Archive for October 2009

Wildfire

October 24, 2009

I had a peculiar feeling the other day, so I sat down to write what the Lord was saying to me. He said this is how it is, how it’s going to be.

It’s like the day you look up and there is smoke on the horizon and, dang, now there’s fire, man is it moving fast, and you see that no-one is escaping the fire -woomp- there goes another neighbor and you look at your neighbor’s place being consumed and you say “Nooo”, but there they go, they are gone already. And the fire races on, it is heading for your place now, but it does a funny thing even though the wind is blowing like crazy, even though the flames are jumping from ten feet high to forty during the gusts. the fire is splitting and it’s going around your place, you were looking for your big shovel and testing the water hose, but now you just stand there and watch in puzzled fascination as the conflagration roars on by.

Then it hits you that none of your neighbors got away in time. and you run across the field over to Archie’s place and you look for the family, but they didn’t make it. and you fall on your knees and hot tears make rivulets on your ash stained cheeks. And it’s tough being alive when the neighbors didn’t even see it coming. They didn’t see it coming, but somehow you did. And you’re standing there alone for a while, surrounded by charred shapes, stunned, when you hear a little cry, you realize it’s a child and you run toward the sound and sure enough Becky, the three year old, is hanging onto the inside rim of the open cistern. She is terrified, you reach in and you coo and make soothing sounds and you hold back the tears. You know that putting the child in the tank was probably the last thing her mother did. So you pick her up and you hold the child close and you tell her it’s OK, and you walk home slowly. You hold the child closer and wrap your jean jacket around her, she is so cold from being wet and you don’t mind that she is getting you wet. She is so exhausted that she falls asleep in your arms still crying a little.

You are crushed by the devastation, your friends couldn’t be saved, it was just too quick, too thorough, yet there is joy in the saving of one life. Little whirlwinds of black ash swirl ahead of you as you carry your precious cargo home.

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that they all may be one

October 19, 2009

If you got up one Sunday morning (Saturday for those of you who are Adventist, Messianic Jews, or Jewish) and drove to your place of worship and found that it had suddenly burnt to the ground, and after driving around town you discovered that all the other places of worship had met a similar fate. What would you do? Would you straggle on back home and spend an afternoon in sad reminiscence, would you just pick up your fishing gear and head for the lake, or would you spend the rest of the day on your face before God asking Him what went wrong.
Relax, there are no wrong answers here, for if this really happened and you are His, He would get His intended message through to you, one way or another. Well, the calamity depicted above may or may not happen, but I will tell you about a calamity which has happened, and is happening. Far too many people who warm pews, read creeds, and sing hymns, never look beyond the pages of the Bible for the Lord.

Are you saying to yourself, “did he say what I think he said?”
Why yes I did, we must go through Scripture by His Spirit, to the very heart of God, in Spirit and in truth.
Jesus said, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.”
Revelation 3:20-21

Is this something to be ignored? Are we going to pass this wonderful statement up in favor of the Mother’s Day sermon (sorry, a pet peeve of mine).

Jesus said, “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. Now they have come to know that everything You have given Me is from You; for the words which You gave Me I have given to them; and they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me. I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom You have given Me; for they are Yours; and all things that are Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine; and I have been glorified in them. I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are…that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.
John 17:6-11, 21

Does this sound like an invitation to a church social or to the service with the good praise band? I have read these lines many times and they always bring me to my knees. “That they all may be one even as You, Father are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us”, This should give you a shiver, this is serious stuff.

Is it not obvious that Jesus is talking about something bigger than a group of nice people getting together and agreeing that Jesus is nice too?
Many scriptures do not lend themselves to being personalized, but these two do. They are a call, a clear and startling call. And these are not the only ones, if you allow the Spirit to make you sensitive to it, you will find passages like these throughout the Bible, Old Testament and New.
If these messages have any meaning for you, then Jesus is calling you to a deeper walk with Him. He is knocking on the door, He is pleading for your heart, with the Father. He is making room for you on His throne with Him.

Is this an offer which can be put off while you check to see if there are any better ones?
Is that a stupid question or what?
Seize the opportunity, get on your face, lift your tear stained cheeks to Him and ask Him to lead you, to guide you on the path which only He knows for sure. The straight and narrow path requires a guide, and it is the Lord Himself. Quiet your foolish heart and the manic babbling of your mind. Listen for Him, listen to Him. If Jesus is your guide in all things, you will never stray. You will grow to be like Him.

It’s Like-uh-The Prodigal, man

October 5, 2009

For those who read this if you care,
in today’s essay I will not share
holy words for holy ways
I’ll tell you instead of my prodigal days.
the depths I’d sunk to I will plumb
my struggles with the demon rum
and dried green herbs in paper spun

How like the prodigal I did boast
And bacchanal parties I would host
To raise a glass, an end to sorrow
and live as if there were no tomorrow
the sunset is a pretty thing
when tinged with cannabis to dream,

but wasted days and awful mornings
sneak up on you without a warning
and drop you on the city’s curbs
to see things for which there are no verbs
When to the bottom I had settled
and failed the test
of my supposed mettle.

The great Good Shepherd had a look
and pity on my cries He took
He lifted me out of the muck
and gave me a job driving a truck
The 23rd Psalm in my mind He played
and He has stayed with me to this very day.

That’s not to say I have not wandered
and so much of my time I’ve squandered
He brought me back, in His gentle way
and corrected, held me in His sway.
For He allowed my Oktoberfest
and with vain illusions laid to rest
I seek Him now ‘most every day
He gives me His peace, to follow the “way”.

The Clods, the Rapids, and the Lord’s Hand

October 3, 2009

One morning I found myself dreaming, but unlike other times when I’ve had dreams, I am aware that this is a dream. In the dream I am beginning to wake up and I start to feel the things that are in contact with my skin, it feels funny and I’m almost certain that I have dirt clods lying all over me, I try to shake myself awake, but I am stuck in an uncertain level of consciousness, not completely awake and not really asleep.

Then I feel it, the agony of my spirit, it is straining against the clods, and it is aghast at the complacency of my flesh, it is mourning the connection, it is complaining at being tied to the clods, for you see the clods are not lying on me, the clods are me. And my blood flows like the muddy sludge in the Missouri when the spring rains stir up all of the silt, and the current breaks loose the boats large and small and carries them along to their destruction.

I am suddenly aware of the feeling that someone is digging in my dirt, and I shout, “don’t move my dirt, I just got it the way I want it .”

Then I see who is doing the digging and I recognize that it is Jesus, and He is not really digging, He is reforming, reshaping, and hey, He is throwing stuff away!

I start to shout again and then I realize, you’re not supposed to shout at the Lord even if you have a good reason. My mind interrupts and says why not? King David shouted at Him a lot. So while I am having this argument with myself, He is finishing the renovation, He shakes me and says, “get up”.

My spirit is calmed by His presence, and I no longer feel like clods all over but there is something going on in my heart, it is as if there had been a curtain over my heart and it is gone and now there is a really bright light inside. Somehow even though the clods are gone I find that my flesh is uncomfortable with the arrangement, it is trying to hide from the light, but there is no place for it to go, no place to hide.

Suddenly I see what He wants me to see, the road, it is gently rising towards the mountains and my spirit does a little dance at the sight of it.

I am dragging my stubborn flesh along the road which is full of rocks and mud holes, then I hear the Spirit, not mine, but His calling to mine. And I look up and see that Jesus has joined me, for my spirit called back to His. The road is not smoother, not less muddy, but somehow, now I am not feeling every bump and rock and our pace quickens.

There are fallen trees up ahead, but I begin to take my lead from what the Lord is doing.

He takes my hand and we leap over the tree trunks.

It is beginning to be fun.

We are pretty much running now.

Then I see it, the biggest, roughest rapids I have ever seen, there is no bridge and there is so much water that I know I can’t make it.
Then the Lord does something I don’t expect, He wades into the rapids, this time I reach for His hand as we go in. It’s tough, there are rocks the size of mini-vans and water gushing everywhere and pounding on me.
I loose my footing more than once, but He never skips a beat, He never loosens His grip on my hand. Soon we are climbing out the other side and it feels real good to be done with it. I am feeling lighter and I look around to see what I have lost in the flood, and then I notice that my body got hung up on one of the rocks, I look up at the Lord in puzzlement and He says smiling, “today we are going to My house, don’t worry you will like it a lot.”
So on we trudge, but then I notice we’re not trudging, we’re flying.