Friday, February 8, 2013

The Reconciliation of Abraham's Sons

I got a glimpse of God today as I spent time with Him in His Word, and His beauty is beyond all explanation. I have to admit, I've felt bad for Hagar and Ishmael. Today in my study and prayer time, He lifted my eyes to see His glorious plan; I find myself speechless, breathless, in awe of the GOODNESS of our God!

As I entered into communication with the Divine, my heart was burdened for the Muslim world, but I did not have the Genesis narrative and the story of Isaac and Ishmael specifically in mind. I wasn't asking Him to answer my questions; I was just praying my heart and letting the Holy Spirit lead. I praise God for His revelation; He connected the dots for me as I prayed. I will just type here the words of my prayer as I wrote them.

So I began, "Father, I pray for my Muslim brothers and sisters. You have a heart for them as well. You see them; you hear their cries. You love them. Honor their pursuit of You by opening their eyes to the truth. Send knowledge and revelation. May MANY LABORERS be sent out into the ripened fields, to gather in the souls of countless Muslims. May the blessing you gave to Abraham and Isaac be realized in our generation, that ALL the nations of the world would be blessed in and through them. How exciting to be living in the day when this promise will be fulfilled and the inclusiveness of Your great love will draw the descendants of Ishmael into the circle of promise and blessing and love. Yes, the seed (Jesus) came through Isaac, but it did not exclude Ishmael! May my eyes behold Your majesty as the sons and daughters of Ishmael AND Isaac join hands and sing the praises of Jesus. May they all find peace with God and peace with each other through the shed blood of Yeshua, the unblemished, perfect, once-for-all Passover Lamb whose sacrifice is reconciling all things to Himself!"

Oh, how Abraham's heart must have broken when he had to send Ishmael away, but how he must be leaping and dancing and celebrating and jumping for joy to see this day! Every single child was "Plan A." Every single child has a place at the table, a part in the Marriage Feast of the Lamb. Heaven will be filled with ALL of His Sons!

Wow, God, wow! I am absolutely convinced that we will NEED Eternity to sing God's praises; anything less would rob Him of the worship He is due! Only infinity can hold the fullness of every "hallelujah!" When we see Him for who He is, we are COMPELLED to worship, and anything less than forever could never bring to completion the adoration He inspires! Heaven will be the constant and ceaseless exaltation of the Goodness of our God, and I CANNOT WAIT! Luckily, I don't have to; I can begin right now, touching Heaven as I lift my hands, my heart, my voice to Yahweh! Oh, that Heaven would not be a jarring new reality for any of His believers, but a natural next step as our hearts live and die to shine a spotlight on HIS Fame! He is so so very good and so so very worthy!!!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Hope and Glory from Philippians 1:6

Oh my dear brothers and sisters!  Listen to the beauty contained in this verse:
"For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus."

Isn't that so beautiful?!?!?!  HE started the good work in us (by creating us, sending His Son into the world to die for us, and allowing us to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ).  It's HIS work not mine, and He is able and faithful and wise and loving and He will finish it!!!

That means my best days are NOT behind me.  I might look backwards at what the years have taken, lamenting what the moths and locusts have stolen.  I might look at my current circumstances and think there is no way out.  BUT this verse is telling me the look forward with joy and anticipation because my better days--my best days---are still ahead!  I praise God because He knows what He is doing!  He has a plan and a purpose!  He knows the way out of the mess I'm entangled in, and--hallelujah--He can turn things around in a much shorter time than it took me to mess them up in the first place!  I can dance into the future with great excitement and anticipation!

I've heard it said that God is an artist, and I clearly see that.  But with me, He's been a tattoo artist.  There's one reason I've never gotten a tattoo....I'm afraid of the pain.  But that's what He's using, those needle pricks, that pain, the hurt, the hard things....the loneliness, the rejection, the difficult people in my life, the times I've been left out or wounded or taken advantage of or felt unloved or unworthy or guilty or full of shame, the broken relationships, the trials, tribulations, struggles and unfold beauty in my life.  The hurt is essential to developing my character into exactly who I was designed to be.  Tattoos look really cool when they are done.  In the same way, I am confident....that my life in His hands can and will become a thing of beauty!!!....that the pain is a good kind of pain, that it is serving a purpose and that the final result will be something that was worth hurting for, worth waiting for!  I can't wait to see what He can and will do!  I can't wait to see the unbelievable endings to our stories!  I know we may be in a season of "ouch!" "ouch!" "ouch!" but His grace and peace are with us and surround us in the middle of that!  His promises to us will be fulfilled, and when we look back at the end of our lives, it will look as if this was all planned....because it was!!!

I have such hope because I trust the one who is leading me!  I know He's good and He is taking me somewhere special and I am thrilled to be on this journey and so longing with joy and anticipation and excitement for that final destination to be revealed! 

I just pray that you will be saturated in His love and abundance today!  May all His blessings and riches be yours in full!  May you be so filled up with His Spirit today that you simply cannot contain it, and it spills over everywhere you go!!!!!!!

Love in the one who loved us first,

Christ's Poverty, Our Riches

I received Jesus:  The One and Only yesterday and am already in week two!  I can't get enough of Him!  I am being overwhelmed by Truth as if for the very first time!

Sometimes a question in our workbook will just get me thinking in such a way that I can't let go of it; I have to stop and ponder and meditate on it.  The Holy Spirit is such an amazing teacher and brings insight and revelation that is NOT of me!

The question that halted me in my tracks today was this one:  "What does Christ's earthly poverty have to do with us?"  My mind started racing; one thought led to another.  Before I knew it, I was scribbling diagrams and getting cramps from writing as quickly and furiously as I possibly could.  

When all is said and done, it boils down to this:

Jesus existed before time began.  He enjoyed perfect fellowship within the Trinity, sharing completely in the glory of the Godhead.  Yet, He chose to leave the riches and glory of Heaven, to humble Himself and become poor.  Why?  For my sake and for your sake.  It's the "Great Switch,"  Christ's poverty making the riches of God available and accessible to me and you!  

And, oh, what a humbling!  The fullness of God was nailed to a cross by sinful men.

So, Jesus's path led from glory (pre-incarnation) to glory (post-incarnation), but was intersected by the cross.  If He had glory pre-cross, why endure the suffering to get to glory post-cross?  He could have just enjoyed and revelled in His Glory without it ever being disturbed or interrupted.  

Because--and this is where I am just dumbfounded and and in tears--somehow, to Jesus and to God the Father and to the Holy Spirit, glory post-cross is more glorious than glory pre-cross because it includes us!!!  HOW can God esteem us so highly that He would pay that kind of a price to redeem us?!?!  How can He value you and me that much?!?!?!

Oh, I am so acutely aware that I have never known an earthly love that could even come close to this all-consuming, unfathomable, fierce and passionate love of Jesus!  Oh, that I would live my life in a way that is worthy of the high price He paid to redeem me, worthy of that unfailing love, worthy of His call!  May His death never be in vain in our lives!

How thankful I am that my salvation does not in any way depend on me!  Even when I stumble, He never lets go!  Can you even imagine anything better than the moment you will enter eternity and be ushered into His Presence to hear Him whisper, "well done, good and faithful servant!"?!?!  Oh, Amen and Amen....Let it be so!  (And according to 2 Corinthians 1:20, Jesus Himself is the "YES!" and "AMEN!" of God!)  The ONE and ONLY indeed!  Nothing this life has to offer is worth missing HIM!