new name is Emanuel.

How long shall we sing this song? Until the peoples of the earth praise Him forever.