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Meditation

Meditation

The Old Paths, The Good Way

Going-To-Pay-For-Your-DreamMeditation Verse: Thus says the LORD, Stand you in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it, and you shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk in it. (Jeremiah 6:16)

Finding our way back home isn’t always easy. We’ve wandered rather far. Actually, it’s in our nature to wander. We’ve been sidetracked. Our pride, shame, fear, guilt, anger, unbelief yanked us by the neck and veered us to the right and to the left. We’ve swerved down a lengthy, winding road, took a wild, treacherous one and even crossed some abysmal waters. We’ve even traveled down newfangled paths others have freshly carved, leading us to where we are today.

But where are we exactly? Some of us have been wandering around in circles for years and haven’t moved an inch. We’re clearly not where we’re supposed to be. Drained and dehydrated from the journey, we keep walking or running and not moving forward.

If we replay our thoughts we’d see how they guided every step we’ve taken, every stride made. Many of our decisions felt right, in their season. Some were complete dead ends. The blazing Do Not Enter sign warning us must’ve blinded us. Some were clearly marked Private Property, yet we trespassed anyway.

Whatever the case may be, here we are. But is here where we are to be? And where is here? Are you satisfied with where you are?

Most of us are just plain weary and burdened from trekking through life without some measure of purpose. We hear that promise from long ago, faintly. That there’s a future out there, a plan, a hope. We believe we can do it. We can get there. Wherever there is. Where are we going, anyway?

Are you interested in unearthing those old paths, the good way to get to where you’re supposed to be? If so, you’ll need a light for your path and a lamp for your feet. What path? The one that leads to that garden where you can hear the heartbeat of God. Where you smell His fragrance and breathe in His very love. You know. The one from once upon a time, in the land of Eden. The one where something unforeseen slithered into our lives. The one we left behind.

We may not be able to retrace our steps, but there’s a voice calling out to us that will lead us there, saying, Where are you?

Meditation

Why are the Angry Birds angry?

3d-drawing-art-angry-birds-game-funny-backgroundTruth is I’m not a smartphone game app player. In fact, I’ve never downloaded one to my phone. I mean, really. Ain’t nobody got time fo dat! {smile} I prided myself on holding out on those timestealers but my curiosity got the best of me. Which one did I gravitate towards? Angry Birds, of course. And so have over a billion other users.

I’m greedy for any information about birds nowadays. So I asked myself, Why are the Angry Birds angry? I had absolutely no idea. I decided to find out before downloading the app. In my quest, I came across a blog post by Marwa Aly, a former Muslim Chaplain. Her post, Angry Birds or Self Sacrificing Soldiers? got my wheels turning.

My answer to her question is both. The birds are angry because some blue pigs kidnapped their eggs and ate them. Now they’re out for revenge, and losing their life in the process isn’t stopping them. Aly says that when we play the game, we are the angry birds. That blew my socks off!

By playing the game we’re subconsciously agreeing to the premise of the game; self-sacrifice to achieve an end. We’re not only applauding the mission of these angry birds, we’re stepping into their shoes, or shall I say their wings? Over and over and over again, we’re going after those blue pigs.

What about real life scenarios? What do we do when we’re offended? When someone steals something of value from us? Before we put on the angry bird super-hero(ine) costume and propel ourselves with a slingshot to squash our target, let’s pause and think about why we do what we do. Where does our anger take us? Would we die for something we believed in? Is it for justice or revenge, to save another life or for something entirely vain? Is losing our life ever worth it?

I don’t know about you but I don’t want to be an angry bird. I’m attracted to the idea of a sacrificial life though. We don’t necessarily have to lose our physical life to live one either. A sacrificial life is meaningful, even if the days are shortened. Empty days trying to figure out why we’re here are drudgery. If done with a noble motive, it can be life-transforming and life-giving.

We give our lives over to something everyday, whether we’re aware of it or not. Either we lose our days to unworthy causes or we’re investing them in something other than ourselves. The latter is the kind of living that leaves a legacy. It gives us purpose.

I’m thoroughly convinced that the most widely known model of self-sacrifice in the history of history is Jesus. He laid His life down for the world. Not for the innocent either. For the guilty. For those that despised Him, rejected Him, spit on Him, and cursed Him. It was love that motivated Him to willingly lay down His life. He did it for His friends. He did it for His enemies. He did it for me and He did it for you.

Jesus teaches us that love should motivate our sacrificial lives. Not anger. Not revenge. Love for God and love for others.

Meditation

Harps Hanging on Willows

Weeping_willow_by_the_pondMeditation Verses: By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How shall we sing the LORD’s song in a strange land? (Psalm 137:1-3)

People plummet down the depths of despair when tragedies occur; a world without hope, scraping for answers to the why of evil. Christians get caught up in the whirlwind of emotions as well. Occasionally we too get blindsided by the fiery darts of the enemy.

When the dust settles and the shock wears off, we scramble to anchor ourselves in God’s peace and comfort. Yet, we hear the echoes of travailing souls stuck in pits of darkness, grasping at straws. Then they look to us.

We’re barely surfacing from the deep-sea of heartache and the world asks us for a song. How on earth are we supposed to sing when the wounds still sting? And why are they asking us to sing?

When the children of Israel were taken captive and exiled in Babylon, their captors asked of them the same thing. They asked them to sing songs of Zion and required of them mirth. Whether their intent was to taunt or satisfy their curiosity, the motive behind their request is unknown.

Regardless of the motive, it would be safe to assume that the Israelites refused to sing. How could they sing and betray their sadness? How could they sing songs and forget their desolated temple and city? It was simply inharmonious to do so. They had hung their harps on the willows by the rivers of Babylon and had no intention of picking them up.

There’s no doubt that we will continue to be eyewitnesses to the pandemonium of the forces of darkness upon the earth. We can expect the worldly system to despise us, to ridicule us, and to attempt to carry us captive into its deviant beliefs, culture and lifestyles. Yet, we’re reminded that we are in this world but not of this world.

Despite their animosity toward us, during times of crises, the world will look to us for hope. Why? Because they have no personal memories of God’s goodness. They’ve wandered far from God. Barren trees grow by the rivers of Babylon. They offer no sustenance or assurance to its people.  We, on the other hand, should have reservoirs of God’s faithfulness tucked away in our spirit’s memory closet, spilling with garments of praise of varied colors and textures.

The world will ask us to sing because they know we carry hope deep within. Will we hang our harps on the weeping willows or sing songs of deliverance to a world caught in the throes of deception and pain?