Sunday, August 24, 2014

On the Outside Looking In

We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words—to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it. . . . At present we are on the outside of the world, the wrong side of the door. We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the splendors we see. But all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumor that it will not always be so. Some day, God willing, we shall get in...

The Case For The Psalms NT Wright

Love this quote...and what it brings to mind.  We should never settle for something less than what we were intended to be.  It is only in participation with Christ in a life journey that we even have the insight to know that we stuck between the already and the not yet.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Notes to the Lord from NC

1John 1

2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim you the eternal life,which was with the Father and has appeared to us.

The Life appeared

Lord Jesus --You are the life. Nothing else is enough. Nothing else compares to life lived out within your call. Life lived in you is real. Your resurrection and accession mean that you represent me to the Father. The Father is reminded of your DNA every time he looks in your direction. That is what I hold on to in the times when my heart loses tract of my speak words of grace to the Father on my behalf.

You are the example we have of eternal life. A life that was lived to create relationship...and lived out the implications of grace personally.  It wasn't  abstract at all but a sweat and blood drenched offering of grace.

3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We write this to make our joy complete.

Lord Jesus--This journey of faith never comes to a place where it is over or where we are finished. Relationship is what you call me to over and over again. Forgive me for those places where I wander from the simple reality of your grace. Grace leads naturally to relationship.  When it doesn't something is wrong.

So where is the up
close and personal?   Living with eternity in mind flavors every relationship with grace...remind me today of this simple truth.  There are no throw away interactions with people.  All of it is sacred.

Tidbit from watching the Grandkids...Collin is my one and only, at this point grandson, ...he is just working through separation anxiety and I am one of the people who he is getting used to take care of him.  Separation anxiety makes him fearful and tearful when his parents leave him.  Adult Jesus followers don't need to have separation anxiety when it comes to You.   Do we Lord Jesus?  Your life is within us...your Spirit inhabits our days.  So why is to easy to fall into that trap when there are times of quiet?  It is so easy to get distracted.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Notes From Vacation

1 John 1:1
New International Version (NIV)

1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes,which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.

Lord Jesus- John had an immediacy that was present in all his writing. It was a result of interacting with you during your ministry. There are times when it seems as if there is that same sense of being right in the mix with you in my life. I have heard. I have seen you hands have touched what you have done. There is a cutting edge to life in the spirit...and then there are those times when it all appears to be past tense.

Even in those times John reminds me that there is proclamation to do. He has worked. He will work again. This is not the place where His work ends. This reminds me of the beginning of the John’s gospel, pretty sure he meant that to be the case.

Don’t let me miss that this is about the "word of life...the word of life" Life is the theme. Life where your word has cutting edge application.

ISA 55:11 ESV

so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

This is the word of life it will not return to You empty.  Even when it seems like there is no impact that is visible.  Your word changes all it touches. It changes me...inside and out, It changes those who hear it just by washing over them one more time.  Sometimes they just feeling like words....but that is just how it looks from where I am sitting.  I can't be fooled anymore. There is power that is released in each hearing.

Romans 10:17 ESV

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

Don't let me forget that it is the word of needs to be heard and lived out in my life in a way that shows first to those closest to me and then outward...the word of life that we touch...the word of life that is lived out today...the word that faith comes as we live it out day by day.

So Lord Jesus how do I live it out today? In this place with little ones surrounding me and the lady  that you gave me looking on? How do it make it all does it become the word of life today in my little world. That is the job for wrap little ones in your love and to live out the word of life today.  Jesus help me. Help when I feel like me when I get me when my frustration rises to know that the word of life is with me no matter how I feel. Let me enjoy that time that passes so quickly....almost before I know it.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

It is all about Goodness, Grace and Glory

I ran accross this quote recently...

God did not bring you into the world because He had any need of you, useless as you are; but solely that He might show forth His Goodness in you, giving you His Grace and Glory. And to this end He gave you understanding that you might know Him, memory that you might think of Him, a will that you might love Him, imagination that you might realise His mercies, sight that you might behold the marvels of His works, speech that you might praise Him, and so on with all your other faculties..-- Francis de Sales

There are days where we all feel useless...but even then we have a purpose. We are designed to show God's goodness, His glory and His grace. So in the day that awaits we have work to do. We need to live the day with our eyes wide open to the movements of His grace, our hearts listening for His voice, our memories rehearsing His acts of mercy to us, and words pointing toward His glory.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Harvest Workers?

Scripture Reflection: Matthew 9: 35 – 38

35 Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. 36 Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then He said to His disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. 38 "Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest."

Jesus, you really saw the people….with eyes of compassion…help me to see through your eyes the people the surround me.  Help me to understand the needs in a way that I have not in the past.  Help me to see beyond the present presentation to the kind of person that they can be,  if touched by your Holy Spirit.

Jesus you saw the people that presented to you in need in a way that only you can.  As people who needed your touch, your healing, your ministry to their hurts both physical and emotional.

You knew that they need leadership and direction.  You knew the need that surrounded you.  You knew the need for workers for your harvest. Help me to remember that it is your harvest and not mine… you are the one that owns the harvest…the seed and the field…I am just the farm hand.

This request that you made of the disciples,  you asked them to pray to the Father for the workers that were need.  You who were the agent of creation…were limited and were unable within the present context to do the whole job…unless the Father sent the needed workers.  It is interesting that all but one of those who were asked to pray became the answer to their prayers.  Funny how that works...

You walked the cities, the streets, towns and the villages, you knew the need up close and personal.  You saw the death…you saw the twisting that was going on of peoples hopes and dreams and of what could be...and you asked the disciples to pray not just for the harvest but for harvest workers.  In fact the harvest was assumed.

In this day that will start all too soon, give me your eyes to see the people that surround me with you eyes, to identify the needs with eyes like yours.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Trust Verses Moral Muscle

Romans 8:5-8
5-8 Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. 

I can only trust that you have lead me to the place where I am at for a reason.  I am here with the blessings and the growing edges as a part of the plan.  It is not coincidence or luck that has brought me here but blessing and grace.   

Those who trust God's action in them find that God's Spirit is in them—living and breathing God!

So the point is not moral muscle but grace and hope worked out over a lifetime of trusting for the next step to be shown. So really you call me to trusting for the next step to be able to sense the Spirits power at work. The validation of the Spirit comes as I step out in faith and trust.

Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. 

Ok so the lesson to learn is not to focus on where I am but where you are Jesus?  You are at work in your people…you are at work shaping and impacting events and forces that shape my world.  You are at work shaping and changing me in that process at the same time. 

You are at work in this place so it can be a place of holiness and of hope a place of dynamic and sustained vitality…a place of new challenges…a place where the Spirit of the Living God can work freely and without constraint.

The focus needs to be on you and on your grace not on legalism and on dotting “I’s” and crossing “T’s” not on self in the sense that the Law can some how fix what is wrong inside…it just can not happened. 

So what is the next step?  How do I begin to focus on you instead of self? 

Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. That person ignores who God is and what he is doing. And God isn't pleased at being ignored.

The start is in thanksgiving and gratefulness for what you have already done.   I am blessed and I am cared for and I have been lead.  All of that is because of your grace at work within me.  That has been a work of power…to take me and bring me to where I am right now.  You have been the one to provide and sustain, to strengthen and to protect. You have been at work throughout my life and I trust you to continue that work. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Thoughts From Back of the Bus

Started this a couple of months ago and never finished it. It was late fall and I was on my way out of town Psalm 25 just came up in my devotions as we were starting our trip down to OBX.  

There were no enemies surrounding me that I know of...but the journey just reminded me of this psalm. We know so little on the left and the right our our path...and yet we are protected and provided for in such good supply.
Psalm 25 
To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
2 O my God, in You I trust,
Do not let me be ashamed;
Do not let my enemies exult over me.

Starting points are important. Trust is the place to start my journey each in the goodness and the grace of my Lord. I forget that so much of my journey is about when I start and where I end up. So much of it is circles...

This morning I lift up my soul to you. I lift up the thoughts of my heart in these early morning moments. Even though I over look it often, I have experienced your protection this week, even when I wasn't aware of it you were still protecting. The call is to trust in your protection even, when enemies seem to be everywhere.
Am I investing my trust in you? There are times when I sense the enemy of my soul pacing me...stalking me. You are my only hope Lord...the one to whom I can run. I put my trust in your watchcare and your goodness, for this day that yawns out before me.
3 Indeed, none of those who wait for You will be ashamed;
Those who deal treacherously without cause will be ashamed.Wait for the Lord...hmm novel thought. Not something that I do very often.

4 Make me know Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths.

5 Lead me in Your truth and teach me,For You are the God of my salvation;For You I wait all the day.

There is much more intention and direction to the journey than I am aware of, Lord. From my view of the back of the bus it looks as if we are just barely within the guard rails...but then how much can you see from the back seat?

Timing is in your hands not in mine. I do not and cannot force the duration of your blessing or of those times of trouble that come my way. All that I can do is praise your wisdom, grace and mercy given to me at the beginning of each day.