Lover of your soul.

 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.  Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
Revelations 3:17-20

The high thoughts they had of themselves: Thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing, rich, and growing richer, and increased to such a degree as to be above all want or possibility of wanting. Perhaps they were well provided for as to their bodies, and this made them overlook the necessities of their souls.

Or they thought themselves well furnished in their souls:

they had learning, and they took it for religion;
they had gifts, and they took them for grace;
they had wit, and they took it for true wisdom;
they had ordinances, and they took up with them instead of the God of ordinances.

 

How careful should we be not to put the cheat upon our own souls! Doubtless there are many in hell that once thought themselves to be in the way to heaven. Let us daily beg of God that we may not be left to flatter and deceive ourselves in the concerns of our souls…

They could not see Christ, though evidently set forth, and crucified, before their eyes.
They could not see God by faith, though always present in them.
They could not see death, though it was just before them.
They could not look into eternity, though they stood upon the very brink of it continually.

The riches of the body will not enrich the soul; the sight of the body will not enlighten the soul; the most convenient house for the body will not afford rest nor safety to the soul.

The soul is a different thing from the body, and must have accommodation suitable to its nature, or else in the midst of bodily prosperity it will be wretched and miserable.

 

If they would comply with his admonitions, he was ready to make them good to their souls: Behold, I stand at the door and knock…
He uses all proper means to awaken sinners, and to cause them to open to him: he calls by his word, he knocks by the impulses of his Spirit upon their conscience.  Those who open to him shall enjoy his presence, to their great comfort and advantage.

If what he finds would make but a poor feast, what he brings will make up the deficiency: he will give fresh supplies of graces and comforts, and thereby stir up fresh actings of faith, and love, and delight; and in all this Christ and his repenting people will enjoy pleasant communion with each other.
— M. Henry

O. Wake up, Sleeper.
Consider the time.

Selected poems [#005]: The things you keep.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us…

 

A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other. A solemn consideration, when I enter a great city by night, that every one of those darkly clustered houses encloses its own secret; that every room in every one of them encloses its own secret; that every beating heart in the hundreds of thousands of breasts there, is, in some of its imaginings, a secret to the heart nearest it!

a.jpg

Crush humanity out of shape once more, under similar hammers, and it will twist itself into the same tortured forms. Sow the same seed of rapacious license and oppression over again, and it will surely yield the same fruit according to its kind

As the sombre wheels of the six carts go round… So used are the regular inhabitants of the houses to the spectacle, that in many windows there are no people, and in some the occupation of the hands is not so much as suspended, while the eyes survey the faces in the tumbrils…

Of the riders in the tumbrils, some observe these things, and all things on their last roadside, with an impassive stare; others, with a lingering interest in the ways of life and men. Some, seated with drooping heads, are sunk in silent despair; again, there are some so heedful of their looks that they cast upon the multitude such glances as they have seen in theatres, and in pictures. Several close their eyes, and think, or try to get their straying thoughts together

 

He has not relinquished her patient hand in getting out, but still holds it as he promised

 

I see a beautiful city and a brilliant people rising from this abyss, and, in their struggles to be truly free, in their triumphs and defeats, through long years to come, I see the evil of this time and of the previous time of which this is the natural birth, gradually making expiation for itself and wearing out….

“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.

— C. Dickens, A  Tale of Two Cities
(
excerpted)

Answers.

But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge,  to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness,  to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.  For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. | 2 Peter 1: 5-9

 

“We are so used to hearing what we want to hear and remaining deaf to what it would be well for us to hear that it is hard to break the habit. But if we keep our hearts and minds open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize, beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear him, he is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, his word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling.” | F. Buechner, Now and Then

All the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ come to have their answer.
You are revealing them, even now.
‘How long?’
‘Where?’
‘Who…?’

Lord, as You begin to answer…
Teach me how to walk. And grant grace, joy, and sustenance, as only You can.
Make me to know this again, that You do all things well. (Mark 7:37)

A Father’s Love.

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.
| Psalm 73:25-26

attends

March break.
I’ve been hearing about exciting plans from children and parents-alike. One couple is surprising their children with a surprise flight to a surprise location (it’s a secret), and the kids still don’t know that mum and dad have something fun planned. It brings to mind Matthew 7:11.

It is our parents’ joy to bring us joy.

And if our earthly parents do this, how much more so our Heavenly Father, who loves us with perfect love?

In the midst of questions, of circumstances that we wish were otherwise, ongoing trials which seem harder to stand day by day, of seemingly unfulfilled wants and wishes…

What can I say, but to trust that He will provide. And to stand with the saints and sing:
God is good, and His love endures forever!

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight.

Between words and silence.
Action and hesitation.
Yes and no.
Uncertainty and uncertainties.
What mind can grasp this?
Whom to ask and trust that they respond in kind?
Who seeks You?
Who seeks Your way before the fulfillment of their own desires?
Whose voice and mind are trustworthy?
Father, You know.

 

 

[Weekly Digest] Hope for Home.

“Tomorrow’s freedom is today’s surrender.”
– All Sons & Daughters

 

“All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own.  If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
| Hebrews 11:14-16

Our desires are ever present.
Lord, show us which is from You.
And as You do,
give us equal courage and grace to pursue and persevere to the end.

[Weekly Digest] The search for perfection.

There is always the tension — you want to do right, but you know you will make mistakes.

You put perfection as your standard, and you set yourself on a path to failure.

It’s been a constant struggle between self-imposed perfection in ‘living as a Christian’ and equal self-imposed guilt in failing (in service, in loving, in living).

What are we to do?

636019554336399951-1332470804_faith

He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”
So I answered, “O Lord God, You know.
 Thus says the Lord God to these bones: “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live…Then you shall know that I am the Lord.” (Ezekiel 37:3-6)

This week was a reminder that perfection is not by our definition, but His.
The work is done, and it is perfect. Jesus has done the perfect work; it is finished (Hebrews 10:14). When God sees us, He sees Jesus’ perfection in those who have accepted Jesus as their Saviour.

The ‘perfection’ we’re called to (Matthew 5:48) is not a self-striving attempt at a sinless life; it is not any attempt at a perfect life apart from God.

Rather, it is a life dependent on God, acknowledging our imperfection, our need for Him to change us, a life rooted in Him so that we can bear fruit, a life of faith and obedience to God.[1]

A life of learning to love Him and to love others as He did.

Learning a lot about love lately.
Of course, to goal is never simply to learn, but to live.

Friend, if you’re reading this, please do keep me and my path in your prayers.
Let me know how I pray for you as well.

—-

[1] Helpful resource on Perfection –http://www.ligonier.org/learn/qas/when-jesus-says-be-ye-perfect-your-father-heaven-p/