Interim | Eternity made mine.

“So the tension exists. You desire to see changes happen now for the sake of the kingdom and the unchanged people in your community. You want to see the dechurched become the rechurched. You desire to bring the people you already have along with you. How is this tension resolved?

…Now/later. Fast/slow. Sweeping/incremental.

Good news. You have the Holy Spirit. Pray for discernment. Allow God to give you wisdom and grant you favor. Get on God’s timetable. Move to a simple structure as God leads. Use wisdom and compassion in becoming a simple church so that your church may become an essential church.”
Essential Church? | Rainer & Rainer

Image result for feather


The Spirit’s Work

O GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT,

Thou who dost proceed from the Father and the Son,
have mercy on me.
When thou didst first hover over chaos,
order came to birth,
beauty robed the world,
fruitfulness sprang forth.

Move, I pray thee, upon my disordered heart;
Take away the infirmities of unruly desires and hateful lusts;

Lift the mists and darkness of unbelief;
Brighten my soul with the pure light of truth;

Make it fragrant as the garden of paradise,
rich with every goodly fruit,
beautiful with heavenly grace,
radiant with rays of divine light.
Fulfil in me the glory of thy divine offices;

Be my comforter, light, guide, sanctifier;
Take of the things of Christ and show them to my soul;

Through thee may I daily learn more of his love,
grace, compassion, faithfulness, beauty;

Lead me to the cross and show me his wounds,
the hateful nature of evil, the power of Satan;
May I there see my sins as
the nails that transfixed him,
the cords that bound him,
the thorns that tore him,
the sword that pierced him.

Help me to find in his death the reality and immensity of his love.
Open for me the wondrous volumes of truth in his, ‘It is finished’.

Increase my faith
in the clear knowledge of

atonement achieved,
expiation completed,
satisfaction made,
guilt done away,
my debt paid,
my sins forgiven,
my person redeemed,
my soul saved,
hell vanquished,
heaven opened,
eternity made mine.

O Holy Spirit, deepen in me these saving lessons.
Write them upon my heart, that my walk be
sin-loathing,
sin-fleeing,
Christ-loving;
And suffer no devil’s device to beguileor deceive me.

– Valley of Vision

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7 | Faithfulness

“We must meet the uncertainties of this world with the certainty of the world to come.”
|A.W. Tozer

“I am no longer anxious about anything, as I realize that He is able to carry out His will for me. It does not matter where He places me, or how. That is for Him to consider, not me, for in the easiest positions He will give me grace, and in the most difficult ones
His grace is sufficient.” |J. Hudson Taylor


What comes to mind when you think of faithfulness?

You may think of the splendor and forces of nature, like Old Faithful. Or the dependable cycle of the seasons, coming one after another without fail.

Faith from Nature
For me, mountains are my marks of faithfulness. Mountains — the monuments of nature that refuse to be blocked by the structures of man. The perseverance it takes to get to the peak of each mountain also reminds me of the character of faithfulness.

In the process of hiking up a mountain, my eyes are often focused on the few steps ahead. Every once in a while, I may also check the map to make sure I’m on the right track. Yet  it’s not until I reach the peak that I can see the whole scene — the full picture. I see the places I’ve passed and remember the rugged road that led to this point. I see the bodies of water and the shore, everything in relation to each other. And everything starts to make sense.

In life, it is easy to lose sight of the goal of our walk if we focus solely on the day-to-day  (the mundane action of staring at the few steps ahead).

But what happens if you’ve walked for a long time, and the peak is still nowhere in sight?

Faith in our Friend
A few years ago, my parents and I had a visit with an elderly couple. After supper, we sat on the couch to chat. My father began to share the gospel with them. It was not the first time — we have known this couple for many years, and yet year after year, the elderly man refused to believe in Jesus.

That night, he had a question that made me think for a long time.

The elderly man sighed and replied, “Suppose you have a friend. He said he is going to come, but he doesn’t say when. So you wait a few days, a few weeks, and it becomes a few years… And he still doesn’t come! Will he come? How can you believe that he will come?”

He was talking about Jesus.
I don’t remember how my father answered, but I remembered his question for a long time. At times, it became my question.

On the one hand these are the things I that I know to be true: God’s promises, God’s knowledge of my heart and my needs. God’s hearing of my prayers.

On the other hand stand certain unfulfilled promises, pain, and unanswered prayers.

How do we bridge this?

The answer is faith. 


Hebrews 11: 1
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.


Faith in History

There are many instances in histories where men and women were given promises, yet many passed away without seeing the full fulfillment of their promises (Hebrews 11 is my favorite chapter on faith).

But read the summary of their lives, and what they truly desired:

Hebrews 11: 13, 16
These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them. |

Faith and Encouragement

You see, the man would be right if this life was all there was.
If all we had was this life, then any unfulfilled promises would be considered failure and disappointments.
But good news. Life doesn’t end here.
The promises don’t end with our passing away (1 Corinthians 15:19).
And it was premature to say that the promise of a visit was not fulfilled, simply because it didn’t happen in your time.

That’s like saying the peak does not exist simply because you are no longer going to continue to keep hiking up the path. The peak is there.

One day, in this life, or afterwards, we will arrive (or be taken to) the peak.
The promises will be fulfilled, and the pain will be no more as we glorious unveiling of God’s plan.

 

“We must see today’s activities with an eternal perspective in order to have a balanced view.”
“Perhaps you have discovered, as I have, that heaven seems far more real the more people we know who have gone there ahead of us…

Timothy Keller reminds us, “Resurrection is not just consolation — it is restoration. We get it all back — the love, the loved ones, the goods, the beauties of this life — but in new, unimaginable degrees of glory and joy and strength.”

Have you buried a dream when you buried a loved one? Remember, this life, as real as it is, represents only a slice of reality — just a fraction of our total existence. Heaven is a lot longer than the dash on our tombstones. Our death is but a doorway to God’s broad expanse of eternity. His promises extend beyond the grave.

…Even if you wait your whole life, you have God’s promise that Christ will make all things right for you–and in you — when He comes for you.

…That, my friends, is what we’re waiting for.” | Wayne Stiles, Waiting on God

 

p.s. Here is a helpful article for me (and hopefully for you),  if your thoughts are on finding assurance in an uncertain future.

6 | Goodness.

“To think we lack something because God wants to keep us from our potential is to believe the serpent’s lie from Eden. God’s love and protection come just as much from what he keeps as from what he gives.”  | W.S. 

O my soul, you have said to the Lord,
“You are my Lord, My goodness is nothing apart from You.” | Psalm 16:2

Goodness. Word Art Home Decor. Larger Sizes and More Colors to choose from

What is good? All the others fruits of the spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness -s seemed to have instances when humans display these characters. But for ‘goodness,’ it seems difficult to find an acceptable standard.

When is a person ‘good?’ 
What makes a good person?

In a sermon many years ago, the pastor asked this question: What is good?
God is good (Psalm 100:5).
And the things which God created and deemed as good (Genesis 1).
To be good is to reflect God.
His character, these fruits of the spirit…

Goodness does not come from us. Even from the beginning, goodness came from God.
It is when we live by His guidance that we reflect His goodness.

(I recalled trying to remember this by thinking that the 2 ‘O’s’ in G-O-O-D looked like a mirrored reflection: Good = a reflection.)

In our Lives

We are not good on our own. We cannot attain goodness on our own.
We may try with all our heart, but soon we fail from exhaustion, loss of purpose,  and anything in between.

It is not false humility – This is one of this truest realization we can make!

What to do then? Stop. Stop trying.
At least not from your own efforts, but pray for Him to change you.
Begin by acknowledging previous errors of pride, then ask God for forgiveness.

“Whatever good there is in us, or is done by us, we must humbly acknowledge that it extends not to God; so that we cannot pretend to merit any thing by it. God has no need of our services; he is not benefited by them, nor can they add any thing to his infinite perfection and blessedness. The wisest, and best, and most useful, men in the world cannot be profitable to God, Job 22:235:7. God is infinitely above us, and happy without us, and whatever good we do it is all from him; so that we are indebted to him, not he to us: David owns it (1 Chron. 29:14), Of thy own have we given thee.” (Matthew Hentry)

Have faith in God’s goodness:
“To think we lack something because God wants to keep us from our potential is to believe the serpent’s lie from Eden. God’s love and protection come just as much from what he keeps as from what he gives.” W.S.

In the World

In recent news, the world is choosing their leaders – Who is a good leader?
Who is the best to lead?
How shall we choose?

Pride, arrogance, slander, and manipulation.
How do we choose?
I wish I had words.

But I suppose, to begin with prayer for our leaders. In the words of Matthew Henry, “We do not expect happiness without goodness.”

There will  be no joy for the people without goodness in our leaders. Pray for their wisdom, their hearts — could they, too, turn to God?

Don’t lose hope!

My soul still remembers And sinks within me. This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope.  Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!” The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly For the salvation of the Lord. | Lamentations 3:20-26

Interim | Answers.

“If you are single today, the portion assigned to you for today is singleness. It is God’s gift. Singleness ought not to be viewed as a problem, nor marriage as a right. God in his wisdom and love grants either as a gift.” | E. Elliot

Round bales of hay – one of my favourite scenes in the summer.

Came across this article tonight (the writer also lists out a neat list of practical tips!), and it helped put to words some thoughts I had over the past week. What is my path? What is our portion?

It brings to mind two psalms:

Psalm 16:5-6
The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.

Psalm 73: 25-36
Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

“I was confronted with the reality that I had grown up expecting to be married. This is what I wanted, so of course God would give it to me, I thought. But in Elisabeth Elliot’s no-nonsense way, she corrected my faulty thinking and completely realigned my perspective.

….Our joy, fulfillment, and satisfaction in life come through seeking him, not seeking the momentary pleasures in a relationship, even a marriage.

Living a life of purity and devotion to God will bring far more joy than any physical or relational pleasure ever could.”

 

Here is a song, based on a old hymn that I loved, even as a little girl.
Its truth stood before I understood the words, and they still stand today.

 

Thank you, Father, for the reminders to come back when I lose sight of You, and become overwhelmed by the things that are and are not.
Thank you for Your hand which guides one step at a time.
Thank you for the reminder that nothing is delayed in Your time.

In the meantime, help me and teach me to use the 1, 2, or 5 talents and invest them as You would have me. May I never bury it in the ground for fear of loss, but to put them out in faith, and You will use them as You will, until I return all of it to You.
And to finally come Home.