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Thursday, August 6, 2015

An Informal Talk About "Thy Will Be Done"

I want to deviate a bit from posting my Sunday School lessons, although they will continue - I have a three-part lesson I am working on that I will post in a couple of weeks anyway.   I wanted to just do something informal, as a sort of inspirational talk, and it actually ties into my Bible studies as they relate also to some personal experience as well.  What I am about to share here is something that has been in my ponderings for some time, and recently I had an opportunity to sit and reflect on it and this stuff is going to be coming out of my personal journal entry.  So, let us begin.

I took my parish Bible study class a couple of months ago through Romano Guardini's classic 1932 text on the Lord's Prayer, and it was a really good study that I as the teacher learned as much from as those I was teaching.  If you will recall those studies, Guardini's assertion that the gateway phrase of the "Our Father" is "Thy Will Be Done," makes perfect sense.  In life, we occasionally go through situations that test the limits of how far we commit to such a petition when we pray it, and I want to start this by sharing some of those situations with you.  In the past 20 or so years, I have seen my fair share of struggles as I have gone beaten and battered through the jungle known as Corporate America as an administrative contract professional.  I know what it is like to have long periods of unemployment, and to also face a certain amount of discrimination in the workplace because of my age, my male gender, etc.  Going through stuff like that makes one really "get" what it means to pray "Thy will be done," because in many cases you are forced into situations where you have no other choice but to submit to God's will - everything you try to do ends up crashing face-first into a metaphorical brick wall, and many times doors that should be opening do not, and it can be frustrating.  I also recall many cases when I have been let go from temporary assignments, only to be stranded for hours on end at bus stops, in libraries, and in front of swanky hotels in the middle of cities with no money, no way to call home, and am at mercy to the elements - that happened recently to me in downtown Tampa actually.  It is at those times however when it actually proves invaluable to keep a journal as well as having good reading material with you.   In my Tampa adventure recently, I was stuck downtown from about 8:15AM to 3:10 PM, for although I called Barbara to let her know I was ready to go that morning, she didn't check her cell phone until much later and by that time I had seemingly wasted a whole day sitting in front of a large hotel downtown admidst the shadow of towering skyscrapers, and praying to God I didn't get in trouble for vagrancy or something!  It is at those times you thank God for spacious lobbies in the skyscrapers with water fountains and friendly concierges and security people who gladly give you the time when you ask them because you don't happen to have a watch.  In that seemingly waste of a day, a question arises in retrospect - was the day really wasted?  Looking back on that and similar experiences over the years, I find out that some of my most inspirational moments come in times like that, because being you're stuck there with nothing better to do, it is a good time to reflect and write, and it is also a time to read some insightful material - this particular day, I happened to have a copy of Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson's 2013 book, Happy Happy Happy, and it proved to be some very good reading for me.  I am a big Duck Dynasty fan anyway, and who doesn't love Phil and Kay (except for the flaming liberal journalists who tried to trap him over something he said about homosexual behavior that Phil was actually spot-on with, but who cares what those liberal idiots think anyway- they are fools).  In between reading chapters of Phil's book, I wrote about 10 pages of material in my journal, and later I felt the need to condense what I said and make it into something I can share with others.   That is what I am doing here now.

One thing about being stuck in a big city almost 30 miles from home for around 6 or more hours is that you learn pretty fast to put into practice that prayer, "Thy will be done."  Being in a situation like that compels one to really be dependent upon God's will, and it drives home the fact that this truth is essential to our spiritual well-being as Christians.  However, as much as we pray this prayer, profession and practice are two different things,   It is easy to pray the words "Thy will be done," but it's much harder to allow God to do his work to bring about his will for our lives.  More unpleasant is how harsh that process can be at times too!  I have noted, from my own personal experience as well as observing others, that this fact is especially true when it comes to finances, meeting basic needs, and other fundamental concerns most of us have on a daily basis.  In our temporal plane of existence, this bill has to be paid by this date or else, we have to complete this work project by this deadline or our butts are in a sling, etc.  These pervasive pressures of the world around us create a conflict (or many, even in a day!) for us - it is a type of spiritual warfare we face on a daily basis in every true sense of the concept.  Those same forces that create deadlines for bills to be paid and projects to be completed are one and the same force - that force consists of the unity of impatience, acquisition, and trying to be "top dog" at everything.  It can truly be a challenge, as we always encounter someone who has a little more, is a little more advantaged in some area, etc.  It is the stuff of which the writer of Ecclesiastes, calling such pursuits rightly "vanity," says when he comments that "what profit has a man from all his labor in which he toils under the sun?" (Ecclesiastes 1:3, NKJV).  I mean, sure, you earn a paycheck, but then the government takes a chunk of it through an illegal tax system and the rest is delegated to paying for so many things - rent, mortgage, student loans, car payments, utility bills, cable television, phone/internet, insurances, etc.  This is the stuff of misplaced priorities - things we think are priority may not be truly priority when all is said and done.  Does that mean that you shouldn't work and pay your bills?  Absolutely not - there are necessities in life, and they come at a price.  But, it is not the necessity of something that is in question, but rather the priority we often place on our necessities.  So, the question is this - why are we sucked up into this "vanity vortex?"  I have a two-fold theory on that.  First, often society dictates what is priority and what is not, and vain pursuits in the greater scheme of things become priorities because a godless society prioritizes them for us, and we are expected to invest a lot of time that would be better spent elsewhere into such pursuits.  Such a misplaced categorization of priorities creates a conflict in values for us.  Second, it is often the case that those who create these misplaced senses of priority end up being the ones who institutionalize it, and thus you have the evolution of the paradox of the "unnecessary necessity."   As a result, we have 21st-century America now, where decades of this misplaced sense of priority have caused a real moral bankruptcy - Bruce Jenner, for instance, would not have been deluded into his psychological issues of creating this whole fake woman named "Cait" today if it wasn't for the Rockefellers, Carnegies, Morgans, and now Donald Trump creating the environment for it.  These "robber barons" did so by setting up the altars to "Mammon" we see and making worship at those altars a cause for us as a nation to create a grid of "unnecessary necessity," or luxuries, that have fostered an idleness which in turn generates perversion.  It is a fact that people with too much time on their hands end up letting vain pursuits consume their time,  This is particularly true with radical feminism, whose rallying cry is "personal freedom" from patrimony and other contrived threats, and that too is a product of this same disease of misplaced sense of priority.  Lawrence Welk, the renown bandleader who was on TV for almost 30 years and led an orchestra for almost 60 before his death in 1992, wrote something about this in his 1979 book This I Believe (Englewood Cliffs, NJ:  Prentice Hall), as on page 140 he said this:  "Of course there are women today who are not having children at all, who are trading a home and children for what they call 'independence' or 'career,' or the 'rights' that will make them equal to men.  Now, I have always thought that women were superior to men in many ways, and here they are wanting to step down to be 'equal!'  Well, they may enjoy their independence while they are on the young side.  But what about when they get to be fifty, sixty, seventy, or more?  Where are the children who will love them?  Where is the husband who will give them the love and respect the deserve as the mother of the family?  I'm afraid that a lonely, bitter old age is in store for many young people who are unwilling to commit themselves to a marriage, a home, and a family."  The misplaced priorities we have in today's society would make Mr. Welk's correct assessment "politically incorrect," and he would probably be lampooned like the Duggars, the Robertsons, Bill Cosby, and others who have spoken the truth, and his career would have been under fire and attacked by what Rush Limbaugh correctly calls the "Feminazi Reich."   Phil Robertson would agree with Mr. Welk on this too, as he has been at the blunt end of the "political correct" bludgeon recently and he said this - "I usually tell anyone I talk to that I'm going to share the gospel because I love them.  I tell them it is not contingent on how they feel about me.  If they hate me, I'm not going to hold it against them.  If they don't like me, they can walk away.  But I have to love my enemies." (Phil Robertson, Happy Happy Happy. New York:  Howard Books, 2013. p. 199).  What Phil is saying, is that the truth is not popular these days because of misplaced priorities, and the truth is what Mr. Welk says in the earlier quote - the family is foundational, as God ordained it, and by disrupting this order because of misplaced priorities, there will be consequences!  People don't like to hear that, especially in this day and age.   Bruce Jenner, despite what he wants to call himself, has a serious psychological issue that needs to be addressed, and by his denying who God created him to be and then affirming such behavior as a "right" under his new name "Cait," he is in essence saying God made a mistake creating him.  At the risk of sounding blunt, let me say this to Bruce "Cait" Jenner - God endowed you with a twig and berries, buddy, so you are a man and were created as such because that was what God willed you to be, and God is a perfect being who doesn't make mistakes.  And, just because the Kardashians screwed with his head doesn't make that fact any different - anatomy doesn't lie, people!   So, for those who call themselves "transgender" and don't know what you are, here's an idea - pull your pants down in front of a mirror and look at your procreative equipment, and it will tell you!   Again, misplaced priorities makes the insane acceptable, and what should be compassionately treated as a psychological disorder (men running around in women's clothes is not normal, sorry!) is now celebrated as a "right."   I will probably make my own enemies for saying that, but you know something, I don't care anymore because the truth is more important than the approval of people.  At 45 years of age, I don't have time to kiss backsides and have more important things to worry about, so if you hate what I have to say, that is your business and you have the right to do so - just don't take away my right to say what is true.  And, that leads me to the next part of this discussion.

I wanted to say too that had we not been duped into the delusion of self-pleasure at all costs as a society, this whole "same-sex marriage" nonsense would not have even been discussed at all, because for those who know better, it is quite obvious that it is a stupid issue to begin with.  However, instead of following the Lord's directive to pray "Thy will be done," much of our society (including this whole "gay rights" racket) has embraced a satanic credo that was originally codified by 20th-century occultist Aleister Crowley and popularly called the "Wiccan Rede."  What that false credo essentially says is "do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law," or to put it in hippie terminology, "if it feels good, do it."  This crass utilitarian approach to morality and priority in life has been nurtured by many decades of self-indulgence and convenience, which was supposed to "liberate" people from the "old order," but it has enslaved them instead to their own passions.  The truth is that you can "do what thou wilt" all "thou" want, but in that scheme of things here is what the real situation is.  Although you are "doing what thou wilt," there are those who have more power and influence than you who want to do what they want too, and the selfish, social Darwinian bent of such an attitude will inevitably cause a clash of wills, and the greater power will impose itself on you, and rather than "doing what thou wilt," you end up "doing what they wilt."  Likewise, the guy who prays "do what thy wilt" cannot in good conscience pray the Lord's Prayer, because a more serious conflict will ensue - God's will cannot be done in one's life when one is trying to "do what I wilt" in their own lives.  Thus, we have the conflict in Ephesians 6 then don't we?  Also, this conflict is a  very real part of fallen human nature, as Jesus's words in Matthew 26:41 remind us that "the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."  This is why it is written in Colossians 3:9-10 mandating us to "put off the old man with his deeds and have put on the new man, who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him."  Unfortunately, many Christians in an effort to reconcile this conflict of wills, unwisely ignore these clear words of Scripture and seek to compromise things which are not up for debate in order to try to have the best of both worlds, which then begs this question -  whose will does the compromising person who professes to follow Christ follow?  Isn't such a person more Crowleyite than Christlike?  I mean, after all, by reasoning in their own heads (never a wise thing to do!) to compromise, are they not professing Crowley's "Rede" instead of the gateway petition "Thy will be done" which ties together the whole Lord's Prayer?  That question right there could warrant a whole teaching of its own.

Surrendering by affirming the words "Thy will be done" - not only with our lips, but in our hearts too - can be both frightening and encouraging at once.  It is frightening in that it defies the tendencies of our human nature to surrender our wills to God's (despite the fact we seem to have no issue with surrendering it to other things!  Hmmm.....).   It is comforting in that if we truly seek to understand who God is and what His plan entails, we have the assurance of Romans 8:28, which reminds us that "all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose."  Taking that therefore into consideration, we should be more confident in praying "Thy will be done" but unfortunately the pressures of life (deadlines, overdue bills, etc.) sideline us ever so much.  We will then be back to where we started and it may take a "wilderness experience," such as being stuck six hours in the downtown of a big city with just a journal book, to shock us back into focus.  So, yes, I am not merely chastising others, but am also a living testimonial to these truths myself.

As you face so many challenges in life, it is in the midst of those challenges we need to take more seriously what Christ taught us to pray when the petition "Thy Will Be Done" was incorporated into the Model Prayer to Our Father.  Submitting to the will of God is not a bad thing, because what he leads us to do and where he leads us to go is for our benefit a lot of times, and we would be better off with that guidance rather than trusting in perishable circumstances we are faced with everyday.   Hopefully, this will encourage you, and also challenge, and although it is not the most politically-correct message, it still bears paying attention to.  God bless you until next visit.