Georgetownrose

…from glory to glory

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

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:

 

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

OR

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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

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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

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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…)

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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…

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…

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?…

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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…

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 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…

There and back again…

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began,
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many path and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.

The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
The Old Walking Song sung by Bilbo Baggins, Chapter ‘A Long-Expected Party’.

Unlike dear old Bilbo Baggins, my latest journey did not begin just outside my door. It came upon me inside my little hobbit home and took me on a journey without ever leaving home…

I wrote the following account in my journal on September 4, 2015… After all that I have experienced, I feel as though I’ve been on a long road–there and back again…

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September 4, 2015

The last work man has come and gone. Over the course of months between October 2014 and September 2015 we have had major exterior water–proofing of our foundation, replacement of our HVAC system, replacement and upgrade of our electrical panel and interior wiring, total replacement of the concrete slab in our master bedroom, installation of an elevated commode for the master bath, complete installation of hardwired Ethernet outlets in all our rooms, repair of two major common water pipes in our ceiling, drywall replacements and repairs in all but the baths, new ceiling ventilator fans in both baths, painting throughout our apartment and new carpeting installed in the master bedroom. I am writing this in the comfort of my workstation which has been restored to its place in the freshly painted, carpeted master bedroom…

…But I don’t want to make this a complaint. It was a journey. True; it was a tiring journey, my world was disrupted and my attentions forced into managing the chaos which I hate and which ordinarily, in times past, has aroused only crankiness in my response to it; but this journey was filled with grace and mercy and the presence of the Lord in difficult circumstances…

God gave me so many blessings in the thick of this dusty experience. The blessings did not come in the absence of difficulty; they came in the midst of it—being surrounded by it. I thought I should write down the blessings, because I have trouble remembering the gentle, good things which are often eclipsed by the emotional reactions to drama and trauma…

Friends have been supportive and helpful along this journey; helping me with emptying the master bedroom for the slab construction work; supplying boxes and strong arms to pack away books and other things in preparation for the drywall and painting work. Our condo management paid for three days for my husband and I to stay in a local hotel while the dust from the concrete work settled out of the air. The crews who worked on the waterproofing, the slab and the electrical, the technical, the HVAC, the plumbing, and the paint and drywall, etc., have all been faithful and patient and courteous and honest and vigilant to complete their jobs well, with a minimum of the thorny issues often discovered when foundations are unearthed, floors are excavated, walls and ceilings are opened, pipes are exposed… In short, the phenomenon known as Pandora’s Box…

God gave me the calm to help strategize and sort out the alternatives with each crew at each stage for each job; these “monkey wrenches” did not destroy my joy, but were actually opportunities to be a witness of the sanctified grey cells God has given me in Jesus to help with solutions…

The cleaning help came and removed the fine film of white dust which settled on nearly every surface during the drywall repairs. The windows have been cleaned, the draperies laundered, the carpets vacuumed, air filters replaced…there are curtains at all the windows and I can walk around in my black crocs without having them be covered in white dust…I baked today for the first time in over a year with all the upheaval in our home…

God has granted grace and strength for each day’s work for the past year, and the peace while waiting for approval for each of the tasks which our condo association was responsible to execute and finance…the courage to work through the details of coordinating all of our personal jobs on a schedule compatible with the major tasks being scheduled by our condo association contractors…the assurance of God’s sovereignty over every detail and His presence in my dusty existence…I can scarcely believe it is finally accomplished, and I am praising God for all His mercies along the way…for keeping Edward well, and for granting me the mercy of wellness during the thick of the activity, and healing for the illnesses which came during periods of waiting between jobs…kindness in timing of my infirmities…strength to care for Edward’s needs on this long journey, and the mercy of Edward’s strength to care for me when I needed rest…but I’m still tired…so I find there’s only thing to do: trust God for the strength to rise to the tasks which remain and need attention in the immediate future; and for the strength to be restored so that I may work beyond the daily necessities of stewarding the home He has given us…

I walk by faith and not by sight while looking forward to sewing something besides drapery hems, resuming writing and returning to the joy of preparing for children’s ministry in our church…

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Postscript: Sorry, no other photos. The adventure was far too adventurous to permit time or opportunity to stop for photos…

The Kingdom of Heaven in My Dusty Existence…

July 5, 2015: A Multitude of Thoughts…

Just thinking about what it’s like to be sitting here in this little condo in a little burb that is a big-city-wanna-be…this moment on this day in this year in this land on this earth…who I am…where I’ve come from…what I am becoming…part of God’s great plan, bound for a new home in Glory, on the other side of this veil…yet I am living out this great plan in humiliation unto dust…the days not so great…cannot see the greatness of anything but God in this place of exile…I see mercies—great mercies…but the greatness of how anything in my dusty existence is part of any plan of God’s escapes my vision…I must walk by faith and not by sight on this matter…

On this particular day in the plan, I wait for healing…healing for what next, I do not know…I have plenty of ideas about how to use the mercy of relief from this upper respiratory virus in the coming days…but for now, I wait for restoration of strength…in the meantime, I think about my companions whose names I know, whose lives I once shared in times past, whose footsteps on this side of the veil in their own dusty existence part of God’s plan have taken them away from nearness to my life to work out God’s great and good pleasure elsewhere…One travels across the seas to Israel, while waiting on God’s answers to our prayers for her healing from cancer…she knows what it is to live in the humiliation to the dust, walking by faith and not by sight…Great things God does with lives walking humbly before Him, yet what He sees is hidden from us while He works it out…Another continues to wait another day upon many days, months, years for answer to God’s prayer for deliverance of her children from the dangers of life with an abusive, perverted father and grandparents…Her life in this dusty existence, a life of exile from the revealed joys of her promised Home in Glory, is heart break, sorrow, yearning for her children to be saved from corruption and perversion of this world…every day the hours pass with the same demands of keeping what God has granted in order…faithfully stewarding His mercies in exile…walking humbly before Him, yet the greatness of His plan which He sees is hidden from us while He works it out in our dusty existence…While I write this from the resting place of my recliner with the blessings of wireless keyboard synced to my computer across the room, there are mothers and children half a world away in Africa, looking for a safe place to hide from the dangers of wicked, hateful men who seek their lives…these mothers and their children are companions in Christ, too…they must walk by faith and not by sight, trusting that their lives in their dusty existence in this exile are part of God’s great plan…their moments of their days unfold in constant dependence upon the mercies of God, the eyes of the LORD, being awake and aware of their needs in the humiliation to dust that characterizes their life…

If it were not for the sure and certain Presence of the Lord in all these things, and the Joy that always resides and abides in this life in exile, I would be depressed and despaired…but no…the recognition of this great paradox does not depress or discourage…it merely helps me understand and rest more at peace in the care and wisdom and sovereignty of the God who has ordained by His pleasure to make my dusty experience part of His great plan…He sees it all; that I see any of His greatness while I walk in this exile is great joy which triumphs over all humiliations; at last that is enough for me…

July 24, 2015: Meditating on Acts 18.23-21.14…

I am better now; the healing for which I have waited has come and is continuing. I dreamed this morning. What a wondrous dream I dreamed this morning as I lay still meditating on the journeys of my brother in Christ, the Apostle Paul. In all His journeys, humbly in the dust and grime and sorrows and dangers and brutalities of this fallen world, in his earthen vessel, he carried the Treasures of the Kingdom of God—treasures both new and old. Like me, he wrestled with his own reflexes to see anything particularly great about being weak, threatened by dangers, and being called to preach the Lord Jesus Christ. With all the sensory attacks waging war on his mind, he stood as a conqueror in his dusty, sea-soaked, battered existence by focusing on the greatness of the God Who showed Him the grace and mercy and majesty of the Lord Jesus Christ. Just like me, Paul fought the fight against vanity, pride, delusion and despair this side of the veil by walking by faith and not by sight. And in all that is recorded of Paul’s tireless labors, he kept telling the Truth of what is real treasure, real greatness, real glory. In his own dusty existence, Paul boldly declared the only Kingdom that is real to many who languished in poverty, sickness and oppression at the hands of rulers who were blinded by self-worship and greed and acts of violence. In his experiences in chains and dangers, as well as in comforts and hospitalities, Paul persevered to explain the Treasures of the Kingdom of God to many who thought treasure could be found in what they could taste, touch, see and feel—in base and unholy passions and pleasures taken to extremes in foul measures in their dusty existences. Paul declared and explained and argued and contended and lived and died because he knew Whom he believed. He knew the great wonder of being chosen by God to behold the Lord Jesus Christ. In all his dusty existence and educated experience, Paul was born once again as the Holy Spirit quickened his understanding to see Jesus in all the Word of God—treasures both new and old. And because Paul was faithful, I see Him, too. And I know Whom I have believed. I know Him in my dusty existence and understand anew how to use the mercy of the healing I enjoy: to declare repentance toward God and the forgiveness of sins through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ—to perpetuate His Spirit instead of my flesh—to increase His Name and His Kingdom in my dusty existence: because the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand…

Real Power

Here is an entry from my journal dated December 8, 2007. It resonates in my heart during this season of Pentecost…

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At this time of year when the seasons of reflection, expectation and dedication meet in one glorious explosion of joy and light, here I am, studying the work of God in the Book of Acts. On this day, what shakes the doorposts of my being are the words from the lips of Messiah Jesus–not at His birth, but prior to His coronation as the King of glory:

“Wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Father…You shall receive power after the Holy Spirit comes upon you…” Luke 24.49.

What is this “power?” The Greek “dunamis.” Like dynamite: its properties when it ignites: highly flammable; reacts to anything which de-stabilizes it (nitro) or draws near to it with heat; earth shaking, transforms whatever is near it when it explodes–explosive; illuminating–blinding light comes out of its explosion…

(Did the disciples know anything of gunpowder and dynamite in their day?)

This is the effect of the working of the Holy Spirit. But the vessel who bears the Holy Spirit is not to be explosive. Instead, that vessel–that “temple” of the Holy Spirit–is called to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly before [her] God…” (Micah 6.8). That vessel–that “temple” of the Holy Spirit’s “dunamis”–is instructed to be wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10.16) That “temple” of the Holy Spirit’s “dunamis” is to be both bold and gentle. The “dunamis” of which the Lord Jesus speaks to His chosen ones is the effect of submission to the increase of the Lord Jesus’ government in her; for He is the King of glory… How fitting is that perspective for my own transformation during this season of dedication, expectation and celebration of Messiah’s coming–for me!

Now I see the “dunamis” worked in my own being and character. Throughout God’s ordained span of time–God set carefully packed “charges” in people over that period to have that explosive effect of transforming me. Some of those vessels were more highly charged and combustible than others; but still, He has had His way of transformation…

Ed is the most, the dearest, the longest, sustained vessel of “dunamis” in my life. By his love and faithfulness, his patience and quiet wisdom, his enduring care and acceptance of who I have been and am becoming, his prayers for me; and I am sure much more than I can know at this hour…

Next, would be my mother, because her flame, though steady in my younger years, was not so long-lived, and it flickered under the winds of my adult wanderings; still her prayers for me might have endured even to her death; I can only suppose…

And then Paulette, because of her fellowship, her friendship, her acts of love, her prayers, her acceptance, and her quiet counsel in times when I was probably just too “on fire” for my own good, or the good of others…

And then, Scott, all for the same reasons, and then some: the brother I never had, and the brother who taught me about “family”

And there are more…probably prayer warriors along the way who never said a word to me, but knew enough to go to my Lord directly…

How does that “translate” for my personal life and witness?

I pray to be more sensitive to other “vessels” of the Holy Spirit’s “dunamis” whom He has laid, and continues to lay, along the path behind and before me. I pray to have a mind which remembers quickly that He has carefully chosen these vessels for deepening my own capacity for His power to be worked for His glory. I pray for a heart to see and to praise Him heartily for them.

But most of all, the greatest desire of my heart is to increasingly surrender to the goodness and love of Messiah’s government in my life, being transformed more and more, and worshipping Him in my here and now, forever… The “dunamis”, the effect of that surrender, belongs entirely to the King of glory…

Being Human

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my Strength and my Redeemer. –Psalm 19.14

Early May brought the conclusion of nine months of study of the Book of Luke in the Bible. Last September, when my Community Bible Study leaders announced that our Bible study would cover the Book of Luke, my inward parts thought I would not learn much that was new or even challenging to my life. I confess that I even groaned a little, because I was hungry for something that would challenge me and change me. My pride in my decades of Bible study led me to entertain a fantasy that I would probably not be provoked or challenged by the sublime familiarity with the content of Luke’s testimony of Jesus Christ. So, naturally, I was surprised when, along about November, I was awakened to a new and deep challenge to my life: seeing in living color, panoramic vision, and soul-surround what it means to be human…

I have been meditating on this for months, prayerfully seeking expression of what God has shown me in the Book of Luke about being a human. If you want me to quote specific passages of the Book of Luke, I cannot oblige you in the space of this entry. Seeing the life and character of the perfect humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ unfold on the pages of the Book of Luke showed me that Jesus is the perfect model of being human—from the hour of His birth, throughout the accounts of his youth and in every action and response and prayer in His earthly ministry unto death. On the pages of the Book of Luke, I found the Living Truth driven deeper into my understanding about my intended place in relationship to God; that is, to be in relationship with God is to be human. To abandon relationship with God and to deny His existence is to become un-human. Thirty-four years ago, I relinquished my “humanism” to bow before the Lord Jesus Christ whose grace and sovereignty I was glad to embrace. But in this study of His life and ministry God impressed on my heart a greater awareness of what He thought about when He formed me in my mother’s womb. I was not formed to perpetuate my SELF.

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us…Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day… –2 Corinthians 4.7,16

As I examined Luke’s record of Jesus’ life in His earthen vessel, I saw Him totally co-operative with the Father—the purpose for which Adam and Eve were created from the beginning, as being a real human. Where the first Adam abandoned his cooperation with God, the Second Adam, Jesus Christ awakened us who have been blinded to what being in full cooperation with God is like. Besides His miracles which were the authenticating signs of His Deity and authority to judge, His obedience to the Father in all things is the authenticating sign of His Perfect Humanity and His right to judge all who perpetuate rebellion against God—because He demonstrated obedience without fault in His Humanity. In His human vessel, Jesus lived to co-operate with and to glorify the Father—the same purpose for which Adam was formed. His is the Image imprinted upon us, and legally whose image we bear it is the authority of this One we are to honor and uphold. His is the Spirit Breath which was breathed into Adam’s lifeless clay and made him alive.

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. –Genesis 1.26; 2.7

This is what being a real human is; anything less is a perversion of humanity. Adam corrupted humanity and wounded all creation with his rebellion against God. By his rebellion against God, Adam did not exalt his humanity, he lost it; he was blinded to his humanity and has passed on a perverted image of it throughout his generations. But Jesus, the Son of God, was humbled to live in a human vessel for the purpose of turning the hearts of the children to the Father, to fulfill the Law, and to keep the Father’s promise of the redemption of Adam’s progeny. Even the angels of Heaven have not experienced such a work of valiant, sacrificial, glorious love. This is what it means to be human…

As a former “humanist” who worshiped a god of my own making, I might be read here as returning to my humanistic rantings of old, in which I placed humans as the highest form of life in the universe. This was all before God took hold of my blindness and opened my eyes to what it means to live in denial of Him. You might be asking, “Isn’t she just substituting one form of humanism for another?” No. I am not promoting worship of man or his “human spirit.” What I am saying is that if a person refuses to put the Lord Jesus Christ first and supreme in his life, he is abandoning his real humanity; his life is on the road to becoming less and less human. It is only in Christ Jesus that a person will ever begin to become—to grow into the fullness of being—a real human again, the being God intended when He formed him with His own Hands and breathed into his nostrils His own Life-giving Breath.

velveteen rabbit - becoming

To be a real human is to be humbled to the truth of my resident inclination to resist surrendering to God, to be willing to be numbered with the transgressors. To be a real human is to trust in the redemptive work of Jesus Christ to rescue me from the perversion which has corrupted my understanding. To be a real human is to become like Jesus. To be a real human is to choose surrender to and co-operation with the will of the Father in the Lord Jesus Christ by the Spirit of God.

What all this looks like in my here-and-now, I cannot begin to define or describe. I am not drawn to paint a “selfie,” because I can only see what I am becoming through a smoky glass at best.

I do know that I am glad I have been rescued out of my treason against God by His gift of grace and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. By Jesus’ redemptive work I have been restored to becoming a real human. By the record of Jesus’ Life in the Word of God, I have the perfect description of what being a real human looks like—surrendering to the will of my Father without bristling and kicking against it; increasing His Name and His Reign in the earth; seeking the increase of His government in my life… Easy for angels; valiant, passionate, glorious victory in Jesus for those who are real humans.

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