7th August 2020
'The Old Way Has to Go'
And so I insist - and God backs me up on this -
that there be no going along with the crowd,
the empty-headed, mindless crowd.
They've refused for so long to deal with God
that they've lost touch not only with God
but with reality itself.
They can't think straight anymore.
Feeling no pain,
they let themselves go in sexual obsession,
addicted to every sort of perversion.
Measure the irregular pulse of the hard heart:
¤ "Hopelessly confused" going along with the crowd,
¤ "Minds... of darkness" empty-headed, mindless crowd
¤ "Have no sense of shame"
lost touch not only with God but with reality itself
¤ "Live for lustful pleasure" let themselves go in sexual obsession
¤ "Practice every kind of impurity" every sort of perversion
Morticians render a brighter diagnosis. No wonder Scripture says,
He who hardens his heart falls into trouble.
- Proverbs 28:14
My executive assistant saw the result
of such stubbornness in a pasture.
A cow stuck her nose into a paint tin and couldn't shake it off.
Tin_nosed cows can't breathe well, and they can't drink or eat at all.
Both the cow and her calf were in danger.
A serious bovine bind.
Her family set out to help.
But when the cow saw the rescuers coming,
she set out for the pasture.
They pursued, but the cow escaped.
They chased that cow for three days!
Each time the posse drew near,
the cow ran.
Finally, using pickup trucks and ropes,
they cornered and de-tinned the cow.
Seen any tin-nosed people lately?
Malnourished souls? Dehydrated hearts?
People who can't take a deep breath?
All because they stuck their noses where they shouldn't
and when God came to help, they ran away.
When billions of us imitate the cow, chaos erupts.
Nations of bull-headed people,
ducking God, bumping into each other.
We scamper, starve, and struggle.
Isn't this the world we see?
This is the world God sees.
Yet, this is the world God loves.
"For God so loved the world..."
This hard-hearted, stiff-necked world.
We bow before gold-plated cows;
still, He loves us.
We stick our noses where we shouldn't;
still, He pursues us.
We run from the very One who can help,
but He doesn't give up.
He loves. He pursues. He persists.
And, every so often, a heart starts to soften.
Let yours be one of them. Here's how:
Don't forget what God has done for you.
Jesus performed two bread-multiplying miracles:
in one He fed five thousand people,
in the other four thousand.
Still, His disciples, who witnessed both feasts,
worried about empty pantries.
A frustrated Jesus rebuked them:
"Are your hearts too hard to take it in?..
Don't you remember anything at all?"
- Mark 8:17-18
Short memories harden the heart.
Make careful note of God's blessings.
Declare with David:
I will daily add praise to praise.
I'll write the book on your righteousness,
talk up your salvation the livelong day,
never run out of good things to write or say.
- Psalm 71:14-15
Catalogue God's goodnesses.
Meditate on them.
He has fed you, led you, and earned your trust.
Remember what God has done for you.
Acknowledge what you have done against God.
If we claim we have not sinned,
we are calling God a liar
and showing that His Word has no place in our hearts.
- 1 John 1:10
Sin-hoarding stiffens us.
Confession softens us.
Is your heart hard?
Take it to your Father.
You're only a prayer away from tenderness.
You live in a hard world,
but you don't have to live with a hard heart.
Let's ask the One who loves us for help.
'While the cat is away....'