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