If you are looking for my blog titled, The Contemplative Catholic Convert, you are at the right spot.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

You Are Not Alone - part one

I’ve only seen Michelangelo’s painting on the Sistine Chapel in magazines or art books. What caught my attention as I prepared this message was the way Michelangelo imagined how Adam became a living soul. God reached His finger to touch Adam’s – suggesting when their fingers touched, life would flow from God into Adam.

Artistic license aside, that’s poor theology. God did not reach out His finger to touch Adam’s to give him life. Here is how Moses describes it in Genesis 2:7 “Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. 

God breathed the breath of life into Adam’s nostrils. That image invokes for me the image of mouth to mouth resuscitation. That’s important, especially when contrasted with Michelangelo’s painting. God did not remain at a distance – as Michelangelo painted it. God bent down and moved as close to Adam as a lover moves toward His beloved.

And dust came to life.

The theme of my message today is this: Be on the alert for false images, false teachers, and especially for subtle theological lies.

Let me share with you yet another example of a subtle and – this one – a very poisonous lie. Many of you have heard the lyrics of this song in your churches, especially on Good Friday. ‘Lonesome Valley’ was written by George Jones.

I’ve referred to this song in the past, and while I do not mean to seem unnecessarily redundant, the lyrics – especially after the nightmare I’ve been through with Nancy’s stroke in January – the lyrics grip my heart in a vise. I think of them now as demonic-inspired in their poisonous deception:

You gotta walk that lonesome valley
And you gotta it by yourself
Nobody else can walk it for you
You gotta walk it by yourself.

Let me stop here a moment and proclaim to you that no where in all of Scripture does God ever tell His children bought by the blood of Jesus, NO WHERE does God even hint that we’re alone in our struggles and our trials. 

Never. Not one verse. Not one sentence. Not one word.

The song continues:
Jesus walked this lonesome valley
And he had to walk it by Himself
Nobody else could walk it for Him
He had to walk, walk it by Himself.

Are you kidding me? Even during that 40-days of wilderness trial, the Holy Spirit was with Him. And just before His capture and subsequent crucifixion, Jesus said to His disciples: Jesus answered them . . . Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.” (John 16:31-32)

Jones’ lyrics continue to wash over the hurting and frightened child of God like battery acid:

You must go and stand your trials
You have to stand it by yourself
Nobody else can stand it for you
You have to stand it by yourself.

For a time during those dark days of January and February this year as Nancy lay in an ICU bed, I thought the message of those lyrics was true. I had surrendered to Satan’s malevolent whispers. And I am sharing this with you again because there have been times that YOU also have believed Satan’s whispers: “You are alone in this. God has left you to deal with it all.”

Perhaps, for some of you reading this, today is one of those times.

Oh! How often the Holy Spirit reminded me of the 23rd Psalm during my nightmarish days: “Even though I walk through the valley of death’s shadow, I will fear no evil.” Why did the psalmist fear no evil?  Because God was with him. Always. Just as God is with every everyone bought with the blood of Jesus and follow Christ as their Lord and Master and King and Savior.

Yet, my faith was so shaken by Nancy’s sudden illness, I could only recite the psalm with my mouth. The promises could not enter my heart.

The lyrics then leave us with this consuming darkness:

Oh, you gotta walk that lonesome valley
Yeah, you gotta walk it by yourself
Nobody else is gonna walk it for you
You gotta walk, walk by yourself.

Let me trumpet it again: Those lyrics are demonic lies. Don’t listen to them. Don’t sing them. Don’t believe them. Counter them with the promises of God – even if all you can do is recite them with your mouth.

Parts two and three continue my encouragement to trust God, who is so worthy of our trust, and to trust God’s word over the words of others. You will find part two here: http://tinyurl.com/y457ln9c   

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