It’s New Year’s Eve Day, and I couldn’t be more excited! It’s my favorite holiday because I believe in new beginnings and fresh hope. Yet today, right before New Year’s Day, is a time for reflection, and I find this to be imperatively important. I believe in reflecting, and not just to learn from your own past (which is very important) but also to learn from others and to learn from history itself.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who reads through Deuteronomy through 2 Chronicles (in the Bible books) and thinks, “What happened?! We were doing so well, then…?” and I rack my brain trying to figure out what happened and where it happened. Let me tell you, those tiny details, if you let them slide by, will leave you in the dark like I was many times before. But on the other hand when you do watch for the tiny details, over such a long history, you start to see where/when things begin to give a little. Then little by little… and suddenly the result is huge. The problem is huge, and many people are still looking around trying to figure out what happened, because they also messed the little details. Without awareness of what’s brought us here, we might not even realize that we’ve entered into a very messed up situation, afterall this is how it’s been since we were born. …but that doesn’t make it right or acceptable or even inherently wrong. What it does mean is that we need to discover for ourselves the foundations of truth and how to walk in the ways of the LORD God.
It’s important not just to look around and say how terrible it is that previous generations have gotten us into such a mess. The important thing is that we’re here now and able to make some difference in this time. One of my favorite stories of the Old Testament is the story of King Josiah, who was the last great king over Judea. His father was the worst and most wicked king over Judea (and possibly over all of Israel’s history), and his sons were not great kings at all… but King Josiah in his day did everything he could do to make a difference. …And for what!? If his sons who became kings didn’t follow his example what good did it do? Well, the generation after Josiah has some “big names” of the Bible. Some people who are still causing us to ponder their example and their words, it my have not been Josiah’s sons who became king, but the difference that Josiah made compare to his father, made it so that these “big names” could exist, and likely even contributed to why they were so zealous. People like the prophet & oracle of God: Jeremiah; the prophet, governmental personal (in the exiled land of Babyalon), revealator & dream interpreter: Daniel; also likely a courageous & righteous man named Mordecai who was the father-figure to Queen Esther; and the 3 great friends of Daniel known as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego …to name a few of my favorites.
King Josiah didn’t save the whole of Israel/Judea, although he tried to do everything that he knew how to make a difference in his own lifetime, and make a difference is exactly what he did do. What king Josiah did is make a kingdom were young righteous men could live and thrive, a kingdom where the word(s) of God was known to even the most lowly of all folk, a kingdom that broke down false alters and desecrate them from ever being something the people would just walk back up to. He created a kingdom that was opposite of what his father had previously made it to be.
Josiah leaves a stunning reflection of what it is to wholeheartedly pursue God even when everything around you seems like its already damned.
I stand in a time and place where it seems like the compounded sins & ignorance of too many “church fathers” has been perpetuated into the most unhealthy place, and yet somehow there are people who just keep going in this system without asking about where are now and where will our grandchildren be if the mass religious system continues in the direction, and we with it. Somehow we’ve come to a place we’re I see a whole religious system who only watches out for its own skin. It’s going full speed into oblivion. A system that doesn’t realize it’s not walking the ways of God anymore, but only in the way of their forefather (aka the church fathers). No one, or at least not enough people, are taking the time to ask did the church fathers really get it right? Why do we doctrinally say one thing, but then quote Jesus as saying something else, and then try to make it sound like Jesus agrees with us?
I fear for any generation who starts building on top of what someone else already has done without first assessing if we’re still building on the foundation or not. …or without assessing if this is really God’s heart in these matters. How can anyone simple excuse themselves by saying, “this is what our forefathers have done and so it is what we will do” ? Don’t they know in the Bible the people who say that are the ones who followed false gods? Don’t they know that any generation which followed & honored God did so in a very personal & relational way, as though God had revealed himself to them personal not merely to their father’s, father’s, father (ect)?
There this system now at work where we use this language of relationship, but then we act like “to do list”. We use a language of huge, incomprehensibly wide and expansive God, but then we only go over the basics things again & again & again (ect). We use this language of Loving, but quickly turn and walk around like its obligation.
And Guess what!?
This system is being exposed! And everyone sees it!
I live in a day and age where that thing which calls itself “church” shuts the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. It does not enter, nor will it let those enter who are trying to.
Ironically Jesus addressed this (at length) in his day, and yet we still wrestle with it here & now. Well I suppose some don’t. Sometimes we don’t see ourselves as being in that current dilemma here & now. We say to one another if we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets, and which stand to testify against us that we are the descendants of those whom have done such things. …and are we better than they if we’re still living according to their teachings?
Were Luther, Calvin, Jerome, St. Augustine, and others really the Godly saints which we are to imitate, honor, and follow? Did they accomplish what they could with least tainting of destructive demonic philosophies in their mix? Certainly God called them to great things in their day, but did they make it? Did they, who had the wisdom & access to scriptures & knowledge in their time, did they imitate God’s heart for their time beyond the wisdom of men?
We have the chance to choose how the next generation will be able to see and serve God. We have a chance to reflect, repose, and/or redefine what the next generation will receive… if anything at all, according to what we do with our own lives, beliefs, and prism of influence.
We must be careful not to start living for ourselves and our own benefit. We must remember that in the spiritual realms there is always something much bigger than us, but our influence and our choices do make a difference, they’re not just something to throw away. To live in this day and age and choose nothing (or ignorance) is to cause utter chaos which will affect all generations to come in the most unpositive ways. But we do have choice. It doesn’t have to be the same as our forefathers before us. We can learn from other people’s wisdom and mistakes. We don’t have to repeat the same paths as those before us. It is our choice which path we’ll take, and what path we leave behind us.
This present time is perfect for looking back, looking forward, and looking around us. Let us be the people who are awake to the times we live in and whom can hear what the Spirit is saying to us / for us now. There is still hope. There is still light. There is still truth to be found. Let us keep on searching.