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The Musings of a Stubborn Believer

Category: golden promises (page 1 of 3)

Words With the Father

That moment when the endless empty makes you realize how small you are, how big the world is, (much less the universe.) and how unreasonably kind God is for still having eyes for me.

“Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,’
even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!
If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.

Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!”

(Psalms 139:7-12, 17-18, 23-24. ESV)

To Finish the Job [Glorious Fast – Part V]

“… and that ye break every yoke?…”

This is no halfway freedom we’re talking about.

This is undeniably the most audacious face of the conflict–
It’s grace, returning to finish the job.

Because “if the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”

So it is that the trembling (but oh, so happy) child of God (only recently in chains) awakens one morning to a flurry of activity, and while yet rubbing sleep from the eyes an angel brushes by and says the Commander is waiting…

“For what– 
        For me??”

Yes. Because just getting clear of the door of that prison is’t enough for this General.
Today they’re going back to crush the fortress to a thousand pieces.

And He wants to take me with Him.

So we set out. Me with my little coil of rope, and Him, strong as ten thousand times ten thousand bulldozers. And I look up in awe while we trek– still thinking this is a dream. The One, the Invincible Soldier. The other, the admiring little boy, still in his pajamas…
And He looks down and smiles.

He doesn’t need me.

But He glories in making the weak, strong.
            –in setting them over their enemies.

And after all, don’t I know where the pillars in that place rest, better than most?


Just a Pebble…

Some day when every wrong is made right, I will understand the true weight of today. For now, let’s just say it was one of the best days of my entire life…

I step out, zipped and buttoned. Black wool and cashmere reach earthward almost to my knees. The very air is alive with vigor, somewhat like my insides… I go to meet my God in a beautiful field, on a beautiful farm, this beautiful morning of mornings.

I sit on sandstone at the spot where two friends of mine became one months ago, and read…
And my journal, this spiral bound book with my handwriting in it, this book that records the secrets of my broken-hearted moments, this book my Nana gave me, it opens my eyes to the goodness of my God.

Every moment I have lived, every mercy I have tasted, every tear I have shed, every battle I have fought, every dream turned to ashes, was for today.

Today.

Without them, the new dreams springing up would have nothing to root in; to feed on. Because of them, I love my God more than I love anything else in this great wide world. And I love all that is (are!) His…

Hours pass and I wander around the pond; ponder why my heart is here today anyway

It was just a pebble.

Just a friend who doesn’t even know it happened. But just because they love Jesus, because they love what is high and holy and pure, and just because I was blessed to catch a glimpse of it when I was momentarily unsure of what to do with my sword, just because of that; them…..

Some day when every wrong is made right, I will understand the true weight of today.

Mean time, I will never again underestimate the power of influence…
Even if it does seem like just a pebble

“Throw a pebble into a lake, and a wave is formed, and another…
until they reach the very shore. So with our influence. 
Beyond our knowledge or control it tells upon others 
in blessing or in cursing…
If by our example, we aid others in the development of 
good principles, we give them power to do good. In their turn 
they exert the same influence upon others, 
and they upon still others. 
Thus by our unconscious influence many may be blessed.”
Signs of the Times, Oct 21, 1903

Science of Temptation

Victory is not about resisting temptation until we build enough spiritual muscle to beat it in an arm wrestle.
Victory is about unraveling temptation before it starts.

Let’s back up.

Satan deceived angels not by leading them to concede to the viability of evil, but by offering them a counterfeit good.

He entered the garden, and offered Eve freedom when she was already free.

He offers us love, [insert: happiness, peace, fulfillment…] when in fact, we are already loved.

The fundamental principle of evil is calling into question the sufficiency of the genuine.


That’s the great controversy in one sentence.
And that’s the science of temptation.
First, causing you to question the real, then offering a supposedly viable alternative.

That is why faith makes us righteous, (ever heard of Righteousness by Faith?) and free.

When the child of God believes that all the promises are “Yes, and Amen!”
When he believes that every word of God is creative– just as creative as “Let there be light.”
And that the promises are not stored in Heaven for our aid someday, but are already in our pockets
Already acting in the lives of those who believe them…

Then the very fundamental principle of temptation is shattered.
Temptation is neutralized before it gets off of the ground…
Unraveled like a rotting sweater.

When we believe (with our hearts, not just our heads) that the promise is all sufficient,
Temptation suddenly becomes utterly insufficient.

You have a billion dollars in your pocket. Why are you falling for the enemy’s penny?

Only because you think you’re poor.

Read part 2 here.




Supernatural Secret

“The expression of Christian character is not good doing, but God-likeness. 

If the Spirit of God has transformed you within,

you will exhibit Divine characteristics in your life, not good human characteristics.

God’s life in us expresses itself as God’s life,

not as a human life trying to be godly. 

The secret of a Christian is that the supernatural is made natural in him by the grace of God…”



–My Utmost for His Highest
Photos: ©Joshua Nebblett

Consuming Treasure

I sit on black leather watching the day wake up past curtains drawn back on french doors. My thumb in the COL on my lap, my other hand behind my head… Countless yellow flowers sing “September!” in the morning sun’s first glow. 
My mind is far away.
I know God gives back. You’ve heard it said He never closes a door without opening a window– Never takes anything away without giving something better in its place.
I know.
But what of the times…

You know what I mean? Sometimes God grants that the fire should burn through our lives, and take away the dross…
And other times God grants that fire should burn through our lives, and completely consume the treasures.

And He doesn’t give them back.
I’ve had my share of fire over the years. And I’ve held on to more than my share of promises.
[The sun creeps across the floor and up the side of my desk; warms the cover of my journal.]
And I’ve probably written miles of ink lines in those books.

But this week, this morning, I’ve learned something. 
Something that gives me chills up and down my spine… and makes my blood surge jubilance.

The times when the fire burns through and takes treasures, leaving nothing to hold on to but memories of fire and smoke–
God has still given. 
He did give you something better. 
He gave you the fire.

My soul tingles.
If I am a soldier, if I am a victor, if I am free…

It is thanks to the treasure of losing everything, and never getting it back.
I sigh and smile.
I am free.
Blaze, Spirit blaze. Set our hearts on fire…”


“The stars do not change, Monsieur.”

My God is a constant.

Through an incessant flickering of transients too numerous to compute,
from people and places, to promises forgotten–

I see the Lord high and lifted up,
sitting on His throne.

He never changes.
Ever.

Comforting when that truth is driven home.

Almost overwhelming when it’s driven home by faithful, albeit frail human flesh.

This evening I rejoice in the mercy of just such faithfulness.

My sister’s head resting on my shoulder; from my mouth come words quoted from a cherished tale of Huguenot fidelity:

“‘The stars do not change, Monsieur…'”

and my little sister finishes:

“‘Nor do the angels in Paradise.”


National Geographic


Seventeen – Smiles Against All Odds.

An excursion down memory lane just landed me on some old treasures… A few would probably make you smile, (maybe they’ll have their chance in the near future) but one in particular rivets me this morning…
The year I learned to pray.



I knew something special was going on even back then, but now I really see it. And to this day, that nine-letter word dances on my tongue whenever my friends start talking about the best years of their lives. 
Seventeen.
That was a loaded year. A year of transitions… And one of the fullest and toughest of my life. 
But it was pure happiness.
I still remember standing in line to register for classes at a public university… And thinking over and over again on the first day of classes: “What on earth am I doing here?”
But what I remember more is being in that treasured spot in library at the top of the hill, day after day, every time the clock in the bell tower struck 12:00, to keep an appointment…
It didn’t start there, of course. It started months and months earlier on the hillside at home. In fact, it was probably the greatest factor in my finishing 4 years of high school in a year and a half. 
It was “quiet hour.” 
Just me, and my God, and my journal.
And just as I had done all the year through when normal life, well meaning people, interruptions and “important” things tried to eclipse it, I had to fight to keep it. I had quite the time scheduling and re-scheduling 19 credits to keep it free.
Am I ever glad I did…
___

My life looks a bit different now. 
Instead of 19 credits, it’s the joys and challenges of virtually full-time ministry with books to write, CDs to record, planes to catch, people to love, the gospel to share, and our lives to pour out… (for which we both tremble, and thank our God constantly)
And there are the duties of home to make all of that logistically possible… 2 corporations  soon to be 4, (for myself and my brother) the joys and responsibilities of being family, such as helping to maintain home and property, gardens and a greenhouse, and claiming my share of the honor of taking care of a grandmother with severe dementia…  
But still. Still…
My life is pure happiness.
Even though I am always facing impossible odds.
There’s just nothing in the world like shedding everything for a moment (or an hour) right when it feels like it’s going to kill you, and leaning on Jesus with your head on His knee…
Smiles against all odds… 
I still call 17 the best year of my life. 
But maybe that’s not really fair… For since then, they have only gotten better.

The Glory of Heaven?

Not a trillion        sinless angels.
Not a thousand miles of golden streets.
Not a million crowns under construction.
Not the angelic anthems of peace.
Nor the anthems of war.
Not perfection.
Not light.
No. 
None of these things.
“The glory of Heaven is lifting up the fallen…”*
Loving the unlovely.  Making people new.
                                                                         Beautiful.
                                                                                           Perfect.
Thank you, Jesus…
“His glory is His children’s good,
  His joy, His tender Fatherhood…”
*COL 386

There’ll Be More Leaves Next Year…

Stepping out into the 7-degree morning reminded me–
Seasons come, and seasons go. 
As I stood there sniffing air so cold it tickled from my nose to my throat, I thought of something…
The change of seasons is really a constant cycle of life, growth, and total surrender. 
I’m reminded of Bigger Dreams.
But this time the focus is a bit different. 
Because before the young tree can hope to grow taller and stronger, and spread more leaves to the sky, it must first let go of everything it has. 
Everything it has worked so hard for. 
The very current of it’s life…
Every leaf must fall, to make way for a brighter tomorrow. 
Those who don’t, might not have a tomorrow.
I’m somewhat a Michigan native, and I remember many times when the snow or ice came before the trees had made their total surrender. Too many of those trees never saw another spring… 
Seasons come, and seasons go. 
In life, and in the weather. 
So while I await the unfolding of the next season of my life, my duty is clear:
Readiness. Willingness. Surrender.
There’ll be more leaves next year.

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