Tag Archives: Life

A Declaration of Resurrection

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declarationLife is full of declarations. Some come in the form of political manifestos, others as works of art, and the best as manifestations of love. In France this is the time of year when we have to make our tax declarations!

However, as Easter celebrations come amongst us, we must remember that greatest of declarations:

The Declaration of Resurrection!

Paul sums it up well at the beginning of his letter to the Romans:

“Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God – the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God, by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 1:1-5

Paul was so impacted by this declaration of life that he had encountered on the Damascus road that he also made it one of the major elements of his Gospel:

“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.  After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.” 1 Corinthians 15:3-8

Easter celebrates the scriptural and historical fact that Jesus “died for our sins…was buried…was raised.” Paul builds up to the glorious resurrection by emphasising his physical appearing to the Apostles – remember the Emmaus road and the upper room, and to over five hundred people! Just think about that for a moment. Some people seem to have a very abstract, virtual idea of Christ’s resurrection, but there was nothing virtual or metaphorical about five hundred eye witnesses!

Believing in the physical resurrection of Christ is so important:

“And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.” 1 Corinthians 15:14

I do not want to have a” useless” ministry. I want it to be utterly “useful”, totally filled with the faith dynamic of Christ’s resurrection. More than just believing, I want to experience Christ in this risen life and make it my life’s goal:

“I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.” Philippians 3:10-11

The powers of the age to come began to break into this world as Christ broke free from the grave.resurrection_kone

Vitality, health, peace and happiness can be ours as we allow His new life in us to overcome the sin and pain inherited from the clay of Adam.

“And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven.” 1 Corinthians 15:49

Who is your icon? I want to be an “eikon”, a living “likeness” of the heavenly man!

Own your own resurrection experience this Easter! – it may bring you physical healing and well-being as the Holy Spirit infuses new life into old bones.

“And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.” Romans 8:11

The missionary message is based on a declaration of resurrection.

New Dawn

In the famous passage of Matthew 28:1-20, we see the two Marys going to look at a tomb. The tomb seems to be the final destination for us all…but there is more. Whatever the disappointments of life there is always a new “dawn”. Mission, sharing the Gospel message, must bring this new dawn, this new beginning to people’s lives.

Supernatural Intervention

Hard ground quakes open and heavy obstacles are removed. Light invades darkness and angels displace demons.

New Perspective

“Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.” Matthew 28:5-6

Move from fear to faith. in many cultures Jesus is always portrayed as stuck – almost forever, weak, pale and broken on a cross, while shining over Him is His radiant all-powerful, Mum! In some churches there are so many stations of the cross, and crucified Christs that I don’t actually meet the real thing! “He is not here!” He is no longer in the tomb or on the cross. Stop lamenting and making your life an eternal good Friday! There is obviously a place for the cross – a terrible place where Jesus shed His blood and paid the price for my sin and the sins of the world…but He has moved on into glorious resurrection life. He still bears the scars, but they are transfigured trophies of victory.

Find Him in your Future

“Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.” Matthew 28:7

If the cross frees us from our past, the risen life of Christ awaits us in future opportunity and vision. He has gone ahead of you preparing a place of blessing, mission, anointing, Word and service. Move on to join him. Where is He waiting for you?

Get Sent – Tell and Teach

“Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me…Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28: 7 &19-20

Mission MandateA resurrection vision spurred on the Marys and the men to a missionary mandate. May this Easter give you your own missionary mandate as you contemplate the risen Christ, and are empowered afresh.

The Lying Declaration

I would have loved to do without this last section. Unfortunately, in this world, a declaration of resurrection will always be challenged and opposed by the devil’s declaration.

The guards in the story could have had the marvelous privilege of being the first witnesses of resurrection to the world. They could have become apostles…but they chose to be liars!

“While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.” Matthew 28:11-15

The power of money, manipulation and self-preservation overcame the testimony of life. So often the same evil spirits are at work today, trying to “steal away” the Gospel power in our own personal lives and also in the world. This “anti resurrection” lie is still alive and well today and widely circulated as a morbid anti-life mandate. Many “guards” still sign up to proclaim it, obeying the “instructions” of this world’s spirit, and keeping themselves out of the “trouble” that a strong resurrection declaration brings.

Who will you be this Easter? A guard, a Mary or a disciple?

Declare the truth – declare the resurrection. He is Risen! – He is Risen indeed!

Happy Easter!

 

 

 

Sin boldly…not badly

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“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”               1 John 2:1-2

All the good news of Jesus and the gift of the Holy Spirit is given us so that “we will not sin.”
…but…
we, flawed people, live in an imperfect world and we have to survive the many contradictions and challenges of life.
…so…
Sin boldly not badly!
Let’s learn some lessons in life from Martin Luther…
“If you are a preacher of Grace, then preach a true, not a fictitious grace; if grace is true, you must bear a true and not a fictitious sin. God does not save people who are only fictitious sinners. Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly. For he is victorious over sin, death, and the world. As long as we are here we have to sin. This life in not the dwelling place of righteousness but, as Peter says, we look for a new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. . . . Pray boldly-you too are a mighty sinner.” (Weimar ed. vol. 2, p. 371; Letters I, “Luther’s Works,” American Ed., Vol 48. p. 281- 282) 
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“Whenever the devil harasses you, seek the company of men or drink more, or joke and talk nonsense, or do some other merry thing. Sometimes we must drink more, sport, recreate ourselves, and even sin a little to spite the devil, so that we leave him no place for troubling our consciences with trifles. We are conquered if we try too conscientiously not to sin at all. So when the devil says to you: do not drink, answer him: I will drink, and right freely, just because you tell me not to.”   
Food_Fun_FellowshipNow…I’m not encouraging you to alcoholism…and I deeply respect teetotal cultures. Just be real, not too self-righteous, and overcome the enemy with grace, laughter, fellowship and joy.
And another similar quote to finish…
If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong, but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world. We will commit sins while we are here, for this life is not a place where justice resides. We, however, says Peter (2. Peter 3:13) are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth where justice will reign. It suffices that through God’s glory we have recognized the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world. No sin can separate us from Him, even if we were to kill or commit adultery thousands of times each day. Do you think such an exalted Lamb paid merely a small price with a meager sacrifice for our sins? Pray hard for you are quite a sinner.”
On the day of the Feast of St. Peter the Apostle, 1521

From weeping to leaping..(2)

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Continuing our journey to Hebron…

A place of Redemption (goel) – A City of Refugeredeemed_t_nv

 “So they set apart Kedesh in Galilee in the hill country of Naphtali, Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron) in the hill country of Judah.  On the east side of the Jordan of Jericho they designated Bezer in the desert on the plateau in the tribe of Reuben, Ramoth in Gilead in the tribe of Gad, and Golan in Bashan in the tribe of Manasseh.  Any of the Israelites or any alien living among them who killed someone accidentally could flee to these designated cities and not be killed by the avenger of blood (goel)  prior to standing trial before the assembly.”      Joshua 20:7-9

 If you miss your goal (hamartia – sin), you need a goel!

Redemption is everything. The “avenger of blood” represents the just punishment of the sinner. In God’s gracious economy the avenger is avenged by his own blood – “the punishment that brought us peace was upon him.” The “kinsman redeemer” (see Ruth and Boaz) is another type of Christ, another goel. One emphasizes the buying back of souls, the other the redemption of land and inheritance. Redemption is not just for a future heaven but it includes a bringing in of God’s Kingdom to our present earth.

Christian thought over the years has given us three major currents which interpret the idea of the atonement.

  1.  The “traditional” position of the early church who taught that Christ’s blood paid a ransom to Satan for our redemption.
  2. Writing at the end of the 11th century Anselm was the origin of the “objective” doctrine which teaches that Christ died in order to satisfy God’s justice. It is God who needs to be reconciled to us.
  3. In contrast to Anselm at the beginning of the 12th century Peter Abelard (call him Pierre as he was a Breton!) formulated the subjective doctrine which states that Christ came and died in order to change us, rather than to change God’s attitude to us. It is we who need to be reconciled to God.

In the 20th century the Swedish theologian Gustav Aulén expanded the “traditional” view seeing it as a more “classic”, dramatic idea of the atonement. He stated that the atonement is “a divine conflict and victory” over the evil powers of this world. “It represents the work of atonement or reconciliation as from the first to last a work of God himself.” Indeed Aulén’s work echoes the Apostle John’s words that: “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.”

It is most useful to interpret these three views as being complimentary rather than contradictory. Through the teaching of scripture echoed in the voices of many of the Church Fathers, we glean that Christ is the one who has put us right with God by his death (objective view); whose love for us awakens our love for God (subjective view) and who has won the victory over the powers of evil (classic view).

Spend some time meditating on these different facets of the atonement and apply their truths to your life and prayers. Find your refuge in redemption.

A place of Priests – Ministry and Intercession

 “So to the descendants of Aaron the priest they gave Hebron (a city of refuge for one accused of murder), Libnah,  Jattir, Eshtemoa,  Holon, Debir,  Ain, Juttah and Beth Shemesh, together with their pasture lands–nine towns from these two tribes.”  Joshua 21:13-16

Intercessory-Prayer-Ministry-LogoSee the article ” Big heart, Broad shoulders” for an encouragement to renew our priestly ministry. Recently I’ve been challenged by the notion of “Watchtowers”, “Houses of Prayer”, “Holy Places.” I think that Catholic theology handles these concepts more easily than Protestant views.

A few years ago I was quietly eating some Kimchi with my Korean friends at our ministry base, Le Château Blanc in France, when one of them  began to speak to me in earnest.

“I have come here for a purpose,” he said. “This is a Watchtower place and you must gather intercessors here. You are to especially pray for young people. In fact God tells me that you are to specifically declare that one million young French people are to come to Christ!”

I choked on my Kimchi. Was he mad, presumptuous, a mixture of both …or a man with a prophetic word. I’m still waiting to answer that question, but I do feel deeply challenged to understand more about the place of intercessors together, praying world-changing prayers and yet living in the hands on reality of owning the responsibility and consequences of the prayer.

A place to gather Tribes – Platforms of Ministry and Collaboration

All these were fighting men who volunteered to serve in the ranks. They came to Hebron fully determined to make David king over all Israel. All the rest of the Israelites were also of one mind to make David king.  The men spent three days there with David, eating and drinking, for their families had supplied provisions for them.  Also, their neighbors from as far away as Issachar, Zebulun and Naphtali came bringing food on donkeys, camels, mules and oxen. There were plentiful supplies of flour, fig cakes, raisin cakes, wine, oil, cattle and sheep, for there was joy in Israel.”     1 Chronicles 12:38-40Many tribes

 May the Lord grant us a fresh determination to accomplish His work. Surely this is a time to look to work together with other tribes and ministries. I recently heard a long serving missionary from Egypt say that rather than just pray for Egypt with a bunch of foreigners he wanted to join with the Egyptians who were developing their own powerful prayer movements. This is not to despise the faithful pioneer work of many “foreigners”, but more to encourage a “breaking out” of our talents to humbly serve alongside other streams.

“Plentiful supplies” and “joy” are the fruits of such Hebron gatherings.

We started our journey at a place of weeping with the promise bearer dying. I strongly believe in a God who redeems dreams, so I trust that we can arrive at a place of “leaping” for joy as an honored daughter of Sarah, Mary – the ultimate promise bearer, conceives fresh life at Hebron. Jesus was born at Bethlehem but was he conceived at Hebron?

A place of Joyful Anointing to Conceive New Beginnings

“At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth.  When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.  Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!”      Luke 1:39-45

Many Bible commentators agree that the “hill country of Judea” is a clear reference to the town of Hebron. I’ve included a snippet from Mathew Henry who raises the question of Christ’s possible conception at Hebron:

john the baptist leaps in his mothers womb “…she went to a city of Judah in the hill-country; it is not named, but by comparing the description of it here with Jos_21:10, Jos_21:11, it appears to be Hebron, for that is there said to be in the hill-country of Judah, and to belong to the priests, the sons of Aaron; thither Mary hastened, though it was a long journey, some scores of miles.

Dr. Lightfoot offers a conjecture that she was to conceive our Saviour there at Hebron, and perhaps had so much intimated to her by the angel, or some other way; and therefore she made such haste thither. He thinks it probable that Shiloh, of the tribe of Judah, and the seed of David, should be conceived in a city of Judah and of David, as he was to be born in Bethlehem, another city which belonged to them both. In Hebron the promise was given to Isaac, circumcision was instituted. Here (saith he) Abraham had his first land, and David his first crown: here lay interred the three couples, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Leah, and, as antiquity has held, Adam and Eve. He therefore thinks that it suits singularly with the harmony and consent which God uses in his works that the promise should begin to take place by the conception of the Messiah, even among those patriarchs to whom it was given. I see no improbability in the conjecture, but add this for the support of it, that Elisabeth said (Luk_1:45), There shall be a performance; (will be accomplished) as if it were not performed yet, but was to be performed there.”

May we hear a fresh invitation, a Holy Spirit greeting that will spur us to joy and the conception of hope. The journey to Hebron may be tear-stained, but it ultimately crowns Christ King of the nations and Lord of our lives.

                                                                             

The prayer dialectic…

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“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

ForsakenThoughts on Psalm 22

God’s promise and perspective: My early Christian beginnings were nourished in the victorious context of a prayerful missionary movement. I fed on the nectar of such Biblical promises from Matthew 7:7 and John14:14 – “You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” My guiding principle was:

“Prayer means answer.”

What do I then do with the shuddering God forsaken cry that comes from a broken man?

“O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer…” v.2

What do you do in face of failure? How do you handle a cross? Jesus himself spent a lifetime resisting the Devil’s promises to answer prayer. The last temptation of Christ was to come down from the cross:

“Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!”  Matthew 27:40

Theologians come up with two useful phrases that help me understand God’s apparent failure and weakness. Kenosis and Epistemological distance…the first is based on the humility of the incarnation, the fullness of deity, “making himself nothing kenosis(kenosis)” Philippians 2:7

The second speaks about a necessary limitation on the knowledge of God in order to protect our freedom to love. God doesn’t write his name high in the sky or play miracles to the crowd in order to impose Himself. He hides in humility, and sometimes pain, waiting to be discovered by those who long for true intimacy.

Perhaps my own prayer weakness may also be a sharing of the same principles? I am not a “prayer superman.” I need the discipline of learning obedient sonship, leading me, like Solomon in the face of the prayer promise – 2 Chronicles 1:7, to ask for more wisdom.

So should we all just give up and abandon the prayer promises? Surely not!

My experience is always less real than God’s Word and promise. In the face of transient non-answer and pain – Hang on! Be a limping Jacob, refusing to let go of the promise:

“I will not let you go unless you bless me.”  Genesis 32:26

In the Psalm, the suffering hero appeals to the Sovereignty of God and decides to praise Him anyway, whatever the circumstances – can we not do the same?

“Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the praise of Israel.” v.3

Other’s testimony and my experience: Are you sometimes overwhelmed by the victorious testimony of others compared with your own meager experience of victory? v.4 speaks of the testimony of history where “Fathers” trusted and were delivered. Others “cried to you and were saved; in you they trusted and were not disappointed.” Wonderful, Hallelujah, buy the DVD…But what about me!Fail

“I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by the people…” v.6

There seems to be a glaring contradiction in the heart of intimacy. The bridal delight of “Hephzibah” in Isaiah 62:4 seems to have been perverted into the restrained “delight” (Chaphets) v.8, of God towards his servant. I should be a glorious Bride…but I feel like a worm! Kenosis and distance are again at work.

What can I do? Appeal to destiny – throw yourself into the ultimate purpose of God.

“Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you even from my mother’s breast. From birth I was cast upon you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God.” v.9-10

Demonic oppression, yet victory in His presence: Bulls, lions and oxen speak of the fearsome reality of the demonic opposition let loose sometimes upon holy servants. Hearts turning to wax, being “poured out like water” v.14, are experiences of many burnt out, fearful – yet faithful, men and women of God. The “piercing” v.16, of hands and feet points us to Christ’s passion, but it is the same physical or mental torment of many of his people throughout time and geography.

BullsOnly the presence of the Almighty can give us strength in such times:

“But you, O Lord, be not far off; O my Strength, come quickly to help me.” v.19

The apparent contradiction of the opening “abandon” finds a deeper answer of intercession in the ultimate Presence:

“For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.” v.24

My testimony: Intercession, prayer, praise and proclamation.

“I will declare your name to my brothers; in the congregation I will praise you.” v.22

My mission: Geographical – “All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will bow before him, for dominion belongs to the LORD and he rules over the nations.” v.27-28

Social – “All the rich of the earth will feast and worship; all who go down to the dust will kneel before him-those who cannot keep themselves alive.” v.29 The whole social structure from the rich to the “dirt poor” will be impacted by such intercession from his Church.

Generational – Our lives of faith, prayers and sufferings lay a solid foundation for those who are to follow. Nothing is wasted. Can you believe that part of your mission is for the yet “unborn?” Those who sow in tears can be encouraged by this long-term perspective.

“Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord. They will proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn – for he has done it.” v.30-31

Happy Holy…days

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“In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed, In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling.” Exodus 15:13

As many look forward to a refreshing break over the summer, it’s good to remember that true refreshment comes through dwelling in holiness rather than a throwing off of restraint. The call to holiness is a call to happiness.

True holiness is experienced in four essential encounters.

  •  An encounter with “living force.”

 There is nothing dead about true holiness. It is a call to life. A call to the awesome. All the great works of God have been accomplished through men and women who had an encounter with this passionate revelation of powerful life force. Wild nature, transcendent worship, incarnate silence, living word and covenant fellowship can all renew us in such an encounter.

  • An encounter with “separateness.”

 The Hebrew word for “holy”, qadosh, means “to set apart.” We are called to be different. A chosen people, a holy nation, belonging to God. “You are to distinguish between the holy and the common “declares the Levitical law. (Lev 10:10) Many of us can feel continually condemned by such a law, painfully dogged by a persistent sense of a lack of holiness. Leviticus 10:10 has to be put aside Hebrews 10:10 which gives us the fantastic news that our holiness is already won for us through faith in the redemptive work and will of Jesus Christ.

 “And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

 Rather than be continually worried about being polluted by the world, let us instead infect the world with our holiness.

  •  An encounter with “God-likeness.”

 Holiness has a God reflecting quality. “Be holy, for I am holy”(Lev 11:44) says the Lord, encouraging us to enter into His character. God-likeness is wholeness, and God has a passion for wholeness in every area of our lives. The idea of wholeness links very much to the word “shalom.” This Jewish greeting was much more than a simple “hello.” It was a desire for completeness; for right relations between men and creation.

The Orthodox theologian Paul Evdokimov, wrote the following:

“The power of divine holiness is a devouring flame that consumes all impurity; when it touches a man it purifies him and makes him holy; it brings him into harmony with the holiness of God-even into his likeness.” Another Paul, in 2 Corinthians 3:18 wrote: “we all,…beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his image from one degree of glory to another.”

  •  An encounter with “dynamism.”

 Holiness is on the move. There can be nothing “static” about the “ecstatic!” It gives us a sense of destiny and purpose. Holiness shows itself in action. It is the fuel of the Kingdom of God. Holiness is courageous in proclaiming truth and justice and working with others for good. John Wesley recognised that there “was no holiness but social holiness.” Holiness is a group event to be lived out in the rigours of the real world.

In the face of holiness we can respond in three ways.

Worship

Change (Repentance)

Mission

 May your holidays be truly holy days impregnated by these grace inspired responses. Isaiah had an incredible revelation of holiness as he saw the Lord upon His throne. Like many of us he found himself unholy yet infinitely loved. He worshiped, changed and boldly responded to the Lord.

“Here am I. Send me!”     Isaiah 6:8

 

This devotional owes much to Alan Kreider’s writings in “Journey Towards Holiness”

 

Wounds

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 “The wounds from a lover are worth it; kisses from an enemy do you in.”  Proverbs 27:6

A famous Christian lady, contemplating the beauty of Christ, once asked the Lord to grant her the grace of three wounds:

  1. True contrition
  2. Natural compassion
  3. Unshakeable longing for God

When we are looking for a prayer we often say:

“Come Holy Spirit.”

Do we know what we are asking for? What are you expecting to happen when you pray that prayer? Are you looking for an instant anointing or a submissive relationship? Have you ever considered that one aspect of this prayer may be leading you towards a greater wounding?

Surely an encounter with God’s holiness will lead us to repentance. In the Catholic mass, in memory of the story concerning the Pharisee and the tax collector, they have an act of contrition when they will symbolically “beat their breast” in memory of the justified one who cried out:

“Have mercy on me a sinner!”

Amazingly, the holy apostle Paul carried this wound throughout his life saying to his disciple Timothy:

“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst.”

Far from paralysing him in unhealthy condemnation, this wound released him into a growing revelation of grace.

“But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.”

English: Gian Lorenzo Bernini - Dove of the Ho...

Christ bore the wounds of compassion well before they took physical form on the cross. The Holy dove who revealed the loving Father was the same that put deep within him an inner wrenching of his being as he stood before the lost and loveless of this world. He wept at Lazarus’ tomb, tenderly grasped the hand of Jairus’ dead daughter and felt his heart crushed by the crowds of the unreached.

 

“…When he looked out over the crowds, his heart broke. So confused and aimless they were, like sheep with no shepherd.”What a huge harvest!” he said to his disciples. “How few workers! On your knees and pray for harvest hands!”        Matthew 9:36-38

 Sometimes, because of the fear of this wound, we become “Christian Buddhists”, detaching ourselves from the reality of suffering to enter our own comfort zone of non commitment, dwelling in our own personal “nirvana” of Christian friends, materialism, text messages and e mails. This detachment, like the sugary kisses from an enemy, does us in!

The only way to find release from the wound of compassion is to get on your knees and then get your hands dirty by crossing over into real interaction with the “huge harvest.”

All brides should be lovesick! If we are not lovesick, we make Christ sick!

Can you imagine Christ saying to his boring, scared, safe, middle of the road, nice, passionless church….

“You make me spew!” (Revelation 3:16)

And you thought you were the only one who got nauseous on Sunday! Morning sickness can also be one of the first signs of a new beginning!

I was once involved in a meeting of missionary leaders. I felt something was wrong with the time and one night I woke up with a picture of an immense pair of long woolly knickers…No, it wasn’t one of those dreams! I then felt the Lord, in a humorous way, give me the following words.

“These are passion killers! They are like your meetings!”

The bride in “Revelation 21:2″ is making herself ready; she is:

“prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her  husband.”

God is looking for the beauty of holiness, the sacrificial seeking of him in the dawn of each day, the  desire to obey and the pure faithfulness of love.

“Kiss me–full on the mouth! Yes! For your love is better than wine, headier than your aromatic oils. The syllables of your name murmur like a meadow brook. No wonder everyone loves to say your name! Take me away with you! Let’s run off together! An elopement with my King-Lover! We’ll celebrate, we’ll sing, we’ll make great music. Yes! For your love is better than vintage wine. Everyone loves you–of course! And why not?”     Song of Solomon 1:2-4

 

And why not love the Lord with holy abandonment?

“Crown Him the Lord of love; see from his hands and side,                                                                                             

 Those wounds, yet visible above, in beauty glorified.       

 No angel in the sky can fully bear that sight,                                                                                                                                                                                       

 But downward bears his burning eye, at mysteries so bright.”

 The Spirit and the bride say “Come!”

Come Holy Spirit!

taken from the devotional book,  “A Fruit in Season”