Tuesday, November 27, 2012


My sun sign is Libra: the scales. Before I make a decision, I balance everything out. I weigh, sniff, taste every alternative. It is said that people waiting for a Libra to make a decision will time the process with a calendar rather than a stop watch. I’m not that bad. At least, I don’t think I am. Wait a minute. Maybe I am. But then, I might not be. Hmm. Can I get back with you?

But when the Libra finally does make the decision, you might as well sit down and make yourself comfortable. I can, at all times, be persuaded by opposing facts, but until that happens, I have driven my tent stakes ten feet into the ground (they are very long, heavy tent stakes) and it takes an act of God to blow away my conviction.

This is where we all need to be in the closing days of this eon: decisive and then sure. We must weigh the facts of every matter (family matters, spiritual matters, matters concerning our bodies and health) and make decisions. When we’ve made them, we must trust the reasons we made them, and stick with those reasons until other facts redirect us. Because, folks, the winds are going to blow.

When you run a marathon—a 26.2 mile race—you always wonder—usually somewhere after the 20-mile mark—why the hell you decided to run a marathon. It seemed like such a good idea a couple months before, while dreaming of the glory of crossing the finish line during an easy training run.

Then comes the race. It’s fun at first (I have run five marathons). The excitement of running with great gobs of people and drinking as many free cups of Gatorade as you can choke down, makes you glad you entered. But then comes the 20-mile mark. As the waffles at the bottoms of your shoes melt into the pavement, you question your sanity. And how can there be so many other stupid idiots in one place, doing the same stupid thing?

While suffering, it is easy to talk yourself off the course. When your legs start cramping and you can’t slake your thirst anymore, you must trust that you had good reasons for being here. You can’t think of one of them now—it’s true—but you know you had at least a couple. Thus, the marathon now becomes a run of faith. You already made the decision—now keep going. Try to remember the days when you had weighed this out, and decided to do it.

None of us decided to be born. But we did decide to get married. To have kids. To take that job. To buy the car. To start the exercise program. To follow Christ no matter what. I have heard so many of you say, “I can’t turn back now. How can I go back?” I hate to say this but, relatively speaking, you can go back. You can quit the fight. I know that’s a scary thought, but it’s real. This happened with some of Paul’s closest companions.

“Demas, loving this current eon, forsook me” (2 Timothy 4:9).

Incredibly, it happened with all the ecclesias of Asia:

“All those in the province of Asia were turned from me” (2 Timothy 1:15). They were turned, not just from Paul, but from his message.

We cannot lose membership in the body of Christ. But we can—by walking off the course—lose rewards at the dais of Christ given to those who endure (2 Timothy 2:12).

This is a marathon, folks, and it ain’t over ‘til it’s over.

It ain’t over.

© 2012 by Martin Zender

Saturday, November 24, 2012


Moving is hard. When I was a kid, we never moved. Well, I did move when I was 2 years old, but I don’t remember it. I must have been sleeping. My parents may have bundled me up in a bundler of some kind and put earmuffs on my ears and eyes (“eyemuffs”) and kidnapped me to a new address so that the “big move” to a bigger house two miles away would not unduly upset my precious world. And it was a precious world. My parents made it that. They wanted me to have a precious world, and I did.

Hanging out on Ivanhoe
We moved from a street called Ivanhoe in Canton, Ohio, to 4924 18th Street, where I lived until I was twenty. Not many people enjoy this kind of stability anymore, what with the transient and violent nature of this planet and the eons cradling it. Have you noticed the instability of this world? The earthquakes? The hurricanes? The floods? The mudslides? The local newscasts? Just when you think you can count on things staying the same, the earth quakes, the mud slides, or the news casts, and you find yourself wishing for the good old days of five minutes ago.

The apostle Paul wants us to be rooted and grounded in the truth: Ephesians 3:17-19:

Be made staunch with power, through His spirit, in the human within, Christ to dwell in your hearts through faith, that you, having been rooted and grounded in love, should be strong to grasp, together with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and depth and height, to know the love of Christ.

The only way we can know the love of Christ is to be rooted and grounded in the truth that Christ loves us. If you flinch or flicker in this knowledge, you will often wonder whether the love of Christ really exists, or if it’s just a passing fancy of His.

Stability in life helps this. They say your first image of God is what you see in your earthly father. Likewise, our first image of being rooted and grounded in the love of Christ is the kind of rooting and grounding we experience early in life. I speak of being settled during our formative years. I speak of having time to develop relationships, of playing with the same kids, and having the same neighbors stopping by for a drink on Christmas. This is not necessary to a spirit-filled life, but is a gift of God helping set the foundation for one. If you can provide this kind of stability for your kids, then try like hell to do it.

But I still like you, Pikes Peak.
For all my bubbly, stir-the-pot nature, I love stability. This move from Colorado has been hard. Moving to Colorado was hard, because I had lived in Ohio for 52 years. For a year, I struggled to adapt to my Colorado home. Just when I got settled into the mountains and the sunshine and my precious wife, my wife excised me from her life, and the mountains didn’t seem to care about me any more. This still shocks my system; my system is used to stability. Would I stay in Colorado? I thought I would. But the memories—which were everywhere—killed me softly. Some people say I’m too emotional—stop it, you’ll make me cry. Change is foreign to my nature and my upbringing, so it hits me like an 8.9 quake.   

I am now living in Pennsylvania, where love and peace rise like morning mist from the oldest mountains here. (The mountains here got formed and covered thousands of years before those of the Rockies.) I want to travel. I am endeavoring to plug into the truth that God is everywhere, and that I take the spirit of Christ with me wherever I go. I have always known this, but now it enters the liver through the heart. If the spirit of God makes its home in me (1 Corinthians 3:16), then I am at home wherever I am. This high truth defies zip codes.

I am looking forward to the stability of my celestial home from which neither I—nor any of us—shall ever be excised.  

© 2012 by Martin Zender