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Tuesday Thoughts 2-6-18

I’m a small-town guy.  I grew up in one and, except for three years out of my life, I have lived in small towns (and much prefer them!).  It should not be surprising, then, that skyscrapers are fascinating and impressive to me. I have, on a few occasions, stood at the base of the Willis Tower in Chicago (the second tallest in the U.S.), filled with awe!   Finished in 1973, it is the very symbol of strength, longevity and stability.  It’s hard to imagine that it could ever not be there, but, as we learned through the terrorism of 9/11 and the World Trade Center towers, it can be gone in an instant.  So it is with anything, or anyone in which we place our confidence in this world, and it is one of humanity’s defining characteristics (because we’re created to be attached to God) to seek out those kinds of anchoring associations.  It was no different in Jesus’ day with His followers.  One day the group of them were walking past the Temple of Jerusalem.  This particular temple building was not the original one God had commissioned King Solomon to build, but this had been the religious worship site for the Jews for a thousand years.  In the 24th chapter of the New Testament book of Matthew, we are told that the disciples were pointing out the glory of this awesome place to Jesus (which is hilarious, like He’s a tourist or something).  They were in awe of the history, the religious significance, and the sheer size of the place.  However, Jesus did not join in their enthusiastic praise: “But he responded, “Do you see all these buildings? I tell you the truth, they will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another!” Matthew 24:1–2 (NLT).  No doubt it came as a shock to the disciples, who had been trained in the significance of this building, to hear of its coming destruction. It comes as a shock to us as well, when cherished faith-markers are called out for destruction by the Holy Spirit because they have become objects of worship.  Paul, the follower of Jesus points us to the true anchor of our souls in the New Testament book he penned to the church in Ephesus, “Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. Ephesians 2:20 (NLT).  The sights, sounds, and systems that the Holy Spirit used to draw us near (and ever-nearer) in those crucial spiritual-crossroad moments don’t make a foundation for faith, only Jesus does!  Why do I think this is so important?  Because I have seen, both in myself and others, spiritual growth stunted by attachments to a certain way or previous experiences.  It might be beneficial to think of it this way. Someone who has successfully spent years in the same profession has developed for more effective strategies and procedures than the elementary ones required to get them started at their new job.  So it is with our deepening walk toward God.  Don’t get stuck in one place.  Pray for a continuing flexibility of spirit so you don’t miss what our Creator is up to next.  As He said in the Old Testament book of Isaiah, “See, I am doing a new thing!” (Isaiah 43:19a).

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