Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Did you ever see the Indiana Jones movie about their search for the grail? There was a part when Indiana was going to where the grail was and he had reached an opening in the cave and had to cross over to the other side of a chasm - but there was no visible place for him to place his foot. He remembered the riddle and put his foot out - seemingly into empty space - he risked his all that he might find the grail. Lo and behold, there was a bridge between the walls.
A poor analogy, but...
... it does take a certain amount of courage
... or desperation
... to launch out into the depth of the river which is over our heads.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Friday, November 5, 2010
“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing: the last of the human freedoms -- to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.
"When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves."
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Sunday, October 17, 2010
then i remember He is Father and that He is Love and Gentleness and Kindness and Mercy, not angry and distant and unmoved by my plight - and that Love holds me and keeps me from falling to pieces while the pain is uncovered and healing brought.
i am learning to know and rely on Love...
and to live with arms open...
and to trust the holding power of Love when it hurts.
"This air we breathe. It's an amazing thing given by God for life. We only can have enough for one breath at a time. I mean, it's all around us, but when we breathe, we do not stop inhaling because we have taken in all the oxygen we will ever need. Rather, we have all the oxygen we need for THIS breath. Then we exhale, release carbon dioxide, and make room for more oxygen."
to which may be added -
Sunday, August 8, 2010
"God can do anything, you know...
...far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us." Eph 3. 20-21 The Message
as I ponder on this again - He has done incredible things for us - because He loved us and came - because He took on flesh and dwelt among us - because of the incarnation - I am again blown away - because He whispers in my heart - not in the whirlwind or earthquake but in a soft whisper - eternity whispers - oh my - this is too great - who can grasp it? - the eternal One in our heart.
... the Jesus i am coming to know is the One Who had friendship/fellowship with the tax collector, the woman 'caught' in adultery, the little girl who was 'dead', the father whose heart was breaking because of his son who continually threw himself into the fire. the Jesus i am coming to know is the One Who did not withdraw Himself from the woman with the issue of blood. the One Who in essence said, 'phooey on the laws of the sabbath' and healed all over the place on that day - because He is the Sabbath and He was being true to Himself. the One Who loved us so much that He became incarnate - that we might be connected to Him, His Father and the Holy Spirit in that glorious, eternal relationship/fellowship - that dance that many of His saints talk about.
the Jesus i am coming to know dislikes [understatement] the actions of those who use, abuse and mislead folks. He seems to not have a whole lot of patience with the religious who will not see - and who hinder others from seeing Him as He is. the Jesus i am coming to know was and is moved with incredible compassion regarding mankind's blindness and chosen ventures into the pig pens of the world.
the Jesus i am coming to know doesn't keep a score-card on me - or on any one else. He has more patience with me than the ocean has drops of water. He doesn't beat me - or anyone else when our lives get messy. He gives me His hand, lifts me up out of my crippled place and enables me to jump, run and walk with Him.
the Jesus i am coming to know is so very eager to teach me Who He is - to take away the structures in my mind which argue against Him. He delights in freeing me from the chains of sin which bind me in order that i can experience the freedom and grace of His life.
i could go on and on - but perhaps by now, you get the picture - Jesus the express image of the Father - yahoo!
this Jesus - and more and more - as i am willing to set aside that wearisome burden of living in the imaginations of my making [and the world's, the flesh's and the devil's] as to who He is and saying yes to His life and Who He is, is the One i am coming to know.
the following taken from an article on a special blog
"Discovering Jesus in the dungeons of our brokenness means that we do not have to dream of a Magical Other or plaster our dream upon their face and demand that they live up to our unearthly expectations. And it means that we do not have to impose our agendas upon the lives of our friends, or of creation. Discovering Jesus in the dungeon means we are free to live in and out of the real dream of the Father, Son and Spirit, for now our adoption is no dream at all, but the simple truth. We are included in their shared life. The Father, Son and Spirit have pitched their tent inside our dungeon. Such a discovery is the beginning of faith and repentance (a radical change in the way we see), and it is the beginning of the freedom to accept others and to be accepted, to know and to be known, to love and to be loved, to delight and being delighted in."
C Baxter Kruger http://baxterkruger.blogspot.com/2009/12/expectation.html
... hear His voice
It never ceases to amaze me - tucked in here and there - in the most unexpected places - one stumbles over the fact that He has always desired to reveal Himself to us.
Moreover, this revealing is quite often to the unimportant, insignificant, no-name no-power folks in society.
Case in point: a few weeks ago I was finishing reading a historical novel about, as it turns out, a key figure in the linage of kings and queens of England.
There it was, tucked into the last quarter or so of a very long book. A simple person is brought into the story - one to whom He had revealed Himself. Surprisingly, a woman - not a man, nor priest, nor bishop or pope. Not even to a king or prince - or princess. Her name was Julian - Julian of Norwich.
In England in the 1400's, He visited Julian in order that she might know Him - not as the religion of the day portrayed Him. The religion of pilgrimages to various shrines to pray to whatever relic was being touted - maybe a little toe bone of saint so-and-so, or a vial of the milk of Mary, or a thorn from the crown given to Jesus, or a splinter from the spear of the Roman soldier.
He cut through all that and spoke to her of His great love for His creation. He made Himself known as Love - pure and simple and true.
It was a time of believing God was distant and very angry with folks. A time that believed He had to be appeased in any way possible - the longer and more difficult the pilgrimage, the better. The more money given to the shrine keepers, the better.
It was a time of fear of excommunication and damnation. A time which did not know - nor even consider - that Father just might not be as religion said. Oddly enough, and though it may look a little different, we have many similar beliefs and practices today regarding God.
Father made Himself known to this woman - this humble person. She, in turn, shared this with Catherine - the key person in the English king/queen linage.
Catherine was in the most devastated place of her life with no hope on the horizon. Among other very difficult circumstances, she had suffered the loss of a child, for which she blamed herself. Catherine made a pilgrimage of many weeks by herself to a shrine. Having received no answer to her prayer of help for her child, she attempted suicide. In the midst of attempting suicide, a man of the cloth rescued and introduced her to Julian. Time spent with Julian made all the difference.
Time spent learning Him - made all the difference.
Whether this actually happened - whether Catherine met Julian - I don't know for sure. That is not really the point.
The point is that, throughout all the years and centuries, there have been folks who heard Him - mostly in a way that cut right across the practices and teachings of the day.
There have always been those who would hear...
There still are those who hear...
and pay heed.
How many times do we hear something - and say something - and agree to and with something - and then - all of a sudden we get the ‘ah-ha’ about it?
When we stop jibber-jawing in our mind - and in our conversing/praying with Father - long enough, we just might hear what His heart is. We just might hear what He is talking about - what He desires to talk about with us - what He desires to do.
If we would just shut up and listen up - oh my! If we would just be still and know that He is. And that the *He is* is not some silent stump that we pummel with all our words and thoughts, but, in human terms, a living, breathing being, perhaps we would not find ourselves in the stews we get into about knowing His will or what pleases Him and/or walking with Him, where to go, what to do, what to say, etc, etc, etc.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
came across this the other day -
“In the entire history of the universe, let alone in your own history, there has never been another day just like today, and there will never be another just like it again. Today is the point to which all your yesterdays have been leading since the hour of your birth. It is the point from which all your tomorrows will proceed until the hour of your death. If you were aware of how precious today is, you could hardly live through it. Unless you are aware of how precious it is, you can hardly be said to be living at all.”
Thursday, July 8, 2010
a wonderful picture - enjoy
The Canary That Didn't Sing - by Mike M - posted July 8, 2010 @ 8:19 am on Free Believer’s Network
My father was a man of many interests one of them being raising redfactor canaries. I would venture to say about half of his time off from work was spent caring for those orange birds. When you hear the word canary what comes to mind? A majority might say singing. Canaries are beautiful songbirds. Did you know that canaries learn to sing from their parents? Did you know that each family of canaries has its own particular song and everyone in that family sings a variation of that song? They are fascinating creatures.
My dad built an aviary in our back yard that still stands there to this day. At the height of his hobby he had upwards of 300 birds out back. That’s a lot of racket let me tell you! But the neighbors never complained. That would be like complaining that a rose is too beautiful. So I want you to picture my dad in that fully enclosed aviary with 300 birds sitting for hours just observing. Each chick that hatched would get a band put around its leg, like a serial number. Even though they were all in there together, my dad could go single out a particular bird and then show you its mother, father, and siblings.
So what was he doing in there for hours on end? Mostly he was just enjoying them. He would pay particular attention to his good singers. Those he would sell as pets to families and little old ladies that needed the company of a songbird. He would also pay special attention to any birds that sang seldom. A quiet canary is a sick canary. Isn’t that something? How do you tell an animal is sick? He can’t tell you. But it’s pretty simple actually. Every animal under heaven has a purpose. And when that animal isn’t fulfilling its purpose, it usually means there is something wrong.
As a canary sings, so we were made to praise Jesus. It’s as if our genes compel us to praise our savior. Do you praise God like a canary sings? If not, the Master wants to tend to you and heal you. He knows you by name apart from all of the rest of humanity. He sits there with a smile on His face listening. Did you know that birds that don’t sing early on in their lives are more likely to contract diseases? So that means that the healing comes in the song. Did you get that? The healing comes in the song. We were meant to give God glory, honor and praise. And when we sit on our perch with our beaks tightly shut, we begin to deteriorate. And then the Master comes to us in our silence and says, “Why aren’t you singing? What has you down?”
Do you know how beautiful it is to hear someone sing in spite of his or her pain? Do you know what that kind of song does to the heart of God? It melts His heart into a puddle. I sang like that during my divorce. I could not be silent. I needed Him more than life itself. And He heard my song above all of the others. He took notice of me for I called to Him and He came! And He comforted me like a husband comforts his bride. I know it hurts to sing when you are drowning in pain. But there is healing in the song.
Side note:When my dad died, I called up an old friend of his he hadn’t seen in years. I gave him the news of my dad’s passing and he was shocked and dismayed. I asked him if he would do my dad one final favor. Since it had been at least a decade since my dad had any birds, I asked his friend Tony if he wouldn’t mind bringing one of his canaries to my dad’s funeral. Tony did, and I guess that was just one of the many special ways I said goodbye to my father.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
“To give that mystery its proper theological name, it’s the coinherence of the three Persons --- in all their acts and in every aspect of their essence – in the unity of their “Godness.” But the most fascinating thing about this coinherence is that it rubs off on the world that the Trinity brings forth. When God creates man in his own image, for instance (“man,” just to remind you, is the ‘adham, male and female), he makes us into beings totally in love with mutual indwelling, with walking into, with dancing into relationships at every turn of our lives. For one thing, he’s made us positively wild about turning two people into “one flesh” in marriage. For another, he’s made us just as driven to implicate ourselves in friendships, families, towns, cities, and states. He’s made a sociable world. And when we (at our best) dance our way into that creation, it becomes a vast ballet of coinherences.
“But it’s not only human creatures who are made in the image of this dance. The whole natural order – from the nearest grain of sand to the farthest star – is just as much an image of the mutual indwelling of the Persons of the Trinity. Nothing in creation acts or exists by itself; everything interacts with everything else. Poetry invites us to fall in love with this dance. Science charms us with the intricacy and the elegance of it. And theology, at its best, lifts us to the true Reason for the dancing in the first place.”
Robert F. Capon
Thursday, June 24, 2010
...there really is good news.
God is not angry!
God does not keep score!
God is not distant nor emotionally detached!
God is not easily offended!
God is not waiting to smack you when you mess up!
God is not against you...
in any way...
Father is for you!
Father is with you!
Father is madly in love with you!
Father enjoys your company!
Father smiles when you smile!
Father laughs at your corny jokes!
Father delights when you see something He has been showing you!
Father loves when you sing - even off-key!
He loves you...
Father loves you!
By nature, I am of a curious sort. Drove my folks ding-bats with 'why, what, where, when, who, etc'. I love a mystery, but I also love a mystery solved. Always wanted to know what was going on, why it was going on, what the outcome would be. This penchant for wanting/needing? to know came with me when He appeared in my life years ago - back in the dark ages.
To some degree, I'm still wanting to know. BUT... and this is a big but... I find myself in the 'curious' place of settling into His hands regarding the mystery of His kingdom and the working out thereof. He has brought much peace to my heart regarding the "grand strategies" of His salvation. Truly, I don't believe we humans - with our finite minds, reasonings and studies - can fully grasp this mystery. Or any of the mysteries of God.
Hallelujah, I don't have to figure it out. He does not require me to do so. It is enough - for me - that He has it figured out.
This I do believe in my depths - He never forces anyone to love Him - never forces anyone to follow Him - never forces anyone to desire Him. He could - He has the power - and the right - but I don't think He does.
This I also believe - we come to the Father by the Son and no other way. He does this and accomplishes this in our own lives in His own mysterious way. How? I don't know. But it's ok for me to not know. Just to know that He does it and I can rest in the fact that He is wise, kind, true and just.
Also, in the depths of my heart, I sense that He knows the aborigine in the back side of some dark jungle. He knows if that person's heart's desire is to know the One Who is greater than he. He knows that person has never and will never hear a missionary preach Jesus. And yet… I sense… somehow, in His mysterious way… He is more than able to bring that one in and through and because of Jesus to Himself. I don't believe He forces that one to say `yes' to Him, though.
BUT… and here is another huge `but'… if I am mistaken, and that aborigine is not brought into Jesus - that is ok, too, because He is wise, kind, true and just.
I believe He has `it' worked out - all of it. His working it out has not and will not in any way violate the scriptures nor His revelation of Himself to His creation. How?
It's in His left-hand of power.
In that hand I can rest.
Came across this in some old notes - don't know who said it so can't give credit.
"Ask anyone with great faith how they came to it and they will probably tell you about circumstances that would make even a brave man tremble. Ask anyone how they came by great love and they will make you weep with heartache. Ask one with great wisdom how they attained it and they will blush as they tell you of their path of foolishness."
Monday, June 21, 2010
What makes the difference?
Are we to live ordinary lives - be ordinary people - do ordinary things?
What is ordinary, anyway?
Most of us live what could be called ordinary lives. We are those ordinary people doing those ordinary things.
Most of us are not Elijahs or Jacobs or Johns or Pauls. Most of us don't go around the world speaking to millions. Most of us are not even known by the folks who live around the corner and down two blocks - unless our kids know their kids.
We build houses and live in them; we plant gardens and eat the fruit and pick the flowers; we have dogs and cats, gold fish and parakeets, horses and chickens.
We marry and have babies; go to work; go to school; grow up and grow old. We laugh, cry, rejoice and moan. All common. All usual. All normal - and ordinary.
Common - average - usual - middling - standard - normal lives.
What if the ordinary could be something more? Is meant to be something more? Something other than hum-drum and ho-hum?
There's a song that talks about wanting to 'breathe the air like I'm meant to on ordinary days and see the things that I'm supposed to see on ordinary days.'
What if our ordinary days are meant to be extra-ordinary days?
Because He is right here with us, filling each day and each minute with Himself, the ordinary becomes a beautiful golden gift to us of Life - a golden cup containing Him.
The divine is with us transforming the mundane - the average, common, every-day day - into the kingdom of God - at hand - in us - with us.
Oh, let us see the things You desire to show us, let us breathe the air You have for us.
Let us live ordinary days and lives made exquisitely extraordinary - because of You.
... not tomorrow
... or yesterday
not in three hours or last night
... this hour - this minute - this very second
Can you hear Me now?
Today - while it is called today - if you will - hear His voice.
How do we do this? How do we hear Him as immediately as now?
Think for a moment about a person you really, really like. One you really, really appreciate. One you enjoy and with whom you just love hanging around. One you would like to get to know better. One you love.
Consider this person feels the same way about you.
Ok, now imagine that you could somehow crawl inside this person - and this person could crawl inside you - all while remaining who you both are. Weird, I know - but think about how very close you two would be. The words 'very close' do not even come near to describing what it would be like.
Now, consider this. He really, really likes you. He appreciates you, enjoys hanging out with you. In fact, He loves you more than you know and He has made the way for Him to be in you - and for you to be in Him.
Father in Jesus, Jesus in Father... I in You and You in Me and them in Us
This understanding is nothing new. We have heard it for years. We have read the passages of scripture. Probably heard more than one sermon or teaching on it.
Christ in you the hope...
Nevertheless, have we experienced it? Have the words on the page - in the sermon - in the teaching - have those words become life to us? And in us? Has the meaning behind the words - and the transaction - become flesh and dwelt within us? Yet?
For some of us - perhaps many of us - walking in it - living in it - walking it out - living it out - is something yet to be.
Living in this closer than intimate fellowship takes learning. It does not happen overnight. We do not 'hear Him now' just like that. It takes time - it takes learning - it takes living.
It takes getting to know in an incredibly intimate [wish I could come up with a more adequate word] way, the lover of your soul.
It takes learning how to live in that love - how to live loved. Learning how to live in the relationship and fellowship of pure unadulterated, unlimited, unquenchable, unremitting, unquestioned eternal love of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
It takes practicing His presence - to borrow a title from long ago.
If we want to hear His voice we can - if we will - we can.
If we will.
We can learn to live freely and fully in Him - and let Him live freely and fully in us - if we will.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Joseph ran into: his brothers; Potiphar; a lusting and lying woman; prison - a dream
- but God
Moses killed an Egyptian - a bush
- but God
Abraham was old and Sarah was barren - a promise
- but God
Elimelech took his wife, Naomi and children to Moab - a gleaning field
- but God
Saul persecuted and killed people of the Way - a light on a road
- but God
Adam and Eve chose independence - an incarnation
- but God
Thursday, April 22, 2010
If you do any gardening, you know that soil makes all the difference.
"... unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much fruit."
We can 'fall' into the soil of the world - or, we can 'fall' into the soil of the Holy Spirit.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Someone please tell me why we humans are afraid of love. Some of us.
Is it because someone, somewhere along the line in our lives, said, ‘I love you’ and then proceeded to abandon us - either literally or mentally/emotionally?
Is it because someone, somewhere… etc… said, ‘I love you’ then beat us and blamed us for the beating? Or raped us and then said it was our fault because we enticed them?
Is it because someone, somewhere… etc… said ‘I love you’ then betrayed us, talked about us behind our backs, vilified and slandered us to others?
Is it because someone, somewhere… etc… said ‘I love you’ then manipulated us…
and controlled us…
and shamed us…
just generally made life miserable?
Is it because those someones, somewhere who said, ‘I love you’ lived with us in such ways that we were constantly in fear of their displeasure and disappointment?
Is it because of a multitude of reasons I have not named? Because of something so deep in the psyche of man that it has no name? Just a commonality among us all?
Is it possible the “some of us” for whom ‘love’ is a four-letter word, have transferred that feeling/reaction/gut-level pain/fear about love to our relationship with God? To our understanding of Who He is? To what He is made of? To the stuff of His character?
I tend to think it not only possible, put highly likely.
The ‘some of us’ picture Him as being somewhere in the character-realm of emotionally distant, ready to beat us with His spiritual fists, blaming us for His anger toward us, manipulative, controlling, shaming, vindictive, needing to be appeased - an all around fearsome Being.
Not one with whom we want to get close. To say the least.
Let’s change that ‘some of us’ to ‘most of us’. We humans have taken He Who is purely love, and made Him into something far removed from the truth of Who He is - as far as the east is from the west.
We have taken the gospel - the breathtakingly good news - and we have bent it, twisted it, and mangled it into a message of fear. The good news that He loves us with an undying, unchanging, unconditional, unflappable love is overwhelmed by the noise of our understanding and experience of love.
Because of love, and Who He is, He came to make the way for us to be included in the incredibly joyful fellowship between Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
But we fear to even consider this kind of love - because we know it does not exist - it cannot be trusted. It just might make God too good.
We tend to wave it away when someone brings up the passages about God and love. ‘Yes, but…’ we reply. If not aloud - silently in our minds - we deny what those three words, God is love, could really mean. We deny the possibility of His love being true.
We know that not everyone who says ‘I love you’ can really be trusted. It is just words. Words that are so tied to hurt, pain, and emptiness that our gut grips when we hear them.
How can He love us? How can we live in the reality of that love? We dare not believe it is true. We fear lest we be taken in. Again.
It is much safer to relate to Him in the manner of appeasement - do not make waves - be good little boys and girls - and maybe HE will not be angry with us.
Maybe our distrust of love makes us:
fear Who He is - fear what He truly is.
fear how He sees us - fear what He thinks of, feels for, and wants from us.
In Ephesians, Paul prays that Christ would dwell in their hearts - that they would be rooted and grounded in love.
That they, being rooted and grounded in this love, would be able to grasp and understand the love of Christ. To understand to the full the size and shape of that love.
Do you suppose we can put our names in these passages? Do you suppose we could pray that Christ would dwell in our hearts - that we might be rooted and grounded in this love? In His love? That we might understand to the full the incredible dimensions of this love?
This love of Christ, he says, which passes all knowledge?
Do we dare?
Do we dare to hope that love really is good? And doesn’t hurt? And doesn’t betray? Or lie? Or abandon?
Do we dare to believe that His love could possibly surpass all our earthly knowledge and experience of the failings of love?
He says that when we are rooted and grounded in this love - the love of Christ - rooted and grounded in Love Himself - when this happens - we would be filled unto all the fullness of God.
He says that as this happens, we would be coming to know, to learn personally, to experience the very agapē of Christ. That as we are rooted and grounded in love, we come to know love - and as we come to know love, we are more rooted and grounded in love - and on - and on.
And because He is Love - we would be coming to know Love - as it/He is. And be rooted and grounded in Him.
This love - this agapē - sounds like something to be desired - someOne to be desired. The knowledge and experience of something - of someOne - this Love - above all to be desired. SomeOne beyond the ability of our words to describe and define.
Something beyond our earthly knowledge of love.
This Love - no four letter word as we have known - no hurtful thing - no thing to fear.
Food for thought - and a chuckle or two, maybe?
"It is well to remember that the entire universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of others." John Andrew Holmes
"It can come as quite a shock to realize that you have believed in an idea of Christ and not in Christ Himself!" Manfred Haller
"There is not a single inch of the whole terrain of our human existence over which Christ does not exclaim, 'MINE!' " Abraham Kuyper
"We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be." CS Lewis
I can't close this without at least one from O C -
"All heaven is interested in the cross of Christ, all hell terribly afraid of it, while men are the only beings who more or less ignore its meaning." Oswald Chambers
Love Divine, All Loves Excelling
Love divine, all loves excelling, joy of heaven, to earth come down;
Fix in us thy humble dwelling; all thy faithful mercies crown!
Jesus thou art all compassion, pure, unbounded love thou art;
Visit us with thy salvation; enter every trembling heart.
Breathe, O breathe thy loving Spirit into every troubled breast!
Let us all in thee inherit; let us find that second rest.
Take away our love of sinning; Alpha and Omega be;
End of faith, as its beginning, set our hearts at liberty.
Come, Almighty to deliver, let us all thy life receive;
Suddenly return and never, nevermore thy temples leave.
Thee we would be always blessing, serve thee as thy hosts above,
Pray and praise thee without ceasing, glory in thy perfect love.
Finish, then, thy new creation; pure and spotless let us be.
Let us see thy great salvation perfectly restored in thee;
Changed from glory into glory, till in heaven we take our place,
Till we cast our crowns before thee, lost in wonder, love, and praise.
The words I have included here are the ones Father seemed to underscore for me that day as I read Wayne's blog. (forgive the 'snip' please, Wayne) I caught a partial reflection in that mirror which is so blurry. The picture was not along the subject line of Wayne's conversation, but the words He underscored punched the 'view' button for me.
The picture was of a woman, tired, old and worn - hunched over. She was carrying a large, lumpy bag over her shoulder which looked quite heavy and weighed her down greatly. She had a very difficult time even walking very far with it on her back. Many times she would slip and fall.
I saw her sit down on the ground and place the bag in front of her. She then carefully opened the bag and gently removed something from it. She held the 'thing' close to her, and then turned it over repeatedly, studying it intently. It seemed that she even talked to it. Sometimes she would clutch the 'thing' tightly to her chest, rocking back and forth while great grief was on her face. At times the tears poured out of her eyes and once or twice she broke into heart-rending sobs.
She took other items out of the bag - sometimes with heavy sorrow, other times with intense anger. Bewilderment seemed to be present with some of the 'things'.
This went on for a long time, and then she finally put all the items back into the bag. She got up very slowly, with great difficulty picked up the bag, put it back over her shoulder, and went her way.
I saw her go through the same actions many times. At some point, I became aware that each time the woman sat down with her bag, a gentle and kind man would approach her. He looked upon her with much compassion and love and quietly spoke with her. He seemed to be asking her for something for he would extend his hands out to her. At first, she ignored him or shooed him away. Occasionally she talked with him a little but then clutched her bag, shook her head at him and waved him away again.
I asked what all this meant. He whispered to my heart that the woman represents those of us who carry a very heavy burden upon our shoulders and backs. Sometimes we clutch it to our breast and sometimes even proudly show how large and heavy our bag is to those we meet. I asked what was in the bag and He whispered that it is filled with dead bones. I asked what the bones mean and again He whispered that they are the bones of the past; hurts, disappointments, losses of all kinds, rejections, robberies, abuses, failures, misunderstandings and a multitude more.
He whispered that the gentle man is the Good Shepherd Who longs to take away the heavy burden of those hurts. He desires to give us beauty for those ashes and revive us with the oil of joy in exchange for our mourning. He yearns for us not to be weighed down with our past any longer.
Nevertheless, some of us will not part with those bones.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
'Buy bread for all these folks? Out here?’
‘Cross this Jordan? At this place? At this time?’
‘Take Jericho? Have you seen the walls and the strong gates?’
‘Roll the stone away? He’s beyond dead and stinks.’
‘We are going to have a baby? Now? At our age?
‘They’re bones, already - very dead - very dry. Can they live?'
Some time back I heard a whisper in my heart that He delights in bringing us right up against ‘it’. No matter what ‘it’ is, as long as ‘it’ is a complete impossibility for us. Impossible for us to go on - get over - go around - make work - figure out - or even back up. Impossible!
The Jordan at flood time, the barrenness of a womb along with a promise of a child, the hungry 5 thousand, Lazarus dead for 4 days, the valley of bones, etc - right up to the very thing which is so incredibly impossible for us to deal with.
He said, ‘Kelly?’ ‘Yes, sir?’ ‘What do you think? Can this be done?’ ‘Oh, Lord! You know!’
This sort of living on the edge - my description, His description - living with Him being completely free in me to do what He desires - I am finding He is absolutely ecstatic about.
What an adventure for this one who is much more comfortable living no closer to the edge of the chasm than - say - 10 to 15 feet at most. ‘Have You noticed, Lord? I’m an old woman! I have gray hairs and my knees don’t work as well as they used to!’ ‘Have you noticed, Kelly, John on Patmos? Was I finished with him though he had gray hair, too?’
I think it delights Him no end when we honestly can say without any feeling of guilt or despair but with great relief and lightness, 'Oh Lord, You know.' And that saying is active faith and trust and expectation, not passive resignation.
There is that growing realization within that when we are brought to that place, He does not mean for us to be overwhelmed, or defeated or destroyed, but He desires to make Himself known to us - in that very place. To reveal His heart. To reveal His face.
Life provides the impossibles - He provides the revealings.
Did you ever notice how often Jesus said, "Fear not", or "Do not be afraid"?
Guess He knew the folks just might be prone to a little skittishness. I mean, for instance, what would you do out in the middle of a very angry body of water, in a storm, in the middle of night, exhausted from rowing - and along comes - well - someone? - or - something? And this someone or something actually appears to be walking on the angry water!
'Hey guys - it's Me - don't be afraid.'
I love that He knew that about the disciples. He knows that about us, too.
In my experience, He never wants us to fear - to be afraid. And yet there is so very much in life which can stir up fear.
In Luke 12, Jesus talks about not being afraid of those who can kill you and after doing so, that is it as to the damage which they can do to you. Then He says, 'If you must be afraid of someone, let Me tell you Who you can fear - God Almighty . Now He can do eternal harm' [this is how I hear His voice in these verses].
Here's where it gets down to His heart, for me. He points out some little birds - of no import, really - just little, common, birds. If one wanted to buy them, they would cost next to nothing. And yet, Jesus tells the folks that Father remembers each one of them.
'If Father remembers each small, insignificant, common bird of little value, how much more will He remember you? Don't be afraid. Let Me tell you how very aware Father is of you - He even knows how many hairs are on your head. Talk about insignificant! And yet He knows. He knows you - and remembers you. And it's not a remembering which should stir fear in you, but comfort and rejoicing and peace. Oh, don't be afraid - don't fear.'
To add to the folks' understanding of Father's heart, Jesus goes on to encourage them to not fret about their lives. He says don't worry about the basics of life - food, clothing - or even, how short you are. Lo and behold, He makes a second reference to birds - and a second assurance that they are worth much more to Father than are the ravens.
'Don't be a bundle of nerves over your life. Father knows what you truly need. He knows - and remembers - and cares.'
'Lift your eyes - look past your selves, your needs - and consider Father. I assure you, it brings great pleasure to Father's heart to provide what you need - it brings great pleasure to Father's heart to give you - not only food and clothing - but His kingdom. Do not fear - you are worth a kingdom to Father. He loves you - fear not little flock.'
I heard Graham Cooke once say, 'God has us in a place of walking off our map. He has us in uncharted land'. Or words to that effect.
Peter was given a vision - from the Lord, no less [I say that because it cut right across what a good Jewish boy knew to be the will of God - this could not possibly be God] - of all sorts of off-limits-for-food creatures. He was told to kill and eat. Peter, bless his little tradition and law bound heart, was brash enough to attempt to correct the Lord.
Talk about walking off the map if he obeyed! At that point, there was no map which would help Peter. His comfort zone was definitely being disturbed.
When the Spirit of God takes up residence in our heart, He purposes to lead us into all truth.
Aye, there's the rub. Those words sound fairly innocuous, even something to be desired. After all, don't most of us love new understandings, new teachings?
Heads up - when He comes in, our comfort zones are all open for discussion!
His very presence challenges us. He challenges our thoughts, our actions, our words, our beliefs, traditions and practices. He challenges our thinking - our minds - and calls us to re-think.
Forget the old familiar map - it is of no use.
One can almost hear the gears clanking and grinding in Peter as he thought about what he had seen and heard. Scripture tells us he was perplexed. I bet he was!
Truth - Himself - can't help but challenge each and every 'thing' which is not Him. From the beginning - in the garden - once we humans chose to go our way and separate ourselves from God, our Father - we had to 'create' a god to take His place. We hid ourselves, our eyes became blind and we painted a face on Him of our own making.
Everything else followed suit. We made up a map and have been walking on it ever since.
That is, till He - in all His veracity - shows up.
Today - while it is still called today - if we will - hear His voice - let us not harden our hearts and insist that He walk on our maps.
There is a vision - a seeing and knowing Him - which cuts right across our everything. I pray we might be even as Peter - perplexed at first - but considering and listening and receiving Him as He is - not as we have painted Him to be.
Today - now - toss the map.
[This goes along so beautifully with “the people of The Breath”. Shared here with her permission.]
“I had a neat experience at Wal-Mart the other day...
“As I stood waiting to purchase my cart full of items, my attention was drawn to a young man a few places ahead of me. He was with his wife who was moving their items from their cart to the counter, and he was holding their daughter who was about a year old. His back was to me, and at first I thought the baby was sleeping because she was flat on her back; all I could see of her were her arms and legs which were extended and draped completely limp. As the man turned slightly, I was able to see that the baby girl was not only wide awake but completely enraptured with her father. He held her lovingly yet firmly in the palms of his hands, one supporting her shoulders, neck and head and the other under her bottom. They looked at each other with such complete adoration that I found myself being drawn in, mesmerized by what I was seeing.
“With the baby in this position the father began gliding her up and down and from side to side with swift, sweeping motions. As he did this, the pair was aware of nothing but each other. Without speaking a word, his eyes, which never left hers, conveyed to her the love that was in his heart; she responded to him with squeals of utter delight. The amazing thing was that no matter how fast he swooped her up or let her drop, her body remained limp. There was no sign of fear and absolutely no tensing of her muscles. She had an incredible trust in her father and knew that he had no intentions of harming or dropping her. This went on for a few moments before the baby tired of it and wanted to be held upright.
As my eyes misted over, I felt so blessed to have witnessed this exchange. It was as though Father was showing me the care he has for his children and the trust he wants us to have in him. I imagined he and I looking at each other that way, not being able to take our eyes off each other. Although the ride may be rough sometimes, I need never lose trust in his care or provision because he is firmly holding me in the palms of his hands.”
from my dear sister in Him - Carrie Bellue - email@example.com
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Jesus said, ‘… out of your innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’ Ezekiel talks about this very living water and that wherever this water flows, there will be healing - no matter how low the lowest place nor how stagnant and dead.
This hope - this promise - this incredible life - this healing and restoration - now ours. All because of the birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus! Forgive me, but I cannot just consider the one aspect of Easter - I must consider the Incarnation in it’s entirety. The Incarnation in His entirety.
The love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us.
Listen to this from our dear brother who is and has been seeing Him as He is for many years now - Andrew Murray [the italics are his]:
“I think some of us are beginning to see what has been our great mistake. We have thought and spoken great things of what Christ did on the Cross, and does on the Throne, as Covenant Surety. And we have stopped there. But we have not expected Him to do great things in our hearts. And yet it is there, in our heart, that the consummation takes place of the work on the Cross and the Throne; in the heart the New Covenant has its full triumph; the Surety is to be known not by what the mind can think of Him in heaven, but by what he does to make Himself known in the heart. There is the place where His love triumphs and is enthroned. Let us with the heart believe and receive Him as the Covenant Surety. Let us, with every desire we entertain in connection with it, with every duty it calls us to, with every promise it holds out, look to Jesus, under God's oath the Surety of the Covenant. Let us believe that by the Holy Spirit the heart is His home and His throne. Let us, if we have not done it yet, in a definite act of faith, throw ourselves utterly on Him, for the whole of the New Covenant life and walk. No surety was ever so faithful to his undertaking as Jesus will be to His on our behalf, in our hearts.”
He has deposited His love - His agape - into our hearts. The very living, healing, transforming water of His love into our hearts. In the Old Testament, we are told our hearts are deceitful and wicked. Yes, they were - before Jesus entered in - but now ,we - because of the Incarnation - have been given the power and right to become His children - with new hearts.
Many of us have heard over the years that we have to get what is in our heads down into our hearts.
Perhaps we have it backwards.
Perhaps we need the power of - the living water of - the love of God to get from our hearts into our heads. We need the love of God to flow up from and out of our new hearts in order that our twisted, mal-informed thinking and knowing - call it our stinkin' thinkin' - might be overwhelmed and healed and transformed.
'... be changed - be transfigured - be transformed by the renovation, restoration and complete changing of your minds... that you may know Him.' [ my very loose version of Romans 12.2]
His love is copiously dispersed in our hearts because of Easter - because of the Incarnation. All because of Him - because He loves us - because of all He did and does that we might be included within His fellowship with Father in the power of the Holy Spirit.
It does not get any better than this!
Saturday, April 3, 2010
Found this to be incredibly uplifting - it has opened up the knowing of Him and Who He is even more.
Except for a small handful of exceptions in the New Testament, the words translated "grace" and "joy" are one and the same and/or from the same root word.
Wow! Take John 1.16 for instance:
"And of His fullness have all we received, and grace for grace."
grace - charis -
a) that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness: grace of speech
2) good will, loving-kindness, favour
a) of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues
Think of it - we have received that which affords joy, etc, from Him - in Him - in fullness.
John 15.11b "... that My joy might remain in you, and your joy might be full."
"joy" - chara - from the same root word as charis - "grace".
It reminds me that HE is JOY - HE is Delight, Sweetness, Charm, Loveliness, Loving-Kindness - and so on and so on.
He is not angry, mad, keeping an account of our failings, emotionally cold and distant - making a list and checking it twice.
He rejoices over us with gladness and rejoices over us with singing.
Yes, Lord - rejoice on!
[from October of 2005 - continues to be fresh in my heart]
It seems sometimes He takes the most lowly things to speak and underscore the most profound things to me.
Two or three weeks ago, while walking my dog in the back yard for her constitutional, I began to become aware of the soft whisper of the Holy Spirit in my heart - and I realized that the Heart-Whisperer had been seeking my attention for some time. It seemed He was inviting me to consider the lowly dandelion. In fact, it was somewhat like 'Kelly, have you considered the dandelion?'
To make a long story not quite so long, I have been considering the dandelion - and while there are many 'things' to be seen in it, there is one that has been impressed continually to my heart: "The Wind blows where it wishes... " (Jn 3.8) and just as the seed of the dandelion is completely yielded to the wind which separates it from the rest of the plant and takes it where it will, we - as people of The Breath - are to be just as yielded to His Breath that He may separate us and take us where He wants. The dandelion seed cannot direct its flight and planting - and neither can we. It is completely according to the intention, purpose and delight of The Breath.
A secondary 'seeing' in the dandelion, is that it is basically unappreciated and unwanted by the world. Most do not want 'that weed' in their lawns - and will do whatever they can to eliminate it. That picture is pretty much self-explanatory.
The last 'seeing' is that the plant contains many vitamins, minerals and medicinal helps within it - it contains 'life' if you will. One place I read that in the Greek, the word means discord remedy. Also, self-explanatory.
Really cool when He opens our eyes to the heavenly realm through the lowly dandelion.
Looking at 'weeds' with new eyes
Friday, April 2, 2010
[written in '06 but the point of it is still true]
or --- this could be called "lessons I am learning from my dog" - take your pick on title for this little snippet of things I'm 'seeing' in my walk with Him. It's not the first seeing of it, but more clarity is being brought as I walk with my dog and as I walk with Him.
We have a Shih Tzu - she is three years old - never met a stranger - loves being loved on - very curious about everything. In many, many ways a perfectly delightful puppy. However, she is a excellent picture example of walking in the flesh! She also is a holly terror to walk with on a leash!
Always at the end of the leash - always straining to 'get there', and yet, when she 'gets there', she strains to get to the next 'there'. She is never satisfied to 'be', she never just wants to take a calm stroll with her master. There is absolutely no way we could or would ever take her out without her halter with leash attached - we couldn't trust her to stay tucked in beside us - letting us be with her and provide for her what she needs and/or wants for that moment.
[an acquaintance] wrote earlier this week about the 'what-ifs' of tomorrow and I thought of the penchant of so many of us to try to charge into the tomorrows - straining on the leash of the moment and completely missing the todays of His 'now' presence.
I've always been in a hurry to 'get there'. I don't know if this goes hand in hand with the tendency to borrow trouble from tomorrow, but for me it has. I think what I am hearing and seeing from Father is that straining into tomorrow before it becomes today is like going 'there' by myself - and having to fend for myself in that tomorrow - which brings fretting, worry and no contentment or peace along with other undesirable 'things'. (Now, I know that He has gone before me and has made a way for me, but that is not what I'm talking about here.)
I am learning to take no thought for tomorrow nor be anxious for anything - I am learning to stop straining on the leash in order to 'get there' - and instead I am learning to be content in whatever state I am. I am learning what it really means and looks like and feels like to stay tucked into His side under His wing and there find fellowship with Him and reap of His provision for that moment. In this place of not straining and being at His side, Peace and Trust Himself has the freedom to live in and through me.
It is an ugly sight when I walk the dog - for a twelve pound mass, she has amazing pull as she dashes about at the end of her leash! For comparison, there has been another dog-example brought before me in the last several months. She is a beautiful, sleek, powerfully built black Great Dane. She is grace in motion - peaceful, dignified and regal. She walks beside her master on a leash - but the leash is loose in her master's hand - she never strains against it. She is instead content to 'be' with her master and listen to the whispers of his voice.
Man's best friend - and great examples for our walk with Him if we will have eyes to see.
Just a take on 2 Cor 3.17 - "... where the Spirit of the Lord (is), there (is) liberty."
Where He by His Spirit is free to work in me - I am free to apprehend Him - I am free to see and know Him. I am free from all the burden of blindness and bondage which has kept me from knowing Him. I have laid aside all that which wearies and weighs me down that I may learn Him - as He is. I am free from all the old ways - be they the ways of the society of this world, of family and friends, of religious obligations. I am no longer a slave - but free to be and to become who and what He desires.
He is also free. Not that He is ever bound - but, when I attempt to put Him in a box - when I insist He conform Himself to my standards and boundaries - He in a sense is not free. Not free as pertains to me and my knowing Him. Not free to be Who He is in me and with me and for me.
Where His Spirit is - I have - and am being - set free to know Him. Where that is happening, He is set free to reveal Himself to me.
Therein lies the "... being transfigured into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord."
Just some simple 'learnings' in my journey ---
Not long ago, my husband got a new pair of work shoes. He is on his feet all day - very actively so. He had tried several pairs and types of shoes, but none really were suited for his feet and his job. Then, ahhhhh!!! (big sigh of relief), the new shoes came and with them a smile on his face. He could wear them and work in them and his feet never complained!
It struck me through the simple action of him acquiring the proper foot ware, what a difference our 'shoes' makes in our journey with Him. It does me no good to have a wonderful 'teaching' if it doesn't take 'walking' in. It does me no good to have all the "i's" dotted and all the "t's" crossed, if it doesn't 'work' for me.
I'm not talking about a method for 'doing my journey', I'm talking about learning to walk in the Spirit - and that takes Him boiling down all the high sounding spiritual teachings, theories, doctrines, principles, etc, into a workable form of Life for my walk with Him. Will it be 'shoe-leather' in The Way for me? Will it bear my weight, so to speak? Will it support me and prove to be Truth and Life for me? Will it help me along the path?
I tend to be a practical sort - sometimes - and when He enlightens the eyes of my understanding, when He gives me new revealings of Jesus, it's not just to add to my treasure chest of 'right teachings', but instead, It is Him - Jesus - and in that new seeing of Him, there is an apprehending of Him - a partaking of His divine nature - that puts shoes on my feet, and I can 'walk' in it/Him in my dailies - it/He becomes very practical in my trek.
He came to give us life and that abundantly - He came to give us Himself, and Himself in abundance. Life isn't life unless it is living. He said that in this world we would have troubles and tribulations - but to be encouraged, because He has overcome this world. For a long time I thought, 'big deal' but how does that help me. [a little confession here] But then, as He has begun to cause me to 'see' Him and in the seeing, perceive and know Him [not talking head knowledge here], He has also shared a secret with me, that Him - in me - my hope. The more He is revealed to and in me, the more I experience the reality of His abundance and His overcoming, the more I experience Him - because, in a manner or speaking, His is the 'shoe upon my foot'. Meet and right for the day.
In Him I live and move and have my being. And that means each and every time I take a step, I've got God's brand of shoes for my feet.
Do you remember when you were a small thing, packed into the family car, heading for wonderful and unknown places? The familiar, "are we there yet?" cry seemed to continually leap out of your mouth. The important aspect of the trip - for you - was what waited at the end.
Forget the scenery passing by your window - if you were the first to 'call' window seat, that is - it was all about 'getting there'. Forget the neat stopping places along the way. Forget the food breaks and the potty breaks. Let's just get there!
Fast forward several years. You are now a parent - packed into the family car - and your little ones are likewise fussing and fretting and questioning.
Do you suppose we - maybe? - say and do the same thing in our journey to wonderful, unknown places in His kingdom?
"Are we there yet, Lord?"
Forget the scenery - let's just get on with it and get there. Impatient with the journey, we just want to be 'there' - that's the important thing - that's what counts.
Or is it? Could it be that what counts, equally, is the here - and now? This moment? This hour? This today?
Methinks, learning how to live - in Him - in this moment - is all important.
When it comes down to it - the 'now' - the fleshing out of His kingdom in us - now - matters. To Him - and to us.
Today - if you will - hear His voice.