2019-07-10 Let The Trees Sing!

“Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
let the field exult, and everything in it!
Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
before the Lord, for he comes,
for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness,
and all the peoples in his faithfulness.”
Psalm 96:11-13

I’m a businessman. My education culminated in strategic planning. I was paid by a company to plan and execute strategically. Certainly, this has molded my personality. I’m pretty sure I started out very young as a planner which likely explains why I chose business as an occupation. According to personality tests I take from time to time, planning is still my strong suit. I left the corporate environment twelve years ago, so I don’t plan in the same way; but I still plan. It’s who I am.

How does this blog fit into all this? For the record, I find the word “blog” quite distasteful. Unfortunately, it’s the word that is used to describe this type of writing. This weekend I will attend the Northwestern Christian Writers Conference. There, they will have special sessions dedicated to “platforms” which all writers are encouraged to have. Publishers like to see a social media audience already established to springboard their books. This makes sense.

However, this isn’t why I have a “platform.” Yes, I have had a desire to write a book since I found out I have a knack for writing – back in college. But, honestly, that desire has almost disappeared. Perhaps God will blow on that ember in the future. Then again, maybe he won’t. I do have a desire to write frequently, so this is my “platform” for doing just that.

What am I trying to accomplish through all this? It’s not to make money nor is it to gain status. Listen, if I was trying to collect “Likes” on Facebook, I would shorten these up considerably. Interestingly enough, I get by far the most Likes and Shares when I post a simple picture of a bible verse. Ordinarily, I only get a few Likes and an occasional Share. That’s OK. From time to time, I do get someone who takes the time to tell me that a particular post has really impacted them. That’s pretty cool.

All this is fine and good, but it still doesn’t answer, “Why?” That reason has changed over time, or at least my understanding of it has. My actual writing started with a discipleship group of men. I organized the “list” of people to whom we shared the gospel. We would regularly pray over this list. As time went on, I started to share blurbs of encouragement. I found that I needed regular contact with my brothers to keep my God-edge sharp. As time went on, this email group got larger and larger, and people started to encourage me to start a public blog. That was a hard transition for me because we could no longer share private information. In the end, that was OK because this is now reaching a much larger audience.

That’s the product. Encouragement. The foundational verse is this:

2 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Now, I understand this is a tongue-twister, like much of Paul’s writing, but it is the gospel in a nutshell. God is the one who changed me. He gave me light by putting his Spirit in my heart. What does that Spirit testify to? Jesus. Yes, Jesus. Why does he do this? For his glory.

There is one problem in this picture. Me. I allow the cares of this world to affect the light that shines from me. Think of yourself as a cabin in the dark wilderness with a light shining for all to see. You are the cabin and Jesus is the light. Over time, the windows of the cabin get dirty and dingy. Unless the windows are cleaned, eventually very little light will escape. This blog is my means of cleaning my own windows, to keep me focused on Jesus, so that I might share the gospel in my day-to-day dealings with people. In a sense, it is my daily devotional. I share this with others so that they might also be encouraged and clean the windows in their own cabins.

Still, that isn’t why I do this. Encouragement is a by-product. The real reason gets back to the moment God had mercy on my soul – June 13, 2007. That was my darkest hour. I didn’t know it at the time, but God led me to my knees and had me promise something I would never have done on my own. I agreed to do anything he wanted of me, even if that meant telling other people about Him. At that instant, in that split-second of time, he radically changed me. You know the verse, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come.”? (2 Cor. 5:17) Yep, that’s what happened to me.

That’s why I’m doing this. I’m telling other people about Him. I have a platform, alright. Not one to publish a book on but one to publicly tell the whole world what Jesus has done for me. It’s my no-turning-back testimony. It’s my declaration that I am a bible-thumping, Jesus Freak and loving it!

Through this process, I am more and more convinced that I am nothing special. It’s not me who has done any of this. I’m not writing about me. In fact, the more I dig into the bible and experience my life, the more I am troubled about “me.” A wise man (David Jongeward) once told me that the problem of man is that we far underestimate the magnitude of our sin. My realization of this is increasingly so. In fact, I find myself at a loss of words at how pervasive sin is in my life. My own choices to sin completely baffle me – to my shame.

That’s Romans 7. The next chapter is Romans 8. Thanks be to God for that! Yes, I have spiritual worth. I am an heir of God’s. But, you know what? I have value only because God had mercy on me and gave me to Jesus (who, incidentally, had to die to mop up the mess of my sin!) as a gesture of his love. On my own, I am a wretched creature who does nothing but rebel against the God who made me and blasphemy his Son. Because he had mercy, God has made me into something entirely different. I know nothing of his grace without knowing my sin.

There will be a day when I am completely free of sin. That will be the day my spirit departs from my earthly body. I so look forward to that. Of course, that is the day I meet Jesus face-to-face. Plus, it is the day sin will no longer affect me. What a day that will be! Until then, I am required to be holy, as God is holy (1 Peter 1:15), so I endeavor to get closer and closer to Jesus. The closer I get, the more I realize it is Jesus who is carrying me. Yes, I’m part of this journey, but I am not the brave explorer risking unknown peril in uncharted lands. No, I am an ordinary guy who needs to cling tight to the arm of Jesus.

There’s no room for pride in this journey. I don’t need to worry about that. Jesus will remove all of it, bit by bit. The best I can do is to cooperate. There will be a day when he will have removed all my sin from me, and I will see him as he truly is – the glorified Son of God. As it is, my picture of him is getting clearer and clearer, but I still have some stubborn smudges on my glasses. I know enough that I want to be where he is, and I am determined to go there.

This platform is for me to sing my song to God. Just as robins loudly sing theirs, so shall I sing mine. To Him. Not for money or fame. For Him.

Thank you, Father.

Copyright © Scott Powers

Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash

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