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Monday, March 6, 2017

Rising to the Heights... as your world shakes!



I still have pretty clear memories of the early morning hours on October 2, 1969, when at 4:56 AM an earthquake registering a magnitude 5.7 on the Mercalli intensity scale woke me from a deep sleep with a resounding boom and some strong shaking that lasted about 15 seconds.  My main memory centers around the stack of speakers next to my bed, that when I looked up, were bouncing up and down and on the verge of falling over on top of me!

But let me digress and explain my Eiffel Tower speaker stack that I assembled in my room.  The base of the tower consisted of my two, twin 10” speaker cabinets for my guitar amp.  One being the original Silvertone speaker box for my 100 watt amplifier, and the other was one that I had proudly made in my ninth grade woodshop class that was a match except that it had a solid wood frame and was quite heavy!  Then to top it all was the original stereo speaker set from my desktop AM/FM radio and turntable combination stereo system.  

So when it was all put together, it stood just under seven feet tall, which made for an impressive display and actually sounded pretty decent as well!  But at 4:56 in the morning on that particular day, I must admit that I was not thinking about how good it looked in my room or the deep bass tones that were emitted from the music that I played (usually very loudly) through its eight speakers.  All I could see was the top stereo speakers swaying violently and the middle speaker box bouncing like it was an empty cardboard box!  My only thought at that moment was that I needed to get up and out of bed before I got squished like a flyswatter does to a fly!

Well, when the shaking finally subsided from that first quake of the day (there was another slightly stronger one a couple of hours later) only the top speakers had fallen but the second speaker box stayed in place although it sat at a precarious angle on the edge of the Silvertone box.  Our kitchen though, was another story.  All the cabinets had opened up, spilling much of their contents including my Mom’s prized English Tea Cup collection which ended up on the floor in about a zillion pieces!

From that experience that morning, I learned the importance of having a solid foundation when displaying pieces of furniture!  That knowledge has also carried on into most areas of my life as well.  Over the last nine or so years in particular, I have learned the importance of having a solid foundation of God’s love in and under me!

Ephesians 3:17-18 in The Message Bible tells us that “with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all Christians the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love…”  As I studied this portion of scripture again yesterday, I suddenly understood that a personal, intimate, experiential knowledge of Christ’s love is available to ALL Christians as they diligently work at having both feet firmly planted on God’s agape love!

I have had many surprises over the course of our journey dealing with the negative turn of my wife’s health, but the biggest was the verbal abuse that we received from a few other Christians!  During this time I have spent countless hours in the Word and in prayer and have also counseled with other wise Christian men and women that I respect concerning the why’s of this behavior.  And you know what… every time I ask questions, the answers always eventually point back to a lacking in the arena of God’s love within certain places in the lives of those who caused our additional pain.

According to Paul’s counsel in Ephesians 3:17-19, a firm foundation on the good, solid and unshakable ground of God’s agape love will help us to not be afraid when the affairs of life begin to shake!  I have come to believe that this foundation of His love is the answer for the needs of the folks involved as well as for me on the other end of their negative words and actions.

I finally came to the point where I would (and still do!) check myself when faced with the negative reports, to see if my foundation of life is firmly based on the love of Christ and not on these people’s words or accusations.  Then I also have to do a rapid review to make sure that I am firmly footed on this love and not relying on anything for personal peace… like financial security or even on my sweet wife… in any and every area of my life!

When is the last time that you performed a personal review of where your life foundation resides?  Are you firmly standing on the agape love of Christ… or does your financial income, your bank account, your job, you family and friends or any other worldly institution or possession hold that place?  I guess the best way to put it… similar to that credit card commercial that asks: “What’s in your wallet?”  I would ask you today… “What’s in your heart?”

Have a great new week, and as you do, keep asking yourself… “Am I expecting my firm foundation on God’s agape love to support me through the earthquakes of my life?”

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