While we live in a generation where many people view ‘religion’ as a private and personal experience that bears little relevance to the real world, the Psalmist saw his connection with God as a vital, passionate, life-enriching connection, that he needed more than the air he breathed or the water his thirst longed for. It is my pastoral mission to help those whose hearts are inclined toward God to join with the Psalmist and to pant after a deeper communion with God.
Of all Rudyard Kipling’s six best friends, I think Why is my favourite. Why is a question that leads to understanding – not just facts, but heart. Kiplings other five friends: Who; What; When; Where; and, How; are really mere lieutenants to their chief, Why. Most of you are probably already acquainted with Why but I want to help you to get better acquainted with this master of the interrogatives – especially those of us who want to change the world!
“Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
Why leads to discovery and enlightenment. In Mark’s Gospel, he records the Jewish scribes asking themselves “in their hearts” why Jesus dared speak with divine authority. Their question is squarely answered when Jesus “perceiving in His spirit that they thus questioned within themselves and trumped their why with His own. “Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’ — He said to the paralytic — ‘I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.’ And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, We never saw anything like this!”
Most people are unaware that they are the focus of an insidious scheme by an enemy who uses any and every trick possible to harm them! The ancients knew of this scheme and warned as many as would listen. Back in a time when people were generally more spiritual, this vile plot to undermine people’s welfare was frequently exposed; but now in our day, when such things are dismissed as the mere rants of a by-gone era of silly superstitious simpletons, the tricks of the enemy are actually embraced and welcomed by a culture now drunk on the enemy’s liquor of deception. But we hav no reason to fear our Enemy and he has every reason to fear the One who is in us!
How different would your life be if you were no longer afraid of anything? I’ll tell you: it would be different. My answer to my question is informed by a series of responses by a large group of elderly people gave to a survey asking what their biggest regret in life was. Almost without exception they responded by saying that their biggest regret was that they didn’t take more risks in life. With the benefit of their hindsight they could now see that what they were afraid of when they were younger was never worth being afraid of!
Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”