Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Fear of the Lord

Miners tunnel through the rock 
and bring earth's secrets to light. 
But where, oh where, will they find Wisdom? 
Mortals don't have a clue, 
haven't the slightest idea where to look.
It can't be found by looking, no matter 
how deep you dig, no matter how high you fly.
God alone knows the way to Wisdom, 
He addressed the human race: 
Here it is! Fear-of-the-Lord—
that's Wisdom... Job 28

Not too difficult to figure out 
why our world is so messed up.
There is no wisdom outside of Christ.
Not a micro morsel.
On this first morning of 2012, I am asking the Lord 
to awaken my sense of fear.
The right kind, the only kind.
The kind that leads to wisdom.
Would fear of anything else fall off!
"Let the love you have for Him 
cast out the fear you have for yourself."  Fenelon

Lord, would Your mercy fall on us.
Mercy mercy mercy 
over Your people, over this nation.
I am asking that You awaken the
"fear of the Lord" in Your people.
That 2012 would be off and running 
with wisdom as our foundation.
And that wisdom would proclaim, 
"Behold, regardless of what you see, 
what you hear and what you feel, 
2012 brings a message of Good News!"
Covered by mercy, 
grounded in the fear of the Lord,
recipients of Good News.
Oh 2012, you will be a very Good Year!

Friday, December 30, 2011

He Gathers What We Give

And He said, The kingdom of God is like a man 
who scatters seed upon the ground,
And then continues sleeping and rising night and day 
while the seed sprouts and grows and increases--
he knows not how. Mark 4
I was reading this parable and 
the Lord spoke a word of encouragement to me. 
It is a word of encouragement for anyone who needs it.

Daughter, every note you sing, 
every word you read, 
every prayer you pray, 
every selah you breathe
with a heart of reverence for me...
I gather them as seeds to sow back into your day.
Whether you sleep or get up, 
the seed sprouts and grows, 
through you are unaware.
You give Me that which costs you something
--your time--
and I value all of it.
I pour back abundantly more 
than you can ask or imagine.
Know that I am ordering your day.
Lood for Me and the direction I point
because it is all there.
Believe nothing that does not sound like Me.
Bring everything that concerns you to Me
for I will take care of it ALL.
This day has My blessing, My approval, and My love
written all over it.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

To Praise Him

Oh, that men would praise the Lord 
for His goodness and loving-kindness 
and His wonderful works to the children of men!
For He satisfies the longing soul and fills the hungry soul with good...
He turns a wilderness into a pool of water 
and a dry ground into water springs;
And there He makes the hungry to dwell, 
that they may prepare a city for habitation,
And sow fields, and plant vineyards which yield fruits of increase.
He blesses them also...
Psalm 107

Some morning I know nothing except that 
the Lord is worthy of praise.
He satisfies our longing soul,
and He fills our hungry soul with good.
He makes the hungry to dwell so that
He may have a city.
And He blesses us.
Lord, thank You for Your mercy and Your loving kindness.
For Your goodness to me.
You have greatly blessed me
and I am so grateful that You came
and rescued me.
Where would I go if not to Your loving arms?
Who would I be if not for Your child?
Why would I be if not so You could have a city?
Oh, that I would praise You for
all that is due Your name.
One thing have I asked of the Lord, 
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord, in His presence, 
all the days of my life, 
to behold and gaze upon the beauty of the Lord 
and to meditate, consider, and inquire in His temple.
For in the day of trouble,
He will hide me in His shelter; 
in the secret place of His tent will He hide me; 
He will set me high upon a rock.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Wonder...Again...and Again

The most critical issue facing Christians today... 
is dullness. We have lost our astonishment. 
The Good News is no longer good news;
it is okay news. 
Christianity is no longer life-changing;
it is life-enhancing. 
Jesus doesn’t change people into 
wild-eyed radicals anymore; 
He changes them into nice people.

Our culture is awash in immorality 
and drowning in dullness. 
We have forgotten how to dance, 
how to sing, and how to laugh. 
We have allowed technology 
to beat our imaginations into submission 
and have become tourists instead of travelers. 
Television alters our values, 
numbs us to life in all of its wildness. 
We have been stunted by mediocrity.” 
Mike Yaconelli, Dangerous Wonder

I came across this quote 
by Mike Yaconelli and had to put it up.
Again, the word wonder catches my attention.
We have come to see the Good News 
in the same way we see a good movie
or a good novel or even a good cup of coffee.
But the good news of the gospel doesn't really mean good,
not in the sense that we use it.
It is astonishingly good.
It is wondrously good.
It is good in the highest sense of the word.
It is filled with awe, wonder, grace and peace.
It is a gift, which is given anew every morning.
I wish that we had words that were illegal to use
in any other way but the one that would bring it the highest honor.
Words like good, holy, awesome...
Lord, I so want to know Your wonder.
What do You see today that I must see?
I need to see Your beauty and Your holiness
and be astonished at Your goodness
all day long.
I want to sojourn with You
and be led into the adventurous life.
By Your mercy and grace, 
I will not be a tourist today.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

God Rest

I originally wrote about this on Christmas morning 2010, 
and as I was re-reading it this morning, 
I knew it was my entry for today.
That is why I have always loved journaling.
It causes us to remember what we have been given.

God rest, ye merry gentlemen.
Let nothing you dismay.
Remember Christ--our Savior--
was born on Christmas day.
To save us all from Satan's power
while we were gone astray.
O tidings of comfort and joy.
As we celebrate this glorious season,
We can't let anything rob us of this God-rest perfect peace.
We have to remember that Christ was born at Christmas 
so that we could be born into another kingdom,
a kingdom of glorious light.
It is a gift of greatest worth,
a gift to bring comfort and joy 
in the midst of turmoil and darkness.
It is the gift of "God-rest."
Let nothing rob us of this!
Pastor Norm spoke about "God-rest" during 
the Christmas candlelight service,
and I was so impacted by this deep truth.
By the power of the Holy Spirit, 
God comes to conceive all that is in His heart.
God incarnate to dwell in us, 
His life made manifest in our flesh.
"Nothing is impossible with God."
That is what this season announces.
Lord, I receive Your grace to allow Your nature 
to transform this earthen vessel.
Because that is what You came to do.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Grinch, Charlie and Rudolph Tell a Story...

The message of a story can be mined over and over again, 
continually surprising us 
and enlarging our capacity to receive truth.

John Shea, Catholic theologian and author,
suggests that cultures everywhere 
have been telling stories of Christ's birth
to break open the deeper meaning of the holiday.  
Our best secular tales awaken us anew 
to the mystery embedded within Christmas.

Advent is about transformation, the change of heart 
which occurs when we recognize Immanuel, God is with us. 
This is Grinch's story.
When the Grinch realizes that 
all his efforts could not steal Christmas, 
he has a change of heart and a change of character.  
He can never be the same again.
Shea points to the real message 
of Charlie Brown's Christmas
when the Peanuts gang finally rally around Charlie Brown 
and around an unloved and unwanted tree 
to proclaim the Christmas message. 
And there is Rudolph, the Rejected Reindeer, 
who becomes a light in the darkness,
the one who shows the way as nobody else can. 
These truths of our Christmas faith:
The true meaning of Christmas
can never be stolen from a seeking heart.
And even from a heart that is more 
Grinchlike than Christlike.
That which is weak, vulnerable, and rejected 
has the power to change us, if we let it. 
The miracle on 34th Street
is the miracle everywhere.
While truth can't be proven, 
it can be known,
and the childlike know it best.
A child is born Savior of the world.
Immanuel has come to us.
May our stories be mixed with those already written
to awaken the wonder in others,
so that the wonder of Christmas
is awakened anew.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Wonder ... Again

The world will never starve for want of wonders, 
but for want of wonder.” 
G. K. Chesteron
I find myself coming back to the word wonder over and over.
Each day looks the same.
The sun rises, the sun sets.
The child says, "Do it again!!"
Apparently God likes that idea.
This morning I am marveling at the wonder of the day.
Thank You Lord for doing it again.
I have so much to be thankful for...
I often want to stop the day and soak it all in.
The tree is beautiful.
Gifts are wrapped.
My dad is here.
The kids are all here
and I want to freeze frame the moment.
That is a good thing.
When we truly appreciate and take it all in, 
we honor what God has done.
And He whispers, 
"I am going to do it again tomorrow.
It may look a little different, 
but the sun will rise and 
I am going to stamp the day 
with My goodness.
All over again."
Oh, to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
He could have made us 
without the ability to truly enjoy life.
We could have simply existed, 
going from one day to the other
without the privilege of collective memory,
without enjoyment.
But, He chose to make us in the image of Himself.
He delights in routine, in "doing it again."
He loves childlike wonder.

Today, I delight in the beauty of this day.
It looks a lot like yesterday.
I love that.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

To be a Ponderer

And all who heard it were astounded 
and marveled at what the shepherds told them.
But Mary was keeping within herself all these things, 
weighing and pondering them in her heart. Luke 2
Mary is one who not only took in the wonders of the season
but treasured them and pondered them in her heart.
I want to be a ponderer like Mary.
Anyone can be astonished at wonder.
But not everyone treasures and ponders beyond.
There are so many things to ponder.
A light shines in the darkness 
but the darkness does not overcome it.
The houses with the brightest lights 
do not necessarily best represent Christmas.
A quietly lit tree may speak the loudest.
The light that shines alone is the more defiant light.
It doesn't take over the darkness;
it says that despite all the darkness, 
this light will still shine.
Something to ponder.
She wrapped him in cloths 
and placed him in a manger, 
because there was no guest room available for them.
The paradox of love incarnated 
placed in a feeding troth, 
love that would later appear as the Bread of Life.
He came to a world that had no room for Him,
then and now.
The darkness and the hostile world
still try to relegate Him to somewhere outside.
But His wonder comes to defy both the darkness
and the hostile.
I want to ponder these things deeply in my heart.
Keeping these things and treasuring them.
I want to be a ponderer.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Secret Name

I'll give the sacred manna to every conqueror; 
I'll also give a clear, smooth stone 
inscribed with your new name, 
your secret new name.
Revelation 2:17
I was reading C S Lewis this morning 
and he mentioned this Scripture.
I have been thinking about this new name, 
this secret between me and God.
We all love secrets.
Apparently God has programmed us that way.
Secrets suggest intimacy.
We share things with those we love 
that we don't share with others.
God stamped us with an eternal secret  
before we are born,
this name that no one else will ever know.
He made each one of us with a distinct quality 
that will mark us for eternity.
It is for His glory.
This morning I am sitting before the Lord
wondering about this name for me 
that no one else knows.
Lord, I so don't want to be shocked when I learn it.
I want to live some measure of this name
right here on earth.
You want me to bring You praise 
in a way no one else can.
I can't get those clues anywhere else.
You are the only One who knows me that way.
And the only One who ever will.
He has a secret--
with each one of us.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Prince of Peace

Through the heartfelt mercies of our God, 
God's Sunrise will break in upon us, 
shining on those in the darkness, 
those sitting in the shadow of death-- 
then showing us the way, 
one foot at a time, 
down the path of peace. Luke 1
He came as the Prince of Peace.
Not giving peace the way the world gives it,
peace at all cost, whatever I have to do to get it.
But peace from another kingdom,
peace with God.
I have the privilege of looking into 
His undisturbed face 
and receiving His perfect peace 
every moment of every day.
He is my peace.
This is the truth I celebrate this season.
This is the hope I must carry with me
as I go about my day,
interacting with those who walk in darkness,
with those who sit in shadows.
There are many who cannot look into 
His undisturbed face
because they can't see Him.
They might only see me.
Lord, may Your Sunrise 
break upon me all day long, 
that I might be a demonstration 
of Your kingdom and bring Your peace
wherever I go.
Even if it is just a smile to someone
in need of Your love.
Thank You for leading me,
One foot at a time,
down the path of Your great peace.
I am asking that You would give me an opportunity today
to bring that peace to others.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Humility and Faith

Mary was engaged to be married to Joseph. 
Before they came to the marriage bed, 
Joseph discovered she was pregnant...
Joseph determined to take care of things quietly 
so Mary would not be disgraced.
While he was trying to figure a way out, he had a dream. 
God's angel spoke in the dream: 
"Joseph, son of David, don't hesitate to get married. 
Mary's pregnancy is Spirit-conceived. 
God's Holy Spirit has made her pregnant: 
He did exactly what God's angel commanded in the dream: 
He married Mary. But he did not consummate the marriage 
until she had the baby. He named the baby Jesus.

The story of the birth of Jesus usually focuses on Mary, 
and I have found much encouragement 
from her response to the Holy Spirit:
May it be unto me according to Your word.
This morning I have been impacted by 
Joseph's faith and humility.
When he first found out that Mary was pregnant, 
he thought more highly of her than he did himself.
When he found out through a dream that it was a God thing, 
he responded immediately out of faith.
He was a man of faith and humility,
laying down his own life down for the sake of another.
Joseph must have had previous challenges and trials in his life.
Faith was already real and character was already formed.
He was ready when his time came.
Lord, may I hear You like Joseph did.
I want faith and humility to shape my response 
to whatever You ask.
Whether it be in the daily promptings of faith
or in miraculous signs and wonders, 
may it be unto us according to Your word.
I want my reflex response to be faith and humility.
That Your glory may truly be seen through my life.
For real.
O come O come Immanuel.

Friday, December 16, 2011

My Beloved

"I am my Beloved's 
and He are mine
His desire is for me
Nothing can change His mind."
I have been listening to "Dove's Eyes" this morning.
Sometimes this is all we need to know.
Let me see your face, 
let me hear your voice; 
for your voice is sweet, 
and your face is lovely.

My beloved speaks and says to me, 
Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.
His great love for me is my life.
This morning, I rest in the knowledge
that I am His and He is mine.

Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can floods drown it...
His voice and speech are exceedingly sweet;
yes, He is altogether lovely
[the whole of Him delights and is precious].
This is my Beloved, and this is my Friend.

Jesus, I want to come away with You.
I love Your face.
I love Your presence.
This is all that matters.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

All Things

...He caused us to abound in all wisdom and insight, 
making known to us the mystery of His will, 
according to His good pleasure that He purposed in Him, 
for the administration of the fullness of times, 
to bring together all things in Christ, 
the things in the heavens and the things on the earth...Eph 1

These tiny portions of Scriptures have enormous implications.
He caused us to abound in ALL wisdom.
It was His good pleasure.
His purpose included bringing all things, 
both in heaven and on earth, 
together in Christ.

Thinking about this today with a glance 
at the word things.
Not just people?
Early this morning we lost our dog 
of almost 13 years.
The old question of what happens to the animals
crosses my mind again today.
Those darn pets have such inroads to our hearts.
Is our dog one of the "things" 
that come together in the fullness of time?
I certainly don't claim to know the answer to that.
But I know the One who does.
And I trust Him above all else.
He comes to comfort us 
in the midst of sorrow.
Today I am sad to lose a dog
who was faithful to us for many years. 
I trust in the One who stands at my side, 
faithful to me forever.