Beyond Grey Days

As I’ve often said, I personally like grey days… but many do not and I fully understand. There are so many hurting people and I and most of us who work in daily ministry meet a lot of them as part of the call God has on our lives. This is one re…

Greyday

As I’ve often said, I personally like grey days… but many do not and
I fully understand.

There are so many hurting people and I and most of us who work in
daily ministry meet a lot of them as part of the call God has on our
lives.

This is one reason why it’s a little easier for me to understand and
write blues lyrics and music. Some of it comes from my past of course,
but only on occasion from my present life- but a great deal of sad
inspiration comes from hearing and being a part of other’s rough
sailing.

As we have personal and/or shared experiences with the dark sides in
life, whether our own or other’s sins and the grief they bring our
way, whether only a matter of being in “the wrong place at the wrong
time” or with hurting people who hurt us… grey days happen.

Our mental, emotional, even physical needs are not always met. Or at
times it sure seems like there are huge holes inside of us. We carry
the cares rather than figure ways of “casting” our “cares on Him, for
He cares for us”.

Indeed, God and the churches often get bad-rapped because of grey days.

Does God not either create or allow the weather such as it is? Does
God not either seemingly put into place or at least allow horrific
people to ply their evil trades, people such as dictators, or mere
Wall Street or political crooks, drug lords or criminals who scourge
society? Even the Book of Job speaks of the devil getting permission
to bring horror upon horror to a seemingly innocent man, though he
himself was a part of God’s family and by all accounts a good and true
man!

Then what about whatever abuses (sexual, emotional, injustices,
you-name-them) we have to deduce either God brought into my life or at
least allowed to smite me?! The Hitlers and the Pol Pot’s are one
thing… how about horrible coal-mine accidents, car crashes, cancer
that takes a person down a road of agony? Sure, some are healed,
miracles happen and victims live, even thrive, are restored to full
health and even wealth after the misery… but often that’s not how
things go.

I have long ago made peace with the fact that we do not have all the
answers, not even the wisest of human beings (be they believers or
not) can offer a full, satisfactory answer for all of this.

But this I know: I have breath and can think. Today, THIS day I can
focus on myself and my pain (or “painS”, whatever they may be) or I
can focus best as I’m able, on Father, Son, Spirit and others.

I KNOW I won’t live forever on this particular earth. I’m positive
there will be a change, a transition, it’s not an “if” but rather
merely a “when” and “how” matter. So I have only this day, from the
time I awake until I sleep. Nothing more or less. And the rest of the
day or night is not assured in any case.

So when the day is grey, what then?

I can either stare at myself and allow -self- to occupy the lion’s
share of my thoughts, time, effort and consideration… or I can find
a real and healing therapy in caring for others.

I find a lot of verses that speak to such things in the Book. Here is
but one small section I’d ask you to consider in the context which
I’ve been writing in this blog:

Philippians Chapter 2

1 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with
Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the
Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete
by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of
one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.
Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to
your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

GK- You might feel like dirt. They might feel like it too! Is your
focus on you or others?

5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as
Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God
something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death??? even death on a cross!

GK- Whew! And what is it I’M whining about in my life??!

9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the
name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on
earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the
glory of God the Father.

GK- We are indeed to be about glorifying God, our very lives bringing
HIM honor and gory, not ourselves some sense of personal fulfillment.
It’s HIS name, not mine that is important. How does HE feel, not
merely how do I feel today…

12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed???not only in
my presence, but now much more in my absence???continue to work out your
salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you
to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

GK- One of my fave verses here- v. 13. Do we really believe this?? Do
I? Yes. Even on grey days. My feelings are not in control, God is. I
must bow to Him, not them.

14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may
become blameless and pure, ???children of God without fault in a warped
and crooked generation.???[c] Then you will shine among them like stars
in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will
be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in
vain.

GK- Then, consider what Paul says about his own potentially “grey
days”… which from scripture it seems he had plenty of… and from
historical tradition, he had plenty of at the end of his life:

17 But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the
sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice
with all of you. 18 So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.

GK- Indeed, “eyes off of self” and “dying to self” means we must learn
how to roll with the waves, for waves will indeed come. My boat does
get capsized, you may be looking up at a hole in the roof of the cabin
of your 737… this is a fallen world with real sin, human error, bad
judgments, horrible choices that people make and things such as
natural and other disasters, disease and etc., are part of the mix.
This is reality whether we like it and can make peace with the facts
or not!

What I worry most about is that our thinking, emotions and responses
are often faithless and rebellious rather than loving, obedient and
trusting toward the Lord, His Word and His Church. When we make such
choices based on our pain rather than on the Person of God, we
effectively try to take over, begin to taking HIS place in our own
life.

I am neither other’s Lord or Savior… nor my own! Never!!! NEVER -CAN- BE!

Therefore, on grey days one must decide as best as within their own
power, to trust, obey and follow even through the valley of the shadow
of death.

Frankly, I find focusing on and serving -others- to the best of my
ability some of the best therapy and healing that has ever come my own
way in such times.

There is a time for every purpose under heaven. But it’s -always- time
to focus on Jesus and others, to love, trust and obey. Though all this
is a matter of our own individual choice, notice it is more than
optional- it is a command from God. For those who’d like to debate
such a point, I leave you (and myself!) Jesus’ own words:

One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing
that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the
commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,”
answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord
is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your
soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is
this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment
greater than these.” Mark 12.28-31

The Gift(s) of Today

Another amazing day. It began with myself and a van load of friends driving off to support another friend who asked me to sing and speak at his brother???s funeral. I heard the story of a fun-loving guy who like many of us, had his issues, loved and…

Another amazing day. It began with myself and a van load of friends
driving off to support another friend who asked me to sing and speak
at his brother???s funeral.

I heard the story of a fun-loving guy who like many of us, had his
issues, loved and lived a rocker???s life and died before his time of
illness that took him quite quickly.

I witnessed the affection and sorrow of his father, brother and other
family members and friends, saw the grace of God in hearing how he
prayed and trusted Jesus just prior to his death.

We arrived home in time for me to have a brief nap, then off to my
eldest grandson???s fun birthday party. His younger brothers and a lot
of friends and parents had a blast… they played games, ate cake and
ice cream and celebrated together for nearly two hours. A fun time.

Tonight I was asked on the spur of the moment, to sing a couple songs
and share with a visiting youth group from a church in Michigan. A
great youth leader and very cool group of kids.

All-in-all a wonderful day, and again part of the cycle of a life
Jesus fills in such incredible ways.

Tomorrow, Lord willing, I rise like so many millions will on any given
Sunday, and spend a time gathering with other believers focused on
Father, Son and Spirit.

There was and is no need for book burning, anger, no stark demands
-but rather prayers for mercy. I need mercy, those yet without Jesus
need mercy and certainly all followers of Jesus need mercy.

May we share the gifts of love and mercy God has given us- with more
and more of the compassion and grace our Lord did and does. Good
Friday is coming…

G & W @ StrongTree Artist Retreat April 8 & 9

Glenn & Wendi Kaiser Speaking @ StrongTree Artist Retreat Fri. April 8th 6pm – Sat. April 9 7pm Lake Geneva Conference Center W2655 South St. Lake Geneva, WI More Info. via Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/3b3ocsb Email: ???trueart777@aol.com

Glenn & Wendi Kaiser
Speaking @ StrongTree Artist Retreat
Fri. April 8th 6pm – Sat. April 9 7pm
Lake Geneva Conference Center
W2655 South St. Lake Geneva, WI
More Info. via Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/3b3ocsb
Email: ???trueart777@aol.com

GK’s Psalm 78 Devo Comments

Today in my morning devotions I once again read the powerful and enlightening Psalm 78. Without offering a full commentary here, there were three general themes that leaped out at me that I thought might be good to call our attention to: FIRST: an…

Today in my morning devotions I once again read the powerful and
enlightening Psalm 78.

Without offering a full commentary here, there were three general
themes that leaped out at me that I thought might be good to call our
attention to:

FIRST: and this is especially for the musicians of faith reading- the
first eight verses lay out an introduction to this song lyric (of
course this was sung in Israel as part of the people’s worship of God)
in which Asaph (second only to king David as a writer of Psalms, the
hymnal of Israel) essentially gives one of the Bible’s great
overviews: write and sing songs that both educate as well as remind
the people of God, His provision for them, acts among them and His
commandments to them.

Asaph also makes clear statements about the importance of this sort of
lyricism for the sake of their children and future generations. In
very specific terms he outlines not only God’s faithfulness but
Israel’s horrid blunders and how God at times disciplined, even
destroyed, but also forgave and brought healing and restoration to
them as a people.

Am I the only one who thinks such sorts of lyricism is somewhat
lacking in many of today’s praise and worship songs? What have we
learned? What are we teaching?

I’m not saying either Asaph (nor the Bible overall) is telling us this
is THE template for songwriting, rather making basic observations as I
consider this specific biblical text- though this isn’t the only time
such points are made either in the lyrics of the Bible nor in other
scriptures throughout God’s Word.

What are the implications of these things for me, you, us, for the
church in our time?

SECOND: Asaph recounts various interactions between God and His
people, and notice his accent on God calling the people to repentance
using such things as exile and military defeat as a part of the
process.

He consistently provided for them, was completely faithful to them,
they rebelled and were patently unfaithful, rebellious and trusted in
their own strength, made decisions based on their (rather than His)
desires and they suffered for it.

He brings them to repentance, restoration, brings His provision,
eventually they “go south” spiritually, etc., backslide, suffer for
it, He calls them back to Himself -and this cycle repeats itself again
and again.

Does this scenario remind you of anyone you know? Any group of people
you know on this planet?

Our relationship with God is what it is, not some mythical concept of
what we wish it was. Every day you and I make choices, don’t we?

Though He clearly chose the nation, He also clearly reprimanded, even
to the extent of actually destroying (or allowing their destruction)
some individuals and groups in certain moments. And there is this
thing called “exile”. The nation itself, the people of God were in
history, exiled from Him. YetHis love for them never ceased.

Sound familiar?

Thank God, over and over again He calls them back, restores them to
Himself. They learn to repent and obey.

God is not double-minded. May He help our hearts not be so!

THIRD: Asaph ends this brilliant song with the following, within which
I’ll comment:

v.70 He chose David, his servant, and took him from the sheepfolds.

God, then and now, chooses leaders among His people. Such leaders are
not self-chosen. Note “his servant”. No true leader is more, neither
are they less! God saw- even with David’s eventual poor choices and at
times huge and even murderous sin (which his lust brought him to), God
still saw in David the heart of a servant and so chose him to serve
the people.

God literally took him from the life he knew to another more difficult
and costly but needed vocation- tending human “sheep”, the sheep of
God’s pasture. David had been partly trained by his earlier work.

v.71 He took him away from following the mother sheep, and made him
the shepherd of Jacob, his people, and of Israel, his chosen nation.

Again, God “took him away” from what he had known to an entirely
different life. Such is the call of leadership among the people of
God, a “calling”, not merely a personal, human desire, position or
office. It was and is about feeding and leading the sheep, not about
gaining personal respect.

Note, Asaph is ending a song which accents God’s provision and the
people’s unfaithful rebellion, then God’s relentless mercy calling
them back… he ends this song with God’s call and installation of a
person who will do as they have also done in terms of faithfulness and
at times unfaithfulness… but listen to what Asaph accents in
conclusion:

v.72 David cared for them with pure motives; he led them with skill.

In Hebrew, “And he (David) shepherded them according to the integrity
of his heart. And with the understanding of his hands he led them.???

Here, “integrity” means “integrity, wholeness, fullness, of full
measure”. In other words, he led them without duplicity, both
following God, leading and feeding the sheep of God’s pasture with a
single heart and out of a genuine character.

Oh for leaders who truly lead and care for people like this!

God help us! -Glenn