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This offering is longer than usual….just like the wait in between this devotion and the last one

My growing (spiritual and emotional maturing) has oft been accompanied by my moaning. The soil of my heart still hosts seedlings of complaints. As the Gardener tends to enriching the soil, He takes pleasure in the new shoots of compliance to His will. And He knows well how to pull out the tares of my defiant ways. For He is all together skillful in all His ways,

“The Father is the Vinedresser; the Gardener; and He knows what branches need pruning
to bear more fruit and what dead branches need to be cut off.” From John 15:1-2

Outgrowing ingrown ways

I SO wanted to believe that accepting Christ was my ticket to freedom…from pain, trouble and disappointment. So, I edited out a very troublesome Scripture:

“In this world you shall have tribulation….”

Jesus’ promise following this fearsome declaration – “but fear not for I have overcome the world” – held little comfort for me. I was seeking ongoing assurance of a life without dis-ease.

Learning my part in becoming firmly rooted in His Love became a long term project for me. Didn’t have to be…but I under-exercised my faith concerning His trustworthiness toward me. My faith focus was on believing in His faithfulness to others … and then jumping in to “help God” (at times ignorance can be s-p-e-l-l-e-d arrogance).

Courage Coach…for others

Because of my lack in exercising my personal faith muscles, I became a practiced emotional limper (as well as whimperer). Though I would leap tall troubles in a single, fearless bound on behalf of others, I was bound by the limp of fear in acting on my own behalf. So personal life challenges prompted me to waver and waffle rather than to wield the Sword of the Word confidently.

Overcoming Wavering

“No unbelief or distrust made Abraham waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong and was empowered by faith as he gave praise and glory to God.” Rom. 4:20 Ampl.

Overcoming wavering, my Tutor proffered, comes through the discipline of practicing believing God and trusting what He says in spite of your fears (undeveloped faith). Discipline – train yourself toward godliness – 11 Tim. 4:7-8 Practicing – Practice what you have learned and the God of peace will be with you – Phil. 4:9

No wiggle room out of my part

“(You) Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding,
but in ALL your ways acknowledge Him and He WILL direct your path.” Prov. 3:5-6

Becoming limber in the Spirit …required Getting my limp from the Lord…not from my fears.

“(Limp) out your salvation…but not in your own strength!” Adapted from Phil. 2:12-13

My limp – my limitations – are an ever present reminder that “in my weakness, HE is made strong” I am absolutely unable to walk out my salvation without His strength.

Until Jacob wrestled with the Lord, he schemed his way through life. The Gen. 32 account of his contending with God left Jacob not only with a limp (as a permanent reminder of his need to depend on the Lord) but with a new name; a new identity.

And so it is with each of us. This Close Encounter of the Divine Kind, this daring to struggle through to our new identity in Him, leaves us both limping (well aware of our dependence on Him) and leaping (gratefully alive in His strength). Yet I falter still. But the times I become faint-hearted and shrink back in fear, I’m learning to waste not my failures, but to fall forward into the arms of His Abundant Grace.

The limp received from His Hand limits my ability to move quickly and gives me the gift of motility* and increases my mobility** !

Our Limp at the Hand of the Lord allows us to Slow Down to Catch Up with Him !

*motility – a change in position (confident not fearful) without change of location (able to stand fast)
**mobility – the ability to move easily and unrestricted by our environment (freedom to move forward)

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I’m at one of those “where do I go from here” places. Thoughts and themes have flooded my mind and flowed onto paper and, some, into computer…but then standstill sets in. My informal deadline is passed and I can’t get passed pondering the message of Easter.

Of Donkeys and Palm Fronds The week begins with high elation. The throngs paid Him honor by laying their cloaks and palm branches down before Him. No doubt they pondered why He entered Jerusalem on a donkey. Did they have a clue to the veiled meaning that he came in lowliness and peace, not on a horse symbolizing war and victory?

Jesus knew what lay ahead of Him…agonizing suffering and death and, maybe worst of all betrayal…yet He enjoyed – joyed in – those who thronged around Him.

Pondering the Passover Meal Surely His disciples weren’t aware that this would be their last meal with Jesus; His Last Supper. And why would He choose to wash their feet? His words made the lesson clear: “As I have loved and served you…go and do likewise.” (Jn 13:13-17)

Even as He supped with them and served them He was aware that His betrayer was among them; that His journey of suffering was set before Him. Though in Gethsemane He cried out to the Father, “Take this cup from me”, He submitted His will to the Father, “Nevertheless, Thy will be done.”

Ah, NOW we’re getting to the heart of the matter He is listening for my – for our – “Nevertheless…:
The Holy spirit prompted me again, “See the thread of humility and the tragedy of betrayal in place of loyalty. You too are called to humility; to love when those closest to you have betrayed or slandered you. This is the Way of the Cross by way of your Gethsemane.”
“A new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another; even
As I have loved you….by this everyone will know that you are my disciples
If you love one another.” John 13:34-35

Good? Friday – Yielding to death to Self – holiness feels like you’re dying. like you’re losing it. And you are! You are losing the false self, which you foolishly thought was permanent, important, and you! – Adapted from Radical Grace – Richard Rohr

And, oh, how I’ve tried to squirm out of dying…out of any pain, refusing to believe there would be gain at the end of the pain. I kick against the goad of suffering, even though in looking back, I can see the gain from each time I’ve been pressed into experiencing the pain of my circumstances.

From Wrecked to Resurrection I’m committing (hesitantly) to going through death to my old ways; yielding to death in the areas He reveals, “It stinketh”. The journey takes me again through Gethsemane and beyond…to embracing the Cross.
When I yield to dying, I can look forward to Resurrection Sunday (not a complete death like Jesus on the cross) but moving toward more room in me for Christ to make His abode.

“Arise from the depression your circumstances fine you in…
arise to newness of life.” Is. 60:1 Amplified

I’m coming to understand that truly, Faith is a LEAP into the unknown; a call to trust and lean not on my own understanding. And, oh, how I resist not knowing; having no control. How about you?

“Faith is a journey into darkness; into not knowing” – Richard Rohr

“I love your writing. You really have a way with zingers, but I think what really matters is the life wisdom you bring to the page. You say hard things, but you make them go down like warm apple pie.” David Kopp - executive editor, Multnomah Books

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