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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Settle that Storm!

Brainstorming:  A technique for solving problems, amassing information, stimulating creative thinking, or developing new ideas, by unrestrained and spontaneous participation in discussion.  If you have ever been part of a "brainstorming" session in a large group, you know you can generate a whole bunch of ideas in a short period of time using this technique.  Yet, I find we don't always get the best from the most - we often get the best when we are able to filter it down to the least.  For example, when we have to choose between cookies on a platter, there may be ten different varieties.  The one "creating" the platter wanted to have a "selection" of all possible choices.  The one eating the cookies may have one thing in mind - satisfy my craving for chocolate and peanut butter!  The cookie-eater zeros in on exactly what will fulfill - not all the other sweets on the platter!

We humans keep brainstorming options and plans, but God’s purpose prevails. (Proverbs 19:21 MSG)

This proverb really tells us a great deal about how we humans interact with God and others.  First, we have all kinds of options and formulate all manner of plans.  It is like we have this continual "brainstorming" session going on in our mind!  We throw up ideas, often without much calculation, and see if any of them "sound okay" for us to be pursuing.  The danger comes in us "throwing up" so many ideas!  Have you ever had too many options?  What the brainstorming does is leave us in a mess - chaotic thought produces chaotic behavior.  By the very definition of the word "brainstorm" we see two things - the center of thought and the chaos it brings!  Our brain is the center of thought - as such, it is the place of understanding.  Now, add too much thought into the picture and you get the idea of a "storm" effect - you really don't know where the next thought will come from or what it will reveal!

Options and plans - doesn't this really reveal the idea of liking to have all our options available totally in a row before we start a thing?  We are constantly working out the "if-then" scenarios.  If this happens, then I will go this direction; if that happens, then this is the course I will pursue.  The danger in all this is the possibility of not getting God's direction before we make the choices which will set things in motion in our lives.

My brain shuts down after a while - I think it is kind of like a "preserving" factor.  When I get on "overload" because of too much "brain-storm" activity, I shut down!  Oh, I don't drift into some catatonic state, but I do withdraw, find a place to center myself, and just spend some time getting things settled again.  When too much chaos abounds, I just cannot function well.  If my friends have observed me for a while, they see the more demands made of me, the quieter I become.  Why?  My brain is on "overload" and I just need to get focused again!  

In examining our proverb this morning, let's not forget what Solomon says - the brainstorming and planning is okay, but there is a bigger purpose behind every choice!  God prevails!  He is the "force" which settles the storm - he doesn't contribute to it!  If you have ever been in the midst of a "brain-storm" of massive proportion, you might not recognize the source of the storm, but it is clearly NOT God.  His actions are those of peace, order, and pre-eminence.  There is but one purpose - to keep God first in our lives.  The "storm" settles when we get this right.  

I don't know about you, but as this Christmas is upon us, I want to take a few moments to "settle the storm" and to just focus on the one who makes this entire season of celebration a reality - Jesus!  We can get so caught up in all the plans and preparations so as to miss the meaning of it all.  Take some time today, center yourself again, allow the winds to die down in that brain of yours.  This is our chance to connect with him - his presence can prevail - but we need to give him access!  The best of our plans and the wisest of our schemes just pales in comparison to getting close to him!  Just sayin!  Merry Christmas all!