Thursday, June 21, 2012

0 Don't overlook God's Blessings in "the ordinary things"

A quick glance outside the office window here at my sabbatical location (PNNL, in Richland, WA) gives me a view of Rattlesnake Mountain, a long, ridge-like mountain about 20 miles from the lab.  It's a pleasantly clear day, with a few wispy clouds above and the pale blue skies characteristic of this semi-arid desert in the south-central portion of Washington state.

I'm plunking away at my keyboard, working on some simulation code for a new analysis a student of mine and I are undertaking... and... well, it's just an ordinary day, for which I am thankful.   It's not a particularly GREAT day, nor is it particularly NOT great.. just a normal day.

Thing is, though, this is exactly the kind of day that God deserves our honor, praise, and gratitude for.  If you listen closely, though, to some of the undercurrents in modern evangelicalism today, you can get the impression that unless the extraordinary is occurring in your life, you're missing out somehow on some blessings that God would like to give you, but isn't because you're not looking for them.   (in fact, if you listen to a particularly appalling contemporary praise song, you're supposed to stand up before God and tell Him that you're not satisfied with the ordinary!)

Where did that idea come from?  It seems completely foreign to the Scriptures, and is a very dangerous idea that can bring great disappointment and disillusionment to a Christian who is simply trying to get by in a world that is increasingly challenging to contend with.   When one who has been taught that God would like to bless him with extraordinary and special blessings fails to see such extraordinary things come to pass, what can he do but start to wonder whether God is real at all?

We need in the church to recover a doctrine of the blessings of everyday life and the great love that God has for His people in simply giving them their daily breath and bread.

See the following link for a helpful piece (audio and transcript) on ordinariness (in everyday life, but more particularly in regard to who Christians are as "ordinary" people) from pastor and author David P. Murray:



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