Answering The Call is an international missions organization dedicated to reaching people in difficult to reach places.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

My Mamma Told Me.....

My mom always told me, “Once a mom, always a mom, no matter how old your children get.” Now that I have a married daughter I am gaining new understanding to what she meant. My daughter and her husband do what many newly married, young couples without children do. They bought a dog. Let me correct that. They bought a puppy. After several months they realized their landlord did not take a liking to their new purchase. Which meant the new purchase needed a new home. At least until the newly married, young couple without children found a new abode. Upon hearing this news I had a faint suspicion that our home would become the “new home.” My suspicion was found true. David and I have inherited my daughter and son-in-laws’ new puppy, at least temporarily.

After several puppies and dogs, one of which we still have, I swore I would never have another. But after all, I am still a mom and I could not bring my mommy heart to say no. (I can’t decide whether or not my mommy heart gets me in or out of trouble. Probably a little of both.) I must say she is the cutest puppy I think I have ever seen. Nonetheless, she is a puppy and she does what puppies do; chew, mess, romp and whine. All the things that make me not want a puppy.
I can’t fault her for any of these things because it is in her nature to do them. I was reading an article recently where a man was writing of his golden retriever. He writes, “I have a golden retriever dog that was bred to be a retriever. If you throw something, it is hard to hold him back, to keep him from going to retrieve it. It is his nature to retrieve and will be agitated until he can retrieve anything that is thrown. It is harder for him not to retrieve than to retrieve.”
He goes on to make the application that we as humans were spiritually bred and our nature, especially once we are in Christ, was set toward spiritual things. I believe eternity is set in the heart of every human being because the Bible says we were created in the image of God. I also think many in the body of Christ are unfulfilled, unsatisfied, and perhaps even depressed because we fail to live in this reality, the eternal reality, the spiritual reality. We fail to live out what we were called to and for.

First and foremost we are called to have intimate relationship with our maker. He would not have made us in His own image if He did not intend fellowship with us. Everything the Lord created He spoke it into existence but when it came to man it says, “God formed man of dust and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living being.” God got intimate when He put His very own hands to it.

Secondly, Genesis 2:5 & 15 says, “Now no shrub of the field was yet in the earth, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted, for the Lord God had not sent rain upon the earth, and there was no man to cultivate the ground. Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the Garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.” We were meant to cultivate! It is in our spiritual nature to cultivate, grow, water, feed and create. For me personally, I have always thought it was unspiritual to desire such things. Where did that thought come from? How, being made in the image of God, can desire be unspiritual? Desire is part of the nature of God. God desires us. God desires much fruit. God desires fellowship. Look at the earth around you…I’d say it took some kind of desire to create the seas, mountains, sunsets, trees, flowers, glaciers, and on and on it goes.
I believe there is a little golden retriever in all of us. We were bred with a spiritual nature to chase and retrieve something. The question is what is the something? Of course, God is the something. But it doesn’t end there. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Philippians 3:12 says, “…but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which I also was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.” We were apprehended by Christ and consequently meant to apprehend that which He has called us to.

God has a purpose for each of us. As we seek first the Kingdom of God He will put desires in our heart, desires that He intends for us to pursue and fulfill. What would it look like for the body of Christ to begin walking in the reality of who they really are and in the callings God has apprehended them for? What is it that your heart yearns for? What is it that you, as a spiritually bred person, desire to do? I admonish you to do as Paul did, “forgetting what lies behind and reach forward to what lies ahead; press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ.” Pursue the King today! He loves you, has called you, and has prepared in advance good works for you.

Joy

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

What Is Real?

What is real? This is such a fundamental question that it seems absurd to even raise it. C.S. Lewis reflected on ancient philosophers and came to the conclusion that the physical realm in which we live is a mere shadow of a greater reality that is defined spiritually. He suggests that the physical realm is a picture of what is happening in the greater reality, which is spiritual. Maybe the question is not what is real; but rather, what is more real, or perhaps what is defining.

While this all sounds very ethereal, it becomes in fact, quite practical. This is especially true for those of us who have been granted eternal life and have been issued eternal calls. Our call must be viewed through the lens of a spiritual reality having eternal significance or there is little divine spark in it. This is especially true in the arena of missions, which may best be defined as the extension of the kingdom of Jesus and the exercise of His authority in the darkness of this world.

All of this is philosophical language that points to what we were taught in Sunday school as little children; prayer is primary. It may be that we adopted this truth without understanding all that lay behind it, relegating us to not exercise it. I believe more and more that the primary work of missions is prayer and worship. Through these we enter the “real” realm where the Kingdom of God is brought to bear.

Part of the work God has called Answering The Call to is predicated on this philosophy. We are to go into new fields dominated by authoritarian governments and dark strongholds. We must recognize that what is immediately observable is a mere shadow of a greater spiritual reality namely the strongholds of rulers and principalities in heavenly places. We are to go and pray. We are to worship, pronouncing that His Kingdom has come. We then become participative observers of the deliverance that King Jesus brings. We will continue to go. Come with us!

David