Comprehending the opposites.

Scripture: Matthew 25:31-34 NLT

“But when the Son of Man  comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne.    All the nations  will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.    He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left. “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world.

It struck me, today, that the unspeakable joy that will come at the moment of salvation will be laced with a level of understanding of the equally unspeakable anguish that would be the denial of that salvation. And, far from ruining that joy, it will complete and enrich it . . . the way that coming through rocky wastelands in my own life have given me a depth of empathy and love that I simply could not have had otherwise. We humans just don't appreciate the relief of coolness until a truly heated day. Or the pleasure of nourishment until we have been truly hungered.

Father, lead me to You. Please. I'm ready for a little rest, for more of You in my life.  Show me better how to lean on You, how to accept Your love, and how to shower it on everyone I meet.  I just want others to know even the same tiny taste of the joy of salvation that I have tasted, and to give them vision towards which to walk, so they might not perish.  And I long for more of You. In Jesus' name, amen.

It's time to wake the sleepers!

Scripture: 1 John 1:10-13 NLT

He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him.  He came to his own people, and even they rejected him.  But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.  They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.

Observation: 

Not everyone will "get it" . . . even (and maybe especially) those who have long proclaimed themselves as chosen & favored of God.  And yet, this passage states plainly that ALL who believe and accept Christ WILL be reborn.  The rebirth seems like the litmus test for the believer.  Not yet having experienced it doesn't mean you're doomed--just that you have something awesome and amazing out in front of you as you continue to humble yourself and seek the Christ.

Application: 

We who profess the Son of God have to be earnest about it.  Serious. Joyful. Excited. Unrestrainable!  We can't call Him our Lord, and then live like the world.  Or even like most of Christianity.  There are a multitude of variations on "worldly" living . . . but underneath, they're all just new spins on the same old theme: they place in our hearts, in the very most holy and sacred temples of God on the earth, idols that moth and dust can--and will--corrupt.  We have been charged to seek God, and His holiness.  To pursue Him, to press in, to praise and worship Him not only at church but in our lives, in our every step every day.

"And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?  Do ye exercise faith in the redemption of him who created you? . . . And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?"

--Alma 5:14-15, 26

God took my faith, took my belief in Him, and stripped away everything I had built up around it . . . all of my trust in the arm of flesh. And in doing it, He revealed Himself--and suddenly, my sure belief in Him went from a comfortable, Son-warmed rock on which to rest quietly, to a massive mountain, upon which I stand, praising and proclaiming the Love and GOOD News of Jesus. The difference isn't just night and day . . . it's fire and ice . . . a raindrop and the most tempestuously powerful ocean.

Don't give up, church. Don't give into the weariness that comes on all of us from time to time. (I'm on a high right now . . . and I'm riding it for all it's worth!) Hold on to one another. Love one another. (Oh, how I could write and write on that one little three word sentence!) Worship. Pray. Spend real time in the Word. Follow the Holy Spirit. And be glad!!! :o) And do this not only for your own salvation, but for the salvation of those around you. And for the times that WILL come, in my life, when you're the one on the high, and I need your strength and the power of your joyous faith.

Prayer:

Lord of Hosts, I know that You know me. Little, mortal, imperfect, me. I know that You are the Judge . . . and the day of judgement is not yet. (Oh, hallelujah!!!) There is time yet to find You, to preach You, to shout Your praises and the gloriously Good News from the mountaintops of our faith. Help me to know how to proclaim You to everyone I see. Give me the words, the actions, the thoughts & feelings it'll take to wake up your sleepwalking followers who, wander in a broad and open plain. And my heart aches for those I know who now stand far from you, walking in dead works. Let me help, Lord. Please. In Jesus' all-gracious name, amen!

Not yet, Lord. Not yet . . .

Scripture: 2 Timothy 4:8

[As to what remains] henceforth there is laid up for me the [victor's] crown of righteousness [for being right with God and doing right], which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me and recompense me on that [great] day--and not to me only, but also to all those who have loved and yearned for and welcomed His appearing (His return).

Observation: Joy, a wonderful, amazing, beautiful and beyond description joy and love will, at the Second Coming, flood those who love and yearn for and live after the manner of Christ.

He who earnestly seeks after and craves righteousness, mercy and loving-kindness will find life in addition to righteousness (uprightness and right standing with God) and honor. (Prov 21:21 AMP)

Application: I really do long to physically be in Christ's presence, and for Him to return to the earth and set all to rights. But at the same time, my heart aches so much for those that don't have an assurance of the remission of their sins, and I don't want Christ to come quite yet. There is so much yet to do, so many yet to reach.

Prayer: Father, let me find all those I am sent to find in this life, and to embrace them in the arms of Christ's love.  Fill me with that love to overflowing, so everyone I touch, everyone I speak to, everyone I look in the eye, everyone who even sets eyes on me, will FEEL Your love, and never be the same again.  I don't want to do any of Your work under my own power or influence--I want to simply be Yours.  Make me Your instrument, so the gentle tendrils of unspeakable divine love may reach out and twine around people's hearts, drawing them inexplicably back to You.  Please.  Let the souls of Your children feel You, and even if they don't understand what is happening, awaken their souls to Christ. In Jesus' name, so be it! Amen.