Georgetownrose

from glory to glory…

Archive for the month “April, 2016”

Boasting in Weakness, Part 1…

In our Community Bible Study of 1 and 2 Corinthians, our local group is examining 2 Corinthians 11 last week… In part of that chapter, the Apostle Paul was pleading his case with the Corinthian church about the veracity of his ministry among them–because they were essentially comparing him with other, more charismatic personalities, and also questioning his integrity… So he wrote them a note reminding them of how God had directed his behavior and his heart while he was among them… He “boasted” reminding them that he had suffered for bearing the name of Messiah Jesus more than others to whom the Corinthians had begun gravitating and admiring. Even the Jewish leaders had rejected him…

…For as Messiah Himself declared to Ananias who questioned the integrity of Saul at his conversion: “…for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before the Gentiles, kings and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake” (Acts 9.15-16)

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Paul’s Sight Restored by Ananias

…And Paul boasted in weakness…

If I must boast, I will boast in the things which concern my infirmity.

–2 Corinthians 11.30

…Here’s what grabbed me by the kishkes this week. Our study guide directed us to consult Acts 9.19-25, where we read in more detail about the death threat on Paul’s life while teaching of Messiah Jesus in Damascus, another danger about which Paul spoke in 2 Corinthians 11.32-33. The question posed to us was this: “How might Paul have felt about this exit? How does it illustrate his posture of boasting in the things which concerned his weakness?

…I had to think a moment, but it occurred to me that right from the moment when  he realized Jesus of Nazareth has all the authority in Heaven and earth, and that he–Saul of Tarsus–had become a chosen vessel of the Messiah of Israel, he had to feel grateful to God for giving him the chance to preach Jesus more to others…

…To live another day to honor Yeshua the Messiah…

YIKES!!!!

Then I had to ask myself the question: Do I feel like that when I wake up in the morning?…

Changes my whole perspective to one which is eternal in the here-and-now…

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Heart Surgery…

As followers of Christ, many of us have ideas based on biblical truth. Yet mixed into the thoughts that are in subjection to God are ideas that are opposed to His truth. These unredeemed ideas have their origins in our cultures, in our families–sometimes even in distorted ideas about God that we were taught in religious contexts. One of the important factors in maturing in God is not just learning truth, but exposing and unlearning…”shadow truths” lodged deep within our hearts and minds…

–1 and 2 Corinthians, Lesson 27, p. 155; Community Bible Study, Colorado Springs, CO; 2015

…bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.

–2 Corinthians 10.5…

Then I read Hebrews 12.15: “…looking carefully, lest anyone fall short of the grace of God, lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled…”

YIKES!!!

and I remembered: “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked…” — Jeremiah 17.9…

and I remembered:  “…each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is…”1 Corinthians 3.13…

YIKES!!!!

and I trembled as I wonder how many bitter roots which have escaped or been hidden deep in my wicked-yet-sanctified heart will become declared and revealed by the test of fire. On that day, how many bitter roots will I discover have caused trouble and defiled many?…

Search-my-heart-sm

It is a very awesome thing to be sanctified to Christ and still a sinner…

…a very good reason to spend some time every day under God’s holy gaze; for He alone can know the heart and with perfect skill and grace wield His two-edged scalpel to cut out the decay…

…Thanking God for His grace…

Blessings all around!

Suppressed Memories, Buried Joy…

Springtime is flowering all around me, and I am struggling to feel the joy and the comfort and the jubilant excitement of the season springing into life from the warmer breezes, the dazzling pinks and yellows and white blossoms and all the new baby leaflings against the brilliant blue skies, until…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 The scent of a bed of hyacinths in full bloom unlocks memories and tears away the web that has shrouded my soul in a poisonous coma far too long…And jubilant sounds of birdsong…

Rejection, abandonment; still stinging after all these years, like a vicious spider’s effort to keep her prey from escaping her grasp…this permeates my life like a sickening, deadly venom…

Even though I know that God has used the childhood wounds in His sovereign grace to bring me into His acceptance by the embrace of the Lord Jesus Christ—who is more to be desired than even a happy family life…

Unfathomable to my reasoning mind is that after years of counseling, I discover that the wounds of childhood rejection have burrowed so deeply into my soul that I cannot even remember how the lovely things God put into my life made me feel…even to this day, I am numb to how the beauties and blessings make me feel…I can neither put words to the pleasure, nor can I feel it fully, embracing it, allowing it to wrap me in the touches of the moments of comfort…

Like a recurring bad dream, I feel the loss more vividly in every unfulfilled hope of friendship near at hand—every joy which is followed by changing circumstances over which I have no control—instead of rejoicing in the moment and the season of the joys of that friendship while it is near at hand, and blessing the friends as God sends them on their appointed paths apart from me…

The loss is what takes hold of my soul…and I have turned a lock on my heart that is barring the way to enjoying new moments, new seasons of friendship with those God has moved into my reach and touch…Instead, I anticipate the ever-looming hand of change which promises to move these ones I would grasp as friends far away from my reach and the presence of their touches of kindness and endearment…

 Something deep in my soul cries out to me that this is sin. I know that God commands (even promises by the giving of His Spirit to my life) that I will not covet another’s joy or pleasure or blessing; nor will I make an idol of joy or pleasure or blessing…But to suppress recognition and embrace of God’s gifts of joy and moments of pleasure and blessing because of fear of loss of them, or by choosing to feel the pain of old wounds: that is sin, also—grievous sin… It is a root of bitterness—not unforgiveness, but simply a self-imposed famine bringing with it needless suffering…for myself and for those who want to be my friend and to share their blessings with me for as long as God would have them in my life…

 The 23rd Psalm says: “…Surely, goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life…” (vs.6)…

 The same God who rescued me from my self at this season 35 years ago, is the same God who has been watching over my life with all its pain and all its pleasures to bring me safely into the rapturously loving grip of the Lord Jesus, My Shepherd…The same God who is sovereign and supreme and holy and majestic and far above all that I am or can conceive, is the same Great Shepherd who employs His hounds of love to follow me with goodness and mercy… And I have been acknowledging them with scarcely more than an obligatory word of thanks…I have insulated my feelings from their kisses, their warmth, their attentiveness, their sympathies, their sensitivities to my weaknesses and needs; their unconditional affectionate gestures…and God calls to me as He cried out to Adam in the garden: “where are you?” (Genesis 3.9; emphasis, mine).

He knows where I am…it is to this place He has tracked me, this Springtime when I caught the scent of hyacinths and heard the jubilant birdsong in my “coma”…And, this gorgeous Springtime day, with the wind of His cleansing blowing all about me, I step out into His gaze and surrender… “I have heard You, but now my eye sees You; therefore, I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes…” (Job 42.5-6).

Father, I need Your healing Hand upon me…Rescue me again from my SELF…

Abba Father, Lay Your Hands on Me

Spring has come again…

…behold, all things have become new


To all my friends who read my stuff, I pray that this piece is not a total “bummer” for you; I know that others struggle with wounds that seem to escape a full healing… These are my confessions of the joys and pleasures I have habitually buried as if in some irrational way, I have been expecting some other time to be a more appropriate time to enjoy them…losing out on the moments and ultimately the memories… Maybe you have experienced some of the same things; maybe you know someone dear to you who is locked inside a prison web of their own spinning… I pray this encourages you in some way… Many blessings from my restored soul and healing heart to yours…

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