Synchronicity

The 20th century psychologist, Carl Jung, coined the word, “synchronicity.” The term refers to “meaningful coincidences” in life. An individual experiences profound significance in seemingly random events.

For example, I recently wrote a pastoral letter that highlighted Jesus’ words in Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” The following Sunday’s anthem planned weeks ahead of time by the music team echoed the same passage. The next week a devotional from another source quoted the verse.

The world might call this happenstance. However, Christians experience a spiritual synchronicity that sees divine meaning in worldly coincidence. The Holy Spirit wanted to impress Christ’s words upon my heart.

“God-winks” occur on a daily basis for those with eyes to see and ears to hear. However, we are a goal-oriented people who have no time to turn aside for burning bushes. The tyranny of the immediate blinds and deafens us to theophanies along the way.

In John 12, Jesus called out to God, and the Lord answered. Some said they heard an angel speak. Others said it had thundered. The crowd experienced the same event in two radically different ways.

Pay close attention to the coincidences of life. We might just spy the Holy Spirit hovering in the wings.

The Pain of Discipline or Regret

Business consultant, Jim Rohn, wrote:

“We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.”

The bad news is there’s pain regardless of choice. The good news is we have the freedom to choose.

Discipline requires an upfront payment for a delayed payoff. Regret requires little investment with no future return. Because we are a short-sighted people who enjoy immediate gratification, we often choose delayed regret rather than immediate discipline.

However, remember: discipline weights ounces, regret weighs tons.

The principle applies universally to every aspect of life: sleep, exercise, diet, alcohol, drugs, sexuality, education, work, marriage, parenting, friendship, spirituality, and discipleship.

The bad news is there’s pain regardless of choice. The good news is we have the freedom to choose.

Hallelujah!

During August, Northside Church’s worship series explored five words in God’s Word. We began with the term “Hallelujah, which combines two Hebrew words. “Hallel” means praise, and “jah” is an abbreviation for God’s name, “Yahweh.” The word is often translated in English as “Praise the Lord.”

hallelujahWithin the Psalter, “Hallelujah” is not only an exclamation of praise but also a command to worship. In essence, it declares, ‘HEY, YOU! PRAISE THE LORD, NOW!”

Hallelujah’s directive is a needed reminder in our faith walk. We are an absent-minded, scatterbrained people who forget to glorify God in personal devotion and corporate worship. The Holy Spirit regularly taps us on the shoulder with a reminder to glorify God.

At times, we say it with an exclamation point. Other times with a period. Sometimes with a question mark. Then there are times when we silently wait to say it all.

We sing and shout it. We sigh and pray it. We whisper and whimper it. But still we say it.

You—me—praise the Lord! In all times and all places. Now and forevermore. God’s people choose to say, “Hallelujah!”

Scat, cat!

The Grand Miss Haisley, our exuberant two-year-old granddaughter, has learned to say “Bless you” after a sneeze. Whether the sneeze originates with herself or someone else, Haisley blesses all concerned.

bless youAfter she blessed herself during a recent visit, I replied, “Scat, cat!”

Haisley looked at me askance and said, “Pops, there’s no cat here.”

(I lobbied to be called “Superman but was overruled. Yet and still, I’ve grown to love the sound of “Pops” in her lilting voice).

I tried to explain “Scat, cat” was an acceptable, Southern substitute for “Bless you.” However, she remained unconvinced.

Out of curiosity, I explored the Internet, the source of all certifiable knowledge, for the origins of the curious phrase. Several authorities confirmed that saying “Scat, cat” was a Southern thing, but none could agree on the phrase’s origin.

According to one superstitious belief, sneezing somehow makes one vulnerable to evil spirits. Therefore, a “Gesundheit” or “Bless you” serves as a preventative exorcism. Maybe “Scat, cat” serves the same function.

Regardless, I have performed many benedictions and blessings during my years as an ordained pastor. None surpasses the “Bless you” that my granddaughter casually dispenses.