Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Avoiding What is False

“Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?
Who may stand in His holy place?
The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who has not set his mind on what is false.”
Psalm 24:3-4

I came across this verse in Psalms yesterday while I was having my devotion time. Scripture is so multi-faceted that there’s always something new, even in a familiar passage. 
When I read the last line, “who has not set his mind on what is false,” I was aware of just how many things I falsely dwell on. Not necessarily sinful things in and of themselves, just false things. Do you see the nuance there?
There’s nothing wrong with having a pedicure or going out to lunch or even sitting and reading a magazine. However, if that is not what the Lord has asked me to do with my time for the day, and I am neglecting that thing He expects of me, then I am dwelling on what is false. This equates to sin.
Am I listening to the voices of other’s that say, “You need to expect your daughter to go to college,” when it is clear that God’s call is for her to be a missionary? College isn’t a bad thing, and it may even be necessary to become a missionary, but there are other ways to reach that goal as well; am I willing to entertain those options?
The false voices are often well-meaning: “have a hobby,” “make sure you have some time for yourself,” “you should always have dinner ready by the time your husband gets home,” “you should be helping in the children’s ministry,” etc.
But those voices are not necessarily the voice of the Holy Spirit. If I am falling into performance mode, and becoming a people pleaser, a lover of self, or making an idol of my home in some way, than the Lord will take issue with that thing, and what is a neutral subject becomes sin in my life.
I must always prayerfully evaluate my use of time and my inner thoughts as well. Busyness, good intentions, and thoughts that are not yielded to the mind of Christ can soil my soul, wear me out, and drive a wedge in earthly and heavenly relationships. This is experience talking! 
Been there, done that, prefer to avoid it!
Ask the Father to reveal any falsehood in your life today. Remember that James assures us that if we lack wisdom, we should “ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing.” When we repent of our falsehood, He is faithful to meet us where we have are and allow us to begin again, right then and there.
 Amazing grace, isn’t it?!

At the Intersection of Creation and Evolution: A Dream

The alliterating story below is based on a dream I had several years ago. Please contact me for permission to reproduce.

Darkness devours me.

I am enveloped in emptiness.

Are my eyes open or are they closed? I strain against this shroud of night and still see nothing.

What is this place?

An image illuminates in front of me. A large, leafy tree streaks past and vanishes.

It deserts me to the darkness again.

In a moment, more images appear. A rapid succession of snapshots and thoughts clamor before my eyes and mingle in my mind.

I see seedlings. Several supple shoots have emerged before me and then swiftly stream away.

“The first trees on earth were not seedlings”, my mind observes. “They were not created as small insignificant saplings.”

That thought is rapidly replaced with a vision of a man.

He’s maybe 30; he is muscular and needs to shave.

He fades away.

In his place I see an infant.

A tiny bundle of pink skin upon a soft blanket flickers briefly in my brain.

“Man was created with age,” is the next statement I hear. “Adam did not begin his life as a baby, he began as a grown man.”

The voice seems like my own.

The thoughts do not.

Reeling before me now is a blur of rivers, forests, mountains and even layers of the earth. It is like a movie rushing rapidly before my retina.

The soundtrack of this epic is proclaiming a peculiarly plain concept:

“The earth was created with age. Creation and evolution are not in total opposition. There is a reason that science finds the earth to be quite old: it was made that way.”

Thoughts continue to tumble through my mind; pictures parade before me. I listen in amazement to what seems to be puzzlingly profound and yet rather apparent all at once.

“Adam was created as an adult. Trees and plants were made fully grown.”

I suddenly feel quite certain that, if I were to chop down some of the trees that had been spoken into existence, I would find a range of rings running through their trunks.

“The earth was brought to life with age built into it… just like Adam. He did not begin life as an infant. The earth came into being with what it would need to sustain the life that was created. It was old when it was young. The world was
made with maturity; it was also produced with purpose.”

These thoughts are thrilling. Why had I not seen this before? It seems so simple. Obtusely obvious. Had others not observed this correlation? If they had, why wasn’t it being candidly conveyed?

In the span of thirty seconds I have been ravaged by a radical revelation. I feel the weight of its worth resting on me; it is tantamount to tangible.

I am neither a theologian nor am I a scientist. I don’t claim that the ethics of evolution are completely compatible with the Bible’s account of creation. But certainly Science can come concurrent to creation and affirm our faith with facts.

Of course, the Omnipotent Originator of the Universe is exceedingly elusive to what our mind could ever envision. Above what science could ever extensively elucidate.

Accordingly, creation is confounding too. Each diverse discovery deems it more marvelous to grasp. Many scientists have reluctantly relented to the theory of Intelligent Design.

That’s why, alongside those facts, we also need faith.

Lying inexplicably at the intersection of those two essential elements is an exceptional endowment: the intermittent insight of our dreams.