Shallow or Deep

Much of what we see in modern furniture stores is possibly fake wood…

VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100Most visible wood pieces are actually a composite of wood shavings, chips and sawdust pressed and clued into a shape to be used as framework or foundation. We often call it particle board, although the industry has come up with other names to distance itself from the particle board of old that easily fell apart when under stress or moisture. This particle board is overlaid with a wood look that gives an impression of a solid board. But it’s not solid. Even if it’s real wood and not a plastic or film colored like wood, it’s what is often called a veneer.

Something made and colored to look like real wood grain, but could easily be some kind of plastic, or even a wood particle with a film stretched over it.

It looks rich, deep, and real – but in reality it’s a forced look. True, it could be a wood product shaved from some tree, and then treated for a final look. In my neck of the woods I see trucks headed to market with stacks and stacks of this veneer, like in the picture.

Something happened the other day that caused me to take a second look at someone. Where I had thought they were solid to the core, and a true picture of kindness and success, I dug a little deeper and concluded they were simply composite structure with a veneer stretched to make them look a certain way.

I realize many of us are like this.

If our past could catch up to us, or some shady thought or action would simply reveal itself, we would be embarrassed by what itshows to the world. Our social graces melt into the fiery anger of a generation gone by. We may appear changed, but our true nature is often revealed when stresses pile high, and we revert to a baser self. Like lemmings, we feed off the crowd mentality of those we associate ourselves with, and before you know it we become a fire breathing dragon roaring against the injustices and evil that surround us. Among us, the innocent are trampled and the guilty are charged – but we struggle with determining which party is which.

We strike out, we maim, we fight – and we are not sorry in the heat of the moment what comes out of our mouths, or with the results of our actions.

But there is a mercy that flows from God that can forgive a multitude of our sins with His grace and peace. His majesty can even change who we are and the veneer gets replaced with a genuine reflection of God. Every trial we go through only produces a finer finished product.

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:6-9 NKJV)

If ever there was a biblical persona that needed mercy, grace and a genuine change of heart, it was the Apostle Paul. Here was a man who was indignant by those who worshiped Christ.  His “…fury was no passing outburst, but enduring. Like other indulged passions, it grew with exercise, and had come to be as his very life-breath, and now planned, not only imprisonment, but death, for the heretics.” In reality, he sounds much like the same voice coming out of the middle east today – a hatred for a people, not happy that any of them are alive, and wishing to destroy all, and even those who support them.

But Paul, then called Saul, met God face to face…

Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one. Then Saul arose from the ground, and when his eyes were opened he saw no one. But they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank. (Acts 9:1-9 NKJV)

I wonder about those three days. What happened to him while he was unable to see? Blinded. Stranded. Alone. Yet, he had a conversation with God. Those three days must have been tumultuous – thinking over his actions, his threatening and murderous action against those that the Lord claimed were his – and by his actions he was fighting against God!

I believe Paul had a deep conviction that what he was doing was right. But God had a different viewpoint.

Over the past few decades I have grown weary watching Christian, Church and Organization attempt to change God’s holy word into something that is relevant to all the sin that is around us. They often adapt the Word to the Culture and excuse their changes to just trying to fit in to where the world has gone. I do not see God trying to fit in to this fallen world.  We have watched church after church become nothing but entertainment centers for the shallow, and their veneer is replete with much falsehood. At the same time there are others who reject all the modern world and attempt to live totally in the past, eschewing all conveniences that make it easy to disseminate the gospel message of hope.

One man asked his congregation, “Do you want to evangelize like the Apostle Paul?” “Yes”, they cried! “Are you prepared to bleed?”

This is the reality of a Christian, Church or Organization. In order to be aggressive like Paul, we must be willing to suffer like he suffered.

Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” So the Lord said to him, “Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying. And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight.” Then Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.”  (Acts 9:10-16 NKJV)

This is where many draw the line. They want to be the Apostolic Christian, but they are not willing to suffer, hence that are content with their veneer. They may not start out this way, but they become shallow, and a shadow of their potential.

My evaluation of self is often along these lines. “Do I want to go deeper?

O LORD, how great are Your works! Your thoughts are very deep. A senseless man does not know, Nor does a fool understand this. When the wicked spring up like grass, And when all the workers of iniquity flourish, It is that they may be destroyed forever. But You, LORD, are on high forevermore. (Psalms 92:5-8 NKJV)

 

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