In the Present & Presence #2 (Freezer)

Hi all,
I don’t understand Barb’s freezer organization though I admire her organizational skills. But I am just a man so this is normal. This particular morning I was hungry for bacon, the item I think should be one of the 6 basic food groups: Fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy, grains, bacon. Maybe cheese should have its own category too. If I were a dinosaur I’d be a meat-o-saurus. Barb however would be a carbohydrate-o-saurus. We balance each other.
 
Carbohydrates is nearly all I found that morning in the freezer - rolls, tortillas, rye bread, whole grain loaves of breads, ice cream, gelato, frozen sacks of flour of various kinds…but no bacon, no hamburger for we were on the low side of the supply cycle. Normally there is a small meat section but we needed to restock.
 
Barb is amazing in the way she preserves past meals as well. There were last Thanksgiving dinners and dinners from Christmas, and even this year’s Easter dinners all waiting to be pulled from the icy depths to be heated and relished once again. I love that about her, holiday meals in our house never truly end, they just get frozen in place to be enjoyed at a future time.
 
Frozen in time
My thoughts drifted that morning to how a freezer full of food was like our prayer life. We have leftover memories from the past, some better than others, some that haven’t been fully consumed, frozen in time packaged for no one to see, though we would truly love to empty that freezer and be done with it!
 
Like a big meal in which we finally push the plate away and say ‘I’ve had enough’ and cart it off to the freezer, so too are memories we’ve had enough of, again some better than others. Some we haven’t worked through all the elements of - the injustice, the loss, the pain inflicted on ourselves and others, the ‘why?’ to it all.
 
We all have a history
Some histories are prettier than others, but human nature wants to do the impossible; Make the past fit all neat and orderly, dealt with and organized until all issues have been resolved and it doesn’t hurt anymore. Then those reconciled memories could be labeled ‘resolved’ and stored away forever.
 
I’ve been talking about how the Lord told me earlier this year: “I AM. Therefore I am always present. So, to be in my presence you must be in the present.
 
I shared last week how, when the Lord came out of eternity to give Moses the 10 Commandments they caused Israel to live in the present. By issuing commands not suggestions, He empowered each person to take responsibility for their own decisions in life, to be accountable for each moment in time.
 
In the present
When for instance it says, ‘Do not lie’ (bear false witness) there is no wiggle room to justify a lie by bringing up a past experience where they were hurt, to make it okay to lie in the present situation. Nor could they lie to gain a better future – “Yes sir, this chariot has very low mileage, owned by a grandma who only used it to collect manna each morning” when they knew it was a war chariot used in many battles by the Egyptian army. Each Israelite had to live in the present and walk with God in the present.
 
Personal empowerment
The 10 Commandments were purposely vague with few details other than with some basic guidelines in some cases, but not to the point He was trying to issue a command for every possible situation in life. By being vague it meant each person had to walk with Him, to know Him, that they might receive fresh revelation for each particular situation on how to apply His command. If you take relationship away from the Commands you end up with religious exercises never quite sure with what God is pleased or displeased.
 
What the Ugandans said
When I was a Bible school Director I had a couple from Uganda speak to the students during chapel. If memory serves, the husband was child 29 of 34 children as his father had 4 wives. His wife came from a home with 3 wives and she was something like child 13 out of 19 children.
 
The Ugandan couple told the students that in the 1800′s European missionaries did great harm to the tribal and social structure of Uganda, harm felt all the way into modern times. The Europeans would convert some husbands and some wives to Christianity, then they required these new believers to divorce their non-Christian mates, which tore apart families, tribes, and the whole nation.
 
What we told the students that morning is that it is our job to obey God and make disciples by letting them observe in us what Jesus told us to do – and it is up to the Holy Spirit in them to walk through life with Him and with Him figure out how to apply God’s ways into their culture. Walking in love means walking with Him in the present to discover His wisdom for each situation we encounter.
 
It is the same for us today
When we read Jesus’ command: “Love one another as I have loved you”, we automatically think of the cross, but that is NOT what He said.
 
In John 15 the disciples still did not understand Jesus was about to go to the cross. That was still future. Jesus said ‘as I have loved you’, meaning the last 3 1/2 years of their time together – from the start of His ministry when John the Baptist was still alive up to that moment He made the statement.
 
Jesus was talking about how over 3 1/2 years in daily life, camping out, staying in homes, teaching the public and then sharing in private, cookouts and long walks as they observed Him in every aspect of life – to love one another as He had loved them during that time. When He commanded them to love each other as He had loved them, He was talking about daily life they’d shared the last 3 1/2 years.
 
In this instance Jesus DID ask them to remember the past. These past memories included many things still unresolved for the disciples. Teachings they did not understand, actions and statements critical of the religious leaders and culture they had grown up with, miracles they’d not yet taken time to digest.
 
When Jesus asked them to remember the past it wasn’t to bring up the past to dwell on what they did not understand or what still confused them, but rather to remember the love they saw, to remember the good times together, the example of His life that they could apply to their own lives. He wasn’t asking them to tie the past neatly in a bow and pronounce each issue resolved, but instead to choose to remember the overall example of love, to draw on what they did understand, to find love in the midst of the unresolved issues.
 
THAT is what we can do, to live in the here and now and in this instance, to choose to walk in love, to remember through the eyes of love, with assurance that in the ages to come the Father will continue to show the riches of His love and kindness towards us in Christ. (Ephesians 2:7)
 
Continuing next week…blessings!
John Fenn

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