Tuesday, April 29, 2008

visual holiness


050417Holycrossmaryin rocks

Using another sense to praise God and His Creation~ join me!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Power over satan!

Walking along the path of life doing my thing. It’s a very simple thing. Feels like it’s not of great consequences in the Big Scheme of Things. (Is that the first attack?) I trip over my doubt and get distracted by the trip. Then I move on.

Walking along I resume use of my talents. While doing so I make a public mistake. It’s one that might cause others to question my aptitude to be a good example to others. I get concerned about my ability to do this well. Eventually I accept God’s grace and can move forward on the path again.

While on the path I get distracted by the pretty colors of the flowers and stop to pick one to keep for myself. After all, I’ve been on the path a while. I deserve some enjoyment, don’t I? So I sit down, rest from my journey and look around to see what else might be here for me to take. Some fruit? Maybe some colorful feathers birds have discarded. I could fill up my extra water jug. All these things are pleasant in themselves, but when I concentrate on them and not The Plan, satan wins.

Once as I was following God’s plan for the path of my life I was attacked. It was a physical attack and I was hurt. My pain replaced my plan. I could not move forward and I became sad. My physical attack was compounded by an emotional one. As I cried I wondered why God would abandon me like this.

The devil rejoiced. The ultimate success was a spiritual attack. That’s exactly where I was. My friends encouraged me. I barely listened. I thought my struggle was too big for any human to fix. I turned to Scripture. Speak to me, God! Help me, Jesus! Please.

Luke 10: 19
Romans 8:37

Jesus, do you mean that all along I had the power? Power over distractions and doubt? Power over pain and self pity? It was with me the whole time?
I kept re reading the passages from Jesus. I can trample serpents. They should be afraid of me and not vice versa. I have more power than the devil himself! He can’t MAKE me get distracted or feel powerless. HE can’t MAKE me feel self pity or loneliness. I am more than a conqueror over him and all his ways. It’s not just a win, it’s an easy win. Score 1,000 to 0. Not a chance. And I don’t have to write a letter or make a phone call to ask for help. It’s within me. Power and authority from God himself is what I’ve got in me.

I don’t have to concentrate on kicking the devil to the curb, tho I could if I wanted. All I have to do is ignore him. Don’t give him the attention he needs and craves. It’s food for him. Well he’s not getting it from me. I’ll not feed into his plan. It will shrivel away from starvation and neglect.

My strength is in the Lord. It’s in his word. It’s in his Food- the Bread of Life. That’s my mantra. The name of the munchkin in the red suit isn’t mentioned. Like the car keys I was looking for that were in my pocket all along. The eyeglasses I searched for were right on top of my head. I’ve had power and authority from the Lord all the time. I can either use it or let it atrophy like an unused muscle.

Luke 10:19 “I have given you authority and power.” I just need to believe it to be victorious.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

What I Can Do!

“I’ve heard God’s voice. It is the never interrupted voice of love speaking from eternity and giving life and love whenever it is heard. When I hear that voice I know that I am home with God and have nothing to fear. As the Beloved of my heavenly Father I can ‘walk in the valley of darkness; no evil would I fear’. As the Beloved, I can ‘cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out devils’. Having ‘received without charge’ I can ‘give without charge.’ As the Beloved I can confront, console, admonish and encourage without fear of rejection or need for affirmation. As the Beloved I can suffer persecution without desire for revenge and receive praise without using it as proof of my goodness. As the Beloved I can be tortured and killed without ever having to doubt that the love that is given to me is stronger than death. As the Beloved I am free to live and give life, free also to die while giving life. “
From The Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri Nouwen.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Always Have Hope


That’s what children do. They believe and hope despite indications to the contrary. Jesus said, “Unless you become like little children you cannot enter heaven.” So instead of noticing problems I will act like I’m God’s child. He’ll take care of it. I’m not going to worry about it. He knows I don’t know how to fix it anyway. “Do you think Bill Gates’ daughter worries when her computer doesn’t work?” (Max Lucado) I’ve always be spoiled by God in the past. I’ve never had to walk on water. Jesus always did that for me. I’ve never had to know all the answers. My Father is the teacher so when the questions come up I just need to go to Him. I can say UNCLE or I can say JESUS – either way I have to just surrender. I need to remain innocent and uncomplicated. No plotting or planning. No crying or whining.

It’s really very freeing to be an innocent child. All I have to do is stay close to my Father!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

I WAS Dead.

Jesus, did you just sort of “wake up” lying in that tomb?

Your eyes flutter open but your face is covered. To move that covering your hands have to reach up. But your fingers and your nose tell you other things cover your body. Instinctively you try to move your hand up toward your face to move the cloth. Now you smell the myrrh – a smell your life began with 33 years ago. Your hand moves the cloth and fragrances away from your eyes and mouth. As you do that your hand feels tightness to it and to open your palm fully requires a stretching motion. Finally you’ve cleared your face with the help of your second hand. That hand too required that you stretch your fingertips wide to relieve the tautness of the spread.

It’s dark inside the tomb so you don’t see the scars on your palms but as you begin to awaken you also begin to remember. You remember the smell of those same fragrances from your visit to Lazarus’ tomb. Your now outstretched hand brings the scene back. The darkness that covers you confirms the memory. I was dead.

As you lie there you try to collect your thoughts.

I was dead.

The nails went through these same hands. I remember the hammer coming toward my hands and feet. The memories are all rushing back now.

The spear went through my side, Jesus recalled. Instinctively he reached to touch it. A healed scar replaced the torn flesh. And as he tried to lift his head, a smile began to grow ever so slightly on one side of his mouth. I was dead.

No crown of thorns on his head now as Jesus tries to hoist his upper body into a seated position. Buds, plants and flowers all trickle and fall away and Jesus removes the cloth that had once covered his face and body.

Seated upright his eyes try to focus and he turns his head to see where they placed his once lifeless body. The tiny smile begins to broaden into a grin. “Oh Father!” He had been buried and placed in someone’s tomb. It was someone else’s tomb because Jesus never had on for himself. Did he think he’d never need one? But he didn’t have his own house, either. “The Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” (Luke 9:57-58)

“Father” Only one word. After all the experiences of the past three days the only word Jesus could bring himself to speak was “Father”. In that word alone was the full realization of what happened. The union of the two in that one word was like a meteor hitting the earth. The Father, who had been watching his Son’s body return to life as closely as he watched him be scourged, crucified and die, spoke his son’s name. “Jesus!” The strength of their love for one another was spoken in those single words. It was as though a huge surprise party was about to take place and only they knew about it. Jesus’ heart began to pound. He was suddenly anxious to remove himself from the tomb entirely. (Did Lazarus feel like this?”) He place two scarred but strong feet on the ground and reached his head and arms to heaven. He couldn’t wait to meet his beloved Father. He wanted to hug him, give his Abba a big, hearty pat on the back and say, “We did it! It’s done!” Instinctively he knew that would have to wait.
He looked for the entrance to the place where he had lain. Feeling around the walls which surrounded him, Jesus came upon the big stone that stood in the way between him and The Revelation. He would not have it. He could not have a stone between himself and his disciples, his mother, redemption, his Father. No stone would do that. No simple earthly stone was going to stand in his way.
Facing the stone Jesus looked up to heaven and repeated the same word, “Father!” He places his two scarred hands on the boulder blocking Jesus’ entrance into new life and it moved, slowly at first, out of his way.

No stone.
No nails.
No devil.
No death.
Nothing could stop him.
Nothing did.

As the stone rolled away so did the night. The stone was gone, darkness and sin were gone, evil and death were gone. Day broke through and with it Light, Salvation and Redemption. It was a moment of celebration for Father and Son. The grin on Jesus’ face was replaced with a huge smile. The smile erupted into a hearty laugh. “We did it. It’s done!” Jesus tilts back his head and laughs into the sky. “Father, we’ve won! Heaven has come. The doors are open wide so all can join us! Yeah!”

Jesus catches his breath, his heart pounding with excitement. He looks around one last time before he begins the final phase of his journey. Not too far away he sees the image of three empty crosses. Although it was a sobering view, his gaze then turned to the empty tomb behind him. Empty. Cloth on the ground. Stone rolled away. Empty.

Jesus then begins to walk toward his future and ours.