Monthly Archives: January 2019

Our restless, unhappy culture

The ocean is never still. Its tides rise and fall, its breakers crest and dissipate, and its waves roll on and on until they crash against a rocky shore or roll up on a sandy beach. Its waters collect and propel unto the world’s beaches all the flotsam and jetsam of the ocean world: broken shells, shattered boats, bottles, broken plastic spoons, splintered trees and cast-off Styrofoam. The more agitated the ocean becomes, the more it stirs up the whole mix of broken shells and mud that in calmer times settles to the ocean floor. After storms shorelines are littered with mud and debris.

How appropriate that the prophet used this image to describe the condition of men and women who jettison God and His moral standards in their struggle to find their personal nirvana. “‘The wicked are like the tossing sea, which cannot rest, whose waves cast up mire and mud. There is no peace,’ says my God. ‘for the wicked'”(Isaiah 57:20,21).

We cannot expect a tranquil mind if our lives are a graveyard of broken promises, shattered morals, and shady practices. Instead, nefarious schemes will occupy our minds. Thoughts of past dealings with others will provoke bitterness, anger and thoughts of revenge. Unless we have denied the voice of our consciences long enough to dull their injured cries, we will be fretful, restless, and unhappy.

God has given everyone a conscience imprinted with a set of moral principles. But the more we listen to the siren song of our culture’s ‘new morality,’ the more our innate sense of right and wrong will be blunted and distorted. Sadly, our culture has jettisoned belief in absolute truth. Truth has become what is true to me. But this does not jib with reality. Whatever we think, two plus two equal four, not five. Nor can we suspend the law of gravity and jump from a building. Nor can we deny spiritual the spiritual reality enshrined in the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount. If deny real truth, the result will be: restlessness. Inability to find peace of heart. Broken relationships. Emptiness. And tragically, the epidemic of suicide we read about in our papers.

Paul writes, “My conscience is clear” (1 Cor. 4:4). Can you and I say that? If not, the only remedy is to bow to Jesus Christ, confessing our moral failures, and asking him to forgive us our sins and bring peace of heart. Jesus promised, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid”(John 14:27).

When we confess our moral failures to Jesus Christ, He will forgive us and soothe our troubled hearts. Then the Storm-Calmer will reside in our hearts to calm the storms that sweep through our lives.

(Let me know your thoughts on this subject. Further articles, books, and stories at: http://www.countrywindow.ca Facebook: Eric E Wright Twitter: @EricEWright1 LinkedIn: Eric Wright ––

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Broken Resolutions and Imperfect Goals

All that is left of Christmas are happy family and church memories…and the makings of a pot of soup. Oh, and too much chocolate! We’ll soon be taking down the Christmas decorations and storing them for next year. We’re beginning to mark up a new calendar. It’s time to look seriously at the New Year ahead. Resolutions anyone?

How does it go? I resolve to eat less, to exercise more, to be kinder, more generous, and to pray more. Resolutions are easy to make but easier to forget. Easier still to break. And yet we need to do something. Without laying out a path for the New Year, we may end up with a year of zeroes. Nothing important accomplished. No progress in our Christian life. Relationships stalled.

For this reason, at New Years, I make up a list of goals—not really too different from resolutions. In my mind at least, resolutions have a make or break quality while goals define a direction. Even if we don’t move very far in the goal’s direction, we will make progress.

For that reason, I write the current year’s list of goals on a three by five card which I keep in the front pocket of my diary. By checking it occasionally, I can gauge my progress.

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Goals give me a sense of direction, defining for me areas where I want to improve. So I set goals in the areas of, for example, reading, Bible study, prayer, exercise, writing, developing relationships, hospitality, ministry, etc.

Since my goals, although fairly general, are somewhat measurable, I can tell if I’m making progress. For example, my goal is to read one non-fiction book for every three or four books of fiction I read. Since I love entertaining stories, that’s a hard one, but I do keep a careful record of the books I read on Goodreads.

My objective to walk at least 30 minutes a day, four days a week has had to be curtailed due to arthritis. But I can still set a walking goal that is realistic.

Every New Years I modify my prayer list to fit new goals. Some aims are ill-defined early in the year, but become clarified as the year advances. A degree of flexibility is important. At this point, I’m not sure how far I’ll get with writing my memoir, Surprises of Grace, but I must have a goal or I’ll just vegetate.

As a Christian, my main goal is to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. How do I measure that? Galatians 5:22,23 and other passages can give me help here. Of course, every day we need a balance between striving to please God with the help of His Spirit and resting in His grace. After all we are still sinners taking the cure. If we are saved, it’s not because of our righteousness but the perfect righteousness of Christ.  Pride in our goals will sully our walk. But having no goals doesn’t strike me as very wise. What do you think?

(Let me know your thoughts on this subject. Further articles, books, and stories at: http://www.countrywindow.ca Facebook: Eric E Wright Twitter: @EricEWright1 LinkedIn: Eric Wright ––