Tag Archives: mystery

Deuteronomy 20, Psalm 107, Isaiah 47, & Revelation 17

Think you are in control?  It may be an illusion.  What we see from our viewpoint is only the outline of the picture; the shadings of meaning have yet to be sketched.  Perhaps that is why God is so absolute.  So exact.  He speaks His truth – words that hold this world in space and its beings in time. How can we see His plan? For instance, in war God is not concerned about numbers. It is an illusion to believe that a multitude of enemies outnumber those who call Him Lord.  Most of us cannot see or feel the angelic presence of God’s mighty army that shadows the people whom God protects.  Also, through devastating storms of personal tragedy we are borne and over dried, cracked ground of fearful thoughts our feet are led, often unaware of Him who is coloring in the details of future hope.  

As Psalm 107 declares, “Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!”  If we would only see with a clear eye.

When asking why all this pain, it doesn’t help to look at the canvass of another.  Seeing those green pastures, fine houses, and carefree expressions as you pass by may pick your heart and cause you to say, “What’s fair about that?”  Perhaps, though this is just another illusion, a pretty picture on the outside, static and still.  What have we to do with that?  It’s the difference between buying a framed landscape to hang on the wall and purchasing real estate on which to build a house.  The latter demands our focused attention.

Our daily life is often a battle of good over evil, but we are called chosen and faithful who walk with Christ Jesus.  The illusion of peace for the multitude who do not know God’s plan is the weapon of deception that will blind them to the bright hope of redemption.  Yet, the mind which has wisdom is in the person whose trained eye sees past the drawn images of this fading life and immerses himself in the completed portrait of the body of Christ.

Church, layman, pastor, leader, parishoner, sinner – we are all called to seek meaning in the mysterious images of our times, our own image a colorful impression in God’s art. As the song proclaimes,”I once was lost, but now am found, Was blind, but now I see. “

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Numbers 11, Psalm 48, Isaiah 1, & Hebrews 9

At least twice this week I have turned my frustrations upward and cried out to God, perhaps like Moses, when he said, “Why have You afflicted Your servant? And why have I not found favor in Your sight, that You have laid the burden of all these people on me?” (Numbers 11:11).   I feel responsible for others, and they become dependent on me either to solve their problems or to be a shoulder to cry on.  Love songs espouse this sentiment, “Lean on me when you’re not strong,” and “I’ll be there, just call on me.”  Well, I can say that after years of living out this calling, I’ve come close to burnout more than once. What happens seems like a mystery to me until I consider how my heart can turn away from being called to serve. Distraction pulls me in so many directions that serving God becomes just one more thing that isn’t working.  My life begins to look like the child’s toy, paddle ball – the red, rubber ball attached by an elastic band. I’m bopping in one direction and then another, trying to stay attached to the paddle, but swinging wildly away until finally I fling right off the end of the stretched band.

How do I get so far out before I know what is happening?  Do I crave chaos, or what?! I have a friend who is well on her way to becoming a minimalist, and the virtues of living simply cause my soul to salivate.  Just like how she cleans out those closets, donates bags of old clothes, books, and furnishings, and thoughtfully considers what is truly a need versus a want or nostalgic nuisance, I long to rid myself of the unnecessary baggage of pleasing people.  Running with empty buckets toward others to put out their false alarm fires, or sinking into the sucking mud of my distorted memories – those good, old days.  All this clutter of irrational thoughts and behaviors distract me from serving God.

How interesting that God calls to me today in Hebrews 9:14, “…how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”  And again, in Isaiah 1:18, “Come now, and let us reason together,” says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”

I know my calling is to help others carry the burdens they have fallen victim to.  God ‘s calling is not a mystery.  He clearly says in Isaiah 1:17, “Learn to do good; seek justice, rebuke the oppressor; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow.” 

To do this, there can be no more bouncing around and flying into who knows where.

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Genesis 49, Luke 2, Job 15, 1 Corinthians 3

Have you listened in the council of God?
And do you limit wisdom to yourself?
Job15:8 ESV

Not even in my wildest dreams, could I have ever conceived of, let alone worked out over thousands of years (obviously), the AMAZING scheme of events that is so clearly laid bare before me in my open Bible.  As I read, I try to remember that it wasn’t all that clear all at once.

In God’s Script I find, unquestionably imperfect people (not unlike myself), making humiliating mistakes (like I do), alternately flailing one moment and soaring the next. God chose to make something out of nothing.

“So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but ONLY GOD who makes things grow.”

1Cor.3:7 NIV

Only God.

Turning to one of the scenes near the beginning, I look on as Jacob blesses his sons. He says to one of his particularly troublesome offspring,

“The scepter scepter shall not depart from Judah… and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.”

Genesis 49:10ESV

Mysterious underlying plots keep me glued to the book.  I trace the lines of the Playwright’s pen, I watch, I read, I wonder. Sometimes I get lost in the drama, but God knows who He’s using… messy people like, Judah and Tamar and Rahab. Various others like, Ruth, David, and the wife of Uriah… and countless extras who didn’t even make the credits.
People like me.

Only God.

As I read ever on in Luke 2, I’m jostled awake by good news of great joy!
The ONE to whom that scepter and the obedience of nations belongs is finally come? … God’s salvation!
But, wait! A baby? An inheritor of a motley human lineage, lying in a manger, because there was no room?

… He was only God.

I like Mary, treasure these things in my heart. If Mary pondered, how much more I who have not seen, but have only heard? Captivating, winsome, mysterious ways.

God, only You…

thought it all out before the beginning began.
do all things best.
ALONE are God, and I marvel at Your ways.

Only You can…

wash me of my worldliness.
grow me to play the part you’ve written for me.
remind me to treasure Your doings.
teach me how to build for eternity.

Oh please relish, as we glorify and praise You for all the things we have seen and heard.
We want to grow old awaiting Your Promise,
or better yet…

Come quickly, Lord Jesus, I pray.
Amen.

amy in peru

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