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from glory to glory…

Archive for the category “Walking with Christ in the Wilderness”

Fill the earth and subdue it…

Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth’.”

Genesis 1.28 NKJV

In recent weeks, my wee corner of the earth has been filled with the things of a creative mind multiplying for the sake of children’s ministry–

Story Stand-up FiguresI was given a resource from a craft distributor for use in our Sunday School for an Easter lesson. The resource was a pack of card stock figures for re-telling the story of Jesus’ Resurrection. They are lovely line drawings on white cardstock, made to color and stand up on a flat surface. Each pack included a story card on which is written the story of what the disciples of Jesus found when they arrived at the tomb on the third day after Jesus’ crucifixion and burial. The moment I saw these, my mind saw the possibilities for a child’s modified Resurrection/Grace Garden…

resurrection garden 1In case you have not seen one, a Resurrection/Grace Garden is a small arrangement in a container, made to resemble the garden where Jesus’ tomb stood. The elements of the landscape reflect the environs of Judea, and the tomb can be made from earthen plant pots, etc… Ultimately, the idea is to create a scene which depicts and remembers the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ at Easter, in much the same way we set out nativity sets at Christmas.

So, my little grey cells began to whir and click and hum—at the quickening of the Holy Spirit—about how to gather the elements for a combined class of pre-schoolers through first graders, 15 children on a full-house Sunday, to make their own little Grace Garden for Easter celebration…

fill the earth-subdueMy “earth” soon became filled with Wilton cake boards to serve as the platform for the standing figures and the bits of landscaping; the sandpaper, the mosses, the tiny little pebbly shells and bits of finely crumbled rock, the plastic grasses, bushes, succulents, the scrap card stock from my stash to use as the flats for the gardenscape strips… and then the different types of adhesives for the best adherence and ease of construction in the class…

Then, I realized how limited is the time we have to work on such a project in the classroom; and I began to consider how best to prefabricate the landscape so that the children would enjoy the work of constructing their craft project and be able to finish in time to take it home…

They would need to color the standing figures, and then adhere each one to its appropriate place on the landscape…

My mind began to whir and click and hum again, at the quickening of the Holy Spirit, about how to subdue all the elements which were filling my little corner of the earth…

Garden Strips Left & Right

“Garden” Scape Strips

Story Garden Platform

Platform for Figures & Garden Strips

Story Stand-up Figures

Stand-up Resurrection Story Figures

Story Card Folder

The Resurrection Story Card Folder w/Story Inside

My experience in the preparation of this Easter celebration Sunday School craft taught me volumes about the meaning of what God intended when He called our ancient parents to “fill the earth and subdue it….” It is a labor of love and sacrifice; and, because of the Fall, it is a labor accompanied by tears and trembling and in weakness and hope… One quite literally sows her being into the ground of the earth in order to bear fruit to worship God… And this taught me more of what it is to trust God in a work inspired by His Spirit, but beyond my natural abilities–His grace which is truly sufficient for these aging little grey cells; for these fingers and fatigue-ridden back and shoulders, as the labor of subduing all the elements progressed one step at a time…

Grace Garden Craft…And because of His LIFE in mine, it is a labor of joy in subduing all the gatherings–in their tumult and diversity–into something the children can enjoy, learn, understand and share for the increase of Christ’s glory in this earth…

My hope is for the fruit to increase and multiply in the lives of our young children to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ…

 

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The Resolution that Never Expires…

…No matter what time of year it is…

…the song of my Heart’s Desire…

Faithful and True…

On this evening before the seventh day of the Feast of Tabernacles, I am deep into the prophet Hosea, preparing for our little ones Sunday School. The one thought that keeps emerging in my little grey cells is that there is only One True God. No other God loves the way the God of the Bible loves. No other God than He has ever provided the way of grace and mercy and forgiveness for our rebellion against Him…

Hosea’s message was a call to Israel to come back to the only True God whose holy love, mercy and grace are true and faithful. Hosea’s life was an example to Israel of the faithfulness of the One True God. Hosea’s name means “salvation…”

jesus-faithful-trueMany hundreds of years after Hosea lived, God sent His Son Yeshua. His Name means “God is Savior.” Hence, Hosea 13.4 “…for there is no savior besides Me.” Hosea paid a high price to bring Gomer back to him; Yeshua paid the highest price to bring the mercy, grace and forgiveness of a Holy God to sinners–peace with a Holy God through Messiah Jesus alone…

Lord, the One who is called Faithful and True, please grant the same grace to other rebels that You have shown to me while I was in deep rebellion against You…

Soli Deo Gloria!

My Morning Thoughts-Feast of Tabernacles, Day 2

…In our CBS group we’ve been in the Book of Ezra this week. This morning, reading about those who were documented among the first to return to Jerusalem, the cities of Judah and the cities of Israel from the captivity at the time of Cyrus, king of Persia.

One study question asked why we think the careful detail of names and tribes of the returning Jewish people was documented in Ezra 2…

One important detail would be knowing who was of the priestly house according to God’s Word; another important detail would be knowing who was of the line of Judah and his offspring for the royal house…

Finally, one of the most encouraging details in general is this:

the historical documentation that the Jewish people live.

God did not destroy them. Am Yisrael Chai!

For the Body of Christ, this should strike your kishkes (your innards) deeply; because, if God does not keep His promises to the Jewish people (and Satan is working over time to destroy them to discredit God’s veracity), then the Body of Christ has no reason to expect that God will keep His promise to preserve those who believe in Messiah Jesus…

…Just a thought…

Fairest Lord Jesus – Maranatha Celtic

fairest-lord-jesus4

 

Elijah on Mt. Horeb…

…Listening for God’s Voice…

Recently, I had the blessing of introducing our church’s younger children to the encounter between Elijah the prophet and God on Mt. Horeb…In 1 Kings 19, Elijah had run a marathon to escape the fury of queen Jezebel; she was livid, nearly apoplectic,  when she heard her husband Ahab’s tale of how the God of Israel had literally outmuscled all Jezebel’s favorite idols and made 850 prophets of these false gods look like simpering idiots on Mt. Carmel. Elijah was the agent of the Lord who facilitated the exhibit, and also meted out subsequent execution on 400 of those false prophets. As a result Jezebel was not only angry with her husband, she also declared all-out war on Elijah with a vow to murder him at the first opportunity…

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Elijah on Mt. Horeb

Having escaped Jezebel’s wrath, Elijah found a tree under which he could collapse his weary, frightened, discouraged bones. In his bitter dismay about the response of faith among the Israelites who witnessed God’s unmistakable presence on Mt. Carmel, Elijah wanted God to let him die… An angel of the Lord visited Elijah, comforted and fed him, bidding him rest awhile…

 Upon regaining his strength, Elijah traveled 40 days and 40 nights, over roughly 280 miles of wilderness to find a cave on Mt. Horeb. Again, he prayed, pouring out his grief about the leadership of Israel, their hatred for the Word of God and their fondness for all the atrocious customs attendant to the idolatry of the pagan world…Again, Elijah asked God to let him die…

tornado-storm-wind-rotation-whirlwind-willywillyAs I thought about whether God was grieved in His own Spirit for the very issues which grieved Elijah’s soul, I realized that the way God expressed His own grief at that encounter with Elijah was first with a whirlwind…

But His voice was not in the whirlwind…

tumbling-rocks-earthquakeThen God expressed His grief in an earthquake…

But His voice was not in the earthquake…

Finally, God expressed His grief in fire…fire

But His voice was not in the fire…

At last, God spoke to Elijah in a whisper—when all the grief was vented in rushing wind, shaking of the earth, and the roar of fire—and nothing was left but quiet…so quiet that Elijah was now sensitive to hear that still small voice of God’s comfort and counsel and encouragement…

Over 2,000 years ago, God sent His Son, Jesus of Nazareth, to speak to the people of Israel and He was overheard by the Romans who carried news of the teachings of the new Jewish Rabbi all over the Roman world…During that period of the Roman Peace, there was sufficient quiet to hear God speak through Messiah Jesus…And no enemy from within the Church nor any foe from without has succeeded in silencing His voice…

Hebrews 1.1-2 tells us that God spoke in former days through the prophets, but now in these last days, He has…

“…spoken to us through His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds…”

Among the multitude of thoughts with which my little grey cells swim, this is what occurs to me as I think on this encounter with Elijah: there are so many expressions of woe and travail in creation around us; we have the whirlwinds; we have the earthquakes; and we have the fire, to name a few. My question was this, “Lord, what will You do to make it quiet enough for people in this culture of constant racket and babble to hear Your voice?” His answer came so gently…

the assurance that He will make it so…

“Be still and know that I AM God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

Psalm 46.9-10

Ezekiel’s Vision: The Restoration of Israel…

Bible Address: Ezekiel 36.22-32

How thorough is this restoration!

  • God promises to lead Israel back into the land He promised her, to gather her from the nations to which He scattered her in her state of rebellion against Him…

  • God promises to sprinkle clean water on her to cleanse her from all her rebellion and idolatry

  • God promises to give her a new heart and put a new spirit—His Spirit—within her and cause her to love Him and adhere to His ways

  • After this work of spiritual restoration, God promises that they will dwell in the land promised to them and be God’s people; and then the land will multiply its yield and increase and the trees will be fruitful, with no threat of famine…

This is a work of environmental restoration which comes from the hand of God when Israel comes into the knowledge of her redemption by the Lord Jesus Christ; when Israel looks upon Him whom we have pierced and grieves for Him as for an only son…when Israel recognizes that Jesus is the Holy One of Israel…How great a Yeshua! How great a Salvation!

And then all creation will rejoice, as the apostle Paul says in Romans 8.19:

“For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God…”

Many observe how Israel now blesses the world through their perseverance, inventiveness, scientific contributions, humanitarian ministries, etc. And these, for the measure of their restoration to the land, are blessings and wonders. But this is not the fullness to which Ezekiel speaks. This current state is welcome, to be sure, but it is merely a shadow, a wee foretaste, of what God promises when Israel finally comes into the fullness of faith in Christ.

In that day all creation will finally shake off the corruption and death which came upon it by the sin of man…creation finally rejoices when the prodigal sons of Israel at last return by the sovereign grace of God and behold the Lord Jesus…

Let us who now enjoy the grace of God through faith in the Lord Jesus harbor no delusions of entitlement; God declares that He will not do this for the sake of Israel, but for His holy Name’s sake, which the nations have scorned because of the rebellion of the people God chose to exalt Him (Ezekiel 36.22)… Hear this, Church…

There are no photographs or images to adequately picture this. And the apostle Paul says that “eye has not seen…nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God” (1 Corinthians 2.9-10)…

Think about it! Wake up those little grey cells in your God-given brain! The promise of God to the prodigals of Israel in Ezekiel 36.28-30 is a promise which is full and final—no interruptions; no need for military defenses or barriers for protection or fickle political alliances. It is a promise for full restoration of the land–no pestilence; no parasites; the abolition of genetic modification and pesticides to enhance the production of the fields and the trees; the perfect balance of creation—it all comes after the ultimate return of the prodigal remnant of Israel to behold and embrace Yeshua (Ezekiel 36.25-27,31)!

Awakening to the implication of Ezekiel’s vision I am more earnestly praying for the salvation of the Jewish people, because:

“… if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness!”

Romans 11.12

Pray for the salvation of the Jewish people and for the Peace of Jerusalem…Psalm 122…

“Because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek your good.”

Psalm 122.9

Weak Days & New Beginnings…

Lately, I have been having an onslaught of weak days—feeling tired, floundering, losing interest in ordinary things, overwhelmed, even a little sick…wondering greatly what has attacked me, as if knowing the “WHY” or the “WHAT” would give me the rational strength from within to effect my healing and release from the weight. News flash! I looked and there was no strength from within…

So, I started talking it out with the Lord; and in my conversation with the Lord, I have had to confess my rebellion, my “I don’t want to do ‘it;’ I don’t feel like ‘it’…” a pattern of thought which I have allowed myself to entertain for far too many days and nights…

Well, I figured I  needed some sanctified cognitive behavioral therapy…

By God’s grace, it occurred to me to just stop for one moment and challenge that repetitive thought pattern, wondering why indeed I would permit that to have its way in my sanctified mind, instead of calling out to Jesus to touch me and make me want to do “it” (whatever “it” I am refusing to do in the ordinary life and my dusty existence). The current catalog of “its” for which I have lost my rhythm and interest include simple things like making decisions, a reasonable appetite, making healthy meals, knitting, a daily walk, simple sewing projects and writing…

I am reflecting on why this sudden relapse into the old patterns of thought, old habits, which seemed to flee from me in the springtime of this year…I remember that then I began a new beginning of seeing the matchless grace of Christ, how sufficient His grace is for me, how perfect His strength is made in my weaknesses…and blessed release from old habits, enjoying a new beginning…

Just now, I am realizing in my heart—not just an intellectual kind of recognition—but down in my kishkes—that this discipline in my walk with Jesus is a seasonal kind of experience…Well, duh! (I don’t know why that is so mysterious a concept to get into my grey cells and remember; perhaps, the influences of this culture)…

I find that I am constant and seemingly unchallenged in my commitment to a new beginning for a period of time. Then, without warning, I am prone to fall away—my thinking skips beats; the focus I once enjoyed without a grievous effort has now, of a sudden, become a constant, unyielding struggle to regain.  I lose my former breath which once fed my soul and filled me…and I realize I need another new beginning…in my weakness I need another healing touch from Jesus…

So here is a new season, the Feast of Trumpets, the Days of Awe and Remembrance…a wonderful and timely moment for another new beginning…to remember that the grace of Messiah Jesus is sufficient for me, for His strength is made perfect in my weakness 2 Corinthians 12.9

god-strength2

All I need to do is call on Him to make me want His strengthening grace to do what He has formed me to do from the womb…This is the discipline I dare not forget or fail to recognize from season to season …

Beloved, if you are going through this kind of season, may God grant you the grace to recognize it for what it is; and by His grace, may God bring you to Him to find the truth that the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ is sufficient for you, that His strength alone is made perfect in your weakness. By this may He grant you a new beginning…

Which Miracle is Bigger?

2 Kings 5.1-20: the days of the prophet Elisha and his encounter with the Captain of the Syrian army–Naaman the leper…

Wondering which miracle of God is bigger:

 

storyofnaaman_14

that He so thoroughly cleansed and healed Naaman of his leprosy…

OR

storyofnaaman_2

that He preserved the knowledge of His great sovereignty over all things in the heart of a little Israeli lass taken as a slave to serve in a pagan culture…

Makes me adore Jesus more and cling to His promises that “the gates of Hell shall not prevail” against the Body of Christ in any age on this planet…

O Lord God of Israel – Jonathan Settelsnapshot2

Examining Ecclesiastes: The Good News

So, I have not committed suicide after having delved into the book of Ecclesiastes. Although, I once identified so strongly with the truth of the futility of humanism, that I did contemplate how I could reverse my birth and cease to exist…

Ecclesiastes 4.2-3. “Yet, better than both [the dead and the living] is he who has never existed…”

I said in my earlier post that Ecclesiastes 7.29 looks back to Genesis 3.6-7. But Ecclesiastes ends on a good note as it looks forward to the good news of God’s righteous judgment 12.14 (also see Ecclesiastes 8.11-13). That’s correct; I said, “The good news of God’s righteous judgment.” God will ultimately be exposing every secret thing, whether it is good or evil…

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Solomon does not go into detail about his assurance that it will be well with those who fear God, who fear before Him; in fact, he states that when he applied his heart to see, he was unable to discover the work of God…Of course, he could go back and remember what God promised his father David concerning that Holy One who would be revealed as King forever; but still, for all the meditating upon it, Solomon could not lay hold of how this work of God would come to pass. Nevertheless, he writes of his assurance in Ecclesiastes 8.12

* * * * * * * *

Now, I am on the “other side” of the Greatest Moment in history, that climactic Moment of redemption. Although, by the grace of God, I have the great blessing to see what the work to which God was pointing in Ecclesiastes 8.12 and 12.14, Solomon was granted unshakeable faith by the grace of God in his moment of searching what he could not see…

 The Good News of God’s Righteous Judgment in Ecclesiastes points to the Holy One from David’s line—none other than the Lord Jesus Himself. Jesus plainly states that all judgment has been given to Him by God the Father:

“For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son…and has given Him authority to execute judgment…because He is the Son of Man” (John 5.22,27)

(The description of Jesus as Son of Man can be found in Daniel 7.13-14)… Jesus amplifies the message of judgment when He declares to His disciples that [after His atoning death, resurrection and ascension], the Holy Spirit will be poured out on all flesh and the Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin, of righteousness and of judgment (John 16.7-10)… How will God work this out?

“…Because the ruler of this world is judged…” (John 16.11; also John 12.31; Colossians 1.19-20; 2.15)…

Just take a moment to wrap your little grey cells around that wonder of God’s inscrutable work…

So, is there anything new under the sun? The Word of God says there is…I have many thoughts, but will share in another post. For now, in a world where “there is nothing new under the sun,” I remember this from another holy blogger named Jeremiah who had a great lament:

“Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning…” (Lamentations 3.22-23)

Examining Ecclesiastes-All Is Vanity…

“Is there anything of which it may be said, ‘See, this is new’? It has already been in ancient times before us. There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of things that are to come by those who will come after.”   –Ecclesiastes 1.10-11

meaning-of-life

Examining Ecclesiastes could be depressing, mostly because it reminds the reader of a very great king who was gifted beyond all that I  could ever comprehend, and this king discovered how he lost his memory of the purpose for all the gifting in his life. Ecclesiastes is also very convicting, and I think many of us are scared to read it because the same king who stumbled over his own gifting recognized his “self” was just like all men:

“Truly, this only I have found: that God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes.”

–Ecclesiastes 7.29.

Here, Ecclesiastes looks back and remembers Genesis 3.6-7 (In my Bible, Ecclesiastes 7.29 is cross referenced to Genesis 3.6-7. Verse 7.29 jumped off the page at me before I even saw the cross reference…)

King Solomon’s blog begins with his observation of the order and rhythm of creation. In Ecclesiastes 1, he writes almost as if he is amazed to observe how the sun rises and sets in its course all the livelong day; the wind has its established patterns; the rivers all run their courses from their source to the seas; the seas are never full and the rivers are all replenished by the rains from the clouds as by established purpose. These elements and others in creation do not hunger for anything new or exotic; creation is content to follow the plan laid out for it, each in its ordained element. Creation never wants for purpose; never seeks to run a different course or entertain itself with a new experience or a new work; creation never worries about satisfying any appetite, whether it be for more wind, more water, more sun, more earth, or whether it be more prodigious in achievement to prove its value or compete with all the other elements. Everything in creation–EXCEPT FOR MAN–obeys God’s purpose for it and is satisfied to do so. The wind blows; the seas stop where God commands them to stay; dirt always becomes mud when the rain falls upon it; molecules always bond according to their atomic structure; (and if the elements did not obey the physical laws ordained by God–indeed, if there is even one stray molecule in the universe–be very afraid when you drink that brew you routinely expect to be coffee…)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

When Solomon remembers man’s activity, he sees that man–like a stray molecule–seeks out many schemes, always hungry for a new experience, a new thrill, not content for very long with an established path. Because man has chosen to reject the purpose for which God has created him, he now always feels deprivation; and unlike the rest of creation, he seeks to satisfy and fill all the emptiness he feels as a result of his own rejection of the God who alone designed him as a vessel to be filled by God’s purpose…

Solomon does not stay stuck in the mire of his disillusionment; his blog in Ecclesiastes also looks forward. But I’m saving that for another post, since I need to ruminate and meditate a bit on the weight of glory I am finding in Solomon’s holy blog…

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