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Tuesday, November 9, 2010
I posted a new meditation today entitled "Reflections".
Do you realize that those around you can be greatly moved and inspired by your own simple abandonment and joy as you reflect the glory in the "face of Christ"? Perhaps without so much as a word, the reality ... the beauty of Who He is can become real to those around you, as they observe you beholding Him. More...
Friday, April 16, 2010I want to share a brief story about a "holy moment" from several weeks ago.
The Spiritual Rock That Accompanied Them
Reading through a section in 1 Corinthians, in which Paul is reminding the believers to learn from Israel's past, and mistakes, Paul happens to mention something that seemed to "jump off the page" this morning.
"For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ." (1 Cor 10: 1 - 4)
He was saying this most likely to warn them not to take Christ's grace for granted, and to be wary of making the same mistakes the Israelites made.
At the same time, one of the statements seems so profound and encouraging: "the spiritual rock that accompanied them ... that rock was Christ".
What an encouraging word! If you are a follower of Jesus, let it encourage your heart, that not only for the Israelites, but ALL THE MORE SO for you, the "spiritual Rock" accompanies you on your journey, wherever He may lead you, along whatever path.... Let that Rock pour forth that spiritual drink and quench your thirst today. Perhaps you need to sit in the shade of that Rock to shield you from the harsh elements that surround you, or maybe you need to stand on that Rock, high above the enemies of your soul, to get His perspective.
...For He is truly, forever, the "Rock that is higher than I".
Secure, in Him,
Now and then a simple sentence or two can sum things up enough to set our hearts at ease. This morning, while reading a passage from Luke, the words jumped from the page to my heart, bringing confidence in Christ. Hopefully by sharing them here, they may inspire others as well.
Jesus was warning His disciples about the difficult times at the "end of the age", and letting them know they would be put in difficult situations, being "brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. This will result in your being witnesses to them." (Luke 21: 12b - 13)
In verse 14 - 15 He says the following, that spoke to my heart about situations that all too often tend to make me "tongue-tied" and bewildered:
"But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict."
Surely, reading His responses to His accusers in the final days of His life on earth show that HE had those words and wisdom. Oh what a gift from God, to be able to refrain from obsessing on how WE will defend OURSELVES, and rather to allow HIM to BE our "defense"....
Dear Jesus, help me to "make up my mind beforehand" not to worry about how I will defend myself.... And thank You for sharing Yourself with us, so that by Your grace, we too can have "Your words"....
Blessings to you today, in Him,
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Let Go of the Snow
Have you ever felt like you were being hit while you were down? Things were already bad enough, and suddenly you found yourself being shaken to the core? If not you personally, do you know of someone who has felt that way?
We in the New York/New Jersey area were recently slammed with a HUGE snowstorm. At our house, we received a little more than 15 inches, which was relatively MILD for this storm, which apparently dumped from 2 to 3 feet in some nearby communities.
When shoveling from such big storms, some hedges on our property often do best with the snow shaken from them, helping them be at their best once spring finally arrives. The snow from this storm was not only deep, but also very heavy and wet ... not the light, powdery snow that usually accounts for such large snow totals. Almost all of our trees and shrubs were weighed down with massive amounts of thick, clinging snow, especially evergreen shrubs. Some were bowed down almost to the ground under the cold, heavy load.
I was clearing away this snow, using a broom to hit the branches to knock it off, and at times shaking the branches vigorously with my hand. The snow had begun to really stick to the branches, having formed some ice crystals as well. As the branches were freed from their loads, they sprang back to their "natural" position, or at least closer to "normal". One of the shrubs had been weighed down so fully that I couldn't even reach deep enough into the snow to free it, and it stubbornly held to its burdened posture. Another, sadly, even after being freed from its labor, remained in its bowed position, and only time will tell if it will eventually recover fully.
During these attempts to free these encumbered shrubs, desiring to prevent them from being hindered or damaged from the storm's onslaught, while at the same time hitting them so mercilessly, and shaking them almost violently, I began to ponder the uncanny similarity to the human condition.
How often do our lives resemble such shrubs, laboring beneath the weight of the cold, harsh realities of life ... bowed down, unable to stand tall and strong?
As a gardener, I want to protect these hedges from temporary or even permanent damage, and in so doing may need to treat them roughly in the process. The question lingers, as to whether the "Master Gardener" may at times, out of a desire to free us from the harsh burdens that hold us down, seem to be treating US harshly in the process.
The book of Hebrews (12: 5b - 13) seems to say something quite similar:
"... 'My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.'
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 'Make level paths for your feet,' so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed."
Has life dumped a "heavy load" on your shoulders? Maybe you were even partly to blame for it ... maybe not.... Maybe that burden has remained untouched for a period of long, cold, hard days, and has become icy and hardened. Could it be that the Master Gardener has you in His grasp, attempting to free you from what is weighing you down, and the process is painful to say the least?
This is written to encourage you to hold on to your hope, trust in His plan, endure this season, and know that His desire for you is that you be standing tall "in Him", free and unencumbered, able to be all that He intended in His heart for you to be.
Shrubs are unable to "work with" the gardener; thankfully, we CAN cooperate. Even if you are like that bush that was so laden with snow that it was still bowed even after the snow was removed, He is able to retrain your form to stand straight again. Although I was unable to reach down low enough to pull that other shrub's branch loose from the mound of snow surrounding it, surely HE can reach down deeply enough to free us from ANYTHING. At the same time, if YOU have anything to do with the process, I urge you not to be like that bush, stubbornly holding its branches beneath its burden.
Willingly accept His embrace, and LET GO OF THE SNOW!
"...let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."
(Hebrews 12: 1b)