If we will only surrender ourselves utterly to the Lord, and will trust Him perfectly, we shall find our souls “mounting up with wings as eagles” to the “heavenly places” in Christ Jesus, where earthly annoyances or sorrows have no power to disturb us. – Hannah Whitall Smith
He who was seated on the throne said,
“I am making everything new!”
Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
He said to me: “It is done.
I am the Alpha and the Omega,
the Beginning and the End.
To the thirsty I will give water
from the spring of the water of life.
Those who are victorious will inherit all this,
and I will be their God and they will be my children.
Christ is Risen!
This is another quick painting from an evening of worship art. I call it “Brooding.”
Sometimes we are not privy to what God is doing. Sometimes the seed deep in the earth, or the new life in the egg stirs when we are unaware of its existance. One translation of the creation story talks about the Spirit of God brooding over the chaos that He was to transform by His Word.
It can feel like a very long time between the darkness of the Day of Crucifixion until the light of the Day of Resurrection. This is the time of perseverance. This is the time of clinging by faith to the promises of God.
This is the time when we strain our ears in the silence for the sound of the Spirit taking a breath before he begins to blow life into that which appears dormant.
The hours, days, years, decades between promise and fulfillment is the time, when in agony of disappointment in our own sense of timing, and stretched beyond what we ever thought we could endure, that we choose to walk by faith and not by sight.
This is the hour we stand, and stand some more and, when we have weakened, rise to stand again and sing, “I trust in Your faithful Love.”
How long, O Eternal One?
How long will You forget me? Forever?
How long will You look the other way?
How long must I agonize,
grieving Your absence in my heart every day?
How long will You let my enemies win
Turn back; respond to me, O Eternal, my True God!
Put the spark of life in my eyes, or I’m dead.
My enemies will boast they have beaten me;
my foes will celebrate that I have stumbled.
But I trust in Your faithful love;
my heart leaps at the thought of imminent deliverance by You.
I will sing to the Eternal,
for He is always generous with me.
(Psalm 13 The Voice)
He set me down in a safe place;
He saved me to His delight; He took joy in me.
For someone who feared not being good enough for God and being a constant source of disappointment to him and to others most of my life, this verse has been hard to accept. I am a source of delight to him? He takes joy in me?
Renewing the mind is not all about changing our thoughts on how to do things better. It is learning to be a beloved human being instead of a stressed-out human doing. It is learning to see ourselves as God sees us – worth the effort of saving.
Because it is his delight.
Because I am a source of joy to him.
Because you are a source of joy to him.
Just meditate on that for a moment.
How profound a life-change is that?
I stood on my bed and looked out at the moon shining through colour-tipped clouds and told God I wanted to ask Jesus into my heart because I didn’t want to be left behind in a world without my family with evil people dropping atom bombs and doing whatever it was they did in Sodom and Gomorrah. (I thought it was smoking cigarettes and drinking wine and running around in their underwear.) I think I was about nine. I was very afraid.
Later I went to a youth event excited at the prospect of watching a “film” (actual movies in movie theaters were forbidden.) The film was about people who hadn’t prayed the prayer to ask Jesus into their hearts and were left behind in crashing planes (now sans pilot) and chaotic freeways (now sans bus and truck drivers). Those who changed their minds and realized they had made a mistake by not believing in time ended up standing in line at a guillotine waiting their turn to lay down their lives (now sans Holy Spirit because He apparently had left with the bus drivers) in martyrdom. I was very afraid.
I heard many sermons in my young life presenting prophetic constructs designed to keep sheoples in line with a stick of fear and carrot of rapturous zapping or death (preferably by martyrdom) where finally everything would be okay. They wouldn’t be horrible sinners anymore. I was well-acquainted with the verse that said, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” And I was afraid. I was so afraid of an angry God and so convinced I would never win his approval that at the age of 40 I ran away.
But He allured me. He waited quietly while I poured out my anger. He sat in the wilderness with me and made no sudden or threatening moves until I finally realized he was not who they said he was. He waited, and waited, until, I chose, like a bird with a broken wing, to hop into his hand hoping for either healing or a quick crushing death rather than live in hopeless disconnection. That’s when I learned that it is his kindness that leads to transformation. It was the joy set before him that was his motivation and that joy can also be mine.
I had heard all sort of dire predictions about the significance of the four blood moons occurring on Jewish Feast Days of Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles in the next 2 years. Some folks are saying this means war or calamity and the approach of the day of missing pilots and bus drivers and the world-wide President/Anti-Christ’s guillotine. In my younger years I would have thought about stocking the bomb shelter. (My husband, upon hearing the hype, pointed out that since all lunar eclipses occur on full moons and that the Jewish calendar is a lunar calendar and certain holy celebrations always fall on full moons, this was not all that unexpected.) Instead I took photos from my front porch with my little point-and-shoot last night and praised God for His goodness and grace. I had my iPpod for company and a song was playing: I Fear No Evil with You.
Any eschatology (study of future events) that ignores the character of Jesus Christ (who showed us what the Father is like) and removes hope from the world He loves so much is due for a reformation of thought, in my opinion. Fear is a poor motivator.
I’m sure the guys with the photo gear will post much better quality photos, but these are from my night on the porch with God. I just wanted to share.
Cool moon, Lord.
There is something comforting about the past. Even when we know it is dysfunctional, and carries useless clutter, it’s familiar. My thinking is like that sometimes. I know my old default way of thinking was filled with negativity and got me into all manner of trouble before, but when I’m not careful about being intentional I slip back behind the wheel and try to take the jalopie for one more spin. The seat is old and worn, but it conforms to the shape of my bum. I settle in -and then wonder why I am making no progress.
I hear the voice of my Lord asking, “And how’s that working for you?”
“I can’t seem to get it in gear… Can you give me a hand?”
“I have something better in mind.”
“But that means giving up ol’ Bessie.”
“But I’ve had this way of thinking for a long time. It served me in the past and got me through a lot of stuff.”
“And how’s it working for you now?”
“I’m kind of stuck.”
“I have something better in mind.”
“My vehicle, not yours. My thoughts, not yours.”
“Let me think about it……Well, this isn’t working. That’s for sure. By now I should be much farther ahead….”
“OK. Show me your ways Lord.”
Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. (Ephesians 4:21-23)
Edited to add:
So I just read something that said tonight is the first night of Passover and it included this verse:
Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (1Cor. 5:6-8)
Suddenly I started wondering what the expiry date is on my jar of baking yeast in the fridge. (Sometimes the literal/metaphorical line in my brain is not all that well-defined.) I checked. It’s this month. I chucked it. It’s probably time to toss some old thinking as well.
Ok, not “probably time.” It is time. I hear You, Lord.
Turning night to day,
It’s a new beginning.
Love has come,
Hope has dawned,
Driving fears away,
It’s a new beginning.
Your mercy reached into the darkest night to find us,
Your blood has freed us from the curse of sin that bound us,
Your truth delivered us from all the lies that held us down
When we were overwhelmed….
Oh, out of the darkness You rescued us,
You have rescued us,
Oh, into the light of Your love for us,
Lord, You rescued us.
Here we stand,
Held by grace,
Knowing every day
Is a new beginning.
All we need
Found in You,
Love has made a way,
It’s a new beginning.
No sorrow deep enough to crush the hope within us,
No mountain big enough to block the path before us,
No power strong enough to take us from Your mighty hand,
For You have overcome.