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“He turns rivers into wilderness and the watersprings into dry ground…..He turns wilderness into pools of water and dry land into water spring……He also blesses them and they multiply…”  Psalm 107:  33, 35, 38

“Oh that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness….Let them exalt Him also in the assembly of  the people”  Psalm 107 31, 32

I will try not to compartmentalized too much and stay on topic.  Yet one does not have to look too far in the world and see not only a lot of compartmentalization going on in general, but especially compartmentalization going on about God in the world.

It is sadly true that Our Heavenly Father, God Almighty is referred to less and less in mainstream society in terms of having any relevent impact on it.  Not wanting to enforce a “state religion” in the United States, the founding leaders designed a separation of church and government.  That concept, much to the delight of the devil, has morphed into a much broader concept of separation of church and society.  It is no longer a correct and in some cases an allowable exercise to discuss our faith in conjunction with our vocation or outside of solely religious gatherings.

Yet there is one place where calling upon God is still considered a morally correct and admirable thing to do; when people are struck with extreme personal tragedy, often involving health or loved ones’ death.  In the aftermath of significant natural disasters with large loss of life or property, in the wake of a mass shooting or terrorist attack, speaker after speaker stands before the public and pleads with the public to remember these people and their families in our prayers.  Please don’t misunderstand me; I am glad even for that mention of God and His power to heal, comfort and restore.

So here’s an example of compartmentalization recently.  There are horrible wildfires happening in our western and northwestern states.  There has been a lack of rain for significant periods of time and much of the vegetation had dried up over time leading to readily volatile fire conditions.  Various reasons for this period of drought and what to do about it have been offered.  It is man-made climate change.  It is climate change that has nothing to do with man.  It is man’s mismanagement of resources for not storing water when he could.  In short it is man or strictly a natural process with no other influence discussed or possible.  So the fires happen and very sadly, several, brave firefighters have lost their lives.  Then it happens; in talking about the firefighters’ death, we are encouraged to pray for them.  In fact first and foremost that is what speaker after speaker, and these are secular speakers, governors, mayors, fire captains, news reports, even the president, feel completely at ease calling upon you and I to pray to God for these people (and that is again a good thing).

So I have to ask myself and would ask them if I had the chance; why is it correct to pray for these individuals and not the greater circumstances where these people and we ourselves find ourselves?  Are you or we saying that God has only power in helping people in dire or after dire circumstances but has no power in any other aspect of the world we live in?  Of course I’d hate that in, asking that question, their answer would be to stop calling on God altogether.

King David, in Psalm 107 is referring to the power of God Almighty and how He uses that power to bless and yes, withhold blessing.  Yet there is no ambiguity in God’s omnipotence in every aspect of creation.  Now please don’t infer by my example that I am judging areas of our country or saying that the fires are God’s judgement for this act or that.  I do not know the mind of God nor am in any place to be a spokesperson of His judgement; He is all too capable to do that for Himself.  What I am saying with complete conviction is that God is the Creator and has power in all things.  I also proclaim that He is a God of love who longs to hear the prayers of His creation and bless them (us) abundantly.  I also believe, based upon scripture, that God will withhold His blessings when we fail to reach out to Him and act based on our own earthly and evil judgement.  Yet God in His Mercy and Patience will do all that He can do to bring us back.  To show us, not only His Power, but His Love as well.  He will go as far as to sacrifice His only Son to redeem us from our sin and show us His Power by raising Him from the dead, to show us how we can come to live in His presence again.  In fact that very comforting nature of God that is why we are asked to pray for those so significantly hurting.

What I am saying, asking for, cajoling, pleading for is for you and I not to compartmentalized our requests to God.  To understand that God wants to be a part of and then allow Him to come into our lives and be a part of, every aspect of our lives.  I am asking that we understand, there is nothing outside of God’s control so let’s pray for rain and relief of drought and famine, knowing that God has that power.  Pray for a promotion, pray for a grade, pray for a relationship, pray for your finances with the firm faith of God’s intervening power.  He is faithful to answer.  He is faithful to bless.  It may not be in the same time or way that we were thinking but He will make it all the better, all the richer.

One final thing David asks us to do.  For example I have two friends who have recently done exactly what David speaks of.  One friend miraculously survived a horrific automobile accident and his recovery has had physical pain and there are things he can no longer do.  Yet he is unceasing in his praise of Power of God in the recovery his doctors say is nothing short of miraculous.  Another friend and husband were going through financial, health and spiritual troubles that shook them to their very souls thinking, at times there might be no way out other than to bring about their own end.  Yet they did not completely lose their faith and God powerfully intervened and they sing His praises constantly.  We need to tell of God’s blessings.  We need to declare God’s answered prayers.  Many will scoff, but some will hear and be transformed and end their compartmentalization and open all to God.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, we humbly and loudly declare You are the Creator God and over all things.  We pray to You in all aspects of our lives to include we pray for rain in our western states to put out the fires.  We pray for drought and famine relief in Saharan Africa.  Show us that You want to us to pray, in love and faith, for specific things and in all aspects of our life.  Forgive us, when we compartmentalized our lives trying to exclude you from some part.  We praise You for the blessings and love you pour down upon us.  In the Name of Jesus Christ we pray.  Amen

“Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done…and indeed all was vanity and grasping of the wind.”  Ecclesiastes 2:11

“He who abides in Me and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”  John 15:5

Natural is a word that has garnered a fairly positive connotation in our world today.  Natural foods are considered healthier than modified foods.  Natural processes are considered more sustaining and productive than manipulated processes.  When we say something is natural or use the adverb “naturally”, more often than not, we are inferring an accuracy and correctness to the adjoining statement.

So I want to look at some “natural” processes.  Let’s look at the natural mechanical inanimate process.  Let’s say that we are building a device or machine.  While we are constructing the device, adding pieces and parts we feel that we are primarily in control of its function.  There will come a time when it is fully completed but still normally is tested so we still feel we have control over its final state.  Yet at some point we will considered it completed at which time it will now operate with some share of its functioning happening without our input.

Let’s turn our attention to an example of the animate process of raising offspring.  The higher up the functioning scale of animals is concerned, in general, the more time and interaction parents give to their offspring.  There are two general outcomes to this parenting process.  The animal, as in birds, are eventually expected to “leave the nest” and be able to fend for themselves.  In the case of certain mammals, the offspring, sometimes only female, will stay with the animal group and in these cases the offspring maintain a subservient role most of their lives.  Now let’s look at the highest functioning, dare I use the term evolved, of the animal species, human beings.  We spend a considerable amount of time, energy and resources in the raising of our children.  Though, I guess we can’t know for certain, a uniqueness of the human process is the idea, while our children will use much of what we have taught them, that they will actually exceed our capabilities as they go out on their own.  In other words, it is a uniquely human desire that our children will be more intelligent, more successful, more affluent, more emotionally stable, more………….than we, the parents were.  One of the aspects of achieving the “greater” is a sense that they accomplished that with a level of autonomy.  Thus the natural way of things is that things made by us or things that come from our procreation should be able to be able to operate on their own.

So why discuss this?  I have no particular issue as far as any judgement concerning the appropriateness of this process in a “worldly” way.  However, I get a definite sense that this idea of autonomy is the “natural” process and therefore an appropriate and accurate process has transgressed into our thinking about our spiritual process, our appropriate relationship with Our Heavenly Father.  I very much get the sense there is an idea that is popular that ascribes to a process where we are created by God, taught the Word of God, have institutions like churches and the like from God, but then there are large sections of our life that we are responsible for.  That we are to take what God has given us and strike out on our own.  That we can and will become “better” because of God’s influence yet primarily based on our own actions, thoughts and beliefs which can be apart from God.  I believe this is an incredibly dangerous concept that I can not find any basis for in the bible.

Speaking of what is in the bible; let’s start with our Savior’s own words.  It was one of the last times he would be speaking with His disciples.  Jesus is trying to both encourage, teach and warn about the times to come.  Jesus is speaking in the context of the spirit because He knows He will soon be bodily returning to the Father.  As I have often said before, I believe that Jesus used language very intentionally.  He meant exactly what he said.  Thus He tells the disciples that they can do “nothing” apart from Him.  He tells them to abide in him; abide meaning to remain, continue, stay in Him.  He doesn’t just tell them things will go better with Jesus.  He doesn’t say, you should put me somewhere in your thinking.

Another man, a man who we are told is the wisest man ever born of earthly parents, also strives to seek the meaning of life and life’s work.  The man’s name was Solomon.  In Solomon’s undertaking to find meaning, he looks everywhere, gaining knowledge, gaining wealth, gaining power, gaining possessions, gaining free time, gaining women and every possible task “under the sun”.  His conclusion; it is all vanity.  There is no worth, no value in any of it.  He goes on to state his own conclusion of the whole matter:  “Fear God and keep His commandments for this is man’s all”. (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

Dear Sisters and Brothers it may seem unnatural and it most certainly is to the world.  Yet I believe there is to be no time, no action, no thought, no deed that I am to undertake on my own.  That God’s Nature is to have us be with Him in all things, at all times.  That I don’t do this (and I most surely don’t) is when temptation and sin comes into my life.  It’s not the God needs us around for some reason but that we are completely dependent on Him.  The worldly person rebels against this.  The worldly person says the more I am successful the less I need until I need no thing from anyone else not even God.  I am self sufficient.  I am God.

The first hurdle is to become humble; to actually want to abide, at all times and in all things in Him.  Then come the hurdles of actually opening all to Him; all work, all play, all actions, all thoughts.  The more we can do this; the closer we will be to the True Natural.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, we thank You that You desire that we would always be with You, at all times and in all things.  Forgive us when we stubbornly wish to go our own way and exclude you from our lives.  Keep us from the inevitable evil that will come during those times and mercifully lead us back to you we pray.  That the more we abide in You the more our lives will be lives of praise to Your Name.  We pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen

 

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