The good old days


Is it just me, or is there an increasing number of words to deal with?

“Worship” (a small plug for the 9th December Church Set Free “Secret Santa Worship Day”). “Sin” and all that means or doesn’t. “Grace” and all the buts and whys and wherefores attached to that concept. “Miracles” and why don’t we have them anymore – not “proper miracles”.

With non-God-stuff we are careful to distinguish between possible meanings, we take care to clarify rather than confuse, we tread with gentleness between one definition and another. We “communicate”.

Whereas with God-Stuff we just chuck the words out – confident that we all know what we all mean don’t we? And we all nod and say “Oh yes we do.”  And no one says: “No we don’t!” No one says “We all mean different things when we use the same word”. No one says “Let’s check what you mean.” No one thinks that is okay, because (it seems) we don’t question “God-Stuff” (that is the way to “hell” – and we all know what that word and concept means – not!).

We pull out an ology or ism instead.  Rattle our verses collection in their face. Question their bible version.  Defend our turf.  Keep our protocols in place.  Keep a safe distance.   

So here is a miracle. A proper miracle. And we all know what those are.

“After Jesus had left that place, he passed along the Sea of Galilee, and he went up the mountain, where he sat down. Great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the maimed, the blind, the mute, and many others. They put them at his feet, and he cured them, so that the crowd was amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the maimed whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel. Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat; and I do not want to send them away hungry, for they might faint on the way.” The disciples said to him, “Where are we to get enough bread in the desert to feed so great a crowd?” Jesus asked them, “How many loaves have you?” They said, “Seven, and a few small fish.” Then ordering the crowd to sit down on the ground, he took the seven loaves and the fish; and after giving thanks he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And all of them ate and were filled; and they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full.” Matthew 15:29-37

We all love a good miracle. We love reading about the good old days. And talking about the good old days. And writing about the good old days.  Sitting around our corporate churchy campfire – a cup of corporate churchy chocolate – having a good old reminisce.

A reminisce that is not “real” – not “relevant” to me right now.

All this “miracle stuff” was something Jesus did – not something we do.  Those were the good old days. Not like now. Not like we are today. Because we aren’t “Jesus” (because He was God – and we all know what that means!).

I have to tell you …  I am fed-up with the “good old days” relationship we seem to teach and here is why:

I am married. I have a partner. We share a life together. We each said “I Will” and we have and we are. There are times we look back at the “good old days” – compare that with the “current now days” – wonder where “it’s all gone” …  Usually when one (or both) of us is tired, grumpy, bored, needy, ill, under pressure, feeling like the other is not there for them, thinking the other should be psychic and “know” what to do and be right then.

But we both call that a bad patch – something to be fixed together.  Something to be got through together.  NOT HOW IT IS OR SHOULD BE – nor something we accept as “must be”.

So why do we teach “that is how God and you” should be?  Why do we read the bible and read about “the good old days” (and if we do – why do we call it the “Living Word”)?

Is it because we can say it is “like being there” – just like a great book – when we step into the plot and live it with the written characters?  Isn’t that just the best?  And then we step out of the plot and resume normal living.

My wife and I have lived the good old days. It does not work in the now. It is why divorce happens. When interest wanes. When someone or something else becomes more attractive. Replaces your partner. Supersedes your partner. Is more “real” than your partner. Distances you both from each other. We all stay together by living in the now. Not in the good old days.

So is that YOUR God? Is that YOUR marriage, relationship, significant other?

And would you mind if I told you to keep it? Would you understand if I said I have something much better? Would you even glimpse why the “Lost World” listens and says “no thanks”?

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I have just finished reading a book written by Mel Wild. I don’t do book reviews. But Mel’s words are like having “God Stuff Counselling”.  And like any counselling the idea is to find your own answers.  To work towards you own answers with your partner (in this case God).

I think Mel’s counselling book should be read by anyone who is honest enough to admit seeing the bible as “the good old days”.  Who thinks “proper miracles” don’t happen any more.  Who thinks “being good and not asking awkward questions” of God, or each other, is the way to get to Heaven (and avoid Hell in the process).

I can only think of one reason for anyone choosing NOT to read the words Mel has written:

“I fear what I may find out about me and God!”

And isn’t that just the BEST reason?

Mel’s blog: In My Father’s House
And now for some counselling:
“Sonshift: Everything Changes in the Father’s Embrace” (USA Amazon link)
“Sonshift: Everything Changes in the Father’s Embrace” (UK Amazon link)

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8 thoughts on “The good old days

  1. I truly love this Paul!! I love how you compared it to relationship with your spouse. Susie and I have been married for going on 44 years and the “good ole days” are the foundation ONLY of what we have today. I wouldn’t trade those early years for the love that has grown and matured into what it is today! So it is with the Lord and our relationship with Him! Yesterday is just the stepping-stone, again, the foundation of what we are in the Lord today, OR it should be. I have found that those who dwell in the “good ole days” haven’t matured beyond those times and even though “Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever,” we MUST change. You see, Jesus-God doesn’t reside in time; there are no “good ole days” to God for He inhabits ALL time! (Even OUR future!)
    The only way we can move in the direction, spiritually that the Lord wants us to be/become, is to move forward through “time” evermore towards Him!! I agree with you brother and you are right on, we can look back with fondness, but we shouldn’t be looking back with yearning, for if anything, we should be looking FORWARD with yearning, for truly, the best is yet to come!!
    1Corinthians 13:10, “But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.”
    Loved the post brother!

    • Roland – your comments are always as meaty as your posts! Love them – thank you!
      “Yesterday is just the stepping-stone, again, the foundation of what we are in the Lord today, OR it should be.”
      If you had said that to me four years ago, I would have nodded from the head. Two years ago? I would have nodded from the heart as well. Today? No nodding required.
      For me the wonderful invitation He has given each of us is massive! Firstly, to to grow in Him and He in us. Secondly, to remember. To remember when it was not “simple”, when it was not even “head nodding”, and to allow others the same freedom to travel in Him and He in them.
      It’s what I love about your heart: it allows!

      🙂

  2. Just love what you’ve said here, Paul, and continue to say. The Living Word is living only if we allow it to transform us as we read it. The Living Spirit can only transform our hearts and minds if we allow Him to humble the self-righteousness out of us so we can learn the wisdom He has to offer. And Mel – I’m just over half way through the book and cannot stop highlighting and nodding.

    As for the good old days: “Do not say, ‘Why is it that the former days were better than these?’ For it is not from wisdom that you ask about this.” (Ecclesiastes 7:10) 😉

  3. “But we both call that a bad patch – something to be fixed together. Something to be got through together. NOT HOW IT IS OR SHOULD BE – nor something we accept as “must be”.”

    Amen. Yes, yes, yes. We shouldn’t accept boring and mediocre. Good stuff, Paul. And thanks for your gracious words about my book! (You, too, Susan). I love you guys. 🙂
    What good days these are–full of life, full of Him!.

    • Always full! 🙂 Thank you Mel – and your book connected. And as I was in the last few chapters and thought “I have got it” – you went and got me again! Thank you!!

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