Thursday, March 27, 2014


Several posts ago, I introduced faith and wrote that I wanted to explore the subject with you here.  

I have not forgotten but I must confess, I blow with the wind so to speak, at least I hope I do, trusting that the subjects and facets of God's ways that capture my heart at the moment are meant to be shared. 

However looking back I see that all the subjects I have touched on since - to wit (I have always wanted to use that phrase and it fits here, so thank you for humoring me) to wit: the Light of God, Confessing our sin without ending in shame, Heeding and Listening for God - all these subjects are precursors to faith - though not an exhaustive list by any means. 

And to finish this non-exhaustive list, I would like to touch on one more: Immediacy.

When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, both sisters bemoaned the fact he hadn't been there to prevent the death. We know from scripture He delayed on purpose, they didn't. When he asked them, do you believe I can raise your brother from the dead they said, yes, at the last day and He answered no, NOW. Immediacy. 

I believe it's an important element of faith. Faith, like hearing, works in the now. Yes, with this world's track record, immediacy can seem scary, it feels much safer to defer and 'think about it'. I often think that is why the Old Testament often encourages us to 'be of a good courage' and the New Testament often encourages us to 'fear not' but says instead "peace be with you". 
Immediacy: the difference between and photo and being there. 

What I am talking about here is immediacy with God, in our hearts, no one needs to know in the moment that you are with God. God's body language in communicating with us is that of a Lamb (unthreatening), who died a horrible death, nailed to a cross in our place and for our sakes. His character, His constancy, His goodness fill the pages of the Bible. God is love and worthy of our trust. Immediacy begins in the secret place, in our hearts with God. 

"So my very dear friends, don't get thrown off course. Every desirable and beneficial gift comes from heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light.There is nothing deceitful in God nothing two-faced, nothing fickle. He brought us to life using the true Word, showing us off as the crown of all his creatures."

James 1:16-18 from The Message

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

In All Your Ways...

If a beloved friend walked into the room and you never acknowledged their presence, or if they made you dinner and you never looked at them and just enjoyed the food, occasionally saying into the air: "I have such a nice friend," think how much of that person, who they really are, you would be missing. Yes, you would enjoy their blessing (the dinner) but in not acknowledging the person, think how much you would be missing and think how much of your expression of love to them THEY would be missing. 

"In all your ways acknowledge Him..."

Proverbs 3:6

The most profound moments in my life are when I commune with a loved one eye to eye as we bare our souls to one another. When we both recognize what is happening in the moment, it deepens the communion.

A dear friend whose gaze is as true as her heart...

So it is with God. He made us to have interaction with Him, to recognize Him, to look Him in the eye so to speak and tell Him that we love Him, that He is above all others, and to see, in beholding Him even as in a glass darkly, that we, in spite of all we know about ourselves, that we, unbelievably, are the apple of His eye... 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

About heeding...

You know how certain scriptures become red letter moments in your life? I have known those moments since I first came to know the Lord. In fact, the Lord highlighted the Scriptures to me before I had ever read the Bible: He let me see them in pictures

For instance at the time of my conversion, I "saw" that the Christians who were sharing the Lord with me at that moment sat, as it were, safely on a rock while the rest of the unbelievers at the party (I was as an observer) were sinking in this awful sticky slush (I can still see it in my mind). Later, when my life had been turned around by the grace of God I read, astounded, about Jesus being the Rock and about the miry clay and about my new life of hope and solidity in Psalm 40:2:

"He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock and established by goings."

Jesus before being recognized. "The Road to Emmaus" by Robert Zund

Luke 24:30

Had I denied the Spirit who showed me those pictures, had I not obeyed them nor followed them, I shudder to think where I would be now. Had those disciples not embraced His words, they would certainly not have returned to Jerusalem to see the resurrected Christ but would have continued on the road of despondency. 

We come to know things by trying them; the senses of touch, sight, smell, taste, hearing enable us to prove them, see what they are... Why should it surprise us that we come to know the Word of God by proving it? We prove the Word to ourselves by obeying it... How else could we possibly observe for ourselves that it is true?

I also do not believe that this process of receiving the word and being renewed ever stops in the life of a Christian. God, let me evermore heed Your Word, hear it and do it. 

"If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself" John 7:17

Monday, March 17, 2014

Leading Ears?

Do you ever have one of those days when you feel like a train that has gone off its tracks? There's a indeterminate sense of uselessness. You can tell there's an enemy of your soul at work but nothing in you even wants to fight back because in some ways you agree with that condemning voice. 

I realized today that at such times in the past, I used to grab at God, clamor for help, fearfully begging God to rescue me and contradict this condemning voice, pleading with Him to DO something for me, something tangible, something I could see or feel, something that didn't require too much faith. Sometimes He would, sometimes He wouldn't, but He was always my God. 

A New Plateau.. 

I'm older now. In fact I'm turning 60 tomorrow and I've known God for over 30 years. It is not difficult to remember what I have learned: God is faithful, He doesn't change, He doesn't need begging to love us, He is ever present, He is never far from us. I firmly and deeply believe those things: they are written for us in the Scriptures and have been proven in my life. 

So this morning I turn to Him in my dejected state and close my eyes. The old habit of fear raises its ugly head: "where is your God now?" Quickly, almost too tired to fight, I turn away from the fear and remember all I know of Him. I relax, fear can find no hold as I remember His faithfulness, His nearness... A scripture comes to mind. It leads to another and I discover the path up to a new plateau on the mountain, I see the beauty of a new lesson: 

"Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God's righteousness doesn't grow from human anger." 
The Message, James 1:19

I want to learn to lead with my ears. I could substitute fear for the word anger. I will no longer begin by begging God in fear, but I will quiet my soul as a weaned child and begin by listening in faith. I will breathe and lean back into God. He is for me and He is love. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

No more shame...

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and will cleanse us from all unrighteousness" I John 1:9

As Christians, we are familiar with the whole notion of confessing one's sins. But until recently, I don't think I had ever seen it in quite the right light.

Confessing comes from the word "agreeing." Agreeing with God's assessment of any action/behavior/attitude/choice. Since He knows the truth of any situation, unless we agree with Him, we are either ignorant, in denial or lying to ourselves and to Him. 

He who could have been born in the richest castle chose instead to come into an earthy manger.
I used to think the purpose of confessing my sin was to humble me, to strip me of cover so to speak and remove the "foreskin of my heart" (using a nice biblical phrase and putting a noble spin on it). It may well have been so, but now I see a much simpler purpose and a much more edifying one: God wants me to be in reality, it's the only way I can grow spiritually or even relationally.

Think of your child. If some minor disaster had just happened and your child was clearly lying to you about it, then you would be at a standstill so to speak. Without being able to talk about what happened, you couldn't go anywhere in terms of forgiving him or showing him how to avoid that in the future or possibly even consoling him or her (I have often consoled my loved ones over their own mistakes). 

I don't believe it's all that different between us and God. God does not live, move and have His being in a lie yet He is full of compassion. I want to learn to agree with God without berating myself. I don't think He berates me. He just wants us to move on, He wants us to grow. 

God is Love

God is Love

God is Love

Friday, March 7, 2014

Wonderful Light!

Psalm 36:9 says " thy light shall we see light"

Without light, we cannot not see anything. By the same token, the kind of light we have will determine how things look, think of how different things would look with a colored light bulb for instance.  So it is important that we see things in the right light.

Light and Shadow

Seeing something in the wrong light usually means not understanding it, missing its context, misinterpreting the whole thing and tragically drawing the wrong conclusion.  

 God is light in Him is no darkness at all...
I John 1:5

 God is love 
I John 4:7 

I am the Truth 
John 14:6

We often make the fatal mistake of separating these qualities, pulling out one from the others but the light in which God sees us, the light by which He wants us to see everyone and everything, includes all His attributes at all times. 

From now on, I am going to ask God to show me what is before my eyes in His light before I go jumping to conclusions.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


Not unrelated to all this talk of fire and Offerings, is the next subject on my mind: faith.

Here, in Luke 18:8,  the scripture that encapsulates my own concern and desire for it:

"... when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?"

I have chewed on this question for years. The reason it took me so long is partly because of the context. The question is almost a ps to the parable of the widow and the unjust Judge. There is much injustice in this world and God is well aware of it, which certainly brings comfort for He will set things aright. The disquieting factor however is the fact that God promises to deliver and bring justice but that doesn't necessarily mean we have faith!!!

Yikes! We can be delivered and yet not have faith! From past years of practicing the occult, I know those 'arts' depend upon people's participation or belief, at least their acquiescence or fear of it, before it can do its work. 

Faith begins alone with God...

Not so with God.  II Timothy 2:13 plainly states:

"... if we are faithless, he remains faithful - for he cannot deny himself"

Even if we don't believe in God, He can and does act. That actually makes perfect sense if God truly exists as his own being, which I believe, and if he is about His business, of which I am convinced. 

So having faith does not bring God into being, nor does it necessarily cause to happen what He will or won't do, which I find extremely liberating and restful: God does not depend on us. He does however, love us and the Scriptures always emphasize our need for faith... 

So I want to have that faith and understand why we need it, or at least as much as it is given to me to understand. The plan is to explore my musings on that topic with you here. 

Monday, March 3, 2014


I certainly have been talking a lot about fire in these last few posts. Well you know how life is.. I don't have to tell you that it involves many 'fiery trials'... Sigh...

Here, for emphasis,  some excerpts from I Peter1:

"...God ... has caused us to be born again to a living hope ... to an inheritance that is imperishable... kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith...  In this you rejoice, though now for a little while ... you have been grieved by ... trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold ... may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ."

I imagine that if any of us heard the cry: "Fire!" adrenaline would shoot through our bodies as we scramble to escape danger: we know there's a fire that is out of control.

God's fire might feel devastating but it is never out of control. It will test our faith. How so? By showing us whether or not in the fire, we call on Him. Do we chose to trust Him or do we turn to our own devices to deal with the pain? Do we withdraw our affections from things below and place them on things above? We might do it out of desperation but God will use it for good.  How I love God's economy.

Now the wonderful end of those scriptures above:

"Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls."