Through a Glass Darkly


iron age mirrorIron Age mirror   Copyright: Wessex Archaeology
Archaeologists look back in time and help us discover life-like conditions of days gone by.  Stone, pottery and glass hold up pretty well over the centuries.  However, if something was metal, only gold comes out of the ground in pretty much the same condition as when it was buried.  Copper and iron will corrode or completely disappear because of acids in the soil.  Same thing with bone, which keeps well in alkaline soil, but is eaten up in clays or sands which are acidic.  Wood, leather, or other textiles may only be found in waterlogged soil, which reduces decay.  On the other hand if something has been burned, the charred or burned sections may preserve well.  For example a 1,000 year old Anglo-Saxon bread roll was found in Suffolk, in the old remains of a burned house.
Looking backward through the earth’s treasure chest, we can glimpse into the past, before there was YouTube and Instagram.  We don’t have the privilege of the digitalized version of life, instead we get the dark opaque view with little detail beyond the artifact itself.  Which is a great metaphor for life itself.
We hang pictures on our walls to remind us of relationships, places, events, or days now long gone, which we want to memorialize in some way.  With each passing day, the person, place or event grows dimmer in our minds, becoming more and more opaque, the image in the picture becoming just a reminder of the past.  In many ways much like the Iron Age mirror seen above, it gives tangible proof that I lived in those moments.
As human beings we are bound by this present moment.  Memorabilia from our past helps us have context for who we are, and how we got here, and for many people that is enough.  Others however, want to know more.  Many people want to look into the future and see things that we are not capable of seeing either.  We do not have a magic mirror like Belle in Beauty and the Beast where we can ask to see someone or something distant from us.  We long to know, will I be happy?  Will I be successful?  Will I marry?  Will I have children?  How many?  Will I live a long time?  Is there anything else after all this?  We can’t know any of these answers, except in the present – as we live them.
When the Apostle Paul wanted the church in Corinth to understand the importance of Love as the dominant force of life, he wrote about how love acts in real time – the now.  One catching phrase that I remember from my childhood was, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face.  now I know in part; but then shall I know even as I am known.”  (1 Corinthians 13:12 – KJV)  The opaque nature of human existence is seen so clearly in these words.  I cannot know my future.  Except to know, that if I am in Christ Jesus, when I do see Him face to face, I will know things, I will be aware of things, that are beyond my view or perspective today.  This will be because I’m no longer bound in my preset present tense limitations humanly.
Will I know everything?  Not hardly, I’m not God.  But I will know more than I do today.
In the same way archaeologists help us look backward, prophets help us look forward.  And we end up with just about the same amount of information forward as we do backward.  What we know of the future is that Jesus is coming again.  We know what this will look like, at least from a description standpoint, even if we don’t know the details of when or how.  Scripture says He will come in the clouds.
We know that when He comes the earth’s shape and function will change, that He will be sovereign King of the planet for a time, and that judgment will be the end of human history after that.  We know that after the judgment, God creates (or re-creates) earth and heaven into what His original design called for, and there we will live eternally as God’s family.  In this place there is no war, no death, no starvation, no political upheaval, nothing but the perfect and complete will of God – resulting in peace and love forever.
Like to know where you find all this stuff?  Click here.
Just because we live opaque lives in the sense of looking backward or forward, does not mean we can’t live the vibrant and brilliantly shining life of love right now – in this moment.  We remember the good times, and block out the bad.  We look forward to the happy, bright future, not the tragedies that may come.  We have a hope and a future, because of Jesus.  Live for today, and quit trying to look through that dark glass for happiness.  It will come, soon enough.
If you liked this blog post feel free to share it on your Facebook page. Send me a “friend” invite on my FB account or sign up by email to follow my blog!

Locks & Keys

via Meaningless



The purpose of any lock on a given door is dually defined, either to keep someone out, or to keep someone in.  It may be to protect the thing inside, or to protect the thing outside from the thing inside. The lock in itself doesn’t necessarily define the meaning of its existence, it is after all, just the lock.  Therefore its meaning, or purpose, is defined by the thing it protects, or serves; that which is wholly outside of the lock.  In this way, the lock is not self-determining, rather the owner of the lock determines its meaning.  The lock can spend its whole day by agonizing over whether it is a good lock or a bad lock, whether it is truly living out its intended purpose in life, or whether it should have been used to lock a larger more significant door, or even deserving of the door it is locking.  But all of these thoughts and emotions on the part of the lock would be meaningless, since the lock has no part in any of it.

In fact, the most significant part of any lock is its counterpart: the Key.  The key is like the lock in that its meaning or definition is dual in nature: it either opens the lock, or locks it.  The key itself is exactly like the lock in that it too can waste time asking and trying to answer similar questions the lock asked, but these are just as futile for the key.  Both the lock and the key find ultimate meaning in their use by the owner of each item.  Power is in the one who locks and unlocks.  The owner using this power, inherent in holding the key, brings meaning to either as He deems fit.

It seems to me that when we search for the meaning of our life without examining whether we are locked up or free, the natural result or conclusions are meaningless.  I suggest we are all locked up in our pursuit of meaning and purpose, while ignoring the very things that bind us from discovery.  We are locked up because we think foolishly we hold the keys to everything that would make us happy.  We are locked up because we think putting on “religious” attitudes, or wearing “pious” clothes, or donning pretentious “masks,” will set us free.  We are all locked up because whatever thing you are holding onto that you think is a key of happiness, is actually the lock that keeps you enslaved.

This existence of human experience has but one purpose or meaning.  We were created to bring glory to God the creator.  When we search for keys to unlock doors leading anywhere but to this truth, we remain enslaved to a meaningless life.  When we pursue our purpose with wholly committed hearts to bring God glory with every fiber of our existence, He alone uses the key called “Grace” to unlock a beautiful existence designed specifically for us as His children.  Every day we have this choice, to live in God’s grace and to extend God’s glory to the ends of the earth.

When its over, life as we know it, will your life have had meaning?  Who determines this answer? You? No. God alone holds the keys.  He said so.  Jesus said to His disciples:

John 14:6
I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.  

This same apostle recorded the words of Jesus in the beginning chapter of The Book of Revelation, and guess what He talked about… yep, KEYS!

Revelation 1:17-19
When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. He laid His right hand on me and said,

“Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last, and the Living One. I was dead, but look–I am alive forever and ever, and I hold the keys of death and Hades. Therefore write what you have seen, what is, and what will take place after this.”

We are God’s highest creation.  We mean more to him than simple objects like locks and keys.  Yet to find our meaning in life requires a higher level of thinking and understanding than most people are willing to give.  It also requires knowing who “actually” controls the locks and keys… of life itself.

If you would like a brief glimpse inside this passage click here: Revelation 1_17-19

If you liked this blog post feel free to share it on your Facebook page. Send me a “friend” invite on my FB account or sign up by email to follow my blog!



faster, faster, faster

via Quicken

Ask those who know me really well, and they will confirm for you, I’ve never been a very patient person.  My kids learned their driving habits from me, so I’ve no one to blame but myself when they drive too fast.  I used to drive really fast, and loose, and a little on the edge.  I’m older and wiser now, but occasionally I’ll still need to lighten up on the accelerator, if you know what I mean.  This lack of patience sometimes leaks over into other aspects of my past, present, and future.

I was so in a hurry to get through college, so that I could go on to Seminary.  I knew I was headed there, so why focus on the now, when where I really want to be is there.  In Seminary I was always in a hurry to get through each semester, so I could graduate, and get on with being a Pastor.  Unfortunate circumstances (translation life-interruptus) caused there to be a 20 year hiatus on finishing that degree.  I spent most of that 20 years in the computer industry as a career, and serving my ministry desires through lay-ministry in the church we attended at the time.

When I finally got the opportunity to go into ministry full time, and later finish my Master of Divinity education, then a Doctor of Ministry degree, I pursued each of these with the same vigor and lack of patience as before.  I’ve been a driven person most of my life, always trying to go faster, faster, faster.  I wasn’t trying to run ahead of God, so much as I just wanted to get there faster.

It reminds me a little of the disciples wanting Jesus to quit taking so much time setting up His earthly kingdom.  They asked him after the resurrection, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?”  [Acts 2:6]  They were wanting to get there faster.  The reply from Jesus is something we should really focus on here, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority;“[Acts 2:7]  Part of the problem with having this “faster” mentality is thinking God is just a slow-poke.  But Jesus helps them (and us) understand that it isn’t just “kingdom” things that God has fixed in time, but that each minute of our lives is accounted for under God’s sovereign authority.  God saw me before I was born.  He knows the number of my days.  Don’t take my word for it, look at Psalm 139:16 – “Your eyes saw me when I was formless; all my days were written in Your book and planned before a single one of them began.

Today, most days, because we think God is a slow-poke, we become impatient about life, always wishing we could get “there” (wherever there is) faster, faster, faster.  In fact it’s easy to get all wrapped up in “end of days” mentality, wishing God would get it all over with already, so we can all go be with Him in heaven.  Trust me when I say, God isn’t even “nearly” through saving people yet!  Peter tells us, “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”  [2 Peter 3:9]  God isn’t about to end human history until all the humans who will be saved… are saved.  God’s will is that all come to repentance.

So if you’re one of those who likes to see timelines and deadlines in the Book of Revelation, then let me offer you a small bit of advice.  Slow down.  Read the book, and study the book differently.  It isn’t all about judgment and just getting to heaven.  It is about God saving people who will say “yes” to His grace, even in the worst seven-year period of human history… the end of days.  I can help you with this, if you’d like.  Click to read more.  BOOK