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September Newsletter-McDonald

Occasionally, someone will ask me: historically, where do you think we are? There’s no exact answer to that as no one possesses the timetable of God. I do believe in scriptural seasons. And, there’s a super argument for this being ‘the season’ that’s been prophesied and anticipated for thousands of years. (One thing I do know is it’s my and your last generation so we can live it with that in mind each day.) For me personally, knowing the exact moment is not what stabilizes my daily Christian walk. What does cause me to stand firm is a simple expression found in Luke 21:9 (paraphrased) ‘Don’t panic or give into fear, these thing are bound to happen, but the end is not immediate.’ I’m not always watching or using what I’m seeing as a calculator of what is real in our big picture called Faith. Example, what did it look like when our King rode into Jerusalem on a donkey to be killed? It wasn’t going well for his band of believers at that moment. It looked like Jesus’ message was done, cut off, finished. Roman rule then was very similar to rulers in the world now; then and now, not very comforting times for the Christian faithful. Back then their world was characterized by the humiliation of Jesus. Roman rule guarded against suspicions and required guards at the tomb to guarantee no shenanigans. At that time, His followers were considered terrorists by the Romans. And the embalming, the tomb, and Jesus’ criminal public death married stress and doubt. For many reasons it looked to be the worst of seasons for believers. The humiliation of Jesus continues today.

One of the whimsical expressions I’ve used before in these letters is one a friend stated to me over 40 years ago, ‘You can’t snow the snowman.’ It stuck in my mind years ago and it’s a phrase that plays a big role in my life today. I think that’s the case because he followed with this statement: ‘Because He knows all about snow.’ In a worldly sense – you can fool folks, camouflage the realities of the world system, but in the long run, you can’t snow the Creator of the world. God is not in Heaven pacing the floor, rubbing His hands together in uncertainty, He is confident, He’s sitting; a pose that translates He is at Peace. He is not distressed; He knows the future and very importantly, how to bring it about. He knows much more than what may be being expressed in front of our eyes. We have a tendency to focus on the magician on the world stage and look amazed. He knows the magician’s tricks and He’s not impressed.

I think my personal stability about ‘today’ is expressed pretty well in Psalm 2. (It was written around 1044 B.C.) It’s not necessary that this prophecy be about today specifically, however it does express the behind the curtain reality of God’s certainty very well.

‘The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break God’s bands asunder, and cast away God’s cords from us.
He that sits in the heavens shall laugh (I think defined in this case, mock or scorn): the Lord shall have them in derision (in the original language, have them speaking unintelligently, stammering).’

Eugene Peterson in his The Message Bible paraphrases it like this: ‘Why the big noise, nations? Why the mean plots, peoples? Earth-leaders push for position, demagogues and delegates meet for summit talks, the God-deniers, the Messiah-defiers: “Let’s get free of God! Cast loose from Messiah. Heaven-throned God breaks out laughing. At first He’s amused at their presumption…’ Psalm 2 is as relevant today as the day it was written 3000 years ago. In Jesus’ time the Roman Empire ruled, had dreams of world domination; today that empire is gone. Personally, I have no delusions about how this will all turn out. We are to follow scripture: ‘do not embrace worry.’ That’s not to say I don’t see the obvious, the drama being played out before my eyes. I just know that behind the curtain of the world stage is God in Heaven that observes the kings of the earth and their counseling and scheming to cast God away. The world plots, snickers, glees in its self-centeredness, boasts in its hatefulness. Doing that, it has the same assured results as before: chaos and curse. You just can’t snow the snowman. Many times I know we don’t act like it but God is present everywhere. He holds all things together; if He was not present, it would fly apart and be destroyed (Col. 1:15-17). It would be as void as Genesis 1:1

Maybe we’ll correct the wrongs of today or perhaps we will not. One thing we do know, God, in every generation of men has, and always will, accomplish His purpose no matter what it looks like. My overwhelming confidence is in Him doing that today as well. Luke 21 is a pretty earth crushing picture of someone’s culture. Some attribute it to referencing Jerusalem’s fall in 70 AD and others stamp it on today. I do think that the latter part of that scripture describes the past but likely whispers of a future manifestation of Messiah.

Some folks mention, why so positive in your BVN letters in the middle of such a negative moment in our country and in the world? Again, the letters here are about Gospel/New Life living and not a cultural statement. Plenty can be written about and should be done on the subject of our culture and norms. The subjects of our education system and media might take a few hundred pages to address in themselves. As for me, I think the media is the most guilty, empowering evil as good and good as evil. They’re enabling things that we might normally reject, making them the norm.

That said, WBVN’s thirty-two year journey has been to center in on Christ, to share His love and to focus on the Gospel. There are many great speakers and writers better at discussions about the cultural experience that we’re all having in these unique times. I mentioned at a recent concert, WBVN didn’t come to be successful, it came to share Hope. Seeing all that’s going on in the earth, being aware of its catastrophic effect on our lives, and most importantly our children’s lives, doesn’t pull our focus to the magician standing on the stage. We continue to look backstage to the Director of Grace and trust in Him.

I had a conversation recently with my friend Mike Middleton. The subject was how many faithful, having to deal so much of the worldly systems, are just simply fatigued. However, we should remember there are many believers still confident. There’s a different reality to those that choose Him. I always enjoyed reading the following quote from author George McDonald. It settles me down, gives confidence in the Heart of God and it re-establishes the embrace that I understand each and every day from the God of the Cosmos.

‘Nearly all of them (theologians) represent him as a great King on a grand throne, thinking how grand he is, and making it the business of his being and the end of his universe to keep up his glory, wielding the bolts of a Jupiter against them that take his name in vain. They would not allow this, but follow out what they say, and it comes much to this. Brothers, have you found our king? There he is, kissing little children and saying they are like God. There he is at table with the head of a fisherman lying on his bosom, and somewhat heavy at heart that even he, the beloved disciple, cannot yet understand him well. The simplest peasant who loves his children and his sheep were… a true type of our God beside that monstrosity of a monarch.’ (George MacDonald from “The Child In The Midst” in Unspoken Sermons)

That God, His Gospel, is that personal, that caring, that present, right here, right now.

Posted on by Laura Posted in Newsletters, Uncategorized

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