The Sunday Morning Tune-up ~ Into the Valley

Just When You Think…

“Can you trust Jesus Christ where your common sense cannot trust Him? On the mount it is easy to say—‘Oh, yes, I believe God can do it’; but you have to come down into the demon-possessed valley and meet with facts that laugh ironically at the whole of your mount-of-transfiguration belief.” ~ Oswald Chambers, Confidence in Jesus

Buckle up boys and girls, you may wish to consider mouth-guards for this morning’s read. Half a league, half a league, half a league onward. Someone I love dearly came through her surgery on Friday somewhat less of herself than before she went in. But I tell you dear friend, even leaving something as important as lung and lymph node behind, the many prayers were answered…as many more are requested for her recovery. The experience of watching this couple deal with life’s greatest test taught me something about how God made us vs how we are inclined to measure ourselves…especially in our suffering. Into the valley of death…

This past week was the toughest week of my adult life. I can endure most any physical pain, but the betrayal by those we love and trust is by far the deepest cut of all. Not though the soldier knew, Someone had blundered. Theirs not to make reply, Theirs not to reason why, Theirs but to do and die. Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. ~ John 12:24 And so, this week Orange Strong as our local county chapter of Community Preparedness Team of America was born…in the year of our Lord, 2020.

Cannon to right of them,                                                                                                          Cannon to left of them,                                                                                                             Cannon in front of them…

For such is this, the valley we ride into. A sight that no amount of normalcy bias can dim. Our own continual slaughter of innocence, while our own who survive live in open defiance of the God who gave them life. Who has laid this impenetrable fence across our once great land, placing half of us on one side and half on the other? On the verge of pandemic…

And He said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Physician, heal yourself; what we have heard you did at Capernaum, do here also in your own country.’ ~ Luke 4:23

 “The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to such a pass that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love, and in order to occupy and distract himself without love he gives way to passions and coarse pleasures, and sinks to bestiality in his vices, all from continual lying to other men and to himself. The man who lies to himself can be more easily offended than anyone.You know it is sometimes very pleasant to take offence, isn’t it?  A man may know that nobody has insulted him, but that he has invented the insult for himself, has lied and exaggerated to make it picturesque, has caught at a word and made a mountain out of a molehill — he knows that himself, yet he will be the first to take offence, and will revel in his resentment till he feels great pleasure in it, and so pass to genuine vindictiveness.” 

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
Father Zosima to Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov, father of the brothers Karamazov and 
Diabolical Narcissist…

Volleyed and thundered;                                                                                                          Stormed at with shot and shell,                                                                                                  Boldly they rode and well,                                                                                                              Into the jaws of Death,                                                                                                                    Into the mouth of hell…

I watched a video taken by a class mother in Suzy Rosenbloom’s 1st Grade class at Kings Elementary School in Warwick on this very President’s Day week…must have been 17 years ago. I watched as she cast them in a play…not about Washington, or Lincoln…but about Rosa Parks. I watched with my own eyes, as this “teacher” taught these first graders to hate the color of their own skin. I watched these kids we all knew and loved over the years “progress” through their slow and steady indoctrination from innocence to Liberalism to Socialism to the America-hating Communists many of them have become today. This does not end well…how can it?…

…as I read the Feb 11 message from the wonderful Maxwell Book Leadership Promises for Every Day my Calvary Family gave me: “Give Up Your Rights”. Think how hard that was for me to read! “Even when truth and justice are on your side, you may never be able to right your wrongs. Continually fighting for your rights will just make you resentful and angry. These are all destructive emotions that tap our energy and make us negative. And besides, when people focus on their rights, they’re often looking backward rather than forward.”  Now…before you get too far…WAIT. We need to step over to the other side of Murray’s Morning Library to balance what we just read with Chambers “God’s Way of Giving Life”“Jesus never shut Himself away from things, the first place He took His disciples to was a marriage feast. He did not cut Himself off from society, He was not aloof, so much was He not aloof that they called Him ‘a glutton and a winebibber’! But there was one characteristic of Jesus—He was fundamentally dead to the whole thing, it had no appeal to Him.” Do you see? It’s about ATTACHMENT. We can hold opposites when we’re attached to neither and allow ourselves to become (ironically) a thousand times more effective. So, it’s not about me reducing my emphasis on politics as much as it is about reducing politics emphasis on me. If that makes sense. In the John Eldredge book Fathered by God, we are now in the Lover stage. The first thing that jumped out at me here, “We Must not let the battle become everything.” And you’ll love this, “The Celts had a phrase, ‘Never give a sword to a man who can’t dance,’ by which they meant if he is not also becoming a poet, be careful how much warrior you allow a man to be.”

Cannon to right of them,                                                                                                          Cannon to left of them,                                                                                                              Cannon behind them

Juxtapose Dostoyevsky’s he ceases to love man with the Eldredge/Chesterton/Tennyson men who set themselves aside in the fight FOR love! In the coming epic battle between the two, only a fool would wager on the former. It ALL comes down to love…

“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.” ~ G K Chesterton

This week brought back two key memories that come together to bring it all home for me. The first one came to mind watching my Eldredge/Chesterton/Tennyson friends deal with “life’s greatest test” on Friday. It made me recall my 83-year-old friend and neighbor Irv from back in the late eighties when I lived in Mahwah, NJ. We were neighbors who didn’t know one another, other than the occasional smile and wave across the yard and driveway…until the ambulance pulled up to their door one evening as I was making dinner. I rushed over to console Irv’s frantic wife Margaret. Irv had just suffered a stroke. We became friends that night. I must have driven Margaret back and forth to Kessler Institute a dozen times or so until Irv was well enough to return home. The connection, you see, is that Margaret and Irv were Eldredge/Chesterton/Tennyson friends too! Irv was a wonderful artist whose trademark was the three birds subtly placed in every painting to symbolize the Holy Trinity. For the entire time he was a patient at Kessler, his roommate was a Dostoyevsky man twenty years his junior who had suffered the exact same stroke in the exact same location of the brain within a day or so of Irv’s stroke. In stark contrast to Irv’s upbeat glow, his roommate was rude, disrespectful, and treated nurses and staff miserably. He was still languishing when Irv was released earlier than expected with flying colors. We became such good friends, my wife (at the time) and I took them to England with us on our honeymoon, after they had told us of their lifelong dream over dinner one night.

The second memory was triggered by the betrayal. It was a horrible nightmare I had when I was a very, very young boy. I can’t say for sure, but I don’t think I had even reached the age of six. I dreamt I was one of the children being led out of Hamelin by the Pied Piper. I was the last in line and, as if the dream wasn’t dark enough, the city gates closed shutting me off, separating me from all of them, leaving me there all alone. But, you see, it too is all about love. What I interpreted as God abandoning me, I realize now…sixty years later, was God rescuing me!

In a world that’s gone crazy, you don’t know what’s true

Most people don’t change, but Some People Do… (If you don’t LOVE this song, you ain’t breathing)

The Charge of the Light Brigade, by Alfred, Lord Tennyson


Chip Murray: Wide Awake

About Chip Murray

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3 Responses to The Sunday Morning Tune-up ~ Into the Valley

  1. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.–Galatians 5:6

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