Wednesday, February 25, 2015

He Loves Too Much

Freedom comes at a price, they say.

For a million battered israelite slaves, Moses' first moves made things worse, not better. Until they cried out against their deliverer, and Whoever he was getting his marching orders from.

Better to die in bondage, than to face the same old brick quotas, only now, while also having to hunt up their own straw...

I'm glad God loved too much to listen to their requests that He forbear.

I'm glad He still does.

May it not be said of us that while God was working for our salvation, we were clinging to our destroyer.

"For oh! He loves thee far too well 
To leave thee in thy self-made hell, 
A Savior is thy Lord!"

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Miracle That Isn't

Seeing that we were created in the image of the Highest, it makes sense that sympathy with Divinity, identification with the heart of God, would be life at it’s best. 

I daily aspire. 

But is that aspiration alone enough to water the ground where this miracle grows?
Or wait... Is it really a miracle?

I remember slipping between the sheets after a string of days full of giving, and asking if I might be made more sensitive, more sympathetic, more caring about the things on God’s own heart…
--only for my soul to hear this whisper: 

For that, you need no miracle. Just time. I can’t do your part and Mine.

It is not easy to find sufficient time for communion when on the trot. I’m not going to lie. 
It is only barely easier to find time for communion when at home. 

But of this I have become convinced: 

Activity is no substitute for communion. 

"O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself:
it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.” Jeremiah 10:23

Monday, September 8, 2014

One Life To Give

I’m sitting in my own room, long before sunrise, on my own bed, lost in my own thoughts. You know a summer has been extraordinary when your own space feels extraordinary. When you’ve used your pillow just 11 nights of the past 84.

I’ve made a lot of new friends in the past 12 weeks. Flown a lot of miles. Preached a lot of sermons. Prayed a lot. Trembled a lot. Looked back towards the light. A lot. Loved a lot of broken lives. Witnessed a lot of salty tears.

But sitting here, I have a refrain much like Jeremiah’s running through my head.

"Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears,
that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people.”  [Jeremiah 9:1]

Oh that I could do more, be more, weep more.
The sheer magnitude of fear in the world is enough to make the bravest man pause at times. The sheer magnitude of pain. The constant white (black?) noise of performance without transformation.

I’m not afraid though. I just wish there were more hours in the day. I wish there were more beats of my heart. I wish I had more lives at my command to spend spreading light, and clawing away at pain. I wish my heart were large enough to hold a piece of the sorrow of every person I love without imploding. Or wait… It is. But barely.

Once again, this stunning limitation settles into my consciousness.
I have only one life to live. Only one chance to love the hurting world.

Oh, let every breath count.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

While It Is Still Summer...

[Jeremiah 8]

These mournful words grip me tight, leave me with none of my own— 

"Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there?
Why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?” 

Maybe they've never gone to see Him? Maybe never applied the balm?
Now instead, they stand there and watch the saved world go by, and look at each other and sigh:

"The harvest is past. 
The summer is ended. 
And we are not saved.”

Horror unspeakable.

My God, let us not neglect so free, and so great a salvation.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Great Clarifier

[Jeremiah 7]

I like knowing where I’m headed.
And what’s more, I prefer to know how to get there.

That’s not always a reality though. And when it isn’t, I wonder why…

"The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger. 
Do they provoke me to anger? saith the Lord: do they not provoke themselves to the confusion of their own faces?"

One possible (Biblical) cause for confusion and indirection? Self-service.

The service of Christ directs, clarifies, confirms, and comforts.

Whose servants ye are.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Something Deeper?

[Jeremiah 6]
"Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the Lord."
Neither could they blush.

I have a question. (an honest wondering, not a rhetorical one.)

When I was little there were lots of words we wouldn’t even whisper. No, not the expletives. I’m talking about words with legitimate use in the english language, but which in our young minds fell well below the standard for polite company… So we’d be rattling along in a sentence, and suddenly stop short, and be like “You know… THAT.” [insert deeply loaded knowing look here.] And sagacious little playmate would stop to stroke his smooth chin, widen eyes a bit at even the implication of THAT, shake his head slowly as if to say “Be real careful there, partner!", and…
The sentence would finish strong. Right around said placeholder. No further articulation necessary.

Hey, it worked, didn’t it?
Don’t tell me we were the only ones…

My question is, what happened to that?
What happened to cheeks that would suddenly flame crimson at the hearing of a “naughty" word? Or boys who thrice filtered even innocent children’s talk when around “a lady.” Or, girls that would blush when uncovered? Or that held a graceful line carved in stone that said thus far and no further? 

Or was that all just old-fashioned?

Has this generation, obsessed with being “comfortable in our own skin” gained a "higher level of self-awareness,” and self-confidence, but lost something deeper?

Friday, July 11, 2014

For The Sake Of Just One

[Jeremiah 5]

The ancient city has filled her cup. Vice runs down the streets like sewage, and the dishonor is enough. Love will mercifully let her go in a storm of raining fire. And her ashes may never be positively identified. Such is the lot of Sodom.

One man stumbles out though, one man and two daughters, themselves tainted by the derangement of the place. The wife they leave just outside the city, a saline statue perfect in detail, with the longing eyes of a woman torn from her treasures.

More amazing to me than the epic destruction though, is the fact that God would have saved the city, if He could have found nine more men. Just nine.

And more amazing yet; that as history progresses, so grows His mercy.

Ten men would have saved Sodom. A booming metropolis wreaking with vice. I don’t know how many people lived there, but I know this: 10 men would have been the remnant of the remnant.

But run through the crowded streets of Jerusalem, generations later. “The joy of the whole earth,” where vice runs in the gutters, and children are offered as sacrifices to the gods, and incense burns, and chants are heard, and all is iniquity. All that should be music to the ears of God is turned to blasphemy.
"Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem,
and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof,
if ye can find a man
if there be any that executeth judgment, that seeketh the truth;
and I will pardon it"
Never underestimate what Divinity will do for the sake of just one.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Thy Fallow Ground

[Jeremiah 4]

Before the rain, must come the harvest. I’m reminded every time I’m home on the farm, and either farmer brother or father-in-law is late to supper, because a storm is coming…

Harvest is not the only thing timed for the rain though.
Before the rain must come the plowing, the planting…

How else is Heaven’s blessing to be received deep?

Before the blessing must come the breaking.
Before the planting must come the plowing.
Before the green shoot, the steel blade.
Before the crowning, the cutting.

"Break up your fallow ground... Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, and take away the foreskins of your heart.” Jer. 4:3, 4

The rain is coming.

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Cost of Fidelity

[Jeremiah 3]
She stumbles in again, after the night of wandering. (Yet another.)
Like always, He’s been sitting up, waiting. She’s defiled the ground under the last tree on on the mountain, with another relationship that only lasted an hour. He’s been waiting outside His front door, staring into the starlight. She’s not the kind of person any of us would want to spend our lives with, but He is not like us

She returns with a torn soul,
He awaits with strong arms.

And His words aren’t what she deserves.

"I am married unto you.

...and I will bring you to Zion" 
(Jeremiah 3:14)

For God, fidelity is not a response. It is an identity.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Chasing a Dream

They wander as though blind, hands out front to meet the future. They go down to Egypt to drink; leave full of fluid, but thirsty still, have to try Assyria. Their pursuits are without profit. They feel the dread throb of guilt, but they stubbornly claim innocence.
Shall these live? Are these even alive?

“My people have committed two evils; they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.” Jeremiah 2:13

They have forsaken the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
And built themselves a counterfeit.

Have we?

We who would consult contemporary culture when interpreting an Ancient Script? Is this the Way?
We who would bend truth (if we accept the concept of truth at all) to the hearer, instead of bending the hearer to Truth?
We who think to pursue meaning and fulfillment on our own terms, instead of recognizing that defining purpose is a Designer’s prerogative. Can this wandering really be called life?

Or is Christendom chasing a dream?

We are warned.

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