Monday, December 31, 2018

In the Beginning ... God breathed

Man's story began with the Breath of God. (Gen. 2.7)

The breath of God transmitted life, 
brought the dawning of man's creation, 
the beginning of his awareness, 
the opening of his eyes to see, 
his heart to feel, 
his mind to comprehend.

It is still so, as we see a new year stretching before us.
We stray from the Way when we try by other means to attain to anything in the Kingdom of God.

Perhaps never in the history of the world has man been so intent in applying his knowledge, aided by the power of computers, to optimize his understanding of how everything functions in this world.
And never before in history has information been so broken down and rearranged in the service of efficiency.

erhaps also, there has never been in the history of the church so much searching for forms and formulas  to optimize spiritual experience.
Programs and methods have proliferated until the fresh and vital role of the Spirit of God has been left by the wayside.

Paul speaks of the Greeks following wisdom, and the world through wisdom losing God. ( 1Cor. 1)

Woe to us when the Greek mentality enters the church and takes our attention away from the dimension of the Spirit of God.
Woe to us when God, the Creator, is upstaged by man the organizer.
Woe when God ceases to hold the center of our lives, and we fail to see that all man-generated activity is totally unable to bring life.

God's call to us is from death unto Life, from the dust of the world to the breath of the Spirit - a fleeing from, and a fleeing to...

The Truth is sublimely simple: 

That which God has breathed upon lives, 
but that which has not been breathed upon by God is dead.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

At the End of the Year ... at the Beginning of the Year

"I am with you." (Is. 41.10)

When Adam sinned, in an instant, the peace and rest of Eden was exchanged for fear and uncertainty.
A separation from God had taken place, 
and Adam's first confession after his disobedience was, "I was afraid." (Gen. 3.10)

For the first time Adam felt dread.
     An impalpable fear covered everything, 
          the future stretched before him as a menacing darkness, 
               and peace was no more.

The intimacy of Eden was destroyed for Adam and for all mankind, 
and together with him we entered the darkness.

As we come to the end of one year and enter into the next, the word from Isaiah (41.10) fills the air with an unshakable surety.
The promise "I am with you" fills all the void that sin has brought and gives us an undergirding for all our coming days.
All we have inherited from the Adam's fall,
all the weight of darkness,
all the unknown,
all the uncertain,
all that weighs upon us from without and within,
is covered by that Promise.

The Prince of Peace came to restore what Adam lost.     
     No matter what the challenges,
     no matter what the battles,
     no matter what the storms,
     no matter what the days may bring,
          they can never alter this fact.

Here we can rest, and find our strength and faith renewed from an Unfailing Source, ... "I am with you."
     This is our confidence,
          our sure hope,
               our eternal foundation.

The word of the prophet is still the Never-Failing, Ever-Availing, promise, 
the Light and Life for our lives as we step into the coming days.
                                               I am with you.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

A Body, a Time, a Life ... Prepared

"A body hast Thou prepared me..." (Heb. 10.5)

The words speak primarily of Jesus' coming to this world, and of His birth among men.
But they are true of every life which breathes the air of this earth.

A body, and by extension, a Life, is given of God.
   It is prepared in the plans of  God.
        It is formed by  the hands of God.
              It is given into our hands to steer through the years of our lives.

"A body prepared..."
The phrase covers all our existence,
     all our abilities,
          all our time, 
               all our circumstances.

There is Nothing which has to do with our life here on earth which is excluded  - God has prepared all.

At all times and in all places, the enemy is insistent in his attempts to destroy this sublime God-given gift of life - it is the focus of all his attacks.
     He seeks to infiltrate our feelings.
     He seeks to confuse out thoughts.
     He seeks to blind our eyes to the World which is given us by God.
As we think of Jesus coming to earth we do well to think also of that which is God-given in our lives, 
     Days to seek, to believe, to possess and fill with purpose.
     The task will test our surrender, our obedience and our faith.
       The path may lead through loneliness and suffering, but the end will be glorious.

It is attributed to Ugo Bassi, (who was Garibaldi's chaplain before he was captured, tortured and executed,) to have once touched upon this theme of our earthly purpose when he said (speaking of the area of suffering):

But if, impatient, thou let slip thy cross,        
Thou wilt not find it in this world again,
Nor in another; here, and here alone
Is given thee to suffer for God’s sake.
In other worlds we shall more perfectly
Serve Him and love Him, praise Him, work for Him,        
Grow near and nearer Him with all delight;
But then we shall not any more be called
To suffer, which is our appointment here.
Canst thou not suffer then one hour,—or two?
If He should call thee from thy cross to-day,        
Saying, It is finished!—that hard cross of thine
From which thou prayest for deliverance,
Thinkest thou not some passion of regret
Would overcome thee? Thou wouldst say, “So soon!
Let me go back, and suffer yet awhile        
More patiently;—I have not yet praised God.”

For us too, this world and this time, is all we have.
May it be a time of Vision for us, and the coming year be a year of new and greater horizons, as we step into that which is prepared for us.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

At the End of Time

The ending of a year marks the ending of a cycle of time, and we do well to take these moments to evaluate our progress in the onward march of our years.

There must be for all of us, things which we have desired and things which we have sought.
The question comes: will these things ever see the light of Reality?
Will the direction we are taking bring us to Reality?

Is our progress marked by Passion or by Apathy?

Are we hoping for something "at the end of the rainbow"?
Or do we know where we are going?

God spoke to Jeremiah (33.3) saying "call unto Me"
There is an exclusivity here - Me and Nothing Else.
     All the Plea is directed there.
     All the Hope is deposited there. 
     All the expectation is from there. 

The Calling is for today, and tomorrow and tomorrow - 
a Call which is Unrelenting, Undeviating, Unwavering, 
going on and on, until the answer comes.

It is a Call which holds us prisoner, 
     a Call born from an insistent need within,
          a Call fed by a frustration with our surroundings.
               a Call fanned by an indignation with Mediocrity,
                    a Call driven by the knowledge of an Answer.

There is a Clarity  of vision which gives Sight in the midst of fog and shadows.

And there is a Call which knows there are great and hidden things awaiting.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Time ... What is it For?

We approach the end of yet another year,
and I wonder what we think of fleeting Time ...

The seconds tick by and gather with the past, gone forever.
Our lives are just a little shorter - even in the moments we are reading this page.
Does it matter?
Has time value?

The Garden of Eden was a garden of Life for mankind, 
until, in a moment, it became the garden of Death, as sin separated man from the Creator. 
Mankind has lived in the valley of the Shadow of Death ever since.

David seeing death around him asked for Life (Ps. 21.4)
There is an intensity there, it  is a sort of request/demand - 
a recognition that physical life is not enough, 
and that without the extra God-given Life, there is no real sense or purpose to our existence - all is empty and all is vain. 

In man's world superficiality is writ large over everything

     So easily our purpose in life becomes a perpetuating of existence, 
     even when it means nothing beyond a repetition of the sameness.

Only in God's Presence is there Life.
Only as we seek with intensity of longing are our eyes opened to really see.
"In Him dwelleth all the fulness" ... and we "are Complete in Him." (Col. 2.9,10)

God gifts us with Time that we might find Life.

May we find the intensity:
     that opens our eyes to see, 
          and our hearts to believe - 
there is yet a far greater realm in Him than all we have yet known.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Spiritual Discernment

The  greatest Loss in this world is the loss of Sight.

The enemy has taken away from mankind   
     the ability to see beyond the surface of things,   
          and to discern the underlying reality.

The world around thrusts things upon us, 
     and demands we take them at their face value.

It demands too that we accept without question our society's scale of values, 
     and that we repeat again what we have been taught to see.

Seeing only the obvious brings a loss of the greater essence of things.
We see without Seeing,
     the illusion never lifts,
          and the Truth is never made bare.

What do we look for as believers?
     What will satisfy the heart?

Do we ever sense something beyond the visible - 
     something which our minds cannot explain?

The true essence of things never lies on the surface - 
     and under the superficial lies the true dimension of life.

If we approach the Word of God, and the things of God, through the medium of our minds we will never approach true spiritual understanding.
This is the reason why so much of what we hear spoken from the pulpit never satisfies the heart.
"The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God … they are spiritually discerned." (1 Cor. 2,14)

In all our living in this fallen world,
may our hearts quicken the truth to us, 
and may our seeking lead us to places in God where the mind can never enter.
"Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord." (Hos. 6.3)