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They Weren’t Supposed to be the Heroes….except in God’s mind.

Discussion/Devotional thoughts of the Day…

 20  Who in the world do you think you are to second-guess God? Do you for one moment suppose any of us knows enough to call God into question? Clay doesn’t talk back to the fingers that mold it, saying, “Why did you shape me like this?” 21  Isn’t it obvious that a potter has a perfect right to shape one lump of clay into a vase for holding flowers and another into a pot for cooking beans? 22  If God needs one style of pottery especially designed to show his angry displeasure 23  and another style carefully crafted to show his glorious goodness, isn’t that all right? 24  Either or both happens to Jews, but it also happens to the other people. 25  Hosea put it well: I’ll call nobodies and make them somebodies; I’ll call the unloved and make them beloved. 26  In the place where they yelled out, “You’re nobody!” they’re calling you “God’s living children.” 27  Isaiah maintained this same emphasis: If each grain of sand on the seashore were numbered and the sum labeled “chosen of God,” They’d be numbers still, not names; salvation comes by (God’s) personal selection. 28  God doesn’t count us; he calls us by name. Arithmetic is not his focus.    Romans 9:20-28 (MSG)

They appear in some of my favorite books an movies, Bilbo Baggins, (not to mention his nephew Frodo), Thomas Covenant, Nicholas Seafort, the apprentices Pug and Thomas and Jimmy the Hand. Arthur Dent…..the quarterback in Longest Yard, the general in “the Last Castle”.

Bag End, as used in the Lord of the Rings films.

Bag End, as used in the Lord of the Rings films. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is, I suppose, a special genre…. that of the Anti-hero.  The ones who succeed despite themselves, matter of fact it is their weakness, and their mistakes, that endear them to us… and because of which, they find success.

But they are also my favorite people in scripture, REAL PEOPLE – like Gideon, Samuel, David, Jeremiah, Hosea and of course, the last person anyone would have thought would have been a hero (except maybe in his own mind) – the apostle Peter. They too are the people that were not considered the brilliant, the connected, the famous, the wealthy and powerful.  Yet God used them, incredibly, as He formed them, empowered and equipped them to do what others could not do.

And everyone is surprised… as if God can’t work through the means He chooses.

Which brings me to you and I.

We are God’s artwork, His masterpiece (see Ephesians 2:10)  We may not be much (or some of us, like Peter and I – often – too much!) but God uses us, and uses us to do extraordinary things.  It may be what we accomplish, it may be what we endure.  It may simply be the example of trying to cling to God’s hand with our last remaining bit of strength – then realizing we are safely nestled in the palm of His other hand.  It could be that we are the forefront of a major revival – one where the church is reformed because we were the remnant not to surrender to dreams of past glory, or the machinations to create a future one.

We don’t know – we cannot… we can only trust in God… we can only walk with Him, dance with Him, be cleansed and strengthened by Him…loved by Him.

That is the time – when He receives glory, for the like the cornerstone which the builders rejected – we are found to be an essential block (in my case blockhead) in His building the New Sanctuary… the Body of Christ, those who have been brought to trust in Him, and cleansed by Him.

We are His people – we are His clay…

and He is at work in and through our lives.  AMEN

Fictional Epics and the Church

Devotional Thought of the Day:

Whether it is the fantasy epics of Tolkein and Raymond Feist, or the novels of James Clavell, or the military and naval historical fiction of writers like WEB Griffin, Alexander Kent, or Dewey Lambdin, I love multi-volume epics,  the kind that chronicle a life time or more of the events of a group of peoples lives.   That detail their struggles, their weakness and their heartaches.

They create worlds in which we can get lost for a time, and in a way, we learn lessons from them.

Some of which can apply to the church.

The first of course is that we don’t know the end of the story.  We may know how it resolves – but the getting there and the character development is the story as well.  So to it is in our lives – what God uses to develop us into who we are.  We really don’t know what is around the corner – who will be introduced into the story, which struggles they will face, even who will be redeemed – and who will not!

So too are we not the writers of our own stories, the journeys and struggles, the unexpected joys, and the victories that seem more a blessing (or luck) than any skill we have.

The key in reading such a story is to entrust yourself to the writer- to buy into His storytelling.  The key to living in such a story, as we do in God’s story…is the same – to trust in Him, to wait for the resolution – and to enjoy the ride.

I get the feeling – that for many of us, this year will be another epic trek…. as we journey towards a peacful kingdom – and a feast that celebrates what we’ve found.

May we go it at God’s speed, and depending on His mercy!

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