Current Events: Chaos!

Day 1 Order and Chaos

Read Genesis 1-9

Genesis 1:2 describes a brooding, formless, void of darkness. It reminds me of the disorientation I felt in a deep cave when our lanterns were turned off for a moment of total darkness. I wasn’t even sure which way was up. Genesis 1:3-2:24 reveals a majestic God in action bringing order and embedding it into His creation.

Then Genesis 3 and 4 tell how chaos slipped back in to mar the majesty of God’s creation. In chapter 3 Adam throws Eve under the bus, “the woman you gave me…” hmmm, is he blaming Eve or God for the mess they’re in? In chapter 4 Cain, the first born of the new creation kills his brother and in five generations Lamech boasts of killing someone for bruising him. Retaliation only expands the chaos. Burn that into your brain – retaliation only expands chaos!

God’s role in each of these layers of chaos is grace. Outcomes are endured, but He brings grace to deal with it; clothes to cover shame, a mark of protection, an ark to preserve life. Each one pushes chaos back just a bit, each one makes it possible for people to reorient, to discover which way is up.

When chaos breaks out in your circle of life, orient on God. Look to Him to supply a simple grace to deal with it in the small details of life. Look for ways you can bring the gentleness of God’s peace to make another’s chaotic life endurable. Don’t be afraid to walk into their chaos.

Day 2 Salvation from Chaos

Read Revelation 5 and 7

Sometimes we give up reading Revelation because of the chaos in the imagery. Revelation 5:6-10 introduces God’s solution to the chaos in the unlikely character of “A Lamb standing as though it had been slain”. That pretty much sums up God’s approach. Submission, sacrifice is what brings healing to the chaos of sin. This sacrificial lamb is given the authority to open the scroll, complete the story of God’s plan for the world and given the title of “Worthy”.

Revelation 7 features a great multitude “crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’” What constitutes this saving? In 7:15-17 it’s not the final judgment, not the squashing of evil, but pure mercy; being in God’s presence, shelter, protection, simple needs met, guidance, and my personal favorite – God brings the Kleenex.

That multitude is us. We face the chaos of the broken creation. We live with the backlash of evil. Our job is not to fight, but to trust the Lamb who looks defeated to be worthy to bring all things as they should be, to show us hope and give us peace. Ultimately, our job is to worship.

Spend time with God today and name the evil that presses, the fear that unsettles life and place it on the shoulders of the Lamb of God. Speak prayers of trust and worship the one who is Worthy.

Day 3 Life This Side of Heaven

Read 2 Timothy 3:1-5

Yes, we live in the still broken world, and that world wants to grab our attention and inflame our thoughts. While sifting through possible sources of information in our info-rich world, use Paul’s warning list for Timothy as your filter. Don’t trust information or guidance from “self-absorbed, money-hungry, self-promoting, stuck-up, profane, contemptuous of parents, crude, coarse, dog-eat-dog, unbending, slanderers, impulsively wild, savage, cynical, treacherous, ruthless, bloated windbags, addicted to lust, and allergic to God” as described in The Message translation. Remember Satan’s penchant for deception.

Read Philippians 4:4-9
Remember that we personally are transformed by Jesus’ healing grace and the power of the Spirit. In place of the fear the evils of the world want to rattle you with, focus on the Holy Spirit’s goals for you: truth, honor, justice, purity, loveliness, praiseworthy, excellent… and put them into practice.

Lord Jesus, I rejoice in the salvation you have given me, your rescue from the rebellious chaos of the world. I pray that the Peace of God would guard my heart and mind and that Your peace in me would bring healing to the world immediately in my vicinity. In your name Lord Jesus I pray. Amen.

Day 4 Living a Loyal Life

Read Luke 19:11-27

Jesus tells several parables depicting life as God’s agents even while still awaiting the fullness of His Kingdom. In this rendition, you hear in verse 13 the trust and resources that the King endows his own to operate a kingdom life, while still waiting the fullness of the King’s reign. Verse 14 gives a glimpse of the chaos factor, those actively sabotaging the reign of the King. The servant commended in verse 17 has been a faithful agent despite the chaotic environment of this launch phase of the kingdom. The servant in verse 20 and 21 responded to the chaos in fear and even (falsely) accuses the King of being a source of chaos!

When you face the chaos, remember Christ the King who claims your loyalty. Consider how to be His agent in the situation. Ask the Holy Spirit to remove all fear. Invest your time, talents, treasure to create Kingdom zones of influence in a world that is still in deciding mode about who they will follow as King. Talk with your friends in the faith about how that would look. Perhaps God is calling you into a joint effort to bring a taste of Heaven to the world.

Day 5 Living on Mission

Read 2 Timothy 2:1–7

As Jesus’ followers we are launched on a mission. Paul is assuring Timothy that the grace we find in Jesus, the one who appears so week to the world, is the very strength we need to carry on the mission he designed for us. Look at the three analogies Paul uses to unpack the strength of grace.

2 Timothy 2: 3,4 From the perspective of the civilian back home, the soldier’s life can seem full of power and strength, but the soldier feels deeply the pushback from the unfriendlies in the territory. Keep your eye firmly on the mission and your Commander!

2 Timothy 2:5. An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.
Athletes can speak volumes about the advantages and disadvantage of this stadium, that ballpark, or another golf course. Paul notes that the same rules determine the outcome, wherever! While you are competing for Kingdom influence in your sphere remember who launched you into the game. Be confident in the victory He has already won.

If anybody knows about delayed gratification, it’s a farmer. In 2 Timothy 2:6 Paul assures us that we are growing God’s Kingdom, a sure crop. When God harvests, we will be part of the party. Live a life that celebrates the harvest even while planting, watering and weeding.

Which analogy speaks into your experience of chaos? Reflect on it and the realities of your life. Find the direction God is pointing you and move into His mission.