- Published Nov. 6, 2014
It was a smoky dry summer. As fire raged through forests all around Scott Valley each day brought unpleasant news about uncontrollable flames heading new directions and even merging with other fires. Some cows that normally range on mountain grass were seen in some instances ambling from dangerous fire areas and heading home. In the past few weeks we’ve seen wonderful sweet rain. Scott River is running again and the salmon are coming home to spawn. Autumn colors have appeared on the oaks that dot the mountains. Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations are coming into view on the calendar. It is a blessed time of year. We’ve been studying the Old Testament book of Joel in recent weeks on Sunday morning at the Scott Valley Berean Church. The theme of the book is “The Day of the Lord” which is mentioned five times. God’s people had drifted from the covenant with their Creator. The nation had become prosperous economically and militarily yet had forgotten their purpose. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit Joel warned of God’s coming judgment. God was going to intervene in their prosperity using the medium of invading Babylonian troops. “The Day of the Lord” is God’s intervention in the events and circumstances of our lives. He gets our attention in a variety of ways. Sometimes our focus is arrested by a crisis in our family or the loss of employment. A phone call from the doctor’s office might give bad news concerning the evidence of cancer cells. Though our minds often race in the midst of a crisis God is speaking. God is intervening. God is present. The Psalmist says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” (46:10) Our desire to fix the “problem” often mitigates against God’s desire to get our attention and intervene in our lives by the Holy Spirit. We can welcome God’s interventions in our lives because His purposes though we may not immediately see them will eventually lead to increased levels of God’s blessing as He shapes us to be more like Jesus. (Romans 8:28-29) Joel writes of autumn rains in the second chapter of his book. “he has given you autumn rains in righteousness.” He goes on to describe rich agricultural increase in the next verse. “threshing floors will be filled with grain; the vats will overflow with new wine and oil.” Joel 2:24 Joel continues this theme even to the point of restoration from past destruction. Joel’s words speak of what God is going to do in the spiritual realm. Rain, oil and wine points to the rain of the Holy Spirit. Rain is wonderful. It restores the earth. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit restores broken lives and refreshes weary believers. Scott Valley is a Healing Place. We pray for the Holy Spirit to restore the Body of Christ to new levels of strength, joy and victory. As we draw nearer to Christ’s return we want to be busy bringing in the harvest.
- Published: Jan. 9, 2014
I suppose our minds are filled with good memories, bad memories and often times a combination of both. I had the opportunity to see “Saving Mr. Banks” during the Christmas holidays. Tom Hanks played Walt Disney. P.L. Travers, the author of “Mary Poppins,” is brilliantly portrayed by Emma Thompson. The storyline is about the struggle between Disney and Travers to bring the tale of Mary Poppins to the silver screen. The original Mary Poppins was near and dear to the heart of Travers, and she did not easily release her to the rigors of the movie making process. Travers was particular about the portrayal of Poppins, who had been her nanny during a childhood that had been shadowed by her father’s alcoholism and early death. As Disney’s creative producers and Travers work through the script, songs and animation ideas, painful memories begin dredging their way through the corridors of her mind.
The movie leads the viewer through flashbacks from present to past. Travers grew up in the outback of Australia. Her father was Mr. Banks, an inept banker who always had a bottle readily available to deal with every problem. The mother of the household was ill-equipped to deal with the instability that eventually lead to the demise of Mr. Banks. As children often do with parents who have addictive issues, the young Travers thought she had to save Mr. Banks. Consequently, when he died she thought it was her fault.
So entered the original Mary Poppins to throw the lifeline of her cheerful presence into a chaotic and unsettling situation. Travers would be forever grateful. When Disney’s creative producers wanted to tamper with her memories and create a syrupy, frothy character portrayed by Julie Andrews, they had no idea they were stepping on sacred ground.
Nobody understood the petulant reactions of Travers that became volcanic at times. Fueled by his own painful past, Disney had the ability to look past the stormy reactions of Travers and see the genesis of it all.
The movie begs the question: What does one do with unpleasant memories from the past? Ask the soldier who has been mentally crippled by PTSD. When wartime flashbacks terrorize the mind, sleep can be hard to come by and escape can only be found in addictive chemicals.
There is another answer. Jesus said, “Come unto me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” When recurring bad memories cripple the present, an encounter with Jesus can help resolve them. Victims of sexual or physical abuse can release tortured memories through prayer and Bible reflection to find God’s grace and peace.
The past cannot be undone but the plaguing torment can by diminished by an encounter with God’s presence. A friend call this “making peace with your past.” Trying to not think about painful losses usually doesn’t work. The past has a way of rearing its ugly head in untimely ways. At the movie premiere of “Mary Poppins,” Travers tearfully recalled what the original character meant in her childhood. The memories became a fountainhead that flowed into the present. Unresolved pain leaks into today. Jesus carried our pain on the cross of Calvary. The power of the cross can echo into the present as we release painful memories to Jesus. The Bible says, “He carried our sorrows, by his wounds we are healed,” (Isaiah 53:4-5) Let Jesus heal your heart in 2014. God Bless You
We’ve been studying the Jewish Feasts that are described in Leviticus 23. I have to confess that the book of Leviticus has not been one of my favorite books in the Bible. That has changed in the past few weeks. A friend loaned me some DVDs from Mark Blitz of El Shaddai Ministries. I am not overstating the case to say that I have been amazed at what has unfolded before my eyes as I’ve come to understand these feasts in light of prophecy. The feasts foreshadow Jesus Christ. The spring feasts were fulfilled at the first coming of Jesus. Those spring feasts include Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits and Pentecost. The fall feasts are Rosh Hashanah, Day of Atonement and Feast of Tabernacles. They will be fulfilled at the second coming of Jesus Christ. It is wonderful to be reminded again of the incredible sovereignty of God and the unity of God’s purposes in redemption. Surely, God is mighty to save. (read more…)