Archive for October 23, 2010

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

We all like to get where we are going. I’ve noticed that I always like to entertain the idea that I should take the scenic route to work and enjoy the views along the way, but I rarely do. I like to get where I am going.

In travel, especially that travel marked by spiritual landmarks, the goal is to get to the destination, where God wants you to be. Although you may or may not enjoy the journey, and some of the sights can be less than pretty, you do want and need to get where you’re going. The Israelites present the classic example of going places but never arriving. Their Wilderness experience is a lesson in the costliness of lostliness. Lets just say they had some things they had to work out before they could enter in.

God has places we need to go, places we need to enter into too. He has marked out paths for each one to travel to get to the destination of His purposes. Which are, namely, to know Him and the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus, to become complete and mature, fully functional and spiritually operating sons of God. Then, when once we are become the sons of God, He desires that we be set forth in the Kingdom to accomplish His will on the earth, as His delegated authorities.

We have a long way to go by those standards. Many are having trouble finding the pathway much less getting on it and making good progress and good use of time. But lets, for argument sake, assume you are already on the path, following God the Light. That He is able to lead you in His paths of righteousness. How will you try to get there?

Some common modes of transportation we are familiar with are planes, trains and automobiles. Think of each of these descriptions in a spiritual mindset. Look for the parallels of the concepts to the spiritual progress and hindrances they each present.

Of these, trains are the least popular method. Trains have inherent limitations. The time you would save by rolling on continually is lost by the time it takes to start and stop at each loading station. It seems like there is more starting and stopping than forward motion. They also have a very limited number of places they can take you. They can be noisy and a difficult place to find rest. They can however, get you where you are going, but the ride is often bumpy and slow going. Trains are like your emotions.

Automobiles have their own set of pros and cons. An automobile has great agility to change direction and course quickly. It can start and stop very quickly too. You get to decide where you are going and which way you prefer to get there. The more frequently you have gone to a destination the easier and quicker it is to get there the next time. Sometimes you can just put your car on autopilot and it seems to know the way.

On the downside, travel by auto has a more complicated set of rules than the train or the plane. There are frequent lights and stop signs, guard rails and ditches and medians that keep you on a prescribed path. There are police that may pull you over and become costly, both financially and in time spent. Autos require a lot of maintenance and attention too, you continue to pay for them the more you use them. It seems like they are always needing repairs and new parts.

Then, of course, there are all those other pesky drivers that can cut you off, that run contrary to the direction want to go. If you are not careful you may be headed for a collision with others. And don’t forget about the traffic problems and breakdowns along the road. Cars are high maintenance. Automobiles are like our mind.

Plane travel is superior in many ways. I would never dream of trying to fly a plane myself though. I know I need a pilot. Planes get you where you are going quickly and cover lots of distance in short order. They are not subject to traffic jams, and your typical ground rules. They are navigated and attended by a seasoned pilot who has done this many times before. They provide the best comfort and rest as compared to the other modes mentioned. Planes are also the safest and most dependable mode of travel.

Planes have amazing views, taking you above all that is on the earth. They give you greater perspectives of the things below. And your view of the horizon is only limited by the height at which you are traveling. The higher you fly the farther you see.

Planes operate by the laws of aerodynamics that give them the ability to overcome the laws of gravity — the pull of the earth. And with the laws of thrust and air lift you are able to rise above and soar to incredible heights. The things that make planes work is beyond me. I don’t have to understand how they work, just trust them and have faith in their ability to take me where I need to go.

Your emotions will never get you where God wants you to go. Your mind will never get you there either, although you will see a lot, your perspective will always be horizontal. No, if you want to get to where God wants you to go, if you want to see the way God sees, you will have to go there by plane. You will have to leave this earth for a while, get a different perspective and then come back. Planes are like spiritual travel as compared to trains and automobiles. The price to fly spiritually is submitting your will to the pilot’s. You have to trust Him and rely on Him alone to get you where you are going. Just sit back, rest and enjoy the view.

“…they shall mount up with wings as eagles…” Isa. 40:31.

Quote Title Quotation Source
Wait and See When you are tempted to doubt the faithfulness of God cry out, “Get thee hence, Satan.” Though you cannot now harmonize God’s mysterious dealings with the avowals of his love, wait on him for more light. In his own good time he will make it plain to you…. Blessed are all they that wait for him (Isaiah 30:18). Arthur W. Pink – The Attributes of God, circa 1940, copyright 1975 Baker Books
Waiting On the Prayers of His People It is to prayer that God has given the right to take hold of Him and His strength. It is on prayer that the promises wait for their fulfillment, the kingdom for its coming, the glory of God for its full revelation. And for this blessed work, how slothful and unfit we are. It is only the Spirit of God that can enable us to do it aright. How speedily we are deceived into a resting in the form, while the power is wanting. Andrew Murray – With Christ in the School of Prayer, circa 1880, © 2008 Wilder Publications
Drawn By Another Attraction Jesus said, “If I be lifted up I will draw all men to myself.” But, we have another plan. If we tell people what they want to believe and offer things they like to do then we will draw them too — albeit for the wrong reasons. Tom Van Hoogen
Quitting When the Going Gets Tough These persons have the same defect when it comes to the practice of prayer, for they think that prayer consists in experiencing sensual pleasure, which they strive to obtain by great effort. They weary and fatigue their faculties and their heads. When they do not find this pleasure, they become greatly discouraged, thinking that they have accomplished nothing. Through these efforts they lose true devotion and spirituality, which consists of perseverance, patience, humility, and distrust of themselves, that they may please God alone. St. John of the Cross – Dark Night of the Soul, circa 1560, copyright 2007 Bridge-Logos Publishers
Humility Grows Best in the Light You complain about your inward darkness and poverty of spirit. Jesus says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” It is good for you to see your weakness, but don’t excuse it. Remain simple and low before God and He will bring you peace, gentleness, longsuffering, and contentment even in your trouble. Fenelon – The Seeking Heart, circa 1690, copyright Christian Books Publishing House
Something Else in View The world s reality is contingent upon compatibility with God. While others are intoxicated with the here and now, the prophet has a vision of an end. Abraham Joshua Heschel – The Prophets © 1962 by Abraham Joshua Heschel, published by Hendrickson Publishers
By Grace Through Faith Unto Works It is a fatal misunderstanding Luther’s action to suppose that his rediscovery of the gospel of pure grace offered a general dispensation from obedience to the command of Jesus, or that it was the great discovery of the Reformation that God s forgiving grace automatically conferred upon the world both righteousness and holiness. On the contrary, for Luther the Christian s worldly calling is sanctified only on so far as that calling registers the final, radical protest against the world. Dietrich Bonhoeffer – The Cost of Discipleship, circa 1945, copyright 1959 by SCM Press Ltd.
Grab Your Sword and Go! The great need of the religious world today is a return to the Bible. That is necessary for two reasons, negative and positive. Negatively, because the most serious feature of the hour in the life of the Church is the neglect of the Bible for personal use and study by religious people. Positively, because we have today enormous advantages in connection with that return to the Bible… We have through the labours of more than a century of the finest scholarship in all the world, come to understand the Bible, in its original sense, as it were never understood before. P. T. Forsyth – The Work of Christ, Wipf & Stock, 1910
Stepping Out in Faith Often I have gone to God in dire need, aggravated by nervous depression and heart sickness, and said, “My faith is flickering out, and I am losing all hope. But You are faithful, and I am counting on You.” Do not trouble about your faith; count on God’s faithfulness. If He asks you to step out on the water, He knows that He can bring you safely back to the boat. F. B. Meyer – The Best of F. B. Meyer, circa 1910, © 2006 Cook Communications Ministries
Without A Care in the World How happy and how well disposed will your soul be, if retreating within itself, she there abide in her own nothingness, both in her center and superior part, without minding what she does: whether she recollects or not; without heeding, thinking, or minding any sensible thing. At that time the intellect believes with a pure act, and the will loves with perfect love, without any kind of impediment, imitating that pure and continued act of intuition and love which the Saints say the blessed in heaven have, with no other difference than that they see God himself there face to face, and the soul here sees only through the veil of an obscure faith. Miguel De Molinos – The Spiritual Guide, 1675 – excerpted from The Essential Writings of Christian Mysticism by Bernard McGuinn copyright 2006 by Random House, Inc.
What Would You Give for Your Lord Would you sacrifice that which is the dearest to you, in order to be able to assure your selves that you belong to Christ? If you reply in the affirmative to these inquiries, I will declare to you, in the name of Him who “hears the cry of the needy, and will not despise their prayer,” that the woe pronounced upon Judas has no reference to you, and that the glad tidings that you may bless the hour in which you first saw the light of this world, are for you. F. W. Krummacher – The Suffering Saviour, Meditations on the Last Days of Christ, Wipf and Stock Publishers
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