I know or would bet lot of money – IF I was a gambling type of gal – that you know of these great composers. Here is an interesting, factual story about Rogers and his artistic career.
“When you hear the name Rogers and Hart, what comes to mind? What about Rogers and Hammerstein? Rogers’ partner was Lorenz Hart. These two men enjoyed tremendous popularity. They had 23 musical hits on Broadway and 18 films in Hollywood for which they wrote music. Then in 1943, Hart died prematurely. Richard Rogers paced the floor and yelled and screamed at God. He said, “How could you do this to me? I prayed for a partner where we could work together and we could have success; and You, God, robbed me at the height of my success! My past was great and my future will never be anything because You, God, have taken this man from me!”
Then, in a short period of time, Richard Rogers met Oscar Hammerstein. That pair-up proved to be much more successful than the first. Together they wrote classics like “Oklahoma,” “The Sound of Music,” “Carousel,” “South Pacific,” “The King and I,” and “Cinderella.”
I think we need to appreciate our past, even when it brought us dilemmas, sorrows, disappointments. When we think the future can never offer us more good or bad, remember that God can cause all things to work together for good. You may be in a place in your life where things are difficult and bitter and you may be tempted to say, “God, why are you doing this to me. This really angers me;. I am ticked off at you, God.”
This is a well known story that you have probably heard many times, but it’s a metaphor that touches all of us and has a great learning too.
Once a lady said, “I have a memory that comes to mind of my momma making a cake. I was very excited to have some of the cake. So, I went into the kitchen and watched her make the cake with flour, baking powder, shortening, and raw eggs. I knew the cake would taste good, so I went in there and I tasted some of the flour. It was bitter. Then I had some of the baking powder. It did not suit me at all. Then I had a spoonful of shortening and I tasted a raw egg. They are all a part of the cake. Mixed together with all the ingredients and baked for the correct length of time, these ingredients produce a delicious dessert. But if each ingredient is taken individually, it may seem unpalatable.”
We often are tempted and fall into the temptation to rush into things that are only partially completed. Sometimes, it is our human temptation to rush things to take the parts instead of the whole. Sometimes, we think that God (when we taste the parts),
“God, you are ruining everything.” Yet, at those times, we will find strength and peace if we have the faith to acknowledge God’s perfection, and trust God for the end result.
Now here is the issue, and I want you to reflect on this carefully “Can we trust God?” Is God honest with us? Or does God scheme to cheat us out of the good of our lives? Can we be honest to God? Is it taking a chance to be honest with God? Lots of questions; and I bet you have thought about this before. So let’s get to the bottom of it so, hopefully, you will never have to ask that question again.
“Years ago, a little boy was discovered thinly clad, thoroughly chilled, and crouching in the stairway of an old building in Chicago. A lovely Christian lady found him and took him into a place of refuge. There he was given food and clothing. Although he was very hungry, he seemed a lot more pleased with the clothes. He carefully guarded them. When it was time to retire, he insisted that he be allowed to sleep in his new garments.
Finally, the lady made him realize the new clothing would be there for him in the morning. Then the lady suggested they have prayer together.
He repeated after her, “Now I lay me down to sleep.” However, he changed the next line to meet his present need: “I pray the Lord, my new clothes to keep.”
“That is not right,” the lady corrected, “you are to pray for God to take care of your soul. I’ll look out for your clothes.”
The child was still very doubtful and he asked, looking her in the eye, “You won’t sell my clothes for money or whiskey, will you?”
The lady said, “Oh no, you have to trust.”
He said, “It’s hard to trust.”
She said, “Well, this is a good time, tonight, to start. You can trust God, and you will see in the morning that you can trust me.”
Many humans feel somehow they are destined to lose their good. Many have
even named major loss, “an act of God.”
I want to tell you a story about a cheerful maid named Matilda. She worked
for a very wealthy woman who was a chronic worrier. One day, the woman
questioned her overly plump and cheerful maid. “Matilda, do you have any
money in the bank?”
“No ma’am, but I get along on what I make.”
“But Matilda, suppose you get sick, or suppose we should lose our
investments and have to let you go. Or suppose that you wouldn’t be able
to find another job.”
At that wonderful point, the Christian maid stopped with a blunt sermon in
her own style. She said, “Suppose, suppose, suppose. There is no supposing
in my Bible. My Bible says, ‘Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all
the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole
life long.’ (Psalms 23:6) She said, “That is your trouble misses, you are
doing too much supposing in your life.”
Maybe we are, too.
People who believe that somehow God will steal their good have not lost
their good, they have lost their God. That is not my God and it was
certainly not the God of Jesus Christ. God is waiting to be God in our
life, today. God is really God. God is not applying for the job.
C.S. Lewis once wrote about an erroneous, but common view of God. “We regard God as an airman regards his parachute. It is there for emergencies, but he hopes he will never have to use it.” This is where all the trouble began.
In Genesis 1:26-27 we see, “Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our
image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish
of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over
all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that
creeps upon the earth.’ So God created humankind in His image, in the
image of God He created them; male and female he created them.”
But here is the problem. We, human beings. have made God into a human’s image instead us being created in God’s image. All of us are made in the image of God. Not our flesh, but our spirit inside, our soul. But in times of old, we have placed our image of God as an old man in the sky and we have given God the human traits of dishonesty. We have made this old man treacherous. We have made this old man a liar. We have made this old man an old man of falsehoods – a scheming old man who is just waiting to rob from you, to cheat from you, a tricky old man.
Is this the God Jesus spoke about? No; so today, let me introduce you to…God.
I want to introduce you to God – who is truthful, all the time; God – who is
honorable, forthright, trustworthy, reliable, and true; God – who is absolutely truthful, 100% of the time; God – who is integrity.
Bob Ingersol once said, “An honest God is the noblest work of humans.”
What we think about God says more about us than it says about God. Think
about that. If you have a dishonest God, you need to change your concept,
and so does all of society.
Let’s take a look back into the early sixteenth century when Martin Luther debated with Erasmus. He told him, “Your thoughts of God are too human.”
Whatever our theological background or educational status is, a lot of times we are like Erasmus. Our thoughts of God are restricted by our human faculties. For this reason, we should regularly seek God and God’s help in expanding our view of God.
St. Augustine (who lived 354-430 AD) said God wants to give you something, but cannot because your hands are already full. There is nowhere for God to put it. This is an amazing thought – and to think it is from 300AD. I can only imagine what St. Augustine would think about the fullness of our hands today.
When we feel as though God’s blessings are missing from our lives, we need to examine our hands and see if they are open to receive all the good God has to offer; or are our hands clutched around something we refuse to let go of. A lot of times, what we clutch and hold on tightly to is our concept of our childhood God – which is sometimes quite different from the God of Jesus Christ.
Sometimes we clutch so hard on to the past that we cannot receive our future.
1 John 1:5, “. . . God is light and in God there is no darkness at all.” God is Spirit, not darkness. There is nothing about any of you that is dark. When God thinks of you, God thinks of you in love and in light.
Isaiah 12:2-3, “Surely God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid, for the Lord God is my strength and my might; He has become my salvation. With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.”
What is the salvation we are talking of today?
Well, think about this – Can you be saved from an angry God? Yes, when you go to God and realize that God is love, that is a salvation.
You will say in that day, “O give thanks to the Lord, call on his name, make known his deeds among the peoples.” (1 Corinthians 16:8)
“Trust in the Lord forever, for in the Lord God you have an everlasting rock.” (Isaiah 26:4)
We all need a foundation for our lives and the best foundation I have found is God.
2 Corinthians 6:16, “. . . For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, ‘I will live in them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.’”
If we had an honest God, could we be honest to God, ourselves? Any good relationship is based on honesty. But often, when we talk to God, we are like the spin doctor in politics. We put a positive spin on things as if God doesn’t know. As if God doesn’t understand. One thing humans do right (when it is done right) is the confessional. Now, this can be done face to face with another, a pastor, a priest, or behind closed doors. It is a chance for people to be honest to God.
On every dollar bill in this country, we have “In God We Trust.” That is what it boils down to. Do we trust God with our lives, our future, our present problems in the present moment? Or do we distrust God? If we had an honest God as our foundation, could we be honest not only with God, but with each other?
A relationship with God has to be based on trust. Any relationship we have with a human being has to be based on trust, also.
Colossians 3:9-10: “Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self with its practices and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator.”
The Bible, says, “. . . the truth will make you free.” (John 8:32)
When we walk the walk spiritually, when we talk the talk spiritually, when we follow Jesus Christ, we have to do so in honesty in all ways, in truth, in integrity and in trust. We have to, even if it hurts in the moment.
Honesty does shine. Honesty is something people will remember.
Ephesians 5:1, “Therefore be imitators of God. . .”
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, get up and have this as
the first statement in your day: “Today, I am going to be an imitator of God.”
………And then repeat on Saturday and Sunday.
At the end of each day, with God working through you, your Light will shine.
And God’s Light will smile down upon you.
And may God’s Blessings shine down upon you.