Tuesday 29 June 2010

a word from Father - for a friend (and, surprisingly, for me, too!)

June 29, 2010

5:25 am. Woke up about 10 or 15 minutes ago, instantly wide awake. Had a good sleep. Just opened all the doors and windows to let the fresh early morning air waft through the house.

I woke up excited, feeling that today is surely going to be a day fully wrapped up in You (and oh, Father, I so want it to be! Please. Let it be so. Keep me, all of me, focused on You. Thank You!)

Oh Father! I want to see You working, and have Your Spirit and my spirit so joined that I am fully, perfectly (blamelessly, totally unselfishly, unconditionally lovingly) participating and serving in it all, with You, in You. Abiding! Thank You!

Father, You just brought J, the prayer blog lady, to my mind. You have a special word for me to share with her, don't You?


My dear child,

I love you.

I love the way you are open and eager and long to do My will, and to be part of My purposes.

I am with you always.

Don’t fear. Just keep your heart open to Me at all times. Listen to Me. Hear My voice. Remember that I have given you My Spirit to help you when you pray. I will give you the words to speak, and to write, when you pray, and when I want you to teach others to pray.

Remember, too, that My Son is praying for you, interceding for you, at all times. Remember how much He loves you; so much that He gave Himself for you. And think of how much I love Him. I answer all His prayers for those whom I have given Him.

Stay close to My Son. Then you cannot go wrong. He has given you our Spirit to teach you all things that you need to know, and to comfort you in your times of sorrow and confusion and loneliness.

Abide in Us, My daughter. We are with you wherever you go. We love that you are so eager to share with others your own joy and satisfaction which you experience in your conversations with Us. We are with you, and will be with you always.

Stay close. Listen carefully. We will give you the words and the strength you need. We have given you this communication gift and this longing to share it with all those in our family. And to share it with those also, who, in reading your words – Our words – will repeat them in order to reach out to Us. So they will come to know Us, and will become part of Our family, too. Part of your family, your own new brothers and sisters.

This is Our purpose for you, just as it is your dream. We have planted this dream, this longing, in your heart. The gift of communication that we have given you is part of it. Your dream comes from Us and is part of Our purpose for you – and for all the world.

My child, you are part of the great tapestry I am weaving. An incredibly important part. Your life is being intricately woven into My great eternal purpose, to draw back to Myself as many of My children as will hear My call and come to Me. And you are part of that purpose.

So fear not, My dear, precious daughter. Look to me, reach out to Me, hold tight to Me. I never let you go. You are Mine.

Rest in Me, sit at My feet, learn of Me, know Me. And then, with what you have learned and known, take other children by the hand and bring them to Me. We will grow this family together. We will share My love together. We will be one together, working to fulfill My eternal purposes.

I love you! So much!

Your Heavenly Father… Your Papa.


Thank You, Father! I knew there was a special reason for waking me so quickly and clearly this morning, and drawing me to listen to You and to hear Your voice.

(And yes! I do see that that message is for me, too! Wow! thank You!)

(Do You maybe have something for J and I to do together with You, for You and Your kingdom? :-) )

do we really have choices? How "in control" are You?

June 27, 2010

Genesis 39:2 "The LORD was with Joseph, so he became a successful man."

NOT Joseph was a fine young man, so the Lord made him successful...

Father, is there anything that isn't in Your control? Do we really have choices? What about the whole potter-and-clay metaphor? What about "predestination?"

v. 21 "The LORD... extended kindness to him..."

I know You do that constantly. And that on the other hand, Your favor has nothing to do with our own "righteousness." But what about faith? Does that, too, come from You?

There are many who say that only those who are given faith by You can even turn to You and be accepted by You. So that we cannot even boast in our faith. Hmm. That last sentence does lend a lot of credence to the whol argument that You accept who You will, and You reject who You will.

Is that right? Then is your grace extended to some and denied to others - just because that is how You choose to fulfill Your purposes? Are You, well, that capricious? (Is that a heretical question? I'm sorry if it is... because I don't believe You are like that, and yet, some things You do are so hard to understand... Father?). Or are Your ways simply so far beyond our ways that this is something we simply have to accept on/by faith? (If you grant us faith...???)

Genesis 40:1 "Then it came about after these things..."

There is a lot of "came about-ing" in this world, isn't there? Your plans and purposes being worked out. By You.

Genesis 41:1 "Now it happened at the end of two full years..."

Your timing, again. Oh Lord, please help me to be patient. And to desire YOUR plans and purposes, and YOUR timing.

Genesis 46:7 "God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in th earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance. 8. Now therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God..."

Genesis 46:1 "So Israel set out with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac."

Israel (Jacob) recognized that You were in charge. And he responded to You - first. Even before rushing to see his beloved son Joseph!

Genesis 48 ... Ephraim before Manasseh (and Jacob before Esau... and Isaac rather than Ishmael...)

Father, You sure don't do things the way we do. And Your will does take precedence over ours, doesn't it? Just as Joseph acceded to Jacob, even though Joseph really wanted Manasseh to have precedence over Ephraim.)

the "Another Chance" story

June 27, 2010

So I submitted the "Another Chance" story (which I posted here awhile back) to a writer's group I belong to. I am sure getting a lot of feedback (critiquing: constructive criticism and encouragement and ideas!) on the story. Makes me realize that, writing-wise, I have so much to learn. Thank You, Father, for these other believers who You've also led to write. Please help me, please use me to communicate Your love and salvation and grace to others. Thank You, Lord.

the church in our city - everyone doing their part - together, as You call and lead

June 27, 2010

R longs for the day we have a mission building and she can make meals for the street people; right now she makes excellent coffee and organizes the food service. She knows that a "building ministry" isn't part of Pastor Peter's calling. It's what Father is calling her to - and will be an extension of Peter's part of Father's purposes; a place where Peter can send people he and Father are building relationships with out on the street.

I think M also wants a building-base, but in his case for a place for prayer, and for getting into the word together with Father.

K just happily pitches in and helps with whatever is happening. I don't know if he has any particular dreams, but he is a wonderful, friendly, very consistent helper. Hmmm... Gift of helps?!!

M and J come when they can, and both are good cooks - which frees up Pastor Peter (who used to do everything by himself) to reach out to the street people and build relationships with them and bring Jesus into their lives.

Interesting - everyone who Jesus has called to this "street ministry" is different than the others - and each one just does whatever Father has prepared them for. There is no special planning or organizing, no committee meetings. Everyone just pitches in and does their bit, and it works.

I am not sure why so many churches can't operate like that - can't just do whatever things Father has prepared them for, as part of the church of Christ in their community. Why it seems like every little "church" has to "do it all" instead of working together. Why there's resentment when it seems like some other little church is stepping into their "territory" or doing "their ministry." Father, You call people, don't You? You enable different people to do different things. And those things, together, should become Your family, Your community, Your church, reaching out in love - together!

How do we see what You are doing, and hear You calling, and just pitch in as You call us?

What do You want from me? I don't know, in the "big picture" or "long term." I really don't need to know, do I? You only ask me to follow You moment by moment, step by step. And let You take care of the long term and the big picture.

Like at street church. I can feed people (I love baking!). I can be friendly. And encouraging. And maybe even non-judgemental and accepting (wow, that really has come from You. It sure wasn't "me"...). But is that enough? I want to reach people's hearts and souls for You. And when I start thinking about that, sometimes I feel helpless and hopeless and useless. But that's just the enemy and my flesh talking. I don't have to listen to any of that. I don't even have to worry about tomorrow, never mind the long term. I can take that longing to You in prayer, and leave it with You. And meanwhile just keep my heart and eyes and ears open, and do and be whatever purpose You have for me, right now, right here.

street church gathering - without "the pastor"

June 27, 2010

Ha! I went to bed really early last night (7:45 pm!) but didn't fall asleep until at least 10:30... and kept waking up even after that. Two problems: not used to going to bed that early, and that big tumbler of iced coffee (with a generous scoop of cappacino ice cream) right before going to bed, lol!

Anyway, up at 3 am to make cow patty cookies, pigs-in-blankets, boiled eggs, and 2 thermoses of boiled water (along with tea bags instant coffee, sugar, and whitener) to take to street church. Walked over there, pulling my granny cart, and arrived about 5:45. Some guys were already there waiting. One of them had slept under the bridge that night, and had finally given up, with all the noise of cars overhead, people passing by on the trail under the bridge, and a young couple having a long argument. So they were glad to see me with my goodies, and K who soon arrived with the barbeque and lots of weiners and buns for hot dogs. M and R also came to help out, and altogether about 50 or so people turned up for breakfast.

Pastor Peter was moving someone to the Kootenays, so he was away. The guys really missed him. They are polite and friendly to us helpers, but clearly it is Peter who they trust and confide in. Not surprising; for he has been there for them consistently for over five years. He walks with Jesus, and with them, day by day right on there on the streets. I want to follow his example, as he follows Jesus' example!

I was glad we had a little gathering time at the end of breakfast, even with Peter away. We are learning we don't need our "pastor" there, even though of course we are happy if he is there. But when he is away, the family is still together, because Jesus is our real Shepherd and we are His family. So we don't need a "pastor" to tell us what to do, because we have Jesus in our midst!

C (the pastor of the church whose lawn we use for our street church Sunday breakfast gathering) arrived about 8 am and opened the basement door of the church so we could use the washroom, and make fresh coffee and a new jug of juice. The coffee and juice we had brought had just run out, so his timing (Father's timing!) was perfect.

Monday 21 June 2010

the church: engaging the poor, the elderly, the lonely....

20 June 2010

Recently my husband resigned from his position as a Resident Care Aide at a seniors facility, because he could not, in good conscience, work in an environment where apparently making a profit was more important that taking enough time to truly care for each residents. And where preferential treatment was given to residents whose families had "connections" related to wealth and/or high-placed individuals in the industry. For my husband, growing up in a culture where elders are highly valued, and are treated with respect and care, these attitudes drove him to be willing to take work at another facility, losing his seniority rights and working on-call rather than full time, but now able to provide the residents with the equality in care and respect which they deserve.


Yesterday I read an article, "Canada Through Immigrant Eyes" (by Don Sawyer, in North Of 50 magazine, June 2010). In the article, Florence, an immigrant from the Philippines, shares how she really loves Canada, but finds that there is one aspect of Canadian society which really concerns her. The article reads:

Florence... grew up in a working class neighborhood, where everything was shared to make sure everyone got by....

[She says,] "We [in Canada] focus too much on the outside, how to make ourselves beautiful or how to get a new car. But we miss being good inside because it's always about me, me, me." ....

"People are so isolated and lonely. We don't even know our own neighbours." ...

Once, she confides, she was so lonely she even thought of suicide herself. "But then I said, 'What would we do in the Philippines?' So I made soup and took it to my neighbours. And they were surprised," she smiles. "But very happy. Some of them are still my friends today" ...

"The only way to ease the loneliness is to reach out to others, to love people."

She smiles her bright smile. "Try making some soup and take it to your neighbours!"


And from the same issue of North of 50, an article "Secwepemctsin Revitalization Efforts" (by Sherry Bennett) which describes the efforts of the Secwepemctsin speakers of the Shuswap First Nation to save their endangered language.

With only about 250 fluent speakers left in a Nation of over 7,500 members, the need to revitalize the language is urgent. The Secwepemc Cultural Education Society has developed a "language curriculum that is now viewed as a model of excellence in immersion programming and language revitalization."

A key component of this program and its success, is that it works "in an environment where decision-making responsibilities have always been delegated to the collective - staff, parents and elders."


Keith Giles, in a blog posting on June 17, 2010, "Solidarity With the Poor" shares a discussion he recently had with his friend, Tom Crisp. Giles says,

"... we talked about the radical way in which the early church engaged with the poor. Their perspective was so Kingdom-minded that they fully embraced the idea of being in community with the poor at any cost. Their compassion for the needs of their brothers and sisters that they glaly surrendered their earthly possessions to ensure that everyone in the Body had enough to eat and a place to sleep.

In contrast, I began to see how the Church today - and this includes myself - has focused largely on engaging the poor by attempting to improve their economic status. Rather than give up what we have, our energies have been applied to helping the poor in our society to acquire the skills necessary to become like us and join the middle class of society.

Eventually, the early church sold off their possessions to become one with the poor, and today the modern church holds on to its wealth and looks for ways to eliminate poverty.


Jesus told us that the poor would always be with us. References in the New Testament to the early church truly feeding and caring for the poor, and treating all members of the church with equal respect and love, abound. Over and over again we read about how decisions in each local church were made collectively, by all the members.

What would happen if the church really began to live by these principles?

It is time to stop making excuses.

We can do it, if we really want to. We must do it, if we would truly follow Jesus.

It is still the way of the Kingdom.

street church thoughts

20 June 2010

Here I am sitting on the grass in a little park. Things I learned today at the street church gathering (and afterwards):

1. I really have missed the church street family while I've been away the past couple weeks visiting the latest little addition to my personal family. It's amazing how our brothers and sisters in Christ so quickly become real family to us, and how much we miss them when we're away.

2. L was telling me she became a Christian at age 18, and immediately married a pastor. But then, she "wandered." And recently she's been coming back to Father and the family. She says that while she is "still a bit in the wilderness," she now really knows God, and she's delighted because He always looks after her, no matter what.

3. When Pastor P said, "If I'm not here, this isn't happening," I got upset and started arguing, because those of us who are part of this street church family are all willing to pitch in and do our part, even if he's away for some reason. I thought he was saying that maybe this was "his ministry," and he had to be there for it to happen. (I should have known better - that's not his attitude!)

But it turned out that what he really meant was the "the board" of "the church" that invited us to use the yard of their facility, as well as their washrooms and coffee maker and such, seem to have lost some of their enthusiasm for having us there. And they've told him that if he isn't there, we can't gather there. Guess maybe we're too scary or something, lol!

But at the same time, all kinds of the every-day folks who "go to church" there, but aren't "on the board," are delighted to have us borrowing their space. When they go past out, out in the yard, as they are "going into the church," they stop, smile, hug, chat, encourage! And that's what is really important, because, well ... they really are the church!

So after our gathering was over, Pastor P decided to drop into their "service" to encourage them in return! We are the body together, after all! Even if some feel more comfortable gathering in the stained-glass, stone church building, while others are more comfortable outside on the grass beside the downtown street.

4. When I walked by another church building in the downtown area, which has front doors that open right onto the sidewalk, I could hear the "good worship music" and the preaching, and even peek in and see the people. But sadly, despite all the folks walking by on the sidewalk, "the church" literally doesn't even see them most of the time, because their backs are turned toward the door, with their eyes focused on the platform at the far end of the building. Hmmm...

5. But then I walked past the "square" in the center of downtown, and a group of street folks, who are members of Jesus' family, were sitting there by the fountain. And as folks walk by, they smile, and wave, and call folks over (including me!). So friendly. (Lots of "normal" people walk way around them, not realizing what they are missing. Outward appearance issues...).

(So, I wonder, which of the "groups" above constitute "the church." All of them, I'm sure... and yet... It seems like some are caught up in the "doing" of church, and maybe are missing out on "being" the church?)

6. And then I walked past what is possibly the "biggest and most successful church in town." Large building set in a large parking lot filled to overflowing with nice shiny new-model cars. In fact, based on the cars, I wondered if there were any "poor" folks inside that building at all? (No way to tell, short of going inside... not a person in sight, and the few windows face the back of the parking lot). Would poor people even feel comfortable there?

And I wondered, what if all those nice middle-class (or higher?) Christians just used second hand, old beater cars (or even walked...), and used the money they saved to take care of the poor... And maybe even invited the homeless poor to come into their building (and provided some beds ... and meals ...) (or maybe not...)?

7. And as I walked along, I bumped into a couple folks who used to come to the street church gatherings, but haven't come for awhile. Why? One of them, I know, tried to help by putting away the lawn chairs when he saw the food being cleared up after breakfast. He was just trying to be helpful, but I think he was hurt when we weren't grateful for his effort (we were planning to sit around and "share Jesus" after the meal. I suspect Jesus would have thanked him, and then held the gathering sitting right on the grass... or thanked him, and then walked along the street with him, conversing with him and encouraging him...

8. (Back to #3) I'm still not comfortable "borrowing" a space where we have to follow "their" rules and regulations and times (even though they invited us, and initially were really enthusastic)... and where it seems they only trust Pastor P... (despite his tattoos and very unpastorly appearance and un-churchy methods - or lack of methods, actually!).

But maybe You have Your reasons for us being there at this time. Like to encourage the "lay" folk who are unreservedly happy to have us there on their front lawn!

So I guess I better stop whining, and instead open my eyes and heart wide to see what it is You're up to! (Sorry for my narrow, self-centered outlook).

9. Pastor P has, up to now, had a "board" (for the "Another Chance Street Ministry") made up entirely of "pastors." But now he's planning to invite people who are "just believers." Those who You have also called to reach out to the poor and lost, and who want to just be the church (instead of trying to develop programs, and buy housing, and do fund-raising...).

The one pastor who actually has been able to really see past "programmed outreach" told him, "I wondered when you were going to get over having a "pastor board." Hmmmm.... :-)

10. Oh! And we had a big turnout this morning. But afterwards, we were talking about how numbers really aren't a big thing. And how smaller numbers can result in more "family" time. And how maybe it's time to split into smaller groups and gather in different locations in the city. Because people in other parts of town who can't afford cars or even transit are missing out.... (But what do YOU want, Father?).

And as Pastor P pointed out, his "helpers" have been "learning" from him... but if they don't get out and "be the church" in action, he might as well just "start a church" with a building and all. And he sure doesn't want to go there! He'd be happy to check in on the new gatherings. And arrange times for "the church in our city" to all gather (yes, the local street gatherings, but the other kinds of gatherings too)... family reunions so to speak...

Nail it to the cross?

19 June 2010

I seem to finally be "freeing" from overly-serious writing! I've decided, in that vein, to be more alert to the enemy's tricks to get me to be dour in my outlook and communication.

Have to just lay those negative circumstances, which result in negative attitudes and responses - and writing - at Your feet.

Yes, "nail it all to the cross."

I wonder... when things are "nailed to Your cross" ... left there with You... do the world/ evil/ dark aspects of those things die (for the person who has left the there)? And in Your resurrection power, do they actually become transformed into sources of Your good and Your light in lives touched by them?


What do you think?

Thursday 17 June 2010

the gathering of the church

17 June 2010

This morning I read an article by Alan Knox which I received by email subscription from his site, The Assembling of the Church, and it got me thinking.

Lately, I've been really longing for MORE - Well, how can I describe it? More "focused" gathering of the street church part of Your family that I am involved in?

I've been worried about that "longing" at the same time as I've been experiencing it, because I fear being drawn back into "tradition/ religiosity." I desire freedom in relationship with You and Your family. I want to truly know You. I want to glorify You. I want to encourage others in the family, in their journey - our journey - with You. And in all of that, I most of all want YOU. I want whatever happens in Your family to be from You, guided by You, led by You, for Your eternal purposes, reflective of You alone.

I don't want to be tied down to man-made programs, liturgy, "worship styles," clock-watching "services," performance-centered, human-led activity. I do long for the constant leading of Your Spirit. I long to be in such close relationship with You that I am constantly aware of Your Presence, and thus be able to participate in Your activity. I long for me, for us, to have our spirits in unity and harmony together with Your Spirit, led by You.

I wonder if somehow I am still identifying "church" as a discrete, clearly defined set of activities - like a checklist - or a liturgy! It seems to be very true that while it is fairly easy to take people out of a setting that they've been very involved in (addicted to?), it's not so easy to take that setting out of the person.

I guess what I really long for is not so much focus on activities (ie prayers, music worship, giving, learning from Your word, in a structured program) but focus on YOU (The Word!). I love my relationship with You - but clearly You want us to go beyond that one-on-One level (wonderful and amazing as it is) into Your family, community, body, organism-style relationship.

When I am with my own children (who are now grown, and all away from our home, except for the youngest), we talk about and engage in all kinds of topics and activities that aren't specifically "family-oriented." We discuss the news, talk about issues like politics and the environment, and express our opinions about all kinds of topics. We eat together, go shopping together, watch movies together, make things together, attend events together. But all those things, unfocused on "strictly family" as they are, still do draw us together. And time after time, with no effort or planning, our conversation and activities just naturally turn to our family memories, our current family situations, our hopes and aspirations for the future, as well as encouraging, assisting, advising each other. We ust naturally love and encourage and, yes, exhort one another because we are family. We don't even have to think about it or plan for it. It's natural.

So why, I wonder, is it so hard for us, Your children, to be "naturally" Your family? Why do we seem to feel we have to try so hard to make, create, facilitate family-ness? Why does it seem to artificial when we think we are finally getting it "right?"

Why, when I am with the local street church part of Your family, do I feel driven to ensure that we are intentionally focused on You for at least a certain percentage of our time together, especially on Sunday mornings when we gather for breakfast in the park?

In our own family, we don't gather for "seminars" after our meals (though I was certainly brought up in the formal "family-worship-after-breakfast" tradition as a child). Rather, in the midst of our together times, be they meal times or whatever else we are doing, conversation will naturally turn to a focus on family topics and needs.

(Some years back, with 5 teens at home, I once tried to institute "family meetings" - on the advice of a Christian organization - as a means of solving some of our "problems." No one else in the family wanted to take part in those meetings. No surprise, of course - they perceived the meetings as an artificial "control" measure - which I now see was the real purpose. Oh dear. A family is not an organization or institution run by controlling meetings...)

But I digress...

Back to his series of posts on "The Church," Alan Knox has said, first, that "our understanding of the church must begin with God." In the second post of the series, he concludes that "our relationship with God and one another is dependent on God's re-creative work, not any work of our own." In the third post he says "that our actions are demonstrations of the Father's character.

And in today's post, the fourth in the series, entitled The church When We Gather Together Alan Knox says that our gathering together as the church is a demonstration of God's character. He writes, "We do not gather because we are the church. Instead, since we are God's children and family with one another, we desire to be with one another.... The church does not make us family. The church exists because we are family."

Just as our human family get-togethers, reunions, etc, do not make us family! We're already family, and families (healthy ones, anyway) want to be together. These family-gathering activities simply serve as an opportunity to act upon and express, together, the fact that we are already family.

Sometimes we make big plans for our family gatherings, like big meals, going to a theme park together, watching old family movies, even making speeches honoring family members, or whatever. And while those things can be enjoyable, and give us a "feeling" of family togetherness, the fact remains that without any of them at all we are still family, even if we never see each other.

Of course, we like to get together. And upon getting together, we do draw closer to each other, and support each other, and so on. But the specific activities we engage in aren't really that important. As family, we just long to be together, whatever that ends up looking like.

In fact, often it turns out that the less "planned activity" there is, the more we draw together. I just got back from a trip to visit my children who live in another province. We did do a few "planned/ focused/ formal activities" like going out together for dinner at a restaurant, playing with the children at a playground, and taking the transit downtown for a window-shopping trip.

But really, the true growing-in-togetherness timess happened when we were just hanging out, being family: sitting around chatting, bathing the new baby, laughing about family memories, sitting up together in the middle of the night because the newest member of the family hasn't yet figured out that nights are for sleeping!

Also, the things we do when we gather together as a family, reflect the fact of "being family." We treat each other (hopefully!) with love, kindness, helpfulness, encouragement, good advice - because we are family, and those are the natural outcomes of the character and relationships of what family is. Helping my daughter by cleaning her house, making meals, doing dishes, and changing and rocking baby so mommy can get some much-needed sleep are natural family activities. They aren't the kind of things we plan and advertise and try to attract others with. But they are truly "the gathering of the family."

In relation to the church, then, Alan Knox goes on to say that "the activities that happen when we gather occur because as God's children we demonstrate God's character.... how we act when we gather together is a reflection of our relationships with God... When we are acting as God's family, we are also relating to one another properly.... OUr relationship to God (and thus with one another) comes before any decisions about activities, times, places, leadership, etc...."

So I guess that my worries about the supposed lack of "focused God time" at our street church gatherings is actually off-kilter. Sometimes when we are together we do actually sit down after the breakfast, and have a great time getting into the word, sharing what Father is doing in our lives, praying together, and so on. Strangely enough, this happens "best" when we don't have any kind of "service" planned! It turns out to be kind of like a family-reunion-Christmas-dinner!

But sometimes we don't get around to "sitting down together in focused God time" at all. Our time together flies by as we are just listening to each other in personal conversations, serving up breakfast to a wheelchair-bound member, praying one-on-one with someone who has been going through a rough spot, playing with the little children who are running around, bandaging wounds from someone being beat up while sleeping on the street, handing out blankets and toothpaste and dry socks to those who need them, sharing our stories... all those things that reflect the character of our Father, and so just naturally occur because we, the gathered church, are first and foremost His children, and thus, in our gathering, are being His family, with Him.

waiting and resting vs/and ministering?

16 June 2010

This poem was posted this morning on an e-group I belong to. I first encountered the poem about 10 years ago, and reading it again today brought back many memories, and reflections...

Sit still, my daughter! Just sit calmly still!
Nor deem these days--these waiting days--as ill!

The One who loves thee best, who plans thy way,
Hath not forgotten thy great need today!
And, if He waits, 'tis sure He waits to prove
To thee, His tender child, His heart's deep love.

Sit still, my daughter! Just sit calmly still!
Thou longest much to know thy dear Lord's will!
While anxious thoughts would almost steal their way
Corrodingly within, because of His delay
Persuade thyself in simple faith to rest
That He, who knows and loves, will do the best.

Sit still, my daughter! Just sit calmly still!
Nor move one step, not even one, until
His way hath opened. Then, ah then, how sweet!
How glad thy heart, and then how swift thy feet

Thy inner being then, ah then, how strong!
And waiting days not counted then too long.
Sit still, my daughter! Just sit calmly still!
What higher service could'st thou for Him fill?

'Tis hard! ah yes! But choicest things must cost!
For lack of losing all how much is lost!
'Tis hard, 'tis true! But then--He giveth grace
To count the hardest spot the sweetest place.
--J. D. Smith

I first ran into this poem when I had 5 teenagers at home, and my husband worked out in logging camp. He would be gone for many weeks at a time, so I really had a houseful of teenagers (and, for a time, one grandchild, and his daddy, and sometimes other teenagers who needed a place to stay…) all living together in a double-wide trailer… and I felt as though I had no opportunity to do “ministry” for the Lord … of course I was thinking that “ministry” and “God’s will for me” was something “important” like being on a “church worship team” (which isn’t even biblical, lol… neither the worship team, nor that particular concept of “ministry”…). Looking back, I realize that of course I had a huge ministry right there in my little home. (The few times I kind of realized it, though, at the time, I felt like I was a terrible failure… perhaps a “controllable ministry” like “leading worship” – which I now know only the Spirit can “lead” – seemed more appealing, oh dear).

Anyway, the Lord sent that poem along at that time, and I clung to it for a long time. Now I only have my husband and son at home … and I expect son will be moving out soon… and here again I find myself wondering about what “ministry” He might have for me, what “His will” for me might be… And the poem comes along again. Again He calls me to sit still… And I have come to realize that the “sitting still” is part and parcel of His will. That “His will” is not something future to strive for, but is whatever He places in my path this very moment, every moment. That “ministry” is really “service” … service to My God, to His family, and to all He has created – service that is Him reaching out to me and through me to others. And that service involves regularly sitting quietly at His feet, adoring Him, listening to Him, coming to KNOW HIM, abiding quietly in Him and opening my heart to allow Him to abide in me. To be Mary rather than busy Martha. Because Mary’s way is the foundation, the “better way” – the only way, really. If I have not spent much time in the Mary mode, then all the hustle and bustle of the Martha mode, however well intentioned, however much admired by others, is ME operating. And I want nothing to do with that. I have to give up all that is from ME. I want to come to a place where I am truly ABIDING IN HIM. And then whatever I do WILL BE HIS WILL.

don't delay

16 June 2010

Gen 24:55-56 "Let the girl stay with us a few days" ... "Do not delay me since the LORD has prospered my way" ...

When God opens a door, don't delay. Don't hang onto the past "just a little longer."

Move out immediately into God's direction, plans, will, way.

Lingering in the past is sitting in darkness and poverty and death; but immediate obedience, stepping forward with You right away, is walking in YOUR light, prosperity, Life!

Thank You!

(As Jesus said in Mt 8:21-22 to the man who wanted to first go back and bury his father: "Follow Me and allow the dead to bury their own dead.")

Gen 24:58 Rebekah...said, "I will go."

No hesitation. And she did become, as the blessing said, "thousands of ten thousands!"

She went totally willingly - alone, to a land and people she did not know. She had more to lose, really, than had her family who wanted her to linger. They still had home and each other. But she was the willing, obedient one, unreservedly ready to step out in answer to God's call, going immediately, willing to leave all else behind.

appointed sons-in-law and daughter-in-law

16 June 2010

Gen 24:44 "... let her be the woman whom the LORD has appointed for my master's son."

Father, You know I have prayed often that You would send fine young Christian men for my daughters, and a fine young Christian woman for my son. And thus Christian parents for my grandchildren.

Sometimes it has "looked to me" like those prayers weren't being answered - at least certainly not in the way I pictured them, lol!

And yet, You have continually given me peace that You are answering. And the answers come in such unexpected, wonderful, lovely, surprising ways.

You HAVE and CONTINUE TO answer my prayers in YOUR APPOINTED ways and times and purposes and plans! I do have the sons-in-law whom YOU have APPOINTED - and I know that one day I will also have the daughter-in-law YOU have APPOINTED!


Thank You! Please keep drawing my children and their spouses and their children and their children's children to Yourself, into a relationship on oneness with You. May ALL my children become YOUR children first of all, most of all - forever!

Thank You! Praise the Lord!!!

trust and obey

16 June 2010

Gen 21:1-2 Notice! God takes care of us. God keeps His promises to us. - At HIS appointed time! (and in His ways!)

Gen 22:5 "I and the lad will go over there; and we will worship and return to you."

Abraham was obedient to God - even to sacrificing his only son. But He also totally trusted God to keep His promise to make uncountable descendants through Isaac. So Abraham could confidently say, "WE will worship and return."

Gen 22:8 "God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering." Present trust. And amazing prophecy! God in control, with Abraham in total co-operation with God - relationship!!

Abraham didn't have to "understand the details" - he just trusted the God whom he KNEW TO BE TRUSTWORTHY.

Gen 22:12 "..now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me."

Father, You know my heart. You know the things that mean so much to me - my family, my writing, etc. But You know that I AM willing to give them to You, to let You take them out of my hands, completely, permanently. After all, my family is far safer in Your hands than in mine - and You have promised that they ARE Yours! Thank You!

And my writing - well, I love doing it, I'd even like to make money from it (earn a living). But I am seeing more and more clearly that "I" have nothing of great value to share in my writing. So if I am to write, the words, the passion, must come from You. "The words of the Lord are pure words." (Psalm 12:6)And if You don't have words for me to write, then I happy give up writing, too, because "my words" are of no value, compared to whatever YOU have in mind for me to do, abiding in You. Thank You! :-)

I used to think that it must have been SO HARD for Abraham to offer up Isaac. But now I wonder...if Abraham hadn't already, long since, come to the place of offering up all he had to You - because he KNEW YOU, and thus could be certain that You are totally trustworthy. He already knew Your ways to be perfect, no matter how they might "look" in the human viewpoint. Maybe he could even step out and obey You in this "difficult" (even apparently "impossible" and "wrong") circumstance with JOY! I think so! For sure!

Wow! That is amazing! I CAN imagine that now, because I know You, too. And I therefore, in knowing You, trust You to be totally trustworthy, totally loving and caring, totally having the BEST in hand for all Your children. No matter how things look to me, to us, in the here and now.

Evil WILL be destroyed. And Your holiness WILL reign forever!

Praise the Lord!

Gen 22:14 "the LORD will provide."

Yes, You will! Always! (And You have - thank You for Jesus! Thank You, Jesus!) Praise Your Holy Name!

Gen 22:18 "In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice."

Oh Father, I long that it may be said of me that I have obeyed Your voice. And, I'd be happy if my obedience brings blessings to others. I think it already has. Because every time any child of Yours is obedient, blessing does in some way come upon others - and You are blessed and glorified too, of course! Thank You!

(Obedience to You is in itself an outward sharing/expression of You, of Your love. And Your love is always a blessing!)

Thank You!


June 12, 2010

Matthew 13:41 "The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather OUT OF HIS KINGDOM all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness..."
Matthew 16:23 "stumbling block" - one who sets his mind on man's interests rather than on God's interests

Stumbling blocks and those who commit lawlessness - these are the "tares sown by the enemy" in the parable in Matthew 13. I guess I always assumed that they were those who are "in the world," those who have not accepted Christ, who avoid the church, and so on. But look what the verse actually says: the "tares" are those who "appear" to be members of the kingdom - but actually aren't. Those who "attend church" and who call themselves "Christians" and who even often "appear" very much as those who truly do belong to the kingdom, but do not.

In the epistles the church is repeatedly warned about those who come in, as wolves in sheep's clothing, and disrupt and damage the church. They are the ones who say, "Lord, Lord," but who at the judgement will hear the words, "I never knew you," and who will be cast out. We are warned to be on the lookout for these "tares in the kingdom" and to remove ourselves from assembling with them.

I suppose the "tares" may even consider themselves to be righteous, based on their own "works" or "beliefs" or whatever, but in those cases they have been mislead by the enemy, or are following their own desires instead of following Jesus.

God's covenant with all living things! and other wonderings

June 10, 2010

(Written in Edmonton, while visiting my newest little grandson who was born June 3! Check out details at New grandson!)

Genesis 9:9-17

I never really noticed before that the covenant marked by the rainbow, to never again flood the earth and destroy all flesh - was between God and EVERY LIVING CREATURE OF ALL FLESH that is on the earth."

So yes, man "ruled over" the living things (Gen 1:26), and named each creature (Gen 2:19); and after the flod, God gave all creatures to man as food (previously only the plants were given as food - Gen 9:13), which included the statement that "the fear... and terror of you will be in every beast... bird... everything that creeps... all the fish" (Gen 9:2). But clearly, all the creatures, not just man, were included in that covenant. So clearly they also have great value as living things in God's eyes.

And therefore mankind needs to respect them and care for them and live in harmony with them!

(Likewise, with the plants of the ground, which man was to cultivate. Hmmm... man was called to "subdue" and "fill the earth" (Gen 1:28). The earth, then, must have been in a wild/ wilderness state at the start. God Himself planted the garden - after the "creation." Not something I ever heard discussed much! I think I always assumed (perhaps was taught? memories of those childhood "Bible story books" ...) that the garden was maybe part of the initial creation - or if not, that perhaps it was similarly "spoken into existence" ... but the word says it was PLANTED by God Himself. Intentionally, carefully, lovingly, for the enjoyment and care of His newly created (or rather, formed-by-the-hand-and-breath-of-God) children! Oh, and what about the ground being cursed in Gen 3:17? If the garden was as perfect as the Bible story books picture it, why was man called to "subdue" it - or was the garden only meant as a starting place - that man could go out of and expand it by cultivating the land beyond it - and return from time to time to eat from the tree of life...? Interesting... so many things we glibly quote and accept, without really wondering what they really mean...)

Wednesday 2 June 2010

being Your church (how? where? when? who?)

2 June 2010

In his book, Reimagining Church, Frank Viola asks:

"Is there a viable way of doing church outside the institutional church experience, and if so, what does it look like?" (p 13)

See, that scares me. The whole "another way of DOING church" thing.

I don't want to just "do" church.

I want to BE part of the church of Jesus Christ.

My friend W is involved in a local "house church" (or gathering, or whatever?) and I've thought about asking if I can go along... but I'm scared because what if it is just "church at home" (like some home schoolers really just do "school at home"?)

And I sometimes wonder about actually starting something myself... but how can one "start" something that already exists? (Your church, I mean).

So... I guess I'll just have to wait for You to do it. Or maybe that's not right either. That still sounds like "doing it."

Guess I'll just BE with YOU and whoever else You send along who is already part of Your family (and anyone You send along who together we can point to You... or at least You want to draw to Yourself by caling me and other to work alongside/ along with You. Eh?

Father? Jesus? Holy spirit?

Lord Almighty! God be praised!

Going on in the Reimagining Church book, I do agree with this:

"... when I use the term "institutional church" I am not speaking about God's people. I'm speaking about a system. The "institutional church" is a system - a way of doing "church." It's not the people who populate it. This distinction is important..." (p 17) And he contrasts this to "organic churches" in which, as he quotes T. Austin-Sparks: "In the Divine order, life produces its own organism.... everything comes from the inside. Function, order and fruit issue from this law of life within." (p. 18)

And then he quotes a letter from someone who is part of an "organic church:"

"... This church focused on Jesus Christ. and everyone sang about Him, shared about Him, and worshipped Him. These Christians had been captivated by the beauty of the Lord Jesus Christ and, quite honestly, they didn't desire to spend time doing anything else when they met, but sing to/ with/ about Him, share Him, and love one another through Him. ... people with such an intimate life with the Lord. These people were sustained by His life... Christians... who seemed to know the heart of God ... they all shared Christ in their meetings one by one so that He was brought right before our eyes. I learned through them that He is our food and our drink. I came to see who He really is in our gatherings and in our life together, and I fell in love with Him as a result." (p 20)

I seem to have come to the point, personally, where I am beginning to doubt that such a group exists - at least not around here. And I'm afraid that if I did find such a group, I would be struck dumb. Even now, I seem to be able to express myself on paper with pen. But every time I open my mouth I "cause trouble" or am ignored, or am looked at incredulously like I am really strange and wierd (and crazy, off track).

I guess maybe I have retreated behind the "safety" of pen and paper. Maybe that's why I loved the street church so much at first. People were, in some ways, more willing to listen to alternatie views - and some were even really hungry to pursue Jesus. (But it seems like those particular ones have moved away, maybe even been pushed away. And now I mostly just sit there.)

And even when I visit my friends G and J, who are so open to Jesus, I skirt around the things I long to say. well, I didn't feel like I had to that time it was just G, and another young couple also really open to Jesus, and me. But when certain other people, people close to me in other ways, are there - oh boy. And there are a few other people I can be really open and intimate with them and Jesus, together - but they live so far away, I only see them maybe once or twice a year for a very short visit.

Oh Father, I do long for intimacy with You and Your people.

Father, I feel like I fell in love with You because of a book. Well, one man-written book that opened my eyes to what You were really telling me in Your Book. But my eyes were closed - or covered, perhaps, by interpretations of men - when I'd read Your book. Though I did have some wonderful momentary glimpses of the reality of You and Your church in there, it is true!).

And I had known, watching my Grandpa pray, and watching tears go down my mom's face when she was in Your Presence, and watching the consistent lives of a few people who just for sure loved You and lived You... that You could be fallen-in-love-with!

But for whatever reason - probably just my own selfishness and desire to be intellectual and such - it didn't seem possible for me.

And now I am kind of wondering if it is even possible for me to really be part of this kind of "expression" of Your church (if it even exists here)? Would I be the misfit, the trouble-maker, the one not trusting You, the "institutional" one after all my complaining about the "system?" Maybe I would. :-( But I don't want to be. Maybe You've held me back because I'm not ready, because I would screw things up. (or maybe wouldn't even recognize such a group if I saw it).

Oh Father.

You know my heart.


Help me!

I want to be an intimate part of Your church, in love with You. And loving them, too, as You do (even a little). That would be something, wouldn't it?

And accepting their love just for what it is: Your love through them.

No questions asked, no doubts, no complaints, no matter how their love "appears" to me.

(Like a mom doesn't complain, but is full of joy, when her little one, face all covered with dirt, and runny nose, and drool, plants a big sloppy kiss right on her lips; or comes joyfully clutching a big beautiful bouquet of droopy, half dead, buggy dandelions, and presents them to her with a huge happy loving smile and hug!)

"Christ had freedom to be known in His people - including me." (p 21)

Yes! that is exactly what I mean! :-) That's what I long for.

Another letter says:

"As we loved Christ together our hearts were knit with each other... I saw that the church really is Christ's body, and He is the Head. Only as we allow Him to have His rightful place will we experience His life as we were meant to. Church life in this way is the Christian's natural habitat where we grow and flourish, being nourished by all the riches of Christ." (p 22)

Oh Lord. I love the theory! But if it's really true, really available, I want reality, practice, being (and yes, in that, doing too, I guess).

And I've seen tidbits (and sometimes some good sized chunks) of what it can be, even within some "institutional church" settings.

But Father, I want more than theory and some nibbles or even lunches. I want the real thing. I want You and Your church. I want to love and be loved. But most of all I want to experience, know, worship, adore, love, serve You the way You intend for us, the way You created us for. Because if that isn't possible, isn't available, how can life be worth living? How can Your church go on?

I want Your Life!


I want YOU! (And Your family - for that is part of the package! Thank You!).

Help! Please! Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit. Please???

(Thank You. Okay. I've asked. The ball is in Your corner... please?)

(I'm heaving big sobs deep within me....)

From another letter:

"... I began to crave gathering with their believers. I would go to their meetings and see a much bigger Lord than just someone who died for my sins." (p 24)

Oh dear God, is that last statment heresy? I guess I always thought that You dying for my sins, Jesus, was "the ultimate" - You know, "the ultimate sacrifice" and all. But of course... the sacrifice was only the beginning, wasn't it?

Or to be more accurate, Your sacrifice on the cross was the ending of the old "cut off from Father" way - and Your resurrection, dear Jesus, was the new beginning, the re-opening of a grand, eternal, never-ending, no-fences life with Father God! With all of You - Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit - my Lord and My God, King of the universe, All in all, forever! Praise Your Holy Name!

(Thank You, by the way. I'm happy - and relieved - to start praising and worshiping You again. Thank You for opening that gate - or more to the point, breaking down that wall I erected. :-( sorry... )

The author describes the identity of the church of Jesus Christ as "the very heart throb of God Almighty - the fiancee of the King of kings." (p 27)

And one day the wedding will take place! And the full forever life of the forever marriage between Jesus and His church, His bride, will begin!

Frank Viola writes: "I have a dream that the centrality and supremacy of Jesus Christ will be the focus, the mainstay, and the pursuit of every Christian and every church... that their obsession and pursuit would be a Person - the Lord Jesus Christ." (p 27)

Is it really possible? Well, Father, with You all things are possible.

And Jesus - and His church, Your children - is Your Number One Thing, isn't it? YOUR GLORY!


(And then I made lunch... and looked at facebook... and a friend I haven't seen for a long while, but who lives here in town, wanted to "chat" ... and he invited us to visit the gathering of the church that is meeting at their house. I had no idea. But oh, I know how much he and his wife love Jesus! And I have hope! :-)

(And oh! I just got a phone call! One of my daughters is in labor - grandchild #6 is on his way! Oh Jesus, I present him to You! Make him Your's too! Please! thank You! Amen! :-)

actually being ... possible only when I let You be, first

2 June 2010

It is easy to TALK ABOUT "being focused on Jesus Christ."

BUT when it comes to ACTUALLY BEING focused on Him, it is a whole other thing. A thing which for us (me!) is impossible!

But to God nothing is impossible!

I have first to LET HIM BE - in and through me - before I CAN BE (focused on and abiding) in Him!

Thank You for just showing me that. And reminding me to write it down immediately. thank You!

singing Your praises ... no more I/me "worship time"

2 June 2010

Okay, finally, I am taking a deep breath, and plunging into Matthew 26!


(But then, instead of letting me read, You made me be QUIET for a moment. [the enemy didn't like that! woohee!].

And then You asked me to sing Your praise... out loud... which I haven't done for such a long time... [I haven't, because it had become for me a stumbling block, a pride thing. And because I was "hurt" about what other folks said about my "worship." And because I had even got to the point of scorning other folks' "immaturity" or "relying on music for their fix"]. (Sorry, Lord).

And so I tried to sing, like You asked me. But I couldn't sing loud or strong or powerful ... or even very on tune. Actually it was pretty weak and wavering. And I was afraid of what it might mean I have to give up - and what I might have to start doing ... like "going to church" again, or something. Because I guess I see "worship music" and "worship time" as part of the whole "churchianity" thing... and I guess I've been PRIDING MYSELF - A LOT about being "better than them" and "escaping that trap" (instead of praising You for setting me free - it was You!!!).

Oh Father.

Help! Please.

"I love You, Lord, and I lift my voice/ To worship You. O my soul, rejoice./ Take joy, my King, in what You hear/ Let it be a sweet, sweet sound in Your ear." (Lyrics, Laurie Klein).

But Father, those words still have an awful lot of "I" and "my" and even "it" (referring to what "I" am doing - wrapped up in so-called "worship").

Maybe the angel songs are better for models of worship, than songs of men?

"Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts, The whole earth is ful of His glory." (Isaiah 6:3)

"Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and is and is to come." (Rev. 4:8)

And the song of the 24 elders (already in heaven with You, and have gotten past the "I" stuff!)

"Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created." (Rev 4:11)

Even when "our" comes up, it is referring to You - and recognizing that without You and Your will, we would not be created, would be non-existent, nothing.) (Anything at all that we are is by Your choice, Your decision, Your love which longs to reach out and love ... we are made FOR YOU. Period). (For Your glory) (And for Your joy and pleasure! Truly amazing, that!).

"Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing." (Rev 5:12)

And then every created thing that exists everywhere in all of creation - in heaven and earth, every place that is - all created by You! ... worship You together:

"To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, we blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever." (Rev 5:13)

And the great multitude from every nation and tribe and people and tongue cry out with a loud voice:

"Salvation to our God who sits on the throne and to the Lamb." (Rev 7:10)

And the angels and elders and four living creatures fall on their faces and worship You, saying:

"Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. amen." (Rev 7:12)

(And how do YOU respond to the praise of Your people who are worshiping You before Your throne? In pride? No. You think about them!)....

"For the lamb iin the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life, and God will wipe every tear from their eyes." (Rev 7:17).

Wow. I don't think I've ever thought about You continuing to shepherd Your children, Jesus; to continue to guide them to the springs of the water of life, after they arrive in heaven! It seems like we - or I, at least - think we'll somehow be "complete" when we get there and see You face to face. But maybe what CS Lewis said includes that too - that the great adventure with You, in Your Presence, will in reality be just beginning, and will go on for eternity. FOR YOUR GLORY. And in it, You'll still be shepherding us!

FOR YOUR GLORY. (And yes, our joy and satisfaction. Wow!). But Your glory first. Always. FIRST THINGS FIRST!

Amen. Thank You.

Glory to You! And salvation and blessing and wisdom and thanksgiving and power and might and honor and dominion. To You. Our Holy God. And to Jesus, Your Son, the Lamb, our salvation. For ever and ever and ever. Amen. Thank You. Amen.


Ah yes, Matthew 26. (And I think maybe now I am at least a tad more ready to read those final chapters of Matthew. Please speak to me, Father, through Your word. Through Jesus, Your Son, Your Word! Amen! Thank You!

"He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God." (Rev 19:13)

losing everything to gain You ... or falling short of Your glory...

2 June 2010

(I have to say, I have arrived in my Matthew reading at the point where You are about to offer Yourself up as the sacrifice for my sins... and I, well, I ... dread to read it.

Maybe because suddenly I know it's not just a story. And because Your sacrifice is my fault. And because facing that is going to call me to be totally willing to ... lose everything (even though it means gaining You - far more than ever before...

And I have to admit... I am afraid.)

(BTW...I feel we may lose our little house, and our security. It's okay. You can have them. Yes, You can. :-` ... :-)

Philippians 3:7 "but whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish SO THAT I MAY GAIN CHRIST, 9. AND BE FOUND IN HIM, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, 10. so that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering, being conformed to His death ... 12... I press on so that I may lay holdof that for which I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus... 14... the UPWARD CALL OF GOD IN CHRIST JESUS."

Matthew 16:26 "For what shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?"

Phil. 3:15 "if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you." (You sure do ... and I keep thinking I already at - at least in good part - Your attitude. But then You show me again how very much I do not...


Romans 3:23 "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."

That's it, isn't it? Not falling short of good behavior, "righteous" living, Your approval even, sufficient knowledge, even falling short of knowing You... because those are all, to some degree, "me" things. THE GREAT LOSS IS YOUR GLORY.

(And I don't even really have a clue what that means - do I? Oh, I have caught glimpses of Your glory. But even those glimpses should be changing me, making me long to see Your glory the way Jesus did. But so far, I fear (I'm pretty sure), it hasn't, at all, really.

Oh Father, I want more than - than what? "Skin of my teeth" arrival in Your heavenly kingdom? Is that even scriptural? It sounds, smacks, to me of more "me-ism."

Glory... honor, worship, splendor, exultation... JUST YOU!!!

(Maybe some day these journalings will be all You ... and the I/me parts will just wither away... That would be... GOOD! GOD! YOU!!!)

(Papa? Is it possible? Please?)

computer-brain rational knowing ... and I-can-do'ing

2 June 2010

There really is a limit to where our heads can take us, isn't there? You want more from us than "computer brain" rational knowing and understanding. We're totally empthy with just that, no matter how "smart" we are and how much we "know." Oh, I am sorry, Father. Forgive me, please.

Everytime I think I'm "getting somewhere" with You, thinking I've maybe finally - or for this point in time at least - discovered "Your will for me," thinking I'm in "close, good relationship with You," - You throw a new monkeywrench in! Because You know how very, very far I have still to go. And how even now, with You in me, I CAN DO NOTHING - it really is all about You!

How is it that over and over and over again I keep sliding back into the "I can do" trap? Or have I really never left it at all? Are we not "made perfect?" Well, of course not in this world - but You do see us as we will be - through Jesus - as we are in the eternal now (though still not in the temporal here and now - but moving that direction, with Your help!). And You keep bringing us out of the latter into, well toward, the goal, the reality of what You have made us (yes, perfect!) because of Jesus.

But we are still here in the shadowlands, and our old sinful bodies still seem to love the darkness, love hanging out in the Narnian stable, refusing to see the light and glory all around us.

Oh dear Jesus, I am sorry.

moving past self-centered love-gathering - to worship You

2 June 2010

When I woke up (about 4:20 am!) I couldn't wait to get back to You and Your word - a desire I haven't had in that intensity for quite some time! :-)

I've turned to Matthew 26 and am ready to read - but if there is anything You want to say to me at any point - please open my ears, eyes, heart - soul. Yes! "Speak Lord, for Your servant hears"

(I don't want to just listen, but to really hear - perceive, understand, know You!) Okay? Please?!!! thank You.

(Not just for me, too... but to honor and love and obey and worship You).

(Yes, I realize I have had my heart set on myself pretty much - wanting Your love, wanting more of You - but for me!!! But I see it is time to move past that self-centered love-gathering to... just wanting to serve and worship You)

(I'm having a tad of trouble wrapping my head around that. Guess it's a heart-understanding thing, mostly, eh?)

(I've gotten into the whole head thing too much lately, haven't I?)

Help me, please!

looking out for myself when I think I'm living for you...

1 June 2010

More from 66 Love Letters by Larry Crabb.

I've made all those notes for my "business" ... now I feel that I must - I am compelled - to go back through them and see (and record) them in terms of You at the center - Your holiness, Your love, Your purpose.

The 66 Love Letters book is really hitting me between the eyes.

I just want to be like Jesus - to have You at my center, Lord, to be free of the world's clutches.

I know I've been wandering... not meaning to, really, but sensing it happening, for sure.

I keep thinking about the stuff I think might be a good "topic" for my writing - like the un/de church/school thing. But right now it all seems like just foolish chatter to get attention and maybe make money. And I'm pretty sure that isn't Your way.

Well, I do think there is a problem with the school/church systems. But I'm wondering if its really so important... or not... inview of what is really important: You are the core, the center!

Maybe I've just been casting about for a "niche topic" to get noticed, eh?

So... I open the book again, and these are the first words I read:

"God, what You're saying is getting more and more difficult to live. No matter what happens in our lives... You want me to think more about how I'm relating to You and others than about how to get my life together. And You want me to look deep inside, into my motives, to see if I'm really looking out for myself when I think I'm living for You. Am I hearing You?" "Yes."

love growing cold

May 30, 2010

Matthew 24:12 "Because lawlessness is increased, most people's love will grow cold."

Father, I've been feeling lately that my love for You has been growing cold. I can (sometimes...) "say the right words" but I feel like I am drifting from You!!!

Please! Draw me into Your flame! Place it right inside me! Please let it burn with love for You! A flame that burns up all the garbage: my desire to "succeed" and to "support myself." My complaints about Your other children - which means my self-righteousness and self-wisdom too, need to be burned up. Also my distractions to the things of the world, that attract me like a moth to a light. And yet the world's light is a dim, weak, flickering light that is dying out, while Your Light - You! - is the the eternal Light that grows stronger and brighter until one day the darkness of evil will be swallowed by Your light and be destroyed forever!

And even now, if I turn my eyes to Your light, all the other "lights" are swallowed up and disappear into the glory and brightness of Your Light, of You, the Light of the World!

Oh Father, pour Your fire, Your Spirit, into me! Please! Don't let my love grow cold, not even a little. Instead, let it grow hotter and hotter, swallowed into becoming part of the fire, the eternal Light, of Your perfect, unquenchable Love!

I don't want to mislead any, Father

May 30, 2010

Matthew 24:5 "For many will come in My name, saying, "I am the Christ," and will mislead many."

Well, I'm not claiming to be the Christ (although sometimes we do that without realizing it...) But..

Father - please! I don't want to mislead any!

Please help me be very careful what I write. Let it be only Your words - not mine, nor the enemy's, nor the words of men. Please! Help me, guide me, dear Holy Spirit!

I do not want to be responsible for leading any of Your children astray. Please.

(And I do have so many questions, so many things I'm not sure of - and too often, things I think I'm sure of turn out to be not so. Please don't let me speak to what I do not know.)

leader stuff

May 30, 2010

Matthew 23: "8. But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your teacher, and you are all brothers (working together, eating together, learning together from One teacher!]. 9. Do not call anyone on earth your father, for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. [Maybe that's part of the reason why we often have relational difficulties with our earthly fathers: because deep inside we know there is a heavenly Father, and we have an innate sense of what He wants to offer us... and then our earthly fathers disappoint us because they don't - can't - live up to that] [Father?? Papa??]. 10. Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. [Wooh! Protestants poke their fingers at Catholics re verse 9 - but proudly have "leaders" - yikes!]. 11. But the greatest among you shall be your servant [and there is only One true Servant-leader!!] [Among men, that phrase really is an oxymoron - in the world - and in the church...]. 12. Whoever exults himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself whall be exalted.

and following that core - with You!

30 May 2010

"As the deer panteth for the water/ So my soul longeth after Thee./ You alone are my heart's desire/ And I long to worship Thee./ You alone are my strength, my shield./ To You alone may my spirit yield./ You alone are my heart's desire/ And I long to worship Thee." (A. Martin Nystrom, lyrics)

Oh dear God, that is what I want: for You alone to be my heart's desire! That is the CORE I've been seeking in this whole writing business, experience, journey.

I'm not even so sure - or concerned (!) - anymore about the whole "writing as a way to make money" thing. I've studied the world's way of "writing success." I already know that I do not want ads on my sites that might be pushing "products" I do not believe in myself. And I am most certainly not interested in multi-level marketing. I've been there before, and I am convinced that it is NOT Your way, most definitely. Though its proponents (the few who make it big and live on the misery of the endless downliners who toil for pennies or less) advance it with mighty "religious fervor!"

I do like the idea of giving most of my "product" (my writing, what You have shown me, taught me) away for free. I'm not so sure about the "selling" of the "deeper details." Though I do see the point of selling paper-published materials for those who want them - and/or e-books. What the proceeds of those sales are used for - I'm not so sure about that. Father?

In Your word (in Paul's writing, especially) we read that we are to support ourselves by working with our hands. And I guess I am wondering, in an information-based society (to a large degree) as ours is, what all does that include? Teaching has been a "time-honored profession" (and I've certainly supported myself by it!), as have speaking, writing books and articles, leading seminars, and so on. And I do think that they are, for those talented, gifted, skilled in those ways, legitimate ways to earn a living.

I am, however, concerned about where one draws the line, or if one even does so, between making a living, and sharing You. I see too clearly what can happen when sharing You turns into a "profession." Paul had a definite, hands-on profession (tent-making) to earn his bread-and-butter. But what about Peter and the others whom You called away from fishing for fish, Jesus? You did, didn't You?

And the "hands-on" things I've done... Well, mothering is pretty much done (though grand-mothering, and a bit of mothering on a more sisters/friends-relational level, continue. But of course mothering was never really a money-making proposal anyway!). And teaching: You called me out of that, for many very important reasons, and now I'm probably too close to retirment age, and certainly getting too tired. Then there is working in restaurants and such. But my physical strength is wavering. And I will not engage in direct sales anymore of things that are too often superfluous, luxury-type items. Dust collectors. Just stuff. Ha! It is hard to have values, sometimes. It does seem to cut one off from many of the world's "opportunities."

I don't live in a world of "extended families" where older women live with the younger family members and help and guide them. But I do want to be a Titus 2:3-5 woman:

"Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good 5. so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored." (Titus 2:3-5).

But it just doesn't seem to make much "sense" in today's world (at least in our North American mainstream society). I think I could do this, through my writing, somewhat. And I do it already with my own children and grandchildren as much as I can. I think I also have opportunity to do that to some degree in the "street family" You have connected me with. I'd like to do it, too, with young women I know - but it seems that what they mostly want is a babysitter, so they can get some "alone time," or be able to "get a job" (much of which goes to pay the babysitter, oh yeah). And, well Papa, You know I'm just not strong enough now for any long-range babysitting. Oh, I would love to facilitate or guide women into learning to spend time with You - and to live simply!

It seems, too - mainly - that what I'm able to do (okay, what You seem to be leading me to do) is scriptural: but not necessarily money-making! So obviously I need to learn to live even more simply. It's not so hard for me, but at the same time it's not so easy for some significant others in my life. You'll have to take care of that, if this is what You want. And Yes, I need to learn to trust You to provide for our needs!


I don't know about the "business side" of it. I see different ways it can be done - even some apparently pretty good, moral, decent ways. And there are lots of "professional Christian writers." But maybe I should not be depending on that, but rather should just let You care of that end of things - IF this is Your plan for me...

I guess I am "planning" again, instead of walking step-by-step with You, taking the "opportunities to work" that You send along the way?!? Hmmmm....

Papa, it would be so nice to be part of a part of Your family that has some young women with husbands and children. Though I guess I do also have that in my own family, don't it? Yes!!! :-)

I'd still love to be the "granny home-school lady" in a close-knit community. Papa?? (Though the things I personally wish for usually seem to end up not being very good for me in the long run, or even in the short term. Oh Papa! I want Your will, Your plans and purposes, Your best for me.

I guess maybe I'm still trying to "succeed" eh? Help me, please, to just rest in You, just desire Your pleasure, wrapped in Your love. (And return that love to You - and to others, too).

Thank You! Amen! Amen. :-)

(I do believe - as I am talking to You right now - that I need to have lots of hands-on mixed in with my writing. How - is up to You) (Maybe even be a granny in my own little neighborhood complex, right here?)

found my core!!!

30 May 2010

66 Love Letters by Larry Crabb.

"That early morning I saw myself as I really am, a mere Christian, a hungry follower of Jesus who desperately wants to hear whatever God is telling me, a man [woman!] in misery who wants only one thing, not relief from misery (although that would be nice), but hope - hope of intimacy and meaning and joy forever, in relationship with God." (p xviii)

That's what I want! That's my "core"!!!

"We try to reach the heart of God without listening to [reading] the Word of God. When I couldn't see Rachel [wife-to-be-one-day], I discovered her heart by reading her words [in her letters]. That's a good plan to follow with God." (p xix)

I just realized - that's probably why I love journaling so much. I grew up writing long letters to many friends and relatives, who reciprocated. Then, when I was home schooling my children in a rather remote community where there were few other home schoolers, I became part of a large community of people walking that journey together, all over the world, and we wrote long email letters daily.

But in the past few years, I have found few people who have the time, energy, interest, or inclination for that kind of long, deep discussion - whether written, or face-to-face spoken. I did belong to a couple really interesting "Bible study" groups that really did delve together into the Word, and we totally invited - asked, begged, cried out to - Father to be part of, to lead, our conversations. But those meetings were once a week, for a couple set hours each time. Not like letter writing, which one can sit down and continue, any time, any place.

At the time I really started journaling, I had needed some one to communicate with on a deep level. Rarely having any one (I tried, but people were busy, or far away, or not inclined, or whatever) I started writing in journals. Some of it was just "dumping, getting it all out." Things were really tough in my life just then. Maybe it was a good thing I was dumping on paper rather than on real people!

But then, every once in a while when I'd emptied my torn heart until I had nothing more to say, I would start to hear Father's voice in the empty silence. At about that time, a pastor recommended actually asking the Lord to speak through His word, directly to yourself, and to write down whatever you hear Him say. That was a kind of novel idea to me. I started trying it, with my daily Bible reading, and when I would (delightedly!) hear His voice in the midst of my journaling/ Bible study note taking, I'd write down what I heard Him say - to me!

And I'd ask questions about what He'd just said. Or I'd thank Him over and over, in awe that He'd actually talk directly to me, like that.

And reading the quotes above, just now, I realized: For me this is THE CORE I've been seeking. I've been looking for a writing related business, but needing a center. Needing a hub. Thank You, Lord. This is the One Thing I've been seeking! Hearing You, learning from You, sharing what You teach me. (Far more exciting and far more important that "internet marketing" or something like that).

"With a growing awareness of the biblical narrative and a deep commitment to always knowing more, visions and prophetic words and impacting passages and inner sensations have their place. But without that awareness and commitment, these avenues of communication from God might instead become opportunities for self-serving imagination." (p xx)

That's exactly right! At the same time I started journaling, I had also been digging deep in Your word - looking for answers, encouragement, direction. anything that might rescue me or at least keep my head above water (even literally: I was going through such a dark time that one day I cam very close from jumping from a high bridge into fast-flowing icy waters in mid-winter. I didn't, though. God spoke to me as I stood there on th edge, longing to jump and float away into ... well, oblivion, endless sleep - that's what I longed for. And maybe, who knows (You do, of course), maybe You'd been teaching Me to hear Your voice, while reading Your word, and writing in my journal, to prepare me to be able to hear Your voice in that very moment.)

I was never much for "visions and prophetic words." So for me, desperately reading Your word, and dumping my breaking heart on paper (and in the process, starting to hear from You)...

Well, I didn't really know You as "Father" at that stage. You know I'd had "father" issues of my own. But You were preparing my heart, softening it, making me long for both father and Father conversations - and relationships. When I began to heart your voice - and then, timidly, tenuously, even doubtful of whether this "hearing God's voice" experience was "real" or "right" or even "allowed," I began to actually converse with You - with paper and pen in those difficult mama times.

And slowly, I began to experiment with the possibility that You might want to have some kind of Father-child relationship with me.

Then You sent along The Shack. And whatever other folks may think about that book, through it You reached into my heart - and suddenly I knew! You love me! You love me!! You love me!!!

You are my Father! Even better, You are my Papa! My loving Papa! And conversing with You is good and right and natural and wonderful and love-ly!!!

My journaling after that simply became more and more conversations with You, my Papa-Father. I'd so often start out just writing about what I had been doing or experiencing, or making notes from what I was reading in Your word. But next thing I knew, I'd be talking directly to You, my Papa - and to my Savior Jesus, and to my Holy Spirit.

("My Holy Spirit" - that still sounds kind of surprising to me. Of course I know He's Your Spirit - but He's also "mine" in the sense that I am Yours and You are mine. And You three are One, and I am united with You forever because of the shed blood and the resurrection life of my Jesus!) (Yes!)

It is true that the words we "hear" You speak in our hearts must be backed up by Your written word, as Your Spirit guides us and teaches us through it. And not just by a line or verse or chapter here or there, but by knowing - reading over and over and over again - and asking You, Father, to teach me and guide me with Your Spirit speaking to my spirit - the whole big story, even the apparently old and obscure and "difficult" parts. And the more I get into it, the more it all comes together, the more it is inter-connected. The more I SEE. And the more easily I know whether those words I hear in my heart (even "prophetic words and visions"!) are really You speaking - or just me, my wishes and pre-suppositions, or the "teachings of men," or the deceit of the enemy - or all of those together....

Not only is knowing "God's word" necessary in that way, but it becomes a delight, something I long for, thirst for, can't get enough of. Though the enemy and my flesh sure do their best to distract me and to supply fake but apparently attractive alternaties. Because Your word becomes a real, live, relational, love conversation between me and my Papa.

"Oh God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; My soul yearns for You, my flesh yearns for You, in a dry and weary land where there is not water... 4 So I will praise You as long as I live... 5... and my mouth offers praises with joyful lips. 6. when I remember You... I meditate upon You... 8. My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me." Psalm 63:1-8

So when I read - and write - together, and I jot down what You speak to me; then we are sharing our hearts, writing love letters to each other, together. Praise Your holy Name! Thank You, Jesus, for making it all possible. Yes! Praise the Lord! Amen!

all things you ask in prayer??!!

30 May 2010

Matthew 21:21 "Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree [which instantly withered at Jesus' command], but even if you say to this mountain, 'Be taking up and cast into the sea,' it will happen. 22. And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive."

Including the little things ... and sometimes even when we don't believe very well???

This morning I tied Pastor P's big birthday cake onto my granny cart to take it to street church breakfast. I prayed (earnestly!) that it wouldn't tip and slide into the side of the cake box and get smushed (since the cart has to be tipped in order to push/pull it).

I pushed the cart very carefully, and kept checking the cake, and readjusting the rope when the cake would start to slide. And I kept praying. But very gradually, definitely, the cake was still sliding closer and closer to the side of the box.

And suddenly, the cart got caught on a bump in the pavement and lurched in the opposite direction - tipping right over, and dragging me over too!

I cried out desperately to Father, feeling sure the cake would be terribly smushed, because a similar situation had happened to me once before with some other baked goodies I'd been transporting. But when I tremblingly righted the cart and looked at the cake - it was fine! In fact, it has slid back to its proper position in the middle of the platter.

I was astounded!

But then I realized that Father had answered my prayer. By allowing the tip-over in the opposite direction, the cake was actually saved from getting smushed!

Wow! Thank You, Lord! Amen! :-)

the chief priests and scribes had plenty to be upset about !

May 30, 2010

Matthew 21:1-16

Well! The chief priests and scribes did have plenty to be upset about with You, Jesus - at least according to their perspective!

The crowds were praising You as You were about to enter the city! And they were doing it will all the symbolism of a King entering His royal city. There You were, riding on a donkey, the cloaks of Your servants spread on the donkey's back, and on the road before you. And fresh branches spread in the road... (Which was not only upsetting to the Jewish leaders, who enjoyed being the "rulers" ... but also threatened their cozy relationship with the Romans. An upstart Jewish king was a sure way to bring down the wrath of the Roman emperor!)

The crowds were also accepting You as a prophet sent from God - and not only a prophet, but THE prophet, the messianic hope (which was "blasphemous" in the eyes of the Jewish rulers... and their concerns in #1 as well)

And then You have the nerve to drive out all the buyers and sellers from the temple. After all, the buying and selling was a time-honored profession, "necessary" to temple worship, and doubtless a not insignificant source of income for the temple, and those who ruled over it. Not to mention an affront to tradition!!! And then You accused them of turning God's house of prayer into a "robber's den." Which of course they would consider a personal affront, as they viewed themselves as the most righteous, praying folks around. While You were some uneducated country-bumpkin upstart, who apparently thought Your relationship with God was superior to theirs! You seemed to have some foolish idea of praying to God as Your Father - some crazy idea that men could have a close, familial relationship with the Fear of the Israelites! And to accuse them (because they were "in charge" of the temple and its traditions) of being robbers - too, too much!

The blind and the lame came to You in the temple. The blind and the lame didn't belong in the temple. Only people who were "clean" could enter - not people with disfunctional and diseased bodies. And not only did You allow them to follow You in - but You healed them! The temple was not a place for healing! How dare You! (Not to mention that it made You very popular - and the healed folks were following You around and hanging off all Your teachings, and actually believed You were sent by God! And beginning to question their religious leaders, and certainly not showing them the #1 respect they deserved! And it didn't help that You apparently believed that physical and spiritual healing were somehow intertwined - and that You had the unmitigated gall to think that You could heal people's bodies - and, blasphemy of blasphemies - forgive their sins, too! So people were beginning to suspect You were more righteous, had more authority from God, than the scribes and Pharisees and other religious leaders!)

And then the children - who should of course be seen but not heard, and treat adults with extreme deference - especially in them temple!!! The children were shouting praises to You in the temple! And, like the crowds had done in the road outside Jerusalem's gates, referring to You as the "Son of David," the promised messianic kingly deliverer (back to #1 and 2)

And You were definitely NOT the Messiah/ Christ those religious leaders were looking for (if they were looking for one at all, in reality... because it would have been very inconvenient for them!)

Good thing we're never like those self-centered, self-righteous Jewish religious leaders, eh. Right... Oh dear, oh dear... Please forgive us, Jesus. Please forgive me.... (Thank You)

opening my eyes, gaining my sight!

May 30, 2010

Matthew 20:34 "Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes; and immediately they regained their sight and followed Him."

Jesus! :-) You have done this for me so many times in so many ways! You see how blind I am - and You open my eyes - and I can't help but follow You. Because You love me! And with You I have joy!

(Only I think maybe I'm more like the blind guy who, when You touched His eyes, first he saw people who looked like tree trunks - and You had to touch his eyes again so that he saw clearly ... only with me it seems like You have to touch my eyes again and again and again...

You healed my soul, forgave me, brought me into relationship with You and Father and Your Spirit - but the "following" part seems to include a whole lot more eye openings/ healings.

street church!

May 30, 2010

Awesome morning! thank You, Father!

Went to street church gathering early (but should have listened to You and gone even earlier... just didn't want to get out of my comfy bed even though I was awake and chatting with You...)

Anyway, got there a bit early, and prayed while I was outside alone... and found out later than Pastor P and R were inside praying while they prepped the coffee and such... and then they came outside, and other people started turning up, and we were praying together! (Just like I was hoping would happen...)

We got the coffee started, but took it easy getting the ham and eggs started on the grill... and people gathered in, and there was more conversation - including more about and with You, too!.

And then after most folks had finished eating (and conversing... it just carried on once it got started, and we didn't rush like we have been), we cleaned up a bit, but didn't rush. A couple folks got in a hurry and started to put away the lawn chairs, but we put them out again...

And so there was still food and coffee sitting out there available, just not cooking anymore ... and people weren't rushing off, and we had an awesome conversation/ gathering time.

You sent along that sad and lonely man whose wife of 25 years just passed away a few days short of their 25th anniversary. And he was wondering (and kind of angry at You, and certainly hurting) why You would take her, his best friend, away from him like that... and Pastor P was able to talk to him about that, and others too... And he was wondering why You would let his ID and money get stolen while her ashes were being scattered, so that he was stuck here and couldn't get back to his hometown. But I am thinking that maybe it was a gift to you so that he could come and join us, and we could share with him, and love on him, and be family for him in this time of loss (he and his wife were never able to have kids, and he is feeling so alone).