No More Still

It’s been a long time since I’ve

had something to say

with these fingers and keys.

Yet, today, they skip and click

back and forth–

able, once more,

to press symbols into service

and mold memos into message

until silence takes its place

between the gaps

of a rising

voice.

The first notes of promise

cause the mind to stir with

confidence,

gratitude,

and dreams of discourse

that are

first, extravagant

then, reasonable.

The final conclusion

is this:

the words that come

must belong to today’s stage

and not one already buried by time.

Whatever untold,

but insistent upon expression,

will ultimately arise

at a relevant time.

Until then,

mysteries will

hold their tongue,

but no more

our attention.

Why can’t I stand up for what I believe in?

“What am I to do with the people I’ve got around Me, Lord?” I wonder, feeling drained. “I feel like I haven’t been firm enough with them about what I’m interested in hearing from them and what I’m not. I need a boundary here–they can’t be constantly bringing me suggestions that I can’t use. If I wish they wouldn’t give them to me, I should do a little more to make that clear.

“The more clear I get about what You want for me, the more that has to translate into my demeanor in conversation. But, right now, Lord, I’m not doing that. I need so much help from You!”

You have a deep seated fear of arrogance and closing yourself off from people. You’re afraid of making a mistake you can’t undo. But you can’t live in service to that fear. I didn’t die to give you away to that fear. I intended to have you all to Myself.

So this is what you’re going to do: Let Me handle the consequences of you going all out in regard to what I have put on your heart. You don’t have to be apologetic–I do not need to be apologized for. And you’re moving based on what I’ve said, right?

That makes it quite simple. Whatever I’ve laid upon your heart is reliable. It’s from Me–so lean into it. “Sorry, I don’t believe that is something God has for me to pursue right now”–say this when the words of others would lead you in ways you can’t follow.

Yes, some of your listeners won’t live up to their name; their unbelief will shake your confidence in being belief-directed and not research-driven. That is okay. I’ve put you where you are and I’m not trying to find ways to get you out of where you are. You don’t have to move until I say so.

So what if I don’t have all the answers? Isn’t faith more than that?

“Okay, we have a problem here, Lord,” he insists. “You know it and I know it. And we have to do something about it. That’s just all there is to it.”

He takes a moment to discern what solution might fit the needs of the situation, trusting that God knows exactly what He’s talking about.

What God knows is that Jason is confident that things would be so much easier for him as he walks this path with his Father, if he could do more to relate what God’s doing with him to the curious folks around him.

They want to know already, so why shouldn’t He have something interesting and challenging to offer them? Isn’t that why God allowed their appetite for information to be stirred up anyway?

Normally he wouldn’t jump to the idea of trying to use language as a way to unite himself with others in large groups, but so far “living as an expression of his faith” hasn’t been working quite the miracles in his observers as he had hoped for. God seems reluctant to make things obvious to the bewildered multitude he runs across everyday, so he figures it would only make sense to do a little explaining.

His wife finds the hardest part of this the fact that no one seems to understand them, to even give them a chance because what they’re doing isn’t predictable.

But, he’s more worried about the fact that no one is being blessed by what God’s doing in their lives. He thought when God began turning your life upside-down it was supposed to serve as a community-building affair, but so far the only things he’s seen getting built have been walls designed to keep him and his wife out. He can’t stand that.

This is not how things were supposed to work out. Come on, God is supposed to take care of His children and make their way clear when He sees that they are doing everything just as He’s asked them to–that’s part of the deal.

But Jason’s words don’t seem to find God on the same page. Maybe not even in the same book.

So is that what you’re worried about, My son? Your reputation, your standing with the people, your opportunities to give clarity to the purpose and direction of your life? Forgive yourself the feelings you’ll have when I ask you this: Do you think any of this really matters?

Come on, do you think these are My greatest interests? Yes, I am a God who reveals Myself, but I don’t do it merely because human beings are a bit inquisitive, because they just want to “know what’s going on.”

No, I’m not arrested in My purposes by things like that. I look, instead, for a heart that is truly searching, that wants to find Me and to find out who I am by whatever means I afford.

But hearts like that are few and far between. But, that’s okay. I locate those hearts and I direct you to them–I don’t ask you to find them all by yourself and I certainly don’t instruct you to convert the hearts of the masses into hearts like these.

That is not your purpose. Your purpose is to love Me and serve Me with all your heart and let it serve whatever purposes I enable it to. That is that. Now, get back to work and quit worrying. I’m on the job with you, remember?

I never volunteered to be a center of conflict between You and the world, Lord!

“God, I don’t understand,” she murmurs as she stretches, wanting sleep more than she wants to get up and do what He’s calling her to do. “The world wants something of me and You want something else. I feel so caught in the middle–especially when Mama is one of the ones who comes under the heading of ‘the world.’

“I know she loves me, and You know it too, but somehow You have a way of getting in the way of that love accomplishing its ends. Like right now, for instance,” she adds as she rises to retrieve her laptop from its perch on her bureau where she left it a slim five minutes before.

“Here I am, getting my computer again, when I told her I would try to get some sleep. You just won’t leave me alone.”

“I know,” she concedes when she resumes her place on the bed with everything situated in a way that’s comfortable for her to write, “I’m grateful for the kindness You demonstrate to me in this invitation to get up and write the words You give me, but it sure doesn’t suit Mama’s schedule. She would have liked me to be in my own little dream world hours ago but, instead, I’m putting that on hold so I can inhabit Yours . It’s lovely, Lord, but she doesn’t feel quite the same way we do about it.

“It’s not that she’s against it all,” she feels the need to add. “It’s just that Mama doesn’t seem to quite ‘get’ where all my quirky occupations come from–particularly the ones I engage in at unconventional hours,” she offers with a laugh.

“I think she thinks a lot of what I do for You is not necessarily prompted by Your Spirit, but by my own lack of practical insight about how life really needs to be lived,” she says as she pictures what Mama would call “living with balance.”

“I try to explain it to her,” she heaves the words with a sigh, “but so far it looks like this is just something that’s going to remain special to only the two of us, Lord.”

God doesn’t wait a moment and He’s answering her with a fresh perspective of her plight:

Isn’t that okay, My love? Isn’t our love and the relationship we share allowed to be private–something that no one else is quite able to share…or figure out? Isn’t that the specialness of being so intimate with Me–you can be vulnerable in a way that you can’t with anyone else?

I know it doesn’t always make for things being so great with your Mama, but don’t you think I’m in control of that, too? I’m not going to let things fall apart on you. I just want you to see that your commitment to Me trumps your commitment to your Mama–even if her ideas for your welfare are good ones. You cannot cling to her–even to the idea of pleasing her–if you are to walk with Me wholeheartedly and unabashedly.

The path I have called you to is one that belongs to you and I…that is all. This is not cruel; it is just the essence of My design for humanity in general. You were supposed to know Me in community, but community was always meant to serve My purposes, not the other way around.

So, just keep on, My daughter–remembering that you were My daughter first. Your momma will give suggestions to you for how you should live, and I expect you to respect her suggestions, but I want you to keep your attention on obeying Me. See the difference? Free will regards the wills of others with patience and grace, but it yields itself to One only…and that, of course, is Me. Are we clear? ‘Cause I think it’s time for you to go to bed now…

Is God a risk YOU are willing to take?

Enter, Lord, into this life with me. I cannot “do” it without Your presence. You make life liveable and I can’t run from that. I’ve tried to tune out the truth and go on believing like I did before–that You are only an add-on to my normal life essentials. But You are now so big that you stand between me and the lies that were my insulation from this intimacy we have.

I confess that I did not know that intimacy was this painful. I thought it was all romantic candlelight and perfect rose petals in my favorite color. But intimacy is You…taking me…as I am. It is scary, Lord. It is not everything I want it to be. It stretches me beyond where I want to go. It beckons me to live on the edge of what makes me comfortable, what makes me comfortable and secure apart from You.

I don’t want intimacy with You to do all the things that it does to me, but what are my other choices? To have no part in You at all? To forever stay on the outside of really knowing You? Can I do that? Can I really forfeit life in its essence–perfect and purifying? No, Father, You are my answer to that.

You’ve already made my heart beat for You in places too deep for words, too deep for me to fully know. No, Father, I am Yours. You have given me my name and my right to be with You. May I not lay that blessing aside. Instead, may Your desire for me overwhelm and lead my desire for You. May You be true to me when I know not how to be so to You. I ask these things, God, because I know who You are and You are One I can trust.

When is the last time you let God have all you had in a given moment–whether that was beautiful or so full of shame that your insides begged you to hold back and give God less than the true you? I have found myself in both places and honestly, either one can be a struggle–for, what I believe is my own I like to keep that way. Some things I would like to believe are really none of God’s business–after all, they might alter our relationship in a way that I don’t like. So I bid to hold back. I fail to risk.

But God keeps testing my heart to see if that is really what I want; to see if my spirit will not rise up in agreement with His–insisting I will have intimacy with God at any cost. What we often do not realize is that intimacy with God is always valued at the price of how much of ourselves we lay down before Him. Intimacy is not a gift that can be given to us, it is something that we must participate in for it to be authentic and satisfying…even for it to be real.

Not many of us want to give that much of ourselves to God. We don’t want to choose sacrifice. Maybe if it is demanded of us and we have no other option, we will comply with such a charge, but when intimacy and self-sacrifice and -exposure are only the calling of Love upon our souls, we hold back. We take it slow. We fail to move or adjust our position. We give God nothing.

Most, if not all, of us want it to be proven to us that the risk is worthwhile. We would even like to see what the results will be before we have fully engaged ourselves in it. We just want to be safe. But at what cost? At the cost of never giving to God? At the cost of never knowing deeply and life-changing-ly His power and love because He doesn’t fit our perceptions of what would make a good life for us?

Yet, there are some of us that decide–in light of all that we’ve considered–it is too great a risk to do anything but risk for the sake of knowing God. After all, what are we left with if we have not Him? If all is not Him, can anything bless us at all? If the prospect of God touching us and asserting His glory in and upon us is not enough to awaken your soul to the thrill of abandonment, what is? The question is, What do you consider the greater risk: Living all to God or not?

“Me without You is a Lie”

God and I sit together. It is early. We are together because I have a need. I don’t know anyone else with whom I can spill my heart and know that nothing is lost. So, with boldness I speak. My heart I put in His hands with every word that springs from the well within. And He listens. He does not tell me what I should think, but He does not leave my thinking as it is either.

He quietly waits for me to hear Him. And He calls my name, “Beloved.”

I have not chosen you because you have it all together. My love does not demand a protocol. I only want you to withstand no separation from Me. It’s simple what I want for you, Dearest One. I am after your heart and here you are giving it to Me. Do you think I could be anymore pleased with you than I am now? Be still and know the favor of the Lord who saved you and now supplies you with all you need. Amen.

I speared someone with a fork

Yes, that’s what I did. No excuses, no explanation; the title tells the truth. As much as I’d like you to believe–like I want to–that I am nothing but a thoroughly nice and compassionate person, the story of my character is just more complicated than that. I do what I don’t want to do. What I wish I did in certain situations, I don’t.

Sin is traced through my behaviors in such a way that I can’t obscure it. I can pretend it is not there, but I cannot alter reality to agree with me. So, what is my hope? I can’t erase this occasion of violence; neither can I obliterate the case it makes for my heart’s impurity. I am in need of not just forgiveness but an execution of spiritual transformation.

For that I cannot look to myself or anything that I can see or touch in my world. I need more than an intervention. I need a regenerated heart. I must be filled with a Life that is unknown to this world and its corruption. I need something that belongs only to God.

I praise God that I can have His righteousness to cover me. You may think, “But you don’t deserve it!” You’re right, I don’t. If I could deserve it, I wouldn’t need it.

That’s all there is to it. If I will trade in my unrighteous rags, Christ will transfer His majestic righteousness to me. He will not only cover me with His moral perfection, but He will daily cause the pristine quality of His character to seep into me and change me.

At the moment, I am still in the middle of experiencing the glorious process in which Christ’s character seeps into me. That process is not finished. Thus, I still have moments like the one where I used a fork in a way that injured another person. I still need mercy. I do not need excuses, but mercy is not an excuse. Rather, it is a gift that abounds toward the one who is guilty. It provides the opportunity for a new start that is not deserved. Mercy is everything about God and His glory transcending our sin.

Where does mercy fit in your life? Maybe you welcome it with open arms–rejoicing in the Savior who gives it. But, perhaps you reject it–either believing that you are not quite bad enough to warrant it or that you are so evil that mercy could never be enough.

 

 

If I can’t trust God with my mistakes, I can’t trust Him with anything

The worries escalate, moment by moment. This is not how I wanted things to turn out. I feel a victim of my own choices, errors I can’t change. I wonder what God can do with what I’ve done.

I’m not really sure if I believe His recreating power can trump the mess I’ve made. It seems He’ll have to prove to me what He can do.

Maybe you find yourself in the same place today. You don’t know what you’re going to do with imperfections and transgressions that cloud your thinking with doom and threaten your faith with awful fantasies of condemnation.

May I encourage you that where your enemy is relentless in laser-beaming your focus on yourself, your Savior is all about lifting your gaze to Himself. He knows that you sin and make mistakes–none of that surprises Him–but His love is never trapped by the web of your misdemeanors.

Rather, He wants you to understand that He means for you to be caught up in the web of His love–a web so strong that nothing can penetrate it or cause it to let go of you. In this web you are safe, you can be still. But, what is even more wonderful than this: You can trust that the One whose love supports you is the One who presses in upon your heart, conforming it in every way into the image of Himself.

There is victory even in the bleakest of moments because victory doesn’t depend on you. All that is necessary is for you to depend on the One who holds the title deed to every victory from the cross to eternity. Will you trust Him today?

In what areas of your heart do you waver in trust? Where are you convinced that your sin is too big for God to recover the loss?