Friday, November 28, 2008
Hi everyone, I just wanted to tell you that my golden retriever died today.
We will all miss her. I remember before we bought her, we talked about whether we should get another dog for a while because our previous dog had died quite few years before that. Eventually we called & found a place nearby where there were golden retriever puppies for sale.
So off we all went to look at all the pups. When I first saw the Mom, she was so proper and beautiful. She was just sitting there all astute and regal looking. Why I actually chose Jewel was because of the demeanour of the mom. I thought wow I would like a pup like that!
The father of the brood was this handsome rugged beauty named Simba. He was just lovely too. He bounded across the yard in search of a long stick that he could quickly bring and deposit at our feet for a game of toss and fetch. He captured our hearts as well. He followed us everywhere we went around the property and eventually deposited himself with a huge thump at our feet while we talked to the owners. That wasn't the first thump we heard. There were several other 'thumps' as his huge tail swept across the floor and thumped up and down in joy to be right there amongst us.
Looking at the brood there were only two females remaining and we quickly decided on one (Jewel). She was only a few weeks old but she would be all ours by the time she was eight weeks old.
How long those eight weeks were! We kept watching the calendar in delight watching the days and weeks slowly pass by. WE kept laughing at the stories of Simba and how his tail was so big and noisy with all those thumps. We imagined Jewel being like her mom with a little bit of her dad thrown in & the anticipation was oh so great. When the day arrived to pick her up off the kids went with Ian to retrieve her, taking with them an old hockey coat of Ian's (to wrap her in) as well as a squeaky toy of some sort (I think it was a stuffed animal actually to carry the scent of the mom with Jewel.) Before long they had returned to the house with this beautiful pup all wrapped up in this great big coat with great big smiles on there faces, ear to ear. Every moment was spent loving her.
The terrors of having a pup as well as delights unfolded within the next several weeks. Delights such as dressing her up as a ballerina even. Back and forth to the adjacent field trying to train her (she quickly caught on). Before long we had purchased many items. I remember how she used to cry at night, the only way she would stop was to curl up on top of my husband's feet.
She turned into a real princess just like her mother. She had the same regal demeanour all the time and soon became properly behaved. As the years went by she began to grey a bit. One of the highlights of owning her was when our neighbors moved in and much to our delight they had a beautiful breeding stud named FALCO. He was also handsome and very big, a white retriever. It was always in our mind to 'introduce' him to Jewel because of course we wanted Jewel to have pups. Jewel was so regal and Falco was such a stud LOL. So finally the topic came up casually and much to our delight our neighbors were equally excited at the prospect of Jewel & Falco 'meeting' and having some babies.
Well it took a few visits before things happened, but within weeks we have on our hands seven golden retriever puppies. They were as you can imagine more delightful than any kid could hope for (or parents). Jewel decided to have the puppies very quickly and without any sort of problems. She was the mom we all knew she would be. She nursed them all fine with one pup we named Fatty who completely seemed to grow the quickest! Hours and hours were spent sitting in lawn chairs gazing at the pup's, watching them nurse, then fat bellies so hard to carry on such short legs, almost touching the ground, bums swaying back and forth! Visitors, family, everyone came to contribute to the oohing and awwing of watching them in tug or wars and rip roaring fights amongst the siblings. (Who would win? ) It was more fun than kid's hearts could hold back then.
As they grew, Jewel grew tired of the constant nursing and began to wean them, but they would follow her in circles as she denied them her milk. In came the bags of puppy chow as we mushed it all up and encouraged them to go for the other food. We eventually sold all the pups with Fatty hanging around the longest due to his size and parting with him was hard and tears were shed but the new owner promised we could visit, and sent pictures and stories of what a great family pet her turned out to be.
We kept one pup, named Diamond, who bounced around her Mom and kept her Mom on her toes and eventually often annoyed with her behaviour. So now Jewel is gone and we have all these great memories as a family of loving her and being so excited for having her, seeing her pups born. We will all miss her so much. It's especially hard for my daughter in university in Hamilton as she never got to really say goodbye to Jewel.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
43 ¶ The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me.
44 Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.
45 Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.
46 And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.
47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!
48 Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.
49 Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.
50 Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these.
51 And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.
Jesus saw Nathanel's heart. Even though he was skeptical, Jesus saw his heart, Jesus saw that there was no pretense, hypocrisy in this man's heart and that he sincerely wanted Truth. And even though there was skepticism, Phillip just said to him basically, "Come and see for yourself!" Notice he did not try to convince Nathanael, but instead simply invited him to come to know Jesus for himself.
It has been my experience that people, all people, want to know that God is real. We certainly cannot convince them of this Truth, though religion has certainly given it a good go over the years. But there is no use trying to convince anyone that God is alive and on the throne. Their heart has to be open. Then God can convince, just as He convinced us, and when God does the convincing, all skepticism evaporates as we truly see Him as King of Kings, Lord of Lords. For who He is.
The fig tree symbolized the place of rest, or a place of meditating where God's spirit was working, a place where Nathanel's heart had became opened to the Truth & only Jesus knew this (when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee). **Notice it wasn't in the temple as was the custom of the religion of the day. It seems it was in his own private place that the work of God was opening up his heart. God is so acquainted with us, he knows us intimately.
As soon as Nathanael turned toward Jesus with this heart, how quickly & easily he was able to overcome his skepticism. It seemed to literally evaporate! He was seeking the real deal, the real thing. He was seeking a type of a genuine relationship with the Lord. Jesus knew that ! It was a great reward, for Jesus immediately spoke to him.
Our relationship with the Lord is one that must touch our heart constantly and deeply. It's transforming within, His Spirit. We are always thinking about and pondering deep things in our heart - the more we know and continue in this direction, the more our heart becomes anchored in Christ. It is all about the heart and less about the self. We must be willing to sweep away all that denies us of the type of relationship where His greatness is demonstrated; deny ourselves of the temptation instead to lift self up. May He become all in all in us and through us.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
" I love the LORD, because he hath heard my voice [and] my supplications. Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon [him] as long as I live. "
(Psalm 116 :1,2)
When we are in a "difficult" place of sorts, it's good to know and be assured that God has heard the "voice of our supplications". We can wait on the Lord. Wait and also know that even though so many of us get into difficult seasons and trials come with the Lord, we know we have hope - hope because He hears our voice, hope because He hears our cries.
We don't have to worry - for God is listening, He will not leave us nor forsake us because we have done some wrong things, he doesn't require perfection in us only an honest heart. As we deal openly with the Lord of the issues in our heart, we can be persuaded like Paul who said God would keep that which was committed unto Him.
When we know that we have given Him all,
When we know that we have given Him our life,
When we know that we have given Him our heart,
When we know that we have given Him our trials,
When we know that we have given Him our families,
When we know that we have given Him our friends,
When we know that we have given Him our mistakes,
When we know that we have given Him our regrets,
When we know that we have given Him our future,
God is on the throne of our lives !
The wounds that we experience in our union with Christ are simply reminders that we are His and we belong to Him. They help our faith to deepen and remind us of the journey we are on .. Paul said he bore on his body the marks of the Lord Jesus Christ. Out of all these places, we drink, and drink, and drink, of the well of salvation in us. This is how we really make a difference, God is getting us through and giving us the courage we need to experience Him in deeper and deeper ways.
God is the only one who can help us to understand why we go through what we go through. He's really the only one who can explain to us the meaning of all things, and what it is that He is after in us. To be Christlike, to know without a doubt God will bring us through everything, through every false accusation. He'll bring us through all, and then we will truly know that God has been with us, and we have walked with Him on an incredible journey.
So many people will challenge us by saying such things as:
"Has God really walked with you?"
"Has God really been there with you ?"
"Has God really heard you?"
We can say yes, yes, yes, He has! And more! Yes He has heard us, and yes He is merciful. His mercy in fact, has preserved me through all things and dealt even bountifully with me. We walk with Him, and as we do, we bear in us the very marks of that journey. God will not forsake us. In fact, there comes a confidence that will always say, I love the Lord because He has heard the voice of my supplications....
Monday, November 24, 2008
As I was cleaning out my old email, I came across these insightful words, which were posted on Andrew's Storm's Website a while ago. They are the words of a fellow journeyman.
SHOULD I ONLY TAKE THE SWEET FROM THE HAND OF GOD AND NOT THE BITTER?
THE MESSAGE WE CARRY IN AND THROUGH OUR LIVES IS A MESSAGE OF OVER COMING.
THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS WITHIN YOU RIGHTEOUSNESS - PEACE - AND JOY
THIS IS FORGED INTO OUR BEING AS WE LET THE SUFFERING, TRIALS OF LIFE DO THEIR PERFECT WORK
IT IS BY TRIBULATION THAT PATIENCE DOES ITS WORK TO PRODUCE FRUIT.
BUT LET IT DO ITS PERFECT WORK , THERE IS A DEPTH IN GOD WHO ALONE KNOWS THIS PROCESS FOR EACH OF US
IN THAT DAY WHEN THE LORD REVEALS US AS JEWELS WE WILL SEE THE MYSTERY OF SUFFERING IN ALL ITS WONDER.
JESUS FOR THE JOY SET BEFORE HIM, ENDURED THE GREATEST OF SUFFERING THE WORLD WILL EVER KNOW, YET HE ALLOWS US TO BE PARTAKERS OF THIS SUFFERING.
EACH ONE OF US ARE BEING MADE INTO HIS LIKENESS IF WE ARE WILLING TO SUBMIT TO HIS LOVE AND WILL.
EACH A BEAUTIFUL JEWEL FORGED IN THE EARTH AND PLACED IN THE TEMPLE MADE WITH OUT HANDS.
THE CHURCH IS THE LIGHT OF TRUTH = IF WE CAN'T ACCEPT THE CROSS IN OUR LIVES, THEN WHERE LIES THE HOPE FOR THE WORLD?
REMEMBER THE NEW JERUSALEM , THE CITY OF GOD DESCENDING FROM HEAVEN IS MADE UP OF SUCH LIVING STONES, AND THE GATE OF THAT CITY ( IT'S ENTRANCE) IS SOLID PEARL.
A PEARL IS SYMBOLIC OF SUFFERING-- SO LET US WITH JOY LOOK AHEAD OF SUFFERING TO THE PRIZE OF THE HIGH CALLING IN CHRIST JESUS AND WALK JOYOUSLY THROUGH THOSE GATES.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
In retrospect, I noticed that there is a continual preoccupation within the camp of religion with the process. It seems everything according to religion is defined by the 'process' necessary to get where ever one needs to go. Whether it's to get wealthy, get healthy, successful, happy, or even figure out what God's will is, it seems there is a formula that is available that one can access that will guarantee the result one is seeking. Unfortunately this bypasses the central Truth that Christ lives in us, that He is with us, caring deeply at every level & step along the way, from simply where we are - to where He wants to take us.
I believe and am thankful that God in Christ wanted to interrupt this nonsense in my own life because He simply wanted me to be completely fulfilled in Christ alone & that His Son would reign in the deepest part of my heart. That I would just rely on Him. To take away the preoccupation with all the necessary do's, don'ts process so that I can truly relax and look at Christ.
This of course does not happen in one day, or one moment, but it is a constant inclination of the heart towards Him that He brings slowly, repeatedly, day upon day.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Jesus calls you & I friends! Jesus pouring all the riches of Himself into His friends!! Wow, all the riches of what the Father had shown Him and given Him, are now given unto His friends.
What riches did Christ have? What were some of those riches?
Think about Christ's relationship with the Father. The depth. The love. The intimacy. The sharing. The communication. He brings us into that. Think about the very act of Christ pouring the riches of His own relationship with His Father, now out to His friends, to you , to I .
I have had close rich relationships with others. I know how careful I am in bringing a friend into that. To share that, to be a part of that. Or, on the other hand, to be invited into that with others. Someone who will share the love, share the closeness, share the uniqueness & joy of that friendship.
Unfortunately for us all, we can easily forget that Christ has called us friends & brought us into this intimate place with He and the Father. Especially when circumstances and situations trouble and arise, and I allow them to define me. I fret & fail to draw out of the friendship forged within me of Christ & my union with he and the Father. I am reminded this morning that there is continual harmony with Christ, He is my foundation as He is yours. He has built us, built our foundation, which is sure! An intimate foundation of shared love of the pure joy of having a relationship with Him, sustaining us & guiding us through our situations. Christ has poured into you & I, His friends, the very foundation for a continuous friendship through the operation of the grace of God at all times. May doubt quickly evaporate as we grab hold of this truth, as His riches operate and become evident through all things, to God be the glory for what He has done through His Son!
"May His love pour out of us, may we all have a deeper awareness of the greatness Lord in that you have called us friends, in that you have given us the riches of the friendship which you and the Father shared. May we be transformed by this. Renewing our mind against the constant battle of vanity self centredness & purposeless living, I pray in Jesus name. amen
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
What a great heart He has given His people, the body of Christ. It's His heart. Paul had His heart & he understood that it was Christ's heart beating inside of him, and to Paul that was everything. He would not ever consider carelessly hurting a sister or brother in Christ because He had Christ's heart. I have seen people, and I, myself, have carelessly wounded others without fully realizing and taking into consideration, that not only is Christ in me, but Christ is also living in them. Should we/ I offend & wound the very heart of God in others so carelessly?
I think along those lines, church isn't something we figure out, it's a heart. I mean, it's simple. It's His heart. If you have His heart, fully & completely, we are joined to Him. And His great Heart is joining us to others. We can see the 'church' a product of His heart joining us to others.
We are one of another not because of religious persuasions, denominational perspectives but simply because of His heart.
have a great day !
Monday, November 17, 2008
These are heart felt, sincere comments from people out there in cyberspace who have had time to reflect on some of the attitudes prevalent in the camp of Christianity. People who have really taken the time to truly consider exactly and honestly what their actions and attitudes might be saying to others. Especially those who don't quite think the same way as they do, believe the same way as they do, or the exact same doctrines as they do.
It really is worthwhile to read through the comments, they are helpful in considering our own actions and attitudes, that might need some fine tuning here and there (me).
I think the process of dealing with the self-righteous nature within us all is definitely an ongoing one; something we, who truly want to partake of His grace, and beyond that, bountifully extend that to others, should be so careful to deal with.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
He can touch every kind of situation with Christ. Stop striving and just rest & receive from Christ. He is the supply. Hasn't He been my supply ? (Yes, He has) Father is deeply committed to us all. He will use 'all things' to the end that Christ is formed within. It's amazing that God has given us such abundant life (R&R) through Jesus Christ!
What I hear Father saying to me over and over is to simply "come" to Him. He has called me & chosen me, and He is the one who is working within the character of His Son. I cannot produce this, only Christ can. Knock knock on my thick head. : ) why do I always think I can? I can find a million things that beset my day and that need my attention, and even though I know that my heart is set on Him, I find myself still striving. I need to have some R & R, and simply trust He is working in me - what He wants worked out of me.
Come unto me, all [ye] that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matt 11:28
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
If you were going to write or create a recipe for the ingredients of 'a church' or for 'the church' what would you include as the ingredients necessary to do so & why? What would they be? (Or to word it differently, what do you feel would be some of the ingredients present or NOT present in that gathering). Trying to make this simple : 0 )
For myself I think a freedom in sharing and love of the Word,
openness amongst all,
honesty and genuine love & interest in one another,
love, love of Truth,
lots of hope & encouragement for one another,
loving generous leadership,
very giving hearts to all - including those in any need or difficulty,
community in the sense of sharing life and giving life to each other
sensitivity to one another's pain & the need to work through and process that as a personal thing
I think I could go on and on here : ) I guess I have just had lotzz of time to think about it.
I would like to see His love as the main goal, the expression of that & the work of His love constantly and gently moving all in the direction of yielding more to the Father (the Father's will expressed as a group). And that desire ( for His will ) would be expressed in our lives as a result of His love restoring our hearts and gaining a deepening expression. But not something we work to make happen, or 'set out to do'. Instead the exchange taking place because His love has captured us, His love is doing it. Father's love settling within and dispelling our fears.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Notice I said 'vital'. The word vital can mean two things: on the one hand it can pertain to life, but on the other hand it can pertain to death. As in vital processes vs. vital wounds. Keeping that in mind, please rest assured that I am not saying that there is no value in doctrine or teaching, of course there is, but it seems to me that there is an error in saying that it is completely vital. (The only guarantee in using this method is that you will primarily create self righteous people who are very religious (and proud) which would therefore be classified not as a vital process but a vital wound. )
The only vital part of our union with Him is Christ Himself - He is the one who is initiating our union with Him, and bringing us into union with the Father. It's Christ in us who is doing all. He is bringing, He is keeping, He is doing all within all. It's grace that brings us, grace that maintains & grace that keeps us in Him. He alone is vital, and the vital part of the Union - only Christ can unite us and produce Himself in us.
I have always felt that religion seemed to downplay the oneness & perfectness of our union with Him (the vital part). If we really believe it is all Him, then He alone is the vital supply. If we are joined to His very life, then He is vital. If he is living and breathing in us, then He is vital. If He is the Truth, then He is vital. I think that Paul understood this because it seems to me he did not spend his time investigating the errors of his previous religious experience(s) ie the vital wound, but rather understood that His purpose now was to manifest and share the life of Christ. (VITAL process) The process is not so much as to unravel the errors of the environment (investigate the vital wound) as it is to investigate Christ, the only vital portion necessary to sustain and maintain life giving environment.
I am, as many of you my friends in blog land are, witnesses to this reality - that Christ, the union with Him that He has created and is living in us and between us - is giving us life and constantly expressing Himself in a way that illuminates our being, showing one another that Christ lives and breathes & shares life with us. Christ in us, He testifies of Himself and declares that He is sufficient in us ! He is keeping us as we forsake the 'vital wound', proof He alone is Vital, sufficient and formed in us.
Friday, November 7, 2008
The part of us that is Christ, His Spirit in us, desires once began, to continue forming Christ within, shaping us into a purer and stronger reflection of Him day by day. I am coming to the conclusion that this process, the ongoing formation of Christ, is what is actually side-tracked and this is accomplished primarily by giving ourselves over to becoming religious minded. This process seems gradual as it works in us, so gradual in fact that we don't really see it working. We are blinded to it because of the fact that so many absorb this thinking. We see it all around us.
Often we will navigate out of the confines of our religion & denomination in search of Christ elsewhere in others. Religion gradually is evident in our endeavours, behaviours, thinking, etc. so that before long, we have embraced the idea of being 'religious & self righteous' over being formed into Christ, into His likeness deep within. The purpose of religion therefore IMHO is to fatally interrupt and halt the formation process of Christ in us.
He has chosen us as vessels that will truly contain and engage in this ongoing process with Him. He accomplishes this in us as we offer ourselves to Him, yield and receive grace within us for the purpose ONLY, to form Christ and manifest Him.
Buildings, attendance, programs, theology degrees, seminars, ministry positions, leadership endeavours, all this cannot produce Christ. Only Christ can form Christ within.
In fact as many of us have learned in hindsight, they can rail road this process by keeping us very preoccupied and busy; and contrary to Christ. We are alive through Christ, nothing else. Years of relying on teaching, preaching, praise group meetings, group study, educational methods and practises that would thereby assure or guarantee of spiritual growth have only left us bewildered and disappointed.
Perhaps it is true to say in hindsight that spiritual growth does occur within these contexts. BUT the question to be asked is what kind of spiritual growth ? Religious spiritual growth, or the formation of Christ within ? Is Christ being formed?
Thursday, November 6, 2008
What I have also found as I have progressed is a deepening desire to know and appreciate the lovely body of Christ ! I want so much to love Him and love His people the way He does; I want that always to be growing in me! I believe I see the beauty of His reflection in others in ways I never would have, had I stayed in that mindset ! He is so beautiful in His people! I value & appreciate His presence in others. In the institution, beauty is often valued instead concerning the system, how well it is working and performing etc.
I have been so delighted to find members of the body of Christ all over the place. It's like a treasure hunt, and as you persevere, you soon, with delight, find the beauty of that treasure suddenly here and there. You can't help but be in total absolute awe of the beauty of Christ in others when that happens Often unexpectedly! Lovely, He is. Lovely especially in others who have courageously ventured out of the safety, comfort and confines of religion, and without restraint and unreservedly, knowing they have begun to open up their heart and just completely give themselves to Christ. That is the beauty, really. The beauty is in the act within the heart, of just yielding & giving oneself so completely to Christ, on such a deep level, one that goes beyond religion, to just surrendering all to Him, this is truly breath-taking.
So when we as brothers and sisters in Christ find each other out there - somewhere on this journey, a journey of the heart - and suddenly behold that beauty of Christ, deep within and beating in another's heart, we can't help but be deeply moved and grateful at that discovery. Our Spirit's groan and leap within in such true joy. We see with humility and tears that being a part of His Body is a deep privilege, to share within the context of another's love and devotion to Christ.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
(Th purpose and work of Grace is to establish our heart )
"He Establishes Our Heart"
By Arthur J Licursi
1 Thes. 3:13 To the end he may stablish (Greek, sterizo, turned resolutely) your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.
The most changeable thing about us is our heart - which is principally our soul, with our mind saying "I think...thus and such, our emotions saying "I feel..." and our will, saying "I want...". It’s all about us. According to our natural birth our heart is changeable but always bent toward our self. Instead of having an established heart, all we Christians begin with having a changeable, a movable heart; moved by self-interested thoughts, emotions, and desires.
We need our heart to become solidly established, one that is always bent toward God, not a heart that is changeable and fleeting.
Our heart may be changeable not only in relation to other people, but even in our relationship with the Lord. Yet, God is the faithful and unchanging One; He never changes. His love and grace are always bent toward us. We are the ones who are changeable; we are changeable in our heart. For this reason, Paul was concerned that the hearts of the new believers at Thessalonica would be set, built up, and established by the Lord.
Although we need our heart to be established, we are not able to do this ourselves. Only the Lord can establish our heart. Therefore, we need Him to cause our heart to be solidly established and built up. We receive the mercy and grace from the Lord as He orders the happenings, circumstances and situations of our lives, so that we may be brought to yield to Him… to give Him the permission to establish our heart. Most of us have prayed at one time or another, “Lord, I want to give you my life; make me a holy person.” Upon hearing such a prayer He is working on our behalf to fulfill that God-given desire. Recognizing our free will; He awaited our permission before He works within us to bend our will and do the establishing. When our heart has been established, resolutely turned to Him, it is then changed; it is bent toward being blameless before God.
As always, even this “establishing” is the work of God's grace in our lives. Philip. 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. 1 Thes. 5:24 Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. And of this we may be confident. Philip. 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
My eyes have grown weary with watching,
And My heart heavy with longing for you.
For I have said, “Rest in Me, “ but you have striven.
I have said, “Stand still,” but you have continued to run.
I have called, but you have been listening to human voices.
Turn to Me.
You do not need to do more. For you will find your quest ended.
Then you will see how futile has been all the struggle.
Like the sinner who misses the gift of saving grace
Through absorption in good works,
So you, My child, have missed My sweet reality
In your frantic efforts to please Me.
As Martha in her desire to minister to Me forfeited
So you have done.
My child, I have need of nothing. I desire only your love.
Give me this first always, and whatsoever service may follow,
You will then do with light feet and a heart set free.
Abandon to Me your whole being,
And I will then work in and through you in such a way
That even as I am using you,
You shall simultaneously experience My energizing power,
So that in the very process of giving,
You will in very truth receive even beyond what you give,
And will in each instance emerge richer and stronger.
There is no loss when you serve Me thus.
For when your life is wholly lost in My life, there is never
Anything but gain.
As the prophet of old exclaimed,
“They go from strength to strength” (Ps. 84:7)
Only sin works death and loss. Righteousness works life and health.
So come first to Me.
Yes, come until the stream of your life
Is swallowed up in the ocean of My fullness.
Then you will go, and you will give,
And in your giving you will never know lack,
The Lord is your shepherd; you shall not want
(see Psalm 23:1).
For the Kingdom of God is righteousness and peace
And joy in the Holy Spirit. (see Rom 14:17)
Frances J. Roberts
One reason we ask is we so often see God through the screen or lens of our own longings and desires. Longings and desires that are so deeply set within-set within all, that it's only through Christ's power coming to us that we could ever hope to be free of them and see them for what they are. We easily prefer to view things and gravitate toward - not only people with the same 'views' that fit our lens- but certainly toward messages and truths out there that will 'fit our view', fulfill this view by appealing to our sense of entitlement in life and our particular forms of self righteousness that we have embraced. ie what we have predetermined should be. Self fulfillment I think it's called.
The good news is that God does come to us, He does offer us Truth and fellowship with Him that would include sufferings, include being rejected of others, include talking of the deep work of the Cross within our sufferings. Jesus offers us intimacy and unity with Him that only comes and is worked deeper as we commune with Him on this level of truth. Through our suffering. Through careful examination of all inner attitudes that would oppose growth in our character ultimately.
David said "This I know, God is for me."
And for you & I we can say "This I know, God is for me. "
Jesus prayed for us all that our faith would be continually strengthened. He prayed that we would have courage to travel onward and unravel every misconception and wrong notion within. And that as we courageously do so, that in turn, we would be a strength to someone else. It's not complicated or difficult to understand how the Body of Christ works.
May the Father give courage to be moving forward, NOT in living out a fulfillment of self, but instead a fulfillment of Christ. We cannot live and serve both. It's one or the other. Truly it's only Him that can satisfy and we long for Him on a level that is deeper than we know and He will take us there as we give up our own sense of entitlement, even to ourselves. "Be merciful unto me, O God be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge ... "
Lord, let our hearts not grow weary. Come to each of us Lord as we ask the question of why does there have to be suffering in our lives, or in another's life. And Father, as we not only ask the question, give us also courage to hear the answer. Help us Lord to experience you in the depth that comes as we cast aside our own version of preconceived notions and desires that would strive against total dependance, deepening trust and devotion to you. "
(Oz's thoughts on suffering --> here )
Sunday, November 2, 2008
The Gospel is the call to rest, to receive the free, undeserved gift that God has given us in Christ. There is nothing man can do to earn salvation from his past, or his present acceptance and walk with God. It is, from beginning to end, the grace of God, which can only be received by faith.
The body of truth that proclaims the revelation of God is called the Good News. News, by definition, is the announcement of something that has happened, not a list of things that must be done! All that must be done for a man to live in perfect union with God has been accomplished by Jesus in His death and resurrection.
The heart of the Christian life is to stand in wonder before His love and say, "Thank You!"
The Gospel is not a call to do something, but the announcement that all is done in the One Who stood for all.
The Christian life is not living in our own strength and resources, but from the infinite Christ Who lives within those who believe. All human strength will come to an end sooner or later, leaving each of us with charred, burned out life. But His strength knows no end!
We have one function in life: to be the manifestors of His life to the world. Only when we are living His life are we truly living our own! This is the reason for our creation.
We realize that He is not only the past tense Savior from sin, but also the One Who now lives within us in the present tense, our life and breath. Christianity is not a formula, but the Person of Jesus Himself.
Never think that Christianity is a matter of adjusting behavior, but rather, of letting Christ live through us in His strength and power.(Malcolm Smith)
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Oh that we would all have this kind of passion within us for Jesus. Even when others turn away for whatever reason, in pursuit often of ambition and self, or a Jesus that only tells people maybe what they want to hear, oh that within us instead our hearts would burn even stronger for Jesus at that moment, just as her's did. Even if it means to be misunderstood and to be alone as she was - the thought of denying our hearts the love that was ours , that it would be even stronger within.
She found Him didn't she. She found Him in a gardener no less. So many would have never recognized Him in the form He chose to appear in. Just an ordinary gardener, but she recognized Him, she recognized His voice as He called her name. Jesus knew the longing within her, the searching that would not be denied. Oh how she wanted Jesus and would find Him. He would not disappoint her.
We look for Him in the same way. WE see Him in forms which we never expect Him to appear but nevertheless we see Him and recognize Him because of the longing within. Others might miss Him but we shall be looking, we shall be searching, we shall be longing after Him. For we know we shall find Him we know we will hear His voice.