Friday, April 8, 2016

The Last Message


"It is the darkness of misapprehension of God that is enshrouding the world. Men are losing their knowledge of His character. It has been misunderstood and misinterpreted. At this time a message from God is to be proclaimed, a message illuminating in its influence and saving in its power. His character is to be made known. Into the darkness of the world is to be shed the light of His glory, the light of His goodness, mercy, and truth."

I have been really grappling with this and pondering this message lately.

Tonight I re-read this chapter, "To Meet the Bridegroom," from the book Christ Object Lessons. It looks at Matthew 25:1-13.

Wow!

I just feel like, "wow," pretty much sums up my experience.
I have just had a stripping away experience that has left me with a pretty clear conception of my lack.

I have not been falling upon the Rock and living broken.

It is such an interesting thing to be a living sacrifice. Yet, this is what we are called to. We are called to present our bodies as a living sacrifice (Rom. 12:1). Dead sacrifices stay on the altar… When self is truly dead then I can live the alive, yet staying on the altar, experience.

As I read this chapter it was as if my heart was laid bare before the eyes of heaven. I have not been living the connected, abiding life.

How do I know? Well I will just ponder a couple concepts. The author pointed out that we are called, not to strive to shine to the dark world, we are urged to LET our light shine. It is a picture of the obstructions being removed so all can see the Glory of God clearly. Those who have Christ abiding in their hearts will shine forth His glory.

In the trial and in adversity the true character is revealed. I am all too aware that in the trial and in the moment of temptation what is revealed is an un-sanctified life.

I am not trusting Jesus. I worry and fret and don't rest and trust.

I don't have His joy abiding in my heart.

So when I go back to the top quote…

It is not just the world that is shrouded in the darkness of the misapprehension of God. It is my mind. My life is not a testimony to the truth, but to the darkness.

I have been living a lie.

But the truth is TRUTH, even when I have not been living it.

The Light WINS!!!

God is light (1John 1:5) in whom is NO darkness, at all. NONE!!!

The promise is available to me and to you and to the world… The light(2 Cor.4:6) has illumined our hearts. The knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus.

He has promised to finish (Philippians 1:6) the work He has begun,

To make all things new(Rev. 21:5).

Do I believe Him?

He says that it is His goodness that leads us to repentance(Romans 2:4).
So I am deciding to bask in light of His goodness. I am going to draw close, fall broken, surrender, lay aside my pride and take off my filthy robe and let Him clothe me in His righteousness. I want the truth!

I am going to lay claim to His promise. My need is my right to the Promise. He has promised that He will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Him, because he trusts in Him.

I am going to stay my mind, by His grace and by His power. I am going to abide so that I can receive the sap from the vine.

I want my mind to be lightened with the truth of the Glory of the goodness of God. I want the Truth of who He is to change my thinking and change my living so that He can use me as a vessel to pour His love thru onto a world that is hurting.

I am pleading with Him to take my life and use it to bear witness to the power He has to transform a life. I don't want to be used by the darkness and I don't want to testify to the darkness I want to testify to the LIGHT and to the TRUTH.

God is good. He is trustworthy. He is love. He is Light.
"But in our contemplation of Christ, we are only lingering round the edge of a love that is measureless. His love is like a vast ocean, without bottom or shore." Review and Herald May 6, 1902

Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Grave is Empty

She went to rest on March 21st. The ripples are everywhere as the buzz of blogposts and memories are shared through the Internet waves. I did not know her as well as I would have liked to. Yet every memory I have of her is run together with joy and peace and the rest of one who knew what it was to rest herself in the hands and heart of the Almighty. 

Oh to know that type of peace. It was not the peace only to be found on a sunny day with the flowers blooming. It was the peace before the storm, the peace in the middle of the storm and the peace that could not be touched by the storm. Her God, her Comforter was bigger. 

Her one desire was to be used for her wonderful loving Father in life or in death. 

Death's cold tomb may hold her body. 

But the chains are broken.  She will rise, for our Lord's tomb is empty. 

Prayers for the Harvest

A draft that has long sat and needed publishing.


Today in the mail I received a warmly written card from a dear sister very far away.

Inside on a slip of delicate paper I found this penned gracefully in purple:

"The saint who is intimate with Jesus will never leave impressions of himself, but only the impression that Jesus is having unhindered way, because the last abyss of his nature has been satisfied by Him. The only impression left by such a life is that of the strong calm sanity that our Lord gives to those who are intimate with Him."

~ Oswald Chambers
My Utmost for His Highest - January 7

Deeply, I am challenged by reading this. For more often than not I am all hindrance instead. . .

To have every crumb and corner of myself filled with His presence.
For transparency. For Him to have unhindered way.

For these things I pray.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Need to Wait

Gardens are places of hope, of work and of dreams.  There are cycles of change and growth lived out among the plants.  Yet, we are separated by too many generations to understand the reality of being dependent upon the garden for life.  We have a back-up plan.  We are very tied into taste and preference and know little of what it is to eat for subsistence.  When the cantaloupe doesn't taste the way we like we drive off our property and go to the store and bring one back that does.

When crops fail, we go to the grocery store, and perhaps think about not having a garden next year, after all, we put money and time into it and it didn't produce the way we would like.  It is new and unknown and frankly, we aren't very good at gardening.  Our grandparents did not pass this information on, we live in Texas and it is hot this year and surely people in Texas only ate cows when grocery stores were harder to come by.  We don't like work very much and are too used to convenience.

That is the troubling part, where convenience and ease have met up with the human need for struggle and growth.  Butterflies never learn to fly if not allowed to fight their way out of their cocoon.  We need the struggle.  The steep learning curve should draw us into a deeper understanding of spiritual realities.  But American Christianity knows little of fight, of standing against or for much of anything.  Christianity here is easy, and that is what makes it hard.

In a society where we don't have to wait for anything, how do I encourage in my spirit the patience to wait upon the Lord?  Long gone are the days where communication meant writing a letter and waiting weeks or months before you would think that maybe it got to where it was going.  It took more weeks and months before you would even look for a response.

We can have it all.  Sometimes we try.  In the end we end up with not much of anything.  We lose interest when you can't harvest peaches from the tree you planted that year.  There is much too much waiting involved.

Yet there are other portions of life that will not be rushed.  Babies walk when they walk, talk when they talk.  Pregnancy cannot be rushed.  Gardens cannot be rushed.  Spiritual development cannot be rushed. It is a process, it takes time and happens gradually.

We need to learn in the school of waiting, especially now.  We need to know what it is to be dependent upon God and not lean so much upon the grocery store.  We need to learn to be patient.

Perhaps if we grow another garden next year we will learn a bit more about patiently waiting on the Lord.  We are leaving our garden in a few short days.  Next year, or perhaps in a few short weeks if we get some land we will start again.  The learning curve will still be steep, I am sure.  Yet, I am beginning to think it necessary.  For ease is not conducive to growth.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

When the Seed Dies

Without the death there is no growth.


The seeds must be buried.  They must go into the ground and die.  Somewhere in the death process is the hope of life.

And yet there are times when the seed is buried, and nothing comes up.  It is buried, it dies and nothing. Hope dies out.

We just planted some corn recently.  Most of it came up.  But there are these spaces, where nothing happened.  So we replanted.  There are still these spots.  Empty places.

Empty spaces.

Like the emptiness that sometimes fills my heart.

I pray into the empty spaces, hopeful.  Longing.

But it is a tentative longing.  I find myself wanting to hope, but afraid that I will plant one more seed of hope and find it also dies out, snuffed out by the heat, the dry-ness, the weeds will choke it out, or the bugs get to it, before it even has a chance to get established.

How does one pray for God's will?  Do you find that when you reach out toward praying for His will that you must battle your will?  When you fight your will, pushing it down, trying to get your will to give in to the realization that He gives what is best, does it fight back?


In the end I must trust Him with the seeds.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Musings Part 3 and the Garden

So I began this disclosure by stating I was struggling with my conceptions.  I continued it by stating that I stumbled upon the idea, yet again, that God is a person.  You see, I was trying to measure my way to closeness to God.  Asking myself intellectual questions, like what does the mature Christian look like? how will I know if I am one (After all, I only know about knowing that I am not.  LOL!)?  It was here among the mess I was making that I realized that relationships don't get measured that way.


I cannot tell you the last time I asked myself how will I know if Mark and I are close to each other.  How will I know if we love each other?  Why?  Because that is not how relationships are developed.  There is no checklist.


So among all my silly, disorganized thoughts I stumbled upon one coherent idea.  It was this idea that in the garden, before the fall, man could just be with God, like with a friend.  You know the type I am talking about, the friend who you can sit with in silence and just enjoy the pleasure of their presence.  There is no striving.  There is no measuring yourself against others, wondering if you are the favorite.  There is no wondering if you might be rejected.  There is no reaching or grasping toward the unknown there is just the pleasure of being.


In the garden, I am sure there were times of questions, of learning, of joy and searching.  Yet, when God came to walk with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day, I am sure there was that easy comfortable just being.  The basking in the joy of being with one you love.  The joy of being fully known, fully accepted and fully loved.


Before the fear came in.


The truth is that God still rejoices over us.  He still fully knows us.  He still fully loves us.  If we will but accept His amazing gift we can know what it is to be His.


I am learning the tentative steps of faith.  I am learning, slowly to trust the goodness of His heart.  I am learning to make my way to the foot of that tree that demonstrates God's goodness and His love.




"What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul.

When I was sinking down, sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down beneath God’s righteous frown,
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul, for my soul,
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul.

To God and to the Lamb, I will sing, I will sing;
To God and to the Lamb, I will sing.
To God and to the Lamb Who is the great “I Am”;
While millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing;
While millions join the theme, I will sing.

And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on.
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing and joyful be;
And through eternity, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;
And through eternity, I’ll sing on."
~Alexander Mean 

God is urging us forward on this journey, back to the place of no fear.

Musings Part 2

...God lost His personhood somewhere when I fell upon the realization that God isn't safe.  Sometime back in my experience I had an unconscious fallacy slip into my experience with God.  I guess it is a version of the Santa Claus god or the lotto god, but all I know for sure is that it is not The God, the Almighty Creator God, the Maker of heaven and earth.  I had thought I could be obedient to ensure certain "safe" results.  

Now, I am not trying to suggest that serving sin doesn't have its consequences, yet sometimes they are delayed.  

Nor, am I suggesting that serving God is not full to the tip top with benefits, for surely my life is a living tapestry of the truth of God's mercy and goodness on the undeserving.  

Yet, it is also true that just because you have faith, and obey does not necessarily mean that God will protect you from the evil that lives in the land.  If you don't believe me ask Job, who God Himself said was blameless.  Now it is illogical to jump from the land of faith to the land of fear on the basis of a "so what if", but that is where I have found myself.  

Afraid.

Fear has a strange way of taking over your life.  

It rises up at the most in-opportune times.  It swallows your would be faith and leaves its cold claws around an emotionless shrinking heart.  In its tracks it leaves a cold emotionless shrinking life.

The answer to the fear is Truth.  Not some theory about truth but the person of Truth, Jesus Christ.  The answer to fear is the cross.  

With Paul's words I find myself taking tentative steps back toward faith, back toward the possibility of this dichotomy being able to survive my brain's attempt to make sense out of the experience of pain and sorrow and a loving God co-existing.  In his words I find my hope, "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:32).  Surely God will give us all the small gifts we need, after all He gave His best gift to us, willingly, without coercion.   He gave His Son.

Surely He is good, how amazingly good I cannot begin to plumb the depths.  "But as it is written: "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him." (1 Corinthians 2:9)  And these "things" that Paul is talking about are good things.  These are the experience of taking the "taste and see that the Lord is good"(Psalm 34:8) path.

The answer to the fear is to accept Perfect Love in.  This is not an academic understanding of love nor a warm gushy mushy love, this is the Personhood of Love embodied in the truth that God Himself is love.  

The truth is, God is love.  The truth is that Jesus is the Truth.  So we are not talking about the answer being a theological truth, we are talking about a person.

Yes, I will not deny that there is need for intellectual understanding, but there is a greater need.  The need is to know and love the Truth.  The need is to know the One who is Love, not about Him, but to know Him...