Tunnel Vision

Tunnel Vision

Chickens are not the smartest creatures on God’s green earth.   When they actually fly, they invariably land in danger.   Despite an acute ability to spot food on the ground in front of them, they prefer to chase each other to the point of exhaustion when one finds a grub.  Though provided with spacious, clean, inviting nest boxes, they pile up two or three deep in some cramped spot to lay eggs.  And they mindlessly pursue any spot of red anywhere and on anything.    Their tiny brains are remarkable only for the remarkably dumb things they do.

But for all the shortcomings, the chicken’s vision is truly amazing.   Having eyes on each side of their head gives the chicken a 300° field of vision.  The left eye is far-sighted to keep an eye to the sky, while the right is near-sighted to provide microscopic vision of the ground in front of them.   With more cones than humans, they see a larger spectrum of color and more subtle contrasts.   This makes them sensitive to the most minute movement in their environment.   And even if a chicken is blind, it has a special gland in the top of its head that distinguishes daytime from nighttime.   The chicken’s vision is truly remarkable.   While their brains are small, their perception is enormous.

Human perception, by contrast, is more limited.   Our field of vision is only 180°, assuming our peripheral vision is perfect.   But peripheral vision is easily reduced by injury or trauma.   Extreme stress can limit our sight to just what is in front of us; a condition we call ‘tunnel vision.’    Tunnel vision is dangerous because it removes visual context.  And visual context is critical in order to understand what we see.     High stress encounters by soldiers and law enforcement have documented the tragic consequences of tunnel vision.   Unintentional victims have been wounded or killed, because combatants simply did not see them in the field of vision.    Tunnel vision can be dangerous, and even deadly.

But tunnel vision is not only a danger for our physical eyesight.    We can develop tunnel vision in our spiritual perspective, assessing our circumstance without the context faith peripherally provides.   The enemy of our soul, the ancient Serpent, Satan, wants to blind us to the truths of God’s power and promises.   He creates drama and trauma in our lives, then voices a new possibility.  “Did God really say?”   Perhaps God did not mean it?  Perhaps God cannot be trusted?   Perhaps we must look elsewhere for truth? 

Satan is forever working to foster suspicion of God.  And accusation against you.   To give us tunnel vision.  His relentless assaults on God’s promises wear us down, destroy hope, and fill us with despair.    Satan wants us to see only the insurmountable crisis and unsolvable brokenness right in front of us.  But not the promises of God which surround us.

We see this unfold in Revelation 13.   Satan’s rage against God is focused on God’s people, the church.   Two beasts arise, making war against the saints, conquering them through crushing power and relentless propaganda.   The picture seems hopeless.   But that is not the end of the story.   In this book of comfort, God restores peripheral vision, revealing the rest of the story.   Satan’s conquest is short lived.   The true Lamb appears with those where were sealed by the living God with the Holy Spirit.   Their number is not diminished.   Every one sealed is saved.  Not one is lost.  

Despite the ravages of the enemy, the people of God stand victorious and sing victory songs before the throne.   The lies of the Dragon were just that.  His boasts, his threats, his accusations, his propaganda all come to nothing.   The Lamb is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  And the saints, who did not love their lives unto death have conquered the Dragon by the blood of the Lamb and the testimony of Jesus.

Have you developed tunnel vision in your spiritual life?   Has hopelessness gripped you, chipping away at your faith?   In Revelation 14, God corrects our vision.   He restores the periphery of faith and heals us of tunnel vision.   The attacks of the enemy are powerful, but they cannot snatch one single saint from the hand of their God, nor separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.  Join us this Lord’s Day as we consider Revelation 14 and learn to avoid spiritual tunnel vision.

We meet from 5:00 – 6:30 pm at The Arkansas DreamCenter at 1116 Daisy L Gatson Bates Drive in Little Rock for worship.  Get directions here or contact us for more info.  You can also join us on Facebook Live @RiverCityARP or on YouTube

Christ Our Hope in Life and Death

Christ Our Hope in Life and Death

This Lord’s Day we will be singing this new hymn from Getty Music as we gather for worship. Based on Question 1 of the Heidelberg Catechism, this hymn celebrates the great truths of our faith. Take time to listen to Christ Our Hope in Life and Death as we and meditate on its words as we prepare to incorporate it into the worship of our gracious God and Savior on the Lord’s Day.

Christ Our Hope in Life and Death
Words and Music by Keith Getty, Matt Boswell, Jordan Kauflin, Matt Merker, Matt Papa. CCL# 11359088

What is our hope in life and death?
Christ alone, Christ alone.
What is our only confidence?
That our souls to Him belong.

Who holds our days within His hand?
What comes, apart from His command?
And what will keep us to the end?
The love of Christ, in which we stand.

O sing hallelujah! Our hope springs eternal;
O sing hallelujah! Now and ever we confess
Christ our hope in life and death.

What truth can calm the troubled soul?
God is good, God is good.
Where is His grace and goodness known?
In our great Redeemer’s blood.

Who holds our faith when fears arise?
Who stands above the stormy trial?
Who sends the waves that bring us nigh
Unto the shore, the rock of Christ?

Unto the grave, what shall we sing?
“Christ, He lives; Christ, He lives!”
And what reward will heaven bring?
Everlasting life with Him.

There we will rise to meet the Lord,
Then sin and death will be destroyed,
And we will feast in endless joy,
When Christ is ours forevermore.

06/27/2021 | “Propaganda” | Revelation 13:11-18

06/27/2021 | “Propaganda” | Revelation 13:11-18

‘Propaganda’ is an ugly word, the tool of tyrants.  In Revelation 13, Satan’s power is unleashed in a brute beast that pursues, crushes, and destroys.   But Satan has another, more subtle strategy.  A second beast arises from the earth.  He appears as a lamb with two small horns, but speaks with the voice of a dragon.  While he looks gentle, harmless, and trustworthy, his words are anything but.  Through this beast, Satan assaults the Church in the realm of ideas and words, forever working to foster suspicion of God.   How careful are you to test the spirits of this age?   To view your world, not through your devices, but through the Word of God?   Join us this week as we examine Revelation 13:11-18 and consider the call to resist Satan’s ministry of propaganda.

06/20/2021 | “Counterfeits and Conquerors” | Revelation 13:1-10

06/20/2021 | “Counterfeits and Conquerors” | Revelation 13:1-10

In Revelation 12, the Dragon, the ancient serpent, the devil, tries and tries to overthrow God’s redemptive plan and purpose, but fails at every turn.   Yet his failure never wearies his fury.  Revelation 13 unfolds what this fury looks like.   Two beasts emerge.  One from the sea and one from the earth.  An unholy Trinity of counterfeits to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit emerge in the persons of the dragon, the beast from the Sea, and the Beast from the earth.  

In this well-known narrative, the Lord Jesus calls us to endurance and faith.   Conquest belongs to the Church, but it comes at a cost.   Satan’s fury is intense.  His warfare unrelenting.   When we face his rage, it is easy to despair.   Revelation 13 drives this home.  But makes it clear that this counterfeit trinity will never conquer.  Join us this week as we examine Revelation 13:1-10 and consider “Counterfeits and Conquerors.”

6/6/2021 |”Gospel Thankfulness” | 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

6/6/2021 |”Gospel Thankfulness” | 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

When the Thessalonian Christians heard the Gospel preached by this Pauline company, the Lord called them irresistibly to Himself, changing them from the inside out.  Paul rejoices at their conversion that God wrought and also at their continued growth in grace.  Are we marked by Gospel thankfulness?  Are we thankful for the work God has done in our lives and also in the lives of fellow believers?  Do we long, as did Paul, to see the lost converted?