Maranatha Mirror Messages

The messages are written by a retired pastor whose prolific writings have spanned six decades. These powerful messages encourage, inspire, and convict “People of the Way” to enter into the presence of the Living God and to mirror the image of the precious Lord Jesus, bringing his life to this hurt and broken world.  New posting are sent as emails. Subscribe at:  MaranathaMirror18@gmail.com  Navigate the menu to contact us, learn about us and to access hundreds of downloadable messages free of charge. Longer, deeper postings are found under the Recent Postings tab.

Artwork: The beautiful art is included with the messages to enhance their power, depth and visual appeal. It is by permission of each artist. We are grateful for their generosity and talent. May God bless them for their kindness. Clicking on the images will forward you to their galleries where you can learn more about them, their faith and their art. Use the back key to return to this website.  

 

Short Messages/Tracts

 

I WILL NOT LEAVE YOU DESOLATE

“I will not leave you desolate. I will come to you.”

John 14:18

It’s a promise Jesus never fails to keep.

Never.

“I will not leave you desolate.”

Jesus is speaking to men and women whose hearts are focused on him alone.

Not on some “Christian Agenda”.

Not on some “spiritual experience”.

On him alone.

“I will come to you.”


When the disciples thought they had lost him forever, he appeared to them alive from the dead.

These men and women still did not know Jesus—-really know Jesus—until his Spirit flooded them with “power from on high.”


They no longer saw him with human eyes.
They no longer heard him with human ears.


But now they knew him as never before.

He had come to them.


And because he lives, they live also.


Many of us are feeling a bit desolate just now. Where Oh where is Jesus in all this mess? It’s time to hang on to his promise and believe it with all our hearts.


“I will not leave you desolate. I will come to you.”


Forget your “Christian Agenda”.
Forget your “spiritual experiences”.


Focus on Jesus only, and on this one promise.


He will not leave you desolate.
He will come to you.
He will guide, protect, and empower you through the days ahead.

Prayer: Gracious Lord, in these times as darkness and confusion approach us, we need you more than ever.  Don’t let the darkness  blind us to you. Help us to let go of anything that blurs our vision of you. Please come to us.  Give us the vision to trust you are with us in this, knowing we are never alone, knowing you do not leave us desolate, knowing you will continue to guide us, protect us and empower us in the midst of  darkness.

Written September 2020 REB
Art: I will Come to You and Stopping the Darkness Kevin Carden via Good Salt license

YOU WON’T SINK

            

When they threw Jonah overboard, he sank!

When Noah’s Flood swallowed wedding feasts and family reunions, they sank!

But when Jesus came walking on the water said to Peter, “Come”, Peter did just fine…

….until he panicked.

The world we inhabit is unstable as water. 

It’s a boiling sea. 

Nothing is certain or safe.

Except the One who walks on water.

When he says, “Come,” we can step out of our “boat” and walk toward him.

We can follow him through the turmoil, and never sink.

He empowers us to accomplish whatever he commands.

“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves;  so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men; for they will deliver you up to councils, and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear testimony before them and the Gentiles. When they deliver you up, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel, before the Son of man comes.”

                              Matthew 10:16-23

If we follow the Master we can “walk on water”.

No need to panic.

Keep focused, and keep going.

If we falter, he’ll lift us up.

If we’re following in his steps, we will never sink.

Prayer :Lord Jesus as you call us to come, may we keep our eyes on you, so that as we step out of the boat, into the rolling waters you call us into…we see you and don’t sink. When we panic, when we falter, lift us up. Help us to step out filled with your Spirit, knowing we won’t sink, knowing you will give us all we need to keep going, to keep enduring, to keep faithful, to keep proclaiming your Kingdom as we walk to you above the waters.

 
Written July 2020 REB
Art:  Walking on Water Melani Pyke melpyke.com and  The Step of Faith (close up) Ain Vares  ainvaresart.com/

PUT THAT SWORD AWAY

And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest, and cut off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.”

                                                                          Matthew 26:51-52

  The urge to pull out the sword.

 Or the gun.

 Or the venomous tongue.

“I’m fighting the Lord’s battle.  Why shouldn’t I use my sword?”

 That’s what they said during the Crusades.  And what a bloody mess followed.

Whenever Christians listen to their “leaders” instead of Jesus, two realities rise up to negate everything Jesus says:

Money.

Money becomes our power instead of the Spirit of God.

The sword.

 The sword becomes our security instead of the Living Word.

False prophets are always busy promising protection and power through money and the sword.

Jesus calls us to follow a different road.

 “You have heard that it was said, `An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also; and if any one would sue you and take your coat, let him have your cloak as well; and if any one forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to him who begs from you, and do not refuse him who would borrow from you. You have heard that it was said, `You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”

                        Matthew 5:38-45

Written: September 2020 REB
Art: Art: Untitled Berna Lopez bernalopez.org, and Why do You Strike Me by Ann Cameron Cutri saatchiart.com/AnneCameronCutri

Prayer:  Gracious Father, Give us the determination to lay down our need to control things, to lay down our need to strike out in defense. Give us the strength to put our swords away. You alone are our security. Keep us loving and praying for our enemies,  for those who oppose us,  for those who disagree with us. May the desire to honor you and live as your sons and daughters vanquish our need to take matters that belong to you into our own hands. 

THE MOUTH OF THEM THAT SPEAK LIES SHALL BE STOPPED

 

Ever since the serpent told Eve to go ahead and eat the fruit,

                         “You will not die!”….

Lies have been Satan’s “bread and butter”.

Lies are the air Satan breathes.

Lies are the icy blood in his spiritual veins.

Satan rules this world by the power of the LIE.

Why does God allow it?

One day we may know.

One thing we do know:

  No lie lasts forever.

“Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.”

                                    Luke 12:2-3

In this world repeated lies become “truth”.

False rumors fascinate.

Soft lies are easier to believe than hard truth.

Slanderous lies spread like fire through barren souls.

Preposterous lies are a joy to lazy minds.

But no lie lasts forever.

“Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.”

If we are following Jesus, we are given all the wisdom we need to detect the LIE.

And we are expected to use that wisdom.

If we allow ourselves to be deceived by lies, heaven will hold us accountable.

And we will pay a price—in this world and the next.

“Either make the tree good, and its fruit good; or make the tree bad, and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil?  For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil man out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the Day of Judgment  men will render account for every careless word they utter;  for by your words you will be justified,  and by your words you will be condemned.”

                                    Matthew 12:33-37

Prayer: Good Lord, Father of Truth… There are so many lies saturating the minds and hearts of believers at this time, destructive, divisive, ugly, slanderous lies. For those of us who love you, help us to yield our minds, our ears, and our eyes to the Holy Spirit. Give us the discernment, to see the source of those lies and the humility to admit when we have been deceived.  For those creating and spreading the lies, expose them and their wicked scheming. Stop the mouths of those who speak them. Stop the mouths of those who spread them. Stop us from spewing this evil from our mouths. Dispel the dark and ugly thoughts that these lies stir up. Help us to truly repent and open our hearts again to your beautiful truth. Pour your light into us again so that our hearts are full of your goodness and that goodness will once again pour from our lips.

Written September 2020 REB
Edited Photo:  Taras Chernus via Unsplash…free photos for all

“BIBLE PROPHECY” OR PROPHECY?

For goodness sake, don’t get them confused.

“Bible Prophecy” is when every current event is connected directly to a passage in Daniel, Zechariah, or Revelation. For instance, the Anti-Christ has been identified by Bible prophets as Hitler, Putin, Bill Gates, and countless others. The “Two Witnesses” of Revelation, Chapter 11, is another favorite topic of speculation in the world of Bible prophecy.

Prophets and “Bible Prophets”

Prophets are people who give us a living word from God that rings true.  Rarely are their words sensational. They simply convict us, and enable us to face reality, when we’ve been walking around in a spiritual daze.

Sometimes they deliver a powerful message of hope.

Sometimes they give us a glimpse of the future. 

These prophets never speculate. 

They cling to the cross with fear and trembling even while they speak with boldness.

Bible Prophecy”, on the other hand, distracts us from the work of the Kingdom and leads us into speculation. And speculation often degenerates into conspiracy theories and worse. Bible prophecy appeals to those who are obsessed with figuring out what lies ahead and who the villains are.

Checking in with Jesus

Jesus tells us all we need to know about the End, in Matthew, Chapters 24-25, Mark 13, and Luke 21.   

His essential message in these passages is:

  1. “Take heed that you are not led astray.”

Don’t get side-tracked by a false prophet.

  1. “Stay awake.”

“Let your loins be girded and your lamps burning,  and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the marriage feast, so that they may open to him at once when he comes and knocks.”                         (Luke 12:35-36)

  1. There will be an accounting.

“For it will be as when a man going on a journey called his servants and entrusted to them his property; to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away.”      (Matthew 25:14-15)

At the Master’s return, each of us will give an account. If we focus on these three things, we will be ready for whatever God has in store for us. When the Anti-Christ makes his appearance as the Man of Sin, those who are walking in the light will recognize him instantly.  They won’t need a “Bible Prophet” to explain it. When the “sign of the Son of Man” appears in the heavens, the whole world will know what it means, without any help from an “expert”.

Indeed, our Lord expects us to “interpret the present time”.

But this does not mean speculating about what’s going to happen next week.

“Interpreting the present time” means getting our house in order in the face of those gathering clouds.

 We observe those clouds of Judgment and hasten to make things right with our brother.

 

As Jesus makes clear in the passage below….

 He also said to the multitudes, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you say at once, `A shower is coming’; and so it happens. And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, `There will be scorching heat’; and it happens. You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky; but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?  And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? As you go with your accuser before the magistrate, make an effort to settle with him on the way, lest he drag you to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer put you in prison. I tell you, you will never get out till you have paid the very last copper.”

                                                Luke 12:54-59

Dear Coming Lord, perfect, beautiful Jesus, open our ears, our hearts and our minds to the living words, the teachings, the prophecies that draw us to you, that keep us clinging to your cross. Disclose to our ears, our hearts, and our minds any teachings, beliefs, or conspiracies that distract us from the works of your Kingdom, or even worse, causes divisions that reek of the accuser. Keep us from being sidetracked and misled by any twisted speculations. May we remain awake and accountable. May we act to make things right with our brothers and sisters and with you before it’s too late. Amen

Written July 2020 REB
All art courtesy of Jessica Eli at jessicaeli. com

INTERPRETING THE PRESENT TIME

“You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky; but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?”

Luke 12:56

 Interpret the present time?

 Seems like no one has a clue about the present time.

 Pandemics,

 weird weather,

 social unrest,

 economic disaster,

 hunger,

homeless millions.

We hear the voice of a man who is largely ignored, even by those who claim to be his followers.

“You can figure out the weather.

How come you can’t figure out what’s going on in front of your nose?”

When Jesus says to us, “Why can’t you interpret the present time?” he is telling us…

“You can’t stop the Pandemic.

You can’t change the weather.

You can’t quiet the rage of the suffering masses,

The economic melt-down is beyond your control.

But one thing you can do:

You can get your own act together.”

To get our act together, in the face of the growing chaos, there are two things we can do:

We can get right with our neighbor.

We can get right with God.

We can get right with our neighbor.

So if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Make friends quickly with your accuser, while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison; truly, I say to you, you will never get out till you have paid the last penny.

   Matthew 5:23-26

Now is the time to take care of it.

To make things right with the one we have wronged.

To change our attitude toward the people we’ve ignored and despised.

To pay attention to the “Lazarus” who keeps calling on the phone.

To send some money to help feed the hungry.

 We can get right with our God.

“The time is fulfilled, the Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe the good news.”

                                            Mark 1:15

Every time Jesus uses the word “Repent” he is telling us to get right with God.

There were some present at that very time who told him of the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered thus? I tell you, No; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen upon whom the tower in Silo’am fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, No; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”

                                                       Luke 13:1-5

 “Repent” means turn around and pay attention to what God has to say.

To confess our hardness of heart.

To cry out for forgiveness.

To get under the Master’s yoke and learn humility.

To let God’s Spirit teach us how to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.

Those gathering clouds out there are clouds of Judgment.

It’s time to wake up and interpret the present time.

And get our act together.

Prayer: Yes Lord help us to get our acts together. Help us to get our minds off of trying to interpret and deal with what’s happening around us …and instead help us to focus on what’s happening within us. Convict us of our attitudes towards our fellow humans. Enable us to make amends, to love, to give generously, to have true compassion. And Lord, most of all we repent. We repent that our hearts have lost focus. We confess our hardness of heart during these times. Forgive us, draw us under your loving yoke, teach us how to love you with all that we have, so we will not be overcome by the approaching clouds.

Message written June 2020 REB
Art: All images via Unsplash… free photos for all.

WALKING IN THE LIGHT

If we walk in the light as he is in the light we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.

                                               I John 1:7

But am I actually walking in the light?

If I’m “making an impression”,

 am I walking in the light?

If I’m flattering my neighbor,

am I walking in the light?

If I despise Republicans,

am I walking in the light?

If I sneer at Democrats,

am I walking in the light?

It’s great to believe in the light.

It’s wonderful to trust in the light.

But the light is not mine until I walk in it.

With no pretense.

            No “agenda”.

Wide open, clear as crystal.

To walk in the light is to follow the footsteps of One in whom there is no darkness.

“I am the light of the world. He/she who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

                                         John 8:12

Forget about all the “extras” added to the gospel by centuries of custom and tradition.

Scrape off the crust of “doctrinal issues’ and “theological disputes”, and “philosophical critiques”.

Focus on the simple direction of Jesus to each of us.

His words alone are Spirit and Life.

They show us the way.

They give us the power we need to walk the walk.

When Jesus said to Matthew, “Follow me”, Matthew got up and followed. From that day Matthew simply walked in the Master’s words.

He needed no “spiritual adviser”.

He needed no “commentaries.”

Matthew knew what to do.

And so do we.

“I am the light of the world. He/she who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Prayer: Lord Jesus, true light of the world, we say we seek your light …. yet we continue to stumble in the darkness of our beliefs, critiques, and agendas. In your mercy, dispel this darkness from our minds and souls. Help us to let go of anything we believe in, anything we cling to, that deters us from living your truth. Warn us so we are alarmed when we begin to veer into darkness. Pull us back, give us a loathing for anything that draws us away from your teachings. Instead give us an overwhelming desire to walk in the way of your beautiful, life giving words so we may have the light of life.

Message written June 2020 REB
Art all by Elizabeth Wang RadiantLight.org.uk T-00070-OL, T-01088-OL, T-01385B-OL… free for ministry use

THE PATIENCE OF GOD

Slow to anger And plenteous in mercy

Exodus 34:6

Who of us has not been spared countless times by the mysterious patience of God?

He could have called us to account.

He could have nailed us to the wall.

He could have caused the mud we threw out there to come back to us and cover us with shame.

But life went on as usual.

Did God ignore our sin?

Did he ignore those malicious words?

That cowardly silence?

That willful ignorance of the suffering before our eyes?

The Father saw it all.

Yet he chose to be patient.

To give us a chance to wake up.

He is waiting for us to see our folly and change our ways.

To receive forgiveness and learn to forgive.

This is good, and it is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

                        I Timothy 2:4

If we were half as patient with each other as God is with us….

If we were half as patient with “those sinners out there” as God is with us….

But there comes a moment in each of our lives when the Father calls us to account.

We’re not talking about the Final Judgment.  We’re talking about a foretaste of that Final Judgment.

When God’s unspeakable patience calls in the chips.

We refused to forgive.

We refused to change our attitude.

In his mysterious mercy the Father now allows us to reap what we sowed.

Has the Father “lost patience” with us?

No, the Father’s patience is still there.

Waiting for us to come to the Cleansing Fountain of Calvary. And begin walking in the light.

Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right Spirit within me!

                                    Psalm 51:2,3,10

Prayer : Lord how often you have graciously rescued us from our own folly.  Thank you, thank you for relieving us of the consequences of our thoughtlessness, our hurtful words, our indifference.  Oh Lord forgive us for our harshness, our attitudes. They reek of darkness, of such ungratefulness.  Thank you for stopping us, for convicting us, for allowing us to be shocked and disgusted by the ugliness within us. Cleanse us, give us new hearts that are lighted and filled with the mercy and the patience and the deep love you’ve covered us with. May it pour out to others as an offering of worship and gratefulness to you.

Message written September 2020  REB
Art: Elizabeth Wang God’s Grace https://radiantlight.org.uk/  T-00442-OL and Shame-01583B-OL. Free for ministry use

YOUR FATHER HAS MADE ARRANGMENTS

You are not stepping into a vacuum.

You are being sent on a road on which all arrangements were made ahead of time.

 By God.

You will meet people at the exact moment prepared by heaven.

You will miss the plane and stumble into the arms of unexpected destiny.

“Random” is unknown in God’s Kingdom.

 In God’s World chaos is often the doorway to redeeming power.

“Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.  Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and salute no one on the road.

Whatever house you enter, first say, `Peace be to this house!’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace shall rest upon him; but if not, it shall return to you.

And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages; do not go from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you; heal the sick in it and say to them, `The kingdom of God has come near to you.’”

                                    Luke 10:3-9

Of course such a life is possible only after we have left our fishing boats behind and are following Jesus without looking back. 

Written August  2020 REB

Art: Anne C Brink  annecbrink.com

 

Prayer: Dear Father, you have been so gracious to us. We are so thankful. May this grace be ignited into deeds of mercy, acts of kindness, in open and tender hearts to our neighbors. Help us to step into your plans for us, plans to carry your grace to all who will have it. Give us the vision and the confidence to see and know that you have arranged for us to do so.  With each step we take, may we bring your kingdom closer to those who we are sent to and to our own souls as well, as your grace is poured out from us.

GRACE IS NOT TO BE HOARDED

You can hoard money.

You can hoard stuff.

But you cannot hoard Grace.

Grace is God’s life poured into you.

Grace is God’s love ignited in your soul.

Grace is a sustaining Word from heaven.

Grace increases in you, only as it flows from you.

Bottle it up inside you, and it breeds worms, like left-over manna.

Let it flow out as deeds of mercy

                   Words of….

Hope

Encouragement

Welcome

And it becomes a mighty River.

Loosen up!

Let God’s kindness to you flow from you as broken bread and poured-out wine for your neighbor.

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

But if any one has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?

Little children, let us not love in word or speech but in deed and in truth.         

                                                                I John  3      

        

Written September 2019 REB

Art:  Courtesy of Anne C. Brink   annecbrink.com

WHAT ABOUT JOHN

Lord, I’m happy to be working in your Vineyard. 

But why did you put me out here where it’s slim picking?

Mary Jane is over there filling bucket after bucket; and I’m still trying to fill this tiny bowl. 

Couldn’t you give me a better place to work?

 Lord, Jack is making many new disciples.  But where I am they all have hard hearts.  Nobody’s interested.

 Could you relocate me?

Okay, I get it.  When the Master sends us to work in his Vineyard, he puts us where he chooses.

But why am I stuck in this barren place? 

Why am I the one who has to sweat it out where the harvest is meager?

And, come to think of it, why are so many of my friends living soft lives, while I can barely eke out a living?

 I know you did not promise a rose garden.  But why are all those believers wrapped in roses? 

They have it easy.

I have it hard.

 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you girded yourself and walked where you would; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish to go.”  (This he said to show by what death he was to glorify God.) And after this he said to him, “Follow me.” Peter turned and saw following them the disciple whom Jesus loved, who had lain close to his breast at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?”  When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?”  Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!”

                                    John 21:17-22

So Peter was destined to die as a martyr.   But what about John?  Will he die as a martyr too?

“None of your business, Peter. I will decide what happens with John.   You just follow me!”

If Jesus is Lord of my life, he decides where he wants me to serve, and how I am to lay down my life.

When I look around and compare my lot with all the cushy places given to others, I turn my joy into misery.

Those cushy callings might just turn out to be Calvary’s far more costly and painful than mine.

Lord Jesus, I present my body to you as a living sacrifice to be spent this day to the glory of the Father. I turn my mind away from the Darkness and open it to the light of your Spirit, to love you with all my heart, soul, mind and strength, and my neighbor as myself. To trust you in all things. To serve you wherever you put me. To focus on the one thing needful.

 

 

 

 

Written September 2020 REB
Art:  What is that to You- Chris Powers  fullofeyes.com and  … Do You love Me Marybeth Stafford marybethart.com/

JOSHUA’S NEW TURBAN

The world was in turmoil.

Things were shaky in Jerusalem.

The people were looking to Joshua, the High Priest to lead them through the bad times into something better. But Joshua was too confused to lead the way. One night, Zechariah, the prophet, had a vision:

Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. And the LORD said to Satan, “The LORD rebuke you, O Satan! The LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?” Now Joshua was standing before the angel, clothed with filthy garments. And the angel said to those who were standing before him, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” And to him he said, “Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with rich apparel. “And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments; and the angel of the LORD was standing by.

                                   Zechariah 3:1-5

If Joshua is to lead the people forward, he himself needs to be cleaned up.  Satan the Accuser is standing by, reminding the angels of Joshua’s weakness and his many sins. 

So the Angel of God rebukes Satan and orders Joshua to be clothed in clean garments—the sign of a new nature, a new start.  But Zechariah the prophet points out that Joshua is still wearing a filthy turban.

Joshua needs a head fix—a new mind! 

Only when Joshua has a new turban is he ready to lead Jerusalem out of his misery into the ways of God.

Many of us who claim to be followers of Jesus are walking around in new robes, but we’re still wearing that filthy old turban! 

                        We aren’t thinking straight.

We are allowing others to do our thinking for us. And their turbans are as dirty as ours!

We need a head fix!

No wonder Zechariah looks at us and shakes his head! 

“They need a clean turban!” “They need to think with the mind of the Master.”

The Lord will certainly give us a clean turban.  But it’s up to us to put it on! 

To wear it! 

To think!

When Jesus tells us to beware of false prophets, he expects us to use our minds. To figure it out.  To know them by their fruits!

When Jesus tells us to watch out for the leaven of the Pharisees, he expects us to check ourselves for hypocrisy. 

To think!

Don’t just stand there looking at that new turban. 

Put it on!

“When you see a cloud rising in the west, you say at once, `A shower is coming’; and so it happens. And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, `There will be scorching heat’; and it happens.  You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky; but why do you not know how to interpret the present time? And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?”

                                          Luke 12:54-57

Prayer: Holy, gracious Lord, like Joshua we need help moving through these shaky times.  Without your mercy, without your touch, we are vulnerable to Satan’s accusations.  Rescue us from the Accuser, pull us from the fire of condemnation. Thank you for clothing us, covering us in your righteousness. But we seek and need more Lord than just to be freed from condemnation. We want to stand before you, ready to do your bidding, but our minds stand in the way. Reveal our filthy turbans to us, our broken, twisted, hard and misled minds.  Help us to recognize, abhor, and grieve when our minds wander from you, when they are cruel, bitter, envious, critical, hypocritical. Help us to think with your mind, our Master, fixing our minds on whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, and whatever is lovely. Help us to put on clean turbans and to keep wearing them so we may honor you even in dark, troubled times.

Written July 2020 REB
Art: Joshua’s Turban by Lynn Samis, lynnsamisart.com/ Zechariah 3 by James Tissot (public domain)

THE PRINCE OF THIS WORLD IS A LIAR

“When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

John 8:44

Jesus is talking about the one he calls “the Prince of this World”, the unseen power that uses his waning days to deceive and devour all who choose darkness over light.

His power consists of only one thing:

the LIE.

“You will not die,” he says to Eve, as she eyes the fruit of the forbidden tree.

“God doesn’t want you to become as smart as he is. 
Go ahead and eat. It will make you like God.”

And now, at this late hour, lies are spilling from the mouths of kings, presidents, prime ministers, generals, bishops, super-stars, bartenders, plumbers, beauticians and bankers.

The Prince of this World has covered all the bases, using the same approach he used with Eve:

“Stick with me, and I will make your life a dream.”

“Do not trust anyone else! I’m your only hope.”

“See this? This is the key to Paradise. Come! I’ll show you the way.”

The Prince of this World looks you in the eye and insists that he’s telling the truth.

That everyone else is a liar.

The Lord warns,

“Don’t be fooled by his sheepskin coat. Look at the fruits of his life.”

“If you see a trail of ruined souls lying in his wake, you’re looking at his fruit.”

“If his ‘truth’ becomes a lie when exposed to the light, you’re looking at his fruit.”

On the Day of Judgment none of us will be able to plead ignorance.

“But Lord, I had no idea!”

“Not true. You knew better. The fruits of their life were staring you in the face.”

Are we afraid to believe that the Son of Man is the Way, the Truth, and the Life?

Are we unable to see that the Prince of this World is a liar?

Are we following a liar?

Or are we pursuing the truth?

“If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

John 8:31-32

Prayer: Father of Truth, rescue us from pursuing lies, from being deceived by the father of lies who calls our hearts and minds to dark paths.  Lord wake us up, keep us pursuing your life giving truth, seeking you with all that we have, seeking to be truly your obedient and loving disciples .

Written June 2020 REB
Art: Chris Powers www.fullofeyes.com

SIMPLE FAITH OR GULLIBLE FAITH?

Simple faith focuses on Jesus.

It listens to the preacher, but weighs everything the preacher says against the words and the Spirit of Jesus.

Gullible faith focuses on the preacher.

If the preacher says it’s true, it’s true.

If the preacher says there’s a conspiracy, it shouts “Amen!” and spreads the word.

If the preacher tells it how to vote, it obeys without a second thought.

Simple faith is both child-like and wise.

And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them, and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 18:2-3

Simple faith can see that the Emperor has no clothes.

Gullible faith has a lazy mind and a childish heart.

Gullible faith hails the naked Emperor with gusto.

“Take heed that no one leads you astray.”

Matthew 24:4

Prayer: Lord Jesus, we long for a child-like faith, a simple faith that draws our heart to you in all things. A faith that loves you, adores you so much… that we cannot be misled by any opinion, teaching or doctrine that blatantly veers from your holy nature…We long for a faith that is simple, yet wise, recognizing and acknowledging vulgarity when we see it, the naked emperors around us. Open our minds to our own gullibility. Heal them, so we lean on you, only you for true guidance.

Written April 2020 REB
Art by Elizabeth Wang at Radiantlight.org.uk T-00154-OL and T-06226B-CW

UNCONDITIONAL LOVE  

CONDITIONAL FRIENDSHIP *

God’s love is unconditional.

That love floods our sin-sick world at this moment.

It’s here for everybody.
Everybody.

“Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.”

A new life, a clean slate for every human soul.

Not because we’re worthy.
Not because we’re worth saving.

Simply because he loves us.
All of us
Unconditionally.

God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
                                                                                      John 3:16

The Father sees every sparrow fall, observes every blade of grass,
and looks into each of our hearts with unconditional love.

“Come to me!
“I will heal every wound, break every chain, wipe away every tear!”

When we open our hearts to that love, we are drawn to the Father through a single door:

The door of forgiveness.

Which is Jesus, crucified and risen.
He is the door to the Father’s unconditional love.

Moreover, Jesus invites us to be his friends.

But here’s the mystery:

Friendship with Jesus is conditional.

“You are my friends, if you do what I command you.”
                                                          John 15:14

And what does Jesus command us to do?

Requite the Father’s love.

Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength,
and your neighbor as yourself.

Every parable, every teaching, every command of Jesus boils down to this simple command:

Love God and your neighbor.

“You are my friends, if you do what I command you.”

In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus describes the life he empowers us to live, when we are his friends:

A life driven by love.

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love.

If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.”
                                                                    John 15: 9-10

God’s love is unconditional.

It’s as steady as the burning sun.
But to actually know that love, we have to requite it.


We have to walk in love—toward God, toward our neighbor.

Every neighbor.

Jesus makes it possible for each of us to walk in love, if we will get under his yoke and learn from him.

And be his friends.

“Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.”
                                                                                  John 15:13-15

Dearest  holy and loving Lamb of God, Help us to sense your unconditional love that surrounds us at all times. Draw us into your arms. Flood us with your love. Heal us. Free us. Wipe away our every fear and tear. Oh Lord, that we would be so filled with your love that we are able to return it with an intensity like we never have before, an intensity that draws us into your very heart. As we are covered with holy love and holy forgiveness, may we enter into a deeper fellowship with you, as friends. As friends may we love you with all we have, as friends may we not let you down, may we do what you ask of us… to live a life driven by the very love you give to us.  Yoke us close to you, our dear, beloved friend,…so we are empowered to abide in your love…empowered to truly love our neighbor, empowered to unleash your forgiveness to this needy world … and as we share your love… may wounds be healed, chains be broken, tears wiped away and billions enter into friendship with you.

Message written August 2020 REB
Art:  By Chris Powers at Fullofeyes.com

THE MERCY PRAYER

Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.                                                                                                                               Matthew 5:44

It doesn’t make sense

I finally landed a decent job, good pay, beautiful place.  Except for one thing:  my boss.  From Day One he decided I don’t belong.  He tells me to go back to Africa. He never leaves me alone.  Makes my life miserable. Human Resources won’t help.  So I’m leaving.

And I’m supposed to pray for this guy?  No way!

 ____________

 I thought I found my Prince.  We had a magnificent wedding.  A great honeymoon.  A few pleasant years.

 But now, with three little ones in a beautiful house my Prince has turned into a Monster.  A few drinks and he comes home in a rage.  He beats me.  He’ll beat the kids if I let him get near them. Life is intolerable, actually it’s dangerous.  The children and I are heading for a shelter before he gets home tonight.

 And I’m supposed to pray for him?  Thanks anyway!

  Maybe in Galilee

Maybe back in those days, when life was sane, Jesus could say,

Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

 But in this world of lies, greed and violence, who in their right mind would waste time praying for those monsters who make our lives a terror?

________________

It’s the same world

Actually, the world back then was no more “sane” than it is now. And no less violent.

When Jesus showed us the way of God’s World, he was revealing the only way to live in any world.

The only way that works.

The way he lived to his dying breath.

They whipped him, beat him, taunted him, and nailed him to a cross to die.

Did he call down curses from heaven?

Did he threaten them with the fires of hell?

He prayed for them.

 “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

 That prayer had unspeakable power.  Power that hovers over us as I write these words—and as you read them.

God’s forgiveness flows like a healing river.

That forgiveness enters us and transforms us.

But it refuses to stagnate within us.

Either God’s forgiveness flows through us to those who have wronged us or it disappears.

Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.

 Forgiveness is God’s supreme power on this earth.

God’s amazing grace.

When the risen Lord said, “Peace be with you!” to his trembling disciples, he was flooding their lives with forgiveness

Forgiveness for their cowardice, their unbelief.

The instant we receive God’s forgiveness, we are empowered to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.

When it seems impossible to forgive the one who destroyed our life, the Spirit of God comes like a wind at our back and helps us break through our bitterness.

The Mercy Prayer

 Many years ago Rex Andrews, a Bible teacher in Zion, Illinois, lost his way.  Andrews suffered through a long season of devastating guilt and despair, until the Lord found him, forgave him, and restored him to life. From then on, the theme of Rex Andrews’ life was God’s unspeakable mercy.  Whenever Andrews was wronged or slandered, he would pray what he called “The Mercy Prayer”:

 Lord, flood the person I am thinking of with your fulfilling mercies, meeting all their needs!

It’s not always easy to pray this prayer.

Sometimes we have to begin by saying, “Lord, I’m not sure I can mean the words,  as I pray mercy on this person.  Help me to keep praying the words until I can say them from my heart!”

Lord, flood the person I am thinking of with your fulfilling mercies, meeting all their needs!

Why should we stumble through life loaded down with bitterness toward those who have wronged us?

The same Master who paid our debt with his own blood will help us clear away those debts we hold against our tormentors.

And fill us with his peace.

Prayer : Beloved Lord, you cover us with such grace, such forgiveness….. again and again you wrap us in your tender mercy.  But we are stagnating in anger, resentment, criticism and hurt. Jesus, release us from this torment. We need your help to break through this bitterness. We want to be filled to be filled with your love and peace instead. Transform our hearts. Empower us to love those who have hurt us, wronged us, betrayed us, those who annoy us, and those who oppose us. May your forgiveness and healing flow from our broken and twisted hearts. Give us hearts that truly desire for them to be covered in your tender mercy. Flood them with your loving mercy, meet their needs, give them their hearts desire. Bless them, bless them.

Message written August 2020 REB
Art: By permission Rik Berry at rikberry.com and Melani Pyke at melpyke.com

WHY DID THE FIG TREE HAVE TO DIE?

And seeing a fig tree by the wayside he went to it, and found nothing on it but leaves only. And he said to it, “May no fruit ever come from you again!” And the fig tree withered at once.

                          Matthew 21:19

Many people dismiss Jesus as “inadequate for today’s world” because he’s just “too nice.”

In a world where politicians lie, and dictators snuff out their enemies, and billionaires call the shots, who needs “nice”?

We need some backbone, some steel, a leader with clout!

Jesus is just too nice!  

Is he?  

Maybe your Jesus is “nice”.

But the Jesus who roamed the hills of Galilee and drove the bankers out of the Temple with a whip was far from “nice”. 

When Jesus proclaimed the Kingdom of God, he backed up his words with signs. Awesome signs.

He healed the sick, opened the eyes of the blind, cast out demons, raised the dead.

Every one of these signs was a manifestation of a power unknown to this world: the power of the World to Come.

Jesus was far from “nice.”

On his final visit to Jerusalem Jesus came upon a fig tree that had leaves but no figs. 

He cursed it with such power that it dried up from the roots. Jesus was hardly “nice” to the fig tree.

But why did that poor fig tree have to die? 

Every sign Jesus performed burned with a message.  This sign was no exception. 

It happened on his way to the Temple, which was indeed a “fig tree with leaves but no fruit.”

It could be a church with leaves but no fruit.

It could be me, or you, with leaves but no fruit.  

The same Lord who heals the sick and opens the eyes of the blind expects those who follow him to produce more than “leaves”.

When we say, “Lord, Lord,” that’s leaves.

When we do the Father’s will, that’s fruit.

Jesus is incarnate mercy.

Jesus is fathomless love.

            But Jesus is far from “nice.”

     He burns with holy fire. 

And Jesus makes clear…..

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but she/he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven”

                                         Matthew 7:21        

Written May 2020 REB
Art: Melani Pyke www.melpyke.com

 Prayer: Powerful Lord,  may we not be like the fruitless fig tree… looking alive but unable to bring nourishment. What a waste of your gift, your life, all you offer…no wonder the fig tree withered, no wonder you cursed it.  Lord wake us up, keep us pursuing your life giving truth, seeking you with all that we have, seeking to be truly your obedient and loving disciples …so that we truly can bring your nourishment to the hungry and needy of this world and be repulsed by anything that turns us from this pursuit.

DO THE RIGHT THING 

Do the right thing. It’s as simple as that. Once we’ve found our way into God’s Kingdom, all we have to do is walk in the light.

Do the right thing, day by day.

But here’s the problem:

Too often we convince ourselves that we’re doing the right thing, while, deep within, we know that we’ve strayed from the path.

We’re looking good on the outside, but inside we’re a mess.

We say the right words, but our hearts are far away.

 Our eyes wander.

 Our hands grope in the dark.

 Our feet stumble.

We’re tempted to keep stumbling on, telling ourselves that we’re “doing the right thing”, while in our hearts there is no peace.

Far better to stop and take stock of what’s really going on inside.

“On that day many will say to me, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, `I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.’

                                                Matthew 7:22-23

If we want to do the right thing, we’ll get all the help we need.

All we have to do is ask, and keep asking.

            Seek, and keep seeking.

                        Knock, and keep knocking.

 “Lord, hold on to me!  Help me stay on the path! Give me the power, wisdom, and grace to do the right thing!”

Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation,  and uphold me with thy free Spirit.

                                    Psalm 51:10-12

 

A prayer was not added to this post.  A heartfelt repeating of Psalm 51 “Create in me a clean heart O, God. Renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence and take not thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation…” brings our hearts to the place they need to be. May we bring our hearts to that place, and may He help us to do the right thing.

Written July 2020 REB
Art: Mark Hewitt at oldtractorinshed.net and https://faithintersectinglife.org.au/    Works by Mark A Hewitt are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Create in Me a Clean Heart- gracious permission of Jen Norton. Jennortonartstudiocom  

TERRIFIED AND COMFORTED

I am living under an Eye that sees through every pretense.

O LORD, thou hast searched me and known me! Thou knowest when I sit down and when I rise up; thou discernest my thoughts from afar. Thou searchest out my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.

Psalm 139

It’s hard to get my head around it. 

But God actually sees through me!

He sees beyond the image I present to the world—knows what I’m really up to.

Scary, but comforting.

 How else can the Lord teach me how to face reality and live the Truth?

I am living under an Eye that never leaves me.

Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend to heaven, thou art there! If I make my bed in Sheol, thou art there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there thy hand shall lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Let only darkness cover me, and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to thee, the night is bright as the day.                            

Psalm 139

 Sometimes I tell myself that God doesn’t notice; that he is busy with other things.

Big mistake!

The same God who watches every sparrow fall, knows every blade of grass, sees into my soul 24/7.

Am I terrified, or am I comforted?

Both.

How precious to me are thy thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. When I awake, I am still with thee.

 Psalm 139

But why is he watching me?  Why is my every thought, every word, every deed remembered?

Who is this God who knows me inside and out?

 Does he care about me?  Does he care about the millions who are sick and half-starved? 

Don’t look to the religious professionals to tell you.

Don’t expect the doctrines of your church to make it plain.

If you want to know what he is like, this God who looks into your soul, focus your attention on the words of Jesus—-all of them.

You will not only get a glimpse of what God is like,

You will hear his voice.

Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!

                                                                Psalm 139

Prayer

Yes, Precious and Holy Lord, we are awed and frightened by your ever-present presence. We lay all our pretenses, all our faults before you. Search us, know our hearts… Oh lead us, lead us to your very heart. Lord humble us, open our hearts until we can trust you with all that we have, until we can relax into your tender loving care and live aware of your comforting presence with us all our remaining days.

Message written May 2020 REB
Art: Today’s art is by the gracious courtesy of Jessica Eli. Her gallery is at Jessicaeli.com

FINDING THE SHADOW OF THE ALMIGHTY

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

Psalm 91:1

In a world of growing chaos there is only one place of true sanity:

The shadow of the Almighty.

Covered and protected by God.

Guided by his wisdom.

Sustained by his power.

Apart from the shadow of the Almighty, everything is ephemeral, fragile, uncertain, melting away in the mist.

The shadow of the Almighty is not easy to find.  It’s like the narrow gate, the narrow road.

“Few there be that find it.”

Yet it’s available to all and worth the search.

We need something more than a temporary refuge.

 Something beyond reassuring words.

We need a dwelling place blazing with God’s constant presence.
He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

The door to this dwelling place is wide open.

All are welcome.  No one is excluded.

When we find it and enter it, we begin to lose our preoccupation with self. We become God-conscious 24/7.

We live our days under the eye of our heavenly Father.

We know that he knows our every thought.

We deal with our friends, our neighbors, our enemies, and Lazarus at our gate, aware that the Father’s mercy to us must now flow out to them.

But where is it?

Where is “the secret place of the Most High”?

It has been here since the beginning of time, but now that the Messiah has come, all who seek the Truth are drawn to one place.

 The Master’s yoke.

  At that time Jesus declared, “I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes; yea, Father, for such was thy gracious will. All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

                                       Mathew 11:25-30

If the door to “the secret place of the Most High” is open to all, why is it found by so few?

Only God knows.

But that door is open to us and to all.

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

Prayer: Oh loving Lord, how beautiful that you the Almighty God, the Most High God, call us to live under your shadow. Help us to seek and find this place…where we are covered, protected, guided, and sustained. May we continue to search until we are there. May we let all go and melt into you, let go of all our anxieties, fears, concerns and finally rest in you, so we may dwell in your presence at all times…lovingly carrying your yoke, because it is your yoke that keeps us in your tender shadow.

Message written June 2020 REB
 Art: All by Signe Flink    deviantart.com/signeflinkart Signe is also on Facebook and Instagram

YOU DID NOT CHOOSE ME

To tell you the truth, I have no idea how it happened.

I didn’t “make a decision for Christ”.

I didn’t “pray the sinner’s prayer”.

Can’t say I inherited faith from my folks. 

One day I just knew I had to take this Road.  The words of Jesus took hold of me and wouldn’t let go.

I began bumping into people whose hearts burned with holy fire.

So how did we end up on this Road?

You could say we were drawn to it.

In fact, everyone is drawn to it somewhere, somehow.

“And I, when I am lifted up from the earth (on the cross), will draw all people to myself.”

                                           John 12:32

Strange as it may seem, the gateway to this Road is the cross of Jesus, where our guilt disappears.. 

All are invited to come.  All are given a chance—somewhere, somehow—to walk this Road.

Some respond; some turn away.

This Road leads through valleys of suffering, but the hand of the Master never abandons us.

So how did we all get here?

“You did not choose me, but I chose you, and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit.”

                                  John 15:16

As the years pass, the crowds on the Road begin to thin.

People turn aside.

Some feel that God let them down.

Some are busy with other things.

Some are so successful in their careers or their “ministries”, that this Road seems too narrow.

We keep calling others to join us, and new faces take the place of those who left.

Until, off in the distance, we behold the Shining City.

And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light shall the nations walk; and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory into it, and its gates shall never be shut by day – and there shall be no night there; they shall bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean shall enter it, nor any one who practices abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

                                                         Revelation 21: 23-27

Don’t blot our names out of that book, Lord!

Keep us faithful to the end!

Message written June 2020 REB
Art: Choose Your Path and City of God Melani Pyke at melpyke.com John 12:32  by Chris Powers fullofeyes.com

I HAVE DONE NOTHING WRONG

“I have done nothing wrong.”  says the politician.

            Yeah right!

So where did all that money suddenly come from?

We hear it all the time.

“I have done nothing wrong!”

                        And shake our heads.

Yet this is exactly what we tell our conscience ten times a day.

“I have done nothing wrong.”

Who am I trying to convince?

Was it a “prayer request” for Sister Smith’s “problem” or was it slander?

Was I really too busy to listen to Aunt Susie, or was it too much bother?

I know I should come up with some money to help Jack, but how do I know he won’t waste it?

“I have done nothing wrong!”

Heaven is strangely silent.

It’s uncomfortable.

When Nathan nailed David about his sin, did David say, “I have done nothing wrong!”?

David owned up to it.  He turned to God and cried for mercy.

Against thee, thee only have I sinned and done this evil in thy sight!…

 …Create in me a clean heart, O God and renew a right Spirit within me!  Cast me not away from thy presence and take not thy Holy Spirit from me!

                                                  Psalm 51:4,10&11

If we’re looking for peace,

If we want to walk in the light, we need to come clean with God.

When I declared not my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. (then)…. I acknowledged my sin to thee, and I did not hide mine iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD”; then thou didst forgive the guilt of my sin.

                                        Psalm 32:3-5

When we walk in the light, we let God do the justifying.

We no longer waste time trying to justify ourselves.

Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with thy free Spirit!

                                    Psalm 51:12

Prayer:

Lord we have done wrong and still do wrong. Our hearts are heavy with disappointing you yet again. You deserve so much more from us. We lay this heart heaviness before you. Help us to trust you, to be vulnerable before you, to be honest and not hide our sin. Cleanse us, restore us,  so we can look you in the eye with no secrets, so we can experience your healing touch, so we can dwell in your presence and so your Spirit once again sings in our soul.

Written September 2020  REB
Art: Permission of Anne Cameron Cutri  anne-cutri.pixels.com/

TIME ON MY HANDS

 

There’s nothing wrong with relaxing, reading a book, watching a ball game, after the day’s work is done.

But what do we do when there’s nothing to do?

What do we do when all the doors are closing and all the lights are going out?

No hockey games, no basketball games, no baseball games, no movies, no concerts, not even church!

When all we have left is time.

When Job was stripped of all he had, he still had time.

When Jonah landed in the belly of that fish, time stood still.

When time becomes our burden, what do we do?

We do what we should have been doing long ago.

We ask ourselves, “What are we going to do with the time that’s left?”

“We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day, before night comes, when no one can work.”

John 9:4

We can fill in the time by being entertained, distracted or cheered by the song of our favorite singer.

Or we can “work the works of him who sent us while it is day, before Night comes, when no one can work.”

We can present our bodies to be spent this day as a living sacrifice to God.

We can turn our minds away from the gathering darkness and open them to the light of the Spirit…

….to love God this day with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves.

Job had nothing left but time. So he used it to sort things out before the God who baffled him.

Time finally caught up with Jonah. In the belly of the fish he finally accepted the fact that God is in charge.

When time becomes a burden, the door to God’s World is always nearby.

One step through that door and the burden of time falls away, as the Lord of Time illumines the next step.

I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

John 16:12-13

When time becomes a burden, look for the door to God’s World.

It’s but a step away.

Dearest Lord Jesus, we offer this time we have to you. Turn our minds away from the gathering darkness and open them to your light, to your Spirit. In reverent love, we offer you all that we have, including our time. May we hear what you speak. May we follow the Spirit of truth, step through the door, and do the work you call us to do while we still have time.

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AN ISLAND OF ETERNITY

Why is it that our days are charged with stress? 

Is it our circumstances?

….Or is it our mind set?

True, we live in an Age of Anxiety.

History is ‘out of control.’

The entire race senses immanent worldwide disaster in these possibilities:

          Unmanageable war.

         Food shortages.

         Worldwide pandemic.

         The collapse of nature’s balance.

And yet, the One “through whom all things were made,” and whose presence in this world still “holds all things together”…

…offers to all who will receive it, an “Island of Eternity” within to hold us through any crisis.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.   Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

John 14:27

This peace is not imaginary.

It is more than a “mental state.” 

It is life and power from another world—from Eternity.

If you have already committed your life to the Lord Jesus, here is the promise of the Spirit to you:

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.  Let all people know your forbearance. The Lord is near.  Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

                                                         Philippians 4:4-7

Prayer
Eternal Lord, through whom all things were made, who holds all things together… we accept and welcome the island of eternity you offer us… your peace… true peace. May we draw within us the life and power that comes from eternity. With this we can face any crisis, any fear. We rejoice, because you are near, you hear us, you exchange our anxiety for peace… a peace that keeps our hearts and minds dwelling with you the Eternal One. What a gift…thank you, Hallelujah!

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