Azimuth

Walking Horizontally -- Living Vertically


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August 23, 2004

Saccharine

Greenville, S.C. USA

Sweetness with no guilt. Ah - that is what we like! Sweet tea without the calories of sugar - the unnatural pleasure of guilt-free refreshment. Harmless indulgence with the same enjoyment - as if it was all true and unadulterated sweetness. Yes - saccharine. Or you may prefer the little pink packet of "Sweet and Low." The Blue Packet is nice - "Equal" - there is not difference here - you will never know it isn't the real thing. But for purists - we now have "Splenda" - yes the yellow packet of real sugar - just in a different form - eat as much as you want with no thought of the effects.

We package it different ways to appeal to the eye and appeal to the senses. We so willingly exchange truth for an imitation all in the name of health for the body. It allows us to be less disciplined and less thoughtful of the benefits of self-control and moderation - or conservative thought and approach to consumption. Are we maybe doing more than fooling ourselves? Could we be deceiving ourselves?

What is our approach to worshiping God? Why do we so quickly exchange God's provision of righteousness and truth for our own perverted versions of goodness and sweetness.

The law of the Lord is perfect
converting the soul;

The testimony of the Lord is sure
making wise the simple;

The statutes of the Lord are right
rejoicing the heart;

The commandment of the Lord is pure
enlightening the eyes;

The fear of the Lord is clean
enduring forever;

The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.

More to be desired are they than gold - more than the finest gold.

Sweeter also are they than HONEY and the HONEYCOMB!
~ Psalm 19:7-10



Perfect, Pure, Sure, Right, Clean, True - this is the essence of God and all His ways. This is the God we worship. This is who we should crave to know - that which is sweeter than honey and the honeycomb. BUT BE CAREFUL OF THE CHEAP IMITATION!

All too often, we have found solace in mere emotion during our Sunday mornings. A sweetness we have conjured from a close resemblance in a good packaging. It is a fact that TRUTH EVOKES EMOTION - and so it should - but EMOTION DOES NOT EVOKE TRUTH. Our hearts should fall down in worship in the presence of a Holy God! Our mouths should shout for joy at the mercy and Grace that has fallen upon us by His Righteous and Sovereign hand. Our lips should praise endlessly as a result of His enduring love. And our knees should shake with awesome fear at His Justice and Holiness.

But we know best in our culture how to feel God - so we think. We will create our own form of sweetness. We will evoke our own emotion and sing of all we have done. OUR WORSHIP HAS BECOME SACCHARINE AT BEST - unless we repent and bow before the pure sweet essence of our Majestic Eternal God.

Oh - when will our hearts once again join in reverence as a healthy body to lift this prayer:

"May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer!" ~ Psalm 19:14

Lord forgive us for our saccharine worship - for exchanging your amazing truth for our own cheap imitations. Restore us to a right view of You and a holy perspective of worship. Evoke in us a heart response that leads us to repentance and joy. Provide in us a craving and desire for Your Word so our hearts can once again say, "How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!"

August 20, 2004

Above the Horizon

Greenville, S.C. USA

Where am I? A question I often find myself asking. I get out my compass, open it and take an azimuth - a forward azimuth and a backward azimuth reading. But, what truly is an azimuth?

az-i-muth (az'e meth), n. the arc of the horizon measured from the north point, in navigation, to the point where a vertical circle through a given heavenly body intersects the horizon.

Now I know where exactly I have come from and where exactly I am going and as long as I stay along that course between the two points, I know where exactly I am.

In life, this is so important, because even if I feel like I have no idea where I am and can see nothing around me, I can be sure that my course is safe.

Too often I find myself trapped by my vision of things around me - unsure of what I can trust when my eyes need to be fixed on hope. In the book of colossians there is a great verse of hope:

"Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things
above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. " - Col 3:2

I like to go to the beach and look out at the horizon. With my feet just in the water, the horizon line is merely five miles away - for an average six foot man. I could fix my eyes just below the horizon, set my course and azimuth, get in a boat and sail to that fixed point. When I get there, I can look out again and only see yet another horizon. Repeatedly, I work my way through the calculations, point to point, horizon line to horizon line until eventually I have circumnavigated the globe. What an amazing feat! I have joined the ranks for the few who have attained such a goal. But I have merely ended up right where I started - nothing truly gained.

Oh - but the joy in my heart as I realize such great truth of what changes in my destiny when I move my focus from below the horizon to just above. No longer is my destination point five miles away, but suddenly - with such simplicity of understanding and movement, my eyes gaze into infinity - now an eternal destiny!

As I walk horizontally in this world, I must not become bogged down by the temporal drudgery of sin and self. I must walk - and it will be horizontally while I deal with life and all that it brings. However, my eyes and my heart and my mind - all that is in me must be fixed above the horizon - on things above where Christ is seated - where eternity awaits -where my hope is set - my home and my inheritance - the promises of a Sovereign God in the Grace of Jesus!