Abram’s Moxie

Daily Post: Moxie

moxie

This morning I slept in.  I didn’t set an alarm last night, intentionally.  But then again, I don’t ever set an alarm as though I need one to get up in the morning.  My internal body clock just gets me up.  I can’t just lie there in bed.  It’s virtually impossible for me to force myself to stay in that prone position after I awaken. Life has been this way for me as long as I can remember.  As a result, just after 7:00 am on a Saturday morning, (an hour later than average), here I am, sitting at my desk, writing.

Everyone has their routines.  But I can honestly say I didn’t wake up full of moxie this morning.  I didn’t have a lot of pep in my step, or energy coursing through my veins.  Mostly it seemed I was on auto pilot until my reading routine brought me to this word –Moxie – from the Daily Post.  It wasn’t like a shot of adrenalin, or enlightening like an epiphany, really.  My coffee hadn’t even finished brewing at that point.  Something in my brain just clicked, and it was time to write.

This word, moxie, reminds me of Abram.  Most people know him as Abraham.  He’s pretty famous for his role in becoming the patriarch of the nation of Israel.  Yet, most people don’t even understand that when God spoke to Abram, it wasn’t because he was Jewish.  There was no “Jewish” at the time of Abram.  In fact many of the nations of the world came from Abram’s loins.  Additionally, Abram didn’t even live in the land that would become Israel at the time God found him.  Abram lived in the area of southern Mesopotamia along the Persian Gulf, in the land of Ur (see map above).  Through archaeological discoveries this area extols evidence of elaborate wealth, skilled craftsmanship, and advanced technologies and science (for that ancient time).

Now imagine you are Abram.  God’s voice comes to you and you hear these words: [Genesis 12:1]
Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go forth from your country, and from your relatives And from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you; and I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing; and I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”

What kind of pluck, what kind of courage, what kind of MOXIE would it have taken for Abram to act on these words at face value?  It wasn’t like he had been to the middle east territories and said, “that sounds good, I’ll go live there.”  Abram hadn’t seen it, couldn’t see it, and wouldn’t even know how to get there, except God shows him the way.  Talk about a pioneer, this guy has something most of us can’t even comprehend.  Abram has to leave the only home he has ever known, all his relatives will stay behind, and he’ll never return to his country.  Call it what you want, that takes moxie.

Theologians, Pastors, Teachers and the Church at large tend to quantify Abram’s actions by the word Faith.  Clearly, this is what Scripture teaches in Hebrews 11:8.  By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going.

So here’s the thing, perhaps we’ve heard this word so frequently that today we need to find some context of its meaning for us personally.  Hence, I offer you here, Abram’s moxie as a bench mark of faith.  All of Abram’s actions were based in an active belief, resulting in behaviors which were evidence of his faith.  This takes moxie: courage, and determination.  Abram determined in his heart that God would do exactly as He said.  Abram then courageously acted in accordance with God’s commands.  I don’t know a better definition of faith.

After all, remember what Abram left behind in Ur… a culture of wealth, craftsmanship, technology… to become a pioneer of something greater.  When someone suggests walking in God’s will and way is easy, mostly they have no idea what they’re talking about.  It takes great courage and determination to believe God’s promises and act accordingly.  To pull up roots, to travel to an unknown land, takes moxie.

Faith today then should be expressed in Abrahamic style… with moxie.  Today I urge you to live courageously and determinedly, walking with God toward that land that you have not seen.  Step and in moxie-like faith, and become the person God intended you to be.

2 Corinthians 5:7
… for we walk by faith, not by sight.

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Neo to Morpheus

via Doubt

The mind bending alternate universe of The Matrix has always intrigued me.  Great movies like these sometimes challenge us to question everything we believe.  Is the keyboard I’m typing on real, or just an illusion?  Morpheus says to Neo, “I’m trying to free your mind, Neo.  But I can only show you the door.  You’re the one that has to walk through it.

matrix

Life for people of faith is exactly like this.  Doubt is a part of our existence, and Jesus knew this.  This knowledge is what originated the final part of the plan, whereby God’s Holy Spirit would indwell those who have stepped over the line of FAITH into Christ.  It’s as though Jesus says to every new believer, “I’m trying to free your mind.  But I can only show you the door.  You’re the one that has to walk through it.”  When God’s Spirit leads us, we follow.  When God’s Spirit inspires us, we write or speak.  When God’s Spirit motivates us, we act in ways that benefit others and bring glory to God.  That’s what it means to walk in the Spirit.  We live out our existence in this world, believing that there is another unseen world more real than the one we inhabit.

Paul said, “For we walk by faith, not by sight-”  2 Corinthians 5:7

However, consider a few other verses which shed light on our doubt.

Proverbs 28:26
He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But he who walks wisely will be delivered.

Psalms 25:4
Show me your ways, LORD, teach me your paths.

James 1:6
But let him ask in faith without doubting. For the doubter is like the surging sea, driven and tossed by the wind.

Jesus was constantly asking those 12 men who followed him most closely, “Why did you doubt?”  Yet, remarkable as it may seem, Jesus fully anticipated that not only they, but we too would live a life filled with doubt.  So Jesus said to them, and to us, “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.” John 14:1

There are days when I feel more like the man who watched his son, writhing on the ground, foaming at the mouth, at the mercy of a demon attacking the boy. The man just wants his boy to be free and sane again.  Follow this conversation… Mark 9:14-29

Jesus: “How long has this been happening to him?
Dad: “From childhood. It has often thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!

Jesus: “IF … You can?  All things are possible to him who believes.
Dad: “I DO … believe!! Help my unbelief!

Many times in my past, in my present, and I expect in my future, I have or will look to heaven and cry out… “help my unbelief!”  Why?  Because I can’t see the Matrix that is God’s perfect will.   Because not only can I not see the Matrix, I can’t sometimes make sense even out of what I do see.  It causes me to doubt.  Not in a vacillating way trying to decide if I still believe it all.  But in a much deeper way than mere words can describe.  I’m like this dad… I just want help.

The Holy Spirit often speaks to me in moments like these with these words of wisdom…

Isaiah 64:4
For from days of old they have not heard or perceived by ear, Nor has the eye seen a God besides You, Who acts in behalf of the one who waits for Him.

Paul quoted this exact passage when he wrote to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 2:9-12):

but just as it is written,
            “THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD,
            AND which HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN,
            ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.”

For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God.

Seeing is not believing.  Believing is seeing.  Do not doubt.  Do not be afraid.  Open the door to God’s Holy Spirit.

Jesus says:  I got this.