I finished the year 2020 by taking in the themes, emotions, sights and sounds of the “Chronicles of Narnia”. Brian and I watched all three of those brilliant movies over the last few nights and appreciated them in a new way..
I was taken by the journeys the characters endured; those moments when they fiercely pressed on when encountering fear, uncertainty, loss, temptations, fighting people who did not have their best interest at heart and figuring out what weapons were essential. Spoiler alert; the primary weapon they used was a sword.
I could see the similarity of these journeys to what I saw in 2020, and there are a few words I'd like to freshen up for 2021...
The FEAR of the “pandemic” and the wave of panic that swept the country.
The UNCERTAINTY of the media; wondering where to go for truthful news and to gain knowledge of bettering our environment, food intake and vitamin support to keep ourselves healthy should be encounter this beast called “C@v1D ##”
The LOSS that many experienced around the country as their family members, whether aged in years or suffering from another immune-type disorder, were taken by this” v1r@5” in cruel and unusual circumstances. There were the loss of jobs, the loss of relationships, the loss of connection and the loss of grace, creating a huge chasm between human beings.
The TEMPTATION to keep our fingers away from the keyboard, straining so that engagement in social media warfare wouldnt win out over character. It definitely wasn’t easy; desiring to defend the police as they were pressure beyond comprehension, risking the entrance into a mask debate with the shoulds, shouldn’ts, need to, want to, must do people - nothing less than divisive no matter how you slice it.
The PEOPLE, the rule-makers, ALL the politicians on BOTH sides, the greediness, the pridefulness, the self-flattery and the bragidocious minds all believing they’ve got it nailed down, when in actuality - nobody really knows what they’re doing.
Only the ESSENTIAL won out. Who decided that we could go to a big box store but not to church? Things that were deemed “essential” for one, were not always essential for all.
“The Bible teaches that God is all-knowing or omniscient. The word "omniscient" comes from two Latin words omnis signifying all, and scientia signifying knowledge. When we say that God is omniscient it means that He has perfect knowledge of all things. He does not have to learn anything and He has not forgotten anything. God does not have to reason things out, find out things, or learn them gradually. He knows everything that has happened and everything that will happen. God also knows every potential thing that might happen. God even knows those things that humankind has yet to discover. This knowledge is absolute and unacquired. The omniscience of God means that He has perfect knowledge, perfect understanding, and perfect wisdom as to how to apply the knowledge.” Don Stewart, www.BlueLetterBible.org
He knows everything. I believe its time for people to allow a faith bomb to drop its big presence into their lives and into this world. In an age of knowing so much on a ridiculous level, we humans think we know everything, but we are so far from the mark. We’ve been given access to so much knowledge, however, most of it not only refrains from speaking of our Creator-God. The black and white words you read on a daily basis from your IG, FB or news App feed have a tendency to speak AGAINST God. Go ahead, test it and try it - most of the verbiage you ingest daily has no positive or invitational mention of God.
“But sooner or later we find that not everything is to our liking in this book. It starts out sweet to our taste; and then we find it doesn't sit well with us at all, it becomes bitter in our stomachs. Finding ourselves in this book is most pleasant, flattering even, and then we find that the book is not written to flatter us, but to involve us in a reality, God's reality, that doesn't cater to our fantasies of ourselves.”
― Eugene H. Peterson, Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading
We are so complacent. Happy with what is right in front of us, grabbing whatever is easy, studying other people’s words instead of investigating for ourselves, accepting way too much as the “gospel truth”. The only sound and generous “Gospel Truth” comes from the Bible, God’s roadmap to YOUR life, OUR life, our world, our future. In it you can get to know Him, get to know yourself and find out how you should desire to CHANGE in order to be more like Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith.
The Bible seems to be an uncomfortable mirror to hold up. You ARE capable of picking up scripture, you have the intelligence to soak in whatever God needs you to be aware of for today. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that there is some sort of prerequisite. It is for you. But, do prepare to be refined. If you go through the fires of refinement with God, you will not be burned or even singed, you will be better. This requires you to “pull up the boot straps” and take in the lessons - all of them. Be willing to be changed, you should WANT to be changed, because stagnant lives, like stagnant water just begin to smell really bad.
Aslan says to Lucy at the end of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, “That was the very reason you were brought to Narnia. That by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.” Lucy, Edmund, Susan and Peter, the children who ventured into Narnia, had many fearful, uncertain and tempting times during their times in Narnia.
Similar to what Aslan spoke to Lucy, what if you heard these words over you from God, “Yes, you’ve had trials and tribulations during the year of 2020, but by going through those and seeking Me in them, you know Me better now.” And if the titles that apply to the kings and queens of Narnia can apply in even a small amount to us as well, then I am happy to have journeyed through to become more valliant, more just, more gentle and more magnificent because of Him who loves me…how about you?
Let me turn around the verbiage of 2020 to encourage you in the year 2021…
FEAR - Fear only God. “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.” Luke 12:4-6
UNCERTAINTY - God is Truth. “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.” John 16:13
LOSS - Lose anger, greed, ego, insecurity, condemnation by creating a rhythm of prayer in your life. Talk with Him as you walk with Him and see how His peace can wash over you when you choose Him to guide you. “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you. I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26
TEMPTATION - Ask for help, gain a mentor in this new year of life, create paths of instruction, discipline and correction in order to gain maturity. You don’t have to be alone, choose community! “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13
PEOPLE - There are many people upon earth who have set themselves up as authorities, rulers, even kings. But, God is our true authority, our true compass and our one God who is to be forever praised, AMEN! “And God spoke all these words: ‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.’” Exodus 20:1-6
ESSENTIAL - God’s Word is the primary source of life, He comes first and everything else should wisely be lined up behind. “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
So, be valliant, just, gently and magnificent this year with the help of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Grace and Peace,
The Ups and Downs of Life...