Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A Song in My Night

This is part of an email I sent one of my dearest friends today. She is going thru a rough spot - and so am I.

I went to do my daily read today and somehow wound up in Isaiah instead of Jeremiah - for two hours!

I am having a really really bad day, I'm not sleeping, having b/p problems and vicious headaches.. So I wound up "by mistake" @ Isaiah 51:4 " The LORD God has given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary" and that blessed me so - it is talking about "the Servant" which of course is Jesus. I looked up the words in Strong's, and "learned" refers to one who has been taught and discipled, and I immediately thought of "He learned obedience by the things that He suffered" - Jesus Himself went thru suffering to learn, just like us. I can't imagine having the evil one following our every step, second by second, to try and make us sin - yet Jesus went thru that, and more, to *learn* how to speak a word "in season" to the weary. The "in season" reminded me that, just like the seasons of the earth, there are seasons of the soul. Spring and Summer are full of learning, delight, and joy. He always gives us a season of mellow rest in the autumn, before the harsh darkness of winter that wearies the soul. And "weary" here means not just tired, but "faint, exhausted, fatigued." I so needed that today! So I asked Him, "did You have nasty headaches too?" And into my mind came a picture of the crown of thorns.

Talk about piercing my heart!

Then, verse after verse, He spoke a word in season to my heart. I want to share them with you, all from Isaiah:

42:8 "A bruised reed He shall not break, and a smoking flax (very dimly lit) He shall not quench" No matter how feeble our turning to Him, or how "dimly lit" our spirits are, our slightest turning to Him is encouraged, our weakest thought of Him is encouraged, and He will not turn away from me. I may get bruised, but I will not be broken; My spirit dim, but the tiniest spark will not be snuffed out.

43: 1b "Be not afraid, for I have redeemed you ( a finished work, pre-approved) I have called you *by name*." The King of the Universe personally knows my name, and calls me by it. Just think of that!!

43:4 "Because *you are precious in My eyes,* you are *honored* and I love you." Awesome!! God sees me and you as "precious" -no matter what we do or don't do, we are precious in His sight - AND *He* honors *us* AND He loves us!! Riches galore!!!

43:25 "It is I Who blot out your transgressions for My Own sake, and I will remember your sins no more." Did you catch that "for My Own sake"? It's not because we are worthy of it, or we become perfect and never sin again (yeah, sure) it's for *His Own* sake, nothing to do with us. He does it all!

45:22" I have caused your transgressions to vanish like a cloud, and your sins as a fog; return to Me, for I have redeemed you." My sins, your sins have vanished "like a fog"! Fog is featureless, dark and blurry - if the evil one keeps a list against us, even then God can't see it or read it because our sins are just clouds and fog. And His arms are always open to our return.

45:21b "There is no other God beside Me: I am a righteous and rescuing God; there is no God apart from Me." No matter how dark and difficult our way is, He is not only righteous, He is rescuing! He will come after us in our darkness, bringing light and love and rescue! An Awesome God, indeed!

53:6 "We, like sheep, have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has lain on Him the iniquity of us all." I have heard this verse a zillion times, yet today, it stood up and waved. Our sins, every bit of wayward iniquity in the deepest corner of our worthless hearts has been dug out and nailed to the cross. Period. (and lain spelled backwards is nail - just a thought.)

And thinking about sheep - John Muir was a shepherd for awhile, in Yosemite. He talked about how incredibly stupid sheep are. If they fall on their back when it rains, their unshaven fleece will keep them there, soaking up water, and they will open their mouths and drown. They will look for the teeniest patch of grass, and will focus only on it - stepping off a cliff they didn't "notice", walking into the jaws of a wolf, or stepping into a gopher hole, breaking a leg. They will sometimes wander away from the herd to give birth, making them easy prey. BUT they know their shepherds voice, however, if they keep ignoring his voice, he will break one of their legs, and carry them until it is healed, feeding it from his own hand, bringing it water, comforting and protecting. After that, they will never leave his side.

They are timid and afraid of every sound - they will only drink from quiet water - it has to be a still pond or they will die of thirst before they will drink. If a pack of wolves attacks the herd, they freeze with fear and make easy pickin's. If they stuck together and faced them down, they would chase them off.

Sometimes we do the same - isolate ourselves in our fear or weakness instead of seeking the Body for support - and facing the evil one with God's Word to make him flee from us.

And the shepherd becomes coated in lanolin from the sheep's wool. they wore canvas vests that would stand up on their own by the end of the season, pants and shoes slick as a whistle.

And smelly. Sheep and their shepherds smell the same - just like our sin, Jesus *became* smelly, hateful, horrific sin to ransom us. He "smelled" like us - no sweet savor, like God loves.
He really blessed my sox off today!

I hope this blessed you, too - God kept telling me to share what He gave me with you. I am praying He will bring His light into your darkness and rescue you wherever you are, calling you by name, blowing away the cloudy fog of sins that haunts you, and give you rest from your weariness.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Pharisee

I voted for His death-
This ragged Galilean
The illegitimate son of God knows who
Spouting claims of divinity
And using every coincidence of healing
As a means to embarrass US,
The Pharisees, the Guardians of Israel.
What was I to do?
I admit he had a form of wisdom -
But instead of using it to teach,
He cloaked it all in stories - 
Interminable stories! - 
That always seemed to point at us.
I was present at his death
And laughed with the rest.
You must admit, it *
*was* a bit funny!
:This vagabond leader of publicans and fishermen,
Actually claiming he was God -
It didn't even bear thinking about!
But when the darkness began,
It was an eerie sort of darkness,
The laughing stopped.
Even a whisper seemed too loud.
The soldiers lit fires
And they, too, startled at every sound.
Their raucous questions and arguing
Over prisoner's possessions
Faded into the expectant darkness.
The flickering flames cast shadows,
Long and tall and wavy -
Every crackle and spark made us jump,
Adding to the strange uneasiness we felt.

Into this darkness came his cry -
He actually asked his "father" to forgive us -
What audacity!
And yet
The words were neither sarcastic n
or condemning 
Not at all what you would expect.
But then,
He never was.

The ground began to tremble and shake
As if the earth itself
Felt the pain of the crosses
Plunged into its heart!

In an instant
All was still.
The light returned.
We blinked at each other and began to talk,
Forced at first, 
Absorbed by what we'd witnessed,

I stumbled home, exhausted -
It had been a long night
And an even longer day.
But now the Passover had come.
It was time 
To slay the sacrificial lamb.

Friday, May 9, 2014

He knew

Still meditating on Easter and this came:

He knew

He knew who they were
The ones
Who blindfolded Him
Then slapped Him, saying
"Prophesy, King of the Jews!
Who was it that struck You?"
He knew, alright.
He knew their name
Their father's name
Their spo
Their children
He knew about the penny they stole
And hid in their possessions
So no one would know
He knew about the friend they loved
and then abandoned
Because he talked funny
He knew about the time
They back handed their mother
And then their wife
And then their children
He knew.
He knows 
today, O self righteous one
Who laughs at faith
And uses His Name to cuss with
And ends his sentences with "I'll be damned."
And now, as then,
He intercedes for you
He prays you will be shown wrong
All this time
Through eons of nameless days
He's heard each bleat of fear
That bursts from your arrogant soul
In the darkness
When you ar
e all alone
And although He knows it all
He loves you still.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

God is good - all the time.

I've been having some interesting times lately.

Something has grown a lump on my collarbone that puts pressure on my windpipe.  My doc sent me for a CT ASAP.  And I spent  serious thought before God.

The "what ifs" started parading nonstop across my thoughts.  I am almost 66 years old, and, if you don't know, 65 is Mr. Obama's cut off for cancer support. (He and the members of congress are exempted from this law - and they have carefully not commented on the cut-off - but people have already been denied benefits and died because of it).  Anyway, I thought about it.  I know I'm tired - soul weary, sick of CFIDS, tired of it all etc etc Boo hoo poor me whine mope enough already.  I seriously don't know what I would choose.

I just read that line, and the Holy Spirit bopped me on the head.

Life is a gift.  A GIFT!  Do you hear me, soul?

Each heartbeat is a gift from God, to be lived, fully present.  Period.

We are more than conquerors!

Are we really? Do I live a conquering lifestyle?

I have two choices here.  Either God's Word is true, or it's not.

Charles Spurgeon once asked a parishioner how he was doing.
He said, "Not bad, under the circumstances."
And Spurgeon said, "What I want to know is this: what is a Christian doing under the circumstances?"

Spurgeon was no stranger to pain and difficulty.  This major saint of God suffered black depressions - a particularly painful malady.  He learned to live in God's Word.

Hear that, Soul?  He LIVED in God's Word.  He lived a long life, fighting every minute for the words to share on Sunday to people who were starved for Life.  He was sold out to God.  Period.

Sold out.

And those words he bought in the midst of a darkness so profound he fought despair - they still speak to people like me who are soul-starved and navel pondering .

For I in my cushy house with a soft as a feather bed and pain medications to take when I need to, have gone navel pondering and whining to the throne of the Living God and dared - DARED! - to mope in His presence.

It shames me that self-pity could burst out of me with the least bit of pressure - I had no idea what the tests would show, and yet I was willing to consider throwing the towel in and giving up.

Giving up before a God Who made me more than a conqueror.

More than.  You get that, Soul?  Not "just" a conqueror.  MORE THAN a conqueror.  Buck up, you soft puny thing!  Think of the Apostle Paul - scourged, imprisoned, stoned to death, shipwrecked, a day and a night floating on the waters at sea - and I just know the enemy of our souls sent some sharks to bump and terrify him especially in the dark (it gives me the shivers just to think about it!)- but like the lions in Daniel's den, angels kept their mouths shut.

And he never even mentions the scarring that would have marred his life - unyielding ropes of scars on his back accompanying every move - they would pull and itch and ache for the rest of his life.

And does he complain?

No!  A resounding No!  Instead he speaks of the power of his God to keep him whole, to equip him to survive every one of those circumstances.

He worshipped a LIVING God, a God Who bends close to hear every whisper, who promised us that Goodness and Mercy would follow us all the days of our lives - and in the Hebrew, the word for "follow" means to search diligently for.


So my question for you, Soul, is: which are you going to choose?  God's "more than" or "under"?

There are no other choices., Soul.


(my test results came back negative.)