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Anarchy of Thought

April 25, 2019

“Anarchy reigns in human thought: we walk in the woods, without compass or sun, lost among the brambles and briars of infinite detail.”
Charles Wagner, “The Simple Life”

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“MONDAY MORNING GROAN” Jan. 7

January 7, 2019

“And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground,for out of it you were taken; for you are dust,and to dust you shall return.”  Genesis 3:17-19

man holding hoe

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I do not till the soil nor do I cultivate seeds. I am not a farmer.
I am not a rancher. I do not graze livestock nor do I breed cattle.
My wages do not come from agriculture.

My wages are derived from services rendered in an office. I manage and design through contracted fees for purposes greater than my participation. While I don’t wield a pitchfork, my work is still exhausting. While I don’t lift produce, my efforts exceed my energy. I return from my daily labor exhausted but rarely is that exhaustion physical. My labor is of the mind and so is my fatigue.

Yet, I am under the same plague as those in agriculture. I work under the same curse of their labors. It is a curse long ago placed. There are no eyes remaining that saw its origin. It is a curse of such history that to imagine a world without it is akin to fantasy.

I know that this coming week of work will be filled with problems; political consequences upon our capacity, strategies for emerging trends, termination of a troublesome employee, delivery of a poor performance review of another, addressing of unseemly salutations of a third, and an assortment of challenges as yet unknown.
It will wear me out by the end of each day, but I will have lifted nothing. I will have pushed and persuaded but never engaged a muscle. I will have pulled an organization while never registering a watt.

These are the days that do not endear me to my job.

design desk display eyewear

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I observe social media feeds of individuals apparently free from my travails. Traveling the world without a care toward employment; engrossed in the pursuit of their passion. I know workers who have completed their term and are enjoying the fruit of a pension. They are free from the duty due a paycheck and the obligations of a position.

Yet, I know that it is all an illusion. We are all caught between a blessing and a curse. We have lived in this middle ground for so long that we no longer even recognize it.

My exhaustion does not come from my work. I was made to work. From the beginning of creation, mankind was created to work. Adam was placed in the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. Adam was made to work. I have the same form as Adam. I was made to work.

My work is a blessing. Work was given to us by God as our purpose. Work was to be pleasant, delightful, and fulfilling. Yet, it often isn’t but that is not the fault of work.

The fault lies in the unacknowledged curse. We live in a fallen world. The earth was cursed in response to Adam’s sin. Our work was intended to cultivate and keep the blessings of the Lord. Sin resulted in a twisting of that purpose into hardship. Work became labor and toil.

We were to live in harmony with creation as stewards of blessings. Sin exchanged harmony with difficultly. Nothing is easy under the curse. Work became a source of exhaustion. We were to be joyful stewards of bounty. Now, we are slaves to the dust we were formed from.

This is why I groan every Monday. This is why it is so hard to crawl out of bed on a workday. This is why the whole of creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth (Romans 8:22). We are laboring under the curse; Slaves to Murphy’s Law.
This is why I know that those who have achieved the blessed age of retirement are not freed from exhaustion. It is why I know the liberty of the jobless world traveler is an illusion.

We walk in blindness and insensibility when we don’t accurately attribute the source of our Monday morning groaning. The fallacy is the attribution of sadness and discontent to our employment. Problems will find us wherever we flee.

This is why I don’t place my hope in this world. The problems that await me within my week of work are simply inherent to this fallen world. I recognize the dreadful results of disharmony with our Creator.

This is why I collect the tokens of God’s goodness, which He has generously sprinkled throughout a world corrupted by the rebelliousness of sin. I might not be able to see a world as pure as that which appeared to Adam. However, I still can acknowledge the mercy and grace given by God to an undeserving world.

Therefore, I will appreciate my work, my purpose. As I ready myself for another week, I will strive to redeem my labor to its original creation for the glory of God as a faithful steward. I will separate my purpose from its problems. My purpose is the holy occupation that I have been blessed with. The resulting weariness and groaning are merely another reminder of my need for a Savior.

I am thankful that I have one.

man kneeling in front of cross

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PRAYER: Lord, thank you for my job.  Thank you for giving  employment to provide for my needs and the needs of my family.  Help me to see beyond my groanings.  Help me to see the holy in my purpose.  Give me strength to endure the curse that is upon this earth for your glory.  Open me eyes to see all the blessings I have .  Thank you for the promise that one day your children will be freed from the corruption of this place.  Thank you for making a way through the salvation of Jesus Christ alone.   I pray this in the precious name of your Son,  Jesus Christ.   Amen.

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“Another Year” – Jan. 1

January 1, 2019

“And God said, “Let there be light”, and there was light.”  Genesis 1:3

Another year has passed.  Another year is upon us.  The flow of time creates natural opportunities for retrospection and planning.  The first day of a new year seems like just a division, natural or otherwise, to review the year that has been and plan for the one to come.

I enjoy the optimism of considering what I want to do and become in the coming year and then creating the goals to make that happen.  All things seem possible on January 1st even though I know that they are not.  My lists of goals are too long.  I can’t possibly achieve all that I want to accomplish within a year.  There will be some goal that have to be sacrificed.  Therefore, I have to prioritize my goals.  I have to determine what comes first.

Prioritizing goals is a wonderful sieve of desires.  What can I live without?

I live a life of abundance.  My problems are only problems in my world.  The inhabitants of the vast majority of the world will view my problems as blessings. So, I sieve.  I sieve my hopes and dreams through the screen of “what I can live without”.

This process quickly reveals the gems of my life.  It also reveals that we are not that far removed from the low tiers of a hierarchy closely resembling the construct of Abraham Maslow.  I can get a little apocalyptic when taking my thought experiment to the extreme.

However, have you ever considered what your basic physiological needs, safety, food, water, shelter, etc., are?  As in any good apocalypse movie (other than the Matrix), mankind can be very resilient until you block out the sun.  Light is a basic physiological need.  The sun might be our essential physiological need.  Without the sun, we will have no food.  Without food, we will die.

My little thought experiment brought me back to my January 1st tradition of starting a new Bible reading plan.  As with any good Bible reading plan, it starts with Genesis 1 on January 1; “In the beginning…”

backlit clouds dawn dusk

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Consider what God did first in his order of creation.  He created the heavens and the earth.  God then created light.  God created the essences of life – light.  However, I don’t think that it was by accident that light was created before the sun and the moon.  God created light from himself.  He is the source of light and therefore the sustainer of life.  You can take  away the sun and the moon but that does not remove the light originating from God.  By the very order of creation, God holds all the essentials of our life including light.

Therefore, I can apply the most brutal of apocalyptic sieves, even the blotting out of the sun, and the final gem revealed is God.  I cannot live without God.

I believe the sweetest aspect of the New Year is the opportunity it avails us to evaluate all the blessings we have, even to the elemental levels of light, remembering how essential God is to our very existence.

He is the one  we cannot live without.

 

PRAYER: Lord, I thank you for another year.  Thank you for all the blessings  you have shown me.  Forgive me for the poor priorities of last year.  Forgive me for forgetting to recognize my reliance upon you in all things.  I cannot live without you.  Lord, remind me of my need for you through this coming year.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

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“THE LOVING SAPPER” – Nov. 25

November 25, 2017

“Just as the Father has loved me, I have also loved you; abide in my love.”  John 15:9

Enthusiasm waned in perfect inversion to the length of the day’s shadows.  The time had finally come to end the work and return home, which was dictated by both light and energy.  The path he walked seemed inclined in all directions as he began the long walk home.  Each step trudged along with heel barely higher than the sole.

The workman had been poured out.  There was nothing left.  He had given his all. Effort and more effort lay all about him but he was glad to be done at least until dawn.  He was well accustomed to the long treading of the trail home and happily started upon his routine.

Within sight of rest, random ruminations were rudely ruined by the wreckage caught in the corner of his eye.  A familiar plot, normally flourishing, lay ravished.  He had never paid much attention but he had remembered this small garden as blooming and inviting, well maintained and refreshing but that was not this evening.

The workman did not know when it was wrecked.  Had it been today?  Could it have been some time ago?  He did not know.  It was not his plot.  It was not his responsibility.  He could walk on by and no one would care.  He could turn the other way and no one would stare.  He could leave this destruction for another without despair.

But that was not his way.

The workman lived amongst destruction.  He knew it well.  The gardens he tended were strewn with munitions; bombs buried beneath every patch.  Inattentive tilling could trigger untold devastation with years of lost effort.  The workman knew that some bombs were buried deep and hard to trip while other were  exposed and ready to explode with a breath.

He could see several mines that would inevitably be tripped by someone less attentive and unaware.  He could not simply move on.  It was not his way.  With a sigh, he wearily stepped out of his routine and into the blast zone of this particular plot.  It was now his problem since he too would be effected by any mis-step.

 

The workman moved quickly with the skill of a sapper and defused all that he could readily see.  It was not hard.  It simply took care and gentleness to remove the danger. Yet, his heart broke over the destruction.  This plot had been stripped of all pleasantness; left barren and uninviting.

U.S. Air Force Explosive Ordinance Disposal Technician

The workman returned to the pathway where he had left his satchel.  He removed a small delicate flower.  It was all that he had left and it was all that he could give.  He carefully opened the soil in the heart of the plot and planted this small gift…a flower.


A believer’s heart is the garden where Christ has planted this sweet flower of his love.  It is the channel through which the golden stream of his affection runs.  ~ Thomas Watson


It had been a long day and the last thing he wanted to do was to stop for some fuel.  However, he did want to get home so where wasn’t really a choice.  So, he broke his routine and reluctantly swung his pickup into the gas station.  A swipe of the credit card through the fuel pump produced the annoying message “See Attendant”.  This was not the desired result for someone who just wants to get home.   Another swipe of a different card produced the same results.  “What a waste of time” was all he thought as he wearily trudged toward the store with heels barely higher than the soles.

He saw the familiar face of the attendant standing behind the counter as he entered the store.  However, her faced somehow seemed to be a mere shadow of itself.  As his turn in line came, the workman gave his usual greeting.  The reply was far from usual.  It was terse, verging on rude.  A quick glance into her eye caught a tear turning into a glare.

Clearly, something had happened that had wrecked her normally jovial spirit.  Had it been today?  Could it have been some time ago?  He did not know.  He didn’t really know her.  It was not his responsibility.  He could walk out and no one would care.  He could not engage and no one would stare.

He could leave her in despair but that was not his way…he said a prayer, it was time to get to the real work of the day, for he was a loving sapper.

PRAYER: Lord, I thank you for your love.  Help me to love others as you have loved me and your Father has loved you.  Help me to not ignore the hurting around me.  Help me to not selfishly protect myself from other’s issues.  Give me a heart the feels and desires to heal.  Give me the desire to share the sweet flower of your love that it may flow with your affection into the hearts of the hurting.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

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MASTER OF OFFENSE – July 25

May 11, 2017

A DEVOTED LIFE

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all thing, endures all things. Love never ends…” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

taken___liam_neeson_by_antsupoju1-d4z8mwd“I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. If you have emotional expectations, I can tell you I have limited means to fulfill them. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a life time. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you walk away, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don’t, I will be your friend, I…

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Spiritual/Secular Personhood – March 10th

March 10, 2017

My morning routine takes me through a progression of reading.  I have two broad categories; Bible/Devotional and Secular (business/news/technology/sports).  For the secular category, I use the app feedly to pull a sampling of internet happenings into a smorgasbord of current events and ideas.  I flip through the articles picking a few that catch my eye as interesting.

Rarely, do the categories of my morning reading coincide.  That is what surprised me during this morning’s ritual.  This article, in Forbes of all places, was an insightful read for people actually engaging in their working world as complete embodiments of spiritual/secular personhood.

Do You Believe In God, But Not Intuition? http://www.forbes.com/sites/brucekasanoff/2017/03/10/do-you-believe-in-god-but-not-intuition/

Let me know what you think.

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1+1 = GOD – Dec. 8th

March 8, 2017

A DEVOTED LIFE

“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” Psalm 19:1

What if we lived in a world where 1 + 1 did not equal 2? What if you could never be confident in the sum really being equal to two. What if we could not rely upon the observations of the world around us?

We could not know anything with confidence.

Einstein’s theory of relativity states that everything is relative to the observer. The consequence of this theory is that the sum of 1 + 1 for one person might not be the same as for another person. The sum depends upon what is going on with each person. If you’re in a car speeding along at 60 mph and pass another car going 40 mph, then that car will look like it is going 20 mph to you.  However, that car will look like it is going 40 mph…

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