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The Musings of a Stubborn Believer

Category: gold

This Much

Sometimes it’s the things I’ve known longest, the things most taken for granted, that break me widest open…

Like there, opening arms as if to a long-lost friend, pausing with abandon-joy to savor the song that is the sea– the crashing sound of surf, the salt on the breeze, the endless blue.

His words come out of nowhere, His tone utterly casual. But His eyes twinkle.

So, you know how much I love you?

No, how much?

This much.

Standing on the edge of this expanse as endless the circumference of a circle, my heart gives way, before a truth I already know.
He loves me, this much.

And the salt in my eyes then doesn’t come from the sea.
Or does it?

Jesus Knows

I wonder if you, like me, have ever stood in the doorway of the tabernacle* and felt like you were totally out of place there…

–  –  –  –
I stand on the threshold. This is God’s home. And it’s a place that feels as though it has been at times more familiar to me than it is at this moment. 
His eyes hold only love. 
My head is bowed though, because my mind cradles memories fresh of petty wanderings I’d like to forget.
“Welcome home.”
“Thank You, Sir.
But— [with trembling, and wonder, and a bit of incredulity, and still a bowed head] 
Does Your Lordship know what it feels like to be a betrayer and a murderer?”
I know. The inane questions I ask sometimes.
He just looks at me, lets me stand there a minute. And His face is kind, and grave, and silent. But suddenly His Spirit leads me back to truth 2,000 years old. I hear, I remember. I look up at His face. 
“Yes, actually… I died carrying the sins of Judas too.”

Oh. That’s right. (and so horribly wrong.)

You Who knew no sin, accepted the sin of the betrayer. 
And it killed You, so I could live.

And this is why you can welcome me home.
Let me never hesitate.
Jesus knows. 
*metaphorically speaking, you understand.

Words of the King’s Daughters

I awaken this morning on a Tennissee farm with a little question on my mind.

Perhaps you have picked up by now that I am passionate about the Gospel…

But I wonder if you know why.

It is really quite simple.

I love life.
I love life…

When a man loves, hard work isn’t heroism.
It’s joy.

Duty is joy.

Today I read a trilogy that made my Gospel-loving soul stand tall.

Written by three of the King’s daughters, who as far as I know, don’t know each other at all.

Not just the what of war, but also the why

I’d tell you the secret, but their words are better than mine.

Go read the words. Eat the words. Live the words…

“The love of Christ constraineth us…”

Emily.    Esther.    Moriah.

Lean Harder

“Lean harder…”

The ground dropped away before them, a steep rocky slope covered by an unstable mat of pine needles.

“My footing will be better with both your weight and mine.”

I watched their feet; the two strong ones on the outside and the weaker in the midst.

Suddenly there was a solidity of step, as the weight on the shuffling feet was trusted to stronger ones downhill.

. . . . . . 

Hours later I thought:

God is like that.

He needs all of my weight for optimum footing in my life. 
I can insist on using my lame feet when the slope is particularly scary, 

but I put myself at risk for a fall…

Jesus, help me remember.


Deep sigh. 
Staring at nothingness. 
I leaned back in my desk chair while the reality settled in… 
“…He is pleading His wounds—‘My hands, my hands!’ ‘I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands.’”*
And all at once I closed my eyes and I could almost see Him… 
–See Him standing in the throne room, turning for just a moment from the painful sight of yet another failure, to face His Father.
With tears in His eyes, and tears in His voice–
 Abba, My hands…
Look at My hands!”
*  *  *  *  *  *  *  
You and I know those beautiful hands were forever ruined saving us. A friend of mine once noted that they might be more than just perpetually scabbed. What if they are permanently disfigured? 
My hands tremble, and my eyes fill with tears, even as I type. 
But you know what moves me yet more?
It’s the second part. 
“I have graven thee…” 
It’s my name that is carved on His beautiful hands. Carved with a Roman nail.   
My name is a scar on His perfect Person. 
But He is not ashamed of me. 
Indeed not. Rather, He holds me up before His Father, and says “Look at My hands…”
And “swift angels are sent to minister to fallen man, to lift up and to sustain.”*
This is Love. 
Only love can call scars trophies. 

*{RH January 4, 1887, par. 15}

Bigger Dreams

Isaiah 35-38
I wonder if you ever stuffed your pockets with acorns as a child. My guess is, you did. 
I have fond memories of scrambling around under the old oak trees in the park, searching and hoarding the biggest and best ones until my pockets bulged… Or more recently, sitting serenely under a grove of
oaks one stunning Sabbath afternoon in Germany while a half dozen young German and Austrian friends did the scrambling for me, enthusiastically delivering a pile of acorns to my lap… 
I don’t know, there’s just something about it. 
And maybe when you too had your pockets full of perfect ones, your mother saw you hobbling towards the car and asked “What are you going to do with those?” 
“Oh, I don’t know… something special. I’m– I’m going to make something…”
If you were anything like me, you had no idea what you were going to make. It probably ended up being an absurd construction paper/acorn collage that rivaled modern art for abstraction, but which your mother still treasures to this day. 
Whatever the case, you had dreams for those acorns…
Hezekiah had dreams too… Dreams for his life, and for his reign that sickness suddenly threatened. All at once we find the king weeping pitifully, longing for a little more time… And who wouldn’t? 
And then we hear God in His eternal pity give him a promise, fully knowing what it would cost future generations…
God will lay aside His dreams, if we insist on ours. 
His dream for every acorn is much bigger than an absurd collage. And don’t get me wrong, there’s beauty in that childish art. It just doesn’t remotely approximate to the glory of the oak tree… 
Our problem is that instead of letting our own dreams go in favor of His, we pursue His glory the best way we know how– stuffing our pockets with the best in the hopes that we can make something worthy of them. 
But dreams must die, before they can grow. 
The acorn must die… First, it must be deemed unfit by even the hungriest of squirrels, then it must be forgotten… Often it gets buried deep beneath layers of rubbish, seemingly lost in a tangle of old leaves and dirt, much like our tangled and mangled hopes and dreams. It must give itself up. Totally. Permanently. 

Then it grows. 
God has a thousand other dreams too… Like turning enemies into dead men (Isa. 37:36) and and turning deserts into rose gardens. (Isa. 35:1)

What He needs is children that will cling more tenaciously to their Father’s dreams than to their own. Children that are willing to surrender to Him not just that in them which is evil, but more painfully that which is rightfully theirs, and perfectly good, if He asks for it. 
Anything less will be less than His best…    

The Shadow…

Just think:
It’s the most beautiful place in all the world…
A palace without boundaries, a treasury inexhaustible, a fortress impregnable… The place where the both the strongest and tenderest of God’s treasures are perfectly safe.
But this is not like the vaults or bunkers of the world. It is the place where ultimate freedom, and top security become one. Where the most profound protection expresses itself, not with bolts and locks, but with perfect liberty.
This is the sanctuary of the Most High. The shadow of His wings… His pavilion.
And the fear of the Lord is the key to the door.
“Sanctify the LORD of hosts Himself; and let Him be your fear… And He shall be for [you] a sanctuary…” Isaiah 8:13-14

Then, Lord Jesus, teach us to fear… That we might abide under the shadow of Your wings.

Mine Eyes Have Seen…

Isaiah 6
“Mine eyes have seen the King…”
Dreadful, exultant, awesome phrase. 
But the young prince is afraid. It is after all, a dreadful, exultant, and awesome scene that has opened before him. 
Pictures this: (seriously, try.)
The Almighty God seated high on His throne; the Seraphs (literally: “Burning things”) hovering over Him while they shield their own faces; the entire temple, the massive, glorious palace of the Infinite God, trembling to its foundations at the voice of His announcer; the whole glorious place filled with white smoke because the very air must praise Him… And the entire scene wrapped, and filled, and bursting with a soundtrack like you’ve never heard…
But Isaiah didn’t die. Even though he thought he would…
Because those who submit to the work of grace in their lives have another option. 

That’s the one I want…


I have a question.
This one thanks to a dear friend who challenged me to fall asleep last night thinking about Jesus, and miracles…

Jesus spared Himself no pains while He was here, to relieve the sufferings of humanity. And He spares no pains today to relieve the sufferings of sinners. To me, miracles are one of the ways He says “I love you” most profoundly. They are proof of His power, proof of His authority, proof of His fidelity and infinity… 
Gifts of Grace. 

But have you ever stopped to ask yourself if miracles cost Him anything?
–If the gift of life He gave back to Jairus’ daughter, or the widow’s son, was in fact a measure of His own?
Eternal and Creative as He is after all, it seems like He could give without losing. But is that giving?
Maybe He always filled others by pouring out Himself. 
And maybe… He still does. 

You think?

A Year Full of Promise…

I learned something this morning…
Gold is most dazzling in its liquid form…
Wood is most colorful when it’s about to turn to ashes…
And the face of Jesus was “never more beautiful” than when stained with blood, and showing the marks of pain and exhaustion. (Desire of Ages – “In Pilate’s Judgement Hall”)
There’s something there for me. And something tells me I’m going to find it this year… 
Especially if I intend to reveal through my life the beauty of the King in more dazzling color than ever. 
That is my prayer. That is my intention. Oh, give me Jesus…
And oh, if you are a child of the Highest, and if you have read this post, pray for me.