Wednesday, June 6, 2012

I Believe I Can Fly!!


Do not be afraid any longer, only believe. Mark 5:36

Grounded . . . . I don't know exactly when it happened . . . . I don't recall a single event or major life trauma that triggered the downward spiral.  In all likelihood, my personal free-fall  from wide-eyed wonder and wild abandon  to squinty-eyed suspicion and paralyzing fear went completely unnoticed by the casual observer.  I only know that once upon a time I believed I could fly . . . . and I did fly. 

I was born for adventure . . . . and born TO an adventurer.  My dad was a visionary, a man who was always looking upward and away toward a distant horizon . . . . forever pondering the next unconquered frontier.  When Bill Latham caught a glimpse of something in his sites, it was like an itch that had to be scratched.  You could bet that something exciting was about to happen.   He was my hero . . . . and it was he who taught me to fly.

One of my earliest memories as a youngster revolves around the thrilling, death-defying (well, to a three-year-old anyway) feat which  routinely took place in our kitchen.  My daddy would place me up on top of the refrigerator, step back a couple of feet, hold both hands out in front of him, and shout, "Jump!"  At his command, I would sail off into thin air with complete fearlessness, assured that I would always land in his reliable embrace.  He would beam proudly, I would squeal with delight and immediately demand, "Do it again, Daddy!" 

Trust came so easily then . . . . I knew nothing of falling . . . . My reality was shaped by the confidence in his voice, the safety of his arms, and the joy that we shared together in those moments.

My father was always interested in flying, and I was his flying buddy.  Years  later he did obtain his pilot's license and even had his own airplane, but some of his early flight experiences were with his friend, Burl Poole, who flew a small, open-cockpit "cropduster".  I would tug at my daddy's pants leg and beg him to take me to fly with "Air" Poole, as I had dubbed him.  I still remember the feeling of exhilaration as we lifted off the ground and took to the sky, my long brown hair blowing wildly about in the wind!  Daddy would hold my small frame tightly to keep me confined to that space, but my little spirit would soar so high that nothing could contain it. 

Years passed by, life got busy, I became too big for the refrigerator trick, and I 'm not sure what happened to the crop-duster adventures.  Gradually, along with the passing of time, came the entrance of other voices into my life, with messages far different from the one I had come to trust.  These voices must have been either very loud, very convincing, or very consistant, because they soon drowned out the familiar one which had always made me believe that I could do anything.  Oh, my daddy was still there, encouraging and building me up, but inside I began to doubt him and believe my accusers.  There did, after all, seem to be growing evidence to back up their claims of my failures.

As fears and insecurities mounted, my spirit sank lower and lower.  Soon I was so defined by these internal struggles that I shrank back from trying new things.  One of the many anxieties that emerged during that time, of all things, was a crippling fear of heights! My feet were now bound by invisible chains which kept me tethered to the lower regions of existence.  I no longer gazed upward . . . . and heaven forbid that I should ever be required to look down from even a modest elevation! 

But . . . .  deep within the core of my being, there beat the heart of an eagle.  You see, God had placed it there at my creation, and it had always recognized that my destiny was to soar the heights of the heavens.  So . . . . at night, while my tormented mind rested from its troubling thoughts . . . . my spirit would rise above it all and reignite my passion.

. . . . The dream was always the same, and it was repeated again and again during those earthbound years . . . . I would see myself standing perfectly still on the edge of a scenic, green hillside with arms outstretched, and my face pointed toward the sky.  I wouldn't do anything else . . . . I'd just wait . . . . but at some point in the waiting, a breeze would begin to stir and increase, and it would invariably lift me above the ground.  To my great delight, I would begin to glide effortlessly around the sky above the hillside.  The sensation was like no other, and I would always awaken from the dream, deeply satisfied and longing for the freedom I had just experienced. 

I won't go into a detailed account here of my liberation from all that held me down.  I will just tell you that Deep does call out unto deep (Psalm 42:7), and Perfect Love does indeed cast out fear. (1 John 4:18)  Poppa God has been faithfully cutting away all that has weighed me down, removing all that has hindered my ability to ascend to the heights for which I was created.  He is faithful, and I am His child.  I am confident that He who began this good work in me will see it through to completion.  (Phil. 1:6)

The process was there all along in the recurring dream . . . . the waiting . . . . the face turned toward Him . . . . the wind of His Spirit sent to lift me up . . . . and the ultimate freedom from the downward pull of this world.

Dreams really do come true, you know.  I need only to believe . . . . I need only to respond with childlike faith to His voice each time He says, "Jump!"  His everlasting arms have never once failed to receive me, and so I sail off  again and again into His embrace . . . . and the joy that we share in those moments is unspeakable and full of glory. 

As always, the cry of my heart is . . . . "Do it again, Poppa!"  

And . . . . once again, my spirit takes flight . . . .

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings as eagles;
they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
Isaiah 40:31

I used to think that I could not go on
And life was nothing but an awful song
But now I know the meaning of true love
I'm leaning on the Everlasting Arms

If I can see it, then I can do it
If I just believe it, there's nothing to it

I believe I can fly
I believe I can touch the sky
I think about it every night and day
Spread my wings and fly away
I believe I can soar
I see me running through that open Door
I believe I can fly

(Excerpt from lyrics to I Believe I Can Fly, written by R Kelly)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Mercy's Lap

Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience,
not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?
Romans 2:4

I was reminiscing yesterday about a sweet childhood memory. It's funny to think upon it with such fondness. It actually could have been a traumatic event to recall had it been entrusted to a less discerning soul . . . . but Poppa, in His infinite wisdom and immeasurable kindness, allowed otherwise.   53 years later, I still consider it to be an important stone set in the foundation of my life.

Her name was Mrs. McKeithen, and she was my first grade teacher. Back in those days of the 1950's in my small, southern hometown, we had neither preschool nor kindergarten, so her class was my very first experience in school. What a kind and tenderhearted person she was. We didn't just learn "readin' and writin' and 'rithmetic", but we learned Christian values and respect for others.   Ahhhhhhh . . . . the good old days!  God had not yet been expelled from our schools at that point . . . . but that's another story.

Mrs. McKeithen was definitely not a "hireling".  She was a true shepherd . . . well, I guess technically she was a shepherdess . . . . who tenderly cared for her flock. She performed a ritual each day after lunch, a time when we came in hot and exhausted from our rambunctious recess romps. She would have us lay our heads on our desks and she would walk up and down the aisles, rubbing each tiny back, while she sang soothing lullabies over her lambs. We were so bathed in love! It was in this atmosphere that my foundation stone was laid.

I was a very impulsive child, with a contagious enthusiasm for life . . . . a delightful trait at times, I'm told, but a constant springboard for trouble! Not yet seasoned in the practice of self-control, I seldom weighed the consequences of my actions or words . . . I acted first and thought later.  Living in the moment . . . . that was me!

I do not remember the identity of the little girl who sat in front of me, but I can still see the shiny nickel balanced precariously on the edge of the book storage area underneath her desk that morning. A nickel could still buy quite a variety of things back then, and my desire to have it overruled any moral thought otherwise in that moment. You guessed it!  In one seamless movement, the nickel transferred from her possession to mine. No one was any the wiser as I slipped the treasure into my pocket . . . . or so I thought . . . .

At some point that morning, the child discovered her loss and the missing coin was reported to Mrs. McKeithen. A class-wide posse was formed and a search was initiated. It was at this point that another character flaw reared it's ugly head from my six year old being. I was already a thief, wracked with guilt and fear, struggling about what to do to correct the situation without adding total humiliation to the mix.  And now . . . . enter, deception!

An ingenious solution began to emerge . . . . instead of being labeled a criminal, I could instead be hailed as the class hero! I had to act quickly.  I hid the nickel in the palm of my hand and made a sweeping motion across the floor. I pretended to pick up the lost item as I announced, "Here it is! I found it!"   I handed the coin over to it's rightful owner, enjoyed my brief moment of fame, and returned to my desk.

Whew! My plan had worked . . . . my reputation remained untarnished and I was relieved of my guilt . . . . well, kind of . . . . only what was this dreadful gnawing sensation that was now growing in the pit of my belly?

The day continued on, the daily routine unfolded in the usual fashion, and eventually our sweet rest time arrived. On this day, after the usual songs and back rubs, Mrs. McKeithen seated herself in a chair in front of the room and summoned me to come to her. She lifted me up onto her lap, wrapped her arms around me, and began to rock. As she rocked, she whispered in my ear, "You took the nickel, didn't you honey?" The total absence of condemnation in her voice melted all my defenses, and I confessed my sin with tears of remorse. The release from shame that I experienced in that cocoon of unconditional love has never left me from that day to this.  That single act of kindness offered me the way out when I couldn't find it on my own.  She continued  holding me  through the remainder of our rest period and comforted me again in that reassuring voice of hers. "It's going to be okay," she whispered, "just don't do it again."

That was the first time I was ever held in Mercy's lap.  That was the first time I ever heard those same liberating words that the woman caught in adultery heard from the Master:  "Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more."  That was my first encounter with the heart of God.

Was a potential lifetime of crime averted that day?  Maybe nothing as dramatic as that . . . . we'll never know.  But, I can tell you that even though I didn't have language to wrap around it at age six, the wisdom of that one woman allowed me to touch the reality of a spiritual truth that had existed throughout all the ages . . . . "mercy triumphs over judgement."  (James 2:13) 

She could have stood me up and made a public spectacle of me in front of my peers . . . . she could have punished me and held my crime and punishment up as an example . . . . she could have uncovered my sin to the world.  She could have pronounced judgement upon me . . . . it would have been justified . . . . I was guilty after all.  But she chose mercy, and that mercy stands triumphant even now. 

I've made thousands of mistakes since that day, falling often and failing in almost every way possible.  But my life had been launched on a course.  A compass had been set in my heart that would always cause me to seek out mercy in the same way that sailors navigate by  true north.  It would faithfully lead me home to safe harbor again and again to the place I love . . . . Mercy's lap.   

He said that you could come into his
Presence without fear
Into this holy place
Where His presence hovers near.

Come runnin' come runnin'
Come runnin' to the mercy seat
Where Jesus is callin' He said His grace would cover you.
His blood will flow freely it will provide the healin'
Come runnin' to the mercy seat

(Excerpt from lyrics to Mercy Seat by Vcki Yohe)

The LORD is gracious and merciful; Slow to anger and great in lovingkindness.
Psalm 145:8

Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne;
mercy and loving-kindness and truth go before Your face.
Psalm 89:14 AMP 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

No Pain--No Gain


My gardenias are blooming again.  Love this time of year.  The blooms are ever so delicate and fragrant.  I know that the blossoms won't last long and are easily damaged by the spring rains, so I clip the white beauties as quicikly as they appear and bring them inside to arrange and enjoy. 

I was noticing today that the blossoms aren't as prolific as usual, and realized that it is probably way past time for some serious pruning.  It caused me to reflect back on a time not too long ago when I learned firsthand the value of this process. 

Gardening is not one of my passions or passtimes.  My good friend, Rhonda, is quite gifted with all things green and growing, and she was living with us at the time.  She always seemed to know instinctively what needed to be done in the yard and when.  Our property has never looked so good as when she was here.  The grounds of her own home are a veritable Garden of Eden.  Our yard looks more like Eden after the Fall unless someone intervenes in it's behalf. . . . . sigh.

Okay . . . . back to the story . . . .

Rhonda came to me one day and asked for permission to prune the gardenia bush.  She explained that unless the bush was severely pruned, it would not produce the blooms that it could otherwise.  I innocently agreed, having absolutely no clue what this meant in reality.  I just blindly trusted her. 


Her sure and steady hands began to demonstrate her expertise at this task.  As she went to work with those big shears, I saw something in her eyes I had never seen before . . . . she was on a mission!!  She clipped. . . . she snipped . . . . she chopped . . . . she lopped . . . . she was merciless!!  By the time she had finished, it looked for all the world as if she had killed my bush.  It was totally unrecognizable!!  I was horrified and filled with regret . . . . she reassured me that it would be alright. . . . I wasn't sure at all.

As time passed, I got used to the mutilated sight of the butchered bush and didn't think about it much anymore.  Quietly and without much fanfare, it began to flourish again and put out new green growth.  Slowly, the seasons changed, until one day the little white blooms began to pop out.  I hadn't even noticed that the bush was now heavy laden with buds.  As the days passed and the fullness of time came, I was amazed at what I saw . . . the bush was completely ablaze with glory!  I have never since seen such blooms as we had that year.  I had to admit that the pruning had for sure delivered the goods.

Everytime I looked at those gardenias that spring, I thought of the following verse in  2 Corinthians 4:17 . . . .
For this momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.
I wouldn't have called the severe pruning that I witnessed momentary, light affliciton at the time.  It seemed more like a sentence of death.   But this covering of beauty I now beheld was indeed a good picture of the weight of glory, far beyond all comparison!! 

Okay, okay, she convinced me!  I now believe in the value of pruning!!

But what about when it's my turn?  What then?  What about when everything surrounding me is apparently thriving and luscious . . . . and I'm basking in the sunlight of this life I'm living, enjoying all the many blessings of God?  What happens when suddenly I see the Master Gardener's BIG shears gleaming in the light . . . . and I see that look of determination in His eyes as He approaches?  What then, when I feel everything being lopped off and falling away from  me . . . . everything that was once good and familiar and certain and comfortable . . . . and I stand there, uncovered, feeling naked and disoriented . . . . and cold . . . . what then? 

It is then that I must remember the parabolic promises of Jesus:
I am the True Vine, and My Father is the Vinedresser.  Any branch in Me that does not bear fruit [that stops bearing] He cuts away (trims off, takes away); and He cleanses and repeatedly prunes every branch that continues to bear fruit, to make it bear more and richer and more excellent fruit . . . . and when you bear (produce) much fruit, My Father is honored and glorified, and you show and prove yourselves to be true followers of Mine.  John 15: 1-2, 8 AMP

Poppa, we who are Your own know that you hold our lives in the palms of Your hands.  You are intimately acquainted with everything that touches our lives.  You orchestrate each season of our journey Heavenward . . . . you carefully watch over the ebb and flow of our suffering and joy . . . . You are faithful, and we trust in Your unfailing love for us.  We submit ourselves again to You, without reserve, knowing that You alone deserve all the glory that comes forth from these seasons of pruning.  The worthless branches, we don't want anyway . . . . the fruitful branches we offer to your process of greater fruitfuless. You are good.

Faithful are the woundings of a Friend.  Prov. 27:6
To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under Heaven . . . .  
He has made everything beautiful in its time.  Eccl.  3: 1, 11 

Here's to more excellent fruit . . . . fruit that remains. . . .and an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Rooted and Grounded in Love

". . . . that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory,
to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man,
so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you,
being rooted and grounded in love,
may be able to comprehend with all the saints
what is the breadth and length and height and depth of that love,
and to know the love of Christ which surpasses mere knowledge
that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God."  Eph. 3: 16-19

One of my favorite spots on this earth is the beautiful, Southern-style porch on the front of our 100+ year old home.  I have spent many quiet, blissful hours there . . . . listening to God, enjoying the beauty of His creation, and reflecting upon what He is speaking to my heart. 

Lately my attention has been drawn to the ancient oak trees on the property.  I try to imagine the size of the root system beneath the ground needed to support the enormous load that each tree creates by it's height and breadth.  I've been told that the size of the root system of a live oak tree mirrors the size of the tree that you can see above the ground.  That is almost unfathomable to perceive!!

Those trees are so tall that you must bend backwards to see the treetops overhead.  Their branches stretch out to unbelievable lengths, providing shade to the lawn and a haven for various creatures, and even a swing for my grandchildren. I love the trunks and branches and limbs and leaves. . . .they are beautiful through every season of the year.  But I truly appreciate those roots . . . . the tremendous bases which support the weight of those trees. . . . and all the more when an inescapable storm front rages through.  One toppled tree would irreparably damage our house.  But those massive, hidden root systems have provided the stability that the trees need in order to have withstood over 100 years of even the most violent of storms.

In the prayer above, Paul expresses his desire for the church at Ephesus to be rooted and grounded in love.  It is absolutely vital that our roots go down deep and wide into Poppa's love (for He IS love, you know) and draw all of our life from His Life.  Only then can we be grounded . . . . to lay the foundation, to found; to make stable, to establish . . . . enough to really be able to explore and enjoy the breadth, the length, the height, and the depth of that same love.  Incomprehensible . . . .yet, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul prays that we be able to comprehend it.  Yes . . . . may it be!!!

All the fullness of God?!?!?!!  Wow!!!!
Father, plunge us once again today into the depths of Your Love.  Increase both the size and the capacity of our root systems so that we may be able to draw deeply from that love through every season of life.  You alone ARE our life and in You alone do we live and move and have our being.  And as we become established in Your Love, may we come to fully know and experience all the dimensions of what that Love means to us and in us and through us.  As our roots go down into Your Heart, may our branches extend to others, providing for them all that Your love makes possible.  And when the inevitable storms come, we thank you that Your Love cannot fail.  Thank you, dear Poppa!

So they will be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified. Is 61:3

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life,
nor angels, nor principalities,
nor things present, nor things to come,
nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature,
shall be able to separate us from the love of God,
which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.   Rom 8:38-39

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Waiting Room

Our inner selves wait [earnestly] for the Lord; He is our Help and our Shield. For in Him does our heart rejoice, because we have trusted (relied on and been confident) in His holy name. Let Your mercy and loving-kindness, O Lord, be upon us,
in proportion to our waiting and hoping for You.  
                                                                             Psalm 33:20-22 AMP

I have had a song "stuck" in my head for a week or so now.  When that happens, I begin to play or sing it over and over.  An amazing thing then begins to happen:  it slowly drops from my head to my heart.  This is exactly what has taken place with the song, "Resting Place."  Here are the words to the chorus:

Here, oh Lord, have I prepared for You a home
Long have I desired for You to dwell
Here, oh Lord, have I prepared a resting place
Here, oh Lord, I wait for You alone
Since man was created, God has always desired to dwell with his beloved children. We read in Genesis that He prepared a perfect dwelling place, a garden, with every possible provision for his first children, Adam and Eve.  All that they could ever have desired was there for them . . . . and He, Himself, was present in their midst. 

We read later about how He sent Moses, the deliverer, to free His children from their captivity.  Once again, He provided everything that they needed, this time not in a garden, but in a barren place.  He saved them from their enemies; He rained manna daily from Heaven for their sustenance; He provided water from a rock; He protected them from the elements by manifesting as a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. 

Then we see an amazing plan unfold from Poppa's heart.  Moses was summoned up to Mt. Sinai, where the presence of the LORD was.  This was a terrifying place, but Moses ascended the mount to wait to hear what God would say.  He was given many instructions during his forty days of waiting there, including a marvelous blueprint for the building of the tabernacle, which would be the place where God would literally dwell in the midst of His people. Moses followed the blueprint precisely, and prepared a place for the presence of the LORD.  God's manifest presence did come after the place had been made ready, and He dwelled there among His people for the entire forty years in the wilderness and later in the Promised Land.  He was there, in the corporate sense, in their midst.  Did his children honor His presence, or did they count it as common?

Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, a good distance from the camp, and he called it the tent of meeting . . . . when Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent; and the LORD would speak with Moses . . . . Thus the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend.  Exodus 33:7, 9, 11
What I see here is that Moses was not satisfied to merely experience God's provision nor His presence in a corporate sense, but that He made a place to personally meet with the LORD.  One of the marks of his life was waiting:  waiting forty years on the back side of the wilderness before His encounter with God in the burning bush; waiting forty days on Mt. Sinai on two separate occasions; and even in the forty year period of wandering in the wilderness . . . .  he daily made a practice of waiting upon the LORD. 

Do you provide a place to daily meet with the LORD . . . . a waiting room . . . . to honor His presence and to communicate with Him?  This is more than just a physical space in your house, or a space of time in your schedule, but this waiting room is a place in your heart where you continually posture yourself before Him for instruction . . . . for wisdom . . . . for communion . . . .  for Life itself.  Or has His presence become common to you as it was to the Israelites? 

There is much more to be said on this topic, but we will save it for another post.  In the  meantime, will you consider preparing a waiting room and meeting with Him there?  This has always been His heart's desire.  He has made every provision for you.  Will you make the provision for Him? 

He is waiting . . . .

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Apple of His Eye

"The Lord is gracious and full of compassion,
slow to anger and abounding in mercy and loving-kindness.
The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works."
Psalm 145: 8,9

How many times have you heard the statement, "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree"?  Many times this is used in a negative way in reference to those who repeat the mistakes of their parents.  It's another way of saying, "he's a chip off the old block" or "like father, like son."

I had the privilege of having a wonderful earthly father.  Many times I think that this is why it is so easy for me to approach and enjoy my Poppa God.  Unfortunately, this is not always the case for some.  To them, the word "father" may bring painful images to mind--images of fathers who are harsh, demanding, absent, or even abusive.  These individuals may have a more difficult journey into the heart of Father God . . . . but, the good news is that Poppa loves to walk with us through experiences which will lead us to Him!

Psalm 145 gives us a wonderful glimpse into God's nature . . . . a snapshot of His heart toward His creation  . . . . and all from David, the one whom God called, "a man after My own heart."  What are His characteristics?  He is  . . . . gracious . . . . full of compassion . . . . slow to anger . . . . abounding in mercy and lovingkindness . . . . good to all.  This is not the picture of an overbearing Father who is just waiting for His children to make mistakes so that He can show them a thing or two.  No, this is a Father who tenderly loves His children--even those who have wandered far away because they have feared Him or not understood His love.

God so LOVED the world, that He sent His son . . . .  to bring us back into His own household.  God, who delivered us out of the power of darkness, and translated us into the kingdom of the SON OF HIS LOVE . . . . THIS is the Poppa I love and who loves me!  Because I am born of Him, I have His same nature--His "DNA" is my "DNA"!

I love the movie ,A Walk in the Clouds, for many reasons.  One of my favorite scenes in the movie takes place after the family's huge vineyard has been destroyed by fire.  The main character runs back to the "Father Tree"--the tree from which the fruit of the entire orchard had been derived--and finds that it has survived the fire and is still alive.  He knows then that the life in that tree can be reproduced to bring forth many more trees, and that the vineyard can live again . . . . it's fruitfulness can continue on and on for other generations to enjoy.

God placed this principle in His creation from the very beginning.  We read about it in Genesis 1:29 when God told Adam and Eve:  Behold I have given you every herb bearing seed upon the earth, and all trees that have in themselves seed of their own kind, to be your meat.  This was part of God's original covenant with man, in which He promised that seedtime and harvest would remain as long as the earth endures.  (Gen 8:22)  This was to be a natural picture of a greater spiritual truth.

So let's step back, focus our gaze,  and take a fresh look at this amazing circle of Life and Love . . . .

"God IS love."  I John 4:8

"For God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son . . ."   John 3:16
"The Son is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His natureHeb 1:3

"And Jesus went about doing good . . . ." Acts 10:38
" . . . whatever the Father does the Son also doesFor the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does." John 5:19,20

"No greater love hath any man than this: that He lay down His life for His friends."  John 15:13
 " . . . unless a grain of wheat [seed] falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit." John 12:24

"As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us."John 17:21

"For whom he foreknew, he also foreordained to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren." Romans 8:29 

"if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us."
I John 4:12

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control." Gal 5:22

Hmmmm . . . . that mature fruit sounds an awful lot like Poppa's heart . . . . indeed, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree! 

And so this beautiful demonstration is repeated over and over again across the ages:  the ceaseless giving and receiving of love . . . . reproducing the Life of the Father in many sons and daughters, who in turn lavish it again upon Him and upon His beloved children.  What a mystery . . . .what a Love!

Psalm 17:8

Friday, January 6, 2012

"Yolked" Together? :)

  "The LORD your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”
                                                                                       Zeph 3:17

This morning when I awoke, a song was playing inside my "internal sound track", as I like to call it.  When Poppa created me, He totally hardwired me for music (He even named me Melody), and He often speaks to me in song.  Everytime I am hearing a song early in the morning before my mind has had a chance to think of other things, I know that I am hearing the melody of His heart for me--the song that He is singing over my life.  If I follow Him in the song, He leads me on incredible journeys in Him.  Sometimes they are for my instruction, sometimes they give direction for my day, sometimes they reveal an area in which I need a deeper revelation of who He is.  Sometimes the songs are just wooing me to come away and experience His love and presence in a tangible and intimate way.

This morning, the song was "Be Near," a song recorded by Shane and Shane.  I haven't heard it in a while and wasn't sure of all the lyrics, but the part I kept hearing over and over was, "Be near, oh God; be near, oh God; because Your nearness is to us our good."  Oh yes!  Is it ever!

As I made my way out of bed and poured my cup of coffee, I kept hearing this line over and over in my spirit and it became a prayer.  I knew that He was drawing me into His presence--the place that I love the most.  I began to ponder the reality of His nearness.  He has promised that He will never leave me nor forsake me, so He is actually always near.  Why is it then that the awareness of His presence is at times harder to apprehend than at other times?  Over the years I have come to realize that sovereign, all wise God . . . . my Poppa . . . .  always knows what I need, and whether that will best happen during times when He "hides" Himself from me or in times when He reveals Himself to me.  Each experience is equally as precious and vital to my development.

Later in the morning, I decided to eat a little breakfast.  As I cracked an egg open into the skillet, there it was--confirmation of all He was saying--a double yolked egg!  I haven't discovered one of those in a while.  What perfect timing it was today . . . . today, when He was drawing me to snuggle into His side and to hold me there in that place of total union with Him. 

Something in me wanted to savor that moment forever and not eat the egg, but rather to just look at it.  But . . . .  intimacy is to be taken in and enjoyed, not merely observed from afar.  Instead, I knew that I could partake of the revelation as I partook of the egg.  I was to "taste and see that the Lord is good" (Ps 34:8), so that His goodness could become nourishment to my spirit and soul in the same way that the egg would bring nourishment to my body.  It  is a mystery to me how that egg can somehow be turned into muscle, and bone, and blood cells, and who knows what else in my natural body.  It is an even greater mystery that His goodness actually becomes a part of me . . . . part of my life, my strength . . . . that which energizes and sustains me.

Oh the mysteries and revelation that are found all around us, even in something as humble as an egg.  Open the eyes of our hearts Lord;  grant us a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of You.  We do draw near to You today, Poppa; knowing that you also draw near to us.  And we proclaim that your nearness is indeed to us our good.  Your goodness reproduces the fruit of goodness in our lives as we take you in.

Eggs anyone? :)

"For the Lord is good; His mercy and loving-kindness are everlasting,
His faithfulness and truth endure to all generations."
                                                                                             Psalm 100:5